Sunday, 31 December 2006

Happy Birthday Jeremy

Jeremy turned three years old today. Yup, hard to believe he is three years old - only nine more months till he goes to Junior Kindergarten. Also, now that he his three, he can start swimming lessons - it's been nine months since Mom & Tot swimming.

Like any Szymczak birthday, the day began with the playing of the Captain Zoom birthday song and performing a wacky dance. Jeremy needed some prodding, but eventually danced away. Next were presents from the rest of us.

Enjoy your special day, Jeremy.

Saturday, 30 December 2006

Jeremy's Birthday Party

That is a picture from Jeremy's birthday party. The theme was trains. It was two hours of organized mayhem. Tina had enough activities to keep the kids busy. It was sunny with no snow - actually it was mild for the end of December. One of Tina's co-workers said that we could had part of the party outside.

Though it was a small party, Jeremy opened quite a few presents. The cake and ice cream was eaten in no time. Everyone had a great time, including Jeremy. Next year's party will likely be in January to allow some of Jeremy's future classmates to enjoy the festivities.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Christmas With Chris, Lisa, Teegan & Madigan

The trip up to Goderich was uneventful. It was freaky as there was no snow, anywhere. Typically, when you drive up to Goderich at the end of December, there is lots of snow. Nothing in 2006. It did start to snow after arrived, but it amounted to nothing much.

The kids opened their presents. We had an awesome turkey dinner. We watched TV, did some shopping and just hung out. It was a good end to Christmas.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Christmas With Nanny & Poppy

Bev & Gerry decided to spend Christmas here in Windsor. They arrived mid-day on Saturday, and the boys were very excited to see Nanny & Poppy. We went out for Chinese buffet and filled our plates many times. We were all stuffed afterwards.

Sunday was Christmas Eve, so we spent the day hanging out around the house. We had the traditional 'Szymczak Family Buffet' later in the afternoon. This was followed by opening presents. It was interesting to watch the boys. When Corbin was opening a present, Jeremy would move in for a closer look and vice-a-versa. Everyone opened their presents and everyone was happy with their haul. We even took a small break to eat some more food.

When 8:00 pm rolled around, Adam abandoned the family and joined the rush of people trying to buy items at the annual Future Shop Boxing Day sale. Just after 9:30 pm, Adam was able to add three items to his basket and successfully checkout. What did he buy? A 500GB External Hard Drive for $199.99, a 2GB SD memory card for $39.99 (after a $15 rebate), and a SanDisk Sansa 2GB mp3 player for $69.99. Not a bad haul. The boys eventually went to bed after playing with their toys. After all, Santa could not come if they did not fall asleep.

Christmas Day arrived and the boys were hopping out of bed. They ripped open their presents from Santa - Corbin went for the present that Santa 'hides' in the kitchen. Santa also leaves a toy unwrapped so the boys can play right away. We emptied out our stockings, including Guinea's, and unwrapped the small prizes. The day was weird because there was absolutely no snow on the ground, in fact we got rain. Talk about a green Christmas. Gerry put together a toy table for Jeremy - it came with a train set and blocks. It will be nice to have in the living room.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Christmas with Babcia and Grandpa

Babcia (Adam's mom) and Grandpa travelled by train to Windsor to celebrate Christmas. Though the train was advertised as being 15 minutes late, it was only 5 minutes late. That meant that Corbin did not have to wait around too long for Babcia. On the way back home, Adam picked up Jeremy from Jenn's house and Jeremy was happy to see Babcia and Grandpa.

Shortly after we had a pasta dinner with home made alfredo sauce. The boys and Babcia began to play shortly thereafter. Tina bought new clothes for the boys, so Jeremy and Corbin showed off their smart and sharp looking outfits consisting of pants, dress shirt and a jacket. Babcia was mighty impressed.

Saturday morning began with a continental breakfast and with the boys eager to open their presents. Adam told Corbin that we will open them after lunch. Corbin said "fine". Sure enough, after having some delicious perogies for lunch, we opened presents. The boys were very pleased with their presents. Among other things, Corbin received a bunch of Narnia characters and Jeremy received a Spiderman car and a Safari set. Babcia was impressed with the scrapbook created by Tina - she cried as Corbin read the sayings. Grandpa was busy checking out his new book.

After supper, Babcia, Tina, Adam and the boys set out to Toledo, Ohio, to check out the Lights Before Christmas display at the Toledo Zoo. The drive to Toledo was uneventful, but it took 45 minutes to get into the Zoo parking lot. There were more people at the Zoo then during the summer. The weather was nice, slightly on the warm side. Adam's mom could not believe how wonderful the Christmas lights were - she was impressed. We arrived back in Windsor just before 11 pm - both boys fell asleep on the trip home.

Adam made waffles, while Tina nuked the bacon and prepared other items, for breakfast. Babcia played some more with the boys. Eventually, it was time for Adam to take Grandpa and Babcia to the train station for their trip back to Brantford. They boys were sad to see Babcia go - they wanted her to stay and play some more.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Potty Success

It has been four straight days with no poop accidents with Jeremy 'pooping in the toilet'. Over the past week, he has earned three trips to Chuck E Cheese for is toileting success. Maybe, just maybe, the end of diapers is near?

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Christmas Is Here

Adam installed the outdoor Christmas lighting about a week ago, during the warm spell. That was a good thing given the cold weather that came quickly Thursday night. It was a PA Day on Friday, so Adam stayed home with Corbin and put up the Christmas Tree. Corbin was very anxious to decorate the tree, but Tina was involved with a Creative Memories open house at Jenn's house, so he would have to wait till Saturday. Besides assembling the tree, Adam and Corbin spent some time shopping and playing video games.

Saturday morning arrived and the entire family headed out to the Maple Leaf Restaurant for breakfast - Jeremy was asking to go to the Maple Leaf for 'panpapes' aka pancakes. After another good breakfast, we headed out to do some errands, such as exchanging some winter boots for Jeremy at the Columbia Outlet Store.

We arrived home and began decorating the tree. Both Jeremy and Corbin helped, with Jeremy's help consisting mostly of pointing to where decorations should go and Corbin putting decorations beside each other. In no time, the tree was decorated. Tina decorated the rest of the house, while Adam and Corbin played some NHL07 on the PlayStation2.

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Back To Brantford

Another weekend, another trip. It seems just like yesterday that we were in Brantford. Adam took the boys to his mom's this weekend to give Tina some time and space to clean and organize the laundry room, everything room and part of the crawl space.

The trip to Brantford was uneventful, though it seems the volume of traffic is getting higher every year. They are finally widening Highway 401 between Wellington Road and replacing the Wellington Road overpass in London, Ontario. This has not meant too many delays as there are no lane reductions, yet. It will be nice not to have four lanes of highway traffic merge into two lanes. Highway 403 from Woodstock is carrying more vehicles each year - I suppose that some day it will have to be widened to three lanes each way.

When we arrived, the boys naturally wanted to play in the basement - where all the toys are. Adam unwound and relaxed. The next day Adam, Babcia and the boys headed to Toronto to visit Adam's aunt, Genia (Adam's Dad sister) and to do some shopping on Roncesevalles Ave aka the Polish area. We arrived earlier than anticipated, so we decided to shop first. Babcia bought some tasty goodies at Granowska's, a Polish bakery and cafe. We stopped a bookstore and a few other polish stores before heading back to the van.

Adam managed to find a parking spot in front of the senior's building that Ciocia Genia lives in. The four of us headed up and spent a wonderful time with Adam's aunt. Jeremy felt right at home and instantly told Ciocia Genia that he was hungry - he even started opening doors to find food. Corbin noticed that his GameBoy needed charging so he plugged it in and had some food too. Ciocia Genia showed us some old pictures (from 30s and 40s) of Adam's grandparents and his dad. Everyone had a great time and Jeremy actually cried as we left the building - seems that Ciocia Genia had left a good impression.

The rest of Saturday and early Sunday was spent relaxing and playing with the boys. Adam packed the boys up and they headed home shortly after 1:00 pm. He took the back roads back to Windsor, to give Tina some additional time to tidy up. Four hours later, the boys were back home.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

A Weekend Getaway

In what seems to becoming an annual event, Tina and Adam returned home from a weekend getaway. That is code for time away from the kids. Yup two whole nights with no kids.

The whole family headed up to Brantford on Friday. The boys were spending the weekend with Adam's mom (aka Babcia). We unloaded their stuff from the van, went over some rules and issues, gave hugs and kisses and head out to Oakville.

Adam and Tina were amazed by the volume of traffic on the QEW. It was heavy and there was lots of braking. We finally arrived at the Fairfield Inn - Adam had been under the impression that last year we stayed at a Holiday Inn. In reality, we had stayed at this Fairfield Inn. We laughed. We took our belongings out and relaxed for a bit. We were getting hungry, so Adam headed out to get some subs from Quizno's and a some pop and munchies from a nearby convenience store.

The next we drove out to Square One in Mississauga to do some Christmas shopping for the boys. Our main goal was hitting the Disney Store to find some Cars stuff for Jeremy and Narnia goods for Corbin. We had a quick lunch in the very busy and very packed food court. Done shopping, we drove back towards the hotel. We stopped in at the movie complex to see when Borat was playing, and much to our surprise, the next screening was in a few minutes. We bought our tickets and headed up. The theatre was not packed but it was busy. Adam sums up Borat as "disturbingly funny".

