Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Traveling Days

Here are some pics of the 6 days we traveled. 

At a rest stop somewhere in WY getting out & running around. 
There was a family from Utah that we ping ponged back & forth with this day. 
Saw them at all the stops we made. 

My sweet 3 crammed in the back on the first day. 
It was so tight that I cut my arm every time I buckled them in. 
I need to invest in seat belt extenders. 

Laurie came with us the trip to Utah. We left her in Provo with Perry as he was already there.
 It was so great having a 3rd driver. 
I spent a good chunk of the time sleeping in the captain's chair in the back.  
The other time Laurie entertained my kids & I didn't have to do a thing. 
Actually, it kinda spoiled me for the rest of the trip. 

Jared as he's not driving. 
He would rather drive than pass things back to the kids or yell at them to knock it off. 

Our sweet Ellie. I don't remember what caused all the colors on her face. 
She did really good for the most part. 
Just a couple hours of crying & maybe 2 tantrums not wanting to get back into the car. 

A couple pics of Grandpa's driveway. 
Ellie as she's running from us, not wanting to get in the car. 

Traveling on day 2.  Oh the wind. It was terrible! 
Things would fly out of car. We'd all get ready to get in, say 1  2  3  then open the doors & get in fast so nothing flew out. 
It knocked us over, whipped our hair, moved our car all around 
on the road. Flat open spaces.......... I don't like them so much. 

Cramming 3 kids in a hotel bed. 
The first time we ever stayed in a hotel as a family. 
The kid's first time ever I'm sure. It was pretty fancy. 
They had a great water park. 
This was where Nate decided to take off his life jacket & swim on his own. 
They had slides, we swam till 10 pm. It was nice. 

When I was growing up, my family always stopped at McDonald's. There were only 2 kids so it wasn't very expensive.  
I remember collecting happy meal toys the whole road trip. 
It was fun to try to get them all, no matter how lame they were. Jared, not so much. He can't stand the place. 
For that reason, & the fact the 4 kids is too much money to spend on a crappy meal, we never go there. 
So as we were planning this trip, I told the kids we would stop at McDonald's at least one time & get happy meals. 
They were excited for months. Grant even wrote a paper on it at school. 
How he was so excited for summer to come cause mom was going to Mc Donald's! 
We did stop a few times. Ate too much junk. 
But the playgrounds were good for the kids. 

At a gas station literally in the middle of nowhere. 
There was not a single thing around this station but this dinosaur and a tiny trailer. 
And whatever those things are in the background. 
After this shot, I drove for 3 hours without seeing a single car going our direction. 
A few going the other way. It was lonely....... But I had a good book to listen to. 

As I was driving the last little bit to Kirsti's, Jared watched his father's day movie. 
The new Sherlock Holmes. Yes, that's Ellie watching it too. 
I know, good parenting right? It actually kept her pretty entertained. 

Me driving a fat chunk of time while people slept. 
Out of the whole 60 hours, I drove maybe 10. Jared is so amazing. 

As we were leaving to come home, we waved goodbye to good gas prices. 

And on home it was. Lots of candy for the kids. 

We listened to Percy Jackson books 1 & 2, part of 3. 
Jared listened to 2 books, one of which was Hunger games, he loved it! 
And I got to listen to a few myself. The kids watched maybe 5 movies.  
All in all, it was a great time spent as a family. 
No fighting from the adults, minimal from the kids.  
Maybe we'll do it again next year!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Half of Our Vacation in South Dakota!!

On our way out, I got to stop & spend some time with my favorite missionary companion/trainer, Sister Salvador! 
Or I guess it's now Sister Simmons, or I could use her first name Olimpia.  
Nah, it'll always be Salvador. 
She's living in Provo with her 3 boys that are super cute! She always cooks delicious food. 
This is where I get my good Lumpia cooking from. 

All our cute kiddos. 

Then we finally made it to South Dakota! 
Lots of bugs, humidity & cousins!!

 Quiet time reading books. We went to the library a couple times for story time, an Olympic games for kids, & to get a ton of books to keep us occupied! The library there was amazing! So clean & nice people that work there. No cranky librarians. 

 It was so much fun spending time with Kirsti! I got her all to myself that week. She endured me yacking at her & following her around wherever she went. 

It was very winding one particular day. 
Was hard for the little ones to walk straight. 
But it made for good kite flying weather!

The kids & Jared flew the kites pretty well. 

Everyone was tired all the time from all the excitement.
 Crying was all around. 

Cute Oliver loved posing for the camera. 

Ellie liked to copy Oliver. 

At the local Dairy Queen that is know nation wide. 

So tired........

