Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Downtown Des Moines

Last Friday, Michael and I took a little field trip downtown to have a little free fun. I originally wanted to go swimming but with the crazy cool (and lovely!) weather we've been having I thought it would be better to do something outside that we wouldn't normally do on a hot day. So downtown it was!
Our first stop was at the Sculpture Garden which is super fun. Michael had a really good time running down the hills and talking about the sculptures in his own words. I tried to ask him what he thought it looked like or what he thought it was doing. That is good right? Asking kids about art? Art experts??
He also had fun walking along the paths and just taking it all in. He kept saying, "What IS this PLACE?" like we were in some strange place he'd never been before. He was really interested.
Our next top was just one block over to the Meredith Test Gardens. I had been wanting to go back here since my mom and I went many years ago before Michael was even born. It did not disappoint and everything was so lovely. We took a picnic lunch and ate it in the courtyard. It was so quiet, peaceful and beautiful that I wish it were open more hours for the public to enjoy!
Michael had lots of fun on the little paths that wound through the gardens and was very careful about the plants. I didn't get a chance to take a bazillion photos like I would have preferred but I still enjoyed seeing some unusual and new plants. I was also happy to see lots of things that I grow in my garden now like a Dick Clark rose, knock out rose, weigela bushes and a hosta garden that looked like a big patchwork quilt. I guess it is safe to safe if it works in these hot, dry, Iowa summers than you better do what works!
I want this! A ruffly daylily. Let me repeat. A daylily. That is ruffly. I love it.
Michael had seen this trolley (a "Charlie" is actually what he called it) doing laps around while were at the sculpture garden and he really wanted to hop on so I said what the heck. It was free and took on a loop from Meredith Corp. to the Capitol. He enjoyed the ride and seeing the Capitol building with the shiny top. We also saw other fun city things like an excavator tearing down a building and an ambulance so it was a win all around.
I used our adventures this morning as the basis for a post on with some other fun free downtown things we've done in the past but didn't get to today. You should check it out! (click on the photo)

Friday, July 26, 2013


Happy Friday! 

 Is it really Friday again already? Wowzers. We've had a great week and I hope you have too. Thank goodness for instas for recording those little moments in these weeks that just fly by.
 All sorts of goodness is blooming in my yard! My favs are my zinnias of course which I plant from seed every year. I like the ones that are lime in the middle and are purple on the outside- a surprise  I found as I usually just toss handfuls of seeds into the holes I dig. I am also loving the stargazer lilies my grandmother sent last fall. They smell so good and are so beautiful that I hate to cut them for arrangements. They are such a happy blessing in my garden. 
My big boy- growing so much this summer. 

 My usual Monday morning set up for lessons. I had 10 kids cancel last week- 10!! I never realized how busy kids are in the summer but I am thankful for that because kids are supposed to busy in the summer off playing baseball, visiting grandparents, and going to Adventureland. I'm just glad they can squeeze band lessons in there also and I've several kids who haven't missed once and are doing awesome as a result.

I've been trying to download some fun apps for Michael to use since he loves the ipad. I know that lots of schools and preschools utilize them for learning opportunities so I think I really need to jump on that wagon at home and not just use it for movies. His two new favorites are Dr. Panda and also Reader Rabbit Kindergarten. He also has Reader Rabbit Preschool but it is a little easy for him so I thought we'd go to the next level and it is okay for him as long as I guide him through the activities.

Look what I found in Booneville while chasing Scott on the RAGBRAI route. Walkins welcome! Any takers? (no, not me in case you were wondering!)

Waiting for Dad at his office, singing and playing. Love his sweet voice.

We headed out to the Valley Junction Farmer's Market last night for some dinner and browsing. We actually ran into one of Scott's high school classmates who had moved to the area that we had been meaning to get together with! It was a fun encounter and we've made plans to meet again. Des Moines really is a very small world. We had fun hanging out in this beautiful alley with a funky wall.

That's it for our week! Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

1st Half of RAGBRAI

Scott did the first half of RAGBRAI this year- from Council Bluffs to Des Moines. He spent the night in Omaha, then Harlan and spent the night at our house before rolling out of Perry yesterday morning. This year he rode with two friends who were new to the ride and I think they had a great time. 

I dropped him off at the beginning of the route yesterday and then took a little scenic trip through rural Dallas County to meet up with them and take some photos. It was pretty fun! 

It was fun seeing all the riders whiz past. It was still early, about 8a.m. so most were fairly calm and I heard lots of friendly good morning greetings. I finally touched base with Scott and he said the first stop was swamped and he wondered if I could grab him so food from Casey's in our town. I said sure and sped back over the gravel rounds to pick up a breakfast pizza and some donuts. We met up exactly at the same time and it was good to chat with him and his cousin who he rode with that day. 