Back to the hotel to unwind. We then took a drive along Lakeshore Road through Oakville and Burlington, just to get out of the hotel and to maybe find a nice place to eat. Now Oakville has it's share of very fancy restaurants - maybe next time. Arriving at the hotel, we decided to order Chinese food from Ho-Lee-Chow. The food arrived promptly and hot. We gorged ourselves on the food.

After eating breakfast at the hotel - they have a complimentary expanded continental breakfast buffet that included freshly made waffles - we packed up and drove back to Brantford making a stop at IKEA in Burlington (naturally). We bought a few things for the home and arrived at the craziness known as Babcia's house. Everyone had a good weekend it seemed.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006


Jeremy was excited about Halloween this year. He kept telling people that he was going to be a ghost and he would imitate the sound a ghost makes. That costume didn't quite work - well, it never materialized. Halloween began with a trek out to the Windsor Essex Therapeutic Riding Association and their first annual Halloween Spooktacular.

There was much to do, much to see and much to eat. Plenty of treats and hot dogs to munch on. All the horses had 'costumes' and took on new persona's for the night. There were several games of chance including tic tac toe, fishing, bobbing for apples and so on. Guests could walk out to the stables and see all the horses. There was even a haunted house. Despite the intense downpour, the event was well attended. Our friends, the Karbs, also attended with their boys. Corbin and Jeremy went as pirates. Everyone had a spooktacular of a time.

Halloween went off without a hitch. The rain never materialized and the cool weather was welcomed. Tina took the boys out - Jeremy as Jack Sparrow the pirate and Corbin as the Faceless Ninja (yes there was a costume change over the weekend) - along with the Karb boys. Adam stayed behind and handed out treats. When everyone came back, Adam took out Corbin down Rivard to ensure we had a good supply of junk food for the coming weeks. Jeremy thoroughly enjoyed trick or treating and everyone found his pirate costume cute.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Cold and Wet

The weather over the past two weeks has been crappy, and that is being nice. It's been unseasonably cold and wet. While the cold is not too much of a problem, the wet means that Adam can't do yard work and that Jeremy and Corbin cannot play outside. They, as in the weather forecasters, are calling for a mild winter. Naturally, Windsor's version of mild is much different from the rest of Ontario's version of mild.

On the home front, Jeremy has one more gymnastics class. He has thoroughly enjoyed this session. At yesterday's class, Corbin helped out behind the counter. Yup, Corbin is working ;) Supposedly he want to earn enough tickets to get a remote control car - despite the fact that he has one. Oh well. Tina signed Corbin up for another session of gymnastics. Jeremy will be taking a break until the new year when he will begin swimming lessons - he loves to swim.

Tina took Jeremy to the Sears Photo Studio and, as usual, got some excellent pictures of him. The boy is photogenic and knows how to ham it up. Corbin's school pictures should be in shortly. For Halloween, Corbin is going to be a Ninja and Jeremy is going to be a ghost (or a pirate if Tina does not get around to putting together a ghost costume).

Monday, 9 October 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend

We decided to stay put in Windsor this Thanksgiving holiday. Good call because the weather was awesome - sunny and warm - allowing us to do a number of outdoor tasks. Staying in Windsor also enabled us to be on a very casual schedule.

Adam began the weekend on Friday afternoon. He ordered four yards of cedar mulch to be used to top up the Rivard flowerbed and to spruce up the corner bed, the garage bed and the herb garden (all future beds that hopefully will be planted in 2007).
The Rivard bed needed some serious topping up - the existing mulch was very thin - and there was some garbage that needed cleaning up.

The real work began on Saturday. On the corner bed, Adam dug up an edge and also installed some edging along the sidewalk to prevent the mulch spreading all over the corner. The existing soil was graded as best as it could and the weeds were sprayed with some Roundup. Some drainage stone was used where the existing downspout ends to prevent erosion. It looks good against the mulch. The Rivard and corner beds look real good - no more dirt and weeds. Adam even managed to buy some cheap perennial ground cover to break up the vast area of mulch. Its a start. Adam is hoping that new mulch will soften up the soil for the plants next year.

Tina and the boys divided their day between cleaning and playing. They eventually went out to Lacasse Park in Tecumseh where the boys had a wonderful time running around, sliding and so on. They also spent some time in the backyard playing with their outside toys.

Sunday was another relaxing day. We ended up at the Maple Leaf restaurant for what seems to be our weekly family breakfast. It was not too busy, so we managed to get a window seat. Both Corbin and Jeremy ate their breakfast. Afterwards we went out for a short drive and ended up at Canadian Tire. Picked up a few things, like new headphones for the boys, and some other items. We rested for a while and headed out to Ojibway Park for a stroll on the trails. The boys managed to see an eastern garter snake, a catapillar and either a King Jay or a woodpecker. It was a very nice day out with the family.

Monday was Thanksgiving Day. It was another slow day. We had a ham for dinner - excellent job by Tina. We went out to the river to a new playground that was jam packed with families. Man that place was crazy. Jeremy's highlight was climbing a big rock and then kind of slide-jumping from it. We took a short stroll down the riverfront trail to look at some sculptures before heading back to the van and driving home.

Monday, 2 October 2006

Happy Birthday Corbin

Look who turned eight years old today? The day began with the traditional 'wake up the person' with a cake with a candle and the personalized Captain Zoom happy birthday song. Jeremy gave his present in the morning - a character from pirates of the Caribbean. Mom and Dad gave their present after supper - an mp3 player.

Saturday, 30 September 2006

Ahoy Matey

Shiver me timbers - has a year passed since the last birthday party? Yup, Corbin had his birthday party today. This years theme: Pirates. Corbin and Jeremy were dressed up in pirate gear - though Jeremy sometimes looked like a little gigolo. The kids at the party are received an eye patch and bandana to wear. The hose was decorated with pirate flags, skulls and dungeons. The games were pirate based - musical chairs became musical islands. The pirates had to find clues in order to unlock the treasure chest. All in all, everyone had lots of fun. Good job Tina.

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Go Wild

Back in June, Adam had ordered tickets for various attractions in the Greater Toronto Area (CN Tower, Marineland and African Lion Safari) through the Air Miles program. We used the CN Tower and Marineland tickets during our mini-vacation in July. We were unable to get to African Lion Safari during the summer. Adam suggested that Tina and the boys come up to Brantford and that we could go to African Lion Safari on Saturday or Sunday. The place is close to Brantford - about 20 minutes or so.

Despite the overcast clouds, we decided to head out today. Adam's mom also came and asked if we could stop in at Limeridge Mall in Hamilton before heading back to Brantford. Not a problem. The cool and cloudy weather was blessing in disguise. The animals were much more active which made the trip through the park much more interesting for the boys. We avoided the monkey area, but were able to watch the monkeys jumping on peoples vehicles. The boys saw giraffes, rhinos, lions, zebras, cheetahs and other animals.

We parked and headed out to check the rest of the park. We took a ride on the train, followed by a visit to the elephant pen. Corbin was able to ride an elephant. We checked out the petting zoo and bird displays before heading to the gift shop. The final stop was a boat ride - which both boys enjoyed. We left the park and headed to Hamilton - about 20 minutes - so Adam's mom could pickup a few things from a store. Then it was back to Brantford. Everyone enjoyed the visit to African Lion Safari.

Friday, 15 September 2006

Off To Brantford

The course ended shortly around 1:00 pm, so Mike and Adam headed out to Brantford. Adam enticed Mike with the promise of some excellent fresh french fries or 'chips' from the chip wagon in Brantford. Mike ordered a small and agreed that the fries were excellent. After eating the chips, Mike dropped Adam off at his Mom's and continued on his way back home to Windsor. Just after 6:30 pm, Tina and the boys arrived. They were happy to see their dad and Babcia.

Noise Training

Adam was out of town on training. Mike, a colleague from work, and Adam traveled to Richmond Hill for a five-day course on noise and noise control measures. The course was offered through a noise consultant located in Richmond Hill and was primarily taught by Hazem Gidmay, a well-respected expert in the field of noise control.

Each day began at 9:00 am. The 'class' consisted of three people, Adam, Mike and a lady from Aurora, Isabelle. Coffee and other drinks plus an assortment of pastries were offered throughout the day. Lunch was provided and consisted of walking or traveling to nearby restaurants (including Japanese and Middle Eastern). The class was well taught. There were several outings to understand the operation of sound meters and to collect field information for use in a modeling program. There was a small 'exam' at the end to ensure that we had a grasp of the concepts. The course was excellent. The people were awesome. The food was amazing.

Mike and Adam stayed at a nearby Comfort Inn in Markham at Woodbine and Highway 7. The accomodations were modest. Two double beds, a TV and a spacious clean bathroom - though it did NOT have a fridge. The hotel had an indoor heated pool (though we never got a chance to use it) and provided a complimentary continental breakfast. At $94 a night (government rate), the hotel was reasonably priced and a mere 10 minute drive from our training facility.

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Tina and the Boys

Adam is leaving town to travel to Richmond Hill for a week of training - more on that in a future post - so this weekend was all about Adam getting things done around the house. This included cutting the grass - which had grown a fair bit due to plenty of rain - and fertilizing the lawn. It also meant packing clothes and all required amenities. Adam and a colleague from work left Windsor around 3 pm, leaving Tina with the boys. Fortunately she booked the time off she needed and scheduled our respite worker for some additional shifts.

