Day Out With Thomas 2017

Maverick is obsessed with all things that have wheels–cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes & especially trains. So when I found out that the Midway Railway was hosting a Day Out With Thomas, I knew it was a family outing we had to do.

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From our house, the Midway Railway is about an hour away. We figured we could leave first thing in the morning, ride Thomas the Train, do ALL the activities and be back on the road by nap time. In theory, it was a really great plan.

We hadn’t told Maverick that we were going (mainly because I didn’t want to listen to him asking 800 times an hour all day, every day leading up to it), so when we woke him up that morning, we just told him that we had a special day planned. Lucky for us, he’s still at the age where he doesn’t question where we are going when we get in the car. Plus, he was totally content with an hour long drive, thanks to some QT donuts!

Baldwin City was a great host to Day Out With Thomas. They have clearly been doing this awhile because as soon as you pulled into town, there were signs everywhere directing you to the free parking lots. I had read online that shuttle buses ran every 10 minutes to take to you the railway. Now, I’m one of those people who don’t like to feel rushed. It makes me anxious and as luck would have it, the second we parked, the bus pulled up to take us to the railway. Since we hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet, Shawn & I were scrambling to get everything & everyone together and we were hot messes. I still don’t know why we didn’t just tell the bus to go ahead & wait for the next one, but we didn’t & in the mad dash, we left behind necessities–snacks, water cups, Maverick’s hat, sunscreen–but we made it on the bus.

Maverick still had NO idea what was happening, but he was so excited to be riding a school bus. I mean, really, we could of just skipped the whole Thomas part & rode the bus all day and he would have been just fine.

Anyways, we pulled up to the railway and after unloading, we told Maverick that we were going to go ride Thomas the Train. Shawn was recording Mav’s reaction on his phone in hopes of having the next viral video and of course, Maverick responded with, “Okay.” Kids, I swear.

Rushing to get on the bus, threw us off and when we entered the railway, the announcer was calling to “board Thomas” so of course, we ran to get in line. We were hoping to get one of the open cars, but they were full so we settled for a closed car. We boarded our train car & the whole thing was decked out in Thomas the Train decorations–complete with the Thomas soundtrack playing. At this point, Maverick’s excitement kicked in and thank God, because it was 100 million degrees inside that old train car & I was going to be really pissed if he wasn’t LOVING every minute.

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As we were waiting for the “All Aboard,” Percy passed us on the railroad.

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Maverick loved waving to Percy & the passengers on the train. We didn’t get tickets to ride Percy too, but I think in the future, we definitely will.

Percy & Mav

While we sat there & I collected my nerves, Shawn looked at me and goes, “What time is our ticket for again?” I said, “11, why?” When we purchased our tickets, you have to select a train departure time. Shawn looked at me and said, “It’s only 10. We are on the wrong train!”

At this point, I couldn’t help but laugh. Our perfectly planned morning had been nothing short of a disaster & we hadn’t even left the train station yet! We had been running around, forgetting things, hustling the children about & we were a whole hour early! I was just praying that nobody would notice because over my dead body was I going to drag my train-loving 2-year-old off that train without it leaving. Can you imagine the meltdown?! Thankfully, nobody noticed (or cared).

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The train ride was 30 minutes long & on the way back, we had to help Thomas get back to the station by yelling “Pull Thomas Pull.” All the children were rewarded a Junior Conductor Certificate for helping and clearly Maverick was VERY pleased with himself.

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He’s excited, I promise.

After we got off the train (and saw everyone lining up for the 11:00 train…oops!), we got to enjoy all of the activities. They had train tables for kids to play with, a petting zoo, train cars to play on & a movie area to watch Thomas the Train. Maverick was most interested in playing at the train tables & watching the movie. Shawn did take him to meet Sir Topham Hatt though.

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I snapped this picture seconds before Maverick realized who was next to them and started screaming. He was terrified of Sir Topham Hatt. Poor guy!

We ended the day in the gift shop tent, because of course, we had to buy another train while we were there. While I walked around with Kennedy, Shawn patiently waited with Maverick while he examined EVERY train they sold before settling on Connor–who he calls Thomas.

