Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bird Family Reunion 2016: Corn Palace

I am sure you are surprised to know that there is a Corn Palace. I had seen it mentioned when I was doing my trip planning but did not think much of it.  Well, we had a little time to kill before meeting up with my family so when we saw the signs, we pulled over and got more than we expected. 
 That is made from corn cobs, the tassels at the top of corn, and wheat. 
 Yes, that is Willie Nelson. (Sorry for the angle we were up on an observations deck and it was hard to get a good picture.)
 Inside the palace was a little children's museum all about corn and the girls were in heaven. That cash register actually worked - as in you scanned it and on the screen appeared what the item was with a price next to it. 

 We learned a a few things about corn (like popcorn happens after the substance inside is heated to a liquified goo and then it explodes out and is instantly cooled into the puffy white popcorn we love) and bought some popcorn for the road of course. 

They were beginning the process of taking down these designs hence the truck. They replace them every August. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Bird Family Reunion 2016: Winter Quarters

Okay these first 2 pictures are from our drive on Sunday but these girls are just so cute and were so good about the long hours in the car.

 Arabella really wanted BBQ- specifically ribs for dinner. Thank you Kansas for providing some delicious bbq ribs for this girl. We were all very happy! 

After the zoo on Monday, we went to the Winter Quarters Temple and Visitor Center. 
Both were beautiful and I was so touched by the perseverance and faith of those early Latter Day Saints. Their sacrifice was so great but they knew it was worth it and that the church was true!

 Oh how I love this man of mine! 

 The Winter Quarters temple was built on the site of a cemetery where many saints were buried during the time they lived there. They were careful to preserve the graves and headstones which dot the temple grounds. 
 I was happy to get a family photo but sad to not have my boys in it. 
After leaving and starting our drive north to Sioux Falls, SD for the night, it rained really hard and then it stopped. The next two pictures were of the aftermath of the storm. 
The above picture shows mammatus clouds. I had seen these in a magazine a few years ago and thought it would be so fascinating to see in real life. Thank you Iowa for making that wish a reality! 
We stopped at a Sam's Club for dinner and this is what greeted us when we walked out! Breathtaking! 
I love images like this because I think of how God wants to pour his love and light out to all of his children even when there are clouds. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bird Family Reunion 2016: Omaha Zoo

When looking at the drive to Mount Rushmore and figuring out how to make it a bit more fun, I realized it was not really out of the way to go through Omaha so we left on Sunday and drove to Omaha so we could spend Monday having fun. 
I had heard that the zoo there is amazing and it truly was! 
 We fed stingrays! Lily was not a fan at all but the rest of us loved petting them and feeding them. 
 Arabella could not get over how crazy it was that the peacocks were just wondering the zoo. This one was standing right by our stroller after we left the stingrays. 
 The girls loved the petting zoo. 

 Bless Peter, he carried Samantha or Lily for a good portion of the day. 
 Feeding the fish and ducks.
 They are about ready to open a new elephant habitat that is really big and they had part of it open. We talked with a keeper here and the Omaha Zoo has some of a group of elephants that was rescued from Africa (some of the others came to Dallas, one of which was pregnant and they did not know it but the baby was born and doing really well. They were starving due to drought.).
 The aquarium part of the zoo was really cool! 

The butterfly house. 
 In the massive Jungle building- there were free flying bats in here and a bunch of the animals had open habitats but they could not get out. It was beautifully designed. 

 Still in the jungle building. 
We spent 6 hours at the zoo and did not go to the massive splash pad area and they are opening a huge treehouse/playground area (I mean really big). It is a full day event and I would go back in a heart beat! It is a very well planned out zoo and they animals look healthy and as happy as can be for being in a zoo- many of them were born in zoos so they don't know any other way of life. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Girl Time

A few months ago, I hatched a plan to send these boys up to Utah by themselves to spend a week with Grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles before meeting us in South Dakota for the Bird Family Reunion. Peter is wonderful and supportive and so I drove them to the airport and walked them to the gate and stayed until they had boarded the plane. It was a bit crazy! 
 This boys were missed but we were determined to have fun! 
 We did perler beads- emoji design by Arabella!
 We spent a morning playing at a splash pad. 
The boys are good sports about going to these sorts of places but they are getting a bit old for them too- especially Joseph- so we had a good time. 
 I do not have a good picture of the splash pad- but it is really nice and right next to it is a great playground. 
We met up with our friends the Maas' and played at the park and then enjoyed lunch at Chick-fil-A. 
We love getting together with them! Old friends are the best! I am so grateful for their friendship! One of these days we will come to Baton Rouge to see them there. 
 After lunch we headed for the American Girls Store. 

 They loved it and I did too. There are so many adorable things and the attention to detail is amazing! 
 When we left the store I realized the temple was not far away.
It was worth the short drive- but we did not stay long because it was soooooo HOT by then!

 I loved my time with these girls. 
I realize that my boys are growing older and it will not be long before they are out of the house and then it will just be the girls. But I am really loving my kids and the stage we are at. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 4th

July 3rd, I decked the girls in red, white and blue and did some awesome Star hairstyles (including Samantha's which you can not see in this picture). 

 I love them so!
 At the annual ward pancake breakfast, bike parade, and we take our shaved ice machine. 
 We love swimming at our friend's house the Ostermiller's. They are such great people-lifelong friends! This tiny frog was in the pool. Jon caught it and we all oohed and aahed over it. 

 This is my dear friend Amanda Miller. She sent me these 2 pictures. She is such an amazing, loving, hardworking, serving, generous person. She love my kids and they love her. If Samantha loves you, you must be a good person because she does not just trust anyone.