If you haven’t visited PYUR Eats in Leavenworth, KS, this is a MUST-do!
This veteran-owned business opened 8 weeks ago and is amazing friends! I’ve driven by the quaint building for months and was so glad to stop and get grading done in a quiet homey environment. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Spanish empanadas on their menu, and even more impressed by the hospitality of the owners. I first met co-owner Morgan Bean, who has lived in the Leavenworth area for 40 years.
He and his wife, Mary, decided to join forces with Elena Gann (aka “Star”), after Morgan’s retirement from the state. Elena, a military veteran, who is well known in town for selling homemade jams at the Farmer’s Market joined shortly after my arrival and shared their diverse menu and meal kit options with me. She was such a pleasure to chat with (in multiple languages I might add!) and everyone was so friendly! If I gained nothing more from my visit, I got to practice my Spanish and the little Italian I know. Elena speaks too many languages for me to keep track of and has such a neat background! I’ll say, if I didn’t love to cook my own meals, their meal kits are as close to a Miami-cantina as it gets here in Kansas. For those of you who prefer vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy free menus, PYUR Eats can prepare special daily meals and snacks just for you.
As I worked that morning, I brought my appetite with me and went for a non-traditional breakfast, trying their Thai zucchini-carrot salad and black bean tart. I also had to taste the opera cake Andrea Gass was perfecting while I people-watched.
The opera cake bite was delicious and watching sisters, Gass and Gann cook together, made me miss my own sisters on this calm morning. Moving with the military can certainly give us newfound appreciation for the family and loved ones we have back home! Morgan insisted I try their homemade chorizo next time, along with their zucchini brownies—one of their best sellers. Their Mediterranean and Spanish options are also wonderful y’all! I will need to return for their Forbidden Rice Bowl, just because it’s forbidden 😊
Here’s a quick glance at their menu:
If you’re traveling through the area, or getting stationed at Fort Leavenworth, you have to visit these military-friendly locals and spend some time filling your bellies with their delicious meals. Don’t forget to take one of Elena’s famous Kansas jams with you!
I wish I could move this snug little space and its owners with me to our next “home.” PYUR Eats is open early Monday though Friday, 7am-5pm, and is closed on weekends. The owners participate in local parades, Main Street’s Alive After 5, and are sponsors for the annual A Taste of Leavenworth. If you want to learn more about them, check them out on-line at pyureats.com, or on Facebook at PYUR Eats.
Now that spring break is over, and my carpets are dry, I’ll have to adventure into town to meet more locals and explore their businesses. I feel like our time here is escaping me! Where are your adventures taking you this week?
p.s. Not sure why my carpets are dry? Read about the flood here: The Flood’s Purpose
Self-Care. Such an inviting concept, and yet most of us make little time to care for our health and well-being. After a week of cross-country drives with the boys and house hunting with my soldier, we found a home, trekked on back to Kansas, and were welcomed by gallons of water flooding our rental. Insert song and dance.
This week has reminded me to slow down. I took a pause from blogging to breathe, snuggle with my boys, journal, and regroup—it’s PCS season and that alone has me in full throttle these days. The flood had purpose…I needed the pause. It forced me to hit the breaks, loosen my grip, and roll with everything life was throwing our way…more like roll with the waves of water in my house, but you get where I’m going.
I will say, this slower week also has me reflecting on the team work between my husband and I. We rocked this house hunt y’all! After the last 6 moves, I think we have finally mastered a navigation plan and devised a spreadsheet that works for us and helps narrow the search down to the right home for our family. We also had an AMAZING realtor working with us—what are the chances she’s a military spouse/mom, Miami native, and fellow high school alumni? Me encanta when things line up beautifully!
This week also helped me appreciate people in my life. The in-laws willing to spend their vacation babysitting for us, the mom-neighbor with jokes and a word of encouragement, the fellow military spouse who “gets it” and can be flexible with me and my schedule, the check-ins from loved ones miles away. I can’t wait to be closer to them, and yet I’m equally sad to be moving far from those we’ve met and bonded with here. I’ve said it before, but moving with the military is bittersweet. It’s purging, packing, and planning. It’s sad goodbyes, awkward hellos, and new friends. It’s unknowns and stress, coupled with excitement, future dreams, and memories to be made. Amid all the moving fun, it’s easy to forget one very important thing…ourselves!
