Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lake Erie Love - Part 2 - 7/30/14

Welcome to part 2 of our family vacation!  If you missed it, go read part 1 NOW!  We are half way through our super fun week! Today we get to take a boat, a bus, and go underground!

We got up Wednesday morning and the weather was BEAUTIFUL!!  So we decided to take the ferry and head over to South Bass Island or as you may know it, Put-in-Bay! Although Mr. S doesn't look thrilled I promise he was excited!
There are my loves on the boat!  It was all the kids' first boat ride! I couldn't believe I'd never taken them before but here they are so excited to head to the island! We decided to take Miller's Ferry this time and it was a great ride for a great deal!  I would definitely recommend it! The staff was friendly and helpful.  The man announcing the ferry at one point said "If you don't know if you're going to Middle Bass Island, You aren't going to Middle Bass Island."  Mr. J and I laughed at that the rest of the day. 

Once we got to the island we needed to get downtown where all the shops and restaurants were. The cheapest and most fun for the kids was the "Downtown Bus" driven by the craziest "Captain Buck".  This was just an old school bus that takes you into town for cheap! But this was Miss V's first time on a bus and she was very excited. The boys ride the bus to school each day so riding this bus was no big deal, other than they leave the door open. But Miss V was so excited to ride her first bus! 

We went to visit the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial while on the island.  It's a memorial to the men who died in the battle of Lake Erie in 1813 during the war of 1812. It was really beautiful memorial. We decided not to go the top but I have heard that the view is amazing! 

Next up was a great treat for the whole family! We did a combination cave & winery tour.  The kids really wanted to see the cave and I really wanted to do a wine tasting.  Best of both worlds! The Heineman winery & crystal cave was a great deal for our family!  First up the crystal cave!

Sorry to this tour guide but this picture makes me laugh. Apparently the crystal cave isn't actually a cave at all, it's the world's largest geode.  A basic geode looks like a rock but when you crack it open it's full of crystals.  This one was found when miners were looking for water for the winery. The walls and ceiling were covered in these beautiful white crystals. They even told us that the Smithsonian had come and taken a large piece of it. She also pointed to one specific crystal and said it weighed around 120 pounds! It was really neat to see.

Next we went through the winery and how they made wine. I love doing wine tours. I think it's interesting how the different wineries make their wine and how they do the blends. This was a great tour and the lady had a lot of great information for us! 

LOVE this picture of all the wines (minus the random guy's hand). 

Next up, and conveniently right across the street, was Perry's cave.  This was an actual cave that we were somewhere around 50+ feet underground.  This was a really neat cave. There is a lot of history and interesting stories about this cave. 

Perry's cave even has an underground river.  The water is crystal clear despite what this picture looks like.  They said there was even an underground opening in this river that divers swam through to see if they could find an opening into lake Erie. Our tour guide was hilarious and had us laughing all the way through!  Well worth the money! 

Lastly on the island I wanted to visit the other winery (I couldn't show favorites!). The Putt-in-Bay winery is just outside of downtown on the GORGEOUS Doller House Estate.  I didn't have time to do the full tour but it sounded so interesting so I guess we will have to go back.  Not only did they offer wine tasting but they also had grape juice for the kids.  So we bought them a bottle of juice and went to sit outside on the beautiful ground while I had my wine tasting. 

Catawba white grape juice! Delicious! 

There is my flight of wine for my tasting.  They had so many places to sit and things to do. They really made this a great place to get a bottle of wine and relax for the afternoon.  We didn't have time for that either but we did sit for about 20 minutes and really relax and just enjoy our time as a family. Mr. S even had me rate each of the wines that I was tasting.  He is too funny! 

Pretending to stomp grapes the old fashion way! 

We were definitely sad to leave the island. I want to go back and explore some more. I think Mr. J and I might have to go alone for a weekend get away.  This would be a really fun couples trip!  I feel like we only saw a small part of the island. There was a nature preserve I wanted to see and so much more. We will definitely be back South Bass Island!  

Question of the day!
Have you ever been to Put-in-Bay? What was your favorite part?

Love, Lacey

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lake Erie Love - Part 1 - 7/28/14

This past week Mr. J and I took the kids to Lake Erie for a little Clark W. Grisworld family vacation!  If you are the only person on the planet who still hasn't seen "National Lampoon's Vacation" GO DO IT!!  It is rated R so may not be good for your littles but for a date night it's definitely worth it.  It's too funny! 

