Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kansas City

Todd and I went on a much needed vacation last weekend.  It was our first one, without ANY children, in nearly 10 years of marriage.  We decided it was high time to meet our XBOX live friends in Kansas City.  ROAD TRIP!

We left Friday morning.  Dropped all the boys off with my friend Noelle and left the girls with Holly.  The boys were staying with Noelle all four days, while the girls would be hopping from place to place. 

Since our Expedition gets a whopping 17 miles to the gallon on the highway, we decided to get a rental and save over $100 in expenses.  Yes, it saved us THAT MUCH MONEY! 

It was almost a straight shot on I35.  I don't think it could have been a more boring drive.  I honestly didn't believe it when people said that all they saw in Iowa was corn.  Well, we saw corn.  And wind farms.  That's about it, folks.  Not much to speak of.

**disclaimer - I do not claim to be a photographer.  The pictures won't be fabulous, but they tell our story.  Oh, and sorry about the bug splatters on the windshield.  ;)

Iowa wind farm

Downtown KC

Paseo Bridge
The drive took us roughly 9 hours with potty breaks and dinner.  It was far too late to hang out with friends, so after checking in to the hotel we stopped by the Hy-vee in town to pick up a few snacky items.  I swooned over their gluten-free isle in their natural section. I was excited to see that they even sell zum products!

We chose to get a suite, so it had a small kitchen with microwave and full-sized fridge.  There was an actual bedroom and living area.  Because we were without children, we had a GREAT night's sleep.  The whole king-sized bed was ours!!!!

The next morning, we had our breakfast and waited for our friend Tommy to meet us at the hotel room. After 8-1/2 years of 'knowing' Tommy, it was SO GOOD to finally meet him in person!!

It was lunch time and we were going to meet another XBL friend, David, for lunch.  While waiting for them to get home, we drove around town a bit.  We stopped at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to bum around a bit.  We didn't do much sight seeing, but decided to take a few pictures.

Todd and I taken in front of the big shuttlecock.  Apparently, the artist saw the lawn of the museum as the play area for badminton and the museum itself was the net. 
Todd and Tommy
Tommy and myself
David's daughter decided she wanted to ride in our car instead of with her dad.  What a honey!!  The plan for lunch was to eat at a BBQ place (imagine that) called Oklahoma Joe's.  However, when we got there, there was a line out the door.  Tommy assured us that it wouldn't take but 20-25 minutes to get a place to eat.  Well, David decided it was a bit too much.  He said, "Did you see that LINE?".  His daughter, Rose, said her dad was a wee bit impatient.  LOL  So we decided to call in an order and pick it up instead.  Nummy stuff I tell you.

Back at David's house, the boys took turns playing a bit of Halo, trying to show off a wee bit.  Tommy is known to be a bit of sharp shooter.  Not this time.  ;)  While the boys were playing games, Rose wanted to show me her room and play room.  What a sweetheart.  This was the first time I was kinda missing my kids.  Only because I thought the girls would have a BLAST playing with Rose.

David and Rose
LOVE this picture!!

 From there, we headed to see Chris (AKA GuyverUnit4) at Game Stop.  So good to meet him in person.  I don't think he remembered we were coming, as he seemed quite surprised to see us.  He said to Todd, "Dude, you're tall.  A lot taller than I thought you'd be".  What was NOT surprising is he mentioned NOTHING of my height.  With a gamertag like ShortAndSweet, I guess it's a given.  :P

Todd, Chris, and myself. 

Todd, Tommy, and I went back to the hotel after visiting with Chris.  We played 500 and dominoes, had some snacks and had time to chat.  Tommy whooped us in BOTH games (I swear he cheats!).  

Tommy came back up to the hotel on Sunday afternoon so we could go out to lunch.  Todd drove and, apparently, *I* had to pick where we'd go to eat.  I made some suggestions and NO ONE had an opinion.  We finally settled on Buca di Beppo, although we have one in MN and I've visited it several times in the past few years. Eh.  But we passed The Cheesecake Factory and decided to eat there instead.  Cheesecake is my absolute most FAVORITE dessert!

They have the BEST cheesecake I have EVER had.  I ordered their Vanilla Bean.  Yes, I could have had something more decadent, but I know what I like.  While eating, we were being kinda goofy and speaking a bit here and there in other languages.  Being the goofball that I am, I asked Tommy if he spoke Mexican.  Yes.  I did.  o.O

After lunch, Tommy headed back home as we were supposed to meet other XBL friends for dinner.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to make the drive out there on the gas we had left.  They weren't able to make it up to our hotel because they had just added a new dog to their family.  I was bummed but totally understood.

So, Todd and I decided to whip out the dominoes once more.  Playing Mexican Trains with two people is so much more difficult than it should be.  We almost got through an entire game when we decided to call it quits.  Monday we were heading home and we needed sleep.

Decaf and maple leaf cookies.

Monday morning Tommy made it back to the hotel to give us a proper send off.  We had such a blast with him.  It felt like we had really known each other in real life for a long time.  I tried not to cry like a little girl, but I did.  I did.  It was really hard to leave.

Once we got on the road we were a bit excited to see the kids again. We opted not to stop for lunch or dinner but snacked on what we had left from the grocery store.  The drive home included much more caffeine and potty breaks. 

After a long car ride, this sign was certainly good to see!
 It was rough getting back, picking up all the kids, transferring car seats, and dropping off the rental.  We didn't get to have dinner until 10pm after the kids were in bed.  It's been a bit of a struggle getting back to normal, too, although I knew that would be the case.

We are certain that we'll make it back down there in the next year.  Next time we'll plan things a bit better and maybe stay a bit further south to avoid all the extra driving.  Until then, we'll have to settle for XBOX live and facebook.