Wander project Milwaukee WI…

IMG_4941After the food was served my wife and I split up. I was wandering around taking pictures (imagine that), and she wanted to play Bocce Ball. Not the real Bocce Ball as they play in many places, just a form of Bocce Ball that involved throwing your ball at the balls already out on the grass and knocking into them. Every time one of the participants hit another ball there were gales of laughter. Apparently, this group had often been together as children.

Author’s Note: I realized looking at this sentence from a couple of days ago, that in fact I probably should have written the first line differently. My wife and I each took a boy and went to a different activity.

One of the boys went with my wife while the other stayed with Jakki and me. We wandered around outside looking at the trees and the apartment complex. It was the nice weather for the time of year. Much more comfortable than walking around outside in the summer. There is something about Wisconsin that always feels like home to me. I guess it is because I spent so many summers of my childhood, Teen and later adult years in the state.

IMG_5062My mother-in-law and father-in-law had a blast. They were talking to people about the various changes in the family. It is funny, as families age they lose people. As they return to gather, they talk about the way things were when the people that had been lost were still around. As if creating new memories was hard or painful. There are so many ways you can celebrate the reality of a family. Family reunions though tend to e more memories of those who couldn’t attend!

Wander project Milwaukee

IMG_4960My wife has family that lives in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. Her mother was born in Baron which is located in the Northern part of Wisconsin (north of another place I’ve posted about, Wisconsin Dells). The part of the family in Wisconsin (there is another part in Indiana. Her father was born in Indiana) had a reunion in Milwaukee. We drove up a day early with Barb’s parents to spend some time in the wonderful city of Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Milwaukee is situated between Chicago and Green Bay. While Green Bay has the professional football team for Wisconsin (The Packers) Milwaukee has the NBA and MLB teams. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Brewers call Milwaukee home. It is also nestled against Lake Michigan. Our first visit was to the shore and the wonderful restored downtown Milwaukee area. Milwaukee like many Midwestern cities have undergone a rebirth in the past few years.

IMG_4953The first few pictures in this shared focus on the family. Everyone is standing at the rail looking down on the shore of Milwaukee. There is a maritime museum, Milwaukee like Chicago has an active port with ships traversing Lake Michigan. You can move a lot of goods over water quickly. Plus no train or truck can drive straight from Milwaukee to anywhere in Michigan. You have to wind down past Chicago and then through Indiana to send something via truck from Milwaukee.


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Wander project Lake Lemon!

IMG_6087Wandering back to Lake Lemon located in Indiana, and July 2009. Sunday afternoons were family excursions on the boat. The images today are from those expeditions. We would head down to Lake Lemon from Greenwood. It, the lake, was located off of a series of Indiana backroads. It was near, as I have mentioned before, Waycross camp. The kids all spent time at Waycross over the years were in Greenwood.

Lake Lemon had a residential end and a dam end. There were houses dotted along the entire shore of the lake. You could take your boat up the river that was dammed to create the lake but not very far. We did that a couple of times. With our then smaller boat, we made it about 30 minutes up the creek/river before we had to turn around. When turning a boat that is wider than the creek is wide it can be a nerve-wracking experience.

IMG_6061We’ve seen the tubing events; those happened often. We had a boat on Lake Lemon from roughly 2003 to 2010. During that time we spent many weekend days from March to October. Seeing the leaves changing colors in the fall from the water was always amazing. We also learned many of the wonderful joys of boat ownership (dead batteries, dead starters). Overall the experience was amazing and one that we will always cherish!

Author’s Note: We sold the boat the summer we moved to Maryland (we were boat free for about four years). I will say the sales experience with Just Add Water Boats was horrible.


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Wander project Annapolis–Swab the decks mate!

PA140029Yesterday was swab the decks day on the boat.While that doesn’t sound like fun, and it wasn’t, well yeah it wasn’t. The Teak on the boat was gray. The back area, the swim platform didn’t get a lot better (it is better than it was) the main seating area of the boat looks amazing. We used the Star Bright products, and they worked like a charm! The cleaner got so much dirt out of the teak it was kind of scary. We had brown water leaving the boat for a good five minutes. The entire process wasn’t too bad.

It is a three-step process (cleaner, conditioner, and finally teak oil). I remembered the teak oil from my childhood. I helped my mother oil teak a few times over the years. The first thing we noticed was how much cleaner the wood looked after applying the cleaner. That made the wood look nice. Not as nice as it does now with the oil, but nice. Once the brighter was applied, the wood started to come alive.

