Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Arboretum and Temple

This summer the Dallas Arboretum has an Alice in Wonderland exhibit that is just beautiful.  On Fridays, they have characters there that you can meet as well.  We headed down on Friday morning to take advantage of the beautiful weather.  The first thing we did was meet Alice.
 The only problem was, when we went to Disneyland in April, the first thing we did was meet Alice.  So Katie decided we were at Disneyland.  She spent the rest of the day asking to see Rapunzel and go on Small World.

That aside, the exhibits were amazing.  There was a tea party,
 and a Rabbit Hole, 
 Which of course my girls had to go down.
 They also had Alice's house, the cheshire cat, the Palace, and my favorite, the Queen's Croquet Field.
 We also saw the caterpillar
 And enjoyed story time with Alice.  She read her story, of course.
There was also an explorers exhibit that was interactive for the kids with pyramid slides,
 Lewis and Clark's Tee-pee
 and canoe
 A fountain of youth, asian pergola, and many others.  Kirsten was interested in learning about them, Katie not so much.  She was more interested in running around.

As the day got warmer, Kirsten got tired, so Katie pushed her around in the stroller.
 Then Katie got tired, so I pushed them both around in the stroller.
 Then mommy was tired and no one would push me in the stroller.  Oh well.

After the Arboretum, we headed over to the Dallas Temple.  Katie asks almost daily to go to the Temple, so I finally made time to get her there.
 We went inside to use the bathroom, but she did not quite understand why she could not go past the desk.  So we headed back outside before one of her massive melt downs.

I love it when my girls get along.  They are the best of friends (sometimes)
 We spent some time by the fountains,
 Which Katie now refers to as "Temple Water"
Next stop was the bookstore.  We went to buy Kirsten her own set of scriptures since she is turning 8 in August and being baptized.  They were completely out.  It turns out that they are releasing a new set of scriptures, the first revision since 1981.  It is not available until August though.  So I went ahead and ordered them online and they should be here by her baptism.  I was a little sad to not have them for her birthday, but I would rather her have the update revision.  I am really excited about them, you can find out more information here.

We decided to have lunch at this little Italian place next to the bookstore.  It was so good, run by an older gentleman and his wife.  We were the only ones there!  Kirsten and Katie thought it was great to have a restaurant all to ourselves.

Luckily Katie took a nap in the car on the way home so that we could be ready for family movie night when daddy got home.

Brown v Board of Education

Friday morning we slept in, a lot.  I was unbelievably grateful that my girls stayed asleep.  We headed out for a late breakfast/early lunch at Hanovers.  Do you sense a pattern here?  Needless to say we love that place!
 Then we decided that it was time for a little bit of culture and history for the kids and adults alike.  So we headed to the Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site.
 This is the school were it actually took place.  I do not know how I never realized that it took place in Topeka where my mom lives.
 The exhibits were amazing and very informative.  We do not really see racism where we live, which is so wonderful.  It was very eye opening for Kirsten to see what it was like in our country 50 years ago.  She cried as she talked about her good friends at school that would not be there with her if it were not for the bravery of these wonderful people.  It think that it is so important that our children are taught the truth about history so that it does not repeat itself.
 Kirsten and Katie were able to complete their activity booklets and earn their Junior Ranger Badge.  They now have four of them!
That pretty much wrapped up our trip.  We spent Friday night visiting and watching OZ, The Great and Powerful on my mom's big tv.  We got up Saturday morning, packed and headed home.  It was a great trip and the longest I have ever spent at my mom's house with the kids.  I think that we will have to make an annual long visit in the summer.  We had such a wonderful time and already miss Grandma so much!

Fourth of July

 Jeremy got up on Thursday morning (albeit not too early since we did not have kids with us) and headed back to Topeka.  On Wednesdays my Aunt Iva, Uncle Cole and their son Bryce drove up for the holiday.  Kirsten was over the moon to see her cousin again.  The first order of business was heading out to Lake Shawnee for the car show.  This is Grandpa Starnes with the kids and the El Camino that he restored.  He won 24th place at the show out of about 300 cars.
 There was music playing and the girls loved taking turns dancing with Bryce.
 We headed over for lunch at this place that I would honestly never consider setting foot in.  It looked like a run down tin shack of a bar that you see in the movies.  True to mom's word though, it was the best hamburger I have ever eaten.
Later in the day we headed back to the lake.  Iva and Cole were staying at the RV park with a lake front spot, so that is where we spent the rest of the day.  We built a fire, grilled chicken and hot dogs, made smores and played.  
 The best part was having the RV right there for the bathroom and air conditioning!
 My family in our matching shirts - it is our tradition each year!
 When it got dark we headed down to the edge of the lake to stake out our place to watch fire works.  We had a front row seat since they set them off over the lake.  Thank goodness my mom brought their shooting headsets to protect the girls' ears because we were close!
We did not make it back to my mom's until after 11, but it was well worth it!  It was such a fun 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kansas Children's Discovery Center

Tuesday was a lazy morning.  We met my mom for lunch at Hanovers again and after lunch we headed out to the Kansas Children's Discovery Center.  It was probably the single most amazing place I have ever taken my children.  I hardly know where to start describing it.  So here are a ton of pictures of our day.  

There was  room where all of the walls were black velcro and the only lights were black light and there were hundreds of neon shapes, letters, ect, well you get the idea.  Fun.
 Katie loved pretending to be a mechanic
 As did Kirsten.  They changed the tires, the air filter, washer fluid, and battery.
 And I am not really sure what Katie was working on down there, but she liked it.
After that, Kirsten went off doing her own thing and I chased Katie around as she worked in the restuarant.
Played Drums 
 Found the dress up clothes and worked as a Veterinarian
 Played Doctor
 and put on a puppet show.
We eventually found Kirsten in the glass room painting a window.

 So of course Katie had to join her and make her own creations.
 By the time our day was over she had actually painted nine different times.  She really loves painting.
 Kirsten really enjoyed playing with the grain.
 While Katie loved trying to figure out how changing the air flow patterns changed where the scarves and balls came out of the air tunnels.
We took some time to head outside and try out the bikes.  There was one double bike left, but they could not quite figure out the best configuration for riding together.  Should Katie be in front?
 Or should Kirsten?
 They had so much fun riding around and around!
 Eventually Kirsten finally got her own bike to ride and was able to head around a little bit faster.
 After several hours, Grandpa met us there and helped the girls with their wooden creations in the workshop.  
 Kirsten made an owl mostly by herself out of wood, bottle caps and nails.
On the website, they said to plan on allowing 2 hours to fully experience the Discovery Center.  We were there for four and a half hours and only left because they closed!  We will definitely have to make a return trip soon!

Wednesday morning Kirsten woke up early and headed out to go fishing with Grandpa.  She caught a catfish, but I do not have a picture of it.  She loves having this special time with people she loves.  With Grandpa Starnes, it is fishing, and with Grandpa Alleman it is carving.  Her Love Language is definitely Quality Time, just like me.
Wednesday afternoon I left the kiddos in the care of Grandma and Grandpa and I headed into Kansas City to pick Jeremy up at the airport. 

We finally had an opportunity to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner and spent the night in Kansas City at the Embassy Suites.  It was so nice to have a child free night and enjoy time together, especially after six days apart!