Sunday, May 31, 2009

A day out with Thomas

Location: Midland Railway in Baldwin City Kansas (also held at other locations in the Metro area I believe)

Cost: $18 per person age 2 and up. Parking was free but you have to park at the local high school and take a shuttle/school bus to the Railway site.


Review: A really great time. Every one gets to have a 25min ride on a Thomas Train as well as take part in a lot of fun activity tents. Since this is an outdoor event the weather has a lot to do with your satisfaction but if that cooperates then you can have a lot of fun. If your kid loves Thomas then you will have him flipping out of his/her gourd.

The "Day out with Thomas" only comes to Baldwin City once a year for two weekends, so you have to plan for it. Baldwin City is located about an hour from Kansas City and by the time we got there the kids were very excited. We sat at the back of the shuttle/school bus on the way to the Railway and they loved all the bouncing up and down. Once there, they had a lot of things to do:
• A ladder truck that the kids could have their picture taken in as well as actual firefighters clothes they could try on.
• A Bubble station where kids could blow soap bubbles
• A moon bounce and inflatable slide
• Activity tent with 6 wooden Railway tables, 3 Trackmaster railway tables and a duplo Train Table as well as Thomas Coloring pages and crayons
• A Video and Storytelling tent where a big screen TV played various Thomas videos between story telling presentations
• A Tattoo Tent where every kid can get one Tattoo
• A sort of petting zoo with goats, a Tortoise, a cow, the second largest rodents in the world (can't remember name), a monkey, a camel, and a kangaroo
• A Magic show stage (didn't catch the show)
• A meet Sir Topham Hat station
• And of course the Gift shop tent where everything Thomas can be purchased (I stayed out of that one)

They did have a baby changing/nursing Tent. Which impressed me as that was one of the first tents we visited when we got there. It was small and later I had to settle for a shady tree when a Mom was in there nursing but it was a nice touch I rarely see anywhere and would have been a god send had the weather been wet. For the older crowd they had portajohns and hand washing stations but they were in good shape.

There were about four food vendors as I recall. Typical fair food: hot dogs, burgers funnel cakes, and one vendor selling PB&J (Which I appreciate). You could get a hot dog meal that included a hot dog, drink, chips and a train shaped whistle for $5. The whistle doesn't seem to work real well but my kids didn't seem to care, as long as it was shaped like a train they loved it. Our kids drink milk so we brought our own and don't recall if any was available. I suppose you could bring your own food but be warned you would be carrying it around all day since you have to take the shuttle. There were picnic tables available, some under a pavilion.

My kids loved the tent with the train tables so we spent a lot of time there. The video/storytelling tent was also a hit.

The big event of course was the train ride. The Thomas Train really looks like Thomas but I am fairly certain it couldn't pull a feather and that the diesel engine at the back of the train did all the work. My kids gladly accepted the explanation that Thomas rarely pulls so many cars and just needed a little help. The ride is 25 minutes and we got the first passenger car behind Thomas. The line for Thomas gets broken up into different lanes which direct you to the different cars. All but the last car were enclosed passenger cars. The last one had benches and a roof but was otherwise open the the elements. I don't believe the cars were air conditioned and luckily for us it wasn't too hot and we had a nice breeze. I have heard that the ride is murder when it is hot as the windows on the cars don't cool it off near enough. On a really hot day you might want to choose the open car. My kids have never been on a train so they loved the ride. The novelty of sitting on a train being "pulled" by Thomas, and feeling the car gently rock side to side seemed to be thrilling enough. There really wasn't much to see out the windows but farmland and one or two old trains on sidings near the "train station". The route is a straight line with Thomas going backwards for about 12 minutes then forwards back to the station. The kids all got certificates stating they were junior Engineers on the return leg of the journey. After the ride you have the chance to get your picture taken in front of Thomas. You can use your own camera but they will take your picture and make it available for purchase in the Gift Tent later in the day. You can also have your picture taken with Sir Topham hat and purchase it the same way.

All in all it was a great day and money well spent. The kids loved it and there really was plenty to keep them busy. The staff on the train weren't dressed like conductors which bummed me out a little, but the kids didn't seem to notice. I would strongly suggest going in the morning as it is much cooler and the play tents aren't as crowded as they will become later in the day. The Thomas Train runs again June 5, 6 & 7 so you could still catch this one before it is gone till next year.

