Driving to Washington to Visit Jeena!

This was forever ago now… but it feels like last week! I wanted to go to Jeena’s baby shower. At first the plan was for me to go with just the littlest kids. Part of that reason was because Brooke had a church thing on Saturday that she was desperate to go to. At the very last minute the church thing was cancelled due to the fires and heavy smoke in the air and literally the day before leaving for Washington it was decided that Allan and the other three kids would come with me!

In some ways that was great… being with Allan, not having to do the road trip alone. I thought it would be good.
In other ways it was horrible, and I’ll get to that through this post!!

So the trip started off pretty well! The kids were excited to go to Washington and have a road trip. Ember and Everett fell asleep and took naps and all seemed promising.
(Oh and this first picture is how Allan entertained Everett while I ran around getting everything ready the morning we left!)

I was looking and looking for healthy options for restaurant food during our trip but it was hard finding things. By the time we got to this town with a McDonald’s Everett had been screaming in the car so much that I was about to have a nervous breakdown. We kept looking for better food options and were debating stopping at a store to put something together but with the constant crying from the back seat I snapped and was like, “Let’s just do McDonald’s!!”

We had brought lunch for everyone else which we all ate in the car (sandwiches) so I took the little kids in to get them happy meals and the big kids stayed outside to play with Allan instead of being stuck sitting at a McDonald’s table.

Surprisingly Everett was repulsed by the hamburger meat. Not surprisingly he devoured the fries and freaked out with joy over his happy meal toy. It was pretty darn cute!

We were running late but I couldn’t force myself to get everyone in the car just yet. I let Everett hang out outside with everyone for another 15 minutes in hopes that he wouldn’t hate the car so much when it was time to drive again.

This is how/where I change his diaper when we’re on errands. haha

This parking lot had this cool little area that the kids loved. Rocks to climb on and gorgeous weather = win.

In this next picture Payson’s making a weird face… if you see him doing that (which you will frequently nowadays) it’s because he’s pretending to be “Jake.” Jake is a character he made up who is silly. It’s Payson’s favorite thing to play with his siblings. He’s silly and dumb and can’t do anything and the kids help him and teach him. Jake does a certain face most of the time (shown in the pic) and says a dull, “Uuuuh.” sound in response to everything. Payson’s definitely the clown in our family. We’re all constantly laughing with him.

Everett spotted a bird that landed nearby and was tickled over that. He kept doing his bird sign language sign (he used to do the fingers pinching together but now he’s shortened it to just curving his pointer finger) and started doing chirping sounds. I love that he loves animals!

So….. fast forward a bazillion hours and we’re in Washington. Everett cried and cried and cried and guess what. CRIED the rest of the way. It was traumatic. I feel my anxiety rising just remembering it!!! It was SO bad. I now despise the car. lol

So anyway we finally get to Bellingham to our hotel and we go in and there are no vacancies! Not only that the hotel staff tells Allan there are no vacancies anywhere in the city or nearby cities!

OH CRAP!!!!
I was originally going to sleep at Jeena’s house with the little two and I think about doing that but it’s now midnight and I don’t want to wake her up PLUS my phone died and I don’t have her number memorized. So I can’t even go sleep with the littlest kids. We’re sitting in the car with five kids and nowhere to sleep and Everett is STILL crying and we’re looking at another two hour drive to a city far enough away to find a vacant hotel.

This sucks.

So, WHY were all the hotels full? Well, there was a big storm in Washington that day and the power had gone out for so many people and they’d flocked to the hotels for power!

And why didn’t Allan and I have a reservation when we always have reservations.
Well, the night before leaving we’d got online to book a room and there were rooms available but our internet wasn’t working!

Allan was calling around and around trying to find a vacancy.

He was having no luck. By this time I said we should just drive to somewhere a couple hours away but we should eat in Bellingham first because the kids were starving and wanted a break from the car. So we settled on eating at Denny’s and then heading a couple hours away to a hotel.

Allan called more places trying to find a hotel.

Kids have no concept of things going wrong. All they know is dad is on the phone a lot right now, but we’re having dinner at a fun restaurant at 1am, and we’re going to a hotel! Funnest night ever!

Once finally finding a hotel only an hour and a half away in Issaquah Allan cheered up!

We drove to Issaquah and got the hotel. They told us all five kids couldn’t stay there so Allan went and got the hotel room with only two of the kids and I took the other three in at a different time so they wouldn’t know. lol! Like, seriously you’re going to tell us we can’t sleep three in a bed?! Normally we’re strict rule followers but not that night!!

It was super rainy in Issaquah the next morning!

We scrounged up a weird food combination and fed the kids in the car.

Payson was goofing off in the parking lot (pretending to be Jake) and fell and got his pants soaked.

I did my makeup in the car as Allan drove, trying to save time.

So by the time I got to Jeena’s shower I was an hour late. I was so frustrated! There were a million other things that happened on this trip to ruin things but I don’t even remember them all! And I didn’t take one picture at the shower! I did steal this one of Ember and Audrey playing from Jeena’s friend Justyne. Justyne is Jeena’s best friend and threw the shower. Her power was out that day but she did a great job! I was impressed. She took this picture of our daughters playing together. Ember is so social and was in love with Audrey.

So then after seeing my family for about an hour we had to go home!! Can you believe that? It was such a psycho trip!

Stopping for gas on the way home.

This was a moment when Ember asked if we could roll her window down so her baby could stick her head out. Um, NO. haha

The weather that weekend didn’t disappoint. Sunny sometimes, smoky sometimes, windy and rainy and stormy sometimes… all the feels.

