Friday, July 23

Seven Quick Takes: What I Did on My Summer Vacation Edition

Jennifer is our lovely hostess for Seven Quick Takes Friday! Head over to her blog for lots of Quick Takers, including much more interesting writers like Simcha, who has a themed list that is pretty much Made of Awesome.

Here we go, with my list of seven neat things we saw/did on vacation!

1. No vacation of ours would be complete without me taking at least one picture of clouds and/or fog. I have dozens. This is the first picture in our vacation set on iPhoto, so you see I did not forget just how important the fog pictures are.

2. We were with my mother-in-law for this vacation, and spent Independence Day with her. We sat up on her little rooftop balcony and watched the fireworks over the trees.

(Big Girl is at an age when this is the face she makes in every. single. picture. I take of her. Just wait until she tries dating! These babies are coming out again. She'll regret her constant photoboming!)

Inexplicably, the finale took place low to the ground, and so this is the best shot I have of the fireworks finale.

3. For Little Girl's birthday, Travel Man's grandmother arranged for us to have high tea at the Anne Hathaway Cottage at Shakespeare Gardens in Wessington Springs, SD. The garden was in full bloom, which only adds to the quaint charm and beauty of the cottage. I did not get lucky enough to snap any pictures of the three garden snakes that were there. I was nice enough not to snap pictures of my mother in law when she saw them, either. And Big Girl was smart enough not to try to pick them up - even though they are non-poisonous - in front of her grandmother.

4. We went to De Smet, by way of Huron. There we saw the World's Largest Pheasant.

Travel Man quipped, "I want to build a pheasant in our yard 1 inch bigger, then set up a sign that says, 'Huron is lying.'"

I love my family.

5. Did you know that De Smet is the last place that Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother and father lived? It's the tiny town's Claim to Fame. EVERYTHING there is connected in some way to the Ingalls family. We went there to see the Ingalls Family Homestead and all of the other neat stuff connected with the family. It was interesting and worth the price of admission.

We saw a sod house.

It is not like a Hobbit hole.

We saw Ma's House.

I was surprised that the volunteer (college boy) did not have the answer to a teenaged girl's question as to why it's called "Ma's House." She asked if they had separate houses. (Ah, the Divorce Culture's effects!) Neither really "got" that it's Ma's house because Pa built it for her: everything in that house was made to make her life as easy as he could make it. He built it out of love. He built it with his own hands. It was for her, and it was hers.

These days, that doesn't happen much. You go and buy a house that someone else built. Not quite the same effect.

By the way, have you ever thought how soft we are these days? Could you live like the Ingalls Family? I couldn't.

6. Did you know that De Smet is named for a priest? And they have a big statue of him in town!

7. Travel Man had a business trip to Indianapolis the week after we were scheduled to be in South Dakota, so we decided to tag along and be tourists while he worked hard to supply us with all of our comforts at home. (He's my hero!)

The girls and I had a walkabout in downtown Indy one day and went to the Children's Museum on another day. (I posted a couple of other pictures here.) Here are some neat things just from Indianapolis.

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church: oldest parish in Indy. Former proto-cathedral. Not wreckovated. Full of Awesome. (And the Real Presence is the main Awesomeness, but this church has Confessionals. The old kind with the curtains. I was in love.)

Outside the Indiana State Museum was this sculpture. RUN, GIRLS! RUN!!! RUN AWAY!!!


And, finally, one more picture from the Children's Museum. Van Halen fans (and David Lee Roth fans, as well) might recognize this car:

From these videos:

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 22

The Puppy in Our Pool

I'm cooling off after mowing the lawn, goofing off on the computer while the girls swim outside. Suddenly, I hear weird animal-like noises from outside and the door opens as Big Girl strolls into the half-bath near the door.

"Um, what's that noise your sister is making?"

"Oh, we're pretending she's a puppy, and she's howling because I walked away to go to the bathroom and she doesn't know where I am."

"So ... she's crying like a puppy."

"Yup. Because I'm in here and she doesn't know where I went."

Why do they need an actual pet when we can have this kind of fun?

PS: Little Girl howled the entire time Big Girl was in the house, plus a little extra for good measure. Just like a real puppy might whimper at you when you come back as if to say, "See how scared I was? You are so mean!"

My kids are awesome.

Wednesday, July 21

Wordless Wednesday: Indianapolis Children's Museum

Outside the museum:

Lucille (yes, the Lucille):

James Hetfield's '53 Skylark (he's got a matching guitar and amp, too):

Glass sculpture that's five stories high:

View from under the sculpture (I'm planning on blowing up at least one of these for the girls' room):

I was told that this was the best children's museum in the country. There's no denying it's definitely the biggest (five stories filled with exhibits, displays, hands-on, a planetarium, and a children's theater).

But the level of cool there is unmatched. In addition to the items above, they've got exhibits on Barbie (complete with a #1 Barbie doll and a lot of memory-inducing displays!), Etch-a-Sketch (it's 50 years old now, and there are some people who make more than stairs on them), and the exhibit on rock stars' guitars and cars (I saw two guitars that were Elvis', the Axe Guitar from Gene Simmons, one of Jimmy Hendrix's, etc., plus some really beautiful cars and a checkered John Deere). This isn't even counting the ongoing dinosaur exhibit with actual paleontologists on hand who answer questions about the actual dinosaur bones they are extracting from rocks in front of you!

Sometimes, bigger is better.

Who are your heros?


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