Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Stay-cation

(Haha. I love how it says August 29, 2008. That's when I started this post -- and it didn't get finished and published until November 25, 2008! But I DID IT! In fact, the reason there haven't been any posts recently is because I told myself that I couldn't add any until I finished recording what we did for our vacation, or else I would never finish!)
This year we found ourselves able to use two weeks of Aaron's vacation time (August 6-17, 2008) for something other than some sort of paternity leave. We dreamed big and small (Jacksonville FL, Chicago, Ogallala NE, Ft.Worth, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi TX, and Branson ) but found ourselves limited by money. Aaron really wanted to go to Texas to visit family, and I would have loved to too if it wouldn't have required half of our savings just to GET to Texas, not to mention the cost to getting around, sight-seeing, and playing, etc.! I convinced Aaron into letting us stay home during his vacation time by promising him that we would plan each day out ahead of time so that we wouldn't "get in stuck in the rut of doing the same old thing." Besides, there are some things that I REALLY want to do around here that we don't take the time to do. Plus, vacationing away from home is always hard on the kids' sleep patterns and habits (and mine too now that I think about it).

The first day we had together was Wednesday August 6, 2008. We took the kids to play at Gage Park, ride the carousel and mini-train, and have a picnic lunch. (It was hot and this picture of me is terrible.)
But the beauty of it was when we were ready to leave -- we were quickly able to come home to the beds we know and love and take much needed naps (and showers)! The next day, after I did a little garage sale-ing without the kids, we took the kids to the mall playland, ate lunch in the food court, and shopped Candyopolis as well as some clothing stores. Then, once again, we were able to go to the best napping attraction around -- the "brown house" (as Ashton has always called it). That evening Aaron, Ashton, and I camped our own backyard! I'm telling you -- this was truly a "staycation"! Ashton couldn't have cared less; he was completely enthralled by the tent. Sadie slept inside in her crib of course (we took the baby monitor outside with us), and we all went outside for the night around 8pm. There was much talking until about 11:30pm when we came back inside to sleep because Ashton was too excited to sleep outdoors!! Now that's Aaron's kind of camping...

Friday the four of us went to The Legends shopping center in Kansas City, along with my mom and sister. Sadie desperately needed some quality new shoes (she had worn holes in the sandals she started the summer out with) and we like the quality and selection of kids shoes at the Stride Rite store. It was good to be outdoors AND do some shopping.

***Okay, this post is taking too long (as in months, so I'm goiong to pick up the pace!)***

Saturday we went to the Kansas Museum of History. I don't think I had been inside the museum since grade school field trips! Christina and Adriana came with us. That evening we had dinner at Aaron's parents' house.

Sunday must have been a lazy day of church, naps, etc.

Monday we walked the streets of downtown Lawrence and had lunch with Tiffany. Then we went back to Tiffany's apartment for a while so Aaron could help her assemble a few things. (Just a week earlier she moved to Lawrence to go to KU pharmacy school.)

Wednesday we spent the day in Emporia with Mike (and Jennifer after she got off work). Mike gave us a tour of the campus, including his office and inside Aaron & Mike's old dorm room (2000-2002). Now that Ashton is old enough to be interested in his parents lives when they were younger, it was fun for Ashton to comprehend that this is where his daddy stayed and went to school. The 6 of us went to Peter Pan Park for a while and then Mike and Jennifer introduced us to Casa Ramos Mexican restaurant. It was yummy and we've since discovered that Topeka has two locations! Yumm. Afterwards, we had good conversation, watched Michael Phelps win another gold medal, and the boys played video games way too late into the night. We spent the night at Mike & Jen's home that evening and went home the next day, after we had a chance to buy Ashton an ESU shirt.
Thursday was spent making sure the kids got good naps, unpacking, and then packing again to go to Wichita to visit Rodney and Betsy on Friday.

On Friday, in Wichita, Rodney & Betsy introduced us to McAlister's deli and took us to a park near their house. Ashton & Sadie really like their dog, Samson, a miniature chihuahua. That evening, we watched more Olympics, watched Michael Phelps win another gold medal, and spent the night at Rodney & Betsy's lovely home.

The next morning, they took us to a yummy local breakfast favorite -- Jimmie's Diner. Ashton still talks about that place... Betsy and I did some shopping with Ashton while the boys stayed home and played video games while Sadie napped. It was there I bought our notorious "boo-boo bear" ice pack (which comes in handy, seeing how many times Sadie bites Ashton)! That evening the six of us went to a children's museum, Exploration Place, before leaving town to come home.

All in all, it was very nice to get away to some friends' homes because we not only had a great time with friends we don't get to see enough, but we got to feel like we were "away" from home. Betsy taught Ashton the meaning of the word nocturnal (which has surprised several adults that that word is in his vocabulary!). And after being exposed to Jennifer and Betsy, Ashton still talks about how he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. Like seriously...he wants to be a teacher!
So yes, we saved money, AND I feel like we have lots of memories to talk with the kids about. Success. =)