Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter from Madison!

Happy Easter! I hope everyone is having a good day.

Guess what? The Easter Bunny found me here in Madison. He left me a small basket with plastic eggs filled with small candies and a few chocolate lollipops. The candy is yummy but the best part is the basket. It is yellow and green….the colors of the Green Bay Packers! I can’t wait to show Aunt Lynn.

I’m not sure how the Easter Bunny found me. I didn’t even know I was coming to Madison until a few days ago! Kristin says I should thank her Mom. Her Mom knew I was coming to Madison and made sure the Easter Bunny knew the way to her house in Madison. Thanks Kristin’s Mom!

We are leaving Madison soon and heading back to Iowa. Bye for now.

Until next time…..

Greetings from Wisconsin!

Surprise! I am writing to you from Madison, Wisconsin. See if you can find it on the map.

I am here with Kristin. She is visiting her parents for Easter weekend and she asked if I wanted to come along for the ride. Of course I said yes!

That’s because I know that Wisconsin is the home of the Green Bay Packers! Aunt Lynn LOVES the Packers. Kristin says Green Bay is a very long drive from Madison but that’s OK. I am at least in the same state. Here you can see me catching up on the latest sports news (OK….I didn’t really read the newspaper but I did look at the pictures.)

Kristin says her parents have lived here for 16 years. They lived in Iowa before moving here. Kristin’s Mom and Dad are very nice.

Today Kristin and her Mom went shopping. I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the day doing “girl” things. So Kristin’s Dad said I could spend the day with him.

Guess what? Kristin’s Dad is REALLY COOL! He has a Play Station 2 and I got to spend the entire afternoon playing video games with him! How cool is that?!

Tonight Kristin is working on her computer and her Mom is knitting.

So I am spending the evening watching learning how to knit (seems kind of boring if you ask me!), watching TV, and hanging out with Kristin’s Dad.

Until next time…..

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Home Again

Hi everyone! I am back home in Iowa after my trip to Detroit.

Kristin wasn't kidding when she said that we were going on a quick trip. It feels like we just left Iowa and now I am home again!

This morning, Kristin told me that she, Amy, and Ken were going to visit a the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. Kristin is hoping the museum will display some of the photos I helped her and Amy pick out yesterday.

Kristin, Amy, and Ken met with several people from the museum to talk about the photo project. Kristin and Amy talked about the radio program and showed the photos to the museum staff. I think this is similar to show-and-tell at school.

I think the museum people liked the project because after the meeting they took us on a tour. The museum is REALLY cool! It has a model of the Burj al Arab...the big building I saw in Dubai that looks like a sailboat. They also have an entire floor set up with many displays about the Arab region, people who have moved to America from the Arab region, and famous Arab Americans (I didn't recognize any names but they looked famous!). Many of the displays include audio and video and they have places where kids like me can touch and play. Kristin calls this "interactive" learning. I don't know what that means but it was sure fun!

I had so much fun looking around that I didn't even have time to get my picture taken. Can you believe that?!

Kristin drove us to the airport as soon as we left the museum. After I got to go through the x-ray machine (I LOVE going through the x-ray machine!!), Kristin took me to the "General Motors" store. It was really cool. There were TONS of toy cars. I could have spent the entire day there. But Kristin said we couldn't stay very long. :( She did let me pick out a small toy car set. It is really neat. It has street signs and everything. Now I can play airport AND cars at home. Cool!

I played with my new car set while Kristin and Amy worked more on the photo project before we got on the plane. It was a really, really small plane. Each wing of the plane had what looked like a large ceiling fan attached to the side of them. Kristin says they are the propellers that make the plane stay in the air. I was excited because I haven't been on a plane with propellers like that but I could tell Kristin didn't like this plane. Kristin says it reminded her of a scary plane she was on in Africa. The Africa plane ride must have been very bad because Kristin was REALLY happy when we landed in Moline.

I am really tired and I think Kristin is tired too. So I am going to head to bed soon. I want to thank Kristin, Amy and their friend Ken for letting me come along with them to Detroit!

Until my next adventure.....

Monday, April 10, 2006

Greetings from Detroit!

Hi everyone! I am writing to you from Detroit, Michigan.

It turns out "The Motor City" is a nickname for Detroit, Michigan. Just like "The Big Apple" is a nickname for New York City. See if you can find Detroit on the map.

I found out where we were headed when Kristin and Amy got their tickets at the Moline airport VERY early this morning. We left Kristin's house just before 5AM, picked-up Amy, and then went to the Moline airport. This time we flew a different airline: Northwest. Kristin says she doesn't usually fly Northwest but they have a "direct" flight between Moline and Detroit. That means we don't have to change planes in Chicago like we have in the past.

