I have to say, I’m really enjoying doing these Throwback Thursday posts all at once and scheduling them in advance . . . although I feel like I am cheating a little bit on the current Midwestern Bite.  The Midwestern Bite of Tuesday, January 7th.  We’re at the tail end of a record setting cold spell around these parts so hopefully this is my last of three days housebound.  Tomorrow is supposed to shoot up in the 30’s and I couldn’t be more thrilled!  I love winter and all, but it’s a whole new ballgame when you have small children to consider.  I can’t drag Sweetey Petey out in sub zero temperatures just because I have cabin fever.  I’m a little like my Father-in-Law in that respect – while I appreciate home, I can’t stand sitting around it all day.  I need at least a few hours of outside stimulation.

Cold weather talk aside, how is May treating you all?  I’m scheduling this post for May 29 so I bet it’s pretty dang nice out there.

Ok, ok, back to it.  Here’s a picture of me I really like and let me tell you why.

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This picture is very indicative of me from back in the day.

One – Long jackets.  Anybody familiar with the song from Cake called “Short Skirt Long Jacket”?  I love that band and I love that song.  Cutesy long jackets used to be my thing, my bag, my schtick and I totally rocked them for years.  I just ran across this particular jacket a few months ago and I’m pretty sure I finally donated it.  It’s not like it fit anymore, but I have a tendency to hold onto things for sentimental reasons.  It was adorable.  Tuxedo black with skinny, shiny, barely there silver stripes.

Two – While we are talking about wardrobe, you can’t miss the bare belly here.  Remember when that was a thing?  Now that I’m in my thirties I’m really glad it’s NOT still a thing, but back then?  Yeah, I had my share of shorty shirts.  We all have our body issues and wish we could make changes to something about ourselves, that’s human nature I suppose.  This picture always reminds me of a part of myself I’ve never wished to change.  Skinnier thighs?  Heck yes.  Easier to manage hair?  Hell to the yeah!  But I’ve never felt subconscious about my waistline.  I find it ironic to be typing that now considering I am almost seven months pregnant and don’t currently have a waistline.  There’s nothing wrong with celebrating our positives amiright?  I’m right.

Three – Gym Shoes.  I’m not the kind of girl to wear impractical stiletto heels to walk around an aquarium (that’s where this picture was taken in case you can’t tell) for hours just for fashion’s sake.  Sure, I like cute shoes just as much as the next woman does but I’m not about to sacrifice my feet for them.  That brings me to point four.

Four – The aquarium.  I love fish and I love the aquarium.  I have an entire gallery wall in my house dedicated to fish art.  I had an aquarium pass for years in my college days.  I have GOBS of fish ornaments to adorn my Christmas tree.  I named my dog Koi after a fish.  I.  Love.  Fish.  They are also quite tasty, if I might add.

That’s all for today.  Enjoy your last few days in May my friends!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What is one thing you love about yourself?  It’s okay to toot your own horn every now and again.

I’ve drug this on far too long.  It was a half a day at the aquarium after all not a week long vacation in the Caribbean scuba diving with actual aquatic wildlife.  This is also way too much posting for me in a week.  The new babe doesn’t sleep well enough for this yet.  Big thanks to Aly of Fudging Ahead for keeping me virtual company in the wee hours of the morning though.  My best parenting advice is to find a friend in a different time zone so they are up when you are up 😉

If you missed my previous posts on this riveting adventure, Part One can be found here and Part Two can be found here.  Part Two has the best pictures.

After the fam and I went through the first time, Phase One, we walked around town a bit.

To the river.

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 Back up from the river (the boy loves steps by the way – perhaps a stair master for his birthday?)

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River view.

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I managed to find some fish even outside the aquarium.  This fellow in front of a restaurant.

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And this fellow . . . I forget where.  Light post?  Garden bed?  It escapes me.  He’s an ominous, threatening fellow.  As if silently warning me there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

Hi I’m Joanna and I apparently beat dead horses fish.

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Balls.  Big ones.  Heh.

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Walked up and down more stairs.

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Looked at stuff.  Waiting for my sister and her family.

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Phase Two!!!

They finally arrived and we supped on fancy schmancy grilled cheese sandwiches!

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I went for dessert grilled cheese, trying a grilled cheese donut.  It had fresh strawberries, candied lemon peel and mascarpone cheese.   My sister had to cut it up for me so I could eat while holding the babe.  Thanks Em!  And yes, that is my DSLR in the background while I snapped these photos with my I-Phone.  Again, only one hand people, only one hand.

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I saved The Husband and The Pete one bite each.  I’m nice that way.  It was fab by the way.  Totally worth the time it took to jog it back off later.

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After lunch The Husband and I switched kids!  He Ergo-ed up the baby and I wrangled the wild, wiggly, over tired toddler. Maybe that’s actually how I worked off the donut??  Still, it was nice to get a different perspective the second time through. Before, I had the luxury of snapping pictures.  Not super easy with a baby strapped to me, but since she was sleeping it was way easier than taking pictures while also running after Petey.  No amount of shutter speed can compensate for that action.  This time though I was able to enjoy Petey enjoying the aquarium.  And enjoy it he did . . . at breakneck, run around in circles speed.

