Sunday, May 31, 2009

5 YEARS

Happy Birthday to our Hannah



She's a good friend to all.
She's funny.
She is imaginative.
She loves to draw.
She loves her dolls and ponies.
She will try to sing along with any song she hears, even the first time.

To Noah, she is a wonderful companion, not intimidated by dirt, critters or even a snake.

To Zak, a true and faithful playmate. They could play all day long, just the two of them.

To Maggy, a guide and protector. Like a Mommy #2, encouraging, leading and keeping from danger.

To Daddy, Daddy's girl. She delights in storytime, in the dark, no book... just creating tales together.

To Me, a beautiful flower to guard, guide, encourage and protect (I guess that's why she's that for Maggy).

My baby girl, you'll always be, I'm so blessed to be your Mommy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life Moment

Forgive me for the break in our trip memories, but I just had to share one of our life moments from today. (I wish I had taken pictures for you!)

This morning the weather forecast was pointing to at least 85 and sunny. I hadn't planned on going with our church's Mom's group to the park. We are supposed to be recovering from travels and re-establishing a routine and schedule. But when I saw my children slink downstairs for breakfast and quickly retire to the couch to whine about the choice of oatmeal for breakfast, I thought we might provide a goal to work towards.

"If we can get thru our jobs (aka chores, but we don't use that word) and do a little math and reading before 10, I think we could meet the Mom's group at the park. They were going to meet at the place with the fountain you can play in."

Noah hopped up and asked for worksheets while eating his breakfast, and the other kids anxiously ate quickly so that they could get dressed. We didn't get out until a little after 10, and had to stop for 5 minutes at Bi-Mart to find some sandals for Maggy to wear in the water, and of course, at Black Rock Coffee for an iced Coconut-caramel macchiato for Mommy. (really Black Rock is a once-a-week or less treat for me... just for the record) It was about 11 when we rolled up to the park with sunscreen, towels, camp chair and a packed lunch, snacks and water bottles. The place was packed! Almost every spot on the brick benches around the fountain were occupied and many had taken up residence on the grassy areas near by.

My wonderful children enjoyed just about every minute in the water and on the adjacent playground, except for Maggy who was intrigued by the water, but less than anxious to get in. Eventually, some of the other kids from our group discovered the joy of filling zip lock bags and finding random places and people to unleash them on.... but only those also in the water. After about 40 minutes between the water and snacks, play began to move back and forth between the fountains, the snack bag and the playground. Most of the time, I was flittering between conversations with other Moms and helping my children with small needs: another sandwich, a slice of nectarine, a towel out of the bag, shoes on or off. There was virtually no time there that left me feeling over-worked or in need of more hands.

Maggy eventually wrangled me into pushing her on the swings, which she would happily monopolize until the sun sets. The mom pushing her young daughter on the swing next to me noticed that I was calling out to more than one other child periodically and asked "how many others do you have." I said, "There are four of them, altogether." And she wondered at how I could keep track of all of them. I don't think I came off as prideful or arrogant, but in retrospect, I am blessed to be able to boast:

"Well, my oldest is pretty apt to keeping the rules, so generally he'll let me know if anyone is doing something they shouldn't. And they generally don't go where they shouldn't. They tend to stay close to each other and play together. They are really pretty good kids."
And they are. Actually, they are pretty amazing kids.

I shortly there after, ran into an old co-worker. The last time I saw her she was pregnant with #2 and I had just had Zak (my 3rd). She was pretty floored when she heard that this one in the swing was #4 and would be joined by twins in the fall. She marveled that I would take everyone into Bi-Mart with me for a quick trip, let alone do my regular shopping with my kids, which I almost always do. This has been something we've always done, so they become trained to behave. But I am realizing too, they are AMAZING kids, and I am a blessed mommy, to be sure.

So here is where the life moment hits, that makes me feel the need to blog this... it isn't just to brag about my amazing kids.

We return home, everyone is happy and have been promised juice popsicles before nap time. As we adjourn to the back porch we find that Noah's new boots, that were recently acquired to replace the boots that the dog ate the tops off of, were left in the yard this morning with the dog and are now in the same state as the old boots. I literally bought those boots 4 days ago! I'm pretty sure steam was coming out of my ears and eye sockets. This was after I specifically asked him to check the yard this morning... "make sure there is nothing out there that the dog will chew up."