In the hustle and bustle of getting everything situated, it’s too easy to use the time we have to plan, plan and plan some more, especially when your spouse is a previous logistician. I had to laugh today when I shared the various school options I’d reviewed and his response?
“Did you create a spreadsheet for all this information?”
Wait a second now! This momma will NOT be creating a spreadsheet for schools. Friends, my spreadsheet efforts are limited to budgeting, grading, and house hunting. My time will however be spent enjoying the wonderful friends we’ve made in Leavenworth, while packing for a DITY move (why a DITY???). This week is also helping me get back on track with my elliptical and gratitude journal–I will need those these next few months. House hunting and moving are emotional! I needed this week at home to flip my attitude, envision this next season, and be intentional about what I do with my time. I also sort of needed that flood to remind me of what matters most: the people I love and my health and well-being. I can’t take care of my family if I’m not taking care of myself. I needed a lifeline and I got it!
When you feel flooded, how do you decompress? What helps you and your military family ride the waves in a healthy and resilient way? Don’t be shy! Share what works—I’m open eyes over here 😊
Happy Easter weekend friends!
p.s. We visited several historic spots and downtown shops during our trip to NC and will blog about some later, but here are a few pics from our adventure.
**Update** I created the spreadsheet. Apparently I write in hieroglyphics. Harmonious marriage friends…doesn’t always have to be about the win.
Out of the Barn…what a great opportunity to support local artists!
I had stopped in recently after Thaddeus from Dad’s Toys recommended I visit. Amy Coon, owner and marine spouse, was behind the desk homeschooling one of her daughters as I curiously
approached. She was friendly and shared a bit about her sign-painting classes with me. What a wonderful space to gather a group of spouses and have us a day focused on self-care and community! Who wants in?
As I looked around I thought back to the one DIY sign project my husband and I made 6 years ago and the promise we made as newlyweds to have fun garage project-dates, then kids happened…ask me if we’ve painted any signs recently. However, that is about to change. Between Amy’s sign encouragement, and Moving with the Military’s recent blog on a DIY blanket ladder, I am ready to build and paint AND get those garage dates started!
I decided I hadn’t spent enough time with Amy during my first visit and returned to devote more time to her and this vibrant store. As I walked around, I learned of the various local vendors: Knot too Shabby, Funky Junque Boutique, and Rocking S Wood Shack Designs. One artist caught my eye, a service member near retirement. Amy chatted with me about her goal to provide a platform for local vendors, like him, to showcase their creative talents. I loved the farm style décor across the store and painted glass windows. I was especially attracted to the words of encouragement that pervaded her showroom. The Easter bunnies seemed to have propagated, because they were everywhere!
Amy also has an eye for decorating and I will need to return for new ideas, because I have no décor talents in my DNA friends.
Kansas City is home for Amy and her family. She started painting signs out of her garage and then transitioned to West Bottoms and the Painted Sofa in Kansas City before opening her own doors in Leavenworth. She was excited to chat about her daughters’ artistic talents with me on this visit, sharing how one daughter paints and her youngest recently showed interest in her craft–I briefly day dreamed about painting something soon. I wouldn’t know where to begin, but why not try something new? As we walked around the large showroom, Amy stopped, surprised to see some art work had fallen off the walls. She explains the building is said to have ghosts and I about froze in my tracks y’all! I wish I knew more about its history and regret not asking. I was having too much fun perusing–look at her beautiful collection 😊
As I type, we are driving through West Virginia on a mission to find our next home. This has been the best family trip yet. No crying or cranky kiddos, no backseat driving from yours truly, and no road rage from the driver. Fun music to jance to. Oh, you haven’t heard? According to my husband “jance or jancing” is when you can’t fully dance, but you’re jamming out and semi-dancing in your car…so we we’ve been “jancing” our way to the south east. We are literally above the clouds high in the mountains and I can’t wait to be on the other side (although, I won’t lie, the idea of driving these snake turns myself in a few months with 2 kids in tow is not appealing at all)! I’m reflective today, and thankful for the new opportunities that lie ahead. Excited to explore and adventure new parts of this beautiful country over the next couple of years. Grateful for my time in Leavenworth and this transitional season. Visiting Out of the Barn, and spending time with a seasoned spouse who found a way to do what she loves while navigating the military lifestyle before her husband’s retirement was another dose of encouragement for this military spouse and momma. Seeing her dedicating time to her daughter, teaching her in a loving and patient way, reminded me to pause and think of how I approach my own boys. This parenting season is challenging and sweet and I can only hope their memories of me are filled with love and adventure.
