Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 6

On Friday we packed up and went in search of a Walmart. Even with my parent's GPS (thanks!) I think we somehow went to the Walmart that was the furthest from us rather than the closest. Finally, with a full tank of gas, we were off to Arizona. Our first stop was the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National Park. In a moment of brilliance we thought we'd have lunch overlooking the Painted Desert. However, it was perhaps the longest lunch preparations I've ever participated in. We had some glitches with one of our cook stoves. Anyway, let's just say that we saw the painted desert until we were very tired of seeing it.
Our next stop at the park was to see some Native American ruins that included some petraglyphs which definitely prompted some interesting conversations. The estimate is that they are around 800 years old.And then we moved to the highlight of the park...the petrified wood.

This is one of my favorites. You can see one of the logs that is still in the sandstone "hill". Pretty cool. We left the park and headed to our final destination with a stop in between. We stopped briefly in beautiful Flagstaff and then on to Williams, AZ where we stayed for 3 nights.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 5

We left Amarillo and headed into mountains and desert. We were treated to getting to see cowboys herding cattle and the yucca plant was in bloom. The boys' conversation across western Texas and eastern New Mexico consisted of a lively debate as to whether a TRex or Superman would win in a battle against each other. As we approached Albuquerque and Santa Fe the kids got to see their first mountains with snow on them. They were pretty excited. Before we went to our campground we stopped at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas. It is a "living history museum" that sits between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It was a settlement (not a mission as there was no priest there) on the trail from Mexico to Santa Fe. It was about a mile trail around the village and we all really enjoyed it. The pictures in the Josefina American Girl books are taken in this village. Josefina is the doll that Ashley has so she, in particular, enjoyed this stop.
You should have seen the kids eyes when the lady explained what a "switch" was in the classroom and then held up the paddle.Some of you may recognize this house. It is on the grounds of the museum. It was used in the filming of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The pond sits just to the right of the picture.
The desert was in full bloom and beautiful.
After we explored the museum we headed to the campground and cooled down with some swimming. And then we decided to treat ourselves to some New Mexican cuisine. We drove into Santa Fe and found this place. It was delicious! and everything came with a side of green or red chili's. They are grown in New Mexico and tasted fresh and yummy.
After supper we did a quick car tour around Santa Fe during which Joe & I both promised to come back and explore sometime without the kids (or with them when they are older) beautiful...lots of museums and shopping.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Randomness & conversations

We went to the pool today for two hours and it was really great. Even though I'm a red head, I love soaking up some good 'ole vitamin D at the pool. And the kids are old enough now that I can relax at the pool and not worry about a drowning. It was a medal day...John went down the big slide and off the diving board for the first time. I won't be winning the mom of the year award though. I forgot my camera. So we'll just have to go again next week so I can capture the moments in picture and pretend it was the first time when I take the picture.

Yesterday we had an "early morning" orthodontist appointment. It truly was an effort to get everyone out of the house at 8am. (What has happened to this early bird family?!) On the way the topic was boy mosquitoes (who drink nectar from plants) and girl mosquitoes (who suck human blood). The conversation meandered until we arrived at the following:

Ashley: I don't need a boy to take care of me. I can take care of myself and do everything myself.
Nathan: Yeah, but what about Indians? They have spears and arrows and you could die. But Daddy can take care of them for you.

Aww, I loved that response. Wish you could have heard the emphasis he put on death in his answer. And Ashley didn't even have the comeback that I thought she would (there aren't any Indians, Nathan!).

After the orthodontist we went to the zoo. Leave it to me (who holds a family membership) to pick a free day to go to the zoo. I was trying to figure out why all the daycare buses were there when I pulled up. We still had fun, but I'll definitely check the calendar the next time.

I'm still not in the swing of things. I'm having problems getting everything done so today I came up with a solution. My summer chore charts, but I haven't even finished them yet. It is hard to tell them to do their chores when they don't even know what they are. I could finish them tonight, but there is always tomorrow morning, right? I love summer!

