Monday, November 30, 2009

unposted video and pictures

This . . . ahem . . . video has only taken me all day to try to upload. I have started over at least three times! What a waste of my time. Anyway, it is finally uploaded. These are pictures and video from the trip that didn't get posted because uploading video takes forever. (I am refraining from using adjectives)

The first couple of videos were supposed to make it on the 'traveling in real time' post.

The boys used to love playing at the dinosaur playground in South Towne Mall especially during the cold winter months. So I had to include then and now pictures. I have pictures of Parker at 18 months and now at 4 years and Gavin at age 3 and now 6.

Along the then and now theme, I ended the video with pictures from the Bonneville Salt Flats. The first picture is the day we moved from Utah to California. Parker was 22 months old. Gwen is now 21 months old! That is crazy. The second picture is obviously when we drove home on Friday. It was 14 degrees outside and Gavin was still in his pajamas because he had the flu. He has been fever free and medication free all day today for the first time since Thursday. He will be going back to school tomorrow. By the way, Gwen puked a couple times Saturday night. Parker is acting like he might be getting sick too. He played the left out middle child card for a couple days but today he is starting to show real symptoms. Poor little guy. I have basically been up to my elbows in fevers, vomit, laundry and Christmas decorations since we got home.

The Deeth Starr Valley picture was a must because all week we were laughing about it being the short bus version of the Death Star. Maybe you had to be there!

The snowy tree pictures are from the Time Paradox post. The pictures don't do justice to reality. The traffic was worse than it appears, the sun was certainly brighter. It was blinding. And the trees were far more gorgeous. Since we have had rough trips home twice now and everything unravels around Donner's Pass, we think we'll just plan on breaking up any return trips over two days. Now we did that last time. We stayed the night in Winnemucca, the halfway point. But we still lost our minds around Truckee. So we will just stay there overnight in the future. We did that on our way to San Francisco when we moved and it is gorgeous there. I have always wanted to go back.

This video is Gavin and Parker singing the "Ipsy Ipsy Spider" on the train to Ogden. Fun trip. Fun videos and pictures. Good times.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bragging Rights

The controversy with marriage is that some people think they can change their spouse.  Most people agree that is a not possible and certainly not a good reason to settle for less than the best marriage companion. 

Sometimes it happens.  Sometimes spouses can metamorphose into something different.  I did. 

Heath never made it his mission to turn me into a football fan, much less a BYU fan!  Maybe that's why it worked.  It wasn't his idea to change me.  I just did. 

I only watched two games this football season.  The first game and now the last game!  Nice way to bookend the season I guess.  This final game was interesting.  The BYU v. U of U Holy War.  I forgot how annoying the news is during Rivalry Week.  I admit it did get me excited for The Holy War. 

Heath hates that it’s called The Holy War.  He thinks it’s a dumb name and just fuels the fire that U of U fans think BYU thinks they are God’s team.  I don’t get caught up in the religious overtones of the name.  I think it’s a great name because the rivalry between U of U fans and BYU fans is brutal. 

I knew a girl who moved to Utah to marry her husband.  She became a pain in the butt die hard U of U fan.  She was from Washington state for crying out loud.  Born and raised.  She did anything she could to rile people up over the Holy War, especially during Rivalry Week. 

Similar arguments could be made about Heath I guess.  But there are many differences.  He was born in Utah, moved to Washington, attended the University of Washington, and has been a BYU fan since he was 5.  And he’s nice about it.  He never tries to preach to people.  He never trash talks.  He is the exact opposite of this colleague I mentioned.  She was something else.

Anyway, no matter what side of the fence you sit on with regard to the Holy War, you know it’s intense.  Why?  Bragging rights.  That’s all it is.  Everything boils down to bragging rights.  We were watching the game today and Parker said something.  I don’t remember but I told him we cared about the game and didn’t want to be interrupted because whoever won the game won bragging rights. 

Then I went back to yelling at the TV.  Apparently Todd Christiansen is an idiot.  He kept saying that he couldn’t understand what BYU was thinking when they didn’t call a time out at the end of the game.  He said that they wouldn’t have any time to do anything when they got the ball.  I started yelling at him saying that was exactly why they were trying to waste time because they knew if they got the ball they couldn’t do anything with it because they hadn’t the whole last half of the game!  Heath was impressed that I knew all of that on my own.  Not shocked.  He knows I’m smart.  He is happy that I cheer with him and that I’m intelligent about my cheering and it’s his fault I’m a BYU fan! 

