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Hi, I am me... I am a mom with a great sense of humor, a kind heart, a giving spirit, a desire to please, and enough strength to keep on going even when life knocks me down... I am me... : )

Monday, June 30, 2014

Day 4, The Excitement Goes on! The First Vacation Ever!!!

Our plans for day 4 included Wall Drug and The Badlands National Park. But first the day began with bunnies. Cute, fuzzy, sweet little bunnies.
 
This little guy was right next to our cabin. They were pretty calm. They didn't seem to mind people being there as long as you didn't try to get to close. I sat and watched this little guy for awhile.
This guy was a few cabins away munching on dandelions.
Joseph thought that perhaps he could get close enough to pet one. He walked very slowly closer and closer and just when he would get about 2 feet away, the bunny would hop away and hide under a cabin. He tried a few times. Joseph loves animals and really wanted to cuddle a bunny, I think.
We were blessed with my daughter Katelynn cooking breakfast for everyone. I spent that time lazying around reading while she cooked. She made fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. All over the fire. It was quite yummy. I had not planned on really cooking very much while on vacation, so I did not bring a frying pan or utensils with. The kiddos did the shopping while we were there as I did not want to drag everyone through Walmart. So they decided I needed a cast iron skillet. So now I have one for camping, LOL.
 
Besides reading, I also was taking pictures while she cooked breakfast. This shot I liked. I don't know just something about the lines and the way it looks. After breakfast we cleaned up and got ready to go. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to forever. I have a number of boys who take long long long showers. I have teased them that I can wash my hair and shave my legs and put make up on in half the time it takes them to take a shower. So off we went to Wall Drug. It is actually about an hour away from Rapid City. There are a million signs between Rapid City and Wall Drug advertising Wall Drug. FREE ICE WATER!! 5 CENT COFFEE! FREE DONUTS FOR NEWLYWEDS AND MILITARY!! FRESH HOMEMADE PIES!! FRESH HOMEMADE DONUTS!! Made me want a donut I have to say. 
This would be the main walk in Wall Drug. There are many pictures and memorabilia along the different walks though Wall Drug. Native American photos, cowboy photos, etc. While yes this is a tourist trap type place, it actually is quite delightful. It is a bit like a walk through history with all the photos and an old watering trough, etc. There are many many different photo opportunities at Wall Drug. The kids had a fantastic time with this. I could post over a 100 pictures here if I wanted to. My kids are not shy and they enjoy getting out there and having fun. I took a number of pictures of myself as well. Vacation Selfie! ;)
 Katelynn interrupting a game of poker, LOL! The blond guy does not look very happy about that, LOL! I love the way they have all this set up. You can just imagine what it would have been like a hundred or so years ago. Imagine scenes you might have encountered. Well, I suppose a lady would have had to have been a questionable lady to see this sight, LOL.. But still. :)
 
Elijah and Joseph thought they should interrupt as well.Of course it looks more like Joseph is attacking Elijah! ;) They had a blast and really got into taking pictures with each and every statue that there was.
 The famous South Dakota Jackalope. Joseph wanted to bring home one of these beauties in the picture. I offered a smaller version, in other words NOT a large stuffed animal head for our wall, more of a small plastic or toy stuffed animal, he declined. Apparently he thought we needed this for our living room. Hmm, I just don't think that is quite the direction I am headed with me decorating. 
Joseph on the giant Jackalope. I ALMOST climbed up there and had someone take a picture. Happily, wisdom prevailed.  
Elijah riding the Jackalope. Or should I say relaxing on the Jackalope. 
Elijah driving the team. They were heading south. :)
Andrew taking his turn driving. Not sure is was too sure about this all.
Joseph taking his turn at the reins. Off to see the west, or south.. Or..
Katelynn heading out! 
Elijah the settler in the back of the wagon, Katelynn the Native American on horseback, Andrew the Native American in the tent, and Joseph the Native American with the baby. No we obviously don't get too stressed out about boy or girl pictures. :) Actually we find it funny to mix it up. Who cares, right?
Andrew so not thrilled about standing beside this buffalo. I am not sure if he thought it was alive, but he kinda was like uhhh mom, you are nuts, LOL.
The Travelers Chapel. I loved seeing this peaceful place amongst the shops. It is a good reminder to stop during your busy day and take a breath, get back to whats important, focus on God. 
The chapel was just very peaceful. It is so nice to step into a lovely quite place. A place just tucked in there that you might not even notice if you aren't paying attention.
Andrew, Elijah and Annie Oakley. LOL. Andrew probably thinking, hey is that a candy store down there? The answer is yes, Andrew that is indeed a candy store down there. Let's go check that out.
Elijah and Joseph attempting to steal her cards and cigar? Or actually I am not sure what they were doing besides being silly. We purchased the best fudge in the shop right behind them. I purchased a toffee fudge, tiger butter fudge, regular fudge, a coconut caramel fudge, and caramel praline fudge. Katelynn and my oldest Jonathan also purchased some fudge. Apparently we are a fudge loving family, LOL. Every last bite of it was delicious. I of course shared with all of my little kiddos.
Dance hall Jane and Joseph becoming fast friends. She seemed liked a nice quiet sort. Pleasant. ;)
Katelynn and Dance Hall June. LOL I don't think she actually has a name, LOL.
 Elijah and Ernie. Again I don't think he actually has a name, LOL. But hey.
 
