Mini Kansas Vacay

Since the family reunion in Destin, FL was cancelled several months ago, we decided to use Philip's days off and do something else.  We went to Emporia, KS (about 90 minutes away) for the weekend.  It is also the "disc golf capital of the world"!!  Yay for us!

Friday, the 10th:

 Yummy breakfast that morning

 Caleb (who is obsessed with folding paper) showed me how to make a paper butterfly

We packed up the van and drove the 90 minutes to Emporia.   The Airbnb was super cute!

 The upstairs was all one room with Seven beds!!

 Looking back the other way

 One of my favorite parts - this cute outdoor living space

 They even had a permanent disc golf goal in the backyard!!
(There is also a disc golf course across the street and one a quarter of a mile down the street!)

Just chillin' - doing what the sign says ;)

Before dinner, we walked down the street to fun, 9-hole disc golf course.

 Moriah on a cute bridge

 What a great course!
(I only played half this time and went back to get dinner on)

That evening the boys went to pick up some groceries (I'd forgotten the cereal!) and to check out some bike paths so Moriah and I hung out and went for a walk around the really cute neighborhood.

 We did family devotions outside that evening

The fun lights

Saturday the 11th:

 Had my cold brew in a fun copper coffee cup

We got an early-ish start at disc golf while it was still cool.   All of the courses in Emporia are SO nice and have these detailed signs at each tee!

 Pic on a pretty stone bridge

 Moriah found a tree chair!

 Timer pic by the water

 Such a beautiful park!

* At this point, we were near a playground, so agreed that Caleb and Moriah could go play on it (since there was no one else there and we had hand sanitizer) while the rest of us played a couple holes nearby.  A couple minutes later, Moriah came running to tell us that Caleb had fallen and hurt himself.  He'd apparently jumped for the monkey bars, missed and fell and hit the back of his head on the edge of a wooden platform.  His head had an abrasion with a tiny bit of blood, but there was no gash or anything.  We got him a drink and he sat with Moriah while we finished the next hole.

 Two handsome disc golfers

After that Caleb started crying again and Philip decided to walk back to get the van so we could go home.  Keenan went with him.  I sat down against a tree and Caleb came and sat on my lap.  He then said, "My head hurts, what happened?  Where are Daddy and Keenan?"  My heart sank.  He knew his name, his birthday, who Moriah and I were, but asked what happened and where they were several more times before they got back with the van.  When I told Philip, he confirmed what I suspected.  Caleb had a concussion.

Instead of just going to the ER, Philip decided to monitor him for several hours, so we headed back to the house.  **NOTE: If your child has similar symptoms please take them to the ED, Philip could do a full neurological exam, double checked everything with trustworthy medical references, and also ran everything by one of his co-workers to be sure this wasn't an insane plan.**  On the way there, he repeatedly asked, "What happened?  Can someone tell me what happened?  Is it bad that I don't remember what happened?  I'm scared."  It was so sad.

Caleb had no memory of the Airbnb, what he'd had for breakfast, or anything that happened at the park that morning.  But he did recognize everything from our house that we'd brought with us.  Philip said this was "retrograde amnesia" and it seemed like he'd lost everything for the 12-24 hours before he hit his head.  He was also not creating any new memories.

Philip took him into our room where the light wasn't so bright and we took turns snuggling with him for a while.

This is the point where Philip said, "It's like living with Dory (from Finding Nemo) because Caleb's brain was just looping and he would say or ask the same thing every 45 to 90 seconds.  "Where are Keenan and Moriah?   I remember that basket.  I remember that map on the wall.  What happened to my head?  Where are Keenan and Moriah?..."

Like I said, he didn't remember the house at all, so was delighted to find out it had an upstairs (where he'd slept the night before!) and when Philip carried him up there he exclaimed about each of his toys...and then would forget that he'd already seen one and would be all excited about it again when he looked back at it.  He was most excited about a remote control toy boat and each time he saw it again he said, "My boat!!" with so much joy you couldn't help but smile, even if it was so concerning and pretty scary for us.

