Indy Mini-Vacation

We took a little bit of an extended weekend last week and took a quick trip to visit my sister in Indianapolis.

Let me first start by saying that this is probably the most I’ve ever enjoyed my sister’s dog Luna. I love dogs, but I often don’t love that particular dog. My kids are usually terrified of Luna, and I can’t blame them. She towers over them, and it is very easy to get accidentally scratched or knocked over in her exuberance, to say nothing of slobbery smooches all over your face. The anxiety of the kids kind of rubs off on me. However, this time wasn’t so bad. I don’t know if Luna is calming down as she gets older, if my kids get less anxious as they get older, or maybe it was just being in Luna’s own environment, which was less stressful for all of us. In any case, I think everybody enjoyed Luna a little bit more this time.

Of course, the main thing to do in Indy is go to the Children’s Museum. It is *exhausting* going to that place. It’s so big, and there’s so much to do, but it takes a lot out of you.

Evie enjoyed drawing self-portraits:


And we all enjoyed reproducing “American Gothic“:


Sorry Rachael and Matt, I think Sara and Ollie did it best:


Probably the most exciting thing for me was getting a chance to play Carcassonne. This is a board game that I have heard a lot about, but never had a chance to play. I have to say, it lived up to the hype. There is a lot of strategy, and I can see that each game would be a little bit different. It has a lot of things in common with other games that I like, with no obvious downsides (and you can play with only 2 players!). Plus, I won, so definitely that game is awesome.

The other best part was the awesome chocolate covered cherries Rachael made for me, which were the best I’ve ever eaten, homemade or otherwise. Therefore, I promptly forgot them in her refrigerator.

Evie found time to absolutely massacre Rachael in checkers, and we played a lot of hide and seek (and lots of hide Luna’s treat).

We took a leisurely Monday getting home, with several stops along the way including a stop at Purdue. The kids were pretty excited to see where Sara and I met, lived, and got married, and I enjoyed my trip to the APO office. I’m not sure why I get such a kick out of dropping in there, but it’s fun to see a place where I spent a lot of time, and to look at all the names and pictures of people I haven’t seen in a long time. It sure helps to have a friend of yours be the one in charge of the yearly scrapbook when we were pledging. Sara and I are well represented. And yes, I bragged to my kids about all the plaques with my name on them. (And yes Nathan, I showed them how you won the Friendship Award 6 times, no need to bring it up again in the comments!)

We even had a chance to stop in at Triple XXX and introduce Oliver to the Purvis burger:

February 006

Cheeseburger + Peanut butter = Happy Ollie

The only black mark on our trip was totally our fault. We 1) forgot Ollie’s face steroids, and 2) didn’t bring Evie’s inhaler. This directly resulted in Oliver having a massive, itchy, sore face eczema outbreak, and Evie developing a reoccurring wheeze and cough. And with Evie having breathing trouble, this also lead to a pretty rough night of sleep for the 4 of us, which never helps anything. Sara even asked me if she thought we should bring the inhaler, and I said no. Lesson learned. The problem is that, even with the proper medicine at home, if you don’t nip these problems in the bud, it takes some time to get them back under control.

All in all a good trip though; hopefully Rachael and Matt enjoyed hosting us as much as we enjoyed being there (probably doubtful).

Travelin’ Man

I have been traveling a lot lately.

In the past few weeks, I have spent 3 days in Detroit, 1 day in Indianapolis, 4 days in D.C., and another day in Indy. Detroit and D.C. were for work, and they were a little rough. It was hard for me to be away from the kids, and (somewhat ironically) it was hard for Sara to be stuck with the kids (though Anna did come and help her get through the week when I was in D.C.).

On the weekend in between, I hit up a bachelor party (congrats Chad!) and played paintball at White River Paintball. It was definitely the coolest place I have ever played! They have some really awesome courses, including one with derelict cars and house trailers and two story buildings, and another that replicates Omaha Beach, including a shipping container “drop boat” that opens up into the teeth of bunker fire. The place was huge and busy, but very well run, and we never had to wait for a course.