The plan for the end of next week was that Adam's colleague, Mike, would drop Adam off in Brantford and that Tina and the boys would travel up to Brantford on Friday, with the hope of going to African Lion Safari on Saturday.

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Labour Day Weekend

Is 'summer' really almost over? Wow? Tina and the boys drove up to Goderich this weekend and Adam stayed behind to get some things done inside and outside the house, with emptying the pool as the number one project. Adam started emptying the pool Friday afternoon. After 4 or so hours, the pool was about half empty - argh, that is way to long. So he found some pipes and the pool drained much faster. He was unable to dry and store the pool due to crappy weather - aka rain.

Corbin finally got a chance to go fishing. Tina's dad took him down to the river to try out his fishing pole. Jeremy liked throwing rocks around but Tina had to take him away from where Corbin was fishing. Alas, Corbin did not catch anything, but he had fun trying. Tina, Jeremy and Corbin returned on Sunday. The rest of the weekend was spent getting school stuff ready for Corbin. Tina and Adam managed to get the pool into the Rubbermaid container. 'Summer' is over.

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Bye Bye Babcia

It was time to part ways with Babcia. After nine or so days of 'babysitting', Adam had to take his mom to the train station for her trip back to Brantford. The boys were coy and were not to enthusiastic about saying goodbye to Babcia. Eventually, they relented and gave her lots of kisses and hugs. Thanks Babcia.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Corbin Travels to CPRI

Tina, Corbin and our respite worker, Sarah, traveled to the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) in London. CPRI is a provincially operated regional resource centre providing specialized (tertiary) diagnostic assessment, consultation, education, research and short-term treatment services for children and youth with complex emotional and behavioral disorders who require a clinical, highly specialized interdisciplinary approach.

Sarah (who needed a wake up call) brought her pillow, hoping to catch some shut eye on the trip up - guess she does not get at 7:00 in the morning like us working stiffs. Today's visit was about having Corbin assessed by an Occupational Therapist. The day went well and Tina and Corbin will be returning next Tuesday for further assessment.

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Babcia's Turn

Next babysitter, er, Grandmother please. Adam & Corbin picked up Babcia at the train station. She had not seen Corbin in over two months. Jeremy was excited to see Babcia again. The boys were all over Babcia in a matter of minutes, who just happened to have gifts for them. Not sure how she can carry one weeks worth of clothes, tolietries and gifts in that small suitcase.

Friday, 18 August 2006

The 10 Days of Bev

Tina took Bev to London where they were going to meet up with Gerry for dinner. The past 10 days were fairly painless. It did give both of us a chance to get some things done around the house, go on a date and do some shopping. It gave Bev a chance to spend some quality time with the boys. After Tina and Bev left, Jeremy kept asking where is Nanny; Corbin just wanted to play video games.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Going Out On A Date

Whenever we have someone watching our kids - be it friends or family - we try to take advantage of that situation and do something without the kids. Sometimes we will go to our favourite Chinese food restaurant near the University or grab a dinner at Moxie's followed by dinner. Sometimes we will just go out shopping.

With Bev watching the kids, we decided to go catch a movie and grab a bite to eat. We saw Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Both of us are big fans of Will Ferrell and enjoyed the movie. The movie theatre was freaking cold - what's with the temperature in these places. Who knew you would have to bring a jacket or sweater to stay warm in the middle of summer? After the movie we headed to Moxie's for a great meal - they have excellent steak dinners.

Monday, 7 August 2006

Back To Cincinnati - Day 4 - Jabbering Jeremy

Last day of our mini-vacation. We grabbed breakfast, packed up and checked out. Before heading back to Windsor, we stopped at Borders Books, browsed around and bought a $100 worth of books. Prices in Canada have not been keeping pace with the drop in the exchange rate, so we decided to buy some books in the US, which ended up being around 40% cheaper than buying in Canada.

The trip home was uneventful. The weather was warm and sunny. Jeremy started talking about a soccer game and asked if we would come to his soccer game. None of us were sure what he was talking about, so we played along. Stopped for a quick lunch and gas along the way - can't quite remember where, but it was a McDonald's. Arrived at the Ambassador Bridge and filled up on cheap gas. Crossed the bridge. Had no problems at Customs. Though it was a much needed break, we were happy to be home.

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Back To Cincinnati - Day 3 - A Full Day Of Fun

They were predicting that today would be hot and humid - not good weather to be outdoors. So we decided to head indoors and visit the Cincinnati Museum Center. We visited the museum back in March and had a wonderful time. However, the directions to the museum were wrong and Adam had to take a little detour.

After that visit, Adam emailed the museum about the directions. The museum sent out staff to check the directions and verified that the exit numbers were incorrect (this is the area where I-75 and I-70 meet in downtown Cincinnati - it is quite the spaghetti junction with exits numbered from 1A to 1H). Mary Todd Hardeman, Vice President for Development and External Affairs, offered to make our next trip to the museum "on the house". We decided to take them up on this offer.

On our previous visit to the museum, we only visited the Natural History & Science Museum and the Children's Museum. Our complimentary passes included all four components of the museum, including the Omnimax Theater and the Cincinnati History Museum. We chose the Cincinnati History Museum as our first stop. This museum includes a scale model of Cincinnati in the early 1900s. There running streetcars and trains - which Jeremy wanted to go on. There were lots of hands-on exhibits for the boys to try out. Exhibits include a replica of a steamboat and a restored streetcar - both of which you could enter and explore.

Next we had a quick lunch followed by a visit to the gift store. We made our way to the OMNIMAX Theater for a showing of Beavers. An OMNIMAX movie is projected onto a five-story 72-foot diameter, tilted domed screen. The screen is so big that you only focus on a portion of the screen. Beavers showed the evolution of two beavers and their ever expanding dam and lake. The imagery is amazing. Corbin enjoyed the movie - he sat in awe. Jeremy was a little cautious, but he did like the scene that involved a bear.

We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting the Natural History and Science and Children's Museums. When we decided to leave, Tina noted that we had spent over five hours at the museum. That was a mind-boggling number given that we had no major issues with either boy. We highly recommend the Cincinnati Museum Center as a place to visit if you are in the Cincinnati area.
A big thank you to Mary for the complimentary passes.

Tired, we headed out into the heat and humidity to the van and drove back - via a scenic route - to the hotel. Time for a swim and some food.

Saturday, 5 August 2006

Back To Cincinnati - Day 2 - Animals and Plants

Started off the day with the awesome Holiday Inn Express Quick Start Breakfast Bar. Those cinnamon rolls are the best. The weather forecast was pleasant: sunny and warm. We got ready and headed out to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Though we arrived shortly after opening, the place was already bustling. There was a special event held in the morning for members. We received 50% of the price of admission since we were members of the Toledo Zoo. At the Cincinnati Zoo, you pay for your admission and parking before you park. This is better than having to pay parking, park and walk to the gate and then pay admission. Once you are parked, you walk straight into the zoo. Given the hilly topography of Cincinnati, there were parts where you had to walk up (but that meant there were parts where you had to walk down). For a small cost, you could take a train on wheels to get to other parts of the zoo.

The Zoo itself is fairly compact but packed with exhibits. Since this is also a botanical garden, the zoo is done to the nines with wonderful plant displays. The environment is very pleasing. Both Jeremy and Corbin loved the zoo. We managed to catch the Elephant Bath show, which both boys watched in awe. Once the show was done the elephants bathed in the pool and were about 15 feet or so away.

Exhibits are interspersed with walkways going everywhere - it is possible to visit this zoo and not take the same route each time. After about three hours or so, and before the afternoon sun began to take its toll, we headed back to the parking lot and the hot van. Back to the hotel and time for a dip in the pool, naturally.

Hunger started to settle in and we drove out to a nearby commercial area. We settled on the Olive Garden. After about a 10 minute wait, we were lead to our table. The orders were taken. The kids had spaghetti - which they ate very quickly. Unfortunately, our orders were delayed - seems like one or two large tables placed their order at the same time as ours. The waitress apologized and said that the manager would stop by. We were shocked that the waitress took the initiative to tell her manager that our meal was delayed. The manager came by, apologized and offered to pay for any deserts we ordered - she even said we could take them home. Wow.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Back To Cincinnati - Day 1 - The Return

Headed to Cincinnati, Ohio for a mini family vacation. We left around 2:00 pm - the weather was perfect for driving - warm and sunny. US Customs was not too bad - about a five minute wait. We stopped in Monroe, Michigan for a late lunch at Denny's. The boys were cute and polite as usual. The food was good and hot as usual. Adam filled the van with gas and we headed south to Cincinnati.

We arrived at the hotel, the Holiday Inn Express in Blue Ash (the same hotel we stayed during March Break), just before 7:00 pm. The drive down was uneventful. Adam checked in. We were given a room on the first floor across from the swimming pool - Tina liked that idea. No dragging the kids up and down the elevator. We unpacked and then went swimming.

Monday, 31 July 2006

Last Weekend in July - Already?

Boy, did July ever fly by. It was a busy month between Corbin going to camp, Jeremy to Adam's mother, a mini-vacation, some time off work, visitors from Goderich and just doing stuff around the house and Windsor.

This past weekend, Jeremy spent Saturday and Sunday at Lorelei's (co-worker of Tina's) house. This gave Tina and Adam the opportunity to spend some time with Corbin. We rented the first two movies from the Indiana Jones Trilogy and watched the first one Saturday night. Tina and Adam feel asleep while Corbin watched the movie.

