The last half of summer proved refreshing for all.
Our local library ended their summer reading program with a special visit from some oceanic creatures. Nora is really into sea critters, so we made sure to go.

Nora found some sea horse skeletons on the touch and feel table.

Nora holding two sea horses

Corbin imagined what it would be like to come face to face with a shark.

Corbin looking through a sharks jaw bone

But the highlight was getting to touch the live animals. There was a horseshoe crab, a starfish, and a shark!

The girls petting the shark

Caleb and Corbin touching the sea critters

The weather this summer has been wonderful... not too hot or humid; and no big storms. We spent many happy hours playing outside. Our wagon lost a wheel, so we made a "tragon" by connecting it to a tricycle. The kids thought it was neat.

our tragon

The girls really got along well this summer. Anna is no longer a baby, and loves playing alongside her sisters.

the girls playing dress-up

A summer highlight was our District Convention. Caleb was to have a part! He practiced over and over for weeks. Here he is on stage, the day of his part.

Caleb on stage

He was so happy to have a part! Here's the whole gang outside.

The convention crew

The girls loved all the baby ducklings swimming about.


The kids threw out some bread for all the ducks and geese, too.

geese the boys watching the geese

This was also the summer of loose and lost teeth. Nora lost 5, Caleb lost a molar, and Rosa lost one. Rosa's front top teeth were capped when she was just a baby because they came in without enamel. They hung on as long as they could, but we lost one in July. Currently her other front one is very, very loose. We are hoping her big teeth will come in soon, and with enamel on them! Here's Rosa, showing off her new look:

Rosa smiling

Our summer quickly fleeting, we once again hit the road with Grandpa and aimed to spend a weekend in Omaha. We had journeyed there in the spring of '07, and had all loved the zoo so much we thought we'd do it again.

We arrived on a very hot late August day. Having never explored the Iowa side of things last visit, we decided to see what Council Bluffs had to offer. We found a neat little train museum to start off with. The kids took a break to watch the trains in the air conditioned building.

a model train

the kids watching the trains

Then we braved the heat to explore the real trains outside. Nora raced from train to train, determined to drive them all.

Nora at the controls

A big old black steam train was a family favorite.

The kids loved that they could ring the (very loud!) bell of the old 915 train, which Nora and Corbin seemed to find especially hard to resist.

the kids posing in front of a train

Needing a break from the heat, we next explored the town's square, which had a huge fountain.

the kids in front of the fountain

Off to one side were some squirrel statues and a little kids interactive water playground. Nora was the first to try out both, of course.

Nora on a squirrel statue Nora getting wet

Rosa finally got up enough courage to visit a squirrel as well.

Rosa on a squirrel statue

After Anna kept running wildly (and falling often) in the kids' water area, we heading back to the hotel for the night. Our mission for the next day: the zoo!

If one could sum up the Omaha Zoo in a word, it would have to be huge! Having learned this from our last visit, we started off in earnest, walking the outer path before it got too hot.

We said good morning to the zebras and giraffes...



I was especially impressed with the rhinoceroses. They are truly a majestic creature.


We next walked through the Children's Sensory Garden. I enjoyed all the flowers, and the kids enjoyed posing by the various statues. Anna found a cat:

Anna by a cat statue

Alex, a bug:

Alex and a grasshopper statue

and Nora, a parrot:

Nora with a parrot statue

Caleb spotted some movement in one of the flowering pots, and noticed a mallard duck on a nest! She didn't mind us, and seemed proud to pose for a picture.

a mallard on a nest

As the sky started to grow darker, and the air more humid, we decided we better keep moving after a quick break on a butterfly bench.

We entered the world of birds, a giant outdoor area with all kinds of tropical birds, as the first angry crack of thunder announced a storm's arrival. We darted from one covered pavilion to the next along the walkway, enjoying the birds playing in the downpour.

some birds on a pavilion roof

We then discovered something unique about our daughter, Rosa. Thunder really, really scares her. To the point of peeing in her pants. So Lee and Rosa had to take their leave, dodging from building to building, then to the van, to change her. To this day, if you ask Rosa what she remembers about the Omaha Zoo, she will proudly proclaim, "I peed!"

As the clouds let up, animals and people mingled on the flooded sidewalks.

a peacock surrounded by the kids

We ventured into the Cat Building. Tigers of all kinds were there.

a tiger

Nora, having found a peacock feather, absently waved it in front of a panther's cage. What happened next was quite remarkable. The big cat stopped it's forever pacing back and forth and playfully swatted at it. Nora giggled in delight. For about 10 minutes, as a large crowd grew around us, Nora and the Panther played.

Nora and the Panther

After a brief stop to pose with the "gorillas," we decided to get some lunch as the next storm started up.

the kids with some gorilla statues

The Treetop restaurant overlooks the rainforest area. We picked seats right by the view, and enjoyed watching a black and white toucan type bird watching us eat.

the bird

Fully fueled up, we were ready to conquer the jungle. We bravely crossed the rope bridge:

Nora, Corbin, Caleb, and Lee on the rope bridge

and looked under the waterfalls:

the kids from a view under a waterfall

Animals peeked at people from the foliage, missed by many who rushed by, but a neat reward for those who took the time to find them.

a neat blue bird

The kids enjoyed finding off trails that lead to little caves.

the kids in a cave

A little monkey scolded us from the branches of a tree.

a small monkey

Nora was excited to see some real Macaw Parrots.

Nora and some parrots

Even the water was teeming with life. The kids loved watching the tiny blue fishes dart about.

Nora watching near the water's edge the boys at the water's edge

From there we went to the Butterfly and Bug building. I was amazed at the beauty of all the different butterflies! They darted and fluttered all around us.

Here is a small slideshow of some of our favorites.

