Sunday, August 28, 2011


...a re-cap of another weekend getaway. This is two-month old news, but still noteworthy for us.

Some great friends of ours from grad school (the Motts) were stopping in Kansas City as part of a big road-trip tour of mid-western MLB stadiums. We hadn't seen this city that is only 3.5 hours from us, so we decided to meet them there.

They have 6 kids, that line up nicely with ours, so everyone had fun.

We hit the KC highlights:
a famous hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint,

a walk along the Riverfront Trail and an unexpected dragon boat show (one even tipped over--ha),

a foot bath in a cool downtown fountain,

and a complete soaking at a splash park.

Then the younger kids did some hotel pool swimming while the "men" cheered on the Kansas City Royals (the real highlight and purpose of the trip for some).

We packed a lot into that Saturday, then slept in a cozy hotel room that night. On Sunday morning we found a nearby church building to attend, then spent the day visiting the LDS Church history sites of the region.

We hadn't seen the Independence Visitors' Center before, and really enjoyed the depiction of pioneer life in the displays. Our kids needed a play break, and we indulged them. They pretended to drive/ride in this covered wagon forever!

It had been years since we toured the Liberty Jail Visitors' Center, so we stopped there again. And again I was impressed and humbled by the sacrifices of our early church leaders.

I would be proud to bear my burdens with the dignity that these men showed in their afflictions. Something to work towards.

On our way out of town we drove past the site of the new Kansas City Temple, still under construction.

A great weekend. It was short, but sweet; muggy, but memorable; fun, but also functional--that's because I learned some things. Being around this amazing family was good for me. They showed me how life with lots of kids doesn't have to equal chaos. This suave mother-of-many strolled around the city with kids all around her, and sometimes too far away from her, like it was effortless. Even when one panicked on the escalator, or one fell and hit his head on slippery pavement (sorry if I am revealing too much, Joanne:)...parents were calm, situations were resolved and life moved on.

I guess I saw that from my parents when I was young...but I didn't realize what I was seeing. These observations mean more as I am in the midst of parenting myself.

Families are fun. I knew that, but I like seeing it in action.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo"

Since our summer break is officially over, I should probably squeeze in a few more of our summer happenings before I forget they even happened.

At the beginning of June several of my family members drove from Denver (and a few flew from UT) and met here in Des Moines. We regrouped, then caravanned to Nauvoo, Illinois. We've visited here a few times since living only 3.5 hours from this historic city, but we always love coming back. You get to step back in time, and observe how life was for our ancestors.

There is A LOT to do in Nauvoo. We rented a vacation home, and spent almost 3 days there and still did not see/do everything. We loved attending the temple, watching the musicals and variety shows put on by the missionaries, and touring the restored homes and businesses--like the bakery, post office and gunsmith's shop.

Also popular were the horse and oxen-pulled wagon rides. We loved them both. Tyler really loved them...

Ansley loved the horses from a distance.

There was much for kids to do in the way of pioneer games and activities.

...and plenty for big kids, too.

It was awesome to be together--touring, site-seeing, pretending to be pioneers...

We might have forgotten what century we lived in...if it weren't for that pioneer woman on her cell phone at the cabin door.

Joking aside, Nauvoo is a special place. The saints that lived there suffered and sacrificed much for their religion. Something about their simple, hard-working lifestyle intrigues me. I like to think I would have fit well in that era, but truthfully I don't know if I would have had the strength or stamina. I hope I can endure the hardships of my era as honorably as they did.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our final summer fling

The kids went back to school yesterday. I can hardly believe it. It happened so fast that I don't know whether to feel happy or sad. One morning the kids were PJ-clad at 10am, building forts in the basement...and the next they were dressed and fed at 8am, ready to make the five minute walk to school.

Such is life; I guess all I can do is embrace it.

So, the day before this happened...

...I decided to celebrate the last day of summer break with a zoo outing. Somehow our family had never "done the zoo" in Des Moines. We heard it was nothing spectacular, and having been spoiled with high-caliber NYC zoos (snobby, I know), we weren't overly anxious to get to our local zoo. But when we finally did, we were pleasantly surprised.

They had some big cats, and giraffes...

...and plenty of interactive exhibits for kids.

A tortoise this size is always impressive.

We had a fun, leisurely time...running on no one's schedule but our own. Days like this--just me and my 4 kids--are priceless to me.

And now it's back to school for half of them...