May Break – Day 6

Continuation of a previous post

Note: Most pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Day 6 was the last day of our vacation. Because of the awful drive between Schaumberg and Chicago, I was glad that Chicago was on the way home from Schaumberg. That way, we could check out of the hotel, drive to Chicago, and not have to drive back.


picture of the outside of Shedd Aquarium next to Lake MichiganThe only item on our agenda for day 6 was the Shedd Aquarium. Last time, a couple years ago, we arrived at the aquarium via the train (South Shore Line). This time, driving, I noticed that it is a lot more scenic. We parked in a somewhat close lot and walked along Lake Michigan to get to the aquarium. It was scenic but very hot. It was the hottest day of the vacation, and we were glad to be spending it inside. I voted that we stay at the penguin exhibit, but we didn’t get there until later.

picture of children looking at a tank in Shedd Aquariumpicture of children looking at a tank in Shedd Aquarium

The kids enjoyed the aquarium, although Gamma never got to see exactly what he wanted to see.

We brought a lunch/snack and ate that at the main round tank in the center of building. We were going to see one of the shows, but the early ones were sold out and we didn’t want to be there too late. So we skipped the show.

After the aquarium, we enjoyed the scenic views once more:

photo of Shedd Aquarium in the foreground and the Chicago skyline in the background

photo of the Chicago skyline

Then we put the kids in my parents’ van and drove an hour or two to a restaurant for dinner. We always seem to stop at Bob Evans after vacations. We did that after coming home from Boise and we did that now after Chicago too. But they do have great prices on their kid’s meals. After dinner, we took the kids back into our van and we drove home.


Don’t pay full price for anything in a touristy area.

Except for Shedd Aquarium – they didn’t offer any discounts. Everything else did: Lego store (some % off with coupon), Museum of Science and Industry (buy adult pass get kid pass free), Wisconsin Duck Tour (kids free also), etc. But you must get the tourist pamphlets/maps and find the coupons.

It’s kind of like higher education – the prices are so inflated because there are so many subsidies. Everyone gets some sort of grant or scholarship, so the listed price is not indicative of the actual cost. If you find yourself in a touristy area and are wondering why the prices are so high: that should be your clue to look around for a coupon or some discount.

I give Wisconsin Dells 5 stars and Chicago 4 stars. Hey Chicago – if you want to improve your ratings, then get rid of your traffic jams and reduce your prices.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind;

Matthew 13:47

More Internet Browsing

I left out a number of web browsers in yesterday’s post.

To make up for that, I am displaying some of their logos here. Your job for today’s post is to find the best web bowser logo.

various internet browser logos, including Bowser

No, I did not misspell “browser”. If you don’t know who Bowser is, then you probably didn’t appreciate today’s post.

Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?Or press down his tongue with a cord?

Job 41:1

Internet Browsing

In my hobby of conjugating non-verbs, I came across the word “browser”. I thought it would be a fun example because I could use various internet browser logos.

So here is my submission for the various forms of the word “browse”: browse, browser, and browsest.

chart of internet browsers going from browse to browser to browsest

I know, “browsest” isn’t a word, and that’s not how words are conjugated anyway. And there was no ranking criteria either. I would have liked to use the Safari logo, but there were only three forms of the word, so I had to limit it to three browsers. For the internetally-challenged: the logos are Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Should he argue with useless talk,Or with words which are not profitable?

Job 15:3

May Break – Day 5

Continuation of a previous post

Note: Most pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.


Day 5 began with breakfast in the hotel lobby. My parents took the kids down to breakfast so that my wife and I could sleep longer, which was very nice. Beta stayed in my parents’ room overnight, but Alpha was in our room. Since the rooms were adjoining and since we had to get the baby up and give him to them, we couldn’t really sleep. So we joined them all in the breakfast room.

After breakfast, we were trying to finalize the day’s plans. I showed Alpha and Beta the tourist-brochure stand, with about a hundred different pamphlets about things to do in the area. They both wanted almost all of them, so I had to set a limit on how many they could take. But that kept them occupied in the car.


picture of the airplanes inside the Chicago Museum of Science and IndustryOur first, and main, stop for the day was the Museum of Science and Industry. The drive into Chicago from Schaumburg took a bit, maybe an hour or so. Construction was bad in some spots, but it was alright. We drove right to the museum and parked in their underground lot.

