Friday, June 29, 2012

Backyard Campout 2012

Ryan's folks had a tent they had rarely used and told us we could borrow it. We decided to try it out in the backyard again since the kids enjoyed that so much last year. This tent is much bigger than our old one and gave us a lot more room. The kids had a blast helping Ryan set it up and each had to take a turn hammering in the stakes. Once the tent was up they proceeded to haul everything but the kitchen sink into the tent. We decided to forgo the campfire and ate marshmallows plain and popped some popcorn. We hauled the laptop out and watched a movie together as a family. The kids enjoyed it and slept very good. I, on the other hand, slept TERRIBLE! About 4 am a good midwest thunderstorm came through. It rained so hard and there was thunder and lightning. No one else woke up, but all I could think of was our tent being underneath the tree that had been struck by lightning twice and we were all going to be toast (literally). Thankfully it passed quickly and I could sort of go back to sleep. At least we found out that the tent was nice and waterproof!!! I am still not sure we are ready to attempt real camping...maybe next summer!

Opa & Oma come to visit!!!

Mid June my parents were able to come out for a visit. It was SOOO good to see my folks since we didn't get to see them at Christmas. It was extra special that we got to see my dad. Last August he suffered a stroke and I hadn't seen him since October when he had just been discharged from the hospital. After spending the week with my dad I was overwhelmed at God's goodness and incredible healing in his life. He is fully recovered and doing awesome! It was so fun to hang out with my parents and we are so thankful that God spared my dad's life and that we were able to spend a wonderful week together!

My sister, Tami, and her kids picked up my folks from the Minneapolis airport and then headed down here for the week. What a busy yet fun week we had! Here are some of the highlights of our week and you will see pictures of in the album above:
~ relaxing in the backyard
~ fun games of Cube in the yard
~ slip n slide
~ sprinklers under the trampoline
~ VBS!!!! (All the kids got to go while the adults stayed home and enjoyed a leisurely supper without kids!)
~ Brookings Children's museum
~ tye-dying shirts at the museum
~ learning some magic from the museum's visiting magician
~ morning runs with my sister
~ celebrating Father's day with my dad!
~ going to the local ski show
~ hiking around Falls Park and riding the trolley
~ Oma reading to the kids
~ bonfires and smore's
~ talent shows (check out the picture of Caleb & Joel playing the piano...they were fighting over the piano and my mom told them that one should play on the top and one on the bottom. Caleb didn't even hesitate and hopped off the bench and started playing the three pedals on the bottom! Problem solved! We laughed so hard!)

Overall it was a very fun week and we enjoyed being together so much! We were sad to see them go but look forward to the next time we are together!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Family Vacation to Omaha

Can you believe we have never been on an "official" family vacation? All our vacations are usually spent with extended family (which isn't bad, just different) so we decided we would actually attempt a short trip with just the 5 of us. Our destination was Omaha. 

We managed to locate a reasonably priced hotel with a kid friendly pool  near the zoo. We arrived in the evening and right away headed to the pool. The kids had SOOOO much fun and I think would have been perfectly happy spending the weekend at the pool. It had one water slide that all 3 kids went down over and over and over and over.... 

The next day we spent at the zoo. Omaha zoo is quite the place. We had heard great things about it and were VERY impressed. It was so nice to actually be able to walk around without a stroller and the kids did so well! Along with all the usual zoo animals there was a butterfly house, enormous desert dome that included swamps and caves and tons of cool stuff, an aquarium (which was my favorite because the fish swam all around you), and of course a real train, and a sky tram. The kids really wanted to try the tram, so I swallowed my nerves (as I don't mind heights, but with little kids, it does scare me a little) and we went for a ride. It was a lot of fun and gave quite a view of the zoo. We took a break for a picnic lunch at the car and then rode the train in the afternoon. The kids were troopers and had a lot of fun! 

After the zoo we had to eat at Red Robin for old times sake and it was as good as we remembered! We then headed back to the hotel for more swimming. The kids were pretty tired that night. I must say that they slept very well considering all 3 were in one bed! 

The last day we spent swimming again in the morning and then headed to the children's museum since our local museum got us in there for free. It was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed playing with all the exhibits. Kiera was extra excited because she got to meet a princess and attend a Mad Hatter tea party with her. 

Overall our first vacation experience was a HUGE success and we were so proud of how well our kids behaved and enjoyed themselves!