Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vacation 2009, Day 4

The Journey Home

C and I agreed to take the scenic route back to Lincoln, though I don't think either of us anticipated a 10-hour journey (the usual way takes just over 4 hours)! We started in scenic rural Barton County on our way to Wilson, Kansas, where we stopped at another local cafe - Made From Scratch. This cafe ROCKED! We ate bierocks, and they tasted like they are supposed to - not some greasy Runza people from Nebraska think is the same as a bierock. I also enjoyed a large slice of apple pie. Our meals, plus 2 desserts, and iced tea and tip cost less than $20!

This area of Kansas is known as "post rock" country. Many of the rural fences (and other structures) were constructed with native limestone posts easily carved from the land. It's a very pretty area of Kansas! Below are some photos of post rock country:

Stone house near the borders of Barton, Ellsworth, and Russell Counties

Post rock fence in Russell County

Limestone Double-Arch Bridge, Lincoln County

The next 10 miles of our journey lasted an eternity. First, about half a mile outside of Wilson, we realized we forgot to buckle Callum in his car seat, so we pulled over to get him secured. Then, as we approached Wilson Lake, we realized he was getting hungry, and given the beautiful scenery , we stopped at a picnic area overlooking the lake. After feeding Callum, the three glasses of tea I had with lunch caught up with me. Unfortunately, no facilities were immediately available (and I wasn't about to pay a park entrance fee to hover over a hole in the ground), so I squatted...and proceeded to pee all over the back of my shorts. My peeing in the woods skills have diminished greatly since high school cross country.

We followed K-181 through north central Kansas; a beautiful drive on a beautiful day! We stopped near Lebanon, Kansas, to explore the geographic center of the contiguous 48 states, where we were greeted by a very friendly rooster I named Chanticleer. He showed us around the grounds. (We also passed very near the geodetic center of North America.)

On the road again, we headed to Red Cloud, Nebraska, childhood home of Pulitzer-prize winning author Willa Cather. We arrived too late for a guided tour of town. I've had the opportunity to work with various members of the Cather family through work (Willa attended UNL), so it was nice to finally see firsthand the Cather exhibits in Red Cloud.

Next stop - Hastings, Nebraska. Hometown of Tom Osborne. We stopped at the campus of Hastings College to feed Callum, and enjoyed supper at Jimmy John's (though the music was a bit loud for my taste - am approaching fuddyduddyism). Deciding against yet another scenic route home, we finally hopped on Interstate 80 for the quick drive back to Lincoln. Callum started crying about 5 minutes from home; we're certain he was sad to see his first vacation end! However, given how quickly he fell asleep, we're also certain he has a new appreciation of home and sleeping in his own bed!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation 2009, Day 3

Space...the Final Frontier

Highlight of the Day: waking up BEFORE Callum. AGAIN. OMG.
Other Highlight of the Day: enjoying bacon at two meals.

C and I left Callum with Grandma and Grandpa and headed to Hutchinson (about an hour away) to explore the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. Feeling adventurous, we stopped at the Sterling Cafe in Sterling, Kansas. One of my many neuroses involves my sensitive stomach and unknown other words, unknown restaurants scare me because I'm afraid they will be dirty or the food will make me ill and I will have to poop in a public bathroom. Thus, trying a local cafe, for me anyway, is truly an adventure that forces me way out of my comfort zone.

I didn't die, nor was I forced to poop in a foreign bathroom, but the food was solidly OK. Also, C and I realized we have finally run out of things to talk about.

We also stopped at Ralph's Ruts - actual wagon ruts from the Santa Fe trail - and at an historical marker on US 56 about the Quivira Indians and Father Padilla that my family and I have driven past forEVER and never stopped to read.

The Cosmosphere was one of my favorite museums growing up; mostly because of the IMAX theatre. This time around, however, I was a bit disappointed. I enjoyed seeing the actual Apollo 13 and Liberty 7 spacecraft, and the moon rock is always a hit. The museum exhibit stops at Apollo 17; you'd never know there was a space shuttle program or a Mars rover or even a Hubble telescope. And given my age, those aspects of space travel fascinate me. German rocketry? Not so much.