The bus took us back to our car and our already cluster of a day ended with me nearly breaking my ankle by taking the short cut to the car through the uneven grassy terrain. I was fine, but it was really the icing on the cake. Now I can laugh about the whole day & really the main thing is that Maverick had no idea that most everything went wrong & Shawn and I are MUCH better prepared for next year.

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Memorial Day in Ellis

Does anybody else feel like they are still recovering from their long weekend because I sure do?! I know it’s already Wednesday, but my goodness I need a vacation from my vacation.

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Ellis, Kan., which is where Shawn is from. It’s a very small town about 4 hours west of Kansas City. We left Friday afternoon, around nap time, so the kids would sleep in the car and only had to make 1 stop the whole drive! Kennedy woke up from her nap outside of Salina, Kan., so we stopped at a gas station for diaper changes & snacks.

This trip was the first Brack Family Road Trip in the new minivan and words cannot describe how much I love this car! Not only did we fit ALL THE THINGS that my 2 tiny people require, but I had feet space in the front seat & nothing was blocking Shawn’s view in back! Plus, when Kennedy lost her shit with about an hour left to go, I just jumped in the 3rd row so I could entertain her (and clean up the entire Starbucks cookie that Maverick let melt everywhere).

The main reason we traveled to Ellis for the weekend was because it was Shawn’s 20th High School Reunion! On Saturday, we went to the reunion lunch and I got to meet Shawn’s old friends. It was so good to hear stories of high school Shawn (spoiler alert: nothing has changed in 20 years) and finally meet some people that I only knew through Christmas card exchanges.

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Ellis High School, Class of 1997

There was a reunion dance that evening, but at last minute we scraped those plans & decided to take the kids to the races with Shawn’s best friend, Christy. It was cold, the cars were loud, the track was muddy & Maverick LOVED every single second of it.

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He kept saying, “Fast cars. Very fast cars” and when 2 of the cars crashed (very minor crashes), Maverick got excited & kept saying, “Crash.” He was very into watching the Jeeps tow the crashed cars away.

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Kennedy had not napped all day (shocking, I know), so I put her in my Tula for the races & strapped some headphones on her. It was so loud, even when we sat far away & I was worried about her little ears. I don’t know if it was the muffled noise or being strapped to my chest, but Kennedy had the best nap of the entire weekend while we were at the track.

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Sunday we spent the day with Shawn’s mom. We went to eat lunch at one of Shawn’s local favorites, Taco Shop, and we had to check out the new snow cone shop in the mall. I will say, those snow cones were some of the best we’ve ever had. They were the perfect ice to syrup ratio. After naps, we finished off the day at Shawn’s grandmother’s house for dinner & some outside play time.

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I love that Maverick & Kennedy get to spend time with their great-grandparents. It’s something I never got to do & I know it means the world to Shawn.

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And it’s pretty cool to see 4 generations of Brack’s together.

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Overall it was a great weekend, but we were all very excited to home. There’s just nothing like sleeping in your own bed, you know?

Hope everyone had a great weekend too!

xoxo

 

Mother’s Day Weekend 2017

How is it already Wednesday?! I was hoping to get this post out earlier in the week, but I blinked and suddenly the week is half over. But I still wanted to share all about my Mother’s Day weekend, because it was pretty perfect (despite all the crying from my children).

We kicked the weekend off on Saturday with the Kansas City Northern Railroad’s National Train Day. Just a few minutes from our house is a miniature railroad track that runs during the summer months and for National Train Day, they had free train rides, as well as inflatables, food trucks & other family-friendly activities. It was so hot and crowded, but the lines moved super quick and Maverick had a blast.

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Of course we had to ride the miniature train. Kennedy slept in her Tula and Maverick sat with Shawn. Last summer when we rode the train he was a little scared, especially when it goes through the tunnel, but this time around he was all about it!!

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After the train ride, we visited the model train museum that was there. I think Maverick would have stayed there ALL DAY watching those trains. He was in awe!

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We had planned to eat lunch there and enjoy the sunshine, but it was so hot and Maverick was quickly approaching the point between Nap Time & Overly Tired, so we hurried home to get the kids to sleep.

