Monday, October 26, 2015


Colorado is still one of the prettiest states in America by my opinion. I have been there in various seasons and each is prettier than the next. Our RV park honestly looked like it belonged on a postcard. We were actually in Colorado recently with the kids and did everything Colorado Springs and Denver had to offer so our trip to Colorado this time was sadly a quickie (but we plan to return in the Spring when we are heading through the Northwest!). Fresh off of our adventures in Moab, we were ready for some downtime and Colorado provided the perfect R&R. We made our home base in Durango and the kids had so much fun exploring this city. We spent a ridiculous amount of time at the fish hatchery (much to my disgust!) but the kids had a ball. Seriously, there were some pools that looked black from the amount of fish on top of each other in them!

We also spent a whole day in Pagosa Springs at the resort using the hot springs. They have day passes available for the pools and we thought this would be a neat adventure for us all. What a neat gem this was. I am 36 years old and have never seen something like it. The resort has 23 "pools" on multiple levels, all flowing into each other via waterfalls and "streams". They vary in temperatures from 91 degrees to 114 degrees and all have funny names that match their description such as 'the lobster pot'! All of this overlooks the river which is 42 degrees. It was hilarious to be sitting in our swimsuits, literally dripping in sweat and watching people walk along the river wearing their winter coats and hats! Matt joined the local polar bear club when he jumped into the freezing river, fully submerged himself and then hopped into the lobster pot! My crazy kids never cease to amaze me...I am literally dreading the teen years when they completely lose their marbles!!! Luke spent the whole day complaining of the smell and would only use two pools that were right along the river and had a great crossbreeze. He did nothing but whine and make gagging noises while everyone else was trying to enjoy the serenity of such a beautiful place. We should've been the smart parents who used that knowledge before making a final decision of the day but apparently we are not the smart ones. We took the kids up to the lobby courtyard of the resort (this place isn't for the economically challenged, the room rate the day we were there was over $600/night) where the actual hotspring is located. This is where the resort pumps the water from. Luke walks over to look, turns around and promptly barfs his nachos and popcorn all over the entrance to the resort, literally blocking the doors. Yep...we were those people! I looked at Craig and proclaimed "back to the trailer park for us!"...

Our drive to Kansas was the hit of Colorado...we saw the first snow of our trip! Conveniently enough, it was located at our stop to see The Continental Divide. Geography quickly turned into recess for this crew!

Friday, October 23, 2015


We can check another state off our list...Utah. What an unexpected treasure this state was; I honestly had no expectations for Utah and was beyond surprised to find how much I really loved this state. Our first stop was Zion National Park...home to some of the prettiest hiking I have ever done. The kids were very excited to get here and wear their Zion School clothes to the park...I cannot tell you how many people stopped us and asked what their shirts meant! Zion is set up fantastic, you park at the visitor center and they have continuous shuttles running to all of the stops. We hopped our bus and headed up the mountains to our first big hike, "Emerald Pools". This is a 4 mile roundtrip hike that led us up rocks, through caverns, around waterfalls and even under trees to three different places, lower pools, the falls and upper pools. One was prettier than the next and my guys had a ball climbing and "accidentally" getting wet! We hiked to "The Lodge" for a fun lunch, complete with actual mountain spring water tapped right from the spring. (I even drank some which says A LOT!) A few more short hikes led us back to the bus where we went all the way to the top and planned to get out and hike "Riverside Walk". On our trek up the mountain the weather started shifting, you could see that clouds changing right before your eyes and Craig & I (much to the dismay of the boys) opted to stay on the bus and wait to take the loop back down rather than get off. Boy are we thanking God for that decision...Zion quickly got hit with one of the worst storms in recent history and we experienced it all firsthand from the safety of the bus rather than the middle of a trail next to a river! The boys decided our Zion connection was God's way of watching out for us :) As we made a very slow trek down the mountain, the roads were washing away right before our eyes. The radio in front kept announcing alerts to the drivers of what roads were now closed and we literally had just passed each of these minutes before. (This was fortunate as every bus behind us ended up being stuck on the side of the road, full of passengers for hours). I kid you not the paved road was completely white from hail and I only wish I had been able to get a clear picture to show y'all what we were watching. We were grateful the watchful eyes looking over us this day and safely tucked ourselves away in our RV to listen to the storm for the rest of the night.

