Monday, June 29, 2009

Wedding Bells and Fire Alarms

On the last weekend of June, we took another trip out the Rapid City, SD this time for a wedding of a friend of Joe’s which Joe was standing in. We left after Joe came home from work; it was a long drive, and when we got to the hotel we were staying at we found that they had already sold the room that we had booked months before. Ugh. However they had one room left, and gave it to us. Lucky for us there was a pull out couch, as well as a king size bed – a supposed upgrade for the same price. I was good with that, and the boys thought it was great to sleep on the “magic couch.” Gannon’s port-a-crib fit snuggle in between the bed and the couch. Saturday came all too quickly, even with the time change, and after a quick breakfast we had to go buy Joe some dress shoes because I forgot to pack his. Soon Joe was off with the wedding party, doing wedding party stuff like taking pictures and whatever else which left the boys and me to find our own fun. I took them to see the small Dinosaur museum that Joe and I had seen on our last trip out there. Surprisingly they liked it more then I thought they would and they were very respectful not touching the exhibits unless there was a sign saying they could. This time I brought my nice digital 35mm camera, and got a few pictures of them before the battery ran out; of course I forgot the battery charger. (Maybe I should start making a list…lol.)

Run, Royce, Run!

Giovonnie playing like he is a T-Rex.

Giovonnie and Royce digging for dinosaur bones.

Royce, Gannon, and Giovonnie in front of the triceratops head.

After the Dino Museum we went to Mt. Rushmore, the boys did the Junior Ranger program and received a Junior Ranger badge for completing the booklets. I was lucky to get the photos I did here. I used the smaller digital camera which was also low on batteries, so after I would snap a photo it would turn off. (Batteries definitely go on the list!)

Giovonnie and Royce at the top of the stairs before the Avenue of Flags.

Royce and Giovonnie by the piller for the State of Iowa.

Royce said, "We were born in Wisconsin, so we are really from Wisconsin." so we took a picture in front of the Wisconsin State pillar too.

Royce and Giovonnie in front of Mt. Rushmore.

After the visit to Mt. Rushmore Royce and Giovonnie talked me into letting them swim in the pool at the hotel, and because we had 20 minutes to spare I let them. By 3:50pm we went up to our room to change, and then left for the Karl and Cindy’s wedding. We were a bit late after I missed the turn to the chapel, but we got there. The boys were so wonderfully behaved! After the ceremony Joe joined us for the short ride to the reception. It was here that we learned and important lesson… “People listen to what we say, and even if it’s not important to us it may affect the rest of that person’s life.” This was the reason Joe was asked to sand up in the wedding from one sentence, just words coming out of the mouth of a “smart ass” at a Skill USA competition. (See the story at: ) About 10pm all three boys were crabby, two whining the other crying, so it was time to go. We walked across the parking lot and through the hotel, road the elevator to the sixth floor, walked down the hall to our room, and then went on in. We all got ready for bed, and by the time we were all asleep it was about midnight. I woke up! Shot out of bed, and said, “What the heck!” Alarms, Voices! What was it saying… whoop, whoop, whoop, then an announcement followed, “There has been a fire reported in the building, please exit immediately, do not use the stairs.” I looked at Joe, grabbed Gannon, and the diaper bag, told the boys to move quickly, and slipped my flip-flops on. Joe grabbed the keys and Gannon’s car seat, and ushered us all down the hallway to the stairs. The stairs were packed; we filed in and headed down the six flights of stairs. The alarm finally stopped. People stopped moving. What in the world, people want to push through and go back up. “Are you kidding me?!” Our family continues downward and out to the front desk. It was a false alarm, a fog machine from another wedding reception made the alarms go off, so back up to our room, and back to sleep. In the morning we packed our bags, and stopped at the front desk to pay for our room. We were only charged for one night, at a discounted rate. :) Then we piled in the car and headed home – a long trip home.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dr. Suess You remind me.... "Oh the Thinks you can think!"

Giovonnie is always thinking, saying, and story telling. This is part of what makes his character strong, laughable, and lovable. These are the moments that often make me question are we doing our children right with our parenting, and other times confirming that we must be doing at least a few things right. Here are some of those encounters that Joe and I have had this week with our dear son, Giovonnie.

