Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wednesday of our trip to South Dakota

Wednesday we slowed things down a little to enjoy Custer State Park!  There was so much to do there we could have spent everyday exploring!!  The kids also worked on a 'junior naturalist' badge at the State Park, where one of the requirements was a kids program.  The class they attended was about weather.  While they did that Tom and I enjoyed a little bird watching at the ranger station!  That afternoon the kids enjoyed some much needed down time at the cabin, they made bow and arrows and tried to build a tee-pee out of sticks!  For dinner we ate at the Bluebell Lodge (one of the many options within the park).  The food and atmosphere were amazing!!  We topped off the day with another drive of the wildlife loop, where we saw even more Buffalo (and blew our plans to have the kids in bed early!!) 

Tuesday of our trip to South Dakota

Slowly but surely I'll post trip pictures!!  The Tuesday of our trip was another wonderful day!  Tom took the kids to 'hook 'em and cook 'em' fishing in the park.  Unfortunately there was no 'cooking' because of the fire ban.  Sophie caught a fish though!  (Tom did not take a picture of that!)  After fishing we headed to Mt. Rushmore.  It was amazing.  They have a wonderful 'junior ranger' program that the kids could do, by filling out a booklet they would earn a badge.  It's safe to say we all learned quite a bit!  From there we headed to the Old West town of Deadwood.  On the way we hit a hail storm!  Very unexpected!  The kids and I found some great antique shops in Deadwood and even a vending machine for homemade truffles at a great chocolate shop, "The Chubby Chipmunk'  We had dinner at a wonderful place in Rapid City, where Noah had his first of 3 Buffalo Burgers of the trip!  So many great memories!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ahhh Summer!

Even while I am trying to catch up on my trip pictures, the fun keeps rolling!  This week we spent a day at the cottage of our friends the Robbins.  The boys tubed and fished and played, the girls swam and played, we all had a blast!  We also spent an annual evening at the Ottawa County Fair.   The kids continue to amaze with their braveness and inability to become dizzy!  (The adults did not do as well!)  WE LOVE SUMMER!

Monday of our trip to South Dakota

Monday was our first day in Custer State Park, and it was full to the brim with fun!  We woke up in our amazing little cabin and heading out to horseback ride in the National Forest.  It was beautiful (and hot!).  We quickly changed back in to our shorts and headed to Crazy Horse, which was beyond words amazing.  The scale is unbelievable.  The massive-ness of the project is unable to be comprehended.  The man who started the monument decided he would do it without Government funding, so it remains a family run project (now the carving is done by his children) funded by donations.  It's been 60 years, and we are not thinking we will see the finished project in our lifetime.  But, what a monument it will be.  Crazy Horse is saying, "My land is where my people lie buried."
We ended the day with a nice dinner in the city of Custer (there was a fire ban, so we ate most of our dinners out) followed by a guided drive of the "Wildlife loop".  It did not disappoint!!  (the pics are out of order, but you get the point!)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Road Trip!!

We just got home from an amazing road trip to Custer State Park!  It was absolutely amazing in every single way.  I took a million pictures and captured even more priceless memories.  I will try not to overwhelm with pictures, but today I will post a few from the 'road trip'  to South Dakota part of the trip! 

Candy shop in LaCrosse, Wisconsin

Did you know this place existed?  We had to stop....Tom loves Spam (granted I've only made it for him once in all the years I've known him!)

This is what a road trip is all about, right?

The Corn Palace!  Theme:  Youth Sports! Noah found the football!

Soccer and Volleyball for the girls!

The Badlands!  Just like I remembered as a child:  HOT!

'Free' water at Wall Drug!

Really icky dinner here, but we made a memory!!  :)
 Stay tuned for more to come!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Noah has had a wonderful and very special week.  On Tuesday evening he got to meet his hero.  Kirk Cousins was in Holland for a father son event, and Tom and Noah got to attend.  Even though it was our anniversary, we didn't think twice...this was a once in a lifetime experience for Noah.  He loved it.  Kirk gave a wonderful speech and took his time talking to each and every person who waited in line.  It is so refreshing to have a college/pro athlete be such a strong Christian 'hero' for those who look up to him.  Thank you Kirk Cousins! 
Wednesday night Noah played his last baseball game of the season.  He did great, including getting the final out of the game by chasing the kid down (Noah was playing 3rd at the time) and diving for the tag.  Although they don't keep score, those that do it in their mind say it would have been the tying run!  Noah even got a scraped up elbow to prove it!

After the game we celebrated with the homemade lemon yogurt cake the kids baked for my birthday (from scratch).  They really did 99% of it themselves, and it was delicious!  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Where to begin!?

We just got home from 10 amazing days at the cottage.  I can't begin to explain all of the priceless memories we made, fears that were overcome, laughter that echoed off the water....but here are a few of my favorite pics!

The girls trying to sit in the tube.

Second annual picture

Darling Abby who wasn't jumping off of anything at the start of the week, soaring off the diving board

Sweet Sophie tubing with Tom

Daring Noah getting more and more crazy on the tube as the week went on

Celebrating our birthdays together at the cottage after a day of playing

Amazing Kids

All 5 of us swam off of the boat on Saturday night....4 in bathing in clothes!
 Tom and I said on the drive home tonight that this is shaping up to be the best summer ever!