Tuesday, October 25

Does Anyone Still Read This?

Just thought I should tell you all that we are all still alive and well!  Things have been absolutely crazy the last couple of months, but I am going to try and get a post (or 5) up this week / weekend.  I might even be able to come up with a few pictures to put in there!

Monday, August 22

Garrison John Corwin

I can't believe Garrison is already 2 weeks old and I am just now getting a post up about his birthday! (I started this post last Monday night and I am just now getting it finished!!).

Here is the abbreviated recap of his birthday for anyone who may be interested (and so I can remember years down the road).

My due date was August 1st and my doctor had told me that she wasn't going to let me go past Wednesday, August 3rd (due to some concerns that he might be a 10 pounder, which thankfully wasn't the case) and that if I felt like I was ready to have the baby after the 1st to call the office.  Chris and I mulled over the possibility of getting induced all weekend prior to the 1st and I just couldn't bring myself to go for induction again.  My OB was going out of town on Thursday and I was afraid if I waited until my appt on Wednesday afternoon and then end up having to get induced and it taking as long as it did with Rease and then she wouldn't even be there for the delivery.

So....Monday morning I decided that if they would agree to only break my water and not induce me then I would go in on Monday.  The nurse initially kind of laughed at me when I called and said "no, pitocin is the only option" so I told her if I changed my mind I would let them know.  I still was a little on the fence about it and was a bit of an emotional wreck trying to decide what I wanted to do.  I was praying that God would either put me into labor soon or make it very clear as to whether or not I should be induced.  About an hour or so later the nurse called back and said that she had talked to my OB and she was all for breaking my water and thought that would be enough to put me into labor.  I said okay, let me know when you guys can schedule it with her and the hospital and we will be there.  I really thought they would tell me to come in after office hours were over or before the office opened on Tuesday.  They called back and told me to be at the hospital in about 1.5 hours.....oops.  I was still in my pajamas, Rease was still in her pajamas, it was almost lunch time for Rease, Chris was at work and we had what seemed like no time to figure out a plan and get ready to go.

We got all checked in at the hospital and they broke my water about 3pm.  We called the family and told them not to rush right over but that hopefully sooner than later we would have a baby.  I was fully expecting to be in labor for a long time like I was with Rease, but thankfully I was pleasantly surprised!!

After they broke my water, I started having pretty regular contractions every 3ish minutes.  Chris was joking with me that I was going to have to sit on the exercise ball for the duration of my labor because if I would stand up and walk around the contractions would almost go away.  So I sat on the exercise ball and watched the Food Network and read a book for a couple of hours.  By around 6ish the contractions were getting pretty uncomfortable so I was hoping I was progressing along without the need for pitocin, but wasn't entirely convinced yet.  It turns out I must have been ready to have the baby because the contractions kept up and I didn't end up needing any pitocin.  My doctor came to see us around 7 or 7:30 and I was shocked when she checked me and said she didn't feel comfortable going home because we were having a baby sooner than later :)  Chris and I walked around the hallway for a while and then around 8:30 we got back in the room and it was time to get ready to have the baby.  Once everything was all set up and my OB was ready I pushed for about 15 minutes and Garrison arrived at 8:58pm at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 20.5 inches long.  Thankfully he did everything he was supposed to and I got to hold him as soon as he was delivered (I didn't get to do that with Rease b/c she had shown signs of distress on the monitors and didn't cry right away).

I remember when we were walking in the hallway that at one point my OB kind of looked at me and had this panicked look on her face and she jumped out of her chair and started walking toward us.  She only made it a few steps and then sat back down.  I thought it was weird but didn't think anything of it.  After I delivered, she told me that she jumped up because she was afraid I was going to deliver the baby in the hallway!  Ha!  Apparently I must have had a very bad look on my face!!

It was also so hot in the delivery room.  I had been telling Chris how hot it was as soon as we were checked in there when we got to the hospital.  He kind of just looked at me and said he was fine and it was just because I was pregnant.  Well about 5-10 minutes into pushing, Chris started walking away from the head of the bed and I was thinking "what is he doing?".  Then I heard him tell the nurses that someone else needed to step in because he had to sit down.  Apparently the heat had finally gotten to him :)  It was so hot in there.  I seriously thought I was going to pass out from it being so hot, but I didn't think it was bothering anyone else until Chris about passed out.  Thankfully, he felt better in a couple of minutes and back before Garrison arrived.

