Tag Archives: Iowa

#Schwartzventure

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. 

Schwartzventure

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

Gloom

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.

Picnic

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.

Statue 1 Statue 2

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.

Theatre

Probably my favorite photo of the day. Grandma and Gramps relaxing with Allie while the adult boys play in the water exhibits.

HatBaby

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?

EagleTackleOutside

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?

Algae

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!

ShipAhoyHave I mentioned we all got to spend the day with this lil’ peanut?

Allie

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?

TurtleTurtle Me

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.

Abe

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.

Pizza

The “girls” van had a very successful detour after dinner to the lookout point at Palisades Park just outside of Savannah. Beautiful!

Palisades

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.

NerfCake

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.

Rocks

Advertisements

#Iowaventure, but what does it all mean?

So, I started this thing I like to call

Iowaventure

That is, sporadic Iowa adventures to wherever discovering whatever I/we can find. Occasionally I do this by myself, but usually Marco is there as my partner in crime. Once in a while we explore other states and have thing like Illiventures. I’ve been meaning to blog these all along so we might get a little out of order as I catch up on old adventures while having new ones! We’ve had many trips prior to this point, but this post is about the first trip I really considered an Iowaventure experience.

May 10, 2014

Greenfield and Beyond

On a work trip to Omaha, Marco spotted a sign for the Iowa Aviation Museum in Greenfield, IA and (knowing me) recommended it for a day trip. We did a little research beforehand to see open times and what else is in the area. I ALWAYS recommend this when going to hidden, out of the way places; they are closed too often to leave being there at the right time up to chance. Given our obsession for golf we can find a course just about anywhere and built this in to our trip. Early(ish) in the morning we headed towards the Greenfield Country Club so that we could fit in 18 holes and still have time left in our day. We assumed because this is a country club that it would be a private course, but decided to call anyways. For the record, the course is PRIVATE, but if you pay the greens fees you can play there… so… it’s not private?20140510_113759

On our way there we randomly spotted something that I think has been the entire inspiration for our adventures since. Driving along we see a man painting an enormous rock on the side of the road and decide to turn around, pull in (only kind of creepily), and ask the guy what he’s all about. Turns out we’ve found Ray “Bubba” Sorensen who paints Freedom Rocks. Inspired by the movie Saving Private Ryan, Ray began painting a new “thank you” to our veterans each year. We chatted with him for several minutes and enjoyed his artwork. Part of the mural was created using paint that has the cremated ash of veterans mixed in.

Alas, we arrived at the Greenfield Country Club to find some really beautiful scenery for our golf game.

20140510_132907_Richtone(HDR)

Meals are always a very important thing to me on road trips. I absolutely HATE traveling to/in new places and eating at restaurants I could find anywhere ( no McDonald’s or BK for me). I always try to look up or ask for local suggestions and have found many an amazing place this way, also, some not so delicious. We had a couple of options on the horizon as we headed into Greenfield proper, population 2,000. Unfortunately, Greenfield turns into apocalypse town during the afternoon with everything closed and nobody in sight, so,  we were left with the  bowling alley, approx.3 lanes wide, to find our fare.  The food was as you’d expect, but the people watching was great. I love sitting in small local joints and seeing the familiarity between people and servers, and overhearing the conversation.

From here, to our actual destination, the Iowa Aviation Museum. I was pleasantly surprised by this little find. I recommend it as a stop to anybody traveling along 80. The museum houses several unique aircraft, an Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame (full of VERY interesting stories), and an exhibition area. I know nothing about airplanes, and didn’t think I was interested in them, but we spent a substantial amount of time here.20140510_153226

 

Marco Kong

Marco Kong

 

At this point, our intention was to head home because we had plans to attend an Iowa Cubs game in the evening and we had to let little pupperkins out.

HAILSTORRRRRRMM!20140510_165251

That’s right, within minutes of leaving the museum hail came down upon us. Naturally we turned around and headed south to figure something else out. We are so very glad we did because from there our adventure continued. As we were driving we saw a sign to Roseman Bridge, one of the Bridges of Madison County. Having been to one during the Covered Bridges Festival last year, we decided to hunt for it.

While driving we saw the most amazing white barn owl sitting on a barbed fence against the backdrop of a dead tree and the gloomy sky. I yelled at Marco to stop so I could take a photo but while reversing the owl flew away. You can imagine what it was like with the photo below though.GloomAltered20140510_170547

After the bridge, we continued our detour and once again found a sign, this time to my very own state park.

