Tuesday, March 28, 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, March 26, 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, March 24, 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, March 18, 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, March 14, 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, March 13, 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, March 12, 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, March 11, 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.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Cincinnati - Day 1 - WKRP Here We Come

Packed the van and left the house just after 1:30 pm. A quick stop at the bank to get some of American money and across the bridge to Detroit. No problems at the border. The drive down to Cincinnati was pleasant. Warm and no rain. We stopped for a late lunch at the Big Boy in Bowling Green, OH. Got off I-75 at Findlay and took the back way to Cinci. We had a pleasant surprise in way of a detour that was not well marked. Adam followed two semi's through a residential area, but we all managed to get back to the main route. Sun started to set as we arrived in Dayton.

It was nighttime when we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Blue Ash (a suburb of Cinci). The parking lot was totally empty - a sight we have not seen at any hotel we have stayed at. The hotel is only minutes from I-475 (which loops around Cincinnati metropolitan area) and I-71 (which takes you south to downtown Cinci or north to Columbus, OH) and is located within a large office park. On-site amenities include an indoor pool, exercise room and a laundry room. A Shell gas station with car wash and convenience store is located about 3 to 4 minutes southeast of the hotel. We hung out in our room for the rest of the night.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

March Break Arriving Soon

Next week, it is March Break for Corbin. As in past years, Adam has taken the week off to spend some time with the kids, hopefully give Tina a break from the kids and to go on mini-vacation. This year will be different since we now have two kids. That means double the fun (or is that double the headaches). Adam is planning a family trip to a destination in America - more on that later in the week. Adam's mom is coming down for a five day visit - something both Tina and Adam will be thankful for. Let's see how things go this year.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Signed the Papers

We signed the final adoption papers for Jeremy today. Adam arrived from work and Tina arrived with Jeremy in tow (and unhappy as little mister decided that it would be a good thing to put his hand between the door and the frame of the minivan). Mary Lou, our adoption worker, brought us upstairs to sign a bunch of papers (humans sure do love paperwork). Jeremy showed his "hurt" hand to anyone and everyone. As usual, Adam bugged Mary Lou about the whole signature thing. Apparently we are supposed to sign with our full name - first, middle and last. A signature is a signature - heck even an X is acceptable as a signature. But alas, Adam eventually co-operated. We signed papers. Pictures were taken. Now we wait for the judge to make it official.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Pontiac Montana

Hard to believe, but our 2003 Pontiac Montana just turned three years old. With almost 80,000 km, this minivan is performing well. It is due for it's annual maintenance - as the yellow maintenance indicator lets us know each time we turn the vehicle on. We have the extended version of the Montana - it gives us about 14 inches more in length. This model includes two air conditioners and heaters - one set for the front and another for the rear; both may controlled independently of each other. It seats seven in a 2-2-3 layout, though we usually have one middle seat out to provide easier access to the rear bench (where Corbin sits).

There are sliding doors on both sides, but you have to use human power to open them; however, even Corbin can open the doors. For a minivan, it is great on gas. We can travel to Brantford or Goderich and back one tank of gas - usually with gas to spare. The sound system - consisting of an AM/FM/CD player is acceptable. There is a control panel for middle and rear passengers, who, through two headphones, can listen to either the radio or CD, while the driver and front passenger can listen to the opposite device (if the back passengers are listening to a CD, the front can listen to the radio). The control panel also permits back passengers to control temperature and fan settings. There are two 12-volt plugs - one at the front and one at the rear. Both retain power for approximately 10 minutes after turning the vehicle off. Power windows and locks, remote key, cruise control and anti-lock brakes are standard.

We have encountered no problems with the Montana. The vehicle is serviced semi-annually; tires were replaced last summer. We did replace one tail light where the shell was broken - which let water into the electronics causing a short. Both engine coolant and transmission fluid are long-life (240,000 and 100,000 km, respectively). An oil life monitoring system lets you know when to change the oil - usually around 12,000 to 13,000 km. We both love driving this vehicl and despite our initial hesitation at buying a minivan, we really could not do without (well it would be harder to make those trips to dump garbage at the transfer station).