We recently went on the BEST vacation & adventure in our mini van. Our family LOVES nature and national parks…beaches are fun, and we love them too… but give us a mountain and wildlife any day over sandy toes. All 5 of us agree on that much. 🙂

The first leg of our trip was with my parents. We visited The Badlands in South Dakota, Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore, Custer’s State Park, then visited my Dad’s cousin Jan and her husband Mike in Montana at the Big Horn Lake where Bryson and dad fished for trout a couple of days while my mom, the kids and I relaxed and explored.

Montana is so beautiful! I hadn’t ever been there, and I am just in love! We enjoyed experiencing these things with mom and dad (Grandma and Grandpa) and created some pretty priceless memories together.

My parents and us split and they went to North Dakota (so my mom can now say she’s vised every state BUT Alaska and Hawaii) and we went on the Yellowstone via Bear Tooth Pass (Soooo awesome, go that way!!)  and the Grand Tetons.

We truly had an “All American” vacation. The kids earned 5 Junior Ranger badges each and learned so much in the process of getting those. One of the older Rangers at Devils Tower led them in an oath that went something like this:

“I am a Junior Ranger! (repeat each line after the ranger!)

I will protect this park from danger!

I won’t pick the plants, I won’t step on ants

No animals will get my food, and I won’t litter or be rude.” 🙂

(I think there was another line, but that’s all I can remember)

One of the rangers at Yellowstone, after his pledge, (that wasn’t nearly as cute as the guy at Devils Tower) added “And I won’t fight with my siblings on the car ride back home, or ask my parents for more snacks.” I did appreciate it, though it didn’t, it was worth a try.

After an awesome trip like this, we definitely want to plan more vacations to National Parks. We live in a beautiful country, and seeing these areas makes me love it more and appreciate nature more too.

My favorite part? The Grand Tetons! I wish we had more time there… It’s the prettiest and freshest smelling place I’ve ever been. I could have stayed a week in that park alone.

Here are some clips I put together from our trip.The kids were very helpful by taking pictures and video too! They were always asking for my camera, and I enjoy the images and films they took so much. It makes it that much more special that they love documenting our adventures too.

Camera Blurb:

I ended up packing pretty light in my camera bag. I recently purchased a Sony RX 10 III, and let me tell you what…. It’s the best camera for vacation. I won’t get too detailed, but there were times we used it as binoculars because of the zoom on this thing. (600mm!) The kids especially LOVED being able to photograph animals that close up, and I did feel a little smug because of the size of this camera and it’s lens compared to the DSLR lenses I own and everyone around me was shooting. It’s my “go to” for capturing my family, especially when we are on the go.

Mom’s are always asking us what camera they should get and it does depend on their goals, but most parents want to take great pictures of their kids doing sports and activities. This is the number one camera I recommend. Having a camera with a built on Zeiss lens that can go from 24-600mm is like having several lens options in one. Plus 4K video, and wifi??? It’s a no brainier… you probably need one. 🙂

Ok, I said I wouldn’t get too detailed, so if you want to know more just ask me! 🙂 I am happy (and love!) to answer your camera questions!

Here’s a few more pics taken by yours truly, and the kiddo’s. You have to scroll to the end to see the Grizzly Bear! That was at 600mm. I has some concerned friends text me after I posted that picture on Instagram. We weren’t close, just zoomed in. See, it’s a great camera!!

I have 100’s of images, and my plan is to create a few Chatbooks from all of our vacation pictures so the kids can enjoy them too.

I highly recommend visiting these awesome states and sights! It was amazing, and just what we needed as a family. The drive was long, but we listened to 25 hours of Dave Ramsey and reworked out budget, so at least it was productive. 🙂 The kids were great too, and only consumed 45 sandwiches, and 300 bags of chips and snacks from every stop. (Kidding about everything but the sandwiches.) Ahhhh, America. Let’s road trip again soon, shall we??

What a beautiful country we live in. Sing it with me...

This Land Is Your Land

Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land This land is my land

From California to the New York island;

From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters

This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,

I saw above me that endless skyway:

I saw below me that golden valley:

This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;

And all around me a voice was sounding:

This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,

And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,

As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:

This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there

And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”

But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,

That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,

By the relief office I seen my people;

As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking

Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,

As I go walking that freedom highway;

Nobody living can ever make me turn back

This land was made for you and me.

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