When the Unimaginable is Inevitable

Well, looks like come January, we’re going on a little trip through the twilight zone.. destination 1950-something.

Like more than half the country, I am very disheartened at the results of this election. At this point, it is very likely that the first president Sylvia will remember will be Donald Trump—a man that has incited violence, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and mocked disabilities. And I say “likely” because his track record makes him a great candidate for impeachment or a forced early resignation because of business conflicts, because of unethical ideologies, etc., etc. Is it too soon to hope?

I am still reeling on how to even handle this outcome. I’ve been moping around the past couple weeks and I know I need to find post-election peace but I’m not sure how. Before, I joked that I would “conscientiously object” his presidency and we’d move out of the country. But that’s entirely unrealistic, as natural as that response comes. (Fight or flight is an alive and well phenomenon, yo). Besides, where does that leave our country? Without balance and full of the very people that elected him—Without tolerance and with prejudice—Without love and full of hate.

So I will stay and I will worry but I will voice my resistance for anything but modern and progressive ideologies.

 

I don’t think Trump, his platform, his policies, or anything he’s said warrants me to give him any benefit of doubt. I hear people say, “Give it a chance”, “He won’t be able to do everything he says he will”, “He’s just being personable—not a politician”. I’m not buying any of it. He’s failed to even try to be presidential. He’s spewed racist, xenophobic, misogynist, ethnocentric, and homophobic rhetoric his whole campaign. Can you imagine if this election were an actual job interview? The hiring manager would’ve laughed in his face and turned him right out the door. But apparently we have a huge double standard in our society. One that allows people with power to do and say whatever the hell they want.

 

I am left with more questions than answers.. What am I going to tell my children? How are parents able to find exceptions, for our president, to the rules and norms that we teach our children? What were the deciding factors in people’s voting? To what end are people able to justify the actions of our now president-elect? What is going to happen to all of the citizens in this country that are not white, upperclass, and male? What does this all mean for foreign policy?

It’s not surprising that there’s recently been the largest uptick in racially fueled crime since 9/11. Not to me anyway. But this is just the beginning. DJT hasn’t even taken seat as president and already, as he picks his cabinet members, I am disheartened. The worse is absolutely yet to come.

I find peace in knowing that I am my own person. I am pro-choice, pro-LGBT, pro BLM, pro equality in general. I’m anti-intolerance. And I don’t condone his behavior, his policies, anything really—about him and I doubt ever will. I haven’t yet seen any silver lining and I don’t anticipate that I will if I haven’t already. I’m building a network with other like-minded people I know and I’m definitely relieved that I am not alone.

I’m getting together a resources stockpile (with a little help from my friends) to help to empower myself in the hopes of not giving up on my moral compass and feeling powerless to do anything. If you too are feeling helpless to do anything in light of the recent election, I urge you to take a look and take even a silent protest by not shopping at Hobby Lobby or the like.

https://www.thedjtr.com

https://itsgoingdown.org/trumptheregime-resources-ongoing-resistance-trump-far-right/

http://www.stophatedumptrump.com

https://mic.com/articles/159147/boycott-alert-here-are-companies-and-executives-that-supported-donald-trump#.enPyVakQp

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/11/how-should-trump-protesters-organize-themselves.html

Despite Everything..

Things are on the up and up at my house.

I’m still working on a post about my many thoughts regarding the recent election. But that’s proven to be more time consuming than I’d intended it to be when I first started it the night after. Needless to say, I’ve been in a funk for awhile now. I’ve had to take a break from my beloved IPR (that normally runs as background noise throughout the day) because I couldn’t handle how alien the rest of my country’s people are to me. I’m still having a hard time coming to terms with it. Politics aside, I’ve struggled (as you may have figured out from reading my previous blogs) with finding a balance between being a mom and being myself. But, I can tell you I’m making progress! So here’s an uplifting update from my household to yours. Because honestly I need some uplifting shit in my life right now and maybe you do too.

 
Our “contingency to sale” process is coming along, slowly, but surely. We’ve gotten the appraisal cleared and so we are another step closer to obtaining our forever home. I’m very much looking forward to being back in my hometown and closer to groceries, our family, and work. Now to just sell the house we’re in now. Time is ticking away as winter encroaches and I can only hope we have some luck here soon. Of course I am mostly looking forward to settling into the new house. It is just—perfection. Can’t. Wait. I hope it works out.

