Today starts the last of the numbered folders. We have now entered folder 8. This is actually on the Carnival Cruise ship after we boarded from our expedition to Xcaret. This is Jakki swimming in the main deck pool. The cruise was nice, the food was decent, but for the most part it was a meet and greet singles cruise so a little less comfortable for us than the Disney Cruise had been. Well, for the kids it was great. The 24 hour access to Pizza was the boys dream. Jakki made new friends (she is good at that) on the cruise as well. The boys pretty much stuck with us, but that was more our choice than their choice. They would have preferred being off with their sister. Instead they were stuck with mom and dad. That was a theme for the first maybe four years of their lives. After the boys were four we let them go with their sister. But before that we were always a little nervous.
Scenes of the top deck of the Carnival cruise. Jakki loved the top deck area. We didn’t actually go visit the top deck on our last cruise. It was a little cold. They had an indoor pool area, but we didn’t actually swim. We did go walking in the pool area a couple of times. But on this cruise in the summer, in the Caribbean we were all about swimming. Well Jakki and the boys were. After our long day at Xcaret I was glad for the sea day so I could rest and relax. It funny now, vacations once were expeditions to the pole. Pack heavy, pack everything and mom and dad carried everything. The stroller was our life line. We were prepared for every emergency. Now, we split things up, kids carry 1/2 or more of the stuff and we can move a lot faster and see a lot more. I do miss them they were little, but I love traveling with them now!
As is always the case with film you never took a whole roll in one place. We had two rolls devoted half to greenwood and then a roll and a half from Xcaret. Finally we end with a half roll of ship life and then back to a gymnasium at a Center Grove School. Funny how film makes you travel further faster than light! So today’s wander project wanders all the way from the Caribbean, to Florida and then back to Indianapolis Indiana. Actually from the airport, which is in Marion County so is part of Indianapolis Proper. From the airport heading South on 465, the bypass around Indianapolis and ending up on highways 37 South. Aiming for Bloomington but stopping off in Greenwood. From Greenwood, you are in Center Grove School district so you have the opportunity to visit the school. Now why we were there, then, who knows.
Folder 7 in our quest brings us back to Greenwood Indiana. In particular back to Eagle Trace, the subdivision we lived in. We had a huge open living room in the house and that beautiful marble, gas fireplace. The problem with gas fireplaces is they produce some heat but when you turn them on you might as well light them with a stack of 100 one dollar bills. Because you burn more than you produce in terms of cost versus heat ratio. Still, it was a great view with windows on either side of the fireplace in our living room. On the fireplace, standing is Jakki. We found out later, that the marble wasn’t well laid. Several of the lower tiles where people sat and where Jakki is standing, came loose over time. We ended up having to replace 4 of them over the years. Not cheap, but not the best laid plan either.
We had a Blue’s Clues birthday for the boys one year (the blue mass in the right corner of one of first and third picture is Blue itself. Not sure if Blue, on Blue’s Clues was every really gender specific and not sure it matters.) The boys loved Blue. So Blue came to the birthday. It was actually fun. We did a few character birthday’s over the years. Just a couple years before this Nick wouldn’t even be in the same room with any of the Disney Characters. But again, he loved Blue. The middle picture is me sitting on the fireplace, I suspect I shouldn’t have.
I suspect somewhere in the mass of folders I have, focused on the boys there are pictures of this event as well. You can see me preparing to take a picture in the first pane. In the second we have Blue. When your kids are little birthdays are a big deal. Then when they get older they become a big deal again. But for different reasons. As they get older the birthday’s are milestones, moments that you can cherish and hold dear for a long time. These, however, the early years are the ones you remember fondly. When the kids were little and you were someone they needed. The transition as they get from needing you, to being around you is a fun one. But it does make for a different relationship with your kids.
The well oiled machine that once upon a time was folder management, I.e. me, missed the connection this time. As we, moving from folder five to folder six move from Greenwood Indiana back to Xcaret in Cancun Mexico. I thought, in the two folders we had already seen of the wonderful park Xcaret that we were missing pictures. This is of the kids playing in the water, enjoying the huge yellow life rafts. The sand was so clean, the water was so clear and it was a stifling 90 plus degrees. It was the wet, humid heat of being by the ocean. It was fun relaxing, hanging out at the beach. That is the nice thing about traveling with your family versus on your own. When it is just you, you have family to get back to. When you are with the family you can relax, sit back and enjoy more of what you are seeing.
