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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Monday, June 27

National Lampoon's Thomas Vacation

Our big first two week family road trip started yesterday, Sunday, when we left Benson, MN around 3:30pm. We knew it would be a big driving day, since we were going all the way to Custer, SD...which is an 8 hour drive. We took our time and with three stops and one time zone change, we made it in just over 9 hours! Success...except it was nearly midnight (1am Central!) when we got in.

Jim rented us a cabin in Custer at Elk Haven Cabins. We pretty much brought in the essentials and crashed. I think because of the time change and probably because of the schedule change, we were all up super early, so Jim had the idea to get started early and head to Mount Rushmore. And it was the best idea EVER! We got there just before 8am, I think and there was NOBODY there. Like we parked in the closest spot you could possibly park in!

I felt like a little kid. I've always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore and there it was. So beautiful and majestic. Check one thing off my bucket list! And the kids really liked it too. I wanted to hike to the base but it wasn't practical with Mac, so I'll put that on my "things to do next time" list. And we couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather.

From there, we headed back East to Wall, SD to visit...where else? Wall Drug! Total tourist trap but when in Rome! So much to see and do. Mac was having some crabby issues with the lack of sleep, no schedule/routine and being in the car way more than he thought he should be. He didn't want to be in the van. He didn't want to be in the stroller, but he didn't want to get out, either. He didn't want to go in any stores (which made for one sad momma since I LOVE to browse through tourist souvenir stores!). After some mining for rocks, minerals and fossils, we had lunch (which Finn ruined with a bad attitude and freak out session) and then headed to the Badlands.

This, also, was something I was really looking forward to. I LOVE natural formations that are unusual or seem out of place. There were times we said it felt like we were driving on Mars or the moon. So unique. Korri's highlight of the Badlands was seeing mountain goats (with white butts, she'll tell you!) and getting to pet a couple of horses who were resting after a ride with their owners. I LOVED seeing lots (and lots!) of bison. I just didn't know there were so many in the wild. Jim loved the drive through all the winding roads. I took about a million pictures and I'm sure they will all run together and seem the same but when you are there, it is so incredible and you just want to capture it...but you just can't. (also, due to my fear of heights, I have an unusually frantic sense that I'm going to fall over the edge at any second...but also a sense that I need to get as close as I possibly can! Argh! I felt the same way when at the Cliffs of Moher, my favorite place on Earth.)

After that (which was another full day of being in the car) we headed back to Custer, got caught in a random hail storm, went out to dinner (who knew you needed to get to dinner before 6pm here or wait an hour and a half?!?!) then came back for an "early" bedtime. Like I mentioned before, Mac has been struggling since he's been stuck in the car, only taking cat naps here and there and not sleeping well at night. Tonight? He CRASHED. I read him a book and sang a song just like at home and he laid right down. I'm saying a little prayer that this continues for the rest of our trip!

Anyway, just wanted to journal the first two days of our amazing, crazy family road trip so I didn't forget the details...well...because I'm me! Until tomorrow!

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