The.End.

Visiting My Family in Washington!

Want to know the saddest thing in the whole wide world? Payson, Ember, and Everett had never ever met my dad and Brooklyn and Sierra only met him once when Brooke was 3 and Sierra was 11 months old for about thirty minutes.
It hurt my heart so deeply that the man I loved most in the entire universe for all of my life didn’t even know his own grandchildren 🙁

I talked to my kids about my dad and showed them pictures and hoped they’d fall in love with their grandpa even just a fraction as much as I love my dad but figured with all the people at the BBQ that day it might not be as impactful. There are some loud personalities in my family (and by some I mean most, haha!) so I thought my very quiet dad might get missed in the crowd.

Imagine my surprise and sheer delight when Payson and Ember met my dad and decided he was the best person they’d ever met. They followed him like puppies and when he sat down to eat off to the side on this porch swing they followed him away from the crowd of family to sit next to him to eat! I was near bawling, you guys. I was in the middle of reconnecting with my family who I rarely see, overwhelmed with seeing EVERYone again and wanting to talk and visit with each person but here I was standing watching my babies go and sit with their grandpa. These new relationships forming without my causing them (besides having been born to my dad and birthing those kids, anyway) watching this family bond just exist and flourish from the first second they all met.

It was as close to magical as life can get. I don’t think I will ever, ever forget it.

I interrupted their moment to take this picture. I had to!

And as I look at it, I tear up every time. For my kids finally meeting their grandpa and loving him so much and also remembering when me and my brother were those ages and how much my dad was my super hero. He was a rock and anchor is a very troubling world for me. My childhood sucked pretty much a lot but my dad was a safe place for me. We are a lot alike and we get along so well and he always made me feel loved and accepted and happy even in my hardest times.

Okay that’s probably enough of my inner feelings about that. Moving on to the BBQ. We were finding out Jeena’s baby’s gender that day!! I was SO excited!! As close to, maybe even more, excited than finding out my own babies’ genders. I have just been SO happy for Jeena. She’s wanted a baby so much and to watch her pregnant and hear about the things she’s going through has been really emotional for me. I want the very best for her and I’m just giddy and relieved and completely thankful she’s finally going to be a mom!

So after everyone ate Jeena brought out a bunch of cute cupcakes she made. The frosting inside was…

Pink! A girl!! I’m SO excited for her to have a daughter! She’s going to be such a great mom and that baby is going to be SOOOO loved!!!

Next my grandma wanted a picture of everyone together so we started to get everyone to come back over to the chairs. I snapped this of Allan and my brother Chris chatting. They didn’t know I took it 🙂

As people were gathering Kyle took off his shirt and hat and was doing something silly. I don’t even remember what but we were all laughing really hard.

This is probably just an Ariana thing but the pictures taken before the one with everyone gathered and smiling are often my favorite. I love seeing everyone just there without posing or smiling for a camera.

Everyone! The only ones missing were my sister Kelly and her family. I wish they could’ve come 🙁

I pulled Jeena and Eric aside with a cupcake to take some pictures.

Grandma finally gets a chance to hold Everett! Papa Milo had held him all up to this point!

It was Payson’s birthday so we had him open presents.

Can you believe this kid is 7?! I truly can’t! I can’t remember life without Payson in the slightest but I also can’t believe it’s been 7 years since he was born! He’s growing up SO fast! Where’d the last 5 years go?!

Everett loved Payson’s stack of presents! He kept trying to play with them!

I had to include all these pictures of Payson opening his favorite present from me and Allan. A snap dragon stuffed animal from Plants vs. Zombies 2!

I don’t have any pictures of him opening presents from grandma and papa Milo and Aunt Jeena and Uncle Eric because I video taped that part but I do have pictures of him playing with those toys that I’ll do another post of!

One thing I LOVE about my family is that pictures aren’t an awkward thing! Everyone asks for pictures and smiles for pictures and it makes my life as a camera addict so much easier! I am pretty shy and reserved and practically never ask if I can take a picture of people because I don’t want to annoy them so when ANYone asks me to take a picture I jump at the chance!! I LOVE this picture of me and Jeena! I’ve missed my sister SO much 🙁 and am so happy to live near enough that I can see her more often 🙂

Then my mom asked for pictures of us together! Yay!

This one’s my favorite:

Then Papa Milo was holding the little kids and my mom was singing trot, trot to Boston. It brought back memories from when I was a kid and she used to do that to us. I remember her doing it to Jeena ALL the time 🙂
My kids were busting up in giggles.

You know, we’ve been so spoiled with warm weather that when packing for this trip I didn’t bring sweaters for my kids! It got a little chilly in the evening so Allan gave Ember his jacket and Everett got his shirt! haha

Grandparents and grandkids! We have this blown up on a canvas in our hallway!

Next we went to Dairy Queen to get sundaes for Payson’s birthday!

Thumb wars!

It was pretty late by the time we got to our hotel that night. We stayed in a really nice hotel in Bellingham. The breakfast at that hotel was good!

Payson loves this plush turtle he got for his birthday.

Ember had worn her boots with no socks (unbeknown to us) and the night before we’d noticed her feet were quite stinky! We let her boots air out and we washed her feet in the hotel sink (it was just too late for a bath, though) and the next morning we let her go barefoot until we bought her some new socks from Target!

I don’t know why Ember was playing the iPad in the car. We usually don’t do that. She must’ve been super tired and cranky.