On Sunday, the three of us headed out to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. It was the first showing of the day - 12 Noon - so the theatre was not busy. Fortunately, the movie was still being shown in the biggest theatre with the widest screen. It was an enjoyable two and a half hours of entertainment. We all look forward to seeing the final installment in 2007.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Jeremy's Gotcha Day

Today was Jeremy's 'Gotcha Day'. It's the day we - Tina, Adam and Corbin - first met Jeremy. We took the boys out to Chuck E. Cheese's. Corbin asked his 'babysitter', Sarah, if she would like to come along. Much to our surprise, she said yes. By the way, Sarah is not really Corbin's babysitter, she is Corbin's respite worker, but hey, if she's okay with it, then we are okay with it. So we headed out to Chuck E. Cheese's - Jeremy was quite excited.

We got there just before 6:00 pm and the place was not busy at all. Had to wait a few minutes at the front counter to buy our pizza, pop and tokens. We found a clean table and the kids went off to play, Adam with Jeremy and Sarah with Corbin. Tina and Jeremy played some Skee-ball, which was an interesting experience for both of them. Jeremy like to throw the balls. Oh well. Our food eventually was served.

Now, Chuck E. Cheese pizza is not the best pizza in the world, but the previous times we have been here, it appeared to be fresh and hot. It was clear that the pizza we received was reheated. Oh well, the kids like the pizza. We played some more games before giving Jeremy a present - a Backyardigans DVD. He was very excited and wanted to open the DVD case right away. Adam and Jeremy played a game of air hockey. With Jeremy crying, we all got in the van and headed home. Happy Gotcha Day Jeremy.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Visitors From Goderich

Chris, Lisa, Teegan and Madigan (and Teegan's friend, Madison) came down to Windsor to hang out with us this weekend. The weather was hospitable. The kids all played well together, which was remarkable considering the age differences. On Saturday the kids went to Water World with Tina and Lisa. After the swim session, Tina and Lisa went out shopping. Adam and Corbin played Star Wars Battlefront II, while Chris cruised the net. Later in the afternoon the kids went swimming in our pool. Talk about the smell of pool everywhere. Tina cooked up an awesome meal. All in all, a very relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 4

No rain forecast today, the last day of our vacation, so we decided to head to Marineland. Yup, that meant a long trip back to Windsor, but we figured we could visit African Lion Safari later in the summer when we make a trip to Brantford. We packed up, checked out, had a quick breakfast and headed down to Niagara Falls. It was sunny and warm, a good day to spend outdoors.

We arrived to a very busy Marineland. We did not have to wait to exchange our Air Miles certificates for tickets. Instead we were directed to go directly to the entrance - that was a nice bonus. People were lining up for the main show, so we decided to head to the opposite end of the park and go on some of the rides and see some of the animals. Corbin went solo on the Sky Screamer, the ride that shoots you 450 feet straight up in the air. He seemed to have enjoyed it. Adam took Corbin on his first 'real' roller coaster ride on the Dragon Mountain Roller Coaster. This is the world's longest steel roller coaster. The neat thing about the ride is that you go inside a 'mountain' to board the coaster. Adam loves the coaster. Corbin said it was very bumpy. Tina and Jeremy spent some time viewing the black bears.

A few more rides and a visit to the deer pen, it was time to check out the beluga and killer whales. Jeremy was quite excited by the beluga whales. In one tank, there were three baby belugas swimming with their mothers. The killer whale exhibit was disappointing. Two killer whales were swimming around but it was difficult to view them.

Eventually, we made our way back to the stadium to watch the main show. The show was considerably changed when the star of the show, a killer whale, died due to pneumonia. It is more on the light side now. There is little to no splashing in the show, so it is safe to sit closer to the tank. The boys enjoyed the show, though, Jeremy started to fade through the last half of the show.

We made our way back to the van, replenished our fluids and headed back on the long trip to Windsor. Jeremy eventually fell asleep and Corbin played with his GameBoy and CD Player. A good way to kick off the summer.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 3

The weather forecast for southern Ontario was not promising: period of rain or thunderstorms. Hmmm, guess we won't be going to Marineland today. What to do, what to do? Shopping, that's what. After grabbing a breakfast at Tim Hortons, we drove over to Square One Shopping Centre. Tina used to live blocks away from Square One. In those days, there were no tall buildings around Square One. In fact, there were hardly any buildings around Square One at that time. The area around Square One has become the Mississauga City Centre and includes the City Hall, Central Library, YMCA and Arts Centre - not bad for what once was a suburban shopping mall.

Adam managed to find a spot in the parking garage, keeping the family away from any downpour. We perused the various stores, looking for goodies for the boys and deals for us. We strolled through both floors of Wal-Mart, using the movator (think of a conveyor belt) which enables shoppers and shopping carts to go between the two floors. This Wal-Mart is one of the largest in the world.

It was time to eat, so we found a table in the food court and purchased food from A & W and Dairy Queen. Jeremy scarfed down his hot dog and Corbin ate most of his lunch (his appetite has been very good lately). Adam loved his Papa Burger and Tina enjoyed her onion rings. Some more browsing. The boys got some goodies and we worked our back to the parking garage and drove away to the hotel. It rained on and off all day, so it seems that shopping was a good choice in the end.

We changed into our bathing suits and spent family time in the hotel pool. Later, Adam went out to get some pop and chips from the Superstore and subs from Quizno's. The boys watched TV. Rain days can be wonderful breaks on vacations.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 2

The weather was overcast but warm, so we stuck with our original plan to visit the CN Tower. We drove down to the Clarkson GO Station for a short trip on the GO Train to Union Station. As we pulled into the parking lot (which is free), Adam noticed that the lot was getting full. He then realized that the Molson Indy was being run today and that there were at least two other large cultural festivals taking place in Toronto. Oh well, it didn't look too busy. Adam got a group pass for $20.40 (for all four of us, round trip) while Tina took the boys to the platform.

We didn't have to wait too long for the train. Jeremy was excited. We found some seats and enjoyed the half-hour trip to downtown Toronto. Jeremy was excited about being on train and could hardly sit still in his seat. Corbin took everything in. Arriving at Union Station we took the exit through the Air Canada Centre (ACC) to Bremner Blvd - there is no climbing up or down stairs/escalators since everything is at ground level.

At the CN Tower, we learned that by getting our tickets via Air Miles we did not have to wait in the ticket line. You head inside, go to the guest services desk, give them the Air Miles certificates and tickets will be issued. We proceeded up the ramp to the security check-in - the part where you walk into a device and air blows out and is analyzed to ensure you are not going to destroy the CN Tower. Jeremy walked in but was too small to activate the unit, so the security guard waved her hand over the sensors. Jeremy did not seem to disturbed by the machine and looked cute when the air blasted over him. Afterwards, he proceeded to mimic the sounds made by the machine.

The wait for the elevator was not that long and in just over a minute were at the observation level. Adam brought binoculars for Corbin to use and see sights he could not see on our last trip to the CN Tower. Jeremy was excited by all the things he could see: boats, trains and planes. We could see the Molson Indy race, which was kind of neat. Eventually, we made it to glass floor and outdoor observation level. It was nice to get outside since it was stuffy inside. A quick tour around and it was time for the kids to enjoy the glass floor. Jeremy jumped and jumped but eventually realized that he could see the bottom and may fall so he walked on the beams back to the regular floor. Corbin was a little more 'cautious' this time.

We headed back down and checked out the gift shop, but bought nothing. Much to Corbin's approval, we played some video games in the arcade. Adam managed to find a racing game that was in free play mode - that's right no money necessary. Adam and Corbin went to experience the Lego Racers simulation ride. Adam found it cheesy, but Corbin enjoyed it. The four of us headed out to get some ice cream and head back to Union Station to catch a train back to the Clarkson GO Station. We just missed the train, so we had just under a hour to kill. Hunger was a common theme, so we got some food and beverages at McDonald's. We boarded our train and returned to the hotel after a pleasant day in downtown Toronto.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

Golden Horseshoe Vacation - Day 1

The trip down from Camp Winston was uneventful. No major traffic issues. Made a few stops for food and washroom breaks. We arrived at the Holiday Inn Toronto-Mississauga around 3 pm looking to unwind and relax. As Adam was waiting to check in, he noticed a sign stating that the pool was closed for emergency repairs. Oh oh. That's not good. Adam stated that he needed a hotel with a pool. The staff called around and found a room at the Holiday Inn Select Mississauga (about 10 minutes north of the Holiday Inn Toronto-Mississauga). Our existing reservation was cancelled and we headed north.

In due time, we arrived at the Holiday Inn Select Mississauga (located at Argentia/Derry Road West, just southwest of the Mississauga Road/401 interchange). Adam checked us in and we headed up to the room on the 7th floor. The room turned out to be a suite with a separate bedroom, two TVs, fridge, microwave, coffer maker and wired internet access. We had a south and north view. The bedroom had two queen beds and the living room had a double pull-out couch. The two TVs came in handy when the boys wanted to watch something different. Having a bedroom with a door also came in handy when putting Jeremy to sleep.

The four of us headed down for a swim. Adam went to out to get some food and came back with chips and pop from the nearby Superstore and pizza from a nearby Pizza Hut. We ate the food and Adam checked the weather forecast. It looked good for Sunday, but Monday was a big question mark.

