South Dakota Day One!

 On Sunday, July 22nd we loaded up and headed for South Dakota.  The cousins had hatched a plan for RJ to join us on our adventure.  We had room and once you have four, what is one more!
 Our first stop was the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.  It was a sink hole that has preserved mammoths from 26,000 years ago.  So far a paleontologist have unearthed 60 mammoths!
 The kids really enjoyed the tour where we listened at different spots along the dig site.
 They were impressed with just how big "Manny" was.  A modern elephant could walk under the chin of the Ice Age Mammoth.
At the bottom of the excavation.  They have a ball at the top to show where the first mammoth bone was discovered when a housing development had been planned. 
 Hailey was really interested in the dig site.
 Kaitlin was quite upset that mammoths had fallen into the water and drowned.
 RJ loved the giant bones!
 Karlie was intrigued by how old the bones were.
This was Hank's favorite replica, the prehistoric bear that he called the "Bad Doggy from Transformers" (See episode 2).

The kids did great on our first day in the car.  They were so happy to have RJ along.  They watched movies, sang songs and had a great tip into the Black Hills!

Truck Yeah!!

Saturday, July 21st we flew to the Mile High city at the crack of dawn.  It was one of those crazy Katie planned days where there is hardly a moment to catch your breath.  I got up at 3:30 am with anticipation of our big day.  Even with getting up so early, we managed to be rushed getting to the gate.  But once we were on the plane it was relaxing.  Max worked and I sat dumbfounded that all the kids were perfectly content -without any involvement from us.  I am going to have to start bringing a book I guess.  Once we gathered our bags and met my Mom at pick-up, it was off to the rental car office. 
Apparently there is a shortage on minivan rentals this summer.  When I was booking our reservation the prices were sky high.  After lots of searching I found one much cheaper at a Budget near my parent’s house.  When we arrived, there was not a minivan in the lot.  I was thinking we were going to have to drive two cars.  A big grin spread across my face as were upgraded to a fully loaded Suburban.  What a sweet ride!  I am not sure I can convey how tickled we were to get this awesome car at a third of the price minivans were going for.  It made our road trip.  It may have ruined us for future state trips because once you go fully loaded, its hard to go back.  
After getting the kids settled with my Mom and Snork, we were off to see our friends to go to the Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney concert.  Hailey was able to spend the night with her two best friends.  As we pulled up all the neighborhood kids came running.  They had posted look outs from both entrances to signal when they saw us.  It was so sweet to see everyone again.  Hailey had a wonderful day of swimming, seeing the Katy Perry movie and playing with the old gang.  While Hailey was having a ball, we left to the Rio for maragritas and well that’s where the trouble began.  Truck Yeah!
It was one of the wildest and funniest nights of my life.  The concert was fantastic.  Even Payton Manning came out to cheer.  The only downside was that after the concert we were supposed to meet my sister Mel for her 40th birthday downtown.  Max and I were under the impression the concert ended at 8:30.  However, it wasn’t over until 11:30.  We then got lost trying to find the bar my sister was at and walked around a not so nice part of Denver for nearly 2 hours.  We called for a cab three times and they never showed.  Max had more blisters than I do.  We finally made it to bed around 2 am only to get up at 6:30 to get ready for our drive to South Dakota.  Gotta live like you are dying as Tim would say!  It was fun to pretend we were 21 again, only problem was our bodies reminded us for a few days that we are most certainly not 21.


On Mondays we go to the kids summer movie program.  One day they had Batgirl up for the new Batman movie.  I thought Hank was going to come unglued.  Could it be all he's ever dreamed of in a woman???  He was so cute.  His first crush!
 The next week it was Batman, his ultimate hero.  Hank has only seen the 1969 version and the cartoon until this weekend when we got to watch the 1990 Batman with Michael Keaton.  It required quite a bit of Max fast forwarding, but Hank was still hooked and mesmerized by Batman.  I wish that they made a family version of these epic comic series.  Why can't they make movies the way they make songs with R  and G rated versions?  At least for the DVD, you could select your level.  You know, like subtitles or something.  Just bleep out the bad words, cut out the sex scenes and tone down the violence.  Kids would be delighted and parents would buy it.  Hollywood are you listening??
 It seems strange when Target and Walmart are pushing toys for all these movies to young kids, yet the movies are rated for teens and adults.  Hank would love nothing more than to see Batgirl on the big screen.  Unfortunately, he will have to wait and keep dreaming about her until she comes to DVD and we can preview and fast forward.

Cow Appreciation Day 2012

Today is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A!  
 They are giving away a free meal to anyone dressed up as a cow.  The kids had so much fun becoming cows.  Karlie made Hank's cow costume all by herself.
 The herd enjoying their free lunch!  We had so much fun today meeting our neighbor herd for lunch.  The kids even got free ice cream.
Thank you Chick-fil-A!
Starbucks was also giving away their new drink Refreshers.  Of course we had to swing by and give it a try.  We tried both the lime and berry.  Not berry good was the conclusion by the herd.  I have had a MOOing good time with my calves as we MOOched and grazed all over town this week.


