Between flying across the country, from Portland to DC, then taking a road trip from DC to Cincinnati, followed by a flight home from Dayton, we knew we were going to have quite a few hours of travel. For the most part, it went without a hitch - even if Torin isn't the best airplane or road-trip sleeper!
There was one pretty big hitch, though, in Dayton. After boarding, we were de-planed for mechanical reasons (minutes after all the restaurants in the airport closed) and ended up staying the night (fortunately in an adjoining room) and having to fly out the next morning. The kids took everything very well for the hours we waited in the airport.
While we were waiting, not knowing if the flight would be cancelled or not, one of other passengers pulled out a book he had purchased for his son, Dr. Seuss Sleep Book, and read it to the kids. Before he read it, he asked them, "do you mind if I read in an accent?" and he read in a southern accent. It was hilarious! It was a long book, and he was great for reading to them!
Since it was the 4th of July, we ended up seeing some fireworks from a distance on the shuttle from the airport to the hotel. We counted that as a small blessing!
The first activity on the agenda in Cincinnati was, appropriately, a Reds game! It was a matinee game against (who else?) the Cubs. Even though parking was bad enough Jared took the first 4 innings to find a spot and walk to the stadium, it was fun to be back at a baseball game! The kids (minus Liam, who didn't want to be in the picture) found Rosie Red for a picture.
One special part of this trip was having Grandpa Walters come to Cincinnati. Jared and Taylor picked him up from the airport, with a momentary panic when the security guard, checking with gate agents, said Grandpa wasn't on the flight from Salt Lake City! He made it and was fun to talk to throughout the week. We heard stories from his college and Navy days, from the starting of his farm and warehouse business, and about Granny. We played a pretty epic game of the candy bar game, too. It was a special week made even more special with Grandpa there!
Torin had his first trampoline experiences and seemed to think it was pretty funny!
Let's be honest, summertime at Nana's Castle is all about the pool! Everyone had a good time in the pool, and Nolin was not going to be left out!
The mamas got even got some relaxation time in the pool, and what better to relax on/in than doughnut tubes, which Taylor and Hayley brought in Amber's honor.
Torin loved being in the pool. After watching the bigger kids jumping off the diving board, Torin made his way over and climbed on top. Jared waited for him underneath, held Torin's hands, and pulled him in. Torin immediately said, "AGAIN!"
After a dozen or more times, Jared didn't hold his hands up for Torin, encouraging him to jump, and he did! "AGAIN" His jumps got further and further, practically landing on top of us sometimes! Grandpa Walters loved watching him, and kept commenting, "you're going to have to watch that one."
Kate and Adele were especially excited to play together. They loved wearing matching outfits - their matching watermelon swimsuits and matching Sunday dresses. They played together in the pool and in the playroom all vacation long.
We spent a lot of time in the pool this trip. With 7 people, we always had multiple swimsuits drying in the bathroom. By the end of the trip, it was kind of ridiculous how many were hanging up at the same time!
We got to stay all the way through the Independence Day. Jared was waiting all vacation to pull out a special shirt to go with his swimsuit honoring the USA!
The party continued, 1 week later, this time poolside in Cincinnati at Nana's Castle. It was another fun time to be with family and friends. The girls were excited to be back in their beautiful wedding dresses!
It was a great spread, complete with Nothing Bundt Cake. Liam happily spent his time around the cakes!
After talking spending a while in the reception line, Matt and Amber got some time to mingle. Matt and Jacob had a cute heart to heart for a while.
The bride and groom spent some time on the trampoline, and then all the nieces and nephews went and joined in the fun.
We were so happy to be able to be there! It was nice to celebrate with Matt and Amber again!
After a fun few days touring Washington DC, we drove through Amish country to Hershey Pennsylvania. On our way, we took a detour to see some covered bridges. We saw a couple Amish buggies as well.
That night, Jared, Jacob, and Claire were able to go to the park to ride some of the big roller coasters. The first ride, Skyrush, was awesome! The next ride, SooperDooperLooper, was Claire's first upside down coaster. By the end of the night, Jared had convinced Claire to try a bigger ride, Farenheit. He convinced her it didn't go upside down. Fortunately, it was dark enough that she didn't notice that it did many times, and she ended up loving it, riding it multiple times! We ended up having 10 rides on 9 different coasters in 2 hours. It was a great way to start our Hershey adventure!
The next day, we got an early start, making it right about at the opening. We got to ride on lots of rides that all of the kids could ride on. First, we brought Kate and Liam on the SooperDooperLooper - which is especially fun to hear Liam say: "Soop-oh-Doop-oh-Loop-oh." They both liked it! Jacob and Claire took us for a drive in the old fashion cars
and we rode the Hershey Kiss tower.
One of the nice things about HersheyPark is how the park is laid out with the rides for young kids spread throughout the park, so Torin could be with us wherever we went. There were a couple big rides that had virtually no lines on them, so one of the parents (normally Jared) and the big kids (or just Jacob) could ride one of those while the other kids rode a nearby ride.
Torin had a good time riding the rides - even as he kept his unimpressed look most of the time. There were a few rides, like the swings, that got him laughing and smiling pretty big! Even with the unimpressed look, he would always run back to the line's entrance to get one more ride.
The last coaster of the day was the Laff Trakk, a coaster that the car spins around in circles as it goes along the track. The kids and Jared enjoyed the hall of mirrors and making faces as much as the roller coaster itself!
Near the end of the day, it was apparent that it was going to storm, so we made our way out of the park, but not before buying some souvenirs - stuffed Hershey Kiss and stuffed Twizzler and a Reese's bank - and some candy (Jolly Ranchers for Jacob, of course). We weren't in the car for more than a minute before rain, wind, and lightning were all around us for a great end of the day!