Sep 27, 2010


One of the best parts of our whole trip was a surprise visit to Grandma and Grandpa in California.....We had told them we weren't coming, since we were so short on time, and then called Grandpa and arranged a surprise meeting in San Diego. I don't know if the kids were more surprised, or if Grandma was more surprised! Our oldest, Racer, figured out from the tidbits she picked up on by eavesdropping on our conversations....not really her fault. It's hard not to overhear each other when you live in a sardine can!
So, After our surprise meeting, we spent the next day with Grandparents at Sea World...since our new motto is "Don't take 5 Kids to an Amusement park without Help." We're very, very grateful that our parents are so willing to help with the kids, and even with all the extra help, we still lost Bubber for a few frightening minutes. But, here he is, obviously enjoying himself with all his 4 year old personality and charm! The kids loved watching the shows, and seeing all the animals. I was only bummed out about one thing....they only had 1 time to feed the dolphins (you actually go up and pet them, and feed them...we got to watch, but missed out on participating), and we missed it. Oh well, next time. This is another one of my dreams (along with rafting the grand canyon); Swim with Dolphins! Maybe someday the price will come down....or maybe I can swim with some wild dolphins for free....maybe....someday. For now, it just goes on the bucket list!

Sep 26, 2010


The beautiful Grand Canyon. This is one of my favorite places. One of my dreams/goals is to go rafting through the canyon....someday when my kids are bigger. I woke up the morning we were here and took my jog out to the rim of the canyon. As I got closer, I could feel tears start to well up in my eyes. I came here with my family when I was 16. It's just one of those places where you can feel how insignificant you really are. A place you can really appreciate the wonder of the earth, and the power of the creator. I'd come stay for a week if I could, and hike below the rim, and take a helicopter ride, or a burro ride...
My kiddo's, however (and my husband), were all tired of walking by this point, so we took the 'short' version, and hiked about 2-3 miles along the rim. We also had to take off and keep trucking, so we could see what we could in the limited days we had left.
After the Canyon, we traveled to Sedona, and played at Slide Rock State Park, which was very fun! All the kids went with Dad, but only Racer was brave enough to go alone!

Bubber Got to show off his climbing skills + Spiderman muscles!
Look closely at Limbers face....she's about to cry!
And Even Mom got in (which was pretty miraculous considering the water was FREEZING!). I, however, had to act tough, and pretend not to shiver, to convince the kids to slide down!

Sep 25, 2010


Here I am with the beautiful Pikes Peak behind me....we elected NOT to get all the kids out of the car, which turned this into a 5 second photo op instead of a 15 minute one!
However we did all get out on the TOP of pikes peak....over 14,000 feet high! I guess there's 32 mountains in Colorado over 14,000 feet, but this is the most visited. It truly is a beautiful, beautiful state. My kids wanted to make sure they were at the ultimate high point, so they found the tallest rock in the parking lot area and stood on it. The bad news is that by the time we drove to the top, it was completely in the clouds, so we didn't get a view at all. The awesome news is; on our way back down, we got caught in a beautiful thunderstorm....we were right in the middle of it. Lightning was striking all around, and hail was pounding down on the car. We pulled off the road, and rolled our windows down to enjoy it. We sat through about 10 minutes until the 'pikes peak patrol' car came and told us we had to move off the mountain. This was one of the coolest thunderstorms I've ever been in. And, truth be told, thunderstorms kinda-of scare me when I'm alone. But when I'm with my hubby, I know he'll protect me (either that, or we'll get fried together), so I can relax and enjoy the show.
After Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs, we headed south west to Mesa Verde....This is truly an exceptional national park, and please, please, please go and visit if you get the chance. Anyone who lives in the west coast has no excuse. You're within driving distance, so make it happen. Trust me, it's worth the drive! There are multiple cliff dwellings to visit and walk through, and the kids and I enjoyed speculating about the people who lived there, and why they built there homes where they did, and so on. The park rangers have there own theory's, which they present as fact, but the truth is they don't really know....nobody does. Can you imagine discovering something like this? I think if I found it, I wouldn't tell anybody....I'd just be selfish and enjoy it all by myself.
I know I'm rambling on and on (and on), but this is the last Colorado Picture....The 4 corners! I made my hubby come here even though it's really just a flat spot in the middle of nowhere. Where else can you be in 4 states at once? Nowhere else!

Sep 24, 2010

No, We're not dead!

Wow, I am a really, REALLY bad blogger....I know everybody probably thinks we're dead or something, but we actually made it home safe and sound....and had a blast on the rest of our trip. I'm just really lazy when it comes to the internet. I hate getting on, it seems like such a time sucker. At any rate, I am going to finish the posts from our Super Awesome trip in the next couple days, or maybe a week. Your probably sick of our Texas post, since it's been up for over a month, but here's the Alamo!Don't my kids look happy!?! It was actually a super hot day, and San An was very crowded. We were all exhausted, but I'm glad we drove the extra 2 hours down and back to show our kids this beautiful landmark and share a little piece of texan, and American, history with them.