 Yesterday, 7-11, was a day of summertime indulgence.  Every Wednesday we put on our food critic hat and the get the Scoop on Ice Cream in Scottsdale.  The kids each have a checklist that they fill out and then rank the ice cream shop.  They will be doing a post on it at the end of the summer with their results for the best ice cream in Scottsdale.
 We started our day of indulgence at the Sugar Bowl.  Then we came home and lounged around until Hailey's buddy came over to spend the night.  Max was working late, so I thought we would go to In and Out Burger for dinner.
 Since it was 7-11, the convince store 7-11 was giving away free Slurpees.  You know I can't pass up anything free.  So what if we have already had ice cream, french fries and deliciously greasy cheeseburgers.  It's summer baby!
Slurpee away!  Then to top of the day of indulgence, we watched Harry Potter with popcorn.

According to the LA Times, more Freebies are ahead this week.  On Friday Starbucks will be giving free Refreshers from 12-3 and Chick-fil-A will give a free meal to those who dress up as a cow.  Hmm, where can I get 5 cow costumes???  I guess I know our Friday craft!  Finally, on Saturday Dippin' Dots will be giving out samples of their Clusterz ice cream.  I just love summer!!

A Day at the Beach!

 Nana PJs!
 Here comes trouble...
 Our final day of vacation we made it to the beach.  Nana and Pops got a minivan that fits 8!  We were so grateful for the great ride.  It was nice to be able to all ride together.  Minivans Rock!
 At first it was very overcast and cold.  
The kids didn't care, they were getting in the ocean.
  They would come back and get buried in the sand to warm up.
Hank was buried to his chest.
 Kaitlin was completely buried except her face.  Guess she doesn't have any claustrophobia issues!
 Karlie took a belly flop approach.
 We got to make sand castles. 
 The kids were so happy running all around, splashing, and digging in the sand.
 Their version of Crater Lake. :)
We closed out the day and our trip with S'mores leaving us all wanting just a little more time.  Can't wait until next summer!

China Camp Beach

 After our Oregon adventure we had a few days to rest and play at Nana and Pops' house.  
The kids were dying to go to the beach but we weren't ready for the big excursion.  The Villa is about 10 minutes from China Camp Beach, so we headed there for the afternoon.
 While Chris and Anna kayaked, the kids played and we got to just relax and take in the fresh air in the warm sun.
 Hank was completely absorbed in the sand.  He loved digging, building and rolling around in it.  Such a kid!
 It was so fun to watch them play and hunt for shells.
The beach is very rocky and all the kids cut their feet on the sharp shells and rocks.  Flip flops wouldn't stay on in the water so we will have to bring water shoes next trip!
 The whole group beachin' it!  China Camp was a great primer for the big beach day to come.

Spaghetti Tacos

Hailey is a fan of iCarly and on the show a family favorite meal is spaghetti tacos.  Hailey has been begging to have spaghetti tacos for dinner, so I finally let her go for it.
She thought it was pretty good.  I thought it was great because we had spaghetti the night before and then Mexican the next night and she ate up the leftovers.  Everybody is happy thanks to iCarly, even if it is a bit weird.

4th Fun

  The 4th of July on a Wednesday is kinda of a bust.  However, we were so excited that it was in low 70s and raining!  No raining on our parade, it made our day!  The cool was so refreshing.  It was like being somewhere normal in the summer.  You could be outside and enjoy it.  We were hoping for some of God's fireworks, but happily settled for rain and clouds.
  Max was on-call and had to work in the morning but when he got home we headed to the Tumbler Tour where Hank (and Max) got to see the official Batcar and Batbike from the Dark Night!
Hank was thrilled.
 He even got to shake Batman's hand and show off his muscles.  He was star struck.  
The ladies liked Batwoman.  Karlie thought her yellow boots were great.
 After that we headed home for a little swimming and family game time.  Rocking the LIFE game!
Karlie had been working on a tooth for a few days and convinced Max to yank it!  It was a Yankee-doodle dandy when she lost it!
There are teeth falling out left and right around here.  The Tooth Fairy is going to need a loan and we are going to have to work on our brushing. :)
 What holiday would be complete without Max's Famous Ribs.  I don't know how, but they seem to get better each time he makes them.  Mouthwatering!
All American with corn on the cob, although we have to cut it off for more than half the family with all the toothless and braces smiles.
 Festive pie!
 The kids gathered around to watch a their favorite 1966 Batman on YouTube.
 Holy Shockies Batman!  Those fireworks are illegal!
 How can you have 4th of July without any fireworks?  To be safe, we set them off by the pool.  The kids danced as we played Katy Perry's Firework song.  It was a fun night.
I remember our first 4th of July here last year and am delighted how different the mood was.  We were pretty blue then.  Amazing how time can transform you.  We are all pretty happy this year.  It was still hard to be all alone.  All of our friends were even out of town, but it wasn't complete sadness like last year.  Ever so slowly this damn dessert is growing on us and we are learning to celebrate being MKHKKH.