Thankfully he was no longer scared and was now happily oblivious to the fact that he wasn't remembering things and that he was constantly repeating himself.  At lunch, he was super chipper and three or four times said, "Who's having a great day? I am!"  When he finished his first taco, I asked if he'd like a second one.  He did, and as he was finishing that one, he said, "I'm getting pretty full, one taco is definitely going to be enough for me!"  We all just about died laughing.  

Ten minutes after lunch he didn't remember what we'd eaten.

 He LOVED this miniature cornhole board and asked us (no less than TWENTY TIMES), "Isn't there two of these?  I thought there was another one? You're sure there isn't another one?"   I got to the point where I couldn't not laugh so I'd tell Philip he had to answer Caleb the next time.

Though a lot of what he was saying and doing seemed Very funny, it was a very sobering afternoon as our thoughts went to all the possibilities that his symptoms might mean.  Philip decided that if he didn't improve by six hours out from his fall, we would take him to Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas in Overland Park (outside Kansas City).  It was only one minute further away than going back to Wichita and if Caleb did actually have a problem that needed intervention he'd need to come up to the KC area anyway.

Caleb asked me to play cars with him.  We each chose our four favorite cars, but then he'd forget whose was whose and kept asking me which ones were his.  He asked for paper to make a ramp and then when I got back with the paper he said, "What's that for?"  I said, "You said you wanted to make a ramp into this basket"  He said, "No way, that wouldn't work".  He wanted to make a house for his cars, so drew one out on paper and cut it out.  That didn't work, so he (after being reminded several times what he was drawing) proceeded to draw the exact same thing out two more times.  It obviously did't work any better those times, either, and the last time, he was convinced that the drawing was actually Keenan's project.

Philip sat him down to tell him about what was happening and that he was having trouble remembering things and that we were going to need to see a doctor.  When he mentioned the doctor, Caleb said, "Why do I have to go to the doctor?"  Philip said, "Do you remember that I told you that you were having some problems with your memory?"  Caleb said, "No".

By this time he was starting to remember a couple of things that had happened since his accident, but was definitely still doing the repetitive questioning, so we got ready and headed for Children's Mercy (about 90 minutes away).  He actually remembered that I'd made a garage from taping a paper with a hole over a game box, probably 15 minutes after I'd done it and Philip said that was the first point at which he started to feel a little bit better that Caleb's short-term memory was starting to work again.  However, it had been 5 hours since the injury and Caleb was still not back to normal.  Philip would have been happy to drive there and be told they didn't think Caleb needed a head CT, but he didn't feel comfortable making that decision without an independent opinion.

Thankfully, Caleb was able to get some much needed rest on the drive (his poor little brain had been working so hard, trying to remember things all day).  He roused a couple of times and asked how much longer it would be until we got to the hospital (which also encouraged Philip because the second time it had been an hour since we told him we were going to the hospital).  It was a somber drive, though, as we all were preoccupied with our thoughts.  It also started to rain on the way (just like it had when we were on the way to the hospital with Caleb back in September with his horrible burns).  Philip and I both mentioned how it felt much the same this time.

Since COVID would have likely prevented both of us coming in anyway, Philip took Caleb in and I said I would try and come in if he needed me.   Keenan and Moriah and I drove to find bathrooms and some drinks and then came back to wait.

 Sitting in the shade outside the ER, waiting for them to be done

Philip kept me posted, and since there was hardly anyone there, they got moved through things pretty quickly.  Caleb was certainly remembering things more and more by this point.  Philip told the check-in person how Caleb had hit his head and then when the triage nurse and the doctor asked, Caleb was able to say that he'd fallen from some monkey bars.  He didn't remember the injury, but he at least remembered that Philip had said this is what happened (which was a big improvement over how the last 6.5 hours had been going).  The ER doc confirmed the normal neuro exam and was on the fence about getting a CT; however, she didn't quite feel comfortable saying there was no step off on the back of his skull and with the history of amnesia she did think a CT of his head was advisable.  Caleb did great in the CT scan and they had lots of stickers to decorate all over the scanner to make it more kid friendly!

We got to video chat with him while we waited for results

 My thankful, relieved face when we got word that the CT was normal!!!  Praise God!

 Here they come!

 So, so happy for our boy!!

