July 6, 2010

Travels: 6 miles driving around (7687 total miles)
Accommodations: Continued at Bartlesville, OK

This morning I woke up to my alarm at 5:15am!!!! Can you believe that? I barely can. Why, you may ask? Kourtney asked if I wanted to go to the spinning class she teaches and I of course said yes. I needed a workout and accountability. I was a bit nervous having never done spinning and not being much of a bike rider, BUT I know it is a good workout, and I need that! So, I popped out of bed to avoid waking the rest of the trailer occupants and got dressed. Kourtney came to pick me up in the pouring rain just after 5:30, and we headed to the YMCA.

After pumping some iron (grossly exaggerating my pre-workout), I headed to her spinning class. Now friends, let me tell you, this is not an easy form of exercise. It lasted 52 minutes and boy was I counting down the minutes as my legs burned with each pump. Warm-up, sprints (really fast), standing pedaling (excruciatingly hard), more sprints, jumps (stand, sit, stand, sit…), hills (slower and lots of resistance), finally around minute 50 we moved to a cool down and stretch. Great workout! Great teacher! Fun times – I would for sure do it again.

After class, still pouring, Kourtney dropped me back off at the trailer to my sleeping family. Around 7:30 the kids got up (many late nights have left me with very tired kids!) We hurried to get ready and get to the Craig’s house by 8:20 so the older girls could get to tennis lessons on time. Kourtney took them, since it was still raining, and I stayed with the littler ones. Mackenzie had a great time! Although, she identified that she did not actually play tennis just practice.

The rain seemed to cease a bit, so we decided to venture out with the six kids to Walmart to get a swim vest deal for Marin and some stuff Kourtney needed. By the time we had checked out the rain was down pouring. Kourtney pulled the car up to the curb to load up the kids, by the time we were done we were both soaked. My hair was dripping with water and our clothes were drenched. Fun times!

Back at the Craig’s we had a mellow day – naps, playtime, Dave got a haircut, and we made dinner – lasagna, salad, fruit (with Graham oranges, yummy Texas peaches, and blueberries), and bread. After baths, we loaded up in the truck and tucked the kids in at the trailer.

Kyle had invited Dave to observe a delivery, and just after 9 he called Dave to let him know he was leaving for the hospital. Dave met Kyle there, hopped into some scrubs, and got to see a little girl being born.

Dave: Many of you have heard me say that I want to observe a delivery without being emotionally attached, and I finally got my chance. It was a lot different being a fly on the wall, but quite emotional nonetheless. I can’t wait to do it again.

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July 5, 2010

Travels: 17 miles driving around (7681 total miles)
Accommodations: Continued at Bartlesville, OK

We spent another night with the Craigs and woke up to play… We got ready and got out of the house for the day. Dave went to the hospital with Kyle to visit a patient while Kourtney and I went to the trailer with the six kids – I cleaned up, and she entertained them. Then, we went out to lunch at a BBQ place called Dink’s – it was quite tasty! Try adding jalapenos to a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw. Then, Kourtney and I took the kids to see the 3D Shrek movie while Kyle and Dave worked and the little ones took naps.

After the movie, I cut up 15 pounds of peaches that I had bought in Texas (you know Texas peaches?), and we got dinner ready. Menu: balsamic vinaigrette dressed salad with roasted veggies, crumbled goat cheese and cherry smoked bacon with cornbread and fruit salad. Then, we celebrated the 4th of July observed with some fireworks we bought at a stand. The kids thought it was great. Irresponsible parents didn’t put shoes on Mason who stepped on a spark and has a little blister. Sad! We had some peach cobbler out on the deck in the warm Bartlesville summer evening air, packed up and went back to the trailer for bedtime! Such a nice weekend!

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July 4, 2010

Travels: 28 miles driving around (7664 total miles)
Accommodations: Continued at Bartlesville, OK

Happy 4th of July!