Of course, the following weekend we were back to Indy again to see Rachael get her Masters’ degree (congrats Rachael!). We just went for the day, and we experienced some of the most inept parking garage management I have ever seen. An hour and a half sitting in the parking garage, unable to move! We almost spent more time stuck in the parking garage than the actual graduation ceremony! And at the end of it, there were actually cops directing traffic, and doing a terrible job. Oh well.

Sometime in there we also managed to plant the garden. It was super hot and sweaty the day before (85 degrees), but the temperature dropped precipitously in 24 hours, so we ended up doing it in a light drizzle, freezing our butts off in 46 degree weather! Evie and Oliver had to sit in the car because it was too cold.

Last year we had 6 tomato plants, so this year we decided to do 8. However, after we got them planted, we went to the farmer’s market and saw a Mortgage Lifter, which is our favorite variety. So we decided to squeeze *one more* tomato in, bringing us to 9. I should mention though, that really one of them is actually a tomatillo, not really a tomato.

In addition, we have lettuce, basil, strawberries, an eggplant (hopefully as good as the one last year), a jalapeno, and 3 red peppers. We have also constructed a pyramid over the strawberries for beans to climb. This will do double duty, saving us space in the garden by not having the beans taking up extra room, and also providing a little shade to the strawberries. Unfortunately we lost the bean seeds, so we haven’t actually planted them yet. The strawberries have around 20 flowers or so, so we’re looking forward to getting a slightly bigger crop this year!

I mentioned that we hit up the farmer’s market. It was the first weekend of the year, and the rain and cold temperatures didn’t leave anybody thrilled with the opening. I’m very excited that it’s back, and they’ve added some new booths for this year. Evie is excited too and is insisting on getting her basket moved from her tricycle to her balance bike.

So I think the traveling is over for a while. Hopefully we can get into more of a routine as the summer rolls along. Hopefully there will actually be a summer this year, considering it is the middle of may and it’s getting down in the mid-30’s tonight!


Last weekend, we took a quick little vacation down to Indianapolis to visit my sister.

One of the first things I saw when I stepped out of the car in Indianapolis was a man with phone taped on his head. Forget bluetooth, this guy just grabbed some masking tape and wound it around his head 3 or 4 times so he could work and talk at the same time.

I’d like to think this set the tone for the whole trip.

So we got down there Saturday, and Saturday was the Jewish holiday Purim. The whole week at school they had been building up to Purim, so Evie was really excited about it. So before we went we found a Jewish deli downtown to stop in and get a traditional hamantashen. Evie had made hamantashen at school and couldn’t stop talking about it, so we knew she would be pretty excited about this.

So we’re standing in the Jewish deli and I didn’t see any hamantashen. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Do you have any hamantashen?”
Guy: “What?”
Me: “Hamantashen.”
Guy: “What?”
Me: “Hamantashen. You know, triangles? Today’s Purim?”
Guy, confused: “No, we don’t have any of those.”
Now look, even a year ago I wouldn’t have had any idea what hamantashen were or when Purim was. But then I don’t own a self-proclaimed Jewish deli. I wasn’t standing under a sign that said, “Let’s Nosh“.

I was probably more disappointed with this than Evie, since she had an M&M cookie instead. That tends to make the disappointment disappear.

So we checked into the hotel, and luckily, Evie managed to slip some castanets into her suitcase before we left, so everybody was very happy to see us, I can assure you. We were right next to Lucas Oil Field (where the Colts play) so it was very easy to find our hotel. I found Indianapolis to be very navigateable.

We hit up the Saffron Cafe for dinner, and it was very good. As expected, Evie loved the falafel, and Oliver loved the spinach dip stuff. As for myself, my tilapia tajine was awesome. A tajine is like a beautiful clay bowl with a pointy lid, so when you cook the food all of the juices are kept in.

The hotel provided breakfast, but Sunday morning could only be described as a breakfast disaster.

