This summer our family vacation was a business trip. Bry needed to spend nine days working in Nebraska so we rented an airbnb in Omaha, packed up the girls, and decided to do our best to make it fun. And I have to say, Nebraska surprised me. I wouldn't have thought there would be much to take photos of, but as you can see, I had a difficult time narrowing them down for a post.
First off, this is one of the most inspirational buildings I've ever visited. It was built on a hill above the interstate like a glass lighthouse for travelers and is a breathtaking, quiet place to stop and be with God. I want this to be my house.
Over the weekend we headed further west on a road trip to the sand hills. Barren, wide open spaces built from sand and not quite like anywhere else I've been. They have one of the best golf courses in the world, though it's completely private so no chance of sneaking in to see it.
And then there was Uncle Buck's. I don't know where to start. A dilapidated, family-owned Lodge in the smallest town in Nebraska (Brewster, population: 17). The land that the lodge and ranch are on has been in the family since the 1800's. There were homemade ribs for dinner, teddy bear pancakes in the morning for the girls, a grandson who took us to see the new calf and told us about his rodeo life, and lots and lots of mounted heads and strange taxidermy. There was a random old man (the grandpa?) watching horse racing on an ancient television in the living room. Cetty went and stood by him for a while and then came back and whispered to me, "I said hi to Uncle Buck." Ha! This was decidedly an essential part of the true Nebraska experience.
Nebraska National Forest. Largest hand-planted forest in the country.
And then we had to go see a real rodeo for ourselves.
On the way back to Omaha we stopped at the pioneer living history Stuhr Museum. It was fantastic and especially cool since Nebraska was part of both the Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Loved the Pawnee earth lodge!
Our airbnb was the perfect home base for us while Bry was at work. It was in the most fun part of town, within walking distance to everything and surrounded by incredible architecture. Plus that porch!
What did we do to occupy ourselves all day? Tea parties, selfies, walks, shops, a favorite bakery, parks, new library books (including a few about Nebraska of course), and some schoolwork thrown in there. Homeschooling is the way to go for families that like to wander and thrive on flexibility (me!).
We were there over the 4th of July. Unexpectedly, at about 10 pm, I decided that the girls must have sparklers. I hunted high and low, waited in a ridiculously long line in a hot, stinky firecracker tent for that one tiny box of sparklers, and then got the girls back out of bed. I just kept thinking, the weird things we parents do for our kids. But you know what, totally worth it. I mean, look at them!
It turns out this was what our family needed. Time away from all-day-long distractions to slow way down and be together. It was like a good, deep breath. Just enough exploring, without the rush and pressure that a typical vacation in a more exotic destination can tend to have. Because in the end, it's not about the place.