Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Today is the 117th anniversary of Amelia Earhart's birth. 

 Amelia Earhart, famed aviator, is Little Sis's hero.  My someday artist-ballerina-pilot (-comedian-magician-science teacher-whatever hyphenate she adds that day) loves all things Amelia.  She has a doll.  She has a cheap dress-up aviator hat and scarf.  She will read or listen to any book on Amelia (or other female pilots) she can get her hands on, although she no longer wants to hear the end of the story.  She knows Amelia will disappear, never to be seen or heard from again.  She is only mildly interested in news reports related to Amelia's disappearance.  She prefers to celebrate her hero's life, rather than her demise.  She fell in love with the idea of being a pilot the first time we read this book, and I think she likes to imagine Amelia is still circling the sky in her silver Elektra.

Last year, we were able to take the girls to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC, where Little Sis posed with Amelia's red Vega, her favorite of Amelia's planes.

This year, I couldn't wait to take her to historic Atchison, Kansas, for the annual Amelia Earhart Festival, held in honor of Atchison's most famous daughter's birthday!

This is the official button for the festival.
I told Little Sis that it was as if they knew she was coming, and
had planned accordingly.  She smiled at me and said,
"Yeah, I can be pretty horrid."

While the festival was spread over a few days, we only went up for Saturday's events.  It was a beautiful hour's drive north from Leawood, Kansas, where we were staying.  We arrived at a quarter 'til ten, parked near the quiet carnival, and wandered to the Commercial Street Mall, a lovely shopping area I would love to explore during a non-festival time.  During the festival, the area was set up as an outdoor market, with cool crafts and baked goods.  Along with the vendors, there was a duck pond (the game kind), a Mad Science booth, a couple of stages for entertainers, a petting zoo, ponies, and a human-powered spinning amusement park ride thingie that Big Sis had a lot of fun riding.  (Yeah, I don't know what else to call it.)

There was an Amelia on stilts!  We couldn't convince our little Amelia and her tiny Amelia (doll) to pose with her, but Big Sis was game.

We lingered on the mall for a couple of hours.  There was a lot to see, and there was a giant birthday card to sign and cake to eat.  The birthday cake meant missing seeing and hearing Amelia Rose Earhart at Benedictine College.  I think Little Sis would have liked to have seen her, but cake won out.

After our cake, we walked up, Up, UP steep hilly streets - not all of Kansas is flat, although Wichita is, and that's what we're used to - to the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.

This is the beautiful old house owned by Amelia's maternal grandparents, Alfred and Amelia Otis, prominent citizens of Atchison.  Besides being born in this house, Amelia lived with her grandparents for much of her childhood, returning to her parents in Kansas City, KS, during the summer.

Inside the house, we found a lot of cool memorabilia and Victorian decor.  You can see pictures on the museum website.  When I asked Little Sis what her favorite part of the tour was, first she replied, "All of it," then changed her mind.  "The gift shop."  No wonder.  The ladies in the gift shop were very accommodating to my little Amelia fan, digging out pictures and a poster for the movie Amelia, starring Hilary Swank.

The Otises were very well-off, and their view proved it.  The house overlooks the Missouri River, and off to the side, we could see the blue Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge (not the original) on which we drove into town.

The walk back to the commercial district was downhill and more enjoyable.  We had gorgeous Victorian houses to gawk at, and came upon a lovely sunflower.

We returned to our car, and drove to Trinity Episcopal Church, where Amelia was baptized.


There was to have been a historical 1890s-style service, but it was canceled when the former rector left, and it was too late to change the festival brochures.  We still received a tour of the gorgeous old building (some of the stained glass window are Tiffany!) and had some refreshments.  Plus, the supply priest was there to receive visitors: the former assistant rector from our church here at home!

We could see the carnival in full swing from outside the church, but by this time, all the walking uphill, my antibiotics, and the bright sun were beginning to take their toll.

"Mommy?" Little Sis asked.  "Can we come back next year with Daddy, and then we can go to carnival and see the fireworks?  I want to go back to the hotel."

We walked over to Subway and grabbed some grub to go.  Then we drove a bit around this historic railroad town on the Missouri River, then crossed the blue bridge out of town.

Back in Leawood, Little Sis changed into her new t-shirt and wrote "I ♥ Amelia Earhart" on her 8x10 photo print from the gift shop.

You can check out some of our previous Amelia and women pilot love here.

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A Farmstead Visit and A Book

A favorite part of our Kansas City weekend was visiting the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park.  I had never heard of it until a friend posted pictures on Facebook a couple of years ago, and I knew this was a place we had to visit.  My city girls like to pretend they're country girls, egged on by stories Mr. B and my grandmother tell them about growing up on farms.

