Category: Travel

A surprise! And Star Wars Day at the K!

By , September 11, 2017 8:30 am

Part of my birthday gift (in July) from my father-in-law was plane tickets for me and Steven to go to Kansas City this past weekend to attend Star Wars Day at the K – a Star Wars themed Royals game (against the Twins). I’ve wanted to attend one of the Star Wars themed baseball games for awhile, and packed my Leia costume accordingly. Thank you, David!

We flew in Friday, and the game was on Sunday, so Saturday’s plan was to spend time with my snister and her family. I was surprised when I got there and saw my mom and dad were there too – I had NO idea they’d be there! My snister had been texting me and my mom that morning about a parade they were at and my mom was responding about how fun it looked, when she was actually there, with Christina. Those tricksters! What an awesome surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We spent the day chatting, eating, watching a movie in their home theater, and of course, baby snugging!!!

It’s so nice when we can all get together – I can’t wait to do it again!

My brother-in-law is missing from the pic because he had to leave for two different birthday parties. Popular guy!

It was hot on Sunday, so I opted to only wear the buns part of the Leia costume to the game. We had great seats on the third base line, but they were in the full sun with no shade until later innings and I didn’t want to make myself even more miserable in that hot costume! 

I was hoping to see more people in costume, but they probably were thinking the same thing as me – they didn’t want to be uncomfortable! We saw a few cool full costumes (on the field and by fans). A few droids were walking around, at times there were characters on the field, and there was a funny moment when the big screen showed Darth Vader clapping in one of the viewing boxes to honor a veteran. A few people had Star Wars shirts on. I got a lot of compliments on my “hair.” And one guy asks me “Is today Star Wars day or something? A lot of people have Star Wars stuff on.” Ha.

I was hoping they’d have Star Wars music and sound effects during the game, but there wasn’t much. But that’s all good, because it was a fun game to watch, with the Royals scoring 6 runs in the second inning, and 4 in the seventh! We only sat in our seats for the first, second, and seventh through ninth innings because we were too hot, so I was happy we got to see all the action from our seats (the final score was 11-3).

This will probably be my only Royals game of the year, and I’m glad it was festive, and a win, AND that I got to go with family! (Thanks for the tickets, Andrew!)

Why August is awesome this year iii

By , August 26, 2017 6:25 pm

Yesterday was my snister Christina’s birthday. She’s my best friend, I miss her like crazy, and haven’t seen her since MARCH, so I flew to Kansas City to surprise her!

Her husband, Will, coordinated everything with me, and picked me up at the airport (and dropped me off – thank you, Will!!!!!!), and we drove to her office for the surprise. I texted her on the way and asked if she got anything delivered from me. She said no (because I didn’t actually send anything, ha ha) and I acted all mad that “it” wasn’t there yet, and told her I checked and “it” was on its way. Then I showed up with balloons! Surprise!

Only taller cause I’m wearing boots with heels, ha

And she actually was surprised, yay!

And then we got to hang out all last night and all day today (I am flying back tonight), and I got to snuggle with this guy (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!):

What a great trip!

I wish I was able to see my snister and her family more often. Thank heavens for texting and google hangouts – we’re pretty much chatting all day most days.

And luckily, I already know when my next trip to Kansas City is, and it’s not months away!!! Yay!

I first wrote about August being awesome because I was grateful to have more free time in August 2017 than August 2016, then the second post and this post were about the things I am doing with that free time. I’m enjoying writing about random “awesome” things from the month – maybe I’ll continue it outside of August. 

River Trip 2017

By , August 14, 2017 6:23 am

This will be my last recap post from River Trip 2017, I promise! (Ha, last year I recapped nothing, this year, EVERYTHING! But it’s been fun to have things to blog about.)

