Last Day in Iowa of our Summer 2017 Trip

The reunion last night made for a late night. And we (Jeri and Tim) had to rise early to take showers before church at 9:30 AM. We went to Uncle Jim’s church, Messiah Lutheran. So we were a bit tired all day. After the service, the congregation helped Uncle Jim celebrate his recent 60th birthday. Among the gifts were a wheelchair, a bib and some adult diapers.

Celebrating Jim’s 60th Birthday. Click photo for full size.

After church, we went to Hibachi Grill. They have an extensive buffet as well as a build-your-own stir fry noodles dish. It was fun. Unfortunately Jonathan had to work at O’Reilly Auto Parts and Rachel wasn’t feeling well.

Josiah loved building his own plate of noodles.

Josiah enjoying his plate of noodles. Click photo for full size.

Of course, Uncle Jim is always entertaining.

Josiah and Uncle Jim at Hibachi Grill. Click photo for full size.

A group photo after the meal.

Josiah, Uncle Jim, Aunt Vicki, Grandma Stogdill, Jeri, and Tim at Hibachi Grill. Click photo for full size.

Josiah, Jeri, and Tim in the entrance area for Hibachi Grill.

Josiah, Jeri, and Tim at Hibachi Grill. Click photo for full size.

Back at Grandma’s house, Jeri packed up while Tim helped Grandma with some more computer questions. The much-longed-for nap never materialized.

Jeri and Tim headed out to Mercy Hospital to visit a classmate who is battling cancer. He very much wanted to attend the reunion but couldn’t.

Tim and Jeri visiting Gary. Click photo for full size.

We had a very nice visit with Gary as well as with his brother who was visiting with his wife and youngest son. We shared a lot of similarities with Gary’s brother’s family…home schooling, ATIA, Christian faith. We closed our time together with prayer.

We could tell that Gary definitely appreciated our visit. So it was nice to encourage him. He and Jeri reminisced about some fun times in the past. Jeri was his date to the Junior Prom.

One plus of our delayed flight was extra time to visit Gary as well as enjoy supper with Jim’s family one last time. Grandma ordered Casey pizza. Tim made chocolate smoothie. He and Jeri had veggies and hummus.

Jonathan, Rachel, Uncle Jim, Aunt Vicki, and Josiah at Grandma’s. Click photo for full size.

Our flight back home was delayed. So instead of arriving at LAX a little before 11 PM, we got in after 1 AM. Thankfully Jason and Jeffrey came and picked us up. We got home around 2:30 AM and were in bed around 3 AM.

Second Day of Jeri’s High School Reunion

We met Uncle Jim and family at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant for breakfast. It’s a fun place. They even have checkers.

Josiah and Tim played a game while waiting.

Josiah and Tim playing checkers before breakfast. Click photo for full size.

We enjoyed a big breakfast together. Here’s a picture that Vicki took.

Around the table at Cracker Barrel Restaurant. Click photo for full size.

Here are Rachel, Josiah, and Vicki.

Rachel, Josiah, and Vicki at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant. Click photo for full size.

Here are Jeri and Tim.

Jeri and Tim at Cracker Barrel Restaurant. Click photo for full size.

Here are Josiah and Jonathan playing a game after breakfast.

Josiah and Jonathan playing checkers after breakfast at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant. Click photo for full size.

After breakfast, Grandma took us to Jordan Creek Mall for walking and shopping…mainly to find Tim a pair of khaki shorts for tonight.

Josiah and Tim explored Sheels sporting goods store. It is HUGE! Tim spent two dollars so that Josiah and he could play a video shooting game to hunt wild bulls in Africa.

Josiah and Tim after shooting big game at Sheels All Sports store. Click photo for full size.

The big event of the day/evening was Jeri’s high school reunion at the Des Moines Embassy Club West. Jeri’s fears of an awkward night of feeling out of place (like the previous night) didn’t come to pass.

She immediately met some old friends and was talking with old acquaintances alkyl evening. Even though we skipped the meat entrees, we enjoyed some very nice food.

The place, especially outdoors, was beautiful. So before the meal, we mingled outside. A guitarist played some instrumental music.

