a long post about a short trip

 This post is long and without pictures.  I read a little essay about recording the details of your life and I'm afraid I've taken it too much to heart in my writing of this post...as I wrote it I kept thinking "no one will want to read all of this."  So I just wrote it for me, including all of the little things I'll want to remember. 

We hadn't really planned on taking a trip, but it seemed like the right thing to do.  My mom and bother Seth had spring break.  My dad and four youngest siblings hadn't yet met Adam.  Work was busy for Kevin, but he was able to reschedule things and make it work.  We left on Wednesday night and stayed in a hotel in Dillon, Montana.  It was so nice to be able to break up the 13 hour drive, but I didn't get much sleep.  Austin had fallen asleep in the car for a few hours and was excited about the new place, so while Kevin the other boys slept away, Austin good-naturedly poked my face every time I closed my eyes for over three hours.  I was too tired to do anything about it until 4:30 when I woke up Kevin who got some milk from the front desk and made him a bottle.  He finally fell asleep at 4:45.

When we woke up at 8, I felt surprisingly well-rested and ready to hit the road again.  Road trips are not as hard as they used to be.  This is partly due to our breaking up the trip, but that isn't the only reason.  Although we have more boys, most of them are past the really hard ages.  We've had many semi-miserable road tips with our little boys in the last 5 years.  We tried to make it easier by driving through the night, but sleeping in a carseat isn't especially comfortable, so the boys woke up cranky and often.  Just as I'd get one settled, another would wake up.  The night turned into a blur of climbing back and forth, and we'd arrive in Washington totally worn out.  When it was time to go home, we'd usually stay until the last possible minute and end up arriving in Salt Lake at around 4 am.  For us, driving through the night is NOT the way to go and I'm glad we've finally figured that out. 

Austin had the hardest time this trip, but even he was really pretty awesome.  The trouble with traveling this time of year is that it's too cold to make stops for the boys to run around.  We did make gas stops, but they were short.  Adam was a little champ, sleeping for long stretches and fussing only when he was hungry or needed a fresh diaper.  The three older boys have their carseats/booster seats crammed in the back seat.  Even in such close quarters they got along well.  There were a few times when Tays fell asleep and his sleeping head slowly inched down until he was between Jack's back and the seat.  I'd move him to the other side with a pillow, but within a half hour he'd be back behind Jack.  Jack thought it was hilarious.  One down side of having all of the bigger boys in the back was that it was difficult to get treats or snacks to them.  After throwing about 10 jolly joes without a successful catch, I finally came up with putting them in a sock before tossing them back.  This revolutionized our treat distribution, as I could toss back several at a time and not have to have great aim.  The boys loved it.

The prize for the best little town along the way goes to Anaconda, Montana.  I have no idea why they would name a dinky town in the middle of nowhere Montana - Anaconda.  We had driven by the sign more times than I can count, but this trip we were desperate for gas so we ventured the 5 or so miles off the freeway (not knowing it would be that far).  Although unplanned, I loved that little stop.  We brought all of the boys into the gas station for a bathroom break, to stretch their legs a little, and to let them pick out a treat.  And it was as if we'd walked into a wonderland of people who adore children.  Everyone who saw us took the time to say something nice about our family, give me a big smile, to chat with the boys who were feeling a little sheepish at all of the attention.  Doors were held, heads were patted.  The cashier handed each boy his candy after ringing it up, complimenting their choices and asking them where they were headed.  Noah excitedly answered "we're going to gwamma Jane's house!"  "in Washington," added Jack.  The cashier seemed thrilled to hear it and wished us a happy trip.  As we were leaving, there was a car parked just outside the door and the old man waiting inside it waved to us, then opened his door (despite the frigid wind) and said "that's a fine crew of boys you've got there!"  So nice.  And not the reaction we usually get when we go somewhere as a family.  It seems to me that most people don't really love little children who aren't their own, and some seem almost annoyed that we have so many.  It's not something that really bothers me, but the contrast we found in Anaconda was very refreshing.

We arrived in Washington in the afternoon and although it was cold and muddy this time of year, it was so nice to turn up that familiar driveway in the woods.  We went almost immediately to Seth's soccer game.  Marielle and Peter stayed home and played with the boys.  Marielle is 12, Peter is 9 and our boys love them, often proclaiming "peter is my favorite uncle and Marielle is my favorite Auntie!"  That love is well-earned.  My two youngest siblings have spent countless hours entertaining their nephews, trampoline jumping, picnic making, woods venturing, movie watching, etc.  When Peter met Adam, he whipped out a picture of him and told me he'd carried it in his pocket since Adam was born and my mom confirmed that it was true:)The soccer game was at the high school and my dad met us there.  He met Adam for the first time and the long trip was well worth it.  My dad is a very adoring grandpa and he oooed and ahhed over his newest grandson. The game was disappointing, Seth's team isn't very good this year.  Brian is on JV and Kevin and my dad went over to watch that game.  Seth lost, Brian won.

That night the boys all went to watch the BYU game with a friend, then came home and we played games.  We play a lot of games when we go to Washington.  Yahtzee, ticket to ride, settlers, and oh heck were all played, some many, many times.  Both Kevin and I love to play games and as lame as it may sound, the hours we spend around the kitchen table with whoever is available to play always come up when we're driving home and talking about what we loved the most about the trip.