We had a lovely morning: coffee, breakfast, lots of playing, and then we went to church with the Craigs. After church, we came home and had a quick lunch and headed over to the Country Club for pool time. The kids had a great time swimming, going on the slide and diving board, and playing. It was in the low 80s and somewhat overcast, not as humid as it was in Fort Worth. After an hour or so of swimming, Kourtney and I took Marin and Ava Kate back to the house for naps. The rest of the group came back around 4:30.

We all cleaned up and got ready to go back to the Country Club for a tasty 4th of July dinner buffet, playtime, and fireworks. The rain came while the kids were playing at the different activities – the kids decided they still wanted to go on a pony ride, so they got drenched with big smiles plastered on as the ponies circled round. Eventually the rain moved everyone back inside.

After getting some balloon creations made from the clowns, we packed up, deciding to skip the fireworks. The kids were so exhausted from staying up late last night and a day at the pool. Mason even threw up a little bit – he was beside himself tired and completely worn out. We got back to the Craigs and the dads put the kids to bed while Kourtney and I went out to get some fireworks (for tomorrow night – 4th of July observed) and drive around. We came back to a nice, quiet evening!

Mason: “Mama, I don’t feel good, and I am so tired.” {sad}

Ava Kate: “I want a dog.” {balloon creation}
Marin: “I want a flower.”

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July 3, 2010

Travels: Fort Worth, TX to Bartlesville, OK – 352 miles (7636 total miles)
Accommodations: Riverside RV Park & Kourtney and Kyle Craigs Home

Dave and Micah had a late night working on installing can lights in Micah’s  kitchen – they started late and got done later, but it turned out looking great! We had a slow morning getting going – got some laundry done, Dave got some work done, cleaned up a bit, packed our stuff back into the trailer, and ate some breakfast.

We got on the road around 1pm and headed toward Oklahoma. And then, Micah called because we forgot my cast iron pan, so we turned around. Then, we got back on the road at 1:10pm and headed towards Oklahoma. We had some rain on the drive, the kids took naps, Dave saw a dead armadillo on the side of the road,  and it was an overall mellow drive for the first few hours. After that the kids got a bit antsy; we got a bit antsy; and the drive seemed to take FOREVER! I think the last 45 miles were the worst- rain, construction detours, loud kids…

Finally around 6:30pm, we pulled into Bartlesville, Oklahoma exhausted and excited and ready to jump out of the truck and not get back in for awhile! We parked the trailer at the RV park we are staying at and Kyle met us there. I took some stuff and headed over to Kourtney’s in Kyle’s car while the guys got the trailer set up.

My kids were beside themselves with excitement. We pulled up to their cute house and the kids ran to the door (we hadn’t seen them in a year). Lots of hugs! We were very excited to see them to say the least.

We had a nice, mellow evening – Kourtney made dinner, the kids ran around and played (much needed), then eventually they fell asleep. It was a great night. Lots of good conversation and catching up!

FYI: Kourtney and Kyle were our next door neighbors in Ventura when we lived on Brent for quite a few years. They moved in when Campbell (their oldest) and Mackenzie were 4 and 5 months old. The girls spent almost every day together until they moved when the girls were 3 1/2 – they had such a neat, special relationship. They still don’t miss a beat when they see each other – there is no initial shyness, just hugs and lots of talking. While they were living in Ventura, they had a little boy named Griffin who is a bit older than Mason – he used to call Mason “May May” back in the day. And after they left, they had a little girl named Ava Kate who is a bit older than Marin – they haven’t spent much time together. We spent a lot of time with the Craigs while they were in Ventura and became great friends – we were so sad when they moved away! Kourtney is now pregnant with their 4th!

Marin: “Mama, I look at the buffalo.” {There weren’t any – but the kids thought they may find some.”

Kids: “Yeah, Oklahoma!”

Marin’s song of the day: “I come to Campbell’s house.  Yeah! Ding, dong, ding, dong.”

Mason: “I’m going to be a Troodon for Halloween this year.”
Mama: “Where are we even going to live for Halloween.”
Marin: “Oklahoma!” {Where does she get this stuff? Such a funny girl!}

Mackenzie: {The girls weren’t going to sleep, so I went in to encourage sleep.} “Mom, we have so many stories to tell each other, and if we stop now we will forget.”

