Friday, June 25, 2010

Splish Splash

DSCF1532, originally uploaded by HawgTide.

Aiden had the best time at Grammy and Papa's this weekend in Hot Springs. His new favorite thing to do is play in the outdoor sink. He would stand in front of it and say, "upeese!" (up please) until someone put him in it. He quickly figured out how to turn the water on and drink from the faucet. Saturday night we even gave him a bath in it. Monty posted pics of our weekend on Flickr.

Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 Vacation - Part 2

Day 7 - Thursday, May 27

Today we did some driving through the Needles Highway and the Custer State Park Wildlife Loop. OOPS!! I forgot to put the memory card back in my camera so there are no pics from that part of the day! Monty took a lot, but I have to resize his to fit on Blogger and I just don't really feel like doing that right now! We did enjoy the drive though and saw a chipmunk, buffalo, pronghorn, and a donkey (not even kidding). You used to be able to ride donkeys through the park so when they stopped using them for tours they let them go in the park. Now they roam free. The one we saw was standing next to a car while the man inside was feeding him cookies. I don't think you're really supposed to feed them ......

You can feed wildlife of the human variety and boy does this kid LOVE to eat! He'll eat pretty much anything! Here he is enjoying BBQ and baked beans!

Our Rushmore pass is good for the rest of the year so we decided to go back and visit one more time before heading home. It amazes me every time how they were able to carve such perfect faces into the rock. It is such an awesome sight and I think it's something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

Aiden, as always, loved being outside and running around. Monty got some good shots of him that are so precious (just too big for Blogger).
We try and get a Christmas ornament each time we go on a trip. This family photo will go in the ornament we bought at Mt. Rushmore. Every December when we decorate the tree we remember the fun places we've visited together. We love to travel and have enjoyed seeing lots of new places! This trip we went to 4 new states (IA, SD, WY, and MN), 2 National Parks, 3 National Monuments/Memorials, and 1 National Historical Site. Day 8 - Friday, May 28

Time to head home! We got packed up and headed out of town at about 10:00. On our way our we stopped and bought some goodies from one of the downtown stores. I got rocky road fudge and Monty picked out a "pigtail" (a pretzel rod dipped in caramel and then white chocolate) and an orange creamsicle treat. It was all so good. I even managed to make my fudge last a couple days!

We saved Badlands National Park for the way home since it was basically just a drive through park. Monty got our at several of the pull over areas to take pics while I opted to stay in the car with Aiden. It was SO hot that day! We all got out at the visitor center to stretch our legs before hitting the road again.

Near the Badlands is the Minuteman Missile Site. This was a nuclear missile site. Unfortunately we missed the tour for the day and we really couldn't see anything from the visitor center. So that stop was pretty much wasted. However they had nice picnic tables so we were able to eat lunch and launch out again across the state of South Dakota.

Having never been to Minnesota before, we decided to cross the border and spend the night. We were soooo exhausted when we finally went to sleep that night.

Days 9 & 10 - Saturday and Sunday, May 29 & 30

After leaving MN Saturday morning we drove to Kansas City to spend the night. We have an atlas (that's a book form of a GPS system!) that has the locations of all Walmart and Sam's Club stores. We tend to choose an exit with one of these for two reasons 1) they usually have gas and 2) it's usually a decent part of town. All that said, we stayed in a nice part of KC in a super nice La Quinta hotel. When Monty walked in to check their prices they told him it would be $109. thanks! He started to leave and the desk clerk asked where he worked. Monty told him Walmart. Well, that made the price of the room $59. Yeah...that's more like it! The room was HUGE and we enjoyed the king size bed. Can't wait to move into a bigger house and buy one of those!
Sunday we headed straight home so we could be back in time for church services Sunday night. I was so glad to be HOME! No more sharing a room with a baby or living out of a suitcase!
I do love vacations though and have already started dreaming (I am such a plan ahead person) about where we might go next year. I'm thinking the beach......

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2010 Vacation - Part 1

This is going to be a loooong post, but I want to write down the details of our family vacation. I want to be able to remember how much fun we had!

