Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Lyle!

Today Lyle Hayes, Kim's grandfather, turns 90! On Saturday night much of the city of Guthrie Center turned out for a big celebration at the American Legion hall. A grand time was had by all, especially Lyle. A gift from his kids and grandkids is a trip to the August 8th Iowa Cubs baseball game. We'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hunter's Saylorville Spillway







After our first visit to Saylorville Dam, Hunter was sorry we hadn't brought a camera. We returned for another picnic and visit to the spillway and dam. Here are his favorite pictures.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Iowa Games

Adam decided to try his hand at the precision 10-meter air pistol at this year's Iowa Games. He started shooting after watching the Summer Olympics last year and has been practicing since then. This was his first competition which was more of a learning experience. In his age division there was one other competitor who happened to have shot internationally. But since there were only two in the division Adam still got the Silver (red ribbon). He scored a 210 out of 300 while first place scored 285. Adam will return for next year’s games, after much more practice.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Rift, a dramatic exhibition of geology






Icelanders call the space between the North American and European tectonic plates The Rift. The plates of the earth's crust shift here at a rate of about 1 centimeter a year. We walked in the Rift, able to touch the outermost edge of our North American continent. Thirty miles away in Iceland, we could touch Europe.

Within the space of the Rift on an open green, we learned, the Vikings held the first Parliament ever.

Here are some shots of the awesome landscape and one of Adam pushing back the North American plate.

they breed horses, don't they?






Iceland has their own special breed of horses, one with five gaits instead of the usual four. Icelanders don't allow their horses to breed with horses abroad, partly to keep their breed pure and partly to avoid importing disease. It's the law. If an Icelandic horse goes abroad to compete, his owner must sell it abroad before returning home.

We met a gang of corraled horses near a geysir one day and got a few shots while they impatiently teemed against each other in the tight enclosure...the horsepower was truly palpable.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Iowa Games

Blake and Hunter went to the Iowa Games wrestling tournament this weekend. Grandpa Al got to go along. He was the videographer and photographer for the evening. Since he is in FL during wrestling season this was his only chance to see them wrestle. Blake got a Gold and Hunter got a Bronze.

Blake's 21 second pin below.

video

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blake thinks Kim is Awesome!

Yesterday, Nana and Grandpa Al took Blake on a special visit to Kim's office. Why?

Blake has a dream to play baseball, go to college and become an architect. Kim works for DLR Group, an architectural firm in Des Moines. Blake got to meet real architects, hear about how Iowa State was a great college for architecture, see drawings and models, and find out what it looks like to live his dream. Then the amazing moment came.
Here is Blake finding out that architects not only design buildings, but also sports facilities. There is no stopping him now. He wants to design a baseball stadium like the one Babe Ruth hit a home run in for the Yankees.

Thank you Kim for keeping his dreams alive!

Water World




Becky here. I couldn't help noticing the various forms of water in Norway and Iceland. Whether it's frozen, steamy, or liquid, water is a constant in these BEAUTIFUL countries--serene fjords, rushing waterfalls, icy mountainsides, snowstorms, glaciers, thermal baths, and geysirs (yes, that's correct spelling in Iceland). And, when you get to Telemark, you can have heavy water from the water plant the Nazis used in World War II.

Here are a couple water world shots for today...when we arrived at the top of a mountain (first picture), we couldn't see the promised green-valley view below because it was snowing. (Icy ride down the slopes in the bus back that day!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Adventureland Day


Meredith Corporation still gives Becky two free entry and two free picnic lunch tickets for Adventureland in Des Moines. She can also get discounted tickets for additional guests. This year the Underwoods bought discounted tickets and we all had a wild day riding The Outlaw, The Dragon, The Tornado, The Space Shot, and G-Force. Crowds were thin and queues were short so the boys enjoyed repeat rides by the dozens. We went to the circus while it rained and, when the sun came returned, we spent an hour at Kokomo Cove's water park (the boys wore their swim shorts instead of regular shorts when they dressed for the day). Here are Hunter and Blake getting set for the fifth time on G-Force.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coach Dave



For second season, Hunter has a dream coach--his dad.

Hunter has always wanted the number 1 on his team shirt. On Dad's team, he does! He started the first game of the second season, pitching the first two innings and striking everyone out in a hurry. After that, he relinquished the pitcher's mound so another kid could have a chance to pitch.

Coach Dave will be a fair coach, in spite of the fact that Hunter is on his team.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kim and Allen!

We celebrated both birthdays on the fourth of July with a picnic on the Underwood patio. However, when the birthday part of the festivities began, it started to rain. We changed the venue to the Underwood kitchen.

Today, July 7, is Kim's birthday--send her your best wishes.
Tomorrow, July 8, is Allen's day--send him your congratulations for making it to 67!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blake's Nature Adventures

Blake and Dave went to cub scout camp this weekend. He is the little tiny figure next to the flags. Blake also road in the cub scout fourth of July parade float and threw candy at all his friends along the route. (it rained for 5 hours straight - he thought it was "the best!")

Here Blake is making a stand for his Pine Derby car. Step one to adventure: Using dangerous tools.
Here is Blake modeling his new home for the night. Step 2 to adventure: Sleeping on the hard ground or even better wooden planks with bugs.


Here is Blake getting to do what he joined cubs scouts to do and has been dreaming about for over a year, shooting a "bone and arrow". Step three to adventure: using real weapons as opposed to plastic light sabers that pop out and light up.

Here is Blake doing something even more fun, shooting a rifle. Step 4 of adventure: Using even more dangerous weapons - only at cub scouts!

Finally, Blake's new goal. Not this year.
He came home excited from his big adventure!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Puffin Cruise



During the Iceland portion of our recent trip,
Kim and Adam decided to go on a short cruise to
"Puffin Island" just off the coast of Reykjavik.
Puffins are rather shy but we zoomed in as closely
as we could.

Our boat the Skulaskeith.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Last Stop: The Blue Lagoon






We stopped for a soak in mineral-rich waters at the Blue Lagoon before returning home from Iceland. Thermal waters beneath the volcanic lava are a main power source for Iceland and, when all is said and done, The Blue Lagoon is the product of business, not nature. The blue waters are leftovers spewed from a nearby power plant onto a desert of lava. Inspired by the spas at Baden-Baden in Germany, a couple businessmen developed the thermal lagoon after watching locals dip into its warmth. They sanded down a lava rock basin to avoid lava cuts on feet and pooled the water for bodily pleasures.

We boarded our plane in a relaxed state.

It's Been A Week...






...since we returned from Norway. That time was filled with catching up on everything we left behind--mail, work, family, groceries, and news. We've also managed to review a few thousand digital photographs, some of which we'd like to share. We'll do highlights from time to time, keeping the numbers of pictures small.

This set of five pictures is a bit random--a view of a farm from our hotel room at Stalheim, a village along a fjord (no roads through the mountains for access, just boats and ferries), and a last view of a receding glacier. A tip of the glacier has broken off, resulting in an awesome mineral-blue lake where Kim and Adam could explore.