I was not surprised to see the game went into overtime.  I was happy that circumstances worked out that BYU won but now I know how Heath feels when he says that it’s great they won but he wasn’t happy with how they played.  They could have played so much better that last half.  I was so annoyed with how quickly BYU got through 4 downs just to hand the ball over to the Utes.  Then the Utes seemed to have all the time and space in the world to throw the ball and march it down the field.  Oh well.  At least we won the bragging rights in the end right?

Friday, November 27, 2009

14.5 hours

We finally made it home . . . 14 and a half hours later.

In hindsight we realize we should have never done that all in one day. But nobody can take away the fact that my kids rock hard core! They were sick and still managed to survive this hello long day! Gwen melted down a few times but put herself back together on her own every time. She is amazing!

Parker puked in the van. He threatened it and we didn't think he was serious. We had Gavin give him the plastic bag. Apparently he puked in the bag and we found out after we got home and realized he smelled. Gavin survived on Ibuprofen, orange juice and Sprite.

I can't get over it. My kids are so incredibly awesome! They did that trip! I feel almost dizzy the way I did when we got home from a 14 hour trip from Seattle to SLC when we were first engaged. Everyone thought we were so stupid for doing it all in one day. We did it and it was worth it. My kids did an even longer trip today and, not only survived, but are thriving! They are perky and playing and happy as can be to be home.

People thought we were crazy when we said we were driving to Utah for Thanksgiving. They really raised their eyebrows when we said we were doing it all in one day. My kids did it. Crazy or not you can't take the results away from me! I love my awesome kids. And Heath is a real trooper too because he was sick all day too but he never had me drive. I was willing to but he just kept going. My family rules! And by the way, I am so happy to be home!!!

Time Paradox

Traveling does strange things to one’s mind. The anticipation of getting somewhere can make time nearly stand still. Yet miles in the beginning of a trip can zoom by only to make one feel like the mile markers must be off with the same miles at the end of the trip.

Getting to Truckee, CA was such a breeze a week ago. Now it feels like home is still so unreachable. We practically had toothpicks in our eyelids through the Bonneville Salt Flats getting to my mom’s house. Today we questioned whether or not we should even stop. It seemed so early in the get go.

Getting through Donner’s Pass today feels like we are driving on caffeine and sheer adrenaline. And a few lame jokes of “Donner Party of five!”

A few miles back Heath was reminiscing about our last drive home from SLC. He pointed out where the world’s most annoying construction began. Forget about Truckee being the end of the trip and we were tired and ready to be home. Construction kept us in Truckee for an entire Mulan movie. Then we finally made it home only to have our house be a million degrees since we turned off A/C while we were gone. We turned it on and 10 minutes later the power went out for several hours. We swore we would never go back to Utah! Parker couldn’t breathe and getting home was such a bear.

Time Paradox kicked in and we soon forgot the pain of driving as a mother quickly forgets the unimaginable misery of childbirth. We went back. Soon we will be home. Soon. We’re nearly past the worst part of the trip. The part that makes us crazy for even attempting this vacation in the winter. So far it’s still in the mid 30’s and dry, misty rain.

Gwen is back to whining again. I’m out of ideas . She won’t eat and she keeps dropping every makeshift toy I’m finding for her. She cried a lot at this point on the way to SLC and we forgot before we even made it to my mom’s house. Our kids are awesome in the car. Miles of whining is only annoying at the time. Time Paradox takes care of the rest.

Home is so close I can taste it.

Ok now it’s getting a little harder. The sun came out for the first time today and these roads clearly had snow earlier today. The sun is glistening on the wet roads to the point of difficulty seeing the lines. The temperature keeps dropping but so far so good. We just passed the summit so it’s all downhill from here right? We’re guessing that 4 or 5 inches of snow just fell yet we’re slowly moving down the mountain with the sun blinding us on the wet roads. Who knew the sun on old snow would be the hardest part of this pass? The trees are fantastic though especially with the frosting of snow on the branches.

The slow and go this time around is so much easier to bear. There is a sense of community as we all have cautious squinty glares on our faces staring into the setting sun and inching our way forward. The slow and go from last time was angry and impatient annoyance with construction and circumstances. I think the trees help. The trees are so beautiful. The pristine snow reminds us of the present holiday season. There is childlike excitement in the air. Of course I'm not driving so that’s just my passenger perspective. Oh how I love trees.

