Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas - Late

But better late than never, right?! Well, Christmas came and Christmas went. It certainly wasn't our normal routine around here. First of all, on Christmas Eve we all sat around asking ourselves if it really was Christmas Eve because it just didn't feel like it. My sister, Shar, from SF arrived about 6 pm - just in time for supper. We decided to go to 10 pm church instead of our normal 5:30 service because Shar had to work late. We didn't make it to bed until midnight - way too late for me!

Christmas morning we were up fairly early. It doesn't matter what time the kids go to bed. They don't sleep in. They can go to bed two hours late and they sleep in for an additional 15 to 30 minutes - that's it! Our family loves to play games and we have so many but there are so many out there. Santa brought more games so that's pretty much what we did all day. Usually I cook for my side of the family, which includes my dad and his lady friend, my sister Shar, my sister Jodi and her boyfriend TJ, and my sister Kelly and her boyfriend (now fiancee) and their three kids. But this year, only Shar and Kelly and her family came. It was rather quiet - or at least as quiet as it can be with five kids between the ages of 7 and 11. We ate at 5:30 (way too much), opened gifts, and then just gabbed while the kids played. Kelly forgot all the gifts for our family so the gift opening was fairly quick! Geez - what was she thinking! If it wasn't an hour drive back to get them, I would have said - you want to eat, you bring presents! :) Heck, she's still holding onto our birthday presents, which were in October!

Tuesday the kids had dentist appointments in SF. Dean believes that I specifically requested this date so we could go shopping for Christmas sales/deals but really I didn't. I swear!! The dentist office suggested the date and I grabbed it. Of course, because of the Christmas sales/deals. Couldn't turn it down. No cavitities so we're doing something right! We went appliance shopping. We think we found the appliances we want.

We're just glad Christmas is over so we can concentrate on our move. Movers are coming to pack everything up but I feel like I should be doing it. We're definitely going to make up for Christmas next year. I had so many people disappointed in me because I didn't do my regular Christmas baking - only my fudge. I'll definitely be going overboard next year to make up for it.

Well, have a safe and Happy New Year!

Decisions, Decisions!

Last Friday, the kids and I went to H2O so they could visit their new school prior to starting on the 3rd. The kids are pretty excited. I think after a week they'll be totally at ease. Tanner is going to have a male teacher - something new for him. I think he's really looking forward to that.

Dean & I also had some decisions to make regarding the house in H2O. We needed to pick out light fixtures. So Friday evening I had it narrowed down to two different types. By Saturday morning I had it narrowed down to THREE different types. We went to the store and finally decided on some - I went with my gut instinct. Then we went furniture shopping. I was on a mission for a purple sofa. Yes, a purple sofa! And I found one. And a loveseat! It's a pretty purple - deep, dark and muted microfiber. I'm really excited. It was cheaper to get the 5 piece set with two end tables and a coffee table than just the sofa and loveseat. I'm not too crazy about the tables but I plan on looking around for other ones. I just had to get them because it made more sense. Dean thinks I'm crazy to get the tables when I don't like them but the bottom line is that it was cheaper than not to get them. Stupid, I know! I'm going to do my kitchen in the grapes and wine theme. I'm real excited about that!

Then we went to look at fireplaces. There's going to be one downstairs in the corner. We found the fireplace we want. Now we just got to decide how far to frame it off the floor and what kind of look we want - bookshelves above it, TV above it, sheetrocked all the way to the wall, tile, brick, seating area - and the list goes on. I'm starting to think I'm not cut out for all these decisions. At this point I'm glad we didn't start from square one with the layout and building!!

Needless to say, my head was spinning by the time I left H2O on Saturday!

I've still got to buy kitchen appliances, master bedroom furniture, entertainment center, office set, full mattresses for the kids, and Hayley new bedroom furniture. Is Dean going to allow me to get all this?! I better find some really good deals if I think he is!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What An Icky Day!

I hate winter and this weather makes it even worse. The kids and I were going to head to H2O today to visit their new school. I'm such a chicken when it comes to winter roads that I decided not to go. Plus school was canceled for many schools in the region (including M) and there's a reason for that. If you don't need to be out on the roads, then don't. Hopefully it will be a little better and the kids and I will head up tomorrow.
The kids were supposed to have their last day of school today but it was canceled. This normally wouldn't disappoint the kids and I but Tanner still has all his school supplies in his desk (Hayley brought hers home earlier in the week) and I was going to take pictures of each of their class for memories. That's what we have done each time we have left a town. It's kind of a tradition now. I'll have to call Tanner's teacher and try to make arrangements to get his stuff before we leave town on the 2nd. Plus Hayley had painted a picture for her teacher and wanted to give it to her before we left. We'll just have to drop it off at the office on the 2nd before we leave as that is when school resumes. The 4th & 5th graders don't start until the 5th because of the move to the new school.

