Tag Archives: #Vacation

The Revealing – a GSD Post

Road

Oh friends what a journey I have been on this year. I have said it before but please DO NOT chose the word DEPEND as your One Word if you don’t want a year full of stretching! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I feel like I have been on a bit of a roller coaster lately, but you know it is ok. I do know that God is working out some beauty in all of this and am trusting that He will be the One on which I can depend through it all.

He is faithful. He is steady.

When I am not, I can trust that He is.

I discovered this even more when I was on a family vacation in early June and Iย am sharing some of the newest things God has been revealing to me about myself over at God-sized Dreams today. Will you join me there?!

Mom Confessions and Updates

Mom Confessions

I haven’t blogged any real life confessions in a few weeks! I have had things to share, but we went on a vacation 2 weeks ago and had no wifi! So even though I had things I would have shared, I couldn’t…and can I confess that having a few weeks off felt good.

I love blogging, I love sharing my heart here and working out the nitty gritty of my faith, but when I start to feel the pressure to write, to have a certain number of posts in a week…it starts to lose its appeal.

Taking a break was good for me, necessary really and while I will continue to write, I am trying to lower the expectations I have for myself here.

Things have been a blur since coming back to the “real world.” We were scheduled to be greeters at church the Sunday morning after our return. Note to self, if you are randomly scheduled to greet the day after a vacation…switch with someone.

We were up until almost 1am unpacking and when the alarm went off I groaned…and I am a morning person! Karlena was the worst…crying that she was just SOOO tired! I felt her pain. But we were there, not with bells on…but we were there. The sermon was on baptism and so good..so there was a good reason we needed to be there besides greeting! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week flew by. I really don’t know what we did even. Why is it that you need a vacation from life after a vacation? We had a busy work week scheduled and I think we all struggled to maintain at full speed right out of the gate! Who does our scheduling anyways? A crazy person?!

Oh wait, that is me. :/

This week is VBS week.

VBS

I LOVE LOVE VBS week. Really it is a blast. I am helping lead the singing/dancing again this year and it is the highlight of my summer! It is the one time that I can laugh and dance and be goofy and I don’t feel people are judging me. And if they are I don’t even care because VBS just rocks so much!

I just unpacked my suitcase yesterday. I am honestly surprised that I did it this soon. But it was time, and I couldn’t find a second pair of clean socks to wear to VBS so it was necessary that I search for them in my bag. Isn’t unpacking after vacation the worst?

The Fruit Truck came to town last Friday and we purchased 40lbs of bing cherries. Yes we are nuts but oh were they delicious!! We also bought this cherry pitter.

Cherry Pitter

It was $22 and a splurge but oh how worth it! We set up an assembly line and had 20lbs pitted and frozen in no time!

This weekend the kids asked if they could do an experiment. Karlena grabbed a container and just wanted to add food coloring to water. Then Elijah joined in and wanted to make “goo”…he thought the ingredients were water, Elmer’s glue and “white powder”…I could have searched for a recipe but I was too tired…so we just let them dump and pour.

The result was not what they were hoping for and it made a mess everywhere.

Experiments

Karlena dripped green slops all over the floor. I have yet to mop it. I am secretly hoping the dog does the job for me. I know, I know.

I have fed the kids fried eggs for dinner 3 nights in a row. It is late when we get home from VBS and the kids are usually starving and since it seems we NEVER have anything to eat…eggs are the easiest answer. Thank goodness they love eggs.

We spent the afternoon on Sunday with friends and came home with 2 packs of farm-fresh eggs. Karlena calls them “chicken eggs”…I am not sure what animal’s eggs she thinks we eat normally, but apparently farm-fresh = chicken eggs.

There may be more I could share, but I am tired…and out of words. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week and hopefully I will be back sometime soon!

A South Dakota “Bacation” (goes to Wyoming) – Part Six

Alright, last but not least I have to share about our South Dakota, turned Wyoming, vacation stop! I haven’t ever been to Devil’s Tower, I have seen pictures, but it was another few hours farther West.

We decided that if we got going on our last full day at a reasonable time, it would be worth it to make the drive over the border to Wyoming because we were already so close.

Man was it worth it! What a site!

Devils Tower 1

It is pretty amazing seeing these rolling hills and then this tower of rock dominating the landscape!

Devils Tower 2

Devils Tower 3

Devils Tower 4

Once we parked there was a trail that some of us decided to hike around the base of the tower.

Devils Tower 5

Devils Tower 6

You almost can’t see it, but at the far left of the tower (picture above) a little more than halfway down, there was a climber. There were several actually and they need permission to go up! I am sure Isaac is planning a trip back there some day to do just that!

Devils Tower 7

Devils Tower 8

Apparently there is a wooden ladder on one side of the tower…you could look through these spyglass deals and see it. Karlena didn’t fully understand she needed her eye open though! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Birds circling the top.