I don’t have too many pictures I can share from Phase Two actually.  You all know I don’t go super crazy posting pictures of the kids on my blog.  So while I did pull out my Nikon for round two in Turtle Canyon and snapped some great pics of the kids you’ll have to find me personally on Facebook to see them.

Here’s a nice one of my niece from behind though.  Don’t you just want her hair???  I do.

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And my nephew . . . also running around like a mad banshee.  We’ve all decided he and Sweetey Petey will never be allowed in the same room alone together as they would most certainly get into trouble.

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That’s all I’ve got for this trip.  Have a great weekend everybody!

– Joanna

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question of the Day:  What are your weekend plans?  Anything exciting on tap?


If you missed Part 1 please click here.  There’s a fabulously interesting tirade on the lack of fish sticks at the aquarium.  If you don’t read that post the title of this post will mean nothing to you.  Go on.  Read it.  Then come back.  For fish pictures!  But not fish sticks because there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

I may have teased you about fish pictures yesterday, but I mean it this time.  I swear.

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Come!  Visit the aquarium with us!  There will be actual pictures and everything!

Like I mentioned yesterday, we went through twice, once by ourselves and once when my sister and her family arrived.  It’s a good thing too because by the time they rolled into town it was Sweetey Petey’s (missed) nap time and he was a spiraling ball of energy and craziness the rest of the day.  So we saw more fish the first time around.  Had more family fun the second time around though.

Let’s call our first visit through the aquarium Phase One.

During Phase One I had Baby Charwee slung up in the Ergo and The Husband was on Sweetey Petey duty.

Well hi there.

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I actually really love this picture.  It’s very indicative of my life these days.  Pretty much everything I do, I do with a baby strapped to me.

The aquarium was divided into galleries which seems like a natural way to break up this post too.

Let’s get to it then.  Finally.

World Rivers –  Freshwater river inhabitants. You can pick one of these guys up at your local pet store for a few bucks if you really want to experience the aquarium with us.  I used to have one of these fellows back in the day.  His name was Sid.  He was awful to the other fish and wouldn’t die.  Worst.  Fish.  Ever.

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Shore Gallery – A touch pool for the kiddios!  The shark and starfish were not for touching, but were located next to the touch pool so I lumped them here.

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Shark Ray Bay Theater – We didn’t stay for a show, but did take a minute to enjoy one of the largest windows in the aquarium.  That’s one happy looking stingray.

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Bizarre and Beautiful –  Unusual creatures including octopus and Japanese spider crabs.

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Dangerous & Deadly –  Feared and deadly aquatic animals including piranhas, poisoned frogs, stonefish, lionfish, snakes, sharks, and stingrays.

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Gator Alley –  Meet Mighty Mike! That alligator was seriously huge.  We barely made it out alive.

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Frog Bog – One of the largest collections of frogs in the Midwest, a Frogger interactive game, and a Frog Bog jungle gym!  Petey ran around the Frog Bog like a mad freaking banshee.  Both in Phase One and Phase Two.

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Turtle Canyon –  Ummmm this was the largest turtle ever.  Petey loved it.  It’s all he talked about.  It’s all he still talks about.  He was, shall we say, less than pleased when we left Turtle Canyon.  Oh and the tinier turtles?  They were The Husband’s favorite as they seemed “friendly.”

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Amazon Tunnel –  A 32 foot long tunnel reminiscent of a flooded Amazon rainforest.

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Coral Reef –  I took no pictures here.  Sadness.

Jellyfish Gallery – The largest jellyfish exhibit in the Midwest!  Play tag (and take shadow selfies) with moon jellies at the interactive Jelly Wall.  The jellyfish were one of my favorite exhibits.

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Surrounded by Sharks –  Stroll through a giant tunnel surrounded by sharks, stingrays, and fish swimming over, under and all around.  It was right about here it really started to smell like fish sticks.

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Sharky’s Cafe –  WHERE THERE WERE NO FISH STICKS!  Harumpf.

Shark Central –  Touch a shark.  I have no pictures from this either.  More sadness.

Penguin Palooza –  Penguins.  Penguins rock.  Cute, fiesty, excellent swimmers.  If I had to pick a creature to take home, it would be a penguin for sure.

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Overhead Shark Viewing – View the tanks from above.  We all loved this part.  Petey especially loved the underwater periscope.

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Gift Shop –  Parents worst nightmare.  Yikes.  I think Petey hugged every stuffed animal . . . which is funny because he doesn’t have any particular attachment to stuffed animals at home.  There was also a plastic light up ray gun that was very popular; I had to put it back at least four times.  If you’re wondering what a light up ray gun has to do with fish . . . well, so am I.