I found our first farm-style house-warming gift at Out of the Barn for our next home and am so excited to hang it in our kitchen (the heart of our home). House hunting is both stressful and fun for my husband and I, and I’m looking forward to finding the kitchen we will gather and make new memories in. If you want to find local art for your home, go visit Amy and let her help you find it! You can also visit Out of the Barn online at: Out of The Barn’s Facebook Page.
Hope you’re all having a great week friends!
p.s.s. If you see any orbs in my pics, let me know 😊
Want to start at beginning of my Leavenworth Series and learn how it got started? Visit Leavenworth: Hello, Buffalo!
Perhaps you’ve seen their name on my blog recently and even raised an eyebrow because of the controversy behind the name, but #TheDependas is more than a name friends, and spending the time to sit and chat with the two military spouses behind the comical videos has helped me check my own assumptions. Initially I was thrown off by their name, given its negative history among military spouses. I wasn’t interested to be honest, but then I saw their efforts to bring women together, to equip women with the resources that could help them be successful and physically and mentally healthy…and THAT spoke to me.
When I first met with Lauren Lomsdale, I was just curious, wanting to know more about what her and Michelle Haleck were starting and how they were supporting military spouses. When I started Rocky Roads and Rainbows, that was my initial desire—to support other spouses by getting them connected once they arrived in this small Kansas town. As I’ve lived this year’s experience and learned more about #TheDependas, their approach has been refreshing–different to the dozens of how-to blogs for military family survival. As a military spouse myself, I found myself scrolling for their videos, to end my evening with a good belly laugh, or an extra local resource.
Both Lauren and Michelle met on base after learning they were neighbors. Lauren, a marine-spouse from northern Virginia, and Michelle, an air force-spouse from Whichita Falls, TX. Being on base helped them connect and depend on their quick-budding friendship to get through this one-year experience. As I’ve learned more about these two women, I’ve realized they have a genuine desire to empower other women and help all spouses feel connected. They are passionate about giving spouses a voice, while also being strong role-models for their daughters—they have five girls between the two! I thought my schedule was busy, and then I hear about Michelle’s background as a dietitian the past eight years, and now a labor and delivery nurse.
Y’all, I wish she’d been my labor and delivery nurse, especially the time my husband was deployed—I could have used a little laughter in my life that day! During our chat, it’s evident she is one passionate nurse who loves taking care of others. I love when people love what they do for a living! Then there’s Lauren, another powerful momma who owns her own branding company, is a photographer, and writes for Daily Mom and Military Spouse. She is also spear-heading the first Daily Mom metro-site, Daily Mom Military. I am so excited for this launch 😊
If you’re a military spouse, maybe you’ve witnessed other spouses step forward to help and advocate for other spouses. Perhaps over the years and now being a seasoned spouse, you’ve learned to be the voice and advocate for our military community. In my own observations of other military spouses, who, by the way I’m incredibly inspired by, there is a common thread of commitment, advocacy, strength, thrive, and community. Lauren and Michelle are no exception. After meeting again with both of them and hearing more about their story, I can’t help but want to share them with all spouses regardless of branch. Whether they are chatting about PCS moves, military acronyms, or spotlighting other military spouses that are serving military families, these two ladies have a common goal of helping us feel connected. It’s easy to feel alone at times, especially during deployments, or other military related transitions, and having a forum in which you can relate to other spouses, and laugh about the issues that can feel so burdensome at times, is genius in my opinion. Having a platform for our military family/spouse audience really helps them cater to the unique circumstances our families face and helps remind us that we too can ride the waves with a little laughter and support from each other.
