Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer Fun - Summer Splash, #DDT, and Memorial Park Pool

So vacation ended over two weeks ago. It seems like just yesterday that these #PoolDads and our families were wrapping up our time in North Carolina with a trip to the Wright Brothers Memorial, an awesome North Carolina Aquarium, and a trip to Jennette's Pier where we saw a fisherman reel in a shark! Nonetheless,  week full of fun, sun, and Duck Donuts went by in a blur and these #PoolDads are back to summer life in Grove City.

Bible School

One of the best parts of summer is Vacation Bible School. Grove City is blessed to offer a number of different VBS's throughout the summer. One such offering took place at East Main Presbyterian Church from June 20 - 24. Jaxon had a great time in the traditional VBS program, while Savanna and Joella were excited to participate in the alternative VBS program, which provided them the opportunity to participate in a number of different community service projects. Whether it was cleaning horse stalls, clearing unwanted plants from a nature trail, or delivering cookie plates to homes and businesses in Grove City, these girls loved to serve. Thanks, East Main, for such an amazing opportunity.

The Grove City Alliance Church does things a bit differently. Julien and Jenna had the opportunity to participate in Summer Splash Junior from June 20 - 23. This awesome program gave these kids a chance to learn some great worship songs and learn how God can bring peace to our lives. What a great message to teach these youngsters!

The week of June 26 kicked off with the Summer Splash Carnival at GCAC followed by an awesome night of praise and worship led by the GCAC Youth Worship Band. In addition to the awesome worship, prizes were given. The Bandi's were blessed to walk away with certificates for free Blizzards from DQ and free ice cream cones from Sweet Jeanie's (a Grove City treasure)!

Summer Splash ran from Monday - Wednesday and provided some great opportunities for the older kids. Jaxon and Isaac participated in a more traditional program where they learned about the peace that God brings to our lives. Joella and Savanna had the chance to participate in breakout groups, which is a unique feature of Summer Splash for kids finishing grades 4 - 6. These groups included many interesting topics - karate, guitar, sports, cake decorating, and praise symbols to name a few. The week wrapped up on Wednesday with a family picnic and a service in which the younger students sang songs they'd learned during Summer Splash, while the breakout groups gave demonstrations of skills they'd learned over the two days.

The #PoolDads are so thankful for VBS and the role these programs have in the lives of our children!

#DDT - Dunkin Donuts Tuesday (or Thursday)

One of the summertime highlights is a tradition started last summer: the DDT. As our readers know, these #PoolDads LOVE donuts. We love them so much that we've set aside a day each week to take the kids to Hermitage, PA, for a visit to Dunkin Donuts. It's a little wild and a little crazy, but always fun when we make these trips. Traditionally, these trips take place on Tuesdays, but due to scheduling conflicts this week, the first #DDT of the summer took place today, Thursday, June 30.  For those that watched live, or watched in syndication, our Facebook Live show, you know that we're looking for new things to try at Dunkin Donuts on our next #DDT. If you have any suggestions, leave them in a comment below!

Memorial Park Pool

Obviously, the Memorial Park Pool holds a special place for us. This is where our we take our kids each day for fun and sun, usually spending several hours daily. The last couple of weeks have been tremendous with the perfect combination of air temperature, water temperature, and crowd. If you haven't been to the pool recently, come on out and support this AWESOME community resource! When you arrive, look for the #PoolDads and stop by to say "Hello"! We want nothing more than to see the people of Grove City show strong support for this pool and to show the Borough and the YMCA that the Memorial Park Pool is a treasured resource and more than worth the investment in maintaining and improving on the existing structure.

The #PoolDads have had a thought that may be fun for getting people out to the pool. Who out there would be interested in a Splash-Off??? We have some regulars at the pool who have the ability to make some pretty enormous splashes off the diving board, but the #PoolDads believe it is time to crown a Splash Champion! If you would have any interest in participating, comment below and we'll see if we can set up an official time!

Thanks for reading!

The #PoolDads

Thursday, June 16, 2016

MId-Week Review

Due to some network issues, this latest entry is a little late. The initial plan had been to blog each day's activities, but that plan has changed to look at the highlights of the trip over the last couple of days. Once again, thanks for taking a few minutes of your day to read about our adventures. The #PoolDads sincerely hope this blog provides you with a taste of the fun that our families are having on this exciting Outer Banks vacation. Enjoy!


Monday was a pretty lazy day. The #PoolDads began the day with a nice run in the morning. The runs allow for some exploring off the beaten path and led to the discovery of a new high ropes course that is being built just up the road. The course isn't open yet, but appears to be nearing completion and should be lots of fun when it does open.

Upon our return to the beach house, our families got ready for a morning at the beach. The temperature was much cooler than yesterday and the waves were much larger and choppier. Still, lots of fun to play in, even if the boogie boarding was a bit more difficult. The kids had a blast as we rode the trolley back to the house for lunch. After lunch we hung out at the pool and just relaxed. 

The real high points of the day came with our evening activities. Dinner was at a restaurant called Fat Crabs and Barbecue. This was an interesting combination of foods, but each side of the menu provided solid choices. The seafood steamer platters were the highlights here as you can see below.

After dinner we headed down the road for a nice competitive game of miniature golf at Tim Buck II (see what they did there???). The kids had a blast and this was a great way to end the evening.

After getting the kids to bed, the #PoolDads and our lovely wives set out for a stroll where we were treated to the view of a large buck sprinting from the woods and across the road right in front of us! Very cool and the end to a great day.


