Road Trip Part 6 – South Dakota Reptiles

Not gonna lie, getting hit with a major snowstorm when we arrived in South Dakota was not something I had planned for. I could have sworn I had checked various forecasts and they were all good.  Whoops.  Go figure that it was during my turn to drive that the roads got nasty.  On the plus side, I did see a coyote when it calmed down a bit and a few other critters. The weather did mean that we would need to find some indoor activities, though, because we didn’t bring any cold weather gear with us.

Thankfully, not too far from us was The Reptile Garden.  You really can’t go wrong with reptiles, right?  Plus it’s guaranteed that you won’t need a jacket inside and that always wins for me. I admit I was a little put off by the initial cost, but it ended up being worth it.  They had an enormous collection of critters, some of which I have never seen in person before.  There was also a really neat greenhouse that had some birds, snakes and lizards completely out of cages, which was unique from what we’ve been to before.

There were a few “shows” throughout the day, so we decided to check out the snake show. The kids got a little bored until the trainer (are they called trainers??) started pulling out actual snakes – many of which were venomous and therefore extra cool.  Enzo even got to ask a question after raising his hand (which was possibly even more exciting) and he asked what Rattlesnakes eat.  We got up close and personal with one too when the gal put the rattler on the ground with this 2-3 foot high clear barrier surrounding it.  The kids, especially Enzo, were stoked.

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Currently…

Reading… Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

Watching (on TV)… Game of Thrones, Girls, Call the Midwife (its back!!!)

Watching (movies)… Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Light Between Oceans

Listening to… A little bit of everything in order to put together some mixes for our road trip.  A road trip goes so much better with good tunes.

Drinking… Smoothies, Coffee, Tea, not as much wine

Eating… Too many April Fools Cupcakes. I’m kind of glad they’re all gone now. Ha!

Planning… Warm weather projects, both inside and out.

Feeling… Excited and happy!

Organizing… Not much really. I have things I need to organize, but I’ll wait until we get home.

Thankful… That it is almost vacation time!  We didn’t go anywhere last year, so this vacation is long overdue!

Loving… How much better I feel when I take my Super B12 B Complex. I have more energy and I feel like my mood is improved a lot as well.

Smiling… At the massive amounts of art the kids bring home each day.  For a while, Phoebe was the artist, but Enzo has started drawing a lot lately (people especially) and creates fantastic stories to go with them like the one about a potato and two mad guys.

Thoroughly enjoying… That it is spring!  We’ve been opening the windows and enjoying some amazing sunrises.

Through Their Eyes

Children are always watching and listening, which can be both good and bad. Definitely bad if by chance you happen to whack your head really hard and accidentally let slip something you don’t want them to repeat and they, of course, repeat it.  Granted, they have pretty selective hearing, but I digress.  There are days when they surprise me by just how much they really pay attention to what’s around them and see things rather than just looking.  Some days it’s a very good reminder to myself to slow down and SEE because there’s a difference.  Unfortunately I haven’t been very good about it lately, either.  Perhaps our upcoming trip will be a good opportunity to change that.  I’ve also been having fun trying to help the kids learn how to use a camera.  Their hands are so little they sometimes have a hard time, though.  Haha!  Time for more practice!  In the meantime, I haven’t done a post with pictures by Enzo, though I do have a lot more to scan.

We all have our favorite seats on the couch.  This is the view from his.

Hey Dad (and messy kitchen/dinning area).  I kind of wish that wall was an actual wall rather than a banister so you don’t have to view the backside of everything and cords and whatnot.

Some day all too soon this bag is going to be filled with actual schoolwork rather than just fun little projects from preschool.  I admit that sometimes I worry about him going to Kindergarten this fall…. will it be too soon?  Is he ready?  Do all parents stress this much over these kinds of things or do I just have extreme anxiety when it comes to this sort of thing?  All the more reason to spend more time teaching myself to breath and let the worry go.  I’ve been too “busy” or too “tired” or too “insert excuse here” lately, and self care isn’t something you should put off or ignore.

Photo Dump – Just another excuse to blog when I have nothing to say or new pictures to share…

It’s a glorious day, it’s Friday, and because I haven’t taken any pictures at all lately I’m going to dump a few that have been hanging around. Sure, I could just delete them, but it seems so wrong… which probably explains why I have a stack of art work the kids have done in school that is probably as tall as they are. I’m getting better about throwing out some of their papers that they bring home, but I really need to get over my attachment to everything they’ve ever created and do some purging. Keep the special stuff, get rid of the rest.

When the car decided to start dying. One day we’ll get El Guapo back… hopefully soon. The kids get ridiculously attached to our vehicles and are not fans of the loaner and will only ride in the van.

One day she’ll love this super flattering photo of her as an ice cream zombie.

May we never have lice again… ever!!!

With how dark it is outside, this should be nighttime, right? Nope. Enzo likes to get up early on the weekends. Every weekend. I don’t remember what it’s like to sleep in until the sun is actually up…

You can just tell by the look on his face that he knows exactly what he’s doing. Sure, Phoebe, let’s play this game where you push me around on a chair. It’ll be great!  Do my bidding!

Hey, remember when it was fall and there were corn pits?

CORN.

I will climb this bear despite my short stature. Overcome any obstacle!

I can’t wait for the weather to stay warm so I can go on more weekday walks… and weekend walks with the kids.  I would have today if I hadn’t had errands to run.

On that note, tea sounds lovely. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

 

Solitude on the Road

I’ve always loved going for drives in the car, mostly as the passenger, but I’ll gladly do the driving if it means being alone and recharging for a bit and possibly doing some exploring. One thing I miss from Colorado is that feeling of remoteness that I often had. I didn’t live in a big town or even that near a big city so it was very easy to drive a short distance and feel like there weren’t a lot of people around. It’s been a little more difficult to find that here nearer a big city without having to drive too far.  So, I had the idea to take day and do a lot of driving on a weekend and Josh said, why not stay the night somewhere so you don’t have to do all that driving in one day?  Sold!

I think everyone needs to be on their own at times, but as an introvert it’s a necessity for me.  I do often get quiet time each day, but it doesn’t always feel like enough, especially when one or both kids has trouble sleeping and that time is interrupted. Also, as much as I love the cats, Uzi has somehow become even clingier and the second I relax, he’s on my lap. There are times when I am just touched out – by kids, by cats, by everyone and everything and even my own skin feels like it’s too much. So, this time away was very much needed and overdue.  I drove… and drove… I think I spent about 10 hours in the car total?  I went with the intention of looking for birds and did find some, though, not as many as I had hoped.  I didn’t take any amazing photos, but I did find a very funny squirrel and most of all I found space to breathe deeply and in silence.

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I accidentally left my really warm clothes at home, so without my big hat and gloves I wasn’t able to do much of the wandering by foot I had wanted to do. It was around zero outside, and with just a light knit hat and gloves I didn’t want to wander too far.  The snow was crunchy so I managed to scare a deer or two and some other birds, but once I got farther away from a road (with barely any traffic) I just stopped and it was… perfect. I could hear birds even if I couldn’t see them, many of which I had never heard before.  I could hear the scurry of squirrels and what I imagine was another deer or two as the crunch of the snow was louder, but more delicate than my own trudging.  It was in that moment that I knew when we got our own cabin it has to be more remote. I need a place to recharge on a more regular basis.  I need my place, you know? Now if we can just find that perfect spot near a lake for Josh. Granted, my ideal place would be in the mountains, but I’ll take what I can get.