I'm starting to become lonely! Dean left Tuesday morning for work in H2O and hasn't been home since. I requested he stay put so he didn't have to deal with the weather and I didn't have to worry like crazy about him dealing with the weather. We decided he'll be staying there tonight, too. :( Hopefully we'll get to see him tomorrow. It works out real nice that he has parents in H2O.
I can't believe Christmas is 4 days away! How crazy is that?! I'll be cooking for my family. The only baking I'm doing this year, because of our move, is my fudge. It is the best! We could not be without it! I'm really bummed about not being able to do all my baking. But I guess I'll have to look at the good side - I won't be eating and won't be gaining weight!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

We Sold Our House!

We sold our house! It was on the market for 5 weeks before we received an offer. However, it seemed like forever. Our house in H2O was on the market 3 1/2 months before we received an offer and our house in F was on the market 4 months before we received an offer. We found a house in H2O. It is currently under construction and won't be finished until Jan 31. We close on our house in M on Jan 2. Therefore, we will live in a hotel for a month. The kids are excited about that! The house is 2335 sq ft split level with four bedrooms and a triple garage. We get to have some say on the things that go into the house, such as lighting fixtures, appliances, gas fireplace, etc. The flooring, kitchen cabinets and countertops, and paint were already decided by the time we secured an agreement on the house. Here is a picture. It's only a drawing because it's not finished yet.

Movers will come pack up all our stuff and keep it in storage for the month. I can't wait to move in! I look forward to visitors!!

I will be commuting back to M to finish my last semester of school. But it will only be MWF and maybe not even Friday if I can ok it with my instructor. Then I will also be taking three classes by internet/correspondence. I suppose I'll also have to start keeping my eyes open for that perfect job to come along!

It's a good thing that I'm on a month long vacation right now. Don't know how I could have handled all of this while still taking classes and doing everything else I'm involved in.

Also, the new buyers had requested a radon test to be done in our home. We found out we do have radon in our house. Who knew??!! At 4.0 they recommend you install a mitigation system. Our's was 4.8. I didn't know radon was a problem around here so I did some research. A friend and the home inspector said in SF, 60% of the homes have radon. So I went to the EPA goverment web site and our area is in Level 1 - the highest radon levels in the United States!! So I encourage everyone to have a radon test. They are inexpensive and to fix the problem it's only $600 to $1200. Shortly after moving into our new home in H2O we will be conducting a radon test to see if that one has it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Julie Says It's Time To Update!

Julie, a good friend of mine, says it's time to update my blog. I haven't for two reasons: 1) I've been really busy and 2) I don't think anything exciting has happened in the past month! But anyways, here I go!

In the middle of November, Dean started a new job in H2O as a Quality Manager. This company is a foreign industry to him. He's used to being involved in the automotive industry and this company makes circuit boards or something like that. Also, it's very CLEAN!!! (I am very excited about this part!) He would come home from work so filthy! He was so nervous the night before he started his new job, I had to laugh and make fun of him! He's usually so laid back and not much bothers him so to see him worrying and fretting is cool! He's human after all. Anyways, he's used to being forced out of his job and then having to find a new one. In this instance, Dean left his job voluntarily. Plus, it was a new area of work he was not familiar with. He's a little more comfortable now but even last night he was saying how he's still feeling like a newbie and doesn't like not feeling confident about his job. BUT, he says he believes he made the right decision and when he becomes fully knowledgeable about his job that he will really enjoy it. It's been going good but the driving back and forth is getting kind of old he says, especially on Friday nights coming home. The other two times he had to commute for awhile, the kids and I only saw him on the weekends because it was so far away. This time it's only an hour away so we get to see him everyday, which is nice. Most of the time!

As soon as we sell our house, we will be moving. It makes more sense for me to commute than him as my daily school schedule is a lot shorter than his daily work schedule. I've changed my schedule so I will only be commuting on MWF for two classes. The other three I will take by internet and correspondence. We were hoping to move over Christmas break but being we haven't received an offer yet, that's slim to none! Oh well, it will happen sometime, Dean keeps telling me.

A couple weekends ago, Hayley brought home the rat from school. We let Tanner last year so we had to let her this year. Dean couldn't believe that I was allowing them to bring them home but I grew up with hamsters so I figured it'd be ok. Well, I found out, rats are a lot different than hamsters. Hamsters are actually cute. Rats are not. Rats get big fast. Last year I was surprised how big the rat was because it was only like 6 weeks old at the time! So this year, I told Hayley she had to bring home the smallest one. Which she wasn't too happy about because that's the one that had bit her. But she abided and we had fun.