Live music and mingling outside of the Embassy Club West. Click photo for full size.
Johnston Class of 77 outside of Embassy Club West. Click photo for full size.

The weather was very nice!

Jeri and Tim outside of the Embassy Club West. Click photo for full size.

There was a lot of picture taking.

Picture taking outside of the Embassy Club West. Click photo for full size.

We moved inside for a buffet supper and then more talking and more pictures.

Johnston Class of 77 inside of the Embassy Club West. Click photo for full size.

First Night of Jeri’s 40-year High School Reunion – Not!

After starting the day with fruit smoothie made by Tim, Jeri and Tim went on a brisk 40-minute walk. Then Grandma and Josiah went for a walk.

Lunch was veggie wraps with the veggies chopped really small and then lightly cooked. We also had vegan Italian sausage that we sliced and fried. The wraps were delicious! We had Grandma Pau’s Maple Pecan cookies for dessert. Yum!

Around 1 PM, Uncle Jim and Rachel came by to pick up Josiah. They went fishing till evening. Josiah once again out did Uncle Jim. Josiah caught 14 fish to Uncle Jim’s three. Even Rachel caught eight.

Rachel, Uncle Jim and Josiah fishing at Big Creek. Click photo for full size.

Because the fish were small, they ended up releasing all of the fish that they caught.

Josiah with his big catch. Click photo for full size.
Josiah enjoying his fishing trip. Click photo for full size.

Around 3 PM, Jeri and I (Tim) left for the fair. Because there’s a shuttle from the State Capitol to the fairgrounds, we decided to park at the Capitol and take the bus.

Before getting on the shuttle, we took a self-guided tour of the Iowa State Capitol. The building was mostly empty…not surprising given that it was late on a Friday.

We saw a lot of beautiful artwork…murals, paintings, mosaics. There is a huge model of the U.S.S. Iowa battleship in the Capitol.

Jeri and Tim and the Iowa State Capitol artwork. Click photo for full size.

We were able to see the library as well as the Senate and House chambers.

Jeri in the Library at the Iowa State Capitol. Click photo for full size.

Here’s Tim on one of the spiral staircases.

Tim on a spiral staircase at the Iowa State Capitol. Click photo for full size.

We saw the visitors gallery for the Senate chambers.

Jeri and Tim at the Iowa State Capitol. Click photo for full size.

The Capitol has a large, highly detailed model of the U.S.S. Iowa battleship.

U.S.S. Iowa in the Iowa State Capitol. Click photo for full size.

After our tour, we took the shuttle to the fair. We then wandered up and down, all around, checking out the abundant food options…of course, most had meat, so our vegan choices were limited.

We heard about done veggie egg rolls…but they had pork in then. We ended up getting something healthy, veggie wraps. They were good…but not as good as the ones we had earlier for lunch.

Here’s the famous Butter Cow. FoxNews.com has an interesting article about the Butter Cow.

Jeri and Tim by the Butter Cow. Click photo for full size.

We saw the tail end of the ice carving demonstration where the guy made a nicely detailed alligator. Then we went into the Agriculture Building to watch the VitaMix demo and try the samples.

The black guy doing the demo looked very fit and energetic. He had gone to Iowa State University on a wrestling scholarship back when ISU was a national powerhouse. He later transferred to Indiana. He eventually got into corporate America, ate unhealthy, and gained 65 pounds. Now, thanks to his VitaMix, he eats raw, vegan, and looks great.

Here’s the pig that we saw being carved yesterday.

Jeri and Tim next to the pig wood carving. Click photo for full size.

Next stop was Jeri’s high school reunion at Jalapeño Pete’s, a restaurant/bar with LOUD music. When we entered, a live band was playing a not-so-great rendition of American Pie (by Don McLean).

We navigated through the crowd to the upper level patio. Jeri recognized a few members of her class…but none that she knew well. So after feeling like a fish WAY out of water, we left.

Amazingly shortly after getting out on the main concourse, Jeri saw one of her cousins, Mike Cochran, and his daughter. They are from Illinois but were headed to Adel for their annual sweet corn festival tomorrow. Considering that fair attendance that day was just over 100,000, it’s quite a “coincidence” that two cousins from different states run into each other.

