Over 1,000 pictures and close to 1,000 miles later, we are home from our Nebraska panhandle vacation. (And I think I garnered enough topics and photos for at least 30 blogs. :-) ) We had a wonderful time, and I am so glad that we were given the opportunity to go! Here is a wordle representing a few of the places that we experienced. (To see a bigger version, you can go directly to the wordle site: Western Nebraska Trip.)
We had ventured out west in the company of my Michels family – my parents, my sister & her husband and my brother & his wife. 12 of us staying under one roof. While there were some moments of crabbiness and bickering (mainly from the children, at least the fighting part! :-) ), we really did all enjoy the experience. I know that it helped that we had 3 vehicle options, so we did not have to be all together all the time. And our youngest two children were able to stay back a couple of times with the others, allowing our oldest two to have more adventures. (The youngest did well but did tire of museums and such!)
I had a chance last night to talk to my daughter alone about her impressions of the trip as we were finishing our journey home. Her favorite part was going fishing with her dad, uncle and brothers. (For the next few days afterwards, the kids stood out in the open grass area near our rented house practicing casting. I am sure people driving by were thinking that the kids were deprived since they were not by the lake!)
But then after thinking for a moment, my daughter changed her mind. She said that her favorite part was that we were all together. I had to agree. As much as I especially enjoyed getting to tour and talk to many people across the state, the experience would have been greatly lessened if I had been alone. Having my family there made all the difference.
Watching the lightning show (amazing what you can see when you are not distracted by television!)
To my family: I hope you know how much I love each of you! Thanks for traveling on this journey of life with me! (And for putting up with me taking a gazillion pictures!) Glad we were together!