Over Thanksgiving we were in H2O visiting Dean's family! It was so nice that I actually had no homework to do so I could really just relax, visit, and enjoy myself. Last year, some of the family members decided to join in on the 5k run/walk. No way, not me! I was the DB - Designated Babysitter so everyone else could participate. Well, this year they decided to do it again. But not me, even though my babysitting services weren't needed this time. Here's the brave ones that took part. And just in case you were wondering, Dean walked.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Halloween (A Little Late)


Here's what Tanner and Hayley were for Halloween. Hayley was a Rainbow Star Witch and Tanner was a Vampire. Everyone just loved Hayley's cape - it was very pretty! Tanner didn't want the make-up on and the teeth only lasted a short time but everyone thought his hair was pretty cool. It tool water and a lot of gel and hairspray. It was pretty crunchy by the end of the night. He thought it felt so weird. They got lots of candy so they'll stay sweet for quite awhile, at least until Christmas when they get more!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Baby Turned 10

Monday was Hayley's birthday! Hard to believe my baby is 10! Sunday evening at the dinner table I asked Dean if there was anything special going on on Monday. Hayley immediately piped up and said it was her birthday. Dean said that's not important. Hayley said yes it is - I'm turning double digits! We laughed! Funny how something like that can be so exciting. It would be great to be young again and be able to look forward to things like that! Hayley wanted a scooter for her birthday so that's what she got! No, there's no frosting on the cake! She didn't want any on there so I didn't put any on. It looks kinda naked but it's her birthday and you gotta please the birthday girl. But after she got a piece of cake, then she decided she wanted some frosting! Crazy girl!

My Weekend

Saturday, Jenn, a friend of mine, hosted a jewelry party in WL so another friend, Ellie, and I went there. I didn't plan to buy anything because I really don't wear a lot of jewelry but I couldn't resist. I got two bracelets and a necklace for myself and some Christmas gifts for Hayley. Shhh, don't tell her! After the party, we went out for supper and some drinks. It was such a fun time! We've already scheduled our next get-together - Wings next month. Can't wait!

Sunday Hayley and I had the Girl Scout Investiture/Rededication Ceremony. It's a family event so Dean and Tanner got to go, too. Hayley officially bridged from Brownie Girl Scouts to Junior Girl Scouts. Along with a new title, they wear green vests instead of brown sashes. Pretty exciting!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Kids' Birthday Party

Last Sunday afternoon the kids had their birthday party with their friends. The kids wanted a sleepover but Dean said no way! So a bowling and pizza party it was. I think all the kids had a great time! When they arrived they ate pizza. Then they bowled for an hour and then for the last 1/2 hour they had cake and ice cream and then opened gifts and played with their friends. I'm just glad it's over! Here are some photos!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"My" New Baby

I mentioned earlier that my friend Maria had her baby a couple weeks ago. This semester she only has one class on campus (and one internet class) and has asked me to watch little Jordan while she attends class. Of course, I said YES!!! So every MWF for about an hour and a half, I watch the little guy. I started babysitting when he was less than two weeks old. How cool is that?! Needless to say, I look forward to my MWFs. He's so sweet!!!

Tanner's Birthday

Thursday was Tanner's birthday! It's hard to believe he's 11 already!! YIKES!! That means I'm getting old! I baked his cake at 7 am and almost screwed it up. I don't suggest baking as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning!! He chose to eat at Pizza Ranch for his birthday supper. Then we came home and had cake.
This is his birthday present he picked out last weekend while we were in SF. It's a game called Cosmic Catch and it's lots of fun!!!

Tanner was upset that he didn't get trick candles. I almost always buy trick candles and just decided not to this year. Well, I guess that was a mistake. He'll definitely be getting trick candles next year because he was very disappointed he did not this year - who knew???

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

OK - So Here's My New Hair!

You wanted to know what my new hair looked like, right? Well, here it is! I'm still getting used to doing it but I think this is one of my better hair days so far so I better post a picture! Let me know what you think! But it's not like I can just glue my 8 inches back on! Remember that and be kind!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fall is Here!

Another week is gone! Friday I was going to watch Alonna for a bit while her mom ran errands but then her daddy got to. I was disappointed but it actually was for the best. My friend Maria, who had her baby on September 29th, said I could come visit. So Friday afternoon I headed over to her place. His name is Jordan and he is so cute!! And little! I only got to stay for an hour, had to get the kids from school, but I wanted to stay longer. He is so precious! I can't wait to see him again. Soon, I hope!!

