Gone fishin’

Chilly rain and overcast skies made a perfect day for…the aquarium! Sweetie and I spent today down at the John G. Shedd Aquarium.

Uh, Dad, there are no fish out here.

Uh, Dad, there are no fish out here.

Today the admission was waived for Illinois residents, so free day at the Shedd! The plan was to have a group meet together to enjoy the day, but illness struck two of the households and another two canceled. The result was a Dad-Sweetie adventure day!

A detour favorite

A detour favorite

Sweetie got a kick out of all of the fish. Of course it was entertaining watching her point and talk to all of the fish. It was pretty fun listening to her call the smaller fish “babies” and make shushing noises for the fish that were sleeping (those not actively swimming). Many of the exhibits have water levels above three feet, so she could enjoy the fish even while sitting in her stroller. We both enjoyed checking out the crowds as well. With a full aquarium the people watching was great!

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I have been going to the Shedd since I was a child. I was reminded of this by all of the day camp and school group students that surrounded us today. The last time I went was two years ago for wife’s birthday (she was actually pregnant with Sweetie). We took part in the “Trainer for a Day” program that the aquarium hosts. We spent that afternoon behind-the-scenes with an actual trainer and got hands-on with the beluga whales. So to all of the adults out there: When was the last time you went to the Shedd?

"carp" a diem!

“carp” a diem!

The Shedd Aquarium will be free for Illinois residents again on Monday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 17. They open at 9:00 am. and it was much more enjoyable early in the day (when we left the ticket line was long). There is still parking to contend with, which will set you back $22. And they frown on “outside” food, so we dropped about $20 on lunch. I will forgo the the cliché from the credit card commercial here, and just say a day at the aquarium with my daughter was pretty great.

So much to see

So much to see

As is customary with so many experiences here on the detour, I found myself grateful for many things today. It starts with the friends who called to say they couldn’t make it. Given that they could have just blown me off, I appreciated the heads-up that they weren’t coming. That way I could just focus on Sweetie. Overall, I was thankful for the free day. The Shedd and all of Chicago’s museums have free days. It is just a matter of getting out and taking advantage of them. Lastly, I am thankful to a pair of students who found my lost cell phone and brought it to the Guest Services desk. That’s right, just after snapping some shots at the Caribbean Tank I lost my phone. Not realizing this, we went for a diaper change and headed toward the cafeteria. So I noticed my phone’s absence about fifteen minutes later and scuttled among the free-day crowds re-tracing my steps. It was then I spotted the Guest Services desk and decided to ask if it had been found. After I properly identified my phone I was informed by the man at the desk that “two elementary school girls” had brought the phone to him. Even he was surprised. I asked if he knew their school and he said no, so I just want to put my gratitude out there to the universe. And if this scenario sounds familiar to anyone out there, please let me know so I can thank those two students! They saved our good day!

Good times!

Good times!

Dealership Adventure

Yeah, so today’s adventure was nowhere near as cool as the zoo. But sometimes, it is all in how you sell it…and how many crackers you bring along for morning snack. See today we took Wife’s car in for service (I have been the Family Fleet Manager since before Sweetie’s time). Off to the dealership we went.

Historically I schedule the work as early as possible to try to beat the crowds. Plus, I know how technicians can lag as the day draws on. Our last visit was way early and disrupted the morning routine, so I tried a mid-morning appointment so my girl would not be thrown off. Great planning – too bad she got car sick on the way there! And that’s real weird  ’cause she’s not a child that gets sick..infrequent like count-on-one-hand in the last 17 months! So we were off to a great start.

Thankfully, the dealership has nice bathrooms and good, clean changing tables. I always try to pack a change of clothes (duh!) and days like today remind me it is always worth it. So after a wardrobe change we were off to the waiting area. On one side, the 46″ television. On the other, the 46″ window to the shop. Today the shop won out (at least for the majority of our visit). And since she was running on an empty stomach, Sweetie was content to watch the mechanics and eat snack crackers.

Is that our car?

Is that our car?

So despite my attempt to not disrupt her schedule, this chore still did. While she slept on the way home, she was up once I tried to get her in to bed. Add after some (more) bodily functions she was wide awake. Needless to say, we spent the afternoon catching up on food and play time…sans nap. Overall a good day, but again, nothing like the zoo! (She slept for almost an hour during our zoo visit!)

I think a part of me wants Sweetie to be comfortable in shop settings. I don’t want her getting all wrapped up in the shop mystique, even if she is just dropping off a car for an oil change. Now granted, I would love for her to try some maintenance herself, but that is a bridge to cross at a later time. For now I guess it is about teaching her to behave no matter where we go, and thankfully, she’s a trooper! That reminds me, I have another post brewing about gratitude. Hmmm…

What's our car doin' way up there?

What’s our car doin’ way up there?

Peary Happy – a bad pun, a good vid clip

I wish it was always this easy to make Sweetie happy. Any of you who have children or have been around children know that their contentment can pass quickly. When you are in that moment though, it’s great. This is a 5 minute video of one such moment with Sweetie and I at snack time. So the back story:

On this particular day, for no particular reason, I plopped down with Sweetie to have an afternoon snack on the floor of our kitchen. I had a bowl of goldfish crackers for her and a pear for myself. Well, one look at my pear and she was all about it! Once she started on the pear I couldn’t help laughing and thought that I had to record it. She jumps right in around the 15-18 second mark with some enthusiastic “ummms” and keeps it up throughout the clip. Sweetie really shows some gusto with this fruit. (My hand makes a couple of cameos around 2:40 and 4:45 to collect some unwanted pear skins – internet fame earned as only a parent could.)

I figure people are entertained by videos a lot more bizarre than this, so up it went on the youtubes. Enjoy, it is only 5 minutes. And I apologize for the strange scraping noise, that’s the bowl of goldfish crackers that were not as exciting!