Nick in particular loved the huge yellow inner tubes. I don’t think there are many pictures of him outside of the inner tube. He was having fun in the sand, playing and just being a kid. There are times, sitting on a beach when you enjoy letting the kids be kids. Just letting them have a chance to enjoy the reality of childhood. Vacations do that for you sometimes. Beyond the stress of everyday life, a chance to do more while doing less.
As you can see, the water was extremely blue. The ocean that lay beyond the barrier was a deep blue and looked inviting. We traveled across Cancun to get to Xcaret. It was a journey well worth the time. I really enjoyed seeing the sea turtles. I don’t know why but sea turtles are one of my favorite animals. I guess anything that struggles on land but is so graceful in water is a unique creature. I also think it has to do with the Jock Cousteau specials when I was a kid. I used to love watching those, I still do but they are reruns now. Then they were new, fresh and I couldn’t wait for the next one.
Over the river and into folder 5. The other problem with the photo disks is that I was managing the storage, not the taking. So many of them are of places I recognize, but aren’t pictures I was involved in the taking of. The location of this picture is our house in Greenwood. It was taken in the kitchen of the house. We lived on the south side of Greenwood. Near a drag racing strip. Well in fairness it wasn’t a drag racing strip. It was just a bit of road that a lot of people drove very fast on. The cool thing was you could, from our house take the back way to Indianapolis places like the Zoo, Lucas Oil Stadium, Eli Lilly Global HQ and the children’s museum. Like most cities at times the traffic in Indy can be bad, particularly in the month of May. I never minded leaving down in May. Except coming home, that was always an ordeal.
The last picture does appear to be the boy in a hotel room. We never owned furniture that color. That is Nick playing on a chair. The second image is of me without gray hair, and with lots more hair. I was looking at something either a pamphlet or book that I was holding at the very edge of the screen. The other two pictures are of people at a party. You can see the balloons and people eating cake (the location is the kitchen in Greenwood.
Same chair type, and color, but in a different location. Perhaps a hotel or perhaps down at Franklin where Barb’s folks lived. They moved from Hot Springs to Florida, and back to Indiana to complete the circuit. (Barb’s parents lived in Bloomington to start). Franklyn Indiana is just South of Greenwood. It is a traditional Indiana town. But traditional I don’t mean the people, I mean the physical layout of the town. Most of the counties of Indiana have a major and a minor city. The major city has a square and in that square is the courthouse or county seat. Franklyn was the county seat and was configured like that. Franklyn is a beautiful town. We would go there often, to see Barb’s parents and to enjoy the beauty of the city. Plus our boat was just South of Franklyn on Lake Lemon so we passed that way often.
Folder 4. Still in Xcaret, Cancun Mexico. This was after a long day at the beach. Luke, and Jakki, now perched on the steps of an ancient Mayan temple. After a long day at the beach. The park itself is amazing. They have a series of water rides that are amazing. We didn’t go on any of the rides because, well at that time the boys were a little young to be on a water ride that was more than just flying down a tube and landing in water. These rides were literally water under pressure moving underground in a couple of places. They looked amazing, but as I said the boys were still a little young. But, the beach as you saw yesterday was amazing. We enjoyed our day at Xcaret. Plus, there were so many different things to look at and see that we enjoyed walking around and seeing what we could see.
As you enter Xcaret you wander through a wonderful display. It is unique in that as you enter the park they tell you, no sun lotion or anything that isn’t natural. This park is for the animals. For the original creatures that lived on the island in the time of the Mayan’s and before. As we wandered we were struck not only by the beauty of the place but by both the time, there are ancient Mayan ruins here, but also the reality of change. Long before western culture came to the new world, there was a thriving, growing civilization. Western Culture didn’t destroy the Mayan culture, it was gone long before we could sail easily across the ocean. It was long gone before we were. But there are still signs of the culture. Still moments you can glimpse in places like Xcaret. A trip back to what once was.
