Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Return to Kansas - Part I

We've contemplated trips back to the Midwest a few times over the past two years since our last trip, but prices have been high, then my folks were out to visit last year at this time and Noland's folks have been out 3 or 4 times in the past two years, so we keep putting it off. While I love my folks, if we're going to spend $900 and burn a week of valuable PTO - we want to do more than sit on the couches of our parents homes. We'd just been talking of making a trip pin January - after holiday prices dropped - but just going for a long weekend and each going to our respective parents homes once we landed in KCI, saving us 3 or 4 days of PTO by not having to divide time between the two. Then I got the invite for Amy's wedding and it fit into the plan perfectly. Since Noland's folks had just been out the month prior, he didn't go - but I took off to Kansas for a whirlwind weekend of family and wedding festivities.

Often when I've been back, both my brothers and their families come to my parents for a day or so when I'm in town. This time scheduling stretched things out a bit more - and I think it worked nicely that way. I had about a day with just mom and dad, then my brother showed up with his little girls and we had about a day together, then a brief stint at the wedding and over to my older brothers for an evening and the next day with his family. It was good - I got adult time with mom and dad - and even a brief visit to an old family friend (who was also an undecided voter...I don't think I actually know any of those, so I got a chance to make a good plug!) Then I had a chance to play with the little girls and give them my undivided attention. We had a scavenger hunt, did manicures, drew pictures and played restaurant...they're pretty adorable (and I think the 4-year-old is a bit of a mini-me - complete with proclaiming "dammit" when she was told no more Skittles before bed. Dad and grandma weren't too impressed, but big sister said "that's what mommy says" and I was trying so hard not to laugh! Good luck with that one James and Colleen...tee hee...) And then I had a chance to talk to my teenage niece and nephew without the little ones vying for all of our attention. Almost grown up those two - we talked about colleges (the smart ones!) debating, driving, drama...and that twisted sense of humor that us Newman kids all have...although I think it comes from the Grandpa Amble genes.

And I had one good high school friend at the wedding whom I got to sit and chat with at the reception for a brief time. I probably should have gone ahead and rented a car so that I didn't have to bolt out of the wedding immediately after dinner, but it was very nice of my folks to drive me around to it all. And I'm so glad that I was at least able to make it to the wedding.

The only problem with the family time being so spread out, is that I didn't really get any friend time. There aren't many people left in Kansas, and even fewer in Topeka - but it would have been nice to have been able to see some of them. So if your in Kansas and I didn't see you, or you didn't even know I was there - next time! Or you'll just have to come out to Portland!

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