If it were up to me...

Growing up we didn't take a big family vacation every year, depending on what other needs life threw at my parents (braces for my sister and me...sports tournaments...etc).  But when we did take one, we went to the same place.  

Clearwater Beach Florida. 

It was for sure the happy place of my childhood.  We stayed in the same (by today's standards) hole-in-the-wall motel, right on the beach.   It was called The Flamingo. 

We loved it. 

This was long before high rises became the norm in Florida.   As a child I just remember hours and hours of swimming in the ocean and pool and then getting cleaned up and heading out to dinner.   

My parents are more the "find something that works and stick with it" type.  Not really adventurous at heart.  We didn't do much exploring of other spots in the US.  But  I didn't feel like I missed anything.   I'm still a lay on the beach with a good book, or sit poolside with a fun drink kind of vacation, if it's left solely up to me. 

My husband on the other hand is a total adventurer.  Explorer at heart. 
Beach vacations are not his choice.  (Not to mention he's a red-head with a propensity to burn!)  He grew up with parents who loved to travel and explore out west.  Camping.  State Parks.  You name it.   In College he took that adventurous spirit to Europe and saw the world.   And when we met, he shared the world with me. 

I'm spoiled.  I've seen and been places I didn't even know I wanted to go, but have loved once we've arrived.  He's still our vacation planner (even the beach ones).  He not only plans the vacations but he sets the agenda for most of the days.  He packs it in...but not in a "get-on-the-tour-bus" kind of way.   He researches and chooses our activities wisely... so that we get the most out of it. 

In April or May we weren't sure (as was no one else) whether vacations would even be in the plans for this year.  We were invited to go to Florida with friends and at the last minute in July tagged along and had such fun.  But when school was delayed and he had some extra vacation time due to all the working from home etc, we decided to pack up, hit the road and take an adventure to South Dakota (SoDak for all the cool kids). 

So far we've explored the Badlands both at Sunset and at daybreak... saw some Bison, Big Horn Sheep, Prairie Dogs, Mule Deer and lots of other wildlife. 
It's pretty incredible if you've never been there...
but the kids might just say they were more impressed with the bison.  We did have fun scrambling up the rocks though on a few short hikes.

We hung out with some real "stoners" too. 

I have to admit, I was more excited about seeing Mount Rushmore than I thought I would be.  It's pretty impressive.  Just learning about how it was created; and why these 4 Presidents were specifically chosen.  (also, after having just watched Hamilton for the first 10 times...I felt a little more in-tune with the Founding Fathers). 

And again...if it were up to me...I'm not sure I would inherently choose this kind of vacation.  So I'm thankful for a hubby who pushes us to go and see and do new things.  

Today we rode the 1880 steam train, the kids did an adventure ropes course and we drove out to the Crazy Horse monument.  They are getting plenty of history and PE time in this week.   If time and money were no option, this is how I would always choose to educate my kids.   These are the lessons that stick with them!

We're staying in a little cabin in Hill City with our own fire pit and grill and just enjoying our family time.   We still figure as long as we're outdoors we're safe from the virus...so we are living it up and glad not to be stuck indoors wearing masks for hours a day.  

I'm still working a bit from here... ideally I should be working ahead and getting my emails all squared away long before the day they get sent, but I don't know.   That just doesn't seem to work for me.  And I like being able to share with you what's going on when it's actually happening! 

Thinking of all of you this week as those of us parents of students in the CPS system are still facing many uncertainties about what this school year is going to look like.  May we all give grace to one another, and to those who are making some really difficult decisions. 

...AND...Why not use your extra time this week for a drive out to Plume.  Treat the kiddos to some cupcakesgourmet popcorn or macarons

"Mask-up" and stop by and see the girls.  They'll take good care of you til I get back!
Have a great week!