Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ohio Trip 2016

{Alternatively titled: NO MORE ROAD TRIPS ever again}

Every few years, I get the bright idea that taking an 8+ hour drive up to Ohio sounds like fun, so I pack up the kid(s) and off we go!  Our last Ohio trip was in 2014 for Natalie's wedding, but this time we were going for a family reunion/celebration for my grandparents' 65th anniversary!

**Disclaimer: I looked in to flying up there, but it was going to cost us well over $1000. And then we had car seats, strollers, pack n plays, etc. and probably would have had to rent a I thought it would just be easier to drive. Trav got stuck working, which meant I got to drive by myself with these 2 kiddos. 
(Don't worry, he flew to Cleveland Friday and drove back with us Sunday.) 

I could do an entire post of taking a road trip with a toddler and a baby. (Maybe I will, ha!) I loaded up that iPad with some Daniel Tiger episodes (off Amazon Prime) and then downloaded a bunch of apps that don't requite internet access. My favorites (and Ella's, too!) are Peekaboo Barn (I bought a whole bundle of Peekaboo apps for $4.99), Sago Mini (this one and this one are free!) and Lego apps (this one and this one). 

We stopped about 3 hours into our trip in West Virginia. I found a Chick Fil-A with a playground (score!) and figured Ella could play while I fed Lucas. Before I let her play, we stopped in the bathroom...but of course she didn't have to go then. But oh, as soon as I start feeding Lucas, guess who had to pee?! And proceeded to pee all over the CFA playground. Yep. They had to shut the whole playground down to clean it. I was so embarrassed. We quickly scarfed down our food and got the hell out of there. 

Luckily, the rest of our drive was pretty uneventful. We stopped once more to feed Lucas and Ella actually used the bathroom (!!!!). We made it to Columbus in 9 hours (it's supposed to take 7) to see my friend, Dana! 

Ella had a blast playing with Dana's little boy, Gavin, and especially loved his Mickey Mouse...and the rest of his toys. Thank you again for letting us stay the night, Dana!

Before we left the next morning, Ella had to have a photo shoot with Dana's dog. She loved Callie.

And we're on the road again! This time just a quick sprint up to Cleveland...less than 2 hours. 

We got to my grandparents' house and Ella wasted no time making herself at home. My grandpa has this whole train system set up in their basement and Ella was super into it!

That evening, we met Natalie and Brian for dinner at Chipotle!

Thursday morning, I took Lucas for his first run in the BOB. It has been so hot in Charlotte that we haven't run outside at all. But it was nice and cool in Ohio, so I thought this would be a good idea. Ummm, no. That car seat is SO heavy. Holy crap. And also I am out of shape. Woof. 

Then we went shopping at Crocker Park! Ella was a little crazy but luckily my mom brought lots of pretzels to bribe her with. 

Ella's dog obsession continued with Josie, the chocolate lab my grandparents were "babysitting." She was so patient with my crazy 2 year old!

We also found a park! It was amazing to play outside and not be covered in sweat!

Friday afternoon, we drove up to Avon Lake, which is where I lived in high school. We visited one of my favorite families that I used to babysit for!

We face-timed with their oldest daughter, who was already off at college. 

And Ella tried to crawl in their dogs' crate. She literally thought their two doggies were part of the Paw Patrol. 

We also stopped to see Angela and her kids!

When we got back to my grandparents' house, my cousins had arrived! Lucas got to meet his 2nd cousin (or what do you call your kids and your cousin's kids?!), Keaton who is 3 months older than him!

And Ella quickly became friends with my cousin's daughter, Andie!

These 2 were seriously besties in a matter of minutes. They were so cute. 

Saturday morning, we hit up another park!

And then after naps, it was time for the main event: my grandparents' anniversary party!

My grandparents have been trying to get everyone together for quite a while. It's definitely hard since we live in Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and California...and someone almost always has something going on (new baby, injury, work conflict...). But we finally managed to make it happen and all 26 of us were in the same place at the same time to celebrate my grandparents!

After we took "nice" pictures, it was time to play! Ella had so much fun swimming with Andie in my uncle's pool.

Lots of family chats...

...and Lucas had a great time, too!

He loved being held by my cousin! I kept telling her that she needs to move to Charlotte and be my babysitter!!!

My grandparents are the sweetest people. It meant so much to them that everyone was together. It was definitely worth the crazy 9 hour road trip to come see them!

After dinner, we found this:

All the girl cousins in one room. It was a little bit loud, to say the least!

When it was time to say goodbye, Ella and Andie hugged about 12 times and even said "I love you" (unprompted!)...they are so sweet!

We drove back Sunday morning...but this time Daddy got to suffer along with us! Lucas was OVER being in his car seat. Poor guy. 

It took us 9 hours to get home and no one peed on a CFA playground this time, which I consider a success. All in all, a fun time but I am definitely not taking any long car trips for a while! 


  1. Of course the playground incident didn't happen when Travis was with you. Always happens like that!!

  2. You are brave! I contemplate trying to go to SC by myself with both the girls and chicken out! So glad overall it went well, but isn't traveling with kids so exhausting!?

  3. Ahh so fun you got to see so many people (even though the drive was rough), it was so good to see you!