Monday, June 19, 2023

Birthdays, Hannibal, Graduation and more!

Good evening, friends!

Life has been a bit too busy to find time to sit down and post. This is the first opportunity I have had to visit with ya'll and I'm glad I finally found some time to sit down. I hope this finds ya'll well, happy and healthy!

This may end up being a long post with lots of pictures. I hope I don't bore you with all of the craziness from June 1st to now.

At last post Kayla was preparing to go visit her bio-mom in southern Missouri. On the way down we made a few stops. Kayla has been begging to eat at Lambert's Cafe for more than a year, so we decided to have a late lunch in Springfield. We also stopped at Osceola Cheese Company to get beef sticks and cheese curds...yummy! The girls had a ton of fun and were so happy!

Aaron and the Girls at Osceola Cheese Company

Kayla and Alysia at Lambert's Cafe

On Sunday (June 4) I had a catering job to complete while I waited for Kayla to arrive back home. The meal was prepared for 20 people and served at Historic Mount Gilead School and Church. We served an Asian salad with vinaigrette, pulled pork, baked beans, tater tot casserole and apple, coconut cream and chocolate cream pies. The meal went well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. 

I was super happy to have Kayla back home. Everything always seems so quite when she is away. After she got home she helped Dad with some house repairs. She even diagnosed what was wrong with the bottom step of the back porch and fixed it all by herself with her own tool bag.

Kayla Fixing the Back Porch Step

On Wednesday June 7th we went to Warrensburg to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday with her. I took all the stuff and made salad, baked ziti, garlic bread and birthday cake for her. We had a good evening!

Lisa's Birthday Cake

Lisa Makes a Wish Before Blowing Out the Candles

On Thursday (June 8th) my niece Kelly turned 1! I wasn't able to make it down for her party unfortunately, but got sent this cute photo of her enjoying her birthday decorations by my mom.

Kelly Turns 1!

We spent the rest of the week preparing for our upcoming trip. We have been planning a trip to Hannibal for somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 months. My mom was going with us, so on Sunday (the 11th) my mom drove to Harrisonville and we picked her up there and brought her home with us. On Sunday night we finished preparing for an early departure and grilled out for dinner.

Grilling Out in the Gazebo

On Monday morning last week we left for Hannibal with several state park stops planned alone the way. Aaron, Alysia and myself have been to all the Missouri State Parks and State Historic Sites. My mom would like to go to all of them as well, so we took her to a total of 9 of them on this trip.

On the way over we stopped at Wallace State Park (Cameron), Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site (Laclede), Pershing State Park (Laclede), Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site (Laclede), and Long Branch State Park (Macon). 

Alysia and Kayla at Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site

Aaron and I Stroll Down the Path Towards the Locust Creek Covered Bridge

Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site

After we arrived in Hannibal we checked into our hotel and then spent the evening exploring the area. We visited the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse and Lover's Leap. The area was so beautiful! I love the Mississippi River, and I really enjoyed getting to explore Hannibal. Even though I have passed through and seen small things a few times I had never stopped long enough to enjoy the sites.

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

The Whole Crew at the Scenic Overlook

Riverboat on the Mississippi River

Aaron and I Enjoying the View from Lover's Leap

By the time we got done we were pretty hungry, so we set out to find somewhere unique to eat...and were drawn to a particular spot solely on a cute name...The Lil O Hickory Hut. The gentleman that owns it is so nice and friendly, and the food was delicious! They just opened in November 2022, but I hope they are there for a very long time. I definitely recommend them if you head to Hannibal! I had the brisket sandwich on a ciabatta bun with coleslaw and baked macaroni and cheese.

Dinner from Lil O Hickory Hut

On Tuesday morning we boarded the Mark Twain Riverboat and set sail for a one hour sightseeing tour. We really enjoyed it and the Captain was an amazing man with over 40 years of experience with running riverboats. At some point we would like to go back and take part in the two-hour dinner cruise. This was, by far, one of our favorite parts of the trip.

The Girls Watch the River Go By

Aaron and I Enjoy the River View

After leaving the riverboat we headed to Becky Thatcher's Diner for lunch. We left with mixed reviews. My loaded BLT (with an egg), Aaron's Reuben and Kayla's pancake were all good. Alyisa's chicken strips were "just ok", and Mom's regular BLT and onion rings were anything but good. The onion rings tasted more like fried mushrooms than onions and the BLT had a hug chunk of lettuce on it (too thick) and only one thin slice of tomato and one slice of bacon. It was pretty sorry.

From there we went over a few blocks where we visited Huckleberry Finn (Tom Johnson), Tom Sawyer (Samuel Clemmons) and Becky Thatcher's (Laura Hopkins) homes, the Mark Twain Interpretive Center, Grant's Drugstore and the Mark Twain Museum.  

