Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Update Part 2 - July/August (road trip)

Again - trying to back blog here to get all caught up on our summer!  Ready for Part 2?!  Here we go...

We have just been LIVING UP this summer like crazy!  My computer time is very limited. We just got back yesterday from yet another fun 3-day camping trip along the Oregon Coast, and tomorrow we leave for British Columbia for the weekend.

Today is it.  It has been a house-cleaning, laundry-washing, kid-bathing, gym-workout, and now BLOGGING sort of day.



So to pick up where I left off in Part 1, we are onto a recap of July to start. But first...we started with a stop at Grandma Lindsay's house in Pendleton, OR...

July 1 - 5th:  Thomas Family Reunion in Heriman, Utah

We chipped in with the rest of the Thomas clan and rented a huge HUGE house in UT where we all hung out and had a fun time all week. There was a game room for the kids, hot tub, and more.








There is getting to be soooo many little cousins. More and more every family reunion!



Our little 4th of July baby!





This poor little guy got pretty sick during the family reunion and one night Laura and I took him into the ER.  He had a temp of 103 and for being only 3.5 months old it was too high and he needed to be seen.  Turns out he just had a stomach virus but poor baby! Had a rough few hours in the ER including a cathedar to get a pee sample and a chest xray to be sure he didn't have pnemonia.  




He survived though. Vomiting and all. :(




And despite not feeling good, he was still a pretty good baby.  His bad days are probably some other people's baby's good days.  




During the reunion, Tessha and her husband Patrick were sealed in the temple and had an outdoor reception afterwards.  










I did Tessha's hair and bridal bouquet...










These brothers enjoyed hours of talking together. It's fun to see them together.






4th of July morning we had breakfast with my brother Mike and his family. I didn't take any other photos than this one though. Oh and the day before we all took turns with the stomach flu. Blah!


More 4th of July fireworks from the view at the vacation home.



After the last day of the reunion, we checked out of the house. The evening before Will and the boys had the stomach flu.  I was up with them ALL night long helping them throw up into the toilet and clean up.  Around 5:30 am. I took Riley and i out and we slept on the couch.  The last thing I wanted was for him to get sick again. Oh and Will was no help because he was sick in bed all night too - haha!  Great vacation right?

So instead of checking out and then going to stay the night at family's, we checked into a Super 8 and just crashed and recooperated.


The next day we went to go visit my Grandparents. We don't get to see them very often...




All 3 of our boys!


We also took the boys to Temple Square to see everything...




I used to perform at the Conference Center so it was fun to walk around and show my boys the place.



It was an EXTREMELY hot day though. Like 107 degrees?  And we were pretty miserable walking around in the noon heat.


We tried to go into as many air-conditioned buildings as possible. :)







I have also performed in this building as well (the Tabernacle).  Why do the organ pipes always look smaller in person?





St. George, UT

After Salt Lake, we drove to St. George and stayed a night with my aunt and uncle Zitting.







Zions National Park

It is always fun to get to spend a little bit of time with them.

After St. George, we had plans to camp at Zions National Park, however, not after we realized that none of the campgrounds really offered any shade and it was SO hot.

We did take a bus into the park and hiked as far into the Narrows as we could....before dying of heat LOL






Ain't THAT the truth...
















Again, I don't mean to keep complaining about the heat, but us being from a very mild climate we just were not used to it and it was SO hard on us. I mean like every day was at least 100 degrees if not hotter.

So we did NOT stay in Zions.  After our hike, we left and headed towards Bryce Canyon National Park that evening...







Before I go onto Bryce, here are some photos that Will took on his own hike that he took when he got up earlier that morning to hike up to Angel's Landing...




Uhhhh this was, however, not from Angel's Landing. :)











Nor this one :)



Bryce Canyon National Park


Bryce was only about 2 hours from Zions and so it didn't take long to get there. And it was sooooo nice. Instead of being 107 degrees, it was only about 80. A BIG difference which we really enjoyed...

We spent the day driving around and looking all of the cool rock formations, also had a picnic with the boys.












We checked into a cute little motel that looked like a log cabin sort of place just right outside the park.  We went to a restaurant that served elk burgers (but we didn't order any).  

The next morning, Will went for a run through Bryce while the boys and I enjoyed some swimming pool time...



Here are some of Will's photos from his Bryce hike...









After Bryce Canyon, we slowly made our way towards Colorado...

Durango + Silverton, Colorado


The whole reason we sort of detoured over to Colorado was because Will wanted to go to the Hard Rock 100 Race.  He was hoping to get into that race this year, but he didn't (it is a lottery drawing).  So instead he wanted to at least go spectate and run some of the course.



The boys and I hung out in Durango while he was gone - mostly because it was like 2 hours difference and it would have been a lot more driving time to meet up.  

The boys got new shoes to get ready for all the walking they would be doing at Disneyland...


And we played at a park next to the river...













