**This post was initially written on Christmas morning, but then we were having so much fun the rest of the day, I didn’t get the pictures uploaded until now!**
We have been having such a great time here in Kansas City this week! We arrived on Tuesday night with minimal travel issues (ferry delay on Tortola of about an hour) and Dad picked us up at the airport. Since then we’ve been shopping and seeing lots of dear friends and blog followers, including those who stopped by Mom’s house to surprise me on Wednesday! It was such fun to see friends who’ve recently had babies, and those with babies on the way!
On Thursday we got to be a part of something really exciting for my Dad! He owns a Firehouse Subs in Overland Park, and they reached a major milestone at about 11:35am that day – surpassing the $1 Million Mark! Since this is only his second year in operation, that is a major deal and I’m very proud of him! Here’s a picture of the crew on the big day and Dad with the cookie cakes we brought to help them celebrate.
We were also blessed with some snow! I know people here don’t necessarily see it as a blessing and we’re totally being blamed for bringing the cold weather, but here’s a photo of my parents’ house with snow on the ground! A white Christmas in Olathe is pretty rare, so I’m happy for the snow and have been staying inside to watch it!
On Saturday Tony and I went ice skating at Crown Center so we could make the most of our time in the cold.
This one is posed so that we look like great skaters.
This is Tony actually skating – arms flailing and all! (We’ve found a second sport that I’m better at than Tony – figure skating!)
He did very well though, and after awhile we were even able to hold hands while gliding around the rink without too much fear of Tony falling! There was just one slip-up, but boy was it a good one! Tony practically flew superman style onto the ice. It was a very manly fall…
which resulted in two very beat-up knees and perhaps a bruised rib…
After ice skating we walked over to one of my favorite places in Kansas City – Union Station. I’ve seen several Union Stations across the country, but none compares to ours. Look at that beautiful ceiling! It’s a wonder I don’t walk into people when I’m there, because I’m constantly looking up!
The Grand Hall was beautifully decorated for the holidays and there was a neat train exhibit at the back.
That night we went to my friend Amy’s parents’ house. You’ve seen Amy featured on this blog, since she’s been to see us in the BVI twice! Though she lives in Atlanta now, her parents are kind enough to host Mafia events whenever Amy’s back in town. Mafia is a favorite game that goes back to our college days when we’d play for hours nearly every weekend! It’s a role-playing party game where players are randomly assigned a role (mafia member, townsperson, or cop) and the group has to figure out which players are terrorizing the town as mafia members. The game was a blast and it was wonderful to see more dear friends!
The next day, Dad had a special event planned. There’s a secret organization here in KC called The Elves. For the last 20 years or so, they’ve been helping people in need around the holidays, particularly families with a terminally ill child. A few years ago Dad became involved with this secretive group and eventually came in contact with the Chief Elf. This year the Chief Elf put Dad in charge of a project: to coordinate a day out for a little girl with brain cancer and her family. We were there to help out.
I sang at Heritage United Methodist Church that morning (what a blessing to see Becky and be under her direction again!) so Mom and I missed out on the first part of the mission, but Tony and Dad greeted the family as they got out of their limo at the new Kauffman Center for the performing arts. The 5-year-old and her 5 siblings under 7 were all attending “The Nutcracker” ballet!
Mom and I were there to greet them after the ballet, sporting stylish Santa hats for our day as elves. The family had just received a backstage tour of the Center, met ballet cast members, and had ballet slippers signed by the dancers! Then it was back into the limo and off to The Country Club Plaza.
It was a gorgeous, albeit frigid, evening on the plaza.
The family ate dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, the kind of meal that a family of 8 never gets to enjoy anyway, much less one with a terminally ill child, then drove around to look at The Plaza’s beautiful lights. The last stop for the evening was a carriage ride around the plaza. They were all bundled up in blankets for their ride!
When their ride was finished we were there to greet the family one final time and distribute some small gifts. The children’s faces glowed as they tried to figure out what the best part of the day was, and the parents were very thankful for this day out as a family. It will probably be the last for which their family is all in-tact.
The coolest thing of all was how Dad and the Chief Elf were able to get so many things donated for this family. The limo service for the day was donated, as was the box and seats at the theatre. They had a reservation at the restaurant, which was a 2+ hour wait for everyone else, and had to be secured through their corporate office. The carriage ride was donated, and everything else was paid for through anonymous donation, including over $600 in gift cards so the family can purchase new winter coats. This group has some major connections and is using them to bring a little happiness to some sad situations!
Today I’m looking forward to lounging around the house! I still have some Christmas cookies to bake (made 8 dozen cashew turtles yesterday) and there are lots of games to play! The score is tied in Spades with 1 game to 1 and we have a new game to try out from Mike and Monica! Plus, we gave Dad a copy of Catan, so there are islands to settle! Lots to do today, then it’s off to South Dakota tomorrow!
I hope you’re all having a very merry Christmas as well!