Monday, January 22, 2018

Tour The Iowa State Capitol

While I've known for a while (I'm talking years here) that we could tour the state capitol, we hadn't made the time to do it. While we were at the Capitol for the march this weekend, I made the comment how some weekend we need to make time to take a tour of the Capitol like we've been meaning to do.
"Why not now?" my husband suggested. I had assumed they were closed, but alas, they were open. We walked in, went through security, and quickly joined a guided tour that had started a few minute prior.

The front desk was incredibly helpful and let us join an in-progress tour as we didn't want to wait a half hour for the next one (waiting and kid don't always mix well). Our guide was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and great with the mix of adults and kids in our group. I wasn't sure how entertained the kids would be with the tour, but they LOVED it! We all learned a lot about the Capitol, from it's history to the interior decorations to funny stories about our state senators.

The one thing I enjoyed about doing this tour on a Saturday was that we had access to several rooms we wouldn't have been allowed in during the weekdays (the library for one, which was also my favorite room) and if the House and/or the Senate was in session, our guide wouldn't have been able to speak while we were in those rooms. That's where we got all of the good stories, so to have missed that would have been disappointing. However, I would like to go back during the week sometime so we could see building while it's bustling.

The highlight of the tour came at the very end. We had the option to go up into the dome (you know, that big gold dome we see from the outside?). Unfortunately, it's only for ages 6+ and there was no waiting place for the kids that couldn't (or didn't want to) go. Since our youngest is 5 1/2 she wasn't allowed and our oldest is afraid of heights, Hubs had to miss out while our middle child and I went. We loved looking down and being so close to the top, but the walk up the winding narrow staircase was a tad dizzying for me and a few others in our group.

 [The top of the dome from the first floor]

 [Supreme Court Chamber]

 [The library is a fully functioning library. If you tour during the week and the library is open, you won't be allowed in unless you are a legislator]

 [Looking down from the dome]

I'm still shocked how well the kids did with this tour and how much they learned. There's always the option to do a self-tour of the building (weekdays and weekends), but I highly recommend doing a guided tour because you get the good, inside info.


8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturdays
Cost: Free

For more info, visit:

Have you toured the Capitol grounds before? While that wasn't part of this weekend for us, we've done it in the past and had a blast! Check it out here.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Blues Kind of Weekend

We had our usual three day weekend in January. This year we did not spend it at the water park hotel (Ramada Inn) as we have in year's past. Instead, we had a pretty chill three day weekend with a day at home on Monday instead of a Mom and Mini Day Out. The minis had requested to go sledding and ice skating that day, but with temps below zero, that was out of the question. So, instead we spent the day at home (and dance class later on in the evening). My favorite part of the weekend was attending Botanical Blues at the Botanical Garden. We had never been before and all five of us thoroughly enjoyed it!

Friday night movie (Despicable Me 3) and snuggles. The mini's school had a family movie night at school, but to be honest, I totally did not feel like going. Luckily they easily got on board with our movie night at home and didn't fight me on it.

Saturday morning the minis and I volunteered at the Children's Museum. Elizabeth loved painting with water on the chalk boards and Harrison spent quite a bit of time with the Magnatiles. Meanwhile, Max was a wonderful helper.

My cabin bar mocha from Caribou was a hit....especially because it came with a treat on top!

Saturday evening we spent time with family at my Grandma and Grandpa Harmeyer's. I was extremely disappointed that we missed family Christmas (due to everyone being sick over the holidays) and had been trying to work out a time to see family. I was thrilled to receive a text from my Uncle that he was in town and people were getting together for dinner. We jumped at the chance a spent a few hours catching up with family.

Since we were out past the minis bedtimes, the rush to get them into bed (before complete meltdowns happened) was intense. I was rushing a bit too quickly because as I backed out Elizabeth's closet, I got a hanger caught in my hair. Que extreme laughter and me trying not to pull my hair out.

We had lunch at The Drake Diner, followed by an afternoon of blues at the Botanical Garden. Botanical Blues happens every Sunday January - beginning of March. This is the first time we've gone and we all loved it! I was partial to the beverage station, which had a limited, but great, drink menu.

The vege benedict was amazing!

For some reason, we had never taken the minis to the Drake Diner before. They loved it (despite the 20 minute wait for a booth). We'll definitely be back.

I love this tie and button down shirt obsessed boy (and he doesn't care that they don't match at all).

She nearly fell asleep while we listened to the music.

"You can just call me Stud, mom."

Monday the minis had requested to go ice skating or sledding. It's was twenty degrees below zero, so outside activities were out of the question. They requested to "just stay home" for the day. So we did.

Lunch in costumes. Totally normal for this house.

I got some work done during dance class. While most of my evenings are spent staring at a computer screen, it was refreshing to begin a story the old fashioned way.