There was some kind of big hockey tournament going on, so there were about a hundred 11 year old boys and their associated families, all trying to eat breakfast at the same time. Evie was set on making a waffle, so we had to wait for about forever in line for that. They actually ran out of batter at one point, so we had to wait on that. Finally I got her squared away and decided to go for a waffle myself. I was only the 2nd person in line at that point, and there were two waffle makers, so I figured I was set. Well, the guy at the first waffle maker secretly had several cups of batter and proceeded to make waffle after waffle. The kid at the second waffle maker couldn’t figure out how to do it, and ruined a few waffles before finally getting it right. Just as he was about to walk away…waffle on the floor. Finally I gave up and settle for just a bagel.

Afterwards, there was no trash bag for my trash, so I stood around waiting for that for about 5 minutes. The family made it all the way to the room and then came back looking for me, since I had the key. “No worries,” I thought, “At least Evie isn’t around to see me snatch one of these delicious looking doughnut holes…” Or so I thought, because the lady in front of me took all 6 remaining doughnut holes. All in all, it was a sad 45 minutes.

As sort of a side note, why does the world hate decaf drinkers? Sara and I got coffee from the lobby Saturday night and it was awful. On Sunday morning the decaf was out, so we got regular. It was about 100 times better! If they hadn’t been out of decaf I never would have known that they don’t just have crappy coffee, they just have crappy *decaf* coffee!

Obviously the main event was the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. I would have to say it lived up to the billing. We spent SEVEN STRAIGHT HOURS at the children’s museum, and we definitely didn’t see everything. This is unprecedented, and I never would have guessed that we would have lasted that long.

The museum is expensive, but it turns out it wasn’t that bad of a deal. Once you’re in, there are quite a few free programs, in addition to the museum itself. In particular, we caught a free showing of One World, One Sky in the planetarium, something that we had happily payed to see all by itself.

There were plenty of neat things to see, and a pretty good mix of things for younger and older kids. I would have loved the dinosaur stuff when I was a kid. As an adult though, my favorite was the Chihuly glass, which made for some great pictures.

One other funny thing from the museum: I have seen toys from my childhood on display in museums before, but this is the first time I’ve seen my first car as an exhibit. They had a Chevy Celebrity in one of the exhibits! Way to make me feel old.

After the museum marathon, we were worried about the kids’ behavior, so we hit up a pizza joint, Bazbeaux. Very excellent pizza and just what the doctor ordered for dinner. We had enough for leftovers the next day as well.

We had tentatively planned on going to the zoo the next day, but it seemed like a little much, so we decided to spend a little time at the Eiteljorg museum instead. The Eiteljorg is a Native American museum, and it was a lot better than I thought it would be! First off, the building itself is beautiful, maybe my favorite part. The Red/Black exhibit about the interrelated history of Native Americans and African Americans was fascinating. And the kid’s section was much bigger and much more interesting than I was anticipating. Well worth a short trip!

One thing I didn’t mention was the amount of time we spent swimming in the hotel pool. This is certainly something I enjoyed a lot as a kid, and one of the best parts about staying in a hotel. We sure got our money’s worth out of that pool, believe me! Oliver really loves playing and splashing in the water. Evie likes being in the water, if not splashing.

On the way home we decided to stop off at Fair Oaks Farms. We had seen the signs from the highway, and an organic dairy seemed like a good diversion. However, I have to say, “No thank you”. It would have cost us $27 for our family to go, which seems very excessive. Call me naive, but I thought they just opened up their operation to tours to spread their brand name. We’ve gone to all kids of cheese factory tours, etc. that didn’t cost anything. We ended up getting an ice cream, but even that was pretty expensive. In my opinion, not worth the stop.

Overall, I would say Indianapolis is a great little vacation from Chicago. We had a great time. I was specifically impressed with the food. There were a lot of great looking restaurants, and we had trouble deciding where to go. And the Children’s Museum was everything it was billed to be. So for kids or adults, it’s worth a short trip!