Jul 31, 2012


Kansas is SOOO flat!
Well, we are almost home! After 2 1/2 weeks, tomorrow night I can finally sleep in my own bed again. This time has been magical and a chance for us to forget about the worries in our little world and just enjoy each other. Not that it has been completely worry-free, but I notice as I get closer to home, I have started worrying about things like school, football, dance... the list goes on and on.

Today was a travel day for us. The drive from Kansas City to Denver took nearly 10 hours and that didn't count the time we had to drive slower for the rainstorm or the stops we made for lunch and gas. We stopped in Hays, Kansas for lunch and we ate at the Long John Silvers. We had never eaten there, but had seen its commercials many times so we thought it would be fun. The food was good, but heavy. Why is it that all food on the road is fried?

We rolled into Denver just after 7:00. The kids made a beeline for the pool. It was fun but pretty cold, so after about half an hour Baby Doll and I got out and watched from a deck chair. We spent the rest of the evening in our rooms, ordering pizza and playing cards. Baby Doll was running a fever (not sure why) and she just wanted to be held. But she is sleeping peacefully now.

My sweetie took some fun pics of the kids in the pool, but the camera cord is still in the van and I'm the only one still up. I will try to remember to add them to tomorrow's post, but for now, you can see these cell pics we snapped at Long John Silvers.

Oh and one last piece of news...

Bossy and Gamer closed on their very first home today! We are so excited for them. They live in the same city as we do so their kids will attend the same high school and participate in the same sports. I can feel change in the air. Teach will be leaving for her mission soon, Dog Walker is starting college classes, Drama Queen is moving away and taking her first teaching job, Princess is starting high school, and all my elementary kids have been switched from A to D track. Even Curly is turning four in a couple of weeks and will be starting preschool! Soon it will be just me and Baby Doll at home during the day. I know life is all about change, I'm just not sure I'm ready for it...

Jul 29, 2012

Kansas City

We spent last night in Kansas City and then decided to take a break for the Sabbath. It was so nice to know we didn't have hundreds of miles to travel today!

We slept in and then got ready for church. I had located wards for us to attend before we left home, but my sweetie decided he wanted to find a closer congregation. He got online and found one, but when I tried to put it into google maps, the address was gone. So he got back on and found a different ward located near the new Kansas Ciy temple.

After plugging the address into the GPS, we hit the road. Ten minutes later, I spotted the temple. We got off on the exit and rather than driving directly to the building, the GPS told us to drive the opposite direction. Common sense suggested that we head directly for the church, so we did.
There was a full parking lot on the side of the building, so we made our way toward the upper parking lot. There was a small road with a crosswalk. As we inched our way along, I spotted a man carrying a small child ready to cross. I couldn't believe it! It was my volleyball friend, Kyle, from Utah!

I had no idea that we were attending his ward. He moved from Utah last fall to attend medical school and I hadn't seen him since. I don't believe in coincidence. There were too many factors here for that to happen. We had discarded two other wards and if we would have followed the GPS, we would have missed him because he would have been inside the building aready. I'm not sure if he prayed us there or we prayed him there, but I believe that Heavenly Father made this meeting happen for us.
We were much more comfortable here than in the two previous wards we had attended on the road mosly because we knew someone. Kyle also gave us some insight into a couple of other places we were already planning to visit, Liberty Jail and Independence.

Both sites had Visitors' Centers and the kids loved them both. Liberty was the site of the jail where Joseph Smith was kept for over four months on false charges. The jail is gone, but they have reconstructed it. It must have been such a difficult time for them.

Independence was amazing!  The kids enjoyed the interactive exhibits and the play area. We spent a couple of hours there. Then we headed back to the hotel. The kids convinced us to get in the pool for an hour and then they were just dying to watch Cupcake Wars.

We ate in our rooms. Sometimes I think we are missing all the fun since we are several doors down the hall from the kids' adjoining rooms.

Tomorrow it's back on the road. My sweetie says we need to head out early... we will be home soon.

Jul 28, 2012

St. Louis

Teach is an awesome photographer!

That's us, I promise!

Waiting in line at the arch...

It's so high!
We got up about 8:30 this morning. We were all still exhausted from being so long in the van yesterday. After a convenience store breakfast we hit the road. (I hate staying in hotels where they don't have free breakfast.) The morning went by quickly. Teach and the Prima Donna are learning to crochet and that kept me busy. I have also been reading aloud to my sweetie and anyone else who wants to listen. We finished our second novel today in the Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series.

We rolled into St. Louis around noon and stopped by the arch. Silly me, I actually thought we could buy tickets and ride the tram to the top! After waiting for 20 minutes in the security line, we finally got in to the visitors' center only to find lots more lines. Since we still had 4 more hours to drive, we couldn't spend our entire day waiting for tickets.