Caleb got to chose where we picked up dinner (McDonald's) and then we went to DQ for celebratory desserts.

I tried the cotton candy dipped cone and loved it!

Caleb was now remembering more and more and was very amused to hear all of the silly things he'd said and asked that day.

That evening, Caleb and I did a folding project
(He did Much better than his previous attempts to make a house for his cars!)

Before and After

 The kids gathered ALL the extra pillows and made a fort on Keenan's bed

We had Caleb sleep in the other bedroom on the main floor that night so he wouldn't need to navigate the stairs in the dark, so he'd be close if he needed us, and because we needed to wake him up in the middle of the night as part of the post-concussion recommendations.  When I went in at 3:30 am, he woke easily, was quite cheery and happy to see me, and went back to sleep easily.  That gave my heart a lot of peace.

Sunday, the 12th:

 When Caleb saw this empty Jarritos bottle he said, "Aw, you guys drank it all?"  I said, "You guys??  You had two glasses of it yesterday at lunch!"  He said, "I did?  Aw man, I don't remember!"

 Philip wearing Moriah's hat while we were getting ready to leave for the morning

Emporia has a cute, free zoo with Beautiful flowers!

Ring tailed lemurs all napping

I don't remember what these were, but they sure were cute!

Moriah let me wear one of her hats

They're so cute!

This fun art was all made from bottle caps!!

Then we slathered on sun screen and went to play 10 or 11 holes of disc golf:

These two found an awesome "under the trees" fort

We went back to the house for lunch and to cool off and then decided to drive to Eisenhower State Park so we could hike and the kids could swim.

The trail was mostly shaded and So beautiful!

It was an archery trail and had 22 targets that Caleb and Moriah had fun tagging

Philip and Keenan throwing hedge apples at one of the targets

We were all pretty hot after hiking and ready to get in the water.  Well, most of us went at least partly in the water, Philip opted to do some reading under a tree.

 Keenan got these fun remote control boats at the $5 store

This boy is soo happy with some sand and water!

 Keenan covered in sand

Fun slow mo of Keenan and Moriah running into the water

Moriah and I both helped Caleb with some of his construction

Philip came down to see Caleb's creation and wore Caleb's sunhat ;)

Beach selfie

Moriah helped Keenan bury himself

...then Keenan buried Moriah

Caleb wanted a video showing the thing he made for Keenan's boats

Caught this of Philip before we packed up

When we got home, Philip, Keenan and Moriah grabbed a snack and then loaded up their bikes to go try out some of the nearby biking trails.  Since Caleb isn't allowed to do any activities on wheels yet, he and I stayed behind.   He was quite happy to spend the evening with me and made a list of things we'd do.   1) Eat dinner 2) Go for a walk 3) Snuggle  4) Fold something 5) watch 10 minutes of a show (since he's only allowed very small amounts of screen time right now) 6) More snuggles.  

We had taco salads (Caleb's first time!)

On our walk, we met a sweet lady who invited us into her yard to see their cute fairy garden.  While we were at it, we met their adorable (Soft Top Wheaten Terrier) puppy, Estes!

Video of the cute fairy garden

The tree-lined streets were so pretty and the houses were adorable!

He liked this blue and yellow one that matched his shirt

Another fairy garden

Folding time!


Caleb takes so much joy in simple things and is so easily pleased that it's almost always a pleasure to spend time with him.

Meanwhile...the other three had a blast, too!

This trail is so pretty!

I love how Philip did video while riding!

This does not appeal to me at all!

Love the cool effect of this video!

Monday, the 13th

Snapped this before Caleb woke up.  He still looks so precious when he's sleeping

We headed out right after breakfast to play the 9 hole course down the street before packing up.   It's a really fun course and I had probably my best game ever!   Philip and Moriah also found two disks, so that was a bonus!

If you know anything about disc golf, you know that the goal on this final hole is pretty evil... it slopes down on the other side of the goal as well.

We went back, packed up, tidied up the place and got on the road.  We got home around 12:30 and settled back in.

 Philip and Caleb folding the world record paper airplane

 I got back to painting

The boys played in the sprinkler

What a (mostly) fun and refreshing weekend!