Thursday, June 17, 2010

june is bustin' out all over

Well, we've been back from our trip to Iowa for almost a week now, and I'm finally getting around to sharing some photos!

The kids and I made the 6-hour trip back to Ames on June 5th. After all that time in the car, we were happy to go on a little walk with Dad near my parents' home. (We would've gone on a longer walk, but we could tell it was getting ready to rain.)

This is a picture of what we call Dolphin Creek. (There used to be a "Dolphin Crossing" sign on this little bridge.)
Nope, I don't see any dolphins... how 'bout you?
I really like how this photo of the kids with their Grandpa Rick turned out. :)
Blue-clad kiddos by the blue spruce in Mom and Dad's yard:
The next morning, we headed to North River Valley Park with Mom and Dad, where we met up with my sister Christine, my mother-in-law Fran, and my brother-in-law Nathan. We spent ALL day at the park and had a wonderful time! We started out blowing bubbles, big and small, and goofing around on the playground:

Dad grilled some brats and hotdogs for lunch:
and we had a very yummy picnic in the shelter:
Then Dad, Christine, Nick, Ben, and I headed over to the baseball field for a game:

"Yay, I made it to first base!":
After that, we went back to the shelter for some birthday cake. Everyone sang to Fran (whose birthday was the day before) and to me (a few days early). Mom had brought this crockpot cake to the park:

Ben loved helping himself to drinks at this water fountain near the shelter:
Nick tried out the pacman frog costume that Christine is making him for Halloween this year:
Then Fran and the kids made some s'mores:

Someone else had the shelter reserved for the afternoon, so we moved to another spot in the park where we could play games like bocce ball:

And frisbee horseshoes:
We went on a short hike along the Skunk River, then went back to the shelter (since no one ever came to use it) for a picnic supper. It was a long but fun day!

On Monday, the 7th, the kids and I hung out at the house while Mom worked and Dad ran errands. It was a gray, rainy day. We drove to a few stores with Dad in the afternoon, and then in the evening it cleared off long enough for us to go on a walk with Mom at Ada Hayden Park, which is just steps from their home. We saw several red-winged blackbirds: The sun peeking through the clouds briefly:

A camera-shy heron, and all kinds of prairie plants:

On the 8th, we set out for another hike at Ada Hayden. It turned out to be a LONG hike, at least for Benjamin... over 2 miles. I only carried him for a short while, though. The rest of the time he walked (albeit slowly!) We loved seeing all the various wildlife and plant life throughout the park:

I walked in the middle, with Ben trailing behind:
and Mom, Emm, and Nick way ahead:
I loved all the thistles and took probably a dozen pictures of them. I like how this one turned out:
We saw several butterflies on our way, and Ben decided he wanted one to land on him. He sat quite still several different times, holding out a flower, but didn't have any luck:
Somehow, Nick spotted this itty bitty toad:
It doesn't really show up at this size, but we saw several herons... at least 10 were hanging out in this pond!
More thistles:
We finally made it to this swing on the far end of the park:
Nick, enjoying the view:

Ben, taking a rest on our way out of the park:
That evening, Mom, Emm, and I drove up to Roland for an auction. It was my lucky day, I guess, because no one else seemed to want the things I liked, and I was able to buy a ton of stuff for not very much money!

On the 9th, the kids spent the day with their Grandma Fran. They drove over to Hickory Grove Park and had a very successful (and fun!) day of fishing. I think they ended up catching (and releasing) 8 fish in all. While they were doing that, Mom and I were at North Grand Mall, having lunch at Flame & Skewer, then shopping. Mom bought me some new outfits for my birthday. :)

That night, I joined Fran and the kids, and we went over to Hickory Park for supper, yum!
On the 10th, we went back to Ada Hayden Park, this time with Dad. We didn't hike this time, however ~ we went to play in the Restless by Nature willow sculpture! :) It really is a cool place:

That evening, Christine and Fran joined us and we all went to The Suburban for supper. Afterwards, we came back to Mom and Dad's and played a game of The Enchanted Forest:

Then Emm, Nick, Christine, and I went on yet another walk at Ada Hayden. We had quite the conversation along the way!
On the 11th, we headed for home. We met my friend Mandi and her kiddos at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop for some lunch. Here are Nick, Emm, Ben, TY, Olivia, and Spencer:
Me and Mandi:
We got home just in time to celebrate George's birthday with him. :)
George opening his gift, the 5th season of Babylon5:

Partying with cupcakes:
Several of our plants began blooming while we were gone, including this clematis in the backyard:
the hardy geraniums:
Some pinkish, purplish foxgloves:
Queen of the Prairie:
and our astilbe:

On Sunday, it was MY birthday. :) I spent some time scrapping, we all watched a movie, and we celebrated with homemade ice cream!

(That's 42, not 411! LOL)

It was a nice day! :)