Posted in Travel

KC Recap

Hello!

We spent a few days in Kansas City visiting family last week followed by a couple of days at the Lake of the Ozarks with friends before getting back to Lex late Tuesday night.

Today, I’m recapping our trip…

…and linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites because of course a KC and lake trip include lots of favorites.

We try to get to KC every summer, but we were intentional about doing so this year in order to celebrate my Gma’s 90th birthday!

Last Wednesday was our travel day. It’s about a nine hour drive from Lex to KC. Times really have changed now that the kids are older…that drive sure is easier!

Once we got to KC, we went to my dad’s house and met up with my brother’s family who had also travelled from Lexington. We had tacos for dinner and then went to my mom’s for a few hours. We were in bed by 10:00 after a long day of travel.

Thursday we had a slow morning. Hayden’s been training all summer for cross country season. With the heat indices over 100 for our entire visit, he had to get up early to get his workouts in. I will give him credit….he did so every morning we were in KC with no complaints. I did a workout using the Beachbody app (another reason I love it!). We got ready, and then met my mom and Gma for lunch.

In order to beat the heat, we took the kids putt putt golfing which was fun.

After putt putt, we went to Rally House to pick up some KC Royals gear for the game the next day. Hayden had outgrown his last KC hat, and I couldn’t find mine…we all had luck picking something out.

Later in the evening, we went to my mom’s friend’s backyard pool. He always lets us come over when we visit, and the pool is a great spot to cool off!

Piggy backing at he pool is apparently all the rage, and my brother wins for most fun (and strongest?) uncle.

We had a late dinner and then headed to bed.

Friday morning we were up early for family photos. With 103 degree highs that day, we knew we needed pics early, so we wouldn’t melt.

Here’s a sneak peek:

The photos turned out so good. The photographer was the same one who took our wedding photos as well as the kids when they were babies. I will share more next week 🙂

After the photos, we all went out to brunch. Then, we went to my mom’s house for a couple of hours. We had pizza at my dad’s before heading to the Royals game.

Of course, we are “crazy” for going to the game in that heat and the Royals aren’t having the best season, but it was still fun to do. We knew since it was a night game, it wouldn’t be too bad…and it wasn’t. It was definitely humid, but that’s better than being hot.

I joked that Travis purchases tickets based off the price of beer in a stadium and the team’s record…haha The $12 seats were all we needed.

Hayden and Travis walked around before the game started, and Hayden was pumped because he got Bobby Witt Jr.’s autograph on his new hat!

During the 4th inning, Hadley joined the younger cousins at the “Little K” where they met Sluggerrr and rode a couple of rides.

On the way back to our seats, Hadley got this pic of the sunset. So pretty!

Unfortunately, the Royals lost, but we were all still smiling…

…because it was Firework Friday after the game.

These fireworks were spectacular!

Definitely worth more than the $12 ticket price!

It was past 11:00 when we got home, so we showered and hit the hay!

Saturday was our hottest day in KC! The heat index was above 106! That being said, we had a slow morning, and then Travis and I went to see Where the Crawdads Sing while the kids hung out at my mom’s house.

I loved the movie as much as the book. Travis really enjoyed it too!

Then, we went to celebrate Gma’s birthday with dinner and dessert. She had over a week of birthday festivities which included a happy birthday yard sign from my mom and aunt, lunch and cards with her Bridge group, dinner out at a Mexican restaurant (she sent me a photo of her wearing a sombrero and having churros for dessert) with neighbors, and then my mom and aunt organized for many friends and family near and far to send her cards for her birthday. Then, of course, she celebrated with us!

On Sunday, we were headed to the Lake of the Ozarks to meet friends, but we were able to have a slow morning and then go to Whataburger with my mom for lunch. My mom has been there, but we all were excited to try it. Patrick Mahomes owns a couple of them, so Hayden asked me to let Patrick know (via Instagram) that Hayden approved of the burger. It really was a good meal.

Then, it was time to say goodbye to our family which is always tough. We’re always sad to leave.

