Back Ground

Several years ago I decided to make a career change. I had been roofing in Phoenix AZ for many years and did not feel like I was fulfilling my destiny. I decided to go back to school and become a nurse. And so with my wife Kendra by my side I embarked on a remarkable journey , a journey of changes foreseen and unforeseen. When I began my schooling, nurses in Phoenix were in very high demand, hospital census was high, and sign on bonuses were the norm. Not so when I graduated. So after three months of fruitless searching in AZ, Kendra and I began to research compact states, and decided to apply at Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City South Dakota, where I was eventually hired. The result of this hire was the unforeseen change, we had talked of moving to another area after graduation but did not imagine SD would be where we would end up. However, we fell in love with the area on first arrival. The Black hills essentially began right in town, Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish, the Badlands, Hot Springs, Sturgis, and Mount Rushmore are all just a few miles away. Also, we are fortunate to have a congregation of 70 in Gillette Wyoming, which is only 150 miles west of us.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Custer State Park. This park is about 30 miles from our house. Close enough for an easy day trip to hike and picnic, or just drive around looking for wildlife.

I had the window down not realizing these burro's were inclined to come into the vehicle, scared the daylights out of me. Here I am trying to feed it a pretzel, bad idea as he took my only pen and ate it.
I closed the window on this one, doesn't it look like Cujo?

These big old bulls wander alone, they stand up to 6 feet high and weigh 2,000lbs. The park can overwinter approximately 1000 buffalo in it's wild herd, so each year they sell 300-400 head to ranchers, meat packers, or individuals who want lean meat for the freezer. There is a big round-up each Sept. which draws from 10,000-15,000 spectators.
Bighorn sheep.

Very beautiful country. The Black Hills are similar to the Mogollon Rim in northern Arizona, with many small lakes for fishing and excellent camping.

One of the back country roads we traveled looking for animals.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We went to the parade of lights on Saturday night in downtown Rapid City. The temp. was about 30 degrees and dropping, we were all bundled up and wrapped in blankets to stay warm.
This ice arena is in the town square, it is open 7 days a week and offers skate rentals which is nice if the kids just want to try it out.

Jenna and Emalee watching the parade.
Dad with his little Morgan. Morgan waved at all the floats. He is so adorable in his winter gear, stiff as a board, he can barely even walk and he refuses to wear gloves.
The airforce float.
Of course now we know what cat does when we're away, and why the tree is so bare looking, the branches are all bent.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The view from our front window. The first week-end in our new home it snowed over 6 inches, of course the kid's were super excited and wanted to rush out and play, which they did, approximately 52 times each. It was so cold they could not stay out long each time before coming in for a warm up.

  This is from our back deck, it will be a very nice outdoor living/eating area in the summer.

  Caitlyn is usually the first to try and the last to quit, here she gets a face full of snow as she jumps over a small berm.
  Drew went to Walmart and purchased a sled for the kid's. It sure got a lot of use in the three days we had snow. Hopefully more comes soon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We left Phoenix early morning Nov. 3rd, Our family, 2 dogs and the cat in the suburban, Frans and his daughter Lindsay in the moving truck.

Somewhere in Colorado we ran into snow, the kids were running around shouting and laughing. Of course, Caitlyn's shoes were lost in the packing, so she was out in bare feet.

  Jenna and kitty. Caitlyn was either in the back seat or riding in the big truck with Frans.

  Finally, on the afternoon of the second day we arrived at Vonada's in Gillette, WY, where we would stay two nights before continuing on to Rapid City. We also left the dogs and the two oldest kids with Vonada's while we were house hunting.