Growing up, I considered Kansas City a one-horse town and could not wait to bail on it as soon as I could. I flew the coop to college and headed straight for Manhattan...KANSAS. So, of course, my skin still crawled for more "stuff to do". After college, I headed for the "big" metroplex of Dallas/Fort Worth. Now, I can't complain too much about the place that I called home for 12 years, although I wasn't immediately taken with the city. Texas really is a world of it's own, and the people there, particularly the ones that were born and raised there, are crazy in love with the state. Now, there's nothing wrong with a little loyalty, and after 10 years or so, I'd given in to this loyalty a little and sipped the Kool-Aid. Texas ain't bad, but Dallas and Fort Worth, I found, really had no more to offer than Kansas City.
And I missed home.
And every time we visited, we wondered, "Why aren't we here?"
And guess what? THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. I'm not all that familiar with the dream and idea behind the city, but the way it is laid out, especially where we live, is so conducive to walking places. Our neighborhood, within blocks, has tons of restaurants, 2 grocery stores, coffee shops, even a five and dime. And there are lots of neighborhoods just like this, close by. There was nothing like these neighborhoods where we lived before anywhere, unless it was some lame shopping center with the same stores as the one down the street. You know the ones...the Kohls, the Chili's, and of course, the Starbucks.
With the boys not being in school right now (they'll start at a pre-K in January!), we're constantly on the prowl for activities. We're able to find something to do almost every day, despite the cold weather. Even just a trip to our OUTSTANDING branch of the library is an exciting event. It has it's own ART ROOM for kids. Just sitting there for your use. Free. There are incredible art galleries, historical buildings that have been restored and now contain museums, children's museums, outdoor ice skating rinks, farms with petting zoos...and these are all things we can do without even getting on the highway.
During the holidays, this city turns into nothing short of magic. It's like everyone is infected with the spirit. The Plaza lights seem to inspire everyone to decorate their homes to the nines. The weather is chilly, there's usually snow on the ground, as everyone prepares to celebrate this season with their families. There are Christmas tree lightings to attend all over the city, holiday concerts on every corner. Last night, the boys and I walked home from the grocery store and decided to take a different street to see the lights. I love the creative, outlandish, and simple ways people choose to decorate their homes. I wanted to come home and get crazy on the front yard, but we just don't have enough lights. It would be pretty pathetic compared to some of our neighbors. And speaking of my neighborhood, did I mention that the boys' picture was in the Kansas City Star?!?
Perhaps the stars will fall from my eyes one day again, and I will once again think of Kansas City as a one-horse town, but I hope they don't.