HOW COULD YOU MISS THAT!? THEY ARE BRIGHT YELLOW!

Maggy's boots were also sitting in the middle of the yard. Thankfully the dog only seems to have a taste for the boys boots. But still! He did not do as he was asked this morning.

...

So as the children have now adjourned for nap-time, I proceed to share with my husband via instant messenger that the new boots are now a loss. And we begin to realize how much we tend expect from our kids.

Yes, have high standards

Yes, do as you are told

Yes, take care of your stuff

I don't think I know I don't take the time to tell them how blessed I am to be their mom. Maybe I expect too close to perfection.

I anticipate this afternoon will be a time to tell them how blessed I am, how much I appreciate them, activities of their choice, and lots of hugs.

Dear Lord - thank you for the gifts that you have given me in my children. Let me never forget to show them how much they are valued and loved as they grow and learn. Let me be more of their biggest fan and less of a critic. Help me show them the love that you dole on me daily.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mount Rushmore - Shrine of Democracy - Day 8

Our KOA in Hill City, SD was surprisingly close to the monument. This pull-off was actually only 3 miles down the road. We pulled off on our way to the monument and looked around. We couldn't figure out why everyone else was stopping or what they were supposed to be looking at. When we left the monument a few hours later, it quickly became clear, we had to look behind us.... perspective changes everything!


We had done a little reading prior to arriving in the Black Hills. We learned about Doane Robinson, the man who first dreamed of a sculpture as big as mountain in the Black Hills. He commissioned Gutzon Borglum, who had previously done a mountain sculpture on Stone Mountain in Georgia of Civil War heroes. They rode through the hills on horseback looking for the ideal spot along with Gutzon's son, Lincoln Borglum, who was only in his early teens at the time. They dreamed about who to commemorate in the memorial. They climbed and repelled the hills and mountain peaks in search of the perfect place. They began work. They made models. They blasted the hills with dinomite and jack hammers. They slowed and even stopped work to await more funding, admist the Great Depression. Gutzon himself passed away prior to the completion of the memorial, but his son, then in his 30s, completed the project.
The kids were particularly taken with the variety of quartz in the shalestone, collecting stones along the trail.
Plaquards along the memorial helped us to see what it was that made Gutzon, the son of Dutch immigrants, so passionate about the subjects of his memorial.













Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

From a site titled: Memorial Day History

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.... Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays)...

Although I consider myself to be patriotic and am grateful for the freedoms that we possess as Americans, I really don't think many of us know what our freedom means, or how precious it really is. I have recently heard my father-in-law share some of his experiences from the marshy battlefields of Vietnam, and having that personal connection seems to have shaken my sense of appreciation for what our freedom truly means.

Memorial day seems to have at it's core the focus of remembering those who sacrificed their lives, and may we never forget. But I also am moved to remember and appreciate those who were willing to make those sacrifices and were spared and able to come home.

While on our trip, we were able to visit the Veterans' Memorial Gardens in Lincoln. My grandfather, a WWII Vet, has been a part of the development and upkeep of this memorial park. It was initiated after the traveling Vietnam wall made a stop in Lincoln. There are bricks to commemorate specific veterans who are connected to the Lincoln area and there are Memorials to just about every area of service: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Medical, Coast Guard, Special Forces, Women Who Served, K-9s, POW-MIA, as well as specific Memorials for each of the wars. Here is a slide show from our visit. The Gardens also included a fantastic children play area. I thank God that we live in a place where our children can play freely.



video

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 7 recap - Needles Mountains and the Mammoth Site

After about 12 hours in the car on Monday, Tuesday was a day intended for easy sight seeing and relaxation at the KOA. But it was the strangest thing! Everyone, except Hannah, was WIDE awake at 6 am. A leisurely camp-stove breakfast of pancakes, sausage links and nectarines,
some play time on the near-by playground and we were ready to go by around 9:30.
The plan was to get to the Mammoth site and possibly see Mt. Rushmore or the Crazy Horse memorial on our way back, but we were playing it by ear. We had figured that the Mammoth site would be about a 20-30 minute drive...

... that was until we thought we'd try to see something else "on-the-way." We had read about the Needles Mountain range, a unique area of large, jutted, and oddly shaped peaks that had originally been considered as the site for the President's Memorial.
It was decided that the Needles would too frail to stand up to the rigors of the proposed monument carving. I am glad that we took this detour. The scenic highway took us up along the edges of these odd shapes and even through them, as there were small tunnels, just barely big enough for the suburban to squeeze through, that had been blasted out of the rocks.

