Saturday, August 2, 2014

Midwest road trip

 We just took a big drive down to Wichita, KS and back. There are lots of pictures and stories to post, and I won't try and put them all in order. But, here is what we saw!

Lots of funny roadside gems.
All the kids are great at making an adventure out of anything!

We spent some time in Iowa, visiting the Des Moines sculpture garden and the Iowa capitol.  And of course, Kelly, Eli, Todd and Patrick. Missed you Anna!

These first pics were taken at a brunch place we happened upon when a restaurant we wanted to visit in Des Moines was closed. The kids ended up eating super-fancy brunch buffet. We used the opportunity to explain the meaning of the word "serendipity"

Look how tall that Iowa corn is!

Des Moines sculpture garden

 Iowa state capitol, which has an incredible library inside

We also stayed in downtown Kansas City. Quinn loved looking out the window at all the tall buildings outside.
We ate at two of the best restaurants in Kansas City. First up was Strouds, which was a childhood favorite of mine. they have the best fried chicken! We celebrated Quinn's birthday early there. Zahra ate three bowls of chicken soup, and Quinn ate chicken, mashed potatoes, cinnamon rolls and soup. Penelope ate a bit of chicken, too, so the dinner was a big success for us!

Moin, Quinn and I also ate Arthur Bryan's barbeque, which has always been my dad's favorite place. In case you can't tell, that is meat, fries, bread and pickles, all wrapped in paper. yum!

 The reason for our trip was to see my Aunts Marietta and Diana, who had met in Wichita for Diana's 80th birthday!

Penelope even sang "Let it go" for Diana for her birthday (see picture below) which was a very special moment. 

My cousin Sarah organized the event. See below for a picture with all the ladies!
And the men of the group

It was so wonderful to see my Aunts again, and to see them with my mom. What a special treat!

On the way back, we made a quick stop in Lawrence, KS, home of my parents' alma mater. found a great little pool there to swim in, too. 

In Independence, MO, we visited the Truman presidential library. Mostly as a treat for Quinn, but we actually all enjoyed it.

The picture below cracks me up. A guard told the kids to be quiet, and he would make President Truman talk. He started playing a tape of Truman's voice, which totally freaked Zahra out. 

Zahra in the oval office

Dressing like the president

Making campaign buttons

Quinn kicking butt at Truman trivia

A book where you could write your own thoughts on the use of the atomic bomb

It was a good tourist stop. We've been talking a lot about the next presidential library we will visit. Suggestions?

Finally, our drive back was on Quinn's SEVENTH birthday! Unfortunately, Moin and I got very ill with a stomach bug on the way back and were in really bad shape. Quinn was mostly unaffected, though. He was happy to be able to choose the movies on the drive back (LEGO movie and Monsters University), and to eat at Culvers at the way.

When we got home, we found a really fun surprise. Quinn's friend Perry (a neighbor) made this birthday sign, and his parents left cupcakes in our fridge. So awesome! Especially since Moin and I were having a hard time being celebratory at all at that point. 

Luckily my parents were already back in town, so they took Quinn to dinner for his birthday so Moin and I could rest. Honestly, I have no idea what Penelope and Zahra were doing at this point. Taking care of themselves, I guess!
I love that picture of him in his new In-N-Out shirt (gift from my parents) and a presidents book at his birthday dinner.

By the time they got back, we were ready for presents.

Quinn got a robot from my parents, which he loves.

A bacon shirt

A robot shirt from Grandma Amy

(you may notice him switching his shirts throughout the present opening. He loved them all!)

A LEGO restaurant set
 And the game "road block" from Aunt Kelly.

A good haul!

We had a great trip, and now we have a 7-year-old. Can you believe it?

Big visit!

Quinn had his big meeting with Secretary and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton this month!

For the back story: I saw that Secretary Clinton would be in St. Paul signing her new book. Given Quinn's obsession with the presidents and first ladies, I knew he would be interested in meeting her. So, I got up at 6am and stood in line for 3 hours to get him a ticket. In the end, the waiting was worth it because Quinn had a great time.

On the day of our actual visit, we also had to wait for several hours together. I had no idea how Quinn would do waiting for so long, but he was actually incredibly well behaved. He passed the time by reading his first ladies book and playing ipad.

We met lots of fun people in line, many of whom were impressed with Quinn's presidential expertise.

As we got closer, we had to get frisked by secret service, which was truthfully a highlight for Quinn!

He's about to lose it here from the heat and the waiting, but we are so close!!!

Now, for the big moment. Meeting Hillary. No pictures were allowed inside.
 I stood back so Quinn could have his moment with her. He shook her hand and she asked his age and how old he was.
Then Quinn said, "I love the presidents and you are going to be our next president."
Hillary: "You love the presidents? Like, you study them?"
Quinn: "Yes"
Hillary: "Who is your favorite president"
Quinn: "Barack Obama"
Hillary: '"well, he is a very good president" - then she starting talking about how Quinn should keep working very hard at learning about the presidents and work hard in school because it is very important. I was so distracted at that point because Quinn started to cry a little bit. He was so excited! 

Being a kid obsessed with US history is not that common, so I'm so happy Quinn got to go to an event where he got to meet someone he is so interested in. The best part is when a woman in line tried to tell Quinn that Jimmy Carter only had 1 child (Amy). He was like, "no he had four". She said, "No, young man, it was 1. I WAS THERE." Quinn said, "fine, but he still had four". Of course, Quinn was right.

It was a great day! And now, we have THIS hanging in our house :)