After my interview with both Lauren and Michelle, one thing was crystal clear, they are not in the business to make fun of people. Their hope is actually to encourage other military spouses and help them overcome whatever challenges they are facing because of the military lifestyle. As I ended our interview, Michelle explained how she would “hope that people would laugh when they see us” and before she could breath another word Lauren added “not at us, but with us!” Friends, if you haven’t stopped by and visited them yet, check them out: #TheDependas Facebook Page
Hope you experience what I did, and feel a little more connected and supported in your experience as a military spouse—we’re in this together 😊
Cheers to the military spouses out there who are finding innovative ways to serve our tribe!
Last week, after spending some time chatting with The Dependas (Check them out!), they recommended I take my boys to Dad’s Toys, in downtown Leavenworth. I’d window shopped there before, but never walked inside thanks to the many “what-ifs” running through my mom-mind. I am SO glad that I stepped foot into this fabulous hobby and toy store!
I immediately received a friendly greeting from Dora, the store’s pup. Then I met Thaddeus Moulden, who manages the store. He was so friendly y’all. He shared the store’s history, explaining his grandfather’s love for trains and how the store had once been a family flower shop. After only a few moments of chatting with Mr. Moulden, I know two things: 1. He LOVES trains (as much as my boys do) and 2. He is proud of his Kansas town. As we chat, I learn he is seventh-generation working the family business and he knows the ins and outs of little ‘ol Leavenworth. Apparently, there are more underground tunnels here than I knew of…he has my attention! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Melissa and Doug variety, and my boys will love the legos, cars, and trains in this hobby shop, but learning more about local families and buildings like his, that have been here practically since this town’s birth, is exciting. Thaddeus shares about his support for local schools and the children in this community, military included, before showing me the train exhibit that covers the main floor space.
We have a mini Union Station exhibit right here folks! I am off exploring all 3 stories, and am thrilled to stumble over several train tables and activity tables set out for children upstairs.
Before I leave on this first visit, I’m intrigued by two characters that reside in the shop, Annie and Pup (aka Billingsly)—they look oddly real friends, and I’d say they kept a good eye on me! You should stop by and visit with them 😊
I’m also surprised to learn of the old-school soda fountain in the shop—how fun! As I walk out, Dora bids me farewell, as Thaddeus reminds me that I have to return for Alive After 5, a Leavenworth must-do. Check out these fun downtown events on FB at Alive After Five Facebook Page
If you want to learn more about the items Dad’s Toys carries, you can visit them on FB at Dad’s Toys Facebook Page
What did I do next you ask? Return to Dad’s Toys for a play date —it was perfect. Some may not agree, but my 3 and 5-year-old boys do chores in our home and were excited to also purchase their own hot wheels cars (cheaper than the dollar store, I might add).
For those who aren’t tracking—we are a military family and we move a lot! Lately, my heart continues to grow for this local community and I have a feeling it will do the same at our next “home.” It’s taken a shift in perspective friends, and if you’re a military spouse stationed here, you haven’t explored much, or connected with others, I want to chat with you for a moment. I’ve been there. It is hard, especially if you’re a new mom, or have multiple kids. I can imagine it’s even more challenging for the international CGSC spouses whose first language may not be English. Sometimes, I don’t want to go anywhere—parenting can be exhausting in and of its own! The idea of leaving the house can be accompanied with a lot of “what-ifs.” What if the kids get hungry or have to go potty as soon as we get in the car? What if they act out? What if things don’t go as planned? What if, what if, what if? Mommas, I’m learning it’s okay. All will be well. A little planning and reassurance from other moms has helped! After leaving the toy store, I venture over to Out of the Barn for a peek inside, and am encouraged by their inspirational art: “Be Afraid, and Do It Anyway!”
I can’t wait to return to this artsy and inspiring store. I hear they hold group classes too. Take a look for yourself: Out of the Barn’s Facebook page
I leave you with something to ponder:
What are you afraid to do, and why aren’t you doing it?
