Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Horsin' Around

Throughout our stay in Iowa, there was a lot of Papa and Fish snuggling.  Papa really enjoyed the baby squishiness.

Of course, Finn wouldn't let Fish get ALL the Papa snuggles.  She was his little shadow -- demanding to know where Papa went the minute that he was out of her sight and whining to go with him whenever he was leaving the house.  In fact, they got to go pick up pizza together on one of our last nights in Iowa.

We had one last parade in Guttenberg.  We stopped in and ate at a restaurant run by some family before the parade.  Then we got to watch the parade with both sides of the family -- some from Papa's family as well as Mimi's family.

Gram Dawn, one of Mimi's sisters, was great at teaching Finn how to get candy from the people in the parade.  Dawn taught her how to wave at everyone going by to get them to throw freebies at her.

Then, we got the best surprise of the whole parade... Finn, Fish, & I got to be IN the parade! Gram Vicki and her family (Rick, Jered, & Kristin) own Belgian horses.  They had entered a horse & wagon in the parade.  They were the last ones on the parade, so they stopped where we were and the three of us ran out and jumped in the wagon!

I think that Finn was a little scared to be in the parade and have everyone staring at her.  But she was an excellent waver.  After we got out of the parade and away from all the people, Finn got to sit in the front seat with Kristin and Jered and helped drive the horses.

Fish fell asleep during the parade to the clip-clop of the horses' feet.  He woke up when we got back to the trailer and was all smiles.

Do you think that someone enjoyed driving the horses?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Belgian horses are HUGE!  Jered and Rick stand at about 6'6 and they were only a couple of inches taller than the horses' backs!  When they unhitched the horses, we went over to say hello.  Finn was a little frightened of them due to their size.  But they were very gentle horses and put up with her little squeals of fright.

The following weekend, we headed over to Vicki, Rick, Jered & Kristin's to see ALL the horses.  There are almost 20 of them there.  We went over to see the baby that they had as well.  Finn loved walking around the farm.  And she particularly LOVED feeding the horses grass.  The horses were all so gentle and very curious of the little girl.

Finn even got out her camera and wanted to take photos of all the horses.  They had recently bought a horse called Jewel.  She was one of the horses that pulled in the parade.  We went to see her last.  She was quite the showoff.  When we saw us approach the fence, she ran out into the middle of her pasture and pranced back to us.  She waved at us by throwing her head up and down when she arrived back at the fence.  Then she sat perfectly still while I snapped away at her.

Finn picked me her first "flower" there as well.

When we got to see the baby, which was our last stop, Gram Vicki brought Finn in to pet the baby.  Finn wasn't have any of it.  The baby was pretty calm, but Finn thought the baby was way too big and way too scary for her to be that close to him.

We had such a great time in Iowa and can't wait for our next visit back.

Friday, July 25, 2014

4th of July

On the actual 4th of July, we had a big day.  Finn & Fish hit up their first parade.  To say that Finn was excited about the parade was a major understatement.  Well, that and the fact that Owen was going to be coming to watch the parade with her as well.

Mimi came prepared and brought two ice cream buckets for them to put all their candy in.  I didn't know exactly how Fish would react to the loud noises of a parade, but he did great.  Nothing scared him except the guns that one group was firing off.  Guns you say?  Yes, the first group that walked by was a group of nondescript guys, hiring their rifles in the air, which I'm sure where blanks.  But that even made me & Finn jump.

One of the first groups that walked by handed out American flags.  HUGE HIT.  HUGE.  She waved that flag so much at the parade and through our entire stay in Iowa.

Owen was a parade pro and knew exactly what to do when the candy came raining down on us (which it truly did).  Finn had a small learning curve that when they threw candy, she was supposed to pick it up and put it in her bucket.  But once she realized, she overtook Owen as the candy-picker-upper pro.  Girlfriend was determined.

We made a rule that morning "Stay on the grass.  If there is candy in the road, either Grandma Linda (Owen's other grandma) or Mimi will go into the road and pick it up."  And both followed the rule very well.  Neither even made an attempt to go out onto the road.  And the candy throwers had pretty good aim at making the grass most times.  The parade also threw out hamburgers, pork sandwiches, cheese, & popsicles.  That's my kind of parade!

Crazy American flag waving kids with full candy buckets

That evening, we all hit up our hometown 4th of July celebration.  Finn & Owen were able to jump in the bounce house all by themselves.  Finn had a great time for the first 2-3 minutes and then she wanted out and was over it.

The playground was more her speed (and Uncle Cory's as well it seems!).  We slid down that slide a dozen times at least.

Can you tell how many times we went down that slide?  Her poor hair was a complete static frizz by the end.

There were other games and such at the festival.  I wanted Finn to go the "Fish Pond" which was something that I used to do as a little kid.  For a quarter, she got handed a fishing pole, which was thrown into the pond (over a piece of plywood).  Then she had to wait patiently for "a bite" or a tug on her fishing pole.  Once she pulled it over, there was a toy attached.  She liked it so much, we had to do it twice.  But by that point, both kids were getting tired from so much 4th of July fun all day, that we decided to leave.  I asked Finn if she wanted to see the fireworks later when we got back to my parents' house.  She didn't seem to thrilled about the thought of more fireworks, so we just stayed inside and hit the hay.  But to say that she had fun on the 4th of July was an understatement!  She had a blast!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fire in the sky

Who doesn't love bubbles?  My girl is infatuated with bubbles.  Mimi was smart enough to buy a bubble machine.  So no one got light-headed in the taking of these photos.  Papa & Mimi, the kids, & I went to see Finn & Fish's first fireworks.  We went to a local town, which is also the site for The Field of Dreams(which celebrated it's 25th year anniversary this year).  "People will come, Ray.  People will come to Iowa."

But we arrived for the fireworks early enough to indulge in A LOT of bubbles.  In fact, we used up all the bubbles in the first 20 minutes of getting there.  But the memories that I captured are absolutely priceless to me.  She is the poster child for unadulterated bliss with these bubbles.

As for the fireworks, Finn had wore herself out by the time that they arrived.  She was ready to go home.  Owen & Cory showed up for the fireworks and Owen & Fish sat on Papa's lap.  Finn had her head down on his shoulder as the fireworks started.  Owen was the cutest EVER -- he kept telling Finn "You're okay, I got you." and putting his hand on her arm in a protective gesture.  She fell asleep during the show.  Her brother decided to stay awake for the entire thing!

While in Iowa, we had our fair share of strong storms roll through the area.  The photos below are Mother Nature's edition of "fire in the sky".  They are SOOC (or for those aren't up on the photography lingo -- Straight Out Of the Camera, meaning no editing).  The sky was amazing that evening!