After being RV bound for 2 full days thanks to storms, the kids and I made a second trip into Zion for another fun day and to complete the Riverside Walk trail. What fun this trail was, full of giant rocks to climb in the river and we had even got to have a picnic lunch right on the river. The bus ride up was a true eye opener as the black paved road was now orange from the runoff and the piles were waist high lining the road of debris, rock and tree scraps that the bulldozers had moved. Our whole hike you could see the line on the rocks where that water had risen to, evidence that we definitely made a GREAT decision not getting off that bus :)

We made our second stop in Utah in Moab, a tiny little town on the Eastern border of Utah. It is home of Arches National Park which is not as exciting as Zion but home of really cool rock formations. The kids and I made use of our National Parks pass once again at this spectacular place and spent a few hours learning the history or Arches, the city of Moab and it's place in Utah. That afternoon was a fun treat for the kids...Moab is home to a fantastic aquatic center, complete with waterslides and multiple diving boards. My guys were in heaven for this fun twist on PE and spent hours doing crazy tricks off the boards! Sadly this type of PE was right up my alley but a giant migraine sidelined me to a spectator rather than a participant...we are definitely gonna have to find another diving facility along this journey!

Moab was also home to a highly anticipated adventure for 4/5 members of this family (can you guess the 1/5???)...a 4x4 Hummer ride up Hell's revenge, followed by whitewater rafting down the Colorado River! I tried to offer up my ticket multiple times but sadly had no siblings hop a flight to Utah!  Unfortunately the rain we had gotten caught in at Zion was now in Moab so our day started wet, but according to my people "that's what makes it even funner!"  (Ummmm...ok?!!?) We had a 7am arrival and it was 49 degrees when we got there, yep, cold and wet...doesn't this sound delightful??? My guys all hopped in back of the Hummer leaving me to the front seat where I literally spent 1/2 my morning looking at the sky! I kid you not, there would be a 100 ft rock/boulder/mountain in front of us and we would go straight up the side! My people had a ball! Not only enjoying the adventure but getting tips from the driver on bringing the Jeep back here someday! (Count me out people!). The highlight of this trip was Luke...he was wearing 5 layers of clothes (including waterproof raingear) as to to keep his itty bitty body warm and happy. When the rain started back up, he snuggled up in a sleeping bag, covered with a towel AND FELL SOUND ASLEEP! Like a bear in hibernation, he got all snuggled in and literally slept for over 1/2 of a Hummer ride through Hell's Canyon!!! I truly think he offended our driver :)

Once we were back at the Adventure Center, we boarded a van to Adventure #2, whitewater rafting! I was slightly more excited for this as it is something I have never done, but I would have happily given up my seat had someone asked ;) I will say, I had a change of heart...rafting is fun! I don't know that I ever have a strong desire to do it again, but I can say that I did it and enjoyed it! My guys on the other hand LOVED it! All 4 of them can't wait to get to go again and are thinking they need to do a multi-day rafting trip...all I have to say to that is "have fun!" We rafted only class 2 and class 3 rapids (class 5 is highest) as it is low season for the river but even those sent Luke flying across the raft and left us all soaked! Fortunately the kids all had full raingear on as Craig & I didn't want them to be completely miserable since it was 50 degrees out and the water was 52 so they all didn't have the reality experience I had :) All said and done...Moab is now my kids current FAVORITE city in America as it is truly an adventure city...rock climbing, zip lining, mountain biking, 4x4, rafting, kayaking, tubing are only the beginning of the things to do in this 12 mile long town! Next stop...Colorado ;)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Las Vegas & Grand Canyon...