The museum is large. I was impressed by the size of the areas, since they have whole airplanes suspended from their ceiling. That was in the industry section.

picture of the airplanes inside the Chicago Museum of Science and IndustryThe science section was equally large. They had a tornado generator that took up most of the height of the room. And they had a Van de Graaf generator to produce huge sparks of lightning. That was suspended way up high, probably so that no one gets electrocuted. It was very noisy, to the point of hurting my ears (which isn’t too hard to do, despite my children’s attempts to deafen me).

picture of the U-505 inside the Chicago Museum of Science and IndustryAnd just when I thought the industry and science rooms were large, we visited the U-505 exhibit. A whole submarine was in that room. They had the sub and a bunch of exhibits about WW-II in general, the US effort to capture a German sub, and various aspects about submarine life. The U-505 alone was worth the price of admission. I think the museum knows that, because they charge extra for it.

One of the interesting exhibits was the life-size model of the sub’s kitchen. At first, I thought it was a scale model of the kitchen. But no, it was really that small.


After paying for the parking at the museum and leaving, we drove to the park a couple miles away and parked in the underground garage. Paying for parking seems to be one of the necessary evils of being in Chicago.

It was a hot and foggy day:
picture of the fog above the river walk park in downtown Chicago

picture of the mirrored jellybean sculpture in downtown ChicagoWe wandered around for a little while, going along a nice little riverwalk/scenic gardens. We went past the amphitheater thingy and found the silver/mirrored giant jellybean. The kids liked looking at that for about two minutes, then they wandered aimlessly while we adults took pictures and stuff. We headed over to the picture fountains, which the kids liked much more than the jellybean, probably because it changed and it involved water. But we were not prepared to let the kids get wet, so we moved on to try to find Buckingham Fountain because it was supposed to be scenic.

We never did make it to the fountain. We went a block or so, then decided that it was too hot and too late in the day and we should just go to dinner. So we payed for parking and left Chicago to go to dinner in Schaumburg.

It took slightly over two hours to drive the 38 miles. Thankfully, most everyone (except for me and Alpha) took a nap on the drive. I say thankfully because that meant the kids weren’t fussing because it took so long. I was not thankful that I didn’t get to take a nap. It wouldn’t have been too bad except for construction on I-290.

Dinner at Rainforest Cafe was a relaxing way to end the day because there were plenty of things to occupy the kids while we waited for our food. Then we had a short drive back to the hotel for bed.

Stay tuned for Day 6, the dramatic finale of our May Break trip recap.

Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters;

Psalm 107:23

Family Conversations, Part 11

Here are some things said in conversation with Beta recently:

Compound Words

Beta: Toothbrushes make good scratchbackers!

It is fun when kids transpose the parts of compound words. The other one that I have heard is “rollersteam“.

And if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I have to go hide my toothbrush.

Half a Conversation

And now we’ve come to the part of the show where I write only one side of the conversation and you must imagine the other side of the conversation as well as the circumstances:

Me: He’s done. Let him go, please.
Me: No, we are NOT going to play baby tug-of-war. Just let go!

Beta likes to hug Gamma more than Gamma likes to be hugged. I sensed that Gamma was getting frustrated and I tried to rescue him. I forget exactly what Beta said, but he did use the phrase “baby tug-of-war“.

TV Shows

Beta: “Why did God make kids’ shows only during the day and not at night?”

Don’t you just love Beta’s child-like faith? God is in control of everything.

My wife answered that people chose the shows’ times – a little appetizer for the youngster on the free-will/sovereignty discussion perhaps. How much freedom does God give man? Does man really get to choose things in this life? Maybe these people just think that they picked the show times. What about unbelievers who disobey God – does that mean they are thwarting God’s plans? Such heavy topics for a 4-year-old…

My answer would have been “Because God knows that kids should be in bed at night and should not be watching TV.” But that’s with the luxury of hindsight – I don’t know that I would have come up with that one on the spot.

The king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”

1 Kings 3:25

Up North, Part 3

Continuation of a previous post

Note: Most pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Iargo Springs

There were some springs near the cabin, and we heard that we had to go see them on our trip. So one morning (it was good for us to get out of the cabin in the morning because our kids woke up around 7 or 8 but the teenagers (and some other adults) would sleep until 10 or 11 so we felt bad that we were being noisy and figured we might as well get out of the house and go see something interesting) we headed to the springs.

