Saturday, October 20, 2007

Iowa Trip, Part One

Well, I've been a slacker at writing, but I have a good excuse: I've been visiting Megan in Iowa for the past week and enjoying myself without children (well, except her cute little boys). Before sharing my adventures, I must thank both Nate and Amy for making this possible for me. Without their great care of my children, I would not have ever gotten away and felt good about leaving them. Phone calls were interesting and I do feel bad that a few things didn't turn out as nicely as planned (electricity going out, & sick children), but all lived and we're back to normal here now.

*just a note to say sorry if some pictures are repeats from Megan's blog, but I want to have the same memories when I print out my "blog book" someday.


Friday we drove two hours to Omaha, Nebraska to visit their zoo. Megan is a zoo girl; I am not. BUT I will say that if this were MY zoo then I would be a zoo girl because it's the most amazing zoo I've ever been too! I decided halfway through that the Phoenix Zoo is a joke. Yes, it has nice exhibits, but when do you ever see animals up close????? Never! Well, maybe I'm exaggerating so let me rephrase - hardly ever!

This is in their jungle exhibit which was awesome, but I realized that as an Arizona girl, I don't breathe well in the humidity. I did, however see lots of animals I've never seen before - like a sloth looking just like on Diego. This picture of Megan and I was taken by 5-year old Talin -- not bad, but I will agree with Megan that we are at that pregnancy stage where people wonder -- are they fat or pregnant? I'm actually moving out of that this week as I seem to be growing everyday and there is no question now.

The underwater exhibit made me feel guilty for being at a cool zoo without my children because I knew how excited they would be to be in this tunnel with sharks, fish and stingrays swimming around and over us. I loved it!

I made Megan snap like 10 pictures to finally get a good one of a stingray's cute little face. They just looked so happy and cute swimming over our heads - my favorite part of the tunnel.

This cheetah picture was taken without a zoom. He strutted right in front of us -- only about 4 feet away! Now, that's why I'm saying that this zoo is better than the Phx Zoo -- I've only seen the cheetah in the Phx Zoo like twice and one of those times, it was nearly all covered in the bushes except a head.

The monkey-gorilla exhibit was cool too. And yes, I did take lots of pictures of this guy, but he was just so intriguing to me, just sitting there so close. . .

The three-legged momma tiger with her two cubs, born this summer. They were darling and these were Savannah's favorite pictures from the zoo.


After the zoo, we headed over the Winter Quarters to see the temple and visitor's center. Megan and I went on a stake youth trip in the summer of 1996 (right after I graduated) and trekked (by bus) from Denver to all sorts of church sites: Independence, Nauvoo, Adam-ondi-aman, Liberty Jail, Carthage Jail, and Winter Quarters (and I'm sure I'm forgetting other places). So, I was excited to visit again and actually see the visitor's center and temple built near the cemetery.

Working hard pulling that wagon. . . The visitor's center was really nice and fun, but I must say that my favorite part had nothing to do with the pioneer memorabilia. It came from Collin (on the left). Before heading out, we all went to use the bathroom (which we did everywhere being two pg ladies!). So we're all in our stalls and Collin says: "Anyone want to come in my stall? There's plenty of room!"

Once again, picture courtesy of Talin. A little out of focus, but not bad. This is the cemetery across the street from the visitor's center and right next to the temple grounds.

I love this statue. Talin was very intent on explaining that there was a dead baby at the parents' feet, in the ground. It's such a moving statue that makes you remember all that the pioneers went through and it makes you wonder (hope) that you would be as valiant and strong in the same type of situation.

What is it about temple grounds that they are always the most beautiful and peaceful places on the earth? I love this picture of Megan with her boys and the gorgeous flowers.

And I thought I'd end with the temple itself. This is the side view where the flowers and the stain-glass windows are absolutely gorgeous.

Up next on Saturday: Madison County Bridge Festival and, of course, the bridges.


Megan said...

Always fun to relive the visit, and read from your point of view. I hate the full body pictures of me though, I've become so pudgy! And it was actually Talin in the handicapped stall of the bathroom that was inviting us in, that boy said a lot of funny things that weekend.

Mandy said...

It looks like you had a wonderful trip! I loved your pictures of the zoo.

Amy said...

I LOVE the "anyone want to come in my stall? There's plenty of room!". So disarmingly cute. I'm glad you two pregnant ladies had such a fun's nice that you move at the same speed.

michelle said...

It looks like you had a wonderful trip! How fun to get away, and share time with your family! Cute pictures.