There was one warm day and Royce and Giovonnie talked me into setting up the slip and slide. I quickly put it out back, which attracted a few of the neighbor kids for about an hour. Then the boys complained that it wasn't working right. Royce informed me that it needed to be more on a hill. Just about that time Joe came home, and fixed the situation by pulling it around to the front yard which slants toward the street. The boys slid on it a couple more times before coming in for dinner. Small Fry was let out in the front yard where she ran across it. Later we noticed from the window that the bottom which is usually filled with water was now deflated. Giovonnie went out after dinner, and returned to me.

Giovonnie: "Mom, there is a hole."

Me: "What?" "A hole, where?"

Giovonnie: placing his hands out at his side palms upward, "In the slip and side, duh." Then pointing his finger at me states, "That is it. You have to teach her (Small Fry) to be more like you mom."

Me: "How's that?"

Giovonnie: placing his hands on his hips, “Like a Human!"

Another evening while having dinner Giovonnie grabs a packet of Mild sauce out of a cup in the refrigerator that was collected from Taco Johns at one time thinking that he would like it on his food. Joe tells Giovonnie, that the food is already spicy and he should try it before putting the mild sauce on it. Giovonnie sits down in his seat, and takes a huge bite of his dinner. Swallows, and says, "I know I know, it's already burning I tell ya." pointing at his tongue quick, "burning!"

On Friday, Royce and Giovonnie squished next to Joe at the computer that the boys use while Joe played a game online while I sat across the room at my own computer. I hear Giovonnie say, "Get'em Dad, Get'em. Just stand there and kick their butts 'cause they're wusses."

Saturday Joe is out doing yard work and tending to the garden, when Giovonnie goes outside to work with dad. When they finished Joe grabbed two freezes from the freezer in the garage, opened them and handed one to Giovonnie. While sitting on the porch eating their freezes Giovonnie leans over on Joe's shoulder and states, "Ahhh, this is the good life, Dad."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gannon's Going On's

June 9th, we had an another appointment at the Pediatrics ENT clinic with Gannon to get his ears tested and speak with Dr. Sigman again. As Royce and Giovonnie were out of school for the summer they had to go with us because of daycare conflicts. They were quite disappointed to know that we were only going to see Nama Cathy for a few minutes before we went to Gannon's appointment, and that they wouldn't see Uncle Kevin, Aunt Mindy, Uncle Randy and Aunt Kelly, and worst of all they would not get to see their cousin Cameron even though I explained to them it had to be a quick trip because they needed to be back for swimming lessons, and summer school. I probably shouldn't have told them that because then I heard from Royce, "That Stinks, Mom!" and an echo from Giovonnie, "Yeah, that stinks, Mom!" Oh well. Back to the subject. Gannon's appointment went great. First we went in for Gannon's ear check. Again the put a wire with an ear piece that was attached to some type of computer in his ears. The right ear showed that his tube was clear and the the eardrum was working, the left ear showed that the tube was missing, blocked or out of place, but that his eardrum was still working. At this point we were put into the sound booth and Gannon did so well responding to all the sounds and different pitches. The ear tech said that she was surprised that toward the end he started to anticipate where the next sound and look box would be being he was just on the brink of being old enough to use the sound box. Next we were shuffled down the hall to wait in one of those small patient rooms for Dr. Sigman. He took a look at both Gannon's ears as stated that they looked well. (I have to thank those of you who have sent up prayers on Gannon's behalf, since the last time I blogged Oowey Gooey Ears on 4/28/09 Gannon's ears have been completely clear; so "Thank you for your prayers.") Dr. Sigman also took a look at Gannon's Cleft again. At this point Dr. Sigman feels that the cleft is very small, and is not even going to worry about having arm braces ordered (arm braces are put over the elbows so that the child can not bend their arm to put fingers, or other object in the mouth that may cause them to damage the repair.) he said that even if Gannon would put his fingers in his mouth the repair is so far back that he doubts he would damage it, also this means that we do not have to have Gannon drinking out of a regular cup, but any sippy cup is fine.:) The best news is that he believe that we'll only have a 1 - 1 1/2 day stay in the hospital as long as Gannon starts drinking right away (we still are set for 3 days, just in case). We then scheduled Gannon's palette repair surgery for Sept. 11, 09 @ 6:00am. This was the only opening they had in Sept. so I took it. In someways if all goes well, this is a great date to have the surgery on because Joe leaves with his brothers from MN that following Monday for the Boundary Waters. The down side to this is that I will be traveling home on my own with 3 boys while Gannon's is still recovering from his surgery in order to get Royce and Giovonnie back for school; as well as a week of parenting alone without contact to my husband.