Aug 18, 2010

Austin, Texas

We pretty much drove from North Dakota to Austin, Texas....a long, long time in the car! But, one of our best stories so far happened here, on Lake Travis. We wanted to check out the lake, so we looked up the state park online, and drove over. It was called "Hippie Hollow," and when we pulled up, the lady asked us
"Have you ever been here before?"
"Well, Hippie Hollow is a clothing optional State Park."

Well, we turned around pretty fast, and went on down the road to the family oriented state park! I don't get the whole nudist thing...I mean, does anybody look good naked? Maybe if they had weigh-in's, or some sort of pre-nudity test to insure that everyone on the beach wasn't going to be scarred for life after looking at your naked body, then maybe I'd go......however, I don't think I'd pass anyway (nobody wants to be looking at the un-clothed body of a mother of 5 kids, that's just wrong!)

Anyway, if you are in the lucky 0.5% of the population who looks good in the buff, you might want to move to Austin!

Aug 16, 2010

North Dakota

Do we look happy here? Mostly, no! We spent an EXTRA 11 hours of driving so that we could get a picture with this's the close up:
Why did we do this? Pretty much just so we could torture the kids! No, really, when we started this trip we didn't think we'd make it to every state, but when we were in Chicago we realized we were going to hit all 48 continental States, except North Dakota (and, this is the only state my hubby hasn't been to). SO, to make a long story (and drive) short, we decided that we'd be missing out on MAJOR bragging rights if we didn't come here....and someday our kids will thank us, because we brought them to North Dakota, so they'll never have to come here again (no offense if you live here....but we really couldn't find anything to do here).

Aug 14, 2010

Niagra Falls

We stopped by Niagra Falls, but didn't have too much time to spend here, since we have to sort of hustle home. So, we didn't make it over to the Canadian Side of the falls, where the views are much better. But the American side is also interesting, and it's really amazing to stand at the top of the water falls where you can see and feel the power of the water rushing over the edge. It made my stomach drop when I got close to the edge.

And, I like this photo, since I'm holding the Baby in front of can't see my left-over baby gut, which is Still hanging around, despite the past 3 months of running my guts out every morning. Our little Bubber (3) patted my stomach a few days ago and told me "Mom, I think you've got another baby growing in there!" Thanks buddy!

Aug 12, 2010

New York State

This photo was taken in a small town in upstate New York called Palmyra. It has historical significance for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which we are members of. The Kids look happy here, but really there trying to avoid touching any of the bushes, since the tour guide told us they had Poison Ivy growing everywhere! I'm not sure if there was really Poison Ivy, or if they were just trying to keep people on the path...either way, we stayed out of the bushes!
I had to put in this cute picture of Bushkin. She looks so sweet! In reality, she was showing her independence and trying to get out of following the tour group by pretending she couldn't hear me.

Aug 10, 2010

Spontaneous Awesomeness

While scouting for lobsters (see yesterdays post), we came across this....the worlds largest armchair? I'm not sure...but it is pretty cool....How many people do you know who have seen this puppy? I'm thinking, 7.

Aug 9, 2010

Maine Lobsters

Of Course we had to get some fresh Lobster in Maine! But, since we went through in the morning, no restaurants were serving lobster for breakfast! Instead, we bought our own and decided to cook them ourselves for dinner.
The Kids were excited to try them, but not so excited about the 'boiling alive' part. We let each of the kids take turns holding them before dropping them into the pot while I sang "Lobst-a Kill-a!" (Go see the Movie Julie and Julia if you haven't already :)
Although they look excited to eat the little bugger in this picture, none of them were very impressed. I'm not sure if it was the idea of eating the little creature they had just kissed goodbye, or if they really didn't like the meat. The only one who ate any (after he initial taste), was little Bushkin (2), who porked out! The other kids ate cereal for dinner instead!

Aug 8, 2010

"I'll Get You my Pretty, And your little Dog Too!"

Salem, Mass.....The Witch trials! My kids were not very excited about this stop. But, as all you other parents can relate to, we enjoy torturing our children every once in a while for there own good! So, we forced them to watch a short history on the Salem Witch trials at the Witch History Museum. It was very interesting, and I think they watched the whole thing...with there ears plugged just in case! Besides, the other museums in town claimed to be run by "real" witches. Um, yeah, we avoided those.

It's a pretty cool looking building, but it was covered up for restoration while we were there, so we couldn't get a picture. Instead we took a picture across the street with this statue who my kids thought was a witch, but when I read the plaque I realized it was a statue of one of the first Pilgrims, and a puritan.....I'm sure he rolled over in his grave when I told my kids he was a witch....oh well, what they don't know wont hurt them!

