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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day 2017

We were planning on surprising Kyle and taking him mini golfing for Father's Day today.  And then he was offered a free  ticket to the US Open thanks to Marthas connections at Holy Hill!  (I'm sure it was a tough decision!) :-) He still made it home in time for us to celebrate with dinner, cake and presents  tonight!  We're so lucky to have  the best dad and the best Grandpa's around! 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We Love Vacation!

6 State Capitols

Have you met my social studies loving husband? When we mapped out our road trip route and realized that we would be driving through many state capital cities, we decided to stop and take a quick picture at each one.  It actually turned into a fun little adventure!  

Fun with Grandpa

National Parks Road Trip Day 6-Madison and HOME!

We of course woke up and swam for about 2 hours before checking out of the hotel.  We drove to Madison (WI) to get our picture at the capitol (our last of the trip) and got to check out the farmers market a bit too.  Grandpa couldn't believe all the people!  Thankfully the capitol was open so we could take a quick bathroom break (most other capitols were not open to the public or closed for the day.  Also a bunch of capitols were under construction at the time of our visit.  Honestly... the first 4 were!) We all had great trip with lots of memories made.  Thankful to be home safe and able to enjoy the rest of our summer!

National Parks Road Trip-Day 5 --Antique Archaeology and Dubuque

On Friday morning we left Omaha early and started making our way into Iowa.  We stopped at Des Moines for a quick picture with the capitol and then again for lunch at a Steak N Shake!  (This is Ava's favorite restaurant and they don't have them in Wisconsin!)  After a yummy lunch and shakes, we headed to LeClaire, Iowa to see the Antique Archaeology store.  (Have you see the American Pickers show with Mike and Frank who travel the country looking for hidden junk/treasures?)  We saw the store, but didn't see Mike and Frank.  After Antique Archaeology we drove north to Dubuque where were spending the night at the water park.  Of course we went swimming the second we got to the hotel and practically had the whole water park to ourselves. (We actually did have it to ourselves for about 30 minutes on Saturday morning.... apparently not everyone gets there the second it opens?!?!)
Vacation is exhausting!  All tuckered out from swimming!

National Parks Road Trip-Day 4- Denver and the long drive to Omaha

On Thursday we started the trek home.  Thankfully we stretched it out over several days because this was a long stretch of driving. We left Evergreen and drove the 30 minutes or so to Denver.  (We had to stop for a picture with the capitol, of course.)  We walked around downtown Denver for a bit and the kids picked up a few souvenirs.  Then we packed back into the van for the long trip to Omaha.  This was roughly 7 hours and although it really actually went really well, it was just a long time in the car.  We stopped at a gas station and the big kids bought fidget spinners with their souvenir money.  (Mom and dad had previously told them that we would never by them one, but they managed to work the system since they all had souvenir money left)  These actually kept them pretty entertained for a good portion of the drive that day, so I guess I can't complain too much! Even grandpa got a kick out of them! Before Omaha, we had to stop in Lincoln for a picture with their capitol, so we had a quick dinner at RUNZA which is a Nebraska tradition, I guess.  Similar to our Culvers, I have been told.  Their specialty is a Runza sandwich that is basically ground beef and cabbage in a hoagie bun.  I tried it and actually really liked it!  (I was super hungry though, so that may have influenced my opinion.)  Also they have FRINGS (a container of half onion rings, half fries) I actually laughed while ordering these and the kids were so embarrassed!  Ha!

The entire drive to Omaha we were all looking forward to going swimming in the pool at the next hotel.  Kyle booked it while on the long drive (all other hotels we had booked before we left, but this one we waited on because we wanted to see how far we could get on this long travel day)  Kyle got a great deal on 2 hotel rooms (usually we all just stayed in one larger room) so we were all excited for our own beds.  When we got there we all ran out of the car and saw that the pool was EMPTY!  They were painting it or repairing it or something... but quite the disappointment!  Thankfully we will be able to joke with Kyle about this for many years to come....AND we were already planning on staying at a waterpark the next day, so they kids at least had that to look forward to!
Ryan loves wolves and had to show "Wolfie" the wolf on the wall!
Ava was a street performer in downtown Denver!
Empty POOL!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

National Parks Road Trip-Day 3-Rocky Mountain National Park

On Wednesday, we checked out of the hotel and heading to Rocky Mountain National Park which is at the base of the Rockies.  The drive was very scenic but very slow going because the road zig zagged all the way up the mountain.  Our first stop was at Bear Lake where we hiked a short distance to the lake.  The guide suggested we go 2/3 of the way around the lake and then we would be greeted with SNOW that would make it hard for the kids so we should backtrack once we reached the snow line.  We had AMAZING views on the hike and stopped often for pictures.  It turned out to be a highlight of the trip for Kyle and I.  Simply unbelievable that this beautiful place even exists.  Later we took the scenic drive up Trail Ridge Road and we were all in awe of the snow covered mountains.  (They had a big snow fall 2 weeks ago and they still had 20 foot snow walls at some points along the drive.)  As we got higher and higher up in altitude, Ryan started not feeling so great.  Toward the top, Ava joined him in his sickness.  Thankfully the fresh air helped as we got out at the top and saw the tallest peak.  On the way down, we stopped for a photo op at the Continental divide and also saw wild elk, moose and a bald eagle.  It was quite the memorable trip!

When we got down from the mountains, we headed to Evergreen Colorado for the night.  We had planned this stop because it was where my Grandma and Grandpa Stephans had gotten married on Aug. 4, 1951.  After checking in, we went to visit the church and then went out for bowling, arcade games and dinner.  We of course had to make time for swimming too!  Another busy and amazing day!