and now for ... a familymoon.

12 May 2015

say QUE?!

First you had your neighborhood scouting moon and then you had your house hunting moon and now you're saying you went on a familymoon too?!

We did. Those Pattons the moon hounds. That's us.

So, as promised ... a bevy of words and photos and more words about said familymoon in Kansas City.

But first ... I have to give a little background! Yay.

Simon attended his first two years of med school in Kansas City before we moved to Wichita for his second and final two years. Right after we got engaged before his second year I found a teeny tiny impossibly cheap apartment down the street from Simon's house that smelled like curry and cigarettes (hence the happy price tag) by the med center, landed a job 70 miles away in Topeka, and lived a nice little engaged life in KC while he studied and studied and I commuted and commuted. Aren't you glad I gave you that history lesson? I thought so. No, my point is that we have a lot of fond memories in Kansas City and always want to stop and see our old haunts with the kids on the way to visit Simon's family in Wichita but we've never been able to make it happen .... UNTIL NOW. 

Trumpets. Bright colored banners.

Visit KC invited us to take a mini vacation over the weekend in Kansas City and we were so happy the timing worked out before I was too pregnant to fit in the van with the rest of the family and before we moved. Not that we should've by now (at all) but we've never taken a "vacation" that wasn't to visit family or tagging along with Simon to one of his conferences so this felt bizarrely grown up and somewhat foreign but I'm not complaining because the kids l-o-v-e-d it.

We drove up Friday and randomly heard this song on the radio so surely .... it was fate? Surely. Anyway, after getting settled into our hotel suite at the Westin Crown Center (we are now ruined forever and ever and ever ... having two rooms completely changed the quality of the sleep situation for the much, much, much better) and giving the kids much-needed naps we headed across the street (no driving! thank you kid-friendly gods!) to Sea Life.

To be perfectly honest I think the kids would've been happy with the display tank in the lobby but we pressed on and went through the (mostly empty! we went sort of late around 7pm) entire aquarium.


Sebastian claimed to have found a "fish made of broccoli",


Phoebe couldn't have cared less, and Theo has now requested a similar sandbox in his future Florida quarters ...


... and when we asked the kids what their favorite part was after we left Sebastian happily exclaimed, "the WHALES!!!"


(no whales, only their fun-loving cousin ... the shark)

Onto dinner! Aside from our road trip pit stops and the hospital cafeteria we don't take the kids out to eat (um ... ever) for every obvious reason under the sun so I was mildly apprehensive about going to a sit down restaurant but Fritz's Railroad Cafe back over at Crown Center delivered the food via train ...


which Sebastian thought was just awful ...


Stop judging ...


... it's just Diet Coke with an extra three shots of caffeine. That's all.

The food came super fast and the baby really appreciated my Oreo Sundae that I super reluctantly ordered for dessert.

The next morning we headed across the street (by foot, again!) to run around the courtyard full of fountains ...


and eventually Legoland Discovery Center which almost sent Sebastian into overly excited cardiac arrest. He'd been studying the website all week and could hardly believe we were actually there in the flesh. There was a happy mix of (tame) rides, hands-on exhibits, and a huge indoor playground full of big (soft) lego blocks where I'm certain Julia would still be camped if we hadn't insist that we leave with her cruel family. They had kiddy pool sized vats of Duplos which suited Phoebe just fine ...


... while Simon the fun parent Patton built complicated little cars with the boys to send sailing down the ramps they had set up.


Because you have to make reservations for Legoland Discovery Center Simon was nervous that it would be a total zoo (he is a well known hater of lines) but it wasn't too crowded at all for a Saturday and if I had to do it again I would dedicate far more than two hours to the excursion. Lesson learned!

And then we had lunch at the Crayola Cafe at Crown Center where once again, the service was fast, the kids happy to sit and color and not share a bunch of broken crayons like at home (sue me), and I'm still regretting not just going for it a la dessert round two. I'll live. I think.


And just when you thought your day's luck had run out I have to go and tell you that I'm going to go ahead and throw a cliffhanger at you because round two .... it'll come at a (not that much) later date. What will we do next?! What will we eat?! How many hours will the kids nap? Will someone throw up?! Multiple times?!

All that and more .... next time.


Next time, patient people.

(And now that we're feeling stupidly brave .... I'd love to hear your family vacation destinations of choice. Looking back at my childhood .... my parents were very, very brave souls taking young kids camping at Yellowstone ... so maybe something with a little more electricty? Thanks.)

30 comments:

  1. I live in KC so I'm looking forward to your next post!

    Have you been to Branson? It'll obviously be more difficult to go there once you've moved, but it's great for kids. The town itself is maybe a little hokey, but Silver Dollar City is wonderful and our kids really love the Dixie Stampede too.

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  2. So fun! You guys deserved it. When I was in South Africa with my fiancé this past March, we were eating a communal dinner and the discussion turned to "can you travel with kids". One of the guys there said he and his wife took their 8 month old daughter on a 2 month trip through South America, so of course you can travel with kids. I probably don't recommend that to you, but it's a pretty awesome story that he told. :)

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  3. The only vaca that we've done that hasn't been strictly to visit family was a long weekend in Chicago... but we were still with family so it only half-counts... also, we only had one kid at the time. I want to take the kids to Legoland in KC sometime, so I'm glad to hear that you liked it!