Then, we drove the 2.5 hours to the lake! My college friend’s family has a condo on the lake near the dam. I grew up going to the Lake of the Ozarks with my grandparents, and have so many fond memories. I don’t think I’ve been back there in 20 years!

This was our view from the bedroom:

We all got changed, and got on the boat for a few hours.

Leslie and I were neighbors in Jones Hall at MU and have been friends ever since.

Her son just turned 12, and her daughters are just a couple of years younger. The kids had lots of fun together.

The kids all took (many) turns tubing.

We all swam and floated in the lake a bit…

…before the boat ride back to the condo.

The sun was setting as we parked the boat, and the air temp was definitely cooling off with rain on the way.

Since it was about 8:00, we had pizza for dinner and were in bed around 10.

It rained overnight, and we took it easy on Monday morning. The slow paced morning with cooler temps was amazing.

Leslie and I went for walk, and then we went to check on the guys who were fishing off the dock.

Around 1:00 we got on the boat, and went to Dock Knockers for lunch. There’s nothing better than lunch on the lake.

The kids fed the fish…

…and then we had lunch.

After that, we spent the next few hours on the boat.

Everyone took turns tubing, and then it was the moms’ turn! We held on for dear life, and had lots of fun.

After we were finished tubing, we noticed smoke coming off a nearby boat…and then we saw people jumping in the water! We motored over there, and a couple other boats were helping out. Thankfully, all was ok, but that was a sight to see!

We pulled over into a nearby cove, and swam for a bit before heading back to the condo.

We grilled out for dinner and then played the Disney version of Apples to Apples. It was a great way to cap off the day.

On Tuesday morning, the plan was for the guys to go fishing before we headed back to Lex. Even though it was raining, they did get up early….so early that I didn’t even hear them get up. I got up around 8:30 and enjoyed another cup of coffee on the screened in porch. We went from 106 degrees on Saturday to 66 on Tuesday morning. It was bliss.

The rain was coming down pretty hard, so the guys came back early from fishing. Everyone had breakfast, and we packed up. We said our goodbyes and were on the road around 10:30.

We really enjoyed our time at the lake and appreciate our friends for being such gracious hosts!

As the kids get older and get busier, sometimes it’s more difficult to get back home. When we do, I love that we are able to do things that I enjoyed doing when I was growing up like go to Royals games, and going the lake was the icing on the cake.

I hope you have a great weekend! Next week is August. I have a love/hate relationship with August. haha

Posted in Let's look

Let’s Look

Hello!

It’s already the second Wednesday of the month, so I’m linking up with Shay and Erika for Let’s Look.

So far this year, we’ve looked at:

  • How you organize for the new year in January
  • What you eat in a week in February
  • Your faves from high school/college in March (I didn’t do LL in March)
  • How you plan/do date nights in April

This month, we are looking at: your hometown.

Of course, when someone asks where I’m from, I say Kansas City. It’s just easier than saying, “Lee’s Summit, a suburb of KC.” It’s just easier since I’m living in a completely different state than where I grew up. Also, I didn’t move to Lee’s Summit until I was thirteen, so I do consider both to be my “hometown.”

Kansas City

MISSOURI! Many (out of state) people think that Kansas City is in Kansas. While there is a KCK, it’s small and Kansas City is KCMO.

My dad was a Kansas City police officer for thirty years which meant he had to live in KC. So, my younger years were spent in KC in an area close to where he grew up.

Kansas City really does have so much to offer. There’s nothing better than Topsy’s popcorn or a butter roll from McLain’s. There are so many great BBQ restaurants in KC. While I’m not a huge BBQ fan, we always make a stop per Trav’s request and my kids love ribs!

Growing up, we’d often go to the Plaza for a hamburger and milkshake from Winsteads. We’d also visit Crown Center and the Plaza around the holidays to ice skate and see the Christmas lights.

I spent many summer days at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun with cousins when they’d come to visit.

Of course, KC is a big sports town. There’s nobody more loyal than an KC Royals fan. We waited thirty years in between World Series wins and still showed up for our team through the years.

The same can be said for the Chiefs fans who cheered them on for fifty years in between Super Bowl wins.

