Wander project Chicago part 1

chicago skylineAs we continue our wander Chicago project, we are heading to the Shedd Aquarium. As a child, the museums of Chicago were treasures to me. I loved all of them, But I think that the Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry were my personal all-time favorites. Jakki was doing a project at school on Dolphins, so we were at the Shedd aquarium to get video of the Dolphin show.

it pays to be sleepingI realize that there was a long period when Jakki was obsessed with dolphins (then later it was wolves, now it is back to her longest animal obsession, dogs!). She loved everything about the wonderful creatures. She was doing a school report, so we figured why no show off the dolphin show at Shedd. We did also do a behind the scenes visit to the Indianapolis Zoo, but this was the first part of the report.

Shedd Aquarium is located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the same complex as the Field Museum. The Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium were both funded by successful Chicago Business People. Marshall Field, founder of the Marshall Field department store (downtown Chicago) funding the Field Museum of natural history. John G. Shedd worked for Marshall Field’s department store as the president and funded the aquarium (located on the same strip of land as the Field Museum). Wonderful gifts by both department store giants!


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Chicago born!

Wander project Greenwood Indiana

Today’s wander takes us back to Greenwood Indiana and a visit from my in-laws. I would love to be able to replay the traditional “my in-laws are coming, so I am suddenly working late, ” but that just wasn’t true. I enjoyed when my father in-law and mother in-law came to visit or when we wandered to their house (first in Hot Springs Arkansas, and then later in Tallahassee Florida). This particular trip they came to visit us in Greenwood.

The pictures show the embarrassing garage at our house in Greenwood. There was a time when we had two cars and probably 40 outdoor play toys. The boys loved riding around on the driveway. That one, the riding around on the driveway I blame on my father. He always had lots of outdoor toys at his house (they had a long driveway on Kinser Pike in Bloomington Indiana), and the kids used to race down the driveway on the toys.

From a timeline perspective, this is probably somewhere around 2002 or 2003; we added the play yard in 2001. So it was the summer possibly of 2001 or as I said 2002ish.  As is tradition there are a bunch of arrival pictures. As they pulled into the driveway and we, of course, greeted them. They would drive from Hot-Springs Arkansas (usually over two days) arriving at our house normally in the early afternoon. That way the trip wasn’t stressful. We (my wife and I) made that trip in one day a few times. One time in a driving snow storm, so we ended up making the trips in two days instead of one).

Wander project Chicago October 2000

chicago skylineWander project Chicago Illinois, that Toddling Town. The windy city! The home of the Chicago Cubs. I to this day have a banner in my office for my Chicago sports teams. (Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and of course the Cubs!). I was born in Chicago Illinois. It is a town that I love visiting. First off because I have many friends (and now once again have a family) that live in Chicago. My sister has moved to Chicago. My aunt lived in Chicago for many years but moved to Austin in retirement to be in warmer weather so for a few years we didn’t have relatives in the Chicago area.)

MVC00003Chicago’s downtown is an amazing vibrant place to visit. The images shared today come from our October 2000 trip to Chicago. This trip is most famous in family lore because this is the trip that the two bears were forgotten at home. The boys always slept with two distinct stuffed bears. Every night they would get Ma Bear, and Honey Bear and fall happily asleep. In a rush out of our house for this trip, both Ma and Honey Bear stayed at home on the boy’s beds in Greenwood.

The minute the missing bear crisis was realized, the boys began crying. Luckily there was a FAO Schwartz store near the hotel. We wandered in and found the boys stuffed clown fish animals that sufficed for the trip, they knew Ma Bear, and Honey Bear would be waiting for them at home. There was, however, before the acceptance a lot of crying. On this first introductory trip to Chicago for the kids, we did Navy Pier, the Chicago Children’s museum, and the harbor cruise. We would late visit Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and of course my favorite museum the Museum of Science and Industry. But those came on later trips, that Ma Bear and Honey Bear went on!.


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Wander project Mexico (swimming with Dolphins)

DSCN0540The last big activity we did during our week in Puerto was to enjoy Swimming with the Dolphins. Actually, in this case, the boys didn’t want to so we ended up watching the swimming from shore, my wife and daughter headed bravely out to hang out with the amazing Dolphins. To get to the location, you had to hop on a boat (that was fun!) and ride out to the park with the pools. We had booked this expedition on the very first day we arrived at the hotel. We arrived with the very first group of people, so of course, we had to wait outside for a bit. Well, to be honest, it was a bit more than a bit waiting outside.

