Sunday, April 29, 2012

Best Zoo in America

You think I am joking, but seriously, look up the ratings.  Omaha has the best zoo in America.  I think a lot of it has to do with how well they have rebuilt the exhibits.  It is something my kids look forward to any time we mention Omaha.  So, here is a re-cap of December's visit:
Gorgeous green snake.  I thought I'd remember the name, but no.  It's probably something like "emerald".  I don't love snakes, especially in the wild, like my yard.  But this one is stunning.

Bongo, up close and almost touchable.  And, Jordan's nemesis, the bobcat.

I love big fat toads/frogs.  Always have.  And this white Siberian was incredible fun to watch! He was a little ADD about dinner time I think.  Check out the video:

And finally, the Sun Bear.  Brynja loved that guy.  He was up and down those trees faster than I'd have guessed. And the claws, holy long.  But they look too adorable to be harmful.


This post is a long time coming.  I wasn't ready to write it for a while, and life just keeps throwing me curve balls. We like to live on the edge, what can I say? 

So, let's go back to December...

We had some really good times with Grandpa.  We tried really hard not to be there for too long at a stretch.  But when you know he is going to be alone if you leave, it is hard to leave.  So, we tried to space out the visits.  If the boys were ready before teh girls (like it ever could happen), they would go over first.  Then the girls would meet up over there, or we'd have lunch and then go over.  The point is, we tried to be there a couple of times a day.

Grandpa had a headache this day, and wanted to just lay in bed.  But, he didn't want us to leave him alone.  He asked us to stay.  And the tricky part is how to keep 7 kids and a baby kind of quiet in a two room apartment so that you don't make the headache worse.  I got the feeling that Grandpa was so glad that he had his grand kids there that he tried to not worry about the headache.  That is saying something because he has suffered from these headaches ever since WWII.  I think it was from a mercury poisoning incident, but I am not positive.  When I was a kid, if Grandpa had a headache you didn't go anywhere near him.  You couldn't possibly be quiet enough that you wouldn't make him crazy.  So, for him to ask us to not leave on this day, made me realize he wanted the company more than anything else.

So, Jordan showed him video after video, gave him a long distance tour of Israel, and I massaged his head with doTerra's peppermint oil.  It worked wonders, and I was happy to do it.  He was so funny when it started working, he just got really excited and kept asking what I'd put on him.  I wished I'd learned about those EO's ages before so he could have had some of his pain alleviated.
Leah has such a hard time just smiling for the camera anymore.  I think I remember her older sister having the same issue around that age.

Grandpa seemed as strong as ever.  Josh thought he'd be funny and play tug of war to get Grandpa's grabby thing.  He quickly realized he was no match for the old man!  Those two became pals, and were constantly egging each other on.  I am so glad that Josh got to horse around with Gramps.  I couldn't begin to count how many of my memories involve this same silliness with myself or my siblings.  It's a good memory to have!
I love this man, he is the only decent Grandpa I had.  And more than decent, he is exceptional.  He is the picture of chivalry, intelligence, humor and wit, conviction, dedication and family means the world to him.

At some point Grandpa realized he lost his whistle.  He could do this whistle that was so loud, and he could make it sound like a hundred things.  It was sad that he couldn't find it.  My brothers all tried to get one of their own.  I think there will be much need for practicing!

Grandpa was giving us grief about eating.  So I decided to help him make it to the table.  He was such a stinker.

Gramps had fun using his "dog whacker" on the kids.  I might need to get me one of those!