30. June 2009 · Comments Off on Vollmer Vacation Ventures · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

We are now back in Nebraska. Many of you know this already, if you’ve been following Dave or me on Facebook, Twitter or our family’s homepage. We made a nuisance of ourselves advertising every point of our trip to the world, much to the delight of potential thieves, as someone pointed out to me during our trip. Our valuables were with us (except for my violin and Dave’s trombone) so for the rest of our niceties Dave and I said “Bring ’em on, we’ve been wanting a new TV anyway!”

Here’s a summary of some of things we did on our trip, along with some of my favorite pictures. This might get long, but I think this will work out better than a bunch of small posts. Overall we had a really fun time, but after 16 days, we were all ready to head home and get back to our lives and our own beds!

June 13th – Our eastward drive towards Dave’s parents in NY. The highlight of this drive was our stop at Indiana Dunes State Park on the shore of Lake Michigan. It was meant to be a 1-hour stop with the McNabbs, and it quickly turned into almost 2 hours. But it was so hard to say “No” to our boys, who hadn’t see a beachfront since last summer! Luckily we could tell the boys that they’d see a beach again in 3 days, and the McNabbs again in 2 weeks. They left with little protest…the exercise was great for them!

From 2009 06 13 VacationEastDay1

As always, when we arrived in NY on the 14th to see Grammy and Grampy Vollmer, the boys were thrilled! They had a great time playing with Grammy and Grampy’s dogs: Chloe and Dillon. All 3 boys had a great time constructing with Dave’s old Lego bricks from his childhood.

From 2009 06 14 DriveToNY_Chalks_Legos

June 16th – Beach! Grammy joined us on a trip to Robert Moses State Park, on the south shore of Long Island, where the boys spent a morning at a no-kidding beach! Even though the temperatures were only in the mid-60s, the boys were so excited to see the beach they charged right into the water and had a great time!

From 2009 06 17 Beach_at_RobertMosesStateParkNY

June 17th – Dave and I met one of Dave’s high school friends, Dan O’Sullivan, for a lovely dinner at an Italian restaurant in Greenlawn. Dan and his wife Nina drove all the way from West Chester, NY to meet us and we had a great time — just 4 adults having a great evening together.

From 2009 06 18 OSullivans

June 18th – New York City. The original plan was to hit a Yankees game that afternoon — they had free tickets for military personnel! But as was the case most of the week in NY, it was rainy and the 18th was the rainiest day of all! So we dedicated the entire day to a trip to the Toys R Us in Times Square. It was so much fun! The boys really enjoyed exploring the store and with the weather, we didn’t really care to go anywhere else…of course, for the boys riding the train is a large part of the trip, too!

From 2009 06 18 ToysRUS_TimesSquare
From 2009 06 18 ToysRUS_TimesSquare
From 2009 06 18 ToysRUS_TimesSquare

June 19th – Visiting with the Beilers. We spend every Father’s Day weekend in Pennsylvania visiting with Dave’s family — the Friday evening is always with Dave’s Mom’s side, then Saturday and part of Sunday is with Dave’s Dad’s side. It’s a tradition I’ve been part of for 15 years now 🙂 Here’s a pic of our boys with Uncle Ross and Aunt Gay, and one of me on Aunt Gay’s gorgeous Harley!

From 2009 06 20 StrasburgRR_FamilyReunion_LancasterCounty

From 2009 06 20 StrasburgRR_FamilyReunion_LancasterCounty

June 20th – Vollmer Family Reunion. Despite a thunderstormy afternoon, we managed to fit in all the reunion traditions: the hay rides, beer, pretzels and BBQ, and the peanut toss! As usual, we had a great time, and the boys had a blast too!

From 2009 06 20 StrasburgRR_FamilyReunion_LancasterCounty
From 2009 06 20 StrasburgRR_FamilyReunion_LancasterCounty
From 2009 06 20 StrasburgRR_FamilyReunion_LancasterCounty

June 21st-25th – My parents in WV. Last summer my parents moved from my childhood hometown of Norfolk, VA up to Martinsburg, WV. My sister was visiting with her 3 sons during our visit and my parents must have been in Grandparent Heaven having their 5 boys running around like a pack of wolves — or sitting around playing Nintendo DS and computer games. We got my parents’ house in time to take them out for a Father’s Day dinner at a local Japanese steakhouse.