Gannon has also found FREEDOM. He knows that he can roll in order to get where he wants; he won't even try to crawl. He now loves being on the floor, but is into everything. He favorite things to play with are the controllers for the TV game counsels and the cords, and any paper he can get his hands and mouth on. Paper makes a great crinkling and ripping sound; it must feel wonderful in his hands. I think the taste must not be to bad either because many times it's up to his mouth for a moment before he tears it to pieces.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mount Rushmore - Trip 4 Two

Thanks to Nama Cathy and Papa Royce, Joe and I were able to take a long weekend vacation. With a bit of a slow start...Just call us the "go backers" as Joe puts it. First time out the door and around the block back in the house for the cell phone charger, that's not so bad; right? The Second time we were already to Sioux Falls an hour from home, and I remembered that I forgot something very important (lets just say I'm not ready to have #4 yet), so turn around back to the house. Now finally we are on our way, what was a 6 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive, not only because we had to go back, but because we were chatting and then missed our exit. We went 30 mins out of our way before we realized it (lol), so again we backtrack. This time for sure we're on our way, going in the right direction; One long road and lots of conversation. We found our way to Rapid City, then a bit farther on to the quaint B&B we were staying at, the Holly House. (I didn't get my own picture of the B&B this is one from a website.)Then a beautiful sight where the sun actually touches the road and we're driving right toward it, I grab the camera took aim to shoot, just for the thing to say, "no memory card." Yep, I forgot it in the computer; ugh. Well, thankfully I brought the other camera too, which was low on batteries, but a quick fix of switching out the double A's. So I still got my shot, of the sun on the road. Just about to our destination the Holly House we saw this beautiful wood bridge, I didn't really recognizing it 'til the next day when we stopped to get a quick photo of it. (Some of you may recognize it too.) When I was younger we took this family trip, and I recall my dad having to stop for the same photo. And my mom saying, "Hurry up, Donald, there are cars coming." Our next stop was Bear Country USA where we dove through to look at the bears and other animals. Although we
enjoy going to zoo and such, we always say the same thing "Poor animals, pinned up in little cages with no freedom." The cages were a bit bigger here for the most part, but still most of them seemed kinda sad, or paced back and forth in front of the gates like they were looking for a way out; that is if they weren't mating. (Which make me wonder why we even really like going to zoos, or places like that.) After the drive through part, there was a part to walk through as well which is even more like a small zoo. However,
the bear cubs seemed quite happy to play and run about with each other. That was so cute. Reptile Gardens was next on the list for the day, and for some reason, I just don't feel as bad seeing those things behind glass windows, or cages. This was a bit more fun, with a little animal/people interaction. We hit all 3 shows. The alligator show where a guy actually wrestled an alligator in front of us. After the show he brought out a baby

alligator for people to pet. It felt really neat to touch; it's skin kind of felt like cool bumpy enamel, but you'll have to ask Joe how it felt to kiss an alligator.

Before we made our way to the bird show we thought it'd be a good idea to take a little potty break. The bird show was different then I expected, but still informational as well as fun to see. At the end a rook bird would take money donations out of your hand, and we were able to get a picture with a bald eagle. Did you know that Bald Eagles are now off the endangered species list?

