Sunday, June 26, 2016

And the Green Grass Grew All Around

Even though our house has been sold and Jason has started his new job, the reality of leaving Omaha is still raw and painful.  It's been a difficult decision, and one admittedly wrought with some guilt.  In moving to Salt Lake, we are certainly not searching for greener pastures; we have (had?) everything right here--great family connections, a great job, a great house, and a great school.

All in all, the Omaha grass is about as green as it gets. For those who only know Nebraska from I-80, let me reassure you that Omaha is a fabulous place to be. As I write, Omaha is hosting both the College World Series and Olympic swim trials.  Its zoo is arguably the best in the world, especially after its recent Wildlife Safari renovation that nearly doubled its size and brought in seven elephants.  While I haven't been to the new splash pad yet, I hear it's great.  Perhaps we will brave the crowds tomorrow.

As one who prefers solitude, my favorite time to visit the zoo is in the quiet winter months.  We were one of the only visitors when these pictures were taken. The blue macaw was so funny.  Hungry for attention, he squawked and squawked until I acknowledged him and began a conversation.

I've decided that this sloth may be my spirit animal.

I'm a bit jealous of the grace of the long-legged giraffes.  Neither Callie nor I share their height, but at least she shares a long tongue.  ;)

While the actual elephants are much more interesting, this mammoth is easier to photograph.

Fontenelle Forest
Another Omaha gem, Fontenelle has been a great place for our kids to get outside and explore the outdoors in any season.  On our way in, Annie always insists on climbing the frog.

Speaking of frogs, Eli's definitely outgrown Fontenelle's froggy costume!

One Saturday we came to Fontenelle Forest to celebrate the raptors' birthdays.   Not only did we meet this adorable owl, but the kids ended up in the World Herald as well.

Perhaps my favorite day at Fontenelle Forest came in February when I got so sick of exercising indoors that I bundled up Annika for a hike.

She was a trooper trodding through the snow.  Those little legs made it surprisingly far.

Eventually, she settled into the sled where she insisted on eating snow.

Before leaving, we decided to build a snowman.

Such a happy fella!  (Or is it a gal?)

I could tell you a really funny story about how Annika added some anatomically correct features to our snowwoman and wanted to nurse.  But I won't tell you.  Because that would be just awkward...and embarrassing.

Kiddo, you make me smile.

On a warmer day, here's Annika hiking the trails again, this time dressed as Tigger. (Note: you get markedly more smiles from strangers when your child runs around in a costume all day.  Just pretend like you wanted the attention instead of confessing the truth that you were too tired to fight yet another battle over clothes.)

Climbing in Acorn Acres.

Making music...

...that's what Tiggers do best!

Exploring the hollow log.  Pooh, are you in here?

Finally arrived at the riverfront.

All that hiking must have tired Tigger out, because this is how she looked at the grocery store.

 In moving to Salt Lake, I will also really miss our neighborhood YMCA where I work, work out, and play.  Here's Eli on the climbing wall.

Brooklyn made it all the way to the top.

Besides the gym itself, we've enjoyed swimming at the Y, baseball at the Y, and even fishing through the Y.  Here are Eli and Talia learning to cast.

Brooklyn seems to be mastering the skill.  She launched hers pretty far!

This picture was supposed to capture the kids learning about lures, but really, it's all about the beard.  Sometimes I feel like a stranger to the age in which I live.

Papa Kay kept everyone focused with a tic tac.

Yes indeed, Fishing is Fun.

Do Space
Can't forget Do Space where the kids are learning how to program their favorite bots, Dash and Dot. 
 During a Junior Makers class, Brooklyn and Talia built robotic rovers and programmed them with laptops.  Pretty nifty.

Violin Sprouts at the Kroc Center
Omaha is truly unique for its String Sprouts program, which provided free instruments and quality instruction to over 900 children aged 3-6 this year.  Their performance with the Omaha Symphony had to be moved to Baxter Arena this year to accommodate all of the musicians.  You should have seen all the teensy cellos!  

Eli really progressed in both technical skill and musicianship this year, largely due to having a better attitude.  Despite being the only boy in his class, he worked hard and practiced.

Fun at Home
Last but not least, a few photos of Omaha fun right at home.  Here we have Annika, who obviously wore herself out dumping out flannel figures.

Four sweet siblings snuggled on the couch.

Play-Doh pizza fun.

Talia out for a run in nearby Hanscom Park.

And Annika with her "Kasey" on the trampoline.  Even though we loved it, we ended up selling our trampoline to the new owners--a good choice because there wasn't room for it on our moving truck or in our new yard.  Still kind of sad to bid farewell to so much fun.

Yes, Omaha.  Your green grass grows all around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these photo memories and accompanying them with this very nice tribute to Omaha,Milkweed! Omaha is an uncommonly fine city, but it was made even better over the past three years with the active involvement of the Jason and Kara Wheeler family. All six of you set very fine examples by "blooming where you were planted." The good news is that the green grass truly does grow nearly everywhere, all around this glorious planet(but do remember that Omaha is 1000 miles closer than SLC to Adam-ondi-Ahman [smile]-- It isn't the celestial kingdom, but you can see it from here.) Remember who you are, keep smiling, and stay in touch.