From 2009 06 26 5Boys
From 2009 06 22 TimmyLawnMower_WarMemorialParkMiniGolf

The boys went mini-golfing with their cousins, and then spent 2 days in a row at the community pool, which has to be the coolest public pool ever!

From 2009 06 22 TimmyLawnMower_WarMemorialParkMiniGolf
From 2009 06 25 Boys_at_MartinsburgPool_Day2

June 23rd – Washington, D.C. We drove to Vienna, VA to take a Metro train to the National Mall area to visit the National Air and Space Museum. The boys enjoyed the many exhibits, but our fun day was tempered by an escalator at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station eating Timmy’s Croc.

From 2009 06 23 WashingtonDC_AirSpace_Croc
From 2009 06 23 WashingtonDC_AirSpace_Croc

From 2009 06 23 WashingtonDC_AirSpace_Croc
From 2009 06 23 WashingtonDC_AirSpace_Croc

June 25th – Mountaineer Brewing. My Dad, Dave and I managed to sneak off to a private tour of West Virginia’s only brewery, Mountaineer Brewing Company, which is right up the street from my parents’ house! The brewmaster, Daniel, was awesome and answered Dave’s and Dad’s many questions and even sent us on our way with a complimentary mixed 6-pack! Thanks!

From 2009 06 25 MountaineerBrewingCompanyTour

June 26-28th – Ohio. We spent a couple days with our good friends, the McNabbs, who are back at Wright-Patterson AFB, which happens to be where we first met them back in 2000. Even though it wasn’t quite halfway home, we made it a stopping point just the same, so it was 8 hours of driving on Friday, then 13 hours on Sunday. We were surprised with an evening airshow and fireworks display Friday night, which we were able to enjoy from the McNabbs’ driveway in the military housing area about 1/2 mile from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. On Saturday we enjoyed an afternoon at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton. Throughout all of it the kids played and played and played! They got along SO WELL!!!

From 2009 06 26 Ohio_McNabbs
From 2009 06 26 Ohio_McNabbs
From 2009 06 26 Ohio_McNabbs
From 2009 06 26 Ohio_McNabbs

We got home at about 7:30pm Sunday night and Dave had to work on Monday morning. I was lazy with the unpacking and getting the household back in order, but it all was taken care of in a day or so: laundry, unpacking, cleaning up, sorting through the mail, etc.

Things will be quiet here for the next couple weeks, and then the kids will have activities planned again while I go on Reserve orders for a few days to work from home on assorted performance reports and award nominations….

24. June 2009 · 10 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Disclaimer: If you’re a blogosphere friend — who shall remain unnamed — who’s going to write and say “I told you so” about my boys in Crocs, you don’t need to say anything here. My boys will continue to wear Crocs, just not on day trips into big cities involving escalators! 🙂

Escalators really do eat Crocs.

And here’s our proof:

That’s Timmy’s right-foot NC State Croc. This was on the down escalator near the Blue/Orange line platform at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in D.C. I’m standing at the bottom of the escalator looking up.

I’d heard about this before. Merely Google “Crocs Escalators” and you’ll see all sorts of stuff. I was aware of this before — I typically make a point for my kids to stand in the center of the escalator no matter what shoes they’re wearing. Even in regular shoes or sandals, there’s a risk of injury. I’m aware of that. It’s so rare that we’re on escalators, I didn’t give much thought to the boys NOT wearing their Crocs on our trip into Washington, D.C. just because of the escalators.

But on this particular escalator we were consistently getting shoved out of the way by folks wanting to walk up and down the escalator steps. So I had Timmy way over on our right to keep him out of the way.

Suddenly Timmy’s stepping back and our escalator was grinding to a halt. Timmy had yanked his foot out of the shoe, evidenced by the broken strap on the right side, and he seemed fine.

There were all these people on the escalator when it stopped. They merely walked down the now-stationary steps and continued towards the train platform.

I after quickly whisking Timmy out of the way and checking his feet — having him wiggle his toes — we decided to leave the shoe there and just get on the train. After we took our seats I had to count to ten a few times — I was pretty freaked at what a near-miss that was! Timmy was and still is fine. No tears, no nothing. He was pretty matter-of-fact about the whole thing…even about the loss of a shoe. This was at the end of our trip into the city, so it wasn’t hard for him to be carried from the train to the van for the ride home.