What the kids did in the basement. 
Watching movies or playing the Wii. 
That was fine with us cause it meant we got some time to ourselves. 

Then we drove a little bit out of town to see J.B.'s bee farm & wax plant!
Honestly, it was more exciting than I expected. 

J.B. showing off with the bees. 

Kids messing around at the wax plant. 
Not the best smelling place ever. 

The population of this town was 40? Or maybe 50? 
This is the post office that serves the town. Smallest I've ever seen. I wonder what they do all day?

J.B.'s Grandpa started a tradition of always keeping ice cream in the freezer. 
We got to partake of it!

Then it was on to Sioux Falls! 
Everyone graciously waited while I visited some cute little quilt shops. 
And we got to see the falls! 

Throwing rocks. 

From on top of the observatory. 

Ellie's favorite spot while at Kirsti's. 

The best street name ever. 

 Charles & Ellie had fun playing/fighting the whole time. They were so cute!

Thanks for the visit Aunt Kirsti! We'll try to come out again soon!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Historic & Famous Sites We Visited

While driving through Nevada & Wyoming was "super" exciting. Just can't  get enough of counting dead dear on the side of the road. The amazing stuff in the middle of nowhere was just that. AMAZING!

We spent a bit of time at Martin's Cove. 
Pulled hand carts, totally not easy. 

They made prairie rings out of nails, watched a video about 
the Martin handcart company, saw some really old stuff 
ie. guns, clothes, chests, maps, luggage, etc. 
It was fun. 

Jared & I were forced to pull the kids around for a bit in a small covered wagon. 
I was feeling bad for horses at that moment. 

 Drove a little extra for "Devil's Rock." We decided to not go all the way up, just a stop on the side of the road. 

It's pretty cool for the inside of a volcano. At least we can say we've been there.....

Then it was on to Mt. Rushmore. It was smaller than we thought it would be. But pretty cool. 

I don't think I'll ever have a family picture with everyone looking at the camera. I won't even mention actually smiling at it. 

 They have a flag for each state. Here's to Cali! We also met the last dude alive that worked on the mountain. There was more stuff to do around the site than at it. A tourist could stay 2-3 days with stuff to do there. I'm such a sucker. Next time I want to stop at all these places. Shops, a HUGE slide park, a zoo, candy, you name it, something is there for everyone. To take your money that is.  

 Then to what most excited me. (Not anyone else)

 I love love love the Little House on The Prairie books! Not the lame show. But the books. I love reading everything out there about Laura. I think she is a great storyteller & explains the life of a pioneer so vividly. She does it so well I end up wanting to make my own butter, make a quilt by hand (yeah right), make my own bullets, & go camping. 

Kirsti was kind enough to take us there while in SD. Below are the kids on the tower over looking the homestead. 

 There were lots of fun things for the kids to do. 

A round about.

A teeter totter. 

A box of tiny rocks. What more could a kid ask for?

 For some reason, the kids loved this covered wagon a lot. They had me take picture after picture of them in it. 

Elles jacking Oliver's spot in the stroller. 

A pump & well. Super exciting to them!

Go Kirsti-wa! Push all those kids. 

The famous corner shelf with brown paper trim. I'm not sure if it's the original. Most likely not. 

And the hit of the day......LAUNDRY!! Everyone wanted to stay the longest at this spot. 
Apparently hand washing is a great activity. 
They fought over who got to do the soap, who got to ring it out, then went to pin  it on the clothes line. 
They were adorable. 
As for me, I looked at the equipment & thanked all technology 
that I have working machines to do these things for me. 
I do use my clothes line out back, but no matter how great Laura described boiling water, making soap, scrubbing clothes  & waiting for them to dry, I don't envy those parts of the books. 

 The lasso spot. 

With all the excitement, my girls found the golf cart to play on. Charly even started it up. 
I blamed the idiot that left their keys in the cart. 

 What made the trip worth the fees we had to pay were the unlimited pony rides. 
I'm the mom who begs her hubby to pay $10 per kid for a pony ride at the fair. 
I think it's so cool. 
Here, they all got several rides each. They loved it!

 Dressed up at the school house. 

Grant making rope. 

 It was so much looking at the place where a chunk of Laura's childhood lived out. Next time when I go back to SD, I'll travel the couple hours to the museum with more "real" Laura stuff. Till then, I'll re read all the books. 

Where's Jared you ask? He gladly waited in the car for more than 4 hours. He listened to a book & got some alone time. 

On the way back home we stopped at Independence Rock. Someday I'd like to climb it. But for now, sitting at the bottom for a family pic is enough. 

It was a lot of fun visiting these places. 
To see some of the country & it's history.