Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Wild West

 The Shivley Family Reunion took us West to Palmer Gulch Resort near Hill City, South Dakota.
We have been looking forward to this trip, as it has been three years since the last time Adam has seen some cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.  The reunion rotates by location depending on which family is organizing the chaos.  It is a great time had by all and we look forward to seeing everyone in three more years!

We were packed and ready to hit the road as soon as the boys stepped off the ice from practice on Sunday.  We dropped their gear at home and continued West.  After about 4-5 hours (give or take traffic and rest stops) we pulled in to Sioux Falls just after dinner time.  Gramma, Grampa, Missy and the girls were in the pool and swimming was just what we needed to stretch and get some energy out!
As we rolled into Sioux Falls, so did a nasty storm!
It was crazy watching all the cycles coming home from Sturgis in the rain!
No thank you!
Up the next morning and on the road again for the last 5ish hours!  If it were up to Adam we could have peed in diapers and ate in the car, however I am glad we were falling Gramma and Grampa and the girls to stop and eat and stretch and use toilets at rest stops!

The boys rode well as each hour or so we had surprises for them.  Ninja Turtle busy books, Star Wars coloring pads, new TMNT movies, and more!
Big smile on Adam's face because his driving is done for a couple days!
 A huge bear in the lodge...
and a buffalo!  I told the kids if they didn't go to bed at night that the buffalo came alive and roamed the halls.  Their eyes got huge, but then I had to tell them I was joking.
 Giving him kisses.
Once at the resort, what else do we do but sit quietly and play play-do?  The boys play it with the girls as they know we don't have it at our house.  I can't stand the smell of it, it bothers me when colors get mixed, and I don't want it smeared in my carpet.  ;)
 We stayed at the Palmer Gulch KOA Resort just 6 minutes away from Mount Rushmore.  The Black Hills were BEAUTIFUL!  You could choose from staying at the lodge, rustic cabins, or camp.  We were in the lodge ;)
 These four kiddos were just excited to be out of their car seats!
 Silly Faces
 A lot of scenic pictures snuck in... pictures do not do it justice!
 We had dinner at the Reunion Lodge each night.
 I loved watching the littles play with Great Gramma Zielke.  We don't get to see her nearly as much as we would like, but it doesn't faze the kids from spending time with her, making her smile, and being super comfortable with her!
 Of course Ashton needs to sneak in a silly face!
 Group Silly Faces!!!
 Gramma is laughing too hard to hold her silly face.  I will not apologize for all the pictures.  Some day we will look at these pictures and remember all the great times with very special people!
 After the Door County Trip and stating I was only in 4 pictures, my father in law made it a point to grab either my camera or his and snap some pics.  Thanks, but no thanks ;)  I HATE pictures of myself and I let him know I edit and upload to the blog so don't feel bad if you still don't see pictures of me ;)
 Nice huh?
 The Black Hills is full of rocks.  Rocks that tempted the kids to be climbing on... all... the... time.
They sparkled in the sun, and the dirt looked like glitter.  Really!
 Next time I want to stay in a rustic cabin.  They reminded me of the cabins from the original "Parent Trap" movie.
 Daddy supervising the rock climbing skills.
 Don't fall.  Seriously.
 Even Elise May was climbing.

