Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Texas...we have arrived!!!

Well, we actually made it! We crossed the border into Texas and we all felt a mix of emotions. The trip was actually over, but we had all kinds of new excitements awaiting us! The drive into Texas is one I will never forget. We came though Amarillo (stopping at Sam's Club to load up on supplies for our house!) and decided to just drive as far as we could. Craig and the boys were particularly anxious as they had never seen our home that we were heading to! Around 9pm we were up in the scariest part of America, the panhandle of Texas and border of Oklahoma...Tornado Alley. I have a lifelong fear of tornadoes and wanted to be out of here as fast as possible. Imagine my horror when we ended up there in the dark, in the middle of a thunderstorm with my phone going off nonstop alerting me to tornadoes literally just miles from us! Oh...and we are in a driving death machine!!! My phone is saying "seek shelter", the warnings literally said "mobile homes will be destroyed" and we are smack dab in the middle of it! The scariest part of the whole night was when we have the pedal to the metal...literally, going max speed for our bus, and two storm chasers go flying past us! To say we felt true fear is an understatement. I gotta hand it to my husband, he stayed calm and was my rock cause I was peeing my pants in fear. I had all the kids in their beds with headphones playing tablets so they couldn't see just how scared I actually was. Once again, we had God watching over us. We made it out of crazy town as the storm was crossing the freeway and truly are thankful for someone watching over us keeping us safe.

Arriving at our house was the best moment for me...seeing the kids with their heads hanging out the windows, dying to see their new house was a memory I will never forget. I was so anxious for all of them to see it, I picked it out, saw it and made all the changes 100% solo. Fortunately for me...everyone was thrilled! We immediately rented a U-Haul and Craig and the big boys set off to storage to collect our belongings while Luke and I began the job of emptying the RV. About 6 hours later, I get a call from Craig. He is out of breath telling me his phone is almost dead. I honestly remember thinking "then why are you are wasting your battery calling me?" He keeps repeating "my phone is about dead and I don't have a charger in truck" and then finally follows up with "Kate...I don't freakin know where we live!" OMG...talk about pee your pants laughing!! Poor Craig...we moved about 30 miles from our last house. While he knows general area we live at, and knows our address, he had no clue what exit we lived off of our what streets you turn off of ;)

Now we are in the process of settling in...we are buried among boxes, we are eating non stop takeout, we are hot, sweaty and disgusting from moving, we are sleeping on mattresses on the floor but we are home, right where we belong :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016


We are officially on the last stop of this 9 month mega adventure! It blows my mind that in one week we will be home, sleeping in our new house and this whole trip will be a distant memory. Our official last stops were Montana & Wyoming. I say both as we literally stayed on the border of both in order to visit Yellowstone National Park. It is so easy to see why Montana is called God's country. The scenery is breathtaking and goes on as far as you can see. I feel like Montana is a place I am gonna buy a big old ranch in if I ever win the lottery :) Yellowstone is so much cooler in person than it could ever be described to you. There are literally mini geysers all over the park, right off the side of the road. There is an abundance of wildlife (kinda like a smaller scale of Custer State Park!) and boardwalks everywhere that you can walk out over the bigger geysers! Seeing Old Faithful was the big attraction on our bucket list and it was such a cool experience! Getting to sit with my kids and watch Old Faithful literally blow its top was the perfect ending to this adventure! And let me tell you, it isn't a quick blow...this went on for almost 13 minutes!!!

On we go to make the final 26 hour drive home! We are all ready and excited! I am the only one that has seen our new house so I am extra excited to see what they all think of it :) We shall see how many days we can make it in...Texas get ready...here we come!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2016


Well, we have hit the grand finale for our trip...Alaska! I honestly cannot believe we made it this far...back when this whole trip was a dream, we talked about Alaska as this mythical, far away place that would be our ending and holy cow...WE ACTUALLY MADE IT!!! We opted to fly from Seattle to Anchorage to save time rather than drive although we would love to actually do the drive someday. Let me start by saying that after a week in Alaska, I feel like I found the state this whole family could run away to and not look back. I have never seen a more beautiful place and wish it was some kind of law that every citizen of America had the opportunity to visit here someday!