The idea of taking my boys to a toy store, does not sound like fun. Prior to today, I couldn’t understand why any parent would want to do that to themselves. Dad’s Toys had people like me in mind though—my boys did not destroy the store. They played, they explored, and they loved it! As for me, I got to connect with a military spouse, observe a military mom braving it with 3 of her own, and loved the store experience 😊
May the wind always be at your back friends!
p.s. Recently, I received my DNA results and wouldntchaknow…I’m 16% Irish! Here’s a fun downtown Shamrock Hunt to get you in the Irish spirit this month. Have fun finding these, and be sure to step inside and say hi to the locals!
p.s.s. Want to learn more about my Leavenworth Series? Here’s the the blog post that started it all: Link to “Leavenworth: Hello Buffalo!”
I first ventured into this intimate coffee shop a couple of months ago when I needed strong coffee beans to get me through a patch of busy work days. Last week I returned to learn more about the sweet couple that runs it and get some work done in a fresh environment on this foggy day. Michael and Susan Garner have owned Harbor Lights Coffee House and Café for 22 years after opening their doors in March of 1996.
I love light houses (they remind me of family trips from my childhood) and was initially attracted by the name alone, but once I walked in, a few things captured my attention. For one, they are kid-friendly and offer high chairs and a small play area for children. They also have a game library—I may need to return with my husband and have us a chess challenge! I peruse around, circling back to the front of the store, when I see them…colorful, mouth-watering cheese cakes.
Michael is passionate about baking and beat his 2016 record this past year after baking 600 cheese cakes. That’s a lot of cheese cakes for one person to bake friends! His wife Susan explains that they do cater, but close shop early to minister to their community, through Life Connections Ministries.
It’s heartwarming seeing local shop owners like these also giving back to this small town. I’m not sure what I’m drawn more to—the music, the fireplace, the game table in the back, the collection of lighthouses, or the whip cream on my peanut butter chocolate shake.
I love the dim lighting and warm atmosphere in this little ray of light in small-town Leavenworth. I wish I’d brought a good book instead of work today, but I won’t lie, I secretly love what I do for a living, so to work it is! As I quietly step out of the Café, Mrs. Garner calls me by name and gives me a friendly smile and wave–I need to get better at doing the same (I will remember names. I will remember names. I will remember…)!
After leaving the shop, I pick up NY bagels for a play date…you know where (McDevitt and Duffy’s 😊), then I wander into the Heritage Center across from the Riverfront Community Center. They’re not sure why I’m there, and quite frankly, neither am I, but I’m curious and this momma has a few minutes to kill, so I strike up a conversation and get a tour. For Leavenworth newcomers, the Heritage Center schedules live performances and meals for the community, but you do need a reservation. They also host large functions such as weddings and military retirement ceremonies, as well as smaller scale events for various community groups.
I say my thanks and continue on, driving by Candles Queen Candles’ wall-art inspiration: “Sparkle and Shine!” (a week later, and I’m still humming “Shimmer and Shine” instead). I need to stop by and visit after learning about their underground tunnel tours, but my adulting time has come to an end, and it’s time to mommy again. Next time!
Want to visit Harbor Lights Coffee House and Café? Check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HarborLightsCoffeehouse/
Here is their full website: http://www.harborlightscoffeehouse.com/
Have another great place in town for me to visit? Please share in the comments—I so appreciate recommendations (seriously)!
p.s. Found me another Kansas sunflower in town 😊 Told you it was foggy out there!
Last week, as I left Meriwether’s and wandered past Soul’s store-front inspiration, “Bloom Where You Are Planted,” I caught a glimpse of more sunflowers, leading me into the Kansas Country Store.
I must have looked hungry and lost because the kind lady that greeted me walked me straight back to the fudge booth, where I had the pleasure of meeting Sherry Brown, the store owner and Leavenworth’s sweet “Fudge Lady.” Shelly and her husband Don raised paint horses, beef cattle, and chickens before opening their shop back in 2000. In 2005 the store survived a flood with water levels about 4 feet high, and what had been a horse tack store, started from nothing and evolved into the family and pet one-stop shop it is today. It’s home to a large collection of Midwestern gifts, farm animal feed and more. The store history and story of resiliency is pretty amazing and with a proud smile, Sherry shares “We are survivors! We love this community!” As we chat and walk around the store together, she points to all the American-made gifts and shares how she is a proud supporter of the Midwest and other local small “mom and pop” shops and artists.