The Needles Highway brought us through Custer State Park. There, we were able to add to our wildlife list the likes of deer, vultures, wild turkey, prairie dogs, buffalo and even cute, little BABY BUFFALO! Apparently there are also wild burros that wander free in the park and are known for coming to car windows and begging for food, but alas, we did not see them.

The kids enjoyed the wildlife, but got quite antsy when it took us almost 2 hours to get off the Needles Highway. The temperature outside of the air conditioned car was getting to be about 98 degrees, and it wasn't quite noon yet. We were glad that we had brought the cooler in the car and were able to give the kids something to eat while we drove through the poorly signed town of Hot Springs, SD in search of the Mammoth site.

We did find it, and it was worth the wait!
The kids all got to help out the guide during the tour. Here, Noah and Hannah are caring a mammoth jaw bone. The things that look like shoe prints are the mammoth molars.

The backstory of the Mammoth Site: In the 70s a realestate developer was clearing a plot of land for a new development of homes when a dozer driver realized that he had come across something interesting. The blade of his digger had sliced a large Mammoth tusk. The clearing was halted and the developer sold the land for his purchase price. An organization was formed to begin processing the site and a large building was placed over the area. They believe that due to a collapse of layers of sediment, and an upflow of a natural mineral spring, a large sink hole developed and filled with water. So far almost 60 mammoth remains have been found in the site, all of which appear to be male! There are also other unique and unusual prehistoric or extinict speices of animal remains that have been found in the sinkhole. The site is actively being dug, and will continue to be excavated for at least the next twenty years.


While we were there, the Elder Hostile that supervising the digging, had volunteers currently working thru the dust and layers of dirt in hopes of finding something new and cool. We spoke to one excavator who was an intern at the Site, a paleontology major at the School of the Mines. He spends one day a week digging and one day a week working in the lab, analyzing the findings. He was currently uncovering a set of mammoth ribs.

This is the remains that they have named "Napoleon Bone-a-part" because through the compressing of sediment ontop of the remains, the bones were fused together. A complete specimen.


If we have opportunity to visit again, there are times during the year when children are able to get involved in digging. I believe that it happens in June and you need to be preregistered.
Noah is holding a full-sized replica of a mammoth femur (leg bone).

It was a great experience for all of us and I'd love to see it again in a few years as the digging progresses.


Although the children were napping for most of the ride back to the KOA, the shorter route this time... actually was only 30 minutes or so, Liz and I were just amazed at the deep red soil that would sneak out of the green prairies and mountainsides. I can't seem to express in words the wonder of the variety of landscapes witnessed in our small glimpse of our countrysides. Needless to say, each day we were amazed.

We drove right past the Crazy Horse Memorial site and decided to just drive up and see what we could see. We only got to the gate. The cost per car was $27, presumably because the memorial is still being created. We did not really want to get the kids up and out, but the view even from the base of the mountain was quite stunning. This would be place that I would like to return to, had we allowed for a bit more time.


It was a stinky, hot day, still hanging out around 98 degrees at 4 PM when we returned to our Kabin. Someone had decided to open the pool a few days early - what a blessing?! We all needed to cool off and it was the perfect outlet for the kids.

Dinner was pigs-in--a-blanket cooked by campfire, quickly followed by the necessary smores and dough-boys. The kids enjoyed toasting marshmallows so much, we ended up with more toasted than any of us could eat! And yes, that night, we all slept quite well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Home again

Starting from Big Timber, MT on Thursday morning we played and ate lunch at the Prairie Dog Town State Park before heading West through the Rockie Mountains. Several quick stops through the state of Montana including a playground in Butte, overlooked by "Our Lady of the Rockies", a large white statue of Virgin Mary high on a mountain, and a rest stop near the Idaho border to make Mac N Cheese with hotdogs on the camp stove (dinner for 6 - cost - less thant $1. And considering the change from MST to PST at the Idaho border, we only spent about 10 minutes for dinner....). Although we had made reservations at the KOA in Spokane we opted to keep driving and get home that night. Liz said as much as sleep sounded inviting, she couldn't bear the idea of repacking the car one more time. (she was the master car organizer and did a much better job than I could have to make it all fit).

