It was hard to capture all the fun we had in Kansas with Kendra/Chris/kids and David/Holly/kids. When the whole group got together there were 13 of us! We had lively times, for sure.
On Tuesday we celebrated the July/August birthdays. Ender's first birthday is coming up, Kendra turned 30 in July, and Holly and Mark both have August birthdays. Tuesday afternoon I took Kendra and Holly birthday shopping, and we left all the kids home with Grandpa and Chris. The girls told me they liked their gifts, but best of all they liked having some grownup girl time with me.
After family dinner on Tuesday, Ender had his very own little chocolate birthday cake.
Wednesday we had another grownup outing. David took the day off, so Mark and I took all the adults out for lunch at a buffalo wings restaurant. (Kendra and Holly had arranged for 2 babysitters to watch the 5 younger kids at home, while Gavin and Andie were at summer camp.) The food was fun, but the best part was spending time with our kids together. I didn't get any photos--the restaurant was dim, and my fingers were too sticky to manage the camera--but I will long remember the joy and laughter of that outing together.
After lunch, we went over to David and Holly's home to play board games. More laughter and good memories... All too soon it was time to put the games away and head back to...eat again?! My how the time flew with our family.
On Thursday morning we got ready for an outing to the Children's Museum. Mark and I put on our family reunion shirts. Then Charlie came downstairs, pleased as punch that he had his shirt on, too. Abbi got in the spirit of things and ran upstairs to change into her reunion shirt. Kendra pulled out her reunion shirt and loaned it to Gavin, and it was time for a group shot:
Oh, did I mention that it was hot?!?! On Wednesday the temperature was well over 100 degrees, so we headed for the Crown Center in downtown Kansas City. Along with being the headquarters for Hallmark (think "crown" logo) and a 3-story mall, the Crown Center features a wonderful fountain.
Mark and I were so happy to spend the four days with our two Kansas families. All four adults--Kendra/Chris and David/Holly--are wonderful parents, and their children are thriving. Nothing makes a grandparent's heart happier than to see that the children are well.
Near the end of our time in Kansas, David and Holly decided that they will soon be heading back to the Northwest. David's Kansas internship is winding up, and there are good prospects for an internship in the Portland area, so they will be moving back to Oregon soon.
In case you are wondering, the answer is "yes." Yes, they will be living with us for a while, and yes, we are once again driving a "hillbilly Subaru," this time loaded with some of David and Holly's belongings. Of course we are thrilled to have these dear ones moving closer to us again, even if it's only for a while, but it is also bittersweet, as the happy times of the "Kansas cousins" get-togethers come to a close.
And so, on Friday morning, Mark and I climbed back into the car--loaded to the gills again!--to continue our journey west.