Day 1 - May 21
Monty got off work early so we were able to leave town about 2:00We drove as far as Council Bluffs, IA (right near Omaha, NE). Not a bad drive considering it was all interstate. After checking into the hotel we ate dinner at Cracker Barrel, went to Walmart to pick up a few forgotten items, and then crashed for the night.

Day 2 - Saturday, May 22

Aiden let us sleep in a little but we were on the road again by about 9:00. It was raining a little, but nothing too bad. In Sioux Falls we stopped to see the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial. The visitor center wasn't open but we were able to let Aiden get out and run around for a while. We arrived in Mitchell, SD at about 2:00 and found a hotel that had an indoor pool! Aiden had a blast in the kiddie pool. That day we toured the Corn Palace and did some walking downtown.

Day 3 - Sunday, May 23

After church we headed to Keystone, SD, our home for the next week. We stopped in at Wall, SD and walked around Wall Drug. Aiden got to get out and run around and we enjoyed delicious ice cream! The visitor center in Wall had lots of "stuffed" animals and Aiden was in awe of them all. He kept walking around pointing to everything saying, "ooh, oooh!!". When we got to Keystone we set up the tent and then went to Mt. Rushmore to eat dinner and watch the lighting ceremony. Aiden fell asleep shortly after the show started.

The first night in the tent was a rough one as storms blew through all night. Monty kept checking the radar every hour to make sure there were no tornadoes. We stayed mostly dry, but every time the rain cover hit the tent, big drops of water would fall on us. Aiden ended up sleeping with us after a huge drop of water hit him in the face. Thankfully, in between storms we managed to get a little sleep.

Day 4 - Monday, May 24

We knew it was going to rain later in the day, so we decided to get up and head to Crazy Horse as soon as we finished breakfast. Aiden fell asleep as soon as we got in the car and slept for two hours! It was about a 20 minute drive to the Memorial. We parked and Monty got out and took pics while I stayed in the car to let Aiden sleep. I got a lot of reading done on the latest series, Above the Line, by Karen Kingsbury! After Aiden woke up we all toured the museum.

Storms looked like they were rolling in so we decided it would be best to head back to the campground. We got back just in time for a HUGE hailstorm!! The campground had covered picnic tables, so we moved a table out of the way and parked under the canopy. I think we played in the car for an hour while the storm continued. When it appeared to be dying down, we headed into town for lunch. Unfortunately we ran right back into rain and hail AGAIN! It continued all afternoon. It finally did end and after a run to Walmart to get groceries we headed back to camp. This is what we found:Not only was the tent blown down, but some of the poles were broken! That meant moving into a cabin for the next four nights. Fortunately there were vacant cabins and we only had to pay the difference between the price of the campsite and the price of the cabin. It ended up being a blessing for several reasons:

1. Aiden's allergies started acting up and it was better for him to sleep indoors.
2. The second night had WINDS that were worse than the first night. There is NO WAY any sizeable tent would have stood against them.
3. The second night was COLD! Way cooler than any of the forecasters thought it would be.
4. We had a fridge, TV, microwave, and private bathroom.

Day 5 - Tuesday, May 25

We drove to Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument. We had a fun time looking for wildlife at WC.
We chose not to do any cave tours b/c they were long you had to walk down 300+ steps. Not something I wanted to attempt while carrying a wiggly one year old. We did take a short tour at JC. It was about 20 minutes which was about all Aiden could take. I carried him in the front carrier, but he did not like being confined for that long! No more cave tours until the kids are older!

Day 6 - Wednesday, May 26

This was mostly a driving day as we went to Wyoming to see Devils Tower. While we were driving we saw Reed from the TV show "Storm Chasers". Thankfully he was taking a day off to hike and wasn't chasing any storms in our area.

We hiked the trail around the base of the tower but didn't make it all the way around as Aiden's allergies were getting worse. Here is a shot of the prairie dogs on the way in:

On our way back to camp we bought a travel humidifier and some baby vapo-rub hoping that would help make him more comfortable. Someone really needs to come up with an OTC allergy medicine that kids under 2 can take!

Stay tuned for Part 2!