Sunday, 30 March 2008

Holiday Inn Express - Jeffersontown, KY, USA

Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Location: 1620 Aliant Dr, Jeffersontown, KY, 40299, USA
Stayed: 12-Mar-2008 to 14-Mar-2008 - Two Nights

Room Type: 2 Queen Bed Non-Smoking with Sofa
Room Rate: $89.99 USD
Room Amenities: Coffeemaker, Fridge, Microwave, TV, Iron & Ironing Board, Small Table & Chairs, Desk

Access: Highway Suburban
Breakfast: Complimentary Express Start Breakfast
Floors: Four
Internet: Wireless Free
Parking: Outdoor Free
Swimming Pool: Indoor Heated, Hot Tub
Other: Elevators, Laundry
Nearby Amenities: Restaurants, Sam's Club; Grocery Store & Shopping about 5 minutes east, with two shopping malls about 10 minutes from the hotel.

Good: New hotel located off the highway with plenty of restaurants and gas stations nearby. Ample parking. Large room with lots of walking room and quiet air conditioner. Fast and courteous check-in. Only about 15 to 20 minutes from downtown Louisville. Staff were quick to respond to our needs and did a good job cleaning the room.

Bad: Fridge was unplugged, but Adam was able to plug it. Breakfast bar attendant not as attentive as other Holiday Inn Express hotels.

Overall: Location was excellent. Not as far as we thought. Holiday Inn Express has expanded their breakfast bar to include additional hot servings including scrambled eggs, omelettes, bacon and biscuits. Excellent wireless reception and easy to connect. The pool and hot tub were nice. Staff kept this hotel clean. Best beds we slept on.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

The Mouse Is In The House

Being gluttons for punishment, we travelled to Brantford for the Easter weekend. We left Friday morning arriving just before noon. Traffic was good until we go east of Ingersoll, where the volume picked up. Amazing for a Good Friday.

We arrived to a snow covered Brantford. Snow banks were at least three to four feet high and there was still plenty of snow on the ground. Most of it had turned to a icy snow - the boys could walk across the front yard without falling into the snow. I haven't seen this much snow in Brantford for decades. They had more snow than London or Goderich.

Friday evening, we spent some time in the basement. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw something run along the wall and behind the TV. Tina saw the same thing.

It was a mouse.

Great. Jeremy was scared and Corbin wanted to catch and release it.

We told Grandpa and Babcia about it. Apparently Corbin had seen it earlier, but thought it was his imagination. Grandpa set up a trap with cheese, but that didn't work. The little bugger got the cheese. I suggested they use Peanut Butter. The next day, Grandpa set up some more traps with peanut butter.

Babcia, Tina, Corbin and Jeremy headed to church Saturday morning for the traditional blessing of the basket. Back home we learned that one mouse was caught, but we decided to leave the traps out in case there was more than one mouse.

The boys spent some time outside with Babcia. At one point Jeremy was all alone in the backyard - an important moment in child development.

Tina and I did some shopping and grabbed lunch at Pizza Hut.

Sunday we had a great lunch and then we headed out in good weather to London to pickup Tina's mom.

Posted by Adam

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Good News From School

This afternoon Tina got a call from the school. At first, she was hesitant to pick up the phone - most phone calls from the school are not positive.

But she decided to answer. It was Corbin's Grade 4 teacher. She just wanted to let us know what an amazing week Corbin had and talk about academics. She was finishing off report cards and noticed that Corbin went from a C to a B in math. Not bad for a kid who says school is "hard" and "boring".

She was proud of Corbin's achievements. Tina was stunned.

Keep up the good work Corbin.

Posted by Adam

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Another March Break Is Over

March Break 2008 was a success. Despite the nasty weather at the beginning the week worked out.

The bad weather delayed our travel plans by two days, but it gave us time to get ready for the vacation and time to clean up the house. Tina wanted to come back to a clean house.

The vacation itself went without any major hitches. The two hotels - both Holiday Inn Express - satisfied our needs. The boys liked the four attractions we visited, though they really liked the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and the Louisville Science Center.

They also liked the fact that they got to swim three times. Though Jeremy did not like the 'deep' pools - it's time to put him back in swimming lessons after we get the all clear on the tubes in his ears. Tina and I enjoyed the large comfortable beds with the awesome bedding.

We took it easy over the weekend getting things ready for the upcoming school and work week. It was nice to unwind and relax.

A big thank you to the Karb's for taking care of Guinea and grabbing our mail while on vacation.