I'm sure it was a fine ride but I was too sleepy from getting up early so I took a nap the entire flight.

The Detroit airport is very large and very nice but we had to walk a LONG way to get Kristin's luggage. I think we walked a mile from the plane to the place where the luggage is dropped off (OK...maybe it wasn't a mile but it was a LONG walk). After we got Kristin's bag, we headed for a small bus just like the ones in Muscatine. This took us to the place where Kristin rented a car. Kristin and Amy decided it would be easier to get around Detroit in a car instead of a cab.

We then rushed to get to the hotel to pick up Kristin and Amy's friend Ken. Ken helps get radio stations to play Kristin and Keith's radio program. He lived in Minneapolis and he is very nice. Do you know what state Minneapolis is in? See if you can find it on the map.

We were rushing because Kristin, Amy, and Ken had an appointment at 11:00AM at a radio station. WDET is the public radio station located on the campus of Wayne State University. It turns out the radio station IS going to play Kristin and Keith's radio program next month.

So, I wondered why we were visiting the station. Do you remember when I went with Kristin and Amy to look at photos in New York City? The station is interested in helping display the photos at a museum near our hotel. Ken, Kristin, and Amy met with many people and made many plans.

But, I must admit that I didn't pay attention to their meeting. I was more interested in looking at the radio equipment and seeing people talk on the radio. The station was VERY busy today and there were many, many phones ringing. I thought this was strange so I asked Kristin after her meeting why everyone looked very busy. Kristin told me that this week is something public radio stations call "pledge week." During pledge week, the station asks listeners to send money to help keep the station on the air. Wow! I had no idea that radio stations could do such a thing. Kristin tells me pledge week is very important because public radio stations (the kind that air Kristin and Keith's radio program) do NOT play commercials. Did you know that the commercials you hear on most radio stations help keep the music playing? Who knew?!

I'm still not sure I understand pledge week but I could tell it was important to the people I saw working today.

After the meeting we went back to the hotel. We are staying at the Hyatt in nearby Dearborn, Michigan. The headquarters of the Ford Motor Company is just down the road. THIS is why Detroit is called "The Motor City." Kristin says many American car companies have offices in the Detroit area. I only saw the Ford building but I can tell you that there are more car dealers here than anywhere I have ever seen!

I didn't really have time to play this afternoon because Kristin and Amy were busy picking out photos. Kristin says they can only use a certain number of photos from the large batch I saw in New York. So I watched as Kristin and Amy spent several hours deciding which photos they liked best.

At one point I took a break and looked out the window. Across the parking lot is a very large shopping mall. I could only see the sign for one store from the room. The store sign says "Marshall Fields." Kristin says this is a very famous chain of stores that is based in Chicago. Well I wasn't all that interested in learning about ANOTHER famous store but Kristin told me I am very lucky that I got to see the sign. She says Macy's....the store I visited in New York City, has bought all of the Marshall Fields stores and soon all of the store signs will change to say "Macy's." I could tell Kristin is very upset about this. I'm not sure why. It must be a "girl" thing. But I decided that I should at least have my picture with the store sign in the background.

Later in the day, Kristin and Amy took a break and actually went to Marshall Fields. Kristin bought me what she calls a "special" chocolate egg. It is called "Frango Mint." I've never heard of this brand. But Kristin says I have to wait until Easter before I can eat it. Easter is just a few days away so I guess I can wait until then. But the chocolate egg sure looks yummy!

Kristin also bought me a brown bunny rabbit to keep me company. Kristin thinks the bunny looks like her rabbit, McGwire. Did you know Kristin has a REAL bunny rabbit that lives in her house? My Aunt Lynn helps take care of McGwire when Kristin and her husband are away on business trips.

My new bunny is brown like her real rabbit so I am going to name mine McGwire too!

Whew...I've had a long day. I am very sleepy so I think I am going to head to bed with McGwire.
I'm not sure what Kristin and Amy are doing in the morning but I know they have a meeting. I also know I will be back home in Iowa tomorrow night.

Until next time....

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Motor City?

Hi everyone. I just received very exciting news!

My friends Kristin and Amy from the Stanley Foundation are leaving very early tomorrow morning for another trip and they have invited me to come with them.

Kristin says we are going to a place called "The Motor City." I think Kristin is trying to surprise me again just like she did with "The Big Apple." I like cars but I don't think I have ever heard of a place called "The Motor City." I guess I will have to wait until tomorrow to find out!

Kristin says this is a very short trip. I will only be gone 1 night. I'll keep you posted.

Bye for now....