Monday, August 31, 2009

Back Yard Fun

Guess who loves to be outside??? Big Jack loves him some fresh air!! He loves his swing too. He's not scared in the slightest either, the higher the better!

The boys have had a lot of fun out in the back yard and now that the evenings are getting cooler we plan on spending many evenings outside. Scott and I may sit and plan the back yard renovations while we are out there!

Jackson has finally come around to liking the grass! We put him down in the grass in the spring and he went nuts!! He didn't like to feel it, sit on it, walk on it-- nothing! This was a little sad since Scott spends so much time to make our yard look so good. It's like walking on carpet...but not for Jackson. But he is coming around, tonight he even pushed himself up out of the grass instead of just sitting there waiting for someone to pick him up.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rounding out the Trip

We left South Dakota and were headed to the great state of Colorado. We made one stop along the way. We visited Devil's Tower in Wyoming. This was another one of those times where you are driving along, looking at nothing but an open expanse of farm land and then WHAM! Here it is. Out in the middle of nowhere (and remember we traveled through a lot of nowhere on this trip) this magnificent "thing". I think they said it was like a backwards volcano? The lava made these cone like towers that came out of the ground. The Indians have an ancient story about a bear that was trying to climb up the side of this mountain and his sharp claws were what made the ridges in the side. Austin wanted to buy a book that explained how it was made, I guess I ought to get that and read it, huh? This picture doesn't really show how BIG it really is. This was take from the road leading up to it several miles away. But it was massive! There were even a few that were climbing it-- they looked like little tiny ants through the big camera lens. Needless to say, I was just happy as a peach to admire it from the ground!

We then headed into Colorado. We spent the night north of Denver and then traveled through Estes Park on the next day. There is a big hotel there in Estes Park where they filmed the movie "The Shining" with Jack Nicholas in the 70's. I would have loved to go and see the hotel. Maybe next trip. Estes Park was a really neat looking little town. Would have liked to spend more time there as well but we were on to the scenic drive of the day. We headed up Trail Ridge Road to see the beautiful Rocky Mountains. If you know me that well, you know how much I love to drive over windy, curvy, twisty roads--NOT!! I can't stand them-- I turn green, just ask Rick, I almost puked on his shoulder one ski trip-- Not a pretty picture! Anyway. Twisting on down the road...we stopped at a few of the lookout points along the way and snapped a few pictures. We got up pretty high in the mountains, and what they say is true...thinner air, hard to breathe...Chris tried to run down a trail...not smart for a child with Asthma! So after a few puffs on an inhaler we headed down again. Yippee-- what fun! I hate coming down just as much as going up!

Here we are at the top! Austin snapped this shot of us with the beautiful mountains behind us. It really was a truly beautiful sight to see, once you got over the nausea and such....

As we were driving through the mountains I kept seeing these signs and would just bust out laughing! In case of flood, climb to safety...well DUH!!! Who wouldn't try to do that... there must have been some guy that tried to swim it out?? But in case you are ever caught in a flood, remember these wise words...climb to safety!

From here we traveled to Branson. Missouri! Scott's Mom and Dad had already arrived and spent a couple of days there checking out the shows. And my Mom and Dad were going to drive over to spend a couple of days with us too! They met us in Springfield the first night. Jeff wanted to check out the Grizzly Tool Store so we stopped there and in walked Nana and Grandpa!! Whoo Hoo-- Jeff was happy in tool land and I was happy in Nana land!!! We left there and Dad treated us all to dinner at the Rib Crib-- YUM-O -- and it was all you can eat rib night!! We packed up a box of rib bones and sent them home to Tweedie. She was one happy dog! Mom and Dad met us at breakfast the next morning and I got to spend a day alone with Mom!! We hit the outlet with a personal chauffeur! Dad took us anywhere we wanted to go. We hit a few outlets and then headed to Branson Landing to check out the Coldwater Creek store! When we got there we found a big red sign in the window that said "Up to 70% off" Whoo Hoo-- we hit the mother load!! Mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon in that one store! Scott called about 5 minutes after we walked in the door. I answered the phone and asked him how he knew we were in Coldwater Creek...He said he can sense when money is running out of his bank account! He's so funny, but boy was he right! Several hours and several hundred dollars later we headed back to meet everyone for dinner and off to Church. We decided to try to head on home he next day so we packed up all the shopping loot and loaded up the car and made the trip home.