This day began a bit differently. Judd and his mother set out early for a round of golf while the rest of us hung back at the pool. When Judd returned, the #PoolDads took our kids to the famed Currituck Beach Light House. The kids had been itching to climb the house since we arrived on Saturday and we climbed all the way to the top! This is the way that everyone should see Corolla!

As we concluded the light house adventure, we then went back to the house for an early dinner (cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob) and an evening trip to the beach. After the beach, the #PoolDads took our families out for ice cream which was very good!

We then headed north to a neat little boardwalk/nature trail on the sound side of the island to watch the sunset. This was an extra special excursion as we were able to observe one of North Carolina's famed wild horses roaming the woods right by the boardwalk. This was followed by the sight of a young buck dining on the vegetation just off the trail as well. This was a special sight for the kids.  

The final activity of the night was an awesome crab hunt on the beach! The kids LOVED IT! Jaxon proved to be a very effective crab hunter as he was scooping them up bare handed and throwing them in bucket - there was no fear in that boy! Overall, a very fun activity and a great end to our day.


After a day of swimming and playing at the beach and at the pool, the #PoolDads set out with our families for dinner at the Outer Banks Taco Bar located in Kitty Hawk, NC. This place was GREAT! Service may have been a bit slow, but the food more than made up for it. If you're ever in the area, stop in!

After dinner, we set out for Jockey's Ridge State
Park. For those that are unfamiliar with this location, it is a HUGE sand dune. Visitors are able to climb to the top and get another magnificent view of the ocean below. The #PoolDads broadcast a GREAT live video on Justin's Facebook while at the dunes. If you haven't seen it, check it out! The trip to the top provided lots of nice photo ops. The trip down the dune was great as Justin took the opportunity to roll down to the bottom. . . . and Julien & Jenna took the opportunity to make sand angels!

Thanks for reading! 

#PoolDads out!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Let's Get It Started!

#OceanDads Edition

It's been a long time coming, but the Summer is here and the #PoolDads are starting it right! For the first time, we take our quest for pools, donuts, and fun on the road as our families vacation together in Corolla, NC. The house is huge, the sun is HOT, and the water is just right, so let the fun begin!

Day 1

After a 2-day drive that took us from Grove City to Corolla, we were set for our first full day in the beach house. The morning started with a box of Duck Donuts. Let's just say that if you've never had a donut from Duck Donuts, you are missing out. This is a fairly large chain along the east coast, so if you ever find one nearby and you love a good donut, you owe it to yourself to try it out. While all the flavors that we tried are outstanding, the Maple-Bacon Donut is in a class all by itself!

After this awesome breakfast, we packed up, lotioned up, and headed to the beach. The day was HOT - actual air temperature of 93°. We spent a couple hours with the kids and our lovely wives digging in the sand, jumping the waves, and riding the boogie boards. The water was incredibly calm and felt awesome on this hot day! This particular trip to the beach was highlighted by several dolphin sightings early in the morning.

Around lunch time we went back to the house to spend the afternoon in our swimming pool. Side note - it is a great idea to have a house with it's own private pool when you come to a place like Corolla. The time in the pool was spent throwing the football, diving for various diving toys, practicing cannonball technique, and just having fun! What a great way to spend the afternoon!

As the evening approached, we got to share an amazing dinner prepared by Judd's mother in celebration of Jenna, Judd's youngest, and her 5th birthday. The dinner of spaghetti and meatballs was fantastic and a great way to close out the day. For dessert, we enjoyed a fantastic birthday cake made by Justin's wife, Jenn, and decorated by Savannah, Judd's oldest. A great time was had by all!

After dinner, it was off for a nice evening family stroll to the sound. Here, we had a beautiful view of the gorgeous Whalehead Club and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. The sunset was equally stunning as the rays were shining through storm clouds that were moving off the coast. The kids were thrilled to see some interesting wildlife on this walk - an egret and a snake. A fantastic lightning display off the coast helped to light our way back to the house as the sun began to set.

After getting baths and showers, the kids were off to bed. When all were content and sleeping, the #PoolDads and our wives headed out for an awesome nighttime walk along the beach. Armed with only our cellphone flashlights, we headed out, not knowing that we would soon be walking through a see of sand crabs! These suckers were everywhere - large, small, baby, monsters, all sizes! - and we had some fun with a few of them, including the one featured in the video below.

Day 1 was jam-packed with activity. We can't wait to see what the rest of the week has in store for us on this #PoolDads vacation.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Birthday Fun!

While not officially summer, and not the official home base for these #PoolDads, it is time for our first outing of the year. It's Isaac's birthday, and we're off to Splash Lagoon in Erie, PA. Should be a fun time! Pictures and updates to come later!

Splash Lagoon here we come!
Arrival at Splash Lagoon and posing with the amazingly lifelike animal art!

This was an absolutely perfect time to visit Splash Lagoon! The crowd was smaller than I've ever seen and wait times were no more than 3-5 minutes for any of the slides. The wave pool was a huge hit with Jaxon and Isaac. . .  that is until a kid puked in it and the pool had to be evacuated! Kind of gross, but to be expected at a place like this.

While the slides and wave pool were great, the biggest hit for the boys was the giant tiki bucket. Every time the alarm sounded indicated the bucket was about to dump, these boys took off running, no matter where we were or what we were doing! On a funny note, the alarm tone has changed since we were last there, making it easier to mimic. Obviously, Judd had to try this and at one point fooled several kids into running to the spill zone and waiting for several minutes until they realized the bucket was not dumping! Hilarious!!!

Five hours of swimming and sliding later, we ended the day in the arcade. Jaxon, on his first attempt of the evening at a ticket game, scored 350 tickets! Quite the impressive showing.

Lots of fun had by all! Stay tuned for more adventures with the #PoolDads.