DSCN0581From the front entrance, there were roughly 20 feet of souvenir shopping, and then you were in the pool area. The boys and I climbed the stairs, while my wife and daughter handed us their stuff and donned life jackets. We wandered up to the seating area so that we could get a nice view. That was when my boss called, he had forgotten I was on vacation and had a small crisis. I was able to take care of it pretty quickly. It was, however, back in the day, a very expensive phone call (I think it ended up being 22 dollars for roughly 4 to 5 minutes).

The entire experience lasted quite a bit of time; the girls were in the water for at least a ½ hour. They had a blast. The boys were having fun watching and vegging. It was a great end to our trip. The trip is one we will never forget. The more than 200 digital pictures I took for that trip seemed like a huge amount. Now between my wife, daughter and myself we routinely take 5000 or more pictures for a week of vacation!


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Wander project more of Mexico!

DSCN0416Wandering back down Mexico way one more time (I took a lot of pictures). We spent a day at the local water park. That was an amazing experience. The water park mixed the traditional water slides with the always fun lazy river and large wave pool. I have to admit I went down the tube slide a few times. They are a lot of fun overall. You fly down the tube, sometimes seeing the sky sometimes actually in the dark.

DSCN0425The other thing you will notice is lots more pictures of the beach. We spent a lot of time on the beach in front of the hotel. We also wandered over to listen to a time-share presentation as well. I am not sure what motivated us to go to the presentation, but we did. Well, they offered us tickets to the water park if we would sit and listen to the presentation on the advantage of getting a time share in Mexico.

Interesting, but in the end not for us. The water park was for us, we’ve been to many over the years including the one near Kings Island in Ohio, the one in King’s Island in Ohio and the ones at Disney World. I didn’t go to the one at Disney World, my wife took my daughter, and I stayed in the room with exhausted sleeping boys. They were at the age when they could skip their morning nap but not both naps. They were a little older in Mexico!


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Wander project out on the Bay!

P9090024I have shared some pictures of being out on the bay over the past ten weeks. Mostly images of boats, the water and just cruising. Today I wanted to introduce a member of our crew. We have the Captain, the other Captain and then finally Captain Lars (see the last two pictures for his image). One of the things we enjoyed in Europe was the hard top power boats. Rather than covered with canvas, a hard top has a fixed top. We also, in Gelsinger, found a shop that sold Norwegian Trolls. We had to get a couple for the house, and of course one for the boat. Captain Lars has been a fixture on the boat since then.

P9090013For some reason, I took an image or two of the boat instruments as well. Not sure why I did that. For the most part, we were simply cruising; we didn’t go out into the bay far enough to see dolphins, we instead headed over towards Annapolis itself. We were looking to see what was around. Mostly we were not hungry, or we would have gone further into the city dock area. There are some restaurants where you can tie off your boat and enjoy lunch.

It was a phenomenal day, warm enough not to be cold on the water. The sky was clear with just a couple of dark clouds overhead. When you are out on the Bay, the weather is not a good thing. The water can get pretty rough, pretty quick. There are a few more weeks of boating season left this year, at most seven weeks. Then we take the boat to the dry dock, and it is pulled from the water for winterizing and a relaxing winter on land. With the hurricane coming, (Irma) we made sure we were prepared in case of a sudden shift of hurricane path.


boating fan

Wander project still in Mexico!

DSCN0410We wander today again back to Mexico and more pictures. One of the cool things was the pirate ship that each evening announced the dinner hour with a blast from its cannon!  We enjoyed watching the pirate ship head out, although we didn’t get on the ship. You could get tickets, we just ran out of time every day and never booked them! We were on the run and the go every day moving from the beach to town and then to the pool!

DSCN0394Our second day we wandered the village of Puerto Vallarta and had a wonderful lunch. One of my personal all time favorite Mexican dishes is Guacamole! They came to the table and made the Guacamole fresh for us. My wife and I both love Guc, and our kids hate it. That makes it an even better experience for my wife and I. More for us, less to share!!! Well, we have to share with each other, and after 26 years we are still working on that one.

The other cool thing from day 2, was finding an open air market and wandering the market. My wife got a new bag and the kids each got something to remember Mexico. After all the years of me traveling and all the different places I had been at that time, I only wanted a good Cuban cigar. I didn’t and still don’t collect things from the places I’ve been. I collect things that the people in my life give me!


family history south of the Rio Grande…