Lee’s Summit

Photo c/o https://downtownls.org

We moved to LS at the end of my seventh grade year. My parents found a piece of land that was in KC but districted for Lee’s Summit schools. They built a house and we moved in the spring of 1993. I did struggle with the move more than my brother did because he was still in elementary school. I will be the first to admit (now) that I didn’t really give the move a chance. I really hated my 8th grade year, but I did find a great group of friends once I started high school.

When we moved to LS, it was just starting to boom. When you got off the highway, there were four way stops and a two lane road that took you to our house. Now there are stoplights, three high schools, hospitals, shopping and more.

The one high school in LS was the biggest in the state. I went to it for my freshman year and then the new high school was finished when I was a sophomore. That year, they let the seniors stay together at the old school, so it was just 9th-11th when my high school opened. Lee’s Summit had, and continues to have, a top notch public school system which was a selling point for my parents. There’s even a third high school now. I’m forever grateful for the education that I received. I made so many friends that I met thanks to band (yes, band!).

In the summers, we’d hang at neighborhood pools, get frozen custard at Custard’s Last Stand, have fun at the Homecoming parade in the fall, attend football and basketball games and more. There was a lake in my neighborhood as well as a bigger lake where a few friends lived. We hung out on the dock on many summer nights.

Once I gave it a chance and met the right group of friends, I really did enjoy growing up in Lee’s Summit.

I take my midwestern roots seriously. While I love Lexington, there have been many times I’ve held firm to values and beliefs on how I grew up and was raised when making decisions for my own kids.

I’m grateful that my kids are growing up with KC memories. Hayden cheers for the Royals and Chiefs. My kids know how great a cherry limeade is from Topsy’s popcorn and how magical the Plaza lights are at Christmastime.

“Home” is a relative term I guess. I feel at home when I’m at home, I guess because I’ve made it a point to make our house a home for my kids. But…I’m also at home when I’m in KC seeing family and creating memories for my kids there too.

One of my favorite country songs on the radio right now is Half of my Hometown. These lyrics always stand out to me:

Back roads raise us…
Highways take us…
Memories make us wanna go back…to our hometown.

I’ll be honest, never in a million years did I think I wouldn’t be raising my family where I grew up. I always joke that I moved to KY with Travis because I was “young, dumb, and in love.” Not to take anything away from him; I just mean that I don’t see my forty year old self making that same decision. When you are young, you can take chances like that. I didn’t have anything to lose.

…and sometimes you take a chance…and it pays off. Travis is the best, and we’ve created a really blessed life together.

I do miss “home” though.

Where did you grow up? What’s your best hometown memory? I’d love to know.

Thanks so much for reading!

Posted in Holidays

Thanksgiving Recap

Hi! I hope your week is off to a great start.

Today, I’m recapping our Thanksgiving break because we had such a good time visiting family in Kansas City.

Typically, if we go to KC for Thanksgiving, we leave Tuesday after school and drive to St. Louis before finishing the drive on Wednesday. Well, this year, we had the whole week off, so we were able to drive the entire way on Tuesday. We arrived early evening, stretched our legs at my dad’s, checked in to our hotel and then had dinner at my mom’s house.

Wednesday

On Wednesday morning, we had a quick bite to eat at the hotel before the kids went for a workout with my mom and her friends. While the kids were with her, Travis and I went for a walk.

such a pretty view from our hotel.

Then, we met my mom, Gma, and my brother’s family for brunch. I got the avocado toast, and it was so good.

Then, we headed to visit with my dad, the kids played outside a bit and then we went back to the hotel to let the kids burn off more energy and swim.

We had pizza for dinner before heading back to the hotel.

It looked so pretty at night with the Christmas decorations.

Then, we hung out at the hotel and enjoyed a drink while the kids played ping pong.

Thursday:

We all slept in a bit before having breakfast. We watched some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade before packing up.

We hung out at my mom’s house for a few hours. I went to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for the salad I was making. While I was out, Travis asked for a pop, so I stopped in my favorite convenience stores, Quik Trip, for drinks for us.