I was also surprised at how much better labor and delivery went without the epidural (I had one with Rease).  It really wasn't all that painful either.  Labor wasn't really bad at all, but I am not going to lie and say that pushing didn't hurt.  I might have yelled/screamed a little bit, but it was definitely worth doing it without the drugs.  If we decide to have more kids, I would definitely do it sans drugs again.

And a little note about Garrison's name.  We had it narrowed down to a few names and decided after he was born to choose Garrison.  John is both of Chris and I's maternal grandfather's names so we chose that for his middle name.  I think Chris' grandpa was excited that we chose it and unfortunately my grandpa has passed, but I think it made my grandma's day :)

Rease has been doing really well since Garrison's arrival.  She has had a few more temper tantrums and bedtime has been a bit of a struggle, but over all she had done a really great job.  She loves her baby brother and always needs to know where he is and what he is doing.  We were at the park last Friday and I had Garrison in the stroller and a little girl (maybe 1 or so) came over and was trying to open up the shade on the stroller and I thought Rease was going to put her on the floor.  She ran over and yelled "no, my baby brother" and I grabbed her before she took a swing at her.  Apparently she is going to be a little on the protective side :)

Here are a boatload of pictures!  Enjoy!

About an hour after Garrison was born, right before I got moved to the recovery room.

Chris looks smitten, I love this picture. 

Garrison John Corwin
8lb 4oz
20.5 inches
8:58 pm

 Rease stayed with some friends on Monday night and they brought her to the hospital on Tuesday morning to meet Garrison.  She was so excited when she saw him and just wanted to poke him and give him kisses. 

Another post delivery picture, sorry they are a little out of sequence.

The grandparents arrived at the hospital right as Garrison was born so they got to see him just 
after he was here and the nurses were checking him out. 

Myles was so cute at the hospital.  He loved playing in the curtain. 

 Riley and Garrison

Grandma, Woody, and Megan came over to visit and Rease loved seeing them all. 

I look terrible....

Rease and Hannah were having such a good time at the hospital.  They were laughing at one another and 
laying under the "blanket" on the bed.  The blanket was really the waterproof cover they put on the bed, but it was clean so we let them play with it.  I am keeping this picture stashed away because we might need it for blackmail some day :)

Mom, Abrah, and Micah took Riley, Myles and Rease to the local water park the day we brought Garrison home from the hospital.  I think everyone had a great time and Rease has been talking about going swimming ever since.  Unfortunately, it is closed now :(

Mom and I took Rease and Garrison to the Peoria Zoo and it was Garrison's first official outing (besides the dr's office).  Rease needed to burn off some energy and Garrison was about a week and half old so he just hung out in the stroller and looked around and dozed. 

Garrison was about 2 1/2 weeks in this picture.  I haven't taken very many pictures because he got a little bit of a cold and for some reason his nose is all scabbed over and it looks like he has a bloody nose when you take his picture.  It is starting to clear up a little bit, so I will start taking pictures again :)

We went for a drive the other day and Rease was wearing a little one piece romper outfit.  I looked
back at her during the drive and she had someone taken her arms out and had the top sitting around her waist.  I am not sure how she pulled that off while remaining buckled....

Rease at the park (before going all crazy on the little girl looking at Garrison).

As I said earlier, bed time has been a little rough around here lately.  This was after we went to the park last Friday and Rease got up out of her bed and I told her to go back and lay down or I would take away her puppy dogs that she sleeps with.  She turned around and went back in her room and I didn't hear from her again.  I went in to check on her and she had fallen asleep bent over her bed on her tippy toes.  Uncomfortable.....

Thursday, July 21

A belly update - 38 weeks

Here is the 38 week belly shot with Junior (still no real name choices to speak of).
And because I feel like my belly isn't quite as large as it was with Rease, a picture of my 38 week belly with her.

The Dr. says we could have a baby any day, so I'm off to finish packing my hospital bag!!!

