Friday, July 26, 2013

What do we do when we go to Iowa????

 We limbo!
We happened to be in town for the 4th of July festivities in West Union, Iowa....kudos to whoever put this together because we had a blast!!!

 We paddleboat!
My best friend from Iowa, Kasey, and her family have a camper at a local campground and she invited us to hang out for a day.  What fun!!!!  
 We go to Amusement Parks????
This was unexpected, but my sister,Carla, gave us tickets to take our family to Adventureland in Des Moines, Iowa, for a day.  We took my niece, Isabelle, with us also.  We had a blast!  I had gone to this amusement park when I lived in Iowa, but they had added a wonderful waterpark that we enjoyed immensely, as it was 92 degrees the day we visited.

 We catch up with friends!
It just so happened that our friends, the Campbells, happened to be visiting their family at the same time.  They live in Illinois now, but they lived in northern Virginia when we lived in Maryland.  We were able to double date one night and had a lot of laughs together!
 We hike!
Well, Darrell and I did anyway.  We left the kids with Dad one day and went hiking at Backbone State Park, enjoying some of the highest views in Iowa.  Beautiful!

 We swim!
The northeast rural area of Iowa has some of the BEST swimming pools, so we always look forward to visiting them when we go back.
 We ride (and drive)!
The rustler....lots of open land to drive around in....and let the kids try out some driving of their own.  No worries, it is always well-supervised.
 We fish!
Dad happens to have access to a small lake on his property where the fish practically jump out at you.  The kids really enjoy this fishing experience...catch and release of course.

 We enjoy the animals!
There are always baby kittens to be tamed and named on Dad's acreage, and this time we were able to enjoy my sister's puppy, Otis.

 We enjoy a slower pace of life!
Visiting family and friends and just hanging out, we relax and feel blessed that we have this time with each other.
Does that make you want to visit Iowa?  :)

Iowa trip 2013 - Precious time with cousins

 We went back to Iowa in July this year to be a part of my Grandfather's memorial service.  He passed away in January and because our family is so spread out, it made sense to choose a date in the summer when most people could travel and attend.  Well, every single family member attended - all of my first cousins, some of whom I had not seen in a decade.  What a precious time.....the picture above is all of the grandchildren of my dad and his wife, all of my children's first cousins.
 This is a picture of all of my first cousins and my Grandmother - so good to see and talk to each of them!!!!
 Ann-Marie really enjoyed getting to know Rose, her second cousin from Florida....guess we'll have to visit soon.
 Conversations were sweet - my Aunt Sue (Illinois) talking to my cousin Todd's wife, Kristen....
 my two closest in age cousins - Todd (Florida) and Dave (New Mexico)....
 Evan chatting with cousin Nathan (Colorado)....
 again all of my children's first cousins together in Dad's truck....special picture taken for an article being written about my dad in the local newspaper.....
 Ann-Marie really enjoyed helping out with her younger cousins, Abby and Selah (Colorado)....
 some of the boy cousins enjoying pool time.....the genetics run strong, don't they?

 Alec enjoyed hanging out with Silas (Colorado)......
 We enjoyed having Isabelle (Iowa) stay with our family for several days.....
 Ann-Marie and Isabelle became very close on this trip....
We loved being with my side of the family and will cherish the precious memories made!!!!

June 2013

 More wrapping up school year activities....Ann-Marie started flute lessons shortly after Christmas and participated in her first recital at Elmcroft Nursing Home.
 Ann-Marie attended her first gymnastics banquet (we have been on vacation other years) - it was fun to see her teammates all dressed up and reminisce about the accomplishments of our gym from the past year.  Ann-Marie was awarded "The Most Improved", which she was really excited about.
 Darrell had business in D.C. in June so we decided to pay our friends, the Blietz family, a visit.  We had a great time with them!!!!  We went did things in D.C. two of the days we were day was rainy so we visited the indoor sections of the National Zoo - above was a snake approaching it's lunch....
 a demonstration involving naked mole rats....
 and we visited the National Museum of Health and Medicine, which has some truly fascinating and disgusting exhibits.  It is small, but jam packed with stuff.  Darrell's favorite was the bullet on display that killed President Lincoln (below).

 Another day was spent walking around D.C. and visiting some places like the fountain and sculpture gardens...

 taking a tour of the National Mint.....

 and visiting the National Archives as well as....
 the Jefferson Memorial.......
 notice some extra kids in the picture?  We took some of the Blietz kids each day we went and they were a blast to hang out with!!!!
 Also, the kids took the pictures most of the day....above was Evan's favorite Jefferson quote...
 as well as Ann-Marie taking a picture of Alec taking a picture of Ann-Marie!
and the Washington Memorial under scaffolding again.

We love visiting Maryland and D.C.....I'm sure we'll be back again soon.