We were supposed to head straight to my dad’s restaurant and then get headed back to Idaho so we didn’t arrive back at our house super late but we decided to just visit with my mom and Milo and Jeena and Eric a bit more first. It hadn’t been enough time seeing them the day before! 🙂

Jeena’s belly looked so cute that day, I loved how much more she showed while holding Everett, I had to take some pictures! (You other moms know how holding a toddler while pregnant makes your belly show so much more! I think Jeena was 20 weeks along here?)

Poor Everett was traumatized 😉
Ha, not really but his way of coping meeting new people was so different to me and Allan. We’ve had babies act one of two ways: either they are super social and go to a new person and smile and are fine or they are shy but scream or cry when being handed to a new person. Everett was different, he was shy but he’d just get quiet and not make eye contact with anyone. Not even me!

The kids got to taste carrots straight from Jeena and Eric’s garden! They loved that!

It was funny when Eric was holding Everett. Everett doesn’t look anything like me or Allan but everyone agreed he looked like he could’ve been Eric and Jeena’s kid! I loved this moment of Jeena taking a picture of Eric holding Everett so I had to take a picture of my own 🙂

Papa Milo got more time hanging out with Everett. Everett warmed up to Milo and they had fun practicing walking and playing with Jeena’s dogs and picking flowers… lots of fun!

My kids were in love with Eric and Jeena’s dogs. IN LOVE. They begged for pets, they always do, and I just said… no. haha! If I go for a whole year without cleaning someone else’s poop, vomit, pee, or diarrhea maybe I’ll start consider bringing another creature into my home who’s bodily waste I’ll be in charge of. Considering the amount of waste I’m cleaning these days, that’s nowhere near happening :/

The kids were excited to bring grandma flowers.

After hanging out for a couple hours it was time to go. Everyone was sad 🙁

But, remember how I said my kids have never even seen my dad? My dad never gets time with us so I HAD to make time to go see him at his restaurant. We ended up being two hours (or three?!) later than when we’d said we’d get there. But he was happy when we showed up. We were quite the crowd but luckily the kids were pretty well behaved!

My dad had to greet people at the front desk and answer the phone but he’d come back and sit with us any time he could.

You know what’s fun is when I was a kid my dad was a cook in a restaurant (Frontier Pies in Utah) and I remember my mom taking us to visit him at work and he’d let us each get a sucker. So in his restaurant he has a jar of suckers out front, too, and he let the kids come up and pick one out.

Everett had had enough of this big, scary adventure by this point in our Washington trip. During lunch he kept begging for “Na Na.” It wasn’t a good time for that, though, so I kept trying to distract him. I did nurse him in the car as soon as we left.

Allan had our point and shoot and was super awesome about getting some pictures with me in them while at the restaurant. I’m thankful for these 🙂

My brother Kyle is going to welding school and works as a cook at my dad’s restaurant. He came out to visit with us before we left.

And then Allan took this picture which is one of my favorites! I have only a couple pictures with my dad (of my entire life) so each one means a LOT!

And then it was time to do the 6 hour road trip home!

Diaper change stop.

The kids got a bunch of treats from the gas station.

And THAT is THAT! WHEEEEW!

Moving to Idaho!

Two things before I start:
-I didn’t take that many pictures because I mostly took video of the entire trip.
-I wanted to share that finished edited video but my computer or internet connection just won’t allow it. My set up can’t handle uploading anything larger than two minutes these days and the finished video is 22 minutes.
I really wanted to share the video but at least I got that video burned to a DVD and we watched it as a family yesterday. There was lots of laughing and “aaaawwwws” that made me realize how horrible I’ve been about watching the hundreds of family movies we have! I haven’t burned even a half percent of our footage from the computer to DVDs and that makes me so sad! I’m going to make it top computer-time priority these days to burn our family videos to DVD so we can watch them together!

And lastly before I get to the moving pictures, I wanted to say that I’ve absolutely hated my lack of consistent blogging during the last year and have made a firm goal of blogging daily for the next full month! I really mean it, too. I love blogging. I really love blogging. It makes me sick that my stress and busyness has kept me from my favorite hobby! That and scrapbooking! I am going to catch back up on my scrapbooks! I actually took a few hours last month when we were still in Colorado and caught up on scrapbooking until last December. That was about 5 months of scrapbooking all at once. I could not have done it without project life. I know I may be silly about my passion with project life, but it seriously changed my entire photo world. I needed that, too! I was getting sick of never sitting down to look at my photos with my kids. Now we have updated scrapbooks that they look at all the time! Scrapbooking is a burden sometimes, it can be tedious and expensive, but it really is worth it to me.

Okay, I’ve gone on and on and now let’s get to the photos! Half of these are just the photos that I took when setting up my light and exposure to take video so excuse that… haha.

