We didn’t travel today, so I won’t give you the play-by-play trip log. We spent the day with Ily’s Uncle Ron and her paternal grandparents, Lloyd and Dorothy (Dot). We started with the tour of Ron’s little house and property on the hill overlooking Tuttle Creek Reservoir. It’s pretty wild out there. Then we drove into town for lunch at the Little Apple (in Manhattan, get it?) brewery and steak house. The steak was good. They gave the kids little glasses with crayons in them and it didn’t take long for Reece to toss his on the wood floor and see it shatter. The waitress was hardly phased by it. I figured she’d probably seen rougher characters and dealt with worse messes. This was Kansas after all.
After lunch we took the kids to Anneburg park to let them get some pent up energy out. It had rained a bit while we ate lunch, and I thought this would cool things off a bit. It was only in the 80’s, but it felt more humid than I thought possible. The boys didn’t seem to mind as they played at the playground, but I was feeling like I was practically under water. “Somebody give me a snorkel!” I wanted to scream. I’ve realized on this trip that the last few times I’ve been out to visit Ily’s family it has either been Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I had totally forgotten what summer was like here. Ily’s grandparents had wisely stayed back in the van with the air conditioning on. Air conditioning is an amazing thing.
After the park we drove past some homes that Ron’s home building company is working on and then headed back to his place. We were hoping the boys would fall asleep for nap time, but no such luck. We put a movie in at Ron’s house and everyone fell asleep, except the boys. After the movie Ron showed us pictures from his tour in Afghanistan with his National Guard unit. Very interesting, at least to me. By the time that was done it was time for dinner so we packed up the van (it was nice that all 8 of us fit) and headed to Texas Star restaurant in Aggieville. Texas Star was Tex-mex food that was tasty. Aggieville is just off K-State campus and houses many purple-clad college student hangouts. Micah and Reece fell asleep, finally, on the way there. We just carried them into the restaurant and let them sleep through most of dinner.
Aggieville also has Coldstone ice-cream where we went for dessert, having been tipped off that Kaitlyn (sorry, not sure how that’s spelled) Knapp works there in the evenings. We had only seen her briefly last night as she came home from work and we headed off to bed, and she didn’t recognize us as we came in the store. Finally Ily caught her eye and said, “Hi, cousin!” and Kaitlyn’s eyes went wide and she turned red with embarrassment. She apologized for having not recognized us (and then made sure we got her family discount), but I couldn’t blame her. If it weren’t for Ily and her superpowers by my side I don’t think I would have been able to pick her out in a crowd, though she does look like a Gage.
While we were eating it rained again, hard. Reece insisted on getting no help in keeping his ice-cream cone from dripping all over, and to top it off he ran all over the store with it the whole time we were there. He was totally nuts! It was funny. When the rain stopped we all piled into the van and took Ron, Lloyd, and Dot back to their house and said our goodbyes. As we drove we saw lots of lightning. I told the Knapps when we got back to their house that we had the whole Kansas experience today: humidity, thunderstorms, steak, and Aggieville. Sterling informed me that I hadn’t had the whole experience—I hadn’t been bitten by a chigger. I think I’ll be OK if I can pass on that one.