I started our road trip just like every good road trip should start . . . With COFFEE!!!! We stopped at a Starbucks because that was what was close and it tasted amazing!  I LOVE my coffee if you don't know!

We spent the entire day Tuesday at the beach.  My uncle has one of those canopies that you can put up to shelter yourself. So we put that up and literally only left the beach to each lunch.  It was the perfect day! The weather was hot but not too hot and the water was cold but not too cold!  Even Spider-man helped us build some sand castles. So much fun and we all got some sun and enjoyed the time together. 

On Wednesday it was looking a little rainy and dark so we decided to check out the visitor's center to see what they would recommend for a rainy day and the rest of our trip.  What an AWESOME place!  If you are ever in Port Clinton, OH go to the visitor's center!  It is really neat inside, lots of things to see and do, and the girls that work there had SOOOOO much information.  And coupons!  They gave us SO many coupons! Also if you go look for the fairy door!  She gives out special treats to the kids!  The kids had to get a picture with Wylie the Walleye! 

Something the visitors center recommended for a rainy day was the Liberty Aviation Museum. My mom wanted to go and I thought the kids might like it, so off we went! The museum was really neat! It had a lot of World War II things. A lot about Henry Ford and his contribution to aviation (which I didn't know!).  They also talked a lot about the aviation system that ran between the islands to get supplies to the residents. 

 Here are just a few pictures from inside the hanger part of the museum.  The HUGE bomber "Georgie's Girl" was amazing! We were all amazed by the painting and the names. We also had fun trying to find all 13 guns located all over the plane.

 This plane was so cute too! I was amazed that they had full sized airplanes in the hanger for us to walk around and check out!

There we are posing in front of Georgie's Gal. We had a great first half of the week! And if you are wondering where all the pictures of food are . . . well I would have bored you to death! We ate at home every day!  Lots of hot dogs, deli meat, and burgers. This trip was more about sight seeing and spending time together. 

Question of the day!
Have you ever been to Lake Erie?! Where did you go? What did you do?!

Love, Lacey

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Running Recap 7/21 - 7/26

Yep!  That is pretty much how my week went!  As you will see in this coming week's blogs our family took a big Clark W. Griswold style family vacation. Ok, maybe we didn't drive all the way to Wallyworld but we did have a pretty awesome week! The problem was that it felt like I was taking time away from our family to go running.  I had some pretty hefty miles on the schedule and I just couldn't find time to run. If I went in the am I missed out on time with the kids.  If I went during the day I would have died (it was hot & HUMID!). And if I went in the eve after the kids went to bed I was missing time with Mr. J.  I felt like I couldn't win.  I decided that a week off of running wouldn't hurt me and it would be good for our family. It was also good for me mentally.  I was able to unplug and just relax! When I'm training my mind is constantly thinking about running and pace and times and what is next. I think not running this week was good all the way around.  And I'm even more excited to get back to running and start my half marathon training!

It was a great week and I will be sure to flood you with pictures and stories and places to go this week!

Question of the day!
Have you ever had to take a break from running? How did you feel?

Love, Lacey

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

11th Anniversary Vacation - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our anniversary weekend vacation.  READY?!  Let's GO!

Day 2 starts off with that amazing breakfast at the Real Food Cafe.  After that Mr. J and I headed into town. He had decided to take a brewery tour and the brewery that he chose only did 2 tours on Saturdays and it was limited to how many people could go. Well by the time he found out and looked online they only had 1 opening. I told him to go anyways and that I would find my way into the city and have some alone time! We parked at the brewery and it was less than half a mile to town so I had a nice walk.  We didn't realize that there was a bike race in town that weekend. A lot of the streets were blocked off and it was a little hard to get around but that also meant there were a lot of people around so I never felt lonely or unsafe. 

Since we had visited the GRBC the night before we had asked out waitress about where to go in town. She mentioned that they had a $4 bloody mary bar on Saturdays. Well I knew how to get to GRBC so back there I went for my alone time and a little drink!

