Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our Flash Trip to Kansas City For Spring Break - So Much Fun!

It hit me this morning when I opened the door to the family wagon: lingering odors of beef jerky, Dr. Pepper bubble gum and stale coffee.  Remnant reminders of our super-fun, three day spring break getaway. (I know, yum-yum, right? The men tend to get a little Quick Shop crazy when we road trip it.)

When I say getaway, I don't mean long, faraway restful excursions to exotic places, you know the ones where your Christmas card friends without kids make a point to go on at least 3 times a year just so they can share their relaxing, romantic, care-free, stress-free, whine-free photos with you??? What I mean by getaway is anywhere within a 172 mile radius of our front porch.  We've tried 173. It's a no-go. Total failure. With five boys and another set of buns on the way, 172 is actually pushing it.  

Honestly, most days, when I really need a break, calculating the risk vs. reward efforts of taking the boys to Orange Leaf or the zoo is my vacation reality.  I know, you're veins are pulsing with envy right now. 

But, with the recent expansion of my abdominal area, the "in 12 weeks there will be no freedom to go anywhere without an 800 pound diaper bag and spit-up on your shoulder" clock is ticking loudly in my head, and therefore despite my toes being swollen together, I'm hungry for some travel time.  That and enchiladas. This week it's enchiladas.
{Pre-party Charlie, shakin' his vacation shamrock.}
Last weekend, I managed to talk my soul mate into chauffeuring his family to Kansas City for a couple of days.  Everyone voiced their itinerary desires, and we came up with a plan that included swimming at the hotel, eating out at a few of our old faves, taking in the St. Patrick's Day parade, visiting friends, and by mom's request, something educational, which ended up being the National WW1 Memorial Museum.

Here's our reel of stellar pictures, shot by mom, who can't understand why everyone raves about the i-phone's photo capabilities, because she has yet to capture a single moment in a snapshot that isn't extremely underwhelming. You can sympathize, right? I mean, just the thought of packing a baby in the belly and a Nikon on the bosom for three days can trigger contractions, so logically, I settled for underwhelming.

Here we go!...

Zee St. Patty's Day Parade...
Even though I packed green shirts for everyone, I didn't consider the fact that the weather was forecasted to be 45 degrees that day, given the joy that 60 degrees and sunny has been the dominant weather pattern here at home.  Sadly, our St. Pat's spirit is buried beneath those sweats.
To remedy the possibility of us getting pinched all day, dad went all out and bought some bling for everyone from one of the many vendors selling everything from beer mugs to leg-warmers.
I love him for that. And, for my earmuffs... 
...which kept my ears warm and also ever-so-slightly muffled the constant two hour annoyance of Andrew's "spirited" support of the parade:
That is, until my green silencers/warmers were robbed right off my head by Mr. McHenry: 
 ....who is also clearly annoyed by the green horn.  Either that or the glaring sun, which gave us all the squints.  He's clutching an empty coffee cup from the hotel, which he had high hopes of filling with candy, because every parade should have candy throwers, right? Negative. I'm still listening to the groaning saga of the empty cup.
I tried to convince Henry that seeing the Irish dancers, bagpipe corps, and historic Irish family floats would be sweeter than a cup full of candy.  He didn't believe me.  
Maybe that's because 90% of the parade was politicians riding in vintage autos (snore) and row after row of gangster cars fully decked out with shamrock rims, boosting a bass loud enough to drown out my beloved bag-pipes. Grrrr.....

This isn't the parade I remember from our good ol' days of living in Kansas City.  No one was more disappointed in the show than mom, the one who is deeply proud of her Czech-German sauerkraut and stout heritage but secretly wishes she was just a wee bit Irish. So, we took an emotional break from the procession, and went to noon mass at my favorite church, so I could pray for Irish dancers and more bagpipers to miraculously appear.
 After a beautiful feast day mass, we returned to the parade with renewed spirits....
....and made our official departure about 20 minutes later when the boys (and mom) decided that our pathetic little faces could no longer hide such supreme parade disappointment.  The last round of "boom-shaka-laka" dancers and motorcycle gangs sent us over the edge:

