Monday, May 27, 2013

Brodee's Picture Book

It's hard that we live so far away from Brodee, but we make it work. I think what is also hard is the fact that he lives so far away from our families too. My friend Lacey suggested that I make him a photo book filled with photos and names of our family so that when Brodee does eventually meet everyone he will be able to recognize them. I ran this idea by Sara, Brodee's mom, and she loved it!

I thought it was a great idea too, so here is a sneak peak of what I made:

 [Cover of the Book]

[Pictures of me and Josh]

[Josh's family]

[My family]

I really hope Brodee likes it!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Baby Talk, Talkin' With Babies

Almost every night since we left Southern Utah we have been able to chat with Brodee on our fancy smart phones!

The conversations don't last long (what do you say to a 2-year-old?), but it's really great to be able to see his face every night before bed. When we pop up on the screen Brodee can recognize us and say our names... well, he says "Josh" and "Coco" for me (kids have a hard time with my name). BUT He does recognize us which is what matters!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Spring Thaw Vacation: There and Back Again

After 39 days, 67 driving hours, 4328 miles, 11 states, and 1 bad allergy attack, we are back home in North Dakota!

Our last week in Wisconsin was fun. I spent a lot of time inside and on meds, but when I felt slightly better we ventured out.

On Mother's Day we went to brunch with Josh's family.

[The whole group]

[Josh and his mom, Suzi]

[It's really hard to get a good picture of these two ;-) ]

 [Ally and Jess]

[Cassidy, Kennedy, and "Shorty"]

[Grandma and Grandpa] 

[Ally and I] 

On the final night that we were all together we had a BBQ at Grandma and Grandpa's house. When we first arrived Grandma put Josh to work cutting wood. It was adorable!

Suzi's boyfriend, Clay, got some 10X Hot Salsa which was made with the Ghost Pepper. Josh LOVED it! 

May 15th was Josh's 28th birthday. We went to The Adventure Dome to go mini golfing and then to Texas Roadhouse to get some ribs! 


[Josh won... of course]

After mini golf we played some token games at the Adventure Dome. Just for the record, I beat Josh at Skiball! Boom!

During the last week in Wisconsin we ate a lot of fried cheese curds and brats, spent time with Josh's family, and saw Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, and Star Trek!

On the way back to Kenmare we stopped at the Geographical Center of North America! I thought it was pretty cool because there really aren't that many interesting things in North Dakota!

Thanks to everyone who hosted us and who hung out with us during our journey! Now it's time to get back to work and reality!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring Thaw Vacation: Wisconsin

The trip from South Dakota to Wisconsin was hard for me. I drove for the first 5 hours and then Josh took over for the rest of it. I was uncomfortable. My allergies were/are still bad. My stomach was hurting and I just couldn't relax because I was in pain. I tried to take a nap but that just made my muscles cramp.

What made it even harder was the fact that there was TWO feet of snow on the ground in southern MN and then it was snowing/raining as we passed through central/northern MN. I think it just made my mood worse. I'm so sick of the cold and being cold.

I was, however, excited to see Josh's family since we haven't seen them since Christmas!

Since my allergies were bad and because everyone we know that lives here has cats (I'm pretty sure they are the state animal or something), we decided to get a room at the local Super 8 (classy, I know). It's a lot better then I thought it would be, which is great because I spent my first two days in WI in the hotel room in a lot of pain.

Josh is such a great boyfriend. Have I said that before? Well, I should say it more often! He really is a great guy! While I was crying and in the fetal position he took care of me and made sure I had plenty of tissues, medications, and hot pads.

After a few days of that BS, I finally got to hang out with the family! We had a BBQ at Uncle "Shorty's" place and everyone was able to be there. The weather was perfect, the company was great, and the food was melt-in-your-mouth-amazing!

[The feast]

[Suzi, Cassidy, Kennedy, and Jess playing cards] 

[The grill]

The BBQ was delicious and a lot of fun. It's hard to all get together because we are adults with busy lives but we made it work!

Other Things That We've Done Since We Got Here:
Had dinner at Olive Garden with Josh's dad and step-mom, George and Julie

I took naps and a lot of medication

Saw 42 and Iron Man 3 (I highly recommend both)

Josh went to a BBQ with some old friends (I stayed at the hotel because I was sick)

Oh yeah, I registered my car in Wisconsin!

[Josh removing my CA plates]

[Swapping it out]

[Putting on the WI plates. Of course, I kept the Lakers license plate border!]