Sorry for the length of this review I will try and make it shorter next time.

Reviewed by Mr. Rogers

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kansas City Central Library

Location: 14 West 10th Street, KC Missouri. on the corner of 10th and Baltimore. (Downtown KC)


Cost: Free, but be warned that YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR PARKING. Parking is 1 buck every 20 minutes with a max of 8.00. You can have your parking ticket validated and get a free hour. But chances are you will be here long enough to pay the 8 bucks, I did. The parking garage is located on Baltimore, directly across from the library.

Fucking awesome, no other way to say it. I recomend this for anyone and everyone that has kids of any age. From the 5 month old to the teenager. It's that awesome.

So let's start. The parking garage itself is made to look like a bunch of books. Way cool. The library used to be an old bank and the look was very cool. All columns and granite. The first floor is very majestic looking and your first impression is that you don't your kids to wreck anything, but stick with me, it's ok. I did enjoy the architecture of the place. It was very cool. On the bottom floor is a cafe as well where you can enjoy a quick snack while you read your books.

Now head up to the second floor which is the kids section and this is where the awesomeness starts. It's huge. It's the entire floor and it's awesome. In the middle is a big mural and large cow that they demand the kids climb on, but do please take off your shoes first. The rest of the second floor is broken into sections and they are very well done. They are set according to age groups, from baby, toddler and on up. A ton of books are laid out so that the kids don't have to go to any of the stacks. Each section also has kid sized over stuffed chairs and grown up chairs as well. Finally, there are toys there as well. We played with huge lego blocks. Basically your kids can go apeshit here without embarrassment. The librians are also awesome as they came to us to tell us about some of the activities that the library's have on Fridays.

Next head on up to the fifth floor. This is where the rooftop garden is located. This is also way cool. If the weather is nice you will want to visit this. It has patio style tables with umbrellas, the garden of course and a life sized chess set. I don't know if you can eat lunch up there but I bet you could. It's also a great picture spot as there are tall buildings behind it.

And if you have time after all that, you might want to visit the Vault. We didn't do this but this is what we were told. If you call ahead and reserve it, you then can bring your kids and a MOVIE THAT YOU OWN on DVD and then watch it on the big screen in the Vault. We only found out this later and but are so going back to watch some big screen Dora.

There are a ton of things that make this worth it and it's a safe place to take any of your kids without to much worry.

As for lunch, if you want to eat there, a Jason's Deli is located just 2 blocks north on Main street. If you get there at 11:30 you won't have any problem getting a seat. I also mention this because Jason's deli did something way cool. 2 of the kids that went didn't like the hotdogs. So the staff there said don't worry about it and brought them 2 PB and J sandwiches, free of charge. Way awesome and really just made the day that much better.

This is a 3 hour activity if you include lunch and it's worth it.

Liberty Bank Museum

Location: 103 North Water Street, Liberty

Cost: 5.50 for adults, kids under 6 are free

Review: I'll cut right to it, I thought that this was worth it, without a doubt. The price seemed a little steep but was more than made up by the type of service that we got there.

This bank is thought to have been one of the first robbed by Jesse James and possibly The Younger gang. They seem pretty sure that Frank James was there. They robbed the bank of 60K which is about 2 million in todays dollars then shot a guy in the street and took off. Obviously, they were never captured.

The bank is attached to the gift shop which is where you enter and pay for your admission. And this is where it gets good.

The tour guide was one of the best and most adaptable that I have ever been involved with. First off, she took it in stride when the kids starting wrecking the gift shop. In fact, she seemed to be having fun. Second, she demanded, yes demanded, that each kid take in one toy from the gift shop into the actual bank for the tour so that they wouldn't be bored. Here presentation in the actual bank itself was great. She didn't seem to mind the starting and stopping that is required when 4 kids are running wild. She would speed up her pitch and then give us the highlights and if we missed something, she would gladly tell us again. She encouraged the kids to sit on the bank counter because "it's not original" and was great.

The bank itself is pretty small, not what we are used to at all. One room but the ceilings are the original tin and the floor is original as well. The bank vault itself was pretty cool to, a heck of a lot smaller than I would have thought. The door was heavy as hell though.

I would gladly take any age kids through this tour. The whole tour lasts maybe 20 minutes from start to finish and was something cool for both kids and dads to do. I get my history fix, learn a little something, and my daughter gets to try and lift up heavy bag of fake gold. Very cool and a nice little place to go.

