All Girls School

August 7, 2008, 10:52 am
Filed under: baby, Bubba, kindergarten, mimi, preschool, school, summer, swimming

Bubba has decided that she’d like to start school on the 18th this year. I have learned from last year’s drama not to try to push her into waiting until after Labor Day and let her start when the masses start. Technically that should be the 14th, but Dad and I are taking a solo road trip that Thursday, so she’s chosen the following Monday. This means that I have spent the past three days quickly putting together our curriculum for the year. I had most of it ready, but I wanted to look more closely at it all and make sure I wasn’t leaving out anything important. Plus, some of it I am creating myself, so that has required some research on my part. I also developed a loose schedule. It’s not something to adhere to, but a general guide that will help us stay on track to accomplishing our goals for the year.

We have been school supply shopping with the older two girls so far. There’s just something so great about $0.20 crayons. I probably should have purchased another set of drawers to hold all of the crayons and markers and paints we’ve purchased. The thing is, come next summer, we will have to scramble to find any left to use. Oh well, that’s why we stock up so heavily when they’re cheap.

Mimi should find out who her teacher and classmates are today. We’re going to a good bye party for some dear friends tonight and the house just so happens to be next to the school, so we can go look. We have a meet the teacher night on Wednesday and then school starts on Thursday. I am really hoping that she’s in AM Kindergarten so that I can take her and pick her up from her first day before we have to take off. If she’s in PM, I’ll only get to drop her off and I’ll probably cry the whole way to Utah for not getting to talk to her and hug her after her first day.

Baby begins preschool this year. She’ll go two days a week and I’ll get to be in the room one day per week. She is very excited and can’t wait to go buy her very own backpack. We go to back to school night on her birthday and then she starts after Labor Day. (as it should be, thanks Ms. K)

It’s too bad that this last full week of summer is so stormy here. We did spend three hours at the pool on Tuesday, though, so that should get us through to Sunday when we hit a water park with a bunch of friends. It’s kind of our last hurrah.


South Dakota Wrap Up
July 31, 2008, 9:00 am
Filed under: baby, Bubba, camping, family, girlies, history, mimi, summer, swimming, vacation

Be warned, this will likely be very photo heavy. For any family and friends that want to look at all the photos from the trip, they can be found here.

We started out well and the drive up was uneventful and loooooong. It took about twelve hours to get to our campsite.

For the last hour we started driving toward some weather that our friend in the other van referred to as the “Black Doom of Death”. The photos don’t really do the darkness of it all justice.

Then something amazing happened. As we crossed the state border from Nebraska into South Dakota, there was a bend in the road. As we rounded it, the sky looked like…

It was all very dramatic and we took it as a good sign. We finally arrived at our first campsite and checked in. As soon as we had both paid in full, we turned to go out to the cars and saw a sign on the doors stating that there were no wood fires allowed in their campsite. That was a shock to us since it hadn’t been mentioned anywhere on their website or anywhere else. We opened the door and found that it was not only pouring down icy rain, but hailing, too. Luckily, by the time we drove over to our spots it had subsided and we set up camp. It went much better than last time. The girls passes out pretty quickly and Dad and I and our friends sat around in the dark with no fire until it started to sprinkle again. It was great to fall asleep to the sound of the light rain on our tent.

We woke up dry and I called around to other local campsites to see if they allowed campfires. We found one two miles away that did, so we packed up camp and got our prepaid nights refunded to us. Bubba shot this one of us saying goodbye to our first site.

This was the view right at our new site.

After we got our new site set up, we headed out to the Mammoth Site. It is a live dig site and was fascinating to find out about how all of the Mammoths died in that site and see them being dug out.

Next we headed down to road to Cascade Falls. It is a simple little roadside park. When we walked down a short set of stairs, we saw a cascading waterfall that made three separate pools. There were a bunch of people already swimming and we hopped in. Mimi had been talking about swimming in the waterfall for months, so I was thrilled to watch her finally get to do it.