So on we drove. We arrived in Beaverton a few minutes after 3 AM. Today was spent returning the car to order, laundry, and long naps. I hope to share many more of the memories of our journey over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Still alive and in Hill City, SD

Sorry for the long delay in our travel updates! I realize that some of you are reading and keeping up with us, and I so appreciate your prayers and responses. I also am regretting the lack of updates as I know we are having experiences and creating memories and, in that sense, the blog is somewhat selfish, in that it is my way of documenting our experiences that we can return to the memories over and over again.

We were at my Grandparents this weekend and I find that I'm severely lacking in patience, in particular when it comes to a dial up internet connection... I was not really able to clear time to do any updates, nor did I really want to wait for the 5 minutes for each page to load.... And then, Monday was our longest day of driving, and after a few confusing country roads near Mt. Rushmore we arrived at our KOA cabin shortly after 10:30 pm, which was just late enough to get beds made and kids to bed.

Regardless of the little delay in communication, we have been having a WONDERFUL trip.

Friday started out windy in Cheyenne. We made a stop in Ogalala, NE for a picnic lunch at a park and a quick walk through NE's Boot Hill Cemetary. There is a woman and her child who died during childbirth that were burried there, and when she was exhumed several decades later to be moved to the new cememtary, the women had been petrified and no one is sure why. There is also the standard fare of your typical early Western cemetary including those who died in gun battles, knife fights as a result of a card game gone bad and victims of the tragic side of pioneer life.

After lunch, we pressed in hard to getting across the second half of Nebraska, anxious to be off the road for a few days and extremely excited to spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa. Slowed by a loss of an hour as we crossed from Mountain to Central Time, we had no idea what was waiting for us in Lincoln.... MY DAD! As we walked in to the house on South Gate Blvd, we exchanged hugs with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sarah, and I thought I saw a tall figure pass by the dinning room table... much too tall to be anyone other than Grandpa, who I happened to be hugging at he moment, and out comes Dad. What a treat!?

It was fun to catch up, but I think my favorite part of the weekend was seeing Great Grandparents enamoured and in awe of the little creatures that bear their likenesses and heritage. My youngest two children have not yet met my Grandparents and my oldest two may have been too young to remember previous get togethers with that part of their family.

Grandpa introduced Noah to the pool table in the basement, and it such a thrill for him, he was always looking for someone to play with him. Within 12 hours of arriving he had also befriended Samantha, Grandma's 9 year old neighbor. The two spent much of the weekend together, and much of that time was on the swingset. Hannah and Zak were content to follow Noah and Samantha as much as possible. Zak amazed Grandma with his prolific and frequent speech. And Maggy showed everyone how much she can communicate, although she rarely says complete words.

Liz and I enjoyed getting to see Dad... I'm still a little floored that he took the trip AND that he surprised us. We also used nap times to teach our favorite card and dice games - Golf, and 10,000. By the time we left, Aunt Sara said "I need to find me some good dice."

We visited the Veterans' Memorial in Lincoln. Grandpa was very involved in the estabishment and care of the memorials and gardens, and had been involved in the maintenance until recenty he chose to step back in consideration of his health. I was very impressed with the beauty, complexity and throughness of the memorials. There was also a very large and elaborate playground in the park that the kids quite enjoyed. The next day we took in the Lincoln Childrens' Zoo. And no, there were no children in cages... I was hoping to see that too ;-) And I was impressed to see that our Oregon Zoo membership provided us with admission! It was a nice zoo, the kids really enjoyed it, especially the train. My favorites were the Red Panda (an adorable racoon like animal with big paws), and the Wallaby (one Walaby mamma let us have a sneek peak at her baby as he popped out of her pouch!)

You'll all be happy to hear that my face has quickly healed and other than two small scratches, is almost unnoticeable. I am sorry to have posted that a little, but like I said, my motive is to create a log of memories for myself, as much, if not more than sharing it with others. So thank you for the prayers, and sorry if I worried you any. A few people have asked if the fall could have hurt the babies and, although the urgent care doc didn't do an ultrasound, I am fairly certain that the fall was gentle and slow enough to have not jarred the kids anywhere near as much as it did my nose... which quicky healed.

