Jul 30, 2014

Volleyball Camp

Rachel had volleyball camp last week at St.Ben's college here in town.  It's a Sunday through Tuesday overnight camp.  They work the girls from 8 am to 9 pm!

      They had a ton of fun and she always learns a lot!  On Tuesday they played against each other from 2-4:30.  It was so fun to watch her play again and I cannot wait for volleyball to start up again!!

Girlfriend was wiped as she had to play softball that night too, haha!  I think she slept for 15 hours straight!

Jul 15, 2014

South Dakota Vacation- Day 5

This was our last sightseeing day in the Black Hills and we decided to do Custer State Park.  It was neat, but not as beautiful as our drive the day before.  We did get to see the buffalo and the girls got pretty close up to them (well not too close).  

The best part were the donkeys.  Those suckers come right up to you (which freaked me right out, of course) and there was a guy with a bag of carrots that he gave to the girls to feed them.  They thought that was pretty darn cool.  As we walked to the van, they followed us and tried to get in, haha!

They loved to pose too!

Then we drove south of Custer on a random gravel road to find some cool rocks.  Emma Jo is a lover of rocks and had a blast looking for rocks.  Funny how she knew the names of them!  The above pic was neat because there was a thunderstorm south of us and it looked so cool!

Rachel wasn't overly thrilled with our rock hunting and sat in the van...oh the fun of teenagers...

That night we made it back to Mt. Rushmore to watch the lighting ceremony.  On our way to Mt. Rushmore we did Needles Highway which was gorgeous, but freaked Rachel and I out with the height.  We did see a bunch of deer and even a couple mountain goats!  

The lighting ceremony was SO neat.  They showed a 20 minute video that gave a brief description of each president and what they stood for.  About 2.5 minutes into it Alayna was asking if it was almost done.  That kid does NOT like to sit...

After the movie they ask all past and present veterans to come down to the stage and they ask their name and which service they were in.  About 10 of the veterans did the lowering and folding of the American Flag and then we sang the National Anthem.  If you had any ounce of patriotism in you, you were bawling by this point.  As we were singing, they slowly light up Mt. Rushmore.  It was absolutely beautiful!

We got home around 10:30 and the girls went to bed, they were wiped!  Brad and I sat on the deck and enjoyed our last evening before heading home.  We seriously considered staying another night as the next day was our wedding anniversary.  As fun as it would have been, we didn't need to spend the extra money, bummer. 

Such a wonderful vacation, we can't wait to go back!

South Dakota Vacation-Day 4

The best part of vacation was getting up early and sitting on the deck.  This morning I got up around 6 and brought my chair outside and went to get my coffee.  When I opened the door, there were 5 deer coming down our side hill.  Of course as soon as I took this pic, they all ran away.  I sat down and about 15 minutes later 2 of them came back and roamed for about 10 minutes.  Closest I've ever been to a deer!

Brad wanted to take us out to the area where they turkey hunt, and I would have to say this was my favorite day!  We took a narrow gravel road north of Custer that was state land and drove.  We saw lots of deer, but no elk, bummer.

The views were incredible!  We also went up to Bear Mountain Lookout, it's a big tower that you can walk up and look out over the mountains.  There was a woman up there who ivited us in.  This was her living quarters and she lived there from May-October.  She watches for smoke, and then uses special equipment to get the location of the fire and reports it to dispatch.  She had some coloring books, stickers and badges for Alayna.  It was fascinating to hear her talk.

We found a spot to have a picnic and saw there was a herd of cows by us.  Within a couple minutes they came running right past us, there had to be at least 50!  Scared the be-jezus out of me!

After our drive we went into Custer to do some shopping.  They had some pretty neat little shops, Alayna and Rachel got South Dakota shirts.

We stopped at the Purple Cow Pie Place for a snack.  The girls got ice cream and Brad and I split an apple pie.  Holy heck, that was DIVINE!

That night we had a fire, the weather was gorgeous.  We played the "I'm going camping..." game and had to chuckle at some of the items, haha.

This kid is growing up waaaaay too fast...


This pic cracks me up as Alayna had no idea Emma photo bombed her!

South Dakota Vacation-Day 3

Tuesday morning I got up early and was itching for a run.  However, I am not one who feels comfortable running in places I'm not familiar with.  The road we were on was super curvvy and had no shoulder. 

We had a side hill on our property and I decided to run up and down that hill.  It was quite the workout!  I'm sure I looke like a damn fool, but it felt so good to work up a sweat...


This is the front of our rental, it was such a cute little cabin about 5 minutes from town.  We were surrounded by pine trees, I LOVE that sound!  There was a really neat old cabin right next to us and I was dying to go explore.  However there was a no trespassing sign and my family saiid they'd disown me if I tried....bummer.

Mom and mousie selfie before heading out for the day.

Love this picture of us, and love this man!