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This tree was so interesting and unique I had to take a picture!

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Here are the prayer bundles that they warned about touching!

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The hike around the tower was a little over a mile. Karlena led the way most of the time.

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It was a wonderful way to spend our last day of vacation!

Devils Tower 18

Have you ever been to Devil’s Tower?

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Five

I don’t know that you can take a trip to South Dakota without stopping through Custer State Park. What a beautiful part of the State!

After our pontoon ride on Thursday we were only an hour or so away from Custer so we headed down that way. Our first stop was the Needles Highway.

Custer State Park 3

HUGE rock formations and narrow driving paths make this a fun adventure. Unless you are a over sized motor home who has come to a narrow, one-way tunnel and you have a line of traffic behind you and you can’t go forward, and you can’t turn around. It was a bad day for that family!! (I wish I had taken a picture – they had to close that section of the Needles Highway for a time!)

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There were several spots to get out and climb (this mama’s worst nightmare as my kids scaled up the sides of the rocks)

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Karlena would have loved to do this on her own!! I on the other hand thoughtย Dominic had to go with her!

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The we decided to head to the Custer Wildlife Loop in hopes to see some Bison.

It was HOT and sunny and I think all of the animals were hiding in caves somewhere….thus no wildlife, and no pictures…

Oh wait we saw a smooshed snake in the middle of the road. I didn’t take a picture ๐Ÿ˜‰

On our way back home we were heading through Custer (the town) and saw Scott’s Rock Shop. It was a find after a disappointing bison search. We were probably there over an hour and we spent WAAAAY too much money on rocks and treasures but the kids loved it and if I am honest the adults did too!!

If you head to South Dakota, Custer State Park is a MUST stop!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Four

In the middle of the week we took a morning and Dominic, Isaac and I went into Rapid City and had a tour of a potential college choice, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. It was a small campus, but we got a nice tour and if Isaac decides to pursue Engineering it will likely be a top contender. So crazy that we are having to makes these kinds of decisions already!

One thing I would say about vacations is to schedule in a down day. For almost every day we were in the Hills we were going, going, going. By Friday Gabriel asked if we could not drive somewhere and just stay home. So next year we are going to try and do that.

On Thursday morning we did something pretty fun, we rented a 22ft pontoon boat at Lake Sheridan. Gabriel really wanted to do some fishing, and my parents had done this with us last year when we were out there and it was a lot of fun, so we thought it would be fun again!

Lake Sheridan

We didn’t think of the idea until Tuesday so finding a place that had boats large enough for our group was difficult. The only boat we could find during a 3-day period was Thursday from 8am-1pm. It seemed early in the morning and I was worried it would be cold, but the day ended up being perfect!

Karlena fishing

Karlena caught the first of 4 fish. It was the cutest thing ever! Once it got in the boat she wanted to look at it but didn’t want to touch it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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I even caught a fish, we got 4 rainbow trout. It was awesome. Elijah posed with the one I caught! ย I felt bad because Gabriel didn’t catch anything that day but it was still a blast. ย The boat had a fish finder on it so the kids would watch that and then yell that a “big one” was coming!

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It was perfect weather, got a little warm even. But we had snacks and juice pouches etc. with us so it was a wonderful time on the water…even wore Karlena out completly!

Lake Sheridan

If we ever go back out there we will definitely do this again. It was only $165 for the 5 hours, the pontoon was plenty big for our group and the lake was beautiful! Fishing in a pontoon is so much easier than a small fishing boat because the kids had plenty of room to walk around and it didn’t sway the boat any.

We even did some swimming, well the bigger kids did. But the water was ice cold so they stuck really close to the boat. Karlena even wanted to go in so Isaac helped her a little, but once her legs got in that cold water she was over it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you ever rented a boat like this? What was your favorite part?!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Three

For those of you sticking along with all the vacation posts, thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know it can get boring to read about someone else’s vacation…but I wanted to post these so that I don’t forget everything we did. I didn’t do this last year, I did 1 big post I think and there were so many things I wished I had written down. So this is all about me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The only tough thing about vacationing with a large group is deciding what we should do each day! We had a range of ages between adults and kids and so tried to find things that we could do that worked for everyone.

We decided to check out Wonderland Cave on Tuesday.

Wonderland Cave

There are several caves in South Dakota that you can explore. This cave was about 30 minutes from our rental home and had the least amount of steps…so we thought it was the best bet for everyone.

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Gabriel and Elijah waiting for our tour to begin.

Wonderland Cave 3

Karlena loved this covered wagon…it would have been even better with real horses. She wants to ride a horse SO bad!

