Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Fun in Omaha and Kansas City

While in some ways being separated from Dad makes this summer difficult, there are some serious advantages to spending your vacation with grandparents who love you. Like, going to the Zoo!

Here are Eli, Brooklyn, and Talia with Papa "K" at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo.

Brooklyn and Talia watch the penguins from their aquarium bubble.

Eli was enthralled with the sharks, rays, and sea turtles

The jellyfish are my personal favorite.

Candy sticks or magic wands?  You decide.

NomiAnn and Annika Mae on their butterfly bench.

Papa Kay takes his turn with his newest granddaughter.

Oh no!  This baby girl can go from happy to sad in an instant.

Rainbow candy for a rainbow dress.

They wouldn't let us ride any of the live pachiderms so this rhino had to do.  What a bunch of monkeys!

Back on the homefront, the kids enjoyed helping Papa Kay with some projects, like painting the rocking chair in both miniature and full scale.

So the little rocking chair was "practice."  The wee ones had lost interest by the end of the practice session, so Papa Kay didn't have quite as much "help" while painting the full-scale version.  I don't think he minded.  :)

We've had all sorts of other fun in Omaha that I didn't photograph, whether exploring the Children's Museum, playing on the giant slides at Gene Leahy Mall, or bike riding around Lake Zorinsky.  And of course, let's not forget our fun evening at the Barnum and Bailey Circus!

As if Omaha didn't have enough to offer (it certainly does), we then escaped to Kansas City for two nights of luxury at the Hyatt Regency.  (Okay, you can all start to chuckle now.  No matter how nice the accommodations, sharing a hotel room with four youngsters isn't exactly luxurious.  It is entertaining.)
Annika thought the beds were comfy.

Eli enjoyed the view from our fifteenth story perch.  He was SO excited to go swimming!

I think NomiAnn's hat is adorable, don't you?

Strolling through  "The Link" from our hotel to Crown Plaza.

The Crayola store is my favorite.  Here are Papa Kay and Eli coloring.

This sassy pose is Brooklyn's new favorite.

After some mall walking, we stopped for dinner at Fritz's.  Believe it or not, your dinner is actually delivered by a train from a track running above.  Needless to say, our kids LOVED it.
The next morning we crafted at Kaleidoscope, a fantastic (and free) art center provided by Hallmark, before heading over to the Scottish Highland games.  My mother is Scottish and has fond memories of attending the Highland games with her grandparents as a child.  It was exciting to pass the tradition on to another generation.

Where else can you find grown men in kilts tossing hay bales over a bar?

Naturally there was an abundance of bagpipes.  I remember that there was a girl in my freshman dorm who was learning to play the bagpipes.  Thankfully these guys were *much* better.
Check this out: meat pies! Quite tasty ones, too. I'm glad the tradition exists on both the Wheeler and Andrus (well, Riddoch) sides of the family.
We could have sampled haggis as well, but I'm not that adventuresome.
Our very favorite part of the games was the Scottish dancing.  Well, okay, second favorite.  My very favorite part was spotting a little girl whose natural hair looked *exactly* like Merida's.  I wish I'd been "brave" enough to ask for a picture.  But I digress... 

Back to the dancing, it's quite an athletic sport.  These girls were jumping on their toes the entire time.  Just imagine the calf muscles they must have!
And now the sword dancing.
And here's Papa Kay with his little scot Talia, wearing a kilt that I wore as a child.
I took this photo in honor of our favorite across-the-street neighbors, Karen and Daniel Scott.
But uh-oh, just in case you were wondering...the feud is back on!

After a shortbread snack, the girls wanted to do their own dancing.  When you don't have swords, sneakers make a great substitute.

Go, Talia, go!

Brooklyn has serious style.
Oh, how we love that smile!

Eli plays with his swords (sticks) in more manly fashion.

And rounding off the bunch, our little girl with the curl.
No better way to show your grandparents your appreciation than through a great big dogpile.
Needless to say, we had a wonderful time in Kansas City.  And that's even before we played at Science City in Union Station.  (Eli thought he'd died and gone to heaven in the model train room.  He kept following the trains around and around with squeals of delight as if seeing them for the very first time.)

Sunday was more subdued.  We went to a lovely church service in Independence before touring Liberty Jail and driving back through Far West, Missouri.  Remembering the heroes of our past makes today's freedoms even sweeter.
Papa Kay and NomiAnn, thank you not only for this lovely weekend past, but for making every day a special one.


Susie said...

Glad to have the fun pictures and updates. Sounds like you are all staying plenty busy! Helps the time go faster, I'm sure, until you get to see Jason again!

Julie L said...

What a memorable vacation for both you and the kids. I love the photo of Eli looking at the fish. What a great capture of rapture! Thanks for sharing everything.

Laurie said...

Wow so much fun things to read. I just started getting caught up but it's going to take me a while! Brooklyn and Tahlia are HUGE and so pretty : ) Looking forward to reading your updates!