Posted by Adam

Friday, 14 March 2008

March Break - Day 6 - Long Way Home

Louisville, KY > Windsor, ON

Adam concentrating on drivingIt was the last day of the second longest Szymczak family vacation. Time to head north; time to go home.

Jeremy woke up early, so I got ready and took him down to grab a bite to eat. Jeremy selected Cheerios and I had coffee, OJ, cinnamon roll, and some mini-bagels with scrambled eggs and cheese. I brought Corbin a cinnamon roll to eat. It was Tina's turn to go down and grab a bite to eat.

Day 2 - Tina vandalizing the Children's Museum of IndianapolisPacking went well and we were out of the hotel and in the van shortly after 9:00 am. It was raining - just a drizzling. Not a big problem since we were not doing anything today other than going home.

The drive up I-71 was wet, but it was a scenic drive. Going up and down hills and through a valley at one point. Plenty of police cars along the way. At the I-71/I-75 merger south of Cincinnati, traffic picked up considerably and was packed through Cincinnati.

Corbin reliving a past moment - Children's MuseumWe stopped between Dayton and Cincinnati for gas and for some coffee at a Tim Horton's (I said we couldn't pass up these opportunities). Much of the snow from a week ago had melted. Around Findlay, Ohio, the rain had finally stopped. Again, plenty of police along the way, but if you were driving 75 mph or less, you were okay.

Toward the Ambassador Bridge traffic began to fall off since I-75 is closed at the Bridge. You can still get to the bridge to Canada - essentially I-75 is a very long off-ramp.

Jeremy and Friend - Children's Museum of IndianapolisTraffic at the Bridge was light. A slight backup at duty-free, but nothing major. There were plenty of customs booths open and two questions later, we were on our way down Huron Church Road to Riverside Drive.

We arrived home around 3:30 pm. The drive did not seem that long, but the stretch in Ohio between Toledo and Dayton was a bit boring. Tina and Corbin played Mario Party DS on the Nintendo DS. Jeremy watched Scooby-Doo yet again and I listened to the CDs I burned.

Corbin driving a bus - Louisville Science CenterThere was no arguing or fighting today. A great way to end a great vacation.

Posted by Adam

Thursday, 13 March 2008

March Break - Day 5 - Science Can Be Fun

Louisville, KY

We left the hotel around 10:00 am, arriving at the same parking lot (from yesterday) around 10:20 or so. The Louisville Science Center is located just up the street on W Main Street. It was $24 for the four us after receiving a CAA/AAA discount.

After wandering around the first floor for a few minutes, Tina got some free tickets to the KidZone - a place for kids 7 and under to play in an imaginary world. Kids are given 45 minutes to play and the door to the KidZone are closed 10 minutes after the hour. This limits the number of kids in the area, making it a much more enjoyable for adults.

Fortunately for us, there were only two or three other kids besides Corbin and Jeremy. They had all sorts of fun pretending to be airline pilots, doctors and letter carriers. I pretended to be a sick patient for Dr. Jeremy, while Corbin delivered mail. Tina put on a puppet show.

We headed up and worked our way down. There are various interactive displays on each floor, from hands-on to computer touch screens, there is something to keep the kids (and adults) busy. Jeremy and Corbin had a great time, trying to cause as much chaos and mayhem as possible - in other words, they had fun.

I decided to take a different way back to the hotel. It eventually took us down Liberty Street before turning onto Baxter Avenue and eventually Bardstown Road.
Bardstown is a narrow road with lots of shops, galleries, bars and restaurants for miles and miles. Tina and I decided that we need to come back sans children.

Had a quick break at the hotel before heading for a shopping trip. Tina stopped in Archivers, a store for scrappers. She decided to only check out one-half of the store, for fear of spending all our vacation money. Meanwhile, I watched the kids play in a playground. We left shortly after because I had had enough of Jeremy and Corbin running off, not listening to me and then talking back to me. I was livid.

I never really got a chance to do any shopping - not even stopping at a Best Buy or Office Max (I wanted to buy a USB expansion card for the new desktop to free up some USB ports on the front of the computer).
I cooled down on the way back to the hotel. No swimming for the kids tonight. It was an early night for the boys. Good thing we were heading back home tomorrow.

Posted by Adam

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

March Break - Day 4 - Car Wash, Weapons & Burgers

Indianapolis > Columbus, IN > Louisville, KY

Having spent three nights in Indianapolis, it was time to go south to Louisville. Tina had packed as much as possible the night before, so the morning went incredibly smooth. Loaded up the van and drove out in search of a car wash.

