Road Trip to Washington! Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Just a warning, there are a lot of photos in this post. Probably 50. It was just such an amazing place and we were there for so long, I couldn’t keep my finger off the shutter!

Just like anywhere we go, the big kids ran off the second they got out of the car while I trailed behind a ways waiting for Ember who insisted on walking the entire time. PhotobucketPhotobucket

I had it in my head to have a short talk with them before hand about throwing sand (not to do it, ha) but totally forgot and it was one of the very first things they did. I could see an all out sand fight quivering under the surface of their sibling relationship so had an immediate “no throwing sand” talk with them! Photobucket

I was 100% ok with them picking it up and letting it blow away in the breeze. They actually did really good, they didn’t even attempt to throw sand at each other again. Photobucket

The weather was so perfect that day. PhotobucketPhotobucket

My kids, raised in hot climates, are so desperate for snow activities. They’ve seen kids/animals making snow angels on TV shows and longed to do the same. The sand seemed like the next best thing and within five minutes they’d all attempted a sand angel. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

W eeee! Rolling down the hill. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Do you see the dots in the distance? Those dots are my children. They asked if they could go ahead and I said yes. That might’ve been a mistake. Photobucket

It was just after this photo that I hollered to them to get back near me. Not because I minded that they were out far away from me but because there were a lot of 4 wheelers on the big hill and it freaked me out. Too dangerous for people to be running over there. (This was taken zoomed in!) PhotobucketPhotobucket

Ember had stayed back with me. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I really love this picture of Sierra. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

And I really love this one of Brooklyn. All that wide open space to run was so good for that girl. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Ember got silly with the sand for attention. Photobucket

First bent over and put her head in it. Photobucket

Then saw Payson pretend to eat it, and thought he really did eat it. Photobucket

So did the same. Photobucket

And didn’t enjoy that much. haha Photobucket

We decided to walk to another hill a ways away. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

It was really hard to walk in all the sand. I imagine if I lived near the dunes and went on a walk through there every day I’d lose a lot of weight and have some pretty major calves. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Before we got to the dunes I figured my kids would get covered head to toe in sand and was ok with that. And good thing I was because they did indeed get covered head to toe. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

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I’m a color photography girl for the most part but these sand dunes pictures were so awesome in black and white. I edited most of them black and white along with color because they look SO COOL. I’ll probably print some black and white ones for our house. (After we move anyway) PhotobucketPhotobucket

I asked them for one quick group picture before we left and this is the best I got. The dunes were too fun to sit still long for a picture. Photobucket

The three older kids ran far ahead of me, yet again. Ember was throwing a major fit about being held but the uphill-in-the-sand walk back was taking her forEVER. It would have taken over an hour to walk back if I’d waited for her. At least. So I finally just picked her up and walked the giant hill back with her crying and squirming the whole time. The people at the look out point watched us a lot and that was embarrassing. And I about passed out once we got to the top because that was a LOT of work. Photobucket

We watched the sunset from the look out point. PhotobucketPhotobucket

She was crying because I hadn’t let her run back down that giant hill! haha PhotobucketPhotobucket

And had a picnic there before driving on towards the hotel. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Road Trip to Washington! Grand Canyon Deer Farm

The Grand Canyon Deer Farm is near Williams, Arizona. I had never heard of it until researching fun things to do on the drive to Utah. I came across the website during a google search and knew instantly that it would most likely be my kids’ favorite part of our trip.

I think I was right!

You pay a fee to get in and you pay a fee for food. It was a bit pricey for what is essentially a petting zoo. I can understand they need to make money to feed the animals and upkeep the farm, though.

The deer are pretty intense when you come in with those cups full of food. We barely even made it in the gate! My older girls were holding the cups and in the front and they would not go in. The deer were crowded around the entrance and neither of my girls would even attempt to go inside. They just stood there immobile while the deer ate almost all of the food before Payson and Ember even had a chance to get inside and see what was going on. If I did it all over I’d go in first holding Ember, then let Payson in, then the older girls. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Yep, my daughters were in heaven. Photobucket

Ember was pretty darn excited, too! Photobucket

I like this next picture because the deer was licking Payson. Photobucket

Here it is closer. So cute. Photobucket

All the kids really loved this sweet, white deer. She hung out around them, letting them pet her for quite a while 🙂 PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I didn’t do very well at catching one of the bazillion hugs my kids gave to the deers. I did get this out of focus snap though. Photobucket

The girl who took our money instructed us to not leave the paved path at all. Ember would not stop running off. Ugh. Photobucket

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Brooklyn’s been asking for a pet for years. I have always known she likes animals but several times last week when we were around animals I realize just how much. I can’t wait until we move and can get her a pet! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

She never wanted to leave. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Ember loved that they were closer to her size. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

There were a bunch of fun things to pose with out front. We did before heading on. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Road Trip to Washington! Part 1

Finally getting around to posting all of my Washington trip photos! I thought about just posting one post at a time but I’m just not that kind of person. haha. I like to do it all at once and have it over with!

