Sunday, June 30, 2013

Indianapolis Children's Museum

I can't believe it's been almost a month since we've been back from our visit to Indiana. This summer is really flying by! My sister, Officer, lives in Indianapolis and whenever possible I always let her do the driving around town. She never gets lost and I'm not a patient driver! While we were visiting we met my parents, sister in law, sister and her husband and we all visited the Indianapolis Children's Museum. When I was growing up we visited it often but I haven't been there in quite a while and BOY has it changed! 

This is what you walk by to get to the entrance. How cool is that! 

Then before you even enter the museum there are all sorts of famous "landmarks" outside for the kids to climb on...Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, the Pyramids...

The museum currently has an exhibit about brave children in history that includes, Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White. It was a great exhibit and dang, I was so in to the entire thing I didn't take a single pic of it!! But this chestnut tree was planted in honor of Anne Frank and the tree she saw out her window in the Secret Attic. 

My FAVORITE part of the museum?? The Chilhuly glass sculpture of course!! Never heard of Chihuly?? Do yourself a favor and Google him...awesome artist! 

There is just so much to do at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. We arrived before it opened and I honestly thought we'd be done by lunchtime and have the afternoon to go somewhere else. Nope, we were there for SEVEN HOURS and I don't think we saw everything. 

They have this awesome hands on exhibit about explorers and adventurers that included Egyptology, pirate treasure and the famous Chinese terracotta statues. 

They have an incredible dinosaur exhibit too! Fossils, dress up and (my favorite) a place where you can be a prehistoric artist that discusses how artists decide what a dinosaur probably looked like. They had a section with dinosaur skulls and play putty and the kids (me) could build the skin on the skull. SO COOL! 

I didn't get nearly enough photos of everything at the ICM. I was too busy having fun myself! They had an exhibit on modern Egypt, old toys, the Old Carousel, Transformers, Trains, oh what else? I know I'm forgetting something. The exhibits are constantly changing but one of the greatest things, I think, about the museum is they still have the "oldies but goodies". 

Of all the years my parents have visited the museum, my dad said nobody had sat for this long to watch a particular exhibit. 

What was it?

The Water Clock! We waited at the clock to watch it drain from 12:59-1:00. 
It was the first time I'd ever seen it change! 

AND they STILL have the Indy Car!! I think it's the same car I climbed in when I was a kid! 

My kids and I have been to a LOT of museums but the Indianapolis Children's Museum, no question about it, is the very best for kids! They may have been exhausted by the end of the day but they were never bored! If you are looking for a place to go with your kids this summer the IMC is it! 

(By the way Officer...thanks for driving! You sure made our visit a lot more pleasant! ) 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Knee Deep?? Heck, let's lay all the way down!

A couple of weeks ago when we were in Indiana we had the best weather; slight breezes and in the 70's. The weather couldn't have been better which made playing in my brother's creek all the more fun. Just about any other time in the summer it would be too hot and there'd be too many bugs and mosquitoes to battle at the creek to be able to enjoy playing in it. 

As it was though the kids had a blast exploring the the form of tadpoles in jars and crawdads. 

My brother was holding this crawdad when he kept feeling something falling off of it. He looked and there were a bunch of baby crawdads in his hands. The mother carried them under her tail! 

I learn something new everyday. 

Remember when I said I had bought all the kids rubber boots to wear in Indiana? Obviously they were a pointless accessory in the creek. Laying down in the water really didn't call for such fashionable footwear..ha! 

I sure do miss my family. And it wasn't like our time back with family was filled with planned events or a schedule of any sorts. I went grocery shopping with my sister in law (without kids!! Woo Hoo!) and I couldn't have had a better time with her. The kids cooked hot dogs over a fire which they just loved since they can't do that in Kansas (high winds, grass fires and burn bans) I just really enjoyed doing the everyday stuff with my family back home. The stuff you don't even think about doing. The stuff you do just because it's there and it sounds like fun. (Yip climbing the wood pile in my parent's barn lot.) That's better than any schedule we could have come up with. 

