Friday, July 31, 2009

Niece-cation '09 (Part four — "Can't touch this")

Another thing that's becoming a tradition when Schuyler comes to stay with us, is me taking her and her friend around town for a fun little photo shoot. (It's so much more fun taking pictures of people who want their picture taken — and who better than two teenage girls!)

And if last year's photo shoot was dubbed "Ghetto glam," than this year's has to be "Can't touch this." Because at all three places we went, an official told us to get down, move away or be careful of hazardous materials!

First up: The Liberty Memorial, a national historic landmark and home of the United States' official World War I museum.

There are so many photos in this blog post, that I thought I better change 'em up with some special treatments. This one's called "neon glow."

Schuyler sportin' the model hair.

This effect is "glowing edges."

The coast was clear, so I carefully helped them stand up on the ledge. (Note that they're standing on the very front of it.) Because on the back of the ledge is a 60 feet drop. This is the only shot I got before an older gentleman came out a nearby door and told us to get down.

So we moved on...


Next up: The front lawn of The Nelson-Akins Museum of Art. Natually, I felt like I should do something "artistic," so this is my attempt at pointillism by Seurat.

Becky brushing up on her badminton.

At this point, we started hearing a loud beeping noise coming from a contraption near the landscaping ... followed up by a man in a suit walking toward us who warned, "Please don't touch the sculptures." That's two for two!

Our final stop was the south side of the Plaza. Kansas City's known as the "City of Fountains," and this one's especially dramatic.

Do you really expect them to be so close to the water and not get in?

Sure enough, a security guard came out and warned us of the strong chemicals used in the water and that they discourage people and animals from getting in. Oh well!

"But, officer, we were having so much fun!"

This was their last day in Kansas City and we headed back up to Nebraska that evening. I sure hope they had as much fun as we did having them here. Can't wait to do it again! We love you, Skye.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Niece-cation '09 (Part three — dive in and drive-in)

We finally made it to the pool one afternoon...

...and to a drive-in movie — the first time for any of us! It was a gorgeous night with a gazillion stars and we saw "Transformers 2" (a good summer flick). But by the time we left, it was 64 degrees out!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Niece-cation '09 (Part two — Schlitterbahn)

We went to the brand new Schlitterbahn waterpark, on just the fifth day it was open for business. Unfortunately, the weather that day was chilly, breezy and ended up sprinkling.

Here are Schuyler and Becky in front of the Torrent River, touted as the world's longest tidal wave river.

Jackson and me getting ready to ride the Storm Blaster water roller coaster on the left. On the right is the Raging River tube chute, which Jack said was his favorite of the day ... because I got splashed. You can see that things are definitely still under construction.

This is the equivalent of the clinking chains as you slowly climb a traditional roller coaster.

Captain Jack playing in one of the heated kiddie pools. It was a popular spot that day! What you can't see is the flag on top of the pirate ship, blowing straight out.

In the Kristal River with the three big tube slides in the background. Jack's lips were turning blue.

We came, we saw, we Schlitterbahned!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Niece-cation '09 (Part one — Sunday)

For the third year in a row, my teenage niece Schuyler has brought a friend to stay with us in Kansas City for a few days in the summer. Our goal is to spoil her with whatever she wants to do — which usually means homemade fruit smoothies for breakfast and soaking up lots of sun. So Nicky and Lexi drove down on Sunday to drop off Schuyler and her friend Becky, to let "Niece-cation '09" begin.

Our first order of business was all going to The Legends in KCK for an afternoon of shopping. The girls each got colorful new kicks from the Nike store.

That evening, we cruised around with the windows down, the radio up ... and Sheridan's to top it off.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Size matters

Recently, Jackson and I were driving through a historic neighborhood nearby when we went by an especially impressive old house. I blurted out, “Oh my gosh, look at that!” Jack replied, “It’s huge!” and I added, “It’s gorgeous!”

He paused for a moment and, not wanting to be outdone, said, “It’s huge-r than gorgeous.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Deanna Rose Farmstead

I had to run an errand in southern Overland Park yesterday, so I took Jack and one of his little neighbor friends, Keaton, to the Deanna Rose Farmstead along the way. We got there early, shortly after it opened, so there weren't many people (plus it was Tuesday) and the weather was perfect. I don't think I even broke a sweat — in the middle of July!

First up is the traditional "petting zoo" part. A woman who was tending the garden nearby cut us off a fresh piece of broccoli. It was more bitter than we're used to ... so Jack fed it to a goat.

The boys loved feeding the animals, both large and small. Or maybe they just liked putting quarters into the dispensers, turning the crank and letting the feed fall into their hands. Either way, the entire outing only cost $1!

They played for a while on the prairie playground and in the sand pit.

Then it was off to the pioneer village. We went up to peek in the windows of this old one-room schoolhouse, 'cause it just seemed like the thing to do. Little did we know ...

... there was actually class going on inside! Jack saw the picture on the wall and said, "Look, it's George Washington!"

On the tractor trail, Jack hopped on an Allis Chalmers, just like Grandma Nancy has.

This was the mining area, where you can pan for hidden treasures.

I was really impressed with this huge, "hands-on" dairy barn.

Her name was Pippi.

Helping churn butter.

Figuring out which farm animals eat what food.

The Kanza Indian encampment. Its earthen lodge is made from more than 600 logs, is filled with artifacts and furs, and is surrounded by three teepees.

Note the horse-drawn hayride in the background, thank you very much.

The whole place is full of interactive areas utilizing old artifacts.

After seeing the bobcats and the bald eagle, one of our last stops was the nature trail, where I encouraged the boys to run ahead all they wanted.

Jack's favorite thing was "the bull."

The colorful flowerbeds and all the landscaping is really impressive. Heck, the whole place is really impressive. We had a great time!