Wonderland Cave 4

After a short hike down a trail we came to the entrance of the cave. Our tour guide Kyle was quite a character…he made the tour interesting to say the least! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wonderland Cave 5

Wonderland Cave 6

Caves are pretty cool. Have you ever been in one? The only downfall was the steps were pretty steep and because of all the rain they had had the week before we came the steps were wet. A little scary at times, especially with the little ones!

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They called those formations bacon! ๐Ÿ™‚

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The tour was about 45 minutes long and the kids loved it (well all except our niece Ari…she just turned 2 and wanted to walk on her own, but because of the slippery steps she couldn’t so she was upset about that! ๐Ÿ™ ย But I think all in all it was a fun experience for everyone.

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A random picture of Isaac that he actually let me take of him! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have to have something for his senior graduation party!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Two

The first full day we spent in South Dakota was a little cold and windy. We decided to take a drive out to Spearfish Canyon. I wasn’t a smart mama and didn’t pack a jacket for anyone…it was sunny and warm when we left the house and after we drove for awhile, the weather got much cooler! Lesson learned – always pack a sweatshirt/jacket even if it seems we won’t need one!

Road Selfie

My only South Dakota Selfie! ๐Ÿ™‚

Spearfish Canyon is really beautiful. You drive through and there are so many beautiful things to look at and these little pull-off areas where you can park, hike and explore. ย Even though it was colder, because we were down in the canyon it wasn’t windy like it had been in Deadwood when we had driven through there earlier that morning.

Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon

When we planned to be out for the full day we would pack lunches and bring them with us. Saves money and time, and we could eat whenever we wanted to without having to find a restaurant for 16 people!

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The kids loved being able to explore for “treasures”…searching for cool rocks with different colors kept them busy for a long time!

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Karlena Rock Hunter

Throughout the canyon there are a couple of different waterfalls to stop and take pictures of.

Spearfish Canyon Waterfall

We had lunch by this one!

Spearfish Canyon Waterfall 2

Elijah was REALLY excited about seeing this waterfall!

Elijah Waterfall Celebration

He was running around and celebrating, it was hillarious!

Isaac

Isaac enjoyed the climbing the most. Any place we stopped he looked for placesย to climb. Once again this mama’s heart skipped many a beat watching him scale the rocks!

We had a fun day in Spearfish Canyon – have you ever been there? Dominic and I were there in late October one year and hoped to see the colors changing, but we were about a week late and ย it snowed that weekend so all the leaves were falling! ๐Ÿ™‚

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part One

Our family was blessed to be able to spend over a week away from home, vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I wanted to post while we were there, but I have read that one needs to be careful about blogging about a vacation during a vacation for security reasons…so I kept it quiet until we got back.

Karlena kept calling it our “bacation”…and the name stuck!

It is a LOT of work getting ready for vacation isn’t it? I was stressed before we left, but when we hit the road on Saturday afternoon we were all excited to go. It is fun to see the changes in scenery and one of the first things we noticed were fields and fields full of this yellow plant.

Fields of "moo-stard"

I asked Dominic what it was and he said it was “moo-stard” plants. Later in the week we were told it was sweet clover (boo)…fields of moo-stard (the Grey Poupon type) is a much more fun thought!

We decided to drive only 1/2 way the first day. Our kids don’t love being in the car for long drives…and staying in a hotel with a pool is a rare treat…so we did that. On Sunday morning we got up early and drove through the Badlands. Karlena wanted to go through the “Goodlands” instead….she was afraid of the Badlands.

Until she got there and we got out so the kids could climb around.

Climbing in the Badlands

Karlena has AMAZING skills when it comes to scaling rocks with no help. I had near heart attacks multiple times that week. She has NO fear! Dominic said it is as though she can look at the rocks and visualize the path she needs to take and she does that. I would have felt better if she were wearing a harness!

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Gabriel climbing as well!

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The only picture Dominic and I took together and I don’t think we got a single family picture…although I took over 100 pictures every day!

We went on to Wall Drug, which was crowded and overpriced…but it was fun to walk through for an hour or so. Riding the horse was the most fun Karlena had! She is obsessed with riding a horse! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wall Drug

We rented a home near Nemo, SD. Dominic’s parents, his brothers and their families joined us as well. The house was in a remote, yet great location for us to travel throughout the Hills every day. We saw a deer each night around 7pm and on our final morning there we had a flock of wild turkeys. (Neither of which I was able to get pictures of!)

Black Hills

When I hiked out from the back of our house I came to a clearing and this was my view. It was beautiful. I got some great videos of the wind and the grass and trees…I have a post idea just for that and will hopefully share soon!

God’s majesty was just so evident here. I know that it is all around us, but here, in a place with little cell service and no distractions…I just was more aware than ever of how amazing this planet of ours is!

I have lots more to share with you….but want to break this up for my families sake…so we can remember everything. So be back with more soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Where have you vacationed recently? I am looking for ideas for next summer already! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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