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  4. We haven't ventured much into Family Vacation Town, so there isn't much to pick from, but two years ago, my parents very generously offered to join them on their trip to Myrtle Beach. My also very generous father in law had mercy on my husband and I and paid for our flight. (At the time we were still a family of 4, and the kids were 2 and 3...wow, I've never actually thought about that....we musta been on glue or something.) Anyway, the kids STILL talk about Myrtle Beach, and whenever we talk about going to "the beach", they hopefully ask, "Myrtle Beach?" (We live in Metro Detroit.) We stayed in a condo that was about 10 minutes drive from the main drag, which I HIGHLY recommend. We had to drive to the beach, but the main drag of Myrtle Beach is very "spring break, WOO HOO!" (Chandler Bing, anyone?) So, not so much family friendly. It was a great week.

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  5. What a fun weekend! We are actually heading to San Antonio this weekend for a week long vacation! Our first "grown up" family vacation too! I'm not looking forward to the 19 hour drive with an almost two year old!! 'Tis Our Life Blog

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  6. My parents took us to Yellowstone, but we stayed at the super crazy old inns there! One of my favorite childhood memories.

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  7. I love this!! How fun! I love seeing the kids be able to really play at all these places. I feel like so many places that are geared towards kids, aren't really that kid friendly. Or maybe that is just here in Alaska. But the museum, and other places just don't do it for my crew. Bash looks like he might have been taking mental notes on what amazing kid activities really look like. ha! And two hotel rooms....kill me now! I can't wait to see what else the Patton's got into!

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  8. We will be taking our 18 month old son to San Diego next month to visit the zoo and LEGOLAND. We will see how that goes! My husband is not so much looking forward to the traveling aspect.

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    1. Tip about the zoo- if you want to see the pandas do that first thing. In the morning it's not too busy but gets crowded later in the day. Have fun! We love the SD zoo :)

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  9. Gatlinburg is extremely family friendly, has beautiful scenery and isn't expensive. Win win! By far my favorite city to visit is Chicago though!

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  10. Growing up my parents took us 4 to the Carolina beaches...my dad (superhuman that he is) can STILL function after driving/flying all.night, so he'd always take one for the team and drive 12 hours straight thru from Ohio to the beach. We'd pack enough for breakfast, stop at a grocery store before checking in at our rental house and by 11 am we were fed, stocked up and unloaded at the house, and in bathing suits in the surf. So, this past summer, we hopped on board with a crew of friends, most of whom also have kiddos, and went to hatteras, NC with our 4 kids. We had 34 people in a beach house, 14 were 10 and under (not an extended family group). Incredible. Neither me nor my husband can drive all night, but we still arrived at the beach for sunrise and our kids got to see the ocean for the first time with cool morning sun and dolphins jumping the waves. We did juuuust fine in the beach house with 6 of us in one room and it was a crazy but beautiful vacation. And pretty sure we're doing it again in early Fall, so we'll have a 6 yr old, 4 yr old, 2 yr old and 1 year old. No one else thinks we are sane but that's okay! The whole thing is vacation if we tell the kids that part of the adventure is getting there. Biggest thing I had to remember: it's not really MY vacation...I am not off-duty, and since we aren't very strong swimmers, we had to be vigilant. But my oldest 2 still ask to go back to the beach all the time.

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  11. We would visit family in California most of the time, but that doesn't really count as vacation, right? We went to the Grand Canyon twice, loved it a lot more at 15 than I did at 5. Or it just may be that I don't remember really anything from that first trip.

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  12. Food by train?!?! That is AMAZING!
    xox
    giedre

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  13. I live right by Yellowstone, and second Joanna's comment - stay in one of the lodges. So beautiful, so historic- and electricity!! The Old Faithful Lodge is the classic giant log, soaring ceilings, giant fireplaces, etc. But the Lake Hotel, on Yellowstone Lake, is my favorite. With beautiful colonial architecture (so out of place here in Montana!) and spectacular views over the lake, it can't be missed. When I was a kid, it was the most beautiful building I could possibly fathom.

    My favorite childhood vacation was the summer I was 8 - my wonderful nut of a mom took me on the ultimate road trip. I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder, and we spent a month sleeping in the back of our jeep, visiting every place Laura lived as a child. We drove from Montana to Missouri and back, making many, many stops. I will always cherish those memories!

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    1. OMG I am so jealous, I would love to do that!

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  14. Yearly Family vacations are a must for us! We have gone to Disneyland a few times, myrtle beach, DC, San Francisco and Disney World just two weeks ago. I love to travel and we always went on a ton of trips growing up. The key with little kids is not to over plan. One, maybe two things a day and always have something like swimming, as a low key activity for the kids to get their energy out.

