Monday, August 19, 2013

A weekend in Iowa

This last weekend we took a little trip to Lake Panorama and stayed in a double condo with my parents for three nights. It's about an hour west of DesMoines so we got to go to the State Fair on Thursday too. Here we are after the guys (and Mena) went on a short bike ride with my dad in Panora.

 There was a neat little park where my mom and I waited with Cecilia.
 Blaise in a tree... any chance he can get.
 They even got to do a bit of geocaching while we were there.

Iowa State Fair  
After eating grandma's big, hearty breakfast, we headed out. We got there about 9:30 and stayed until just after 6. Then we hit 7pm Mass for the Feast Day and ran into a few friends there too. Anyway.. Fair was a really great time. Kids were excellent and we got to see everything we wanted to. Even though it rained where we were that morning, DesMoines didn't get any rain and it ended up being a beautiful day!

Corn dog lunch for the kids. Later Tom got a pulled pork sandwich and I tried a walking taco.
 The best part was the kid zone. First they get an apron and bucket then they go through a series of farm activities. After "feeding" a pig cutout some grain and getting a pig card, they go to plant and water seeds.
One of my favorites
 Then comes the harvest where they collect into their buckets. Dominic was too old for all this so he helped Mena. Blaise and Xavier went on their own and then came back to lead us through.

 Egg collecting
 filling up the tractor to drive it to the cows
 then they had to "feed" cows by giving them some of their corn. And into another barn where they milked and then were given an empty carton of milk.
 There was also a sheep barn where they got a bag of wool. Then off to market where they "sold" all their produce for a pretend dollar that they could spend in a little store. What a way to learn the economy of a farm!
The families at the condos next to us had a lot of kids and they home schooled too. They went to the Fair the day before and had a lot of extra tickets for stuff that they didn't use.
One was for Snakes Alive. Where we got to hold a boa named Lola.

 Another set of 4 tickets they gave us was for pony or camel rides.
I don't think Mena could be happier.

 Blaise and Xavier rode a camel

Watch out for the three headed state patrol!

 "Take a picture of me, Mom!" Such a poser.
They also gave us 4 zipline tickets. This was Xavier's favorite.

 We got to see a Magic show too. We learned a lot about farms in a fun way
 and Zachary got to be called up to help. He was so cute up there. His reactions were priceless. Perfect four year old reactions to magic tricks

 We also saw the piglets nursing on the sow, a grape stomp, a bit of a horse show, 4-h barn, butter cow, a horse getting shod, some martial arts board cracking, Dominic and Blaise got to do some archery and we all shared a fried twinkie. Those are just the highlights! It was a long day. I'm glad Mena got a good nap in the stroller. I know I was ready for one by the end.

 The next day we went to see the historical village of Panora.
It had a one room schoolhouse,

a train depot "woo woo"

An old one room cabin
a printing press in the print shop
Blacksmith's shop
with forge and bellows
And the post office /general store
And that night we went to one of the beaches

They swam a little but spent most of their time keeping the water from rushing into their fort.
I really enjoyed watching them work together and accomplish something with so much enthusiasm. They had a common goal and they reached it together. When something went wrong and a wall was found to be a weak point, they worked together to fortify it. What fun to watch them grow together!

Thanks Mom and Dad for sharing your space with us for the weekend! It was really a great time. Next stop... South Dakota!