Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kansas City Chiefs Royals

Yesterday, I drove up to the stadiums to pick up the tickets for Girls Night Out at the Royals game on Friday. As we were getting out of the car, Jackson insisted that he bring his Kansas City helmet {because yes, we have those lying around in our van}. So, he wears his helmet and tells everyone—fellow ticket purchasers, employees, passer-byers—at the stadium that he is going to play football AND baseball for the Kansas City Chiefs Royals. We needed to take a potty break so we actually went inside the stadium, so we actually ran into several people. And everyone was just so humored by Jackson’s enthusiasm about his Royals/Chiefs baseball/football spirit.

The gentleman at the box office handed Jackson a team schedule and Jackson considers that folded piece of paper as if it’s pure gold. It’s his ticket to the Royals, in which he will play {not watch} baseball.


In other news, Jackson’s signed up for Tiny-Tot T-ball for the month of June. I am SO excited for him! He has been asking to go to a baseball game for a very long time and it wasn’t until we went to a college ball game that I realized that going to a game to watch wasn’t what he had in mind! He wants to play! {And I’ve decided to encourage his interest in baseball because it is far less dangerous that other sports!}

We had “worlds” of fun!

Jackson has been asking to go to the roller coasters for months. We pass by Worlds of Fun on the way to my parent’s house {and remember, last semester I drove up every Monday evening} and he asked every single time. I knew a visit to Worlds of Fun would be necessary for this summer and as soon as we realized that Derek would get in for free on Memorial Day—we jumped at the opportunity to take the family. 

While from the highway, Jackson always had his eye on The Mamba and The Patriot, we told him those roller coasters were for adults and he didn’t put up any fight. But we had fun spending our time in Planet Snoopy. SAM_8999

First things first, Derek and Jackson rode the Rocket Express, which was like a sky rail across the kid section.

Here they come!

This little girl was not happy to not be invited up the stairs.SAM_8982

Meanwhile, Jackson was loving having the time of his life.2 (9) - Copy

I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked—ones from every ride and to capture every smile. But I decided I wanted to just experience the moment and not be caught up with getting pictures. We enjoyed most every ride in Planet Snoopy. Jackson was the right height for all of the rides. Some had a height minimum that Belle wasn’t tall enough for and others had height maximums, so we couldn’t ride with Jackson. And most were perfect for the whole family to ride together. Here are a few of our favorites from the day.

The race cars. {I should note, this was Derek’s least favorite, but it got the most smiles out of Belle and Jackson loved it!}  SAM_8989

I wish Belle’s smile wasn’t covered here! She was having lots of fun. SAM_8990

I took this while we were riding. He was just having so much fun!SAM_8991

After we rode it once, Jackson ran back through the line to ride again! SAM_8992 

The all time favorite was the kid roller coaster. It used to be called the Wacky Worm, but it got a new name when the Planet Snoopy got remodeled. Either way—it was an actual coaster. We rode it several times to finally get Jackson a seat in the very front.

Belle getting ready for her very first roller coaster ride!SAM_8981

Jackson rode the whole ride with his arms up in the air! Even on the “big descent!” He’s gonna love the big roller coasters some day!

Belle enjoyed making music with the tiles, though she barely weighed enough to make them work.

Jackson on the swings
Belle had fun in the ball arena.

And Jackson got to meet Snoopy. {Belle just burst into tears the moment Snoopy touched Jackson. She wasn’t a fan.}SAM_9006 
And the very best way to get your money’s worth out of your Worlds of Fun ticket is to plan for your mom to pick up the kiddos after a couple of hours {and they get all tired and cranky} so that you and your hubby can have fun doing the real roller coasters! And then if you’re really lucky, she’ll bring you dinner which will save you a kazillion dollars on park food.