Vacation 2010 Day 4

After a yummy breakfast at my sister's we headed for the great state of Texas.

On the way (in Oklahoma City) there happened to be a Bass Pro Shop that was a must see. So we stopped for lunch and a little browsing.

After we practiced our shooting skills we headed for Sara's native land. She was the only one of our children not born in Iowa. She hails from Texas and, trust me, in Texas it is a big deal that you are born in Texas. From what I understand it is one of the only ways that you are considered a "true native Texan". She's proud of that status. The rest of us are all a little jealous. Our first KOA camping experience was great. I highly recommend the Amarillo KOA. Weather was perfect and the pool, according to the kids, was as perfect as the weather.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 3

Part of our day with the Robey family was spent at the zoo. We love the zoo so we were all pretty excited to see one that we hadn't been to before. Our favorites were the gorillas, lions, and tigers. Tomorrow we sadly say goodbye to family and Kansas and hello to Oklahoma and Texas.

Nathan really didn't want to look at the camera. He thought he should keep an eye on the gorilla "just in case".

PS This was one of Nathan's favorite things on the trip. He talked about the zoo for the next two weeks.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 2

Day 2 of vacation took us through Kansas. Joe & I had been on this stretch of highway several times before and everyone always talks about how boring it is, but we really like it. It is cattle land. Cows are as far as you can see and the kids loved it. Midday we arrived at my sister's home. It had been a year since we'd seen her and the kids and we couldn't remember how long it had been since both husband's were there. So, of course, we had to do a picture.The cousins had a great time catching up with each other...especially these two. Nathan and Luke are exactly one month apart in age.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Home sweet home

So after 4,574 miles ridden in our van we are now home. I tried to write on my blog as we progressed on the trip and had them post when we returned. I was successful in that for the first few days and then the Internet was spotty at best. But I will try to get each day's memories and pictures posted within the next couple of weeks. It's more for our record then anything else so feel free to skip a few posts. We really, really had a good time. One of the best vacations I've been on and that is saying quite a bit considering I'd seen all the lower 48 states by the time I graduated college (maybe before that). The weather was perfect, except for WY and that wasn't that big of a deal because we were in the car and a museum that day. We had only one kid throw up which is also pretty good considering how car sick I would get. And the timing of that was perfect (I know. That sounds weird, but trust me he could have thrown up at worst times.) The kids are already plotting where they would like to go next year. Sara is hoping for Hershey, PA, but dad really wants to go back to WY and also see Montana. On our journey we saw all the states license plates except for New Hampshire and Delaware...yes, even Hawaii. Actually we saw about 12 Hawaii cars in Salt Lake City. (I think I should have taken a picture because no one believes us.) So now we are trying to adjust back to normal life which may take awhile. For example, it is 9:15pm and my children are still up. If you know our family, you know this is not typical. But they are also sleeping in until around 8ish in the morning...again, not normal. I'll have to adjust that, at least on Wednesday since that is when they have to be at the orthodontist. I'm currently surrounded by laundry and bills to pay and sitting here looking at pictures and dreaming of the grand canyon. So I don't think my brain will be totally on track until at least Thursday or Friday. Joe returns to work tomorrow and we are all going to miss Daddy very much. Okay, so here's a taste of what's to come on future posts about vacation:

Vacation 2010 Day 1

All packed and ready to go. We headed out on our two week vacation on Sunday, May 30th. We set the trip odometer to see how many miles we put on the van and started our first game of travel bingo.

The first day was strictly a travel day. Our only real notable stop was Imo's pizza. This was a special request of Joe. St. Louis pizza is one of Joe's favorites so we had to stop.

Our first night was rather cozy, but we got a really good deal. I don't think they enjoyed the hotel experience as much as they thought they would since they had to share beds with their siblings, but isn't that what vacation is all about? Lots of togetherness!