The kids and I went to the Black Hills the last couple of weeks to hang out with my parents and in-laws.

My mom broke her wrist playing baseball with Gray (she insists that the most important part of the story is that she caught the ball and he was out), and I had to go to the ER because I got an infected thumb that started to create a red line going up my arm (yes, I guess that really happens). Gray had some bathroom issues that I won’t get in to, and Nora went on an official eating strike.

Despite all of these things, like always, it was wonderful being home. Gray got to nurture his romance with the little girl down the road, we got to be with family and friends, drink a lot of wine, and the kids rode about 1000 mini-trains at all of the theme parks around the Black Hills. Not necessarily in that order.

The Black Hills has a plethora of theme parks; Flintstones and Storybook Island to name a couple.

I wasn’t going to let Nora ride the train at Storybook Island because I couldn’t actually ride with her, and well, the spider monkey on crack analogy still frequently applies. But then she turned into this and I was scared.

Not only did she ride the train, but she was completely convinced that she was driving that sucker.


Rockin the train at Rapid City’s Storybook Island

The girls spent an afternoon at Crazy Horse one day, and I found it interesting that Nora has the same birthday as Crazy Horse and the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, which is September 6th. And part of the reason that Crazy Horse believed in Korczak’s vision was because they shared a birthday.

I guess Nora was excited about this coincidence too.

While the girls were at Crazy Horse, Gray and Papa went to the Mammoth Site and Gray got to do a real mammoth dig. He was SO excited about digging out three mammoth ribs, but a little bummed because they wouldn’t let him keep the bones. I’m sure the whole time he was imagining hanging those things up on his bedroom wall.


As always, we went to Sylvan Lake (where Robb and I were married). We hiked and played.

We missed the daddy.

But it was a success. If success is defined as unconscious children. Which it is.



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