Tuesday, July 19

38 weeks

Just a warning to all my sisters - there isn't a belly picture in this post.  Hopefully tomorrow I will get one and put it up here.  I had intentions of getting one taken tonight and we were outside playing and Chris turned on the sprinkler to water the grass and Rease decided her and Mommy needed to stand in it.  So the decent looking outfit I was wearing has quickly been replaced by gym shorts and a t-shirt that is apparently about 4 sizes too small.  I can't keep my t-shirt over my belly and it makes me feel like I've got a serious beer gut going on.  But...I'm too lazy to get up and change my shirt and do more laundry, so I'll just keep looking trashy :)

I got my boss to allow me to be able to work from home next week instead of going into the office.  Due to this, I am assuming that I will probably go into labor on Sunday and not be able to enjoy an easy week of work at home.  But to be completely honest, there isn't a whole lot of work going on when I am at the office these days....so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Rease had a great visit with her Mimi over the weekend and has been asking about her, papa and Riley ever since she left.  I keep telling her they will all be over to visit soon and she gets all excited, we'll see if the excitement lasts once she finds out a new baby brother goes along with the visitors :)

Speaking of baby brother, the child still doesn't have a name or anything remotely close.  We really need to get on it.  I just don't like very many boy names....so who knows, maybe he really will be Junior :)  Kidding....

Over the weekend I asked Chris to fill up Rease's little pool (which seemed the perfect size last summer, so it is really little this summer) in the morning so that it could warm up and she could play in it on Saturday afternoon.  It was really nice out and only about 75 degrees so we went out to play and she spotted the pool right away and decided she was going to do whatever it took to get in.  I tried telling her it was going to be cold, but she didn't care.  She jumped in with her dress on and then decided that the dress was weighing her down so she took it off and then decided she also didn't need her underwear.  Apparently we have a streaker on our hands.  She kept jumping in the pool and landing on her bottom and then saying "Mommy, bottom ouchie, kiss it".  I just laughed and said no way.

I have a few things to get cleaned up around the house tonight, as we might have a showing tomorrow so I better go get them done and get to bed!  Last night I decided to go to the grocery store at 9 and didn't get home until 10 and then didn't make it to bed for a while after that.  So I am due for an early night tonight.  We'll see if that actually happens.

Enjoy some pictures!

Rease was loving all of her dress up clothes!!
She put the gloves on and immediately shouted "I'm Minnie Mouse!!"

She was running up and down the hallway and I managed to snap this picture. 
I think she looks about 16....

This picture seems so out of proportion.  She reminds me of those toy dogs that 
were popular a couple of years ago that had the huge heads and small bodies. 
**And no, this isn't a product of my mad photoshop skills :)

Trying to sneak into the pool in her clothes....

I love how her pig tails are flying in the air on her way into the pool.  

It was hot...so Rease needed some help getting a drink from the 
hose.  Ignore the huge woman beside her....

Thursday, July 7

36 weeks

Rease made it all day today at day care without having an accident and only wore a diaper for her nap!  We started potty training on Saturday in a pretty nonchalant way and Rease took off.  I guess she will do anything for an M&M!!  We were brave today and sent her to day care in no diaper with lots of extra clothes.  I fully expected a bag of wet clothes when I picked her up, but there wasn't anything!  I am hoping this keeps up and it wasn't a one day fluke!  It would be awesome to have her pretty much out of diapers by the time Junior arrives.  

Speaking of Junior, he is still growing like a weed and making my stomach grow larger and larger by the day (or so it feels to me).  I measured 38 weeks at my appt yesterday and have been having quite a few contractions a day for a week or so.  Maybe I will get lucky and go into labor on my own this time around and skip the whole induction thing.  I would greatly appreciate that.  As of today he can't seem to keep his hand (I'm guessing) off of my hip.  He pushes on it all the time and that really isn't the best feeling, but I'll survive.  I am pretty sure I have a terrific waddle going on and don't move anywhere too fast.  Today the escalator was broken 2 floors down from my desk so I had to take the stairs and let's just say I think I am too large and uncoordinated at this point to be doing that much more.  

Our church is hosting 10 or so high school students from Basque Country again this summer and last night was the youth cook out.  Oh my word...it was hot!  I think it was only about 85 degrees, but I felt like I was sitting on the face of the sun.  I let Rease play at the park for a little bit and we ate and then Rease and I left while Chris stayed and played some ultimate frisbee.  Rease was less than thrilled to leave, but I bribed her with an ice cream cone and it all ended well.  I am thankful that McDonald's has ice cream cones so that I didn't have to take her to the ice cream stand and sit outside even more.  That girl loves her ice cream cones.  