 
My application for graduate school has been completed and all letters of recommendation have been submitted. I am anxious to find out if graduate school is even a possibility for me at this point. It will prove to be difficult if I’m accepted now that I have accepted a position in my field part-time. I’m not sure if I am in a place to continue my education with the opportunities I have at the moment. Part-time work is really the best of both worlds for me, as I have 3 days at home with Sylvia. And that’s hard to beat work-wise. This is probably a better situation than I could have planned for, honestly. Until Sylvia’s in school, I will probably stay part-time unless I have found something that I love that pays enough to be worth it.

 
I think I have found a sitter for Sylvia for the mornings that I will be at work and what a relief that has been. Finding childcare is a full-time job, apparently. Most places have waiting lists, and many places have a flat weekly rate. Which isn’t cool since I’ll just need daycare 3 days a week. This gal has 2 kids herself and a dog (Sylvia LOVES dogs and animals in general). Sylvia should be a happy camper. I’m not looking forward to that first day though. I just need to think of it like my mom watching her. And I hope it all works out and I can truly enjoy my workdays knowing that she is happy and safe.

 

Generally, I am trying to keep focused on the positive things going on for us. I’m looking forward to my new job and that the organization is one that I can ethically align myself with. The hours are great. I love my co-workers I have met so far. The flexibility is going to be great. I’ll still be able to deliver packages on Sunday. I’ll have three days open to do activities with Sylvia and get things done around the house. The weather has been unusually nice for this late into fall here in Iowa. I’m looking forward to getting all of our leaves bagged and taken to the yard waste site in time for winter. That’s my project for the next couple days during naptime now that it’s dark by 5pm.

It’s Fall Y’all!

I feel like autumn is already almost over. I thought I’d take a post to relish in everything I love about this season, quick as it may (seemingly) come and go.

As my personality developed, I aligned myself with fall in that it is a time of change, of reflection, of the end of the old, and beginning of the new. I remember the many days walking home after school dragging my feet through leaves and feeling so at peace (I love how Mother Nature takes the reigns and we as visitors just sort of have to go with it). I remember the warmth of wearing a hoodie in the fall chill (I love fall-favored clothes). But probably my favorite past time is sitting around a fire with good people as the sun falls and the temperatures drop.

I love the colors of fall. Don’t get me wrong, I totally love the green and mossy hues of spring but there’s something so sacred about fall. It’s our last ditch attempt at taking advantage of the outdoors for the year. I always feel bad about not doing enough over the summer but I up the ante in fall and make up for it.

 
I think back over the years and some of my most vivid memories from growing up are from fall. I remember being a witch for Halloween (for too many years) with my brother. I remember going to the annual Halloween dance, sponsored by a local non-profit for persons with intellectual disabilities, with my family every year growing up. I remember having an absolute blast to be a part of something like that. I remember my dad carving our pumpkins. I remember my mom trying to bake pumpkin seeds (because my friends had shared theirs with me at school) and stinking up the whole house for a couple of weeks. I remember Thanksgiving as a child at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm. I remember spending most of my time in the barn with my cousins and the farm cats before supper was ready. I remember the pumpkin pie. I remember the good feels I got from being around family.

 

Fall into winter is a really family-intense time period! But I didn’t mind, I loved, and still love, the warmth, the tradition, and the memories (even if they stress me out).

 
Going forward, I’ve already started some fall traditions of my own. For one, I’ve prided myself in crocheting part of Sylvia’s costume every year. Someday, I won’t have the time, or daughter-approval, to make her costumes, so I relish in doing what I can now. Watching “Hocus Pocus” every year has also become tradition—for obvious reasons. I’ve fallen in love with the smell of pumpkin spice and autumn leaves scentsy waxes—I cannot imagine another fall without the manufactured smell of fall lingering in my house. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed decorating the front of our house for Halloween and fall (more than I can say for Christmas). I am very much looking forward to forming more family traditions and embracing the festive housewife I seem to be developing into.

 
There’s some positivity for ya!

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The nice thing is that she’s content to be outside, even if we are busy raking leaves

Trump-spiracy Theories

I’m convinced that the racist Cheeto has some agenda other than a quest for presidency, and thereby world domination. And honestly, some lame quest this is. What other candidate could get away with this kind of publicity? This infamy? Historically, none. Futuristically, well, I can only hope it won’t happen again. I try and solve this puzzle all the time. I’ll be honest, I probably think about it more than I should. And I’ve lost respect for a lot of midguided, ignorant, bull well-intended fellow citizens of mine. You might mean well, but I can’t tell.

