Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Face For Radio

This year, part of our Christmas gift to our kids was a trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Uncle Landon and Aunt Lori pitched in, too.

Truth be told, the gift was Cory's idea. And it just so happens that he is a full-on freak when it comes to ocean life. You do the math.

Calvin's a pretty big fan though, too. He took his almanac so he could "study" on the way.

We put on our bravest face and brought Siley along. It stuns even me to see that he really is growing. He's learning. Progress is slower than frozen honey at times, but I'll take it any way it comes. He did a fantastic job at the aquarium, though he was there more to push those informational buttons than to actually look at the fish. Whatevs.

{Love Bug}

Homeboy loves to mug for the camera. He asked Daddy to take his picture then immediately dropped to his knees. It was a very well-thought-out pose. He clearly had this one planned for a while, and he pulled it off, if I do say so.

As for the ocean life: Why are fish so dang freakish looking? It's the lips that do me in. And the bug eyes.

And the binocular noses.
But mostly, it's the lips. The whole mouth region, really.

 She's not so bad...

There was one fish that reminded me of my favorite pin striped shirts. He screamed J Crew. The rest of them weren't pageant winners, that's for darn sure.

Haven's gonna love this picture. 
(Do you love it, Havis?) 

It's one of my all-time favorites in the history of the new world. We were waiting for the aquatic show to begin. We were literally on the edge of our seats. Don't we look positively enraptured?  I wish I knew what Haven was saying right then. Probably, "I'm ferreal!" or something like that.

When the much-anticipated show finally started, it was 75% "This is how we train the fish" and 25% "Watch these dolphins do synchronized tricks!"

Seriously, know your audience, Shedd. Hundreds of pre-schoolers don't give a hoot about the trainers. No offense. Also, I don't really give a hoot. I just want to see fish do tricks. Lots of flips and tricks and the blowing of water out of blow-holes. And maybe it's true that dolphins aren't fish. And maybe it's true that I should have taken the opportunity to actually learn something.

But at the end of the day, that's why I have Calvin.
   :: DON'T DO IT! ::

The jellies were captivating. Don't even call them jelly fish. Don't even. Cause we totally know better, now.  We'll be all, "Oh no you di'int! Jellies are not fish. They don't have bones, hearts, or a brain. They move with the currents. They are both simple and complex, Haters."

(Holy cow, I did learn something!)

Upon review, it was the penguins that Ruby and I loved best, all barrel-bodied and quick-stepping. Calvin picked "touching the sea star" and "the pretend submarine" and the sharks. Cory holds closest to his heart the sea turtle. Silas loved the buttons. I have no earthly clue what Haven liked best, but she did seem fond of the many strategically-placed benches.

There was something for everyone and we saw a ton in just a few hours. But what I really love the most is that we all did it together. We did it a little crazy and a lot happy. We were cranky a time or two. We were hungry and funny. There may or may not have been some barfing involved.

It wasn't perfect, but it was perfectly us.

*All photos courtesy of CMB.


  1. Remind me to tell you about our one-time hellish trip to Shedd. Oy vey. I have to say I'm a much bigger fan of the MUCH smaller Denver Aquarium. What's that? You've never been? Surely you and CMB need to get those littles out here pronto. Who knows? We might run into Tim Tebow.

    I'm sure he likes jellies too.

  2. I'm with you girls! The penguins were my favorite there too. If you ever get the chance take the family to Sea World.

  3. i love your voice, i know i've told you before.
    but did i tell you that this summer at our community pool, i saw a woman there with her kids that looked JUST like you.
    i didn't even realize she looked like YOU.
    i just thought "oh, i think i know that girl" and kept staring and trying to place that face....then i realized that she looked like you and that she couldn't be you because you don't probably frequent my pool in california and also she had different kids....weird. i know.

  4. It really does sound perfect! Yay for fun gays!!!

  5. i love your outfit, AGAIN. i always do. and thank you for the claw hand appearance once more. girl, you know how to work them.

    silas could totally take hunter to school for picture posing. hello, handsome.

  6. You last sentence sentence describes our life. Love it. So glad you had a fun time!

  7. Make that "your" and not "you last sentence". Well, unless you want to communicate gangsta style with me. I'm down with that, yo.

  8. the shedd is my fav. do you live driving distance to chicago?? are you not there all the time?? oh wait do you have 3 kids and barely make it past the town limits? yeah me too. :) ari and i have a thing for th penguins as well... omaha has some mighty fine ones .. you know if you're ever in the neighborhood and have a hankering for some flightless bird viewings. :)

  9. Love it! Great pictures! Happy 2012.

  10. haha, amen, sister....bring on the dolphin tricks, Shedd!
    loved the pics....those just want to sqeeze 'em.
    sounds like it was a good memory made.

  11. Oh my goodness. YOU CAN TRAIN A FISH!?!?!

    Fun fact: I HATE FISH. they give me the cold goose pimples.

  12. "Perfectly us." Now that's choosing some joy right there :) Have a great week!

  13. never thought i would love reading about fish so much!! love your writing. you kiddos are presh! and loved the aquarium outfit you had did not go unnoticed!