The dining room at the Wall Drug Cafe. The food was really good. Katelynn, Jonathan and David all had buffalo burgers. The kiddos all chose a hamburger and fries. I had the famous hot beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy.
For dessert some of us had pie, but most of us chose the donuts. After reading signs about them for 60 miles or so we had to try them. These were the best donuts I can ever recall eating. They were so soft and delightful.
Me! Here I am!! I am in Wall Drug!! I wanted proof that I was on vacation too! :) All in all we had a great time at Wall Drug. The food was good! The 5 cent coffee was good or so I am told. I don't drink coffee. I picked up a couple of bottles of wine while I was there, Red Ass Rhubarb from Prairie Berry Winery as well as  a bottle of  Wall Drug Choke berry wine. Came with a free wine tote. ;) The kiddos picked up a few souvenirs and a great time was had by all.
Next we went to the Badlands National Park. It is absolutely breathtaking. The sheer variety was astounding. From the mountains to the planes and the amazing rock formations of the Badlands it left me in awe. I think even my kiddos were in awe. They had to take pictures and in some cases climb down just to get a better look.
Isn't this amazing? Even though this is just a picture, just looking at the flat areas and then the drops down to the rock formations.. It just is so.. WOW!
Katelynn got out and joined her brothers for a closer look. I am a chicken, I admit it it. That's why you will mostly see grass in every picture of the Badlands, I just could not force myself closer to the edge.
Storm to the east. It was really neat to watch those clouds build. 
David had to have a closer look at this. He is NOT a chicken as you can clearly see. Unlike me.
I wonder how this happened. It almost seems as if the ground dropped which is why there is a lower area, and then for some reason or other other areas rose.. It doesn't really matter how I guess, but it fascinates me.
Wow.. So just totally wow..
Sun was starting to set.
So totally beautiful.
Love how the stone became somewhat orange as the sun went further down.
Buffalo... Just seeing them grazing was really cool. Just wild buffalo doing their own thing..
This guy looks comfy, just hanging out.. That time of the night..
Buffalo at dusk..
As we came up upon a plateau there was a small herd of buffalo just running around and head butting each other it was an amazing site to see. The following are 3 videos that we took of the buffalo. You will have to excuse the sound of my truck. I was a bit nervous about shutting my truck totally off in the middle of nowhere with a herd of buffalo about 50 feet away. It just didn't seem like a great idea. 
video
video
video
We probably sat here just watching the buffalo for 20 or 30 min. Partly because we were enjoying it, the other part was because, I wasn't totally sure I wanted to drive through a herd of buffalo. A good looking guy on a motorcycle came up behind us and stopped and chatted for a couple of minutes, asking about if I thought we should risk driving through. He decided he would go first as he was quicker and could get between them. My 19 year old David piped up and said "Okay, but if you don't make it, don't worry it will be on youtube!" And he started recording, LOL. I watched for a moment and then decided that there was no way I was going to sit here and risk someone being trampled. I figured if nothing else, my truck was a heck of alot bigger than the buffalo and could block the buffalo if the guy got knocked down. No worries though, the buffalo moved off of the road as the guy got closer. 