Sherry also explains how she is part of a military family and has a heart for the service members and families that come through this small town. She pauses for a moment to reflect on her gratitude for the folks from Fort Leavenworth who worked hard to help her and her husband clean-up after the 2005 flood.
I look around the store for a bit, and as I’m perusing the local fox art and jewelry, Sherry introduces me to Grace Hawley, another military spouse whose family was previously stationed here for CGSC and PCS’d back here this summer around the same time as our family. Lucky for me, Grace has lived where we are headed next, and openly shares a bit about the community, housing, schools, and vacation day-trips we will be able to take. It’s SO nice to hear positive things about our future home! She reminds me that our next home will be “what you make of it.” Agreed!
I love it when people are friendly and open and just willing to share and care about those who walk through their doors. I also love when spouses reach out and serve as a resource to other military spouses. I have met several new spouses these last couple of weeks and talked much about the need for bridges to the resources that are available to our families. I am so encouraged by their commitment to serve other military families and grateful for the courage they’ve had to step-up, join hands, and build a bridge to existing resources for veterans, children, and fellow military spouses.
I left the Kansas Country Store with the most delicious chocolate fudge I’ve ever tasted in my life—YUM! Y’all, I won’t lie, lately I’ve been feeling a bit like Bernie in an old childhood book I had titled The Do-Something Day, by Joe Lasker. As if I don’t already have enough to do, I could walk around town visiting with the locals, learning the town’s history, and supporting small businesses every day. I may need to do like Bernie and volunteer some time with each visit, because I feel so much reward just listening to the locals’ stories and learning from my Leavenworth neighbors.
We have new orders. The idea of leaving Kansas is bitter sweet, but meeting ladies like Sherry and Grace, reminds me that there are beautiful people and amazing military spouses everywhere we will PCS to…I just have to find them 😊
Friends, if you’re in need of horse tack, pet food and supplies, or good ‘ol Midwestern goods, you can find the Kansas Country Store on-line at: http://www.kansascountry.com/
You can also visit their Facebook page at:
Why not also stop by and say hi to Sherry, grab a seat and enjoy some fudge?!
Ciao for now!
p.s. I spied with my little eye…yup, you guessed it—I see the Kansas state animal everywhere I go these days!
Happy weekend everyone!
Now that we’ve been having warmer and brighter days in Leavenworth, I figured I would drive around and scope out the off-post parks in the area. My boys had fallen asleep in the car and I wasn’t about to wake them up! Maybe other parents can relate, but when these boys get on their public silly-coaster, things go downhill quick. That was the case earlier when I apologized to the family sitting across from us, desperately asked for to-go boxes, and practically ran out of Pullman Place, a family restaurant downtown.
I’d heard great things about their home-cooked meals and truly enjoyed a tasty fish sandwich while observing the bustling atmosphere! We had a room in the back all to ourselves and things were going well until another family was seated near us—>all aboard the silly coaster! The boys did however enjoy all the train décor at this railroad-themed eatery, so we will visit again soon and attempt a do-over. Friends, Pullman’s also has a little train table for your kiddos, a children’s coloring menu, and the manager and staff are very friendly and accommodating.
Now, for those of you like us, who are itching to get outside this weekend, you should visit the City of Leavenworth Kansas, park amenities web page: http://www.lvks.org/department/division.php?structureid=97
All local parks are listed on the website along with picnic shelter rental information, an event schedule, and many more pictures than I was able to capture. I found the detailed list of amenities especially helpful!
Here are a few of my drive-by finds. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of parks in Leavenworth, KS.
North Esplanade Park. 500 Esplanade St.
