Friday, September 30, 2016

NYC Weekend - Rough Start

I had earned a bonus and a couple extra days off from work and wanted to do something special. We decided on a weekend in New York City.

Fall is usually a great time to go so we decided on this weekend to make the trip.

I came home from work yesterday in a good mood but that dissipated quickly when I found out that Kai had not been doing all of his homework while telling us he didn't have any. Further, we found out that he had thrown away scoresheets from his teacher because he had done poorly and didn't want us to know. It was disappointing he did poorly but more so that he deceived us.

We told him that we would not be buying him any souvenirs from the Nintendo site in Manhattan. He was upset and seemed sincere in his apology but we weren't about to rescind the punishment.

And so our trip was off to a rocky start before it even began.

But that was only the start of our troubles. This morning we found out that our 1pm flight was cancelled. Instead of rebooking us on another flight, United told us we would have to fly standby. We got in the list for the 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, flights and did not get on.

Kai was got agitated as the wait extended but not much more than I did.

Finally, at about 6:30 they called our name. But the only had seats for two. I put my wife and Kai on. I am still waiting, hoping I will get on the next flight.

Kai and Mom could not get seats together... hopefully Kai will be okay.

I am not happy with United for the way they handled this. For three flights our place in the standby list never advanced as they kept moving people with status ahead of us.

Well enough of that for now. I have to see if I can get in the next flight.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Looking for More Pokémon in Chicago

We took advantage of another beautiful weekend by going into Chicago to hunt for more Pokémon. We didn't have any dogs this weekend so Mom was able to join us this time.

Our destination this time was Navy Pier, along Chicago's lakefront.

We started finding Pokémon right away.

And we continued to find them while we walked up and down the pier. This was definitely one of our most fruitful days, Pokémon-wise. Kai had a great time!

And so did my wife and I. Between the sunshine and the great view, it was a perfect day for nice walk.

Besides hunting for Pokémon, we rode on the ferris wheel. It wasn't quite as high as the one we rode on in Yokohama, but we still had a great view of Chicago, and it was high enough to make Kai nervous.

And so we had a very nice Sunday. Hope yours was nice, too.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Apples, Apples, Apples, Cheese Curds, and More

It was a gorgeous weekend here so we wanted to get outside and enjoy the weather. We decided to head up to Wisconsin, where we would go to a very popular orchard to do some apple picking.

Apple Holler is just over the border in Wisconsin, and is close enough to both Chicago and Milwaukee that it always draws a huge crowd. We went there a few times when Kai was very young, but it had been years since our last visit. The place reminds me of the famous Yogi Berra quote: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." But on this day, we wanted to pick apples so we decided to go anyway.

As we neared the area, we found cars parked on the side of the country road quite a bit down from the actual orchard. Their parking lot must have been overflowing.

We waited in line to pay to get in. The minimum price to get in is $20 per person, and for that they give you a small bag to fill up with apples. We decided to upgrade to a bushel, at a cost of $100 for the three of us. Definitely expensive, but I look at it as you are paying for the experience, not just the apples.

Once in the orchard, we found that although there were a lot of people there, the orchard was so expansive that it didn't seem all that crowded.

We walked past rows and rows of different types of apple trees: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Jonathan, Honey Crisp, Gala, and more.

We didn't go all the way to the back; we would have to carry the apples back out. So about halfway back we found an Asian Pear tree and started to pick.

And then we started picking apples. I believe this next photo is by a Gala tree.

I liked the Honey Crisp best and Kai liked the Gala.

We filled up our bushel, and boy, was it heavy. Kai helped carry the bushel out.

Kai even made a short video while we were there.

On our way out, Kai wanted to pick some Golden Delicious.

After lugging the bushel much of the way back, we were relieved when we came across an empty wagon that someone had abandoned.

The orchard also has a play area. Here is Kai by a "cow maze."

And here he is with Mom standing under the Golden Goat Bridge.

Of course, no trip up to Wisconsin is complete without a visit to the legendary Brat Stop.

We started with an order of the "world famous fried Wisconsin cheese curds."

And of course we had to have brats for lunch. My wife and I like it the way you're supposed to have it, with sauerkraut and brown mustard. But Kai likes his with onions and yellow mustard.

Yes, it was a great day!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kai's Video From the Beach

Kai is still making his YouTube videos, usually 3 or 4 every week. Here's a short one he made last weekend when we were on the beach in southwest Michigan.

The water was frigid. My ankles were numb just filming and I didn't dare submerge my whole body that day. But hopefully you can tell that Kai had a great time!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Holiday Weekend with Bubbe and Papa

We spent the holiday weekend in southwestern Michigan with Kai's grandparents. As usual, we were able to do a lot of fun activities with Kai.

On Saturday, while Mom and Bubbe enjoyed a craft fair, Papa and Kai enjoyed snow cones. I am normally not a fan of snow cones as the idea of a snow cone always far exceeds the reality. From my experience, snow cones are way too icy and have far too little of the tasty syrup. Most of the time you are just crunching through pieces of ice. And so, I declined to have my own snow cone. But I did have a little taste of Kai's.

It was the best snow cone I've ever had!

There were several things that made this snow cone so outstanding. First, while most snow cones are made from way too big shavings of ice, on this one the ice was shaved very finely which made it have the texture of soft snow. Secondly, the server was generous with the syrup, so there was a lot of flavor throughout. And finally, this place had a vast variety of flavors to choose from. Kai and his grandfather each had root beer and coconut, with Kai also adding on cinnamon. An cinnamon-flavored snow cone? Yes, and it was delicious!

After that, we hit the beach. It was a bit of a cool day, temperatures in the mid 70s, which was great for walking around but cool for going to the beach, especially since the water itself was very cold. I didn't go in too far, but Kai still enjoyed splashing around on a boogie board.

The next morning we went to a pancake breakfast sponsored by the local Rotary Club. A good friend of Kai's grandparents specially made Kai some Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes. He's not much for pancakes at home, but with a little chocolate syrup, he ate these all up.

Later we had to go back to get more snow cones. This time I had my own and Mom came with us as well. Kai ordered root beer and cinnamon "with a hint of coconut." I had guava, mango, and blueberry. Yum!

Next we debated whether to go back to the beach or to go to an indoor swimming pool instead. The outdoor temperature was a little warmer - around 80 degrees - so perhaps the water would be more tolerable. We tried to look up the water temperature; I found two figures - one said it was 63 degrees and the other said it was 29 (Fahrenheit) which doesn't make any sense. Since it was such a sunny day, we decided to go to the beach.

I found out that the 29 degree figure was a lot closer than the 63 degrees. It was really cold!

But Kai likes it when (at least) one of us goes in the water with him so I went into the freezing water. We had great fun having a water fight.

On our last morning, we went to a nearby farm to pick our own raspberries.

Kai enjoys tasting some as we pick but we managed to fill 8 containers.

So we had a great time, and I didn't even show you the pictures of all the great meals we had as I was too busy eating to think of taking pictures. :)

Hope you had a nice weekend, as well.

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