Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Omaha and more

As good as the Jellies exhibit at the Shedd
We spent last weekend in the city my parents were raised in and I grew up visiting during my summer vacations--Omaha, Nebraska. We were there because my cousin's daughter Lindsay was having her bat mitzvah. Since Ada and Zoe have only two first cousins (and those two live in Australia), I've tried to expose them to their second and third cousins as much as possible.

And I kind of like Omaha. For one thing, the Henry Doorly Zoo is fantastic. We (along with my mom and stepdad) headed there directly from the airport and took in the desert, swamp and aquarium exhibits.

We did some other sightseeing too, visiting the Durham Museum (an old train station filled with exhibits on Omaha history and a bunch of really cool historic rail cars that had the girls lost in a complicated game of "let's pretend") and the Omaha Children's Museum.

Naturally there were plenty of bat mitzvah-related events too: services, a 13th birthday dinner, more services, an oneg, a bat mitzvah party at a diner and a farewell brunch. Lindsay chanted beautifully and led many of the prayers, but I was most impressed by her d'var Torah, the commentary she gave on her Torah portion, which was about leprosy. She talked about the importance of making everyone feel a part  of a community and related that to her service project, which was assisting the disabled with swimming lessons.
"When's the train going to come?"

This was also the first hotel stay in which we didn't play musical beds! Zoe and Ada shared a double bed, and so did Josh and I. (P.S. The Marriott Omaha has very comfortable beds.) The girls deserve an extra commendation for their ability to stay up late and haul their own luggage. We didn't land until 8:30pm Sunday night, and they gamely wheeled their suitcases through the terminal, onto the tram to remote parking and then onto the bus to extra cheap remote parking.

In other, completely unrelated news, Ada is a reader! I'm going to post a video of her reading a book soon, I promise. While Zoe was a teeny bit younger when she started reading, I just realized that both of them started 1-2 months before the end of their second year at Montessori preschool.

Also, we booked a Disney World vacation for the fall. It will be my second time to WDW and the first for Zoe and Ada. We haven't told them yet, so please help us keep this a secret.