For me, going to Guttenberg has always been about going to the beach (and seeing family, of course), and we had PERFECT weather this year:

The same storms that damaged Pikes Peak and the closest town in mid July also went through Guttenberg. The island my family has cabins on had a water boil order and was without electricity for a bit. And sadly, my parent’s cabin seemed to get the brunt of the damage on the island – they had several trees down (on the cabin, of course… but luckily not the boat), and spent a lot of time getting that fixed in July. Anyway – all that’s to say I was grateful we didn’t have any storms and had day after day of perfect beach weather! (And am grateful no one was hurt during the July storms.)

That tree’s not supposed to be there

On Friday, we arrived in the late evening and focused on unpacking, and getting ready for RAGBRAI by fueling (and drinking)! No beach time on Friday!

On Saturday, we rode RABGRAI, and played around on the jet skis when we got back!

Photo actually from Tuesday, but you get the idea!

Then helped put the dock in so that we could go to the beach the next day.

 

The boys (Steven, his brother Andrew, and Steve) helped my parents lift the dock on to the trailer so that my parents could take it to the island ramp to put in the water. Then, Gina, Luca, and I helped my dad bring it down the river to my Grandma’s cabin by attaching it to a fishing boat and floating it down. ANd then we helped set it up and secure it in place. By the time we were doing that, the boys were smoking cigars on Grandma’s balcony, and had acquired paper and markers and were giving us ratings on our performance and style points as we set it up. Oh, boys. Ha ha ha.

We left at 9:30 am on Sunday to get a spot at the beach, and didn’t get back until around 4:00 pm!

We call the beach closest to Grandma’s house “Big Hill Beach” because that is where all of the nearby sand dredged from the river goes. The hill is a different size each year. People often set up man made water slides (tarp and water pump) on the hill, and we saw someone taking one down when we arrived. (Here’s an example, and the story of how I hurt myself on one.)

Every beach visit was to Big Hill Beach this year. The bigger boat that can carry more people and stuff to beaches farther away was out of commission (which my dad planned to fix but no longer had time to because of the house damage), so we were using smaller boats to go back and forth. Works for us – this beach is great – it has soft (HOT!) sand and no mud. The only issue is sun coverage from lack of trees. We used a tent for shade the day we were there the whole day, and went in the afternoons on the other days – since the beach faces east, the sun wasn’t as intense then.

 

Awesome new pretzel floatie from my snis! She and I loooooooove soft pretzels!

Although, my brain was still pretty fried from being in the sun all day, Sunday. We got back to my Grandma’s and some other family members had come up to join us for dinner and I was a bit out of it from all the sun. Oops! No sunburn though!

On Monday, we went out to the beach late after we got back from ziplining and lunch, and had a very special treat – my Grandma joined us at the beach! She rarely goes to the beach anymore – always cooking and cleaning. Oh, Grandma.

That was the one time we hiked to the top of the hill. What a workout! Of course, Luca makes it look easy!

On Sunday Steve mentioned wanting to try tubing behind a boat someday. I don’t think he knew we had a tube! So we took him out for a ride on Monday. After he got the hang of it, I told my dad to give him hell and try to flip him off. Ha ha ha. It took a while, but we were successful! I decided to ride too (I haven’t in YEARS!) and they got me, too!

Monday also included cake (for my birthday) and an entire dessert bar. NOM!

Tuesday was another afternoon beach day, followed by late night s’mores:

And we also went back Wednesday afternoon, after lunch in Balltown. The Wednesday night excitement was seeing a riverboat go by.

Then Thursday came and it was time to pack up and go. Sad face. Luckily, it was raining Thursday morning, so I didn’t feel as sad that we weren’t going to the beach.

Rainy day view of the river

Our cars at the “Blue Cabin” – where we stay with Gina, Steve, and Luca

We made our traditional “last day” pancakes (we try to make these every time we’re with Gina, Steve, and Luca, on the last day of the trip).

Then the sun came out which was great for photos but made me really sad we were leaving. The week flew by!

Ha, I photoshopped the calamine lotion out of one photo (because I was printing it for Grandma), but not the other!

We had such a fun week! It was the perfect combination of doing activities, and lazy beach time. I was very happy we got out to the beach four days in a row. I don’t think I relax anywhere else, like I do on the beach there – whether I am playing, chatting, or resting my eyes.