Ready to leave! We stopped in our driveway in Colorado and Brooke said a prayer to bless our journey with safety and peace and quiet and good attitudes 🙂  photo 003eresized_zpsbrvwlz1x.jpg photo 779eresized_zpswgoqb1f6.jpg

I held off giving the kids their road trip bags for a few hours. They were excited when it was time to do their crafts and play with their little toys. (They had brought things to do from their rooms, but I didn’t give them the new stuff until a couple hours in) photo 785eresized_zpsij5mhsmk.jpg photo 791eresized_zpsfveouudv.jpg photo 801eresized_zps6djcruyl.jpg photo 007eresized_zpsdka4z86g.jpg photo 009eresized_zpstwqemg1c.jpg photo 018eresized_zpsfabthuys.jpg

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I have a lot of breastfeeding pictures from the road trip! I don’t know why because I don’t usually take a lot of breastfeeding pictures and never more than a couple in one day. I think I just breastfed Everett a lot and was sitting there while the kids and Allan were out playing or getting gas or inside gas stations getting treats so I would be just sitting there and think… well, might as well take a picture. ha  photo 044eresized_zpsji9oe2jj.jpg

We had lunch at McDonald’s. We were going to only eat healthy food on the road trip but that darn McDonald’s went and made their happy meal toys My Little Pony and all four of my kids are obsessed with My Little Pony so the happy meal toys drew us in.  photo 048eresized_zpszt5udrme.jpg photo 049eresized_zpscrnw9cjb.jpg

I try to feed Everett all organic, natural, healthy foods but he did get a couple fries. He saw me dipping mine in BBQ sauce (I like my fries like that) and copied me! It was so adorable because he ate both his fries like that! So cute!!  photo 052eresized_zpszkdjwvlc.jpg

Pardon the giant black spot on this next picture. We got a new point and shoot camera because our old one finally broke and it has a lens hood on it that blocks the flash and I didn’t know. I took it off eventually but this picture was cuter than the ones without black spots.  photo 081eresized_zpsm0chnaja.jpg

We went to Famous Dave’s for dinner! It was so freaking good! Seriously the best food and experience and the final bill for all 7 of us only $24!! Before tip and we leave hefty tips but the actual food price was super reasonable. The server gave us a bunch of corn bread muffins, too. I don’t know if they always give them out for free but they didn’t charge us for them and they were one of all of our favorite parts.  photo 082eresized_zpsqma0qoq3.jpg photo 821eresized_zpsucyrqbzv.jpg photo 822eresized_zpsroxqrakd.jpg photo 825eresized_zps4x4pfvfo.jpg  photo 087eresized_zpss2ta0g5l.jpg

So again, pardon the black shaded part in the left corner. I keep that lens hood on all the time and with this being a brand new camera the habit of removing it isn’t there yet. haha  photo 091eresized_zpsshgrousj.jpg photo 095eresized_zpsehpec6o9.jpg

I wanted a picture with the kids and Allan also took these of me with Everett. Everett caught site of a flag and freaked out with joy. He fell madly in love with flags last month during a lunch trip to Chik-fil-A. He thought the sight of them way up high, waving in the breeze was really cool.  photo 097eresized_zpsa6ibxcrq.jpg

We got to Bellgrade, MO and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. I’m recovering from major germophobia so Allan spent a lot of time researching hotels and got us really nice hotels for our road trip and first week in Idaho. I was really happy with them and didn’t feel grossed out one bit!  photo 105eresized_zpsvqjto7m2.jpg photo 113eresized_zpski7sacsw.jpg

Morning in the hotel.  photo 832eresized_zpsyfoqf2wq.jpg photo 828eresized_zpsen6uxcnh.jpg photo 827eresized_zpsp0c7e39u.jpg photo 829eresized_zpsnjgstpyo.jpg photo 833eresized_zpsfflcuyvr.jpg

My kids are big fans of hotel breakfasts!  photo 837eresized_zpsfb0r5kqf.jpg photo 843eresized_zpsb7zchrrq.jpg

This hotel had a particularly great breakfast! Eggs, sausage, pancakes, muffins, cereal, yogurt, fruit, rolls, biscuits, bagels, and much more! We were truly stuffed when we left the hotel! haha  photo 860eresized_zpsxcxhkrdf.jpg photo 862eresized_zpsih2udk35.jpg photo 867eresized_zpsd1bkn8fa.jpg

The weather did some amazingly cool things during the second day of our road trip! It was foggy and dark, snowing a lot and bright, and eventually turned to lightly cloudy and sunny. It was such a gorgeous day and time of year for a road trip to Idaho!
I wanted to take more pictures of the scenery but our window was super dirty (lots of dead bugs! haha) and my point and shoot would focus on the bugs instead of the stuff outside the car! I could’ve used my 5D but I just didn’t. I used the point and shoot for 90% of the photos and videos just because it was easier.  photo 121eresized_zpscjbi7er4.jpg photo 127eresized_zpsg1avfzz5.jpg

The kids had lots of fun little crafts that I put in their Easter baskets. Easter was a road trip theme for us this year. They had some little fish that came with stickers and googly eyes to stick on and Ember did this.  photo 139eresized_zpsdmwchuii.jpg

This was at the very last gas station stop we had during the road trip. Allan took the four older kids in the gas station to spend the rest of their road trip money on treats and I breastfed Everett again.  photo 143e2resized_zpsyltctspk.jpg photo 144eresized_zpsvuxqq846.jpg

Can you guess what Everett was looking at in these photos? A flag! haha photo 156e2resized_zpsxfwcd2ul.jpg

The kids actually didn’t have a lot of junk food during the trip up to this point. We ate at McDonald’s for both lunches so snacks were relatively healthy in the car. By this time though almost in celebration they bought chips and candy and were really excited about it all. haha! I only took a picture of Ember because I was setting my exposure and video recorded right then instead.  photo 157eresized_zpskmryvagw.jpg

It was difficult to get a photo by the Welcome to Idaho sign because the freeway was super busy there. I didn’t like that people could watch Allan and me as they drove by. That was weirdly embarrassing for me!  photo 167eresized_zpssgwdy4du.jpg photo 885eresized_zps7svyer9t.jpg photo 171eresized_zpszbpkit0k.jpg

