Thursday, June 28, 2012


I wanted to share some pictures of saying good-bye to our dear friends in Kansas City. I hope one day that this blog can serve as a journal of sorts for our children and I really want them to remember their first friends. The ones they learned to walk with, share with, laugh with, and play with. I don't know how much they will remember of these sweet children, but I know I always will. And I will always be thankful for the friendship they gave to my kids during their formative years.

Bennett's best friend, Levi. I don't know what we are going to do without this sweet little boy. I have so many unposted pictures of the two of them, but if you want to see some more, click on this link.

Will's best friend, Rachel. He has already asked to go play at her house 8 times in the week since we have moved.

And here are my kids with their 2 besties, Levi and Rachel. Who knows? I may end up missing these little ones more than my kids do. I have watched them grow since they were babies. Sigh..... thank goodness for facebook. Their Moms had better post tons of pictures of them growing up.

My kids also adore their dear friends, Ridley and Sadie. I love these sweet girls and am so thankful for all of the playdates and time spent hanging out together as families.

And Bennett became very close to three little girls in her pre-school class this year. Here she is with Haleigh and Charlotte at Chick-fil-A.

And both girls plus Emmy Grace stopped by to say good-bye to her two days before she moved. I am praying that she will find such good friends next year at her new school.

And then there are my friends.... man, I miss them already. I don't have any pictures of our dear friends, the Haines family. We always took pictures when we were out on Terry's phone and he never sends them to me! And Rob had several going away parties that we didn't take pictures at. His office had one for him as did the church where he led worship. I wish we had taken our camera, but we were so grateful for everyone being so gracious and kind and helping us as we moved.

We did have a final get together with our amazing small group. The best one ever! Here is a group shot of some of the folks we will miss the most in Kansas City.

And my dear KC girls had a going away dinner for which was so special and meaningful. I cannot thank them enough for sending me away on such an encouraging and loving note. Here are all the beautiful ladies.

My beautiful co-hostess for the evening and midnight movie watching partner in crime, Erica. I would give anything to hear her laugh right now. Just looking at this picture is making me homesick.

Two of the truest and kindest friends I will ever have, Jai and Krista.

The four pregnant Mamas trying to beat the heat. Three of us are having girls. One could be, but she won't find out until delivery. I am sad that our little girls won't all grow up playing together.

My very first friend in Kansas City, Rani. Such an encouragement over the years! And the source for nearly all of Will's wardrobe. :-)

My beautiful friends, Jessica and Kerry. Jess was so comforting this year and really walked me through my struggle of watching my cousin suffer with ovarian cancer. Her prayers and tears shed with me will always mean so much and Kerry has been one of my dearest friends these past few years. Even as I was typing this blog post, I got a text from her checking on me. So thankful for these friends.

Enjoying a beautiful dinner at Erica's with a theme of Kansas sunflowers. Of course.

And finally, my best friend, Jessie. I don't have the words to describe this girl. When I moved to KC and didn't have any family, she took me in. She invited us to spend every holiday with her family and I took her up on most of them. I have held her babies in the hospital and been there for their baptisms. She has literally carried me to up to my bed when I couldn't walk due to back pain. We have spent Superbowls, BBQ's, and countless birthday parties together. We have run out to Bon Jovi concerts spontaneously and hidden in the mall from tornadoes. She took me to my first KU basketball game and I taught her how to say, "Roll Tide." We have watched terrible 80's movies together while eating ice cream and gotten on our knees and prayed together during tough storms. We have brought each others meals, watched each others kids, and lived life together. I already miss my best friend so much but thank goodness for daily phone calls during naptime! May they never stop.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kansas City Bucket List

When we made the final decision to move from Kansas City, we quickly began compiling our bucket list. We made a list of our favorite things to do in the area and wanted to check off as many as possible before we moved. We actually did an amazing job. Mainly because we have had so many showings on our house and we needed places to go, but I am still a little awed at how many we checked off. So, here in no particular order are our favorite things to do in Kansas City.

1. Royals Game. We had to go to one last game before we moved. We never made it to a Chiefs game sadly, but we had so much fun going to Royals games. It was a blast living in a city that was home to two professional sports teams. The kids loved the ball park and they got to experience their first tastes of cotton candy. What could be better?

2. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts- This is a new state of the art concert hall in Kansas City and they began constructing it right after we moved here. Rob and I had wanted to go for a long time and fortunately right before we moved our good friends, Alex and Lori Schwindt, offered us tickets to the symphony. It was a wonderful evening and we had dessert afterwards at The Webster House which was also on our bucket list. Amazing evening.

3. Oklahoma Joe's- Best. BBQ. Ever! Sorry, Dreamland. You know I love you, but you can't quite hang with Kansas City BBQ. We also love Jack Stack and Arthur Bryant's..... delicious.

4. The Crown Center-  We have loved going to the Crown Center ever since Bennett was a baby. We always eat at the train restaurant, otherwise known as Fritz's, and we play in the playground area at the end of the first floor and finally end by going to the Crayola store. I can't count the number of times we have done this over the years. Going there for the last time was definitely bittersweet. I may have shed a tear or two.

5. The Sea Life Aquarium- This was a new adventure for us seeing as how the aquarium just opened in May, but we wanted to make sure that we checked it out before the move. It did not disappoint. The kids are still talking about it and asking to go back. We'll just have to head over to Atlanta next time we need some aquatic action.

6. Downtown Kansas City events- I love living in big cities. I loved growing up in the suburbs of Washington DC where there was always tons to do. And so we tried to go downtown as much as possible whenever there was something going on that was kid friendly and reasonably priced. Fortunately we were able to hit two of these in the few months leading up to our move. We attended the KC Irish Fest Parade and also Jiggle Jam, which is  music festival held every Memorial Day. Both were huge successes in our eyes and definitely worth checking out.

7. Hanging out on a farm- One thing I love best about this area is that we live just outside of a large city, but if you drive 5 miles in the other direction you were surrounded by beautiful fields and farms. We were fortunate enough to spend many outings on various farms and we were able to hit one more up before we left. Bennett was even able to grab very fresh eggs right from underneath a hen.

8. Louisburg Cider Mill- Of course we love the Cider Mill in the Fall, but we love their yummy cider donuts year round.

9. Coco Key Water Resort- I am so glad we discovered this place when we first moved to KC because we have been so many times over the years. There are water slides perfect for small kids and you can go during the winter on a weeknight for a great price. We spent many cold winter evenings hanging out at a water park. Going there one more time before we moved was a must.

10. Picking Fresh Fruit- We took Bennett and Will apple picking our first Fall in KC and have loved picking various fruits depending on the season. Fortunately we moved during blueberry picking season, so we were able to go to The Berry Patch in Missouri a few weeks before we left. It was a beautiful summer evening and a great night to go berry picking.

11. Downtown Farmers Market- There was a Farmer's Market in our suburb of Overland Park, but it didn't compare to the one you could go to downtown. We tried to go as much as we could in the summer time and it was a blast every time we went. The baked goods and fresh fruit and veggies were amazing, but we also loved the live music and street performers. Of course, it was so fun to be downtown surrounded by the skyline while we walked around. It's a very cool farmers market and one that we will miss.

12. The Plaza- Of course you can't leave Kansas City without one final stop to the Plaza. We went there during our job interview and spent one of our very last evenings there. What a cool strip of shops, restaurants, and fountains located right in the heart of downtown. We never got to go on a carriage ride, but we enjoyed many evenings strolling down the streets enjoying one of our favorite spots in the city.
13. Belton Train Rides- Another annual favorite. I am glad that we had a few more months after we accepted the job in Dothan to squeeze in some of our favorite activities. I was especially glad that the move wouldn't happen until after the Belton train started their summer schedule. Last year we enjoyed having dinner on the train, but this year it didn't work out for us to make that event. However, we took a fun afternoon ride and the kids loved it  just as much. 

14. Outdoor Movies- It seems like every weekend in Kansas City there are movies showing on a lawn somewhere. Union Station downtown shows free ones and so do a lot of city parks. We hit up a free showing of The Wizard of Oz (of course) one Friday night a Leawood City Park. Will was a little scared of the MGM lion roaring before the movie even started. He has issues.

15. The Legends- We love, love, love the Legends shopping center. We spent many fun evenings playing games at Dave and Busters, eating at the Dinosaur restaurant, eating ice cream at Russel Stover, shopping, and splashing in the fountains. We always intended to spend a night at Great Wolf Lodge and then spend the day at the Legends. That never happened, but at least we were able to visit the shopping center several times before we left.

