Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rushmore Waterslides

It got warmer towards the end of our trip so we took a day to hit the water park.
T and t jumped right in. Tanner found a small pool of water on top of a slide that he claimed as his own and stayed there for a large part of the day.
Austin wasn't as thrilled to get all wet (I think he takes after his mom a little) but I was able to get him in once with Eric.
Otherwise Austin was found stomping over the bridge across the water over and over again.
Eric and Tyler braved the water slides. That is were Ty spent most of his day with his cousins, but Eric joined him for one run down the double tube slide.
Ty only asked him to go with him once though, and for good reason. See that yellow tube in the background? That little person on it is Ty. Now see the legs in the air just off to the side of it? That is Eric, under the water with his end of the inter-tube, just before catapulting Tyler off into the water.
Once Tyler surfaced they determined it is better to ride the ride with someone closer in size. So Ty jumped out and grabbed his cousin for the next ride. Good choice.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bear Country USA

Have you ever been to this place? If not, it is a total must see. Seriously awesome.
We packed up the car and the caravan of 6 cars headed off to the spot. The kids had their maps and began our 2 mile tour of Bear Country. The rules were just to not feed the animals, stay in the car at all time and always keep the windows rolled up. We agreed to the regulations and in we went. The animals started off slowly first were the moose. It was neat as we watched them because the food truck came up and the moose started to move it right passed our car and to the truck. It was cool.
Next came the mountain lions (they had a special cage, not so up close and friendly I guess).
Bison. And others, but the highlight was most definitely the bears. It was the most up close and personal I have ever been to a bear.

They literally walked by our car. I could have run over one if I wasn't careful. My sister in law said often they are just sleeping, but that great food truck followed us and those bears knew it. Watch out!
The boys LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Probably one of the best parts of the trip. There were so many bears. They were everywhere.
And beautiful. To have them right outside our window and really see their size and their power was inspiring. Really a neat experience.

As we went to leave the driving part of our tour we got stuck. For various cars in front of us and as far back as we could see after the bears had some crossing guards. It was hilarious. We had to time the exit perfectly as these two bears held their position well.
Eric's mom was with us this day and the kids loved grabbing her hand and taking her around with them.

My monkeys felt right at home seeing the animals. I probably could have left them there and they would have been fine with that.
The baby bears were just too cute. Full of energy, full of life, full of personality.
Austin made friends with the locals.
This is our crew from Tanner to the end of the photo... we took up half the fence.
Bear Country, you will easily go down as one of our favorite trips of all time. Seriously, well done, well done. Thanks for the amazing show.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Let the Adventure Begin!

This summer our family had a couple of little trips planned but there was one HUGE one that we had planned that would take 12 days. To some, a mere 12 days might seem like nothing, but for our family of 6 who is use to weekend getaways, the week and a half + seemed daunting. Oh, did I mention it was in the car? There were pros and cons to driving vs. flying but really it came down to time vs. cost. 20 hours of driving was going to be loooooooooooooong, but the cost of buying 5 tickets, then hauling all of our luggage and renting a car, ummmm no thanks, we decided to endure the drive.
Well I am pleased to report the car ride was actually the easiest part of the whole trip. All 4 boys were all stars. No joke! It was seamless. 20 hours one way, CHECK!

The landscape along the drive was uneventful.Oh sorry. Eric's feet really can detract from the view.