Two weeks is a long time to be away from home and I still don't think I have caught up yet! We saw a lot of things and covered a lot of ground! I am thinking next trip should involve a plane!! I hope you enjoyed our little recap. This trip is officially over!! Now back to regular life around the house.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Traveling on Down the Road...

All right, bear with me! Remember we were gone for two weeks! Also, these are just the highlights, I could bore you with many, many, MANY more photos from our trip. I'll save them for the scrapbook!

We left Mt. Rushmore and traveled to the Crazy Horse Memorial. One of the sculptors that worked on Mt. Rushmore was asked by the Lakota Indians to make a memorial to their hero, Crazy Horse. It is still a work in progress. It was started by only one man. His children (i think he had 14-- some unreal number) were raised living at the base of this mountain and grew up learning how to carry on his project. The white sculpture in the photo is what the mountain will look like when they are done. It would be neat to go back to see it one day when it is completed. The unique thing about this is that it is not funded with any government money. All of the supplies are and always have been bought with private donations. That is one reason that it is taking so long to complete.

We left the Crazy Horse Memorial and traveled through Custer State Park. It was really beautiful and we saw lots of wildlife. This was the view from one of the lookout points. Beauty for as far as the eye could see.

There was a lot of wildlife! Check out this rare "wild animal"

And this little wild one! I tried to get the paci out of his mouth (mom) but he turned even wilder when I tried to take it away!

We all cracked up when we saw this sign in the park. We passed it after we had been sitting on the side of the road watching a buffalo walk leisurely through the pasture. We thought it was funny because you know if they have to post a sign to remind people to NOT approach them it means that someone had tried and it didn't end up favorably!!!

We rounded out the day at the Mammoth Dig in Hot Springs, SD. We figured that since we had visited Hot Springs, AK on our last trip we should visit a city with the same name. There was an active fossil digging site that we visited while we were there. It was pretty neat. The boys really enjoyed it. Austin got to carry around a jaw bone of a mammoth and let everyone see just how BIG their jaws were. He was excited to be part of the action.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Summer Recap

So we left De Smet, SD and traveled across the state heading to Rapid City to see our main attraction. We tried to break up the driving so Jackson would not completely rebel against us. The big kids had enough to entertain them with DVD players and Nintendo DS but Jackson was another story. So we needed a place to stop across the great state of South Dakota. But there was a problem, there is nowhere to stop across South Dakota-- NOWHERE!! I have never seen so many wide open spaces in all my life. While they are beautiful, after 4 hours of seeing the same thing, the beauty fades and you just want OUT! We found a small town that had a big drug store...Wall, SD. They are famous for their drug store. The motto is the "Ice Water Drug Store", the man that opened the pharmacy many, many years ago made that his claim to fame. He would offer weary travelers a cold glass of ice water to refresh them on their trip. They still offer ice water today. They also have a restaurant and shopping around but that is about all there is to do in Wall, SD.

We left wall and drove through the Badlands National Park. If you have ever been through the Painted Desert in Arizona it looks about the same. Pretty scenery but a long drive. We enjoyed the morning and stopped for lunch in the park and then headed on to Rapid City to church that night and then we drove up to see the Mt. Rushmore lighting ceremony that night.

The Family photo shot in the Badlands National park.

On Thursday morning we drove back up to spend more time at Mt. Rushmore. It was a beautiful clear morning and the weather was PERFECT! It was a nice 70 degrees and no humidity. Couldn't believe how great the weather was in July! We told the guys that any National Park sign was a photo op and they were to stop at any and all that we passed. A nice guy stopped behind us and offered to take a picture of us. He was traveling by himself, from New Jersey! We took his picture too, so he had proof that he was there.

And here it is in all it's glory. This really was impressive. It was nice too that Austin could understand the history of these great men and what they did for our great nation. It was also amazing to see the videos of them actually working on it with dynamite and jack hammers. To have the vision that these men did to take a jagged mountain of granite and turn it into this was truly amazing!

So stay tuned for more...we're not done yet! Our trip was winding down but there was still a lot of ground to cover!

Better get off of here and get some more done while Jackson is napping. Bathrooms to clean and laundry to be done. Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back in the groove....

We are getting back in the swing of school. However I don't think Jackson is liking his early wake up call. Nana has been here for a couple of weeks so we were a little spoiled. It was nice to leave him sleeping in the morning to drop off Austin or let him hang on to the last few precious moments of a nap in the afternoon when it was car line time. But we'll make it! Lots of projects at home to start and before we know it, it will be time for Christmas! But I have a handle on it. I've already gotten a start on my Christmas Shopping!