Totally Awesome

Camp Winston was "totally awesome" according to Corbin. Deciding to hug his 'baby brother' first, Corbin was excited to see is family after an amazing two weeks at Camp Winston. Tina and Adam also got big hugs and then also got a big surprise: Corbin learned how to tie his shoelaces. We spent the next 30 or so minutes speaking with Corbin's Camp counselors, playing with Corbin and Jeremy, getting Corbin's meds and phone card and packing his stuff into the van.

Then Corbin enjoyed one last meal in the dining hall, a special luncheon for campers, counselors and families. There was a lot of food including salads, deli meats and breads, cream pies and lots of other food. Corbin kept himself busy, filling up mugs with coffee and offering it to anyone who would take it. We learned that Corbin's cabin were early risers and began cooking in the kitchen. You heard that right. Corbin made pancakes. He earned a certificate in Culinary Arts. We did not know what to make of this 'new' Corbin. During the luncheon, Denise, the Camp Director, announced that all campers will be invited back for 2007.

After lunch, we took some pictures of Corbin with staff and rummaged through the lost and found area. Nothing looked like Corbin's, so it was time to head out. Corbin said his good byes and away we went, towards Mississauga on our vacation.

Friday, 7 July 2006

Time To Gather The Kids

Time does fly. It seemed just like yesterday that we dropped Corbin at camp and Jeremy at Babcia's. Later today, we'll be heading to Brantford to pick up Jeremy and tommorow it's off to Camp Winston to get Corbin. Lots of travelling in two days.

With no kids competing for our attention, we managed to get quite a bit of work done around the house. We already wrote about the carpet cleaning. Adam removed an IKEA shelf from the boys room, patched the holes, painted the patches and other problem areas, and installed two six-foot shelves to store some of the boys books, gear and toys (instead of being stored in other rooms). Tina moved the bookcase from the dining room to the boys room. Their room is starting to come together.

The entertainment storage unit is three-quarters assembled. It is huge. It will provide lots of storage space for Tina's scrapbooking stuff, a bunch of books we have on a bookcase we want to ditch and other items. The last unit will be built after we get back from vacation. Tina spent time going through the toys and throwing out a bunch of dollar store, fast-food restaurant and broken toys. All that is left is too organize the toys.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Carpet Cleaning

We began the day by sleeping in. No kids coming out of their room, saying they "want to eat". Tina went out to get some breakfast from Tim Hortons. After we continued our carpet cleaning.

We begun this much needed cleaning Sunday evening. With two kids spilling drinks and food whenever they could, the carpets were in bad shape. The area by the front and back doors and around the dining room table were awful. And the dark brown liquid that we dumped from the cleaner was disgusting. Who knew that carpets could get so dirty? Who knew that there was that much sand in the carpet? After it was all done, the carpet looked a thousand times better and the house smelled better. We should have done this a long time ago.

Mid-afternoon we took the cleaner back and did some errands. We moved back all the furniture. Adam sat in amazement at the clean carpet.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

And Then There Were None

We drove to Brantford yesterday to drop Jeremy off at Adam's mom's house. She offered to take Jeremy for the week to give us a break from the kids and to give her a chance to play with her youngest grandson. Jeremy was very excited about going to Babcia's - he told everyone and anyone.

Today, we said our goodbyes to Jeremy - who was a little sad but apparently okay with us leaving - and headed back to Windsor. The drive back was unusual. The back of the van was quiet. A very eerie silence. We stopped in at a pet store in London (most of the pet stores in Windsor suck) and eventually made it to Windsor. We stopped in at Home Depot to rent a carpet cleaner. With no kids, it was easy to move furniture and stuff around and we didn't have to worry about kids walking where they shouldn't.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Will You Accept A Collect Call From Corbin

Guess who finally called? Yes, Corbin finally spoke with us. Though we are not sure why he called collect when he has a calling card in his file in the office. Oh well. Corbin confirmed that he has having an awesome time. He said that he has a new friend, Spencer. Tina told him that is great. He told us about some of the things he has done, that he misses us, even Jeremy and that the "day was just starting" - even though it was around 7:00 pm. You can tell that he is having the time of his life.

Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Corbin Doing Well

Received a phone message from Denise at Camp Winston saying that Corbin is doing fine. He is having an awesome time and that she can see that our committment to Corbin is paying off. Tina still wants a phone call from Corbin.

The rest of us miss Corbin dearly, but it is a little more quiet around the house - except during those times that Jeremy decides he needs to be heard. Speaking of Jeremy, he does ask where Corbin is. We respond back by asking him "Where is Corbin". Jeremy responds "At camp. He's playing hockey". Ahh.

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Are You Ready For The Summer...

Jackie spoiled us again, with a breakfast of fried eggs, sausage, bacon and other goodies. Man, this women knows how to treat her guests. Thanks Jackie. After breakfast, it was time for Corbin to have a bath - he needed to be clean before heading off to Camp Winston today. Yup, today was camp day. We spent some time with Jackie and Ben before heading out to Orillia for lunch and picking up some last minute items for Corbin (like a kids rain poncho - none were to be found in Windsor).

We arrived at the camp just before 2:00 pm, and true to their word, the gates did not open until 2:00 pm. Adam pulled the van onto the grass and a camp counselor was their to greet us. Corbin recognized Denise and her dogs and gave her a big hug. We walked over to the cabin where Corbin will sleep for two weeks. It is one of five cabins contained within a single building. Each 'cabin' has two bunk beds - that's four boys per room - and two rooms for Camp counselors. After showing us the room, Lindsay, one of three camp counselors for Cabin 5, took Corbin and another boy on a mission of sorts. They didn't come back.

The Cabin
Another counselor took us and another family on a tour of the camp facilities. We were shown the beach, the dock and boat - naturally, Jeremy wanted to go into the water and onto the boat. Next, was the building with the animals, the crafts building, the play building, the rock climbing wall, the ropes course and the barn. The barn was huge - enough to fit all 20 campers and their counselors on those rainy days.

Tina took Corbin's meds to the nurse's building and it was time to say goodbye. Of course, we had to 'pry' Corbin away from his hockey game so we could give him big hugs and kisses. No one cried because, for the first time in family history, Camp Winston got Corbin - they fully understand him and his needs. Corbin went back to playing hockey and the three of us headed back to the van for the long trip home.

Saturday, 24 June 2006

Heading To Moonstone

Packed the van and the boys and began the long trek north to Moonstone before dropping Corbin off at Camp Winston tomorrow. The drive up was uneventful - thankfully. Naturally, the amount of traffic grew exponentially the closer we got to Toronto. Between Toronto and Barrie, the 400 was packed but moving well (save the 'usual' slowdown areas).

We arrived at Jackie's house around two in the afternoon. Jackie - Tina's friend - greeted us. Her boy, Ben, had just fallen asleep, so we spent some time outside. Corbin wanted to spend time in the house - new toys to try and new places to explore. Eventually, Ben woke up and we went inside the house. Corbin and Jeremy started to play, while the grown ups chatted.

Later, Jackie prepared an awesome supper (or is it dinner) consisting of pasta, chicken parmigiana and salad. Adam had two plates. After dinner, we went out to the backyard and made a fire in the fire pit. Corbin and Adam spent some time looking for wood to throw on the fire while Jeremy and Ben played with toys. Jackie was impressed with Adam's fire making abilities.

Jackie's husband, Chris, arrived home after a hard day's work. The boys were put to bed - and amazingly, fell asleep quickly. The adults watched TV and talked. A long day, but a good day.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

A Bad Case of Splits

Our digital cable signal has been getting worse over the past month. Last Monday, it got to the point that even the analog channels were glitchy. So Adam unconnected all the cables and brought our little TV and the digital box into the laundry room to determine if it was a problem with the cable inside or outside our house. The picture was clear and the diagnostic screen showed the signal as good. Switched out some of the lengths of cables. Again no problems.

Brought back the cable box and connected back to splitter. Glitchy audio and video and the signal strength was now fair. Bad splitter. Yup, the splitter went bad and was introducing all sorts of noise into the signal. So Adam went to the garage and found two splitters - one that was being used when we bought the house 6 years ago and a 'Pulser' brand splitter from Canadian Tire. Plugged them in and the signal was glitch free and the SNR was good. We could probably pick up a few extra dB in signal strength by replacing the cable from the first splitter (one run to the cable modem, the other for TV) to the second splitter and by purchasing a higher quality splitter. But so far the signal has been clean - no glitches, no problem connecting to the VOD server.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Father's Day

The day began with Adam not sleeping in. He had to take care of 'business' and decided to go on the internet. Eventually, everyone else woke up and Adam was given his presents and cards from the boys. Jeremy gave Adam a huge envelope. Inside it was a picture frame that was finger painted by Jeremy. From Corbin, Adam received a school-made soap-on-a-roap, a painting and a card.

Tina then got Corbin ready for his last swimming lesson, leaving Jeremy , who was in a 'wonderful' mood, with Adam. Upon their return, Tina proceeded to make pancakes and bacon - one of Adam's favourite meals. The rest of day, Adam relaxed. Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, 17 June 2006

Visitors From Newfoundland and Labrador

We had some company today - Bev and Gerry from Goderich and Sherry and her daughter, Alana, from Newfoundland. Tina and Sherry are cousins and they have not seen each other in a long time. Sherry and Alana were visiting friends and family in Ontario, so Gerry decided to bring them all the way south to Windsor. Corbin was excited at the thought of meeting more family, but became shy when the guests arrived. Jeremy just wanted show off.