Number of Pictures: of

As we were leaving the butterfly and bug building, we stopped to marvel at a huge bee hive. It was encased in glass, so we could all watch the bees hard at work.

busy bees

Nora was getting quite good at spotting (and giving chase) to the many peacocks roaming the grounds. She was finally rewarded by a lovely male wooing two peahens.

a peacock with his tail open

The day was getting quite hot and humid, so after a brief rest, we decided to head to the one place Caleb was so excited to get to: Budgie Land!

Anna and Grandpa on a bench

Budgie Land was a large outdoor enclosure, with Cockatiels, Doves, and mostly Budgies freely flying about.

lots of Budgies

Budgies on the ground

Alex thought the cockatiels were more his style.

some cockatiels

The highlight was when the kids were given millet seeds on a sticks to offer the birds, and after several attempts to feed the skittish birds, they all succeeded.

Alex feeding a budgie Caleb feeding a budgie

Nora feeding a budgie Anna feeds a budgie

After dragging Caleb away, we watched some prairie dogs for a bit. (Another of Caleb's favorite critters!)

a prairie dog

The girls got a quick ride on the merry-go-round as another thunderstorm approached.

Nora on the merry-go-round

Anna on the merry-go-round

We went to the aquarium building next. It was very crowded, and very hot and stuffy. The kids did enjoy seeing the many ocean creatures, especially the seahorses.

a seahorse

Alex, who can eat about 10 pounds of crab legs in one sitting, came face to face with his food.


From there we quickly ran to the big dessert dome, our last stop at the zoo. It was quite the experience being inside the big dome during the thunderstorm! We sized up an owl and a cockatoo:

an owl a cockatoo

Corbin and Rosa posed by some dessert greenery:

Corbin and Rosa by some cactus

Everyone was getting worn out, so after another little rest,

Alex, Anna, Shannon, and Corbin

we headed downstairs to the Kingdom of the Night exhibit. Corbin was excited to see the crocodiles and alligators!


We were happy to see the rain had stopped. I took a shot of the kids in front of the dome, to get an idea of just how big it really is.

Corbin, Rosa, Nora, and Caleb in front of the dome

Here they are running back to the rest of us:

The four of them running

They gave the big earth one last spin.

Caleb and Nora pushing the big globe

Nora even took home her feather as a souvenir.

Nora with her feather at the globe

We were all worn out! With many happy memories, we bid the zoo farewell.

the kids with Grandpa

After a much needed rest and a bite to eat, we decided to go check out the new pedestrian bridge that goes over the Missouri River. On cue, it started to drizzle as soon as we got there. Undeterred, we headed for the bridge.

the bridge

The towers that supported the cables of the bridge had lights on top that slowly changed colors.

a tower

It was cool the way the rain seemed to glow with the lights on the way down.

a tower with the rain

Soon we came to the official border between Nebraska and Iowa. The kids liked being in two states at once!

The kids with one foot in each state

As we looked back towards Nebraska, we saw a low, very dark cloud rolling towards us. It was growing rapidly, and soon looked almost like mountains behind the town of Omaha.

a shelf cloud over Omaha

It was beautiful, yet worrisome at the same time.

another view of the cloud

We quickly went to the Iowa side, hoping to find a shelter of some sort. Finding nothing, we went under the bridge, just to be safe, while the cloud passed right over us. For the second time that day, Rosa got so scared, she wet herself!
After the cloud was mostly passed us, and the rain had let up a bit, we ventured back up on the bridge, and headed back to Nebraska.

in the darkness, only shadows

Looking back towards Iowa, we were treated to a huge rainbow!


The kids spirits quickly lifted, and even Rosa had a smile on her face again.

The kids with the rainbow in the background

We crossed back into Nebraska.

crossing the border line again

And stopped to pose for one last shot on the bridge.

Everyone on the bridge

On the way back to the hotel, we drove by a huge poster mural of a tiger on the side of a building.

a tiger mural

The next morning, after packing up and checking out, we wanted to walk around a bit before the long drive back home. Downtown Omaha has a sculpture garden area, so we started out there.

the kids overlooking a waterfall and sculptures around

The girls liked the sculptures they could play around in.

Nora and Anna in a sculpture

Water ran throughout the park, often dropping down a fanciful waterfall.

Caleb looking at a waterfall

It was nice to sit and watch the water.

Caleb and Grandpa

After one last romp around some artwork,

the kids playing around some sculptures

we walked down closer to the river. The walkway was lined with pretty flowers.

Corbin posing by some flowers

Soon the heat started to get the better of us, and we found ourselves sitting more than walking.

Corbin and Rosa resting

After Nora chased after some geese for a while, we were ready to go. Even Nora was worn out!

Nora with a red face

As we were passing the convention center, we saw some more neat looking sculptures. One last stop! The statues had an entertainer theme, with life size jazz players,

Corbin and a jazz player statue


Caleb, Anna, and a mime statue


the kids posing by the stilt walker statue

and fancily dressed ladies roaming about.

Rosa with the lady statue

Giant mirror-like balls were scattered here and there.

our reflection in a ball

A large clock reminded us it was time to get going.

the clock and some statues

The trip home was pretty uneventful. The kids counted windmills to pass the time.

a windmill

We arrived home late, but refreshed.

Shortly after our trip, the kids' school supplies arrived. Nora was excited to be starting first grade.

Nora happy with the boxes of school supplies

But the boys seemed less enthusiastic.

the boys sad

As we unpacked the schoolbooks, we discussed the events of the summer, and wondered what the fall and school had in store.

Where do you want to go next? Click below:

click here to go to Waveofjoy's Homepage

click here to go to the updates page

click here to go to the photo galleries

click here see our latest happenings

click here to go to our blog

click here to go to our links page