So the premise is that you get to pick your spirits then they send you over to the bar to doctor up your cup of ice & liquor. There were 2 kinds of bloody mary mix (spicy & regular) and then about 20 different things to put in it! This one I choose jalapeno clilanto vodka, a spicy bloody mix, and then started in with the toppings. Blue cheese olives, a pickle, chunks of cheese, a stalk of celery, a strip of bacon, and a splash of olive juice! Sounds crazy but it was DELICIOUS!

I sat right near the window and enjoyed watching the cyclists go by. The bartender was an awesome girl and we chatted about life and kids several times. I also enjoyed being alone and taking thoughtful selfies. 

After our afternoon in town we went back to our hotel to rest and take a soak in the hot tub. We also called and made a reservation for dinner for 8 pm.  Yes I said 8 PM! We got real wild and crazy! We decided to go to a very nice restaurant as a treat since we didn't do presents other than the trip. We chose Ruth's Chris because Jason had heard good things and we knew we would love it. We got there early and decided to sit at the bar to have a drink until our table was ready. I had a wonderful gin martini and we took a few selfies.

For dinner I had the filet mignon with shrimp and we shared some garlic mashed potatoes. Both were VERY good.  I also had a Cesar salad that I am STILL dreaming about! It was insanely good salad! Our waiter, Kyle, was very nice and very helpful in choosing our dinner. I have to give Ruth's Chris a big thank you because they had an entire page of gf options, including dessert, in their menu!  That was very very helpful in knowing what I could & couldn't have. 

After our meal they brought us out this gorgeous dessert plate!  It was a great night to talk and reminisce and just appreciate how far we have come in 11 years and how thankful we are to God for bringing us together and keeping us that way! 

On Sunday it was time to check out and head home but not before breakfast.  Here is where my story is going to get a bit crazy.  I am not gluten free because it's trendy or fun or will help you lose weight.  I'm gf because I have an intolerance and will get sick if I eat it. But I have found a digestive aid pill that you can take when you are going to knowingly eat gluten or after you accidentally eaten gluten that will help your body digest it better.  I keep these pills in purse for the times that I get accidentally glutened.  I don't usually take them before and knowingly eat gluten. BUT on this day I took 4 (yes it takes my body 4 pills to feel ok) and ate most of this cinnamon roll.  Yes we went to Real Food Cafe two days in row.  And Yes we waited nearly an hour on Sunday because the place was packed! And yes it was worth it because the food was AMAZING! So while I don't condone taking pills so you can eat gluten because it still isn't good for my belly, on the rare occasion that I find something I'm going to eat it! We left Real Food cafe so stuffed we could barely walk!  It's a MUST for anyone living or visiting Grand Rapids!

On the way home we also stopped at Cabela's and they had these creepy looking wolves right inside the front door.  These were right about my eye level and it creeps me out to think about being that close to a real wolf. After we walked around Cabela's we headed towards home. 

We had a REALLY awesome weekend away.  It's so nice to get away just the two of us and recharge our batteries. It's important to make our marriage a priority and this is a great way to do that.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who watched our kids so we could do this.  It was a GREAT weekend!

Love, Lacey

Monday, July 21, 2014

11th Anniversary Vacation - Part 1

Have you ever noticed that when I go on vacation my recaps are multiple parts?  I take a TON of pictures and don't want to overload you! 

A few weeks ago Mr. J and I went on a long weekend. We decided to go up to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I had read that it was a great location to go for breweries. When we got our guide it said "A great place for a beercation"  We loved that.  So we loaded up the truck & set out after my morning run.  We didn't really have an agenda other than we knew where we were staying on Friday night. We decided just to head towards our hotel and see what we found.  We found a great little western wear shop just off the highway in the middle of nowhere. I don't remember what it was called or where it was located (blog fail!) but we had a really fun time! 

Mr. J & the big letter J!

He probably won't appreciate that I posted this BUT he was having fun trying on boots and this is the pose I got when I told him I wanted to take a picture.  I love this man!!

Our first stop was the Grand Rapids Brewing Company (or GRBC if you are a local). We weren't very hungry but thought we would grab a drink and sit down and relax while.  Since I'm gf (gluten free) drinking beer is out of the question but most places have either cider or wine and I will gladly drink either! I got a wonderful blueberry cider from a local company and Mr. J got a flight of assorted beers. It went from light to dark and even a couple were fruity.  It was a nice way for him to try a little bit of what they offered without ordering an entire beer.  And the wood carrier was too cute! He enjoyed almost all their beers (he isn't a fruity beer fan) and even said how nice the brown ale was! 