We spent some time outside but it was hot. Not your typical Windsor hot and humid weather but burning in the sun hot weather. So we decided to head in to the cool comfort of the house. We spent the day sharing stories and enjoying an awesome supper prepared by Tina. The guests left not too long after - heading back to Goderich for the night before returning to Guelph and Toronto.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Dry Weather Is Upon Us

It hasn't rained lately and the lawn, flower beds and vegetable garden are starting to show that fact. The cracks are developing in the beds that are not protected by a three inch layer of mulch. The vegetable garden seems to dry out the day after it is heavily watered, and the lawn is looking patchy and brown in some places. Adam well need to fertilize in the next week or so and give the lawn a good watering before July comes along. He will also have to work on improving a few flower beds - especially the one along Rivard and at the corner of the intersection. Hopefully the weather will co-operate during his vacation.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Going To The Zoo Zoo Zoo

It was a beautiful day to go to the Toledo Zoo. Adam, Jeremy and Corbin head out shortly after 11:30 am on the hour long drive to Toledo. Yup, you read that right, Adam took the boys out for the day. Adam offered to take the boys to zoo and let Tina get some things done around the house. She was stunned by the offer, but after some prodding, accepted. So here we are, the boys out on a road trip.

US Customs was busy but vehicles were moving. The trip to Toledo was uneventful. Adam got out the stroller and proceeded to the entrance. Along the way he realized that Corbin could push the stroller - after all what are kids for? We entered the zoo and proceeded across the bridge to see all the animals. Jeremy liked the hippos, rhinos and tigers. In the Children's Zoo, Jeremy and Corbin got a chance to brush some goats and see a donkey up close.

Next it was lunch, which went well and the boys at enough food to keep Dad happy. Next stop was the Aquarium. Corbin immediately went to the display that has boots and a fishing rod (it's supposed to show pollution in the Great Lakes). Jeremy was in awe of the fish. He liked the sharks. A short walk to the Primate exhibit where Jeremy finally got a chance to see chimps, monkeys and gorillas.

We headed back over the bridge and checked out the arctic exhibits including the polar bears - which Jeremy was in awe of and where Corbin got his chance to enter the 'cave' - and the seals. Naturally, we took a ride on the Safari train and saw two animals that Jeremy confuses all the time - giraffes and zebras. Of course, the giraffes and zebras had to be in the same area, so the confusion continues to this day. Corbin got a good view of the crocodiles.

After 3 or so hours, it was time to head back to Windsor. Jeremy fell asleep just outside of Toledo, while Corbin just stared out the window. A quick stop at duty-free shop for some cheap gas and it was back into Canada. No problems at Customs and we arrived some time after 5 pm. We came back in one piece with no major events or issues. Hurray for Dad.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Full Day

It was a full day today. While Adam was working on topping up the mulch around the fence, Tina and the boys went to watch police dogs in action and visit some yard sales. After an early supper, Corbin spent time with his respite worker. Tina, Adam and Jeremy headed to do some shopping, grab some ice cream and play at a local park. A good way to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary.

Thursday, 8 June 2006

An Olympic Medal

Guess who came home with an medal today? Apparently, Corbin received a medal for placing first in his age group in Essex-Chatham/Kent at the Special Olympics. Besides the three first place ribbons, the picture in the newspaper and school newsletter and being recognized at a school assembly, Corbin gets a medal. It's good to see Corbin be successful. We are all proud of you Corbin.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

Loads of Mulch

Adam finally ordered mulch for the flower beds and edging around the fence - three yards total. The delivery came early Thursday morning and Jeremy was in seventh heaven. He watched as the dump truck backed in and raised the bed. Then all the mulch came out - which Jeremy called 'poop'. Now Adam has to start using the mulch.

Sunday, 28 May 2006

Jeremy Update

Well, we monitored Jeremy and all seems okay. He slept well during the night and the two times we woke him up he began to cry and whine for waking him up - a good sign. There appears to be no bruising and the abrasion is disappearing. All in all, you would never know the kid fell off a climber.

Saturday, 27 May 2006

A Trip To The Hospital

Tina, Corbin and Jeremy went to the annual CAS Adoption Picnic today. Adam stayed behind to get some things done around the house. Our friends, Joe and Jen, also attended the picnic with their two boys. Everything was going smoothly until Jeremy decided to defy gravity. Seems that he fell of a climber in the park and landed on his face. He eventually got up, but Tina was deeply worried by Jeremy's crying - he never cried like that before. Joe suggested that Tina take Jeremy to the hospital - which she did.

Corbin stayed with Joe and Jen and Adam met Tina and Jeremy at the hospital. Jeremy had a nice abrasion above his eye and on his cheek, but nothing looked broken. Eventually, a doctor examined Jeremy and concluded that given his alertness - Jeremy was able to jump and walk and was in good spirits - that everything appeared ok and that a CT scan was unwarranted. We were told to monitor Jeremy over the next 24 hours.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Corbin The Celebrity

Guess who had their picture on page A2 of the 25 May 2006 edition of the Windsor Star? It wasn't Adam. It wasn't Tina. It wasn't Jeremy. Corbin had a large color picture in the newspaper. Unfortunately, they spelled our last name wrong (we suspect a 'c' was translated into an 'e'), but we are used to that. We found out via a phone call from our friend Pam.

Corbin and Tina went to the store to buy copies and Corbin was totally confused. He wanted to know how the store clerk got his picture in the newspaper. He also informed the clerk that he had misspelled Corbin's last name. Corbin was under the impression that the copy Tina purchased was the only one with the picture. Tina explained that anybody who bought the paper would see Corbin's picture.

At work, Tina and Adam received emails and congratulations on Corbin's achievements at the Special Olympics. It was great day to be a Szymczak (or Szymezak). Even better, it was a great day to be Corbin's mom, dad and brother. Way to go Corb.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Corbin The Olympic Superstar

The Special Olympics were held today at the University of Windsor. Corbin was an eager participant. His scheduled events were 50m, ball throw, 100m, standing long jump and 200m. Unfortunately, he was not able to make to the 50m dash, but he did participate in all the other events. And he had an awesome day. He placed first in 100m, standing long jump and 200m and third in ball throw. With his special aerodynamic stance - arms out, fingers together and hand perpendicular to the ground - Corbin dominated the track events. He surprised everyone with his first place in long jump - the kid has skills. Congrats Corbin on a job well done from Dad, Mom and Jeremy.

Monday, 22 May 2006

Victoria Day Weekend

It was a holiday weekend in Canada. This long weekend celebrates the beginning of summer. Problem was that the weather was nothing like summer or spring for that matter. It was cold. We traveled to Brantford - the first time the four of us have traveled to Brantford as a single entity - to spend some time with Babcia and Grandpa and to take a quick trip to Otterville on Sunday to celebrate Tina's grandmother's 75th birthday.

We left after Corbin's karate lesson and arrived in Brantford just in time for supper. The boys spent the rest of the evening with Babcia while Tina and Adam vegged out. On Sunday we drove out to Otterville - about a 35 minute ride southwest of Brantford and spent the afternoon with the McFarlane clan. There was lots of talking. There was just enough food. The kids played and played and played - with no major issues. Jeremy met lots of new people and made a new friend in Gillian. We headed back to Brantford in the cold, windy weather. Adam took the back roads and we took a quick tour of the downtown. Good to see that the university campus is growing.

Friday, 19 May 2006

Courier Central

In what can only be described as "weird", we were the recipients of packages this week. We maybe get two or three courier visits over the year - usually around Christmas time. But this past week, a courier stopped by our house on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - each day brought something different. Tina joked about the frequency of the courier deliveries after the second delivery. Friday afternoon Adam was home and as he was cruising the net, he heard a knock on the door. So he peaked out the bedroom and to his amazement, there was a UPS trucked parked at the side of the road. Very funny.

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Happy Mother's Day

The kids woke up and were excited about giving Tina her Mother's Day cards and presents. Jeremy and Corbin gave Tina the cards they made at day care and school, respectively. Next, was the beautiful red box with a lovely candle holder and a small porcelain case. The final present was a small indoor flower combo for Tina's desk. Tina's only other wish was not preparing any meals. No problem. Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, 12 May 2006

Bureaucracy At Work

We recently received a disability Tax Credit Certificate for Corbin. With this paper we can claim additional credits and amounts for Corbin on our income tax returns. Awesome. The certificate is back dated to 2002, which means that we can claim the additional credits and amounts on every income tax return back to 2002. However, to do so, we have to request that our previous returns be amended. Huh? How about automatically processing the request once the certificate is approved. It's extra money in our pockets - who wouldn't want that? So Adam is filling out a bunch of forms which he will send in next week and hopefully in four to six weeks we will receive a positive response from the Canada Revenue Agency. You have to love red tape.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

I Lost My Hat

Jeremy to anyone who would listen:

"I lost my hat. It flew away. I fell in the river. It's gone. The fishies have it".

Repeat over and over and over. Repeat "I lost my hat" over and over and over.

Seems that Jeremy has experienced his first traumatic experience: the loss of an item. Jen, our friend who is babysitting Jeremy, took Jeremy and her son down to the river. It was windy day and at some point Jeremy's hat blew off and landed in the river. Bye bye hat. Time to buy a new hat or two.

