Tuesday, August 21, 2012

sights of summer, part 3

Finally, I've gotten this blog caught up to August... and the month isn't even over yet!  LOL  Here are some photos to show what we've been busy with this month....

On August 4th, George, Nick, Ben, and I traveled to north central Illinois, to my uncle's farm.  (Emmalie, meanwhile, was with a friend at the Fairy Fest mentioned in my previous post.)  My Uncle David got married to his new bride, Karen, that day -- it was a beautiful country wedding and a really fun party afterwards! :)

We got there early, so we walked around and took a few pictures:
Quilts lining the aisle:
The wedding aisle, lined with hay bales:
Nick and Ben on the best merry-go-round ever:
Hitch N Up!:
Christine, the boys, and Leah (with Dad in the background):
Ben, my cousin Sandy, and a farm cat:
When it was time for the wedding, we all gathered by the hay bales.  Here's the wedding officiant and my Uncle David:
Mom and her sisters, Aunt Bernice and Aunt Jeanette:
Karen and Uncle David danced down the aisle toward each other:
The newlyweds!:
I loved these bouquets that were hanging in the trees:
My cousin Pam and her little girl Brie:
Leah, Christine, and the boys:
My grandma with Nick and Ben:
Instead of wedding cake, there was pie and ice cream... yum!:
Guests put thumbprint leaves on this painting and then signed their names.  What a cool idea!:
Aunt Bernice, Pam, Brie, and Allison:
The 3 sisters dancing:
Ben dances with Christine and Leah, two of his favorite people!:
A line dance:
The Fischer Gang (minus 15):
Grandma with her kids -- Aunt Jeanette, Aunt Bernice, Uncle Chuck, Uncle David, and Mom:
Christine and Leah take a spin:
Christine tries the rope swing:
Nick makes it look easy!:
The farmhouse:
Playing beanbags:
Nick and a farm kitty:
Ben on the tractor:
My cousin Michael and a friend send up a paper balloon:

Later that night, they set off fireworks:

We stayed overnight at a hotel, then visited my grandma's house the next day.

Nick, Ben, Leah, and Christine in Grandma's newly remodeled porch:
Nick stayed at Grandma's that day while George, Ben, and I drove home.  The following day, he drove to Iowa with my parents and stayed there by himself for a week.

On the 11th of August, Ben, George, and I went to a birthday party for Ben's new friends across the street, Jack and Ryan.  They are twins who turned 5, and Ben had a blast at their party!  There was a big bouncy house:

Jack, Ben, and Ryan:
There was also a water slide:
Ben thought it was too cold!:
On Aug. 12th, Emm, Ben, and I headed out in our rental car and drove west, to Iowa.  We stayed with Mom and Dad for 3 nights.

On the 13th, we went on a walk around Ada Hayden Park with Mom:

Later that day, we drove over to Reiman Gardens, meeting Dad there.  We first looked at all the butterflies and moths that had hatched recently, including this Atlas moth:
We had a picnic lunch outside, then headed back in to the butterfly house:
Reiman Gardens currently has a Lego sculpture exhibit on display, all around the gardens.  This Lego butterfly was very cool:

Dad was the first to have a butterfly land on him.  We all had the pleasure of that experience before the day was through, however!
This one landed on Nick's head:
Emm's got one:

Now me:
And finally Ben:
After that, we walked around the gardens, looking at all the flowers and Lego sculptures:

A Lego rose:
This one was quite impressive -- a Lego hummingbird and flowers:
Real lily pads and Lego lily pads:
Lego goldfinches:
Taking a rest in the shade... Emm, Ben, Dad, and Nick:
Hanging out with the world's largest gnome:
Lego bison:
By a metal bunny sculpture:
Nick and a Lego lawn mower:
Lego fox hunting a Lego rabbit:
Nick and Ben and a Lego mosaic:
When we were finished at the gardens, I took the kids on a "nostalgia tour".  First we stopped by my old elementary school, now used for district offices:

In back of the school (it looks quite different than it did when I went to school here):
Next we walked down my old block, past my old house (the cream-colored one) where we moved when I was six, and my parents stayed there till 2000.  I miss my house!:
I took the kids past some of my other homes, friends' houses, my jr. high and high school, and the place where I used to work, too.  I don't know that they got much out of the tour, but it meant a lot to me.