To be honest, another reason for not enjoying myself: no Callum. I physically missed him; it made me nauseous. No one warned me about that. He was fine, of course, and still had a layer of skin remaining when we returned.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vacation 2009, Day 2

Barton County, Kansas

Highlight of the Day: waking up BEFORE Callum. The child slept for 11 hours straight! He never does this at home.

The day began with a delightful mocha at the Great Bend Coffee Company. Accompanied by my parents, we visited the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. Totally FREE. Beautiful weather and scenery, and I learned that a certain softshell turtle is native to the area! FASCINATING. Here's a photo of Callum and Grandpa; notice the scenery in the background.

Found three pairs of pants at Hallmark. YES, THEY SELL CLOTHES AT HALLMARK. Pants that hide my muffintop/joey pouch...or at least, aren't UNflattering. Thanks, Mom!

C enjoyed his very own 2-hour nap.

Callum met many family friends and neighbors, including his great-grandma!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vacation 2009, Day 1

We took our first family vacation last weekend! Our destination? Great Bend, Kansas. For those of you interested in traveling in Kansas, we highly recommend Marci Penner's Kansas Guidebook for Explorers. I'll be posting a day-by-day summary of our trip over the next few days. Yep - a multiple-post week! Woo hoo!

Day 1: Lincoln to Great Bend

First stop, Marysville, Kansas. After years and years of driving through this town on our way to/from Manhattan, we FINALLY saw a black squirrel in the City Park! Rejoice! What a wonderful way to welcome Callum to God's Country!

Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, Kansas. Meh. C and I have visited four other presidential libraries (Reagan, LBJ, Kennedy, and Truman) and rank this one last (Reagan was my favorite, perhaps so because I was alive during his administration). The museum focuses much more on Eisenhower's military career than on his presidency. It's hard to believe he did not campaign for president prior to the Republican primary! Callum took one look at Mamie and pooped. I changed him on a public bathroom floor (I KNOW). Unfortunately, just as I was fastening the clean diaper, the motion-sensing light shut off, so I waved my free arm in the air like a g.d. fool until the light came on.

Mom/Grandma and Dad/Grandpa's House, Great Bend, Kansas. Excellent accommodations! I've heard it's difficult to get a reservation, but we know the proprietors well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Nothing to report, my friends. Nothing, at least, that merits an entire paragraph. I'm working on posts for Callum's birth story, my early postpartum experiences, and why I love cloth diapers, but I've got nothing more than a few thoughts jotted down in my head.

I go back to work on July 27. Will other adults be there? Yes. Will Callum be there? No.

I watched the shuttle launch today. I was 7 years old when the Challenger exploded, and to this day, I cannot watch a launch without tearing up and getting a nasty knot in my stomach.

I'm drinking hot chocolate right now. Calendar reads middle of July. Sue me.

Off to clear the unflattering, non-fitting clothes off the bed. Am hoping work dress code changed to tshirts and shorts while I was away. That would be worth daily shaving!

Since I'm so frakking boring these days, I recommend you check out Callum's website. He's way cuter than me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Saint Kimberly

Callum was baptized Catholic Sunday morning after Mass, and I received a battlefield promotion to sainthood during the ceremony.

Part of the Rite of Baptism includes a brief litany of saints, and Callum's baptism was customized to include saints relevant to our little family; namely, St. Christopher, St. Daniel (not sure which of the eight was on duty to intercede on our behalves), and, I kid you not, St. Kimberly.

There is, of course, NO St. Kimberly. There's no saint from which the name Kimberly might be derived. I was holy unaware (pun most definitely intended) that priests could make battlefield promotions to sainthood. I skipped right past being Blessed, and I'm not even DEAD yet.

Miracles forthcoming, I guess. The pressure is ON.