*I know it may sound silly, but whenever I see the first QT once we cross into Missouri, I always feel close to home.

I made this salad, and it was so good. (I added goat cheese to it…my fave!)

We snapped a few photos before heading to my cousin’s house in the afternoon for Thanksgiving dinner.

It was nice having my brother and his family in town too.

My cousin always outdoes herself with her tablescape(s).

We always look forward to the chocolate turkeys at our place settings.

We ate so much and had lots of fun catching up with family who we only see once a year, at best!

Friday:

On Friday, we were up rather early because we had tickets to tour the Christmas displays at Union Station. We met my mom, my brother and his family there. We’ve been to Union Station a few times when we visit, but I think this is the first time I’ve been at Thanksgiving/Christmas.

The displays were so pretty.

They had lots of fun photo opportunities.

Hayden always loves the trains! It was sweet to see him so mesmerized just like when he was a little boy.

Santa was even roaming around, so we got to briefly visit with him.

Santa said this photo would be funny, and he was right!

After seeing Santa, we checked out more displays.

Then, the kids obliged for the traditional cousin Christmas photo.

I love this one of my two…

and this one of my mom with her grands.

After the photos, we hit up one of the stores because the kids wanted new KC/Chiefs gear, and that was a perfect Christmas gift for them from my mom.

Then we went and had BBQ. Travis had requested BBQ on this visit, and Gates didn’t disappoint!

My kids love ribs…especially Hadley.

**She split this plate of ribs with Hayden.

That afternoon, the kids played outside a bit. I went for a walk while Hadley and Layla played. Then, we watched some of the MIZZOU football game. (*they lost…insert sad face)

We went to my mom’s for our traditional turkey rice soup for dinner. My Gma and aunt came over too.

Then, we stopped by the Magic Tree before heading back to pack up to head out Saturday morning.

It was a really great visit. We were able to hang out with family, the kids had lots of time to play, we enjoyed great food, and saw some festive displays.

It’s weird when two places feel like home. It means you are always missing something or someone. I always enjoy my time in KC and wish I could get there more often. Thankfully, my family visits us when they can.

I’m so thankful that my kids are growing up with some KC memories which I hold close to my heart too.

See you back here tomorrow. I’m sharing the books I read in November!

Posted in Family, Travel

Road trip to KC

Last week we hit the road to visit family in Kansas City. I’m from KC (hence part of my blog name…I’m from the “Show Me” state 😉 ), and try to get back there at least a couple times a year.

Obviously, with the world turned upside down, I hadn’t seen family in a while. I had to adjust our dates a few times and wanted to make sure to take as safe of a trip as possible, so we headed out last Wednesday and came back on Sunday.

With a few stops, KC is about a 9 hour drive from Lexington. We made great time on both legs of the trip, only stopping quickly for gas and restroom break if needed.

I mentioned this earlier in the week, but this trip reminded me that traveling with kids does get easier! I made a list for each kid for their suitcase and backpacks, and they packed themselves! I double checked a few things, but they had it all. Also, I felt less stressed packing this time (I just hate packing…and unpacking) because I knew we were just going to lounge around! Comfy clothes, workout clothes and pjs were all that I needed.

We arrived Wednesday afternoon and stopped at my dad’s house first. The kids played outside, and my dad helped Hayden with his golf swing. 😉

Then, we made our way to my mom’s house. The kids were excited to continue their dog walking biz by walking her dog Gus. They walked him twice a day most days.

It’s summer. It’s July. It’s hot everywhere, but KC brings the heat. Travis and I were married in KC in June 2005…when the heat index was pushing 110. So this heat index of 106 was something I’m all too familiar with.

Two days of our trip, Travis took the kids to a nearby golf course so they could hit balls on the driving range…and “drive” the golf cart.

Look out!

Friday morning Travis and I went on a walk on a trail close to my mom’s house. We didn’t start our walk until after 10:00, and it was already so hot. We chose the trail, so we’d at least get a little shade!

Friday afternoon, one of my mom’s friends graciously let us cool off in his pool! It’s always good to see him and his wife…and the pool is a great way for the kids to cool off and burn some energy.

