Road Trip 2014 | Utah or Bust

Aug 29, 2014

Summer 2014 was a whirlwind. School ended on May 22nd. Bruce and I then spent the next two weeks in a state of panic as we made sure everything was in place for Trek. My parents arrived to watch our wee ones for us while we went on Trek. We got home from Trek and a week later the wee ones and I headed to Utah. We were in Utah for 3 weeks before heading home. Sunshine got strep throat which kept us pretty close to home for the last two weeks of summer, and then, summer was over.

Eventually I want to write all about Trek... it was such an awesome experience for Bruce and I. We loved almost everything about it and there is definitely much to tell, but I am struggling to get a hold of all the photos! And any post about Trek wouldn't be complete without photos. So, until I have those, I will hold off on writing that post. Which means I am skipping straight to recording the fun and excitement of Road Trip 2014.

This year's road trip began on Monday, June 23rd. The day before had been a hectic one- early morning meetings, church, the Trek fireside, me jamming the middle finger of my left hand in a major way (as in, it is still quite painful today, 2 months later). There were moments when I wasn't even sure we would make it out the door bright and early Monday morning, but we did it.

The drive north was uneventful. The wee ones played and coloured and listened to three Boxcar Children audio books. I spent 12 hours catching up with my mum. We stopped in Beaver for our traditional stretching of the legs and eating of the ice cream. Before I knew it, we were pulling in to my parents neighborhood and Road Trip 2014 was well under way.

Our first few days were low key. We sat down and made a list of things we wanted to do while in Utah, then we started to cross them off.

First, the girls were super excited to be reunited with Rocket. Rocket use to be our car, but when I got the Jolly Roger (our mini van) for my 28th birthday, Rocket found a new home with my parents. Even though we love our van, we all have a soft spot for Rocket and it was very exciting to not only see him, but to ride in him a few times as well. Once with my baby sister as the driver! When did I get so old!?!

On several occasions, we walked to the park at a school near my parent's house. I think it was the first time my wee ones have ever seen a metal slide! The had so much fun on that thing.  As you can see in the photos- Beebs was upset that they didn't make a three person train to go down the slide. That girl has some of the best facial expressions!

 We got shave ice at Hokulia. Multiple times. We also had Day's donuts on pretty much a daily basis, and we ate them on my parents back patio as often as possible. The cooler temps felt like heaven.

We made a trip to the BYU bookstore where each of the wee ones picked out a new book. Beebs chose a Berenstain Bears book, Sunshine picked a Magic Tree House chapter book which she then read out loud each time we were in the car. Man Cub got a book called Crocodaddy.

One of our summer fun list items was to go to the splash pad. My parents have a little one just a few miles from their home, so we headed there with my nephew Bodhi one afternoon. Man Cub was not a fan,  but the girls and Bodhi had a blast.

The Thursday after we arrived, my youngest sister and I took all the little ones to Salt Lake for the day. Aunt Tee works at the zoo and was able to get us in a couple different times during our stay. We loved watching the lions play soccer and seeing the zookeepers feed the rhinos and tell us lots of cool facts about them. And I always love watching my kiddos get a drink from the lion water fountain. Man Cub's favourite part of the zoo trip was playing with the water feature on our way out. He could have stayed there all day long and he got soaked as he played in it. We also got to ride the train and Aunt Tee let the children use  her camera to take pictures of one another at the different exhibits. They loved that!


On our way to the zoo, we stopped off at the Madsen Cargo Bike warehouse to test drive a bucket bike. The children all loved their ride in a Madsen and I would love to own one. Unfortunately, the price is a little hefty, and quite honestly, it's not ideal for where we live. But it was so fun to take it for a whirl!

Man Cub quickly made himself comfortable at Nana's house... his favourite spot to play was behind the curtains in her living room. Somehow he managed to avoid pulling the curtains to the floor. Thank. Goodness. I still don't know how- he spent many hours hiding behind them with his cars along the window sill, or playing peek a  boo and hide and seek, with that being his only hiding spot. 

Beebs is my creature of habit child and she struggled a bit with being away from home and especially away from Bruce. She and I enjoyed several different Mommy- Beebs outings, one of which resulted in a new Groovy Girl doll. She was very excited! Another outing led to the photo of Beebs in the mustache sunnies. How adorable is she?

And amongst all these activities (which took place in the first four days of our trip!), I started the last leg of my half marathon training- adjusting my lungs to Utah's altitude! I did a couple of short runs and about killed myself on the hills. Then the Saturday after we arrived in Utah, I went on my most favourite run ever- just over 8 miles during which I ran past not one, but two beautiful temples. There is no other place in the world where I could run only 8 miles and see two temples. It was a really neat experience and just an awesome run all around. I call it my run down memory lane as I ran past not only the temples, but my old middle school, the tree streets where my two best friends lived, the first house we lived in during our few years in Provo, and many other important landmarks from those precious years. Utah isn't my top pick of places to live, but the years we spent in Provo while my dad attended BYU were good years and I look back on them with many fond memories. And I ran past many of those memories in preparation for my half! And when I would return from my run each day, our very fickle family cat would come curl up on the grass with me while I cooled off. He ended up getting sick while I was there and despite our best efforts at nursing him  back to health,  he passed away a day or two after we got back to Arizona. He was a stinker, but I miss him anyway! I'm glad for the snuggles on my parents front lawn, and for the one photo I got of the two of us together.

