Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry

4Sep/180

Midnight Train to Big G

Driving back into Galena the night of my birthday, Hen was thrilled to keep the top down on the MZ—but that was nothing compared to his reaction when, from the highway, we heard the rumble of a distant freight train. I immediately turned off the road and made a beeline down the hill, whipping out my phone on the way. Check out our close encounter with the iron horse. 🚂☺️

MZ in Big G

22Aug/180

Picking a Winner

Antiques-loving Hen spent all summer vibrating with anticipation of visiting Antique Archaeology in LeClaire, Iowa, not too far from Galena. It’s run by Mike & Frank of American Pickers—his favorite show, and beforehand he read Kid Pickers—a birthday gift from Grandma Nack, written by Mike & Galenian Lily Sprengelmeyer.

When our trip finally arrived, we zoomed up from Springfield, then across the river to the shop. Hen was thrilled not only to find a great piece—the taillight (?) from a 1958 Buick, but to bargain with Mike’s childhood friend and shake on a great deal! Given that it was found in Illinois, we like to think that the Buick might’ve been sold by Great Grandpa Liggett, or possibly to Great Grandpa Nack. 🙂

Afterwards we stopped off for some German food while Hen picked some old railroad shrapnel near a thrillingly active train line. Check out the gallery here.

Picadors 4

19Aug/180

Visiting The Pond

Much as we’ve done in 2014 (gallery) and last year (gallery), on this trip to Big G we had a blast visiting our cousins Tom & Sarah Nack’s pond.

As we approached this year, I found myself eyeing my rearview mirror thinking, “Huh, I didn’t know that Galena Trolleys came out this far…” Well, they don’t except when Uncle Ted is behind the wheel! He was in the process of dropping off Ruby following Jenna’s birthday party, so our arrival was followed by a bus full of tired but happy 7-year-old girls. 🙂

Finn & Gus did some amazing synchronized jumping; Hen revolutionized his kayaking game; the dudes fed catfish bread with the occasional side of toe (!); and Hen & Ruby constructed some superb earthworks before getting wild with the hose. Check out the gallery plus a short video below:

And heres's a 360º panorama that you can click & drag to move around:

14Aug/181

Mom & the Valkyries

Ah, nothing like a glorious Sunday morning in Big G. to accidentally terrorize my mom with my drone. 😬🚁😌 Here’s a quick shot (music courtesy of Wagner) of the device approaching the house (“It looks like a giant insect!” she said before shutting the door), plus a nice little overhead image. Stay tuned for more soon!

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18Oct/170

Balloon & Goon

Amidst all the fun the guys had visiting Grandma & Grandpa Nack in Big G this past summer, I neglected to share photos of our evening out exploring hot air balloons in Galena Territory with our Murray/Mahoney cousins. So, taking a little break from Yellowstone pics, here’s a little gallery. Note that this was during Hen’s unfortunate but mercifully brief “roll eyes to ruin every photo” phase, so at Finn’s urging I added a little something extra to the final shot. 🙂

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22Jun/170

Mississippi Queen

“A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again” is how David Foster Wallace memorably described his experience aboard a cruise ship. By contrast, we had a ball cruising the Mississippi with the boys (see previously shared pics), but turning the boat into a temporary aircraft carrier for my drone was… not my soundest idea. Here’s the footage I was able to salvage amidst my semi-frantic attempts to land the drone (which kept getting blown backward as it approached the boat). Enjoy (?)!

21Jun/170

Alpine Mayhem

In case you somehow didn’t get enough of our downhill hijinks the other day, check out this pair of vids. (And if you’re feeling nostalgic, compare them to the time the whole fam sledded at once, three years ago.)

To quote Hen on this one, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!😝 (turn up your speakers)

And in this vid, you can click and drag around as it plays, seeing the scene in 360º mode!

19Jun/170

Alpine Cruising!

Yesterday we had a ball riding Chestnut Mountain’s Alpine Slide down to the Mississippi, then tooling around the backwaters for an hour before hitting the slide another half dozen times. As you might be able to see, Hen started out pretty nervous but grew to love the slide, getting faster with each run. Here’s a little gallery from the day, plus a video of Henry in action.

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5Oct/140

Mega digs on the Minifigs

Among all the delights in our recent trip to Galena, a standout for all the kids (young & old alike) was when cousin Tony brought out his set of Legos & let us each build & arm our own minifigures! Even now, two months (!!) later, it's a ball to see these little parts (backpacks, katana swords, ghost bodies, and more) float by in the basement & remind the guys of Tony's generosity.

Check out a little gallery of the goings-on.

ToneLego

24Aug/140

Alpine sliders!

Braving Chestnut Mountain's Alpine Slide was a favorite part of my childhood, so we were delighted to get the Micronaxx in on the action during our trip. They enjoyed the action (and playful smack-talk between me & Margot!) so much that they begged to go back the next day. That time—unlike what you see in the vids below—I was smart enough to put my cameras away and focus on smoking the competition—finally redeeming myself in the eyes of our sons. 🙂

20Aug/140

E.B. Looens

During our Galena trip my mom had the great idea of taking the lads to E.B. Lyons interpretive center in Dubuque's Mines of Spain wilderness area. They enjoyed checking out all manner of critters, both living (snapping turtles, snakes) and stuffed (badgers, owls, flying squirrels, and more). Here's our little gallery.