Saturday the kids went to bowling league and then we went to the Corn Maze. Hayley and I had been there twice before for Girl Scouts. Dean and Tanner had never been there, or to one period. I don't know why I suggested we go. I hate the feeling of getting lost and Dean was trying. He wanted us to split up, boys vs girls, but I said no way. This is going to be done as a family because really, I have no sense of direction. And even though they give you a map, I still would have been lost! We found the secret treasure chest so we all got a treat from the concession stand. Then we stopped in SF on our way home. We were only going to stop for a bit but it ended up being much longer. Imagine that!! We did a little shopping, the kids picked out their birthday presents, and then we ate at Chevy's. It was really good. But here we are at a mexican restaurant and the kids order american - a cheeseburger and chicken strips! Crazy kids!!

Sunday was laundry and homework for me! Dean took off for Mpls as he has a Quality Conference there Monday and Tuesday. So it's just the kids and I for a few days. Thank goodness today is a holiday!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thank Goodness Last Week is Over!!!

Last week was very crazy! It was homecoming week and I had two organizations in the parade - Hayley's Girl Scout troop (which I'm the leader) and PBL, a college business club (which I'm the president). I had two tests last week. I was supposed to have four but two of them ended up being yesterday (Monday). Hayley and I had a Girl Scout meeting on Tuesday. Friday night we had to decorate the PBL float for the parade. I received very little help so Dean and the kids had to help, A LOT. Thanks guys!! Saturday morning was the parade. After the parade, I had lunch with some friends, two who graduated last May. It was great to see them! I didn't get to spend very much time with them because we had to go to H2O to get haircuts and visit family. I finally decided to do something drastic, with a little prodding from Dean. I chopped off 8 inches!!! It was a shock but I'm slowly getting used to it. Hayley wants to get hers chopped now. We'll see if she actually follows through at the next haircut. I can't really tell if people like it or not because they don't even say anything about it. My goodness - 8 inches are gone!! Anyways, Dean and Hayley say it looks really good so I'll just have to believe them. Also, my mother-in-law said I look more professional and that's what I was going for as I will be out job hunting next year!

I had two tests and two meetings yesterday. The new school had an open house last night so we went to check it out. It looks really nice. But it's really big and confusing. After walking in many circles I'm not so sure I could have found my way out!! Hopefully the kids won't get lost! Today I have three meetings! After today, I should have a fairly relaxing week - which I really need!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another Wedding!

Saturday we went to another wedding! This was the third one this year. Actually we had two weddings to go to on Saturday but chose the closer one and the one I had known about the longest and committed to first. It was a long day but very fun! Wish the weather could have been better. Here's the bride & groom during their first dance and at the reception. The other is a picture of my friends that have been so fortunate to already graduate. Boy are they lucky!!

My friend Julie watched the kids while Dean & I attended the wedding. She claims they were really good and the kids had a great time. They can't wait for next time. They enjoyed playing with Alonna and Sammy. Oh, and checking out the ducks that Nick and his friends killed. Yuck!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rainy & Cold - Yuck!

Gosh! I just hate this weather! I don't know why I still live here! My body was meant to live in a nice warm, tropical location! I wanted so bad to put the kids in their winter jackets this morning but Dean was convinced that would be so stupid because it's only September. I'm sure he'll be upset when he gets home and finds out I turned the heat on! So instead, the kids are all layered up! Plus, this is awful weather for picture day. I can just imagine what their hair, especially Hayley, will look like after playing in the rain. I'm thinking we'll be doing retakes.

Saturday my friend, Julie, had a purse party! I just LOVE purse parties!!! Before I went, I limited myself to buying only two. However, I ended up only buying one. Tanner says it looks like a cow because it's black and white like a cow. Oh well, it's still really cute with a lime green interior. I would have bought more but they were all boring according to my tastes because they were fall purses! Who wants a brown or black purse?!?! That's so BORING!!! And they were so big! Sorry to those of you out there that like those! I'm a little purse kinda girl and like to see how much I can shove into so little! I'm all about color and funky designs. The best time to go to a purse party is spring and summer. They are so cool then! Hopefully Julie will be having another one then?! Or maybe I will?! Of course, Dean thinks I have enough but it's so fun to be able to change them so often. And of course, I got to see little Alonna again. She's such a sweetie!

The kids started bowling on Saturday. They had lots of fun! They didn't bowl so good but I'm sure they'll improve the more they bowl. Fun is all that matters, right?!

