Saturday, August 20, 2011

Belated Trip Report**Now with Pictures!!

Question: Why have I not blogged for over a month??

Answer: I can't find the cord to link my computer and my camera. waaaahhhh :(

The DH says it's around somewhere. I'm pretty sure he's the last one to have seen it, and thus is GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY. He will receive no mercy when he stands before the tribunal. **after reading my post, the wounded DH went and found my camera cord for me--supposedly sitting on top of our broken printer in plain sight. Wasn't that sweet of him? I *heart* DH. In addition to that, I got copies of lots of pictures taken by other family members and due to some pregnancy insomnia and my new super high speed internet, figured out how to make collages with PICASA. I *heart* PICASA.

We had a wonderful, wonderful vacation and truthfully I was having too much fun at the family reunion to use my camera much, so I don't have very many pictures anyway (hanging head in shame)

The treats and games I planned worked well on the 22 hour drive out to Idaho. Best last minute bring along was a library book of quickie who-dun-it mysteries. The older kids enjoyed solving them for as long as my voice held out reading aloud. They even read some to each other after I quit.

On the way home, I decided that we ate as many snacks as we had and didn't really need so many. So I bought less and everyone was mostly OK. We never felt sick from car food, so I think the choices were good.

The toys/coloring didn't work very well on the way home. Although Bubba made some improvements to the pictures in Cutie Pie's "Dora the Explorer" coloring book.

Everyone was so tired of being in the car. The kids just wanted to watch movies and everyone was tired of the movies we had. I considered Redbox, but didn't want to drive around unknown towns searching for one.

I chose the DVDs we did bring along based on 2 criteria:
#1 what I thought I could stand to listen to while not being able to see it
#2 The kids would like to watch over and over

( the kids would have loved Mr. Bean. But the sound track to Bean is just canned studio laughter and a little background music. Not fun to listen to when you can't see what is so funny. Also no good is any of the Lord Of the Rings Movies. That entire sound track can be summed up as follows: "da-nuh- nuh, du du dunt...I'm glad you're here Sam...da-nuh- nuh, du du dunt...I'll always stay with you Mr. Frodo...da-nuh- nuh, du du dunt...*beastial howlings and growlings*...15...16...17...My Precious...da-nuh- nuh, du du dunt." repeat.


I only chose 4 DVD's because I didn't want movies kicking all over around the car. Four is how many fit in the glove box. Next time I will bring more than 4 movies--the DH and I got to hear "Tangled" and "MegaMind" about 14 times each. StarDust was less popular and only got watched about 4 times.

DH has a lower tolerance for repetition of kid stuff than I do, so when he couldn't take any more, I put in "Fiddler on the Roof." The kids watched it at least twice, and now if Bubba sings, "Do you love me?" to Cutie Pie (who is 2 1/2), she will say back very vehemently, "I wash your clothes and milk them!"


So we broke up our drive out west by stopping at the highest peak in Kansas, Mount Sunflower. I can't say we climbed it, because we drove up and parked on the top. It was about 9 hours into our drive and made a lovely rest stop.

Cutie Pie is hardly in any pictures because she didn't stop running from the time I let her out of the car until the time I caught her and forced her back into her car seat.

A few hours later we stopped in Denver at our Priceline-won hotel. We ordered pizza for dinner and swam in the pool for over an hour. Tamale Pie said to me, "Momma, I dreamed of staying in a hotel and this is just like I dreamed it would be."

Lucky us, we got a room with 2 queen beds instead of the usual 2 double beds. DH, Cutie Pie and I took one queen bed and we lined 4 kiddos up on the other queen bed, with their heads from side to side, so they would have more room. It was quite the pile of humanity. (I never tell hotels how many kids we have because they invariably insist that I can't put that many people in one room and must buy two rooms. But they also refuse to guarantee me adjoining rooms and I will not have half the family down the hall, let alone on a different floor. The DH and I would have to split up so as to have a parent in each room and that would be no fun. So we crowd in one room and make do.)

The next morning, refreshed and rested, we finished the drive to the family reunion (my dad's family) where we spent 4 days and 3 nights camping at a place near Rexburg, ID.

We ate good food,

ran lots of relay races,

the little kids tunneled in the giant sand box,

and we talked and laughed ourselves hoarse.

(speaking of the giant sand box--my favorite part of the reunion place--My family was assigned to clean the bathrooms at the ranch on the last day. My dad commented, somewhat perplexed, that the women sure tracked a lot more sand into the showers than the men did. I pointed out that the women were the ones who supervised the showering of most of the 38+ little kids each day, and the mystery was solved.

I, myself, showered 4 very sandy little girls each day, hoping to reduce the amount of sand that was carried into the tent and sleeping bags. I'm sure that my efforts made a dent, but the tent was very sandy, nonetheless.)

The DH ran off with my sister's DH for 24 hours to climb the highest peak in Idaho: Mt. Borah. --if you think you are seeing a pattern here, you would be correct. It is his goal to summit the highest peak in all 50 states. We have to fit a couple in on every family vacation. The kids and I are happily doing the little ones with him. He is on his own for Rainier and Denali.

One of the events at the reunion was Family History Skit Night. Each Family Group was asked to come up with a skit about one of our ancestors. All the skits were amazing and fun. The other family groups all did fun, spiritual skits. Of course, my family group (comprising my parents, all my siblings and their spouses and kids) chose the irreverent route. We picked my dad's grandfather, James Edward and a particular event in his life. We set it to the tune of "The Beverly Hillbillies" theme song. I wrote up verses and then Dad helped me refine it until it was 100% historically accurate and balanced as far as length. No artistic license was allowed, even for the sake of a good rhyme or meter. (you know how at the end of each stanza the Beverly Hillbillies tune has sort of parenthetical expressions--well the rhythm of some of ours is WAY off--but it was really funny anyway.) We sang it and acted it out. My brother James (Jimmy) played James Edward.