Gus got lots of snuggles.

I’ve mentioned before that Hayden has been reading the Harry Potter series. My mom has all the books, so she was saving them for when the kids would be interested in reading them. Hayden has read the first three books, so he started with the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, once GG gave him the set.

He even stayed up later than the rest of us on Wednesday night to start the book.

Sunday, on the drive home, Hayden read 90% of the time! He was really loving that book.

Throughout our stay, we played quite a few games. Monopoly Deal was a favorite. It took a couple of rounds to get used to, but we enjoyed it…and it’s definitely easier to pack and shorter to play than the Monopoly board game.

We also played Battleship that my mom had and then Dominoes at my grandma’s house.

Missouri has my favorite convenience store…Quik Trip. (It’s the little things that make you miss home, right? ;))They are always so clean and the employees are known for ringing you up as quickly as possible.

Sometimes we stop at QT on our way in or out of town, but Saturday, we picked up drinks for everyone as well as tacos from Taco John’s which are a fave of Trav’s when we visit.

When we are in KC, we usually hit up other local faves like Topsys for their popcorn and cherry limeade, Winsteads for a burger and shake, and of course, KC BBQ. This trip, we didn’t eat out as much just to be on the safe side.

On Saturday, we celebrated my Gma’s birthday. I ordered her a flower pot from the same Etsy shop that I purchased end of the school year gifts for the kids’ teachers.

Saturday night, we played more Dominoes before lasagna dinner and cookie cake at Gma’s house.

dinner at Gma’s

Then, it was time to pack up on Saturday night to head out Sunday morning.

It was a great visit, and we got to spend lots of time with our family.

Of course, it’s always sad to leave (and as the kids get older, they definitely do miss seeing family that’s far away), but it’s also good to get back home to Homer and sleep in our own beds.

Until next time, KC…

I hope you are having a great week.

Posted in Family, Holidays, Travel

Thanksgiving in KC

Well, the five day break certainly flew by…& now just three weeks of school until winter break!

We traveled to Kansas City to see my family for Thanksgiving.

We headed out after school on Tuesday, made a pit stop in St. Louis and finished the drive on Wednesday morning.

We decided to bring Homer with us. He was awesome in the car and in the hotel overnight. (I joked with the kids that Homer won “best behaved” between the three of them 😂)

The rest of the fam went to eat breakfast at the hotel. I turned my back for a minute and found Homer living his best life on the hotel bed #baddog

Wednesday, we just hung out with family and had pizza for dinner…followed by early bedtimes for all.

Thanksgiving morning, we slept in and lounged around until Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin’s house.

Snuggles with my mom’s dog, Gus.

I’ve always loved watching the parade on Thanksgiving morning & now my kids do too.

Ready to go — & of course, thankful for these two…

Thanksgiving on my dad’s side of the family is always fun. My cousin’s house is so pretty and the tablescape was beautiful. I loved the chocolate turkeys with our names on them for place settings.

After dinner, we always watch the Plaza Lighting ceremony on tv (& then we recreated it as we flipped my cousin’s outside lights on 😂)…Then, we usually play a game…This year, we played Empire, and had a great time.

Friday consisted of some online shopping , card playing, a nap…or two and turkey soup for dinner. My mom’s been making the turkey soup for years on the Friday after Thanksgiving. My grandma came over to have dinner with us.

I do not Black Friday shop…at ALL. I’m more of a Cyber Monday girl. Fighting the masses for things I can buy online has always sounded like 0 fun. I saw this on Instagram, & my 5w6 ring true!

Uno and coffee. Low key Friday
Hadley and Gma worked on their selfie game!
Both are so cute, right? 🙂

Saturday morning, we packed up, had breakfast at a local place, picked up Homer at my dad’s house and headed home.

Homer was our backseat driver!

I’m always sad to leave after a good visit, but it’s also always good to get home, get situated and ready for the week ahead…plus, we had a Christmas tree to buy and a Santa to see!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you have a great week.

Thanks for reading,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea