Black Hills 2015 – Day 2

June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment


Day two started out with perfect weather, which we took advantage of straight away. We went to Falls Park where B taught the boys the fundamentals of rock climbing (“use your legs”) and the boys practiced on perfect-sized boulders. Then it was a picnic lunch and another long day of driving to the Badlands.

I was excited for Brad to see the Badlands and he was appropriately impressed. We gained an hour in Mountain Time and used it right up in road construction related traffic delays in the park. But we got a taste of what was to come. Then we checked into our motel and made a beeline for the pool. Holy cow those Badlands are hot, hot, hot. It makes swimming just so, so good.

It wasn’t hard to pick our spot for dinner because there were only two places. Luckily, the food at the place we picked was great! B and I both had got inspired to eat local and had a buffalo burger each. It was delicious and flavorful. Local never fails.

Then came the most exciting part of the trip so far. Some crazytown weather. Lightning on top of lightning and wind whipping the trees sideways for 2 straight hours. The power in our hotel was out so all we could do was wait and watch for a sign we should head into the bathtub with a mattress. We did not have to do this. All three boys would have slept straight through but I woke B up for moral support. Our Badlands guide the next morning said that it was the craziest storm they’ve had in 7 years and that winds might have been up to 70 MPH. Yikes.

Vacation Badges Earned:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Native Cuisine
  • Amateur Weather Spotting

Black Hills 2015 – Day 1

June 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

Did you miss us? We’re just back from a 10-day vacation to the Black Hills! Because I’m always sad to get back from vacation, I’m posting one-a-day entries for the next week or so so that I can re-live the happiness.

Day 1 of vacation got off to a slightly later start than we had hoped thanks to the fact that I still have a job at TGT. Thursday morning was the first day after another round of layoffs and they were holding a meeting where they promised to finally explain everything. After waiting almost six months to have things explained, there was no way I was missing it. The boys were great sports about it.


After the four-hour delay, they picked me up  and then we were on the road.


Despite my worries, the late start barely even fazed us. We made it to Sioux Falls by dinnertime, found a cute pizza place in the trendy Uptown neighborhood, and still made it to bed before anyone had a meltdown.

Something that always happens on vacation is that the things I most look forward to are not the things I love. Our hotel was the one I thought would be a highlight because it was South-Dakota-Fancy and right on the Great Sioux River. Sadly, when we got there we found out they were installing Hardie Plank siding so our window was entirely obstructed by scaffolding (a.k.a. Look! A fort is out our window! Can we climb on it?) No river view for us!

No problem. It only means the best is yet to come.

Vacation Badges Earned:

  • Patience
  • South Dakota (new state for B, H and E)

Happy Birthday B!

June 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s B’s birthday today! Sadly, this concludes #BradWeek but we’re going out with a bang. Here are Birthday Wishes from Brad’s two favorite little men. And me.

  • Hiram: “I hope you have a wonderful birthday day!”
  • Eldyn: “I love you dad. I hope you get a fun day and have lots of good presents like a Pinocchio book and a vacuum.”
  • Hadley: “Can’t really top that so I’ll just second it. May your day be filled with new electronics and lots of happiness. We love you and hope you have the best birthday ever. XOXOX.”

10 Things I’m Glad Brad Handles

June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s still #BradWeek! The Bat Story yesterday made me think about how many things B does for our family and how thankful I am for that. SO many things he handles and does so well. I am a lucky girl.

Here’s just what made the top 10. There are many, many more.

10 Things I’m Glad Brad Handles

  1. Bats (see also: Mice)
  2. Bath time
  3. Getting slivers out
  4. Answering Hiram’s questions (with accuracy)
  5. Making a perfect iced latte
  6. Making a perfect Mojito
  7. Pounding in a sand point well
  8. Being the voice of reason at the park (if I had it my way, both boys would just jump rope with bike helmets on)
  9. Being the voice of reason during shoulder seasons (if I had it my way, they would be bundled to the nines at any degree below 50 F)
  10. Being B

We love you, Brad!

The Bat

June 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

There is nothing to describe the combined terror and relief I felt the other night when Brad woke me up by throwing the covers entirely over my head. “Don’t move. Don’t look. Don’t worry.” That is what he said.

From my “happy place” under the covers, I listened as he proceeded to battle our intruder, which I gathered from the squeaking and other icky sounds, was a bat. There was swatting. There was grunting. There was swishing and a whapping towel. There was also a ruckus that happened right on the bed. On my covered legs. While I did my own version of squeaking.

This was our second encounter with this bat in 48 hours (yes, the entrance hole has been PLUGGED) and now I know with certainty that I lose my entire mind when it comes to bats. Thank God and all that is holy that Brad has so far been there to handle both instances. Otherwise, I am sure I would be writing this from a room in the hotel up the street.

Best Brother’s Tree Fort

June 22, 2015 § 4 Comments

Here’s our new Best Brothers Tree Fort! It’s part of #BradWeek because B built this and because it’s perfect for our family (just like B!)


Our idea (and hope) was that if we made it kind of basic, the boys would invent ways to use it. So far, this does seem to be happening. It’s been a rocket ship, a pirate ship and a letter-writing spot, along with the obvious climbing apparatus uses.

Our other idea is that the boys will work with us to invent and design new things we could add or build on. Then we’d do those at a pace that keeps things fresh and allows this thing to grow with them. So far, we’ve had a lot of conversation about what to add next:

Ideas include:

  • Monkey bars
  • Slide and/or sledding hill
  • Somehow incorporate the kiddie pool
  • “Rock” climbing wall
  • Tire swing or other swing
  • Climbing posts
  • Sandbox

We only have time for one or two more “Releases” in 2015 so it will be fun to see what we end up with. (“Improving negotiating skills” has proven to be another added and unexpected benefit of this Best Brothers Tree Fort.)

Father’s Day 2015

June 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s Fathers Day! A day that matters not only because it is a chance honor all the greatest fathers but also because it kicks off the Barrows Family First Annual #BradWeek! There is no better time to pour it on Brad than on the days between Father’s Day and his birthday on June 25. So here’s the first of a few posts that the boys and I put together to make Brad feel amazing. We love you B!

Since it’s Father’s Day, here are photos that I think clearly show just how wonderful B is as a dad. This is a man who will do anything for his boys. And they’re better for it.


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