We are at the end of a full day in the amazing Black Hills of South Dakota. I'm looking forward to sharing those memories as well, but am pretty beat, so I'll have to pick those up in another post.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day Three - Cheyenne, WY - LATE

Going to have to be a quick update tonight and I'll have to fill in the pictures later. It is very late and we are all quite tired. The driving started late today because of the Urgent Care diabocle, which included several calls to the insurance regarding a supposed contracted provider who wanted me to pay in full up front, and several calls to said clinic begging the office manager to make an exception and work with me. All ended well as we were able to get in and out for our standard co-pay. And it is confirmed that I do not have a broken nose and am, probably, just kinda clumsy.

Liz managed to find a playground to take everyone except Zak (who was being seen for pink eye) and had a great time with them. Unfortunately, we didn't actually get on the road to Cheyenne until after 1:30 MST with at least 6 hours of driving ahead, not including the all important stops. We arrived at the KOA close to 9 and were dissappointed that no firewood was available for sale. We borrowed another camper's lit charcoal to cook our hotdogs and decided it was just too late for smores anyway. The Kabin is just adorable and very welcoming. We are looking forward to spending more time at the KOAs next week. And I can't believe we have Wi-Fi! The cell service was spotty up until about 5 minutes from the campground!

Today's scenery was even more amazing than what we've seen so far, it just keeps getting better! Probably the highlight was some kind of small burrowing creature that we found at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere! There were probably 3-4 dozen of these things, that looked like praire dogs, or gerbals, but no more than a pound or two measuring maybe 8-9 inches. Maybe google or wikipedia can help us with this mystery in the morning. We spent about 20 minutes completely amazed by these creatures as they helped us unload a bag of potato chips! We also saw a real, live cowboy on a horse hearding cattle adjacent to the highway AND real antelope ALL over the place! Liz and I couldn't help but singing Home on the Range, twang and all!

We are really looking forward to tomorrow and getting to Lincoln to see Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin and Aunt Sara too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day Two - Park City, UT

This morning began with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. I love those cool waffle makers! We gathered up, re-packed and sent some post cards before leaving the hotel.

We started out the day with plans to make more regular stops and extended stretching during those stops. Maggy had seemed to have a hard time with the time spent in the car on our first day, and our plan definitely helped. She managed to take two naps in the car and was mostly happy when she was awake. I think that says a lot for a 19 month old confined to a 5-point harness for 7 hours.

The scenery was amazing and the signs of civilization, sparse! Idaho offered some amazing landscapes. I was most impressed with the high jutted plateaus and rock outcroppings.

As we moved towards Utah, we were both impressed with the increasing hills and mountains on the horizon. As we approached the Wassach Mountain Range and the Salt Lake area, they mountains were absolutely stunning. I took many too many pictures to get up tonight, but I will have to show them in the future.

Although we didn't have any planned excursions for the day, a few extended stops at rest areas and a drive by a Wendy's for an afternoon frosty broke up the day nicely and kept the kids quite happy. Aunt Liz is so good at ensuring games of hide and go seek or duck duck goose or simon say's when we stop, that really helps to take care of the antsy kids.

Park City is a BEAUTIFUL place. We are thrilled to have found such a deal on our hotel, which is really a time-share resort for skiers. The area we are in has many open courtyard malls, most of which have open-pit fire circles that burn 24 hours a day. We were tempted to get out our camping gear and get a jump-start on the smores, but decided to wait until tomorrow. My sister's college friend, Meg lives here in Park City and we met her for dinner. As we walked to the restaurant, about 2 blocks away, we passed the chair lift for the mountain! You could walk out of the hotel and hop on the lift to ski - AMAZING! Makes me want to learn to ski! (So just a recommendation, if you are coming thru this part of Utah during the late spring or summer months, its a great place to stay that is really in expensive... I'm sure it's much more appropriately priced during the actual ski season, maybe that's why I don't ski.... Regardless, its a great little city!

Tomorrow we continue east towards Cheyenne and our first camping night. Zak has been asking several times a day if we are going camping today... it will be nice to tell him yes.

Continue to keep us in your prayers. We may need to make a quick stop by urgent care in the morning, as it appears that Zak may have come down with Pink Eye, and I may need some attention to the scrapes received during a graceful misstep off the uneven edge of a sidewalk at a rest stop this afternoon.


Today's tallys:

Departure time - 10:45 MST - Arrival in Park City - 7 PM MST (this hour off thing is screwing with me... we didn't change the car clock, maybe we should)

License plate game - 31 and 4 Canadian

Wild life sightings - none really unless you count the numerous multi-colored bugs on the windshield... ewww.... We did see a LARGE amount of livestock including cattle, bison, horses, horses, horses, sheep, goats, at least one donkey and Zak claims to have seen a green pig. It was funny when every other exit name was either "Ranch exit" or "Valley exit" not much else in between... most were accompanied by a sign saying "NO SERVICES".

