Photos by TBoz, Commentary by Kristian
We decided to start this summer with a little exercise by dragging poor Fish to Maquoketa to wander through the woods and the caves. Todd and I picked him up and without telling him where we were going, we got in the car and drove. It was really rainy, which made the hiking a little more bearable. I was highly impressed with the fact that Fish didn't complain or whine about wanting to go home, he isn't much of the outdoors nature type! I hadn't been to the caves in years and was surprised at how much I remembered. Todd went in a large portion of the caves, and next time we head out there, we are bringing better gear and sending Todd into some of the other caves!
Coal Valley Days
The Valley Days were about the same as last year. I did buy the wristband for $12 and rode 2 rides. Todd and Fish rode more rides than I did, but that is normal. I rode the Pharoah and the Tilt-a-Whirl, which is about all I ride anyway. The fireworks were cool, a little scary, but cool. They launched the fireworks a little too close to the crowd and with the wind blowing so hard, it was a bit dangerous. We also ran into Randy while we were out there, on his mission to locate beer.
My second annual pilgrimage to Jubilee College was a blast. This year we went both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we took Fish with and watched every single event. We caught the Jousting, the Live Steel Combat, the Shattock School of Defense, a Magic Show, the Melee Battle at the end of the day, and of course stopped at all of the booths. Fish bought a few necklaces and a lil pewter knight, Todd bought the sweetest looking curved dagger, and then I bought a bracelet to match last years necklace purchased at the fair. Todd bought me a boot dagger and a small pocket knife with a mermaid on it. If you read my commentary of this event last year, you will recall my feelings about weapons, or lack of. I must say that this year there were multiple shops selling gorgeous weaponry at a very affordable rate. Sunday Todd and I went back to the fair and just wandered, ate, and shopped. We bought T-shirts, and Todd bought himself a hat and got me a silver headband.
"Once Upon A Millennium: Voyage of Discovery" Learn about and explore life during the Renaissance... Open June 21 through September 10, 2000. This was a surprise addition to our week of medieval fun. It just happens that the SCA was performing for the Family Museum in Bettendorf. Todd and I watched the Junior Theatre perform Midsummer Night's Dream and then we went inside the museum to watch the SCA spar. They had a castle for the kids and many other medieval things to play with. They also had an area for making crowns, robin hood hats, and for kids to make their own butter by hand. (we had no camera so the image is courtesy of the Family Museum web site).
I know, everyone is waiting for me to bash the Riverfest for 2 years in a row. They want me to yell about the $5 fee, complain that the Fest was cancelled on Saturday, and be upset that the Boat Parade is being chopped up and fed only to Rock Island and Davenport Residents. If you are one of those awaiting my scathing review, I am sorry to say I will disappoint you. I was not happy they didn't advertise that there was a carnival, or that it had an unannounced armband night on Thursday. But they had a Carnival, and they had an armband night. I did go down and see Night Ranger and watch the best fireworks display of the year. I planned to go back on Saturday, although it was cancelled. The reason I cannot complain as much as I should is because the Riverfest is "trying" to correct itself and become fun again. Although it was cancelled, there *was* a Carnival, there were fun events for all ages, and there were twice as many shops as last year.
For those of you who do not know, the Aldermen of the area are wanting to cancel Riverfest for next year. They feel we do not appreciate it, it brings in no revenue, and it costs too much money. If you wish to save the Riverfest, please contact Alderman Franzen at firstname.lastname@example.org and let your love of local festivities be known!
Wisconsin Road Trip
Every year, we make our annual pilgrimage to Wisconsin. My father and I have been doing this for years, although the passengers who come along with us change now and then. We all pack in to a mini-van as if we are sardines and then drive on up to Wisconsin. We always stop at McDonalds and eat on the way through Dubuque. Seems every year that place sells Beanie Babies in June and this year Todd bought me a JellyFish. After Mcdonalds, We wander to Wisconsin, do our shopping, and come home. Nothing exciting, but because it is out of the state, I kinda thought it was worth mentioning.
Happy Birthday to Me
As I do every year, I spent the 2nd of July out at my sisters house lighting fireworks and semi-celebrating my birthday. This year dad and I spent $200 on some decent fireworks. Surprisingly, alot of people were there, my sister and her family, my dad and the Fish, Todd, Linda, Alisha, Alisha's possible boyfriend (I cant keep up if they are dating or not), Rory and Susan. Rory and Todd also lit off some fireworks....technically they lit all of them.....but I meant they brought their own. A storm started rolling in about 9PM, so we had some great lightning going on behind the fireworks. Storm hit after we were done, so all in all in was a great night. Hopefully, Todd will develop his pics so I can update this more.
I went to my first Bandits game of the year. Not that I go often, but I may go back again. Since it was my birthday weekend, I got to go to the game on fireworks night, along with 6900 people, which made it packed. I have to admit, I am not a sports person, and baseball tends to bore me. Knowing that, I had a pretty good time. The game didn't drag on, there were lots of things to watch and do, and the fireworks were pretty good. It was very cramped though, most likely due to the fireworks after the game. Next time, I hope to go on a less crowded day.