This park has a nice side-walk that follows the river bend and historic markers for visitors out for a stroll. They have a small swing set on the south end of the park and a sheltered area with picnic tables on the north end. What I love about this park is the Missouri River view and top-down view of the train tracks. The train goes by about every 15 minutes. For my history buffs, this is also the oldest park in the state of Kansas, established in 1854.
Bob Dougherty Park. 800 N. 2nd St.
Dougherty park has basketball courts, a playground, views of the Missouri River, and picnic tables nearby.
Buffalo Bill Cody Park. 3003 Shrine Park Rd
This popular park is a great spot for a play date and has shaded areas, tennis courts, a small creek, and a walking trail.
David Brewer Park. 1801 Ottawa St
This was a great find! The park has volleyball nets, tennis courts, sitting areas and a playground for children.
Hawthorn Park. 1100 Ohio St
Hawthorn park has two playgrounds. I don’t like taking pictures of children without their parents’ permission and I probably choose the worst time to go take drive-by pics because I received interesting stares from other adults. That said, I had fun playing private investigator, and tried to take a decent pic or two of kid-free playgrounds for you.
Sportsfield Park. 2100 Ottawa St.
Sportsfield has picnic tables, baseball fields, a skate park and is located on the north west side of town right off 20th.
Stubby Park. 1501 S. Fourth St.
This park is closer to those of you on the south east end of Leavenworth or north end of Lansing. It has a playground, and sits right across from the Abeles Athletic Field arch. It also has a sledding hill 😊
Wollman Park. 1300 Shawnee St.
Wollman is a great park with a playground, picnic tables, walking trails, and pool with slides. You also get a skyline glimpse of the U.S. Penitentiary from the hilltop.
There you have it folks! Plenty of outdoor spaces in this little town for you to enjoy during your time here 😊
Enjoy the warmth!
p.s. If you head out to North Esplanade Park, don’t miss the row of older homes across the street. Some were built in the late 1800’s! Try finding these friendly guards while you’re out and about too.
The weather has been nicer this week and we’ve taken short local field trips to learn more about historic Leavenworth and the surrounding areas. Earlier in the week we ventured over to the Court House. Yes, you read correctly.
I know that doesn’t sound like the best field trip for preschoolers, but I will say my boys loved it. We didn’t go to the district courthouse, but instead explored the historic courthouse downtown. I learned they had three murals there and decided to go on a quick scavenger hunt with the boys while learning about different court-themed careers. Kansas City’s Funville really got my boys talking about different jobs this past week (my oldest now wants to be a race car driver, while my youngest wants to be a Daddy). The boys were so excited to find two of the three murals, Struggle for Freedom, by Michael Young and Bleeding Kansas by Ernst Ulmer. My sons had so many questions about the detailed stories the murals told. It gave me an opportunity to briefly sit and chat with them about slavery, the underground railroad, buffalo soldiers, our American flag, and women’s equality. Young and Ulmer have done such a beautiful job sharing Leavenworth’s rich history on the courthouse walls. There are guides posted by the murals to help visitors better understand the stories behind the illustrations. I won’t pretend I knew the people in all the portraits, so I’m glad those were there to help me!
As we strolled around the courthouse, we stopped to learn about different presidents depicted in paintings across the walls, the antique courthouse furniture, the stained-glass artwork above us, and the various historic pictures of this first city in Kansas.
For military families heading this way, the Leavenworth Library hosts their annual Halloween Trick or Treating event at the Historic Courthouse. It is such a wonderful family-friendly day-time event—we loved it this past year and highly recommend it!
If you’ve discovered a hidden gem in Leavenworth, share the gold friends!
Hope you’re having a bright week 😊
Leavenworth has been a different experience for our family, given the educational environment and rural military community. For the first time, there are hundreds of other families, a lot like ours, going through this one to two-year experience. We’re in it together—long study nights, 100-degree-summers, icy winters, holidays away from our families, and the anticipation of the many places around the globe to where we will be dispersed after graduation. I heard it at CGSC orientation and after 8 months in, I see it, “you can make friends to last a lifetime here.”