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Derek and I rode The Mamba, The Prowler, The Patriot (x2), and a few rides. It was perfect! It reminded us of the first summer we were married and had season tickets to the park! We lived right across the highway {you can see our old place from the top of the Mamba!} and so we went several times that year! 
I’m so glad we were able to take Jackson to Worlds of Fun this year! We checked out a book from the library about roller coasters and he get so excited when looking at our pictures from the park. It’s so cool that he’s old enough now to really enjoy things and learn—but that also means we have to pay for him at most places now. Ugh! Stay little! Belle didn’t seem to have quite as much fun as Jackson did when we first took him, but he was a few months older, which I think makes a difference. And to be honest, the whole atmosphere and the rides and stuff is pretty overwhelming! We all still had a great time!

Destination: Worlds of Fun
Location: Kansas City, MO
Cost: $35 adult {price chopper tickets} $19.99 children; We went after 4pm and so my ticket was $25. Parking $12. Military get in free on Memorial day and the Sunday before.
Pros: Lots to do and lots {worlds!} of fun. Variety of rides, coasters, water attractions, shows, and a big kid area.
Cons: It’s expensive to take the family! Especially younger kids who can’t handle more than a few hours, so it’s a lot of money for not a lot of time.
Time: We spent about 2.5 hours in the park with the kiddos. They were very tired at this point. But the kid area is really large for several hours of entertainment if you’re kids are up to it! Derek and I spent another 2.5 hours in the park after kids.
Bring with you: Stroller, water!, sunscreen, food/snacks {can’t bring cooler inside, but there are picnic spaces in the parking lot}, walking shoes, camera

Saturday, May 26, 2012

South 71 Cruisers Car Show

Throughout the summer months, Main Street in our little suburb hosts a car show on the last Saturday of each month. They close off the street and it is packed with cars and people. It’s a great {free} family friendly event—and what makes it even better is that it’s only a short walk from our house! But it’s worth it even if you have to drive! My dad loves coming down and he lives 35 miles away.


This was one nice looking Corvette! My father-in-law was drooling.SAM_8960  SAM_8959    

Mater and Doc Hudson made an appearance too, which was totally exciting for Jackson!


The owner even took the time to put three Piston Cups in Doc Hudson’s back seat. This really made a certain three year old very happy to see! SAM_8963

This was by far, my favorite car. Maybe one day when I don’t have a van full of car seats I’ll be able to drive a cool pink car!SAM_8975

Now this cool car belongs to us. It’s not vintage, exclusive, or expensive—but it comes with the cutest driver!!SAM_8978

While this wasn’t on my original list of “field trips” for the summer, it definitely should have been! Here’s the lowdown if you want to visit too!

Destination: South 71 Cruisers Car Show
Location: Belton, MO
Date: Fourth Saturday of Month, 3pm-dark
Cost: Free
Pros: Family friendly, really cool cars, explore downtown shops and restaurants, close parking. {Also, you can take your kids to visit the trains while you’re there!}
Cons: It’s hard to keep kids from touching all over the cars
Time: Anywhere from 30 minutes to 3+ hours. Some people have their lawn chairs and hang out on Main Street the entire time. We spent about an hour walking from our house and back again. We didn’t stop for long while looking at the cars {see above about the difficulty of keeping kids’ hands off cars}. Next time, we’ll plan on getting either dinner or a snack while we’re down there.
Bring with you: You can come empty handed—or you can bring lawn chairs, snacks and/or money for food, and a camera!