Finally, make a day of it as this bank is located in historic downtown Liberty square. The courthouse is pretty cool and there is a water fountain that the kids played in for a while. There are also a couple of places to eat on the square and I was happy with the Mexican place, I'll add that name in here later. It was a good day.

I would recommend this place if you want to kill a couple of hours.

Liberty Historic Jail

Location: 216 North Main, Liberty


Cost: Free

Let's start off this way, if you bill yourself as a "restored Liberty Jail" that's really what I expect to see. Sadly, not so much.

Maybe I'm going to be a little hard on this because I like history, but seriously dude, look where you are at. There is so much authentic history around here that if you go bullshit you are probably going to be called on it.

Here's the story: Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormon Church) was imprisoned here in the 1830's. This jail eventually just about feel down or was pillaged for the limestone. One wall remained when another person bought it and knocked the whole thing down. This guy built a house and lived there for 35 years and finally sold it to the Mormon Church. The Church then came in and bulldozed the house and built this shrine and a REPLICA of the actual jail, not the jail itself. It would appear that nothing is original.

When I asked if anything was restored or original, they said the floor was restored. I'm calling bullshit. It's dirt, that's it.

Everything though looks nicely done and it is an appropriate shrine for that religion but I do not find it authentic as a history buff, at all. The staff was nice but was more intent on going through the lectures and what not than adapting to the situation which was 2 guys with 4 kids. As you can guess, not a good place to take children at all.

If you get a chance to go to this activity, pass it up and instead throw wet toilet paper at the walls.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Playgroup, May 20

Rather than actually tell everyone about Playgroup today, let's just let some pictures tell the story. I will say that this may have been one of the most fun playgroups I have ever been to.

The Hippie Hollow: Episode 77.101.A


So I'm sitting at my computer writing a blog that is meaningless, on the other hand is is very helpful to humans. drinking a Pepsi, I always drink Pepsi's. I'm a stay-at-home dad, I take care of my boy or as my wife says he takes care of me. I really don't expect you getting this but I will tell you that if you read the these blogs as my wife says and some of my friends I just to really say a lot of random shit. but once in awhile I'll say something that makes sense or genius or are clever enough that I shouldn't have came up with it.

Okay so I'm using speaking Dragon so my hands are free and I'm kicking back and relaxed. If you find things misspelled or confusing that maybe becouse I didn't check my spelling and will on be reading this blog again and I really don't care, about much. I mean that I care about you and this blog.

I am in a dads group, most of you that are reading this blog know that the groups called Kansas City dads in Kansas City. I guess whoever thought of the name couldn't come up with a clever, catchy, funny, or even different name but you know its fine, I found it right next to escorts in Craig's list. It's a great group there are 15,30,60 someone might even say 90 members and we have our own website as you can see at the blog. bunch of great guys I must say, when you ask a question like I have you can ask a lot of dumb questions and get a lot of dumb answers. I have also asks good questions and got a lot of dumb answers but of those dumb questions there were three or four that were really good answers that helped me out. you know he you you you um you see moms and they looked like they had all under control in a supermarket or walking down the street and kids behaving and then you see a dad as a doing the same exact thing but stressing out, see the mom has a the timing down. She knows when to aventure out, when to go to the park, when to go shopping or when to take a trip across country with the kid and hold together.

Well I'm here to tell you that dad's have the same thing, we know there are some days that you wish that every day could go just like this one :-} perfect everything went fine you got up you have breakfast and played, you had lunch, took a nap, and made dinner you wife when she came home - everything is happy. BUT then there was that other day where you woke up at five in the morning kid was screaming as he/she had diarrhea and the crib was (lets say very very very very wrong smellling) and the wife cannot help, she was getting ready for work. You have breakfast but he doesn't want to eat, plays for about an hour, he starts crying because he's hungry but he didn't really want breakfast. so you try to feeding him snacks, you try playing with him AND at one point just ignore him you're frustrated. why, why doesn't he just tell me what he wants? okay maybe he can't talk and then we realized that it's only Monday we got four more days and were really really hoping that the last four days are smooth because if not you really hoping that your looking at the wrong date and it's really Friday.