I came back to our home in a great mood – from having a great trip and from being off work for a week. I didn’t realize how badly I needed a long break from work until I took it. It felt fantastic not to think about work (either of my jobs) for almost an entire week!

So, like I’ve said in every other post about this trip, we are looking forward to doing it again next year. In the meantime, I need to plan our next trip to see la otra familia, because we miss them!

The way to Balltown

By , August 11, 2017 8:00 am

Balltown is a tiny town (population 73!) in Iowa, located twenty-two miles southeast of Guttenberg. Why would we possibly be interested in going there with Gina and family?!

2014 Balltown visit!

Well, because of two inside jokes. A few years ago, when we were visiting Guttenberg for Independence Day, my mom suggested we go to the fireworks show in Balltown. I asked “how do you get there?” meaning, “what road do you take/what direction is it from here?”

But my mom interpreted that as “what is the road like to get there?” and started doing big arm/hand signals to indicate hills, then curvy roads, then curvy roads on hills. We found it hilarious, and have to tell the story, including all the wild arm movements, to everyone who visits Guttenberg. (I know, inside jokes are never funny when you explain them.) So, despite never having been to Balltown, Gina, Steve, and Luca have been making Balltown jokes for years, and were interested in going.

And the second reason? Ha – Steven, Gina, Steve, and I planned out all of the meals for this trip and told my mom she got a “wild card” that she could pull at any time (except on my birthday) and we’d do whatever meal she wanted. She pulled the wild card after breakfast on Wednesday the 2nd and said we’re going to the Balltown diner for lunch. Sounded good to us!

And bonus reason number three – it’s called Balltown – snicker, snicker, hee hee.

The diner in Balltown is the main attraction. And here’s your history lesson – Balltown has the “oldest continuously operating restaurant and bar in the state of Iowa,” having been open since 1852. It’s called Breitbach’s Country Dining, and it’s been in the family since 1852! Cool!

They’ve had some bad luck in recent years, though. On December 24, 2007, an explosion in the basement caused the entire original building to burn down (no one was hurt)!

Construction started in March of 2008 and the new restaurant opened in June of that year, and was even more successful than before… until late October 2008 when it burned down by ANOTHER fire (again, no one was hurt). What the heck?! They rebuilt again and the restaurant opened in August of 2009. And hasn’t burned down since, phew. My dad and I thought it was funny that the state fire marshal was there the day we visited, though.

But how is it the “oldest continuously operating restaurant and bar in the state of Iowa,” if they had to close twice to rebuild? They never fully closed. During construction, they used a building across the street for a bar and a few tables! And there you have it, ha ha.

I didn’t take any photos of the restaurant but you can find them on their website. I was surprised how modern it was – I was expecting it to be more like a diner, but the space was really nice (and new, duh, since it was built in 2009). Everyone said they really liked the food (I only had a baked potato since I ate such a large breakfast). We ordered a few pieces of pie (they are known for them) and I can confirm the raspberry was tasty!!!

Balltown also has some gorgeous scenic overlooks over the valley down to the Mississippi River and the Wisconsin valley on the other side.

Photographer photographer

It’s great for photo ops!

We made a few stops on the way back – the first was at the Blessed Mother Shrine grotto built in to the bluff of North Buena Vista,

and the second was at PromiseLand winery, just outside of Guttenberg. On Sundays in the summer the winery picks people up in downtown Guttenberg and gives them a tractor ride (I think) to the winery for live music and drinking. We missed that on Sunday, so I was happy we still got to check the place out.

A few of the wines they make were from Iowa grapes. We brought home a red and a white – sweet, of course. Now I can think of this trip when we drink them!

Hiking in Pikes Peak

By , August 8, 2017 6:26 am

When my siblings and I were kids, my parents took us hiking at Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa during our spring breaks. The park is thirteen miles from Guttenberg, and free to visit, so when we were coming up with activities for our vacation with Gina and family, it immediately came to mind!

