The two trips we have made with the kids (once when Agatha was one and this past Fourth) do not resemble those pre-kid trips very much. For one thing, it's hard to relax in a non-baby proofed home with a child who has recently learned to walk. Instead, you spend most of your indoor time following the baby around and redirecting him away from the stairs, the cupboards, the electrical outlets and the cat dish. Then, take eating out. I don't know about you, but taking kids to restaurants is not high on my list of "fun activities." It is high on my list of "things I'd rather not do." The perfect place for kids to eat on vacation is outside. Make a mess! Run around! I don't care!
We did get a lot of fun activities in on this trip and the kids had a lot of new experiences. Also, they were really well behaved on the 6+ hour ride to and from.
Our first full day in Nebraska was actually mostly spent in Iowa. Chris' brother, Jeremy, and his wife, Amber, recently moved to Avoca, Iowa from Lincoln to try their hand at farming. We took the 45 minute ride to Avoca to enjoy their 4th of July parade. The town is so cute and the parade was great - not too long and not too many tractors! I was very worried about Agatha running into the street and getting run over on her quest for candy, but she did really well and the kids made out like bandits! Agatha and two of her cousins, Ernie and Lenora, each filled a quart sized Ziploc bag. We even had to stick overflow into a backpack!
|Cousins patiently waiting for the parade to start.|
After the parade we headed across the street to the library book sale and picked up a few books including Giant John and a copy of Stuart Little from 1945. I love old books. Agatha ran over to the library sign and posed herself like that with no prompting from me, I swear.
We then headed out to Jeremy and Amber's farm for some lunch and more fresh air. Agatha had a blast feeding chickens, picking mulberries, looking for the barn cats and taking out every single board game in the house. We tried laying Oliver down for a nap, but we had forgotten his special lamb in Minneapolis and he was having a hard time falling asleep without it. On the way home, we stopped at Target and Oliver picked out a Mickey Mouse doll that acted as a surrogate lovey for the rest of the trip.
The next day, Chris' parents went with us to the Henry Doorly Zoo. The last time we had gone was when Agatha was just turning one, so it was fun for her to actually understand what we were doing there. We saw a lot of different attractions this time and I especially enjoyed the hippopotamuses and the cute prairie dogs that were just out in the open as you walked along a path. Agatha and I even rode a camel! Oliver and Agatha stopped into the petting zoo area but neither one seemed too sure about the whole concept of petting the animals. I was excited for Oliver to ride on the carousel. I wasn't sure he was going to make it since he cried and was trying to get off his horse while we were waiting for the ride to start, but as soon as the music started up he started smiling and ended up loving it!
Agatha's first ride on the carousel.
We also had plenty of pool time this trip. I bought Agatha some arm floaties and from the minute she got in the pool she was adamant she did not need us and she wanted to swim by herself. And she did great - I was a little surprised the floaties held her up, but they exceeded my expectations of what $4.00 will get you. I was excited for Oliver to try the pool for the first time, I had high hopes since he loves baths and the small kiddie pool we have at home. And I was right, he took to the water like a, well, like a fish, I guess. He happily sat or stood at the edge and "jumped" (really, just fell) into my arms and lounged in his baby float/tube/thing like a boss. Agatha loved jumping off the side of the pool as well and yelled "CANDYBALL!!" every time she jumped. Too funny.
Agatha insisted on watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving four times throughout the trip, but it give us a break to pack up on our last day. We ended up stopping at The Incredible Pizza Company in Urbandale, Iowa for a few hours on the way home. We ate lunch, watched Bambi (SAD!) and played arcade games. It was actually pretty fun.
The whole trip was a blast and since the driving/riding has been going so well, we're hoping to get down again in early September.
One last picture of Agatha at a splash pad we stopped at one night when everyone was squirrely and needed to get some energy out.