My last day in Omaha was a miserable one for me, but a great day for the kids. I had my first migraine in over ten years and weighed my options about heading back home or risking driving another day’s distance farther away. The combination of lack of sleep, being the only parent on duty and allergies fueled the headache. My friend took the kids to the zoo while I attempted to rest. In the end, Motrin did its duty and my headache dulled. I gave in and took Advil PM and went to bed at 9pm. Most importantly I prayed for direction, literally direction: should I keep heading north or turn south?
After a sound night of sleep, I awoke to thunder and lightning in the distance. It was already bright outside, but the clock said it was only 5 am. I rolled over to sleep for another hour or two, but the sound of the approaching storm threw out a warning flag and I didn’t want to load the car and kids in the pouring rain. We hit the road by 5:30 and I felt great the whole day.
In fact I felt great every day we were in Green Bay and we packed in the adventures. On Friday we celebrated the 50th anniversary of my aunt and uncle beginning with Mass at the church where my parents were married as well. Saturday morning we reunited with 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins of the Allen kind complete with an ancestry presentation dating back to the late 1800’s. I love that kind of thing, especially when you can look around the room and see the faces to go with the names, well, at least some of the faces.
On Saturday afternoon Patrick, Joshua and I (Patrick flew in for the weekend) grabbed some Kroll’s hamburgers and headed to St. Lawrence Seminary High School, one of the few remaining high school seminaries in the country. My father attended St. Lawrence as well, so the visit was as nostalgic as it was a prospective student visit. The grounds and buildings are extremely well maintained and we were impressed with the academic standards as well as the variety of sports and extra curricular activities. Although the tuition is high for our budget, it is extraordinarily affordable for all that it offers: education, room, board, sports, and spiritual direction to name a few. We have a few years to discern, but Josh is over the moon at the thought of it.
On Sunday we went to Mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Good Help. I felt transported to another world during the beautiful Mass and was overjoyed that Patrick got to visit the Shrine as well. When we visited two years ago he wasn’t with us. Back at my Aunt Rose’s house we visited with my cousins and enjoyed Booyah, a Green Bay specialty, and homemade cookies. Patrick returned to Texas and the kids and I headed out to Bay Beach on Monday morning. Bay Beach is a quaint amusement park on the shores of Green Bay. I have fond memories of going there as a child and it is special for me to pass that on to my own children. Admission is free and the rides are by tickets that are a mere 25 cents apiece. Unfortunately my migraine returned along with an upset stomach. After a few hours we had to leave. The littles and I took two-hour naps and my stamina slowly returned. Poor Daniel was so upset that he didn’t get to ride the slide! He remembered being too small last time and was devastated to miss the opportunity again. Allison and Aunt Rose came to his rescue and took him back for a quick slide ride followed by a grocery store run. It has been the highlight of his trip.
Today we left Green Bay and drove three hours to Barneveld, WI. There is a quaint hotel here called Deer Valley Lodge. I saw it on the drive up and noticed that it had a small waterpark as well. When we checked in they didn’t bat an eye at seven children and one adult. For $130 a night we got a suite with full access to the waterpark and breakfast! This is the complete opposite experience of our last hotel adventure for the same price. Thank you, God!
Tomorrow we head back to Omaha to visit my nephew and his incredible family. As a bonus we will see Lauren on Saturday before heading home on Sunday. I’ll update you soon. Thanks for checking in.