Because Allan was towing his boat we had to stop at the weigh station.  photo 182e2resized_zps7fnr4qiv.jpg photo 186eresized_zps0unil7xw.jpg photo 192e2resized_zpstpnov0pg.jpg photo 195eresized_zpsagf4daok.jpg

And then the next stop was at our hotel in Coeur d’Alene!  photo 205eresized_zps7lb8cgkq.jpg

This was our view from our hotel room. Trees! And in the far back of the parking lot you can see our sequoia and Allan’s boat.  photo 207eresized_zpsosolkunj.jpg

We brought a bunch of our stuff up from the car to the room because we would be staying in that hotel for a few days. And by we I mean Allan. I hung out with the kids while he went and got the stuff from the car.  photo 210eresized_zpsjgz9lv7r.jpg photo 211eresized_zps0knrtpyv.jpg photo 216eresized_zpsc3h1smfw.jpg

Before heading out I took a group picture because I liked the group picture from our hotel in Castle Rock last summer.  photo 223eresized_zpsms5zth6f.jpg

From the hotel we drove to our house! It was locked of course so we just hung out in the backyard for a while. These are unedited photos, it was a gorgeous day!  photo 230eresized_zpsdjlryfdc.jpg photo 233eresized_zpsbea7ukpo.jpg

Next we went to the storage unit where Allan had left his corolla when he’d gone to Idaho the week before we moved. He took out the corolla and put his boat in instead. I drove the sequoia back to the hotel and he drove the corolla.  photo 240eresized_zpse7raaupj.jpg photo 241eresized_zpslqjlnybr.jpg photo 246eresized_zpslc0nurua.jpg

We were all starving by this point so we went out to eat. Everyone wanted Panda Express so I didn’t get Cafe Rio.  photo 248eresized_zpsgqsx0hub.jpg photo 250eresized_zpsti4jbkf5.jpg photo 251eresized_zpsajuzelqo.jpg

Every person got a fortune cookie and Ember loved that!  photo 254eresized_zpskqlq9qeo.jpg

Speaking of Miss Picky. She wouldn’t touch a single thing at Panda Express so we stopped at a grocery store so I could run in and grab her some things to bring in to eat.  photo 261eresized_zpsd09pjftm.jpg

Then we went back to the hotel for the night.  photo 269eresized_zpsfptfdjnp.jpg
So that’s all from the actual road trip. I have a lot more photos from our first couple weeks here in Idaho! I’m excited to get a chance to sit down and blog them in the next week. As for right this second, I’m off to do some major unpacking. Most of the house is unpacked but now I’m in the worst phase of it all, the organizing! I have stuff everywhere that doesn’t have its own “home” yet. So yeah, piles and piles of random stuff I have to put away. Basically it’s just like having the most messy house you could possibly have. haha

A Really Horrible Road Trip

We left on a Saturday morning (the one before Thanksgiving) to go to Washington. It’s about a 21 hour drive to Washington from where we are so we figured it’d take us two days in the best scenerio but more like three with five kids along for the drive.

I’ve been really wanting to visit my family but I’ve also been burnt out on life raising five kids… just taking care of them here in my house is difficult, a road trip sounded like torture to me. But I don’t want my kids to never see their extended family so I grit my teeth, planned this thing, and off we went.

OH.BOY.
That was a bad idea.
Why’d I think it would work? Everett hates being in the car lately.

So, hours and hours and hours, literally the entire day, of Everett crying in his car seat and the rest of us trying not to pull our hair out later… we stopped just before getting to Idaho and turned around. We drove two hours back toward Colorado before stopping at a hotel in Wyoming and sleeping. The next morning we drove straight home. Everett cried all day that day, too.

I told my family I wasn’t coming and they were upset. I vowed to never try to travel with a kid under the age of 4 again. NEVER.

Here we are stopped in horrible snow conditions (this place wasn’t so much snowy, though it was snowy, as ICY. And there were fifty thousand semis on the road with us that night)

This is where we finally called it a quits and Allan checked out the map to see where we could go stay at a hotel.  photo 039eresized_zpsc4969380.jpg photo 043eresized_zps4b77ba66.jpg photo 045eresized_zps6337a4cf.jpg photo 047eresized_zps9db05fd7.jpg

The next day we drove home in dreary conditions.  photo 069eresized_zps811c0392.jpg photo 071eresized_zps8cfaa70c.jpg photo 076eresized_zps4dbc4156.jpg

Why have you trapped me in this wretched place again, mother?  photo 081cleaneresized_zps56c978aa.jpg

Lunch at Subway.  photo 101eresized_zps79f9bde4.jpg  photo 104eresized_zps7bcd67b4.jpg

Those were all the pictures I took during those horrible two days!

Moving Back to Colorado!!!

After 11 days in Nevada and a million reasons (which are too personal to Allan for me to share here) we decide we need to move back to Colorado! The relief and excitement I feel about going back to where feels like home to me is immense. I am giddy like I haven’t been in years! I really like Colorado!

