Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kansas City trip & other fun

I've been offline for a few days because of having company, and because we piled into the van and drove to Kansas City. The kids were amazing during our 10-hour drive (each way!) -- and we have an "old school" van with no DVD player. :o) They are such good travelers.

We spent some time in downtown Kansas City. It's a very accessible city, and there was so much to do there for families. We barely scratched the surface, and hope to visit again.

We kicked off our first day by strolling around a green space that housed a World War I memorial. (The highlight for our children was a dog that ran up and drank from the fountain.) For anyone who lives nearby, there's a photography exhibit at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art that tells the stories of Indian women.

We also visited a Narnia exhibit featuring costumes and set pieces from the movies The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. Aaron has read all the books, and Nathan has read the first three -- and although they haven't seen the movies, they were totally enraptured by the exhibit. It really fired up their imaginations. We watched a show at the planetarium and visited Science City, a children's museum that focuses on science.

Then, we met up with some good friends, which was one of the major reasons for our visit. They were there to drop off one of their sons for a two-week camp sponsored by the International House of Prayer, and had invited us to join them in Kansas City.

We got to spend some fun time swimming and playing cards with them, had some revitalizing time in the worship room at the International House of Prayer, and were able to go to church with them. The sermon on Sunday was all about human trafficking, which is an issue that's dear to my heart. It was a refreshing weekend in every way, after a crazy, draining week of being the counselor-on-call at our home church.

We also celebrated my Dad's birthday! I baked a cake recipe from the Great Depression for him -- it has no eggs, no butter, and no milk (which worked well for Aaron's food allergies). It was delicious -- full of cinnamon and raisins. My dad, of course, didn't grow up in the Depression (he's not that old!), but it reminded me of things my German grandma used to bake, so I knew he'd like it. He has a special relationship with Anya Rashi, and is so good at getting on her level to read books, look at all the minute details of the world around us, and take very slow, meandering walks at a two-year-old's pace. It's a delight to watch him with her.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy July 4th and 5th

To celebrate Independence Day, we went to our first fireworks show with Anya Rashi. We skipped it last year because she was barely home 6 months by that point, and we thought the loud noise (and late bedtime!) might freak her out. I was happy to be back this year . . . there's something so special about sitting with people from all walks of life who've chosen to abandon their worries or cynicism and be spellbound by fireworks.

Anya Rashi absolutely LOVED the fireworks, and was shrieking with excitment and clapping for every blast. She alternated between her own lawn chair and Daddy's lap, when the noise got to be a little too much for her.

In addition, we celebrated July 5th -- my mom's birthday! Aaron and Nathan made patriotic cards for her, one of which said "233 years ago, our country was born. 66 years ago, you were born." Hope that didn't make grandma feel too old! The other card was signed by none other than John Hancock, fancy calligraphy and all. :o)

My mom is a funny, smart, caring, warm, outgoing, athletic lady. My childhood is filled with memories of watching her play softball (including pitching a no-hitter!), laughing with her, making Christmas cookies, canning and freezing tons of produce from our garden, camping in many states as we drove to Colorado and Oregon, and even working with her one summer during college. I love watching her be a grandma, and I admire her ongoing spirit of adventure in her new retirement years -- tutoring school children, taking Bible study classes, volunteering at Mother & Unborn Baby Care, golfing and bowling in her womens' leagues. She has always given me a great picture of living life to its fullest, and I'm so grateful for her. I love you, Mom. Happy birthday!