I flew in to Omaha on a Friday afternoon. Hunter had so much fun on the plane. He got to stand up in his carseat and eat the handle. He was so happy! Only problem now is that every time I buckle him in to go somewhere he sees the handle and wants to stand up. Doesn't take long for them to get spoiled! I got in to the airport and we went straight to dinner with my cousin Sammie and my Aunt Sarah. Let me just say, Omaha is gorgeous! There are green trees everywhere and a great downtown. We ate at Cascio's steakhouse for dinner. It was so yummy! We love steak in my family and definitely love places that have been around forever that are not chains! After dinner I left my sister to put Hunter down for bed and went to see one of my old roommates. Her parents live in Omaha and she was visiting them for a little bit. It was so nice to hang out with her and catch up. I kept her up until 2 am! Sorry Sarah! I haven't seen her for a few years and I couldn't go to Omaha and not visit with her and see her cute family! We both lamented that we miss Becky and can't ever get her home number to work! We figure if neither of us can get through it can't be a user error, right? The three of us had so much fun together in college.....I often think how funny it is that the three of us bonded so much. We all came from such different backgrounds and lives, yet something clicked with us. All I can say is that I am so glad!
Saturday we got up and went to the Winter Quarters temple for a session. That was really special. We didn't have time to tour the grounds or even grab a picture :( But I am so glad we found the time to go. As much as I love going with friends there is something special about sharing the experience with my family. Someone asked me recently if I ever get tired of traveling so much. I told them yes and no. Yes, traveling so much exhausts me to no end and constantly throws off my schedule, but I love my family so much that I will take every opportunity to spend time with them even when I spend more time traveling to see them than I get to spend with them. One of the many blessings of having a family is having people in your life that love you no matter what. They take all your good with your bad and just roll their eyes and love you more. I love all of my friends so much, but there is something different about a relationship with a family member. I noticed how at ease my dad was with his siblings this past week, he was just so relaxed and that is something that I don't see often with him, and realize now that I am probably that way as well. Anytime I got really stressed out in college I would go home for a weekend just to re-center myself. It made the biggest difference and I always came back refreshed and better able to handle the pressures and trials there. I am definitely less uptight with my family than I am normally!
We spent the afternoon at the Junior olympics watching Sam race. She did AWESOME! She took 3rd in the nation in her age group. My dad said 5 more yards and she would have taken 2nd. Not bad considering the winner of the race set a record. 2 min 5 sec for the 800 m race. I don't think I could have gotten around the track once in 2 min, much less twice. Actually, I probably couldn't have even done a half a lap, so I really admire her and am so excited for her. Go Sam! I was trying to get a picture of her crossing the finish line but I couldn't see the screen with the glare of the sun and had to settle for this one. The field that they had the JO's at was amazing! It was just a public school, but it was so nice I had to grab a picture! Hunter was so great the entire time. He sat on my dad's lap and just hung out. I love seeing my kids with family members, it just warms my heart!
After the JO finals we took off for Bemidji, MN. Most people don't know where that is. It is 2 hours south of the Canadian border, smack dab in the middle of the state. It is about 4 hours north of the Twin Cities. From Omaha it was a 8-9 hour drive. We got in at 1:15 am. Not too bad. We listened to a book on tape by Jon Krakauer called Into Thin Air. It was amazing, I highly recommend it. It is written first hand about the 1996 disaster on Mt. Everest. It definitely made the time fly as we drove through Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and finally Minnesota. It was all worth it, but it was long!
We rented a boat the next day and trolled around Lake Bemidji. It was a georgeous day and we had so much fun! We bar-b-qued before we went out and and Hunter tried watermelon for the first time. He loved it! Then we just sunned ourselves and enjoyed a relaxing day on the water. I figure a day on the water is better than a day anywhere else. Hunter even got a nap in! I thought he was so cute! He absolutely loves the water and dug being on the boat all day. He got passed around from aunt to aunt to uncle to cousin to grandpa, I even got a few minutes in with him. He loved the attention! We cleaned out the house that night and finally got everything taken care of. It was a big job and my aunts did a great job of taking care of everything. We got to see all the sights in Bemidji, there aren't that many, and got Hunter's picture with Paul Bunyan and Babe. Bemidji is where the Mississippi River begins so there are tons of lakes and a great state park called Itasca. I used to go up there every summer and for many years spent a week with my grandparents all by myself. I looked forward to that week every year. I would go have a doughnut with my grandpa for breakfast and go to work with my grandma at Bemidji State University. She worked as a receptionist in one of the departments. We had so much fun together. We would go to one of the parks that had a swimming beach and play and swim. Every year for the 4th of July they had a little carnival that I would go to. My Uncle Steve would win me a toy playing the games and would ride the Tilt-a-whirl with me over and over. It was my favorite ride! I really enjoyed going there and have so many great memories. One of the things we got to do this trip was see my grandparents headstone. That was really special to me. It was a really fun trip and I am so glad I went.