While we visited, my BIL and his family took us to the Maquoketa Caves just an hour from their home in Iowa. I simply couldn't stop musing that it just did not feel like I was in Iowa! The place is beautiful and lush and green! It felt more like I was in northern Michigan. With all the trees and caves, the place was at least 15 degrees cooler than everywhere else in Iowa. We had so much fun hiking around both inside caves and along the river. We'll definitely have to go back again if we are there in the summer. I'll just let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Posted on July 9, 2021


When the kids found out we were going to Iowa to visit Uncle Andy and his family, they were excited. But when they saw me pull out clothes from their closet to pack for the trip, they were confused. Ahgoo asked me why I was only packing shorts and dresses for her. I told her it was going to be 90 degrees all week. Her eyes popped out of her head and she did not believe me. I can't blame her, the last time we were there, it was blizzarding (is that a real word?) and -30 degrees! This will be the first time we visit Iowa in the summer and we were super lucky to get a whole week of sunshine! I am going to have a pretty busy few months at work so we decided to take an early vacation to visit family. So right after Buzz had his elementary school graduation, we flew out to visit my BIL in Iowa. I had no agenda but to relax and spend time with the family. But my BIL and his family still managed to take us to new places and there were so many moments during the trip when I had to say "I can't believe I'm in Iowa!"

We visited Lake MacBride, just about an hour away and the kids got to go boating and swimming in the lovely lake. Mr. BAW and our SIL got to paddle board. Everyone had a wonderful time. After the swim, we drove to University of Iowa to grab a few pictures and dinner. I don't miss any opportunity to visit a university.

The rest of the time, we visited Whitey's Ice Cream almost daily to see our older nephew (who is now a 6-foot tall seventeen year old!) working there. He makes a killer milkshake! We also hung out at my BIL's country club pool, met their neighbors at a backyard BBQ and outdoor movie night, and the kids even got to do a zipline! We also squeezed in some shopping and caving...yes, I said caving! That's going to be my next blog entry. For now, enjoy pictures from our trip to Iowa!

Posted on July 5, 2021


Even though it was more crowded than I'd like at Disneyland and we never got to see Marvel Land, Star Wars Land made up for everything. This was the very first time we got to see it since it's completion a few years ago. But I must say, it was well worth the wait. Since the park was still only restricted to California residence, I can only imagine how crazy crowded it would've been, especially when it first opened.

Remember when I said that I thought Universal Studios does "a better job of designing and building the facades of the buildings...?" Well, I was clearly wrong about that at Star Wars Land! The place is simply amazing. The pictures below hardly does it justice. But the pictures will give you some idea of how amazing the place is. It felt completely like you were on another planet, or even another country. There were so many things to stare at. The hallway we walked through were on our way to the Millennuium Falcon ride. The entire place looks and feels like you were in a Star Wars movie. Overall, the Millennium Flacon ride was fun, but, I still prefer Star Tours as a simulator ride. The motions were more realistic for Star Tours.

We aslo spent some time just walking around Star Wars Land. There were so many fun shops and sights to see. One of my favorite was the Droid Depot, where you get to build your own droid. The place was just so fun, you even get to select the beeps your droid can make. I couldn't help myslef, so I built myself a cute little droid (see below) to take home. Ha, it was a very smart little droid too...she kept beeping for candy!

The highlight of the entire trip has to be the Rise of the Resistance ride. This ride was awesome in so many ways. It is probably one of the longest rides at Disneyland, lasting about 15 minutes. You get to role play, you change rides three times. It goes from simulator to ride to simulator again. The crew was part of the role playing. During one part of the whole adventure, you are faced with about twenty storm troopers and they were very intimitating! We barely were able to get onto the virtual waitlist queue. We weren't even sure if we were able to get onto the ride before closing. We kept checking back with the staff working the lines. They told us that if the ride doesn't break down, we should be able to get on. Well, by 8:45pm, our number finally came up...for us to get into yet another physical line!! But they assured us that since we go into the line, we were going to make it onto the ride. We ended up going on the ride at 9:15pm, 15 minutes after the park closed! But it was well worth it. That ride was the best way to end a full day at Disneyland. It even make walking about two miles back to our car at nearly 10pm bearable. They were not running the trams to the parking lot due to COVID...I have no idea why to wouldn't run the trams, they are pretty open. The kids were troopers, they didn't complain once on the hike back. We boarded Kepler since we knew it was going to be a long day! We got back home at around midnight, tired and satisfied. Enjoy the pictures!

Posted on July 1, 2021



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