After we left Colorado, we drove straight to Rapid City, SD.
There was some major drama at the hotel.
After calling multiple times through the night letting them know we wouldn't be there until about 2am it did in fact give our room away. We were booked into the Presidential Suite so when they finally 'accommodated' us by squeezing us into the smallest hotel room I've ever seen and V slept on the floor we were less than rested the following morning.
Either way, we had a great time in South Dakota!
Our first stop, Bear Country U.S.A.
The kids love driving through there.
Some take it very seriously.
And some just want to enjoy the ride!
It is amazing to watch bears walk right up to our cars!
Christian was beyond intrigued.
After a while Victoria put her seatbelt on and drew bears instead of watching them.
Teddy wanted to see the bears too!
Christian just loved it.
He could have spent all day there!
We went straight over to Reptile Gardens next.
We watched the alligator show for the first time.
We learned a ton about gators.
The kids still say some of the facts they learned.
They got to touch a baby alligator too.
I've always been deathly afraid of alligators and has zero interest in touching one.
Apparently when they get really big someone else gets afraid too!
This bad boy was in a James Bond movie.
Apparently they aren't too comfortable around humungous
boa constrictors either!
This is the kid who loves turtles more than anything.
She warmed up to this 70+ year old Galapagos quickly,
however, I was surprised she was nervous at all.
The previous year there was one what was 120+ years old and it died about six months before we came back. They had a whole playland dedicated to it.
In a burrow of the Prairie Dog den.
My very own alligator wrestler:-)
The LOVED sluicing for gemstones.
I'm so glad we stopped and let them do it this year.
They still have their 'gems' and talk about doing it again next year.
After Victoria meticulously did hers she dropped it at the last second and her finds started running down stream quickly.
Daddy saved the day and put his big hand in their and captured most of them.
She's not letting go again!
Proud of his arrowheads he discovered!
While we were out for the day the hotel get everything straightened away and decided to give us the Presidential Suite that night along with a fruit basket and other goodies.
We hadn't planned on spending the night again, but we couldn't resist.
We spent some time at the pool.
And then relaxed while watching a show about - what else -
The next morning we headed over to Mount Rushmore.
This is the third or fourth time I've seen it.
Let me tell you, it doesn't change one bit.
Seen it once seen it a million times.
Now that Victoria can remember seeing it too, she wasn't too impressed either.
Never mind we'd been vacationing for a solid week sleeping at all different places and the kids were beyond exhausted. Like, sit down on the ground and cry exhausted.
I thought about doing it too, but I knew we'd get even more stares then!
Don't they look thrilled?
Christian is pinching her and she began screaming about 1 second after that picture was taken.
I laugh when I see this picture. We were over on a secluded set of stairs giving Christian a time out when this old guy walks over and asks if we want him to take our picture.
Sure, why not?!
On our way back to Minnesota.
We sure crammed a lot of excitement into those 10 days.
We talk about road tripping to Colorado
all the time.
Everyone is excited to show Baby all the fun stuff we like to do there!
Here's Victoria in her Christmas dress ready for church.
Apparently she's planning on driving. :-)
All ready for church.
Here's Mark's side of the family.
I love this group shot each year.
This year we have one more than last year,
Baby Grace, and next year we'll have another Baby Humphrey!
Elfie left us a good bye note.
They were very happy they could touch Elfie that last day before Santa came and took him back to the North Pole.
This is Christmas morning right after we brought out the car.
The idea behind the car is it will give them something to do
this summer when I'm taking care of Baby.
Victoria is holding a bear Christian got her for Christmas.
It smells like chocolate.
Baby Grace and her Godmother, me!
Baby Grace, her mommy and her godmommy.
Victoria and her almost Aunt Tegan.
Christian checking out Baby Grace while talking about what 'his' baby is going to be like.
Christmas Eve morning:
Busy making chocolate chip & peanut butter cookies and pumpkin bread.
We weren't sure what Santa's favorites were.
Christian clearly getting tired of smiling for me.
But he's cute no matter what!
Santa brought Peef the Magic Christmas Bear last year for Victoria.
Therefore, that makes Christmas Eve Peef's 1st birthday.
Therefore, I let Victoria choose a cake and decide what to write on it.
The happy family of five!
Mama Jeanne, Papa Mark and all their grandkids!
Our last Christmas as a family of four!!
The Humphrey boys with the gorgeous ladies!
Proud Uncle Mark
Tegan's bridal shower gift didn't come in time for her shower so I had to give her her Christmas gift then and her shower gift for Christmas.
She loved it:-)
Christian loved his Christmas Carousel for Mama Jeanne.
When I went to pack it away he cried.
I told him he could keep it out,
then packed it away when he was sleeping.
Don't tell him.
I looked for a vertical frame for Emilee to go with this picture for all of November.
I found this chalkboard frame and it ended up working out great.
I actually went back and bought a couple for myself, for the baby's room.
Peef, his mommy, grandpa and uncle all gathered around his birthday cake.
She told the Sam's Club cake decorator to, "Write in all capital letters. None of the cursive that nobody can read please!" I'm not sure if buying that cake makes me one crazy mommy or mother of the year.
Either way she loved it!!
Victoria playing with Uncle John.
Our annual game of Name that Celebrity.
I think we've played it the last 8 or 9 years.
Baby Grace after an outfit change.
I bought this lil' outfit for her in early Nov. and kept forgetting to give it to Chris.
It says 'Santa's Little Helper' on the front.
The kids were very serious about making gingerbread houses this year!
Leaving out the reindeer food on Christmas Eve.
Victoria couldn't remember where she put hers and there were quite a few tears
and then Daddy to the rescue! He finds and fixes everything!
Victoria was very happy with the huge stuffed dog (I believe she named Riley)
and her talking Doc McStuffins.
Victoria with the fountain Christian picked out for her.
He immediately informed her he would like one as a birthday gift.
Cousins from my side:
Marissa and Ashley.
Uncle Wayne with Victoria and Ashley
My lil' brother and me:-)
Christian enjoying his remote control car!
He received several this year.
He's one happy little boy!
My dad with his grandkids.
Not much else makes him that happy!
I love that he put his new Papa shirt on right over his clothes!
Dad and Deb and their happy grandkids.
For their big Christmas gift from us we got them
a gift certificate to get their picture taken this spring with all
three of our kids.
Cute and cute
My brother Wayne, his wife Cassie and Marissa and Ashley.
Marissa is nine months older than Victoria and Christian is six months old than Ashley.
Christian and his Papa
The lady at Barnes and Noble thought I was crazy for buying this quill for Victoria.
She loves it and is able to write very nicely with it.
I love to watch her gently dip it in the ink.
It was a magical Christmas season.
It's always a bit sad when everything is put away and it's all over.
Looking forward to having three children to spoil next year!