The Girls Whitewash Tom Sawyer's Fence

We made our way to Mark Twain Cave and took the one hour 3/8-mile long tour. Our tour guide was amazing and the cave was so interesting in the fact that there are over 250 passages in the cave. It is the first cave I have been in that has so many passages and I find it one of my favorite caves that I have been in just due to its uniqueness. 

Kayla in Mark Twain Cave

Alysia, Aaron, Mom (Rebecca) and Kayla in Mark Twain Cave

After we finished touring the cave we were all very tired so we made our way back to the hotel and ordered pizza for supper. However, we all wanted to enjoy the river at night so we made our way back down to the Hannibal landing and enjoyed the beautiful night view. While we were there the Captain of the riverboat happened by and the girls ran up to talk to him. They ended up getting their picture taken with him. 

Hannibal Landing at Night

Mom at the Landing

Aaron, The Girls and I at the Landing

Alysia and Kayla with Captain Steve

The Riverboat at Night

On Wednesday morning we started towards home, but just like the trip there, we had lots of stops planned for the way home. We made our way to Mark Twain State Park and Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site. After that we made our way to the Union Covered Bridge State Historic Site. This is by far my favorite of Missouri's covered bridges. It sits on the Elk Fork of the Salt River, which is a beautiful view in its own right.

The Cabin Where Mark Twain Was Born

Crossing Union Covered Bridge

Elks Fork - Salt River

Mom at Union Covered Bridge

On our way back we drove through Chariton County. I have driven through Chariton County many times, and each time think of the fact that the Ingalls family made their home there for about a year near Rushville. I have always wanted to find the spot, but never we drove over and searched it out. I was so happy to finally make it there. I eventually would like to visit all of the Little House sites, but that will take a long time.

The Little House Site in Chariton County

We finally made it home Wednesday evening. We did laundry and repacked to prepare to leave again.

On Thursday morning Kayla had a dentist appointment. She got her teeth cleaned and checked, and will have to have a cavity or two filled at some point.

Kayla at the Dentist's Office

After we left the dentist we headed to Harrisonville to take mom back to her car and then headed towards southern Missouri to help my sister's family prepare for my niece's graduation party on Saturday. We did a lot of cooking, and my sister baked about 130 cupcakes. I helped her frost them, as well as helping with some of the other cooking and general running.


On Friday evening my brother looked at my computer which has been giving me lots of issues recently. Turned out my hard drive was in the process of going out. I ran and picked up a new one and within a short amount of time he had replaced the old hard drive with a solid state hard drive, reloaded everything back onto my computer and it works better than it did when it was new. He is so smart when it comes to technology.

On Saturday my sister fixed my hair, and she did a good job with it. I really liked it. 

Graduation Party Hairdo

In the afternoon the graduation party was held. I cannot believe that my beautiful niece Audrey has graduated from high school and is only a couple weeks from her 18th birthday. I still see her as an itty bitty baby. I was a bit emotional when we got ready to leave.

Audrey at Her Graduation Party

On Saturday I was finally able to get a photoshoot done with Kayla that I have been trying to get done for two years. She is all about poufy dresses and frilly girl things, but also likes to get her hands dirty working with Dad under the cars and in the yard. My brother took the photos (James Knox Photography), and he sent me a preview. I think they are going to turn out great as they capture both sides of her so well. 

Kayla Working on the Car

Kayla's Personality - Fancy Dresses and Grease on Her Face

Speaking of Kayla...the other day she told me she had made an art gallery in the carport with her sidewalk chalk. I hadn't really had a chance to look at until yesterday. She gave me a tour of her art gallery. Each piece had a name and a story and she was great docent as she took me through. I was thoroughly impressed.

Kayla's Art Gallery

We got home Saturday night and went to church yesterday. We took Aaron out to lunch for Father's Day and then he returned to work last night. I spent all of yesterday evening and today doing laundry and running errands.

Well all...I started this blog at 4:30 p.m. and now it is 10:15 p.m. I have gotten stopped multiple times, and this one is incredibly long since it has been a couple weeks since my last post, and we've had so much going on. There is more to write, but I don't have any more time tonight. I have to be up at 3:45 a.m. tomorrow as I have to be in Warrensburg by 6:00 a.m. as my mother-in-law is having surgery. Please pray for good doctors, smooth surgery and fast healing for her. 

Please forgive any typos as I don't have the time or energy to check through it all right now. I'll check in again soon!

Love to all!


1 comment:

  1. I love this! And I had soooo much fun with you guys on our outing! Thank you for everything! I love you! <3


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