That evening, after a super windy storm roared through, we cooked some dogs and brats on our crackling fire, followed up by s’mores made with Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and chocolate marshmallows.

The next day we decided to go to Mount Rushmore. As we were driving through one area, we came around a corner to see

After that we drove past Crazy Horse and saw it from the highway. After that, the next stop was Mount Rushmore.

We stayed there for a long time, reading exhibits, watching films and eating ice cream. Bubba was in heaven and telling us fact after fact that she had previously learned in her book and that she read off of the exhibits.After that we went into town a bit and rode the alpine slides. Everyone had fun on them even though many were fearful of the old chair lift that we rode to the top.

We headed back through a park that had a super windy road that zig zagged up a high hill. At some points, we had to sound our horns going through tunnels because the road went down to one lane. It was a big adventure, but worth it when we got to the lookout at the top.

That night the rain held off until after supper, but it poured for a good hour. Our campsite turned into a muddy swamp. The kiddos fell asleep during the storm, but after it stopped, we grown ups got out, started the fire back up and sat around it until the wee hours, enjoying the stars and lack of bugs for a change.

The next day was cave day. We drove down the road just a little bit to the Wind Cave. It was in the mid to high 90s outside, but a refreshingly cool 53 degrees down in the cave. We went down about 200 ft. at the lowest point of our tour and walked down about 300 steps. The younger two girls were nervous about the whole cave thing at first, and were a little nervous when they turned out all of the lights at one point, but other than that they loved it.

Once we finished walking the cave tour, we headed to Evan’s Plunge. It’s an indoor water park that’s fed by the hot spring. I think “hot” is a relative term. It was not hot, but more lukewarm. There were slides and floating crocodiles and swinging rings and sprinklers and the kids all had a blast playing in the water for hours.

As we were pulling back into the campsite, we saw this.

The guys ran up the road and borrowed some wifi from our previous campsite to check the weather as it was looking very bad and the lightning was pretty intense. They came back with a forecast full of hail, high winds and lightning. We decided to pack it up and hit the hotel so that we wouldn’t be stuck in our tents evening and night. Suddenly we heard the storm sirens from the town going off, so we decided against packing up neatly and just tore it all down and threw it in the vans. Here’s the empty site about ten minutes later and the sight inside our van (which was a disaster).

Would you like to know the irony of it all? It rained less that night than the other nights we had toughed it out. In fact, I’m not certain it ever really did more than sprinkle on us. Oh well, it was nice to sleep in a bed and have a shower that I didn’t need to wear shoes in.

We decided that there weren’t any other must sees on our list the next day, so we decided to head south a bit and find some fun stuff along the way. We stopped at Carhenge, which I was so hoping we would get to see.

We ended up in North Platte, NE. We were going to go to a go kart track, but ended up going out to our one really nice meal and swimming in the hotel pool instead. The next morning, after a big breakfast, we headed home. We were all very glad that we had gone a few hours south the day before, as we ended up at home around 5:30 that evening instead of closer to 10 or 11. We drove 1600 miles, had a blast and miss our friends a lot, but have plans for a camping trip closer to home with them next summer.

Swimming Lessons
June 26, 2008, 10:18 pm
Filed under: baby, Bubba, girlies, mimi, sports, summer, swimming

Bubba and Mimi are in swimming lessons right now. They do them in a family’s backyard pool with two college-aged boys teaching. These boys are so laid back and calm with the kids and the girls are loving it.

Here’s Mimi “cheating” by picking the shark up with her toes.

Poor Baby doesn’t get to do lessons this year, but so far she’s been placated by wearing her swimsuit and snacking during the lesson.

They have learned so so much in these small lessons. Bubba’s crawl stroke is so much better and more controlled than when she started. She’s also starting to turn her head to breathe instead of lifting her head straight up. We’ve been toying around the idea of joining swim team and the progress she has made this week alone is leading me to think that it would be a good fit. Mimi is swimming with her face in the water, floating and kicking at the same time. She goes under completely to retrieve objects and jumps off of the side with abandon. These are big leaps from where she was last week.