Our first stop was Anchorage and we packed in the fun! We went to the Reindeer farm where we got to hand feed reindeer! And these aren't just ordinary reindeer; Santa actually comes here every year to pick the best of the best to join him in the North Pole! Luke about peed himself with excitement when he learned this info! Top that with learning that Rudolph and his Dad "John Deer" came from here and that little boy was flying so high on a cloud it will take him months to surface! I have to say, you honestly could feel the magic at this place and we had the most incredible 3 hours ever! Our next stop was the Anchorage Zoo...home of Matt's first moose sighting!!! Another win for this family! How neat to get to see all of the animals native to Alaska all in one place!!! Anchorage was also home to sea-plane watching, the worlds largest chocolate fountain, lots of souvenir shopping, hanging out on the beach, lots of hiking though the woods, and following the local moose paths!

Our next major stop was Seward, a super cute, teeny-tiny town that would lead us to glaciers! Craig's Dad joined up with us for this leg of the trip and the kids were excited to have Grandpa along for the fun. We stopped to see the Portage Glacier which was sadly shrinking due to a warm spring but rest assured was still there! Big shock my people felt the need to hop into the Arctic, FREEZING water (if their are glaciers it's clearly cold!) and actually hold a chunk of ice! Talk about once in a lifetime experiences!! In Seward we went to the Sea Life Center and Otter Rehabilitation Center. So much fun!!! We saw 4 day old otters, watched the most hilarious sea lion family having a family dispute and got up close and personal to so many animals. Our hotel was right in the water and we could see the fisherman bringing in their catches from our windows, as well as the otters playing in the water below us! Our big adventure in Seward was the Glacier and marine tour we took...coolest experience ever! We not only saw Shamu and his family in the wild, we saw Mountain Goats, Sperm Whales, Dolphins, Orcas, Bald Eagles, Moose, Dall's Porpoise, Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Stellar Sea Lions, Puffins, Black Bears and Seals! On top of all this crazy wildlife, we saw glaciers so close we could feel the spray of ice breaking off! What an amazing adventure!!!

Homer was our next major stop and we got to go through the Kenai River on our way there...what a beautiful drive! I'm absolutely in love with this entire state and cannot stop staring out the windows! In Homer we stayed with Eileen and Dave, friends of Craig and his Dad since his Dad's childhood and such kind people! They made us feel right at home and we enjoyed our entire visit. In Homer we got to see the world's largest fish hook, the actual ship from "Deadliest Catch", more bald eagles, more moose, went to the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, saw a crazy amount of otters playing in the water, shopped for more souvenirs, played outside in the breathtaking scenery and went up the road to the sleepy town of Ninilchik for our biggest adventure...halibut fishing!!! Matt has bee looking forward to this since before the trip began and it did not disappoint! We had a private, chartered boat that took us out for 6 hours to find our fish. (I would have happily skipped this adventure but as a Mom, could NOT miss seeing my Matt's face when he got to finally catch the fish of his dreams! I despise fishing, battled sea sickness and migraines and would still do it all over again to see those smiles and excitement on my guys faces!!!) Our 2 captains could not have been nicer to the kids and went out of their way to make sure they had a fun day. Everyone gets 2 fish per Alaska law so you can bet for the price we paid Craig made me record my 2 fish as well :) And no..I did not actually catch them but rather ran over and grabbed Craig;s rod once he had them on the line, pretended I caught them and let Craig pull them in! Seeing Luke beat the fish with mallets, Brian almost falling in doe to tension on his rod, Matt with a smile as big as his face and Craig beaming with pride will go down as my favorite Alaska memory!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Washington (& Idaho)

We are nearing the end of this mega-adventure as we are almost out of states!!! Washington has been so much fun! We saw the whole state as we got to spend time on the both the western and eastern sides, visiting both Seattle and Spokane.

