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Oops I Ignored July Part Two: UI Natural History Museum

My last post was my first attempt to catch up on everything I failed to write about this July. And here is my second. (This is where you jump out of your seat and shout yahoooo!)

[And, yes, it has been awhile. Ooops. Bad blogger. Hopefully, I’ll get back into the routine of this now that school/normal life is resuming once again. 🙂 ]

2) The UIowa Museum of Natural History

I’ve lived in Iowa City now for seven years. Seven! I know, time flies. And this month, I’d never been to the very free and very awesome museum located in one of the buildings at the Pentacrest right downtown.  I’d been trying to think of indoor things to do with Charlotte since we had temperatures this month like the red desert of death fire when Chris reminded me of this museum downtown. He hadn’t been there either, actually, but since Charlotte loves talking about museums, we figured we ought to take her to one.

So I did. And we LOVED it. So much, that we went back three more times within the next two weeks.

For our little animal lover, this museum is perfect. It’s pretty much all stuffed animals in glass cases. A frozen zoo. (I’m ninety percent convinced that at last half of these animals were poached back in the day…and let’s pretend that giant diorama of Lysan Island birds aren’t extinct now, mmmkay?) Oh, and there are skeletons, too. And a giant (fake) sloth. So, yes, this place is a little creepy on a slow weekday when you are the only one there with your toddler and have a thousand owls looking at you behind a thin pane of glass.


Charlotte loves the display of eggs, arranged from top to bottom, largest to smallest.

And the gift shop, of course, where she may have come home with a new pet elephant and zebra.


She even grew to love that giant sloth.


Oops I Ignored July Part 1: Nana & Bob Visit


Anyone still out there?


I know, I’ve abandoned the blog for a little while. This is actually the longest blogging break I’ve had since I started this little thing more than 2.5 years ago. I’ve enjoyed my “time off,” but I’m excited to share what we’ve been up to for the past, oh, MONTH. Sorry, July. I ignored you around here.

So I don’t bore anyone (including myself), I’ll share a few pics and keep it brief. How about a little list action? (I’ll finish the list in later posts)

1) Nana and Bob come to Iowa City

In the middle of the month, we had a super fun visit from Amy and Bob. The days they were here were probably the hottest days we had all summer, so we tried to avoid the heat with trips to the mall carousel, the Natural History Museum (more on that soon), and the hotel pool.

Since I tend to flake out on taking pictures when someone else has a camera, all these pictures here are stolen from Amy. Good thing she and Bob took great ones! 🙂



We had dinner one night at the Iowa River Power Restaurant, which is where Chris and I had our wedding reception. After dinner, we took Charlotte to the bridge outside the restaurant to check out the river. She ran across the entire thing…and back, which was probably about a half mile. Future marathoner?


The next night, Charlotte put her new swimming lesson skills to the test at the hotel pool. John, Carla, and Madeline joined us for swimming, and I stayed on deck to be everyone’s photographer. I must say, I took tons of adorable pictures and videos. Charlotte and Madeline were the cutest things ever playing in the water. Charlotte blew bubbles in the water for the first time, too, which she proudly showed off at her lesson the next morning.



Thanks, Amy and Bob, for such a great time!

Charlotte and Daddy’s Trip

At the end of June, Chris took Charlotte to back his hometown to visit family. I was bummed to miss out on the fun, but Chris took lots of really great pictures and some cute videos, so I got to see what everyone was up to. They were only there from a Friday to Monday, but they managed to pack in a lot of adventure.

A trip out to his grandparents’ farm where Charlotte checked out the cows, played in the creek, and rode around in the gator.

DSC_0003(The brick house in the trees is where Grandma Pat lives!)

DSC_0025Looking cool with wind-blown hair and Grandma Pat’s shirt.

Later, she took a train ride through rural Boone Country, crossing the famous High Bridge over the Des Moines River.

DSC_0029Hanging out with Papa and her T-Rex in the train car.


Remember Kramer, the sweet horse Charlotte met last year?

This year, she was brave enough to take a ride!

DSC_0087Giddy up!


Kramer is the horse that started it all for Charlotte. What a gentle guy!


AND… before returning home, Nana took Charlotte to the Blank Park Zoo.


DSC_0138Baby Roo


DSC_0163Just a typical Charlotte face for you.


Thanks to Charlotte’s Iowa grandparents for such a fun weekend!





When are you moving in?

Last week our little house was filled to the brim with visitors. My dad was here Monday and Tuesday, then my cousin Amanda and her daughter Sadie came on Wednesday night, Grandma Amy stopped by on her way through town on Thursday, Aunt Beth and my mom (and Luna) got in Friday night, and my cousin Mary arrived on Saturday!

Here we are - Aunt Beth and Sadie, Amanda, Mary, Me and Charlotte, Luna, and my mom!

