New Years in Nebraska

On New Years Eve 2012, it was approximately 4pm in the afternoon, just shortly after I arrived home from work, when Patrick and I made the decision to drive the nine hours to Nebraska that night instead of the following morning.  Here’s essentially how the conversation went down:

Me:  So… what are our plans for New Years Eve?  What do you want to do tonight?
Patrick:  I don’t know.  What do you want to do?
*Long silence*

And thus, in that silence, our plan was born.  Riveting, I know.  I should probably mention that Northwestern was on a 3-week holiday break and so most of our friends were already out of town (hence the lack of alternative plans).  PLUS my parents had New Years day off, and so this allowed us to spend the entire day with them.

Since Patrick was on a much later sleep schedule than me, he did a majority of the driving, which also meant he had control of the radio for most of the ride.  We listened to his new favorite Podcast, This American Life.  The only story I really recall was this one about the Dakota Indians, which despite my best efforts, I actually found pretty interesting.  Towards the end of the night, however, it became more difficult to stay awake and I spent much of the ride dozing in and out in the passenger seat.  I think it was a combination of the lulling voices in the podcast, the late hour (I was definitely not on a late sleep schedule), and the dark monotony of I-88/I-80.

When the ball dropped on the east coast, Patrick shook me awake and we watched the ceremony live on his iPhone, which we propped up inside a little compartment on the dashboard of our car.  I stayed awake until midnight Central time, then promptly fell back asleep.  I know – crazy, right?

We made it home by about 1:30am and were surprised to find my parents still up, awaiting our arrival.  What troopers!

The next morning, we awoke to this festive sight:


Kahlyn was all decked out in her New Years getup.  She was a little shy at first, but didn’t take too long to warm up.  Mikala and Kyle were in town just a few days before us, and so I’m pretty sure they “broke her in” for us.  I’m still trying to decide if she knows Mikala and I were different people… 🙂

Since we weren’t around on Christmas, we saved all of our gifts to open on New Years day.  A few days beforehand, Patrick and I scored this gift for Akio and Kahlyn, which was on sale for only $10 at CVS.  It didn’t take long for them to tear into it…

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… to which they found — a cardboard castle!  An ingenius idea if you ask me.  You can color on it, play inside it, and then easily discard it when your kids’ attention spans have moved on to the next best thing.

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The cardboard castle came complete with two windows and two “drawbridges” that you could open and close.  The drawbridge was *just* Kahlyn’s height.


Kahlyn and Akio always liked to keep the drawbridges down…


… and the windows wide open.

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Except, of course, when they were hosting guests…


Or catching some Z’s.  (Allegedly Akio actually did sleep in the cardboard castle that night.  I hope he dreamt of fairies and dragons…)


When we weren’t playing in the cardboard castle, we were taking advantage of the lovely Nebraska snow.  Here’s Kahlyn all bundled up:

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She stayed on the sidelines while Patrick and Akio went to work building a snowman.  Unfortunately the snow was a little too soft that day, so it ended up being more of a snow mound.


But that didn’t deter us.  Behold – Frosty the Snow Mound:


Apparently the soft snow also did not deter Akio from throwing snowballs at me.


Later in the week, their dad built the kids another snow mound, but this time it served a different purpose:



We took some videos that demonstrate a little of the action.  For some reason, the quality isn’t that great, but you can still get a sense of things.

My favorite part is when Kahlyn just lies there after falling down the hill.

What a great dad!


The rest of the week was filled with football games (Nebraska lost but at least NU won!), watching movies (we rented Looper and saw Promised Land in the theaters), playing Battle of the Sexes, and of course eating plenty of delicious food like wings and pizza at Bob Roe’s Sports Bar, a local favorite where Obama dined when he was in town last year.

We also read plenty of gripping tales to keep us entertained like Dinosaur Digwhich combines Akio’s love for T-Rexes and tractors.


And we took turns tossing around this ball that Linsey won for the kids at Bob Roe’s using her impressive claw machine skills.  Every once in awhile Kahlyn managed to throw it in front of her instead of behind 🙂


Our time in Nebraska really flew by, and by the end of it we were sad to say goodbye.  (And sadly I don’t have pictures of anyone else but the kids.)

I think the kids were sad to say goodbye, too… at least to Uncle Patrick 🙂


How did you spend your New Years Eve/New Years?  Hopefully it was just as riveting/relaxing as ours 🙂

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2 thoughts on “New Years in Nebraska

  1. Debby Engel says:

    Love it all Monica. What else did you expect from your Mother?

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