I have formed a number of theories as to why a man with great success in his career as a business mogul might try to expand his niche to one he’s got no experience with. Drum roll please..

1. He’s bored. Let’s be honest, a man born into that kind of money doesn’t want for anything. He’s had his hand in a lot of buckets over the years—reality TV, pageants, books, casinos, etc. He’s a socialite, I don’t care his gender, and it’s the right way to describe him. Prior to 2012, he was becoming non-existent in the mainstream media. He had already peaked and was headed down from the climax in his life. Most men would retire happy with the kind of achievements and wealth Trump has amassed. But it’s not good enough for a man that has everything. Trump has the name, he’s had the publicity (good or bad), and all he needed to do was align himself with some die-hard ‘mericans. Not a problem for a man with a reputation in reality television.

2. He’s the ultimate troll. Well, he is. But I’m referring to trolling the Republican Party so damn well as to assure Hillary wins in a landslide. I think back to things I’ve read from the 90’s about how Trump loved the Clintons and considered them to be some of his closest political allies. Not to mention how Trump loves pointing out that Hillary has avoided fixing tax loopholes during her time as a senator (not that she alone has the power to do so, but that’s Trump’s thought at least) to benefit the very wealthy like Trump. Not a clear connection, I know, but both are/were part of the powerful elite in New York and no doubt about it they spent a lot of time getting to know one another.

3. Someone and so many stroked his ego too hard. I think Trump confided in some hooty-dooty friend or business partner of his, over some drinks and hors d’oeuvres, “Our country is going to shit. I could do a better job. I make millions and I could do it for America. Everyone loves me. I’d be the best president, ever.” And this friend of his had to have said “Oh hell yeah you’d do a better job. President Trump has a ring to it like that of the liberty bell.” And a dream was born.

4. He’s promoting his book. My husband mentioned this early on in the campaign season. Apparently, he campaigned a little in 2012 and he had also just released a book. And apparently, he used the publicity to promote the book and it’s sales did pretty well. I’m still not sure why a man with so much money would spend so much time to promote book sales. So, I can only thing it has something to do with the next conspiracy theory I have.

5. He’s actually broke AF. Think about it. He’s not releasing his tax returns. He’s been using a lot (last reported amount I saw was something like 300k) of his campaign donations toward personal purchases. He’s fired publicists, authors, and other people in his inner circle who try and put a dollar value on his wealth (It’s been said that the Trump brand wouldn’t retain it’s value if it were to be publicly known that he’s not as wealthy as he says he is). All public information regarding his tax returns has shown that his debt totals something like 450 million. He’s spendy and doesn’t seem to be very wise and trustworthy in his business practices. I think he’s bluffing. I think he thinks that becoming president might forgive all of his debts because who wants to be that guy that makes the POTUS repay his debts from when he was a shitty businessman? And by shitty, I mean unethical.

But my personal favorite, and the one that seems to be the most clearly true..

6. Because he can. Seriously, so many people have groomed him and have given him pass to get this far. He’s somehow played the whole politics game like his very own season of House of Cards. It’s impressive; I’ll give him that. But it’s not because of his incredible knack for politics. It’s because of the RNC’s incredible “stup-ability” to choose a household name over credible candidates.

 

It’s frankly frightening that it’s gotten this bad. But..

 

This is what happens when we allow a businessman to align his ideas with some of the most racist, fearful, close-minded, dark matter in our society.

This is what happens when we downplay questionable behavior of those who should be modeling the most honorable and dependable behavior.

This is what happens when a party’s majority backs a man with absolutely no experience in politics.

You all knew it would become a shit show. Don’t act like only recently you’ve found deal-breakers.   You gave him the power to be where he is and I hope no one lets you forget that. I hope it ruins your political and personal reputation, as it should. You are not to be trusted.

And I am extremely baffled that some people are still “undecided” in this election. I sure hope your indecision is in picking between Hilary and third-party candidates. God, I sure hope so.