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Little Alonna

Friday afternoon I got to babysit my little Alonna! It was so much fun! Her mommy, Julie, said she was supposed to take a nap but she had different plans. She stayed awake to play with her favorite "Auntie". When Julie got here she thought she'd chat with me a little but Alonna had finally had enough and decided it was time to go home to get some sleep. She fell asleep in the carseat while Julie and I were talking in the driveway!! I can't wait until next time. I had lots of fun, but trust me, I don't want to have another (Julie)!!

Friday night we went to the football game. We lost! It was very cold. I swear I was an ice cube by the time I got home. Next time, if there is a next time, I will definitely dress warmer and bring my own darn hot chocolate. The concession stand wasn't serving any!

Saturday I registered the kids for a Youth Bowling League. It's a 20 week session so the kids will bowl almost every Saturday starting this week until April 1st. They're excited and can't wait to start! Tanner even got some strikes practicing on Saturday!

Then it was homework and laundry the rest of the weekend!! YUCK!!! The story of my life!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Time To Update

My sister is giving me a hard time because I haven’t updated our blog in quite awhile. So here it goes. I’ll give you a run down of what’s happened since we’ve been back from vacation.

Hayley & I had a Girl Scouts fun night for our troop. We had pizza at Pizza Ranch, made bracelets, and decorated flip flops with fuzzy yarn. The bracelets and flip flops turned out really cute. I want to make flip flops for me!

The kids and I started school last week. We were all dreading it, me the most. We really enjoy our summers off. I have 8:00 class three days a week. That is really starting to take a toll on me. Thank goodness the class is only 5 weeks long!! I can’t wait to graduate in May. Until then, it’s homework, homework, homework! YUCK!!! I think the kids are finally enjoying school, at least liking that they get to see their friends everyday.

Last Friday I went to a bachelorette party for a friend of mine that graduated last May. She’s getting married later this month. I had a good time at the party but didn’t stay long as it was raining buckets, I was tired, and I was with a friend that had a much longer drive home than I did. We played many fun games. We had to carve a body part out of cucumbers and squash. Use your imagination to figure out what most of us did!

Sunday and Monday we spent in H2O with Dean’s family. I got to spend time with a very special little girl, our niece, Rylea. She’s 2 ½ and a little ham. Although, she’s really starting to find her personality and becoming demanding. But what 2 year old isn’t?? I took about 20 pictures of her and her and I. She had that same big “cheesy” smile in each picture. She sure does love to have her picture taken!

What a ham!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Black Hills - Part V

Sunday was the last day of our vacation. Being we did Sunday's itinerary on Thursday, we had to come up with an attraction or two because we didn't want to leave for home yet. We decided on the Black Hills Caverns. There were two different tours, the 30 minute Crystal Tour or the 60 minute Adventure Tour. We decided to do the 60 minute tour. As I get up to the door, I see a sign that says tennis shoes are required. So we all head back to the vehicle and switch our shoes. As we're waiting for the tour to begin, I see that there are warnings that our tour is a strenuous tour and I was starting to have second thoughts. Could I make it? Could the kids make it? Anyways, on with the tour. Our guide definitely moved fast. By the time we got done with our tour, we were huffing and puffing and sweating. And the cave was 48 degrees! Twice the guide abandoned us in the cave to either go get someone that was joining our tour late or to lead the 30 minute tour group out before she could continue on with our tour. That was a little scary to be abandoned in a cave and you have no idea which way is out and it was fairly dark.

Then we stopped to have a picnic lunch at a park and just made it into our vehicle when it started to sprinkle. As we're filling up with gas, the radio announces a severe thunderstorm with nickel size hail coming so we high-tail it out of there. They said the storm was pretty much stationary over the Rapid City area which made us happy because we wanted to stop in Wall Drug. When we arrived in Wall Drug, it was hot and sunny. After an hour, the sky was becoming dark blue. The storm was coming so we high-tailed it out of there. Wish we could have spent more time there, though. Hayley got her first Black Hills Gold and silver ring. She's pretty happy about that.

We finally got home about 9 pm. We were all very tired and glad to be home! :)

Black Hills - Part IV

Saturday was spent in the Custer and Hot Springs areas. Our first stop was Flintstones Park. We had a fun time going through Bedrock City. The kids rode the Flintmobile and Iron Horse train. We watched the Flintstone Trio Show and saw Mt Rockmore. After the show, the kids had their picture taken with Fred and Barney. Dean also got his picture taken with the ladies - Wilma and Betty.

Our next stop was The Mammoth Site. They have recovered the remains of 55 mammoths so far. The kids found it very interesting to look at all the bones. It's amazing how they died and the fact that they died here.