Next we went down the road to HopCat Brewery and decided to have dinner. I unfortunately didn't take pictures of our food?! I don't know how that happened other than I was just SUPER hungry.  Our waitress was AWESOME!!  I asked her about the gf drink options and not only did she drink me out an entire different drink menu (with TONS of cider!) but she also pointed me away from the things on the food menu that were NOT gluten free.  That is really helpful because I didn't want to spend my vacation sick! I also wasn't sure which cider to order, as I had already tried the blueberry I didn't want that or just a plain apple again, she pointed me towards this "Totally Roasted" cider by Vandermill Ciders. She described it tasting like candied pecans with a hint of cinnamon & vanilla.  I said "You had me at candied pecans!". I thanked her several times for the information.  This was an AMAZING cider! It reminded me of the German roasted almonds that you get at the fair.  YUM! It was awesome!  I also ate an olive burger with Swiss and blue cheese (thankfully the blue cheese didn't bother me). Obviously I ordered it without the bun and with a salad on the side since their fries were beer battered. It was AWESOME! Mr. J had a bacon cheese burger & the fries and said both were lovely. I don't remember what he had to drink but I'm guess some kind of beer! They actually run a special that is beer & a burger for $7! What a great deal for a giant burger and tasty beer!

The next morning we needed a good hearty breakfast because we were going to be busy during lunch. Before we left home we looked on Yelp to find a good local eatery.  We searched our hometown first to make sure that it would pull up a good one and the top restaurant was one of our favorite local breakfast places so we decided to trust it when it told us to go to the Real Food Cafe.  It was in a very residential area about 10 min from our hotel. And from the outside it didn't look like much so we weren't sure what to expect.  Let me tell you! This place is AMAZING!!  They make everything from scratch! The bread was fresh from a local bakery, they had fresh local baked goods including cinnamon rolls the size of your head (a post about that coming soon!). I ordered a southwest scrambler.  It had eggs, onions, tomatoes, and fresh made chorizo. This was the best chorizo I've EVER had!  It was super fresh and the taste was not harsh or too hot.  Just delicious.  This plate was empty when I left!

So far out vacation was off to a great start! Especially after I saw this Michigan sculpture! It was made of wood & metal and was just beautiful.  I asked Mr. J if he could get one for our house but he didn't seem too excited. Oh well.  Up next is day 2 & 3 of our vacation.  Stayed tuned because we get a little crazy! Ok, we don't, we are old but we did make a dinner reservation for 8 pm!  YEP!  We stayed out LATE! 

Love, Lacey

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Running Recap 7/14 - 7/19

Hello!!  It's time for my running recap of the week!  I'll share some pictures and maybe a few stories!  Here's how my week running went!

I always run 4 miles on Monday with Kellie! Unless someone is sick or one of us is out of town we will run together!  It's a standing date and I love it.  It started raining as I was pulling into her driveway this week so you know what we did?  We got wet!  We set out for 4 miles and it rained for about the first 2.  And it actually felt pretty good! 

On Wednesday I asked Mr. J to come home from work on time, since he has been working late on a job, so that I could run.  I set out for between 4 and 5 miles and around mile 4 I felt really good so I just kept going and finished 5 miles right as I passed our house! I ran a little path through our subdivision and saw about 10 rabbits.  One was the cutest baby bunny EVER!! 

Have I ever mentioned how I am NOT a morning person?! I literally had to drag myself out of bed this morning for my run.  I made some gf waffles and ended up burning them.  Thank goodness not bad enough for the smoke alarm to go off, which happens regularly in our house, but they had a nice char on them. At least I had coffee! You can tell by my face how excited I was to get out there.

But then I got there! The first mile wasn't great! I kind of drug myself through it.  But then I found my groove and started to really settle in and get the miles done.  Before I knew it I was at the turn around to head back towards home. I had such a great morning of praying and just checking out the beauty around me.  One house I ran by had a rooster out in the driveway telling everyone to wake up.  I wanted to take a picture but I was worried he would try to chase me. If you don't know roosters can be very mean! But he was really pretty and it was fun to hear him crow as I ran. I have to give God the glory for giving me the ability to run.  And the ability to see the beautiful earth around me. 

I hope you got out there this week!  Did you run?  How many miles did you get?!

Love, Lacey