Friday, May 25, 2012

First Words

I haven’t done a milestone post on Belle for a long time! I keep meaning to, but I never get it from my mind to my computer. And now, she’s grown so much that it’s too overwhelming to break it down into a specifics, but it basically comes down to this: she’s progressing normally. {If that doesn’t shout, “second child neglect” I don’t know what does. Sorry Belle!}
Belle has turned into quite the little chatterbox. {I really don’t know where she gets it!} Not only does she just babble incessantly, but she has several words that she uses that have meaning.
  • Daddy {da-DEEEE}
  • Na-nee {that’s me!}
  • Uh-oh {uh-ooooooh}
  • All done
  • Up
  • Shoes {choos}
  • Dee-Dee {Baby, which can refer to baby doll or her sock monkey}
  • Papa
  • Hi-ya
  • Pop Pop Pop {when we play with bubbles}
  • Thank You {Tank too}
  • No {which can be either “no” or “nose”}
  • Aggh {some sort of roaring sound that she uses for all animals}
  • Cheese {whenever she sees me with my camera}
  • Night, night {Ni-Ni}
Those words, she uses on her own. These next words are words that she can say when ask and she feels like cooperating.
  • Mama {she can say Mama, but she just doesn’t call me Mama}
  • Drink {dink}
  • More {mo}
  • Aunt Laura {Wa Wa}
  • Aunt Ashley {A-she}
She can actually say any word she wants, in terms of ability. She’ll repeat things sometimes that are crystal clear and then she won’t ever say it again. She likes to talk when you are talking. So when I stop to let her talk, she’ll talk. And then when I talk again, she joins in. And it keeps going that way.
This is a clip of what it’s like when Belle wants to talk while you’re talking. "{We were playing Catchphrase}. This clip is 7 seconds… but this is what I hear, like all day.  Noisy girl!
Isn’t this girl such a cutie!?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jackson’s Blanket

It’s not often that I purchase a book. I have to really, really want the book and it has to be special. We enjoy going to the library and I always get new books to read {there’s a certain comfort in know that no matter how much the kids enjoy a book and we read it over and over— in 28 days the book will be due and I’ll be done!}. But while at the library on Monday, a certain book on the shelf caught my eye and as soon as I picked it up, I knew I’d end up buying a copy. It’s a book called Jackson’s Blanket by Nancy Cote.


We’ve read it at least ten times since we checked it out on Monday. Every time we finish, he asks to read it again. And we certainly can’t read it without Jackson’s blankets snuggled up close!

It starts out:

Jackson loves his blanket
all fuzzy, soft and worn.
He’s had that little blanket
since the day that he was born.

He takes it to his grandma’s house,
he takes it out to play.
To the doctor’s, on vacation,
it’s with him night and day.

Jackson wears it as a cape,
he uses it to slide.
To carry toys,
a place where he can hide.

It was seriously so surreal to read this book that describes MY Jackson and his blanket so precisely!! It’s like Nancy Cote wrote this book for us! {The book is written for a boy named Jackson Gleason; how crazy that it’s so close to our name too!}.

I decided to look through all of my pictures last night and I just enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share the story of OUR Jackson’s blanket!

Jackson has had his blanket since before he was born! I received it as a gift at a baby shower. I promise you that it’s so fuzzy and soft—Derek took a break from looking through the gifts to snuggle with it himself!

Summer 2008 pics 070

As a baby, he played on/with the blanket! CIMG2363

The blanket traveled with us to California when he was just five months old.California 075

And as he got a little bigger, he loved sleeping with his blanket.CIMG2875

Around ten months, it totally dawned on me how much he really loved his blanket. Whenever he would see it, he’d fall head first into snuggle with it, like in this little video clip.

So, I rushed to Target to pick up another one. It’s not the exact same, but it’s from the same line. You can see it here as Jackson celebrates his first birthday—blanket it tow!101_1032

It was with him during our hospital visit due to croup. mms_picture(2)

And to his very first movie, Toy Story 3SDC10214 (Large)

He takes it with him everywhere… like his first Chiefs game.SDC10843

And on our trip to visit Daddy for his graduation from basic training.SAM_3993 (Large)

It was there when we celebrated Jackson’s second birthday.SDC11073

He especially loves his blanket when he’s sick… SAM_6124

He used his blanket to practice taking care of a baby before Belle was born.SAM_3658

When Belle was itty bitty, Jackson would cover her up to keep her warm. SAM_4126

The blanket came camping with us!SAM_6309

And just like the book said—Jackson’s blanket makes a fun cape…   SAM_7092

…or a place to hide {like when I woke Jackson up early to make it to a doctor’s appointment at Children’s Mercy}
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Back when I’d rock Jackson to sleep each night, he would contemplate if he wanted the blanket on my shoulder for him to lay his head on, or if he wanted it wrapped around his back. And he’s really particular that the soft side be touching his skin. He still carries his blanket out of bed each morning and we’ll snuggle.