There, see. Pretty flat, really straight, that's about it. The only awesome part was the clouds. If you know me, you know how much I love clouds and sunsets and colors in the sky. It is my thing and always had been. And you can't find thunder clouds anywhere like you can in the mid-west. They are AMAZING. Oh so so pretty. So I really enjoyed watching the clouds as we drove. About 2 hours into Wyoming there was the most incredible cloud in the far east sky. It looked like a fountain shooting up out of the ground. You couldn't tell where the cloud started as it was shooting up into the sky. We chased the cloud all the way across the state and every time we thought we would catch it the road would turn just slightly and drive us just out of reach. As we entered South Dakota the ground was damp and we knew the storm had just passed through just before us. We were so close. Oh no.... now we have to go straight north to hit our destination. The cloud is right in front of us and soooo dark. I just wanted to see the storm that I had been watching for the last 4 hours in the distance. Bummer. North we went. The road started winding and the hills began to roll. The kids became a little restless as our 20 hours destination neared, and frankly, Eric and I were done as well. We came around a bend to get hit head on with another HUGE FREAKING BLACK CLOUD.
And in case you didn't catch the seriousness of my all caps, I'm talking, can't see blue sky left right front or back on this monster. At that moment it was exciting. We actually were going to see one of these awesome storms from this massive midwest rain cloud. Whoo-hoo. We headed in (as if we had a choice). Right as we were directly under the edge of the cloud we could see the cloud just above our heads and instantly all the excitement vanished. You could literally feel the pressure in the air and an almost evil presence. Eric and I could actually see the clouds begin to swirl above us in a circular fashion and the kids began to scream. It was intense, but that was just the start. I took a breath only to be shocked by the sudden down pour of rain. I have been in heavy rain storms, but this rain was so thick I couldn't see the hood of my car. Tree branches started hitting our car being blown off of near by trees. Then the hail joined the party. The cracking sound that happened as the hail made contact with our car and windows was deafening. As the wind got stronger Eric demanded that I drive and do my best to get us out of what seemed to be a potentially very dangerous situation. I couldn't see but feeling the urgency in my husband's voice I slowly started driving trying to stay on the road. With in a few miles (but it seemed like it was a day long journey) we found the street to turn off onto and it was as if we turned right out of the storm. Clear skies greeted us as if it was all just a dream, but my shaking hands and sobbing children confirmed it wasn't. We arrived at my sister-in-laws within minutes and although we had to pry the kids from the car we all were so glad to be inside and felt relieved to have put that little show behind us.

With in no time at all the kids were distracted by cousins upon cousins. I don't even have a picture of Ty the night we arrived because he just disappeared.

Tanner made quick friends with "the girls" as Eric and his siblings call them. They are the youngest 4 of the 10 and from his dad's second marriage. Chambrie became the object the kids used to jump, roll and flip over.

Austin wasn't shy showing his new friends his favorite games on the ipad.

And Brodie, well, he is always such a love.

It was the first time Eric had seen his family in 5 years. He settled right in and was so happy to see all of them. The oldest of "the girls" was at BYU so we didn't see her here in SD but we were able to catch up with her on our way home. Eric's family was so welcoming and kind, it was nice to be there.

We unpacked and got ready for a week of fun with the Lawrence fam.

And with every storm is light on the other side. Like I said clouds and sky are my thing, so even though we fought the storm of the summer, look at the view I got to see later that day. So worth it. Beautiful. It was a lovely end to a very long drive.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The long life of Mac

Ahhhh, the relaxing joy of feeling the keys slide beneath my fingers as I start to create a story of the latest happening in the Lawrence house. The excitement that comes as the words form that transform the emotions and feeling of the experiences we had translate onto the web to share with others. Rarely is the spelling and grammar correct. Few others check in to read what I have written. There is no award or goal to these posts other than the smiles it brings as my boys and I look back to reminisce together our simple pleasures in life. It has been too long.

And what has caused this jaw dropping moment you might ask? Well it is really a little silly actually, but hey, whatever works right?

My iMac, my lovely computer that is my other right hand has died. Sad, yes I know, I did shed some tears but don't cry for Mackie, all will be okay. We took his remains to a wonderful Dr. at the Apple store and because he was an organ donor not all will be lost. Other iMacs will be able to live on because of our Mac's contributions and during the process a micaral did occour. The amazing Dr.'s saved his heart, or in computer world also known as the hard drive, and with a little bit of work, they transplanted his heart into a new computer and with a few prayers, it did start beating again. Yippee Yippee. He lives, not all is lost. While the outside is new, the inside still has all those important memories and years of experience that we will be able to see again. He will be in recovery for about a week, because the surgery was intense. 19 hours of data transfusion, but I have polished the desk in anticipation for his arrival and I am counting down the hours anxiously waiting for his return.

So in the mean time, while I am missing my other half, I have had a whole new outlook the last couple days. You can't imagine the amount of laundry you can get done in place of working on the computer. (Yes I said working. Of course there might be a few peeks at facebook or checking the latest clothing sales online mingled in but all in all, it is work, I swear).

But as I can I will steal Eric's laptop and do some of those other things I might occasionally do in between working so hard (like clothing sales or whatever) but seriously that gets old really fast. But tonight, a light went on. While 90% of my family photos are in recovery with old Mac, there are a few on this laptop that I can pull. Whoo-hoo. Blog world, save me from my boredom... I can only do so much laundry in one day!

So here we go. Watch out little laptop, these keys are about to experience something exciting!! Oh no, Eric is coming. Okay okay. Plan B save the real fun for tomorrow. I'm so excited, I hope I can get some sleep. You wont believe some of things that went down when the Lawrence family invaded South Dakota. Stay tuned! Eric, wait, no, not yet... ahhhhhh ashlodmsgjdfk;lh------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------