Last weekend, while Mr. Davis was in the middle of a two week traveling tour of the U.S., the kiddos and I scooted on over to Omaha to see the fam.
The trip included taking GG (great-grandma Lil) out to lunch and forcing exhaustion on her as her five great-grand children scampered around her house at light speed. My favorite moment was standing at the kitchen sink and catching my dad swiftly doing circles around an SUV trying to find our 1.5 year old cousin, E. Her cute little owl clad head would come happily bopping around each corner of the car just as he went around the side she had just been on to find her. His face showed he was on the verge of panicking and I about peed my pants laughing. I’m a helpful daughter like that.
The Omaha Children’s Museum also made the list of things to do with my mom, BIL (Toby), and niece (Lily). Binz was all over the art while Rex couldn’t get enough of the “city” exhibit full of real firetrucks, buses, and police cars to climb and drive. From an adult perspective, the best part of the Omaha Children’s Museum is the old Richmond Gorman’s Zooland Animals that were once a department store haven for burning off energy while mom shopped.
See that lady up there on the left? She’s my mom and she is an well-trained kid corraler – essential when visiting crazy busy places with kids. And that is Lindsay on a fire pole on the top left…probably should’ve taken that picture a few steps back.
The unexpected ending of our weekend trip involves myself and my two small children snuggling on two cots for the night along with 40 of our closest new friends at the Shelby Iowa Community Center. For reals. I now have a glimpse at what it’s like to be homeless with two kids and I gotta say I’d be pretty good at it (as long as I get to keep my 4-wheel drive).
Long story short, “1-2 inches” of snow turned into white-out conditions. A six semi pile up closed the Interstate and forced us off to find haven at a local gas station/restaurant.
Four hours in, it started to get dark. There was no sign of the blizzard dying down or the Interstate opening back up. With the two giggle monsters now loaded up on ring pops and suckers, we moved it on down to the community center (aka the emergency shelter) with other fellow travelers who weren’t quick enough to snag one of the few hotel rooms in town. By this point I had already decided this is an adventure and a challenge to keep ourselves entertained.
Sometime around 8:00PM I got this pool picture from Mr. Davis who happened to be in San Diego for a conference the company he works for was sponsoring.
…upon receiving it, I helped paint the picture of our situation by describing how this emergency thing is just like being on the Walking Dead without guns or zombies. We had built a mini group of friends and learned who to trust and go to for info. I’m really good at giving him peace of mind about his family while he’s away for work.
Our mini adventure was an interesting experience where I learned a few things, like…
1. The volunteers at the Shelby community center were genuine, giving, inviting and everything you would expect and love about small town Iowa people. If any of you read this, thank you so much for what you do.
2. On the other hand, Iowa’s senior citizens are full surprises. Before you “aw” at that picture of Rex at the table with group of Q-tips, know that they kept their party going until 3AM and had to be told to quiet down. Also, I aspire to be them one day.
3. I have the awesomest kids who know when to go with the flow. Lindsay was more easy going than I’ve ever known her to be. She was outgoing and danced on over to her new found friends — a group of Iowa State engineering students — to join in on their fun but also played the roll of helpful big sister without question. Whether they’re in a swanky hotel or homeless-like conditions, these two will be just fine.
4. Being forced to play card and board games for hours with your kids is the best blessing. It’s so rare to get uninterrupted time where there is nowhere you have to be or things that need to get done. We should get stranded more often. In fact, I think I’ll be starting an annual “get stranded” family vacation tradition to ensure we get this quality bonding time.
6. I’m certain this experience earned me a six foot long Michonne’s-style sword for the real zombie apocalypse. I’m a survivor. Totally a qualifying experience in my book.
Hope you had a great weekend too!