Lexington or Bust

July 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A summer vacation to remember. Let’s start at the top left: Jacob, Patti, Michael, Joanna, then Kim, me, Ann, Chris, James and Liam, then Colton, Devin, Brady, Robert and Cade. A houseful of grandkids running around for an entire week. It was madness!

We took two days to drive, stopping first in Lee’s Summit to stay with my parents for one night, then stopping in Springfield for two nights to stay with Bob and visit with Chris and Ann and the boys. Let the record show that at just a few months shy of age 13, Brady has officially outgrown me!

IMG_3001Kim drove up from Texas with her husband, Jacob, and her step-sons Cade and Colton. We texted each other amusing photos of our children at various stages of car trip boredom. (I told him, “I’m sending Aunt Kim a photo, don’t pick your nose.” I should have known better.)

Chris couldn’t get off work, so James and I agreed to let Brady and Devin hitch a ride with us on our Springfield-to-Lexington leg. We stopped at James’ favorite local eatery, Skyline Chili, where all three boys ordered their coneys WITHOUT chili. Sheesh. At least Devin tried a bite.

I was a little concerned how Liam would react to a house full of cousins, but he held his own better than anyone expected. He wasn’t too interested in playing soccer outside, so he spent some quiet time playing Xbox with daddy or reading Harry Potter with me, which I think helped him calm down when the noise and excitement got to him. The rest of the time he spent playing chase and hide-and-seek with anyone who would play with him. The boys all got along great. I was astounded there wasn’t more fighting, especially among the younger ones. Colton is six months younger than Liam, but he mostly wanted to tail the older kids.    

Our first ambitious outing for the week: Malibu Jacks, a nearby family entertainment center. They had mini golf, go karts and arcade games. James, Liam and I culled ourselves from the pack to play mini golf while the rest rode go karts, which Liam refused to try, even with daddy riding with him. We tried a few arcade games, though Liam was limited in what he would try or could do. The highlight of our trip was the S’mores in a bowl, which Liam and I devoured in under a minute. Yum! Say “cheese” Liam!

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The next day, Robert suggested what turned out to be a fantastic outing to Fort Boonesborough, a replica fort from the 1770s. Liam delighted in popping in and out of little log cabins to watch re-enactors demonstrate needlepoint, wood-working, and other essential tasks for these settlers.

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His favorite, by far, was the blacksmith. All of us gathered around to watch him work the metal, but Liam stayed for nearly half an hour, asking question after question, intensely interested. After everyone else had left, the blacksmith said, “You were my biggest fan today, so you can have this,” and handed him the piece that Liam had watched him work on, start to finish. What a cool souvenir!

Of course, we needed to get an arrowhead in the gift shop to add to his rock collection, and a whistle, which we instantly regretted. I picked up some gunpowder tea to try at breakfast.

 

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Then it was time for a Pirate Birthday for Devin and Colton! Michael, Joanna and I took the kids to Jacobson park while the rest of the grown-ups set up the party. The kids had a great time climbing around on the enormous wooden playground, a relic from the early 90s, and one of Liam’s favorite parks. Liam didn’t trouble himself keeping tabs on his cousins: while Devin and Colton dutifully followed the older two, he amused himself by walking up and down the ramps, sliding down the slides, and crawling through the narrow passages. The other boys got bored and wanted to do paddle boats (Uh, no way, guys), then settled for kicking the ball around with Uncle Mike. Liam was perfectly content to stay on his own. It’s funny to see how different he is from his cousins, how introverted and focused. It was a little challenging at times (like at the upcoming birthday party), but mostly he just did his own thing and was okay with that.

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Party time!

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Predictably Liam only hung in there for a few minutes of the festivities. They had a “pin your sticker on the treasure map” game, a lengthy scavenger hunt, and a pirate skull piñata. Liam gamely let them spin him around, though refused to wear a blindfold. Then stuck his sticker right at his eye-level. Very cute! Then the rest of the pirates looked for clues in the backyard.

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After burgers, hotdogs and brats, it was time for cake. We went with a patriotic theme, mostly because the rest of the cakes at CostCo were too childish or girlie, lol. It was the third of July, close enough.

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Colton asked for all the stars, and Robert obliged.

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This kid is hilarious.

I think the kids were suffering from a sugar hangover the next day. James, Liam and I went to my cousin Scott’s house for lunch, and Liam got a chance to play with another cousin, Luke. We call him Baby Luke, but now that he’s two, I think we’ll have to stop calling him that. We had a lovely, QUIET time, and Liam and Luke played really well. Liam even gave Luke a big bear hug when we were leaving, which I don’t think he’s ever done with another kid. He’s usually the hug-ee, and reluctantly so.

After dinner we walked over to a block party in the neighborhood. They had a couple of bouncy houses, sno cones, hair painting, a band. Liam took a brief tour of the fire engine, and then he’d had enough. Too much noise, too many people, and too long away from home. Ann, Devin and Colton came back sporting red, white and blue hair. Sounds like they had fun.

Batteries recharged (and another chapter of Harry Potter 3 under our belts), it was time to shoot off some fireworks! We weren’t sure it would be Liam’s cup of tea, but he seemed to like throwing those little paper poppers and pulling the strings on the plastic confetti poppers. He even held a sparkler…with great care.

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10530760_10203537744476327_7102701092384471111_nUncle Mike and Uncle Jacob handled all of the fireworks lighting. Incidentally, Liam kept confusing the two. When I explained to him that the uncle he’d been playing with all morning was in fact Uncle Jake and not Uncle Mike like he had told us, he replied, “Well, I’ll just call him Uncle Mike.” We eventually straightened him out.

At any rate, we had fun littering the street after it got dark, and the kids enjoyed watching things get blown up. Needless to say it was another late night for all of us, and a very early morning for Kim and Jacob, who planned to drive straight home to Texas he next day.

We took our time, stopping in St. Louis to see the arch and staying the night in Columbia. I took Liam around my old campus, and he had a great time running around…until he fell and skinned his knee. He said, “Mooom, we’re going to have to stay in our hotel for a MONTH so I can have time to RECOVER. Wahhh!” For the love of pete. We were so ready to get home. 

Thanks to Robert and Patti for hosting this circus, and thanks to all of James’ siblings for making the long trip. I think we’ll be ready for another one of these in another four years, right?

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