I sent Greg and the girls to a birthday party, that Sara was invited to, last Saturday while I met Amber at the gym. Afterwards I was able to talk her into going to a local car show with me. It was HOT outside, and no stars yet, but it was fun.
As usual I had a hard time narrowing down the pictures, so this is part 1 of 3. And no worries, you’ll get to read about the rest of the vacation soon (typing all that out is work, though. LOL)
Austin Healey Sprite – my favorite!!
Yup, the GYM! I love being there, and when I’m home, I want to go back! I could seriously spend ALL day there. On Sunday I was there just before 5am for about an hour and a half, and then went back in the afternoon with Greg and the kids. Last week on Tuesday I walked 10 miles on the treadmill, and on Friday I walked 10.5 miles!
I’ve been told that I’m crazy (thanks, Amber!) and that I’m obsessed (thanks, honey!) but who knew that it would be so much fun?! And so rewarding to get on that scale and see that another pound or two fell off.
Joining the gym was one of the best things I’ve done for myself 🙂
(If anyone has a 24-Hour Fitness nearby and is thinking about trying them out, leave me a comment and I can do a friend referral. You will get an e-mail with an offer for a free 24-day trial membership instead of their standard 7-day, plus a coupon for $24 off your initiation fee if you decide to join)
(What does this song have to do with the gym? They play it there and it’s one of the very few that I like)
Monday, June 29th was the day we met up with Amy and her boys at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. What a fun day it was, even if the rain clouds cut it short a bit (never did rain!!). Amy is SO nice and easy to get along with, and her boys are absolutely adorable. Thinking back now, we should have met at a park instead, so the kids would have had a chance to get to know each other. But there’s always next time.
Here is Amy’s post about our meet-up
On Tuesday, June 30thwe left the Chicago area and made our way towards New Jersey. Sara was a little under the weather that day and had a fever. Maybe all the excitement of the last few days finally caught up with her. We stopped at Target after we checked out of the hotel that morning and picked up some Tylenol for her. Then made one more stop at the Albanese Candy Factory.
That day we stopped at our first DDD diner, the South Side Soda Shopin Goshen, Indiana, then spent the night somewhere in Ohio.
Wednesday, July 1st we made it to New Jersey!
I had talked to Dalia several times as we got closer to NJ and that evening she and her kids met us at the hotel and we all went to dinner together at another DDD Diner, White Manna Hamburger. The food was good, and Greg is still talking about how great the hamburgers were.
After dinner we went back to the hotel, and Dalia went home (with a couple of bottles of wine that we gave her to chill) to put her kids to bed, and then we went to her house for a while. We had a really good time, talking and drinking wine. I’m so glad I finally got to meet Dalia (and her family!) in person. I’ve known her for several (three?) years from a photography message board and we’ve become good friends. Her kids are so cute, and all five of them got along really well.
On Sunday, June 28th we hung out at the hotel in the morning and then went to Bakers Square (yum!) for lunch. Cameron was absolutely miserable with his sunburn and the only comfortable shirt he could find to wear, was a long-sleeved button-down shirt. After we got back from lunch, Nikki and I headed to Wal-Mart to look for a different shirt for him. We found a white short-sleeved button-down shirt, and the fabric was softer, too. Back at the hotel I talked Cameron into letting me wet a towel and carefully lay it across his back and shoulders, to cool him off a little. (The Solarcaine and the vinegar-soaked towels that Greg suggested didn’t help much).
The girls had fun with Nick, though, hanging Sara’s toy cell phone on his ear and taking pictures. Nick wasn’t too thrilled, but he was a good sport 🙂
I found a magazine with local attractions, etc. in the hotel room and saw that there was a candy factory nearby, and that afternoon we went and checked it out. The Albanese Candy Factory is every chocoholic’s dream!!!! And what a fun and colorful place! They even give out samples if there’s anything you want to try. We did some sampling, and of course shopping! (Wonder where some of those 4 lbs came from, that I gained back during our trip??), and btw. I loved the shirts that the male employees were wearing. They said EYE CANDY on the back.
After dinner I dragged the kids outside for some pictures, so here they are…. Nick, Sara, Nikki, Cameron, and Melissa.
Prepare yourself for lots of vacation posts! 😉
We left on June 25th, a day earlier than originally planned. Pulled away from the curb (since we don’t have a driveway) right at 3 pm and thanks to my speed demon (yes, that’s 90mph) we made it to Joplin, Missouri by about 9:30 pm. This was on the turnpike, where the speed limit is 75, but still!
We got up early on June 26 and continued on our drive. Sitting in the car all day is pretty boring, and most of the time there isn’t much to take pictures of, unless of course the sunrise is as beautiful as this.
Since we left a day early, we had time to stop at a couple of wineries on the way. First, St. James Winery in St. James, Missouri, and then Augusta Winery in Augusta, Missouri, near St. Louis.
And, while in St. Louis, we had to stop at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and get a little treat. (But even that didn’t make the kids cooperate any more than usual)
We met up with the boys and Nikki for dinner and later in the evening, they all came to the hotel in Merrillville, Indiana, to hang out for a while. It was so nice to finally meet Nikki (she and Cameron got married last October). She’s a very sweet girl, and Sara just adores her!
On June 27th we all met up at the hotel and then headed to Deep River Waterpark and spent most of the day there. I left my camera safely hidden in the car, so there are no waterpark pictures to share. Everyone had a great time, though, but the next day Cameron was very sorry he didn’t put any sunscreen on, even though I tried to talk him into it several times. He ended up with a severe sunburn, especially on his back and shoulders. He was miserable! (Next time I will put my foot down and treat him like a 3-year-old and make him put sunblock on!)
Before we went to the waterpark, Sara and I went downstairs with our cameras to take pictures of the flowers while we waited for the “big kids” to get there.
Chocolate Meltaway Center and Peanut Butter Hershey’s Kisses. These were a little “souvenir” from our vacation (both delicious!), along with a bag of Yorks and a bag of Dark Chocolate Hershey’s Peanut Butter Cups.
I’m sure you can all guess where we went! 😉
One from our vacation. The girls having fun with their brother. They were throwing plastic bottle caps at him, and he took them away…. and they tried to take them away from him again.
He’s supposed to come visit sometime in the next few weeks, and the girls have been collecting bottle caps since we got back from vacation 😉
Found in the gift shop at the Dallas Arboretum.
As of yesterday, after my workout.
Notice how happy and excited everyone looks? And no, I don’t think it was because we had been walking around NYC all morning and half the afternoon before this was taken. See why I prefer flowers? 😉
… to my wonderful friend Amber!
Wishing you the perfect day ♥
Love it when it’s not me!!
… for life to get back to normal. Vacation is officially over.
And a Happy 18th Birthday to Nick!
3892 Miles through
71 Hours and 54 Minutes of driving
3 Online friends met in real life
ONE great time!
Details to follow! Please be patient, it’s going to take a while to go through all those pictures 😉