des moines & sioux falls {hisaw road trip installment 1}

early this month, our family embarked on our annual vacation.
last year's vacation was a trip to a lake house on crystal lake, near frankfort, michigan.  
we checked in on a saturday, checked out the following saturday, relaxed and rejuvenated.
this year's road trip couldn't possibly have been more different.
we saw eight states in nine days...
traveled well over 2,000 miles...
and didn't get nearly enough rest!
{isn't that how it always goes? you get home and need a vacation from the vacation!}
seriously, though, we had such a great time, and saw so many incredible places.  
of the eight states we saw, i, personally, had never been to five of them.  most of our children had never been to six of them.  {my hubs, traveler that he is, had already been to most of them--but back when he was a kid himself.}

the first leg of our trip was to the area near des moines, iowa.
we spent our first night with our former babysitter--now grown and married.
after breakfast the following morning, we drove to downtown des moines, so i could meet up with a sweet friend from instagram {one of my favorite parts of interstate travels}.
paul was so great, keeping the kiddos occupied running around the capitol lawn while she and i visited and sipped coffee.

for the most part, i've lived in illinois since i was 18, but i've never been to the illinois state capitol.
the iowa state capitol was so beautiful and we so thoroughly enjoyed its paths and steps and monuments and gardens that i told paul we need to put a day trip to the illinois capitol on our must-do list for sometime within the next year.

when we left des moines, we headed west for sioux falls, sd.
we did quick peek-in at the corn palace in mitchell, sd, but i don't have any photos to post of that stop.  if you're really interested, i posted a short flipagram on my instagram of all the corn-made murals; but quite honestly, other than those, the corn palace really wasn't much of anything exciting. {apologies in advance if any of my readers hail from mitchell!}

our very favorite stop in sioux falls was falls park.  the waterfalls were absolutely fascinating...mesmerizing to watch along with the flow of the river.
acres of smooth-worn rock covered the landscape and our kiddos had such a fabulous time climbing and crawling and exploring.  we spent several hours here {and even returned on the tail end of our trip--more about that in a later post}.
it never fails to amaze me how you can give kids nothing--no toys, no electronics, no fancy games, no tv, no movies--nothing but pure nature...and they can be thoroughly delighted and amused for limitless time.

after this trip, i vowed to invest whatever funds necessary to purchase worthy hiking shoes for each member of the family.
flip-flops just didn't cut it.
{yes, i'm usually very prepared.  no, most of my kiddos do not own good tennis shoes.  yes, i probably should have thought of that before this trip.  no, i didn't.  ya can't win 'em all.}

one of my favorite things to watch over the course of our trip {nine days of a lot of together time--together time in close quarters} was the distinct differences in each of my children.
addison is by far the most easily self-entertained.
she happened upon this algae-slimed puddle and promptly searched for a stick.
once she found that, she was all set.
we all walked and jumped and were otherwise occupied for the better part of 45 minutes, while she contentedly played her imaginary game.
i love that about her.

the perspective of this shot makes it gulliver's-travels-esque to me.

i spy two little hisaws!

these two...
i know we have lots of years in front of us...
my hope and dream for them is that they'll always be as close as they are now...
i'm sure they'll have their fusses and fights and squabbles...
but oh my, the fierce love they have for each other is a gift to a momma's heart.

the "jump shot"...
highly over-used...and we loved every second of it!

can words even express how much i love that i get to be a part of this group?
these are my favorite people in the world...
the coolest kids i know...
and the most patient, good-hearted man.
i've been so blessed.

an arts and crafts festival was going on in downtown sioux falls...
we perused several of the vendors there, gulped down a root beer float, munched on a toddler-sized bag of kettle corn and high-tailed it out of there after a little over an hour.
the more we travel, the more we learn about what we actually like to do...what "works" for us.  with a few exceptions, most craft fairs aren't our cup of tea...which kind of surprises me, given how much i enjoy crafting.  but with the kids along, leisurely browsing just isn't practical.

it's funny how similar this place looks to our little small-town, hole-in-the-wall dairy mart here in illinois.
while craft fairs are "meh"...stops at great old joints like this are a must in our book.

per the recommendation of one of my sioux falls IG friends, paul and i stopped in at the queen city bakery for breakfast before pulling out of town on our way further west.
the industrial feel of the shop along with its location in an old, renovated warehouse-type building gave it such charm and a warm, cozy feel.
paul was thrilled...he got his first ever "fancy latte" here--you know, where they make a "design" with the frothy milk?
yep.  we're high-class, folks.

and because you can just never get enough jump shots...
and because i just can't get enough of eden's facial expressions in most of these.
also, we're voting addison "best jumper of the family"...
in three out of five of these, that girl cleared air!
austyn has her mother's grace...obviously.
and colton?  i just love that boy.

{more to come, as i get time to edit the slew of photos i took.}

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