05 January 2019

Half of the Story

The Twin Cousins all running amok in the church gym.
Christmas during our annual pilgrimage back to Nebraska is only ever half of the story. True, it is the focus, the pinnacle, the best part of the trip but we've been able to spend a few extra days there, visiting family, seeing old friends, and having a break from the neverending chores on a farm. Jack brought his virtual reality to share and it's just as hilarious watching people play it as it is to actually be the player.
Stay out of Evelyn's way!
Jack and I were able to visit the temple where we were married and eternally sealed nearly twelve years ago. That's right...we're stuck together FOREVER...just the way we want it. YAY!
If you're ever in Florence, Nebraska (just outside of Omaha), plan a visit to the Winter Quarter's Temple!
We saw some pretty impressive gingerbread displays...
...and caught up with Great Grandma Lamb over a game of ping pong.
Well, the girls and I did. While Henry was talking up her front porch steps, he had his hands tucked in his coat pockets, managed to slip, then bang his head on the concrete, earning him his first set of stitches. He wasn't particularly thrilled with the procedure but once they gave him a sticker and his very own blanket, and he saw a picture of himself, he was back to his old self.
Happy to show off another manly facial scar!
Returning to where Jack and I lived when we were first married, we visited some friends who had migrated from Chiapas, Mexico and somehow ended up in Lincoln, Nebraska. They made us homemade tamales, cinnamon tea, and our kids and theirs became fast friends, bonding over their ability to do backbends, their love of hamsters, and My Little Pony reruns.
Every time we go back to Lincoln, it's always a surprise to see how much the city has changed. There's a new Scheel's in town, so we went to take a gander. First, we said "hello" to President Lincoln's likeness on the way in...
...identified pretty much all of the stuffed animals they had on their mountainous display...
...and rode their indoor Ferris wheel. Because when there's a Ferris wheel, you ride it.
Since Zoey was too short to go on the Ferris wheel, she perfected her cooing at her baby cousin, in preparation for a new brother arriving soon.
One of our favorite traditions is to visit Amigo's, the restaurant where a high school/college friend of mine and I both worked. The food is still yummy, and it's fun to catch up and reminisce. I believe we're on our 10th year of the tradition, which is pretty darn awesome, seeing as between us, neither of us lives in Nebraska anymore.
The highlight of the trip--even to supersede the excitement and grandeur of Christmas was that Claire turned eight, which in our faith, allows her to choose to be baptized.
Though it was a mainly family event since all of her friends were back in Indiana, it was still a special day for her, and she was all smiles and giggles the whole evening.
I was even pleasantly surprised that her shy older sister, Evelyn, agreed to and actually sang with her uncle, aunt, and cousin, the song Claire had chosen. Then afterward, we indulged in Claire's choice of dinner: pizza, a fruit platter, popcorn, and jelly beans.
Then, just like that, our time in Nebraska came to an end, and we were back in Indiana, arriving home without any of the surprises we came home to last year.
3rd Christmas at our house!
Visiting Nebraska is always exhausting--we stay up too late, eat too much, and sometimes get sick--but we consider ourselves lucky to be able to go, and happy to have a few days to recuperate before getting back into the swing of things.

Until next time, Nebraska!

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