When I made my list of memories with the kids, today’s memory from Brock was not on my list but it should have been. It was actually a trip to see Papa at the lake and then on to Uncle Jim’s 75th birthday party. We stopped at Bob Evans on the way down to the birthday celebration and on the way back to the lake. Not only did we love the tomato basil soup, we had fun with the kids menu activities as well. And Dad forgot Tate’s leash so we ended up using the strap from my duffel bag so Brock could walk him until we stopped and bought a new leash.
Like most Poland family trips, that one was filled with adventures. While at the lake with Dad, we checked on our Treasures at the Lake geocache hidden at the BLIA building, listened to Matt Snook sing, and played with Tate. We went to Big Jim’s birthday and saw many family members which is always fun. And then we saw some unique Missouri sites including the morel mushroom along the interstate and this Craig, Missouri bathtub and toilet display.
Hailee’s memory today was from our trip to NYC and Long Island. One year, the kids and I had an overlap in Spring Breaks and we decided to take advantage of it.
Hailee hit on all of the highlights in her memory so I will share photos of many of them. There was also a lot of NY pizza eating involved. I agree with Hailee-the best part of all of these memories is spending time together. I love that even though we can’t be in the same place these days, we still take time for each other and connect.
Brock has been my Storm Lake traveler several times now. This memory is from our most recent trip to Storm Lake the last time I was home for the summer. It was much easier driving with him when he had something to watch on the way there and back. Storm Lake is a favorite destination for a number of reasons-I get to see my friends and my old house, we get to go to the water park, and of course, donut holes! Storm Lake Bakery definitely does have the best donut holes. The funny thing about Brock and the donut holes is that he was only 2 when I left Storm Lake for Texas but still remembered the donut holes and always asked about them. He didn’t understand when I moved that I couldn’t still bring him donut holes. So I had friends who were coming to (or even near) Treynor bring them down. One of the first times they were delivered to my mom’s house, he saw the box on the kitchen island and tried to get them for himself and ended up spilling them all over the floor. On this trip, Brock was introduced to Kevin, my friend’s cat, and they bonded. I think if she had said it was okay, he would have taken Kevin home with him. He had fun with the other cats too, but Kevin was definitely his favorite.
Here are a number of photographs of our geocaching adventures
We released five trackables that summer as well. Here is a list of each trackable’s information and map of where it went.
Brock, age 6, would like to see Butterscotch make it to different states in the United States as well as visit other countries around the world. It made it 13 miles to Omaha.
Hailee, age 9, would like Mailey to make her way through the western United States and go to Hawaii and the islands of the South Pacific. This is Hailee’s first trackable and she is looking forward to watching Mailey travel around the world and hearing about all of her adventures. It was unfortunately stolen from it’s original placement.
Waddles is the name of the beanie baby/beanie buddy penguin Granny had for all of us when we were young so we named this penguin after that first one because we miss Granny every day. We would like Waddles to visit every state in the United States and every province in Canada just like our Granny (though she never made it to Hawaii). Then we would like Waddles to visit countries that she would have liked to visit in Europe and around the world. We would love to see photos of Waddles visiting different places around the country and the globe. Waddles has travelled 19366 miles and has been all over the US as well as to Canada and Cancun.
Henry is a ladybug owned by Berkli and has been hidden by her cousins. Berkli would love to see photos of Henry as he travels from cache to cache. Henry has travelled 4962 miles all over the US.
Sarah the inch worm belongs to the youngest member of our family, Maci. She was activated on the day she was born and has been hidden by Maci’s cousins. Maci, her sister, and her cousins would love to see photos of Sarah as she travels from cache to cache. Sarah has travelled 13789 miles all over the US including Hawaii.
And then a few years later, Brock and I went on a geocaching adventure again on a trip to Storm Lake and Sioux City and found 2 caches in Missouri Valley. Here are more highlights from that trip. Brock loved using the bank tube when we stopped by on our way to Storm Lake. We both love King’s Pointe in Storm Lake. And while I don’t have a photo, we stopped by Storm Lake Bakery to get donut holes to bring back to everyone as well as Jerry’s Pizza for dinner. We also were able to see Caleb and Robin on that trip.
