Summer Roadtrip 2018…

We made it home. It was 3:30 in the morning, (16+ hour drive) but we made it home safely and we were all excited to get out of the car and sleep in our own beds. Here’s some stats from this summer’s roadtrip.

We drove 3900 miles. 2700 of those were driven without Steve. Sidenote: On average, I’ve put about 8,000 miles a year on my car. This summer roadtrip is half the miles I drive in a year!

We visited 5 states.

We saw 43 license plates. (We missed Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia).

We were gone consecutively for 31 days (Steve joined us when he could) – although we were at girls camp right before which made the trip seem even longer.

We went to four state parks.

We slept on a boat. We slept in beds and on the floor. We slept at friends. We slept in tents. We slept in the car.

The movie of choice this roadtrip was Greatest Showman.

Our roadtrip soundtrack was on repeat for hours and hours and hours. And just when I thought the kids were tired of it and I tried switching it out, they revolted and demanded the roadtrip CD, seems to happen every year.

We visited Costco just once.

One carsick kid.

Washed the car window twice and yet visited countless gas stations. (we had a lot of dead bugs by the end!)

Played three rounds of tennis.

Had snowcones 8 times (thanks to my dad’s snowie machine!)

I listened to a good majority of Atlas Shrugged – Steve’s book of choice two months back – I’m almost done and I’ve really enjoyed it.

In our hours upon hours in the car, Briggs slept for approximately 8 hours – thats it. Oh how I wish I had car sleepers!

We didn’t eat at McDonalds – not even once. We did manage to eat at Subway twice, a local hamburger joint, Chipotle, a local Mexican restaurant and Little Ceasers.

Bedtimes were thrown completely out the window. I can think of one day they actually went to bed at their normal bed time and only a handful of times that they went to bed within an hour of their normal bedtime. It doesn’t help that it was light until 10pm while we were in Idaho.

When we arrived home it was 97 degrees. It was in the middle of the night – I don’t think any of us are quite ready for the Arizona summer that we’ve successfully avoided until now. Excuse us while we slip into swimsuits for the next couple weeks until school starts!

 

 

Idaho wrap up…

Just a few straggler pictures from our summer adventures.

I’m pretty sure I have 10 pictures just like this – Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Utah – rolling hills and beautiful landscapes all along the way.

We spent a lot of times in the parks – a luxury you can’t very well enjoy in Arizona during the summer. The “death” park is always a favorite – a name we’ve thrown around – but not widely accepted. It’s the city park where all the playground equipment would never pass today’s standards for safety and concern for children. The huge metal slide with a shallow edge. The wooden teeter totters that send you flying in the air. The rickety merry-go-round. Equipment that makes my kid’s eyes light up with excitement. They were really curious about the merry-go-round. “You used to have these at your school?!” Yep – until they yanked them all due to safety issues. We visited the park on multiple occasions.

We played with cousins and then played some more with cousins. Camping with them. Swimming with them. Fishing with them. Summer evening games with them. If you ask my kids, there is never enough cousin time.

I convinced my mom to paint her living room. She’s not one for much change and that color on the wall has been there for almost 20 years. I think the last two years I’ve visited I’ve pushed to paint that room and she’s always denied me the opportunity. I went and got a paint sample and just a few days before leaving she told me I could put it on the wall. (we strategically painted it behind a wall hanging, just in case she changed her mind!)  I’m still not sure what made her pull the trigger that afternoon but we found ourselves at the paint store just 20 minutes before closing begging them to mix it up for us that evening as opposed to the next day. Luckily the color match was in their system already and we walked out with three gallons. And the fun began!

I was able to squeeze in some friend time along our journey. I love reconnecting with so many great friends/roommates, I just wish I would’ve remembered to take pictures with all of them. And for those I missed – I’ll be back next year!

I’m sure my parents were more than a little excited to see this rowdy bunch exit the building. 🙂 We’ll be back next summer and hopefully Briggs will be passed the high pitched squeal/scream phase. Fingers crossed.

Family photo outtakes…

Every couple years when my family (parents and siblings) get together, we attempt family pictures. Years ago, we had someone come take photos for us. And in years since then, I’ve set it up and used a tripod. There were times when I would push the button and have ten seconds to get in my spot in the picture. As our kids grew older, I trusted them to push the button without knocking the tripod over and they became our photographers. But it’s still difficult. Trying to set up the shot, plugging myself in and then quickly scanning through the pictures to see that so-and-so is slouched funny and we need to retake. Over and over again.

