Road trips

The past two weekends have found my family traveling.

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…

This happy baby is not the same baby that was in the car.

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.

I feel like this mama lion. Kids are always on top of me.

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.

At the zoo, we employed the buddy system. Guess who was my buddy?

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.
They had a firetruck. Petey liked the firetruck.
The best thing about having a younger brother is having an excuse to play on a firetruck.
Katie enjoyed the arts and crafts room.
As did Jenny.
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.

7 thoughts on “Road trips

  1. I was laughing so hard at your comment about the momma monkey! That was great. It’s nice to know we humans aren’t the only ones. I love the pictures of all of your kids and the one of you and Mary. You both are beautiful. πŸ™‚ I really hope we can meet when you all move out this way. I can watch your kids while you unpack. πŸ™‚

  2. We have a funny memory about the gorillas at the zoo and liken it to our own kids’ behavior all the time. The baby (I think he might have been a teen!) was just bugging his mama — even threw something at her — when she chased him down and pushed him to the ground. I tell the kids all the time — “you’re just like that gorilla in the zoo.” Sometimes even bad attention is good attention!

  3. It’s not hard to explain, just hard to spell…pneumatics. It’s a human powered air gun (or mortar in this case). The place was rather “Rube Goldberg-esque” dontchathink?

  4. Yeah, my dad likes his grandkids better too πŸ˜‰ I remember long road trips with babies, and toddlers, and kids, and teenagers… oh wait, that is still what we do.I also giggled at the grass stains at Mass, so true!

  5. Yeah. Been there. The memories are good, though =)

  6. Who needs a younger brother to still play on the firetruck?

  7. We want a blow by blow account of your road trip back east! Keep up posted. We’ll pray you back! Not to worry.

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