AmVets 4th of July Parade
Every year, since I think I was born, my father drags us down to the parade in East Moline. The few years we didn't go, it was due to other commitments or bad weather. Needless to say, dad never misses the parade....rain or shine. So, the whole family showed up and we started heading down to East Moline. It's about 20 blocks down, so we walk each year. As we left, it began to sprinkle. By the time we go there and it started, it was raining pretty good. About 45 minutes in to it, it was pouring. We had to run home in the rain, all sopping wet. Ok, now I am sure you are thinking that THIS, of all my summer things, must have been the worst. Honestly, it was a blast. All the kids were drenched and begging for candy in the rain. Then we splashed in the puddles on the way home and my sister got covered when a car decided to puddle jump right next to her as we walked home. I'm not normally happy in circumstances like this, but it was the 4th of July, and I couldn't be unhappy on the 4th.
B-day and Swimming at Mom's
We pushed off my official birthday bash from the 1st to the 9th because of bad weather and a bad pool liner. It was the most people that had been to a party for me in years. Dad and Linda, Alisha, Angela, Rory and Susan, Mom, Mike, Amy and Todd, all the kids, and then Wendy and "the strangers". I got tons of presents including a furry box, a vibrating doll, and a singing cake. My favorite is my bubble water light thingy which I keep at Todd's house. Todd bought me a fountain and windchime s, which I plan to annoy him with since he hates the sound of them. We ate lunch and dinnner there, and "the strangers" took a shower and ironed their clothes!
Quad-City Air Show
As always, I went to mom's house for the QC Airshow. It was a great day for watching planes and swimming, not too hot for a change. Only family was there, which made it even better! The jets flew so much closer than last year, and actually flew over mom's house more than they have in a long time. I was going to go back to Iowa on the 16th and watch them again, but instead stayed home and fought with Todd's new computer desk. I could still hear the planes flying, all the way at his apartment.
Every year we go to Niabi Zoo, whether things have changed or not. This year, they added an elephant, put in some dinosaur statues, and added some animal monuments all over the place. One was the gorilla seen in the picture here (no, not the one in the red hat). Todd didn't get to go, since he was kidnapped and forced to go to Chicago for work. Amy and the girls went with my dad, Fish, and I and it was perfect Zoo weather.
Kewanee Hog Days
I SAW A PIG! Alright, so that doesn't thrill anyone but me, oh well. This year was my second Kewanee Hog Days and I swore that I would not leave til I saw a Big Pig. We got to Kewanee around noon and went to the Flea Market, but unfortunately I could not find fleas. Then we went to Dairy Queen and I drank a Mr Misty. After that, we went to the area where the food and carnival was. I would be more specific but Todd confused me with the whole "uptown" issue. I guess no matter where he is, everything is "uptown", kinda like a compass and "North". Anyway, after we bought Todd a pigfest shirt, we ate and drank some carnival refreshments. Then, we walked down (or up) the street and waited for the parade. This is where I not only saw a big pig, I saw THE big pig, the King Hog!!!! After baking in the sun to see the 2 hour long parade, we then headed home.
Chicago Day 1
My big summer vacation this year had to wait until September. I guess everyones social calendar was booked and so we all decided it would be a big "Birthday Weekend". Sept 4 is Ariannes birthday, Sept 8 is Todds and Sept 9 is Mike's, so it worked out as a combo vacation-birthday gathering. We squished 10 of us in two cars and headed up to Oakbrook to stay at the Mariott. Once there, we checked in and headed out to the Field Museum to see Sue, the big T-Rex. We wandered there looking at dinosaurs, indian relics, stuffed life like animals, and of course the Star Wars exhibit.
After that, we headed off the the Shed Aquarium to check out some enormous fish. We watched a really cool dolphin show, saw a baby whale swimming, and seen tons of other fish in aquariums. The large aquarium in the middle had a nice sized shark and even a huge turtle!
Once we left the Aquarium, we took a boat tour of the lake. All the touristy stuff was pointed out, like the Hancock building, Sears Tower, Navy Pier, etc. Even Shally road the boat, and after she realized there were no iceburgs, she actually enjoyed it. When the boat docked, we then walked down through Grant Park and ate dinner by the fountain. Later, when we went back to the hotel, the kids sawm while Todd and I watched fireworks from our hotel room window.
Chicago Day 2
Day 2 of our Chicago excursion was covering Navy Pier and Water Tower. Navy Pier is just what the name states, a pier. It has shops, a carousel, carnival type food vendors, and a 15 story ferris wheel. It was raining when we got there so we wandered briefly around the pier. We drank, shopped, looked around, and took pictures. Then, we walked about 10 blocks down to Michigan Ave to shop at Water Tower Plaza. We stopped on the way to see the Disney Store, ate ice cream at a fancy parlor, saw Oprah Winfrey crossing the street next to us, and then went shopping at the American Girl store. Then we went to the mall in Water Tower and rode the glass elevators, shopped at the Warner Brothers store, and did more shopping. Then, we rode a trolly back to Navy Pier. After arriving back at the pier, the kids rode the carousel while Todd and I took pictures and ate popcorn. Then it was time for the 3 hour journey home!