PAMS

Turns out at PAMmel State Park you can ford a river! There were no signs offering us suggestions, but we assumed the following A) Caulk the Nissan Sentra and float it, B) Find an Indian Guide to help us cross the river , or C) Ford the river now. We were fresh out of caulk and there were no guides to be found. I tested the waters by walking it first and deemed it safe, Marco chose to stay back with the children and oxen. We forded the river!20140510_174330

Because of time constraints we didn’t get to explore the park as much as I would have liked but it looks like a great place to camp, hike, and be outdoorsy. Last but not least, we made it home for a beautiful evening at the ballpark! Go ICubs Go!20140510_200601

This concludes our first #Iowaventure (which will always be concluded with a photomontage).Expect more upcoming posts with insights on little known but interesting finds across Iowa and other places! Don’t want to miss any of these gripping adventures? Subscribe to my blog and you’ll receive a notification whenever I come up with another exciting post!May 10 Iowaventure


I should have been born a man…

…but not for the reason most people think that about themselves. It’s because, someday, when/if I decide to get married I’m hesitant to give up my last name. If I do things the traditional way my children will not carry my father’s name, they will carry my DNA but that is all. Anybody who meets them will not know that they are a Schwartz. The first time I had this thought was way back in high school. At that time, I was actually convinced my brothers might not produce a worthy enough heir to my family name and my heritage, at least the most obvious part of it, would be lost forever. (I can at least now retract that statement)

Family Tree

Free family tree charts available via findmypast.com

I am extremely attached to my family and its roots, so I suppose I should understand that my children will be proud to carry their father’s name as well. But, what about mine? The truth of the matter is I’m not just a Schwartz. I’m a Schwartz, Taplin, Johnson, Haiar, Hoepner, Mangler, Gerdts, Weisler, Haye, Kuhl, Batey, Grossman, Cook, Flor, Weimerskirch, Manders, and on and on and on. You may call me Schwartz, descendant from the island, Fehmarn, off the shore of Germany but actually, I’m thousands of amazing people all rolled into one. Literally, a piece of each of them lives on through my DNA. Think about that. That’s genealogy.

A week or so ago I was extremely blessed to receive 148 pages of information pertaining to my paternal genealogy. I took a chance by e-mailing a gentleman whose website had been closed down for several years and was lucky enough to hear back from him immediately. What I received was an ahnentafel (German for “ancestor table) record covering (to me) 20 generations back to the beginning of the 1400s. These records are derived from 30 years of research by the man who sent it to me, 40 years from the man who gave it to him, and before that the brotherhood records straight from the island which, if I understand correctly, are no longer available to the public. Instead of being listed like a family tree diagram this is a fixed sequence numbering system of ascent. If I am 1 then my father is 2 and my mother is 3. my paternal grandpa is 4 and grandma is 5, maternal grandpa is 6 and grandma is 7. Men are always even, females are always odd (Haha!), forgiving the subject no. 1 of the record that is. It’s a whole mathematical formula that is actually quite interesting, but I won’t take the time to fully explain to you here. Google it.Ancestors of Pamela Sue Schwartz

I finally broke down and got the Family Tree Maker software because the data was just getting to be too much to sort out on my own. It’s pretty amazing, glichy and slow at times but it makes up for it in all the different reports, charts, etc. you can publish. I have been finding a lot of interesting things, like my 3rd great grandmothers were sisters… what can I say, we’re German. Keeping the lineage pure and stuff. Chances are there will be more personal genealogy posts in the future.

Aside from my own stuff, I’ve been conducting a lot of research at work for individuals from afar about their genealogy and it has presented a lot of frustrating, interesting, time consuming, yet enjoyable mysteries. One woman from British Columbia is just trying to find where her great grandfather is buried. I spent last Tuesday morning walking through a pioneer cemetery in -7 degree weather, by myself, some where in the north of Boone County. It was sad, beautiful, and peaceful. Other than my own, the only footsteps to grace the freshly fallen snow were those of the deer and an occasional rabbit. I walked from stone to stone, plenty belonging to infants and young children, admiring the shapes, decorations, and inscriptions, many of which were illegible.  I did not find Richard Berry. Our last records of him are in an 1885 census and 1887 history as the Chancellor of a local Knight of Pythias organization. Was his 6 year old granddaughter, who died of (at the time rampant) diphtheria buried next to him? She was originally listed in one cemetery but actually rests in another. Though some graves were moved in 1896, that was also the year she died, hard to believe they buried her and moved her shortly thereafter. There is plenty of space around her plot in the new cemetery but no markers to be found marked with Richard’s name. He has no death record, no cemetery listing, no probate record, no obituary. He just disappeared.

BethelOwen

These are the interesting mysteries of genealogy. I’m sure I will come to that place in all sides of my family when some piece of information just simply can not be found, either because the records were destroyed or because they were simply never made. That being said, I’ll keep trying.

Having *really* started delving into genealogy about 4-5 years ago I’m likely one of the youngest genealogists in existence. That being said, I’m happy to help others get started as it can be a little overwhelming. My end goal is a hard bound book with fold out trees, stories, photos etc. with three discs in the back, a dvd of home movies, cd of family oral histories, and a cd of family photographs. I hope to have a copy for each family member. This will happen quite a few years down the road. I wish somebody would pay me to retire and work on the project full time right now.

Side note: driving around the countryside usually poses at least a few beautiful views and interesting sites. Notice the creative sculpture on the left side of the structure. It’s a deer skull with an arrow through it, oh Iowa.

Barn