So we gave up on that idea and just went through the museum. It was awesome! I didn't even realize they had a museum and it was free, my favorite price. Then we took some pictures by the waterfront before we walked back over to the shopping district. We found a little pub that turned out to be a dive and we had lunch. I think it could have used a little help from the Restaurant Impossible guy.

Baby Doll is pulling her own suitcase. What a traveler!
At the arch.
After four more hours in the van, we finally found Kansas City. We rolled in around 8:00 and checked into our hotel. Then we piled back in and drove a few miles to enjoy dinner at Mimi's Cafe. The kids love that place! I can only afford it when we are on vacation...

Now we are back in the room, settling for the night. We are staying here tomorrow night too; we can really use the break before the last two long days home.

Lovin' Mimi's and Teach

Jul 27, 2012


It's late and we are so so tired! We rolled into Indianapolis about midnight. It shouldn't have taken us this long, but first of all, we didn't get on the road until almost ten. Then we got stuck in road construction for nearly 3 hours! Our plans to be here around 8:00 were totally shattered.

Today was the first day we have had much dissension in the ranks. Baby Doll just didn't want to travel and we had a little bickering in the back seat. But overall, the kids have been real troopers.

Here is one quick pic my sweetie snapped at the Wendy's where we stopped for lunch. More driving tomorrow, but maybe a little fun too. After all, the trip isn't over yet...

Jul 26, 2012

Washington DC

I want to apologize in advance for the bad cell pics. Cameras weren't allowed in the White House, so we spent our whole first day in the city without one except the phone. It was actually kind of nice to not have to lug anything around.

So we got up early Wednesday morning and hit the subway station before 7:00. It was still crazy busy, but we managed the metro system quite well. In fact, after a couple of days we were almost pros. The Drama Queen even memorized the stops on the Orange Line so we knew when to get on and off!

We got to the White House a little early and made our way through security. The Dog Walker was in his full scout uniform just in case. We walked through the exhibits, but we were never pulled aside to speak with anyone important...at least not president-important. The Dog Walker was disappointed, but he said he wasn't surprised.

After we left the White House we made our way down to the American History Smithsonian via the Washington Monument. The kids loved the exhibits, but we weren't able to stay very long since we still had the Capitol tour to look forward to. After an hour or so, we hopped back on the metro and then hiked the rest of the way to the Capitol. It was nearly 1:00 and the kids were hungry so we started looking for something to eat. We were starting to get nervous when I suggested that maybe there was somewhere in the building itself.

Sure enough, they had an awesome cafeteria! And the prices were cheaper than McDonalds. After we stuffed ourselves, we headed for the Statue of Freedom and then called Senator Lee's aide. He had promised to take us on a tour. Brandon showed up a few minutes later and we were off. The Capitol was amazing! My sweetie especially was impressed and Brandon did a great job...except that he tended to walk too fast for tired little feet.

As we neared the end of the tour, he loaded us all in the shuttle that the Senators use and we rode to the Hart building. We were supposed to meet Senator Lee at 4:00. Since it wasn't quite 4:00, I mentioned to Brandon that Senator Hatch's office had also invited us to stop by. We got there at just the right time. Senator Hatch had a few minutes and he graciously spent it with us. He talked with the Dog Walker about his accomplishments and even gave him a hug when they were finished! His photographer also snapped these pics for us.

Then we went down to Senator Lee's office for his "jello" reception. His photographer also took pics, but they haven't emailed them to us yet. So we didn't get to meet the President, but we did meet both Senators from Utah. So that's something!

We headed back to the hotel so we could all rest, but then we ended up in the pool. And I tried to do laundry all night, but the dryer wasn't working very well and now I have a huge pile of rather damp clothes.

We started today a little later and once again we hopped on the metro. Our first stop was Arlington. It was so hot and muggy! We watched the changing of the guard and looked over the rows and rows of graves. What a sad place.

Then we climbed back on the metro and headed for the Air and Space Museum by way of MacDonalds. We spent the entire afternoon into the early evening in the museum. I think to really do Washington you would need one day in each of the Smithsonians. We bought ice cream and a couple of things in the gift shop and then headed for the metro. The girls wanted to walk by the Castle, so we took the long way.

We stopped at an IHOP near our hotel for dinner and then found our hotel. It was a long and exhausting couple of days. The kids loved DC, but the climate doesn't seem to suit us very well. The heat and the humidity have given several of us a heat rash and our clothes don't dry. I won't be sad to get back in the good old dry western climate!

