Day 1 Omaha or Bust

Yesterday we drove from Texas to Omaha, Nebraska (or New Braska if you ask Daniel).     We wanted to beat traffic, so we all got up at 6:30 and started to pile in the car.  It started pouring down rain as we were loading, so I shifted gears and dug out breakfast while we had garage shelter.  Neither Allison nor I had the desire to dig through the cooler while getting soaked to the bone.  This delayed our departure by 15 minutes but the trade off seemed well worth it.  Kisses to Patrick and waves good-bye and we were off!  Thirty minutes later my texting secretary (aka Allison) sent Patrick an update.

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It normally takes 8 minutes from our driveway to the 820/I20 split.  And things weren’t looking any better up ahead.  The radio warned us of an overturned truck further north on I35 and the rain was just getting started.  We could have slept in and left at 9:00am and been in just as good of shape.  Hindsight is 20/20 though and the past cannot be changed, so as all good mothers would do I had the kids put on a movie.  At 7:45 am, a voice came from the back, “Are we in New Braska?”  Nope.  Not even out of Ft. Worth.  It was looking like a long day ahead, but the movie brought calm and made time move more quickly for those who were entranced by it.

 

i tried to get video of our theme song, but it appears that the younger three have no memory of the song and the middle three were too busy with electronic distractions to care, so it was a most pitiful rendition of “Me and My Gang.”   Here is a selfie that Allison took.  Joshua looks like he is on a roller coaster.  I was not going that fast!  No, really.

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Oklahoma blessed us with sunshine not soon after crossing the Red River.  We stopped at quaint park in Guthrie for lunch and then it was nap time!  No tv’s, no iPads, just books and a quiet rest.  Not.  My overtired children fought the idea entirely until I bribed them with ice cream two hours later.  Just when the last head started bobbing, I was the one ready for a break.  We pushed through for another 40 minutes and stopped on the Kansas turnpike for ice cream at Hardee’s.  Then I let Allison have the wheel.  It took a few minutes to adjust as she is not used to driving the suburban at 75 mph with no rear view, but she did great and so did I once my Stresszyme took effect.

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It took 13 hours and 6 minutes to reach our destination, but it was a good trip and we are happy to be in Omaha enjoying green grass, cooler temperatures and spending time with good friends–the kind where you just pick up where you left off the last time and wish that you never had to leave.  Here are some pics for your enjoyment.

We weren't playing the song he wanted to hear

We weren’t playing the song he wanted to hear

Ben loves the green grass without stickers or fire ants

Ben loves the green grass without stickers or fire ants

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Me and My Gang

It’s good to be back!  On my blog, that is.  I took a short hiatus to wrap up the school year, rest and get the kids through Vacation Bible School.  Since my last post, daughter number three has acquired her driver’s license and is the phase of I-will-drive-anyone-anywhere-just-to-get-behind-the-wheel-and-outta-the-house.  Praise be Jesus! It has been a blessing to everyone to have another driver and runner of errands, and a blessing to her to have more freedom.

Even though she got the kids dressed and fed and drove them to VBS all week it still took me by surprise how exhausting the week turned out to be for me. I guess I overestimated the break of a few hours each day and underestimated how tired the kids would be from waking early and being active.  I overbooked my week with appointments and activities trying to get it all in before we leave for our trip on Monday.

Our trip!  That was what I was originally going to share with you.  Me and My Gang of seven are heading north for a family reunion.  We are breaking the trip into three legs to space out the driving time.  The first leg will take us to Omaha, Nebraska to stay with a college friend and her family.  Google Maps tells me it is a 9hr 20min drive, so I’m planning on 12 hours.  Heck, it takes us 20 minutes for a short bathroom break by the time we all unload, use the bathroom, wash hands and reload.  I have also found that 2 hours is the maximum travel time between breaks.  If we hit lunch right and the kids nap, we can make it three hours, but that is the exception to the rule.  I try not to stress about the time and focus on enjoying the journey.  On one of our first road trips Patrick and I stopped at a park for lunch and the tradition has stuck. We always pack a picnic lunch and find a local park to stretch our legs and fill our bellies.  It makes for a great break in the trip and for excellent memories.  I must admit that GPS has made the task easier, but hunting down a park is part of the adventure.

