We Saw A Lot Of Rocks: part 3

On our first day in South Dakota we thought we would like to go to Wind Cave...well we ended up taking the long way to Wind Cave and not getting there in time for the last tour. But really it was ok because we were able to see some scenery...

Like this buffalo. Then we just decided to hang out at the hotel. The next day we got up took the short way to Wind Cave and took the tour. It was the second time I've been through the cave and if you haven't ever been in a cave it's kinda erie. The cave counts as Rock #3, even though I don't have any pictures of it. They never photograph well, and I'll come clean with you all, I forgot my camera.

Then we went to Evan's Plunge. Hadn't been there in years and it was still fun, just like when we were little. Evan still thinks he owns the joint.

That evening we were thinking "What to do, what to do?" Then we saw the Mini Golf course across the street. So we went. I'd never been mini golfing before! 

It was really fun and relaxing and my Dad was freakishly good at it.

Aaron tried out a couple different strategies. I'm afraid this one wasn't very successful.

Who would have thought we had to go to South Dakota to play mini golf and have a wonderful, relaxing evening with each other. That's why vacations rock and are so important to me. 



We Saw A Lot of Rocks: part 2

So after we left the wonderful Fort we headed north to South Dakota. We saw some signs that were just begging us to go to Toadstool Park. We decided to take the long gravel road and enjoyed the grasslands, then suddenly we were there, and it was odd, very odd.

As soon as we got out of the vehicle a man came up to us and said "Someone just reported a rattle snake in the area, please be careful." Thanks man, for making me feel even more uncomfortable on this new planet, called Toadstool Park. 

There are trails to walk up on the rocks but all of us minus Senor Smarty Pants and Aaron were certain we didn't want to climb them. With the rattle snake promise and unfamiliar territory we were sure we just wanted to stay close to the grassland. Then we followed those two, and before we knew it we were very high up and couldn't stop climbing. 

Well some of us really couldn't stop climbing, i.e. Aaron and Senor Smarty Pants. 

This place can be considered Rock # 2. 

I still don't know what to think of the park. There were some campers there, they looked as though they had moved in. They are stronger than I, much stronger. 

This basically sums up the whole park. You should go, if you're into rocks, sand, and feeling totally out of your element. Have I stressed enough that it was like nothing I've ever seen? For that reason, I am so glad I had the opportunity. 

Then we found these-So THIS is why they call it Toadstool Park! Totally makes sense now. 

After we left I thought to myself, I wonder what the pioneers thought of this place. They came from the east, what was it like to just be traveling along in your covered wagon on these vast prairies, then run into this? They probably thought: "What in the....? What have I gotten myself into?" Just a little window into the mind of Miss Jess E right there, and probably the pioneers. Just sayin'...



We Saw A Lot Of Rocks: part 1

As promised I'm back with information from our vacation, or as I've decided to call it: Holdiay, because I wish I had an English accent and just like how they talk. Hope that's alright with y'all, Can I combine Southern and English accents? Youbetcha-my blog, my rules. 

As I was going through my pictures I decided to do the Holiday in segments. I have a lot of pictures, we did a lot of different things and a mile long blog post is not very much fun to write-let alone take the time to read. 

So we started out the trip by eating at Ole's in Paxton. It's a bar that has a lot of history. They started out as just a bar-no food. Ole loved to hunt and during the 30s', 40s', and 50s', he traveled the world hunting whatever his heart desired, having it mounted and displayed in his bar. Then it became a steakhouse and bar and thankfully after Ole couldn't take care of it anymore the new owners kept the place open and it's still kicking. It's a really neat place to eat! 

PEATA-if you happen to be looking, please don't get on my back for this photo. Thanks.

I stated that I would love to go to Chimney Rock. So Chimney Rock we did. This would count as Rock #1. It's really interesting to me how different it looks in different lighting. It definitely has "moods," if you will, I noticed them in just the hour we were there.

I remember going to Chimney Rock when I was little and thinking it was cool. That was during my Pioneer stage and so I absorbed everything I could about pioneers, even just the things they saw-like this rock. I so badly wanted to go and see if the names they carved were still there, but they don't let you get that close.

This trip could also be called "We Saw a Lot of Native American Stuff" because well, we saw a lot of Native American stuff. I liked these moccasins, so I took a picture. Maybe I should bead mine...

