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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mommy Portraits

The kids drew Mommy Portraits at school.
Don't they look just like me?

The Milk Invention

Mark thinks up quality inventions all the time.  However, he found this bad boy at Walmart for the unbelievable price of $7.  You just put this hose into the milk and push the attachment on and viola!!
The kids can serve themselves milk.  In a cup or a bowl, or whatever, at any time!

That, my friends, it amazeballs!

Brecken's Four Month & the Fam

We had our summer family photos scheduled for two months.
The day of the shoot the weather called for rain in the late afternoon.
We still showed up in the park.
It was actually raining as we sat on the rocks.
Finally the poor photographer looked at me like I was crazy.
We rescheduled for the very next day.

She gave us this one for free.
Everyone was "shot" by then!

Love his tuft of hair!

Sitting alone at 4 months!

This is a huge canvas in our living room now.
Love. Love. Love.

She gave this one to us too.
She insists on taking a parent shot.
And always just gives it to us.
She says it's important.
Things like that keep us going back to her.
And the little fact she's amazing!


I picked this one and only printed one.
For myself.
I was telling him I love him.
I remember everything about that minute and I love that she captured it.

Look at those teeth.
Another great shot.

We are blessed to have found this photographer.
She's amazing and loves our family and has the patience of a Saint!

South Dakota

Before I start about South Dakota here are a few last ones from CO.
Our last ride at the North Pole.

Robin always bakes cookies with the kids.

Kelly loving on Brecken.

Christian loving Casa Bonita.

Going for a walk on Aunt Joan's driveway.
Elk ahead!

The bottom of the Coors' driveway.
I'd love to get a look at their house someday.

A rainbow right before we left.

This is the scenery for about 200 miles on the way to the Black Hills.

Finally, we made it to our hotel.
The kids just loved the idea of a landline.
We've never had one, since they've been alive.

I thought putting the baby in my 31 bag was a good way to transport him to the pool.

Brecken didn't love the water, but he enjoyed being warmed up and cuddled after.

V & C always go to sleep so nicely together.

In the morning we headed over to Reptile Gardens.
Victoria was in heaven!

There wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was hot by 9am.

We knew, from previous years, the galapogos tortoises get really really busy.
So we stopped there first.
The lady came over and told us some facts about them and said they like to have their necks scratched.
Victoria hugged them and scratched their necks and talked and talked to them. 

Christian was a lot more hesitant.

This is one of my favorite pictures from South Dakota.

She likes reptiles, but good grief!!

And that smile!

Love those three!

It was close to 100 degrees by this point!

Ready for a little snack while waiting for the snake show to begin.

The alligator show is always fantastic.
Too bad Brecken had had just about enough.
He was insisting on a nap by that time.
It was way too hot for him to just fall asleep in the stroller.

It's worth the extra drive to go through SD just for Reptile Gardens.

Found this abandoned mall on the way to Mount Rushmore.

I gave Brecken a taste of a pickle at lunch and he LOVED it!
He wanted to suck on the spear all day!

Bear Country is another stop that great year after year.

The elk weren't that interesting since we had seen hundreds in the wild in the last 5 days.

 The kids' favorite part about Bear Country is when they get to drive for a couple minutes.

Again, they love to drive!!

We have a picture of us standing in that same spot each year.
Somehow, I didn't get in the picture this year.

If we had this at Yogi, we'd really be ridin' in style!

Even though it hasn't been alive in quite some time, 
it's still quite frightening.

Brecken spent most of the trip sleeping in his carseat.
Christian was so proud they were wearing matching shirts that day!

This bear is not nearly as scary.

This was an AMAZING find!
I heard about it several years ago.
We did a little digging and a little driving.
We showed up with only an hour until they closed.
It was amazing.
We will go there every year from now on!

Storybook Island
A teacher's dream!!

The park was gigantic.
Immaculately kept.
And everywhere you looked it had statues from every childhood story you could imagine.

We do a whole unit on the Gingerbread Man in December in second grade.

Look!  It's Captain Hook!

The Three Little Pig's Houses.
If you went in the brick house and looked up the chimney, guess who you could see!

Brecken and Piglet.

Christopher Robin's Treehouse

Noah's Ark

Cinderella and her Prince

Of course Victoria decides to RIDE Toto instead of holding the Scarecrow's hand.

She LOVED everything Dr. Seuss and skipped seeing several other things to stay in each little house and read each and every word.  Sometimes she's run out with a huge smile and tell me about something she read.  Then she'd run right back in there to read more.

It wouldn't be a real Storybook Island if you didn't get to ride on Aladdin's Magic Carpet!

Of course, you must spend sometime with the Seven Dwarfs.

We were all running when we saw Yogi, himself!
Jellystone should really get this for their place!
It would be a main attraction.

101 Dalmations
Again, Victoria had to hop on one.

It was past Brecken's bedtime, and he didn't find it nearly as amusing as the rest of us.


Jack and Jill
Man, he must have bumped his head pretty hard.

Jack and the Beanstalk

My childhood fave.

Smokey the Bear

I was surprised at how excited they both were to see Barney!

I texted this pic to my friend Mary, who bought a real horse for her grandsons last summer.
It looks similar to this horse.
Christian named him Teddy.

And my favorite picture of all:
Brecken riding a giraffe at only four months old.
Oh, my gosh, it was so cute.

They have bricks you can buy and they engrave them with whatever you want.
We bought one and cannot wait to find it next year!

The next day we headed over to Mount Rushmore.

Yes, it's amazing.
Breathtaking even.
But seriously, it's the same every single year.
We stayed for about 30 minutes and that included a family picture 
and shopping for their awesome pens.

The view from our parking spot.
Hello, Founding Father!

Brecken's 5 month birthday.
It was morning and the sun was shining super bright!

I'm pretty sure I yelled, "Just smile and keep your eyes open and then we can go!"

Pretty sure Christian is saying, "Can we go now?"

Christian wanted to take a couple pictures.

And we were outta there.

On the way home we were looking for a place to have lunch that was not in
a gas station.
We found an actual train to eat in.
Quite awesome!

Food was "sub par" as Mark was say but we were filled and on our way.

Finally made it to our hotel.

Brecky loved it!!!!!

It was the official last hoorah!

My sweet little baby fell right asleep on my shoulder.
It was one of those times I knew it was the last.
Babies only fall asleep in the wide open bright light for so long.

What an amazing vacation it was!!!

...and then we had to drive another 5 hours!