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  15. We go to the beach in NC every year with my family. I have always loved the beach but after we brought our first-born 4 week old one year (we were absolutely clueless), I wasn't sure we'd survive going again. With our (now) three kids it definitely helps having multiple adults around, live-in cousin playmates for the week, and to rent a house on the beach!
    Legoland DC sounds awesome, and those restaurants sound like a parent's dream- plenty of distractions for the kids. :)

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  16. I am ALL about vacations. Like, what else is money for? So we've done San Diego (we drove from Phoenix) with our eldest when she was 1 & I was knocked up. Then we did the Grand Canyon with a 2 year old & a wee 3 month old. We did Disneyland with a 3 year old & 1 year old. Disney again with them slightly older. Disney again with 4 year old & newly 3 year old & me knocked up. Great Wolf Lodge (indoor water park) with a 5 year old, 3 year old & 9 month old. Disneyland (sensing a theme?) with a 5 year old, 4 year old & 18 month old. And we just went to the Olympic Peninsula (western WA state-rainforest, hiking, ocean, lakes) a few weeks ago with a 6 year old, 4 year old & 22 month old. WHEW! I love to travel. I itch until I have a trip planned. And if you super lower your expectations it can be enjoyable. I think sometimes parents think because it's a vacation & an awesome place, kids will just be better & they won't. They will still not want to wear pants under dresses, and they will still be a toddler. But if you can roll with the punches, it can be grand!

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  17. I hear you 'mericans are allowed to travel to Cuba now...Florida's not that far away from there. All-inclusive?

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  18. This summer we are going to San Diego and we'll spend a lot of time on Mission Bay where i can let the kids dig in the sand and go to the edge of the water without having to worry about waves knocking them down. My most ambitious kid travel was when I went on a moms/kids only camping trip (so no dads!) We had fun, but man was it exhausting. I had a 3 yr old and an 18 month old at the time. Its been three years and I can't muster up the energy to take them camping again, and I love camping.

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  19. every year the beach. did it with a baby and continue the tradition. usually have my parents or his parents with us, but we rent a house on vrbo and spend a whole week on one of the carolina beaches.

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  20. We're northern Californians. With our now 2 year old daughter, we've been to LA 3 times (by plane), Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo (3 hour drive), Tahoe (3 hr drive) New York, and Chicago. She has slowly earned what I call her "vacation points" by sleeping through the night on the last two trips.

    We find fun things for her to enjoy as well as drag her to all the (child friendly) places we want to go, which mostly revolve around food. We have adjusted our travel style, knowing we can't see or do it all, but we love to travel so we make it work. Next up, possibly Paris. If I can come to terms with the 13 hour flight.

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  21. Favorite vacation w kiddos- obviously the sweden/Iceland/Norway trip last summer. Runner up was Yellowstone, but we had cabins.. No tents! Mamma needs her sbower and not to be eaten by bears. We are hoping to brave disney world this fall.. How far is that from where you guys will be? Clearly geography of the state I was born in is my strong suit.

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  22. On a trip to Yosemite when me and my brother were 5 and 7, my parents decided we should hike to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls. (It's 3,000 ft change in elevation, pretty much straight up, as an adult the hike took me 2.5 hours). We were troopers and made it to the top! They underestimated how long it would take us, and it ended up getting dark before we could make it back down. We didn't have flashlights, were on my parents' backs and shoulders, and ended up falling, domino style, down the mountain and somehow only ended up with scrapes and bruises. It all came back to me when I did the hike last year, and I asked my mom, what she and my dad were thinking?! She feels really lucky that it didn't turn out a whole lot worse! Here's a link to photos from last year: http://www.roseannbathphoto.com/blog/2014/10/18/hiking-upper-yosemite-falls

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  23. Loving that big happy Julia smile!! So glad you could get away and have some fun with the kiddos. Happy Belated Mother's Day!!

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  24. Once you move to Florida and are ready for vacation, you should get a cabin at Fort Wilderness at Disney. They are pricey, but with Florida resident rates its totally worth it. They are super cute and include a bunk bed, a full bed and a Murphy bed in the living room that our kids loved pulling down from the wall. We had plenty of room for our family of 7! There is also the bonus of having a kitchen, so you don't have to eat out the whole time and maid service that cleans and does dishes every day. That is my kind of camping! There is a huge outdoor movie every night with a chip and dale sing-a-long, pony rides, nature trails, and lots of other things to do. Our oldest is only 10, so it's the closest thing to camping they will get to experience until they are old enough to help out more 😉.

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  25. So there is a Legoland Discovery Center where we are vacationing next week and my question for you (and anyone else who can give some advice), is it worth it for an 8 almost 9 year old girl? She LOVES legos but I'm worried it is more for little kidos. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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  26. I grew up in KC and currently live in Topeka, so...yay! Glad your trip was enjoyable!!!

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  27. We have a Sea Life aquarium in AZ and I just bought a annual pass for half off! It will be a great place to get out of the heat. I grew up in Iowa, so we had many KC vacations! I loved going to Royals games and to Worlds of Fun! Probably better though when the kids are older. Looks like a great trip!

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  28. I'm devastated..... we were in KC too for a quick getaway! Crown Center we did not hit up, even though it was always an option, dang it! We did Great Wolf Lodge, T-Rex Cafe, and Deanna Rose Farm. I'm so sad we missed an opportunity to meet you guys!

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