How To Play A Game With Goose Poop

A little over a week ago, my family decided to hop in the minivan and drive to Chicago for the day and visit the Shedd Aquarium. Although it’s a 3 ½ hour drive for us, this is merely a blink of an eye to me. I love road trips and a spontaneous adventure is right up my alley. However, we have NEVER attempted a road trip with this long of a drive with all three children spontaneously before.

I grabbed a bag of pretzels, goldfish crackers and a change of clothes for each family member and off we went at 7:30 a.m.

The first 10 minutes of the trip were absolutely wonderful! We sang, we talked about how much fun we were going to have and I passed out a few crackers to everyone.

15 minutes into the trip the question of “when are we going to get there?” began. My husband and I looked at each other with questioning concern wondering if we had just made the biggest mistake of our lives.

We somehow managed to make it to Chicago by 11:00 with little to no major problems until our 7 year old daughter, Iris exclaimed, “I think I’m going to throw up.” I quickly made my way to the back of the van where she was located and grabbed the first thing I saw which was her winter coat and held it in front of her.

This left us with a little dilemma since the weather was pretty chilly and we had to park 2 miles from the aquarium. I did have a sweatshirt in the car that I put over Iris’s shirt but it still left her a little underdressed for our long jaunt. She was a trooper though and didn’t complain at all and her upset stomach had quickly disappeared.

We approached our destination and saw the big building looming just a short distance. We were all excited and relieved that our long car ride was completely worth it as we anticipated our next few hours of fun!

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL

As we got closer, our excitement was soon overcome by shock, disbelief and horror.

The line leading up to the aquarium stretched and winded 200 yards back. My guess is 3000 people were waiting in this line. We are from a small town. Even though a NFL stadium is 10 minutes from our home we do not understand the concept of waiting or large crowds for anything. If the checkout lane at the grocery store takes more than 5 minutes; we get impatient and think that something is going terribly wrong.

I thought the line I was witnessing for the aquarium surely had to be for something other than just seeing a few tanks with fish in it. I thought, perhaps they had just flown in a whale and it was giving birth inside or that Jacques Cousteau had come back from the dead and was signing autographs. Certainly, no one would stand in a line this long, with this cold temperature just to get a peek at a few sting rays.

The line was so long, I couldn’t even fit it all into the picture!

I questioned a few people in line and they told me it was in fact just for the aquarium. They didn’t seem the least bit concerned that they were potentially waiting 2 hours in a line to see jelly fish and sea horses.

I didn’t know who was crazier at this point… the people happily waiting in line or me, who should clearly have investigated this outing a bit more thoroughly.

At this point, my husband and I began whispering what we were going to do and what other alternatives of fun we should do instead when I noticed another door to the side of the building. It said “accessible.” I ran over to find out what this was all about and discovered it was the entrance point for anyone in a wheelchair or who had a stroller.

There has never been a point in my life that I have been happier to have a kid in a stroller until this moment. I showered our 2 year old with kisses and said, “Thank you so much for getting your family in the aquarium with no wait time!”

We spent the next couple of hours going from tank to tank looking at all the sea life. The place was really crowded so it was hard to get too close to anything but we managed to see a fin or two!

After we felt we saw everything we could possibly see we headed out and started our long walk back to our vehicle.

We cut through a park and noticed a huge flock of geese. The kids began chasing them and trying to get them to honk. After they had their fill of running amongst the geese we held hands and walked along the pathway that was dotted with goose poop every few steps. I began by calling out “Goose Poop” to alarm every one of the potential danger so they wouldn’t step in it.

Bency and Iris chasing after the geese

It turned into a game of who could spot the next droppings first and call out loud enough so that all of Chicago was alerted. Stepping over the droppings wasn’t adequate. Wild jumps and hops were in order to clear the areas of mass destruction. Laughing and giggling rang out on this cold walk and our tired legs were forgotten as we enjoyed this best part of our day.

The most amusement of our day!

There is an area 5 minutes from our home that contains walking paths and where I have spotted huge flocks of geese hanging out. The next time we need a little excitement in our lives a quick drive over there should suffice as we happily play our game of “Goose Poop.”

Is That An Elephant Crossing the Road?

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from being a parent is that children have slow reaction times.

With this knowledge I never point anything out when we are driving in the car. I can scream hysterically, wave my hand in the proper direction of the exciting discovery I’ve just laid my eyes on and yet my kids never look quick enough.

We pass it or it is gone. This turns into begging to please turn around and with that usually not being a possibility, heartbreak.

Someone definitely forgot to pass this helpful tip along to me. Nowhere in that Motherhood Handbook that we all receive did it say anything about “suppressing our excitement about seeing animals crossing the road because your children will never see it”. Not only will they not see it but they will demand you stop the car and trudge through the woods in search of them. When you refuse to do this they will be emotionally hurt and be left with a scar caused from you withholding this wondrous sight.

Sometimes I forget my own wisdom on this matter. I see a deer crossing the road and though this is a common sight in Wisconsin….I still have to state the fact. I think this is mainly due to the fact that deer mean trouble. If you hit one of these you will more than likely be visiting a body shop or mechanic. So sometimes I think I blurt it out almost as a reminder to myself to slow down and be on the lookout. If there’s one, there is usually more. The other day I saw a mother deer and three babies crossing the road. I was in shock. Did she have triplets? Is that possible? Even though there was 4 deer to witness… the children missed them ALL.

Most little boys, including my son are fascinated with airplanes. As a nice gesture I would point them out to him whenever I saw one flying in the sky. He’s on his own now to spot them himself.

We’ve passed flocks of geese feeding in a field that covered a good 100 yards. I’ve slowed down and considering the massiveness of this sight, it should give the kids a good 20 seconds to capture this feast for the eyes. They miss it every time. Therefore forcing me to seal my lips and throw away the key to this vision I’ve just partaken in on all future sightings.

I love clouds. I fancy myself a professional cloud depicter. Within two seconds I can visibly make out a tiger with a fish in its mouth. It is SO apparent. Nobody could miss it or mistake it for anything else. By the time my kids even locate the cloud I am pointing to it turns into an ice cream cone. Then I have to start describing all over again that the rectangle on the bottom is the cone and the fluffy mound on top is the ice cream resting on the cone. It isn’t as cool…. and they wish they would have seen the tiger.

Now I realize the probability of an elephant crossing the road in Wisconsin is highly unlikely. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if I were to spot one, there is no way I’m pointing it out. The kids will never see it.

This is Iris when she was 2 years old…there’s an elephant right behind her….she has no clue!