  14. I love the fact that you decsribe your kiddos and all the craziness they create as "perfectly us". You have no idea how many times I've said that about my crew. 4 boys anywhere is pretty much a mobile circus but that's how we roll and it works for us. I'm happy to read I'm not the only one who thinks a day with or without barf can still be called a good day! LOL

  15. Hurray for Siley pulling off his picture poses P.E.R.F.E.C.T.L.Y.! And the part I loved best was the expressions on Ruby's face! Glad you all had a fun family day...togetherness...there is nothing like it! xo

  16. No joke, just last week I planned a trip up to Shedd in February for our family. Thanks for the sneak peak! Any other pointers?

  17. Ok, I almost didn't read this post due to the potential for snake pictures. That one post of your friend/Cory's roommate visiting with the huge snake gave me nightmares for a month. Even typing the word snake is freaking me out right now. It took all my courage to read this post. My heart was pounding the entire time, and although I can breathe a sigh of relief that there were not snake pictures, my hands are still shaking from the potential. How about giving me a rating before potential snake pictures in a post so that I don't freak out? I suggest using this rating in the first line of any post with snake pictures - STGDR. Stands for Small Town Girl Don't Read.


  18. I can totally imagine the time you had with kids that age! Sometimes it feels like a love/hate relationship! But mostly love. This is the life God has blessed us with and these children are our biggest mission field! Love the pics and I'm totally with you on the fish:)

  19. I just wrote the best comment evs and Keeks deleted it!

    Siley has that modeling gig wrapped up tight.

    They strategically placed those buttons for little non-fish fsns. Just go with it.


  20. You make me that! Good times.

  21. One of the greatest gifts of having children is they usually grow up and become parents themselves. (I know that may seem like an eternity for you!)
    I can't wait to bring my grandbabies to the Aquarium. It was always first on our list! Love this reminder.

  22. Looks like a great time was had by all...and I love the group photo. And yes, fish are freaky.

  23. Hi~~ Your blog posts crack me up!! YOu and your family look like you had a great time. The picture of all of you should be framed. IT is the "perfect" photo.Enjoying your posts:)


  24. I love how kids will do that...strike a pose as if it's been planned for a while. Your kids are too cute and your pics are great!

  25. Am I the only one that thinks those two pictures of the jelly-non-fish would look super cool displayed in the bathroom? Cause I do. And my bathroom is pink so I like the pink one best.
    Also I shudder to think how many fish will have hurt feelings when they read this and find out they're hideous and ugly.

  26. Love everything.

    Silas posing.

    Calvin studying his almanac on the way (who does that? So adorable! Honestly reminds me of my nephew Emerson who I think is an old soul).

    Ruby being cute.

    You calling Haven "Havis"..too funny.

    The edge of your seat photo.

    You all ALMOST look scared! "is it a horror film or a fish show? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?"

    It's your commentary on life that I find lovely, enjoyable and amusing.

    For instance: Thinking that Haven perhaps favored the benches most of all.

    Best part:

    "There may or may not have been some barfing involved."

    It's like you're saying: may have happened, maybe not. I don't know.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Through you and your family, I too had a lovely time at the aquarium!!

  27. PS: Love your boots!

    AND your bowling bag purse!

    What HAVE you got in there?!


  28. I love this post and jellyfish scare me.

  29. I'm glad to know we aren't the only ones who have someone barfing when we go somewhere fun too. I mean, if it really happened ;) And I kinda dig that pink and yellow fish, pretty cool if I do say so myself.

  30. Oh happy day! Fish give me the willies, but the Shedd is pretty spectacular. My little SiGuy would be just like your Calvin. He'd bring his book and soak up all that ocean goodness.

    Silas mugging for the camera just

  31. oh, how i love these pictures and the stories of your day together.

  32. I love your sense of humor and witt. You make me smile. And laugh. :)

  33. not only did you learn a thing or two, you funneled your aquatic knowledge into me in the best sort of way: through a photo/humor-laden post. that's my kinda school.

    i am sending you to the field museum next.

  34. In October I was with my girls in MD and we did the National Aquarium. I thought I was hilarious because I kept wrinking my nose and saying "it smells fishy." It did.
    I love those jellies.
    got it. jellies.
    xo, Cheryl

  35. My gosh, they are all just such cuties! Silas cracks me up. I have a nephew that likes to give me his best supermodel walk when I take pics of him.


  36. You should watch this. YOu'll never go to the aquarium again.

  37. Oh, for the LOVE you are a hundred shades of darling. And guess what? I have my own Calvin! Except his name is Ethan.

    Love you, Shannan!

  38. Oh I love it all... but that photo of you guys waiting is priceless.

  39. Ah, love Shedd. Did you see the Beluga's while you were there? Those guys are weird, their faces so human looking and yet not. Weird.

  40. I saw that you tweeted last Friday about going to the Shedd. I was in Chicago, too. Two Hoosiers in the same city. :) My friends and I took the train. What about you? I would have diiiiiiiiiiied if I had seen you on the train. :)

  41. You are a wonderful story teller. I love coming here.