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July 2, 2010

Travels: 11 miles driving around (7284 total miles)
Accommodations: Continued at Micah’s house

We woke up after not nearly enough sleep – two late nights in a row did not help! We cleaned up from last night, and I made a yummy late breakfast (english muffin toasted with cheddar cheese, topped with sauteed greens (from my dad’s garden), tomato slices (from CA), bacon, and a fried egg (from our chickens). Yum!

After we got ready, we headed off to the Fort Worth Stockyards, a touristy area now but cute AND we got to see them drive a small herd of Texas Longhorns down the old, brick road (they do this two times a day).  Then, we walked around a bit, the kids went to a petting zoo, and it rained on us a bit.

After the Stockyards, and a quick Starbucks fix to satisfy my husband’s coffee addiction, we headed to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, a newer museum to the area that is super cool! If I lived here I would get a membership and visit weekly. It was a blast for the kids and us (Dave in particular). Very, very  impressive!

After our enjoyable stint at the museum, we headed to Railhead for some Texas BBQ. It was yummy – chopped beef sandwiches, beans, coleslaw, and a frosty beer.

Back at Micah’s the kids took baths, got in PJs, watched a little movie, and hit the sack. While the men folk hit the ceiling – literally, I ran out to a cute grocery store called Central Market and got some fun stuff (Texas Peaches for .88/lb, Bison sausage for breakfast burritos in the morning, All Terrain Bite & Sting Soother Spray for Kenz’s enormous mosquito bites, a couple melons, and grapes for the car ride tomorrow). Dave and Micah went to work installing can lights in Micah’s kitchen. And at midnight – ice cream and peaches and off to bed! Another late night… tomorrow a “quick” drive to Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Micah: Our good friend from the high school years. We have kept in touch and enjoyed each other’s company consistently over the years. A true friend. He is a professor in Arlington and resides in the lovely Fort Worth area in a 3 +1 house he recently purchased.

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July 1, 2010

Travels: Childress, TX to Fort Worth, TX – 232 miles (7273 total miles)
Accommodations: Chateau Micah Hayes

We groggily rolled out of our beds around 7am. It was warm; we needed to get new tires for the trailer; and we needed to get to Fort Worth. Conveniently, Walmart has tires for travel trailers, so we pulled around to the tire department and got four new tires. Unfortunately the trailer was too big to fit in the bay, and the workers couldn’t work outside the bay, so Dave had to remove each of the wheels, take it in, and then put it back on after they changed the tire. $540 later at 9:24am we were back on the road.

The drive was very pretty. Lots of plains covered in green grass, some rolling hills, old barns, little towns you drive right through…  And around 10:24am it started pouring on us to the point where we couldn’t even see the dividing line on the highway, and we started to hydroplane (a bit nerve wracking with a 29′ trailer connected to you!) {Calm down mothers – Dave is a very good driver :)} and then the rain stopped.

We continued on our way, past cows, fields, tractors, more rolling plains of green grass and trees, small towns, water towers galore… Around 1:30pm we pulled into the big city of  Fort Worth and headed to Micah’s house.

We had some lunch, hung out, Marin got bitten by some red ants, we discovered the trailer wouldn’t be in the driveway and we would be sleeping in the house, and we took showers – ah, how we love showers!

The kids were beat and went to bed early after dinner. Micah had some friends over for dinner (Indian stew- very tasty, salad, and appetizers), so we hung out with orchestra musicians, university professors, and med students. It was an interesting and fun evening. We were amazingly able to stay up which was a blessing. And then off to bed – Dave bunked with Mason, and I slept with the girls. Nice and cozy!

Mackenzie: “Micah knows Ventura speak, doesn’t he?” {She had noticed the different accents when walking around Walmart}

Courtney: “You know, I kind of like the feeling of humidity.” {It was only 75}
Dave: “Are you nuts?