Jackson fell asleep right next to the blanket book last night. SAM_8914

And I kid you not… this is how we found Jackson when we woke up this morning. Blankets: required; Clothes: optional.SAM_8915

Now, the only problem is this—the Jackson in the book ends up finding a kitten who he shares his blanket with. Our Jackson is now asking for a cat. I tried getting him to pretend with several different stuffed animals, but his reply, “No, I want a REAL kitten!” Oh geez…

{and seriously, Jackson seems so big after looking at all those pictures of him as a baby!! How did it happen so quickly?!”}

Monday, May 21, 2012

Field Trips

I finished up my super crazy semester of grad school last week. It’s summer break! Woo hoo! This means nothing to my kiddos, of course {especially the part about sleeping in}, but I really want to capitalize this no-outside-obligation time with my kiddos and do some super fun things around town! 

Sometimes our stay-at-home-life can get mundane {like tomorrows morning errands to the post office and DMV}. There are several things I’ve said to myself, “Oh, I want to do that with the kids!” or “Jackson would really enjoy that!” but never actually gotten around to making it happen.

So, I am determined to make it happen. I made a list.

The idea is to do one of these activities each week-ish. Some might happen more together and others might be more spread apart, but ideally, I’d like one day a week to be set aside for specifically kid “field trip.”

  • Baseball game
  • Belton Train Ride
  • Berry Patch
  • Bowling
  • Dinosaur exhibit at Crown Center
  • Fire Station
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Kansas City Zoo
  • Outdoor live music show
  • Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
  • Pirate Playground in Lee’s Summit
  • Worlds of Fun

This isn’t a list of “top things to do in Kansas City” but more of a personalized list that I made to capitalize on Jackson’s current interests and the things we really enjoy as a family. Most of the activities are super low cost {or FREE!} too!  And of course there are several other things that we will be up to this summer— visits to the pool, summer reading programs, trips to the park, a visit from Julie!!!—but this list is more of a “big ticket item” list.

I will be sharing about our field trips as I am sure I will have a bazillion pictures. Plus, maybe you’re family will enjoy a few of these places/events too!

Notice I have one marked off the list already?! As I began typing this post at naptime today, I got the bright idea to get started on our list! I messaged Derek and we made plans to visit the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens! I have had some friends mention it and I’ve read about in the Kansas City parent magazines. We had fun—it was nice to take a walk/mild hike with different scenery than our neighborhood!

We walked a couple of the mulched paths. Strollers on mulch isn’t super easy, but it wasn’t impossible. It just made for a great workout! SAM_8898

Jackson was kicked out the stroller enjoyed walking some of the trail too! We saw some really cool areas that would be super fun to picnic or to enjoy a snack and there were places to walk down by the creek too!SAM_8904

As we were walking, I spotted a deer just four or five feet off the path. I got too excited when I pointed it out to Derek, but the deer didn’t go too far. We all enjoyed watching it for a few minutes! {It’s the upper left corner}SAM_8897

After we walked the trails, we checked out some of the gardens. We let Belle get out and stretch her legs after sitting in the stroller while we walked! Fellow patrons stopped in their path to watch her squeal in delight looking at all of the pretty flowers! She’s just too cute. SAM_8907SAM_8911

We loved it and can’t wait to go back.

Destination: Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Location: Overland Park, KS
Cost: Free
Pros: Outdoor fun, great exercise, kid friendly {pets too}, paved areas
Cons: Small kids might not want to walk longer trails, strollers can be used but it can be a challenge on rugged parts of trail
Time: We walked for about an hour, but we blazed rather fast. You could easily enjoy two-three hours of fun.
Bring with you: BUG SPRAY!, water bottle, picnic lunch, camera


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