We have a definite theme in these first memories. Today was Hailee’s first contribution and it was from a trip to the Kansas City Zoo to see Lea the elephant paint. I’m pretty sure I was at least as excited as the kids were for the trip.
Elephants and penguins have always been special for our family. Penguins were from my mom-I have a collection on my shelf and the kids have a stuffed penguin from her. My grandmother collected elephants, but only with their trunks pointed up so they wouldn’t lose their luck. I fell more in love with them after reading Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants about how elephants communicate, their social lives, and efforts to protect them from culling. Elephants represent loyalty, intelligence, and determination. I was once told that elephants represent manifestation-that with commitment, we can accomplish anything. For those reasons, when I completed my Ph.D., I had a former student tattoo an image of an elephant on my foot.
I don’t remember where I first saw an elephant painting but I do remember searching to see if there was one closer to where my family lived so we could go and watch them. I was excited that we would be able to see Lea the elephant paint at the Kansas City Zoo. I remember it being very hot the day we went and we had to wait quite awhile for the demonstration which wasn’t easy with young kids. But it was so worth it. We were able to choose the colors for her to paint and the style of painting. Hailee and I had her paint with a sponge brush and Brock had her do a ‘kiss’ painting with her trunk. My painting is in my office at work and reminds me of the trip and the elephants every time I see it.
Today’s memory came from my oldest nephew, Andrew. It’s another trip with animals-Andrew and I had been wanting to go to South Dakota and see the wild horses running free at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary since he was 13 and we finally were able to go. I decided I would take each of my nieces and nephews on a trip when they turned 18 and this was the first of many trips. In addition to seeing the horses, we visited the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments. And we made glass paperweights at Mind Blown, a hot shop in Deadwood, SD.
But a Poland trip wouldn’t be complete without a few other experiences. We stayed in a hotel in Deadwood that had it’s own arcade with skee ball and mini golf course, so we took advantage of both. We also smashed pennies-a hobby that my nieces and nephews have embraced along with me. I also ‘forced’ him to pan for gems-I never pass up an opportunity to do that. The first place we stayed had a teddy bear on the bed and I was pretty sure they knew Polands were coming and were obsessed with blankets and stuffed animals. Thankfully, Andrew had outgrown the need for stuffed animals-I had seen the price of that cute bear on the checkout message. And then there are the random photos like the one below. Can you see the cat hidden in the rocks?
I loved this trip and was happy to take Andrew to South Dakota and am looking forward to future trips with the others. And I love our “Poland family traditions” like the penny smashing, mini golf and arcades. I’m just a bit surprised that this memory beat out taking senior pictures that summer and fall for Andrew-he and I had SO much fun with that.
Because I’m not going to be able to travel to Iowa this year for Christmas, my family sent me a package with photos, pictures and memories to open each day this month. I opened my first one this morning and it was the perfect way to start the month. This is a copy of a postcard from my mom to a close family friend about the last trip I took with my parents. They drove to Laredo to pick me up and see where I was working and living over my spring break. We drove along the Rio Grande to El Paso and spent the night near Big Bend National Park in West Texas. Dad had told Mom and I we could do and see anything we wanted so I found some crazy out of the way and strange places to visit. That first night we stayed in Terlingua, TX which is an old ghost town left over from mining activities. That was likely the strangest hotel I have ever stayed in ever but it was a lot of fun. The drive to Terlingua was interesting as well. We were stopped multiple times by border patrol which I was used to after living in South Texas. My mom, however, was well on her way to getting arrested for mouthing off to federal officers by our third or fourth stop that day.
The postcard and image here is from another ghost town, Oatman, Arizona. I chose this ghost town to visit because of the donkeys that wander all over town, in and out of the local businesses. While Dad and I were out shopping and visiting different places around town, Mom was entertained by the donkeys. She had a cookie on the dash that this donkey really wanted to share. Mom wasn’t wrong about the number of ‘rocks’ we had seen on the trip either. By the time we were in Oatman, AZ, we were near the end of the trip for me. From there, we went to Las Vegas for a couple of days and then I flew home and they headed north to Utah to finish Mom’s visits to all of the US states except Hawaii.