We finally got to Fort Robinson-I feel like this place is my happy place. It's fresh, it's old, and it's relaxing. I just can't help but love it. We stayed in one of these buildings. They are the oldest remaining buildings on the Fort. 

They come with basically everything, you just bring your food and clothes. I had to capture this moment of Evan touching a dishrag. It was monumental. 

Saturday, I woke up and didn't feel so well. I half-heartedly went to the museums, and walked around a bit then slept the rest of the afternoon. The boys wanted to go "bluff climbing." I sent my camera with them and they were off, on an undesignated trail mind you, but I was not along to be the voice of reason. They still got some good pictures. 

Evan just got a new iPod and downloaded instagram-he's now addicted and thinks he can take awesome pictures, some don't turn out too shabby.

I sometimes wonder if Senor Smarty Pants grew up just 14 miles away from me or if he was actually raised on a mountain were climbing was required, it's almost an innate sense of his. Just a little odd. But it does fail him occasionally-he can get in quite the predicaments.

After looking at this picture I'm ok I didn't go, I don't like heights so much and this picture makes me nervous.

Now this picture I'm impressed with! I just love those bluffs! 

 And this one, they did a good job.

 There's a nice little lake you are allowed to fish on too, I'm telling you guys, if have not been up to Fort Robinson you need to go. It's just one of those places you should run around and explore.

LOTS of room for a fun game of 500. I believe this catch would have been worth 157.5. That makes it easy to keep track of your score- NOT.

Ok, I'm ready to go back now.



i'm baaack

I've been on Holiday...or as normal people call it-Vacation. We have been out of town for a whole 6 days and I haven't touched a computer in that long. It's been nice. I'll be posting soon pictures and information of our adventures. But today I'm going to leave you with a small snippet of something from the trip, my big purchase. 

Yeah I know it's summer, but I've wanted some Minnetonka's for a while and I finally was able to try some on and these are so different than anything else I have. So I jumped in and bought them. And if I don't end up wanting to wear them out and about-I never will have to buy slippers again because they will last so long. Plus I don't have a pair of brown boots. Have I justified my purchase enough yet? Gesh. 

I'll be back soon! 



Me and House Hunters

I have been having more fun with photography. I've been learning more and more simply by trial and error because reading things about photography isn't really interesting to me. I learn best by just jumping into things and learning as I go, I don't even know what the user's manual for my camera looks like.

I've learned a lot about lighting and angles, settings and other things in the last few weeks and I like how and where things are going. I know that photography is the "in" hobby right now and it seems everyone and their dog as a camera, a, big fancy camera and thinks they are a professional. I'm not claiming to be one and my photos come guessed it, trial and error and a little bit of a creative eye.

I'm learning that I love photographing things. People are great, but I really love looking at nature, architecture, old junk, and animals through the lens. I believe I will never have enough pictures of sunsets, clouds, pretty flowers, and...old junk, including cool buildings. This should not surprise anyone who has simply glanced through my blog.

But I have a confession. The other day I was wanting a new camera. (Today I still want...) A bigger camera, I love my Nikon S8100- even though I don't know what that means, but I wanted something that sure, "looked" a little more professional, but also made a cool clicking noise when I took a picture, and that would take even better pictures than the camera I had now. Upgrade is what I was thinking. I oould still keep the Nikon and it could be my "fits in my purse/coat pocket camera. Absolutely nothing is wrong with the camera I have now. It's convenient and a wonderful piece of equipment, plus its the first big gift that I ever received from Senor Smarty Pants.

After I spent an hour watching House Hunters on HGTV I realized I needed to take a step back from my wants. I spent that hour thinking the people on that show were so shallow. They had a list of needs that they would not concede on. 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, granite, pool, etc, then they saw a place with a media room and that became a "need." I sat there and judged them for the 30 minutes they were on and then a new episode started and a whole new family with a whole new list of "needs" came on. But who am I to say anything as I sit there with my wonderful camera, wanting and almost to the point of "needing" a bigger one? What could I do with that money instead? I could probably sponsor two of little Rui's friends in China for the cash that I was about to whip out for a new shiny piece of equipment. So does that mean that I will never upgrade cameras? Probably not, it just means that the camera is lower on the list of things that need taken care of. Prioritizing, it isn't always fun (is it ever fun?) but it's so necessary.