He also booked us a pretty nice hotel to make up for his 2 day absense...






Eventually Will came back for us and then we went for a BEAUTIFUL scenic drive through the Rockies to get to the 10,000 ft elevation town of Silverton where the race finish was...


This was the Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton....very old and cool. From the western saloon days no doubt.



Whoops, this one should have gone in the Bryce section :)


They had a real old time steam engine that you could ride - a bit pricy for all 5 of us though, but the boys had fun looking at it.












This is the finish at Hard Rock 100. Literally a hard rock. :)  








I sat here and enjoyed some yummmmmy fudge from one of the shops. :)





This little cutie did get many compliments on his hat...





I had to have Will take this next picture of Riley and I because I LOVVVVVE it when he sleeps on my chest like this - he would do it as a newborn but then stopped. And in this moment I was ecstatic because it had seriously been like 2 months since he had slept on me like this and I was soooooooo loving it.  Had to document it!


Oh, and during this race that Will spectated on, he actually got to run some of it with one of his running hero's Kilian Jornet.



After this, we made our way back down to the valley and I'm trying to remember where we stayed that night....I believe we were trying to make it to Grand Junction but never made it there.  I think we just stayed in some town somewhere.

The next part of our trip was just a lot of driving and trying to make our way down to Phoenix to Luke and Jenn's house.  We stopped at the Black Canyon National Park....


Oh, and I can't remember when but we also went through Moab and Arches National Park in Southern Utah.



Again...the HEAT. Ugh.  We didn't even get out of the car. 






And this poor little guy got hives from who-knows-what....he was so itchy and covered in them. We had to stop in Moab and get him some benedryl and cortizone creme.


Anyway, poor Taylor. It took about 2 days for the hives to go completely away.  I think it was due to a mixture of some benzoid ingredients in the lotion we used on him in combo with the heat and sunlight. He is prone to eczema and other sensitivities of the skin, so it wasn't any surprise.

Here are some other cute random photos of a place we stopped along the way...






Ahhhh oh my goodness. Okay it's 2:40 a.m. and I just am determined to get this blog finished before I go to bed. I have seriously had this in my post queue saved as a draft and have slowly been working on it for about a month now.

It must get done...

Onward...



So there was this awful gross motel we stayed at in Farmington, New Mexico.  It was one where we arrived super late and it was one of the only options available. Ugh I mean it was just a dive.  We were scared to even use the shower - haha. I refused to walk around bare foot because the carpet was sticky.

Yep, I said the CARPET was sticky.

I was really afraid I would find spiders or weird bugs in our bed or mold or something. It was scary.  We left as quickly as we could the next morning....


Phoenix, AZ

We eventually made it down to Phoenix, Arizona.  But first we stopped in Sedona to visit a couple of our music friends - Joe and Amy.


Sedona was very beautiful...



Phoenix, AZ

We finally made it to Phoenix where it was a nice muggy 100 degrees hahahaha. Of course.


We attempted to go swimming but the pool ended up being closed, and so instead the kids ran through the sprinklers.




After a fun visit with the cousins, we started our trip out west to California for the next adventure...

DISNEYLAND!!!

But first... How We Packed and Travelled for 4 weeks with Kids:

You should know that by this time, we were embarking on our 3rd week of the road trip!  As you can imagine, people were wondering how we were accomplishing the difficult feat of being in the car for this long with our kids.

All I can say is I tried to do a lot of research and prepare as much as possible.  I was very organized with our snacks and individually baggied them...



I also bought some car organizers that hooked onto the back of our seats for the kids to store toys, crayons, food, etc.


I also bought trays so that they could eat without spilling, or color without having crayons roll off onto the floor, or play toys without them landing on the floor either.


We had DVD players installed in front of each of them, and I ordered a bunch of new movies that they hadn't seen before - some fun, and then some educational ones.  I also ordered a case for them so we weren't dealing with DVD cases all over the place.








I also got some glow sticks so when we were driving in the dark they had something to play with that was lit up.  They also worked great for Disneyland and the 4th of July.


I also bought some wrist ID bracelets where you could fill in the child's name, and each of our cell numbers so in case they got lost in the park they could be quickly identified and we would be notified.

Anyway, as for Riley, we just brought some toys for him, but I also bought this head thing for his carseat. I knew he was going to be spending a lot of time in his carseat and I didn't want it to cause him to get a flat head, and so this head donut had a hole in the back so it would help prevent flatness on the back of his head.



Anyway, to say the least, I was VERY organized.

I also packed all of our clothes into gallon zip lock bags for each day.  So all the boys had to do was go to their bag and pick out a zip lock -and it already had shorts, tshirt, and underwear packed in it. That was probably one of the best ideas I ran across when I was researching travel tips.

OKAY!

Now on to Disneyland.

On our way into the LA area, we passed this place in Palm Springs and had to stop. This was the place where they filmed PeeWee Herman's Big Adventure. Come on I know you've seen that if you're from my generation!



