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May, 2008:

Friday Flashback – The First Sleepover

One year ago, when my son was 6 3/4 years old, he finished his dinner and went to his room to “pack” for the sleepover at his buddy’s house. He came out with his Spiderman sleeping bag and a backpack slung over his shoulder. He gave me a hug and a kiss and said “Well, I’m off to Hayden’s house. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Me: “Hang on. Lemme get Princess and some shoes and we’ll walk you down there.”
Dude: “That’s OK. I don’t need you to.”

I wanted to cry out “You do too still need me!!!”

Instead, I gave him a kiss and a hug and cried as he walked down the street alone to his first sleepover.

Growing Up

Today was Dude’s last day of 2nd grade. The day when he has his end of school party in class. The day when he gives his wonderful teacher a gift. The day when he almost cries because he really wants Mr. Krich to be his teach next year. The day he brings home all of his “stuff” from school. The day he graduates from 2nd grade and joins the ranks of 3rd grade.

A 3rd grader. Already. I think I’m going to cry.

Memorial Weekend – Day 5

Day 1, Day 2, Day 2 Part Deux, Day 3, Day 4

It was finally time to leave. We got up and headed down to the pool for one last harrah, then the kids got showered and hung out in G’ma and G’pa’s room while Hubby and I packed everything. My brother and SIL met us at the hotel and we went to Godfather’s for lunch. It’s a requirement of Hubby’s – to get taco pizza at Godfather’s when we get the chance . . . it’s his favorite and we don’t have Godfather’s here! It was totally yummy :-)

Then we were off – headed home. We took a different way home – it was very uneventful! Well, except for when we had to pull over so Princess could throw up . . . twice. Poor thing :-(

I do have to brag on my kids a little bit . . . they are SUCH good travellers! They spent countless hours in the car driving to and from The Black Hills . . . they spend hours in the car sightseeing . . . they spent time just hanging out while the adults did some things . . . and they never complained. I’m so glad that they are so easy to take places . . . it makes it so much fun to go on family trips :-)

I hope you all had a great weekend like we did!

Memorial Weekend – Day 4

Day 1, Day 2, Day 2 Part Deux, Day 3

Day 4 was another rainy day, with cold temps. added in! But, with my family there is never a dull moment :-) We met G’ma and G’pa in the hotel parking lot and drove through Bear Country. It’s expensive, but it’s fun to see the bears . . . and we’d really done well not spending money up until then, so we went for it. We saw Elk, beautiful white wolves, reindeer, mountain goats, timberwolves, and of course bears, bears, and more bears! We even got to see 5 timberwolves congregate on top of a hill and then rush a bear and chase it around!

J and K with Bear

Bears Fighting

Bear Scratching Back

After that, we headed to the hotel for some MUCH needed naps. Then we all met up again and played games and had drinks and dinner in the common room at the hotel. There weren’t really any other people in the hotel since most of them had gone home since it was Memorial Day, so we had the place to ourselves. We played games for hours and laughed and had a great time. It was definitely a great ending to the vacation – just spending time with the family before we all went our separate ways.

Memorial Weekend – Day 3

Day 1, Day 2, Day 2 Part Deux

Day 3 was BEAUTIFUL! It was actually the only day that it didn’t rain. My brother and SIL, my SIL’s sister and her husband, and two other of their friends met us and G’ma and G’pa at the hotel and we all headed out for a day of fun and sightseeing. We started off with a stop at Reptile Gardens. Grandpa insisted on going here and it was fun :-) We saw all kinds of yucky snakes and other fun reptiles like giant tortoises as well as prairie dogs. We also watched a snake show and got to see real live poisonous snakes – the rattlesnake rattle was cool! I live where there are rattlesnakes and, thankfully, I’ve never seen or heard one. At least now I know what it sounds like if we encounter one hiking!

