Chasing Davies

May 23, 2017

Mamas & Minis Collective: Summer Activities in KC

Mama and Son afternoon date 

 
After a long vacation away recently (part 1 here!), I was really excited to get back to my kids, and home in Kansas City! I had tons of ideas and plans for our first weekend back (after a painful week of catching up at work and home)!  We started out last Saturday as a family, running some errands on the Plaza (running errands can be fun when it's a beautiful day and you're on the Plaza!).

 After, we split up, and Liam and I went on an impromptu mama/son date!  I had been desperate to check out the new Simple Machines at Play at Kansas City's Union Station Science City, and was invited to check out the MilliporeSigma’s Curiosity Cube, which is making it's way around the KC area through May, ending at Union Station on Sunday, May 28th from 3pm to 7pm during Celebration at the Station - open to all!  I thought his would be the perfect data location for Liam and I, followed by lunch.

Lands End Stripe Dress
{^ hugging good bye before we split up for the afternoon, haha}

I loved the Curiosity Cube!  It is literally a cub filled with hands-on laboratory experiences that are critical to sparking interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  And even though Liam is only 5 (and a half almost!), he loved it (and so did I).  MilliporeSigma is a global life science company with a campus right here in the area (Lenexa).

The first thing we did was learn about DNA - and Liam got to see his own! He is still carrying around his test tube of DNA (spit) and showing it off to all who are interested (or not). ;) . Then we learned about the brain - and even got to view a small sliver of it in


Curiosity Cube by MilliporeSgima in Kansas City


 While this is just a temporary part, Science City at Union Station has a ton of wonderful things to offer and teach your kids - especially this summer when school is out and you might be looking for fun things to do (inside and outside parts).  We also got to try out the new Simple Machines at Play outdoor portion - and Liam was in complete awe! These mechanical devices allow your kids to climb, race, lift and slide — moving their bodies and engaging their minds!

We especially loved the three-story tall Luckey Climber structure which had me super jealous of Liam's view over Kansas City!  This was like a vertical maze through layers of "potato chip-like discs," as Liam put it.

KC Simple Machines at Play Luckey Climber at Science City
Summer outdoor fun activities for kids in Kansas City

 There are also 7 other machines to explore!  The Just Plane Zippy (zip line) was also a favorite - again, another simple machine I wish adults could play on (we need an adult version of this place!).


After the Curiosity Cube, and outdoor Simple Machines at Play exhibit, we headed inside to see some of our favorite things that Science City has to offer (like the dinosaur, tree bridge, and building room) before heading off to lunch. 

I asked Liam where he wanted to go for lunch - and he was all about our local favorite diner, Winstead's (he knew he'd get a milkshake, that's why). But I do love this long-time KC favorite diner and all the turquoise and hot pink accents they have going on inside. It is definitely a favorite KC spot!


What a wonderful afternoon we had!  Liam is already asking me when the next mama/son date will be and if can be a WHOLE day, so that certainly makes me happy. I'd love any mama/kid date ideas (in Kansas City or not) that you have.  I'll be needing to take Nora on one next!

Outfit details: 
My dress is c/o Lands End, and it's super comfy - also on sale!  



Make sure to check out the other Mama's posts on their city and summer favorite activities!  Sandy is sharing her summer bucket list, Carly is sharing fun things to do in LA, and Laura is talking all about vacation!

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May 22, 2017

Four Days in Paris!

Four Days traveling in Paris on vacation  
Feeling like we could finally leave our kids with our parents for more than a weekend, it was time to cross the ocean and immerse ourselves in other cultures.  Greg and I had been craving a European vacation, and I'd also really been wanting to visit Iceland.  After some research, and a lot of suggestions from friends who'd visited, we took advantage of the Iceland Air stopover with a roundtrip ticket to Paris.  

I used to think that to make traveling abroad worth it, we'd need be gone for 2+ weeks, and while we were gone a total of 9 days, we hit up two totally different cities (bookending in Washington D.C. to meet up and travel with my good friend and her boyfriend) in only 4 days each. It was totally doable, I felt like I got away from work and our crazy lives and really got to know each city. Of course, I definitely missed the kids a ton, but it was really fun coming home to them.  They missed us, too. ;)

So here is the first part of our trip - our 3 nights and 4 days in Paris!