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Finally Relocated That Bush

Sunday brought pleasant weather. Adam proceeded to do some work outdoors, including relocating a bush to a flower bed that was missing one bush. He headed out to Rona to buy some topsoil to use in the plant transplanting. It took some time to dig the bush out - the roots were thick. Next was redigging the hole, spreading some bone meal and plopping the bush in the hole. Some of the dugg out dirt and the new topsoil was put back around the bush and voila, the bush was planted. Adam moved on to planting some perennials that were replacing plants that had either died or were pulled out. All that is left with the Rivard flower bed is the installation of edging and soaker hose and topping up with lots of mulch. The next task was to fill in some gaps in other two other flower beds with new perennials. Another productive day.

Saturday, 6 May 2006

A Day With The Boys

Tina was attending a local conference today, which meant that Adam was the sole parent for Jeremy and Corbin. It was also compost day at Devonshire Mall, an event where you can buy compost and other items such as composters, recycling bins and so on. Adam tries to go each year and buy a bunch of compost for use in the vegetable garden and flowerbeds.

After finishing breakfast, Adam packed the boys in the van and headed out to buy some compost. The crowds were lighter than usual (when you schedule the Home Show and the annual Perennial Flower Sale on the same day, I guess that is to be expected). Adam got his compost and a shiny new stainless steel compost bin for the kitchen. Hooray.

Arriving back home, Adam set up the boys in the house and went outside to unload the compost. Back in the house, Adam spent time playing with Jeremy, who had no interest in watching what Corbin was watching. Around 12:30 it was time to get Corbin ready for karate. This was a struggle since Corbin made his intention of not going clear. But rather than get into a heated debated with a 7-year old, Adam told Corbin the decision was his to make, but that if he did not go to karate class today, he would have to explain to Sensei why he missed a class. That seemed to change Corbin's mind. Next was getting Corbin to wear his gi (the karate uniform). Adam explained not wearing the gi to class would be disrespectful of Sensei. To Adam's disbelief, Corbin put on his gi. Karate here we come.

An hour or so later, it was time to head home. Adam stopped at KFC to pickup a meal. Corbin had his drumsticks and fries, while Jeremy stuck to the french fries (for some unknown reason, Jeremy does not like chicken). A quick clean up and the boys were back to playing. Corbin's respite worker arrived, followed shortly by Tina. Boys day was over.

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Gotcha Day For Corbin

Gotcha Day is a day that we invented to celebrate the day we first met Corbin - that would be four years ago. While Corbin did not become officially our son until July 10, 2003, we considered him part of our family from that first visit. Like a birthday, we had a special family meal that ended with a cake with candles for Corbin, Tina and Adam to blow out - Jeremy helped too. The rest of the evening was spent playing video games and hanging out.

Monday, 1 May 2006

Back To Work

Today was Tina's first day back to work. She spent the past 35 weeks on parental leave taking care of Jeremy. My how time flies. Jeremy knew something was up and gave Tina a hard time in the morning - Adam was taking him to the babysitter (aka Aunty Jen, a close friend of ours). Tina's first day went relatively smoothly - deleting hundreds of emails and so on. She was able to remain at her old desk, but her chair had gone missing. Win some, lose some. Welcome back to the working world, Tina.

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Taxes Are Done

I finished our taxes last night, made copies of the appropriate pages and mailed them out today. No idea as to when we will receive our Notice of Assessment, but normal paper processing time is four to six weeks this time of year - that would put as at the beginning of June. We haven't filed a paper return in years - used netfile and telefile for the past 5 or so years.

Monday, 17 April 2006

Painting Complete

Phase one of the 'Paint the Rec Room' project is complete. The final top coat of paint is drying and the room looks much much much better. Brighter, bigger and cleaner. Adam plans on painting the ceiling and the rest of the rec room in the near future. The next task is to assemble the remainder of the entertainment/storage unit and move various things into the unit.

Saturday, 15 April 2006

Quick Trip to Burlington

IKEA called to let us know that the remainder of entertainment/storage unit was in stock and would be reserved for two weeks. Adam decided that sometime during the Easter weekend that he would drive 3 hours to Burlington, ON and pickup the remaining pieces and drive back to Windsor. That day was today.

He left Windsor at 8:00 am and arrived in Burlington at 10:50 am. Traffic was not a problem on the 401 or 403 - a few cops on motorcycles, but nothing to major. Adam promptly parked the van in the pickup area, went to the express cashiers, paid for the items and then walked over to the furniture pick-up area. The employee said it would be a few minutes, so Adam took the opportunity to head to the washroom. Returning to the pick-up area, Adam saw that the items were being brought out. He pushed them out to the van, loaded them in and parked the van. That took a total of 10 minutes.

Next was a quick tour of the store, and picking up some small storage containers that Tina wanted for the growing supply of Playmobil toys. Adam also looked for some wicker baskets for the entertainment/storage unit, but none were available in the size he was looking for. He paid for the containers and headed back to Windsor making a quick stop at the chip wagon in Brantford to get some freshly fried french fries.

Friday, 14 April 2006

Brightening Up The Rec Room

A few months ago, we decided that it was time to upgrade the rec room aka 'the basement'. Step one is the replacement of the various pieces of furniture for the TV, stereo and CD/DVDs with a matching entertainment/storage unit. Step two is painting the walls and ceiling.

The room is covered in paneling that is dark and outdated. Adam moved everything to behind the couch and gave the floor a very good vacuuming (it was much needed). Taping those areas that we did not wish painted (we decided to paint the half where we sit and watch TV), Adam began to paint the walls with primer. The primer alone made a huge difference - but it soaked in quick. A second coat of primer was put on making for an excellent surface to paint on. Tina was amazed with the transformation and the boys wanted to help paint (which Adam politely said 'no' too).

Sunday, 9 April 2006

Disconnecting, Assembling and Reconnecting

Adam's original plan was to assemble the entire entertainment unit in one go. After some deep thought, that plan was nixed. Adam decided to build the TV stand first. The first step was to disconnect all the existing components and put them off to the side. The existing TV stand (also from IKEA) was cleaned and relocated to the office - more on that in another post. A quick vacuum to clean up months of dirt, dust and who-knows-what, and it was time to assemble.

The TV stand came in two boxes. It's amazing that they can fit so much into such a flat box. After checking that everything was in the box - lots of little parts - Adam began assembly. For the most part, it was straightforward. Nothing too difficult - just bulky as the parts came together. After a couple of hours, the unit was assembled and put into place. It looked sharp.
© Inter IKEA Systems B.V.With assembly complete, the next step was to break open the receiver box and connect as many components as possible. After about another 45 minutes or so, the new audio/video system was ready to be turned on. Adam pressed the power button and the Yamaha HTR-5890s came too life. Even with regular audio/video cables (aka RCA plugs) connected, the sound from the DVD player was amazing. One part done. More to come.

Thursday, 6 April 2006

New Receiver

We are in the process of updating half of our rec room - the half where we sit and watch tv or a movie. The process began with the temporary relocation of the futon to the garage, for eventual sale. That cleared up a tremendous amount of space so that Adam can assemble the entertainment/storage system he bought from IKEA. Adam thought that since he has to disconnect everything, that this might be a good a time to upgrade and purchase a new receiver.

He has been keeping an eye on a couple of Yamaha models at Future Shop/Best Buy. Coincidently, one model, Yamaha HTR-5890S, that Adam was eyeing, was on sale at Future Shop. The sale price was CDN$699.99. He quickly checked a few reviews - all were positive, and based on his own experience with Yamaha receivers, he ordered it online with in-store pickup. At lunch, he drove up to Future Shop, handed over his credit card and carried the large box to the van. When he arrived home, it was like Christmas.

Monday, 3 April 2006

IKEA Via Brantford

Jeremy and Adam spent the weekend in Brantford. They left Friday afternoon, arriving in the Telephone City around 4:00 pm. Jeremy promptly wanted to "play downstairs", but Babcia first showered Jeremy with presents and hugs. Some point during the evening, Adam realized that he had not brought shirts with him - they were still hanging in the closet in Windsor. Oh well.

Saturday morning, Adam's mom made him a traditional Polish breakfast which made him happy. After breakfast, Adam drove to Wal-Mart to buy a shirt and ended up buying four short sleeve casual shirts and t-shirts. Next, it was off to IKEA in Burlington. On the off-ramp to IKEA, Adam noticed a vacant parking spot right across from the exit and loading area. Sure enough it was still available when pulled in.

We decided to purchase the BONDE entertainment/storage unit for the basement - it would vastly increase the amount of storage space available in the rec room. So the first task was to get the unit, put in the van and then go browse and shop. Unfortunately, the unit we wanted was only partially available - we got the two shelving units, the tv base unit, two drawers and all the doors. The centre shelving unit and two CD/DVD drawers were on back-order. Adam proceeded with what was available. The majority of the unit was available through the Furniture Pick-up area, which meant a slight delay in packing the van. While packing the van, Adam noticed that one of the shelving units was missing - it came in two boxes - and he returned to the pick-up area.

The employee apologized for the oversight and delivered the second shelving unit. After loading and parking the van (lucking out again with a parking space just outside the exit), Adam joined his mom and Jeremy for a browse and shop tour of IKEA. After buying some more things, it was back to Brantford. Jeremy fell asleep, so Adam drove a little longer and gave his mom a tour of the growing west-end business park.