Add to that a myriad of funny and goofy personalities and photo day becomes goof off day – which is why we choose not to torture some innocent photographer.

Here are just a few outtakes from this year’s session. We really only need one to hang over my mom’s piano – fingers crossed she’ll approve one!

Family picture outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family picture outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family picture outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family picture outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family picture outtakes

Family photo outtakes

Family picture outtakes

4th of July 2017…

We spent the fourth of July in Idaho – something that has become a tradition over the past five years. It beats the heat of summer in Arizona. Last summer we were up in Rexburg for our family reunion the same exact week and we had lofty goals of going to the Melaleuca firework show in Idaho Falls. As it drew closer, we all agreed we didn’t want to fight the crowds and try to find parking – so we changed plans.

This year the Melaleuca firework show went back on our schedule and I kept expecting it to get knocked off the list like the previous year. But this year the idea stuck and we found ourselves driving down to Idaho Falls at 5pm to find a place to watch the fireworks. This Freedom Festival is quite the production and we were surprised at all they had to offer as people waited for the big show. The inflatables area was entertaining. It’s fun to watch a large log knock your child off a pedestal or get knocked off a bull. We watched it time and time again and it never failed to make me laugh.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

My brother was drawn to the Archery contests and we enjoyed watching him win. He won more than once – he could’ve stayed there all night and cashed in. I guess it’s a skill set not held by many!

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

As they sun started to fade on the horizon, we ate our picnic dinner and celebrated my nieces birthday with cake. The kids played football, corn hole and card games while the other’s played spike ball.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

Evidently, the kids didn’t get enough sparklers the night before and we used the dusk hour to light up the night. I’m now beginning to wonder if there’s ever enough sparklers. I think not. Luckily we had the longer sparklers this night – less lighting more sparkling.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

The Melaleuca fireworks show was…amazing, just as everyone told us it would be. By this point it was 10 o’clock, Briggs had fallen asleep in the stroller and was sporting noise cancelling headphones. And I sat with a permanent grin on my face. So many fireworks. So many booms. It was just as I had hoped. The 31 minutes went by way too fast. I could’ve sat for another hour enjoying that moment. But it ended with the largest bang. And as expected there was the biggest rush to the parking lot. We looked at each other and realized we were going to be sitting in a parking lot for a while, or we could sit where we were just a little longer. So we sat. The kids watched movies, we played night games (with glow in the dark balls and glow in the dark necklaces) and waited for the crowd to clear. The kids were rockstars. Over two hours after the show ended we finally got in our cars and made it home after 1am. Even with my 5 young children, who refuse to sleep-in regardless of what time they go to bed…it was totally worth it.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

Summer adventures…Family reunion…

Towards the end of our summer road trip, we met up with my family in Rexburg, Idaho – beautiful in the summer time, but avoid at all costs in the winter. 🙂

This location seems to be good meeting ground for our family coming from so many directions so we’ve gathered as a family there multiple times. One advantage of going to the same place over and over again – you learn what the area has to offer. The drawback is we have so many activities on our to-do list and we can’t do them all. I was bummed we didn’t make it to the caves this year.

We did make it to the local rodeo though. I was mostly excited about the fireworks show afterwards – which they announced towards the end that it had been cancelled. I felt cheated. That was my whole motivation for going in the first place! We made the best of it and entertained Briggs the best we could.

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

We spent one day at a wake boarding park. It was situated just outside of Rexburg on the smallest body of water. There was a zipline with a rope attached that took us back and forth. For those more adventurous souls, there were jumps and obstacles. This was Hallie’s first experience wake boarding and her wake surfing time at Powell paid off because she popped right up. There were several who tried the jumps but only one stuck the landing. We also rented paddle boards to cruise around on. I’ve decided I want paddle boards. Several times in the last 6 weeks we were able to play on them and every age seemed to enjoy them. I’m adding them to my Christmas list.

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

With so many babies in the family this year, we spent more time hanging around the house than ever before. The girls had a dedicated craft table where they spent a lot of time. There was often a lawn game taking place and the boys scooted around on scooters and plasma cars.  I wish I had taken pictures of all the kids in their respective age groups. You would have seen this group of girls, and then several groups of boys.

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

The night before 4th of July we had our little fireworks show. Every year I’m amazed at how sparklers can keep kids entertained forever. And is it just me or are sparklers getting shorter and shorter? Many of them have a burnable area of 3 to 4 inches. So by the time you’re able to light it – they’ve got a good 10 seconds before it goes out. I’m all for longer sparklers and less lighting. (Luckily we got that figured out for the next night!)

Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion

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