Day One

After we checked into our airbnb apartment, we pushed through only a few hours of sleep on our red eye and major jet leg to quickly acclimate to the new time zone (7 hours ahead!) by staying out in the day light, walking and wondering, lots of coffee and small bites throughout the rest of the day. This was the perfect time to get to know our neighborhood, the Le Marais area.


Our first stop was for a dose of caffeine that we needed to gain our first bout of energy for exploring. Café Charlot was a sweet little place just for that. We also had our first fromage of the trip! Then we wandered, which is the most fun in such a beauty packed city and ended the day with dinner and early to bed (10pm ish).

 Day Two

This was our big day to explore some old favorites.  We'd all (but one) been to Paris before - I've been there two times before - but there are somethings you never get sick of. After a quick pain au chocolate and espresso, we started at Musée d'Orsay, where my favorite statues, Degas' Little Dancer lives.  There are also a great deal of Monets there, too, which might be my favorite painter.  Coquelicots (Poppy Field) is probably my favorite one at this museum.   

Do you have a favorite Monet/painter?


After the museum, we took the metro close to the Roman Catholic church, Sacré-Cœur, climbed up the hill to the top and then found a nice seat outside to stuff our faces with crepes.  Sacré-Cœur, which stands for sacred heart, is another favorite Paris spot. Talk about a view.  This time, we didn't climb to the top of the church, but you can - and it's amazing.  

But the views from the hill alone are breathtaking, and there is a whole buzzing town with cafes, street shops and artists, etc all around the church. You could spend a half of a day there if you wanted.


After rolling down the hill, we just had to stop by the Eiffel Tour. You'd think if you've seen it once, you've seen it - but not true. It's just amazing, iconic and well - if you don't get a picture (or a dozen) in front of it, were you even really in Paris?!?! ;)  For great photo spots, go to the Trocadéro


We took a quick nap late that afternoon after a crammed morning and early afternoon to rest up for dinner.  We had heard about Robert et Louise, a near by restaurant, that we hit up for dinner. They make amazing meat right on an open fire grill.  We sat in the basement, which was like a fancy cave, and drank a lot of good wine, too.

Day Three

We took this morning a bit easier. And since most of us have been to Paris before, the pressure was off to cram every tourist destination in - especially since the previous day had been so packed. Like any good morning, we started with brunch and lots of coffee at Season.  They're meals and coffee displays were on point. Totally works of art!


After breakfast, we wondered our neighborhood, doing a little shopping and more coffee drinking with some people watching and relaxing. We had really great weather, so it felt very relaxing to sit outside sipping a latte or cappuccino.  Everything is so beautiful in Paris, and it felt really nice to take it all in.


After a quick midday nap, we spent the late afternoon at the Louvre - somewhere I've been before, but this time we had a personal tour guide to get us in (way faster and more efficient vs. waiting in line), plus gave us the highlights tour.  Since there are SO many pieces, it can be very overwhelming. The tour guide took the guess work out of it, and gave us a ton of back stories and more context than what you could read on the plaque.  

One of the most famous pieces at the Louvre is the Mona Lisa. Our first question after this stop was, 'so what's the big deal with Mona Lisa?' and we got a really fascinating back story that made it all more interesting.


After the tour, we wandered the Tuileries right outside the Lourve. Beautifully manicured trees line wide walk ways, and there is a straight view through the arches to Arc de Triomphe.  We wondered a few blocks away to a wine tasting and then to dinner.

This might have been my favorite meal in Paris.  We went to Ellsworth, and I highly recommend it.  It was a restaurant of small plates, and one of my favorites was the rhubarb scallops.  Delish!

Day Four


We only had the morning before heading off to the airport, so we did most of our favorite thing: brunch. Not only is that my favorite meal, but in Paris, it's the whole ambiance and relaxed paced made it vacation-perfect.  

Holybelly was the last of our Paris-meals, and still reveling in the rhubarb dish from the night before, I got the pancakes with mixed nuts and fruit - including rhubarb - on top!  It was so amazing.  Tip: Get there early/right when they open, because by the time we were leaving, there was a line out the door and down the block a bit!

We headed to the airport that afternoon for the next part of our vacation - our stopover in Iceland!  I'll share more on that part of our trip soon!  But if you have any great recommendations for Paris - I'd love to hear them in the comments below! I know I'll be back... Especially since 3-4 days was so doable.

And if you're interested, here are some of the clothing pieces we were wearing throughout our trip:


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