Gina, Steve, and Luca, Mom and Dad, me and Steven

For awhile I’ve wondered why Pikes Peak Iowa has the same name as the mountain in Colorado, and I finally looked it up – it’s because they are both named for the same explorer – Zebulon Pike. Thomas Jefferson authorized Pike to lead several expeditions, including one through Iowa in 1805-06, and the one through Colorado in 1806-07. When Pike was in the Iowa area, he was looking for areas for military posts. He recommended the high point on the Iowa side (now Pikes Peak) for the strategic advantage, but the government choose the low prairie across the river in Prairie du Chien, (now) Wisconsin (info from here).

This area has a interesting history. In the 800s-1200s Native Americans lived here and you can still see their effigy mounds on the trails! You are at street level with them, so it’s kind of hard to make out the shape of the animal, but I can always tell where the head, legs, and body are. The Native Americans built these to celebrate their oneness with mother nature.

And there’s your history lesson for the day!

We visited Pikes Peak on Tuesday, August 1st. A tornado went through Pikes Peak and McGregor, the town north of it, on July 19th, so some trees were damaged and parts of the trails were closed, but none that affected where we were going. I looked at the trail map for the first time on this visit (I had always visited as a kid and didn’t have an interest!!!) and realized there are eleven and a half miles of trails!

We’ve only ever visited the area I circled in red on the map above. I need to get back and check out more of it. Maybe a trail run for River Trip 2018?

On this trip, we stuck to the Bridal Veil, East Hickory Ridge, and Weeping Rock Trails. We saw stunning vistas of the Mississippi River,

that area in the back right of the photo is Prairie du Chien

A little photographer photographer action going on

a waterfall,


71% of our crew was wearing Asics!

cool rock formations,

and beautiful forests.

Our hike ended in the shaded woods, which I appreciated, because it was getting close to midday and was hot out. We ended up hiking 1.6 miles and everyone did well. Gina had been taking Luca on lots of morning walks this summer to get him ready for the hike, which I thought was super cute (and smart)! I wonder if we’ll go back next year, or if I will ever check out the northern trails!

Ziplining in Dubuque

By , August 7, 2017 6:30 am

This is the fourth year in a row we’ve vacationed with Gina, Steve, and Luca (nuestra otra familia) in Guttenberg, Iowa. Why Guttenberg? Because my family has cabins there (free lodging!), it’s on the Mississippi River (fun on the water!), and it’s beautiful and relaxing (Gina and Steve’s phones don’t even work there!).

The first two years, our river trips were over Labor Day. The trip shifted to July the third year/last year so Gina could do RAGBRAI, and because Luca started kindergarten before Labor Day. At the end of each visit, we always lament how fast it went, and last year we decided we should try to extend it to a whole week (from three full days and two partial days). It takes Gina and family two days to drive to Guttenberg from their home near Dallas – there should at least be more vacation days than car days, right?!

So, this year, we were in Guttenberg almost an entire week – we arrived Friday night and left Thursday afternoon. RAGBRAI kicked off our vacation in Iowa, but we did a lot more (besides bum around on the beach) while we were there! And now, you get to read about it… starting with ziplining!

Ziplining wasn’t on my radar for this trip until I saw a post on Facebook in April about Sky Tours Ziplining in Dubuque (near Guttenberg). Gina and Steve were interested, so when we were all together and river trip planning in May, we added it as a definite possibility on the activities tab on our trip spreadsheet (oh yes – there was a spreadsheet and LOTS of planning for this trip!). Gina looked up all of the information about it so we’d have it ready to go when we were in Guttenberg!

[Side note: I don’t know why it’s my style to include all of these decision making details and extra information in my blog posts. Like I think I will need to remember this down the road? Ha ha.]

At first glance, ziplining seemed a bit pricey to me – $65 per person, for nine lines/an hour and twenty minutes of entertainment. But that is probably (just guessing) cheaper than it is in tropical/exotic locations? However it compares, it ended up being worth it, and a total blast!