How about this time paradox – I started this post a couple hours ago when we crossed into CA. I won’t be able to post it until we get closer to Sacramento. Since I’m using Live Writer the time won’t show when I started the post but will represent the moment it posted. It’s dark and I can’t see to type anymore!

12 hours since we left. it’s raining like crazy. we’re in auburn with 120 miles to go. ugh!

Bye Gamma!

This is what Gwen said as we pulled out of my mom's driveway early this morning. It was so cute but at the same time I'm glad my mom didn't hear it because she would have cried.

I am sitting at a table in McDonald's Playland in Winnemucca, NV. This was the same McDonald's we ate at on the way to Utah. The kids loved the spacious playground. We loved how clean they kept the room.

For as much fun as we had in Utah with my family, I can't wait to get home. Gavin has what can only be described as the flu. Poor kid. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I can't comfort him in any way in the car.

At least he's only warm and not burning up like he was yesterday. He didn't eat any Thanksgiving dinner. He sat at the table staring at his food and shivering. Today he has only had orange juice from McDonald's. I crave their breakfast and only eat there other times to appease my kids. Gavin looks like death not even warmed over. He is shivering again. I'm just waiting for him to be hot enough to fry an egg on his head again.

Heath just bought him an ice cream sundae because Gavin is hungry but not hungry at all and he thought ice cream would be nice. We also got him some Sprite so maybe he can stay hydrated and it can calm his tummy. Not that he's complained of an upset stomach today. He is just really sluggish and looks like he wants to die.

Anyway, enough of that depression. This morning Heath's alarm went off at 5:30 MST. We sat up rubbing our eyes wondering if we were ready for our 25 hour day (time change in NV). I heard some weird noises. I opened the door and thought it was the TV. That seemed strange because my mom is not the type of person to just turn on the TV while waiting to say goodbye to us. I walked down the hall to use the bathroom and thought I saw Tyson and Deanna. That seemed super strange. But it was true. They did a little Black Friday shopping for our Christmas present and brought it over so we could take it home.

We almost couldn't fit all our junk to go home. We have so many large Christmas presents from my family. It's like Santa already came.

Parker is ready to go home. Gwen is getting her diaper changed. Gavin is not looking any better. I'm starting to feel tired for the first time since we left for Utah. I think it's time to keep pushing on. Home James. Just get me and my family home. My house is a mess and it's only going to get worse but I don't care. We can all sleep in our own beds and after a fun vacation that is the best thing in the world! Bye for now. I may post some more on the road. We'll see.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for Family

Grandpa and Grandma with Baby Isabel

Grandpa and Grandma
Uncle Arnold and Aunt Barb
Candi, Ed, and Isabel
My mom's kids and grandkids.
Deanna, Tyson, Daphne, and Calvin
My cousin Nick, his wife Juelee, and their daughter Abby
Blogging away from home is not as easy as one would think. I don't have all the tools I normally use at my fingertips. I am totally picking random pictures and hoping they look good!
Madison, Uncle Tom, Josh, Rachel, and Aunt Julie
Bringing the Wii was the best thing we could have done. Everybody had a blast.
My 76 year old Grandpa bowling for the first time in his entire life! Wii bowling is the way to go.
Ed hamming it up for the camera. You look pretty Ed!
Juelee asked me if she could hold Isabel since she never had before. I feel so privileged to be Isabel's aunt because I have been able to hold her a lot.
Parker and Calvin Wii boxing
Tyson and Nick realizing there isn't much skill involved or whatever skills you try don't necessarily translate to your Mii.
Having Thanksgiving at the church was the best idea ever. We all agreed this was by far the funnest Thanksgiving. We had plenty of space to eat, play, and hang out.
I love that the guys brought couches and soft chairs in for that comfortable living room feel.
This picture is a little dark. If I had Photoshop on this notebook I could lighten it up. But this is Daphne and Parker playing ping pong. Apparently the table was in the church closet! Sweet!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All Aboard - but only if you have underwear and pants!

Heath: Your shoes have to stay off the seat. See the sign?
Parker: And you have to have clothes.
He pointed at the sign with clothing symbols.
Me: You're right. The sign says shirts and shoes must be worn.
Parker: Does it say you have to wear underwear and pants?

Today we took Trax to Salt Lake then got on a Frontrunner train to Ogden. Parker said he was nervous and didn't want to take the train. As I was trying to comfort him and convince him that if I could do it then he could do it, Gwen started earnestly saying something over and over. It took me a second but I realized she was saying choo choo train. That girl could not have been more excited to ride a train.