And that about covers the first five days of being in Utah... only about 18 more days to blog about! Ü

2014 Utah Road Trip In Numbers

Aug 15, 2014

Last year, the wee ones and I went on an epic Utah road trip. I posted some road trip stats once we got home and it was fun to see a little break down of our trip in numbers. Last year's stats can be found here.
This year's stats look a little different...
Days away from home: 23
Miles driven: 2909
Hours in the car: 65 hours 7 minutes
Photos taken: 643 (plus whatever I snapped on my phone)
Temples touched: 5
Donuts devoured: Too many to admit to
Hours of HGTV watched: So many that I lost count 
Miles run: 51.27
Half marathons completed: 1!!!!!!
Our trip was such a blast and I am so grateful that my family was willing to put up with my rowdy bunch for such an extended stay. I have a lot to write about our 3+ weeks in Utah, so look forward to that series of posts soon. Then I just need to get a hold of our Trek pictures so I can finish up that post, and I will be officially caught up! Assuming nothing else exciting happens anytime soon...


My Preschool Princess

Aug 14, 2014

This past Tuesday, Beebs and I started school. Despite Beebs constantly insisting that she is going to stay with me forever and not even go to Kindergarten, I know that this is my last year teaching her (formally anyway Ü) and it makes me sad. Luckily, we are gearing up for one great year of preschool. We had an adorable class and with a year of preschool under my belt, I am much better organized and prepared for what is to come. And I am excited!

As is tradition, I snapped a couple of "first day of school" photos... Beebs picked her own outfit. She was so proud of herself for finding a shirt and pants that matched, because they were the same colour and both had polka dots. Boy, do I love that girl!

Even though Man Cub is not technically a part of preschool (he goes down for his nap about half an hour into our school day), he watched me taking pictures of all the other kiddos with the "first day of school" sign and he wanted a picture too... I cannot believe how grown up he is looking all of a sudden. Why do my babies think they are allowed to get bigger!?

And a little added bonus- a few shots I took of Miss Beebs for a friend of mine who makes custom children's clothing. She sent Beebs a sparkly personalized shirt that is super cute. And of course, the model is beyond adorable. Ü

I Can't Help Myself

Aug 9, 2014

We are having so much fun with the GoPro, I can't help but share a few more pictures we took while swimming today. Feel free to plan an intervention. I am pretty sure I am going to need one!

I love the underwater swimming pictures we took yesterday, but I was sad we didn't get a good one of Beebs. We have now remedied that. And we took a few of the wee ones going down the slide as well. Ü

Three Little Fishies

As you can probably tell from the previous post, we have little fishies for kiddos! As desert dwellers, summer time means swim time, and a fair portion of our lives from March until June were spent pool side. Whether it was swim team, swimming lessons or just hanging out at the pool with friends, we spend as much time as possible in the water one we hit triple digits!

Sunshine began swim lessons in March to prepare her for swim team which started Memorial Day weekend. Sunshine has always loved the water, and has done really well in her swim lessons in past years, but this was our first go at swim team and we wanted to be well prepared. At first, it was certainly difficult... Sunshine wasn't use to swimming laps for 30+ minutes 4 days a week. She was so worn out the first few weeks of lessons, but she was loving it, so we kept going, and her hard work paid off. We are so proud of how well she did her first year of swim team. She has a stack of ribbons that she loves to look through, and she placed as high as second place in free style and got fourth place in butterfly at one meet. It just blows my mind to watch her swim fly... it is my favourite stroke to watch, but I have never been able to swim it myself. I love that Sunshine can not only swim it, but did well at it.

Unfortunately, we missed the last half of her swim season due to our summer road trip, but once we find our routine now that school has started, we are planning to join a local club swim team so Sunshine can continue swimming. I think it is such an important life skill... especially as we live in the land of 10,000 pools.

Beebs was signed up to do the same survival swim lessons that she and Sunshine did last summer, but as Sunshine did her lessons at our community pool, Beebs felt like she was missing out. We put her in a few lessons at the community pool before her survival swim started and she did great in both. She is such a little fish and I am thinking it won't be long before she is doing swim team as well. She is already able to get most of the way across the pool... we just need to work on her breathing and she'll be good to go. I am so impressed with how much she learned this year. Last year she really struggled with her lessons and did not want to do anything she was asked to without a fight. She is our overly cautious child and the water was scary for her. This year, she jumped right in and did what she needed to, and the change in attitude has helped her to really improve. She can back float for over a minute with no help and she is a pro at diving for rings. She has come so, so far since swim lessons last year.

Beebs and friends at Sunshine's swim meet

This year was Man Cub's first year of swim lessons. As is typical with the style of swim lessons we start our wee ones out with, Man Cub was not a fan. My otherwise happy little guy would start crying as soon as he realized where we were headed. It was heartbreaking to watch, but it seriously paid off in the end. He learned a ton and he now loves the water. Maybe even a little too much... he has gained a false sense of security as he thinks he is just as good at swimming as his big sisters.

We are so blessed to be able to spend so much time swimming each summer. Especially considering that we don't have a pool of our own. I love that my children are learning to swim, and learning to swim well. It is a skill that has potential to benefit them throughout their lives. Plus, it helps keep us cool Ü
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