Friday, July 31, 2015

heritage days

Our last weekend in Iowa was Heritage Days, my hometown's carnival. It was fun to be around and participate in it. The first night brought more fireworks. Declan spent a lot of time loving on "Rip" during the show. And he has asked for Rip almost every day since.
The next event on the docket was the kids fun run. Tatum did this same race last year and every time we drove by the football field where they hold it, she would ask about when her race was. It's amazing the things kids can remember for ages. She had a blast again this year, although recently she asked when she could do a race all alone instead of running to us. Apparently she is ready to be rid of us completely. :)

Declan participated too, but wasn't much of a fan. He tried to go before they said go and then I made the mistake of stopping him. He wouldn't have anything to do with running to grandma and Crystal and the crew on his own. Here he is getting mad after running approximately two steps. Coral shirt, center.
So then I ran with him. More like dragged him along while he was screaming.

Tatum ran full speed ahead.

They did a second race for every age group to do something silly. Tatum was supposed to frog hop to the first line and then run the rest of the way. Two frog hops later and she was frustrated (what's with my kids?!) and I got to run again.

My friends, Kassy and Gretchen, convinced me to run the 5k the next morning. I wasn't real thrilled with the idea but we had a really fun time. Plus running in Iowa was much more pleasant than running here in Singapore. My parents were nice enough to watch the kids and bring them to cheer us on.

Kassy and Gretchen.
Saying hi to Declan.
After the race.
After the race we headed to the parade. It was raining but apparently we are die hards. :)
Tatum, with the help of others no doubt, took quite a haul of candy. I didn't even bring a bag for her, so here is Crystal's pocket bulging with the loot.
Crystal's family helps out at the family free zone at Heritage Days so we headed up there in the afternoon. Ice blocking was the biggest hit.

We ended the day with a first taste of Iowa corn. It was yummy.
We left bright and early the next morning to head back to Singapore. My awesome parents flew back with me and the kids, which was super helpful. Our summer in America was splendid. We are so grateful we could go back, especially to be there for the family reunion and for Brennan to be able to make it to his brother's wedding.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


We got to have a fun day at Adventureland during our time in Iowa. It's a small amusement park about two hours from where I grew up. Unfortunately we couldn't fit it in while Brennan was still around. We missed him and I'm sure he was sad to miss out. Amusement parks are kind of his thing. The Eskelsens and my parents came too so I had plenty of help with the kids and we totally lucked out with more phenomenal Iowa weather. Usually when I think of Adventureland I think so, so hot, crowded, and painfully humid. But it was lovely. 

We hit up the carousel when we first got there. We probably could have quit right there and the kids would have been satisfied haha. Love Declan's expressions.

Riding the cars together. It is so fun to watch them become friends as Declan gets older.
Semis with Macy.
Teacups with Grandma of course. That's one of her favorite rides haha.

Falling Star, four person selfie. Someone vomited on their way off this ride. Luckily I missed it. The Falling Star forever remains my favorite ride. 
I took Declan to ride the little boats while most everyone else was in line for the Raging River raft ride. 
I took him to the ladybugs as well. He was perfectly excited about it until it started. It jerked to a start more than any of the other kiddie rides so he smacked his head and proceeded to cry for the rest of the ride. He was the only kid on the ride but the teenager running it wouldn't stop it! Weird.
After he was startled by the start and head smacking but before the tears.
On the dragons with my boy.
We took both the kids one the pirate ship. Declan was pretty much terrified but never cried, just made lots of faces like this.
Tatum rode with Grandma on the other side and loved it so I took her on it again later.
Lovin' it.
Grandma rode the carousel when the kids went on it again later. Had to document it.

Tatum on the frog hopper. It takes them up high and then drops them little bits at a time to give them that tickle in the tummy. She didn't seem to love it as much as she did last time. She didn't cry or get scared or anything but she didn't laugh either.
Raging River: Crystal, Macy, Tatum, Kelbie, Grandma, Caden
Papa rode the mini ferris wheel with the kids.
And the big ferris wheel. :)
We couldn't leave without riding the train.
Declan shoveling the twizzlers in as fast as possible.

"Nice horsey"

Declan looked a little ill on the hot air balloon ride.
Grandma looks...well I'm not sure how she looks, like she's laughing but about to cry?

We tried the ladybugs again because Tatum wanted to ride it. The same thing happened to the poor kid.
We didn't leave the park until just before closing, stopped to get dinner and then drove the two hours home. It was a late night for the kids but Declan still woke up at the crack of dawn. But he was a basket case. He fell asleep on the couch by 8:30 or 9 in the morning. Tired much? Little stinker.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

4th of July

On the fourth of July, Brennan was on a plane headed back to Singapore. He left Iowa a few days earlier than that to be at his brother's wedding in Utah. We missed having him around, but still enjoyed a nice day of all things American. :)

The kids had matching American flag shirts and I wanted to get a good picture of them, which is nearly impossible. We tried in front of the flag on my parents' porch.
We tried sitting so Declan couldn't run away as quickly.
Then we tried to the porch swing AND graham crackers.

Then we tried pushing them in the swing. That was the real winner, although I'm no photographer so really only one shot was not too blurry. Getting two kids to even look at the camera at the same time seems to be an impossible task. I don't know how anybody does it with more.

Tatum was excited about something:
Horrible quality but it captures her weirdness perfectly. :)

After the photo session we played tennis. Caden was nice enough to be my partner in Brennan's absence but we just couldn't manage to beat mom and dad. You better keep playing Caden, we'll play indoors when we get back and whoop them. :)

The Eskelsens invited us over for a little slip and side fun later. They had just mowed their lawn so it was a bit of a grassy experience but everyone still had fun.

I'm thankful for these older cousins that will play with my kids.
Tatum wasn't so sure about it at first so she walked down it first, then rode down on Caden's back.
Then she let Papa and Crystal pull her down.
Even Papa got in on it. :)

Finally she did it on her own!
Declan was not a fan. So he sat with Grandma being grumpy.
We had a yummy BBQ that night and headed to some fireworks in a nearby town. We did a few sparklers while we waited for the show to start.
Caden and Declan hanging out.
Two at once!
I took a lot of pictures on our summer vacation but this might be the only one of me and my kids.
"Woah!" Declan loved the fireworks and wasn't bothered by the sound at all.
It was fun to be back in America for the fourth and we had a great day with, yet again, perfect weather. I was chilly watching the fireworks and wished I had brought a jacket!