Well, since we have been so busy I thought I would give a quick end of summer recap. We took a 2 week vacation with Scott's brother and his family in July. We did this 2 years ago and took a trip to the Grand Canyon. We saw some really cool places and decided that we would do it again and go see Mt. Rushmore. So we all loaded up and headed west!! Here are just a few of the highlights of our trip.

We started out on July 11th and headed to St. Louis, MO. We saw the Arch and rode to the top! It was pretty cool and REALLY TALL. I am ready for an unadventurous child. I wasn't about to let Austin go up there without me and he was all about going to the top! It was really neat when we got to the top. It was getting dark by the time we were there so it was getting a little hazy and you couldn't see very well. I'd like to go back again and see it on a clear day.

Here we are at the top!

The next morning after church we went to a place called the City Museum. They have taken all of the industrial surplus from building that were demolished around the city and made a GIANT hands on play museum for kids of all ages. There was a 3 story slide, skateboard ramps, large slides and places to climb, tunnels under and over head. It was AMAZING!!

Moving on...our next stop was in Kansas City, MO. We decided to hit up the zoo in the City of Fountains! This has to be the biggest zoo I have ever seen. We got there around 10 that morning and left at 2 in the afternoon and we only saw Africa! We were all tired and had only seen a small portion of the zoo. Jackson had a lot of fun seeing the animals. I think the big kids had fun too.

We were on the move again and headed to South Dakota. We spent the night in Sioux Falls and got up the next day and traveled to De Smet, SD. We visited the home place of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was really neat to see the area where she lived and how she lived. The kids got to make ropes and corn cob dolls (the boys made corn cob superheros) and rode horses. Jackson met a horse too. This one happened to bite him on the wrist 2 seconds after I took this picture. Jackson looked at me and smiled and then the little pony snapped! Jackson cried for about 2 seconds and then looked at the pony and growled!!

And Austin got to pick up a new accessory the day before we left. He had to get glasses this year. Scott has good eye sight. Me, not so much. So, I guess he took after me on this one. He looks pretty good though! So now he can see his books, now we just have to figure out a way to make him remember to bring them home!

Hold on to your hats...we're not done yet! I'll post more about our vacation tomorrow (trying not to bore you with the family vacation photos-- I have visions of you all sitting there looking at slide after slide of the neighbors vacation to somewhere you really didn't care about hee hee!)

Better get a few things done while Jackson is napping... like a shower!! Hope everyone has a wonderful day!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

5th Grade...Here He Comes!!!

Here he is. The Big 5th grader!!! He was up and took his shower and even had time to spare this morning! He lugged in all of his supplies and was ready to go! He even let me take his picture with his teacher this year. Last year he wouldn't even get near her to try to get a quick snap shot. He even asked me this morning " are you going to take my picture on the porch?" I told him "Yes I am-- until the day you graduate!!!"

So I am spending the day hanging out with this cute little guy! He has just been walking from one end of the house to the other! I think he wonders where Austin is.

And if Jackson wasn't keeping me busy enough, this is only a small fraction of the laundry that needs to be done today!! Good thing Nana is here to help me get it all done. So here's to a new school year! I hope he has a great year!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer is Officially OVER!!!

His bags are all packed and he is now fast asleep. His clothes are all laid out and ready to go. Tomorrow my little boy starts 5th grade!!! I can't believe he is in the 5th grade already! What is even harder to wrap my brain around is that when Jackson starts Kindergarten, Austin will be going into High School!!!

We had our orientation last Thursday and Austin met his teacher. Since he attends a small private school he already knew who she was, but being able to hear her talk about what they are going to do this year put him at ease. I think he is looking forward to getting back to see his friends but he is also sad to leave Jackson.

We are looking forward to the year ahead. Cub Scouts will start up again in a few weeks and he is going to be awarded his Hiking Stick at their first meeting of the year. He has hiked over 50 miles to earn this achievement and is very excited. They began working on this when he was in the 3rd grade and he has gotten several medallions for his hiking stick from the many National Parks that we have visited recently and is looking forward to adding them on!

Well-- I better get to bed. That alarm is going to go off early in the morning!! But now maybe I can post all of those vacation photos on here and catch you up on everything we did this summer!!!