See ya either tomorrow or Friday for Phase Two where we wander around town waiting for my sister’s family, eat donuts and swap responsibility as we trek through the tanks for a second time.  Yup, I’m dragging this out for a THIRD day.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

– Joanna

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question of the Day:  Which creature is your favorite?

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Since I still claim this is a “food satire blog” despite the ridiculous amount of chicken posts lately (okay that still makes it sound like food but since we haven’t eaten any of the chickens it’s not really) I’ll start this post off with the fact there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

It sure smelled like fish sticks, especially around the cafe, but hunt as I might  . . . there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

Yes, after wandering through room after room of both local and exotic aquatic wildlife, I still had a hankering for the breaded white fish we all scarfed down as children.  It’s fair to say I cannot recall the last time before that I’d even thought about fish sticks, but dang I could think of nothing but that day.

It seems appropriate doesn’t it?  To serve fish sticks at the aquarium?  Fish are food, not friends after all.  I like visiting farms but I still fried up some bacon for breakfast this morning.

There REALLY should have been fish sticks at the aquarium.  I mean, if they can manage mini pizza’s, french fries and fried chicken strips, fish sticks shouldn’t be out of the question.  And why the fish stick smell?  I SWEAR it was quite strong right outside the cafe.  Ask The Husband, he’ll back me up on this one.  He smelled it too.  Did they pipe in the fish stick smell?  Did they put a tank full of common white fish right outside the entrance and I just missed it??


Why are we even talking about this anyway????  If you recall I asked you folks last week to pick this week’s topic and two of you picked the aquarium so blame Unka Rick and Aly for this tirade.  In their defense I assume they were looking for pictures of fish rather than six paragraphs on fish sticks.  No worries.  I have pictures of fish too.  Some are better than others because taking pictures in a dimly lit room with no tripod and a twelve pound baby strapped to you in a sling is challenging at best.

But I did my best and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

So, here’s the haps.  My sister contacted me on a Monday and wanted to know if we’d like to hit up the aquarium with her family that same Friday.  The kids were off school and they were planning a last minute trip.  It was a little bit of a drive for both of us but as we were driving towards each other to meet in the middle it seemed like a natural rendevous.  Plus I love fish (to eat and to look at).  The Husband’s work schedule allowed for him to take a vacation day and we were on like prawn.

Ha!  I kill me sometimes, I really do.

My brother-in-law, Unka Rick, had to work Friday morning so they weren’t planning on getting to the aquarium till about 1:00 pm.  Mike and I decided to pack the kids up early and go through the aquarium twice, once by ourselves and once with my sister’s brood.

We arrived at the aquarium about 10:15 am but didn’t get inside till closer to 10:45 am.  Baby Charwee needed a “shirt snack” in the parking garage.  For those not in the know, a shirt snack is lunch.  And breakfast and dinner and snack and middle of the night hungries.  We adopted this phrase shortly after lunch at Panera one day when Sweetey Petey stood on the bench seat, pointed to his baby sister, and yelled BOOB MILK loudly and repeatedly.  Baby Charwee no longer eats boob milk.  She now has a shirt snack.

But I’ve segued.

Let’s get to the fish!!

No, wait.  Let’s not.  I mean, yes, let’s wait.  Let’s wait till tomorrow to see the fish!

I know, I suck.

The fact of the matter is I have too many pictures for one post, especially considering I’ve wasted so much time discussing fish sticks, or rather the lack thereof.  Sorry I’m not sorry.  Come back tomorrow for fish pictures.

– Joanna

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question of the Day:  What aquatic life are you most excited to see pictures of?

Way back in April I started a wallpaper stripping project that at the time I assumed wouldn’t take me that long.  To get my DIY butt in gear I even wrote a post about accountability in May where I pledged to post a picture of my wall every day until I was done.  Clearly I petered out on the posting account.  And clearly I petered out on the wallpaper stripping as well.

That was until I realized a life was at stake.  A real living and breathing life was at stake, resting solely upon my wallpaper stripping efforts.

That’s right.  The situation was now crucial and dire and desperate and drastic and extreme and every other adjective that the thesaurus can spit out.

If you recall, the reason I was focusing on this particular painted over wallpapered wall to DIY was so I could set up our currently empty but rather large fish tank over there.  For Gil.  Gil Grissom.  You remember Gil right?  He’s the fish we got in January and you can click here to read all about him if you’re so inclined.

We already had a small tank for Gil with a filter and everything set up on our bar so it seemed like I had all the time in the world.

But I didn’t.  Time was running out.  And fast.

All it took was a two minute trip to the restroom to prove this fact.

You see when I returned from the restroom, I found this:

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And this:

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In case you can’t tell, that second picture is a view from the top of the aquarium Gil currently resides in.  Sweet little Sweetey Petey had learned to climb the bar stool and decided to feed Gil.  Unfortunately he must have thought Gil was REALLY hungry because he fed him half the bottle of fish food.


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