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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.

Saturday, July 9

Vacation Ends

Friday, Day 13, the agenda was driving from Butte, MT to Dickinson, ND, which is about an 8 hour drive! The hotel we left this morning had bunk beds for the Bigs, which they LOVED. Honestly, these kids just want a fun hotel and they'd be happy!

We stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch, which was super yummy. Two things worth mentioning. 1. Mac ate SO WELL! He decisively ordered mac and cheese and sat quietly while he ate it all and didn't make a mess. I was impressed because if you know him at all...he normally eats like a tornado! 2. Today was the turning point. Ten years from now, somebody will ask when Finn started eating us out of house and home. Today is that day. He didn't want anything on the kid's menu, so I started reading the regular menu to him. He knew immediately that he wanted steak. So we ordered him a full entree of steak...and he ATE IT ALL! And was so happy. I ordered from the kid's menu and my seven year old son ordered from the regular menu!?!? And it wouldn't be Cracker Barrel without sitting in the rocking chairs!

When we got to the hotel, the kids realized there was a water park in it! I mean, it wasn't that big or special but the kiddos LOVED it! So, we swam for about an hour before bed. It was a long day in the car, but the swimming made up for a it a little bit.

Saturday, Day 14 and "Going Home Day," Lynn and I took the kids swimming again before we left the hotel. Jim was tired and I figured it would be worth the extra hour in the schedule to finish off vacation right. After all, our next stop is Ortonville and the end of our vacation :( We stopped at a rest stop and the family next to us shared their watermelon with us!

A huge thank you goes out to Lynn for coming with us, keeping the peace and constantly helping with the kids. This trip would have been much tougher if you hadn't come along. It was great to create these amazing memories with you that the kiddos will remember forever.

I learned at least one thing on this vacation, I like green, lush landscape. While I loved traveling and seeing how quickly land changes from prairie to mountains, from green to dessert, from dust to pine trees, it unnerved me when everything was dry and brown for hours and hours (mainly parts of Montana and North and South Dakota. I need moisture, I guess! I kept asking Jim if they were just going through a dry period. He's like, "I don't think so..." It is funny, too, that the minute we crossed back in Minnesota, I felt like everything was just so ordinary...when in reality, it looked exactly the same as before we crossed.

I've only posted pictures taken with my phone, so I have tons of pictures to go through on my camera. They'll be on our picture website before too long (hopefully!). Hey, I have a birthday party to organize and get ready for. I'll leave you with this panoramic from Teddy Roosevelt National Park from Friday; our last picture of the beautiful vistas:

Now the question remains, where's the next National Lampoon's Thomas Vacation going to be?

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