Most of my adult life I've been a bit of a Scrooge around Christmas and although I still not a huge fan, experiencing it though a 3 y/o eyes sure can be alot of fun. This year, again, our Christmas was filled with trains.
Santa stayed a little longer to set up a model train for Austin
Austin is learning to be careful with the "special" train.
He got a ton of Thomas stuff too.
One happy little conductor, he played with it all day.
We had seen an advertisement for Santa's Winter Wonderland at Bass Pro Shop. We had never been there, but knew there was a train, so we headed out. Here is the photographic evidence. Please forgive Austin's crazy hair, his hair was wet when we put his hat on.
The poor deer whose lives were sacrificed to make a neat looking landscape for Bass Pro Shop.
We found remote control Monster Trucks...
Nerf gun target practice....
And Austin's favorite..... the TRAIN!!! He wanted nothing to do with Santa Clause, so you will find no picture with Santa.... who wants Santa when there's a train nearby!
They had this HUGE fireplace by the entrance. I thought it was awesome!
We have about 2 pictures from 2009 of all three of us. Unfortunately, I chose this day to go out without make-up and I didn't touch my hair.
Playing in the elevator. We were there for several hours.... lots of fun!
We found this neat park in Council Bluffs that is right by the river, and incidentally, right across the river from Eppley Airfield. So, you can sit and watch the boats while the planes fly right over your head before they land. Pretty cool.
Well, apparently in my absence from blogging, I have forgotten how to put the pictures up in order.... so they are completely messed up. I usually would have fixed it, but then I decided that none of you really care. So, here is day 4, completely out of order.
Here is Crazy Horse. Rather impressive. You can see it from the road (as this picture shows) or pay an extraordinary amount to see it up close. We chose the road, although I understand the visitor's center is really quite nice.
The weekend we were in the Black Hills, they were doing some celebration, where you could do all of this free stuff.... including entrance to Custer State Park, and a hay-rack ride where we were serenaded by this guy. We drove through the wildlife preserve while this guy sang us folk songs. It was fun!
Austin did have fun, but he just looks tired here.
It was slightly chilly.
Waiting for the ride.
They also had a free pancake breakfast. After we ate Austin, Papa and I went on an impromptu hike around a lake.
In the middle of day 4, we were tired and went back to the cabin to rest for a few hours. Our vacations are pretty packed full of activities... so rest is rare.
Earlier that week, Jim bought a rubber dart gun (at the expense of his glasses, but that's another story). During our rest at the cabin, Austin and daddy shot darts at us from the loft in the cabin. Very stealthy.
We saw big horned sheep that day, I hear they are rare.
Buffalo in Custer State Park.
We attempted a pony ride.... I say attempt because Austin was not happy. The next picture in our archive shows him crying his eyes out.... I didn't put that one in.
This was our hiking day. Mama and Papa offered to watch Austin while Jim and I went on a hike. We went to Harney's Peak, which (if I remember correctly) is the highest peak between the Rocky Mountains and the Swiss Alps.
Here's the starting line. It was roughly a 7 mile hike, roundtrip.
If you zoom in on this picture, you can see our destination.
We passed the cathedral spires on our way. It was quite amazing to be looking down upon them!
My mountain man, on top of the spires.
The first half of our hike was virtually deserted. We took the path less traveled on. There had been a wind storm the previous day, and we had to hike over several fallen trees.
While hiking we passed this sign. We had to sign a card and leave it at the entrance letting them know how many were in our party. That seemed sort of ominous to me.
Made it to the top!
It was freezing cold and windy up there... so we didn't stay long. This is Jim trying to speed up the process of leaving.
View from the top.
Look out tower.
So, while we were hiking... Mama and Papa took Austin to see the 1880 train depart. Well, it was their lucky day and they were offered a complementary train ride! I guess Austin had a great time. I'm sort of sad we missed it!
The train engine.
Happy little boy!
After we reunited, we went this place called "The purple pie" for lunch. They had homemade pie, that Jim said is some of the best he's had. He's a tough critic, so I figure it must have been good. This is their little mascot.
"The Purple Pig"
I think there are more pictures from this day that I forgot to add... but I will add them to day four..... our last day in the hills.