On the 14th, we took another walk with Mom, around her neighborhood:

A turkey vulture:
Bowling on Mom and Dad's front porch:
We loved watching the hummingbirds that come to Mom's feeder several times a day:
The evening of the 14th, we all went to Great Plains Sauce and Dough for a pizza supper.  My sister Christine and mother-in-law Fran joined us, and afterwards we all hung out at Mom and Dad's for awhile:
The next day (the 15th), the kids and I drove to Des Moines.  We picked up Christine at her house, then headed to the Iowa State Fair.  We had a long, fun day at the fair!:
Butter cow:f

Real cows:

Bunnies, too:

Leah was able to join us for awhile at lunch time:
The kids and I went into the Snakes Alive! exhibit:

and I took Ben into the train museum:
We rode on the Giant Slide (but I don't have any pictures of that), then went to see the quilts and other artwork:
Ben got himself a Hawkeye tattoo and we took a picture to show Grandpa Rick :) :
Emm, Ben, Nick, and a chocolate moose:
Ice cream!:
We watched the wildlife at the DNR building:

Then we saw a presentation on wolves, coyotes, and foxes.  Afterwards, we all got to pet a wolf pup!:

Then we walked over to the Midway.  Ben went on this kiddie roller coaster which he claims is SUPER fast!:

Emm and Nick went on this ride:
It's hard to see, but that's Nick on the right and Emm is next to him:
Ben's 2nd ride:
Emm and Nick get dizzy:
The double ferris wheel is my very favorite ride.  Unfortunately, it wasn't working that day... :
So, Christine and I went on the regular ferris wheel instead:

That night (and the next) we stayed with Christine and Leah:
We loved spending time with them AND their kitties!  Here's Ben with Onyx:
Nick, ready for bed:
On the 16th, both Christine and Leah had to work.  We played some more with the kitties...

Nick and Onyx:
Emm holding Wiccan, who looks just like Hobbit (the cat Christine and I had growing up):
Emm and Wiccan:
(They have one more cat, Skylla, but she's very shy and I didn't get any pictures of her.)

Then we set out for the day:
We went out for lunch, then drove over to the Des Moines Botanical Center.  I hadn't been there in years and years.  We walked around outside for awhile:

until Tara (my best friend from jr. high and high school) arrived with her adorable little boy, E.  We'd only seen each other twice since high school, and both times were very brief.  I was very excited to see her again and to meet her son!  He and Ben hit it off well:

Me and Tara:

After touring the gardens, we all drove over to the Drake Diner for a snack:
Mmm... ice cream!:

The time went by much too fast!

That evening, Ben and Emm played Glee karaoke on Christine and Leah's Wii:

Christine took us to Smokey Row for supper, and then we went to the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden to look at the artwork there:

On Aug. 17th, we headed back home.  We stopped in Iowa City for lunch, and I took the kids on another nostalgia tour.  We drove past my old dorm and the house where I lived for 3 years, plus several other places that were important to me during college.  We went into what used to be Old Capitol Mall -- it now has university offices on the 2nd floor:
and a giant food court area on the first floor, along with the U of I bookstore.  Go Hawks!:
Ben and I got burgers here:
Emm and Nick ordered from Chipotle, and then we all walked down the Pedestrian Mall and ate our lunches by this fountain:
Emm and I also ducked into this store for a few minutes ~ it used to be one of my favorite places to go!:
Over the weekend, Emmalie finally finished this blanket she's been knitting for months.  She made it for Mr. Hain, the choral director at her school ~ he provided the yarn and asked her to make one to use in his office at school.  (Their school colors are black and gold.):
On the 19th, Emm started her new job!  She'd been volunteering at the children's dept. of the library over the summer, and her supervisor was so impressed with her that she offered Emm a part-time job as a shelver.  It's going to make her crazy schedule even crazier, but if anyone can handle it, it's Emmalie! Here she is on her first day of work, in front of the library:
School starts back up tomorrow, so we've also been school shopping this month.  Here are the kiddos with their new supplies...

Ben, all ready for first grade:
Nick... ready (but not willing) for 8th grade:
And Emm, all set to be a junior:
Our garden has continued to grow this month:
 We still are harvesting arugula, lettuce, and swiss chard almost daily.  These were our first tomatoes:
(And by now we're having them daily, as well.)

Our first Lemon Boy tomato and zucchini:
 First peas:
 First beans, picked just today:
 Just some of our fresh veggies that we had on the table tonight.  Yum!:
 We've had new flowers blooming this month, too, like some black-eyed susans:
 More cosmos:
 Four-o-clocks, in yellow:
 and white:
 And lots of zinnias:

 We also have two mystery plants in our wildflower garden.  Anyone know what these are?

I can't believe that summer vacation is over now!  I'd say we took full advantage of it, though.  And I think we're all rested up and ready for school to begin tomorrow.... :)


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