The second series post and already I’ve had to change up my tag, that’s because this adventure was of a particularly special sort, one with my family. With a growing number of us it gets harder and harder to coordinate things. I missed out on most of our family vacations as a kid because I was the baby of the family and was either too young to go, or the other siblings got too old or busy for us to have one. Womp womp. But, as adults, we’re bringing back family vacations! This is will be fun because now that we are older we can get away with so much more.
August 23, 2014
Making it Up as We Go
Mom had a lovely trip planned for us. We were to go to Chestnut Mountain in Galena, Illinois and ride either the Alpine slide or chairlift down the Mississippi River valley to the water, then enjoy a beautiful 1.5 hour river cruise via pontoon seeing the sites. What we ended up with was a beautifully rainy foggy day. Upon arriving to Chestnut, Dad and I volunteered to run the couple of hundred yards to the office in the pouring rain to see what the plan was. Would we go or would it be cancelled and we’d have to come up with something else for 12 people and an adorable little baby to do? They sent us back running through the rain to the hotel office where we gladly accepted a refund. The goal was to run back (remember it’s pouring rain) to the vans and game plan from there. Dad goes to the “boys” van and I run to the “girls” van to find that it’s nowhere in sight. They left me, standing in the pouring rain, slippery flip flops in hand. Turns out they had pulled up to the front door so Kim could use the restroom and neglected to notify me as I sprinted by, falling out of my flip flops, that they had moved. Lovely. Thank you. Bonus epiphany from the drive, we can now plug a crockpot into Mom’s car, #DrivingWithMeatballs. Also, our new road trip mantra, “Will stop for all balloons!” (denoting parties at places we weren’t invited to) especially when they are red, yellow, and blue. #PrimaryColorParty
I guess this means our picnic in the park is also rained out? It’s okay, we’ll improvise. We decided an indoor activity would be best for the day so we opted for the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque. I love this place but much of our party had never visited. We ended up being able to have a soggy picnic outside their cafe. Mom, of course because she’s always prepared, had a delicious array of sandwich fixins, chips, desserts, etc.
On into our educational experience. Something you should know about my family: if there is a statue, it will be mimicked. Look forward to more of this. This episode starring Jenni and Destiny do pioneer trade. Yes, in the second photo Destiny is playing the canoe. (Really, there may be an entire post coming your way soon of JUST photos of us mimicking statues. It’s a forte for us). The Museum has many great artifacts (though I hate when text panels don’t include dates!) and a wide variety of types of display. Some dioramas, some interactives, etc.
It’s no secret that I love 4 and 5d theatres. Marco and I went to one in Illinois once where I actually thought I was going to crash in an airplane and that bees were flying at me. EEEEK! We opted for the full experience package which included two short movies, unfortunately they weren’t about turtles and sharks like the website said they were going to be. We got stuck with Spongebob Squarepants (loathe) and Planet Earth which I actually like. It was pretty tame but offered a wonderful opportunity for a full fam photo. Of all children in the movie, ours included, I daresay my 30 year-old brother Matt was the most ill-behaved of everybody. Typical.
Probably my favorite photo of the day. Grandma and Gramps relaxing with Allie while the adult boys play in the water exhibits.
The rain let up and we were able to go wander around the outside parts of the complex, in which I was almost tackled into the Bald Eagles’ water pool. Can you spot the eagle?
Have I ever mentioned how beautiful I think nature is and the colors that occur there. The picture below is beautiful and all it is is algae. Who’d have thunk it?
I haven’t been on many really ships in my life, boats sure, but not ships. At the museum you can actually tour through a historic dredge boat and see the cabins, engines, etc. Ship ahoy matey!
As much as I don’t like zoos and aquariums, as long as the animals are well-cared for it’s hard to complain about getting to see amazing animals close up you otherwise wouldn’t get to. Turtle TURTLE! Who wore it best?
Clearly it was me…
We spent a lot of time walking through a Mark Twain inspired exhibition and a Civil War one called the Battle for the Mississippi, in which I have the opportunity to take a selfie with Abe Lincoln.
After an amazing, interesting, and educational day it was time for dinner. There will never be a Schwartventure without the presence of so much food. My Mom and Dad (who are the best by the way) have been together forever, I mean since my mom was 13. As kids they used to go to a pizza place in Savannah, Illinois called Manny’s. Like them, we grew up eating at this restaurant and it is THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD. Seriously, go there, eat it, and just TRY and prove me otherwise. Disclaimer: all competing pizzas to be purchased by the challenger.
The “girls” van had a very successful detour after dinner to the lookout point at Palisades Park just outside of Savannah. Beautiful!
Lil Miss Allie Rose will be turning one on September 6th, so we decided to have a practice birthday cake smash party for her. But, let’s be honest, nerf balls are far more delicious than homemade cake.
Last but not least, after a wonderful family weekend, I leave you with a little piece of zen from the weekend. I currently hold the household record for rock stacking at 13.