EB-Looens

17Aug/140

Tri-State Tourists

The boys have always been fascinated by anything related to Uncle Ted & his big vehicles. He's given them some great tours, from checking out his ambulance one year to riding in his 18-wheeler the next. This time around we paid a visit to the Tri-State Tours "bus barn" as the dudes call it. By the end Henry was literally jumping for joy, as you'll see. Check out the gallery!

Bus Driver Hen

17Aug/140

Farm Boys

The boys & I had a ball (and about a million kernels of corn) visiting our friend Tom Moser's farm outside Galena. We were joined by Alicia, Alejandro, and Elena, plus Uncle Ted & Jenna. Stay tuned for a gallery & more videos soon. Meanwhile, enjoy Finn the Corn Angel!

Corn Angel

13Aug/140

Captain America

G-Man: Down on the farm, up on a tractor, on top of the world.

Flag Helmet

12Aug/140

Honey bunch

Who's got two thumbs, one spoon, and loves eating honey directly from the farm? This guuuuy. 🙂

Hunny

11Aug/140

Chicago Adventures!

Whenever we visit John's family in Illinois, we fly to Chicago, then drive to Galena. We've now made it a tradition to spend a day in the city before heading out on the 3-hour drive west, so that we can soak up some urban sights and adventures with the boys. This time, we led our own Nack Family Blitzkrieg on Chicago. We kicked off our day on the 103rd-floor SkyDeck of the Willis (Sears) Tower before heading over to the amazing Museum of Science and Industry.

Floor

While Henry was fascinated looking through the floor of the observation pod in the tower, Finn was somewhat...um...less enthused. He was, however, really excited to see and learn about the captured WWII German U-Boat, the U-505, at the MSI. We also visited their coal mine experience, and spent some quality time touring the famous Burlington Pioneer Zephyr train, which set a diesel train speed record in 1934 traveling between Denver and Chicago.

Loath to go back to our suburban hotel, we rounded out the day by heading back uptown for a water taxi ride to Michigan Avenue, and then a "cheezborger" at the famous Billy Goat Tavern, a local Chicago landmark. Here's a little gallery of the day's events.

1Jan/130

Christmas: A White Delight

So, our guys have at last experienced snow!

Galena was blessed with a great mixture of snow (let's say 8-9" plus periodic reinforcements throughout the week) and freezing-but-not-freezing temperatures that kept things clean & fluffy throughout our stay. Thanks to our old neighbor Christy, the boys were outfitted with snowpants & boots, and they relished helping Grandpa shovel & helping me craft a snowman ("Beardo," Finn dubbed him). We tore up the hills, too, packing in three separate sledding trips. Check out the frosty gallery!

29Dec/120

Chicago Adventures

We spent the first couple of days of our holiday travels in Chicago - to do a little sightseeing, and visit with family before heading west towards "Big G" (Galena, IL) to visit John's folks. We managed to pack in quite a bit in under 48 hours!

We started with an L train ride from Lincoln Park out to Skokie (past Wrigley field, among other things) - a big hit with our train-loving dudes. In Skokie, we got to hang out and visit with several of John's aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids (gotta love the Irish, cocktails and beer available at 11:30 a.m.!). Poor Henry was feverish with a cold, and conked out in one of aunt Jane's bedrooms, but managed to rally enough to be strolled around downtown Chicago. We got to see the famous "bean," and the beautiful lions at the Art Institute, both of which they'd read about in the I Love Chicago board book Grandma Nack sent us before the trip. We even caught a glimpse of the Zamboni on the ice before the skaters hit the rink!

And last but not least, after triangulating and re-triangulating our location and the time of day with the CTA Holiday Lights Train schedule, and then waiting and waiting at the station for the famous Holiday L train that was running about 30 minutes late, we saw, boarded, and rode the Holiday Lights Train! The guys were beside themselves - and the train was fantastic - decorated and lit inside and out, with Christmas music on the P.A., an elfish conductor handing out candy canes, and Santa himself in his sleigh, riding on a decorated flatbed car. It was worth the wait and all the effort John put in to figure out where we needed to be and when in order to catch it.

Before we headed west, we went to Lincoln Park Zoo and saw lions, red pandas, owls, sea lions, wolves, bears, and pumas. The lioness roared and roared for quite some time, which was a big thrill for Mr. Finny, our resident lion enthusiast. It was a totally great way to start our trip - and here's the requisite gallery illustrating our adventures.

26Dec/120

Henry’s first sled ride!

We had some snowy delights with the lads today in Galena's Grant Park. More (pics/vids as well as sledding) to follow soon! 🙂

1Dec/110

Sweet Baby J

During our Galena trip we were delighted to meet our new niece/cousin Jenna Nack. Here's a gallery of her hanging out with the Micronaxx plus various Murray cousins.