Calm Amongst the Chaos

Mama of 5 seeking calm in the chaos

I’ve been wanting to update after our week away, but we have not slowed down one bit yet. But I have some time, Calliou is entertaining Oli and the girls are in school so finally here I go.

3 words to describe the past week is Blessed, Overwhelmed and fabulouslyfun (my blog, my rules).

Blessed by wonderful people with big hearts! Our vacation started by getting to the airport at 5:30am with 3 kids. My niece, Ariel, met us there and there was no parking, had to go into overflow lot, had to take shuttle with wheelchair lift, ie we were getting late and I was getting stressed. But let me just say Allegiant Air at Mesa Gateway had a gentleman by the name of Eugene aka Gene that might as well have worked at the Beast’s Castle, he did everything short of singing “Be our Guest” to get us on that airplane. He was incredible and kind and just plain sweet. Him, plus Ariel and Andrew taking our luggage with him made this trip smooth sailing. We were in Rapid City by 10:20am and all in great moods. Not common for me and traveling with kids. When we got off the plane I was thrilled to see my hubby, father in law and Ariel’s boyfriend, Tanner, standing there waiting for us and excited to get our vacation started. We went to Mystic Hills and said our hello’s to grandma Cheryl and the kids just let loose. I have to say if you are ever wanting to vacation out near Mt. Rushmore you have to stay at Mystic Hills. We all hadn’t been there since May of 2006 and it was so great to be back! They have RV spots to rent, places to tent and cabins to stay in. They also have a restaurant/bar that serves good food. It really is a great place, can’t say enough about it. The kids loved it there. So much fresh air, it was cool there, they have a huge lake with ducks to feed and even a cute little paddle boat. Since it was Sturgis Rally time they were really filled up and so a wonderful local family, Curt and Denette, offered for them to sleep in their toy hauler while letting us stays in their beautiful 5 bedroom house! What a blessing! There were 7 of us and we all had our beds/rooms to sleep in. Lily got to sleep in a comfortable futon and Andi wanted to sleep with her. We got to see our good friends Dave and Erin who moved back to South Dakota from Arizona and got to meet their newest addition to their family.

Monday Andrew, Tanner, Ariel, Oli and I ventured into Sturgis during the day, Lily and Andi Jane stayed back with grandma Cheryl and I am so glad they did. All I could think was I had too much clothes on and why do people have their kids here… oops I did, but at least he is 2 and will never remember all those painted naked bodies. It was quite an adventure! It was fun to see though for sure, all those bikes! It was pretty surreal. But I was glad we were staying 20 miles away at Grandma and Grandpa’s place.

Tuesday was the day of the run, after we sold a ton of raffle tickets and got everyone signed up we went on Lily’s Run! Curt and Denette have a rental company for outdoor vehicles and let us drive the 4 seater Polaris RZR and we were able to put Lily’s car seat in it and Andi sat next to her in the back. It was a blast! We followed 50 some bikes who were all riding for Lily! For our Lily! They all had their green CDKL5 band on their wrist and it choked me up several times to see the support for a little girl most of them didn’t even know. Lily LOVED that ride. She laughed, she smiled and every time a motorcycle rode by with its loud engine she giggled. It was all so intentional and just filled our hearts with joy. We just don’t get to do that kind of stuff with our kids and to have a week of just pure fun was so good for the entire family. Oli got to hitch a ride with Grandma Cheryl and Papa Steve in their truck. He was included as well, no worries. We made 4 stops and by the end all the kids were in the truck and Andrew and I were pelted with rain, but we laughed the entire time and just had an amazing day. During one of the stops an older gentleman who appeared to maybe have drank a little too much came up to Lily and me and said “don’t worry, God will take care of her” and I said “he already has”. And I meant every bit of that. It may have been one of the last places I thought I would see God, but he was there in Sturgis South Dakota! After the run we had a pulled pork dinner, supplied by Mystic Hills and following dinner was the auction. Oh my goodness what a hoot the auctioneer was. He was getting $100 for t-shirts, $20 for a rock! He sold a kiss on the cheek from Grandma Cheryl for $100! Andi Jane joined Grandma with that expensive kiss and kissed the winner on the other cheek. We also had real items like leather gloves, handmade blankets, a stay in Greer, awesome rings from Nightrider donated from my friend Carrie from Jr. High! We keep in touch on facebook and she saw our run and wanted to donate 2 rings! These are awesome rings too, they went for a high price and seriously people you should check out their website, it is sweet! Andrew wants a ring for the next gift giving time. Our anniversary is tomorrow, so it might not happen by then, but maybe Christmas. After the auction was done we had Lily pull the raffle ticket for the bike. We had sold quite a few online, but mostly all in person at the campground. The odds of the winner actually being there was slim, but you wouldn’t believe it, he was there! And he was the guy saying he really wanted that bike and may buy it off the raffle winner. When Lily pulled his name and Grandma Cheryl went over to him to hug him and congratulate him he said he wants to donate it to the auction. I doubt there was a dry eye there. What a tremendous sacrifice. OVERWHELMED! The bike went for $4,000 in the auction! I forgot to mention the poker run winner and looser also won a cash prize but donated that back and the 50/50 raffle winner donated his money back.

The couple that organized the run was Michael and Chris Burgen and they do this type of thing yearly getting toys for disadvantaged children. They even rode a ton of toys to kids in Joplin, MO this year. They were so gracious with their time, their knowledge and their support. I just can’t say enough about everyone who made it out. I want to name everyone personally but I can’t. Just know there were many hands taking part and each one meant the world to us.

So when I say OVERWHELMED I mean OVERWHELMED! We don’t have a total yet on the run, we still have to figure out the total bring in, but it was so successful! So BLESSED SO OVERWHELMED!

The next day we headed to Colorado, long story short we had 7 people ride from South Dakota to Colorado is a truck. Andrew laid in the bed with blankets, a sleeping bag and 2 tylenol PM’s. Funny now. Not so much back then.

We got to spend the rest of our trip at Andrew’s brother Jeremy and Andrea’s in Windsor, CO. And what a great way to spend the rest of our trip! Our nephew Mason is 6 months and crawling and it was the first time we met him. That made me sad, but so glad we finally got to formally meet. It was also so fun to see Oliver and Jayda who are only 11 days apart! She can talk circles around him, it was so funny. Thursday they took us out on the boat and we spent our day there. What a great day! The kids had fun, Lily enjoyed it so much! We just tied her car seat to the captain’s chair on the boat. Andi got to ride a jet ski and I got to swim in the lake. Something I just love to do, I love swimming in natural water. Maybe that makes me weird and although it was cold, it is just so fun! Andrew got to wake board and not too bad for an old dad, he still has skill! Then end of the night was spent with wine and Chinese food. And Friday we said our goodbyes and Ariel, the kids and I flew out on Allegiant in Ft. Collins. Not as great as Mesa Gateway, but no point in complaining. It was a great vacation. Absolutely wonderful. So great we can’t wait to do it again!

I will make a formal announcement with the money raised and more pictures, but I just wanted to share our trip personally like I always do.

FantasticallyFun! Blessed! Overwhelming!

Thank you thank you thank you to those who helped along the way, we got help putting the bike together from Liberty National Bank in South Dakota, they paid for casual day and the money went to help us fix up the bike, thanks to our sister in law Carrie for setting that up! We had help from friends The Porter’s, the Abbot’s, the Grimes’, grandma and grandpa Nothdurft, the Yaegaer’s, Tanner Stump, the list could go on and on!

Thank you for those of you who purchased raffle tickets, and those who made it out that day. What a fabulouslyfun, overwhelmingly blessed week!

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