In The City Vacation

Last week my husband took off work for an at-home vacation. We had a great time as a family just being together. Here's a log of our adventures.

We took a day trip to Lawrence on my birthday. When visiting Lawrence we always head to Massachusetts Street where the kids enjoy South Park, I browse (and buy, of course) at The Dusty Bookshelf and we all enjoy smoothies from The Juice Stop. I didn't take pictures, which translates into I was so busy occupying with rest and relaxation that I didn't think of it!

A few gifts were in order as well, and yes, my husband and I tell each other exactly what we want. Well, it's easier that way! I've been wanting a new bag. For years I've carried a satchel that crosses my body and hangs on one side. This bag is practical and I like it, but I saw the need to have a backpack with our increasing amount of hiking activity, and adventure activity in general. I found the perfect bag for me. This is my wonderful olive green canvas backpack with plenty of pockets and pouches for essentials. We found it at for a frugal price.
Alas, birthdays shouldn't be all practicality. I requested some Crabtree and Evelyn Goatmilk lotion and soap, and voila, it was given. This lotion is one of the definitions of luxury for me!

Jesse's brother, Jake, was in town for a visit and the kids enjoyed seeing their silly (their description, not mine!) uncle again.
Later that same, hot day we took the kids to cool off at the Loose Park Spray Park.
Memorial Day found us at home and Jesse at the Smoker. We are a meat family, especially my men. Jesse made pulled pork and Bacon Explosion. Actually, a friend made the Bacon Explosions (bacon wrapped in Italian sausage wrapped in bacon) and Jesse smoked them. Double goodness: the meat Jesse smokes always tastes scrumptious and he makes leftovers so I don't have to think about dinner for quite a few days. The Bacon Explosion is a bit much, I guess that's why it's named explosion. I simply ate half of a thin slice on a bun. Tasty, but that's all I needed.

Another day found us at the Kansas City Zoo. The last time we went as a family, Roone was one and Ella was four and we spent just a few hours casually enjoying the zoo. Now Roone is four himself so we decided to explore the entire park. Five hours, scorching heat, a relatively short thunderstorm, many an animal, and an almost missed train ride later and I have had my animal fill for a while! Honestly, we have seen so many animal documentaries that I wished on behalf of these animals that they were in their own habitats. Especially the Gorilla who seemed to be acting a bit peeved that we were viewing him. 

We (barely) survived the news that one TRAIN wasn't running, then the track was too slippery for an able bodied TRAIN to run. Apparently the track finally dried and we were able to ride the beloved TRAIN, a most meaningful moment for my three-year-old! 
Silly children....

 Said gorilla...
Jess and El on the TRAIN!

We attended a family gathering for Jesse's sister who is expecting a baby mid-Summer. Jesse grilled the meat, of course. I had a friend make a neat gift and I forgot to take pictures, so you can view it here.

I put together a vase of Oakleaf Hydrangea flowers, covering a mason jar with fabric and then painting it with the color scheme for the baby's room. The picture is fuzzy, but oh well!

 The cupcakes surrounding the vase are Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter icing and Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Butter icing. I like to have basic recipes to use frequently, it just helps things to run smoothly in my kitchen, so these are my go-to cake recipes. This is the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted.

Teagan, ready for li'l sis to arrive, Ella and Roone.

We also had a family gathering for my oldest brother who is leaving soon to hike the Colorado Trail for a couple of months. More meat, I think we have a theme. I guess I should clarify that we don't just eat meat 'round here...! We are heavy on vegetables and fruit too! Anyway, another gathering, more food and watching the kids be kids until a few lightning bugs hinted we should be ending the party.

Without asking for a pose I  happened to snap all the men at our event...Roone, Barak, Dad, Daniel, Jonathan and Jesse.

We are well rested. The week was a great way to initiate our Summer Break.