We’re driving the two cars back. Allan’s in the sequoia towing his boat. I’m in the corolla. Allan has Brooke and Payson with him. I have Sierra, Ember, and Everett. We leave bright and early.  photo 001bwresized_zps801a85f9.jpg photo 005eresized_zps5f0f5da7.jpg

Poor Payson was having some tummy troubles during this stretch of the drive so we pulled over to let him use the bathroom at this stop at Glenwood Springs. We hung out there for just a few extra minutes to let the kids stretch. photo 020eresized_zpseb116688.jpg

Brooke did her own hair that day.  photo 024e2resized_zpsebf2a6ec.jpg photo 025eresized_zpsa7fba641.jpg photo 027eresized_zpsb3c93ae6.jpg

Ember had fallen asleep.  photo 416eresized_zps71bac90c.jpg photo 030eresized_zps929c7c9e.jpg

Best friends. (Though total opposites!)  photo 032eresized_zps6aaafce3.jpg photo 041eresized_zpse5bf7bdc.jpg

Sometime around noon we stopped in Green River to have lunch at Burger King. (Burger King is Allan’s favorite fast food, btw)  photo 047bwresized_zps9e4cd006.jpg photo 048bwresized_zps19424ed4.jpg photo 053eresized_zpsb39ad7d2.jpg photo 063eresized_zps7c830e5f.jpg photo 065bwresized_zps6450994d.jpg photo 069eresized_zps47e1c077.jpg photo 077eresized_zps728c9993.jpg photo 083eresized_zps3c018e37.jpg photo 087eresized_zps39f04c70.jpg

Ember asked me to take a bunch of pictures of her. Every time I’d stop snapping she’d say, “Wait, one more!”  photo 097eresized_zps3c7d5aa8.jpg photo 098eresized_zpsd4e988ad.jpg photo 112eresized_zps82577a9d.jpg photo 121eresized_zpsd08968ff.jpg

Sometimes my middle kids will crawl over and hang on Everett and Everett screams and cries. And yet they don’t move. Payson was leaning “affectionately” over Everett and Everett hated it and was whining. I’m like, “Payson, he’s crying. Get off!” haha  photo 132eresized_zps9adcd5fe.jpg

But I’m just hugging him! (I hear that so much) “Well, he hates it!”  photo 135eresized_zps95b78320.jpgWe made it to Colorado!!! This moment in the trip was so special for me and Allan. We actually teared up. We left all the kids in the car to just spend that moment together.  photo 143eresized_zpsf0bae30d.jpg photo 144eresized_zps79be7895.jpg

This was at a gas station where I breastfed Everett in the car before going in to get a coke.  photo 150bwresized_zpscea99e0e.jpg photo 159eresized_zps85c2ba82.jpg photo 160eresized_zps002e0c2f.jpg photo 164eresized_zpsbe5c5aa4.jpg photo 167eresized_zps96ccbf94.jpg photo 169eresized_zpsea56e6ba.jpg photo 171eresized_zps8e92ae25.jpg

I set my camera on an aisle to get this picture. Allan came walking down the aisle and saw us standing there and though it looked weird and wondered why we were doing that. He didn’t realize I was taking a timer picture. So he kept walking on by. lol! I love this memory.  photo 174bwresized_zps5524a9df.jpg

Then Brooke wanted to join in.  photo 175eresized_zpsae9e5d76.jpg

And not too late at night we finally arrived at a La Quinta, just a two minute drive from our old rental!  photo 181bwresized_zps08c9cc4d.jpg photo 190eresized_zps3fff0932.jpg photo 194bwresized_zps170eafcb.jpg

The next morning:  photo 200e2resized_zps9d923d1c.jpg

Lining up to head down to breakfast.  photo 209bwresized_zpsc553640d.jpg photo 215bwresized_zpsd60fa12b.jpg

On the elevator.  photo 217eresized_zpsd5dc086a.jpg photo 220eresized_zps4daa8d69.jpg

The breakfasts at this hotel were terrible. I was thankful to have some food for my munchkins but poor Payson literally only had hard boiled eggs and an apple to choose from.  photo 221eresized_zpsac69e725.jpg

Moving Road Trip to Nevada!

We’re off!!

Everett falls asleep.  photo 205eresized_zps309a5224.jpg photo 208eresized_zps01c973bf.jpg

The kids are all in good moods!  photo 214eresized_zpsad319b61.jpg photo 215eresized_zps205472dd.jpg photo 218eresized_zps945d49c9.jpg photo 224eresized_zps2dbc7cd6.jpg photo 229eresized_zpsc67d6f3c.jpg

Stopping for gas and to let the kids stretch!  photo 232bwresized_zps556b6c7e.jpg photo 233eresized_zpsda734f93.jpg photo 234eresized_zpsa1a35bf0.jpg photo 236eresized_zpsae09a192.jpg photo 238eresized_zpsd67f56f0.jpg

Not too far into the drive Allan’s boat cover tore! I think that was mostly why we stopped at this particular gas station… just to take his cover off and throw it away in the dumpster there!  photo 241eresized_zps4a6154fe.jpg

Since we were only bringing two cars worth of stuff with us (to last 9 months) we also loaded up what we could in Allan’s boat!  photo 242eresized_zps74c06d2f.jpg photo 243eresized_zpsb77ef068.jpg photo 158eresized_zps1a7402bb.jpg photo 249eresized_zpsb7f6e8d3.jpg

We thought it was funny that the cover ripped so easily. Allan had never used it but it came with his boat which he got from someone in Arizona… obviously the cover got burnt by being in the Arizona sun so long and was really brittle. We didn’t need it anyway since Allan always keeps his boat in the garage.  photo 250eresized_zpse05c7dce.jpg photo 258eresized_zps6f2fc210.jpg photo 259eresized_zps6bafd5f1.jpg photo 268cloneeresized_zpse732354b.jpg

I was taking pictures of the other kids on that bar and turned the camera on Ember and this is what she did:  photo 281eresized_zps11579f88.jpg photo 291eresized_zpsc9b56115.jpg

She’s such a goofball. I love her.