We walked and wandered…we both enjoyed our relaxing stroll. We ended up at the Bill O’Reilly stage to catch the 9:00 PM performance of the acappella group, Tonic Sol Fa. That was fun.

Tonic Sol Fa at the Iowa State Fair. Click photo for full size.

The air was getting cool by the end of the concert. So afterwards, around 10 PM, we headed for the shuttle bus back to the Capitol to pick up our car and drive home.

Even though it was after 11 PM when we got home, Josiah was still awake. He was anxious to tell us about his fishing trip.

Opening Day at the Iowa State Fair 2017

We (Grandma Stogdill, Jeri, Tim, and Josiah) headed out at 8:30 from Grandma’s house and got to the fair a little after 9:00 AM. After getting we got weighed, Grandma bought a fresh cinnamon roll to share.

Jeri and Grandma with a Cinnamon Roll. Click photo for full size.

Next Tim and Josiah headed to the MidAmerican Energy hall to pick up our free fidget spinners (for the first 1000 visitors). Jeri and Grandma met Jonathan and Rachel at the gate.

Josiah with his new MidAmerican Energy Fidget Spinner. Click photo for full size.

Jonathan, Rachel, and Josiah went to the DNR Building to do archery…but they didn’t have it this year. Next they went to the Horse Barn. We walked through the Varied Industries Building and saw some of the vendors and their demonstrations.

Jeri and Tim browsing the exhibitors in the Varied Industries Building. Click photo for full size.
Jeri and Tim with view down the Grand Concourse. Click photo for full size.

Tim and Jeri caught a magic show by Steve Trash. Some acts were good. A few were exceptional.

Grandma, Jeri, and Tim sat outside the church during the hymn sing. We watched the chainsaw wood carver next to the church.

Tim and Jeri went to get two veggie corn dogs and deep fried veggies for lunch. We saw Jonathan, Josiah, and Rachel on the Sky Glider.

Rachel, Jonathan, and Josiah on the Sky Glider. Click photo for full size.

The place where we got the veggie dogs is in the background.

Tim and Jeri after picking up lunch from the Veggie-Table. Click photo for full size.

We did a lot of walking today. The weather was nice…temps in the mid-80s and a nice breeze with some clouds.

Grandma, Josiah, Jeri, and Tim with a view down the Grand Concourse. Click photo for full size.

Jonathan got some nachos for lunch. Here he is eating them in the Cultural Center courtyard.

Josiah sitting with Jonathan while he eats his nachos. Click photo for full size.

Rachel got a henna tattoo in the Cultural Center. Josiah made a candle. We watched a pottery demonstration there too.

Rachel with a henna tattoo. Click photo for full size.

One prize winner was made from Lego. (I guess that the correct usage is not to pluralize Lego.) The model honored Desmond T. Doss, the conscientious objector, upon whom the movie, Hacksaw Ridge, was made.

Josiah admiring the blue ribbon winner made from Lego. Click photo for full size.

Josiah made a candle. The scent was Candy Cane. When we got home, he gave the candle to Grandma.

Josiah making a candle. Click photo for full size.

There was a pottery demonstration. Here is Josiah pointing to the pot.

Josiah and Tim at the Pottery demonstration. Click photo for full size.

The Cultural Center was air conditioned. So it was a nice place to relax inside.

Jeri, Josiah, and Grandma resting in the Cultural Center. Click photo for full size.

Josiah met some kids climbing.

Josiah on a climbing wall. Click photo for full size.

Then Tim sat with Josiah to watch the Steve Trash magic show again.

Josiah with Magician Steve Trash. Click photo for full size.

They then went back to the Cultural Center to watch wood turning.

Josiah and Tim at the wood turning demonstration. Click photo for full size.

The guy was making a wooden Christmas Tree.

Josiah at the Wood Turning Demonstration. Click photo for full size.

Jeri went with Grandma to get some ice cream. Then we met at the Food Center, sat and enjoyed some air conditioning, then headed home.

