Monday, August 10, 2015

Back to Kansas City!

Travelling is something that Chris and I love to do, and we're passionate about instilling that love in our children. We generally take a big family vacation every year, but we just didn't know how feasible that would be this year with twin infants. Instead, we planned several small family trips such as Springfield, OKC, and Wichita. About a week ago, we took our final trip of the summer and went to Kansas City for five days. 

The primary purpose of this trip was to see family. My dad and brother were conducting a Marriage and Family Seminar at a church my family has been associated with since I was a little girl. We've attended their M&F Seminar several times, so really we just traveled up to KC to be with my parents and my brother and his family. 

The Seminar started at 7:00pm on Friday, July 31st. This was also the last day of swim lessons for Brianna and Brenson. Chris had already taken the day off work to watch them in their final lesson, so it worked out perfectly to leave directly after lessons were finished. We had the van all packed, so all I had to do once lessons were through was nurse the babies, change diapers, grab the big kids some food to eat on the way, and head out. Lessons finished up at 11:00am, and we were on the road by noon. We thought we'd have plenty of time considering KC is only about 4 hours driving time from where we live. Hahaha. I guess we forgot that we were travelling with four littles 5 years old and under!

It seemed like it was just one thing after another on the drive. One baby had a poopy diaper. Then another had a blow-out. Then one of the big kids had to go potty. Then someone else spilled something, we had to stop and feed the babies, another potty break, and on and on it went. We realized very quickly that we weren't making good time, and that we might not make it to our destination by 7:00pm. 

We actually did end up reaching the building where the seminar was held by about 7:15pm. Like I said, we didn't really go to participate in the seminar, so this wasn't too big of a deal to us. We just thought it was ridiculous that a 4 hour trip ended up taking us over 7 hours!

After the workshop was over for that evening, we went with my brother and his family to Mr. and Mrs. C's house. My brother, his son, and my brother-in-law (who wasn't there this weekend) have stayed with Mr. and Mrs. C several times when in the area for an annual lectureship in which they participate. Their house is gorgeous and huge, so there was plenty of room for all of us to stay there. They were incredibly generous to take us all in, and bent over backwards to be hospitable and accommodating. It is such a blessing to be with brethren!

Chris, myself, and the children were pretty much given the lowest (basement) level of the house. This included a living area, small kitchenette, full bathroom, and two bedrooms. One bedroom was set up with three twin beds (that's where Brianna and Brenson slept), and the other bedroom was set up with a king sized bed. Of course, Chris and I stayed in that room with the babies. We set up our pack-n-play in there with us and it worked out perfectly. 

Miss Brooke and me taking a break in the bedroom for a few minutes

The workshop continued Saturday morning and part of the afternoon. After it was over, we all headed back to Mr. and Mrs. C's house to relax for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. Behind their house is a beautiful pond, so Mr. C set the kiddos up with some fishing gear and told them to enjoy. They LOVED this! 

Bren was SO happy to catch a fish!

The weather was warm, but not scorching hot. 

I'm not sure how many fish Bren caught? Chris was out there with them, of course, but Bren was the one reeling them in :-).

That evening, Mr. and Mrs. C hosted a little dinner party that included my parents (who were staying with other friends) and another couple. The meal was delicious, and we just really had a nice time visiting.

The seminar concluded Sunday morning as part of the church service. Chris and I have a great system at home and do really well getting everyone ready to go places and making it on time. This morning, however, we were struggling. I think it was just being out of our normal routine and away from home that tripped us up so much! We did eventually get everyone ready to go and even had time for a few photos before walking out the door. 

Brecklyn and Brooke with cousin Kaylee

The N family at Mr. and Mrs. C's house . . . certainly not the best family photo we've ever taken, but at least we tried!

During the Bible Class portion of church that morning, the babies went to cradle roll for the first time. I stayed in there with them (there were 5 other babies in the class), but I was thrilled with how well they did! They were so attentive and curious (Brooke in dots).

Once church services were over, we said good-bye to my parents who had lunch plans with their friends, and headed to grab a quick bite to eat with my brother and his family. 

Aunt Shawna and Brecklyn

Brooke, JT, and Brecklyn

Aunt Shawna and Brooke

My brother and his family hit the road for home as soon as lunch was over. Because we had experienced such a hectic morning, Chris and I had to go back to Mr. and Mrs. C's house to pack up all the things we didn't have time to deal with earlier. While we were packing up, Mrs. C and her daughter, Lauren, played with the babies for us. We really enjoyed their company, and we are so thankful for their hospitality!

It took us a good hour to get alllllllll of our stuff packed up and loaded into the van (travelling light is a thing of the past, for sure!), but we finally got it all done. We said our good-byes and headed across the city (to the Kansas side) where we would be staying for the next two nights. The babies were great on the drive (they slept the whole time), but as soon as we arrived at our hotel, Brecklyn got super fussy. I pulled her out of her car seat to sit with me while Chris got us all checked in to our room. 