You have to have a reservation to zipline, and Sky Tours recommended making it twenty-four hours in advance, but when we called late Sunday night (I was impressed someone answered) we were able to make an appointment for Monday July 31st at 11:00 am.

Sky Tours asks that you get there fifteen minutes before your appointment to sign waivers and put the safety gear on. I was happy that they were prepared for us, and ready for us to go right at 11:00!

Our group consisted of the four of us, a woman (and I am assuming) her daughter, and two guides. The guides said they can do groups up to twelve or fifteen people! I liked our smaller group size.

Our guides were friendly and funny. They teased each other, teased us, and made jokes the entire time. It was right up my alley (although maybe a serious person wouldn’t like all the safety jokes?!?!).

We started with putting our harnesses on – it consisted of two leg straps, a strap that goes around your waist, and the front straps and carabiners that actually attach to the zipline. The guides pointed out to us that there was no upper body harness and to not tip upside down, because you could fall out of your harness (eek!). And they told us our helmets were just to protect our heads from hitting the lines/trees, etc., not from a fall. And with that, we were ready to go!

We walked to the first line and the guides started with sharing the history of the area we were in. It’s currently (and has been since the 40s) a YMCA camp, but in the 1890s, it was actually Union Park (click on the link for cool old drawings and photos) – an amusement park owned by the local electric company. It thrived until it flooded in 1919, and many structures were destroyed. Parts of it were rebuilt, but it was never as popular as it was in its heyday. In the mid 1930s the structures were dismantled, and in 1946 the YMCA and Boy Scouts bought the land.

While we were ziplining, we could actually see remnants of some of the structures – paths, walls, bases, and the large Olympic size swimming pool (rumored to fit 2,000 bathers). And we could see how they were built in low-lying land that flood waters would fill.

There are nine ziplines in the park, but recent storms made the dual-racing line unsafe (sad face), so Sky Tours actually cut the lines on that one until it could be rebuilt, and we ended up doing the longest line twice so that we still got to do nine lines.

Our first line (and most of them) started in the woods. One guide went to the other side to help us come in, and one guide stayed back to get everyone clipped in. For the first line, they went over basic safety (don’t tip back, where to put your hands, etc.) but not how to steer. I hadn’t even though of the fact that we could spin around on this thing! But you do! Weeeeeeeeee!

Steve coming in off the first line

Gina coming in off the first line

I was definitely spinning on my first line (and the following seven lines). When we were all done with the first line, and getting ready for the second, they explained how you can put one hand on the carabiner and turn it toward the direction you are spinning in order to not spin that way. Or hold it steady and turn your knees toward the way you are spinning? Yeah, I didn’t quite get it and found it counter-intuitive. But I tried to figure it out!

Most of the first few lines were from a high spot to a low spot in the woods, and had a short hike between them. Each one would have a different start and finish – sometimes you had a running start on the ground, sometimes you stepped off a platform, sometimes you finished on the ground, sometimes you finished on a platform, etc. The guides would explain each time what to expect, and what to do with our legs/body so we didn’t hit anything!

One of the middle lines we did went out to a tall freestanding platform. When we got out to it, we had to be strapped in to another line, so we wouldn’t fall off. The platform was wobbly, especially as more people got on it. I could see people being scared by that, but it didn’t bother me.

Steven coming in to the platform

Steven getting ready to leave the platform

In fact, I was never scared, or hesitant doing this, at all. I didn’t even have any gut reactions like “don’t jump!” when we went off the platform.

The line we did after the tower had what they called the “beanie drop.” They opened up a big box FULL of beanie babies and told us to pick one to take with on the line and try to drop in to a red bucket on the ground!

Our guides had stickers all over their helmets, and one of them told us it was for how many people they had fall off the lines (ha), but they later said it was actually for how many successful drops they’d made it to the bucket on the beanie drop. None of us made it! I swore mine was close, but there was another guide on the group batting at the dropped beanies with a stick, and he hit mine when I dropped it, ha ha ha.

