South Dakota:: Part II (Mount Rushmore)

After we were in Sioux Falls we headed west to Rapid City--the closest city to Mount Rushmore. On the way I made Samuel stop in Pierre, South Dakota so that I could take a picture of the capital building there. I am a little bit obsessed with state capital buildings these days, I'm so happy Samuel caters to my silliness when he can. ;)
The day before we left Rapid city we decided we had to go see Mount Rushmore. It was everything I had dreamed it would be since I was a little girl. It was beautiful, and amazing, and interesting, and incredible and it made me feel so proud to be an American. It also felt really good to check it off of my bucket list. I love discovering this world with my sweet husband. I can't wait for our next adventure!
 photo 1048816_10151765972534665_109648471_o.jpg photo 1008929_10151765972644665_452997409_o.jpg
 photo 1053328_10151765972514665_234774189_o.jpg photo 1052307_10151765973244665_833446541_o.jpg
workers tribute. photo 1052726_10151765974554665_1237977236_o.jpg photo 1048472_10151765974489665_1635471308_o.jpg
 photo 1015853_10151765973994665_1095702711_o.jpgoh, george. photo 1052537_10151765976484665_1052216961_o.jpg
seriously, this memorial is so gorgeous. photo 1064782_10151765974884665_188826462_o.jpg
i love discovering this world with him photo 1065038_10151765975024665_1391526866_o.jpg
"Here we have Idaho..." photo 1049226_10151765974769665_766080180_o.jpgfounding, growth, development, preservation. photo 1052353_10151765975614665_1105843513_o.jpg photo 1040666_10151765975754665_637218876_o.jpgthis guy is the coolest, i mean. photo 1040861_10151765976394665_1368433133_o.jpgcrazy horse! photo 1052403_10151765976519665_1953803493_o.jpg After we visited Mount Rushmore we were heading south to Colorado, so we swung by the Crazy Horse Monument to snap a picture on the way. Do you think they will ever finish it?


South Dakota:: Part I

We left Ohio early in the morning, it was still dark, but you let me sleep while you started our drive to South Dakota. When I opened my eyes I could see the window was cracked, and the sky was already bright with the sun's rays. I closed my eyes--not there yet, not even close.

I sat there, listening to the wind whip passed the car, and tried to pretend I didn't notice it blowing my hair into my face. I thought sleep would overtake me again, but I couldn't give into it. I was too aware of my sticky back and sore neck. I sat up, shaking off the last of my sleepiness and turned to you. A smile started on my lips...I can't seem to keep it away for long when you are around.

You turned and looked at me with those squinty eyes you do, and you pushed your mouth out a little to one side as if to say, "Oh hey. Where have you been my whole life?" My heart leapt. You always get this gleam in your eye when you look at me that way that puts my heart at ease, because I know you are happy, and I am happy too. It is a funny happiness, a contentment that is fleeting, but unmistakable in those moments that it comes. All of our circumstances screamed discomfort, but in those moments when it was just us two gypsies, driving to the next city with all we needed crammed into the trunk; in those moments we did't need anything else, and those moments breathed a contentment into my heart that it had never felt before.

We drove for hours. The AC in our car was (and still is) broken, so once I was awake we put both windows all the way down trying to move the heavy air around as much as possible. Our shirts still clung to our damp backs, and I felt sticky under the humidity almost the whole way, but it wasn't too bad. We cranked the music up high, chewed on sunflower seeds, stuck our feet out the windows and sang at the top of our lungs. You made me laugh, and never got impatient with me when I had to stop so many times to use the bathroom.
The sun set somewhere over Iowa. It was the end of June and summer was in full swing, so I welcomed the coolness of dusk. The colors in front of us were fiery and bright and as we drove I wished I could stop the sun and have that sky forever.

For the next few weeks we would live amongst people we will most likely never see again, and it was sort of satisfying to know that for the next "x" amount of time all we had under that great big sky was each other, that everything else was superficial, and temporary. We relished in the dry heat of the big South Dakota sun, and I dreamed of summers at home in Nevada. Living that gypsy life alone I can't imagine to be very fulfilling, but that gypsy life with you was a dream. I have always felt that it has been us against the world, but South Dakota made me believe that with my whole entire heart.
Sioux Falls is home to one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen, called Falls Park. An unexpected Monday off left us time to enjoy some sunshine there. We climbed all over the small cliffs and took some pictures before we headed to an office BBQ. This (above) is one of my very favorite pictures of us. I love that husband of mine. So much.


Nychea Graduates!

At the beginning of June while we were still in Ohio, Megan and I flew home to Nevada for my little sister Nychea's high school graduation. It was a terribly long trip for such a short time, but it was so worth it and so much fun! We left Columbus at 6am on Wednesday the 5th (that is 3am Pacific Time which means I woke up at 1am Pacific Time and only got about 4 hours of sleep).

We landed in Vegas around 10:30am and our good friend Mitchell, who lives there and came with us to Nychea's graduation, picked us up. Then we made the 3 hour drive from Vegas home, got ready, and were sitting down watching Nychea walk across the stage to get her diploma by 6:00 pm. Crazy.

Nychea is so lucky that she got to have my amazing and smart mama as a teacher in high school! My older sister Megan and I went to a different high school than the one where she taught. They share so many special memories together because of the time and experiences they shared at school. I love these two so much!
Nychea's friends are the cutest! I remember when she and Alexis (left) first met, they were in second grade! They used to play together at our house all the time and it is such a trip to think they are old enough to be out on their own now! *frownsmile*

^^^Aryton (left) is one of my very best friend's little brothers. It really freaks me out to see him. He is so tall and old! I just felt ancient when I saw him!^^^

^^^Hannah!!!!! That is all.^^^

After the ceremony our whole family - Samuel (he had to work and couldn't come and I was SO sad about it) + Mitchell went to dinner at The Jailhouse Cellblock Steakhouse, a local restaurant where Nychea worked during high school. I had the Baked Chicken Alaska and it was AMAZING! We tried to celebrate that night with Nychea, but we were just so tired after that long trip.
^^^We stole Nychea (and her dinosaur) back to Ohio with us for the weekend afterwards, and it was the greatest!^^^
We had a flight out of Vegas the next day around 3pm so we left the next morning, like I said, short trip. It was so much fun to see family and celebrate all of Nychea's accomplishments in high school with her though. I love her so much! I feel so blessed to have sisters who are my best friends as well. I can't believe Nychea is old enough to be a high school graduate and in college now! So crazy! She is the sweetest girl and she is so driven. I can't wait to see all that she accomplishes! One time I wrote a post about how much I love that girl. You can read it here.