Toilet total - Maggy - 1... which turned into an opportunity to get a Frosty at Wendys. Due to the other frequent stretch breaks and required trips to the toilets, there were less urgent needs!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day One - Arrived in Caldwell, ID

We are quietly waiting in our hotel room for the children to drift off to sleep so my sister and I can play some cards or something.

The biggest event of the day had to simply be getting everything into the car, including the children, most of which my sister managed to do while I was showering. I don't know how I could have done it with out her! Actually, I doubt I would have, nor would I want to.

We were amazed with the changing landscape from the enormous rocky hillsides of the Gorge, to the beauty of the Columbia river, to the vastness of the high plateau, and even atop Blue Mountain, residual snow! We wondered about what it must have been like to be among the first European explorers to the region, not realizing, but always hoping, that you are a mere 150 miles from the Pacific Ocean. We dug into one of the library books about the Oregon Trail and started to discover what most native Oregonians probably learned in the 4th grade, but we found much more interesting than any 4th grade history lesson. It was also an amazing sight to see all the green-energy sources in action - the hydro dams along the Columbia with a deluge rushing out and the ginormous wind-mills along the tops of so many hills.

Upon arriving in Idaho, we cooked our spagehetti in the hotel loby microwave and enjoyed a quick dinner in our room before heading down to the pool. Noah showed that he had not lost his gills from last summer and Zak and Hannah both were convinced that they had them as well.... and fortunately Aunt Liz caught them before any damage was done.


Today's tally's:

Departure Time - 10:25 AM, arrived at hotel 7:40 Mountain time

License Plate Game - 25 + 2 Canadian

Toilet Tally - Mom - 1, Maggy 2 (but one was just because she'd gotten sand in her diaper), Zak 1 (which was on the side of an on-ramp, seemingly deseperate after Maggy's diaper change, so he stripped and pee'd next to the car... he's 3, get away with it while you can!)

Wild life sighted:
Crows, Hawks, Deer, Eagle, Large unidentified bird (I think it looked like a Golden Eagle, but Liz wasn't so sure), ducks, a HUGE goose, squirrels, maybe a mountain goat, and lots and lots of cows, but I tried to assure Noah that they weren't wild. Then Aunt Liz started telling him they had fangs and ate their young....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Great Western Road Trip!

My sister, Liz, is scheduled to land in Portland in a few short hours.

Tomorrow will be a day of errands, packing, planning and a last minute visit to the doc before heading out.

Tuesday, we DEPART!

For anyone who is interested, here is our itinerary, meal plan, and our detailed travel map:


Tuesday, May 12, 10 AM leave Beaverton, OR and to Caldwell, ID via I-84
Accomidations: Best Western
Meals : Breakfast - Bagels and bananas at home
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner - Spagetti (sausage precooked) cooked in the hotel room microwave
Green beans, bread and butter.
Activities: Hotel swimming pool (the kids are already pretty excited about this!)

Wednesday, May 13, 10 AM leave Caldwell, ID and head towards Salt Lake City
(Park City), Utah via I-84 to I-80
Accomidations: Summit View Marriot
Meals: Breakfast - complimentary breakfast at Best Western
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner - Dinner out
Activities: Meet with Meg, a friend of Liz's from college for dinner.


Thursday, May 14, 10 AM leave Park City on I-80 to Cheyenne, WY
Accomidations: Cheyenne KOA Kabin
Meals: Breakfast - Bagels and fruit in our hotel room
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner - Pigs in a blanket (hot dogs over campfire wrapped in dough)
Carrots and dip
Smores
Activities: Campfire, playing at the KOA

Friday, May 15, 10 AM leave Cheyenne on I-80 to Lincoln, NE
Accomidations: Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin's house
Meals: Breakfast - Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner - up to Grandma!
Activities: Catching up with my Grandparents and giving them a chance to get to know my kids. I haven't seen them since Hannah was about 1 (she'll be 5 this month). I am also looking forward to seeing my Aunt Sara. We are staying with them thru Monday morning.