Okay so one bought to do Dallas on when to explain to you without facing any typos or misspellings with a natural speaking dragon you run a see how frustrating it is to use a sometimes if you don't speak correctly or if you are running those we call a my life to become a crack to be really annoyed by a Congress tried to sow the sound after I proofread this paragraph but if you're reading this paragraph and you realize that it makes no talking sense at all then you're reading it correctly because it really doesn't and this is not that this happens his biggest win a topic tautly fast in the computer can't keep up with me maybe but that's the New York coming out.

so not exactly this blog but the future blogs i'm going to explain a little more about what I do as a stay-at-home dad, see I want you to see it as a famous person but I'm not so maybe more to a nonfamous person in the eyes of a stay-at-home dad. Look as the Colorado person we just went to today and I think next week might be the Ohio drive to a stay-at-home dads house, I don't remember and I love the drives I love going to a friend of mine that is stay-at-home dad that lives towards Kentucky and another friend of that is just down the street - matter fact hes a Xbox lover. okay anyways not to pick on anybody or any of that.

so if you're one of those guys that want to know how to make a compost or dog bin compound I'll explain it, might even draw a picture. LET ME KNOW. Ohio person your getting a new house how about it.

So if you really think I'm a хиппи and you think that it's a normal world out there and were all crazy * things are funny.

If you have read this far then my goal to tell you something or story every time I blog. every time will not important probably, but I hope it helps you in the future on your relationship with your wife and your kids. You don't have to be old to tell a story or young to not tell one.

77.101.A I know this guy and he told me when my son or daughter was about to be born remember one thing, the life you have does not revolve around your kid, you and your wife created him or her. So when you get stressed out - you and your wife are yelling each other more often than usual find a babysitter take your kid to grandmothers house. Go to a movie DON'T just treat your wife to a dinner and movie, treat each other, remember you created your kids - YOUR kid don't come first, your family comes first.



Saturday, May 16, 2009

How We Roll

Normal dads may take their kids to a nice Mcdonalds lunch. Let them play on the jungle gym a little, maybe make some eye contact with hot mom in the corner looking to trade up. They'll sit there in silence and eat some chicken nuggets, just a little ketchup please, and then perhaps an ice cream cone. Then they'll go home and drop the kid off and brag about how they took the kid all by themselves to lunch. And they'll get credit to.

But us. No, that's not how we roll. That's rookie dad stuff.

Instead we go to a downtown restaurant during the rush hour lunch. 4 dads and 6 kids, 3 of them are toddlers and 3 of them are still in diapers. This is dading at an advanced level.

We rolled into the restaurant, put our names down--yes you heard that right honey, we need three high chairs--and then continued to the bar. The 3 toddlers saddled up to the bar.

"Three shots of milk sweet cheeks, this one's on dad."

We finally get out table and left the bar remarkably intact, just a few thousand sets of silverware that our kids had slobbered on and thrown on the floor. A minor setback, it's true, but nothing that we couldn't handle. This isn't a challenge, this is a walk in the park.

We strolled through the business people talking about business things. Take over a corporation here, bankrupt a rival there--all trivial when compared to taking 6 kids, 3 strollers and enough diaper bags to change every baby in America, to a busy downtown restaurant at noon.

The place got quiet as they stopped their discussions of corporate evil and glanced our way. Oh, I know what they were thinking. They were thinking "What the fuck is this."

This is awesomeness personified, observe and bask in our glory.

We got to our table. We had chosen to implement a 3/2 zone defense, yes even our sports knowledge exceeds yours because what else do we have to do all day other than to analyze sports?

Within seconds the table was set and the kids were placed. No one was out of arms reach. The kids in the highchairs were already seated and munching on chips. Smooth. If you blinked you probably missed how we set this up. It's ok, we hold workshops.

And then we ordered. Just like that. No arguments, no questions, no surprises. My own kid threw a challenge to everyone else in the restaurant. He started downing handfuls of salsa. Carnage everywhere, salsa dripping from his chin and mixing with the tears from his eyes. But he was not crying, they were tears of victory. The gauntlet had been thrown, could the corporate pukes keep up?

They could not.

We were a sight to see, something that perhaps is not normal. A group of dads who are actually good at taking their kids out. A group of dads who aren't hurrying to get home, a group of dads and are ready to show you how it's done.

And then it happened. A lady came up to our table with her camera.

"Oh, I've got to get a picture of this." she said.

Yes baby, get a picture of the gun show passing around a package of wet wipes.

This, my friends, is how stay at home dads roll. Try and keep up.