J K in Snake at Reptile Gardens

J K Tortois

After Reptile Gardens we headed to Keystone for a yummola lunch. Then we rode the chairlift to the top of The President’s Slide. We walked around and enjoyed the scenery before heading down on the alpine slide, which was fun! Jason rode with me and wanted to be in charge of the speed . . . I almost wished he couldn’t read because then we wouldn’t have gone at a snail’s pace every time he saw a sign that said slow down, sharp curves 😉 Here we are at the top – if you look in the upper left corner, you can see The Heads in that rock.

Family Heads Background

We drove by The Heads on our way to Custer State Park. I still think Mt. Rushmore is absolutely amazing.

Mt. Rushmore

We had an EXCELLENT adventure on the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. The kids rode with G’ma and G’pa all day (oh ya . . . that was AWESOME! Hubby and I had a kid-free ride all – day – long!). Right when we got into the park we saw the hugest herd of buffalo. We had to wait for 45 minutes for them all to cross the road. There were so many babies with them that we had to wait extra long before leaving because my brother and SIL, and the other 4 people that were with us were on motorcycles. The mommies are very protective of their babies, so they couldn’t start the bikes because they are loud and might startle the moms. A couple years ago a guy was killed when he started his bike and startled a mom – she threw him off the bike!!! Here are the kids checking out the herd through G’ma and G’pa’s sunroof – they thought it was the coolest thing 😉

J K Sunroof Tatanka

We also saw some burrows . . . Diana got off of her bike and gave the kids some food to feed the burrows – they of course thought that was really cool as well.

J K Feed Burrow

After that we saw a ton of pronghorn and some rabbits as well as some fox. We headed back to Diana and Brad’s house (SIL’s sister) for a BBQ and had a wonderful relaxing evening. We made the most of this day because they were forecasting nothing but rain for Day 4!

Really? Not once?

I was just thinking about our trip last weekend – 1200 miles on the car. In the 4 1/2 days we were gone driving, staying in hotels, and sightseeing, not once did we step foot inside a fast food joint. Really – not ONCE! Not even to use the bathroom.

That’s gotta be some kind of record.

 

UPDATE: Oh wait. I lied. Princess and Hubby did run into Arby’s to use the bathroom. But no food was smelled or eaten :-)

Memorial Weekend – Day 2 Part Deux

On day 1 we got to drive for 8 hours.

On day 2, it rained in the morning and we hung out at the pool.

On day 2, after a couple hours in the pool, the sun came out, so we went out to explore! We had a great time! We started out at Storybook Island . . . a free park. How fun!

J K Humpty Dumpty

J K Swing Gorilla

K Drink Lion

J K Dr. Seuss

Mom K Aladdin

J K Pinocchio

After a great time at Storybook Island, we went to get a quick bite for lunch, even though we had ice cream at the park already 😉 After that, we drove up a hill to check out a huge dinosaur sculpture we’d seen while eating lunch. Turns out there’s a whole dinosaur park up there! And it’s FREE!!! So far so good on not spending moolah . . . and we’re having a great time!

J K Dino

J K Run T Rex

After a late night driving last night and getting up early this a.m. and having all this FREE fun, Princess was getting tired. So we decided to drive to see The Heads while she took a nap in the car. We didn’t stop to see the heads because it was raining . . . and we’d been there just a few years before . . . and really, you can see everything from the road that you can see from in the park. So we stopped at a profile pull out so Hubby could tell George that he had a bat in the cave . . .