We had a bit of a hike between some of the later lines, and got to see some of the ruins from Union Park. The tour guides provided water at two of the stops, which we appreciated.

The last lines we did were the longest ones – I think the longest was 1200 or so feet long and about 75 feet above ground (I turned my watch on and got to 34 mph on it). We hiked to the long line, rode it, zipped back down on another line, then finished with the long line, and I FINALLY FIGURED OUT THE STEERING (you can tell I am corrected my spin twice in the video):

Yay! Only took nine tries! Ha ha.

After we finished, it was a short walk back, we took off our equipment, said goodbye and were done!

The tour went by quickly, in a good way. With our smaller group, there was less waiting for everyone to do the line (and it’s fun to watch people go/come in, anyway). We all hiked at a good pace and the guides were organized and kept us moving. I enjoyed our guides, and the stories they told about the park and their ziplining adventures.

The ziplining itself was exciting! It was neat to be up in the trees, seeing things from a perspective I’ve never experienced before. I loved the flying sensation. It was never scary (even when I was spinning and landing backwards) and I always felt safe. We all had fun and agreed that we’d love to do it together again! Gina mentioned there is a place that does it by where they live in Dallas…

Random Thoughts Thursday 135

By , May 25, 2017 7:25 am
  • We finished the Rockefeller book! I will eventually post the long list of words I had to look up. There are only a few I recall without looking at my list: sobriquet, scion, and platitudinous, and only one I am using daily: scuttlebutt.
  • Next up in the “book club for two” rotation is Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time and if we like that, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul.
  • Last weekend was our quick trip to Dallas! We had a great time with our otra familia, and got super pumped planning our next trip together (a week long summer vacation)! The Dallas trip almost didn’t happen though – our flight out of Milwaukee was canceled and there weren’t any other options out of there. Luckily American Airlines hooked me up with flights at the same times out of Chicago and back. American Airlines was so helpful and pleasant! I was stressing the eff out and they calmed me down. (Well, that, and a quick run.)

  • I mentioned I tried a spin style class at Gina’s gym on Saturday. What I didn’t mention is that a lady was sitting on the bike I reserved when I got there. You use an app to reserve a seat in advance, then all your bike data from class is linked to your account. Cool, right? Gina politely told the lady the seats are reserved and that if she sat there, all her hard work would be credited to someone else (me). The lady responded with “I’ll make your friend look good.” Ha. Ha ha ha. The lady had major beef with getting off the bike and finding another open one, even though there were other options, and we were helping her by looking at the app and telling her what was available. When we told her about the app (because Gina didn’t also didn’t know about it when she started taking the classes, and wanted to be helpful!) she said “I just work out, I don’t use computers.” OMG. It was so funny… but not really. She finally got off. She was probably annoyed she had to set up a new bike, and that I wanted to sit by my friend that I traveled 1,000 miles to see, but… sorry? I really did want to see my stats! Geesh.
  • I finally signed up for the Saturday RABGRAI ride yesterday. I am not sure what took me so long. I saw my dad this week and we discussed signing up, and when we looked at the website, we saw there is a June 1 registration deadline! Eek! I would have been so mad if I missed it. Dad and Gina signed up too!
  • Two of our kitties aren’t feeling well. Data has some strange eye booger leakage going on (I have a picture but I’ll spare ya) and Snow has a cut on his chin. Data is seeing the vet tomorrow, and I will ask them what to do about Snow. These kids. They just can’t stay out of trouble.

Data & Khali

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 134

Luca’s 6th Birthday!

By , April 28, 2017 6:44 pm

I was in Dallas last weekend for Luca’s 6th birthday!

Steven and I have celebrated Luca’s 2nd, 3rd, and 5th birthdays in person with him! Steven wasn’t able to make this trip because of work though. Sad face. Luckily, I found affordable tickets for both of us to go for a weekend trip in May that won’t interfere with work. Yay! Better late than never!