Friday, May 15, 2009

DNO the way of the Dodo?

Well, as it has been since I joined the Stay-st-Home Manclub. We met again in the second week of the month. On a day of our choosing. At a place known for it's beer, food, and atmosphere.

Oh, and the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is to DIE for. *Ahem**cough**drink beer*

As it has been lately, the womenfolk have gotten together to conspire against us.
Man1: My wife planned something. I can't make it.
Man2: I can come. Man2 / part 2: My wife made some plans, sorry.
Man3: I will make it around 8pm if the wife gets home in time. (wife took long way home thru Nebraska)

And so it has been that the gang has dwindled.

Last night was a great night for a get-together. One of the first clear nights. No rain. No cold. No clouds.

So here we are. The die-hards.
Mr. Single. Mr. Gotta get out. And me, Mr. OnShort leash.
Arriving there about 7:30 I found the others relaxing at a table enjoying a drink and some chow. I sat down, (Waited.... waited...) and ordered a beer.
And we just talked. My daughter did this. My son did that. I've been there. Have you tried this? This recipe is great. School. Travel. Potty.

Every topic under the sun and then pulled a few more from around the moon.
Enjoying a beer, food, and friends.
Not that there weren't things to look at. The table of pretty girls. (My wife would cut off my....) The crowd walking by outside. The nut job with the tatoos (he's pierced WHERE?)and augments.

You get the idea. *shudder*

I am just hoping that more of the guys realize what they are missing. Why wait for a convention every year? This day, every month. Is when we can vent without worrying if the kid can hear. Ask those "Does your wife do this?" questions. Learn mora about each other than we ever wanted to know.

Turn this "group" of SAHDs.
Into a group of friends who stay home with their kids.

Sub-blogger: Chuckles

Union Station KC Rail Experience

Place: Union Station, 30 Pershing Rd, KC Mo


Cost: 6.50, kids 3 and under are free

Age Group: Pretty much all ages.

Most everyone has heard of union station. Most have been to some of the exhibits and at least Science City, which is still awesome. But most may not have been to the KC Rail Experience.

The entrance to the display is on the second floor but the actual exhibit is on the bottom floor. The area used to be the actual train depot but they have remade it into an interactive exhibit. So what about it do the kids dig?

In the center of the room is an honest to god locomotive engine. The kids are free to climb up and down this until the cows come home. They can actually go and sit in the captains chair and push all the wonderful, wonderful buttons. they are kids, who doesn't like to push a crap load of buttons. Hell, I like to push buttons. Although the train is decommissioned, they recreated the feel of it in motion so the kids love this.

They also have a replica of a caboose that the kids can go in and see and climb all over as well. Everything is made to be touched and climbed which is a big bonus in my book. And of course for the dads, the rest of the exhibits and the history is interactive with sounds from the actual time period. You just step on a place and it comes on automatically. Pretty cool. I'm a bit of a history nut so I loved all this.

You can also go outside through a double set of doors and look at several other types of train cars that they have there as well. We were not allowed to go inside, like the passenger cars, but you can walk around. If you walk to the end though this is where you will see the real trains doing real train like things such as making loud noises and hissing. I think the kids might have loved this part most of all. Amtrak trains always come in and out and cargo trains were there as well.

This is a great activity and I think everyone had a great time. If you get a chance or need an indoor activity to do, this might be for you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Playgroup, April

We had two new members today. So the rest of us decided that we would be on our best behavior so as not to freak anyone out. So naturally we began to talk about Marilyn Chambers and how she passed away this week. She will be missed but her movies will last forever.

Playgroups are getting large. We had around 12 dads and close to 20 kids. Chaos ruled. They split up into little camps and plotted doom against all comers. The posted guards, held top secret meetings in the tent of silence and then laid on the floor while we cleaned up the carnage that they had created.

Talk is circulating about having playgroups 2 days a week again with the second day to focus on some sort of activity like a park or Deana Rose Farms. Because we are not happy with just unleashing the minions on eachother, we have to unleash them on the world.

Again there were minimal fights which must show how awesome dads are at raising thier kids. Instead of punches being thrown they all calmly sat down and talked about the best way to share their toy. The conclusion was "GIVE IT TO ME, IT'S MINE!" in which the most aggressive kid won and then hauled ass away from the rest of the group. We love it when the children work problems out on their own.