We then stopped at Putt 4 Fun Miniature Golf. We all had a blast! It was a par 37 course, 18 holes. The scores were: 1st - Dean with a 47, 2nd - Andrea with a 51, 3rd - Tanner with a 60, and in 4th - Hayley with a 62.

Then it was off to Evans Plunge, which is the world's largest natural warm water indoor swimming pool. The pool is filled with rejuvenating naturally war mineral water at 87 degrees. There were three different waterslides, rings, fun tubes, and two kiddie pools. One waterslide is an open curvy slide. This one I could do but almost lost my bikini top twice so after three times down I quit. I couldn't find my other swimsuit when I was packing!! There was a tube slide (meaning it was covered and dark) that basically went straight down and then shot you out. No way was I doing that one. The kids and Dean were brave enough and loved it. However, Tanner chickened out the first time up the steps then later went back to try it. The last slide was a tube slide (covered and dark) that was curvy and had a few drops. Dean and the kids tried this one but not me. They loved it. Everyone loved to scream while they went down it and you never knew where the end was. And it really shot you out.

On the way home, we had to stop in Custer at The Purple Pie Place to have some homemade pie. A guy at our hotel told us about it and it was definitely worth the stop. The kids had rhubarb, Dean had blueberry, and I had bumbleberry which is a mixture of five different fruits. They were all delicious.

Black Hills - Part III

On Friday, we ventured out to the Keystone area. It was a cool and gloomy day! Our first stop was Beautiful Rushmore Cave. It was only 58 degrees inside the cave. Good thing I brought jackets! Although Dean, the macho guy he is, toughed it out in just a t-shirt. Just a few minutes into the tour, Tanner decided he didn't like caves. Too bad!

Our next stop was Big Thunder Gold Mine. Had I known we would have to wear miner's helmets, I may have forgone this attraction! Oh well, at least we all looked stupid together!!

Then we were onto Mt Rushmore. We went on the Presidential Trail which is a 1/2 mile long. We visited the Sculptor's Studio and the Gift Shop, which is where I left my credit card (which I realized later). After the trail, Dean wanted to go on a nature hike but I told him we had enough of a hike on the Presidential Trail. And I was so cold!

We then stopped at Cosmos. If you've never been to Cosmos, you got to go! It is one of my favorite Black Hills attractions. It is a mystery area. You do not stand up straight. You change height on level platforms. Balls roll uphill. Water flows uphill. You can feel a force pulling you in one direction and it's not straight down.

Our last stop was President's Alpine Slide. It's a scenic chairlift ride up to the top where there is a garden area, waterfalls, walking paths, and a cafe. You can even see Mt Rushmore. Then you can either ride the chairlift back down or take the big alpine slide on a sled. Of course we took the slide. It was really fun! We all wanted to do it again but at $9/per person, once was enough. By the way, this is where I realized I no longer had my credit card. So we got to visit Mt Rushmore twice in one day because we had to go back to get it.

Black Hills - Part II

On Thursday, we stayed in the Rapid City area. The orignial itinerary consisted of Storybook Island, Old MacDonald's Farm, The Black Hills Maze, and Dinosaur Park. However, we also had time to visit Bear Country USA and Thunderhead Underground Falls which were originally planned for Sunday. But what are we going to do on Sunday now???

Storybook Island is a free children's park which includes 142 fairytale sets, a children's theatre, train ride and is situated on 6.75 acres. Some characters include Dr Suess, Winne the Pooh, Cinderella, and The Gingerbread Man. It's similar to Wylie Park in Aberdeen.

Then we were on our way to Old MacDonald's Farm. I had never been there so I didn't know what to expect. It was a great place. The kids and I especially had fun! Basicially it's a petting zoo. There's cows, pigs, horses, sheep, donkeys, goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and more. The kids went on a pony ride and bottle-fed a calf. There are pig races which include five pigs. Some of their names were Sausagawega, Not A Hotdog, and Jimmy Dean. Their treat for finishing the race is cherry kool-aid. It's their favorite. You should see them afterwards. They were all red! The baby goats are allowed to roam free so you get to really interact with them. The kids and I just loved the baby goats!! You can also go into some of the cages of the animals.

Then we were onto The Black Hills Maze. Why I decided we should go here is beyond me because I actually hate mazes. It doesn't take long before I'm lost and feel helpless!! It was very hot that day so that made it that much worse. They said it generally takes one hour and we got through it in 58 minutes. You have to get to each of the four flag towers to get a stamp and then find your way out. There's over 1.2 miles of maze! Then we played Bankshot Basketball. It's a combination of miniature golf, basketball and billiards. The basketball bankboards were all oddly shaped. We also did Water Wars, Tanner and I against Hayley and Dean. We each had 10 water balloons to launch at each other. The rule of the game is that you're not supposed to avoid getting hit. You're supposed to stand there with clenched fists and gritted teeth and take it! Yeah, right! Not me!