Marin: {singing over and over} “I love Mama.”

Marin: “Papa train track song.” {Dave sings “I’ve been working on the railroad”} Marin sings, “Train track song.” {over and over again}

Marin: “I sing my own song.” {these are the actual words to her song that she sings over and over again}

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June 30, 2010

Travels: Chama, NM to Childress, TX – 527 miles (7041 total miles)
Accommodations: Walmart

We left Chama, NM after a great time with Dave’s dad John and his wife Linda. It was a beautiful spot, along the Rio Chama (river) with some great company. The kids had fun with their grandparents as did we. We had a nice breakfast (thanks Linda!), packed up, quickly celebrated John’s bday, loaded up and pulled out. Back on the road. We had a late start; we didn’t leave until around 1:30pm.

This was a long trek that we weren’t looking forward to – Chama, NM to Fort Worth, TX (over the next 1 – 2 days, we weren’t sure). Not only were we not looking forward to the length, we had low expectations for the sites we would see, and I wasn’t feeling too well.

We were right about the length – it was a very long day. For sure, my hardest travel day yet – I just didn’t feel well. The drive on the other hand turned out to be prettier than expected. We again traversed through pines and then down to desert, red sand, and the occasional rock formation in the distance. At times the highway was lined with these beautiful, delicate purple/white bunches of flowers. We have seen so many different terrains on this trip! We have gone over mountains. Around mountains. Through mountains. And between. Down to deserts and then back up to mountains and down to deserts. So interesting how many times the landscapes change!

There was an amazing sunset – comparable to sunsets in Hawaii and a huge full moon. We decided to drive as far as we could tonight, since the kids were asleep, and we wanted to spend as much time with Micah as we could.

At 1:15am I had drifted off to sleep and Dave was still driving and determined when he sees sparks out of his window from our trailer tires. Another tire had blown out, so we pulled over somewhere on the 40 in TX. Dave proceeded to change another trailer tire (thankfully we had bought another spare on our way to Chama!).

Back on the road. We pulled into the Walmart in Childress, TX around 2am. Let me tell you this is the busiest Walmart we have seen for overnight parking! In bed and fast asleep.

Family Info:

-Mackenzie is reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Magic
Marin spent a good chunk of time on her Elmo phone which she calls her “LaLa phone” {LaLaLaLa Elmo’s world – get it?} She had a long conversation with “Lanna” {Miss you cousin!!}.
-Mason continues to be our little sight seer – always pointing out the sites he sees and whatever observation he pulls from them. He is partial to large motorized vehicles.
-CDs in our CD player: Josh Nordgren, Patty Griffin,


-We saw police in one part of NM driving navy blue Impalas with no markings. The policeman were actually wearing stone colored docker looking pants, black polos, gun belts…

-We have driven through many poor area over the past few days. Native American reservations around here seem to really be struggling to say the least. Sad, sad state of affairs.

-Hot, desert areas were more populated than cooler temp, mountainous areas. Odd to me!

-The number of crosses with flowers and the like that we have seen along the roads is shocking.

-There are drunk driving awareness signs along the roads quite often. Numbers to call in case you see a suspect, signs encouraging sobriety, etc.

-The big full moon (white in color) turned a red orange for awhile and then back to the normal whitish color of the moon. Anyone?

-Drove past a sign for Lake Mackenzie somewhere in Texas

Dave: “This is beautiful except for the red dirt – I am so tired of red.

Marin: “I love you mom.”

Mason: “I just don’t know when we are going to be in Texas.

Dave: “I just remembered that when we were planning this trip I had a dream that I got a ticket in Amarillo.” {As we approach Amarillo}

Courtney: “I feel like junk.

Mackenzie: “How far is it from Ventura to Texas – right where we are?

Marin: “Sissy, shush up. No, I wake up.” {10pm TX time}

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June 29, 2010

Travels: 16 miles driving around (6514 total miles)
Accommodations: Continued at the Sky Mountain Resort, Chama, NM

We woke up at 9! I think we were all so tired from the travel the day before – Mason slept from 6pm-9am; the girls slept a little less. When we finally rolled out of bed Grandpa and Grandma Linda were already up. We started on the dishes from last night and making breakfast and around 10 we all sat down to a delicious breakfast.