Monday, May 18, 9 AM leave Lincoln to Hill City, SD via I-80 and US 385
Accomidations: Hill City / Mt Rushmore KOA Kabin
Meals: Breakfast -with grandparents
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner - Fast food (longest day of driving)
Activities: just getting there... Tuesday AM we will make pancakes at our Kabin and get out to see the Presidents memorial in the morning light, which I hear is best. We will take our mid-day to get down to the Mammoth site, a museum that has enclosed the fossilized remains of over 30 mammoths, as well as other cool pre-historic exhibits. An afternoon rest at the cabin and dinner of mac n cheese and hot dogs will be followed by an evening viewing of the Presidents Memorial.

Wednesday, May 20, 10 AM Hill City, SD towards I-90 to Big Timber, MT
Accomidations: Big Timber KOA Kabin
Meals: Breakfast - Oatmeal and Fruit
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner - Canned soup or stew- TBD, Smores
Activities: Campfire, playing at the KOA

Thursday, May 21, 10 AM Big Timber on I-90 to Spokane, WA
Accomidations: Spokane KOA Kabin
Meals: Breakfast - Cereal and fruit
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner - Pigs in a blanket (hot dogs over campfire wrapped in dough)
Carrots and dip
Smores
Activities: Campfire, playing at the KOA

Friday, May 22, 10 AM leave Spokane on I-90, US 395 to I-84 and HOME
Accomidations: MY OWN BED!!!
Meals: Breakfast - Cereal and Fruit
Lunch - Sandwiches at a rest stop - PB&J, cold cuts or egg salad.
Fruit. Chips. Homemade cookies.
Dinner -something easy
Activities: Collapse, yet fully satisfied with a great trip!

Originally we had planned to tow our tent trailer, but found that some of the campsites were going to be either unpredictable or unacceptably expensive for a concrete slap to park on. When considering the potential hassle of a towed rig in combination with added expenses of gas mileage, we opted to not take the trailer and pursue other inexpensive accommodations. We will be staying at two hotels, and the other nights will be spent in KOA Kabins.

I am looking forward to the whole experience and hope to be finding wi-fi along the way to provide you with pictures and updates. Keep us in your prayers for safe and fun journeys!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A list of 8

Since our family will soon to be numbered in 8, this might be appropriate!

I saw this on Brenna's blog. I have really been missing getting frequent updates posted, but for some reason getting back into the swing of things is a challenge in this season. I want to post more, but not sure where to start. Maybe random lists will be the place....

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To


  1. A date night with my husband for wings and a movie tomorrow night!
  2. Spending almost 2 weeks with my sister - she gets her Sunday night!
  3. Our road-trip to Nebraska to visit my grandparents
  4. Seeing Mount Rushmore
  5. Finishing the last book in the Narnia series with Noah
  6. Having another ultrasound and seeing who it is living in my womb
  7. Summer times- sunshine, pool play, and camping, hopefully!
  8. Meeting my two new babies sometime in October

8 Things I Did Yesterday

  1. Took a shower
  2. Ate an everything bagel with cream cheese and honey for breakfast
  3. Conducted a "Jesus Loves Me" sing along with the kids at the piano
  4. Went to the library and came out with over 20 lbs of books, audio books and videos for the trip
  5. Took a power nap that lasted almost 3 hours
  6. Went to a new community group, our third week. Feeling like a good fit.
  7. Served homemade fudgey oatmeal bars and tropical sorbet for desert.
  8. Secured reservations for the trip -2 hotels and 6 nights a various KOA kabins.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do

  1. Play the guitar
  2. Be more organized
  3. Make daily devotion and prayer time a priority
  4. Less laundry
  5. A kart-wheel
  6. Run (never been very athletic)
  7. Be a better steward
  8. Blog more, like every day


8 TV Shows I Watch

  1. Jeopardy
  2. Heroes
  3. The Office
  4. American Idol
  5. The Big Bang Theory
  6. Word World
  7. Sid the Science Kid
  8. Pahappahooey Island
8 Things That Bring Me Peace & Comfort
  1. The Holy Spirit
  2. Sleeping in my own bed
  3. Good soup - usually, but not exclusively, my own recipes
  4. Cuddles from my kiddos or hubby
  5. Fresh fruit
  6. Singing praises to God
  7. Reading God's Word
  8. Cozy socks
This was fun and a little more challenging than I expected. Give it a shot if you feel like it and leave me a comment so I can know to check your blog or FB profile.