The second leg is to Green Bay, Wisconsin to celebrate my Aunt and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary, attend the Allen reunion, visit St. Lawrence Seminary and show the kids their family heritage: visits to the grave sites of my grandparents,  my grandparents former homes, and various sites around town.  Both my mother and father’s families are from Green Bay and our history goes back four generations since immigrating to the U.S.A. in the late 1800’s.

Lastly, we will head back to Omaha to stay with my nephew and his beautiful family.  As an added bonus we will stay through July 5 to meet up with daughter number two who will make an appearance in Omaha that weekend.  Lauren is walking across the U.S. with Crossroads to raise awareness for the rights and dignity of people from conception through natural death.  She started in San Francisco and will end in Washington D.C. and is taking her entire summer vacation for this wonderful cause.  We will only get to see her for a few hours before she heads back to college in the fall, so this gift of time mid-summer is a precious one.  I have really enjoyed following Lauren via photos she has posted on Facebook.  I was not independent enough to venture out at her age, so it is fun to live vicariously through my children now.

I plan on blogging a short update each day of our trip so that you can follow along on our adventures.  We are still neck-deep in packing and planning.

Clothes for six kids for eight days!

Clothes for six kids for eight days!

I have learned that if you prepare well enough in advance it makes for a much smoother trip.  I adore long car trips and I have passed on the love to my children.  We have our moments, but for the most part we have a heck of a good time.  Our signature song is “Me and My Gang” by Rascal Flatts if you want to sing along.  I’ll see if I can get some video for your enjoyment.  “It’s a brother and a sister kinda thing, raise your hand if you all wanna hang with me and my gang . . .”

June Book Review

I am no expert on literature, but I am a lover of books, reading, and the written word. As volunteer librarian for our home school support group, I have learned to categorize and organize our 600+ books and videos in a reasonable fashion. I even catalogued the books on http://www.LibrayThing.com so that members can see our titles from the comfort of their own internet connections. One area that has been severely lacking is access to the physical library due to my health and the general busy-ness of homeschoolers in general. It is a most underused asset to be certain.
I am hoping to change that. Each month I will spotlight a book or video that we have in our Library. I decided that I should be more familiar with the books that I am recommending, so I will also add in a short review to the spotlight. This got me to thinking. If I am going to review a book for my support group, why not share my knowledge with my blog readers as well? So, here are my recommendations and reviews for June and handy links to Amazon should you want to purchase them for your own benefit as well. If you use my links, you will also help to support our home school and that will be very much appreciated!

One of my favorite bloggers, Simcha Fisher, inspired me with this photo on her post today.

photo by Simcha Fisher

Anyone with children knows that summertime will inevitably bring about the phrase, “I’m Bored.” If you have teenagers in the house, then I have some reading recommendations for them and you!

Regina Doman has written a series of fairy tales retold. This Catholic author takes traditional fairy tales and sets them in modern times with fascinating characters and story lines that will captivate the reader. Hot summer afternoons are sure to pass by quickly as you devour these novels. These include The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold, Black as Night: A Fairy Tale Retold, Waking Rose: A Fairy Tale Retold, The Midnight Dancers: A Fairy Tale Retold, and the latest release Rapunzel Let Down: A Fairy Tale Retold.

For a slightly more serious read, your high school boys may enjoy Fr. Larry Richard’s book, Be A Man!: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be. Fr. Richards doesn’t mince words and will capture your son’s attention with his honesty and his gift of storytelling. This book is written to encourage deep thought about what it means to be a Catholic man in today’s world. Rather than telling the reader what to think, Fr. Richards asks them questions that will guide them into a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with God. Each chapter ends with goals and reflection questions.

Happy Reading!