Dave had to work all day, so we all just hung out at the campsite. John sharpened our knives. Grandpa and Grandma Linda watched the kids some and took them on the walk giving me the chance to take care of some fun administrative tasks. The kids really needed some time to explore and play outside and have nothing to do, so it was good for them. I needed to get situated and relax too and what better place than next to a beautiful river!

The dirty kids got baths and then pjs, potty, and stories by 7. Linda made dinner and the adults indulged in another quiet, kid-less dinner with great conversation. Then, we played goofy bridge which was a blast. I got killed the first round and then somewhat redeemed myself in the second round.

Mason: “Hey Mom, can you pause it so Kenz can hear it all?” {regarding storytime}

Dave: I haven’t camped with my dad in a long time. It’s been fun to have our trailers parked next to each other – hopefully a tradition we can keep in the future.

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June 28, 2010

Travels: Farmington, NM to Chama, NM – 181 miles (6508 total miles)
Accommodations: Sky Mountain RV Park – full hookups

We woke up and loaded up. The trailer was still such a mess from our hotel trip that there was no where to sit or walk. We had snacks in the car and had to pick up another spare trailer tire. After a few attempts in Farmington, we finally got on our way and found a tire shop in Bloomfield, NM. Great, fast service! I swear we were out of there in less than 7 minutes.

There wasn’t much in the towns we went through today, but as we climbed in elevation we found ourselves back in pines and aspens which we love so much. We pulled into the Chama Valley around 12pm. A very beautiful valley to say the least- very green with meadows and trees. We are staying at the Sky Mountain Resort RV park with Dave’s dad, John, and his wife Linda. We are very excited to see them, as are the kids. Our site is right along the Chama River- very pretty spot. The kids got to run around outside for a bit which was nice after a long drive. AND Kenz discovered her missing tooth has an adult tooth coming in AND its next door neighbor is loose!

We put our weary kids to bed early and enjoyed an adult dinner of pasta with our fav sauce made out of Romas canned from Underwood Farms in Moorpark (Labor Day weekend people!), fresh carrots with butter, salt, and pepper; tomatoes with a vinaigrette; sourdough bread; and brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. We had great conversation and a nice time unwinding from A LOT of driving. (They had just arrived around 5pm after 15+ hours and 900+ miles).

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June 27, 2010

Travels: Scottsdale, AZ to Farmington, NM – 449 miles (6327 total miles)
Accommodations: Walmart – woo hoo

We had a slow morning: ate breakfast, packed up, Dave and I ran an errand while Nancy (Grandma) took the kids to the pool for a bit.

After sad good-byes (we sure do love this bunch and will miss them!!), we left our nice, cushy hotel stay and headed back to the Lovo’s to pick up the trailer. After unloading all our stuff from the hotel stay and the adorable little backpacks Kellie Lovo made each of the kids, we pulled out of Phoenix around 2pm. Back on the road…

Today was planned to be a long drive; we were hoping to make it all the way to Farmington, NM. We drove north back through Flagstaff and on the 85 coming into Flagstaff. We saw remnants from the fire. We also stopped in Flagstaff to get Mason some flip flops; you don’t even know how nice 90 degrees felt to us! We continued driving and “pop” went a trailer tire – pulled over in a very precarious spot Dave proceeded to change the tire. About half way through a state trooper came and turned his lights on to help protect Dave from the big rigs whizzing by him. Then back on the road, much of our drive through Navajo Reservation lands – a very dry desert. Today was a quiet day – the kids read, colored, listened to a story, Marin napped, and then they watched A Bug’s Life before cozying up in their carseats/boosters and going to sleep. We also had MANY potty breaks interjected into the drive – girls!! We drove until midnight when we finally pulled into Farmington, NM and the Walmart parking lot. Ah – fast asleep!

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