Sure, my desires were different than the people on House Hunters, but they came from the same place. And I don't like that place. I feel greedy in that place and I refuse to camp out there.



M is for Mother

Mom, Moer, Mommy, Mutter, Ma, Makuahine, Mama, Madre, Mami.

However you and yours say it, tell the lady Happy Mother's Day and thatcha love her.

Happy Mother's Day to my Momma!




Whew. It's about back to normal around here...except for the big pile of graduation gifts sitting in the corner of our living room. 

Last weekend was filled with cooking, cleaning, and me having to brush my hair and put on mascara, which by Sunday I would have been fine with never doing again. 

Our garage looked so nice when we got it all cleaned out. We have a little secret to getting most of the stuff out...we simply "throw" things in the boat and then pull the boat out and park it in the Quonset. But then we do have to clean out the window sills, sweep a couple times and cover up a few things that won't fit in the boat.  

What is this? Oh this is the tree outside the gym, where graduation took place...what are those on the tree? Ladies undergarments? YES. I thought this was a pretty funny and harmless prank, and I was pleased that they remained there for the ceremony. The boys wouldn't stop so I could get a decent picture when we went to see it before graduation, they didn't want to become "suspects."

We had really good seats, second row, right behind Aaron. I think he may have been a little less than thrilled with that set-up. 

Our little Alli D made such an excellent speech. It made me tear up, she is such a talented lady. 

Senor Smarty Pant's brother graduated too. I made sure to not make eye contact with their mother, it may have been bad news. 

The big moment! 

Aaron's cake. Doesn't it look great? Exactly what Aaron wanted! It was delicious. 

In all the hub bub of the party, translation: I was busy holding my teeny tiny, new baby cousin and I did talk to some people, I didn't get any pictures of the party. And while, Aaron and his achievement was the main event of the evening, we had another big mile-stone. Look below: 

I think I shall call this photo "Senor Smarty Pants Conquering His Fear." He likes babies and even is thinking about working with them in his nursing career, but he has always seemed to keep a safe distance from them, especially wittle ones like baby E, meaning he likes them from my arms, cause I'm kinda a baby magnet. But he finally did it! I had to document it.

It was a wonderful weekend and wonderful celebrations. 




Today's the day! The day that Aaron is graduating. Can you believe it? Can I believe it? Let me answer that for you: NO. Yesterday I was sad, I kept swallowing the lump. But today, so far, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm feeling pretty tough. I'm feeling like I can make it through the ceremony, because then I get to hang out with my awesome family! So, to continue the montage that has been this week in my life here's another picture of Aaron.

Im going to go steal some frosting off his cake. 
Wish me luck. 

Congratulations "Air Bear" so proud of you!
Crap I just teared up. 
I'll post pictures of the events soon, the graduation events, not me crying, but I'm not going to cry anyway, remember? 




Senor Smarty Pants said this to me yesterday "Nothing makes you more ready for summer than finals week."

I'm unsure if truer words have ever been spoken. But before this week I wouldn't have believed him. I have been ready for summer to get here, but I haven't been as antsy about it as I have been in the past. I've loved my classes this semester, and I'm sad to see them end. It has been unexpected.

We started to pack up Senor Smarty Pant's apartment, he isn't going to be living in the same place next year. I remember back in September it was almost the last place I wanted to be. But I kept going and kept working on it, even though I felt no connection to it. But tonight, while I was boxing things up, I got a little sentimental. I put a lot of time into that place. I collected and gathered. I scoured thrift stores for cool finds, and took advantage of sales at Target and Hobby Lobby. My glue gun, sewing machine, computer, and printer put in some long hours making a nice little first apartment for the brainiac and I guess in the process I got a little attached. That was certainly unexpected.

This week is "Graduation Week." I cannot believe it's here. It seems like just last week I was writing this post . But it wasn't last week, it was September 22! All over my facebook are posts about graduation, from the mother's of the grads and from the grads themselves. I read them and then move on...but...I can feel the dread starting to creep up. And I really don't want to have an ugly cry moment at the Graduation Ceremony, while they are playing the class video, or when they hand out flowers to their Mothers and I have to look around at all the other crying people-nope-I want to have that all out. But it hasn't came yet...that was unexpected.

I went to Old Navy today, not for me to shop but to pick up somethings for someone else...I walked out with two items for myself in addition to the things on my list. That was...expected...I guess it's nice to know some things will never change.