Family pic minus Steven

We had a chill weekend <— my favorite kind! On Saturday am, Steve and I ran, then we volunteered at a 5K put on by the PTA at Luca’s school. Then we got lunch, did some shopping downtown, TOOK NAPS!, watched Luca open his presents (while we Facetimed Steven), and went out for dinner.

I found a cute Iowa decoration while we were out shopping!

On Sunday Gina and I ran, then we all chilled before going to Luca’s birthday party. He had a bowling, pizza, and arcade games party, and the kids were so well behaved! We went home for a bit after, then went out to dinner. On Monday Gina and I ran then I had to head home. Short but great trip!

The title of this picture is “Tan=delicious.” Clockwise from top left: custom vegan pizza at Mellow Mushroom, nachos from Frankies, Pad See-ew from Silk Road Thai (not pictured: super strong Mai Thai), and our traditional homemade pancakes (we try to make them each time we’re together!)

Even though we see our otra familia several times a year, I’ll always wish we had MORE time together, so I am happy for the chill times when we can hang out, catch up, and be ridiculous together. And I am happy Steven will get to be a part of that in May!

Spring break in KC!

By , March 11, 2017 5:40 pm

I’ve been to Kansas City every month this year! Craziness! In January we went to meet Baby William. In February I went with my parents and my maternal grandma, so my grandma could meet Baby William. And this month, we met Gina, Steve, and Luca there for the beginning of Luca’s spring break!

After all that, it feels odd not to have the next trip planned. Maybe we’ll go back for a Royals game this summer?!

We had a good mix of hanging out and being out and about on this trip. On Sunday, we went over to my snister’s to see her, Will, and William.

And on Monday and Tuesday, we played tourist! On Monday we rode the new streetcar,

and checked out the River Market, Crown Center, the Hallmark Visitor’s Center,

Showing off their Emmy for their show Steve & Steven

and Union Station. Luca loved the train exhibit at Union Station. And bonus – all of Monday’s activities were FREE! And surprisingly, after coming to Kansas City for years, I hadn’t been to any of them except the River Market.

Encouraging Luca to make the “honk” signal at the train conductors on Freight House Pedestrian Bridge

On Tuesday we went back downtown to go to the Liberty Memorial (there is a fee to go up in the tower),

View from the tower

to the Money Museum (free and they give out FREE (shredded) money),

and later in the day, to The Plaza.

We saw a lot! We also ate A LOT. A lot a lot. I think I should feel hungry again in a few weeks. Ha. Happily, we walked a lot when we were sightseeing, and we also went on walks from Steven’s dad’s house (where we all stayed), and went on a few runs. I was grateful to move so much – I feel like a slug if I sit around for too long!

It worked out that Steven’s brother, Andrew, got to hang out with us quite a bit on this trip, which was fun! And Steven’s dad was able to join us for everything (in case you were wondering who that guy was in the pictures, ha ha)! I love how our families blend together!

And I love spending time with my otra familia (Gina, Steve, and Luca). I’m happy they took time out of Luca’s break to go to Kansas City! Hopefully we’ll see them next month in Texas for Luca’s birthday!

Whirlwind

By , December 19, 2016 5:29 pm

Gah, December has been such a whirlwind, right?!

Two weekends ago, I had a four-day weekend in Texas with my otra familia:

161210smileyluca 161210sillyluca 161210lucawsanta

This is the third year in a row I’ve gone with Luca to see Santa!

161211lucapresent 161211unclesteven

Steven couldn’t come, but we FaceTimed with him, and sent him some photos (including drawings by Luca).

161212lunchwithluca

I got to go to Luca’s school and have lunch with him.

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Family pic!

Then after a short (and BUSY!) week (work, work holiday party, dentist, celebrating with Anne and Terry, house prep and shopping…), I had a four day weekend here celebrating an early holiday with Steven’s family:

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Carbs, carbs, carbs

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Me and the boys!

Up this week? Another celebration, Steven’s birthday, and Christmas with my family! I am having a lot of fun but I am so freaking worn out! I am definitely sleeping in on January 1st! (<— just kidding, if it’s nice, I will probably get up and run!)

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