We went to Mt. Rushmore, which was incredible.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous!  We watched a 15 minute movie about how it was made, it is unbelievable how anyone, especially that long ago, could create this.  We also got to see one of the guys who originally worked on Mt. Rushmore, he was a driller.  Pretty cool!

Christmas card pic! You can tell which pics were taken with Brad's camera, and which ones were with mine, haha!

We got back to the house, made supper and decided to drive the road that our cabin was on to see how many deer we could find.  Holy cats do they have deer out there... I think we counted about 50 on our 30 minute drive!

South Dakota Vacation- Day 2

Day two of our vacation took us to Spearfish Canyon which was so beautiful!  It was roughly a 20 mile drive through canyons.  We stopped several times to get out and walk around.  These pictures don't do it justice, it was breathtaking!

The girls really enjoyed the drive, even little mouse was pretty patient sitting in the van all day


We were all amazed at the lack of bugs, which was awesome!


Stopped at a crick with a small waterfall.


Bridal Veil Falls was so neat, the waterfall comes right out of the rock wall!

My posing beauties!  There was a beautiful lodge in the heart of Spearfish that we stopped at to use the restrooms.  They had a beautiful gift shop where we bought a couple yummy candles and Alayna bought a small purse. Seriously, this kid had to have everything in every store...*sigh*

We got back home and Brad made burgers on the grill and we decided to have a movie night with the girls since it was too windy for a fire.

We LOVE our cabin.  It's not big, but enough room and so cozy.  The interior was completely redone a few months ago, and it is gorgeous!

Jul 12, 2014

South Dakota Vacation-Day 1

This year we decided to take the girls to South Dakota for our family vacation.  Brad has been there several times turkey hunting, but I had never been.

I was SO excited for this trip, it's so much more my kind of a vacation.  We did Disney last year, and although I am glad we went, I am happy that we'll never do that again.  Way too hot and way too much money!  But lots of great memories...

We left on Sunday morning at 6:15 and were driving as far as Rapid City.  We packed snacks and a lunch so we wouldn't have to stop.  The girls were amazing and we made a little contest with them....whoever had the most Wall Drug billboard sightings got $5.   That kept them busy!  And Rachel won, although I think she might have cheated....

Alayna took it upon herself to be the clown to keep us from annoying each other.

We stopped in the Badlands and took that all in.  While it is truly breathtaking, I needed an anti-anxiety pill (or 10) to deal with watching the girls navigate the rocks.

I was so relieved to leave there, you should have seen the kids running around there!  I was sure someone would die...

Since we watched for Wall Drug billboards for 5 hours, we figured we should stop and visit.  We gave each of the girls money for souvenirs, and after about 6 hours Alayna had most of her money spent.  Just kidding.  She did buy a rubber band gun that she has been tormenting us with.  We also got some ice cream and headed out.

We stayed at the Best Western in Rapid City, and I highly recommend this hotel!  Rooms were very clean and very modern, we even had a balcony.  They had a huge pool, and a separate water park with a couple big water slides.

Alayna has had 3 swimming lessons and it is amazing how much they have helped her!  She went without a life jacket the entire night and swam great.

All in all, our first day of vacation was awesome!

Jul 5, 2014

4th of July

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th!  The fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  First if all it's where Brad proposed...our town has a big parade every year, and he had my Dad make a huge sign asking me to marry him and placed it on the side of the fire truck.  When the truck pulled up, he pulled me out in front of the crowd and proposed!  Second of all the third of July is the start our towns (actually it's our church) festival.  On the third they have a band and beer gardens and when we bought our first house in town, we used to have all our friends over for a fish fry and then we would walk uptown to the grounds for the night.  We had so much fun and loved seeing all the people we hadn't seen since the year before.  Now, it's become SO huge that you only see the people you go with.  It's literally like 15,000 people in a town of 7,000.  CRAZY!

So with the fourth being one of my fave holidays, I love all things red, white and blue.  I love to decorate and we try to get a couple crafts and recipes in.  This year Alayna and I made red white and blue pudding pops.

The band on the third this year was Rumours and Dreams which is a Fleetwood Mac tribute band.  If you know anything about me then you'd know my love and infatuation with Fleetwood Mac. I grew up listening to them and have been able to see them live twice, and am going to see them again in September.

Emma and I made our way up and found a great place to watch them, they are amazing!!!  Emma is my lil Mac fan too, love it!!

After the band we got to watch the fireworks which were incredible!

On the fourth was the parade, weather was a little cool and sprinkled a bit.  We always get the same spot every year and sit with Brads family. 

After the parade we always get Joeburgers which are phenomenal!  Alayna likes to play some of the kid games and then we head over to listen to the Smokin Guns band which is always a highlight!  The girls got some super cute tshirts from them.

In the evening we head over to the farm for a campfire to end the night.  Alayna got to play football with the big boys and it was pretty cute how they would pretend to tackle her but always let her get by for a touchdown:). After dusk we can see the fireworks from St. Cloud, nice to not have to deal with crowds!

Hope everyone had a great fourth!