Sunday, July 31, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes--July

7/8--We crossed the border into South Dakota today and were driving through the Black Hills.  Caroline took a good look around and said, "Maybe this is where I growed up.  I think this is where I went to high school."

 Silly me.  I thought she was going into preschool.

7/8--At our hotel, they had a full length mirror.  Caroline had fun checking herself out, especially the big goose egg she got at the fun run last week.  She said, "Mom, I was looking at my blood mustard."  I think she meant her bruise.

 When she was done checking out her blood mustard,
she asked me to take pictures of her running as fast as she could.

7/9--In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, the boys carve Candace's head into Mt. Rushmore.  Without anyone else mentioning it, when we got to the Mt Rushmore, Caroline asked, "Where's Candace?" 

  What?  No Candace?

7/9--As we were leaving Mount Rushmore, Care Bear waved and said, "Bye-bye, George Washington."

  See ya later, Abraham Lincoln!

7/10--During church today, Care Bear announced her latest aspiration, "When I grow up, I want to work at a hotel."  When I asked her what she was going to do there, she said, "You would talk to me.  And ask me questions.  And I could tell you where the restroom is.  And your bed.  And the stairs."

7/10--Caroline is getting her metamorphosing animals mixed up.  Uncle Forrest caught some teeny tiny frogs today and she was playing with them.  She told me, "I think they used to be butterflies."

 Looks like Whitney used to be a...pterodactyl?

7/17--After being away from our home ward for SIX weeks, we were all looking forward to getting back to our own church.  On the drive there this morning, I asked Caroline, "Are you excited to see your nursery friends?"  She said, "Yea!  And to smell them!"

 Apparently nursery kids in other states have a different odor.

7/29--We went to a Grasshoppers game tonight.  Caroline was being silly and Andrew told her, "You're a cute kid."  She told him, "I'm not a kid.  I'm a husband!"

Me and my husband kid.

7/31--Care Bear told me, "Maybe when I grow up, I can go to BYU."  I told her, "That would be so fun!  I loved going to BYU."  She said, "Maybe you can come with me."  

A few more photos: 

Still no Candace.

Yee haw!  Dinosaur Rodeo!

I see you!

When I saw these giraffes kiss at the zoo,
I wondered if this is how Andrew and I look when we kiss.

"...and world peace."

B got *this* close to wakeboarding.

B's self-portrait

Gotta love a good ball pit

From the 4th of July parade.
Children. Children. Future. Future.

If you look carefully, you'll see that the shadow of our van
looks like Shrek's head if you're at just the right angle 
in the late evening.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Other random road trip thoughts

Grandma Cuca's total and absolute shock at her surprise party.

Staying up late playing Zurts, Apples to Apples, Rummy, and Cranium with my siblings.

Being reunited with Andrew after the first ten days of the trip.  His absence really did make my heart grow fonder.  I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for at least the first 24 hours.

Playing Just Dance with Destiny.  I had yet to play with someone who was actually a good, competitive match for me.  It was so fun!  If only we lived closer to each other and could play more than once a year.

Seeing tons of antelope on the drive from Utah to South Dakota.  And none of them running in front of us.

The portable DVD player broke on our second day of driving.  NOOOOO!

The kids were fighting over the iPod and broke the car charger in the melee.  Seriously?

Discovering that Brandon only packed two pairs of underwear.  D'oh!

Whitney left a dead crawdad in a plastic cup in the van for two days in the Texas heat.  Let's just say the air in there was polluted for several days.

Our visit to the Kirby Science Center in Sioux Falls, SD.  We only had about 45 minutes to play before they closed.  Caroline peed her pants after about 7 minutes, so she and I had to leave.  Then they closed the whole place 15 minutes early.  Ridiculous.  SO not worth the stop.

Whitney made some cute little rag dolls in Nauvoo and then lost them the next morning at breakfast.  She was devastated, which broke my heart.

If found, please contact Whitney ASAP.

*Most interesting names*
Pudding Ridge Golf Course
Mousetail Landing
Stink Creek Road
Old Woman Creek
Skunk River
Kickapoo Creek

*Lessons learned*
Did you know that feral pigs are running rampant through parts of the country?  I had never heard of such a thing before this trip.

Caroline is terrified of showers.  We definitely need to stick with baths for another year or two.

When traveling with a three-year-old, always have a pull-up handy.

