Monday, January 31, 2011

Never Again!

I never mind a good road trip, but the last one we took as a family definitely has me rethinking that.  It will have to be at least a year before we attempt anything like it again.  We started off knowing that both routes to Idaho were going to have bad weather and our options were to decide between bad and worse.  We stopped at this darling little farm market just outside of Bakersfield to grab some fresh fruits and nuts for the drive.  By the time we got back to the car the clouds were ominous and we knew we were in for a real treat of a drive!

 By Tehachepi we were in a crazy blizzard and the roads were slick as can be!
The snow eventually cleared but fierce winds replaced it.  When we stopped for what turned out to be an  every two our potty break, the wind was so strong we had to fight to stand upright.  The boys thought it was the coolest thing ever!
 The drive was a bit uneventful for a few hours other than some rain here and there and then it all went down hill and fast!  As we came in to St George Utah the snow stopped but it had left a mess in it's wake.  The freeway that had been closed, just opened up, so we thought it would be safe.  Not so. I have never seen as many cars in the ditches on the sides of the road crashed and many abandoned.  Big rigs slid off the road in front of us.  When we stopped to put our chains on, the road was so icy I couldn't even get decent footing to  stand by the tires to begin the process.  When we finally got it done and climbed back into the car, it took a while for my breathing to return to normal. My insides were frozen!
 We drove a few miles more on the ice rink that is normally I15 and pulled off at a rest area to check our chains.
 Nothing had been plowed and it was difficult to see where the road even was.  Once we located it we had a bit of a problem.  The car in front of us was stuck and blocking our way.  They had chains but didn't know how to put them on!
 Jeff jumped out to help them and found a car load of Hmong kids in their early 20's who were shocked to get help from a white guy speaking their language! There were 3 people in the back seat who never left the car to help in the hour that Jeff spent trying to dig them out and get their chains on.  Not even when I got out of our car to help push their car!!
 The picture above was taken from the comfort of my car, and shows the temp outside at a cozy 19*.  The 50 miles between St George and Cedar city took us just over 3 and a half hours to drive including this little pit stop.  The roads continued to be an experience in white knuckle driving.  Our chains broke at some point during the night and we made a few more stops looking for something to hold them til morning when we could buy new ones.  At one such stop, a complete stranger opened the driver side door and started to climb into our car only to realize it wasn't his.    Brynne called out to him, "Hey what are you doing? You're not my dad?" He sure felt dumb, but for those of us that were in the car and awake, we experienced a moment of much needed levity!  This sign below gave us a good chuckle too, interstate oasis... what in the world is that?
The windshield wiper spray was frozen solid and the slush that the passing cars splashed onto the window gave the worst glare, making it impossible to see or clean off the front window without stopping at a gas station. The roads were slick all the way beyond Provo and we stopped in Lehi and bought new chains.  We put them on only to realize there were massive sections dangling off that would need to be chopped with bolt cutters that no one seemed to have!  Each stop took way longer than necessary and one thing went wrong after another.  We arrived in Idaho Falls after traveling for just over 24 hours!

We spent two and a half days in Idaho and then traveled for just 15 hours on dry roads to come home.  But by that trip the magic was totally gone.  The things the kids were complaining about were sooo ridiculous I wished someone could have tied me to the roof for the remainder of the drive.  Since that wasn't really a realistic option I started just writing them down.  Here are just a few of the things that came out of the mouths of my traveling companions.  "Don't talk, I'm your master now." "Wes is breathing air at me"  "Who's feet stink?" "Wes bit me!" "Where's my food?" "Dad can you tie Wesley up or spank him?" "Who farted" "Look it's nine degrees outside!" "My door wont close it's frozen open!" "I'm stuck in the car, the door is frozen shut!" "Use your headphones" "Wes is licking me" "The handle to the back door just snapped off" "have you seen my eye mask""Oops I frowed up""get your legs off of me!" "It's not a pillow dog, it's a pillow pet!"

The freezing temperatures in Idaho resulted in a crack the length of my windshield.  The car wash I insisted upon in 5* weather resulted in a broken window track on the drivers door and likely the broken back hatch handle.  The extra length on the chains resulted in missing chunks of paint on both rear fenders and torn mud flaps.  The length of time spent in a moving vehicle caused Jeff to declare we will never be driving to Idaho in the winter with the entire family ever again.  I'd like to think the most recent bit of sanity I've lost is due to this trip as well.

Short of a car accident the traveling couldn't have been much worse!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Christmas 2010

I'm more than a little behind in my blogging, but as this is the only journaling I am doing these days bear with me or just skip it all together, because I still have Christmas to get through!
As busy as the season always seems to be, I love it!
I love knowing that when all the lights and decorations are hung, the shopping is done, and the parties and programs have been attended, there will be family.  Lots of it!  We gather at my parents house with as many as can come.  There is always tons of food, more than a few big personalities,  lots and lots of loud laughter and voices and plenty of hugs!
Tons of pictures are taken to document our night of tradition.
You don't have to twist anyones arm to get a real smile...
Well some need their arm twisted on occasion...
The Nativity never fails to entertain.  When the kids put on their costumes and my dad begins the story telling they always have our full attention
 Jessica was so excited to be the donkey this year and even made her own ears and donkey nose!
Brynne and Ashlyn were the sweetest little angels
and Drew was the cutest little wise man
When the costumes come off we are always ready for our two horse open sleigh ride through the neighborhood!
I think Drew missed the memo about the hats and accessories this year though...
When the sleigh ride is over and we are warmed with hot chocolate and warm food, our company starts to dwindle.  We head to our homes to finish up the wrapping and wait for Santa's visit.
(Sometimes when Santa's helpers don't get enough sleep they miss out on all the action!)
A third day of celebrating is always in order and we head up to Sacramento to wrap things up.
We visit and play games

at the table or on our phones
The kids excitedly share what was under the tree this year
And eventually we get around to the present game.  
Garrett is still thrilled with his stealing of the purple snuggie.
I never did hear how Michelle reacted to Rick's generous donation of his win to her collection of goods in the cabinet of her family room!
There are always traditional Christmas movies to watch
 And often the kids run a little wild
Regardless of what it is that we are doing, we are all just grateful to be together.  That's what the holidays are all about!