I only have one more post on our trip to Indiana. I'll try to get it up soon but this week is CRAZY!! Between my three kids we have golf, gymnastics, basketball and baseball. Whew! Good thing it's only this week that's crazy. 

Whatever happened to a relaxing summer? :) 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mater's Cabin

Let me tell you about my brother Mater. I'm sure you are thinking, "Mater?? What kind of name is that?" 
Obviously it's his nickname but very fitting. If you've seen the movie Cars you'll know Mater is the rusted out, redneck tow truck in the film. Right after the movie came out in theaters my brother's friends all came to school calling him Mater, well, because my brother is just like Mater. 

(BTW - if you search Facebook for Mater's Words of Wisdom you'll find his videos of redneck wisdom. He's the next Duck Dynasty!!) 

Anyhow, my Mater is the youngest of us seven kids and I'm the oldest. I left for college when he was only 3 years old and he doesn't even remember me living with him. We lived and romped in the woods and while we were visiting Mater helped the boys carve their names in a beech tree that all my brothers had carved their names in. 

Half a mile from where we grew up lived our grandparents. Grandpa woods butted up against our woods and we roamed through both freely. When I was in about 6 or 7 my grandparents moved a log cabin from a few miles away to it's current location, restored and renovated it. Grandpa died almost 10 years ago and Grandma died about 4 years ago. In the last years of Grandma's life and the time it took to settle the estate the cabin has fallen into some major disrepair. I, and I'm sure many of my cousins, would have loved to take over the cabin but for most of us it just wasn't possible. Mater however is young and single and needed a home of his own so he's bought the cabin and is fixing it up. 

While we were home in Indiana Mater, our other brother John Deere and some of his buddies were putting on a tin roof. Some of the logs have rotten away on the opposite side of the house and Mater was telling me how there's just no way to keep it uncovered much longer though he'd like to. He's going to replace the rotten logs and eventually put siding on the outside to protect the rest of the wood from rotting and insects. I'm pretty sure that's how Grandpa found it in the 80's covered in siding.

The inside is still in pretty good shape though. My family has done a HUGE job of cleaning out the house. Grandma had a lot of stuff! They've ripped up carpets and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned! 

My favorite part of the cabin is the chimney/fireplace. When Grandpa was restoring the cabin he hired someone to dig a basement and build the fireplace/chimney. I can remember my sisters and cousins and I taking our little red wagon into the cornfield and filling it with rocks. Then we'd haul it to the cabin where the chimney guy would sort through them and pick out the ones he thought would work. Grandma had some stones that she and Grandpa had collected on their travels put into the fireplace. 

I got to go with Grandma and Grandpa to Missouri to pick up this stuff. Ha, it was pretty to look at but I also remember Grandma complaining that it was awful to bake anything in! 

Though the inside of the house is in fairly good shape there is this spot of water damage in the kitchen. Mater may need a house but he's still got a ways before he can move in! 

Who's that gorgeous baby with the enormous bonnet? 

Grandma's biggest prize from the county fair is still on the wall. 

It was so much fun growing up down the road from the cabin. I'm sure we were in the way but my sisters and I got to see it all done; moving the cabin, sandblasting it, Grandpa putting in the electricity, Grandma wallpapering. I imagined being Laura Ingalls walking into the cabin. There was always a sense of going back in time when we visited. Grandpa gave us a little adventure right down the road. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Joys of MUD!

We started off our visit home to my husband's family in southern Indiana. My brother in law farms down there so I was really looking forward to tromping around with the kids. 

Indiana wheat looks awesome. The color of the photo above is off; it was much greener. 

My sister Officer came down with me because there are times that she really likes to get away from the hustle and bustle of Indianapolis. I can't really blame her. We were raised on a farm and spent lots of our childhood outside romping through trees and fields. Coming to the country is a tonic for our souls I think. 