Our van was covered in dried up salt from the drive down I-75 in Ohio. I had enough of it, so I stopped by a Mike Express Carwash. The residents of Indianapolis take their car washing seriously. A person greets you and asks you what type of car wash do you want. Then two people spray your car before you enter the wash. The car wash is impressive with a hot air drying system that completely dries your car. Our car was clean, finally.

We continued down US31 towards Columbus, Indiana, an internationally recognized and architecturally significant community. Columbus has an amazing inventory of architecture - from historic to modern. The new jail looks anything like a jail. The community is a gem.

About an hour later, we arrived (via I-65) in Louisville, Kentucky. It was only 12:30 pm so it was too early to check-in at the hotel. We decided to check out the Frazier International History Museum, located in downtown Louisville.

We parked in a surface lot under I-71 (flat rate of $5.00), and walked up and over a block to the museum. The Frazier Museum is dedicated to exhibition of arms and related artifacts. There are two collections: Britain's Royal Armouries (the only collection outside of Britain); and the Permanent Collection, which focuses on America between the 16th and 20th centuries.

There are plenty of displays of weapons and armoury plus videos, life-size exhibits and live performances by costumed interpreters. A tournament ring on the 3rd floor is used to show various types of hand and sword combat. Pictures without flashes are permitted, so be sure to have a camera that takes good indoor pictures without a flash.

For the most part, the boys enjoyed the museum, but lost interest until the two-hand sword live show. For older kids and adults there is plenty to see, read and learn. The museum is reasonably priced and offers a discount to CAA/AAA members. It is located a block west of the Louisville Science Center and kitty corner from the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (the one with the tall bat out front).

We spent about 3 hours at the museum, walked back to the van and found our way to I-64. About 10 or so minutes later, we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Jeffersontown, KY. Before checking in, we grabbed a bite to eat the nearby Ruby Tuesday. Tina, Corbin and I had burgers and Jeremy had macaroni and cheese. Every one loved their early supper.

Posted by Adam

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

March Break - Day 3 - Indiana State Museum

Indianapolis, IN

Another good start to the day. Tina went down to get breakfast for Corbin and herself. I went down with Jeremy, who decided to have Bran Flakes today.
We left the hotel around 9:45 am, arriving at the Indiana State Museum some 15 minutes later. There is an underground parking garage that has a direct pedestrian to the museum. It wasn't too busy - yet. We paid $21 for the four of us and had our parking ticket validated for a flat rate of $3.00.

The museum has an impressive display of life in Indiana from the from the creation of the earth all the way to, well, today. Plenty of items are on display and there are a good number of interactive stations. The exhibits are located over three floors. There is an IMAX theatre, which we passed on.

The museum is located within the White River State Park - an urban park located in downtown Indianapolis - and the Canal Walk runs through the museum. The Indianapolis Zoo it located just over the river.

The boys petted a boa constrictor snake and check out other snakes. They had absolutely no fear. They ran around the museum - it wasn't has attractive as the Children's Museum. But Tina and I liked it. It's a good place to teach kids how people evolved over time.

After three hours, we drove back towards the hotel and had lunch at Denny's. Jeremy gobbled up his macaroni and cheese and Corbin ate all of his pizza and some of his fries. Tina and I were full with our choices.

Next, we continued past the hotel towards the Greenwood Park shopping area and did some browsing and shopping. Tina helped the boys create some stuffed animals - a dinosaur for Jeremy and a puppy for Corbin - at the Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Back to the hotel to relax, rest and repack before travelling south to Louisville in the morning.

Posted by Adam

Monday, 10 March 2008

March Break - Day 2 - Let The Children Play

Indianapolis, IN

Our original plan was to go to Nashville, possibly Memphis. But between the weather and the distance, we decided to return to Indianapolis, largely because of our previous visit to the Children's Museum.

The morning went smoothly, though Corbin did have some struggles at breakfast time. We arrived at the Museum around 10:30. The place was bustling with school kids. We headed to the top and working our way down, hopefully, avoiding some of the crowds. Jeremy and Corbin kept themselves busy in the ScienceWorks exhibit.

After a so-so lunch (for a good food court look at the Georgia Aquarium), Tina and I decided to split up the boys - they were having problems keeping it together. That worked out for everyone, though, at one point Jeremy did run away from me - he kept running up the spiral ramp. When I caught up with him, I could tell by the look on his face he knew that he did something wrong.

