First, I apologize for how long this post is going to be (although I don't know why I'm apologizing since it's my blog!) So much has happened and I have so much to share. I thought about breaking it up into a bunch of small posts, but I was afraid some of the posts would get missed. So here goes my long weekend travel log:
My Mother's Day gift this year was a Mom's Weekend Away with my cousin, Erin. On Thursday, she drove up from Tulsa, OK to Kansas City to spend the weekend with me. I was totally excited and definitely ready for some fun girl time.
We kicked off the weekend by attending my church's Literacy Night. That may not sound very exciting when you first hear that, but let me add . . . my good friend and best-selling LDS author, Jeff Savage, flew to Kansas City and was our guest speaker! It was awesome! Since moving from Utah one year and five months ago (yes, I counted), I have missed getting together with all my author and writing group friends. Spending a couple hours with Jeff was very nourishing for my writing spirit.
Setting up for Literacy night was so fun. I brought a huge selection of my books by LDS authors and displayed them. We had a bit of everything: Picture books, board books, elementary chapter books, YA, fantasy, action, adventure, romance, historical fiction, etc. I had so many books, we covered two six-foot tables and the table the podium was standing on. It seriously looked like a Scholastic Book Sale. It was an eye opener for all the attendees who don't follow LDS fiction. They enjoyed going through and checking out the selection and quality of good, clean books.
After Literacy Night - me, Jeff, & my hubby. Look how short we are compared to Jeff!
That night, Erin and I drove to Independence for our one night away (aka - an opportunity to sleep!). I have to tell you, Erin is the queen of finding excellent deals. She found a totally fabulous deal and we ended up staying overnight at the Marriott. I can't even post up here what my share was, cause you'd all freak out, it was so ridiculously cheap. So yeah, Erin rocks. I need to take some budgeting lessons from her. :)
Friday morning, I made a very sad discovery. After months and years of getting up early in the morning to get my kids ready for school, I have lost the ability to sleep in past 7:30 AM. For the girl who loved to sleep in until noon, then lay in bed reading books until at least 3 PM, this is an absolute tragedy. But one I will survive.
After a yummy waffle breakfast, Erin and I went back upstairs and spent an hour chatting, catching up, and laughing. Then we got ready for a day of fun.
Our first stop: Girlfriends!
Girlfriends is a really fun restaurant that only serves lunch and you must have a reservation. The really fun part comes in when we girls get to go into the back room and totally dress up. Oh my, the selection of hats, necklaces, feather boas, gloves, tiaras, bracelets, and shoes was astounding! Erin and I laughed and giggled like little girls playing dress up - which essentially we were minus the little girl part.
The Princess and The Diva!
Ooh La La - Who's That Girl?
Ooh . . . Some Gorgeous Blue-Eyed Royalty!
Not only were we having fun, but we had some very yummy food. We were served a Grilled Chicken Wrap (which was made with a Tomato Basil Wrap, grilled chicken, lettuce, bacon, tomato, cheese, and a zesty ranch sauce - it was totally delish!), Guacamole chips, Strawberries & Bananas, Raspberry Lemonade and our choice of dessert. Erin chose the Chocolate Cup filled with Chocolate Mousse, and I chose Cheesecake. Of course, then we shared. That's the benefit of being cousins - we don't mind sharing a few germs. Here are some more fun pictures from Girlfriends:
The Diva and The Princess enjoying lunch.
Isn't this lamp so cute?
I loved this purse! Just wait until you see the wallet . . .
Aren't the panties hilarious?
I saw this dress and it reminded me of one of my sister's prom dresses from the 80's.
Our next stop: LDS Church History Sites
This was my first time visiting the LDS Church Independence Visitor's Center. There were lots of neat displays and tours, including a kids play area and a pretty cool log house & printing shop. We watched the the movie Joseph Smith, The Prophet of the Restoration. This was the third time seeing the movie, but Erin's first. Poor Erin. I neglected to tell her before the movie started that I'd need a box of tissues. I love how this movie brings to life the prophet Joseph and his wife, Emma; what their every-day life was like, the hardships they endured together, and prophet's death. It's incredibly moving.
