Summer Vacation '10--aka The Really Long Post

The words vacation destination generally make one think of a glamorous 5-star resort miles away, with a pool and little umbrellas in drinks and a breath-taking view, or at least a hotel with a pool and a continental breakfast with tourist attractions and a full schedule, located at least three states away.

Our train of thought is a little different…our annual vacation destination is this quaint little bed and breakfast that is a familiar drive across the state. Upon our arrival, we are typically greeted in the driveway by the concierge, Merle, who announces us to the B&B owners…my mom and dad. This trip we were also greeted by a VIP…Benjamin! Prior to our arrival, he spent three weeks at Cowboy Grandma/pa’s house. He had so much fun and was really excited about his family coming.

Benjamin made a "welcome" sign in anticipation of our arrival.

When at Cowboy Grandpa's, one must dress the part.  Ben was decked out in his cowboy attire daily...and usually at the crack of dawn too!

Several years ago, we came out in the summer for a few days while Tim had some work to do for a client in Gering. It was perfect, because we got to stay a little longer due to part of the stay being work related. It was fantastic to stay for more than just a long weekend. The next year we did the same, and then one of the boys stayed for an extra week to help Grandpa. We decided that it just wasn’t feasible to come to Scottsbluff for a week AND take a vacation every year, and because our priority was to spend time with family, Scottsbluff became our vacation. There has actually been a time where we stayed for almost two weeks, and another time that Tim and Josh stayed for an extra week to help with hay harvest.

I think we would spend an entire month here if everything lined up the right way and we could afford to “neglect” everything at the eastern end of the state for that long. (I’m not sure what my parents would think about that!) Not everything is blissful all the time. How could anyone possibly go from a household of two to eleven without noticing? Or without at some point wanting to pull out hair??

Tim absolutely loves spending time helping my dad. I’m so glad. He may not be the typical “up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-farmhand”, but he still gets out there and gets dirty at some point of the day.

Because this is our vacation, we want to make it feel like one, so we took advantage of all of our resources.  During our stay this summer, we enjoyed:

The Spa

where we girls pampered our feet and dolled up our nails.

Even the littlest nails were made pretty.

Fine Dining

Sunday dinner together as a family.  I daydream about the opportunity to do this regularly.

The Farmer's Market

Picking beans (and other things) in Grandma's garden.

The Water Park

Thirty minutes to fill...
...three minutes to empty!

The Outdoor Fireplace

The best way to eat a marshmallow!

Refreshing fun after a hard day's work.

The Lake

We ventured out the Lake Minatare to camp for just one night.  We spent an entrire day with beautiful weather playing in the water and sand.

Someday she will be my personal trainer!  Those brother's better mind their "p's and q's".

I'm sure glad they have my skin...I love those little white butts in the summertime!

Grandma and Grandpa came out to join us for some evening food and fun.  The kids thought it was pretty cool that Grandpa went swimming with them in the lake.  I think Grandpa thought it was pretty fun too!

Cowboy coffee on the campfire and dessert after playing hard...a day of being unplugged is necessary if you ask me!  So relaxing!

Even when camping, my laundry is never done!
Camping is something that we love to do as a family.  It gets a little harder to fit in a tent each year, but the next morning, it doesn't really one really remembers being cramped, just close while playing cards by flashlight in the tent. 

The Riverwalk

(Must capture pictures like this often to prove that they like each other!)

Nature--uncut.  :)

The Amusement Park

Ok, well, it's not an amusement park ride, but I'm pretty sure Tim thinks it is just as much fun.  He enjoyed helping my dad with some of hay harvest again this summer.  The majority wasn't ready until we had to head home, but he got to go out and bail for a couple of days.  He thinks it is especially fun (and so do I) when I bring him dinner in the field. 

Eating Out

 My Grandma remembered Tim's comment about trying her pan-fried chicken a while back, so she made it for him (us) for his birthday.  Mmmm...complete with pan gravy and mashed potatos.  We used to have this every Sunday when we raised chickens. 

The Family Reunion

...and even though it's not really a formal, organized family reunion, that's exactly what it is.  That is why we vacation in Scottsbluff!

I'm sure my parents are tired (hopefully not tired OF US) after more than quadrupling the normal occupancy of their home.  We of course had normal days that were more remeniscent of home than vacation.
Just to keep it REAL...

The week went way to fast.  There was some sleeping late, some late nights, some swimming at the pool, a little sight-seeing and parade watching, game-playing and general "chillaxing" as well as some helping-out with things that Grandma and Grandpa needed help with while we were addition to them helping  us with things that are just easier to take care of in a small town with extra car repairs and school shopping. 

We're already looking forward to our return in 2011.  Thanks Cowboy Grandma and Grandpa for taking time off work, buying extra groceries and accomodating us so nicely!