You have to imagine it complete with a full stop after the first line and an argument--not even staged--about how I had supposedly started the singing at too high of a pitch. I swear, I was just trying to match Dad so we were singing the same note. It still ended up being a bit too high and got screechy on the last line of most of the verses. I blame nerves and the fact that we were trying to sing loud--the microphone had quit working.

Here it is for posterity, our family history skit:

Come and listen to my story 'bout a Mormon pioneer
Raisin' horses and a family in the wild frontier
James Edward was his name and he married Bertha Lamb
And they moved to Canada to live and work the land
(soil that is, planting crops, growin' wheat)

Well he had to dig a well, to meet the family's needs
So he and Uncle Nels got one dug down 60 feet
The hired boy was careless and the windlass flipped it's lid,
James dropped right down the well, the windlass landed on his head.
(knocked him flat, caved his skull, scalped him clean)

So Nels and the hired boy ran and grabbed a rope,
They pulled the windlass up, though they didn't have much hope
Down they sent the rope again and pulled with growing dread
And up from the ground came a bubblin' red
(blood that is, straight from his arteries, spurtin' left, squirtin' right)

**at this point, Jimmy smeared ketchup all over his face and continued squirting watered down ketchup from a bottle every so often. We had quite a mess to clean up when the skit was over.)

They carried him inside and they laid him on the floor
Then to fetch a doctor quick, they both ran out the door
The boy ran to Mountain View, the doctor wasn't there
Nels took a team to Cardston and waited in despair.
(All he could do, just wait until the Doc came back)

Bertha put down dish pans to catch all the blood
No matter what she did, she couldn't stop the flood
James wasn't even moving--blood was spurting everywhere
She finally browned some flour and put it on his hair.
(or rather, where his hair should have been)

The kids were all a wailin' and a cryin' heaps o' tears
But Bertha calmed them down and she quieted their fears
She said, "the Lord will care for us, have faith, do not despair."
At 2 am the doctor came and sewed back James' hair
(tried to, but his mangled scalp could hardly cover the gaping hole in his skull)

**my kids and my brother's kids provided the wailing.

Well, true to Bertha's faith, James recovered real soon
And survived many more accidents that couldn't fit in this tune
The family grew in numbers, in strength, in faith, in love
And we can all be thankful for these blessings from above.

So there you go. Now you have a good glimpse into my family's humor. If you need more, you can check out the birthday posts on my sister's blog. She even has pictures from the family reunion!

When the family reunion was sadly at an end, we drove down to Salt Lake, mercifully only a 3 hour drive, to visit the DH's sister, Linda. We spent about 2 and 1/3 lovely days with her and her 3 girls. It was not nearly enough time! "Anne of Green Gables" was watched. Amazingly, the girls also watched "Tangled." Ben got to see some of the movie he had, up to this point, only heard. Dress-ups were donned. Chickens were fed. The tortoise was petted. The sunbird bit everyone's fingers. Linda cooked us delicious foods. We went and tramped around the huge (for a city) lot they just purchased and will be building on soon. I can't wait to see it when it's done. Linda's DH is quite a green thumb and the landscaping will be breathtaking. They have over 40 houseplants--all of which made the move across country 2 years ago when they left their home in New York City. I am still amazed by this, as I have a total of 3 houseplants that I have managed not to kill, and they were large and sturdy when I got them.

Our last evening with Linda, we went to the park for our first attempt at pulling together a family reunion for DH's family. I got to meet Sarah and Rena for the first time. (I've stalked their blogs for at least a year now.) and re-meet his cousin, David, whose wedding reception we went to about 11 years ago. Also their cute, fun kids and spouses. We are so glad they came. I loved getting to know them all.

Then we headed North again and spent 3 days of heaven at my mom's family cabin on the Weber River. Again, my sister Katie has pictures. I'm not sure how she manages to take pictures and keep track of her boys, but she is amazing like that.

The DH, Bubbah & Katie's DH, Nate, plus Orville snuck off to go camping again.

I don't think Orville had a great time, but it turned out that he was sick :( DH was, as always, super impressed with Nate's fitness because he (Nate) was a faster hiker, even though he carried a pack and Orville most of the time.

After those 3 idyllic days in Weber Canyon, we headed back home to the Midwest. It was 37 degrees fahrenheit the morning when we left the Weber. Then next day as we crossed Kansas, it was 105 degrees fahrenheit. We were definitely going in the wrong direction is all I can say. We stopped at Panorama Point, Nebraska on our way home and bagged another highest peak.

We saw a dust devil. The mosquitoes were murderous. We stopped in North Platte for dinner. All I have to say is Perkins may be a Family Restaurant, but it isn't easy on a family's budget. $4.99 for a kid's plate of mac-n-cheese with a few grapes on the side, ouch. We stayed at a hotel with free hot breakfast, but the DH was so anxious to get on the road again that he wouldn't let us stay to eat it. :( Sad day. We ate cheerios in the car instead and Cutie Pie spilled hers in her car seat. That was nasty to clean out later, let me tell you.

I thought that last day in the car would never end. As we watched Nebraska and Kansas go by, I was so tired of the car that I thought pulling a handcart would be great fun and a nice change. The DH pointed out that we can go faster in 1 hour in the minivan than the pioneers could go in a week with their handcarts. I still sort of wanted to be out of the car and walking.

Now we are home and have to do stuff like clean house and weed the garden again. Truthfully, I'm happy to be home. But I sure do love all my family. They are the most awesome people on earth--the cool ones that I'm sure I'd never get to be friends with otherwise, but they are stuck with me because I was born in their family. :)

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