Here we are – Aunt Beth and Sadie, Amanda, Mary, Me and Charlotte, Luna, and my mom!

I am so happy that Charlotte has a cousin close in age. I have a lot of cousins around my age, and I grew up very close to most of them, which pretty much made my childhood. Actually, it’s kind of making my adulthood, too.


One of the main reasons I sometimes struggle with living “out of town,” or away from family, is because I want Charlotte to be able to grow up living close to her relatives. I know that facebook and skype and cellphones all make living apart much easier these days, but it’s not the same as being able to walk to your grandma’s house…and your cousins’ house….and your other cousins’ house. I consider myself very lucky for having that experience, and while I don’t expect to live quite that close to my family, I’ll be happy if we’re close enough that we don’t have to make every trip an overnight!

And now for some sweet moments from our weekend…



DSC_0325Whoops! How’d that one get in there? 🙂

Of course, we had to put Charlotte and Sadie in the crib together….


…and the tub…


And, yeah, there is a video! (of course)

By the time everyone left late Sunday afternoon, the house felt eerily quiet. To all the other wordpress users out there – I have a drafted post on my dashboard that I never published written the day Amanda and Sadie left after their visit last year. It starts, “It’s quiet around here with Amanda and Sadie gone.” Yep, that again.

This better happen again next year!

Splish Splash Padding

My Dad came to visit us Monday and Tuesday! Since he works a lot and doesn’t get to come out as often as my mom, it was a treat to have him! Despite what the expression on Charlotte’s face may read in this picture, Charlotte loved having Papa here!

Fine, you can interrupt my playtime for this picture, but don't expect me to actually smile.

Here Mom. Here’s the picture you wanted. Are you happy?

She showed off her dinosaur knowledge with some reading. And who says you can’t wear a fleece cowboy coat when it’s 90 degrees?


Charlotte wore her cute ladybug suit to the splash pad down town. She loves running through the volcano, as she calls it. (Actually, her pronunciation is bye-kona, but I don’t think you could have deciphered that one. 🙂 )


This time, she was more tentative with the water than she was when we went two days earlier. But eventually, she decided to take a risk and use the fountain for a quick drink.


I’m looking forward to spending a lot time at the splash pad this summer. It’s perfect for parents because there are lots of shady spots to sit, and there is the park and library just a few steps away. Oh, and ice cream, too. Charlotte (and Mama) have been enjoying lots of sweet treats these past few weeks.

Okay, bye.

Jazz in the park

Last Saturday, we enjoyed a free jazz concert at the Pentacrest downtown. We brought a blanket, some snacks, and two dinosaurs.

DSC_0121(Iowa’s original capitol building [minus the pretty gold dome up top. oops!] in the original capital city.)

Charlotte spotted a little boy just her age nearby and sweetly offered her blue dinosaur to play with.


Then she enjoyed some dancing near the bandstand. She clapped along to the music right on beat, and she really got into the rhythm of it. I wish we had a video of her shoulder and arms bouncing and swinging. The people around us were laughing at how cute she was.



By the time the concert was over, it was almost 6 o’clock and Charlotte’s whine started to come out. Our little angel isn’t always perfect….Here she is hanging onto my leg and begging for something. At least she didn’t accidentally pull my pants down like she did the last time we were downtown. (Yep. In front of the library. In front of about 900 people.)

It’s becoming lamer by the day

I’ve become really good at letting the days slip by without posting or even checking in on this here blog. Until about a year ago I was posting about 22 times a month! And now…well, I’d say it was a good month if I wrote half that. I started this with the idea that it would be Charlotte’s virtual baby book of sorts. It’s become much more than that to me since then, but like the pages of a baby book, I started out filling them furiously and have slowly waned to this. I’ll bet everyone’s baby book is a little sparse by their second year, no? But I won’t quit this thing;I enjoy it too much! And I’m still churning things out that I’m proud to have here…. Just probably more like once a week.

Moving on.

We had a very busy first week of summer! Amy came for a couple of days during the week and Ben and Christine visited on Sunday. We went to Arts Fest downtown, enjoyed lots of good food dining out, met up with our friends, the Pudwills, and Chris and I even went to a party Friday night. Charlotte had the best time with her grandparents, and Chris and I love it when they are here, too. Charlotte got to ride the merry-go-round in the mall twice, and both times she chose to ride the……sleigh. Huh? (Maybe your carousel doesn’t have sleigh. It’s basically the bench. BORING.) Grandma Amy was lucky because she actually got to sit next to Charlotte. Grandpa Ben had to stand up behind her because Charlotte was sitting with another little boy and his dad. Just writing this makes me laugh. The seat was taken but Charlotte had no problem walking right over and inching her way into the small space left over, prompting the kind dad and son to make some room. Christine has all the pictures because, suprise!, we didn’t have our camera….