Jeremy had fun in the All Aboard exhibit. Running in and out of the Tool Car and watching the model trains go around the track. Corbin and Tina checked out the What If...? exhibit, where Corbin discovered an Egyptian tomb with secret passages.

The day ended with a visit to the Dinosphere. Corbin and Jeremy had fun digging for bones and hiding in the cave during the rain storm (which Corbin believed was real rain and told me to hide the papers I had). Jeremy got to see his beloved T.rex 'attacking' a Triceratops.

Five hours later and a visit to the gift shop later, we were done. We took some pictures outside - Corbin didn't play along though. A good day for all. The boys had a great time and didn't really want to leave.
Back in the pool and time to feast on junk food. You have to love vacations.

Posted by Adam

Sunday, 9 March 2008

March Break - Day 1 - Finally On Our Way

Windsor > Greenville, OH > Indianapolis, IN

The second winter storm of March delayed our plans by two days. It worked to our advantage, since we were not ready for this vacation in any shape of form. The house was a mess and we were not packed. We spent Friday and Saturday cleaning the house and packing.

Originally, our plan was to head down to Louisville Friday afternoon for two nights before heading to Indianapolis for three nights. The weather forced us to flip Louisville to the end and head out to Indianapolis on Sunday.

Corbin and Jeremy Watching MoviesTina and I decided to leave at 7:00 am Sunday. I packed some of the luggage into the van the night before and the rest in the morning. The boys didn't seem to interested in getting up and going on vacation, but eventually they were in the van. The morning went surprisingly smooth and we were on our way by 7:15 am - I think we will do more of this 'morning thing' in the future.

US Customs was not busy - only two booths were open, with a third opening just as we arrived. Less than five minutes later, we were taking the detour to I-75 (it is completely shut down at the Ambassador Bridge). Fortunately it was Sunday morning so traffic was minimal.

We stopped at Denny's in Monroe for breakfast. The boys kept us on our toes.
Back on I-75 heading down to Piqua, OH to head over to Greenville, OH. In Piqua, there was snow everywhere - they received way more snow than Windsor. It looked like a winter wonderland.

A quick stop at Tim Horton's (can't pass up these opportunities) in Piqua for a bathroom break and some beverages. The road between Piqua and Greenville was clear.
We arrived to a snowy but sunny downtown Greenville and parked right in front of the KitchenAid Experience.

Tina outside the KitchenAid ExperienceEvery March they have Customer Appreciation days with many items on sale and free goodies. The boys headed down to the play kitchen and Tina and I looked around. We bought a refurbished food processor, some silicone bakeware and a pasta kit for the KitchenAid bowl mixer. We got $10 off plus some freebies. That's Tina above doing a happy dance after visiting the KitchenAid Experience.

Headed down SR 121 towards I-70. Getting closer to Indianapolis, there was less snow. A good sign I suppose. We grabbed a late lunch at Wendy's and then checked in to the Holiday Inn Express located on US31, south of I-74/I-465. Unpacked and drove a few minutes north to a Target store to find some new shoes for Corbin and some clothes (especially pants) for Jeremy. Picked up some pool toys and some munchies.

Back at the hotel we spent a good hour in the swimming pool. The pool wasn't cold but not warm. We had the pool to ourselves, which was nice. It took the boys some time to fall asleep.

Posted by Adam

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

When Did It Become March?

A million apologies for not writing anything over the past two weeks. Between dealing with the boys and the need to shovel snow, Tina and I have not had all that much time to post an update.

Corbin's rough patch continues. One of his workers took him to the YMCA for swimming and Corbin refused to leave. Tina had to leave the house to go deal with Corbin while I left work to pick up Jeremy from the babysitter's.

Jeremy seems to have fully recovered from his surgery at the end of January. His JK teachers can't believe how much more attentive he is. Jeremy tells us "not hitting and no notes" when we ask him how school was. He still has mornings where he does not want to go school.

Tina's employment status is about to change - I'll leave it to her to write about it.

My work is slow. Seems we are in another lull. Hopefully it will pick up after March Break.

We had both the Pontiac Montana and the Pontiac Wave in for servicing. New front brake pads and rotors and new spark plugs for the Montana - the brake pads and rotors were original and lasted 130,000 km.

The Wave had some recall work performed plus we got new valves and valve rings to resolve an issue with the Hold light coming on. Apparently a certain misfire condition would set off the Hold light and the solution was to replace the valves and rings. That meant that Tina had a rental car this past weekend. She even got to drive it to London for an appointment at CPRI.

Posted by Adam