We headed out of Golden before 8am and only had to drive five hours.
Yes, only 5. After you drive 15, 5 ain't no thang!
We stayed at our usual Hilton Inn, in the Presidential Suite which is a vacation in itself!
After a whirlwind week in CO preceding a super busy 48 hours in Rapid City a little R&R is required!
The kids clean and watching a movie - we totally let them watch Vacation.
I couldn't say no, since Mark said yes and my dad always used to refer to WI Dells as Wally World.
They loved it….and promised to forget the inappropriate parts;-)
And Mark and I relaxed and watched some Big Brother.
Morning came quick and we had breakfast at the hotel and headed to Old MacDonald's Farm.
We haven't been there in a few years and knew it would be a hit.
The baby goats were a bit aggressive so we didn't stay long.
We let V stay with the baby chicks as long as she wanted.
She would come out and go back in to let them eat out of her hand.
There was a pig race.
That doesn't happen very often.
There were goats everywhere and C was in heaven!
And so was this little dude.
We called her the Bird Whisperer!
She had huge turkeys eating out of her hand!
Brecken's first pony ride EVER!!!!!
C actually said, "I wish I lived in there."
What he really meant by that I have no idea.
But, at the time it was funny.
Less than two minutes later he said, "That's the mean one," and pointed.
I said, "No it's not."
Then it head butted me in the thigh so hard I almost fell back.
He and I were outta there so fast.
When we were safely on the other side I said,
"Do you still want to live there?"
"Not with that one!"
We headed to Keystone.
There we went to the fossil shop we talk about all year.
She had a really hard time making her choices.
I'm pretty sure Mark just ended up buying her everything she wanted.
Look at that smile…
don't you agree?
He wanted a half set of antlers.
I guess if he can't catch a deer this may be as close as he gets.
Every year we see a snake in these rocks.
I told C to go and catch it.
And then it didn't move and he actually could so I told him to RUN!
He's a good listener.
We came upon Storybook Island last year.
It is so gorgeous.
Being an elementary teacher and mom of small children, children's books have a special place in my heart. However, I would venture to say, this place would make anyone happy.
I printed this picture and am going to frame it in my kitchen.
What a powerful piece of writing!
I don't remember it from last year, but we'll take their picture with it each and every year from here on out!
I dread the day they don't want to go to Storybook Island!
V took this pic as we stood there completely motionless.
She took five and then said, "I got a really good one!"
That's my girl!
Last year when we were leaving and were completely in awe when we saw an advertisement for your own brick. Most paths are laid with engraved bricks. Mark and I were like, "YES!!"
I filled out the paperwork and waited for the notice it had been laid. And waited and waited.
I must admit I was a bit nervous we were taken for $50.
But in early June we got the post card.
You can find your brick on the Noah's Ark path.
When we got to Storybook Island I pretty much pushed B in the stroller past everything and missed many photo opps because I couldn't wait to find our brick.
Here it is:
It's official, we can't have any more kids…they won't fit on a brick!
B holding on to the giraffe this year...
and last year…
from a little nursing five month old baby to a running, wildly independent toddler in 12 months.
Back to the hotel to relax. . .
We headed to Reptile Gardens right when they opened at 8am.
Again, seriously amazing.
The first couple years we went they had a 130 year old galapogas tortoise named Methusala.
We asked about her last year and the girl cried saying she passed away.
Thank goodness they have adopted 108 year old Orville.
I really really love it there.
I could take pictures all day long.
But look at Victoria.
She could move in there.
She scratched his neck and photo bombed many people's pics because she didn't want to walk away!
His second mommy.
Bear Country USA
Everybody gets a turn to drive.
I let this little monster out of his carseat as soon as we got in there.
It was a busy Saturday and it took almost 30 minutes to get to the bears.
So I wrestled with him in the front seat until he was finally able to see something that interested him.
but don't let it fool you.
Lasted about 9 seconds.
Mark and I just know, if he cuddles, you immediately document it.
It doesn't happen often.
This is just about when Brecken OPENED my car door!
Yep, reached down and opened the door!
I pretty much died.
Then put him back in his carseat.
C got a bear hat, I mean it was only 94 out that day!
We immediately headed to Mount Rushmore.
Mark considered (wanted) to skip it.
But for 20 minutes and $11 I thought it was worth it to get a family picture.
What do you think?
It was really sunny and the lady said, "Check it."
I said, "I'm sure it's fine! Thanks so much!"
We walked away and were almost to the parking lot when I really did check it and OMG their heads are cut off!!!! I couldn't believe it!
Everyone was grumpy.
Tired. Exhausted. Hungry. Five Hot Messes.
I was close to tears.
Mark said, "Do you want to go back?"
I said, "No, of course not."
Five steps later, "We have to….."
We turned around and went back.
Mark said, "Now pick somebody who knows how to take a picture."
So I looked around and randomly picked another lady.
This one, older, without children.
Just what I wanted!!!
From there only four hours to Mitchell, SD.
The One Water Slide Wonder that made everyone happy!
Headed to the pool…in my Top 10!
This 16 month old sure lived a lot of life on the ten days!
And these two!
Love when they work like a team!
And this f&^%(*%g place.
Not only is it ridiculous it's even famous, but it was under construction!
Long, but funny story.
Because, "it's what you're supposed to do!"
This is the photo of desperation!
We were at Ground Round less than 2.5 hours from home and Brecken HAD IT!
He was pissed at the world and our waitress and his food and me.
So Mark took him outside to watch us from the window.
Seems funny now...
Then he did this for a couple hours and was much happier.
The Official Humphrey road trip photo.
What a Wild Ride.
So proud we make the effort (it ain't easy) and memories each year.
Already looking forward to next year.
**Moments not to forget**
Looking for Brecken's jean shorts for 15 minutes.
I looked everywhere and then C comes around the corner.
"Christian!!! Are your shorts tight?!"
"What do you mean? Were my socks hard to put on? Yes, I could barely move my legs."
"That's because you have BRECKEN'S shorts on!"
"Oh! (and laughs) I am just so excited to get to the farm I didn't notice!"
Once again Mark and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. ;-)