Liam’s Long Weekend

October 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We had parent-teacher conferences last week, so Liam had both Thursday and Friday off school. His teacher had nothing but good things to say, of course, and a couple of minor things we could work on. But faced with a four-day weekend, I decided it was time we had some fun!

First up, a trip to the zoo with his friend Amia on Thursday. Tracy had two guest passes that she graciously used on our behalf, so it was a free trip to the zoo, even better! The kids had a great time running all over the place, and Liam even paused briefly to look at some animals. But mostly he was running too fast to see anything. This child! We ended the afternoon at the playground, and because Liam threw a fit about leaving, we had to end our play date there. Once I got him rested and watered, we circled back to the tiger exhibit on our own before we headed to the parking lot. Without the distraction of a friend to chase, he actually pressed his little face against the glass and watched the tiger stroll around its paddock.

The afternoon was still young, and I’d heard they were setting up a viewing of the solar eclipse at Exploration Place, so we headed there for the rest of the afternoon. I love going to the museum at that hour – there’s hardly anyone there, and Liam can have the run of the place. After running around the castle, driving the harvester, flying some simulated aircraft into the tarmac, and crawling through a giant colon, we headed outside to see the eclipse. I explained that the moon’s shadow was passing in front of the sun, but I’m not sure he fully understood. There were two telescopes set up outside, but because it was so hazy, it was hard to see. Liam was unimpressed. Oh well.

Friday morning I made a list of fun outings, and I let Liam decide our itinerary. He chose a bike ride on the trail to downtown Wichita (with him on the child seat), and a trip to Botanica. At first I wasn’t sure how we’d fit both of those in, but after consulting a map, I realized that the trail went right by Botanica. So I packed us a lunch and brought along the bike lock. I’ve been dying to show someone this trail – it goes by some really pretty bridges, hugs the Arkansas River, and eventually winds its way through all the museums on the river. (Incidentally, I took a bunch of photos that I plan to post once I’ve worked a little magic on them. Stay tuned for that.) Liam loves bridges and museums, so this worked out nicely. Liam hasn’t ridden in the child seat since this summer, so we were both a little timid at first about the balance. I think Liam’s gained a pound or two since August! But once we got going, all was good. Though every time we went down a hill, he’d grab the back of my shirt and holler, “Put on your brakes, Mommy!” It was kind of hilarious. We stopped at the playground outside of Exploration Place for awhile, then headed up river. After a picnic lunch on the front porch of the Old Cowtown Museum, we took a few surface streets over to Botanica. This time Liam literally stopped to smell the roses, which made me happy. He also stopped to smell the chrysanthemums, which were quite fragrant as well. Then we spent about an hour in the children’s garden, by far his favorite section of the grounds. We noticed a lot of Christmas lights were already up, and I told him I’d take him back for Illuminations in December. I decided to spring for a membership while we were there – he just loves walking around the trails so much, and I enjoy all of the seasonal flora. Plus we can use these passes at Powell Gardens when we visit my parents.

Then it was back on the bike for the 10-mile trip home, which invariably feels longer than the ride there. By the time we made it back to the car, I was hankering for my and dad’s post-bike-ride traditional half-price soda at Sonic. Luckily, there was a Sonic just down the street. And I couldn’t say no to a large fry when Liam requested it. This might become my and Liam’s tradition, too. 

There was more fun to be had on Saturday, this time in Kansas City! We met my parents at the new Ikea for lunch. It was, of course, mobbed, but we still managed to eat and pick up a few things. Man, I love those meatballs! Then Liam and I went to my friend Jessaca’s house for a little Halloween party. It was just her son, Vincent, and our friend Angela’s daughter, Maya, so a perfect little low-key gathering. The kids decorated Halloween-themed gingerbread houses, decorated and gobbled up pumpkin and bat-shaped sugar cookies, and made little crafts. I wasn’t sure how Liam would react to the other kids – he hadn’t played with Vincent in a couple of years, and he’d never met Maya. But Kindergarten has really opened him up socially, and before long he was running around the house and playing with the other two like they’d been friends forever. It was great for me to catch up with my friends, and also to see all of the lovely décor Jessaca had in her house. She’s so crafty! Or at least more crafty than me, heh.

On Sunday Liam and I stopped by his FAVORITE restaurant in Kansas City, Fritz’s at Union Station, then on to Science City to play for awhile before we had to head back home. We had this museum almost all to ourselves, too, and it was great to see him get to play with some of his favorite exhibits that they don’t have in Wichita. He loves that magnetic wall with the pipes you can construct for a ball to roll down through. We must have spent a full 30 minutes there. And they still had a full-sized Union Pacific train engine to crawl around on and pretend to drive. That was another 20 minutes. I wondered if I’d get some push-back when it was time to go, but my offer to get us some chocolates at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate store defused any protests. And because we still had a little time and I’m a sucker for model trains, we took a still stroll through the model train exhibit before we headed to the car. This kid could spend hours at Union Station!

Next weekend, more fun! Jill is bringing the kids up for Halloween, so Liam will get to trick-or-treat with his cousins. We can’t wait!

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