Sweet Brecklyn was happy as soon as I got her out of her car seat!

As soon as we moved our ridiculous amount of luggage into our hotel room, we got back in the van and headed to an evening worship service at another church in the area. This church is home to several people that I've known since I was a child, including one of my childhood Bible class teachers, Ms. Millie! Ms. Millie was not only my Bible class teacher, but also a good friend of the family, and I haven't seen her in years. It was really great to introduce her to my babies (all four of them!), and I'm pretty sure Brianna's mind was blown when I was explaining to her that Ms. Millie taught me when I was a little girl :-).

Ms. Millie and Brooke

After returning to the hotel room that night, Chris took the big kids swimming for about an hour while I nursed the babies and put them to bed. We were all pretty exhausted from our busy day, so everyone slept well. However, our kids (especially Brenson and Brecklyn) tend to be early birds, so they were up with the sun the next morning. The reason we were staying a few more days in the area was because Chris was working nearby on Monday, but he didn't have to report to the facility until 11:00am. This meant that we had several hours together on Monday morning before Daddy headed to work. 

We decided to grab a quick breakfast and head to the the {very} nearby Legends outdoor shopping mall. It was a beautiful area with lots to do, but nothing was open at 7:30am :-). Instead, we just enjoyed a nice walk on a beautiful morning.

Brenson, Brooke, Brecklyn, Brianna

I asked Chris to take a photo of our whole family. This is me asking why the babies aren't in the photo, haha!

Much better!

The foliage was just gorgeous!

Brenson was especially impressed with this fisherman fountain.

We really didn't have much to do, so when the kids asked to ride the escalator (they love escalators!), we had no good reason to say no!

We did end up doing just a little bit of shopping before making our way back to our hotel for the afternoon. We picked up some food for lunch, and Chris left for work. After we ate and watched some TV, I put the kids down for naps. 

My sweet, sleeping Brenson

The babies took a great nap and woke up so refreshed and happy. This was their half birthday, so I wanted to get some photos of them. They were easy subjects and gave tons of smiles!

Brooke, Brecklyn

Right as I was finishing up our photo shoot, Brecklyn had a diaper blowout, and I realized that SOMEHOW I didn't have any wipes in the room!!! HOW that happened, I'll never know as I always keep wipe packs in everything. Having no wipes certainly made cleaning up a giant poop mess more interesting, but Brecklyn just ended up getting an early bath :-). Of course, once she was all fresh and clean, I decided I needed to take more photos of my sweet six month old twinbies!

Brooke, Brecklyn

I had the kids all ready to go, so as soon as Chris walked back into the room, we headed back to The Legends for the evening. There is a restaurant there called T-Rex (the same as Rainforest Cafe only dinosaur themed) that we thought the kids would love. Someone had told us at church services the night before that the food wasn't that good for the price, and that they would recommend just going for dessert. We decided that sounded like a good plan, so that's what we did.

Brenson and Brianna loved pretending to be afraid of the dinosaurs. 

Haha . . . they were kind of scary!

Inside T-Rex was a Build-A-Bear where you could ONLY build dinosaurs, so it was called Build-A-Dino. Brianna has gotten to do Build-A-Bear twice this year, so we decided to let Brenson build a dinosaur. Brianna was so sweet about it and had a great attitude. She was genuinely happy for Brenson that he was getting to experience something that she had enjoyed so much. 

Brenson loved the whole process of picking out a heart for his dinosaur,

filling him with stuffing,

and bathing him (with big sister's help).

I didn't get a photo of the finished product, but Brenson loves his dino named Legend!

The restaurant was full of great fish tanks, special effects, and roaring dinosaurs. 

And, we had a blast sharing the molten chocolate cake and ice cream!

The babies did pretty well until the end when they were just ready for bed. Brecklyn had wild hair and wild eyes to let us know that she was DONE for the day, hahaha!!!

The next morning (Tuesday), the kids were once again up way earlier than what Chris or I wanted to be. We decided to get everything ready to go home, then visit the pool at the hotel for about an hour. They had a fun little water slide there, and our big kids were anxious to go swimming after finishing two weeks of swim lessons just a few days before.

Momma and Brecklyn enjoying the pool

She really liked hanging out on the side of the pool more than actually being in the water. 

See how stiff and unsure she is of the water?

Brooke felt the same way!

The babies were pretty much ready to go after only 20 or so minutes at the pool, but we stayed for about an hour. The big kids had SO much fun playing in the water and going down the slide

Once we cleaned up from being in the pool, we grabbed a quick lunch and hit the road for home. All of the kiddos were so worn out from our long weekend that they slept most of the way. This made for a MUCH smoother trip home than what we had experienced on the way to KC. In fact, it only took us about 5 hours to drive home! Travelling is no small undertaking these days, but we are so thankful for the opportunity to go and see and experience new and fun things!

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