My mom had told me how swamped with rain Indiana had been. They'd gotten four inches of rain just three days before we arrived so I was expecting muddy puddles. Our first stop, before we even got to the farm, was to buy three pairs of rubber boots. What a good buy! The kids stomped all over the place and I didn't have to worry about ruined shoes :) 

The first time Yahoo saw a muddy puddle she seemed so surprised! And she even asked if it was okay to play in. I'm not sure if she thought there was something in the mud, or if I'd be mad, or what but she didn't have that impulsive instinct to jump right into the mud like the boys did. Of course the boys lived around wet and mud until they were 5 1/2. Yahoo's lived in dry Kansas since she was 16 months old. Quite a different childhood between them. 

I love my brother in law's farm. So peaceful and just a wonderful place to romp around. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

WILD, WILD Animals!

Of all the places my family and I have lived, I'd probably have to say that the home we had, for just a short year, in southern Indiana was probably my favorite. We lived there between Yip and Yap's 2nd and 3rd birthday. Our home was on a dirt road, in fact it took a couple of miles of dirt roads to reach our house and my front yard was full of apple trees! I had away neighbors that were less than a mile away but I couldn't see any of them from my house because of all the trees between our houses. 

We had one particularly awesome neighbor, John, who kept mowed trails through his woods and built bridges over the deep ditches and streams. When the boys were little he'd let us wander through his woods. 

I decided to make a little detour and show the boys where they used to live and as we drove by John's house I told them stories of their wanderings through his woods and of course, we were all looking towards his trees and you wouldn't believe what we saw! 

His backyard was full of concrete critters! 

He'd made a short faced bear. 

A saber toothed tiger and a wooly mammoth!! How awesome! 
We stopped and asked if we could check out his creations and he was more than happy to show us around. John had started cutting out flat plywood animals and put in his woods, just for fun. Then he just started building bigger and better and more realistic creatures. (John's retired after all!) 

He was telling us that his mammoth is true to size and I was amazed by the hair. How did he do that? John was telling us that for the longest time his mammoth was just painted wood and concrete and then he took tires from the junk yard, cut them into strips, nailed them on and painted them to create hair. Isn't it awesome? 

But by far the coolest was the Bigfoot! Okay, it's not exactly a Bigfoot. John modeled it, full size, after an ape that supposedly existed in China at one time. 

You can see just how HUGE it is! How cool to have your own sculpture garden! I was telling John that if we hadn't moved away I'd have been down the road helping him build his giant creations. I'll definitely have to check up on John and his critters again. Right now he has a couple logs in his front yard that will become a bear! This gives me an idea about what I want to do when all my kids are out of the house someday! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Goodbye Indiana, Hello Kansas!!

Whew!! What a wonderful trip we had. The kids Yip, Yap, Yahoo and I just returned from ten glorious days in Indiana visiting family. The weather couldn't have been better. It was in the 70's with mild breezes. Even a rainstorm didn't ruin the vacation!

Oh, and the pictures and stories I have to share with you! First flight on an airplane, wooly mammoths, Children's Museum, water and mud (hooray!!), new twins, crawdads, and the horror of the blood sucking insects that Indiana is full of!!! Yap is convinced that Indiana is an awful place considering his body is covered with mosquito bites. Poor kid. I've got to admit the mosquitos did seem especially drawn to him.

The funniest story I have to share with you is about a leech, imaginary of course. We visited my brother in law in southern Indiana. The kids had a blast playing in his woods and the stream that meandered through. Yip was sure he saw a leech in the stream. (I really doubt it! :) ) Anyway, on Sunday my sister and I were driving the kids to church we were explaining how leeches were sometimes used by doctors on infected wounds. From the backseat Yahoo forced a fake cough and then said, "Mommy, I'm siiiick. I need a leech."
HA! Too dang funny!

Anyhow, we had a great trip but I already miss trees, green and ALL my Hoosier friends and family!
 More pics to come!
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