Chris is busy working on getting our dryer put back together tonight and I am so appreciative.  I was about to go to Menards and buy stuff to put up a clothes line because the teeny tiny clothes rack isn't cutting it.  I guess since he has been working hard since he got home I should get off the couch and do something productive as well.

Maybe this weekend I will get a picture of the 36 (by then almost 37) week belly.  I think Chris and I are going out to dinner Saturday for our anniversary (how in the world has it been 5 years....seriously) so maybe I will be in something besides sweats and a tank top (I know...jeans are a real step up) and actually not hate having my picture taken :)

And Micah, it's time to update your blog :)  

Thursday, June 30

35 1/2

It's been a while since I posted a picture of my larger than life belly, so here you go.  Chris wasn't home, so I took it in the bathroom mirror and the quality isn't great, but I'm pretty sure you can still get a decent enough view of the belly.

Last night Rease wanted to play outside in the water, so I filled up a couple containers of water and got out the hose.  Not very exciting, but she had a lot of fun with it.  She insisted on her sunglasses and water shoes so I had to get a picture b/c she's just cute :)

After we played outside, we went in to make dinner.  She usually stands on one of the chairs and insists on helping me or as she likes to say "help me, Rease".  Well she had her little camping chair in the house and was having a fit because I wouldn't let her stand on that one instead of the kitchen chair.  I brought the kitchen chair over and said if you want to help, you have to stand on this one.  I went and got something out of the refrigerator and this is what I found when I turned back around.
She put her camping chair on top of the kitchen chair was trying to climb up onto the kitchen chair so that she could then stand on the pink chair.  I am not that inventive, so I blame all of that on Chris :)

And I put this picture on facebook over the weekend, but I don't know if Mom and Dad saw it so I thought I would put it on here as well.  Rease doesn't care much about whether she eats the ice cream above the cone, she just wants the cone.  And she's all about it when she gets one.  I think her mouth was open so wide you almost couldn't see her eyes.

Saturday, June 25

New bows

Rease was very excited about her new hair bows! So excited, that she had to wear them all at once (again) and was cheesing for the camera :)
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Thursday, June 23

Paula, You Let Me Down

I have been craving Monster Cookies since our trip to South Dakota a few weeks ago.  I have never made them before, but love eating them when other people do :)  Steve's mom made some when we were out and they were so good.  So, in honor of Rease's last day in her current day care room; I thought I would make some for her to take in (and for me to eat).

I got online and googled a recipe, and up popped Paula Deen's.  I thought, oh that looks good enough and went for it. I am sure they taste good, but they just don't look that great.  Maybe it's me, maybe it the lack of M&M's.   The recipe only called for 1/2 C of M&M and chocolate chips, and that just doesn't seem like enough now that I see the cookies sitting on the counter.  I guess I should have gone with my gut and just thrown in the extra two bags of M&M's I bought at the check out.  I would taste one and see how they taste, but I'm pretty sure I had atleast 3 chocolate chip cookies after dinner (I wouldn't be me if I only made one kind of cookie!) :)
They look pretty bland don't they?

** And in case you were wondering, I made up for the last 6 weeks of being negative 1 pound at the doctor's office yesterday.  I gained a whopping 5 pounds in 2 weeks.  Perhaps, I should lay off the baking!

And just because she is cute and we love her to bits, here is a video of Rease dancing with her refrigerator magnets the other night.  She is wearing her rain boots because she was trying desperately to get us to take her outside in the pouring down rain.

Wednesday, June 22

Baby Update

I have done a terrible job of tracking anything regarding Baby #2 on the blog or elsewhere.  I guess that is the way it goes when you have a toddler running around, a house on the market and a full time job.  But I guess I will console myself with the "better late than never" philosophy and catch up a little now.

At my 32 week appointment the doctor decided she wanted to check to see how big the little guy was at my 36 week appointment.  **The little guy is lovingly referred to as JR or Junior these days, but that is definitely not his name.  You will have to take my word on the name part because we still don't have one picked out nor are we close.  But, I can assure you it will not be Junior :)  Anyway, back to the appointment.  She said if he was large enough at 36 weeks and was looking to be 10+ pounds full term we would take a few different steps to see about having him early.  Thankfully, he only measured 5 lb 12 oz today (Rease was at 6 lbs at 34 weeks) so she isn't overly concerned.  My belly is still measuring 2 weeks ahead of where it should be, so she said we will probably have another sono in a few weeks to see if his weight gain has drastically increased.  And if so, then I guess it's time to have a baby!