The remainder of the day was spent playing, resting and eating. Alex treated us to a meal at Montana's - thanks Alex. Surprisingly, Jeremy ate well - it is hit and miss with him sometimes. Jeremy and Adam headed back to Brantford around lunch time. Jeremy fell asleep within minutes of getting on the highway and slept all the way to Windsor. Over two hours of pure pleasure for Adam.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Be Gone Strep Throat

Tina woke up this morning not feeling well. So, Adam spent the day at home today taking care of Jeremy and Tina. So far, Adam has not caught the strep throat that was going around the house. Jeremy was feeling much better which meant that Adam was kept busy. Man that child is one big bundle of energy. Tina appreciated that Adam stayed home - it gave her the opportunity to rest.

Sunday, 26 March 2006

More Sickness

Upon waking up, Adam was informed by Tina that she would be taking Jeremy and herself to the clinic. Jeremy was refusing to eat his cereal and had a temperature and Tina had a very sore throat.

Yeah, seems strep throat is going around house. Adam thought of barricading himself in a room, away from the rest of the family.

Well, the doctor said that one of Jeremy's ears was nasty and prescribed an antibiotic (two bottles). Tina was told her problem was viral in nature, in other words, there is nothing she could do.

Jeremy was very clingy and would only rest in Tina's arms. He mumbled whenever Tina did not hold him properly. Corbin seems to be recovering. Adam is just trying to stay healthy - you need one person healthy otherwise anarchy will rule.

Posted by Adam

Friday, 24 March 2006

Guess Who Is Sick?

Corbin has strep throat, so he spending the a second day at home. He looks a lot better today then yesterday. The doctor almost put Corbin in the hospital because he had never seen Corbin so pale, so sick, so unenergetic (Jeremy on the other hand was excited about getting a cookie) Corbin is on antibiotics. So far, no one else appears to be sick. Let's hope it stays that way.

Saturday, 18 March 2006

Don't Go Babcia

After several days of playing and playing and playing, Adam's mom headed back to Brantford. The boys had a great time with Babcia. They played inside. They played outside. The playing outside worked wonders on Jeremy who had no problems falling asleep. For the most part, the boys were civil to each other and towards Babcia. We made sure to give Babcia a break here and there, so we would let the boys watch TV or movie. Both Corbin and Jeremy miss their Babcia.

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Here Comes Babcia

Adam's Mom arrived by train this evening. Adam and Corbin arrived just as the train was pulling in, meaning no waiting time - the train was on time for once. Corbin took her luggage and we headed home. Babcia is spending a few days and nights in Windsor to be with her grandsons and to give Tina and Adam the opportunity to get out and do some things without the boys. Jeremy will be most surprised when he wakes up.

Monday, 13 March 2006

Cincinnati - Day 4 - Return to Greenville

Throughout the entire vacation, we all slept fairly well. The beds were comfortable and there was very little noise from the hallway or outside. The boys had no problem falling asleep, which was okay by us. This was are final morning in the hotel. Tina went down and brought up a bunch of food for Corbin and herself to eat. Adam took Jeremy down and enjoyed a good breakfast, which during the week is a wee bit better then the weekend buffet. The hot foods consisted of egg and cheese omelets and bacon. Ready-made waffles were also available - much to Jeremy's surprises. We showered, packed up and left the Holiday Inn Express - Blue Ash on a positive note (of course it started to rain as Adam packed the van). When we come back to Cincinnati, we will definitely stay at this hotel.

By the time we left the hotel, the rain had stopped. We drove northwest to Greenville, OH, the home of the KitchenAid Experience, a store that sells KitchenAid appliances and accessories. You can also test out any appliance and get cooking lessons using these appliances. While Tina toured the store, Adam took the boys downstairs to play in the kids kitchen. Corbin and Jeremy loved it and played well, until Jeremy decided that he needed a diaper change.

One of the things we were looking for on this trip was a coffee maker. Adam's Moulinex grinder had finally died (after well over 13 years of use). Adam was not willing to settle for some $20 grinder that would have to be replaced in a couple years, so he searched for a good quality grinder at a good price. We found one at the KitchenAid Experience. Tina picked up a food chopper and a set of 6 silicon mini-loaf pans. The third Monday in March is apparently Customer Appreciation Day, so we received 3 souffle pans for free with our purchase. We could have spent a lot of money in that store, but decided to plan future March Break vacations around the Customer Appreciation Day. In a few years, our kitchen will resemble the store.

After a quick lunch at Burger King, we headed home. The drive was without incident - Jeremy eventually fell asleep which made for a quiet drive back to Windsor. Traffic moved well on the side roads and I-75. Three or so hours later we arrived at the Ambassador Bridge. No problems at Canada Customs. First stop in Canada was Tim Hortons (they had them in Ohio, but we never had a chance to stop at one). Second stop was our house. Everyone enjoyed the weekend and we definitely will return to Cincinnati, perhaps during the summer to take in some of the downtown and take in Kings Island amusement park.

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Cincinnati - Day 3 - Museum Musings

Today's focus was the Cinicinnati museum Centre at Union Terminal. The museum Centre consists of four different attractions located within the renovated Union Terminal train station (built in 1933 and declared a National Historic Landmark). Arriving at the facility, you have two large parking lots to choose from and then walk up to the main entrance and the 10-story, arched, limestone and glassed facade of the train station. Corbin was excited and was taking some crazy pictures of strangers with his camera.Getting past the original doors, you enter the huge Rotunda, a vast open concourse covered by a half dome structure. The architecture is striking and you get a feel of large the building really is. You can choose from four attractions: Omnimax Theater, Cincinnati History Museum, Cinergy's Children's Museum and the Museum of Natural History & Science. You can visit one, or all four. The more you visit, the cheaper it is. Infants under one year are admitted for free. Children aged 1 and 2 are charged a single admission price of $4.25 to all attractions including the Omnimax if they sit on a caregiver's lap. Remaining admission prices are listed on the website. Just one thing: some of the driving directions refer to Exit 1H, however there is no exit signed 1H. The sign we saw refered to Exit 1G - Ezzard Charles Dr and Liberty St - keep that in mind. Update: Museum staff have confirmed that some of the directions are incorrect. Before heading out, you may want to call the Museum and confirm driving directions.

We decided on the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Children's Museum for a total cost of US$ 32 (two adults, one child, one toddler) - an amazing deal. We toured the Natural History & Science museum first. Exhibits include minerals found in the surrounding area, the Cavern - a multi-level cave with running water, narrow passages and places only kids can go, and single level pathway for people in wheelchairs or people with strollers, a trip back into time, and so on. Corbin loved the Cavern. Jeremy also showed some interest.

Finished with this museum, we had some lunch in the Rotunda. Standard food fare such as hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries and a select menu from Pizza Hut. We filled up on energyand headed to the second attraction: the Children's Museum. This place is all hands-on. There is a water area where children can play with toys, and do crazy things with water, a forest area where kids climb up and across and slide down, a ball area, a special area for toddlers and so on.

About 4 hours later, we were done. Exhausted we stopped by the gift shop to give Corbin the opportunity to buy something, including a wallet to carry all those flattened pennies he is collecting. Instead of driving directly back to the hotel, Adam decided to take a little drive on the I-475 loop. About 30 or 40 minutes later, we stopped by the Shell gas station to stock on some supplies (more beer and chocolate) before heading to the hotel. Changed into our bathing suits and relaxed in the pool. Afterwards, Tina headed to a local Subway and got us all some food. Yup, Tina drove in the States.

Saturday, 11 March 2006

Cincinnati - Day 2 - Sharks, Shopping & Swimming

It was warmer as predicted, but it was also wet as predicted. The rain started coming down mid-morning. We enjoyed the excellent Express Start breakfast bar (cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, sausages and the usual assortment of beverages, breads, cereals and fruit). We drove to Newport, KY (across the river from Cincinnati) to the Newport Aquarium. The aquarium is part of a shopping/recreational facility called the Newport on the Levee. Underground parking is available for $3.00. If it is full, there are plenty of surface parking lots around the facility.

Unfortunately, to enter the Aquarium, one has to go outside. Fortunately, the rain turned into a light drizzle and we brought umbrellas. There was lineup to buy tickets, but it moved quickly. We entered the aquarium and proceeded to view the tanks and display, which were grouped according to themes. Everynow and then you would walk through a tank, which meant fish and water right above you. The shark tank was amazing. You not only walked through the tank, but there were a few places with a glass floor. Jeremy especially liked the glass floors. Corbin loves sharks, so naturally, the shark tank was the highlight of the day. The only downside of the aquarium was the clustering of people around the small tanks - sometimes it was impossible to view some of the tanks. After about 2 1/2 hours of walking, we made it to the gift shop. There was a candy shop beside the aquarium, so like every other Szymczak family vacation, we had to go inside and buy some sweets.

Next on the agenda was some lunch and shopping. We drove up to Kenwood Towne Centre (located at I-71 & Montgomery Road or Kenwood Rd). We did some shopping (including a visit to Williams-Sonoma where Tina bought some pancake molds) before mowing down on some cheap but tasty food from Great Steak and Potato Company. More shopping afterwards. Back to the hotel for some relaxation and swimming. Dried up and searched for a Target (our favorite department store). Drove north on I-71 for about 5 minutes and proceeded to browse and shop. Adam got some more jeans and Tina found some cheap Playmobil toy sets. Bought some other things and drove back to the hotel. Ordered a pizza from Donato's, which was hot and tasty - large chunks of ingredients right to the edge of the pizza, which Tina and Adam washed down with beer. Gotta love vacation.