PA140009Finally, the last step was applying the oil. That did the trick. The pictures are taken after the oil was applied. It was the US National Power Boat show weekend in Annapolis so traffic getting there and getting back was not good. The weather was overcast and cool. That, by the way, was a saving grace. We swabbed the deck and didn’t end up covered in sweat. I suspect this may be the most boring travel experience I’ve shared in awhile, but it fits in my family history rules. We share the images we have!

(the first picture shows how weathered and gray our teak looked before the second the after)!


Family Historian

of naps and memories.

IMG_6923Young boys have a lot of energy. When the boys were five or six, a great Tai Kwon Do Dojo opened near the house. It was in the strip mall that was about two miles from our house. We, and by we I am using the Royal We, it was mostly my wife that did the sleeping, slipped the boys to the Dojo twice a week. It helped burn their energy. They loved the graduation ceremony when they got to break boards. We loved that they were tired when they got home.

Naps, you see, had stopped when the boys were four. I cannot, as a parent, tell you how much I missed naps when the last child stopped taking them. I missed them so much. I could go outside and mow the lawn while they were napping. I could watch a football game, which my wife claims were just code for taking a nap on the couch. I could read a book or watch a movie and not worry about interruptions.

IMG_6927When the boys were little they loved to jump on me when I was sleeping, knees first right in the stomach. I cannot tell you how many naps were interrupted by that activity. Or the two of them attacking me when I was stretching my back on the ground. That was another favorite activity. Those didn’t happen when they were napping. I missed the days of napping. I miss them still although now I just take a nap and ignore the kids.


shhh he’s napping

Wander project Graduation IUPUI Indianapolis

IMG_3604One of the big life events that happened in Indiana before we moved out to Maryland (right before in fact) was my wife completing her lifelong dream. She had always wanted to be a Social Worker. Well, not specifically only a Social Worker, but someone that could get involved and help other people. She decided that she wanted to go back to school and study Social Work for her Master Degree. She chooses to attend Indiana University in Indianapolis for that.

It was along four years, and she didn’t finish the process until a year after we moved to Maryland. She did her final practicum in Maryland. It was a year-long study for her as a hospice social worker. The first three years, however, were in Indiana. They let her walk with the rest of her class for graduation before we left. She graduated officially in May 2012. This graduation event was in Indianapolis in May 2011.

IMG_3608We, the kids and I, sat in the auditorium with family watching the culmination of a long journey. You see, my wife has had some careers. For a time she was a car salesperson. For a time she was a waitress. For a time she was a video producer. For a time, she had the hardest job of all, staying home and managing twins. For a time she was a fundraiser and then after all of those things she was once again a student. Eventually, she was destined to become a hospice Social Worker, but that didn’t happen overnight. It was a long and winding road, but she stuck with it, and we are proud of her for making it.


proud of my wife!

Wander project Lake Lemon

IMG_6058Before we moved to Maryland, we used to boat at a small lake just north of Bloomington Indiana called Lake Lemon. It was so named because the mayor of Bloomington at the time was Mayor Lemon. It was created by the US Army Corp of Engineers to reduce flooding. They would also build a lake south of Bloomington called Lake Monroe. Lake Monroe is much bigger than Lake Lemon, but it is also a solid hour further south from Greenwood. We could be at Lake Lemon in about 35 minutes on a Sunday after the church was over.

So we did, most Sundays throughout the year. We would, another than in the winter, head down to the boat and tool around Lake Lemon. We had a wonderful boat, a Glasstron and enjoyed being out on the lake. This particular trip was focused on an event we were going to later in the day, but for the most part, you get the idea. When I was a kid, we went to Lake Lemon a few times. Riddle Point was a beach on Lake Lemon.

IMG_6082As a young adult, we went to Lake Lemon more often. It was far closer to Bloomington than Lake Monroe. Lake Monroe is a place best explored by boat. Not a canoe, which was the boat we had at the time. Lake Monroe is huge and paddling all around that 89 miles, or so shoreline would take many hours. Lake Lemon is a smaller lake and was also easier to get around. For us being in Greenwood, it was significantly closer, so we kept our boat there.

Author’s Note: It was a fun afternoon of tubing and the kids always enjoyed it. We got a couch later, that was an inner tube you could tow. All three of them could sit on the couch and zoom around the lake!


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