 National World War I Museum:
I didn't take many pictures of the boys inside of the museum, because keeping our entourage together in such a huge place took skill and speed.  My skill, Steve's speed.  But, despite the lack of photo ops as proof of what an amazing experience it was to be there, I really can't encourage you enough to visit the memorial if you have the opportunity.  The museum was designed by the same company who created the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.  Our boys (except for Henry and of course Charlie) all said it was by far the best part of our getaway. 
The quote on the wall says:
The glory of America goes deeper than all the tinsel, goes deeper than the sound of guns and the clash of sabers.  It goes down to the very foundation of those things that have made the spirit of man free, happy and content. ~ Woodrow Wilson
Andrew is looking through a magnifying glass that can be moved vertically as well as horizontally along a sliding track so that patrons may view photos of some of the regiments that were sent overseas from the U.S.
Ben and Andrew were fascinated by the scale of global involvement.  We all kept saying how trying to conceptualize the number of people involved in the war was simply impossible.  This is part of a chart that captured the calculations of soldier deportation by state.  Kansas: 63,428 of the 4,743,826 total U.S. participants.
One could easily spend an entire day exploring the museum, but after 2.5 hours, our troops were in need of nourishment.
The unanimous choice: Oklahoma Joe's BBQ.  BBQ is a passionate topic of debate amongst Kansas Citians, and trust me, everyone has an opinion.
When KC was home to us, we sampled the fare at nearly every BBQ joint in town, but Oklahoma Joe's clearly won our tummies over.  Those people wrote the BBQ gospel.  Hallelujah, it is gooood!! So, good, we stood in line for 45 minutes anticipating the yumminess!  Your clothes and hair will smell like smoke and sauce afterwards, but it will be totally worth it!

There was but one event that did not get checked off of the itinerar: Legoland.  When we arrived at Crown Center to purchase tickets, the wait to enter was 2 hours.  Not good. The tops of my feet were already swelling over the sides of my ballet flats.  

Thankfully, we encountered another mom who was more than happy to inform us that Legoland just isn't worth the ticket price.  There are no exciting exhibits, interactive games or building competitions. So what do you do there? Build. (Or, buy more Legos - no thank you.) Well, they can build all day in my basement for free.

I was, however, thankful for the Lego statues that entertained Charlie just long enough for me to prop up my puffy peds while the others made 47 trips up and down the escalators.  Charlie was just so cute with this Lego guy, he really couldn't get enough of him...  
 "So nice to meet you, Mr. Lego guy!"
 "Forget the handshake, let's just bring it in for a hug."
"You're so awesome, Lego Guy."
"No, Chuck you're awesome."
"My mom - the one over there with the fat feet - is also awesome."
(Okay, maybe my mind-reading is a little fuzzy, kind of like these pics.)


  1. Sounds like a super fun get-away!! (we haven't gone anywhere - band trips, play practice, cello practice.....)
    How long was that parade??? I can't believe there wasn't any candy - I have never heard of a parade that didn't throw out huge amounts of candy.
    We need to take our boys to that museum - I think they would enjoy it. Maybe this summer we will plan some day trips!

    1. You will not be disappointed if you make the trip to KC to see the museum, it was truly amazing!

  2. Yummmmmm okie joes. Right down the street from me!
    Glad you had a good trip!

    1. Oh, my, what a temptation to live that close! We left completely stuffed and couldn't eat the rest of the day (so proper for Lent, huh?).

  3. You went to Mass and the parade was still going on more than 20 more minutes??!?! That is one long, boring parade!
    As for photos with cell phones, you do have to have the right lighting conditions to get good photos. You got some good ones! That one of the boys on the steps is cute, but nothing beats that baby hugging the Legoman. So sweet!

    1. Christine, you won't believe it, but the KC St. Pat's parade is 2 HOURS LONG!! If their standards for entries were a little more serious, it could honestly be a 1/2 hour home-run, but this year it was just a bummer! Oh, well, the rest of the trip was great!

  4. I had high hopes for a KC trip but it didn't happen this year. Maybe we can finagle (sp??) a long weekend in the near future. Love your writing!


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