The farmstead was a wonderland for my kiddos.  Everything is meant to be turn-of-the-20th-century old-fashioned .  There were animals galore, of course, and for a small fee, kids can bottle-feed baby goats and fish with bamboo poles.  {My vegetarian, non-fishing self made the last one a bit difficult.  It just means Mr. B will need to go with us next time!}

We opted for the combo pack that included all the little pay-extra activities, including mining.  The girls were given their bags of sand to sift in the water, collecting cool stones to take home.

There was a one-room schoolhouse on the premises, too.  The girls have been inside old schoolhouses at Old Cowtown and the Little House on the Prairie Museum, but this one was especially nice.  It had a beautiful pressed tin ceiling, and a "teacher" was there to tell visitors what school was like over a century ago. Oh, and while it wasn't exactly historically accurate, the air-conditioning was nice, too.

One of my favorite parts was a Native American encampment exhibit.  It focused specifically on the Kanza tribe, and a guide was there to tell about the earthen lodge.  I didn't get a decent picture of the outside of the lodge, but you can read/see more about it here.

The rest of our combo pack included pony rides and a hay wagon ride.  The ponies were led by handlers around a little path.  I bought a ticket for the wagon ride, too.  The wagon was pulled by two gorgeous Belgian draft horses, and we could pet them when the ride was through.

There was so much to see and do, we were there for over four hours.  There were some wild birds of prey, peacocks, bobcats, bison, and longhorns in enclosures, along with a butterfly garden and nature trail.  The nature trail included some of the largest wind chimes I have ever seen.

I promised a book in the post title, right?  One of my daughters' favorite books when they were very small was a book that had belonged to my sister and me when we were kids.

Baby Farm Animals (Books for Young Explorers) by Merrill Windsor.
National Geographic Society, 1984.

This straight-forward picture book shows children on farms with different baby animals, giving facts about the animals and how they are cared for on the farm.  There's also a page about 4-H and showing animals at the fair.  Pretty simple, but the photography - this is a National Geographic publication - is what makes it such a keeper.

I'll have one more post about this weekend tomorrow!

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Girls' Weekend Getaway

Happy Monday, dear readers!  The little girls and I are chilling out at home on this very hot day - seriously, why can't the weather be nice and cool when I'm well??? - after a weekend out of town.  Friday morning, we drove up to the Kansas City area for a little weekend trip.  We had to do away with our family vacation plans, because of financial reasons and some family stuff coming up. Mr. B had to move his vacation time.  He insisted the girls and I take an abbreviated version of our trip, mainly so that Little Sis could still attend a day of the Amelia Earhart Festival up in Atchison.  I'll share some photos from that later this week.

The lead photo?  Little Sis took that from the backseat of the car.  We'd never seen the "Community Bookshelf," located on the facade of the parking garage of the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library in person, although I see images of it floating around Pinterest all the time.  You can see the full building here.

Our first stop was Reading Reptile in Kansas City, MO's Brookside neighborhood.  Somehow, I had never paid a visit to this amazing children's bookstore.

I have probably told you that my dream is to someday own my own children's bookstore.  Walking into Reading Reptile was like walking into my dream.

The girls were quick to point out this chalkboard in the entryway.  "Look, it's The Three Robbers!"  Big Sis squealed.  Inside were amazing paper mache sculptures of a wide variety of children's book characters:  my beloved Olivia, the peddler and tree from Caps for Sale, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and many others. There were posters on the ceiling!  There was a stuffed Rosie doll from The Sign on Rosie's Door!  And of course, there were books, books, and more books.  You can see more photos of the bookstore at their website.  Reading Reptile makes me want to move to Kansas City.  And if I couldn't work there, well, you know we'd be regular customers.

We did leave with a few items.  I couldn't just walk in and gawk.  Little Sis chose the first book in the Captain Underpants series.  Big Sis chose Henry & Beezus.  I found a Dover paperback of Sky Island by L. Frank Baum!  And The Three Robbers chalkboard must have put me in a Tomi Ungerer mood, because for all of us, I bought the beautiful Phaidon reprint of Moon Man, originally published in 1966.

We also visited The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, one of my favorite art museums anywhere.  Little Sis was getting hungry, which makes her sulky and angry ("hangry"), so we didn't spend as much time there as we could have, but we saw some favorites.

We headed back to the Kansas side of things,  for a quick meal and a trip to the American Girl Store.  I recently acquired a very damaged original Kirsten doll.  We got her cleaned, and both she and Molly got their hair styled.

Besides the Amelia Earhart Festival, we also had an outing to the most amazing children's farm.  I'll share that with you later this week, I promise.

Both girls have declared they want to move closer to Kansas City, by the way.

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