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Galesburg, Illinois

We saw a notice of some sort of railroad festival going on in a small railroad town called Galesburg, Illinois. It’s about a two hour drive from Iowa City and when we asked Nyan if he was interested, the answer was – of course – a resounding “Yes!” So off we went.

It’s not the most vibrant town ever, though it has a very active railway, a couple of adjacent museums and some old train cars on display. Some scenery from the town:

As it turned out, most of the festival activities were on another day. But the museums had special tours and activities going on. So we checked out the kid’s museum, which wasn’t very train-centric, but was still fun. It was full of dress-up-and-play areas (grocery store, fire house, vet’s office, etc) and various activities, like building ramps to slide balls along. And there was a tractor simulator!

And a little table with jets of air coming out, and you put the ping-pong ball into the jets of air so they seem to be floating. Nyan enjoyed that too.

As mentioned, Galesburg has a very busy railroad running through it, and we happened to catch a really long grain train rolling through.

The train museum was maybe the highlight though – inside was full of memorabiliia from a hundred years of trains. And outside were a Pullman car, a mail car and a steam engine, all of them real, all of them open for walk-throughs, and all of them having special guided tours this day. The steam engine was huge, impressive, and a big hit with our young engineer.

All in all, a very pleasant day. Let’s wrap up with some random pics: Nyan and Daddy being silly, Nyan signing the museum guest book, and all tuckered out on the drive home.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Slime and Soccer with Mia

Nyan got to spend some quality time with cousin Mia during his trip to Iowa. What did they get up to? Well, they tried their hand at making slime:

They goofed around with their hair and glasses at a restaurant. Well, to be precise, Mia (and Aunt Maggie) did while Nyan giggled.

They hung out on the couch while Mia played with her new iPhone:

And, maybe best of all, they hung out in the backyard. There were some (attempts at) cartwheels…

And there was soccer. Mia’s been playing for years; Nyan’s been playing for months. We thought some of her skills might rub off on the lad. That remains to be seen, but at least they had fun.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Chores Around the House

During our summer trip to the US, Grandma somehow got Nyan to help out on any number of household chores. Like loading the dishwasher:

And watering the plants:

Also washing out some old planting pots, for some reason.

Obviously he’s having a blast there. Maybe that’s the key to chore-doing. He certianly enjoyed baking:

And sewing too:

Now if we can just get him to clean up his toys without being asked…

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Return to (Iowa) City Park

After a few days in California, it was off to Iowa for a couple weeks with Grandma and Grandpa. One of the many places we hit up was… Iowa City’s City Park.

Yes, we have been here before. And yes, the name is just as creative as it’s always been. Whatever; it’s a lovely place right along the river, with trees, playing fields, open space, and an area with a few kid-sized rides like a merry-go-round, baby ferris wheel and a working (miniature) train on a quarter-mile oval track. Nyan’s always loved this park, and this time was no different. In fact, we went there a couple times on this visit to the homeland.

Did I mention there are ducks? There are ducks.

And rides too. Every kid loves the rides. Especially the plane.

Don’t forget the merry-go-round.

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But of course, the crème de la crème is the train. Here we had to wait patiently as it finished a run:

And a few runs around the track, with Grandma, with Grandpa, even with Daddy.

Nyan loved the train so much that he took several walks along the entire length of the track.

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The park, the train and the rides have all been there since Daddy was a boy – even before that, surely – and we hope they’ll still be there for many years to come!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Up Among the Tall Trees in Northern California 

Nyan had never seen a redwood tree before. We had thought about going to Muir Woods National Monument on previous visits to the Bay Area, but the fear of crowds kept us at bay. (That, and jetlag that always seemed to mean we slept more than sight-saw.)

This time around, we zeroed in on Big Basin Redwoods State Park, about an hour and a bit south of San Mateo, just to the west – along some climbing and winding two-lane roads – of Cupertino. We headed out early one morning (thanks, again, to the jetlag) and got there not long after they opened, around 8ish. It was quite chilly, especially for us equatorial residents who lack much warm clothing, but it was not crowded, the morning sun was glorious, and the trees were superlative.

Let’s just check out some pictures and videos. Words don’t do it justice.

And some videos too.

We were all suitably impressed. Then, while driving on from the park, in the middle of the redwood forest, we suddenly chanced upon…a Burmese monastery! What? How random. We stopped, of course, and checked out the stupa. Didn’t see any people at all; it was peaceful and seemingly deserted. Then we found the monk – yes, there was just one monk – and then we found some other Burmese folks who come up every weekend to cook up a week’s worth of food for the monk to eat. They promptly offered us a huge Burmese spread for lunch, which we gratefully accepted.

Totally random, but totally special.

Our final stop on this busy morning was at a NASA museum, not far from Google headquarters. It was a small affair, but kinda neat. It had some replicas of modules from the International Space Station, displays about various satellites and space missions, and an actual moon rock brought back by one of the moon missions. It actually wasn’t as awe-inspiring as we had hoped – it was just a little rock, encased in a glass display. It was so uninspiring, in fact, that we forgot to take a picture of it. Oops.

Then it was off for a drive through the nearby Google corporate campus before heading back to our rental apartment. Nice day overall.

Let’s end with some more photos of those majestic redwoods.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Judo! and a Playdate

There’s a judo studio – the Dojo – on the lower level of the building that houses Nyan’s school. A little while ago, they ran a promotion, offering a one-hour intro class at a discounted rate on a Sunday morning. Nyan expressed interest, so we decided to give it a try – not as a potential replacement for taekwondo, just as something to do. Best of all, his great friend Adriana decided she’d attend as well.

We took lots of video. Here’s the warm-up and some general exercises:

And there was some (attempted) rolling as well.

One of the exercises called for the kids to basically tackle the teacher. Which they did with relish and gusto:

Then there was the time when Nyan and Adriana faced off. I kinda feel like Adriana won this round. (She *is* six months older, bear in mind…)

After all that excitement, it was decided that Adriana would come over to our place – we live across the street – for an impromptu playdate. The kids were happy:

It was Adriana’s first time to visit our place, and Nyan was excited to show her around, including the view out his bedroom window.

They played both inside and outside, and managed to squeeze in some drawing time as well as a goofy photoshoot.

A great way to spend a Sunday.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Mega-Fun in the Month of May

Miscellaneous mirth in the month of May.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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