It was quite a way to the exit from the park. We drove the scenic route back, which would probably have been alot more scenic if it hadn't been totally dark for most of the drive, LOL. It was a bit late so we headed off to bed. It had been a wonderful day. So fun but a bit sad too as this was our last night here in South Dakota. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day 3, The Adventure Continues, The First Vacation Ever

We kinda took it easy on the morning of the 3rd day. We did a bit of shopping for a few groceries and ate lunch and then after lunch we decided to head to the things we wanted to see around Rapid City. First we visited the Chapel in the Hills. It really is such a lovely place. Surprisingly, it is actually at the back of a neighborhood. I imagine it was not originally near any homes when it was built as a lot of the homes in the area, look newer. However once you get up into the property, the feeling changes and you can not really tell that there are homes down below.
Elijah, Andrew and Joseph sitting in front of the Chapel in the Hills. It really is so beautiful. They allow weddings and things to be there. There are services weekly although I do not remember the times. Sorry.
The lovely entrance into the Chapel in the Hills. I could have photographed every inch of this place, well actually I may have, I just am not posting all of them on here. I love architecture and buildings. It's another art form to me. 
The alter up front. This really was such a wonderful peaceful place. There is a recording when you come into the chapel that gives the history of the building. And that is followed by music. I could have sat there all day and listened to the music playing. It was delightful. 
The ceiling was just gorgeous as well. I love how the light changes the look of the wood.
  
Some of the many beautiful carvings around the building. This was around the doorway when you come in. Again I am amazed by the detail and artistry needed to create such a wonderful place. 
  
David peeking through a window opening up by the altar. There was a covered walk all the way around the church. 

 
Andrew enjoying the wonderfulness of the the music and the surroundings. While I was talking pictures he sat down and just enjoyed the music.

 
This is the ceiling from another angle. I love the light and shadows and the beauty of its amazingly artistic simplicity. I really could have sat here all day like I said up above. There was an air of spiritual peacefulness here. If I could have I would have sat for hours. But the kids were onward and upward, LOL. 
 
There is a prayer walk up behind the Chapel in the Hill. It is a lovely little walk that climbs up higher and enjoys the trees and flowers.
Shooting Stars wildflowers. There were quite a few of these around the places we visited in South Dakota. I am assuming it is a fairly common wildflower there. They are absolutely beautiful.
A look up the prayer walk. It is a bit uphill although not a long walk by any means. 
My Joseph, he likes to take pictures like mom. He loves to be able to look back and say remember when??







Come to me and Rest. - Jesus
Lord, teach me to pray.
    
Trust God with childlike faith.
 
Pray for World Peace. 
  
Pray for children and for families.
  
Amen God hears our prayers.
 
Elijah and Joseph up at the top at the end of the walk. Kinda was wondering what might be under the big rock. Hiding place for something?? LOL. I actually was not too worried about that.
 
David deep in thought.. Or not..  
 
Andrew was feeling very cuddly after the prayer walk. Decided to give the statue a hug. :)

 
Next we went to Storybook Island. They had every childrens story you can think of, The 3 Little Pigs, Winnie the Pooh, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Cat in the Hat, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, etc. Right after we all got in there all of my kids felt the need to play in the sand, LOL. Yes that would be my 22, 19 and 18 year olds playing in the sand with my younger kiddos. HAHAHA But hey we may as well have fun right? 
 
Katelynn and David to the rescue!!      
                                                                                     Jonathan and think there are peoples behind you. In the house of the smartest of the 3 little pigs.
 
Andrew checking out the chimney in the 3 little pics house. I guess he was making sure the wolf wasn't getting in.  
 
Hmmmm a little bit of home right here in Storybook Island, Rapid City, South Dakota. Toto I  don't think we're in Kansas anymore. LOL. Oh, were off to see the Wizard the wonderful Wizard of Oz. 

 
Next we headed over toward Dinosaur Park. It is pretty cool. It is up at the top of one of the highest points in the middle of Rapid City. You can see Rapid City spread out on both sides of the park. Which is pretty awesome. I will warn you the road is narrow and twisty and on the side of well, a mountain. Okay, not the highest mountain, maybe, but it is a bit nerve wracking when you only drive in Kansas, which is fairly flat.
 
Run!!! Don't get eaten. :) Joseph, Elijah and Andrew, trying to avoid being dinner for a t-rex. ;)
 
David and Joseph just barely escaping. :)
 
One of my favorite pictures. Joseph, Elijah and David, at dusk, pondering life atop a triceratops.
 
David and Jonathan viewing Rapid City from above. It really is a breathtaking site up here in the evening. We drove back down to our cabin and enjoyed dinner and then bed. Everyone was tired after all day in the fresh air. What was wonderful is that there are so many inexpensive or even free things to do in the area.