After the visitor's center, we went to the Independence Temple Lot and visited with one of the Church of Christ apostles. It was neat to see the original temple stones that were found during an excavation. Then we went across the street to the RLDS Temple(recently renamed as Community of Christ)
We took a guided tour of the temple. It was very interesting. I enjoyed all the pretty sculptures and art work.
Then we visited the Peace Park, which is across from the Peace Center. We stopped here because there's a gorgeous statue I wanted to see up close. Here are several pictures of it:
As you can see, the statue is of a woman arching her back as she releases a dove.
I love the lines and elegance of the statue. It reminds me of a ballet dancer.
A close up. Isn't it gorgeous?
A silhouette from behind in color.
The same picture as above, but in black and white.
Our next stop: Eden Bookstore
We stopped by Eden Bookstore where we each found a few books we wanted to read. I also found a fun game called The Celestial Companions Game. Erin and I had a blast reading the questions and answering them (what we thought our hubbies would say & what we thought about our hubbies) as we headed back to Olathe. It was such fun! A sample question from the game (this one is for the men to answer):
Of the following hymn titles, which best describes how your wife views your relationship:
A) What Glorious Scenes Mine Eyes Behold
B) Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love
C) Does the Journey Seem Long?
D) Master the Tempest is Raging
Finally, we arrived back at my house. My hubby had dinner ready and waiting for us. Isn't he awesome? After dinner, some of my other girlfriends came over for a game party while my awesome hubby took care of the kiddos and got them into bed. Then he joined the rest of the females for some game fun.
Saturday started off quite early. Erin and I went to to cheer for MJ at her soccer game. Can I just say my daughter is a great soccer player? No balls got past her when she was goalie - and she scored a goal during the game, too. She has no fear and just loves to play! Here are some pictures from the game:
MJ the Goalie
I'm ready - Bring it on!
Unlike me, MJ has no fear of balls flying at her. She just gets right out there and is all over the ball. Sometimes I have to cover my eyes, cause I'm afraid she's going to get kicked in the head!
MJ on the run!
MJ took this picture of Coach Steve (the silly one) and Coach Justo (hiding from the camera).
A bunch of silly girls getting ready for their team picture.
After the soccer game, we all came back to my house. John took Isaac to track, while Erin and I got showers. As soon as John got back, off we went for another Girl's Day Out. Since Erin planned our activities while we were in Independence, she left Saturday up to me.
Our first stop: Mimi's Cafe for soup, salad, and muffins. Yum!
I love Mimi's French Onion soup. I also tried out the Bleu Cheese & Walnut salad - it was incredible!
Our next stop: Oak Park Mall (Are you surprised? Probably not.)
We browsed and shopped for spring clothes. Amazingly enough, I stayed within my budget. Now that's probably a first for me in regards to clothes shopping!
Our final stops: Borders and The Cheesecake Factory
Books and cheesecake - what a great way to end the day! Erin and I both had gift cards to Borders, so we stopped there first. Ironically, we both went in to buy the same book and didn't realize it until we were checking out! What book was it?
The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright
Then we hopped across the street to The Cheesecake Factory for some yummy desserts to go.
Back at my house, we ate dinner with my family, got the kids to bed, then watched a chick flick and ate our cheesecake. It was a great way to end our girls weekend.
Sunday morning, Erin got up super early (5 AM) and left to head back home so she could go to church and spend the day with her family. What a woman!
I, on the other hand, got up to say goodbye, then hopped right back into bed. A couple hours later, our family got up and went to church. The younger primary kids sang Mother's Day songs. Rob and MJ were quite cute. After church, our family spent the day playing board games and watching Food Network shows I had recorded on our DVR. We munched on popcorn and relaxed together. It was a really, really nice day. And a super-awesome weekend. A great big thank you to my cousin for driving all the way to KC for our weekend away. And a HUGE, HUGE thank you to my hubby for being so awesome and taking over the house and working from home so I could get a little break and recharge my Mommy Batteries.
And this, my friends, is the end of my very, very long recap of an awesome Mother's Day weekend!