Hattie has been quite stable for months now...in fact, we haven't been in the ER or hospital since January 2016, so I say we've had a really awesome run!! Anyway, we...I mean "I", decided we needed to get out when the gettin' was good! Time to go make some memories!
I plugged Minneapolis into google and looked for any big city that was 8 hours (or less) of driving distance away. There were a few contenders: Chicago, Milwaukee, and Kansas City. Within a few short minutes of researching Kansas City, I knew we would have a blast there.
I couldn't believe all that KC had to offer! It's actually a really happenin' city. There was so much for us to do as a family and I couldn't wait to hit the road. Not to mention, that the long weekend we were working with on the calendar coincided to Homeschool Week in that beautiful city. I'm thinking it was meant to be!
Ben even had a few days off of school which meant a nice, long 4 day weekend which was just perfect for a mini vacation to America's Heartland. We got up on Thursday morning, Oct 6, shuffled some really excited kids into the van, and started our journey.
Ben was so excited, his smile was so big his eyes nearly closed.
We even got a little extra blessing along the route. We stopped at a gas station for a "potty break" and I found a $20 bill on the floor in the women's restroom. Everyone got to pick out a healthy drink option. We arrived in Kansas City around 3:30pm.
I had rented a house off of airbnb and were so excited to have a house with a full kitchen all to ourselves. It's a great way to save money when you can cook for a family of 7 at "home" instead of eating out for every meal. Too bad I forgot my Instant Pot for the giant pork roast which was to serve for 3 of our meals. Oops. Maybe it was my subconscious waging war against me so we could have some good ol' Kansas City bbq. What I wasn't excited about? The neighborhood it was located in a rather sketchy part of the city. I gulped when we pulled up to the house and saw lots of surrounding homes with bars on their windows. Hmmmm...Lesson #1 learned when booking a VRBO...research location on google maps before committing to it or pay the price by jumping every time you hear a noise outside at nighttime and praying that your vehicle isn't broken into during the overnight hours. :)
The house wasn't so bad (as long as you locked and dead-bolted the screen door, locked and dead-bolted the actual door, and did the same for the back door) and served our purpose. We had a few glitches, but nothing we couldn't handle. The first night there they had really warm temps, 83 degrees and as the evening came a cold front moved in. They mixed and we sat in the house watching the TV as reports of tornadoes and tornado watches ran across the bottom of the screen. Since it got pretty chilly overnight, the house also cooled down to a balmy 67 degrees. I about died. I was pretty sure there was frost on my nose. While Jason inflated the airbed for Cora, I scoured the house for extra blankets knowing the temp was going to drop overnight. When I couldn't find any, I made Jason text the owner to ask where we could find them. He informed me that he didn't have any extras in the house but would bring over some more in the morning. Poor Cora only had a throw blanket for sleeping. At one point in the night, I got up and checked on the kids (I had to account for each one of them...told you I was nervous) and I found Cora in bed with Lily all snuggled up trying to keep warm. I felt bad for her, until morning, when she told me she had so much fun having a sleepover with Lily. :) We had fiddled with the furnace before bed and since we were unsuccessful, we had to call the owner and he had a furnace guy in there to get it up and running. Needless to say, we used the heat the rest of the time we were there. :)
We unpacked the van and immediately headed for SeaLife Aquarium. It was Homeschool Week so lots of educational places were offering deep discounts. Score! The Aquarium was a lot of fun, we got to put our hands in the tide pools and feel the sea urchins and starfish, watch a 6ft wide stingray swim around, and learn about sea turtles. It was so quiet there and we were the last ones in there and left just a few minutes before closing.
Supper was at Fritz's Railroad Restaurant just across the street. It was a lot of fun. All the kids got conductor hats and wore them proudly. When we were ready to place our order, we picked up the "old fashioned phone" from our table and told them what we wanted. Once the food was ready, a train delivered via tracks that were handing from the ceiling. The train stopped at our table and dropped the food onto a moving platter that lowered it down to us. The kids had a blast watching it.
We loaded back into the van and made our 10 minute trip back to our rented house, passing lots of questionable people mulling around outside gas stations. Okay, so it was a little unnerving for me. Needless to say, I was glad when we were all inside the house with the dead-bolts securely locked. :)
We were excited to see what adventures Day 2 would bring...