He was completely uncooperative for any of the pictures today and wouldn't get his hand out of his face.  He was also asleep, which I was slightly annoyed about because this child never stops moving.  I was looking forward to watching him roll around and such, but he decided to take a nap instead.

There is the front of his face looking at you.

A side shot of his face with his right arm up.  He was holding his 
toes with his other hand but you can't really see it well in the picture.

So everything is going well and I will try to get a picture up of my enormously large belly tomorrow.  I am to the point where I have about 4 shirts that are actually long enough to cover my belly.  So everyone at work has a pretty good chance of guessing what shirt I will be wearing each day :) I might have to break down and wear some dresses to work in the next few weeks because it may come down to that or walking around with my belly hanging out :)  And no one wants to see that :)

I am about ready to call it a night and go to bed.  I know it's only 8:30 but I am dragging.  The tiredness has really set in this last week and by about 2pm I am struggling to stay awake at work.  I probably would have been in bed earlier tonight, but Rease wouldn't fall asleep.  Speaking of Rease, yesterday I asked her what she wanted to name her brother and she said "Minnie, Mater, and Tractor".........  The girl is crazy.

I also need to come up with a new name for the blog.  "Baby Makes Three" isn't really fitting anymore.  Any good suggestions out there?  I thought about "Corwin Chaos", as that seems very fitting these days, but haven't made my mind up for sure :)

Friday, June 17

The Terrible Twos

I mentioned this briefly in my last post, but I am sitting at work moving files from a broken pc to another hard drive and needed something to do besides watch it tell me how many more minutes I have to sit here doing nothing!

Ever since we got home from vacation, Rease has acted like a completely different child. **And not really in a good way.** I attributed the first few days to her being a little under the weather (I think we wore her out) and just getting back in her routine. Well its been 2 weeks and we haven't seen any signs of improvement :( I am afraid that we may have been thrown deep into the depths of the terrible twos somewhere between South Dakota and Illinois. Add in the fact that I am practically the size of a small country and don't have a whole lot of patience or energy left, and you can see my predicament. Rease used to love going to day care and would run and play as soon as we dropped her off. Usually instead of a good bye we would get a look like "seriously, aren't you gone yet?". Now she just cries and it is heart breaking. She cried all day on Wednesday for no apparent reason :( Add in her crying fits and temper tantrums about every 5 minutes and I am about to lose my mind!

I love Rease to pieces, but I am not sure I am going to survive this stage!! Any advice?

Besides that, things are going well. Corwins came to visit last week and watched Rease while we went to the Zac Brown Band concert Friday night. Thankfully it was supposed to rain, so the show was moved inside :) That made this pregnant lady very happy! The show was great and I would highly recommend seeing them if you get the chance.

We have had quite a few showings on the house the last couple of weeks. Maybe we will see an offer soon :) For two of the showings this week, we needed to be out of the house during dinner time. The first night we went to Steak and Shake and the whole way there Rease kept saying she wanted to eat chicken. We walked in and as we were waiting to get seated, Rease says very loudly "I want chicken!!!". The hostess laughed and we just shook our heads. Last night we went to get pizza at Firehouse and as soon as we walk in Rease went up to a guy (thankfully he was an employee) and yelled "I WANT TO EAT!". It was hilarious. He started talking right back to her asking if she was hungry and she said "yeah" really loud. I am pretty sure the other people in there thought we were starving her :)

Tomorrow Chris is gone running a race most of the day, so let's hope Rease is in a good mood :)
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Tuesday, June 14

Where the Deer and the Antelope Roam

Last week was all around a rough week.  Rease was sick with a 103 fever, which has apparently turned into an ear infection (again...) and none of us were ready to be back from vacation.  We are still dealing with a very grouchy two year old, but I am afraid that might be here to stay for a while.  Although, I am praying this phase is over quickly and that God will give Chris and I lots of patience.  I'm not sure how long I can handle crying over everything every 2 minutes.  Let's just hope it ends before she's 16 and starts all over again :)

Anyway, back to vacation.  We spent a week in South Dakota and Wyoming over Memorial Day and had an absolutely wonderful time.  Back a few months ago when we were planning the trip, I decided there was no way we were going to make a roughly 15 hour drive with a 2 year old.  Then I got a hernia and have been restricted to pretty much not lifting anything and I decided there was no way Chris could lug Rease, her car seat, and a couple of carry on's around the airport by himself.  So.....we ended up driving.  It went so much better than I thought it would.  Rease was great the entire car ride.  We left after work Thursday and I don't think she made any complaints until about 11pm when she woke up saying her bottom hurt.  All that sitting is hard on a little butt :)

