Monday, July 22, 2013

Family Visit!

Well, as you all know, my family came to visit us for a long weekend!  We really enjoyed ourselves and it was so great to be able to spend time with them.

I was in Sioux Falls for a business trip Wednesday afternoon through Friday afternoon.  The logistics of my family's travel worked out perfectly and they were heading through Sioux Falls just as our meeting ended, so I actually jumped in the van and rode back to Rapid with them! We dropped Matt's mom off at an exit where her brother and father met her and took her up north for the next 36-ish hours.

We arrived around 7 pm and the boys were just so excited to see Granny, Grandfather, Gigi, Aunt Charissa, Uncle Travis, and Rylee!  Sarah (my cousin), Tim, and their daughter Mikaela also arrived that evening around 7:30.

We played on the swings for a little bit with the kids, then my parents and sister's family went to their cabin to get settled.  The Cissels (Sarah, Tim, Mikaela) stuck around and we enjoyed a bit of wine together.

Saturday morning, we started out with a breakfast buffet at the Golden Corral.  It was delicious, and I'm pretty sure I consumed about 2 days worth of normal calorie intake in that one meal.  Afterwards, we did Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore.

Saturday afternoon, we relaxed at our apartment for a while, cooked burgers and dogs, then went to the campground where my family was staying and just hung out.  We had planned to swim in the lake, but there turned out to be no beach as we had planned.  The kids played on the swing-set, and I just enjoyed being in the company of my loved ones!

 Rylee with my boys on Saturday morning.
Mikaela, Jameson, Hendrix, and Rylee at Crazy Horse.
Crazy Horse.
Grandfather with Mikaela and Hendrix.  Jameson was too cool to be in the picture.
Sarah and I at Mt. Rushmore!
The four cousins Saturday evening at the campground. 
Sunday morning, I got up early and got a 5k run in.  I needed it!  Then, I cooked breakfast.  I made 2 breakfast casseroles and we had bagels with cream cheese, fresh fruit, and muffins.  It was quite a spread and so tasty!

After breakfast, Matt headed to Pierre to pick up his mom and the Cissels headed back south to Colorado Springs and the rest of us decided to check out Reptile Gardens.  We had been there, but were eager to go again, because it was so cool!  Once again, it did not disappoint.

 Not sure if you can see it or not, but there is a section of this snake - right in the middle - that is rounder than the rest.  He had obviously recently eaten.  Crazy!
Reptile Gardens.
Petting the giant turtle.  Didn't get a picture of it, but only my crazy son would put his cheek on the turtle's dirty shell and love on it like it's his blankey.  Hahaha.  He was a stitch.

Sunday afternoon, my Aunt Julie (dad's sister) and her husband Larry arrived from southern Arizona.  We sat and chatted with them for a while.  We rarely get to see them so it was a real treat!

Sunday evening, everyone minus Matt, myself, my sister, and Travis, headed off to dinner at Applebee's, and the remaining 4 of us went out to eat at Sanford's here in Rapid.  This place is so cool, and their food is great!  Matt was a responsible gentleman and enjoyed his coke so that the rest of us could enjoy an adult beverage.  I was able to try Fat Tire beer, which is a local brew that I've been wanting to try for a while.  It tastes similar to the Moose Drool that we love so much, but is lighter and less hoppy.  Good stuff.
Reptile Gardens.
We woke up Monday morning with no particular plans, though we decided to go to Bear Country in the morning.  Believe me - you won't leave that place without seeing some serious bear-age!  There were so many of them, and they were all so cute!

After Bear Country and a light lunch at our apartment, myself, Charissa, Rylee, Travis, and Hendrix went to Rushmore Water Slide Park.  It was TONS of fun!  Two of the big twisty slides allow double riders so I got to take Hendrix down with me.  He just had a ball and seeing his cheesy grin and hearing his contagious giggles meant more to me than anything!
Monday evening, we all had dinner at Pizza Ranch.  Matt took Jameson home and spent time with his mom while I went back to my aunt and uncle's hotel with them, Rylee, Charissa, and Travis and Hendrix.  Rylee, Hendrix, Uncle Larry, and Charissa swam and Travis, aunt Julie, and I sat and visited.
Tuesday morning, everyone headed back east.  Everyone was pretty darn exhausted, but of course, not ready to say goodbye.  Some tears were shed, but that was to be expected.  It was so awesome being able to spend 3 whole days with my family.  We are already saving spare change and doing all we can to set up a nice fund for our travels home for the holidays!

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