So far I have spent more time in the hotel then I have outside. I hate being sick. I don't think that WI likes me very much. 

*And thanks to everyone who commented on my last post and gave me suggestions for my allergy issues*

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Thaw Vacation: South Dakota

I have allergies. Always have. They are a pain and they only get worse the longer I am in the same location. My allergies started acting up while I was in CA and then they exploded when I was in Utah this last week. I really mean EXPLODED! Spring is in full swing and the wind was blowing so my face decided to fill up with mucus. When I felt the allergies coming on I went to the store and bought Zyrtec D. I also went to the Young Living Farm and got some Lavender and capsules. I have been taking the Zyrtec D and 7 drops of Lavender every 12 hours but it doesn't seem to be working. My face hurts. When I eat I can feel the pressure in my sinuses, I can't breathe very well, I have a dry cough, my throat hurts, my nose is draining into my stomach and it makes me nauseated, and it feels like my lungs are filling up with fluid. Ugh. I've also been taking meds at night to help me sleep but I'm still really struggling during the day. I hate being a "mouth breather" (like Napoleon Dynamite). I don't know what else to do. Any advice?

Back to the trip!

On Thursday (May 2nd) morning I woke up in really bad shape from my allergy attack. I wasn't really in the mood to go exploring but I decided to put my "big girl" pants on and do it anyways.

Our first stop was the Mount Rushmore National Memorial!

The monument was pretty incredible! There is a museum that shows all the work that went into building the memorial and it blew my mind! Did you know that originally Thomas Jefferson was being carved in the rock to the left of Washington but they ran out of room so they blew it up and started over on the other side? Pretty crazy! There isn't a lot to do at the monument after you see the faces and the museum so we decided to head out. I know there is a small hike you can do but it was snowing and I wasn't in the mood to deal with that.

On our way out we came across some mountain goats! They were super cute and you could tell that they were use to being around people.

Before we left the area I had to use my water and search for the missing city of Cibola! I didn't have any luck though... (National Treasure reference)

After seeing the Presidents, we headed over to the Crazy Horse Memorial.

This monument is going to be AMAZING once it's done. They have been working on it for 60+ years and then only thing that is done is Crazy Horses face, which is impressive for how big it is.

This is what the monument will look like when it's done. In 100 years? Maybe?

We weren't really in the mood to hike around the Black Hills (I was still in pain from my allergies), so we decided to head over to see the Badlands. On our way there we saw a sign for Bear Country USA. We stopped out of curiosity and I am glad that we did!

The park consists of two parts: a drive-around wild animal park and "Babyland".

First comes the drive-around wild animal park. For this you stay in your car (keep the doors locked and the windows up) and you drive around the park and see all these different animals. They will come right up to your car! 


[Artic Wolves]


[Bighorn Sheep]



The animals are roaming free and they didn't have a care in the world. The bears were my favorite! There were so many of them and they are not afraid of the cars at all.

After you finish the drive-around (you can take as long as you want), you park the car and walk over to "Babyland!"

This is where all the baby animals are! They are so adorable!




[Canadian Lynx]

[It was snowing but sunny and I wanted to capture the moment]

[Red Fox]

[Baby Artic Wolf]

[River Otters]

[Bear Cubs]

The bear cubs were so cute! I just wanted to jump into the cage and take them home with me! They kept growling and wresting with each other! Ahh! I love them!

Overall the Bear Country USA was a lot of fun, expensive ($16/person), but a lot of fun. I miss the baby animals already!

After leaving the bears behind, we continued to our original destination: Badlands National Park.

We decided to do the "scenic" drive through (no hiking this time) which was still great. We got to see a lot of the park and there were plenty of places to park and take overview pictures from.

The features are gorgeous and they look like they should be in some kind of horror movie. Or where some villain, like Maleficent, would live.

[The "Yellow Mounds"]

[Pano with the "yellow mounds" and the shadow of my rockin' Xterra (9 years and 97,000 miles)!]

After the Badlands we headed to the famous "Wall Drug" to get some free ice water :-)

If you don't know what this place is you are missing out! It's a huge tourist trap that has been opened since the 1930s. Apparently they became famous by offering free ice water to the travelers that were passing through. Pretty classic!

We arrived just before they were closing (they probably stay open much later during the tourist season) but still managed to get ourselves some buffalo burgers and a piece of fresh, homemade apple pie. Yum!

I wish we could have spent more time exploring the Black Hills area and the Badlands but we have a date with Wisconsin to get to!