Utah

After celebrating Father’s Day and my dad’s birthday up in Idaho, being able to visit with my grandma who, at 88, is just as beautiful as ever, swimming at the hotel, going out to breakfast, and just enjoying each others company, it was time for our family to head towards home. Saying good-bye is always the hardest part, but on Monday morning, that is exactly what we had to do.

It is a long way from my parents’ house to ours, so we planned on making it in two days. Our goal on that first night was Moab, Utah. We wanted to spend some time in Arches National Park before finishing our trip home. Unfortunately they are doing road work in Arches at night so the park is closed from 7pm-7am. We got there right at 7pm…

So we went to bed and planned on being at the park right at 7am. There were many other people who had the same idea, but it did not take too long to get in. We only had a few hours to spend before we had to start our 8-hour drive home. Quite honestly, we could spend two weeks in Arches NP and it would not be enough, so a few hours did not come close. We got a nice taste of the park, though, and definitely plan to go back.

Critter prints in the sand

Landscape Arch

The kids in Partition Arch

Liam found a nice view

Catheryn found a heart in the rocks

I believe this was the Black Arch Overlook

Double O Arch

After a quick stop at the Visitor’s Center, it was time to leave. The drive home was pretty uneventful until we were almost out of Colorado. There was a black critter standing by the fence, and in the middle of cow country, one would simply assume it was a cow. But as we were passing it, I realized it was a bear. “That’s a bear! That’s a bear!” I yelled. (I get really excited about wildlife.) Just as we passed him, Rob stopped and we all watched him run across the road behind us. He was a big, beautiful bear!

Hard to see, but that’s a bear!

Just a few miles later we were back in New Mexico and on the final stretch. We made it home at about 8pm. 12 days, almost 600 pictures, four new states, and 2,700 miles later, we arrived back home to Charbie and the kitties and our little house in the canyon. As much as I wished our vacation were not over, it still felt nice to come home…

I am the restless sort, though, and my brain is already thinking about where we can go next…

Idaho

We had a really nice weekend up in Idaho. My sister and her family made the trip up from Nevada, and we all met at my parents’ house for sometime together. It usually happens every few years or so where we are all able to get together. We always try and get some updated family pictures during these visits.

Grammy and Grampy with their grand kids

My mom, sister, and me with all the kids

Trinity and Catheryn had a blast together. As a matter of fact, they were always off doing things together, so the rest of us rarely saw them! I am so glad they were able to spend the weekend together. It makes me happy that no matter how long between visits, they always seem to pick up right where they left off the last time.

These two were inseparable

All of the kids are growing up so fast. My oldest nephew is 21 already, with his brother not too far behind him at almost 17. Then comes Liam at 14, the twins are 12, and Trinity is about to turn 11.

All the cousins

My only complaint about the weekend is that it went by way too fast. I wish we had had a little more time, but then time always goes by too fast when you are having fun…

Best. Vacation. Ever!

Earlier this week we returned home from what had to have been one of the best vacations ever. I have way too many pictures for one post, so I will share by state, but first, here is an overview of our GRAND adventure.

It all started when Rob’s sister, Mary Beth, and her hubby, Jim, came down for a visit. After a few days exploring the area around here, we all headed out together to Arizona.

Our first stop was Petrified Forest National Park. From there, we spent two days at the Grand Canyon.

In our quest to finish off the western states for the kids, a stop in Nevada was a must, so we hit the big city of Las Vegas.

From there it was off to California where we camped in Death Valley National Park.

WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA!! (We did not see a sign on the highway we were on…)

Unfortunately, this is where Jim and Mary Beth had to head on their way home, so we were on our own. We drove up through California, went back into Nevada, and continued on our way to Idaho.

There we had an amazing visit with my parents and my sister and her family. We celebrated my dad’s upcoming 70th birthday while we were there. The time went by way too fast, and before we knew it, it was time to head for home.

After leaving Idaho, we made it to Moab, Utah, where we spent the night. In the morning, we spent some time in Arches National Park before driving the final eight hours home.

 

It is hard to believe that after so much planning and anticipation, our vacation is over already. But, as with all good things, I suppose it had to end eventually. We brought home a lot of amazing memories from this trip, though, and it will never be forgotten! Time to start planning for the next one!!

Stay tuned for more pictures and stories from each state!

Vacation Remembered

For our Honeymoon, Rob and I drove over to Long Beach, Washington. We stayed at a sweet little Bed and Breakfast, flew our kites on the beach, rocked the Skee Ball machine’s in the local arcade and mastered the game of Cribbage. We had such a wonderful time, that when we were ready for our first family vacation, we couldn’t think of a better place to take the kids. The twins were about 18 months and William was three, and it was time to go!

On our way to Long Beach, we stopped in Seattle to visit  Woodland Park Zoo. Unfortunately, on the day we decided to visit, none of the animals felt like making an appearance. Since we weren’t seeing any animals,we decided to head into the hands-on building. Sadly, we never even made it in the door. In the stroller parking area, William grabbed onto the handle of another stroller. He was at just the right angle to tip it over, allowing their cooler lid to fall off and their grapes to go rolling in a million different directions. While Rob and I were picking up their grapes, we were trying to decide what to do with them. We had no idea who the stroller belonged to, so should we throw their grapes away, leaving them to wonder what happened to them? Or should we put them back into their cooler, only for them to eat dirty grapes? We were trying to decide what to do when Rob stood up and smashed his head on an open window. Wounded and defeated, we gathered our belongings and left before we could cause any further damage. (I have no idea what we ended up doing with the grapes…)

We were pretty excited to leave Seattle, convinced that the second leg of our journey was bound to be better than the first. It couldn’t possibly be worse… could it?

We arrived at the campground and set up our tent. And then it rained. And rained. And rained some more.

It rained when we went to the beach. It rained while the kids cried all night in the tent. Kids are crazy cranky when they are cold and wet, and parents aren’t much better. In our desperate attempt to warm them up, the kids ended up spending a lot of time buckled in their car seats with the van’s heat running.

Maybe the second leg could be as bad as the first. Perhaps even worse.

Our first big family trip was pretty much the worst vacation in the history of vacations. 

As painful as it was at the time, we are now able to look back on it and laugh. We laugh about just how horrible it really was. We laugh about the grapes. We laugh about the rain. We laugh about it all.

And while our family vacations have gotten considerably better since that first one back in 2006, we’re still not brave enough to head back to the zoo in Seattle just yet. I have a feeling we are still on wanted posters…