Practice vacation

For the last couple of weeks, Nebraska’s been in the midst of a severe drought and triple-digit temperatures, so the Johnson Family has been enjoying the great indoors a little more than usual. Last week, we dropped by Sakura Bana last week to celebrate Tamra’s birthday, and we also dropped by Chick-Fil-A for the first time to have some chicken sandwiches before the rush on Wednesday (when they were actually completely sold out of food).

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Last weekend, we took a “practice” vacation to Kansas City, seeing what it would be like to hit the road with Hannah before our big trip to northern California at the end of September. We visited the plaza as usual, grabbing lunch at Jack Stack’s, where Hannah got to chew on a baby back rib or two. We also dropped by a toy store to play with some puppets before making our traditional visit to the Better Cheddar. We check into the hotel next, where Hannah seemed to enjoy playing with the curtains and looking generally adorable. We stayed at the Q Hotel across the street from the World Market, so we naturally had to walk across the street to stock up on curry sauce and avocado oil. By some fantastic coincidence, we bumped into Drew and Alisa, my old bible study leaders from Lincoln, who I hadn’t seen since our wedding four years ago. It’s definitely a small world.

When the sun went down, we packed into the car and went to the Boulevard Drive-In to see Ice Age 4 and Batman Rises. I’d never been to a drive-in before, and it was a fun throw-back to an era that ended long before I was born.

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The next day, we had breakfast at the hotel and spent a good portion of the afternoon at the Union Station Museum touring Science City. They had some fun optical illusions, floating balls, and a set of gears that kept Hannah fascinated. She also got the chance to meet a couple of new animal friends.

We had a late lunch down at Arthur Bryant’s and then dropped by a mysterious part of town around 21st and Vine Street. When Vivian and I traveled over a bridge on the Paseo Boulevard, we couldn’t help but notice a giant limestone castle peeking out from amidst the urban blight (known as the Vine Street Workhouse). There was actually a whole street of public works buildings down there that had been built over 100 years ago and reflected a time when this part of Kansas City was a ritzier neighborhood with buildings that reflected the wealth of residents who were no longer around. It made for an interesting diversion before heading on home.

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