But don't give up on us yet, the trip won't be over for a few more days. Tomorrow we are heading for Indianapolis. Maybe my clothes will dry there...

**Bossy here, looks like the photos from Senator Hatch's office came in.  I am attaching them below.  Things are going well here at home, Bean Dip, Taco and Burrito have been wonderful in helping with the garden, we had our first delicious zuchinni with dinner.  At football equpiment pickups last night everyone was asking where Sport was.  We all miss the fam and can't wait for them to get back to Utah.

Jul 25, 2012


USS New Jersey
I know you are all dying to know about Washington DC, but I can't ignore all the awesomeness of Baltimore! We got up early (doesn't it seem like we do that every day?!) and checked out of the Philadelphia hotel. We had a 9:30 appointment to see the USS New Jersey. It was one of the things my sweetie really wanted to do on this trip. Since his dad was in World War II, he wanted to tour one of those Battleship Museums.

I arranged our trip beforehand, registering us as a scout group, after all, we are five scouts and five scout leaders. Our guide's name was Bill and he did an amazing job! The kids loved him. We went up and down ladders, climbing all over the ship. Bill was full of information and before we knew it the morning was gone. As we sprinted for the van, we realized that some of our plans were going to have to change. 

Curly loved the aquarium
We headed for Baltimore, but instead of eating lunch at Ft. McHenry, we picked up Little Caesar's and got back on the road. We did eventually drive through Ft. McHenry, but the kids were so offended by the naked Indian statue that we didn't even stop!

We turned toward downtown Baltimore and began looking for a place to park...one that didn't have a height limit of 6'6". We finally found one and it turned out to be perfect for us! We walked a couple of blocks and soon we were at the National Aquarium. One of the things all the kids wanted to do on this trip was to visit an aquarium. Princess was a little disappointed that they didn't have manatees, but it was still pretty cool.

I  love baseball!

We left the aquarium around 6:00 and walked back to the van. Then we grabbed a bologna sandwich and walked two blocks the other direction to the Oriole's Ballpark at Camden Fields.

Did I ever tell you how much I love baseball? It was the first major league game any of us had seen and we loved it. My sweetie insisted that we had to leave at the top of the 8th, but we saw all the exciting parts and the Oriole's eventually lost 3 - 1. Since we still had an hour to drive, we didn't want to get caught in the post-game traffic.

We got to Chantilly, VA about 11:00 or so and by the time we unloaded it was close to midnight. We all just climbed into our beds, knowing it was going to be a really early start on Wednesday...

Jul 23, 2012


We had another absolutely awesome day! We got up early and met my brother and his family. They just moved out here a week or so ago from Iowa and we haven't seen them for quite a while. We met for breakfast and then we all headed into downtown Philadelphia to see the sights.
Liberty Bell is behind us.

It was pretty hard for us to park in the city. Our van is too tall for all the parking garages, but we finally found a pay lot (it ended up costing us $23 for a few hours...what a racket!). We walked to the Visitors' Center and met up with my brother. After we looked around in there and got tickets for Independence Hall, we walked over to the Liberty Bell. The line was at least an hour wait, maybe longer. We decided to content ourselves with seeing it through the glass windows from about 20 feet away.

King of Shebia!

Not using this privy!

We walked across the street to Independence Hall. First we toured Congress Hall. We got about halfway through the speech when the fire alarm went off. We were evacuated and had to wait outside for a few minutes before they let us back in. We hadn't been in there for five minutes when the alarm went off again! Once more we were evacuated. It was a little crazy and there was never any fire, thank goodness.
Baby Doll trying to stay cool.

We then got to go into Independence Hall. It was just like I've seen it in the movies. It really made me want to watch 1776 again. After that we walked toward Christ Church. We found a little cart on the way that sold Philly Cheese Steak. The price was pretty reasonable and we all had lunch.

We stopped in a little t-shirt shop and bought all the kids shirts with Philadelphia on them. That is the first and last souvenir they are likely to get and they were only five bucks each. Christ Church was nice but not as cool as they made it sound.

We said goodbye to my brother's family (not before Curly asked me if it was OK to marry your cousin...) and we climbed back in the van. After a quick stop at the hotel for swimming suits, we hopped on the freeway headed for Atlantic City.

The kids had never seen the Atlantic Ocean before and they loved the beach! We spent an hour playing in the surf and picking up shells. Then we walked down the boardwalk for a while and bought some funnel cakes.

I'm sure the hotel staff was not happy about all the sand we managed to drag back into our room, but it was definitely worth it. We finished the day with dinner in our room and showers for everyone.  Tomorrow will be crazy and I may not get a chance to post. But if I don't, I'll catch you up on Wednesday.