Iowa

What images come to mind when I say the word, IOWA?  Cows, farmland as far as the eye can see, roads that go on forever, the caucus?  Maybe, The Bridges of Madison County?  Oh, I don't know, I guess I thought it was just a boring field to drive through like Nebraska or Oklahoma or South Dakota.  Sure, the drive between the towns are boring fields, but I have to tell you, I had an excellent time there.  

*I should note that Ben travels to Mount Pleasant, IA pretty much every week for work.  There is a Thai restaurant there where a waitress explained that tofu was a type of fish.  True story.*

Moving along. J&V live in Ames, which is a reasonably-sized college town that I can only compare to Steven's Point (but could probably be compared to more Wisconsin cities with a UW campus).  The grocery store, Hy-vee, was filled with very friendly people who allowed a crazed woman into the security office to review security footage only to be told her sister-in-law's wallet she though she lost was still out in the car.  (Yes, the crazed woman was me...).  There are many cute cafes and restaurants in town, an active campus area, and a lovely downtown strip with local shops.  But let's be real here, I was only there to see this guy, my youngest nephew, Paxton Daniel.  

I had to!  I'm sorry, Paxton!

LOOK AT THOSE CHEEKS. LOOK AT 'EM!

He's a month old, weighs over twelve pounds, and has the most adorable grunts and hiccups and sneezes and yawns...  I can't even take it.  He's so adorable.

This is what my brother looks like as a DAD.

SO CUTE! Err- handsome?  Either way. :)

On Thursday I ran out of days off of work, so JV&P and I drove to Iowa City to meet Ben and head home.  We met up at Atlas Restaurant & Bar where the standouts were V's falafel burger, my crisp caesar salad, and a black bean hummus.  

This place is where Ben met his nephew for the first time!  Look at them!

Iowa City is similar to Madison except I actually liked it in Iowa City.  (YUP, I said it.)  The benches downtown are all uniquely painted, and there are large art installations through the area.  There is something to see around every corner, on every street.  

We all had a great time enjoying the city and spending time together.  It's cool to be friends with a sibling, and to enjoy their spouse just as much.  The afternoon was a great cap to the week with a newborn, and I actually can't wait to go back to Iowa City!