*Random memories*
There was a crazy cardinal at the cabins in Texas that kept flying into windows and mirrors over and over.
It was creepy.

I had a dream that a giant talking catfish told me, "Start.  Better start, Jedi."

Visited the Browning Gun Shop in Nauvoo and learned that the original Mr. Browning engraved "Holiness to the Lord" on each gun that he sold.  Interesting.

*My favorite Grandma Cuca quotes*
A couple of years ago, she had a man investigate a problem with her roof.  He found a mama squirrel with several babies and she told him to get rid of them.  He asked her, in all seriousness, "Are you sure?  Because they'd make some good dumplings."

She has been accused by some people as being fiesty, but she told me, "I'm not fighting with people, I'm just defending myself."

*Some random pics*

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Road Trip: By the numbers

36 Days

6721 Miles

16 States

124 Hours and 36 minutes of driving time

10, 7, and 3 --ages of the participating children

15 Fast food meals

8 Crossings of the Mississippi River

3 Encounters with flashing lights in my rearview

0 Tickets

15 Skunks we smelled along the way

8 Families that let us stay with them.  
 (Thank you!! )

2 Check engine lights

7 Science centers that we visited free of charge. 
(Yay for our membership!)

$3.85 The highest price we paid for a gallon of gas.  
It was in Minnesota.

70 Loved ones we visited

They are the reason we go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The trip home

Phew.  We made it.  Longest road trip yet.  And it was wonderful.  We took a new route home, swinging through Wyoming and South Dakota.

Stopped at Mount Rushmore!

 Also saw the Crazy Horse Monument--
definitely a work in progress,
but you can kinda see the face.
If you look closely.

Stopped at the Science Zone in Casper, Wyoming.
The kids liked this piano where you can see the workings as you play.

And blowing GIANT bubbles with Grandma Cuca.

Stopped in Minnesota to visit with Angie, Forrest, and their kids.
It is uncanny how much these cousins look alike!
From the back you can't even tell their little brown heads apart.

Whitney and Wyatt totally hit it off.
I didn't see that coming.

Celebrated Angie's birthday with her.
More cake!  Yum!

Took a quick trip out to the lake.
The boys LOVED their crazy tube ride.

And I was surprised that the girls had a blast on it, too.

Grandma had fun on the boat.
But she wished I would've warned her to wear a
hair net.  There went her beautiful 'do.

Visited the zoo.
The kids loved our ice cream break.

My favorite part was watching the trainers work with the sea lion.

A bunch of cute cousins.

My favorite science center of the trip:
Bluedorn Science Imaginarium in Waterloo, Iowa.
Can you see Whit's hair standing on end?
ALL of the patrons got a kick out of it.

They had a great lesson on states of matter using liquid nitrogen.
Whit volunteered to eat a cracker frozen in it.
Look at her breathing smoke!

Stopped in Nauvoo, Illinois.
We hadn't been there since our very first road trip in 2006.
It is such a fun and spiritual place to visit.
Grandma broke out her sweet moves on the dance floor.

We had great seats for the pageant.
It was wonderful.
All of us loved it.
Except Caroline.
Who spent her evening digging in the dirt in front of my chair.
Afterward, you can meet cast members.
 We decided to get out picture taken with Shanti Rose,
who played one of our favorite characters.
She was super sweet and when she found out that Grandma is Catholic,
offered to meet us the next day to show us the Catholic church there in Nauvoo.

Grandma was so grateful.
It was a beautiful church.

 And it is right next to the gorgeous temple.

We also took an oxen ride.

Found the lot where our Great-great-great...Grandpa lived in Nauvoo.

Had a great time laughing along at the musical,
Just Plain Anna Amanda.
 Whit looks good in an old English bonnet.

The kids made rope.
And Caroline somehow managed to break the rope-making machine.

 We had a fabulous time at the "country fair."
Whit and Caroline learned how to work the saw.

Brandon played stick ball,
where we learned that you run the bases backwards.

And Grandma Cuca got to teach him how to tie a quilt.
A skill every young man should gain?

 After a quick visit with Uncle Alex and Aunt Stephanie
 in Kentucky (where I took no pictures--gasp!),
we were on our way home.

And all of us were excited to see this sign.
And sleep in our own beds.
And give Andrew big hugs.

And the kids have already started planning next year's road trip.