In fact, we haven’t taken pictures all week. I love our camera but it is a bit cumbersome to be hauling everywhere unless we think it will be really worth it. Our small digital camera really sucks and we forget to charge the battery so it’s most often dead. The built-in camera is really the only reason I want an iphone. (Oh, and instagram. Covet!)

Let me share a few cute/funny things Charlotte has done and said the over the past ten days:

  • Putting a carrot in her nose at dinner one night: “Look, I’m a snowman!”

  • Upon waking up in the mornings: “I go to Target now?”

  • We “met” and loved this inflatable chicken when we went to Arts Fest on Friday night. And when she saw it again on Saturday, she called out to it: “Chicken, I missed you!”

  • “Bye weepool. See you tomorree!” Saying goodbye to the whirlpool as the water drains in the bath.

  • She picked up a light-colored, twisted stick during one of our walks and held it up on top of her head: “Antlers!” And yes, they really did look like antlers!
  • Sometimes she temporarily forgets how to pronounce words and will come up with her own mottled version, which is always entertaining. Tonight, she walked into her bedroom to hear her CD already playing: “Oh, nukiss!” (pronounced like ‘mucus’ with an n) In case you are wondering, she meant music. 🙂
  • Playing on her retro toy phone: Picks up. “Hello Grandma Pat. Baby cow. Big cow. Baby neigh-neigh. Big neigh-neigh. Okay, bye-bye!” Hangs up. (Every.single.time.)


The end.

Sorry no pictures. I’m going to start taking them again tomorrow, promise.

It’s a love/hate thing

These two are in the business of torturing one another.


They may look sweet and cuddly in this picture, but what you can’t see is Buddy gnawing on her ponytail. Charlotte’s only laughing because she asked for it; she chased him around all morning with a push toy while declaring, “I’m gonna get you, Buddy!” Poor Buddy did not think this was fun.

This isn’t the only example of how Charlotte’s been asserting herself more lately. As of the last couple of weeks, she’s started to pull some antics at bedtime. These include her telling us I can’t sleep! as we are laying her down in her crib and asking us to fetch one more pony/dinosaur/blankie/book to add to the already large stash that she has cozied up next to her. Or sing one more song or simply say no no no as we’re closing the door. It’s still a far cry from difficult behavior to handle, but it’s certainly a change from the nights of laying her down, kissing her goodnight, and closing the door.

But I have enjoyed her recent “goodnight” addendum: Happy Halloween! She’s said this two nights now, and I find it ridiculously cute.

And now, here is a picture of Charlotte with a little basketball in front of her face. Amy and Bob were here yesterday, which got Charlotte thinking about that fun basketball hoop they have at their house. Since we don’t have one, we had to play “Mama Hoop,” which is where I stand with my arms in a circle out in front of me. Luckily, Charlotte finds Mama Hoop to be equally as fun as the real thing.


I go to zoo!

The weekend after my birthday we went to Glen Ellyn. My mom had an April-birthdays party on Saturday (there are five April birthdays in my family), and on Sunday we went to Brookfield zoo. Chris and I accidentally left our camera at home, so we had to use my brother’s iphone if we wanted any pictures from the zoo. Feel free to blame Apple if you don’t think these pictures are very good.

There was a additional dinosaur exhibit that we just had to take Charlotte through. The dinosaurs were supposed to be life-sized, and they moved and had sound effects. We were a little worried that Charlotte might be scared before we walked through, but once we saw her reaction to it all, we knew she’d be just fine.

Oh, it's a T-rex. No big deal.

It's okay, Baby T-rex. I promise I won't bite.

It’s okay, Baby T-rex. I promise I won’t bite.

Unckie John and the triceratops.

Unckie John and the triceratops.

Charlotte got a closer look at the monkeys in the primate house.

You don't mind that I hold on to your hair, do you?

You don’t mind that I hold on to your hair, do you?

Cute Mom!

Cute Mom!

We passed by the carousel on the way in and out, and Charlotte is still talking about it even though we didn’t ride. But she’s also still talking about the dinosaurs, zebra, rhino, monkeys, leopard, lion, and bears, so I know she isn’t too disappointed about skipping the merry-go-round this time.

You would never know from our pictures, but we went with a pretty large group. My family minus Joe was there, along with Aunt Beth, Alistair, Mary, Amanda, Steve, Sadie, and a bunch of Amanda’s college friends. I still can’t believe I didn’t get a single picture of the little cousins! Mommy fail!

Well, this post sucks. Here’s a picture of Charlotte not really smiling.

Seriously, Mom? You're going to put this picture on the blog? Get a life.

Seriously, Mom? You’re going to put this picture on the blog? Get a life.