Saturday, January 23, 2016

Another Bison Encounter

Ever since we saw Hiltopper graduate Dylan Miller take the court with his fellow North Dakota State teammates take the court in Springfield last November, we have become BIG Bison fans.

We couldn't wait to see our favorite Bison in person again!
Shortly after the game, we looked up the rest of the Bison men's basketball schedule to see if the next time they played close to home. Their home games are played in Fargo, North Dakota, which is a bit of a trek for us, but fortunately, in January, they were scheduled to play in Macomb against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks.  And we've been looking forward to it ever since.

Mommy always finds silly things to take our picture in front of!
Macomb is about a three-hour drive from home, so we planned to make a weekend out of the adventure. We booked a room at the Hampton, cashing in a Christmas present of Hilton dollars. It would be hard on Grace to make the three-hour drive twice in one-day, and we thought it would be fun to be able to take her swimming and relax some too.

Grace was ALL smiles when Wes brought her a Junior Bison Club T-shirt.
So, this morning, we got up early, packed our bags and hit the road for another Bison encounter.  After we got breakfast on the way, we set Grace up to watch Mary Poppins in the van. It lasted almost the entire drive, and she really seemed to like the music.  Once we got to Macomb, we stopped for a quick lunch at Jimmy John's, and then headed to Western Hall for the big game.

Our friends at North Dakota State have been keeping in touch with us ever since we met them in November. They continue to follow our story, and we couldn't wait to see them.  Santa Claus brought us all some North Dakota State gear, and we were excited to wear it to the game.

Of course, Bruce got to go with us to the game!
Believe it or not, we actually arrived at the game before it was already in progress.  Being on time is certainly not one of our specialties, although we do try! But today was different. We arrived in Macomb with plenty of time to spare, picked up our tickets and selected some seats just behind the North Dakota State bench, which was also directly in front of fellow Hillsboro-ites and members of Dylan's family.

Mommy was a little star-struck, but Grace was cool when we met Dylan after the game.
As we got settled into our seats, Wes Offerman, who works for the team, made his way over to greet us.  Wes was the one who set up the meet and greet with the team before the last game, and has become one of Grace's biggest fans.  He came over with some new Bison T-shirts for all of us, and we got to visit with him a bit before the game started. We were also touched that head coach Dave Richman stopped by our seats to greet us before the tip-off.

Grace had more smiles for Brian and Malik, who were gracious to come and see her after the game.
Dylan got to play briefly in the first game we saw him, but this time, he got to start and played for nearly half the game. Kyle took pictures from one end during the first half and then sat with us for the second half.  We had great seats, and it was a great game with the Bison coming out on top.  

Grace stayed awake the entire game this time around, but she fell asleep snuggling with daddy before dinner.
The last time we saw the Bison play, it was a paper day, so we didn't really have any time to stick around after the game. But we did today!  We made our way over to where Dylan's family was talking to him, and he came over just to talk to Grace and to thank us for coming.  He even let us take a photo with him.  Grace also got visits from Malik Clements and Brian Ishola after the game. She had lots of smiles for everyone when they stopped to talk to her.

It was Kyle's lucky day as he was selected the Hampton Inn guest of the day and won a free candy bar.
After Grace finished socializing with everyone, we headed back to the hotel for some pizza and some swimming, something all three of us enjoyed. We even ran into a family from church, who were babysitting their grandson at our hotel.  And mommy got to watch the US Figure Skating championships while Grace got a bath.

Grace was so excited to wear her new T-shirt down to the hotel pool.
Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for bed, and to bid farewell to yet another adventure on this "Grace-Filled Journey." When we met the Bison team in November, we were quick to become fans of their team, but we had no idea they would adopt us into their Bison family as well. All we can say is "Horns Up!" and we'll be cheering for you the rest of the season!


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