The Perfect Backyard Nebraska Night | Whidbey Island, WA Family Photographer

There was a time in my life when I couldn't imagine staying put in Nebraska. I needed to spread my wings a bit, see other parts of the country, and honestly just get out of my own way. But with maturity and the gift of starting my own family, I find that every time I come home now - I long to stay. And wouldn't you know that with Ryan's Navy career now morphing into a new chapter as an airline pilot, our chances of planting roots in the Midwest are getting slimmer and slimmer. 

So last summer while Ryan was on det in the Middle East, the girls and I planned an extended trip back home. If we weren't able to move here year-round, then we'd just set up shop for a chunk of our summer and soak it all in. We planned to spend as much time as possible with family - especially cousins Hallie and Barrett - and experience as many Midwest summertime traditions as we could. 

My childhood memories of summer have a lot to do with being outdoors. Keeping cool in the sprinkler, running around after dark catching fireflies, or playing a block-wide game of jailbreak with the neighborhood kids before mom called us in for the night. I want my girls to make their own memories here, and I want them to always consider Omaha a place where every summer day and night is an adventure waiting to happen.

Man, have we packed a lot into these first two weeks - the zoo (twice, so far), fireworks, picnics, the children's museum, church, and visiting Great-Grandma Lu. We are constantly exhausted, and overwhelmingly HAPPY. Nothing beats lazy nights in Auntie Lala's backyard playing in a myriad of kiddie pools, eating on the back porch, and of course getting Uncle Casey wet whenever possible. 

I am happy to say that bringing my girls home now feels so right, and so fulfilling. I love seeing this place through their eyes. And seeing it fresh through my own.