Are we going to sue the D.C. Metro? No. We chose to take the D.C. Metro, we chose to incur the risks that go with it.

Are we going to sue Crocs? No. Buying/wearing Crocs is our choice, and we choose to accept the risks that go with it.

Part of me wishes we could sue the people who saw what was going on and refused to acknowledge our existence, but there’s obviously nothing I could do about that. Dave tried to find someone to report the now-stopped escalator while I was checking Timmy, but he couldn’t find anyone to help out. He tried to pull out the shoe, to no avail.

Will my kids continue to wear Crocs? Most likely. I’ll definitely give more thought to the escalator-ness of our travels…for example, perhaps Crocs aren’t the best thing when we’re doing air travel, with the escalators in airports. But of course they’re all of ours’ shoes of choice for the beach, pool or boating.

In the meantime, since my boys will be spending time at the pool over the next couple days, Timmy is now the proud, happy owner of a new pair of Spiderman flip-flops!

22. June 2009 · Comments Off on Our Rainy Day in NYC! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
Enjoy our pictures/captions from our rainy day in NYC! We were hoping to see a Yankees game on this day, and the original plan was to take the train into NYC, get on a subway to the ballpark and see the game, but the rain was so bad we knew it would be rained out!
Complimentary tickets for military and half price for their guests at the new Yankee Stadium! The games have to be on Mondays-Thursdays, and they have to be “non-premium” opponents (i.e., no Mets or Red Sox games).
But we couldn’t do that, so we spent all our time in Times Square and had fun nonetheless. It was a warm rain so we weren’t miserable, thank heavens!

22. June 2009 · Comments Off on Greetings from our next vacation stop! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Reunion pics are forthcoming, I promise!

16. June 2009 · Comments Off on I Swear, I’m Not the One Teaching This!!! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Okay, perhaps I am teaching this by answering Jacob’s many questions — but I really truly had to think hard about whether 15 is 1/8 of 120. And notice the complete sentences about it — I think we might be able to introduce fractions soon…

Yesterday, during the thunderstorms, we went to the library around the corner from Grammy and Grampy Vollmer’s house. Both boys were chomping at the bit to play the Jump Start computer games in the kids’ room, but I asked each boy to read me a book first. Despite Jacob’s incredible math skills, and his reading skills, he still can’t sit still to save his life. Less than halfway through the book Jacob will say “I don’t feel like reading anymore”.

Timmy, on the other hand, has no problem sitting with me for an entire book — Timmy cares about how the stories end.

We’re dealing with some pretty yucky weather here on Long Island…so many of our outdoor plans are in a “wait and see” mode, including the beach (was supposed to be today, we’ll try tomorrow) and a Yankees/Nationals game on Thursday.

14. June 2009 · Comments Off on New Joisey! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
14. June 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
14. June 2009 · Comments Off on Ring Ring Ring Ring…Banana Phone! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

The song is stuck in my head now.

Why? Because we brought this artificial banana with us on vacation and Dave has been charged with photographing it everywhere. Yes, like Flat Stanley. The pictures of this banana as it travels across America are being assembled in a photo album for one of Dave’s colleagues, who uses this banana as punishment for those who arrive at his unit’s physical training sessions late.

Enjoy the pictures of each of the states we crossed so far today on our eastward journey…banana and all:

From 2009 06 13 VacationEastDay1

From 2009 06 13 VacationEastDay1

From 2009 06 13 VacationEastDay1

From 2009 06 13 VacationEastDay1

Tomorrow we continue on I-80 all the way to New York City. According to our GPS, it should only be about 7-8 hours worth of driving (compared to 10.5 hours today). We hope to be out of our hotel by 0800, try to get to NY before dark.

14. June 2009 · Comments Off on Greetings from Lake Michigan · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

We stopped with Andy, Suzy and their kids on the lakeshore for just
over an hour. Between about 4-5pm, 8 hours into our drive. It was
cool and breezy, but the water wasn’t bad and Timmy got pretty wet.
The kids did lots of running around and I think the exercise did them
some good.
This is at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, near Chesterton, IN.

13. June 2009 · Comments Off on Yay! We Can Still See Out the Back! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,