Seattle was a blast! The kids and I spent an afternoon at a pinball museum, where one price got my guys unlimited pinball games!! Talk about right up their league of fun! Luke even managed to break the existing record on one of the machines! We explored the famous Pike's Peak Market, watched the fish tossing, bought a giant bouquet of flowers and even went to the original Starbucks!! The best part of our Seattle fun was the ferry ride we took to Bainbridge Island. My kids have been on so many cruise ships and they were acting like it was their first boat ride :)  They couldn't get over the fact that we drove the Jeep right onto the boat and were parked next to a school bus and an 18 wheeler! We also got to see my friend Shelley and her family while in Seattle. Shelley and I taught together way back when at Immaculate Heart Academy in Arizona. We have kept in touch over the years but haven't actually seen each other in 14 years! Our kids had a blast together and catching up was such a great time!

Spokane was home for two weeks, one of which we spent in Alaska. Craig's sister Gretchen and our nieces live there and we have been so excited to get to spend time with them. What a whirlwind week of fun and tragedy. The kids had so much fun together playing, golfing (& sadly injuring poor Uncle Phil!), running in the girls school fun run, celebrating belated Birthday's, playgrounds, picnics, going to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho to spend the day on the beach paddleboarding, swimming and playing (with Craig, Gretchen & Phil while I made a very insane less than 24 hour trip to Texas to see our new house!). A huge surprise was the elopement of Gretchen & Phil with us as the guests! Craig walked his sister down the aisle and it was so wonderful for all of us to be included in the surprise!! The trip also held a very sombering experience for us all...our precious 6 year old nephew found his forever home after a horrific 5 year medical battle. Arron was Craig and Gretchen's sister Chandelle's son, and the sweetest, strongest, bravest little guy I have ever met. Chandelle is a true example to motherhood and we all should wish we could be half the mother she has been to Aaron. Gretchen flew to be with Chandelle and we stayed in Washington with all the kids. We had the sweetest day celebrating all things train in honor of Aaron, and ended our night with a train ride around Spokane park. It was the perfect tribute for a group of kids to remember their cousin...

Monday, May 2, 2016

Vancouver, Canada

Well you know we couldn't get this close to the border and NOT cross it!!! The kids love any opportunity to use their passports so to Vancouver we went! The trip was off to a great start until we reached the border...Leave it to us to be randomly chosen for inspection crossing border into Canada. We got to all pile out of RV and answer questions while they search the RV. The officer standing in doorway says "I thought you said you left your guns in Texas" to which Craig and I both reply "we did". He says "upon opening your center upper cabinet there appears to be multiple guns"...I start laughing, Craig looks like he's about to panic and glaring at me wondering what I have hidden...next thing we hear is the second officer from inside yell "they are toys!" I am now dying laughing, officer in door is now chuckling and Craig starts having color return to his face...AND THE BEST NEWS... the 6 cap guns are safe and allowed to continue the journey!

 After we finished our lesson to the kids on how border patrol works, we were shocked to find Vancouver was a complete surprise to us...it was much larger than we expected, way more expensive than we had thought (think Hawaii prices), and extremely populated. On the flip side, the beaches are gorgeous, the restaurants are plentiful and delicious, THEY HAVE AN UNDERGROUND WALMART, and they are home to the coolest suspension bridge we have ever seen!

Capilano Park is home to a 450 long, 230 foot high bridge that is just swaying over a massive rushing river...too cool! And you get to walk across it as many times as you want! One you cross it, it leads to to a tree canopy bridge park that takes you through an actual rainforest! On the other side is a glass bottom cliff walk that hangs you from the side of the mountain dangling over that same river! This place is an adrenaline junkies paradise (and big shocker my people LOVED it!) I freely admit I had reservations about crossing that bridge but turns out it was really fun and I am so glad I joined the fun! I did skip the cliff walk for the gift shop (a girl has her priorities!) but am okay having missed that one!

We also spent a day at Stanley Park, Canada's version of Central Park complete with the horse drawn rides! What a beautiful place to spend the day seeing the beach, playing football, enjoying a picnic, walking the seawall and just enjoying the beautiful day! Our trip to Vancouver was short and sweet but we definitely enjoyed ourselves!