We are back from our vacation and we had a ton of fun! We went with family and it was so nice to get time together, with no rushing and just complete relaxation. We went to Valley, NE, which is right outside Omaha. My great uncle and aunt had a house there on a private lake and when they passed away, their children kept the house. Now they let family who wants to use it. A week on a lake is a great way to spend a week when you have so many kids! Plus the bonus was that we had Omaha right near by, so if we had gotten ambitious, we could have done a ton of stuff.
Mom and Shawna and her family arrived on Saturday. We had Shane's graduation party, so we left after that and arrived Sunday around 7 or so. The kids were so excited to see Emma and Cael. Emma and Cael were excited to see our boys, also.
Monday was a nice day, no clouds, so we decided that was the best day to go to the zoo. The kids had so much fun. There was so much to see! I couldn't believe how tired I was so easily already, so I did skip some of the buildings and sat with the triplets instead. I got to see what I wanted, so I was happy as well!
The rest of the week we just relaxed by the lake. The triplets did really well with knowing their limits. We had their pool set up on the patio and they would get as far as the sand for the beach, and turn around. Noah would sit longingly right on the edge of the lawn/beach, but he didn't venture any further.
We went on several boat rides, which was nice. I would have loved to have taken the little boys out, but I really didn't trust them and it would not have been relaxing for me at all, so we usually went after they were asleep.
Steve, Austin, and Chris did a lot of fishing, both off the dock and on the boat. It was nice that Steve and Austin had time together to do "grown-up" boy things that Aidan didn't tag along for. It's so important they get that time and with five kids, three of whom are little, it rarely happens when we are at home. We both are needed to care for the little people, so we took advantage of having others who could help out watching them and helping us.
Chris and Steve also went to Bass Pro Shops one night and enjoyed their "guy's night out." They stayed away until 11! That's late for Steve. I was happy to see Steve and Chris doing stuff together, though, because Shawna and I are so close. It's good to see our hubby's get along, too! (Disclaimer: They have always gotten along, just haven't had an opportunity to do so much together alone.)
Our worst experience was the longest tornado warning of my life! It went on and on and on for four and a half hours! Ugh! Because the basement is open to the beach, we found a small closet under the stairs for ALL of us to fit in as our shelter. We didn't get time at first to get it cleaned out, so we were REALLY cramped at first. Then we did get a little break and cleared it all out, then had a smidge more room. Austin was in the way back with Emma, Cael, and Aidan, then Shawna, me, and Mom, and sometimes Steve, with the triplets stuck in between the adults. Not fun. Plus it came right in the middle of dinner time, so noone had eaten. Mom got smart during one little break and went up and got onion rings for everyone. Everybody was happy with that. Chris and Steve stayed out and "watched the weather." I told Steve to get in, and he did sometimes, but he claims now that he was ready to dive in if it "started to get really bad." I cannot be a widow with six children! Austin liked to tell Emma (who gets very nervous with storms) about all the possibilities and how the very safest spot was a tiny little area under the bottom step....where of course noone could fit. Then he would complain of BO. Ummm, hello....there are 10 people stuck in a little closed in area, 3 of whom have soggy diapers! Then Noah shoved his finger up Aidan's nose and Aidan ended up with a bloody nose. Finally, after we got out, we put everyone to bed and were watching the news. The anchor lady said "The worst thing is some quality time with family." Quality?!?!?! With cranky, sleepy 16 month old triplets, a 2 year old, a nervous 4 1/2 year old, a newly 5 year old, and an autistic 12 1/2 year old?? Seriously?!?!?! I can find better ways to get quality time! We were creating memories...
On a serious note, because of these tornadoes, there was a large one that touched down at a Boy Scout Camp not far from the Nebraska border, on the Iowa side. Four boys died in that tornado, all 13 and 14 years old. Please keep their families in your prayers...all of them. Those boys, leaders, and families lived through some horrific stuff that evening and will not likely forget it anytime soon. They will need our prayers to get them through. We may not have had the time of our lives in that shelter, but we all came out safe, healthy, and unharmed. Not everyone does.
Also please keep all the flood victims in your prayers. There has been massive flooding here in Iowa (and elsewhere) and many of those families do not have flood insurance. In other words, unlike in a tornado where you may lose "things," you can replace them. Not so in a flood. These people have lost everything....and have no financial way to get them back. FEMA is helping, but not enough to recoup everything. It is going to be a long battle for them. New Hartford, which was hit hard by the EF5 tornado has also been hit hard now by flooding, so they are really in a bad place. Everyone is....please keep them all in your prayers.
I have a ton of pictures from vacation, so I didn't have room to post them all here. They are all at www.dropshots.com/5boysmom ("our family photos" link in my link section).