Normally, my brother comes to Traverse City for a week in the summertime, but not this year. With a new job and limited time, he just couldn't make it up. So, my mom took it upon herself to plan a Neumann Family Vaca, something that hasn't happened in many years. Being the avid Fox News Channel viewer that she is, Mom heard about these "Freedom Concerts", a nationwide concert tour headed up by Sean Hannity. She found out that one of these concerts was going to be held in Cincinnati (exactly halfway between BJ's house in Atlanta and our house in TC...yes, my Dad has mapped it. Shocker.) at King's Island, an amusement park similar to Six Flags. The concert ticket came with a free day pass to the park. Well, Mom did a little more research and found out that King's Island's theme is Nickelodeon, which could only mean one thing...Dora the Explorer!...And Spongebob Squarepants!!! Perfect, right? Agreed.
I began mentally preparing Ella a week in advance for the Spongebob meeting. She couldn't stop talking about it, and insisted every day that she wanted to "GO NOW" to see him. We picked up Uncle Beej from the airport on Thursday night and headed to the park Friday morning. Barely inside the entrance, there they stood. Dora on the right, Spongebob on the left. In all their glory, just waiting to greet us. Ella's eyes almost popped out of her head, she was in shock. Speechless actually. It was adorable. After the meeting/greeting excitement, we headed to the Nickelodeon kids' rides. Ella rode every ride she was tall enough for and then we breaked for lunch.
Ella was exhausted so my parents took her off for a walk, and sent my bro and I off to ride the rollercoasters. We were seriously like teenagers again. Hilarious. Rode the Diamondback (with some ridiculous 250 foot drop) that nearly scared the bejeezies out of both of us. Naturally, we rode it again. Phenomenal. Two other rollercoaster's that we were waiting in line for actually broke down while we were waiting. Lame. But, the Diamondback made up for it. Awesomeness.
It was 7pm, concert time, and Ella had just passed out in her stroller, after a VERY long day. So, everyone took their seats while I walked around the park with the sleepy little girl. She woke up still tired, cranky, and hungry. And so began the Biggest Meltdown EVER. It was intense. I must say I handled it like a champ, as I was already mentally prepared for an angry, exhausted child. But, this was, like, devil child. I hadn't really seen this side of her before. But, she was tired and, well, my kid needs a nap. It's just a fact of life. But, this did make for a long concert, which I was somewhat able to enjoy. I was also battling some stomach issues (that's another post) myself. The concert was good, I enjoyed the music. I've always been a big fan of Michael W. Smith, who sang, and Sean Hannity performed "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", which was pretty entertaining. Jon Voight spoke and Ollie North was there also. It was pretty cool. I got a mug. Ella got a flag.
The next day YaYa and Uncle B took Ella swimming at the hotel pool, as the weather stunk and blew our plans to go to the water park. This was no issue with Mom, BJ, and I as we headed to the Premium Outlets to do a little damage. And, damage we did. More awesomeness. That night we headed to the Montgomery Inn and had some world famous ribs. Mmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. I must say though, as amazing as they were, Nick Taylor (Nat's hubby) makes the best ribs I've ever had in my life. :) After ribs, we took Ella to an indoor "Krazy City" that had go-carts, rides, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, arcade games, you name it. A nice cap to our mini vacation.
Thanks YaYa and Gray for an awesome time!