Then she and Payson hung out on this bar. Kids are so funny- climb on anything they see 🙂  photo 296eresized_zps31c99102.jpg photo 301bwresized_zpsfcd02b4e.jpg photo 302eresized_zps5276bf72.jpg photo 308eresized_zps2b960a56.jpg

Back on the road!  photo 311eresized_zpsd1655a21.jpg photo 317eresized_zps24245843.jpg photo 325eresized_zps129a34c1.jpg photo 326eresized_zps510bea74.jpg photo 329eresized_zps18a207a7.jpg photo 335eresized_zps1b3f5564.jpg photo 346eresized_zps9a75e09e.jpg

A few hours later we stopped for lunch at a Burger King.  photo 354eresized_zps181bb823.jpg photo 359eresized_zps860da7a7.jpg

We let the kids play around for a while.  photo 363eresized_zps4de1d208.jpg photo 368eresized_zps9f25c305.jpg photo 370eresized_zps3eb3b9b2.jpg

Allan showed Brooke where we were and where we were going on the map.  photo 373eresized_zps58063a35.jpg photo 375eresized_zpse5e861e8.jpg photo 383eresized_zps03937e7d.jpg photo 391eresized_zpsa44e5718.jpg

Oh I should probably mention I sat in the back by Everett during the entire trip. Brooke sat in the front seat by Allan.  photo 400eresized_zps4d9bca99.jpg photo 410eresized_zpsb1fb1e53.jpg

This was over half way there and I was getting bored. So… play with the camera, right?  photo 435eresized_zps54adc423.jpg photo 466eresized_zps4a9ab35a.jpg

Entertaining the baby as best as I can in a car.  photo 473eresized_zps2d5912f6.jpg photo 480eresized_zps6763c008.jpg photo 486eresized_zps19b36644.jpg photo 496eresized_zpsf859bcfe.jpg photo 507eresized_zpsdb9e5e5d.jpg

Stopping at a gas station across the street from the Welcome to Nevada sign.  photo 541eresized_zps94ebcd94.jpg photo 544eresized_zpscbf1956c.jpg photo 546eresized_zps5975b4dd.jpg

We made it to Nevada!
 photo 549e2resized_zpsa0a00764.jpg photo 560ee2resized_zpsd7d0c075.jpg

Everett’s third state to live in in his 9 months of age!  photo 564eresized_zps5ddb6ef3.jpg photo 567eresized_zpsa73d20ec.jpg

It was starting to get dark. We were all excited to be getting closer to our new home!  photo 597eresized_zpsaa0b4813.jpg photo 598eresized_zpscc153953.jpg photo 615eresized_zpsb573e487.jpg photo 647eresized_zpsfecf9a7c.jpg photo 652eresized_zps73495805.jpgWe got to the townhouses where we were going to stay and Allan unloaded mostly everything while I watched the kids (and held and breastfed Everett mostly) inside.  photo 664eresized_zpsbfa2d3ef.jpg photo 674eresized_zpscd812e25.jpg

We didn’t have a bed for Everett so when he was getting super cranky we tried to lay him in this suitcase to see if he’d just hang out but… no. He did get a kick out of it at first though.  photo 687eresized_zpsbdd26149.jpg

Driving to and from Utah

I didn’t take too many pictures, but I did snap some. The driving part of our trip (26 hours total) was not fun. Payson and Ember really made things not lovely. To say the least 😉  photo 005eresized_zps758b496a.jpg

But at least we ate healthy! 😛  photo 016e2resized_zps1f12d9a0.jpg

Letting the kids run around each time we stopped helped tremendously. It’s almost as if you could see the pent up energy. Ember would be giggling the whole time. Just giggling over nothing in particular, just being out of her carseat.  photo 012e2resized_zpsd6e97c14.jpg

The rest of these pictures are from the drive home on Sunday.  photo 698eresized_zps1a6d9459.jpg

All the restaurants in Kanab, UT were crazy busy. There wasn’t even one table available so we got food from the drive thru and drove in search of a picnic table. Luckily it wasn’t too hot that day!  photo 688eresized_zps67d6641e.jpg photo 690eresized_zpse0fbaf32.jpg

All four of my kids really love apples. We go through a lot of apples at our house! On the road wasn’t any different!  photo 710eresized_zps8f129da2.jpg

I love this next picture. I love candid pictures.  photo 716eresized_zps3fdb2123.jpg

I tell my kids lots of stories. I know I’ve blogged about how much we read together but they equally love me to tell them stories. Most of the time I make up stories involving characters with similarities to whichever child I’m talking to. Being so tired on the road trip home I decided to tell them Hansel and Gretel just so I didn’t have to do any extra work of thinking up a story from scratch! haha  photo 720eresized_zps4ac8bcdb.jpg photo 723eresized_zps210990e1.jpg photo 724eresized_zps1bc5889d.jpg

Hansel and Gretel is one of my kids’ favorites. The Three Little Bears and Little Red Riding Hood are also big winners.  photo 728eresized_zps6ca4619e.jpg photo 732eresized_zpsf8eca931.jpg

Payson got really quiet at the part about Hansel and Gretel nibbling the house. Allan took these pictures as I told the part when the old woman invited the children inside for dinner.  photo 733eresized_zpsbce70f07.jpg