The lest of my favorite of shows was the final show we seen that day which was the snake show. Joe bribed me to touch the snake at the end. The last time I touched a snake to raise my grades in a college class by one letter. I didn't even touch the pet snake that lived at my sister Holly's house for years. I'm almost as terrified of snakes as I am moths, but here I am touching a snake. I feels very soft and silkily; see even their looks are deceiving. ;)(Actually I did it twice, Joe didn't get the picture the first time and I wanted to show Giovonnie that I wasn't a chicken.) Before we left we had to visit the Giant Tortoises and pet them. The shell of the tortoise was rough, and the skin felt very dry as if they needed to be hosed down with lotion. We headed out for a late lunch before going on an hour cave tour at the Black Hills Caverns. I didn't take any photos here, but this is a map of the
tour that we took. They use to do Spelunking tours here, but they don't anymore - so no Spelunking for us. It was cool down in the cave and Joe kept saying, "see we should live like hobbits, we wouldn't have to pay to heat, or cooling our home. It's stays the same tempter all year long." I personally would prefer not to live in a cave. We finally headed back to the B&B with a quick stop at the Winery that was just down the road. The sign that got our attention said: Stop in for some Red Ass Rhubarb. (FYI: Red Ass Rhubarb is a name of one of their wines). We stood in front of a counter for 5 free pours of our wine tasting as the lady described each wine we chose to taste. Joe and I both agreed this was the best Wine experience we ever had. After having a few pours of whine it was about 8pm and we thought we should garb a bite to eat. So we stopped in Hill City at Tana's Mangy Moose, apparently the local bar hang out, and were seated in the dinning room area. There wasn't much choice on the menu, but the food was excellent! Finally we get to the B&B for a good nights rest, before another fun filled action day. Up a little before 8am the next morning we enjoyed another tasty breakfast, like every morning while we were there. I do have to say the food was OH, SO GOOD. Then off to Mount Rushmore.
This was really neat. I super enjoyed the hike with the different views and
educational signs of jib-jab about each president. We also stopped at the studio then climb back up the steps toward where we started. We thought
that this rock formation looked like a lion head, so I persuaded Joe to brake the rules (not that he needs much persuading to brake the rules) and go off the trial so I could get a quick photo. Back at the top we went down another set of stairs to the museum. Wow, lots going on in there.
We finally headed out about 11:30am and there was a beautiful sun shower, so I had to get a snap shot of the presidents heads in the rain.
The rain stopped just as we got to Key City for a bit of excitement. The Alpine Slides - one slow ride up in the chairlift,
a photo both where we purchased this photo (for way to much money), a
great view of Mount Rushmore at the top (wishing I had remembered to grab that camera card for better pictures at this point.), and a very quick ridedown. (Thanks to Joe slowing down I got this picture.) It was worth the trip, at least once. From here we headed back to Hill City to take a quick look at the dinosaur museum before meeting up with Joe's college friend, Carl, and his wife for lunch. The museum was small, but it was so awesome to see the castings of monstrous animals that once roamed these lands. Check out the size of

Joe's head next to this Triceratops head that came out of the Bad Lands in South Dakota. (lol)
Here I pretend to shake to claw of a T-Rex. (I can't wait for Giovonnie and Royce to see these for themselves.) They also had some rocking fossils there. If you look close you maybe able to see the bird print be hide Joe's
hand; it was huge, with a number of little bird prints around it. About 1:30pm we met up with Joe's friend Carl and his wife for the rest of the day. We ate at a shabby cafe, where we joked about who would pay and cards not working, and then our debt/credit card wouldn't work so Carl footed the bill. Joe later payed him back after using an ATM. We went back to Key Stone and bought salt water taffy, hung out some more then got dinner at this great sandwich place called Teddy's. (Yummy.) Late in the evening we went back to our B&B. In the morning it was time to start home, but I needed to have just one more I talked Joe into following these "off the beaten trail" (a term we herd a lot there) directions that I found on the Internet to got rock hounding, or in terms of Wisconsinites and maybe a few others Rock Picking. Joe said, "if we must. Wait until I tell my dad you made me pick rocks out of a field." So out in the National Grass Lands we went, with few people around for miles, to pick geodes for the

boys to break open. Well, we found gypsum, and rose quarts, and a few other rocks, but no geodes. We were unable to go the last mile out where the geodes were to be because of the soft dirt trail,plus the Magnum wasn't really built for "off roading". (Boy it would have been great to have our 4-

wheeler for this.) Every time our poor car bottomed out, or going up and down the hills I was freaking out. I really wanted to get home to my boys and not be stranded out in the middle of no where. Joe drove us safely out of the grass lands. One last stop at Wall, SD before heading home just so I could get some geodes. We settled for buying them.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Memorial Day Honor

This past Memorial Day the Hull Cub Scouts were able to participate in the Flag Ceremony to Honor those who have died while serving our country. As Family members of a Veteran this may have had more resonance within our lives; being overwhelmed with pride and gratefulness to those that serve and have lost their lives by doing so, as well as sadness for the families that have experienced such a lost. (It’s a mix of emotions that is hard to share with words.) It was a real honor that our son, Royce, assisted with the raising of the flag.

Troop 215 marching together.

Zach and Royce (Cub Scouts) and two older boys from Cadets raising the flag.

Cub Scouts Zach and Royce along with the Veteran in the background salute the flag as it is risen.

Cub Scouts stand and salute at the Veterans procession.

the Veterans procession

At the end of the ceremony the Cub Scouts fall in to march behind the Veterans.


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