Bear Country USA, here we come! This is a drive-through wildlife park. We had some close encounters with some of the animals, mainly the bears. We were about 10 minutes too fast. Had we been slower we would have been able to see feeding time for the bears up close. However, we got to see it from afar which is maybe better! :) At the end, you get to walk around the Babyland loop. We got to see baby bears, foxes, otters, and more.

Then we headed over to Thunderhead Underground Falls. There is a vertical waterfall 600 feet inside a mountain. I was disappointed by this attraction but the surrounding area made up for it. I got some really great pictures. The water gushes at 8 cubic feet per second. It is very loud in there!

Our last stop of the day was Dinosaur Park. It's a free attraction located on Skyline Drive high above Rapid City. We were there at night and it was beautiful to look down over the city. The park includes seven life size replicas of dinosaurs.

FYI - I'm trying to add more pictures but it won't upload them. I will try later.

Black Hills - Part I

Last Wednesday we left for the Black Hills. It was a very fun trip! Dean and the kids have never been to the Black Hills and they really enjoyed it there. I was afraid Dean wasn't going to come home - he LOVED it there!! Anyways, I am a planner and Dean is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants-type of guy so he was really worried about this vacation. He was afraid that I would be the vacation Nazi. What can I say? I take after my dad! Anyways, I had an itinerary planned for our entire trip because you really have to have some sort of itinerary or you'll end up running all over the Black Hills to make it to all the attractions you want to see! Well, after the first day we found out my itinerary wasn't going to work too well. I was way too lenient with our time - the total opposite of what Dean thought I would be. Oh well, we got to add other attractions to our itinerary so we got to see even more than I had anticipated.

We left town about 3:30 and made it to Rapid City about 9 pm (8 pm MT). I was kinda worried about the hotel reservation. I had to make two separate reservations because I had enough Trip Rewards point for a free night. However, the free night has to be booked separately from the rest of your stay. Needless to say, we had problems when we got there. They told me they only had my reservation for the 3 nights and that they had upgraded me to a suite because the standard rooms were overbooked. I said no way, I booked a suite to begin with and that there should also be a reservation for my free night. Well, after some searching through the computer, they finally found my free night but told me that it was for a standard room. Again, I said no way, the free room was supposed to be a suite which is why I booked the rest of my stay in a suite so I wouldn't have to switch rooms during our stay. Finally, they got everything straightened out, however, they told me I would have to stop back after my three night stay to check out, check in and reswipe our key cards. Very inconvenient. But wait, there's more!

After all that, then we get up to our room (top floor, of course) and our key cards don't work. So I go back down to the front desk to get them reswiped then head back up. This time they worked. We got everything into the room when I noticed we didn't have the pull-out sofa we had requested. We had a jacuzzi tub instead. While Dean and the kids waited in the room, I went back down to the front desk and told them we have four people in our room and one king bed is not going to work. We need the pull-out sofa we requested when we made the reservation. They said they could get me the sofa but I'd have to forgo the jacuzzi. Which was totally fine. So they give us the room directly across from our original room. They reswiped our original keys. As we were transferring our belongings from one room to the other, the kids didn't hold the door open which locked us out of the old room because they had reswiped our cards with the new room. So Dean went back down to the front desk to request a card to get into the old room to get the rest of our stuff. Finally we got settled into our room that we requested. Talk about a HUGE ordeal!!! After that, we all went swimming and hot-tubbing because we definitely needed some relaxation.

Monday, August 14, 2006


We spent this past weekend camping at with my sister and her boyfriend. Two other couples also joined them so there were a total of 8 adults, 6 kids and 1 dog. Had it been a nice weekend, it might have actually more fun but we still had fun. Everyone had campers but us so we stayed with my sister. I'm not a tent-kind of person. The theme for this past weekend is RAIN!! It rained Friday night pretty good with lots of lightning and thunder. Plus I was sleeping in a bunk bed the size of a coffin and was worried that the lightning was going to strike a tree and it would fall on me and hurt/kill me!! Seriously, I was afraid! Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep at all!! Saturday started out rainy, cloudy, windy and cold. YUCK!! The sun finally came out for awhile. Saturday night it rained and lightninged (is that a word?) but there was no thunder, thank goodness! However, I still didn't sleep very good. Sunday was rainy, cloudy, and cool. We got rained on many times as did the chairs. There were times we didn't have anything to sit on. We were all standing around. The kids were determined they were going to go swimming anyways - in the gloomy weather. As soon as they got in, it started raining pretty good so they all ran back to the campground while we stayed at the beach. Finally the kids decided to come back after it quit raining and went tubing and played on the water trampoline. We didn't get home until almost 10:00 last night!! And we all slept really good last night. Especially me because I think I got only 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night we were camping! I was exhausted! Everyone else stayed at the campground until today. Of course, when they woke up this morning it was dry and the sun was shining! Just in time for them to pack up and go home! :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Aunt