The band was playing near where we had lunch. I really enjoyed both the chance to sit, relax and the chance to listen. Music is the one thing I find in my years of traveling that while different in different parts of the world, is always interesting. Music presents not just the culture of where you are, but also the ear. In listening to the ear of a culture I am always amazed. You hear so much, so many different sounds as you travel. There is nothing finer than the music of where you are!
We have taken four cruises over the years. The first was aboard the Disney Magic. The second, however while not our favorite overall cruise experience on a Carnival Cruise took us to Cancun and to the Xcaret. From that side trip came some of the best pictures we have ever gotten of the kids. By we I don’t mean me I mean Barb. By best pictures I do however mean best pictures. I can say the second part with great certainty. Cancun is a island off the coast of Mexico. It is a place filled with resorts. One of the vacation destinations, our stop there was a port of call. We hopped on buses and drove from the far side of the island to the Xcaret park. The park is designed to make the animals at home, and the humans as visitors. They ask that you do not wear sun lotion or anything else that would impact the animals that live there.
These pictures were taken on the steps of a Mayan temple. On the far left are Nick and Jakki sitting on the temple steps. The next picture is of Luke, he had crashed right about when we entered the park, he would perk up later but for now we were wandering the park with him asleep. Again the goal of the park is to protect the animals. It is also a place for families to come, relax and wander. This being the pictures captured in Folder 3 of the picture disks. The park was amazing. I love the pictures of Jakki and the boys on (or near) the steps of the Mayan temple. I was interested in the park when I first heard about it. Heading off to see it, was quite amazing. We spent the day wandering the entire park and got some great iconic pictures. The best pictures are the one’s coming. The one thing I still remember to this day was just how white the sand was. Pristine and simply amazing. It was also really hot (the sand) I remember taking my shoes off to feel the sand between my toes and having them back on in short order (too hot)!
You can see the just amazing water and sand behind Nick in three of my all time favorite pictures of him. He played in the inner tube for an hour. He was just having a blast being in the sun, by the sea and playing.
By the time we were done that trip, and back on the ship for the evening the boys were asleep. Well, they were asleep after dinner, but they were zonked very early!
Yesterday time detectives we ended folder one, with images of the YMCA camp near Greenwood Indiana. Today we start folder two with the same place. The other side of film cameras. You would have them for a course of time. You would take pictures, but unlike digital or video you took fewer pictures (on average for a family event now I take 100 pictures. In the days of Film we might take 24). So this is the YMCA camp just outside Indianapolis Indiana that Barb and Jakki went to a woman’s retreat at. They had a blast. Jakki loves climbing rock walls and flying down long zip lines. Barb not as much, but she was having fun on a mother daughter weekend. She ran afoul of the one fatal flaw for film camera’s. As she was taking pictures the film stopped. That meant you had to put in a new role.Folder one ends with the YMCA.
Folder two begins with the same event. I wish, knowing now what I didn’t know then, I wish I had separated them when I first got them. The biggest fun thing that happened for Barb other than getting to hang out with Jakki for a weekend, was meeting Mary McInerney. She wasn’t Mary McInerney when Barb met her. But Barb introduced her to Sean, Sean is the person that introduced Barb and I. As I wander through the folders I am reminded of moments. This was the first time Barb was gone, the boys were 3 maybe. In best tradition of a boy’s weekend I introduced them to the glory that was Bob Evan’s breakfast. That became a father son tradition for us. Whenever there was a weekend where Barb was working or Barb and Jakki were gone we trotted off to Bob Evens. Jakki came along a few times as well.
For many years we called that the Nick Face. Mostly because Luke and Jakki don’t make that face but Nick does. But also because it was so a funny way for a person to actually scrunch their face into whatever it is he is doing. This picture and a few others of the boys ends folder 2. So the primary locations are the YMCA camp and the house in Greenwood Indiana.
It was so much harder to tell them apart when they were really little. Or maybe it is that being around them for all these years it is normal now to hear the inflection in each of their voices.
The face, here in the last picture is a goofy face that was often made!