Another highlight for me was shopping with my mom while Kevin stayed home with ALL of the boys.  We're not typical shoppers.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone to the mall with my mom.  Instead we drove all the way across town to go to Volunteers of America, our favorite thrift store.  There was a sign for an estate sale along the way, so we went to that too.  It's always a little odd to walk though the house of someone who is no longer alive, selecting items to buy.  I can't help imagining the woman who once used the rolling pin that I am now purchasing for fifty cents, her little dishes that are now going for 25 cents a piece.  We bought a handful of things, purchased some hot chocolate from what I assume were the woman's grandchildren, and went on to thrift store.  I found a few items for Kevin, a handful of shirts for me, candy land, and a sleeping bag.  On the way home we got rice bowls, just like old times.  It made me miss my grandma and Aunt Susan, they really should have been there for such an outing.

Mom watched the boys so Kevin and I could go with Seth, Brian, and my dad to watch the BYU/Gonzaga game with a family in my home ward.  They were gonzaga fans, so that was a little awkward...but we won and it was a great game.  While we were gone my mom led the boys in a dance party, a game of hide and seek, and several rounds of don't eat pete.  Noah doesn't like don't eat pete, it's stressful to him, so my mom just gave him a handful of M&Ms and he was as happy as a clam...funny boy.

Sunday was stake conference (a semi-annual church conference where several congregations meet together for a 2 hour meeting) and it took a lot to keep all of the boys fairly quiet for the 2 hours.  Taylor is not incapable of whispering, but he is incapable of processing and complying with my request to have him whisper until he's finished the thought he is currently trying to express.  Toward the end, Kevin was out with Austin and Jack (Jack needed a drink of water) and Noah and Tays began to suddenly melt down in unison.  My mom handed me two butterscotch lifesavers (very approriately named, I must say) and we were able to make it through the final stretch without incident.  In the afternoon I got a long nap and in the evening the Wilsons came over for dessert. 

On Monday we did some laundry, packed, and played games with Seth and my mom until late afternoon, then loaded up, said our goodbyes, and drove and drove.  We had planned on staying in Dillon again, but by the time we reached Deer Lodge, about an hour north of Dillon, we were ready to stop.  We all slept much better than before and were on the road again by about 9:30.  We stopped in Idaho Falls for gas and lunch and made it just in time for my webelos den meeting at 4:30. 

And now we're home, playing candy land again and again, and dreaming of June when we'll see everyone again.


  1. Oh, that sounds like so much fun!! I wondered where Noah was last Sunday...obviously eating butterscotch lifesavers (I need to remember that one ;)

    Anaconda sounds divine! I almost want to go and visit just for fun. I think Ben and I are small town people. It sounds divine to live where everyone knows everyone.

    Nice post!

  2. Sounds like a fun trip. I miss the pre school days when we could just up and go. How fun.

    I am sure it was nice to get good comments on your boys. I bet the comment you get most though, is, "your hands are full." I get that when I bring just 3 kids. If only they knew how full my hands really are.

  3. Sounds like a lovely trip! How awesome for the sweet comments on your boys. As Diane mentioned, I am sure you usually hear "you have your hands full"...I am FOREVER hearing it w/ my four boys. LOVE the sock idea and I'm saving it for our upcoming camping trip in June;0

  4. Just thought I'd let you know that I love the way you write and am always interested until the very end. Glad you guys had a great road trip! I think road trips are my favorite form of travel. While flying on a plane hasn't ever bee completely horrible for us, it's a lot more stressful for me to be carrying everything I own around an airport as apposed to having it all in the back of my car.

  5. I enjoyed all of it. I felt a little like I got to go with you guys. I have such fond memories of being with you guys at Aunt Jane's house playing games. I could really go for that right now. Plus I would love to hang out with you and meet your newest adorable little boy. Are you a Webelo Den leader? I am a Bear Den Leader, so that would be really funny if you are. At least people always think it is random that I have that calling. I am really starting to enjoy it though. Well thanks for taking me with you on your trip....for a few minutes anyway.

  6. Sounds fun! I am glad you got to go see your family! I am excited to get together next week!

  7. Don't those books by Anita Stansfield take place in Anaconda, MT? You are one awesome momma - totally inspiring!

  8. I enjoyed all this detail. You write like you are just sitting there talking to us.

    I'm going to pass on your sock idea. Love that!

    Also, I love how you said:
    "Although we have more boys, most of them are past the really hard ages."
    I think I know what you mean but it was funny to me because you have just about every little age there is! :)

  9. Wow I'm glad I read that! I felt very involved all the way through Montana, at the soccer and BYU games and felt defeated at the mention of OH HECK with you and your mom! You guys are the best

  10. If I could write like that I might actually post something on our blog! I loved it all! 'shopping', Montana, desperate road trip measures, happy memories, and that wonderful moment of pulling up a muddy driveway in the woods. Thanks for bringing so many of my own happy memories to mind!

  11. great mini vacation :) I would love to visit that town too, so sweet!
    Found this and thought of you!!

  12. I totally didn't know you and Kevin were "game people." Settlers and Blokus are my and David's favorite games, so when we move back to Utah, we'll have to challenge you both to an evening of awesomeness.

    When you mentioned the sock treat ides, I thought of how cool it would be to string a zip line from the front seat to the back seat, and clothespin a sock full of goodies to send to the back!


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