Friday, November 24, 2017

The Omaha Zoo !!

We always knew that the Omaha Zoo was fabulous, but the last several
years it has been  #1 or #2 in the United States, and also in the world!



One of the first stops was the Tropical Rain Forest area.
The standard joke in our family .......for years......that Isaac and Joshua have heard about
is how Joe will need to rescue them from the monkeys that will attempt
to carry them off. Ha Ha!














Monkey Rescue #1 !  Whew!  Joshua is saved!



Another monkey rescue!



Thank goodness both boys are safe and sound!



Now that that craziness is over, we can move on to other parts of the zoo!



Joshua, our future marine biologist, has such a fascination with sharks and
other creatures in the sea.  He was so excited!





Look at that smile!




We went to the IMAX showing of "The Great White Shark".



We saw gorillas.......



Lions......



We whizzed through the Desert Dome because we were running out of time,
and besides, we didn't need to spend any time looking at the javelinas......
all we have to do is look out the back windows at home to see them!


We ran out of time because of the shortened winter hours, but
we will be back - hopefully in warmer weather!

We ended the day with a fabulous steak meal at Gorat's Famous Steakhouse.
This is one of Warren Buffet's favorite places to eat in Omaha - they
even have a life-sized cutout that you can have your picture taken with!
So much fun!


Back in Nebraska!

We moved to Arizona in 2005.
Joe, and an assortment of children, have been back numerous times,
but this was my first trip back since moving.
There was always a reason - animals on the farm, two little boys from China
had just arrived, etc. - and it just never worked out.

So I was excited to see how much things had changed!  
And boy, had they, both in Kansas City and Lincoln, the growth and expansion
was phenomenal.

First stop?

VALENTINOS!
Isaac and Joshua have heard about this place for years from their siblings.
Now they were able to try it for the very first time!



This is only a small corner of the massive buffet area.



The boys ate so much that they felt rather sick afterwards.....
but they definitely agreed that it was the best pizza anywhere!



Alan Kaiser and his wife, Tammy, met us there and it was wonderful to
catch up with them.  
Before we took off the following morning we had to try another selfie!







We took some time to drive by our old houses.

This is the Cottonwood Drive house where we lived when we first
got married and had the three oldest children.  Still looking good!

We planted that pin oak and it was just a stick tree.
Wow!  Look at it now!





This is my favorite house, and I think everyone else's too.
It was our first acreage - we call it 8600.
This is where we lived when David arrived from South Korea!



Joe still misses this fabulous outbuilding!
It was always called "Lester"!



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kansas City BBQ - Jack Stack! - and Remembering My Mom and Dad

Once we headed into the greater Kansas City area, we had one thing on our mind:

KANSAS CITY BARBEQUE !!!!

There is only ONE place that we visit and that is Jack Stack, which used to be
called The Smoke Stack many years ago.

Not only do they have fabulous food, but this is where Joe asked me to marry him!



Isaac took this lovely picture of us - not bad, just need to work on centering!
We are really starting to feel the chill in the air by now!





The food was just as wonderful as we remembered.
So good, in fact, that we went back the very next day!

We found a very good RV park in the Johnson County area that was close to much of
what we wanted to see.  The colors of the trees were breathtaking, and Isaac and
Joshua loved finding leaf piles wherever we were.



We made a trip to Johnson County Memorial Gardens, where my mom and dad are buried.
Not going to lie.......that was very tough for me.
I miss them so very much.



Ellen, my younger sister who died of chicken pox, is right next to them.







We then drove by the house I grew up in from when we returned from the Philippines
 until the summer before eighth grade.
Great memories in that house!



The house next door is still owned by the original owner!  Her parents have long since
passed away, but Kathy came back to live in it after their deaths.
I knocked on the door and thankfully she was there!
She updated us on all the current owners, both past and present!



We then drove by the rental house where Joe lived in his early 20's when he worked
for Westinghouse.  We didn't know each other then, even though we went
to the same church!  Crazy!



We had planned to see more things and visit more people in the Kansas City area, but the
weather in Nebraska was deteriorating and we had to get up there FAST!! 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Baumgartners - Visiting Old Friends!

As we headed north toward Kansas City, and ultimately Nebraska, we stopped in southern
Missouri to visit our good friends the Baumgartners.
Jacob, who visited us earlier in the month is their oldest son.
We all went to the same church years ago in Lincoln, and our children all grew
up together.
Once again, it was so special to reconnect with dear friends from the past!

They have a lovely home in a very woodsy area.
Isaac and Joshua had so much fun exploring and going down into the creek!





Jane had a wonderful meal for us and it was just like old times.



The last time we saw Abigail, she was about 12!  She and Marie were such a 
delight to talk to and see how God is working in their lives.



Oh yes, the selfie.....



*********************************************************************************

Once we left New Mexico we never saw the sun again.
Every day was cloudy with the exception of a few hours of sun in the
KC area.  It was quite noticeable and made us grateful for the sunny days of Arizona!

This was what most of our driving was like.
CLOUDY!!!!


Driving Through Tulsa

Joe, the boys, and I went on a two week vacation at the end of October.
We had hoped to go earlier in the year, but commitments prevented us from heading
out earlier.  Our ultimate goal was to get to Nebraska to work on some rental property
we still have there, but...............man, the cold weather drove us back home quickly!

We spent an evening in the Tulsa area with Joe's Aunt Laura and Uncle Mike.
Even though Laura is technically his aunt, being only several years older made them more
like cousins as they were growing up.

It was great to see the two of them again!





Laura and Mike had a lovely meal waiting for us when we arrived!





And yes, the attempted selfie with all of us!