First we went to Topeka. The 90 minute drive was fine, but two of my children proved to be unable or unwilling to settle down to sleep in a strange environment. Lack of sleep the first night only made for worse behavior the next day and night. Fortunately, we were at a retreat and we could simply deposit the little darlings in childcare and deal with them later. The retreat itself was great, if only for the ability to speak without interruption for the vast bulk of the day.
We had barely recovered from that adventure when we set out for Omaha - a three hour drive that basically followed the Missouri River. I had hoped that in the last year Jenny would have matured enough that a long car ride would not be too too bad. I still hope that it was the less than stellar movie selection that had her moaning the whole way. Peter was not much better.
And the baby...oh, the baby...
I am not looking forward to our drive back East which will be upon us in a few short weeks. I don't know how I'll be able to do it.
We only stayed in Omaha for about 24 hours. We didn't get to do a whole lot. Bill and I have resigned ourselves to lowered expectations when traveling with small children. We're not happy about it, but we accept it.
The first stop was the Henry-Doorly Zoo. We could have spent more than the four hours we did spend there, but they were starting to lock up.
At the monkeys, we saw a baby monkey pestering his mom. Not only was she yelling at him, she was throwing him off her back and stiff-arming him when he got near. She had my sympathies.
I found this picture taken by my father when we visited the Jesse James farm in November last year. We used the buddy system then, too. This is not a cropped picture. My dad likes his grandkids better.
On Sunday, I opted for a later Mass so we could eat a decent breakfast. To kill time in between, we went to two parks they have in downtown Omaha. I do not recommend taking children to a park before Mass. By the time we made it to church, they were filthy and had grass stains on their slacks.
After lunch we went to the Children's Museum, which was free, since we have a membership to Science City in Kansas City. We had a blast at the Children's Museum.
The best room was the ball room where there were all sorts of ways to get little plastic balls around the room - pulleys, conveyors, pumps, air pressure. Balls would roll down tracks, shoot through the air like bullets, twist through mazes, roll down slopes. The room was a beehive of activity with everyone working to move balls around. More than one activity could not be easily done by one person, so teams of kids had to work together to move the balls around. Here, Billy stomps on a pedal which shoots air into a tube to move balls. Hard to explain...but very cool.
Should we have the opportunity to pass this way again, Omaha is on our list of "do-agains" - places where we'd enjoy spending a bit more time. I asked Bill if he had warmed up any toward this middle-of-the-country living we've been doing for nearly a year now. He doesn't mind the Midwest much. But he still hasn't gotten comfortable with the thought that he could drive a hundred miles and be in the middle of nowhere. In Jersey, you drive and drive and drive and don't notice much when you leave one town and enter the next. And it's like that for pretty much the entire stretch from Boston to DC. Out here, just because the interstate has an exit doesn't mean you'll find anything there.