Parker decided it was fun after all.

Isabel loved the train ride. It rocked her to sleep and then she was rocked to sleep when Ed walked. She pretty much slept all day.

My mom took full advantage of her day off and enjoyed every blessed second of someone else doing the driving. By the way, she was pretty annoyed that Heath and Ed were taking pictures of her sleeping. We have one blackmail picture and this one. I love the lighting in this picture.

We did the full tourist thing and took a lot of pictures. We had so much fun riding the train.
The best part about going to Ogden was that Ed used to live there. So he was very informative as we walked around. He gave us history lessons and social studies lessons. It was a lot of fun. So much fun in fact that we never made it to the train museum. We basically took the train to Ogden to walk around downtown and eat at The Pizza Factory. It was wicked awesome! The boys begged to play some of the arcade games in Fat Cats. So after lunch, on the way out, they played until they had enough tickets to buy a small plastic dog and a large plastic bronze quarter with the year 1977 on it. Good year! After all that we were out of time for the museum since Candi and Ed needed to get a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. We walked back to the train station and went home.

Utah mountains really are beautiful. Heath did a great job of capturing them while we pulled away.
Gavin slept most of the way home. I wadded up my coat for him against the glass. By the time we got home the kids were asking to go to bed. They gave us no grief and went right to sleep after dinner.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lost and Found

Some children grow very attached to objects or toys. It's a psychological thing. Usually. Sometimes it's a physical thing beyond their control. It all depends on the situation.

I'm the kind of mom that can't bear to make my kids be away from home without a lovey. The kids were allowed to bring one toy each. Gavin brought Ted E. Bear. He vomited all over him. But Ted E. Bear is clean now. Parker brought Woody and Gwen brought her baby. The doll that looks just like Gwen with the dark hair in pig tails.

Woody was Parker's best friend for a day or so. Gradually he was forgotten. Replaced by a fuzzy red monster with big plastic eyes on top of his head. Parker and Gwen have been fighting over Elmo and a couple of cars.

We brought another load of things Gwen has grown out of for Baby Isabel. One thing we brought was a chair. Parker would buckle up Elmo in the chair. Gwen would push Elmo around the house as if the chair was a stroller. Parker has insisted that Elmo sleep in "his room" almost every night.

Elmo is missing.

Parker is a lazy searcher. After a while of him insisting that he couldn't find Elmo, we organized a search party.

No Elmo.

We looked everywhere for the rather large, bright red doll with a hair pin trigger for the giggles. He is nowhere to be found. Heath ran out to the grocery store again to buy Ibuprofen for Gavin in case his coughing turns into croup. (Which I am convinced will happen because seriously, what else could go medically wrong with my kids on this vacation?) Anyway, Heath searched the van for Elmo even though neither one of us remember Parker taking him out there today.

No Elmo.

We have looked in every obvious place as well as every off the wall nook or cranny. Still no Elmo.

After we gave up on Elmo, figuring he would be found in Candi and Ed's shower even though we haven't even been to their house yet this trip, we had another lost and found moment.

In the middle of watching Juno, Ed was changing Isabel's diaper. She was babbling up a storm so we were all tuned in for this diaper change. Ed started looking around as if he had lost something. I thought maybe he forgot to put the new diaper on Izzy before snapping up her onesie. Candi asked what Ed was looking for. "I can't find the wipe," he replied puzzled.

He looked under every nearby item in a circle around him one more time. Then he dove back into the diaper he had just put on Izzy. He pulled the wipe out the front of the diaper. Needless to say, we all laughed until we cried. Isabel was very patient during this whole thing. She never let on that her fresh diaper was already wet and uncomfortable.

The Elmo update is that he has been found. Grandma found him behind the pillows on the bench in front of the fireplace. Parker was kicking the pillows earlier to see if he could hear Elmo. He must not have kicked all of them. How lucky is Elmo to have Parker as a best friend! How lucky is Isabel to be able to spontaneously reproduce baby wipes when her dad is forgetful!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Breathing Easier

We have been so blessed on this trip. We could not have asked for better weather. Everything is working out the way we hoped. Unfortunately, there is always opposition. Parker's allergy induced asthma is back. Luckily it's not as bad as it was the last time we visited my mom. No trips to Insta Care for breathing treatments.