While I laid down with Kennedy, Shawn decided he was going to run to a car dealership to look at yet another minivan. Quick backstory–we have been shopping for a minivan for about a year now. We knew the exact one we wanted & had a price in mind, but nothing ever seemed to pan out. Shawn, the eternal optimist, continued the search over a course of a year and every once in a while would make trips out to various dealerships to see if it was “the one.” I had long given up my dream of driving a mini, so when he told me he was cleaning out the SUV “just in case,” I just smiled and let him be.

Fast forward to an hour later and Shawn called me asking if I can meet him at the dealership to sign the paperwork!! I could NOT believe it! I woke the kids up, threw them in the truck and before the dealership closed, I drove away in my brand new 2017 Toyota Sienna.

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I swore I would never drive a minivan, but you guys, I’m driving one and I have never been more in love with a vehicle. Maverick can get in and out of the car all by himself and I don’t have to worry about him running out into the parking lot while I get Kennedy in and out of her carseat. Not to mention, I can fit both the double stroller AND the groceries in the trunk. I mean, seriously, it’s the little things that make my heart go pitter-patter.

And what else says Happy Mother’s Day better than a grocery getter? Oh, that’s right, the fact that my children were absolute nightmares the whole day on Sunday!

Like a lot of moms, I had high expectations for Mother’s Day, but when my children woke up extra early and crying, I knew my dream of having a day of not “momming” was over. We had plans to meet my mom & my sister at Ted’s for lunch that afternoon and I’m honestly surprised we even made it out the door. It was as if my children knew I wanted a day off and revolted by having epic meltdowns over nothing. When we finally did make it to the restaurant, we all had to take turns defusing toddler tantrums and walking around with Kennedy to keep her from screaming. I was supposed to go shopping with them after lunch, but I knew there was no way Shawn could handle this on his own (I mean, I could barely handle them) so we came home.

Lucky for me, we did eventually get Maverick down for a nap and Shawn pushed me out the door so I could go to Target for some alone time. I spent almost 2 hours cruising the aisles and shopping for new car accessories for my mini van (and no, I’m not joking either).

While the actual Mother’s Day wasn’t perfect, the weekend as a whole was, because it was spent with my family. Plus, my kids quit acting like lunatics for 3 whole seconds so I could snap this picture on my first Mother’s Day as a Mom of 2.

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And how can you possibly not love that?

xoxo

Newborn Pictures with Missy Moore Photography & Film

I’ve said it before, but I LOVE getting family pictures taken. My home is filled with them from the major events that have taken place in my family over the past three years–my first pregnancy, Maverick’s birth & our wedding–as well as our annual family pictures.

When I knew we’d be welcoming Miss Kennedy into our family, I immediately reached out to my friend, Missy Moore of Missy Moore Photography & Film. For the last couple of years she has done a phenomenal job on our annual family pictures and I couldn’t think of anybody better to capture Kennedy’s first days in the world.

Before Missy arrived that morning, our family was in pure chaos mood. Shawn & I had been up most of the night with Kennedy. Maverick was refusing to eat breakfast. Kennedy was too sleepy to nurse and like most moms 8-days postpartum, I felt unattractive and uncomfortable in my own skin. Not to mention, Missy was coming to our home and my cleaning to-do list that included mopping the floors and dusting hadn’t even been started. To say I was stressed out is an understatement.

But when Missy showed up, none of that mattered anymore. When I told her that our session might include a toddler tantrum and a hungry newborn, she just smiled and said, “That’s totally okay, we’ll make it work.” And make it work she did because these pictures are beyond beautiful!

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When it was all said and done, my children were perfectly behaved. Kennedy was so alert & happy and Maverick only requested his snack favorite–fruit snacks–at the end of the session. And you know what? The messy kitchen & the dirty floors made the pictures that much more beautiful because 9 times out of 10 that’s how our home looks. These pictures are ones I will cherish for a lifetime–my family, in our home, just being ourselves.

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Here’s the massive photo dump because there is no way I could pick just a few favorites to share:

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My heart just melts when I see the way Maverick looks at Kennedy.

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And I’m loving these pictures of me and my baby girl.

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Of course, I have to have one of my silly boys.

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Like all little girls, Kennedy, adores her daddy and if I have to guess, I think her daddy is just smitten with her too.

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Okay, just a few more favorites.

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Thank you so much Missy! If anybody needs pictures, seriously check her out at Missy Moore Photography & Film. I promise you won’t be disappointed!