A-ha, I’m an Introvert

It’s actually impressive that the concept of introversion was mostly unbeknownst to me until the past couple of years. Not one time in my whole childhood, teenhood, or early adulthood did anyone suggest that my shyness, anxiety, or aversion to social situations (without alcohol in the equation) might be due—at least partly—to my being an introvert. I am happy and relieved to have an explanation for my faults now. I embrace being an introvert now. I feed my hunger for alone time and I reset a couple times a day. And I can now say that I’ve been able to all but solve my panic attack problem in doing so. But growing up, it was hard.

I grew up forced into a lot of social situations that made me really anxious. But I didn’t have an explanation and for over a decade, I struggled in school and all other social settings. Presently, I’ve been reading “Quiet” the past month or so and I have honestly never had so many “A-ha!” moments! After learning about the need for introverts to have opportunities to “re-charge” between social activities, I am saddened when I think back and realize that that never happened for me until I started cutting class in middle school. By then my anxiety had gotten so bad that bathroom breaks didn’t ease my mind anymore. Until then, I only came by some peace and quiet using the bathroom and the short 3 or so hours at home before I went to bed. It sucks to realize even more now that I am mother.

But, I don’t think parents, teachers, daycare teachers—anyone really gave any thought to the symptoms of introversion back then and making accommodations for a child. It wasn’t considered “normal” behavior. So kids were (and majority are still) forced to be social and do sports and they will eventually burn out. I know I did. It took awhile, but it happened and by then I had a whole lot more on my plate than just managing my introvert tendencies. I’m sure that’s all well-established at this point if you keep up with my blog. But I mention it so often because it has really shaped who I am. And the way I view the world. And parenting. Everything.

What was once really difficult (finding time to re-charge throughout the day) has evolved to be plentiful. But I still struggle when the holidays come around, or when I work too much. So I take caution to take care of myself more. I learn to be selfish and not overbook myself. I turn down open shifts even if I know I could wing it. I decline plans if I haven’t had a quiet night at home in a couple of days. I’ve seen the darkness of not taking care of myself and I want to do all that I can to not let myself revert back to that.

 
What I do find difficult is being able to balance being a mother, friend, wife, and worker while taking care of myself and not feeling like I’m being avoidant of my friends. I realize that I don’t spend nearly the time with them that I did a year ago and I often wonder if I’m being a piss-poor friend by keeping my down time dear to me. I know my husband struggles to understand anxiety and introversion but I do hope that he can notice the correlations between having downtime and less stress. I think it’s hard to understand for a lot of people. And probably appears like excuse behavior. But I guess fuck those people.

Black Lives Matter.

There seems to be an ulterior arrogance amongst many of the habitants of, arguably, the freest country in the world. I see a lot of denial that black lives being taken by police is anything but justified. Never have I noticed it so blatantly as within the past couple of years. Was I too young to notice it before? Or was I blind to the injustices minorities face because I am not of that demographic? Was there not as much media coverage in regard to black victimization before? Maybe it’s a little bit of everything. But one thing is absolutely certain in my mind, and that is that systematic racism is very much alive today. And as a young, white, middle class female, I’d like to share with you my thoughts.

Firstly, I’d like to explain some of my background and how I have been able to draw some parallels between myself and the victims of our country’s policing policies. Because I think it is important that our society asks ourselves, “Could that have been me?” “What if that were my child, father, brother, etc.?” I urge you to do the same; we are all citizens of this country and deserve equal and fair treatment in every aspect of life independent of our skin color.


I am not proud to say that I committed petty crime when I was a teenager. Police have questioned me. I’ve ran from the police. I’ve broken the law. But I have never been arrested. I’ve never had a “stop and frisk” because of what I wore, looked like, or where I was at. No, every interaction I have had with police, I have been able to walk away and return home safely.

I am thankful that I didn’t have to face the full extent of the law for every time I made a mistake. I am advantageous. I am white. I am middle class. I am female.

My experiences in my teen years would be a much different story were I to alter a few “minor” things here and there. Not changing the situations themselves but things like gender, location, and skin color for the narrative. You know, the things that our society tells us are not the real issue. That punishments and outcomes are not dependent on these variables. But I think with changing these variables, the story likely would have a much different outcome. How do I know? Because I have seen, thanks to citizens of this here free country promoting police transparency, the videos of black citizens, sometimes younger than I was, doing less than I did, and being treated worse than I was. People being killed for things like legally carrying a firearm . Or waiting in a stalled car . Or walking home from a gas station. Or selling CD’s outside of a gas station . Just to name a few. A very few.