D George

After that, we decided to continue on to check out the Crazy Horse Monument and see how much progress they’d made in the past 3 years. They’ve made a lot of progress . . . although it’s tough to tell since it’s so friggin’ huge! Did you know that when the monument is finished, The Heads will fit on the nose of the horse? That’s how huge this thing is! Anyway, when we got to the monument, we weren’t actually going to go in, but when you turn on the road, there’s no U-turn. So we got to the gate, disappointed that our FREE day of entertainment would be “spoiled” with the $25 entrance fee per car. Turns out, our car has the correct license plates. No kidding! The guy at the ticket gate said “Hey. Looks like you’re from X! Are you sure you’re from X?” Yes. “Excellent. Well, today we’re letting people from X as well as 4 other states in to the monument for free. All we ask is for a small donation to the food shelf.” Um, cool! So we hand over $10, he gives us a ticket that says “Free” on it and away we go. We’re figuring that it’s just “free” day for everyone. But when we get to where you give them your ticket, there are actually lots of regular paid tickets and only a few “free” ones – so it was actually true! Cool! Anyway – the monument is so cool . . . totally worth it if for no other reason than to marvel at the detail and sheer size of the thing. As we left, Dude asked if we could come back to see it when it was finished. I told him that we’d come back, but unfortunately none of us would ever see it finished. I said his grandkids might see it finished. I explained how it had taken over 50 years to get it this far, and that they had so much work left to do. It actually made me really sad to think that I would never get the opportunity to see this beautifully monument finished. I just hope that in 80 years my kids will make the journey back to see how far it has come.

We headed back to town, stopping to let mountain goats cross the road. We met Noisy Grandma and Monster Grandpa at the hotel for some dinner and dice playing. Hubby took the kids back to our hotel (right across the parking lot) to get ready for bed while I stayed and talked to Mom and Brother to make plans for tomorrow. All of a sudden, my mom screams and jumps onto the coffee table. Turns out there was a MOUSE in their room! No kidding!!! So I called the front desk and they immediately moved them to another room. No small task considering how my mother packs for a 4 day trip (I love you Mom!!!) :-)

Heading to bed early to prepare for a fun day tomorrow with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Pat, Aunt Dawn, and Aunt Dawn’s sister and BIL :-)

I sure hope you’re all having a great holiday weekend like we are!

Memorial Weekend – Day 2

Day 1

The weather forecast was icky . . . and we were a little bored to start the day.

Dan Hand Puppet

So we headed down to the pool first thing in the morning while it rained. Turns out, the hotel pool has a water slide! What fun!!!

Mom and Keira on Slide

Dad and Jason Waterslide

Keira and Jason Water Slide

Keira and Jason Water Slide

Keira Water Slide

Then the sun came out . . . check here to see what we did next!

Memorial Weekend – Day 1

We’re on the move again! All kinds of excitement on Friday as we headed out for a weekend of fun with my mom, step-dad, brother, and his wife. Hubby picked the kids up from school a bit early and I bolted from work a bit early and we were on the road by 2:00 p.m. for our 8 hour drive. We ran in to some awful weather on the way!

Storm

We were lucky – seemed like we were just ahead of the storms, though. We stopped at a rest stop and heard the sirens from a nearby town going off. The firetrucks and police cars were sitting on the overpass spotting the storms! Being the smart midwesterners we are, we got back on the Interstate 😉 We never hit anything awful, but the ENTIRE 6 1/2 remaining hours of our drive we could SEE the awful storm to our west and got to listen to all the tornado warnings and watches and flood watches on the radio, for counties right next to ours. When we looked out our rearview mirror, all we could see was that ominous black sky. Freaky! But we made it without incident and really without running in to any weather ourselves.

This milestone also happened on the way – yeah . . . I’m a freak 😉 We need to save money so we can sell this car before the miles get too high!

Odometer

Day 2 recap, coming up!

Random Recipes – Strawberry Salad

It’s time for Random Recipes with Pam! This week is the Picnic Edition :-)

Random Recipes

This recipe is compliments of my friend, Dawn. I LOVE this salad . . . so easy to make and so yummy!

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce

  • 1 pack strawberries

  • 1 sweet onion

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C mayo
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T poppyseeds

Salad Method:

Wash and tear romaine.
Wash and slice strawberries.
Wash and slice onion.
Combine in large bowl.
***I don’t use all the strawberries or all the onion. Just mix to your liking. I do use quite a few strawberries and onions though – the sweet and oniony mix is what “makes” the salad.

Dressing Method:

Mix all ingredients in large liquid measuring cup.
Pour over salad just before serving.
Toss salad.
***I don’t use all the dressing – it’s way too much. I usually just put it on the side and let people put on however much they want. It actually keeps well. If you don’t eat all the salad, it’s good the next day as well.