16. Union Station- Have I mentioned lately that Kansas City rocks? Our bucket list doesn't even scratch the surface of things to do and many of them are free. One of Will's favorite things was to go to Union Station to see the rather impressive miniature railroad exhibit. I have never seen a better display of trains and it doesn't cost a thing. At Christmas time they add a train to the North Pole and you can visit Santa too. One of our favorite things in KC, that's for sure.

17. Zonkers- An indoor amusement park that wouldn't make many tourists lists of things to do in KC, but my kids for some reason LOVED it there, and it saved me on many a rainy and cold days when we were trapped inside. We couldn't leave KC without going there one more time.

18.  Dollar movies at Dickinson Palazzo- During the summer our local theatre shows G rated movies for a few dollars. These were special dates for me and Bennett and I promised her that I would take her to a few before we moved. Here she is on a Mommy/daughter date to see "The Lorax."

19. Oak Park Mall-  We couldn't leave KC without a trip to our favorite mall. We did this cheap and easy routine at least once a month and sometimes once a week when Rob was out of town. We would go to the mall and visit the American Girl Store. Bennett never wanted to buy anything, thank goodness. Then we would ride the merry go round, play in the Disney store, play on the indoor playground, and get a soft pretzel as we were leaving. Total cost? $5 for about 3 hours of fun. Definitely had to put it on our bucket list.

20. Deanna Rose's Children's Farmstead- Oh, Deanna Rose's. How I love you. Words cannot express how much I will miss this wonderful little farm. It is located about 5 miles from our house and we first took Bennett there when she was 14 months old and we had season passes all of our summers in KC. It is free on weekdays and kids can ride horses, play on awesome playgrounds, pan for gold, fish, pet goats, and see a whole variety of animals. This wonderful place entertained our kids on a nearly weekly basis for years and I cannot say enough good things about it.

Quick flashback photo- Here we are during our first Fall at Deanna Rose's. 
And here are some photos we took this Spring while visiting.

21. Spin Pizza- Best pizza I have ever had. And I will start drooling if I think about their rosemary flat bread. I would fly back to KC just for some of their pizza.

22. Jumping Jax- Every city has one of these. It really isn't anything unique to KC. The one in Alabama where we went is called Pump it Up. It is really just large rooms filled with inflatable slides. But my kids love this place so we had to add it to our list. And if I may brag for a bit, they are both really good at climbing the obstacle courses. Will was able to go over these huge rock walls and down big slides at around 18 months old. We went here a lot during snowy KC winters and I really believe it helped with their coordination. On our last trip I forgot to take pictures of the slides, so this is the only one I got. My kids are taking a slushie break with two of their besties, Rachel and Sadie

23. AMC Cinema Suites- I have saved the best for last. When you combine my love for movies with my love for comfort and food, then you have hit the Lauren Webster jack pot.  We discovered Cinema Suites when I was 9 months pregnant with Will. Rob and I had gone to see a movie and I was so uncomfortable and then someone suggested we try Cinema Suites. What is it, you ask? Why just the most amazing movie theatre EVER where you recline all the way back in a leather chair while watching your movie. You have a tray that swings right up to your lap and you can order food from a full menu. While watching your movie you can order anything from a glass of wine to a burger to a salad to pizza to quesadillas. They have all kinds of dessert and you have a little button by your chair and a waiter will come all throughout your movie to refill your drink or bring you something else. It is fantastic and anytime anyone visited us in KC we took them there. We saw a movie the week we left and I did take pictures, but who wants to see a 6 months pregnant woman sprawled out being gluttonous? But just trust me, it's fabulous! These are stock photos. Not mine. Obviously.

There is so much more to do in Kansas City and our bucket list also consisted of things I haven't posted here. One more trip to our favorite park, our favorite pet store, our favorite ice cream shop, playing with friends, etc.... And there were a lot of things we just couldn't squeeze in. We would have loved to go to the I-70 Drive Inn, Swope Park, Brookside, Starlight Theatre, the Zoo, a concert at the Sprint Center, a show at the Coterie Theatre, Powell Gardens, Science City, the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum..... and so much more. 

We loved our (nearly) four years in Kansas City. We honestly tried to make the most of every day that we lived there. I am so thankful that we lived in a city that had to so much to offer young families. I firmly believe that my kids were stimulated in a way that will shape them all of their lives. They developed a love and a curiosity for adventure that I hope stays with them always. We will greatly miss this city and will always look back on our time there with such fond memories.