Even though RAGBRAI didn't come through our community, it was on the way to the starting point so there was still alot of hustle and bustle on the hwy and at the gas station. It was kind of fun! The year Scott and I got married the route went right by our house...of course, we were building our house then and plus we were out of town so we missed the excitement. I hope it goes by again someday so I can sit out in my lawn chair and offer riders free water and bananas.

After they rode off, I headed down to our meeting spot: Valley Junction. It wasn't too busy when I got there at 11a.m. but it quickly picked up. I enjoyed an awesome organic Colombian coffee from a great shop called the Green Grounds Cafe and watched the riders roll in. It was really perfect and just the type of thing I enjoy doing.

They finally rolled in and we had a great lunch of pork tenderloins, homemade onion rings and cold beer.  I also had a nice chat with an author who I recognized from his interview on Talk of Iowa on Iowa Public Radio. I think he was impressed and I was happy to flex my dork muscles for someone. :o)

After a great nap and playing with Michael, we headed back downtown to watch the Summerland Tour and take part in the RAGBRAI festivities. The concerts were pretty awesome and we enjoyed listening to Filter, Live and Everclear. It was pretty much all hits from the 1990's! We also ran into my brother and his wife. 

We of course, documented the occasion of us going out sans child with a pretty great self portrait. 

It was a great day and now Scott is home for the rest of the week. Have you seen any riders go by? Do you know anyone doing the whole ride? It is such a fun Iowa tradition. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fun at Furman Aquatic

The other day I suggested to Michael that we go to the little (free) wading pool at Ashby park. He looked hesitant and asked, "Is that a big pool or a little pool?" and I said it was little, with sprayers like the one at the rocket park. He looked even more hesitant and then he said, "maybe...kinda...I want to go to the park with the big bucket!". I had to think about that one a minute, until I realized he meant the Furman Aquatic Center in Ames which has a big red bucket that dumps water out on the kids periodically. I couldn't say no to my little boy so we packed up and headed north after naptime. 

It was about 95 degrees out and it just felt so good and summery to get out to the pool. We even ran into my sister! Luckily, it seemed like the crowd was thinning a little around 3:30 when we go there (yes...I do have an aversion to crowds). It so so much fun.

I am so surprised this year at how much more comfortable in the water Michael seems. I did make him wear his life jacket on the big slide but only because I was taking photos and wasn't there to catch him when he came down (there are awesome lifeguards down there right at the end of the slide to watch for kids). He actually did great and didn't need me to catch him with or without his lifejacket. I am so proud of him. 

However, I think our wading pool days are over for my little thrill-seeker. I spent quite a bit of time mourning this as I searched through my archives looking at his little baby swimming photos. When did he get so big and tall and boyish? are cruel, my friend. Cruel, cruel.

I'm sure we'll be back to the Aquatic Center soon and we have a few more pools on our summer list to check out before summer is over. Have you been getting out to the pool? Are your kids little pool sharks, too?

Friday, July 19, 2013


Happy Friday! I can't believe it is already Friday again. These last few weeks of summer are flying by and I have a feeling school will be here before we know it! Ah! 

Have you downloaded the smilebox app to your phone yet? It is a fun app that lets you customize your photos with words and borders. You can then import them into instagram or facebook or twitter. It is lots of fun to play with!

Last Saturday, I spent the evening playing at the Iowa Municipal Band Festival. Our community band has great support and it is nice to teach in a community where band music is appreciated. One of my student's dad's plays in the band and he said she wants her to practice hard so she can join when she is older. I say heck yeah- I will probably still be there! :o)

Speaking of normal Monday set up as I wait for students to get to their lessons. I just realized my clock was five minutes slow and everyone was getting out late. :o( Luckily, my afternoon flies by and most kids get in and get done early. It has been a very successful summer program! 

The other day there was a quick little shower that passed over us and after it was done Michael said, "I wonder if there will be a rainbow!" so he ran to the window and sure enough, there was. Then he said I better hurry "because it might not last long!". And he was right, it sure didn't.  I asked him if he could see all the colors and he said, "kind of and yellow?".

And finally, we checked going to Krispy Kreme off our summer list yesterday. It is a pretty fun store and you can watch them make the donuts. They were good in that way fresh donuts always are. I don't think we'll make this a habit but it was fun for a morning out. I think you need to get there before 9a.m. if you want to see them still cranking out donuts. 

Have a great weekend! 
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