Aug 7, 2010

Old Ironsides

Also in Boston, we toured the worlds oldest commissioned ship (there is actually a ship older, but it's in permanent dry dock, and it's not in the USA), which still sails about 4 times a year. Nicknamed "Old Ironsides," because the wood was so think that cannon balls would bounce of the sides without doing any damage. It's actual name is the USS Constitution, and we got to go inside, plus explore one of the best museums that we have been to on this whole trip...All about the ship, and the museum had a great interactive kids exhibit. They learned all about being a sailor; what they ate, wore, how they slept, and worked on the ship, it was a very wonderful museum. You can see how much it inspired Bubber by his sweet karate moves!

Aug 5, 2010

One if by land, Two if by Sea

Well, I finally got the Boston pictures uploaded...We had a wonderful time exploring the "freedom Trail," and teaching the kiddos about Paul Revere: "One if by land, two if by sea, and I on the opposite shore shall be..." This first photo is in an awesomely old Cemetery that the girls and I explored while Daddio waited with the littlest ones, who were sleeping in the stroller. I only wish I had thought to bring some paper and crayons to show them how to do grave rubbings, but there were pre-revolution graves here, and it was very neat.
Behind us here is the Old North Church, where the lanterns were hung so that Paul Revere, and others, could ride out to warn there fellow revolutionaries, "The British are coming!" As you see, both Brandon and I are in the photo, meaning we had a stranger take the picture. Stranger + technical camera = bad photos....oh well! I tried to mess with this one on photoshop, but this is the best I could least you can see us now, where the original was so dark you couldn't tell who was in the pic!
And here's the Revere Home....he was actually a silversmith, and made a killing during the revolutionary war making canons. He also made bells. Interesting. He bought this home when it was 90 years old, so it way pre-dates the revolution, and is now the oldest home in Downtown Boston.

Aug 3, 2010


I was trying to upload pictures of Boston, but it wasn't working out. I don't have very much technological patience, so if something doesn't upload in like 10 seconds, I give up. So, that's pretty much what I did tonight. But I did get this photo of my hubby and the Baby uploaded. These lucky buggers got to take a nap, while I took the girlies through Paul Reveres House. Also, Bubber and Bushkin slept in the stroller, but I didn't get there pic's.
At this point in our 'vacation,' this is how we all feel almost everywhere we go. If you've ever traveled anywhere with kids, I think you know what I'm talkin' about!

Aug 2, 2010

WARNING: Do NOT try this at home

Before I begin this post, I have to issue my WARNING: We are professional travelers...please, do not try this at home....
Yes, we are touring New York City with 5 KIDS! Crazy? Most likely. This was definitely
freakier than Disney World, and I was constantly counting all the kids, but we only spent 1 day here, so it wasn't too bad. Above is Times Square, and Below is the Statue of Liberty.
I love this picture of the kids looking at the beautiful lady liberty. Our little Bubber was the most excited to see this statue, since we had brought our oldest (Racer) here last November, and she had told all the other kids about the 'Giant Statue.' Well, of course the word "Giant" peaked his interest, and he kept asking if her toe was as big as our van.
The bad news was the wait to get onto the island was over 3 hours.....Good one. Waiting anywhere for 3 minutes is enough of a challenge with the 5 little ones. And, When I went on-line to buy tickets a couple weeks ago, they were all sold out for crown tickets (yes, you can go up in the crown, but you better plan like 8 months in advance--only 250 tickets per day, only 4 for family, only kids over 8), and they were also sold out of pedestal tickets, so basically it was a 3 hour wait to get onto the island, but not allowed to go into Lady Liberty or even into the museum there. BUT, there was no wait to go on the harbor cruise boat, which pulled right up in front. Plus, we got a boat ride, a narrated tour of the harbor, and we all got to sit down for 45 minutes instead of waiting, standing, in the hot sun, for 3 hours. I really enjoyed the cruise ride, and would do it again in a heartbeat, unless I had tickets to the crown.
The other favorite part of the day was riding the subways. Even of MORE interest to the kiddos was looking for rats in the subways, and we found plenty.
I know, I know, I've already gone on WAY to long, and everybody is tired of reading, if you even lasted this long, blah, blah, blah.....But, I loved this photo, so I wanted to stick it in, and I figure the kids Grandmas are enjoying the commentary, even if your not. But, if your not enjoying my little side notes, you're not reading my apology anyway, so it doesn't really matter...does it?

Jul 31, 2010

Independence Hall

We drove from Washington D.C. to Philly, PA. You have to have tickets to tour Independence Hall, and we, of course, hadn't planned ahead enough. They do have tickets available every day, but they start giving them out at 8:00am...good one! Like We're going to make it there with the kiddo's! However, they were doing an open house without tickets in the evening, so we lucked out and got to tour it anyway. I'm so grateful to the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and all they sacrificed for the birth of our country.
The other American Icon here is the Liberty Bell, which used to hang in Independence Hall. You can Tell our little Bubber is not having as much fun as the rest of us. He's tired of going all these places where we have to tour, and walk, and keep quite, and not touch anything! He keeps asking "is this our last campground?" "When is our trip over?" Sorry, Bub...someday you'll thank us!