Heath remembered to bring the inhaler he was prescribed when he had bronchitis a month or so ago. Too bad we didn't think to bring Parker's inhaler since it comes with the dosing mask. Yesterday we were giving Parker so many doses from the inhaler. Mostly because he wasn't breathing it all in like he was supposed to. The air would puff out around him. Gavin was asking if we were letting Parker smoke. "It looks like smoking!" he would say.

Heath went out to get some Benadryl or something for Parker since he was not doing well at all. I hate watching my kids not be able to take full breaths. Parker's breathing was shallow and labored and it looked like he was struggling so hard for every breath. Heath braved the snow on a Sunday night and came back with Claritin.

I was nervous to let Parker sleep in the back storage room with Gavin while Heath and I were across the house in a bedroom with Gwen. We stayed up really late. Heath had to work on some things for work anyway. But it was a great excuse to stay up and obsessively check on Parker. He was still struggling to get in full breaths while his chest was really sucking in and out but he was asleep. He seemed like he would be ok. I prayed so hard for Heavenly Father to watch out for my baby.

Gwen started coughing in the middle of the night. She couldn't get underneath it so she was gagging on her coughs. I wanted to cry and just go home. After her coughing fits happened several times we gave her a puff of the inhaler too. I think she's fine. She has been snotty since we got here. I think she is coming down with a cold and the dry air aggravates her cold. Gavin seemed to be warm tonight. He has been complaining of stomach pain since he puked in Sacramento. I think he's ok too.

Parker was still struggling this morning. Coughing constantly. Shallow breathing. So I gave him a bath to help clean off whatever it is he's allergic to. Heath and I decided that we wanted to buy a sleeping bag for Parker. We didn't know if it would help but we figured it couldn't hurt either.

We had lunch at Winger's. Then we went to Cabela's. My mom thought the kids would like the taxidermy animals. I thought that was strange but it was actually pretty cool. There were several neat displays of animals. The kids really did like it. I gave them a quarter to buy fish food for the fish swimming at the bottom of one of the displays.

We found some great sleeping bags for the kids. We weren't planning on spending nearly $100 on camping equipment right now but it seemed like a good idea. The kids were thrilled with their new sleeping bags.

They came with flashlights and water bottles.

And a handy backpack to carry it all in.

The kids loved wearing their backpacks when we got home.
Parker was so excited to have his new sleeping bag on his bed. He put his pajamas right after dinner. He couldn't wait to go to bed!

His favorite feature was the mummy feature. He kept calling it a mommy bag and baby bag!

Parker had to supervise everyone getting their sleeping bags set up.

He loved when Gavin was cinched up like a mummy.

Of course we didn't mummify Gwen. She was pretty excited about her sleeping bag too. I feel better with her in the sleeping bag because I always worried about her keeping all her blankets on while she slept.

The great news is that Parker may have coughed like crazy the whole time we were at my mom's house today but he never needed the inhaler. We could tell when the Claritin started to wear off. He got another 24 hour dose before bed and I think he is breathing much easier than he was last night. I am so glad. I hate that he gets asthma at my mom's house. We don't even know what causes it. Poor little guy.

A Dream Come True

Last night big snowflakes could be heard falling on the ground. All five mobile kids crowded around the windows. Daphne hoped there would be enough snow for school to be canceled. She was disappointed when everyone said that there needed to be a ton of snow before a Utah school would take a snow day. It has happened before. But it takes a lot of snow. Gavin and Parker were so worried the snow would melt before they could build a snowman.

Lucky for them the snow stuck around. In fact, it's still on the ground more than 24 hours later. They couldn't wait to build a snowman this morning.

The boys were outside playing while Gwen cried inside. How could everyone leave her?

I helped her get bundled up to check out the snow. Last night Heath took her outside to see the snow. She hated having the snowflakes land on her face. She hated the frigid temperatures and having no coat on. She could not understand what all the fuss was about. This weird white stuff was not her idea of exciting.

She took a few tentative steps and soon decided she enjoyed the snow.

Of course the boys were in heaven.

Grandma was able to get off work early today. She hooked the boys up with baby carrots and candy to decorate the snowman. Then she helped them build the snowman.

Gavin could not have been more excited to have all his dreams come true - snow at Grandma's house and building a snowman.

There wasn't enough snow to make a big snowman. He was perfect the way he was. I love the huge scarf wrapped around his miniature neck. That is my favorite part!

And because the snowman was not huge, there was plenty of snow left over for a snowball fight.