Posts Tagged ‘Ames’

I’ve been entertaining a house guest this weekend. Stanley arrived a unexpectedly on Friday. I had heard of him from other people, but had never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He’s a pleasant fellow, always smiling. He travels very light – no suitcase and basically just the clothes on his back (or more accurately, his front). He’s no fuss…he will go with whatever plans we have for him. Never a complaint and always that same smile.

It turned out to be a great time for Stanley to visit. We had plans for a weekend visiting family and friends, so I tucked Stanley in my purse and away we went.

Our first stop was in Ames to visit our son Sean. We hadn’t seen him since January when he returned to school so it was nice to hug his neck and take him out for breakfast. In all the excitement of seeing Sean, I forgot Stanley in the car. But he didn’t seem to mind – he was still smiling when we got back in.

From Ames, we travelled down Interstate 35 to Des Moines, Iowa’s capital. I picked up my good friend Danette and headed to the west side of the city to attend my future daughter-in-law’s first bridal shower. This time, I remembered Stanley and though he was the only male in attendance, he kept to himself and no one seemed to notice.


While talking with Danette about Stanley’s visit, she suggested we stop by the beautiful Iowa State Capitol building before returning home. I’m so glad we did! Stanley seemed to enjoy the fresh air and open front lawn, though we had to prop him up with a fork to keep him upright. Maybe he was a little carsick from riding around in the backseat all afternoon?


The next day was  Sunday and we saw no reason to leave Stanley at home, so he attended church services with us in Troy Mills, Iowa. It is a small but friendly congregation so I knew Stanley would be welcome. I even asked if he would help me teach the kids’ sermon and he gladly agreed, again with that same smile

.IMG_2180 I talked about the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives – that He goes with us wherever we go, comparing him to my good friend Stanley. I was curious to hear how Stanley would do singing unfamiliar hymns, and I did notice he was flat most of the time. Oh well…he stayed smiling through the whole service.


With the weekend over, I wasn’t sure what I could do to keep Stanley entertained. My Monday morning routine begins with a visit to my local Curves for a 30-minute workout. Stanley slipped in, even though Curves is for women only. But no one seemed to mind and we didn’t stay long. I don’t think he even broke a sweat and always with that smile.


I had to work all day and Stanley sat quietly watching me…never a peep out of him. But I wanted him to see a little of my city so we went on a walk through Cedar Rapids at lunch time. First stop was the new Cedar Rapids Public Library. I thought he’d enjoy seeing the city from the rooftop but it wasn’t open yet – too windy. Wind and Stanley probably don’t mix well.

IMG_2185 I showed Stanley the beautiful view from the 2nd floor windows overlooking our new Greene Square Park. He was impressed. He kept his face right up against the glass the whole time.


IMG_2187 The next stop was the somewhat famous Five Seasons symbol on the banks of the Cedar River. Looks a little like a tree, doesn’t it? Stanley was impressed by the size of it – showing me it was “this big,” with his arms outstretched and another big smile. That guy loves to smile.

IMG_2188 I had to get back to work soon so we moved pretty fast through the rest of our tour. I took him to see the NewBo City Market – a wonderful place for local, homegrown foods, art and events. We couldn’t stay though – time to head back to work.


I’ve loved hosting Stanley for these few days. He’s a delightful guy, still smiling even after all the locations I placed him. I enjoyed his pleasant personality, and especially his willingness to embrace my Cub fanaticism during his visit. I hope he can come back again soon.


If you’ve made it to the end of this photo journey of Flat Stanley’s visit with me, you’re a trooper. This was a class project for my beautiful niece, Morgan, and I wanted to make sure she got everything I could give her. She’s adorable and I love her bunches!


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If you’ve been keeping up with my social media postings, ask yourself “why?” Really, people. Get out there and live your own life!

#RoadTripWeekend just concluded! We got into our beds around 3 o’clock this morning, exhausted from driving through thunderstorms all the way from Madison, Wisconsin. There may have been a few miles with no rain, but very few. And my amazing husband did all the driving on the way home. Thankfully we found a BP gas station open at 1:30 a.m. in Dubuque. Not sure our bladders would have made it otherwise.

Today I’m reflecting on the ups and downs, the good and bad points from the whole experience. Interestingly enough, I did have a few disappointments. For one, my food consumption was not only unhealthy but also didn’t taste all that great either. Seriously – if I’m going to partake in mega amounts of calories, fat and sugar, it should be worth it, right?

maple bacon

So here is the best food of the weekend: Definitely CJ’s Bagels and Topped Doughnuts in Ankeny. I only had one bite of Sean’s bagel breakfast sandwich but it was sooo good. The maple bacon doughnut and sugar-coated twist were wonderful. Melt-In-Your-Mouth-Delicious. We will be visiting this place again real soon.

vesuvius pizza

Another great find was Vesuvius Wood-fired Pizza in Ames. It may have been the company (my youngest son), the fact that I adore pizza, or the toppings (Buffalo chicken and bleu cheese) but this small place was big on flavor, and wasn’t very expensive. Perfect meal right before a movie.

Honorable mention goes to the breakfast casserole, fresh fruit and protein balls I had for brunch on Sunday morning. I won’t embarrass the cooks but for newlyweds, they did a great job! Yes – I had seconds on everything. I don’t have the recipe (yet) for the protein balls but I know they contained peanut butter, honey, oatmeal, chocolate chips, chia seeds, flax and probably some other good stuff. May have been the only somewhat healthy thing I ate all weekend.

Tied for worst of the weekend: both BBQ restaurants. This is very sad. I love BBQ. I took special people out for BBQ both times and both times they disappointed. Granted, I took people who had recently experienced BBQ in Kansas City and Memphis, so the bar was set pretty high, but it wasn’t even close. I won’t say that I would never go back but there are a lot of great places I’ll try out first.

I’ll try to blog more tomorrow on some other aspects of this amazing weekend. Expectations met and a few disappointments too. But tonight is all about sleep. Serious sleep.

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