Date Night


During vacation my aunt watched the kids one night so James and I could go on a date. To McCoys, oh! Kansas City in the first week of June was awash in cool nights and soft summer days, staying below 80 most of the time. As evening came the long shadows and longer breezes necessitated a SWEATER outdoors. (A sweater! In June! As I live and breath.)


We waited a longish time for the privilege of sitting outdoors on the patio, worth every minute. There were fish and chips and mac and cheese and pints of really excellent pub-brewed beer. I think one of my favorite things about McCoys is that they serve in pints and ponys, a pony being 6 oz. of beer served in a juice-sized glass. So you can drink a pony, (or even two if you plan on lingering at the table) and still be the designated driver after the meal is over. As long as you don’t bolt your food.


McCoys is in Westport, a part of Kansas City known for its quirky places and people.


We ate and the evening calmed into night around us. – Katie



The Nelson-Atkins Museum


One of our days in Kansas City we visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum, which is both free and stunning. They featured a Frida Kahlo exhibit, which we unfortunately didn’t get to see, but it was still a lovely visit.


The girls looked for a long while at this Monet “Water Lilies”, and Abbey commented on the thick paint build-up in picture. Corrie pointed out that it looked like her dress!


One of my favorite things about art museum visits is that all of us tend to gravitate to different pieces of art. And, of course, some of us slouch through the exhibits obviously bored out of our skulls but culture is sinking it, right? Right? I’m hoping they’ll look back with fondness at these visits. A metal tree with floating dots seems pretty memorable to me.


The museum has some wonderful pieces by Rodin. James and I love them. I never admire the human body as much as when seeing a stretchy nude contortion frozen in metal. I often try to imitate the poses, to the embarrassed amusement of the offspring. Sometimes Amos joins me. The above statue is supposed to depict Adam coming to life out of clay, and his body is animated but his lungs have not yet been filled with the breathe of life.


Mid-wanderings we stopped at the Museum cafe. And here the elite and hoi polloi are separated: we can soak in 5,000 year old pottery with the best of them but we can’t fork over $15.00 for a sandwich and chips. We bought a short loaf of $3 french bread and drank water. (From a carafe, not the fountain). (It was delicious.)


This carving depicting several of the stations of the cross was by Lucas Cranach the Elder (a Lutheran, as it happens), and Rob and I briefly discussed the work it could take to carve all that. We decided he must have worked some parts independently and then joined them together.


Abbey with the Three Graces. (I guess I could just say: Four Graces.)



As you leave the parking garage of the museum, the place across the street has brightly colored swaths of cloth strung from the ground into the limbs of trees. I took the pictures thinking; I must do this at my house! The children could lay against them and hide beneath them like birds. – Katie

One Day


After 9 technology-free hours in the car, we arrived in Kansas City at my Aunt’s house with buckets of energy. Within just the first 24 hours we…


danced happy dances


baked chocolate cake with vanilla frosting


played multiple rounds of velcro tennis


and investigated all of our Aunt’s saved toys in the basement. I think the glorious irony is that as the children ping-pong between activies James and I move at ever-decreasing speed so that as we creep from room to room they lap us from every direction. This is never as evident as first thing in the morning.

“Mom!” (darting from bedroom to bathroom)

Me: “Urg. What?”

Child moving too fast to be identified: “I’ve already watched 3 episodes of SpongeBob and drunk chocolate milk! I nearly wet my pants because I had to finish the episode! I have to pee really fast!”

(Distant voice of another child from living room with TV: “Quick! They’re going to roll up Squidward in peanut butter and jelly!)

Me: “Fantastic. Who is Squidguy? Why are you holding a tennis ball – wait! Put that biscuit down BEFORE you go to the potty…”

Ah, vacation! Time for kids to be crazy and adults not to care. – Katie



9 hours in the car is a long time. Did you know this kind of picture is called a “selfie”? Which sounds to me like a street name for an illicit drug.


It didn’t help that I forgot the DVD player, which reduced our options to reading, drawing, looking out the window, or screaming. Or – the horror! – conversation.


Many of us would rather scream. And then fall asleep in exhaustion.



Are we there yet? – Katie

Mission Trip, aka Becoming Roofers


Abbey and I are participating in a church mission trip this week. We joined 45 other kids and 15 or so adults to do repair work on homes for people who can’t afford repairs.

Today was our first day working and we’ve found out “repairs” means “roofing”. Abbey and I are on different crews but each is one of 6 roofing jobs.

How much do Abbey and I know about roofing? Well before today nothing. But after a full day tearing off shingles and roofing tar, pulling out nails and scraping debris out of the yard, I would say both of us can at least tell you it is not an easy way to make a living.


I though the crust of dirt was just stuck to my sunscreen layers. Oh, no! This work coats one with a particular sticky residue made by blending roofing tar and sweat. It settles into the creases of your neck and won’t come off unless you scrub it with a washcloth. Now that I’ve lost an entire layer of skin over my whole body I know this.


It even creeps inside your socks while you wear tennis shoes.

It’s going to be a long week. Lucky it’s for a good cause. – Katie