We got to the hotel around 1am and all fell fast asleep, ready to get up and start the 2nd leg of the drive the next morning.  We were going out to South Dakota to see our friend Steve, who moved out in December.  He had been teasing us for a while telling us to enjoy the drive because he was going to be flying over our heads and beat us to his house and we would still have a few hours in the car (he happened to be in Peoria for work when we left for South Dakota).  I woke up and checked the time on my phone and read what I thought was another teasing text from Steve.  "Don't leave Sioux Falls, I might need a ride".  I'm thinking, you are such a brat, just rubbing in it that we have another 6 hours in the car.  I sent him a text pretty much saying he was mean for teasing me and then he called and said he wasn't joking...oops!  His flight was cancelled out of Peoria and they couldn't get him on another plane until the next day.  So being the trooper he is, he jumped in a rental car and started driving so he could be there with us instead of stuck in Peoria.  **Needless to say, Steve pretty much has had the worst luck with flights in the last few months.....I won't even begin to explain but the poor guy deserves a break!

So we met Steve in the afternoon and hit the road to Rapid City.  That leg of the drive was definitely the beautiful part.  Once we crossed the Missouri River and hit the Black Hills, the view was absolutely breath-taking.  I just looked out the window and thought about how awesome it was to be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery God had created.  It is gorgeous.  Rease also loved looking out the window and calling out all of the random cattle that were along the road.  We stopped for dinner and to stretch and we were talking to Rease about the buffalo statues they had in the front of the restaurant.  She was all excited talking about the buffalo, until we got within about 50 feet of them.  Then all we heard was "no buffalo, no buffalo".  It was very entertaining.  Being the great parents we are, we took her up to them anyway and made her touch them and get her picture with them.  :)  She was less than thrilled!  (Ignore the look on my face, it was a mix of being blinded by the sun and laughing at Rease).

We made a few more stops to stretch and let the pregnant lady go to the bathroom and made it to Rapid in the late evening.  It was really pretty coming in to Rapid from the interstate.  It was dark so you come in and see all the lights from town, etc., and it was really a neat view.  We made it to Steve's house and pretty much all crashed after the long drive.

Saturday was beautiful and we were able to spend the day getting a tour of Rapid and stopping in at Steve's alma mater to check out the CAT lab and all of the Indy Car's.  Rease made friends with the Steve's buddy that was showing her around and got to "drive" one of the cars.  After that she wanted to sit in all of the cars.  She also found welder and the stock pile of weld sticks and was very entertained by that.  Apparently she has found her calling in life and is going to take after Woody :)

We also took Rease for her first ever trip to Cabelas and she absolutely loved it (minus the big buffalo statue out front).  We had to make another trip later in the week and she decided that she just had to have a hat and a puppy dog.  She is still wearing her hat around (mostly backwards) and sleeps with her puppy dog every night.  She loves that silly dog.  We went to the Visitor's Center and Rease had a great time pushing all of the buttons and watching the 3-D map of the Hills light up.

Chris and Steve went out and did some shooting while Rease and I settled down for an afternoon nap.  Chris had a lot of fun doing that and has been talking about guns ever since  Thanks, Steve :)

Rease and I got to finish off the afternoon by having a snack at the table and watching all of the deer that came down to Steve's yard to graze.  Rease ran around to ever window in the house yelling at the deer and having a great time watching them.

Sunday we were able to go visit Steve's church and then we headed to Wyoming to see where he grew up and meet his family, and the guys had plans for 4-wheeling.  We took the scenic way to Upton and stopped by Devil's Tower.  Steve's brother and sister-in-law were camping there so we were able to get out and stretch and chat for a while.  It was a little cold that day, by cold I mean about 40 degrees, so we were a little chilly, but the company was great.  Rease tried to walk their dog and managed to discover, pick up, or fall in every kind of animal poop she could find.  It was great :)

Once in Upton, Rease pretty much thought she ruled the place.  Steve's mom took to her right away and I'm pretty sure Rease thought she was the queen of the house.  Mary kept bringing her toys and letting her watch whatever she wanted on the tv.  I think Rease is sad she is home with us again :)  Somehow I managed to lose a pound over the week were traveling, but I have no idea how because I think I ate the whole time I was at Steve's parents' house.  His mom's monster cookies were awesome!  The boys went 4-wheeling Monday and had a great time.  After lunch we packed up and headed back for another scenic trip back to Rapid.

