Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Land of "Ahs"

It's always good to go home again. Melanie, Kylie and I just got back from our annual trip to my hometown of Lansing, Kansas. We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends and it was bittersweet to come back to the Cape to vacuuming, laundry, groceries, back to school planning, etc, etc, etc. . .

The first thing Melanie and Kylie said when we got to Kansas last Tuesday, was, "when can we see Alex?" Alex is my brother's little boy, their 4 year old cousin. So, Wednesday we trekked to Overland Park (suburb of KC) and spent the day at Alex's house. They swam, played games and just generally had a great time.

Melanie, Alex and Abigail
That night I had a wonderful eye exam with my buddy, Kim who fixed me up good as new with some miracle eye drops for my allergies and new contacts. I felt like a new person. After my new eyes were in place, we went out with some of her friends for some food and a movie (Pineapple Express).

Thursday was spent touring Leavenworth (Leavenworth and Lansing are kind of like Sandwich and Forestdale - sort of). First up was the Parker Carousel, a refurbishment of a real old fashioned carousel that used to be manufactured in Leavenworth. (In fact if you have been in Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, you will see a print of a Parker Carousel from Leavenworth on the wall outside of the carousel nearest the art history room). Next, we went to a museum that I always loved as a kid, the Carroll Mansion. It has wonderful Victorian era memorabilia and shows how the rich and elite used to live back in the days of new electric lamps and indoor plumbing.

Riding the rabbits at the Parker Carousel

The "heroic" big black dog outside the Carroll Mansion

Abraham Lincoln once stood on these steps to give a speech

Friday was spent at the Overland Park Arboretum, (free!) near Alex's house. The landscape is absolutely gorgeous and was in full bloom. We took tons of pictures.

An interesting frog sculpture

Lemonade anyone?

Aunt Freddie, the kids and MomThe Medicine Wheel hut

From there we took Alex home to Lansing with us for a sleepover with his cousins. They played non-stop and had a great time.

We took him back to O.P. the next day to meet up with his parents and for a trip to the can't miss Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. Deanna Rose is a place we have gone every single time we have been back to Kansas. I WISH there was somewhere just remotely comparable to it here in Massachusetts. It's an amazing (and FREE) place to take the kids. Tons of animals that depict Kansas' regional flare including buffalo (the state animal), prairie dogs, bobcats, bald eagles, pigs, horses, goats, cows, fish, etc, etc, etc. . .All this is combined with beautiful gardens typical to Kansas and walking trails. You can rent a fishing pole to fish in the pond (you catch about a dozen fish, but throw them all back), take a hayride, ride ponies, feed the goats from a milk bottle, milk a cow, be a student in a one room school house, tour a wigwam and tee pees, mine for gold, tour a chicken coop, ride little tractors and play on an extensive playground and run through a watering hole!

Everyone was worn out after the farm and fell asleep super early Saturday night. Sunday we were up for Sunday School and church in the church I grew up in. It was great to sit in Sunday School and hear my dad share his vast experiences and knowledge and see all the familiar faces. Then I headed to my friend, Michele's house for our annual Fab 5 reunion with Michele, Darcee and Amy (missed you Tanya!). We had a great time reminiscing about OT school and looking at pictures from our younger days! It's great to see we haven't aged at all!!!

Me, Darcee, Amy and Michele (minus Tanya!)The Fab 5 kids

Next up was visiting with my friend Karen and her two little girls Morgan and Kendall. I've known Karen since we were 4 years old. Ever since that day she asked me to play at the little chalkboard desks in preschool. Melanie and Kylie had a blast with her two little girls, but it was short lived and no one wanted to part ways at the end of the night.

Kylie, Melanie and Morgan

Kendall and Karen

Monday was spent letting the girls play, play, play. Mom kept all my old toys including Strawberry Shortcakes (the old version), Little People (when they used to be wooden), Barbies, dolls, board games and card games. That night we threw together and impromptu party for everyone to come say goodbye to us. My grandmother, Aunt Freddie, my brother and his family, Karen and her kids and Kim and her boyfriend Rich all came. It was a great going away!

Puzzle time with Great Grandma

The Party!

Kim and Rich

It was good to see how my dad is holding up with his chemo treatments too. He does get very tired and has to stay out of the sun, but all in all he kept up with our crazy schedule pretty well. Thanks for everything!

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