I’ve heard people (in the news, namely) try and find any justification on behalf of the officers for using lethal force against these black men. I’ve seen the news media choose to scour their personal histories in the hopes of de-humanizing their image. It’s disgusting, shameful, and doesn’t allow due process to run it’s course in these investigations. Not to mention that a person’s history (criminal or no) has little to do with the present and the incident itself. People change. People are not defined by their mistakes. I am proof to that. But I am white. I am middle class. I am female.

I’ve heard people refute the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by saying “All Lives Matter”. We are failing to understand the issue if we are busy making sure that the movement takes a backseat to everyone (but let’s be honest, mostly white people). Do people really think that the BLM movement is saying “but no one else’s do”? Well, some people certainly think so, but that’s absolutely not true. This movement is necessary; it’s been going on for much too long that black lives have seemingly less value than white lives in the eyes of the criminal justice system. I’ve read a couple of articles trying to explain this movement to us white folks.  This one.  This oneAnd this one. Because, let’s be honest, some of us don’t understand it. It’s hard for some of us to grasp the true depth of this topic. White privilege is bittersweet in that we don’t have to face discrimination because of our skin color, but the downfall is that we are not as aware of the issues our black peers face every day.

So, what do we do about it? I’ve got a few ideas—not answers, but a few things that definitely need addressed in the hopes of minimizing the incidences of victimizations of our black fellow citizens.

First and foremost, there needs to be a change in the protocol for use of deadly force. I, like most people, am seeing that lethal force has been exercised excessively; especially in the cases that we have seen accompanied by BLM movement. Unless there is a gun pointed at a police officer, signaling the intent to kill an officer, there should not be reason to shoot to kill; unless another person’s life is in immediate danger, there is no reason to use lethal force. Police should be combatting killings, not increasing them.

Secondly, there should be more extensive training on de-escalation. Police are called to a scene not to enact justice themselves. Police, as first responders, are responsible for trying to de-escalate, get the facts, and apprehend (if necessary). We are seeing police shooting and killing people at the scene before they even know what is going on. How would it make you feel if the second the police arrive, they’ve already got their guns out and drawn? No words, no questions, just orders. Well, I’d react. I’d feel helpless. I’d be angry. It would appear the police have already made up their mind about the call. From experience, talking goes a long way when adrenaline is pumping and thinking is anything but rational.

**I tried to find a news story from my area from a year back or so of police responding to a call about an armed man threatening to kill himself and his family. Reportedly, the man had been pointing the gun at officers and after a long, tense standoff, the man was taken into custody and received mental health assistance. Would the police have been justified in shooting him? Maybe (a gun was pointed at the officers, and the man was talking irrationally). But the police were being reasonable, they negotiated and talked to the man and were able to help him. The situation was successfully de-escalated.  Shot out to the Ankeny Police Department.

But I think the most important thing that we need to see change, lest we see these senseless killings again and again, is positive community policing. It’s a broad, and all-encompassing approach to policing that would include the aforementioned points. One step would be to assign officers to a specific precinct for long periods of time so that there is a greater understanding of the crime and frequent offenders in the area. Things like being able to address people on a first-name basis go a long way. Showing respect and humanity when answering a call. Increasing police presence and interaction in the community is crucial in forging a trust between police and citizens.

In the case of Terence Crutcher, the officer “feared for her life” for no reason of Crutcher’s actions (maybe just because he was a large black man?). I’m tired of seeing this excuse. If you can’t be unbiased and do your damn job (of providing safety and protection in our communities), then maybe being a community servant isn’t the job for you. I understand that police might feel that they are targeted. But so do black people. We have a dichotomy going on where proportions of our society are acting in fear. The only difference is, one side wields power over the other and is able to put down their badge and return to “normalcy” at the end of the shift. The other proportion lives in fear as opposed to just acting out of it.

So, I say “Black Lives Matter.” Because they do.  And it’s about damn time that our society acts like it.
If I’ve got your attention, I urge you to dig deeper into this movement and everything else it stands for. Because there are many more components to this effort in raising awareness surrounding senseless killings and lives lost at the hands of our criminal justice system: Also see: Campaign Zero and Say Her Name.

