Toddlers in Kansas City

A few weeks ago my friend Kirsten and I did something incredibly terrifying. We went on a girls weekend with 2 1/2 year olds. It ended up being a really fun vacation. We will be planning another trip soon.

Why did we travel with toddlers? We discussed doing it without any kids, but I’m the one who said we should bring the girls. It was selfish. I knew that John would be fine with both kids, but I also figured I would hear about how hard it was for the next week.

Other than not wanting to hear John complain, I was also genuinely excited to have Audrey and Sophia on our weekend.  They are close in age – only a few months apart, and I want them to grow up as friends. Kirsten is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I love that we became moms at the same time. Our boys are even closer in age, Elliot is 3 weeks older than Bryan.

So how did we enjoy ourselves with tiny people? We kept them busy, visited kid friendly places, and threw in some fun for us that they would be tolerant of.

The first place we went was Fritz’s Kansas City. After a long drive for both families we thought the girls would be hungry and tired. Fritz’s was a great place to eat, because it is for kids. Model trains run along the ceiling and deliver your food to your table. There is a lot to look at, and it is a noisy place so fussy toddlers fit right in. The food is worse than most fast food, but the kids didn’t mind.

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This is where I learned that Audrey is scared of train rides.

After lunch we headed over to Wonderscope Children’s Museum. This museum is wonderful! We could have spent all day there. The museum is an old school, and each of the rooms  has different activities. Audrey loved the farm room, and would have spent hours in that room and been perfectly happy. Sophia felt the same way about the grocery store room. The gym is still a gym, with lots of toys to run and play on. The girls burnt off a lot of energy playing. We didn’t get to all of the rooms in the time we had slotted for the museum. We will be back, and next time we will plan on spending more time playing.

After running and playing at Wonderscope we headed to Overland Park to do something for the grown ups – we went to A Yarn Shop and More. Kirsten and I are both knitters, and we both wanted to pick up some vacation yarn. The yarn shop had a good selection, but the woman working was far from friendly. I don’t understand yarn shops where the staff isn’t friendly.

The girls were well behaved and excited about the yarn. I let Audrey pick out yarn for socks and I picked up some dishcloth cotton (I’m always running out now that I’m knitting for the YMCA Supportive Housing Campus). Audrey convinced me to buy her a Zebra hat kit, which wasn’t very hard to do. If you are a 2 year old excited about yarn I’ll make you whatever you ask for.

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Can I please have this yarn?

The fourth thing we did was head back to the hotel to swim. The girls were pretty exhausted by this point, but they enjoyed their 15 minutes in the cold pool.

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Sometimes you post an unflattering photo of your child because it is a better picture of your friend.

We stayed at an Embassy Suites, and it worked out great. They have a cocktail reception, so we had a light dinner of snacks (and margaritas for Kirsten and me). In the morning we took advantage of their breakfast buffet. Our suite had a door between the bedroom and living area. That made it easy for Kirsten and I to drink wine and knit into the wee hours of the morning (OK, it was 11, but that is really late for me). It also made it possible for Kirsten and Sophia to get up and going in the morning like they are used to (at 5:30, a full 2 1/2 hours before Audrey and I got up).

Our last stop on girls weekend was the Zoo. Kansas City has a wonderful zoo, we were there for hours and didn’t see it all. Kirsten and I got in a 4 mile walk and the girls loved seeing the animals. I think we will plan on staying longer the next time we go.

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I can’t wait to convince Kirsten to do another girls weekend. Where should we go next?

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5 on Friday – Downtown Cedar Falls

I travel to Cedar Falls once a month. The kids and I (and John, if it’s a weekend) visit my parents. I love catching up with them, but also enjoy it when they babysit and I get to head downtown to enjoy the town. I don’t get a lot of time alone during the day, so handing off the kids to my parents for a few hours is really wonderful.

I love checking out the different spots downtown, but there are five places I adore.

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Vintage Iron Co. has all sorts of things for when you need to buy someone a gift but you aren’t entirely sure what they would like…fancy candles…decorative items….jewelry….this place has a lot of variety. I always go and look at their greeting cards. It’s hard to find good cards, so I stock up when I find them. I bought 10 cards the last time I was in. If I have ever given you a funny card, chances are I got it here.

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Do you find yourself watching the Pioneer Woman and thinking you wish you could dress like her without looking funny? If yes, Little Prairie Girl is the store for you. They have cute, flowing tops that don’t look dumb. Their prices are reasonable. and they have a wide (XS-3X) size selection. I have purchased a few items from the store and every time I wear one of them I get complements.20170304_135658.jpg

SingleSpeed Brewing is fun to visit if I’m hanging out downtown with John. They have decent beer, a cozy space, and bike art on the walls. I loved a poster there so much I tracked down the artist to buy a copy for John for Father’s Day.20170304_135055.jpgMontage is my favorite restaurant in Cedar Falls. Their Asian slaw is delicious and I would love to have their recipe. Ditto on their spicy whipped sweet potatoes. John and I went there for dinner the last time we were in Cedar Falls. We discussed just getting one of every side and skipping the entrees, not because they aren’t good (they are delicious), but because the sides are delectable.
image-20161108_133131-COLLAGEIf you follow me on Instagram you already know of my love of Cup of Joe. It is my #1 absolutely must visit place. It opened my senior year of high school, so it has been around for a long freaking time. I studied there in college. I caught up with friends when I visited town in my 20s and 30s. Now I visit to knit by myself for an hour or two before exploring town. I love it there. If I lived in Cedar Falls I would be there every day.

There are many more wonderful spots in downtown Cedar Falls to visit. It would be a great spot for a weekend girls trip. Start your morning at Cup of Joe, shop, have beer at Single Speed, then head to dinner at Montage in your new shirt from Prairie Girl.

What are your must visit spots in Cedar Falls?