As you may know, in early October, we took a trip to our alma mater, The University of Iowa, for the 2016 homecoming weekend. We arrived in town mid-afternoon Friday, and after parking our vehicle about two miles from downtown (jk...but we were a ways out of the way), we met up with my brother T who is a freshman this year at Iowa, and made our way downtown to catch a bite to eat and watch the homecoming parade. C was so excited to see Uncle T, and insisted on holding his hand as we walked to the parade. He was in his glory! Iowa Homecoming weekend has become a bit of a family tradition for us since C joined the family back in 2014, and we have made it a point to make the trek to Iowa City each year to take in the parade, and revisit some of our favorite spots from our college days.
This fall was G's first experience with the overwhelming amount of school spirit that is found in a college town in the Big 10 on homecoming weekend, and he was all eyes, taking in everything like he'd never seen anything so amazing before...which of course...being 11 weeks old at the time...he hadn't! After scouting out a spot to grab a quick dinner before the parade began, we ended up at Bread Garden, one of my favs from when I lived in Iowa City. The salad bar is amazing, and C (who has been going through a phase of picky eating), cleaned his entire plate of mac & cheese and mandarin oranges...AND ate about half of mine.
The parade was a huge hit...as you might construe from this photo of our boys being completely disinterested in having a photo taken since they were waaaaaay too curious about the parade to bother tearing their eyes away.
We met up with Uncle B & Aunt C near the Pentacrest to watch the parade, and both boys loved seeing all of the people, floats, dancers, and bands. The parade started at 5:30pm, and didn't end until 8:30pm, so there were a TON of things for them to watch to keep them entertained. It was dark by the time the parade was halfway over, and C was excited to look at the stars and run around the Pentecrest with Uncle B, Aunt C and Papa T, while Graham had the pleasure of nursing on a windowsill of Schafer Hall about midway through. I'm sure this will make a fun story to tell him some day if he chooses to go to Iowa for college! Of course, the Hawkeye marching band and cheerleaders are always the VERY LAST parade entry, so we waited until the very end for the highlight of the event. C got to stand up really close to watch the band (which he loved), and some of the Hawkeye cheerleaders even came up to him to give him a high five. It was sooooo much fun to see the sheer awe on his face as he watched Herky and all of the band members blasting out the Hawkeye Fight Song at full force. A highlight of the weekend for sure! After the parade, back at Uncle B & Aunt C's place, C was pumped about sleeping right next to G in side-by-side Pack'n'Plays. I wasn't sure how the sleeping arrangement was going to go with all of us in the same room, but both boys were asleep by 9:45pm, and slept through the night, so aside from missing bedtime, I can't complain too much!
Saturday morning, we were greeted to a drizzly day, but we got everyone ready and packed up, then made our way down Melrose to our tailgate spot right across the street from Kinnick. C had so much fun watching the chaos that is Hawkeye gameday, and talking to everyone at the tailgate while munching on snacks before heading into the game just after kickoff. We didn't spend
as much time tailgating as T would have liked a lot of time tailgating...but with young kiddos, this is pretty much what we expected by the time we had everyone up and ready to go in the morning. It was just about perfect to have an hour to tailgate before heading into the game. If we would have gotten there as early as T would have liked, we all would have been ready for a nap at kickoff!
This was C's THIRD game at Kinnick, and G's first. C was four months old at his first Iowa game, and G was just 11 weeks. Start them young! C was in complete awe of getting to watch his beloved Hawkeyes in person at Kinnick Stadium, and was pretty much rendered speechless by the awesomeness that is gameday at Kinnick. He was exhausted by the time the second quarter started, and somehow managed to fall asleep on Grandma J's lap sometime during the second quarter, all through halftime (missed the band!!), and into the third quarter. Seriously. The kid who wakes up when I turn off the lamp at night in the other room, and he manages to take a nap on gameday in a stadium filled with approximately 75,000 diehard Hawk fans. #ridiculous
G meanwhile, slept through the majority of the event, much like C's first visit to Kinnick. He did wake up during the third quarter, and I took him to the first aid station to nurse and then walked the halls for the remainder of the game. The rain had turned from a light on-and-off mist into a bit of a downpour by the time G was done eating, so I opted to stay in the shelter of the halls rather than go back to my seat. C had an absolute blast cheering for the Hawks in the rain, and wasn't bothered in the slightest to get wet. All in all, we had a fantastic trip to Iowa City, and can't wait to continue the tradition next year.