Josiah with the Principal Building and the State Capitol barely visible in the background. Click photo for full size.

Finally around 4:30 PM or so, we headed home.

Grandma driving back home. Click photo for full size.

Here’s Josiah, the proud owner of his first fidget spinner.

Josiah on his way home from the Fair with his fidget spinner. Click photo for full size.

Seeing the Zoo

Yesterday we (Jeri, Josiah, and Tim) drove back from Moline to Des Moines. Uncle Jim. Aunt Vicki, Jonathan, and Rachel came over to Grandma Stogdill’s house for supper. We enjoyed the evening. Josiah and Uncle Jim kept trading jokes. We ended up staying hop later than normal.

This morning, Jim joined the four of us at Village Inn for breakfast. Yum!

Jim went on to a meeting while the rest of us headed back to the house. We met Jonathan at Blank Park Zoo a little after 10:00 am.

Today was Josiah’s first visit to a zoo…he’s 11 years old. He has been learning a lot about various animals from the PBS television series called “Wild Kratts.” So he really enjoyed the trip.

Josiah in a Kangaroo Pouch. Click photo for full size.

Josiah grew some wings.

Josiah with Butterfly Wings. Click photo for full size.

Taking a short break in the shade.

Grandma, Josiah, and Jonathan taking a break at Blank Park Zoo. Click photo for full size.

We saw sea life, birds, tortoises (one was HUGE and weighed about 500 pounds), lions, tigers, giraffes, rhinos, monkeys, and lots more.

Check out the monkey expressions.

Monkey Expressions. Click photo for full size.

Here we are in front of the ostrich exhibit. Although the ostrich looks like he’s ready to peck at Jonathan’s head, he’s really too far back behind the fence.

Jonathan, Grandma Stogdill, Josiah, Jeri, and Tim with an Ostrich at Blank Park Zoo. Click photo for full size.

Josiah said that his favorite (which he was telling us about before today) was the Red Panda. He used Jeri’s phone to take a picture.

Josiah taking a picture of his favorite animal, the Red Panda. Click photo for full size.

The weather was again beautiful. Thus our two and a half hour stroll through the zoo was exceptionally pleasant…especially for a summer day in Iowa.

Jeri and Tim at Blank Park Zoo. Click photo for full size.

Seeing the Quad Cities

This morning, Uncle Greg, and cousins, Jessica and Sebastian, left for Omaha. Before they left, we took a family photo.

Greg, Jessica, Sebastian, Grandma Pau, Jeri, Josiah, and Tim. Click photo for full size.

Last night Uncle Greg and Sebastian worked really hard to polish the badly tarnished house numbers on Grandma Pau’s house. The day before, they had replaced the outside light which was also very tarnished and overall ugly. Here are the bright and shiny results.

Bright and shiny house numbers and outdoor light. Click photo for full size.

This afternoon, Jeri, Josiah and I (Tim) traveled across the bridge back into Iowa. We drove to see our old Davenport house where we lived from 1992 till 1995. It’s still there and looks nice. However the old Rasing tax office where Tim used to work (just two blocks from the house) is completely gone.

2110 N Division St, Davenport, Iowa. Click photo for full size.

From there, we stopped at Greatest Grains, a health food store, in Davenport. When we checked out, Jeri recognized the lady as one who had worked there over 20 years ago. She didn’t look that old; she must eat really healthy and take care of herself.

Then we drove down to the Mississippi River. We stopped near LeClaire Park and walked across the Sky Bridge.

Josiah, Jeri, and Tim near the Sky Bridge. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Jeri, and Tim on the Sky Bridge in Davenport, Iowa. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Josiah on the Sky Bridge. Click photo for full size.

Then we drove across the Centennial Bridge into Rock Island. There we stopped again at the new vegan café in Healthy Harvest Urban Farms for lunch. The three of us each got a veggie wrap which we enjoyed.

Josiah, Jeri, and Tim having Veggie Wraps at Healthy Harvest Urban Farms cafe in Rock Island, Illinois. Click photo for full size.

Josiah with his Veggie Wrap and a side of Potato Salad. Click photo for full size.