As a military spouse, I’m amazed by the courage, compassion, and resiliency that I observe in other military spouses. I wish more of their stories were shared, and more of their voices heard. For years now, I’ve been curious about what helps other spouses, couples, and families thrive in this military life given the unique stressors and constant changes that affect our community. Lately, I’ve put the shy behind me and I’ve started to ask.
Among the amazing ladies I’ve crossed paths with here, I recently got to hang out with Marine spouses, Julia Petronzio and Sierra Dunaway.
I met Sierra during the CGSC spouse’s orientation, randomly crossed paths again at a Strong Bonds retreat, then spent Thanksgiving with her wonderful family. Being away from family during the holidays can be hard on military families—it’s difficult for our family (who can relate?). When those doors are open, and a family we barely know invites us into their space, I’m quickly reminded that there are great people out there with truly generous hearts. I first met Julia in what’s known as “the bubble” — a CrossFit gym on base. During this visit, both Sierra and Julia volunteer to show me what CrossFit is and chat with me about how exercise has helped them cope and bond during their time in Kansas.
One of the first things I got to know about Sierra was her dedication to CrossFit and background in the fitness industry. Sierra began her fitness adventure nine years ago, after she and her husband decided they wanted to start their own gym. While he was deployed, her husband discovered CrossFit and shared his newfound passion with Sierra. They shared workouts and personal record (“PR”) achievements over Skype and months after he returned, they opened a CrossFit affiliate. After years of leading fitness boot camps and personal training sessions at more traditional gyms, she says CrossFit changed the way she approaches fitness. It’s no longer a chore for her, and she says “it helps me keep mental balance, especially with 3 kids. You feel so good afterwards.” I had to laugh when Sierra shared that she once ran 6 miles in Florence, Italy just to find a CrossFit “box” to exercise at. That’s what I call commitment! Italy…I wouldn’t mind running 6 miles there either—I digress.
Something about this visit with Julia and Sierra stood out to me: Their support and encouragement of one another to push through the pain and sweat together. I asked Julia about her journey, and she tells me she is from Germany and started CrossFit 8 years ago in North Carolina and is also a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer (I’m thinking I should have brought my sneakers and gotten a good work out!). I clearly have never participated, but both Julia and Sierra tell me CrossFit is life changing. Julia explains that no matter where the military has moved her and her husband, she’s “always made friends through CrossFit.” She goes on to explain, “you sweat together, you laugh together, and you bond.” Julia shares that exercise has changed her perspective on health, stating “I grew up thinking skinny means healthy, but I’ve learned to love my muscles.” She adds, “I like that I look and feel strong where I used to feel frail and couldn’t pick up something heavy because my knees hurt from barely working out. Personally, I love seeing people grow to love CrossFit. Many newcomers first think they will never be able to lift heavy weights or do strenuous workouts, until they see that all workouts can be scaled to their need.”
Both women explain that CrossFit can be intimidating to someone like me, who has never tried it, but they agree that it can be fun if you ease into it and take things at your own pace. Sierra explains that “CrossFit isn’t for everybody, and that’s okay.” I ask her what she might say to a new military spouse on post looking for a way to connect with others and she responds, “people have to find what works for THEM.” As they end their work out, Sierra reminds me to just, “come in. Find your groove, don’t be shy, and ask questions.” Julia adds, “nobody will judge, and we welcome newcomers!”
It’s inspiring to see two military spouses working to sharpen each other and support one another during these transitional times. It’s also interesting to see how we each find different ways to cope with change and create a sense of belonging and community wherever the military takes us.
What helps you thrive as a military spouse? How do you connect with others when you PCS? How do you get through the stress of moving, leaving friends behind, and starting over in each new “home?”
Please feel free to share in the comments, or continue the conversation on Facebook @rockyroadsandrainbows 😊
Thanks for visiting today!
Disclaimer: I am not a physical trainer. I am a military spouse and mom, learning what works for others and sharing their stories, while also being inspired by military spouses and veterans that I meet along this journey. Injuries of all types can occur when participating in exercise, physical fitness and training programs. Please obtain a physical examination by your physician prior to undertaking any exercise or training demonstrated on this website, and/or any photographs offered on this website. You fully assume the risk of any resulting injury. Capisce?