Thursday, June 24, 2010


My husband, Steve, travels for work. Sometimes it’s visiting clients, sometimes it’s conferences, sometimes it’s just spending time at HQ near Baltimore. (He’s currently filling the roles of National Sales Manager and also Territory Manager from Montreal to South Carolina, west to Ohio.) Sometimes I feel like if I want to spend time with him I need to go along on his trips. He prefers to drive rather than fly, so that makes it easier for Olivia and me to come along. So when he had upcoming conferences in Dayton and Akron I decided to join him. When I mentioned we’d be gone, several people responded by wishing me a fun time on vacation.

Ohio: Your dream vacation and mine.

Our first leg was about 7 hours of driving, to Dayton. Olivia does pretty well in the car for several hours, and we try to let her run around when we stop so she can get her wiggles out. She’ll usually sleep for about an hour or two the entire trip, but at some point in the afternoon she usually gets to the point where she is verbally cranky and gets offended if you hand her a toy or snack. Nothing short of me climbing in the back seat and playing with her will help. Now I understand why so many families have DVD players in the car.  Fortunately we got to Dayton before too much of the crankiness. After checking in we walked down the street for dinner at Spaghetti Factory and then, for Olivia’s sake, we put her to bed and she fell right to sleep while Steve and I worked on our laptops.  On Wednesday morning Steve started his conference and Olivia and I drove south.

My brother and his family live near Cincinnati, about an hour from Dayton. It was the other big reason OJ and I joined Steve on his trip. Tom’s schedule is pretty crazy and doesn’t get to be home a whole lot, let alone come to visit us with two small children to complicate things. Travis is 4 and Lyla is 13 months old and Olivia (17 months) was thrilled to play with them both.

We're noticing some similarities between the girls, not just the dresses Grandma made (thanks!) but their bright blue eyes and maybe their noses.  The eyes come from the non-Richardson side, though, so it's just coincidental unless you want me to drag out my ol' Genetics textbook.

On Thursday the kids got to play in a pool with a bunch of other kids at Melissa’s house. (I had previously only “known” Melissa & Co. through her blog, so it was neat to meet her even if I had to supervise O in the pool the whole time.) Olivia has recently learned about slides at the playground, and one with water at the bottom means she was hooked. (Except when she found the broom, wanted to sweep, and didn’t care where the handle went. She also likes to “clean” with a cloth, wiping surfaces and her mouth. I don’t know where she gets it, but hopefully we’ll be able to tap into that later!)

Friday we went to the Gap Clearance Outlet which, if you’re used to like Prime Outlets or whatever, this is like the outlet for that outlet, so it’s huge and most stuff is under $10. There’s also one in Lancaster.

On Saturday Steve was back with us and we went to the Cincinnati Zoo. My favorite was the lemurs who sat, arms out, soaking up the sunshine. Here are Steve and Travis watching monkeys.

Each afternoon was quiet/nap time and each evening Jen cooked a wonderful dinner and we took a walk before putting the kids down. Then we had time to talk without interruption. It was a fun visit!

Let the record show that Travis gave Olivia her first car, a 1970 Chevelle.  She loves playing with the Spence boys' Matchbox cars, so Jen decided Livi finally needed one of her own.  Thanks, guys!               

<= Father's Day

On Sunday after church we said goodbye and headed to Akron, about 5 hours away. Olivia had the morning to play in the church nursery, so she did sleep for an hour or two but did get to the cranky phase. We went to Pizza Hut (a rarity for us, but one of Steve’s favorites and, after all, it was Father’s Day) and then checked in at the hotel. Quaker Square used to be a series of grain silos for the Qaker Oats, so the rooms are round and the lobby is a maze of different rooms, very different. Even the condiments at breakfast were displayed in vintage Quaker Oat tins.

Steve started his conference on Monday morning, and Olivia and I headed to the Akron Zoo. It was smaller than Cinci but still really nice, and this time my favorite was the leopard. It was hot out and almost time for lunch, so I figured a mall would be good. I don’t know Akron at all, but the GPS tells me there’s a JCPenney and when we got there it was an outlet (!).  But it wasn't part of a mall and was in a seedy part of town and Olivia was ready for lunch, so we shopped quickly, hit the McDonald’s drive-thru, and headed back to the hotel for a nap.

On Tuesday we were supposed to have thunderstorms in the region, but I didn’t let that hamper my plans to look for sea glass along Lake Erie. I had read online that one can find it in the parks west of Cleveland, so we headed to Rocky River. At the end of a street of gorgeous homes there is indeed a public park, but only if you climb down the 100 or so stairs. With a toddler. When we got to the bottom I was wishing I’d brought the leash because Olivia was very interested in getting in the water. But I held her hand and she found things to put in the bag, too. Sea Twizzlers, for one.  Also flat pebbles which I think would look really neat bezel-set, or may just look boring.

Today Steve and his colleagues wrapped up at the conference and we headed home.  Olivia slept for a couple hours and played nicely the rest of the time.  Such a blessing! 

(Note: Is there a vehicle that gets great mileage - high 20s, can accommodate a toddler, dog, and all of our stuff, and has AWD/4WD? I want one. Please don’t say a minivan, I'm not there yet.)


Brian said...

Subaru? I had an Outback when I was in Oregon last year and I was impressed. It's at the top of my list for when the Audi dies.

Jessica said...

Our friends just got a Subaru Forester this past winter. They love it...

The Talberts said...

It was so fun to finally meet you. I wish we had gotten a chance to chat more. But you know, I think we did pretty well considering there were fifteen kids there. Thanks for coming over!