So, day ONE! Leaving Arizona.

I spent hours and hours and hours planning this trip! HOURS. DAYS. Planning!

So I wanted to stop at a few fun places along the way because I (rightly) assumed my kids would get nutso trapped in a car day in and day out.

Within the first three hours of the trip Payson had screamed nonstop (like a velociraptor) about having to “poop so baaaaaad!!!” and we stopped at least three times before noon! It was stressful. I knew Ember might be fussy but I didn’t imagine that Payson would be such a beast.

We saw a lot of hot air balloons taking off as we left Phoenix. Photobucket

We stopped at this lookout point. Photobucket Photobucket

After felt like what was an eternity spent listening to screaming we got to the Grand Canyon Deer Farm. We spent quite a lot of time there. It was a BIG hit with all four of my kids! We spent so much time there that we had to skip the Grand Canyon (some other time, I suppose!) and go straight on to Utah. (Deer Farm photos in another post) Photobucket

I can’t remember where exactly we stopped for lunch. I believe it was near Flagstaff, Arizona. I had brought a lot of healthy food to supplement with the fast food. That was a good idea because once the healthy food ran out and the fast food became the main diet staple all of my kids were complaining about stomach aches! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

There were breastfeeding stops. Usually when stopping for Payson to poop yet again. Ember went for quite a while in between nursing, though. During the entire road trip she only really nursed in the morning, noon, and then before bed. Photobucket

One of the hundred stops we made for Payson to go potty. Seriously SOOOO many stops for that kid. OMGosh annoying. Photobucket

He finally, finally fell asleep just after passing through Page, Arizona. What a relief!! He’d cried, whined, and screamed the ENTIRE trip up to that point. No joke! Photobucket

We stopped at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Southern Utah. That was a lot of fun! (Photos in another post) Photobucket

We got to the hotel at 1am! We all got washed up. There was quite a lot of sand left in the tub after the water drained! That was the end of the miserable first day of driving! haha Photobucket

Post "Vacation"

I never referred to my Washington trip as a vacation as I planned and prepared for it. Why would I? I wasn’t going on vacation. I was taking my children to see their extended family and I knew long before I left that it would be very difficult. In fact, I almost chickened out several times and cancelled the trip and most likely would have completely, preferring to stay home, if my mom hadn’t taken the entire week off work to see us. It was for her I went and so, I went.

It went pretty much exactly how I pictured it… an excessive amount of work and stress. But the thing I didn’t imagine was that I would hold it together so well. I was so worn out and tired the week leading up to the trip and I knew the kids would hate a three day drive and I was right on, but surprisingly, knowing ahead of time how awful it was going to be, I kept it together. I rolled with the punches.

Things really fell apart the very last day I was there. It had obviously been a long, difficult week but then I got an illness my mom had when I arrived. I wouldn’t dare call it a cold because it was so much more but cold/flu is the the most likely label. I have never had a virus so severe. I thought I just might fall to the ground and die at a few times. haha

So the night before we left Washington to come home to Arizona I started feeling downright awful. The morning of our roadtrip home I felt so so bad. And the entire road trip home was pretty much the same. Feeling like the walking dead.

And since I’ve been home not only am I still suffering, trying to kick this illness, but Payson and Ember have come down with it and as horribly as I felt during the roadtrip is as horribly they must feel because oh have they shown me that. The crying, the clingingness, the lack of sleep. I can barely cope.

And the thousand pictures I took during this trip? Oh do I have exactly zero desire to look through or talk about them right now. I think I need a month to even want to look back and try to talk about it all.

But I am editing a picture or two here and there and do plan to post about my trip just because my memory is fresh and I tend to forget things super fast.

But for just now, I’m over here in my disgustingly messy house doing nothing much more than feeding and clothing and holding and wiping butts. Lots of wiping butts, as usual 😉

Hope you all are much healthier and enjoying the fall! Photobucket

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Preparing for Washington

So here it is 2:30am on Thursday and I still have about a hundred things left to do to get ready to leave tomorrow morning! I swear I make so much progress on packing and planning and then look at my road trip to do list and it has doubled!

We made a trip to WalMart tonight to get some car snacks and new booster chairs for my middle kids. Payson’s seat has been broken and Sierra’s doesn’t support her well enough. Brooklyn threw an epic fit over not getting a carseat. Yes, she threw a 2 year old like tantrum over not getting a Dora booster chair like Sierra. Her fit included laying on the ground sobbing in WalMart. Really.

But now, the kids are bathed and smelling sweet, sleeping soundly in their beds and I am working in the quiet house.

I’m redoing our entire travel itinerary because originally I was going to leave the house at 6am and there is just no way that’s going to happen! I am hoping to sleep in until 9, if the kids will let me, and leave the house by 10. It throws our schedule off four hours so now we’re going to be sleeping in different cities than I planned on and lots of other changes!

