Friday, July 29, 2011

Adventures in Iowa City

So, I thought I would give an update on what we’ve been up to this summer.  Jon started his residency last month and he loves being a pediatrician.  His schedule on his first rotation was pretty crazy.  He was working 13-14 hours most days and only getting one day weekends.  He went long periods of time without seeing Penny as she was usually asleep by the time he got home.  He’s got a bit of an easier schedule now being on clinic duty, but he doesn’t like it as much.

The kids and I just try to find ways to amuse ourselves.  We’ve been taking advantage of some of the great things in Iowa City.  Be warned, this will be a very long post (I know, I know, when are they not?).  But, there will be LOTS of pictures.  Even though my college camera is not as nice as the one Penny destroyed, it is much more compact and goes on all of our adventures with us. 

Firstly, the parks.  There are tons of great parks here.  There is one about a half mile from our house that has a little splash pad that the kids can run around in and get wet.  I’m not going to lie, I’ve started to avoid this park because it’s always more crowded and wet kids are a lot of work.  There are at least five parks within two miles of our house, and probably more.  Most of them have pretty easy bike access, too.  Which is good because we are pretty much exclusive bikers now.  Jon’s parents were kind enough to help us buy a bike trailer (you guys have no idea how great it has been), and we use it to get everywhere.

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Here the kids are modeling it, and their helmets.  They seem to enjoy it for the most part, but there have been some incidents of hitting, biting, and ear/hair pulling.  It is a fairly small space for two young kids to coexist in happily.  It’s a really good workout for me, but I actually enjoy it quite a bit. 

Here we are on the Iowa River Corridor trail.  It is a very pleasant place to ride.

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Especially because there is a great park at one end that the kids love:

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Penny ready to go down the slide at the park.

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And a wider shot of the park with Ben running across the bridge.

Another park we go to I love because it has a bunch of trees that provide shade.  We went for a little ward play date, but only one other kid from the ward was there.  It was one of the few boys Ben’s age in our ward.  Seriously, his nursery group is like 15 girls and 3 boys.  He and Adam got along great:

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Penny, of course, enjoyed the slide.

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Another great thing about Iowa City is the Ped Mall downtown.  It is a super pleasant pedestrian mall with a bunch of great stores and restaurants.  Also, the library is right in the heart of the things.  And right outside the library is this great park:

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The park is right next to a little fountain/water spout thingy that the kids like to run through.  Usually, I manage to skip this, but one of the last times we were downtown, Penny ran right into the water, so I went with it.  The kids loved it, Penny kept trying to drink the water.

Our next adventure was probably our biggest and my craziest.  There is a great mall on the opposite side of town in our neighboring city, Coralville.  It has a fantastic Children’s Museum that we got season passes for.  I decided to bike myself and the kids out there.  In the car, it’s probably about 7 miles.  When I’m biking with the kids, I usually try to find paths that don’t have me riding on streets.  I mapped out a path that I thought would take me mostly on bike trails and away from too many cars.  I accomplished that pretty well, but it ended up being about 9 miles.  The way to the mall is almost entirely uphill (I’m not exaggerating on this) and it was grueling with the trailer.  It took me just over an hour and I thought I was going to die when we got there and couldn’t believe I was going to have to make the trip again.  Still, I settled in and enjoyed the museum with the kiddos.  It is a great place.  There is a room full of Legos, which, needless to say, Ben loves:

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And a little grocery store where the kids can shop and check each other out at the cash register (I only got pictures of Penny, and they were all so cute I couldn’t pick one):

And an ambulance attached to a hospital/dentist’s office:

There is also a cute little farm with plastic vegetables to plant and harvest and a little farm house and a barn with a slide.  And a room to build pinewood derby cars and race them, as well as golf balls down different tracks.  And an aviation room with slides and little pedal planes, and half a Cessna for the kids to play in, and a place to build stomp rockets and paper airplanes.  They even have little flight simulations.  I don’t think we’ve even been everywhere in there yet.  I intend to make the most of it, especially in the winter when we can’t go outside as much.

Anyway, it was quite the adventure.  I survived the return trip, as it was mostly downhill and I found a shorter way home (although the one hill almost did me in).  It was much hotter on the way home and Penny was ready for a nap, as evidenced by how she looked when we got home:

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She never even falls asleep in the car, so I really wore her out.

One other thing we’ve done this summer is the Summer Reading Program at the library.  One of the things we had to do was read a book and have Ben draw a picture of it.  The book we read was Moon Plane and this is the picture he drew (I labeled it on the computer, if you click and enlarge it, you may be able to see it):

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I know I’m his mother, but I think it’s pretty impressive and adorable.  He was so cute when he was drawing it because he narrated the whole thing.  When we finished all of the items on his reading list, he got a certificate and a bookmark and a new book and some stickers and a pencil and eraser and a tattoo.  He was super pumped.  We’re working on it for Penny too.  It is such a cool program.

That’s pretty much all for now.  We are keeping busy and having fun, even if it is ridiculously hot and humid out most days.  The truth is, riding your bike everywhere isn’t so bad, as long as you can get used to being sweaty all the time.

2 comments:

court said...

I want to go to that Children's museum, and also to ride my bicycle with you and your kids. And also to hang out at the park with you. Too bad you live so freaking far away. I think Ben is really brilliant with that amazing reading thing and writing his name! I can't believe he's doing that. The only thing that makes me sad is that your children always seem to be so sad and bored. HA! Love you all!

Merrill Family said...

Soo cute! You are so good at documenting yours kids lives. . . I need to be better. I can't believe you biked all that way, I'm tired thinking about it :)