Note: Being white, I am both sensitive and cautious when it comes to discussing the injustices plaguing black citizens and other minorities. Many may say I have no reason to be a proponent for the Black Lives Matter Movement because I am not of the demographic—that I can’t have an opinion on it because I don’t have firsthand experience with racism. Well, I have opinions on just about everything and the BLM movement is no exception. All I know and have learned about the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, the persecution of the Jewish in Nazi Germany, and other historical injustices, is that conformity is suicide—silence is consent. It doesn’t sit right with me to sit back and watch unequal and unjust treatment happen around me just because it doesn’t affect me directly. So I show my support for true equality in this country I love.

Labor Day Vay-Cay

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I actually LOVE taking trips with my little one (and husband). OK, maybe not the packing and unpacking part—that’s just awful and always will be. But, the introducing Sylvia to the world (while I’m discovering it for myself) part is just a very cool experience. And I’m actually starting to really like when Hubs takes initiative without asking my opinion. Because if he’d asked me and kept me super in the loop with planning this whole thing 6 months ago, I probably would’ve told him that our Labor Day vacation was a bad idea. Because I have realized that the older I have gotten–the more anxious and stressed I get about big plans.

Have I mentioned that I called off our original wedding plans.. Fancy(ish) venue, theme, large(ish) guest list.. EVERYTHING!? And instead, opted for a small, informal union while camping? I do feel like I have said something about it here before so I’ll let it go. Lest I am losing my mind some more. That’s entirely possible.

Any way, I’ve digressed.

Hubs has probably brought up the “House on the Rock” museum every time Frank Lloyd Wright comes up (which is actually quite a bit since he is like the only architect I know or who’s life work I have knowingly and intently toured). I am actually able to connect his style to almost every eccentric house I see. I’m not the only person fond of the guy, hence the House on the Rock—which is NOT a Frank Lloyd Wright house but a sort of shrine house built by a man fascinated by Frank Lloyd Wright. This guy, Alex was his name, liked his style so much he built a house comparable to Wright’s tastes. And while I am still uneasy about his house being so closely tied to the actually works of Wright, it is still a really cool destination. Any house with shag carpet floors and walls is a house I love!

**My own disclaimer to anyone interested in visiting is that if you are little off-put by darkness and high heights, that’s pretty much the entire theme of the place. Dark crannies, dark overhead, high heights, and bright, creepy music machines! But the music machines are the best part, by far; creepy or no.

I think my favorite activity, out of the whole trip, was WizardQuest. Which was actually our first adventure at the Dells. I was super skeptical going into it and didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea how they planned to incorporate a video game-like feel without VR or something like that. But it was super fun! It brought back all the things I miss about video gaming—goblins, spells, elves, etc. etc. Shout out to the Hubby for crawling into all of the little crawly places and finding our clues. We couldn’t have completed the quests without his supple frame. I know he felt it the next day.

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Here’s one little cranny of the Earth level at WizardQuest

Sylvia was a dream throughout our trip. Although the first night was off to a rough start, once she settled down and gave into sleeping in her pack ‘n play in a foreign place, she bounced back the next day after a restful night of sleep. We were go-go-go for the first whole day of our trip, topping the day off right at the Cave of the Mounds. Sylvia was pretty happy to be there in her carrier snuggled up in my chest (caves are cold, mind you). There was another little boy there about a year older than Sylvia who was NOT happy to be there, however. He gave me a little glimpse into the life as a mom with a mobile youngin’. And now I somewhat dread, more than before, the terrible two’s and mobility. I really felt for the parents of that kiddo. Though, if I were in their shoes, I would’ve thrown the towel in early and hauled Sylvia to the car if that were her. That’s mostly because I am super sensitive to human emotion and listening to her cry is super exhausting and gets me irritable real quick! But I totally admire parents who don’t let their children’s antics shake up their plans. I think it shows the kid that no amount of fussing will get things to go the way they want. Power to those parents!
Thoughts in hindsight post-Labor Day vacation:

Don’t pack the jogger on any future trips unless we plan on visiting a human beehive (like the Iowa State Fair). Huge waste of trunk space and we never needed it 

Stop monopolizing all the vacation plans going forward

Give hubs more credit for his ability of planning things (because I forgot to pack him underwear and suck at planning in other ways)

Hubs’ got mad photography skills

There are so many other places within reasonable driving distance to discover

Memories>money

 

Some more photos from the trip:

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Cave of the Mounds.
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Huge whale. Maybe a bit larger than scale.
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Gardens outside of the House on the Rock
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Wow, this looks a lot dirtier with the flash on. But cool nonetheless!
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Almost walking