We left Arkansas on a Friday and drove to Salina, KS, where we spent Friday and most of Saturday with my mom's side of the family at Webfest. Saturday, we left late afternoon and drove an hour and a half west to Hays, KS, which is where my sisters and I were born. I lived there until I was 6. The place where my dad worked (Travenol) shut down their Hays division, and my dad got a job in Arkansas at a different division in Mountain Home, which later was renamed Baxter Lab. So, we are the only members of either side of our families that live in Arkansas. 3/4 live in Kansas.
My Grandma, (Grandma Kathy to my boys) is in Hays. I grew up visiting her at the same house she still lives in. She is a lovely human being and I am proud to be her granddaughter. We pulled up to her house and in about 3 seconds my kids had found her treasure trove of toys that she keeps for the great grands.
Later that evening, we went over to my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Tim's house where they had a picnic dinner for us. I have three cousins on this side that live in Hays and they have a combined 7 kids who were all there and we had a great time catching up, watching our kids become reaquanted (had not seen each other since Thanksgiving).
My cousin, Kim's, son Jack
My Dad and my Aunt Rachel, holding Henry, the baby I will eventually kidnap. #bidingmytime
The kids had played at the park with the other side of my family for 3 hours earlier that day, and then had a big dinner followed by trampolining, basketball, and running for 3 more hours with this family. We took them back to my grandma's dirty, sweaty, and almost comatose.
I slept like shiz. Rob calls it my travel brain. I get so excited I cannot sleep. I was up by 2am, ready to get the third leg of our journey started. I do this almost every trip we ever take unless I get Benadryl on board. So, I sat in the guest bathroom playing games on my phone and watching Netflix like a giant weirdo.
We got up and had a scrumptious Grandma Kathy breakfast. We call her kitchen the magic kitchen because it is tiny, and seems like it would have very little food offerings, but she always has something magical whipped up in minutes in there. My children started an all out shoving wrestle match on her floor and grandma laughed and said she loved the noise of kids playing. Don't you just love it when something you are apologizing for ends up being something that makes someone smile?
Not sure where I got my height from
We left Grandma waving to us from her porch and had a different kind of reunion. We took flowers to my Grandpa Gene's grave and then drove another hour west to Grainfield, KS (where my mom grew up) and put flowers on my Grandma Webers grave and my cousin Michelle's grave. My cousin Michelle was born 3 weeks after me and we were very close until she passed when we were 6. I think about her all the time and wonder what kind of 36 year old she would be today. She is forever 6 in all our minds, and she was the sweetest, most precious 6 year old you would ever know. I hadn't been to see her since my Grandma passed in 2008. We brought her some summer flowers and I told my kids about her. It was hard for my kids, as Max is 5 and Rylan is 7 and Michelle was right between their ages when she died. To them, people die when they are old and sick. I am so glad that we stopped and did this. Our cousin, Adam, who did not go to Webfest was able to come meet us and we had a nice visit before we moved on to the third leg of our vacation journey..........