Sunday, September 8, 2013

Of flattened air mattresses, Storybook Island, and a Stavkirke

Day 2 Tuesday, August 20  
My last update ended with this, “Then we tucked ourselves in and slept like babies.”  That was not technically true.  I slept like a baby, which I generally do no matter where I am.  But there were various reports upon waking, of Joe's snoring waking up the different kids.  When I was young, I was already a very deep sleeper.   I remember my mom and others saying that once I had kids, that would change.  But it has not.  I sleep very deeply.   And don't hear a thing.  There were many times when Joe would have to kick me to feed one or another of our babies when they cried from their cradle right next to my bed.

But I see now that it's a gift from God.   This sleeping deeply thing.  When Joe stayed with another pastor friend of ours, Pastor Thompson said in the morning, “I've heard snoring before, but this, … this was incredible.”

But I hear nothing.

Thankfully the campground had few enough other campers we were in no danger of getting kicked out for breaking the quiet time rules.

Oh, and even after all our careful work patching the air mattresses, we still had two that were flat by morning. Joe's and mine included. I still slept soundly the first night. But each subsequent night was a bit more difficult. My hip bones or upper thigh bones or something became very sore. Who would think a little sleeping on the ground would leave me with areas feeling all bruised and beaten? This middle age stuff is definitely not for the faint of heart. I feel like such a wimp. But even just having the kids slide up on my lap tonight was painful after a few days, if they hit my upper legs in the wrong place. Sheesh. Maybe that means I need to do it more often to keep those thigh muscles properly toned for ground sleeping, … or something?

On our second day out, we drove around. That did not make our older girls happy, since they were all keyed up to swim. The day was very hot, but overcast. We needed to stock up on a few grocery type items and pick up the few things we'd discovered we'd left behind, or the ones we had didn't work. We needed milk and butter, since we didn't pack it from home. I had forgotten my swimming suit, John's flip-flops fell apart by the end of the first day, and Joe needed a new saw, since his did not work. That saw though, that was a good deal. For the cost of eleven bucks for a new saw, we were able to forage enough wood for our cooking fires. At $5 a bundle of wood from the campground hosts, that paid for itself in two meals.

So we drove around. We saw many miles of pretty scenery, taking a somewhat circuitous rout into Rapid City. We wanted to check out some area lakes so we'd know what ones fit our recreational wishes. Once we finished our shopping in Rapid City, we had a picnic lunch, and then went to Storybook Island, a free child oriented park in Rapid City. We went there once before, with Matt, Jeremy, Louisa, and Elsie. The girls were too young to remember, but Matt would probably remember having to go sit in the car with his dad because he ran ahead of us.

The Abrahamsons, doing Piratey things

Storybook Island is a wonderful little place that even the teenaged girls enjoyed. I wouldn't say they'd beg to go there again, but they did have fun.  I was pleased with them and proud of the good heart the showed when they would have rather been doing other things. The park has little houses or displays from many famous childhood stories and nursery rhymes. A child for instance, can go in one house and look over the Cat in the Hat's shoulder and read from the book of the same name.  The walls of the little house are decorated with pages from that story.

You can climb a tower or walk through a tunnel in Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood.  Or perhaps you'd like to board a Pirate ship, or go into Giupetto's workshop where he's busy working on Pinocchio. There are many other little houses and scenes that the littles love exploring.

See, Sudesh, we did follow the Yellow Brick Road

After Storybook Island, we headed for our Campground, but on the way, we stopped at the Chapel in the Hills, a reproduction of a Norwegian Stave church. Boy was that beautiful! And it was fun to see a little pocket of Norwegian culture in amongst all the wild west flavor of the Black Hills.

"The Chapel in the Hills is an exact replica of the famous Borgund stavkirke, of Laerdal, Norway. The Borgund stavkirke was built around the year 1150 and is considered the most completely preserved stave church still standing in Norway."
"Another characteristic of the stave church is the woodcarving which abounds in muchof the architecture of Norway. Woodcarving was a prominent part of building traditions before churches were built. The vikings brought their woodcarving skills along with their construction techniques to the building of the Stav Churches. As more and more stave churches were built and dedicated to the worship of God, a rich symbolism grew up, with elaborate explanations of the spiritual meaning of the various carvings and parts of the building."

We then went to the campground where Joe made us a lovely supper of grilled hamburgers, roasted potatoes, and onions. Those who chose to, could eat their hamburger in a warmed corn tortillas (we eat primarily Gluten Free due to at least one and possibly others in our family who suffer from celiac disease.)  The others simply ate their burgers sans bun.

After we washed up the supper dishes, we roasted marshmallows, and then hit the sack. I think Joe played his guitar a little while, to help everyone sleep.

Joe showing off his muscles while blowing the fire to start a new section going. He found out the push-up method was maybe not quite so great, because when he'd give a gusty blow the debris from the kindling would fly up in his face. This was a bit challenging when in the "down" position of a pushup.

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