We drove through Deadwood, Hill City, and parts of Custer.  We drove up through the Needles and I thought for sure I would be sick.  I am not a fan of driving on narrow roads that just drop off, but I managed to keep it together and tried not to make any terrified gasping sounds when we met other cars.  We stopped at Sylvan Lake to take a walk and see the beauty of it.  It was really cold, so we only stayed about 30 minutes, but it was so beautiful.

Rease was spent on the way back to Steve's and was asleep in about 2 minutes.  I can't pass up putting up the picture because it is so funny.  I think if I would have even tried to pick up her arms or legs they would have just flopped down as dead weight.

Tuesday was supposed to be a little chilly still so we decided to hit some mostly indoor attractions.  We went to Reptile Gardens and Rease had a great time.  She loved the bird show and was talking about the owl and the chicken and very engrossed in them.  We skipped the snake show and went in to check out the alligators, crocodiles, spiders and snakes.  Rease didn't mind anything until we got to the really big snakes, then she kept saying "no snake mommy, no snake mommy".  We took a trip out to see the gigantic turtles and the prairie dogs.  Rease also liked the thought of the turtles until Steve got her close enough to touch it and then she decided she wasn't too keen of them.
After the Reptile Gardens we went to a drive through wildlife park.  I am not sure what Rease loved the most - seeing all of the huge animals or being out of her carseat in the pick up.  All kidding aside, she loved the animals.  She saw the elk and called them "moose" (I just about typed moosen - Brian Regan anyone??). I couldn't believe how huge the antlers were on the elk...crazy!  There tons of animals and we all enjoyed watching them.  There was one really ticked off bear that kept pacing back and forth and not letting any vehicles through so we got lots of bear watching time :)

We went back to Steve's so Rease could take a nap and the boys went out and drove Steve's old pick up around.  I am not sure what all they did, but the pick up came back almost out of gas and muddy; so they must have had fun!  We had dinner with Steve's brother and sister-in-law and their little one (who was sleeping while we visited them at Devil's Tower).  Rease wasn't quite sure that she felt like sharing Ellie's toys, but she did a decent job.  They also let her run the tv and she got lots of Dora in while we were there.  She also got to borrow the Little Mermaid, and insisted on watching it while we were at Steve's.

Thursday was our last full day in Rapid so we made the most of it.  Steve finally let me do some cooking so I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then we headed out for the day.  We decided to go to Custer State Park and see the wildlife.  On the way we stopped for a picnic and had a good time.  The weather was gorgeous and it was a beautiful spot for a picnic.

After that we went into the park.  Our first stop was the Coolidge Lookout and the view was spectacular.  Rease was asleep so I didn't go up to the observation deck, but Chris and Steve said you could see for miles. I think you could see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Harney Peak (but don't quote me on it).

We traveled farther into the park and wandered around Wildlife Loop.  We were able to see lots of antelope, some kind of donkey / mule (a "nay" in Rease's book) and lots of buffalo.  Here are some pictures and a video of Rease talking to the buffalo.

We stopped at a local pie shop on the way back from the park and the pie was delicious!  I am not a huge fan of pie but it was excellent.  I would love to have the recipe for the crust!  We ended the evening with dinner at Steve's and enjoyed some time hanging out until we were all too tired to keep our eyes open!

Steve had to work Thursday and we started in on our 2 day trip back to Illinois.  We had a great week and are so thankful that Steve let us come and hang out with him for a week.  He did a great job playing travel guide during the week and never got annoyed with my 1000 stops to go to the bathroom or let Rease get out and run for a bit.  We had a great time enjoying the beauty of the Hills and all they had to offer.  Hopefully we can get back sometime in the next couple of years (Hopefully I won't be about 8 months pregnant the next time) :)

Here are a couple other random pictures of Rease from the week and a couple from her birthday and before church a couple weeks ago (she looked so cute and old, I had to get a picture).
 Every time Chris had the camera out in the car, Rease would say very loudly "Daddy, cheese" until he would turn around and take her picture :)