I asked Payson if he’d be excited about having dinner since he would’ve been so very hungry. He looked at me sternly and firmly replied, “No! Because then that old woman would tell Gretel to eat me!!” (haha, his memory of the story a bit mixed up)

After I finished telling them the story we let them draw in the dirt with some sticks before heading on.  photo 743eresized_zps1bad7968.jpg photo 747eresized_zpscb2452ea.jpg

So half way through Arizona it started to rain and the sky turned this amazing deep gray, while still having bursts of sun through the clouds at times! And then we saw the most amazing double rainbow!! I’ve never scene such a vivid, vibrant rainbow before!! I tried to photograph it from the car because Allan loathes stopping on road trips unless absolutely necessary.  photo 756eresized_zps3e72e3d4.jpg  photo 765eresized_zps079ddfa4.jpg

Check out how the road looked with the dark clouds and the sun shining on the pale ground!! It was awesome!  photo 770eresized_zpsdceea5b6.jpg photo 773eresized_zps1b53ba23.jpg photo 779ecropresized_zpse43608d5.jpg photo 794eresized_zps6d56dc2d.jpg photo 797eresized_zps722f12f8.jpg photo 798ecropresized_zps03354dc7.jpg photo 812eresized2_zpsa09710c8.jpg photo 814eresized_zps390f10f3.jpg

Road Trip to Washington! The Last Day Driving Home!

The last day!

Here’s the first post.

We started off from our hotel in Twin Falls, Idaho. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

The little two kids were screaming bloody murder over the sun in their eyes. Oh my gosh. I finally found a place to pull over and tie Payson’s blanket up to block it. Photobucket

They were happy kiddos then!

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We went straight to Salt Lake City. Well, we stopped a couple times for bathroom breaks and whatnot.

We stopped at the Salt Lake City airport to pick up Allan. He was there dropping off his rental car. We stopped at a few places in the state to look at houses and rentals and then we headed home. Photobucket

But then the kids were super hungry so we stopped for lunch. We got a pizza. Then we had to get chili and a baked potato for Payson because he can’t have gluten. Then Brooklyn wanted a taco instead. So we brought all the food to Del Taco and ate outside there! Photobucket

Some seagulls came at the end of our meal and my kids were really happy when I let them throw the pizza crusts to them. I don’t know if that’s an ok thing to do? But we did it. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Ember spent most of the time there running away and trying to get into the building. Toddlers are a lot of work! PhotobucketPhotobucket

Payson was refusing to eat (after spending time with grandma who spoiled him he wouldn’t eat ANY food! Just wanted sweets) so we finally got him to eat his chili by bribing him with fries. Allan was making this extreme face to show how excited he was that Payson was eating! PhotobucketPhotobucket

While the older girls went potty before we left I let Ember play a claw machine game. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Hours later we stopped at a gas station and the kids got snacks. Photobucket

Payson wore this bucket on his head most of the drive home! When Allan took it off to put him in bed there was a sweaty circle mark around his entire head! Photobucket

The last picture I took. We drove straight home and the kids didn’t get out of the car again. We got home suuuuper late. We got the kids in bed and pretty much went and passed out in bed ourselves! Photobucket

THE END 🙂

Road Trip to Washington! The Drive Home

Because the flat tire had lost us an entire day and the road trip took twice as long as I expected we only got three full days in Washington. Everyone was really sad when we had to pack up and leave Saturday morning at 6am.

Friday night I started to feel really sick and by Saturday morning it was at its peak. I don’t know what the heck kind of cold/flu it was but it was the worst I’ve ever had! I felt legitimately worried for myself driving home! Every time I stood up I felt like I was going to faint and everything hurt. My head to my toes… so sore. Add in a headache, sleep deprivation, and the sore throat, coughing, and sneezing. Wow, was I sick!

But I absolutely had to leave because Allan was in Utah waiting for me to pick him up (he’d flown there from Arizona for some job interviews) and he had to get home by Sunday night in order to get to work Monday morning!

This was the miserable view as we left Washington. I have to admit driving from there into the beautiful weather of Idaho and Utah was nice! Photobucket

We stopped at a McDonald’s for a late breakfast, early lunch in Yakima, WA. This is when I was the worst. I could barely walk I was so dizzy. I think I had a severe fever because I was shaking/shivering uncontrollably and couldn’t get warm at all even with the heater blasting me. Then I finally bought some tylenol and took two and within ten minutes started sweating (pouring sweat) and felt SO hot.

All was right in the world for my kids though. They were overly excited about getting happy meals! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

The next time we stopped was at the Arrowhead Travel Plaza in Oregon. It’s a really nice road stop! Photobucket

Sierra was starting to cry because when I took the picture the three other kids showed their pez dispensers and she realized she left hers in the car and felt left out. Photobucket

They were all loving the stuffed animals there. Photobucket

The older girls got ice cream so I got the little kids a smoothie to share. Photobucket

I bought them some little activity books and they showed them off… Photobucket

Then it was back on the road with some new fun things to do. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

We made it to Idaho. Photobucket

I couldn’t find Payson and Ember’s sweaters in the giant piles of stuff crammed in my car so Payson wore one of Sierra’s and Ember wore a shirt of mine. Photobucket

We stopped and stayed at a motel in Twin Falls. It was cheap and it was a dump. Oh boy was it cheap for a reason! It was the worst motel I’ve ever stayed at. Yuck. Photobucket