Here is a photo of the aunt I was telling you about earlier. She is so great!! My grandma's also in the picture. Just as this is my favorite aunt, this is my favorite grandma. :)

Family Fun Day - Minus Dad

Yesterday, the kids and I went to A to pick up his band instrument and have some fun at Wylie Park. We went to Storybook Land.

Then we went to WaterWorld. There's only one waterslide but the kids had a blast!

After the kids got tired of the waterslide, we went over to Wylie Lake.

The kids had fun but it was a long day. We left the house at 9 am and didn't get back until 9:30 pm! But it was well worth it. Hopefully, next time Dean can come along.

Fun Weekend

Friday we went to H2O for the weekend. Dean and I had a wedding to go to on Saturday so Grandma & Grandpa babysat the kids. My friend from college, Jenn, got married. The wedding was very nice as was the reception and dance. However, the church was not air conditioned so just about everyone came out of there soaking wet! The reception and dance were held at her parents' farm. They served a great meal. Plus there was an open bar! AWESOME!! Can't complain about free alcohol!! The band was great and there was a lot of dancing. Dean even got out there to dance a few and not just the slow ones. A couple fast ones, too! The bridesmaid dresses were a chocolate brown and the flowers were white with a splash of pink. Very pretty! We left the wedding about 1 am and got home about 2 am. Very long day! Wish I could have slept in but Dean had to get up for a golf tournament in M. The kids and I took our time, though, and came home later in the afternoon. Needless to say, it was early to bed Sunday night. Here's a picture of Dean and I.

Here's a picture of me with some of my friends. It was so great to see all my friends from college. I had a great time!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Play Ball - Part II

Hayley continued with her softball tournament tonight. We were down one of our star players so I think the team was a little worried. However, the team played awesome. Everyone brought their game. THEY WON the first game. Way to go Sliders! :) They played really good at their second game, too, but lost, 4 to 5! :( Had they won, they would have been in the championship game. Next summer. They had some really great plays. On one of Hayley's hits, she only made it to first base but she brought in three runs!!! AWESOME!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Play Ball - Part I

This week is Hayley's softball tournament. Monday night they lost their first game. Bummer! However, because it's double elimination, they then had to play a second game. They got to the third inning (5 to 0, our favor) and it was decided to postpone the remainder of the game due to the bad weather coming. We were supposed to finish the game Tuesday night and then, if they won, they were to immediately play again that same night. But as you all know, it was raining Tuesday so the games got postponed to today - Wednesday. So picking up where they left off, they finally finished the game, 11 to 3. WE WON!!! They had to play again immediately afterwards but that game was delayed 1/2 hour because another game was being played on the field. Finally, they got on the field. The game was called after the 4th inning because there was another game waiting to use the field and we had been playing almost an hour anyways. The score was 9 to 4. WE WON!!! So now they gotta play tomorrow. If they win that one, they play again right away. If they win the second one, they play a final game Friday night - which throws a kink into our weekend plans but, oh well! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ready, set, go!

Hi! My good friend Julie started a blog and I really enjoy it so I decided to create one of my own - against my husband's wishes. Oh well, it's not like he has to do anything!

The kids are very busy little bees during the summer. Between softball, tennis, golf, basketball, dance, and swimming lessons, they really wear me out! But don't get me wrong, I love summer! Then add family vacations and weddings in there and we have little free time. Plus, we try to get to the pool every chance we can. Our weekends are usually reserved for our trips out of town or at the golf course.

We had a fairly relaxed weekend. Friday I got to see my favorite aunt. I haven't seen her in 14 years as she lives in Washington!!! It was so fun to see her and catch up. I wish we had more time to spend together. I just hope the next time we meet, 14 years haven't gone by. Maybe we'll have to take a trip out to see her. It was Crazy Days so Saturday was spent supporting the town's activities. We made it to the pool yesterday and today and also, went golfing today. Dean actually went to the pool yesterday! That usually happens only once or twice a year. So far he's been to the pool twice so he's probably maxed out for the year. ;)

I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this blog up-to-date but I'm willing to give it a try! Here's a picture of our family!