 Picture time.  It was nice this year, we did pictures on the first night, instead of the morning everyone was getting ready to leave.  
*Please don't expect me to name all family members or family groups for that matter!
 The full group.
Beautiful Ladies.
The kids liked playing in the big open field below the Reunion Lodge.
 Brother and Sister.
Gramma Zielke and Ron
 The Reunion Lodge was the perfect size to host dinner and again, I loved how rustic it was.  I think it was one of the original buildings at the resort.
 After supper, we explored.  Of all the things to do... of course the boys found a pile of dirt and trucks!
The had two pools, a playground, inflatables, basketball, mini golf, a splash pad, and much much more!
 DIRTY FEET!  Good thing we had bathtubs!
 A kid dance party with music, bubbles, balloons, and glow sticks.
 I guess our two kids don't dance ;)
 Elle and Elise were up there!
 We visited the stables.  Will the boys ride with me?!?!
 This horse had the coolest eyes!
 Playing basketball
 Grampa rented a golf cart to get around.  Good thing as the resort was huge!
 and the kids liked driving/riding around in it!
 Our view
 I wanted to go for a horse ride, Daddy wanted to drive something with horse power.
We rented a UTV for 3 hours and Adam was in heaven.  The kids loved it too!
 Ready!  Just need a helmet!
 It seated 6 and these three cuties all wanted the back seat.
 See ya!
 The terrain was beautiful but not smooth the whole time!  Very fast, bumpy, muddy, and exciting.  
 Climbing a bumpy hill side.
 Stopped to switch seats.  The littles wanted up front now!
 We saw Aunt Amy, Mario, Rachel, Aunt Missy, and Rachel on the trails!
 After about a hour and a half, Aiden, Ashton Elle, and I wanted to go to the pool so Grampa got a ride.  Ashton wanted to stay and ride more... a boy after his dad's heart!
 Calling off in the pool.
 It was nice, they had two big pools, two hot tubs, and a kiddy pool!
 We kind of took over the kid pool.
It was rustic, but we didn't need to pump for water :)
 Playing with Mario.  Mario is Adam's younger cousin show looked up to Adam.  Now our boys look up to him ;)
 Although Adam didn't want to, we drove the 10 minutes to go to Mount Rushmore.  So glad we did.  
The rocks were amazing and again, pictures do no justice.
 The boys say they saw George Washington.  ;)
 The kids with their new friends - Rachel and Mario!
 Aides really takes to new friends and males.
 Mario was great with the boys too!
 It was a HOT day.
 Yep.  There's me by myself.  Aides was being the photographer ;)
 He must like his shoes enough to take a picture of them.
I see snap and shoot on their Christmas list so they keep their hands off my expensive camera!
The museum and movie about how Rushmore was made was interesting!
They used a models and scaled them up 12 times for the monument.  They used dynamite to get within 1/4 inch accuracy.

A scaled model of the monument and area. 
 The two Grammas by the state of WI!
 It wouldn't be a vacation if Adam didn't still have to work!
Stopping at a way side on the way home, you can see George Washington's profile if you look closely.
 We stopped by a quiet little lake to throw some rocks.
Looking for fish.  The water was so clear and deep!
 After rest time, Missy and I went on a trail ride.  I wanted the boys to come with but they needed to be 6 and there was no double riding.  ;(
 So they went on a bike ride with Mario and Matt!!!
 Aunt Missy's first time on a horse!
She rode Bo.
 I rode Huey.
 See you in 90 minutes!
The kids swam with Grampa and Adam while we enjoyed the scenery and the quiet time with Bo and Huey.
 Two little boys were disappointed they couldn't ride, however I am not confident they would have rode by themselves even if they were 6!
 The last morning, it was time to say good bye to family!  We don't get together nearly enough... did I already say that?

We were headed back to Sioux Falls to break the trip up.  Again, if it was up to Adam we would have had supper in the car and drove straight through.  NO THANKS!
We stopped in Hill City and visited the turtles first.
 You can't even see Elle, she blends right in!
So many signs to stop in at Wall Drug.  Walmart - Wall Drug what's the difference?  We didn't stop but we pointed out the HUGE dinosaur when we drove through.
 While on the trail ride, I met a lady that buys a case of Red Ass Rhubarb wine every year.
It was on our way home, so I had to stop too!
 Some neat bridges.
 Following Gramma and Grampa.  It was a long ride for the boys but they did great!
About a hour away from home, Aiden was done and was asking if we were home yet.
 I definitely want to do this trip again in a couple year.  It was a beautiful part of the country with a lot to do.  It was decided that the next reunion in three years will be in Colorado, so we will be out West again!

Home for three days, then packed back up and headed to a cabin North.  Nothing like sending summer vacation out with a bang!

Back to work and daycare tomorrow and the boys start 4K next week.  Can you believe it?