Last night we got back from our week long vacation to Sturgis (area), SD where my family lives and where I'm from. We left Friday night (Saturday morning, actually) at around 1:30 am. We drove all night and all day and arrived around midnight Saturday. It was a long and horrible drive taking us nearly 24 hours instead of the 18 it averages at. It's a trip I've taken many times but not with two small children. Our baby, one, was not terribly fond of the car and has a scream that is pretty much bloody murder. So we stopped often.
But we survived and Sunday arrived (wow, I'm a poet!). I dressed up the kids and we went to church with my mom. I saw lots of people I rarely get to see. I haven't been home in two years so I was glad to see some familiar faces from my childhood. Sunday afternoon my siblings and their husbands and wives came over to my parents and we had a BBQ. My dad has been working in the oil fields in ND so he wasn't there, but everyone else was! It was a blast! The kids had a lot of fun. I have two nephews that are about the same age as my baby and then a niece that is a few months older. It was hilarious watching them play together.
Monday my sister stayed over instead of going home (she lives an hour from my mom) and we went to Storybook Island. It was my sister Cassie, 17, and then Tiffany, 20'ish (I know, it's bad I can't remember her age!) and Tiffany's baby (1) and my two kids.
Storybook Island is a free park that has all kinds of storybook related play things.
There are lots of ponds and cool fountains as well. It's a great place and is full of memories from my childhood. It's free so it's a great place to go and spend the day. But it survives on donations, so I try to always be sure to throw some money in the donation bin. If you ever go to the Black Hills and you have kids I highly recommend it! It's right in Rapid City so if your going to Mt. Rushmore or any of those places its not out of the way. And I promise that the kids will love it!
It was one of those days that was perfect. A day that will be stuck in your head forever because it really couldn't have been better. Yeah, we were crammed in my sisters car that didn't have air conditioner and sitting 3 to the front seat (it was at least in the 80's that day). But sometimes those are the things you remember best. I'll forever remember the excitement that shone on Phaedra's face and how she looked as though she was going to fall over from excitement at every little area. I'll remember how the baby loved the slides so much that he tried to slide down the wheelchair ramp. He was very determined too!
Overall it was the best day of the whole trip and it was wonderful to spend some time with my sisters.
Tuesday we went to Keystone which is a small tourist town near Mt. Rushmore. It's also a free place to go. Other then the stuff you buy, of course! I found some shirts 2 for $10 and they had lots of other good deals as well. My mother was able to come this time and my husband came also. My sister Tiffany was still around as well but my sister Cassie had to work. After Keystone we went to the mall and TJ Maxx and Gordmans (which I've never been to). It was a new mall so I HAD to see it, LOL!
On Wednesday we went to Deadwood and walked downtown. Then we went to The Roundhouse which is where the trains use to go into. I can't really describe it, but it's an old building and they restored it to be a gorgeous and super fancy restaurant. My grandma was able to come with us this day as well as my sister Cassie and my husband and mother. The kids did well (always scary to take them to a fancy restaurant!) The food was great and the price was amazing for a lunch buffet. I highly recommend if your in Deadwood/Lead (its in Lead).
That evening we had to bring my sister and her baby home. It was the first time I've seen her house as the last time I'd been home it was for her wedding.
Thursday my husband and I and our kids drove down to Chadron NE to my grandpa's house. He has a cabin for his kids and grandkids to stay in. So he made us dinner and we went and saw the horses and then just sat around and relaxed.
Friday morning we tried to leave early as it was the only day we had with my dad. Once we got back to my parents we just hung out there. The rest of the family came over except my sister that lived an hour away.
It was great to spend time with my dad and I think it was the first he got to see Jaevin. The kids warmed up to him quickly and they had great fun. Phaedra wanted to see sheep so he drove her to a neighbors and they got to see some. They also painted an ostrich egg. My dad is a great artist and Phaedra loves doing artwork so I had suggested it as an activity for them to do together that they will both remember and Phaedra will have a keepsake. My parents used to raise ostriches so they had plenty of eggs laying around.
Saturday we packed up and left after lunch. The drive home was much better but still long. I'm very glad to be home now though! I have lots of reviews and giveaways to get posted so be watching!
This is the view from my parents deck.