our trip to south dakota: all aboard for a full (and freezing) day.

We had seen that the forecast for Monday, our second day at Todd's parents', was supposed to be rainy and cold, so we tried to think of things that we could do 'inside', but that still got us out and about.  So we reserved our tickets for the 1880 Train.  (Isn't there some kind of joke about how many Van Voorsts you can fit in a single train car?) 

Atticus and Penelope really enjoyed looking out the window and listening to the guide's spiel.

The little kids... well, the little kids were less impressed.  In this photo, Rocco would love to have you believe that he was cool as a cucumber, just enjoying the train life.

This is more of a realistic picture of the hour-long ride, though.  Finneas and Laurelai weren't much better.  We tried to keep them distracted by letting them dig through my purse and smell whatever gum they could find.  (Yeah, they really like doing this.  No, I don't know why.)

Apparently the problem was that Rocco was simply desperate to view Harney's Peak.  Once given the opportunity, he chilled way down.  Except that he kept trying to walk off my lap to climb out the window.  But at least he wasn't crying.  The other kids were kept occupied with tourist maps I had stuck in my purse.  (Parenting tip: kids really, really, really love maps of all kinds.  There is no scenario which is not made better by a map.)

When the train dropped us off in Keystone (where Todd's parents met us with our van and their car to make things outrageously easy), it was surprisingly sunny and seemed like it was getting warmer.  Since we were only five or ten minutes from Mt. Rushmore, we all decided to try our luck at an outdoor activity.

When we pulled into the parking structure, the weather didn't seem to be too bad, so I didn't pull out the winter coats I had stashed in the back of the van.  Big mistake.  HUGE mistake.

As soon as we got out from under the shelter of the structure, the wind became bitterly cold, and it also started POURING down rain.  As a result, we spent most of our time hiding out in the gift shop.  Luckily, the rain finally let up a bit, and we spent a few minutes at the monument before heading back to the car. 

It really was a blessing to know that this wasn't our only opportunity to visit.  We've been here a few times before, and will presumably have many more chances to visit in the future, so we were okay with just taking a little time to look around and then head back to the warm van.

We were clearly the most underprepared people there. 

This is the photo you capture when you ask everyone to stand in a row, looking at the monument, but the three-year-old can't see over the wall, and the big fatty preggo can't juggle two kids at a time.  It's a less-than-classic shot.

When we got home, we fed the kids some lunch and got the little kids down for nap, and then it was time for cowboyin' up.

Properly decked out to watch old Western movies with Papa.

 After dinner, the kids went for a dip in the hot tub.  Laurelai wasn't thoroughly convinced she liked it at first, but after a little coaching from Papa, she got her sea legs.

Did I mention it was still FA-REEZING COLD?!  I sat wrapped up in a blanket the entire time they were playing in the hot tub, since pregnant ladies are banned from enjoying hot tubs.  (And feta and deli meat and margaritas, while I'm complaining about the injustices of being pregnant.  I can't do anything I like.)

Once the little kids were in bed, the big kids and I worked on some school work.  Yeah, yeah, I know we were on vacation, but I am trying to get hours crammed in before the end of the year, so we can just CHILL once the baby's born.  Atticus was clearly thrilled.

And the sun set on another great day in Custer!


todd said...

i like us!

the jersk. said...

dude MAPS. resounding yes. Ruby thinks anything is a map so like thise crappy bulk mailers of burger king coupons -- map. old insert from a catalogue -- map. it's fantastic.