Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vacation: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6/20/09-6/24/09)

On the sixth day of our family vacation, we spent Jim's birthday on the road for over 10 hours. We got to our hotel around 8:30 P.M. The kids couldn't wait to get to the swimming pool.
Sunday morning we went to Christ Church. We were there for the history, not to convert to the Episcopal faith. Pastor Wangerin was surprised to see us there, as we were supposed to be in Canada. Our plans had changed so we were able to spend a few hours together.
*we sat in the same pew that George Washington and his family sat for worship
*Jim and Katherine sat in the Franklin pew.

*starting our walking tour
*outside the first bank of the United States
*on the grounds of Independence Hall
*in front of Independence Hall
*at the home of Benjamin Franklin
Afer doing some site-seeing with our personal tour guide, the six of us walked to
Sonny's Famous Steaks for lunch.
It was time to go our separate ways...Pastor to the train station, and we were continuing our Philly visit.

*at the home of Betsy Ross
The second bank of the United States houses a gallery of paintings by Charles Wilson Peale.
I loved looking at the paintings!
*Brett looking at a Charles Wilson Peale painting of John Adams
*Katherine and Brett imitating Benjamin Frankin in thought
*portrait of Martha Washington
*outside of the Second Bank of the United States
*Logan outside of the Franklin...Jim and Logan saw the Star Trek exhibit there. Across the street is the spot from National Treasure where Riley was getting the letters from the kid to crack the next code

*next to the Liberty Bell-a must see for Katherine!
*inside Independence Hall
*the upstairs room where the Declaration of Independence was signed
*if you look closely, you will see Wangerin firing Dackel out of the cannon
*This is the actual document that was read to the public
Jim & I ordered Subway for the kids and left them in our hotel room. We went out to the City Tavern ( I ordered the Martha Washington Colonial Turkey Pot Pie, and Jim had the lamb chops with steamed veggies. It was all wonderful!

*My James and our clam chowder soup
Who expects to walk through a department store and find the world's largest organ? That's exactly what we did (!
*Wanamaker Organ inside of the Macy's Department Store
*console for the organ

*City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia
We walked up and down the streets known as the Italian Market. Ironically there are also Mexican stores and restaurants. We sampled a Philly cheesesteak from both Geno's and Pat's (across the street). Geno's gets our vote!
*famous cheesesteaks in the Italian Market
*'Adam' in the Rodin Museum
*Rodin's The Thinker
On the last day of our stay, we stopped at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The building itself was very impressive. Brett couldn't wait to run up the steps like Rocky Balboa. Logan was tired of walking around and seeing things, so he waited in the van.

*Philadelphia Museum of Art
*Katherine and Brett posing with the Rocky statue

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation: Rochester Hills, Michigan (6/17/09-6/20/09)

Rochester Hills, Michigan
On the third day of our family vacation we drove east to the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills. We stopped off in Auburn Hills at the Palace (where the Detroit Pistons play). Logan was thankful!
It has been many years since we last saw the Justice Family (I believe it was 2003!). Jim and Don worked together at Lutheran East. Don & Amy have three sons: Andy is 11 months older than Brett, Mike is 10, and Jake Justice (Rescue Heroes comes to mind!) is 7. They were kind enough to have their house of five grow to a house of ten for three nights.
The kids played basketball, soccer,
video games, and watched TV. Katherine (our daredevil) climbed a ladder to swing from a rope, and then she went bike riding with Jake.
They got along very well together. Jim & I introduced Amy to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.
*Jim and Amy with the dark chocolate bar
Thursday, we spent Don & Amy's anniversary in Frankenmuth. We did some shopping at Bronner's (the world's largest Christmas store). Then we walked to the Silent Night Chapel. It is a replica of the one in Germany.
We walked around the downtown area, visiting many shops and sampling fudge, salt water taffy, and cheese. After lunch at Tiffany's, the kids went to a house of mirrors.
Then it was time to head "home".
Katherine got her hair French-braided by Amy. Don went to work for a while, and we relaxed at the house. The Justices have a cat named Tito. I lovingly referred to it as "Fat Louey" like the cat in Princess Diaries. Amazingly enough, Jim did not have a single allergic reaction the whole time we were there. They have an air purifier that must work very well.
Saturday morning Don made breakfast for us. Water bottles were filled, the van was packed, and it was time for our good-byes. It was so nice visiting with old friends.
On our way out of Michigan we stopped at the old Tiger Stadium, Comerica Park, and Ford Field.

Vacation: Greenville, Michigan (6/15/09-6/17/09)

Greenville, Michigan
On the first day of our family vacation we travelled to Michigan to visit Jim's cousin, Jeff and his family. We don't see each other often, but when we get together it's like we just left one another. We got there in time to watch Jeff, Grace, Sarah, and Matthew play in their church-league softball game. Their team won, and then it was off to a late supper of pizza. We stayed up late playing on the talking and playing on the Wii.
Tuesday, Katherine and Logan went to Mount Calvary's VBS camp with Jeff, Sarah, and Matthew.
Camp Concordia is comparable to our Camp LuWiSoMo, except their camp is closer to town than the 2 1/2 hours we would have to drive. It was so nice seeing so many kids enjoying VBS in such a beautiful setting. Logan helped Matthew with the Kindergarteners. Katherine went along with the other 4th graders. Jim, Brett, and I got a tour of Greenville from Grace and Mary. We stopped in this quaint store that reminded us of the old Drew's in the Tosa Village. Brett saw lots of Detroit Lions things, but settled on two pencils.
Fact: Did you know that Greenville is the birthplace of Meijer's? For those of you who do not know...Meijer's is like a Super Walmart, with stores in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Speaking of Super Walmart, we stopped to get a couple items for supper. Brett looked around for Lions things and purchased a Detroit Lions t-shirt.
We went to Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, where Jeff is sole Pastor.
The kids played basketball, and we had burgers for supper. Afterwards we walked, or drove, or rode bicycles, or rode on scooters to a local ice-cream place.
It was a wonderful evening!
Wednesday morning we had breakfast and said our good-byes. We had such a nice time and look forward to seeing the Wilhelms soon!