What a FUN 9 days this leg of the trip was! We arrived in Vegas and spent the whole time with my sister, brother in law and sweet nieces. This is the longest uninterrupted time we have spent together in years and we truly enjoyed every second of it. We had the best time with all 6 kids at playgrounds, an ice cream factory tour, Hershey World, seeing live mermaids, watching the girls take their classes, rock climbing, donut making, celebrating Molly's early Birthday at Pump-It-Up, lots of cul-de-sac playtime, dressing up like princesses, mani/pedis with Aunt TeTe, Brian & Matt had a date with Uncle Jerms to the bottom of the Hoover Dam & lunch plus so many yummy meals and treats Aunt Key cooked up for us!!! (She even sent me with to-go meals!) Craig finally arrived back after a WAY too long absence and Kerry gave us a night off to enjoy Vegas while the kids stayed with her and had a chocolate fountain for dinner party!

We took a mini 2 day trip back to Flagstaff (where we went to college) and my sweet Molly tagged along for the roadtrip! What FUN to get to have a girl along with me, I LOVED every minute of it! Particularly seeing Brian and Matt playing with her ponies :) We stopped at the Hoover Dam where Matt & Luke made a learning video for their classes, showed the kids the college we went to and spent a day at the Grand Canyon where Matt & Luke made another very informative video :)

Funny enough, the RV has needed a few warranty repairs so I deemed Vegas the perfect place to drop it off and leave it, enabling us to spend the full 10 days at my sister's house. While I loved being at my sister's and having LOTS of sqft again, I actually found myself missing my home on wheels which tells me we are finally settled into our home and it actually feels like home! Kerry, Jeremy, Molly, Mackenzie and Maggie...we will miss y'all like crazy!!! Thanks so much for the BEST two weeks...we can't wait till we see you again!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015


California has been our longest stay in a state so far and we had a great time! Glad to be out of the traffic nightmare but still had a blast! The first half of our stay was in the Los Angeles area. We had a great RV park in Santa Clarita that was literally a stones throw from Six Flags Magic Mountain. We took advantage of this and made great use of our Six Flags season passes while we were in the area. The kids we elated to visit this Six has different rides than the ones in Texas and they literally closed down the park 2 different nights! We also spent time at Universal Studios learning the art of TV and movie making. Our kids have been to a lot of theme parks in their lives but never Universal Studios. They loved it...for a place that actually only has 7 rides, they opened and closed the park twice and were still up for more! Brian was chosen to be a part of the Animal Actors Stage Show and had a blast being on stage, being the brunt of a few jokes and the best part...hanging out with actual celebrity dogs!!!

After 6 days in Los Angeles, we headed to San Diego. This is where Craig had to leave us for 2 weeks for a work trip and we got to meet up with my sister, brother in law and three nieces for the duration of Craig's absence. We had so much fun in San Diego...the RV park we stayed in was literally on the beach (we could see the sand from or RV!) and a complete kid paradise. Before Craig had to leave, we went to the coolest pumpkin exhibit I have ever seen in my 36 years of life...Rise of the Pumpkins. Over 5000 carved pumpkins arranged to create "things". Seriously, I cannot do this justice with words, you need to see the pictures to get how neat this was! Kerry, Jeremy and the girls arrived the next day and we had the best time with them. The fun began with Kerry throwing Luke a surprise "Monumental Presidents" party for his belated Birthday in her hotel room. My little guy was so excited and loved every second of it! Taking her girls to the beach at sunset was the highlight of the day as all 6 kids felt the need to hit the ocean fully dressed and full of giggles. The next day we took all 6 kids to the San Diego Zoo for a fun filled day learning about animals. My guys had never been here so this was a fun adventure for everyone. Our last day in San Diego was spent at the beach with the whole crew before we headed to Vegas with my sister and her family to spend time with them while we wait on Craig. I can't think of a better place to wait for Daddy than with my sister, brother in law and 3 precious nieces! I am extra blessed as my brother in law is a firefighter and I conned him into driving the RV to Vegas for me so I didn't have to! I figured if you drive firetrucks, surely you can drive an RV!!! Yay for Jeremy being an awesome brother in law and doing this for me!!!