We got to our Disneyland hotel late one evening and got all checked in. We were so excited!  This was really the only hotel that we had pre-booked, and it was a nice one too.


It was literally right across the street from the entrance to the park.  I believe it was called ParkVue Inn.






The boys were so excited to try out a bunk bed for the first time. Though I will say we spent about a full hour trying to get Preston brave enough to allow us to help him DOWN off of the bunk bed. He was too afraid to use the ladder, and too afraid to let us pick him up off the side.

Oiye the drama. LOL

Preston ended up sleeping in the 2nd queen bed, and Taylor slept on the bottom bunk.


We rented one of the strollers at Disneyland for Riley, but we ended up using it for the boys as well. They got very tired of walking.  Good thing we brought the Bjorn for Riley so the boys could take turns in the stroller every once in a while.


These are all pictures from the first day. 

We did 2 days at Disneyland. One was at the actual Disneyland Park, and then the 2nd day was at California Adventure.






Had to buy me a Disney princess shirt of course!



The boys are big fans of Toy Story and Taylor was pretty excited to see the "real" Buzz Lightyear.





This was the nursing lounge in the child care center - which I spent a LOT of time in.  It was the greatest place though  - air conditioned, private, quiet, and the ladies working there were so incredibly helpful.  














Our first day was awesome -but very tiring.  By the end of the night our feet hurt and we were just so exhausted.  Taylor, Riley and I ended up walking back to the hotel.  And even though it was just right across the street it did take about 30 min to walk there with tired little feet.

Preston and Will stayed at the park and finally got to go ride one some of the "big kid" rides. Will says it was his most memorable part of Disneyland - getting to run around the last hour of the park before it closed and trying to ride as many big kid rides as possible.  Preston was very brave and wasn't even scared to ride on the Matterhorn roller coaster!

The 2nd day we did a "rest" day.  We had heard this was a smart thing to do - so kids could rest their feet and everyone could recooperate.  And yes it was very sound advice.

The boys and I went swimming at our hotel swimming pool...








And then later that night, we all went to a pirate adventure dinner that was about 15 minutes away from our hotel.  It was really fun!












The 3rd day we packed ourselves all up and went for another fun day but this time at California Adventure!




A.k.a. Cars Land....


This was the ADORABLE look on Preston's face as he saw the real Lightning McQueen come driving down the streets of Radiator Springs...



























Oh wow.  So Disneyland was definitely fun, BUT, I would say if we go again we will wait until all of our kids are at least 6 years old!  Preston was really the only one of our kids old enough to really enjoy it, not be scared of the rides, etc.  Taylor was extremely afraid of most of the rides and we spent a lot of time waiting in line for something that when we got to the front  - he would decide he was too scared for it.  And we spent a lot of time trading off with the baby too.

BUT aside from that (and the fact that neither Will and I really got to ride any big kid rides), it was definitely memorable and we had a really fun time.  And I really enjoyed my hot fudge sundae from the Ghiridelli Chocolate Factory in CA Adventure. :) That made it worth it haha.

We were sad to pack up and say goodbye to Disneyland, but we had to.  The next day we went into down town LA and met up with my friends Ryan and Becky.






We had lunch with them at a diner and talked and walked a bit, before saying goodbye and heading north on Highway 1.


Out of all of our travels, this was my favorite part.

We were finally out of the heat, out of the desert and back to the ocean - the blues, the greens, the trees.  It was so nice.




We stayed in Santa Rosa I believe, and then made our way up to the Redwoods...
























Whew. Oh my goodness it is 4:15 a.m. and I am still determined to get this blog finished!  Or else I never will. LOL

Anyway.  I'm going to try to keep commentary to a minimum now.  I swear our upload internet speed is slower than slugs and that is why it is taking me so long to compose this post.

Anyway after the Redwoods we continued to make our way up and we stopped at this AMAZING little town called Carmel. Or rather, Carmel-By-The-Sea.

Wait, I don't remember if Carmel was before or after the Redwoods, but I think it was after...

I just fell in love with this little town! I could SO live there. It had a nice temperature, sandy beaches, cute little town, lots of arts and music.....but right next to Pebble Beach and no home under a million dollars. LOL
















I was already feeling so in heaven by the ocean (if you can't tell by my face in these photos), and then we kept going north and hitting even more beautiful beaches in Southern Oregon...




































So after this, we just pretty much turned east onto I-5 around central Oregon and drove all the way home.  

4 weeks, 9 states, over 5,000 miles on our car. And it was SO much fun.  I admit, the last few days in the car were difficult with the kids.  Everyone was a little tired, cranky and tired of being in such tight quarters.  But for the bulk of the trip, it was memorable and we just really enjoyed spending so much time together.  It was great having Will on paternity leave especially!

All right.  4:30 a.m.  I gotsta go.  Good night. Er, uh, morning....