I’m crossing my fingers and toes that this road trip goes well. And I’m still incredibly sad Allan isn’t coming with me 🙁 Photobucket

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This was a pre-scheduled post. I’m out of town for a couple weeks and have some simple posts set to publish while I’m gone. If I don’t respond to comments, that’s why 🙂

And guess what! Today is Monday the 15th (if this post posted the right day) and that’s the day we should be getting home from Washington! Soooo, Washington photos coming soon!

School Picture Day

Today was school picture day. It really couldn’t have been a worse day of the year. I was up until 2am the night before with Ember. Then to have to get up early to make sure the girls look cute? So tired, so not feeling well today!

BUT. They were both in great moods because tomorrow we’re leaving for Washington AND they do look so freaking cute! Photobucket

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This was a pre-scheduled post. I’m out of town for a couple weeks and have some simple posts set to publish while I’m gone. If I don’t respond to comments, that’s why 🙂

Owie

While playing with the toy boats in the sink Payson noticed an owie on his lip. It was an old owie, from the day before, but seeing it for the first time like that he started crying and freaking out about it and begging for a bandaid for his “bleeding cut!” So, bandaid it is. Photobucket

And of course Ember just had to have one on her face, too! Photobucket

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This was a pre-scheduled post. I’m out of town for a couple weeks and have some simple posts set to publish while I’m gone. If I don’t respond to comments, that’s why 🙂

Preschool at Home!

I can’t say I’ll try to post more about our preschool time because I really love having our learning time together be camera free, but once in a while I bring the beast out and snap some photos while the kids play.

Ember joins us, I use pretty much the same things for her as I do with Payson. She plays with it all in very toddler ways while Payson uses them the way they’re made to be used. It works perfectly. Photobucket

I remembered randomly one day that I’d purchased a K4 curriculum and used it a couple times and then forgot about it! I couldn’t believe that and immediately printed out a bunch of stuff and got to work cutting and laminating. Payson was so excited! He had a blast. I love this curriculum! I bought it from the website Confessions of a Homeschooler for only $10!

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This game was adding and I have to say, it was just about the cutest thing ever to watch Payson. I really mean it, cutest.thing.ever!! (I have a video of him, when I get back from Washington I’ll maybe buy some movie editing software and start sharing videos again.) Photobucket

Here he is looking at the activities I’d pulled out to use for the day. He was hopping up and down when I came out of my bedroom with the stuff. Cute boy. (You can see off to the side Ember had lined up the number cards while Payson played his adding game) Photobucket

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We worked on adding and beginning sounds mostly that day. He is a math whiz but struggles a lot with beginning sounds. So we’re just focusing on letter sounds in general. Photobucket

This was the beginning sounds game we played. He was so funny about it. He’d say, “L is for wadybug. Wadybug. Way-dee-bug. Way, way, way… mom, what else starts with way?” And so we’d stop and practice saying the ‘L’ sound and then I’d tell him some words that start with ‘L’ and he’d get excited each time and say, “Yeah! Lick starts with ‘L’! Yeah, Lion starts with ‘L’!” Photobucket

Ember is getting better at counting this week! I didn’t even intend for that to happen but she learns by listening in. It’s so cute to hear her copy everything Payson and I say during school time. And I should just say, these two kids together during mommy time? HEART MELTING. They are best friends and so good to each other. Photobucket

This is an alphabet puzzle. Photobucket

After a bit of time using the K4 curriculum we moved on to our first love, Mother Goose Time.

I feel like using Mother Goose Time with the K4 Curriculum is perfection for us 🙂

We’re learning about islands in Mother Goose Time. This day we were playing a game to teach about burried treasure. I’d hide a coin under one of these sand dollar lids and Payson would have to try to pick the right lid. Then he’d have a turn. After a while we let Ember join in and she did REALLY well! She’s such a smart toddler! Photobucket

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Next we learned about boats. Not in great detail at all because mommy doesn’t know almost anything about boats and was too lazy to look up stuff, but we learned what they can and can’t do and mostly that was… they can float on water! haha. We had fun playing with the little toy boats that came in the kit. Photobucket

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PhotobucketAnd that was all 🙂

This was a pre-scheduled post. I’m out of town for a couple weeks and have some simple posts set to publish while I’m gone. If I don’t respond to comments, that’s why 🙂

Her Own Outfit

Ember really wanted to pick her own outfit out the other day. She was really, really excited when I let her. Photobucket

Payson was still attached to the balloons from Ember’s birthday. He tried and tried and tried to blow one up on his own. Photobucket

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This was a pre-scheduled post. I’m out of town for a couple weeks and have some simple posts set to publish while I’m gone. If I don’t respond to comments, that’s why 🙂

The Last of Them

The last of the pictures from the “silly” day.

All four kids sat together to goof off for the camera. Photobucket

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This was a pre-scheduled post. I’m out of town for a couple weeks and have some simple posts set to publish while I’m gone. If I don’t respond to comments, that’s why 🙂