The first thing we saw when we got to Iargo Springs was a very nice view of the Au Sable river, into which the springs fed:
picture of the tree-lined Au Sable river with the sun sparkling on the waves

picture of a deck and boardwalk going to the Au Sable riverThe next thing we noticed was the stairs going down to the springs and river. There were a lot of stairs, and at the bottom was a nice boardwalk. The boardwalk went in a lot of directions, as there were a couple of springs and a lot of little creeks and waterways flowing from the springs to the main river. The boardwalk was mostly railingless, which was nice because the boys could hop off and explore whenever they wanted.

picture of a pebbles and stones in a shallow, crystal-clear creek at Iargo SpringsWe went to the springs and the boys put their feet in the water. The main thing to know about spring water, other than it goes well into plastic bottles, is that it is extremely cold. It was a hot day, so the older boys enjoyed dipping their feet in the water, but not for very long. I tried it, and after about 30 seconds my feet were hurting; when I got out of the water the sensation was similar to the pins-and-needles feeling when my foot falls asleep. And when we put Gamma into the water so that he could enjoy the refreshing coolness, he started crying. We took him out. Don’t worry, the creeks were only ankle deep.

Alpha and Beta liked hiking alongside the boardwalk, seeing what branches they could find:
picture of boys exploring a nature path

Gamma was more cautious, staying on the boardwalk. Although he did like to climb railings (in the few places where there were railings)
picture of a boy climbing a fence railing

picture of a lot of stairs on the boardwalk at Iargo SpringsThe nice thing about the springs is that there are a lot of trees so it stays cool. The bad thing about the springs is that it stays damp, so the mosquitoes like it there too. The other bad thing is that there are a lot of stairs. After the trip down the stairs, I wondered how many there were. So on the way back up (with Gamma on my back – now that’s a workout) I counted the stairs: 290 (give or take 10).


The rest of the trip included playing in the lake, watching a DVD or two (old-school cartoons mostly – 1950s-ish), and going to the local fireworks display on the 4th. Overall, it was a success.

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills;

Deuteronomy 8:7

Up North, Part 2

Continuation of a previous post

Note: Most pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Now that you are familiar with our cabin, let me tell you about some of the things that happened on our trip.

Roasting Hot Dogs

One of the requirements when you go to a cabin is that you must have a fire pit or bonfire and you must roast hot dogs over that fire for at least one meal. We complied, and the kids picked up a new skill: not holding the roasting fork.

picture of a hot dog over a campfire

They learned that one from the older boys in the group. Laziness is the mother of invention, right? Okay, maybe it wasn’t laziness, since they were complaining that the fire was too hot. But what’s a campfire without something getting singed?

Now I know why the past tense of “sing” is “sang”.

Free Bat Picture

We went to a local monument thing that had a display about bats.

picture of a sign about bats

Yes, it is a picture of a free bat. It is also a free picture of a bat.

What makes it a free picture? There’s no copyright!

picture of the copywrite notice on a sign about bats

It does have a copywrite, but my sources say that “copywrite” is not a legal term and has no standing in the courts.

I was going to title this one “Spelling for Lawyers”, in tribute to the site Typography for Lawyers. But I doubt that lawyers wrote that sign. “Spelling for Signmakers” also wouldn’t work, because I doubt the signmaker designed the thing. And “Spelling for Whoever Designed the Sign” is too long for a title. So you got “Free Bat Picture” instead.

Local Hazards

My kids wore sandals (or equivalent footwear) most of the time. One afternoon though, Beta was playing on the deck barefoot.

My wife, to Beta: “What’s stuck to the bottom of your foot?
Me, after poking the small gooey black glob: “It is sticky…looks like a piece of tar or something.

Then the black glob moved.

Then I saw that it was alive.

Wife, to one of the older boys who was there: “Hey Andrew, what did you do with that leech you had earlier?
Andrew: “We just flicked it off my leg. I don’t know where it went.
Me: “I think we found it.

We learned that leeches can survive on wooden decks for at least a half hour.

I don’t recall ever having seen a leech in real life. Movies, yes. Pictures, yes. Real life, now yes. I told Beta that a leech is just a bug that’s like a mosquito; he seemed satisfied with that explanation.

Alpha was interested in watching, and Beta had no choice in the matter, so the three of use watched the leech’s reaction as my wife poured salt on it. The leech was quite animated for a few seconds, then it stopped moving. It didn’t let go of Beta’s foot; I had to peel/pry it off still.

At least it didn’t bleed once it came off – unlike Andrew’s leg which kept bleeding and bleeding after he removed the leech without killing it first. And after I removed the leech, I tossed it into the shrubbery where people do not walk.

Alas, I was not a good blogger and did not run and get my camera to document the leech. So you do not get any photos of the leech. It was only as big as a three grains of rice (cooked), and the whole ordeal took about one minute (from discovery to being pronounced clean), so you’re not missing much.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Up North series, coming next week.

A lazy man does not roast his prey,But the precious possession of a man is diligence.

Proverbs 12:27