Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just Can't Wait to Get On the Road Again...

Call me crazy, but every time John tells me he has a business meeting in
(fill in in the blank)

my little brain starts chugging. For the next 2 days all I think about are 100 different scenarios so we can somehow sweet talk our way along on an adventure too. And luckily, most time it works or we wouldn't have many "family vacations" so to speak. And where was the lucky destination this time?




Actually, the whole trip started with John's annual genetic meetings in December in Kansas City, Missouri. Last time he went he got stuck in different airports for hours because of weather so this time when he mentioned driving I wholeheartedly agreed, especially since he would have to pass directly through Shelbyville, KY (about 30 minutes East of Louisville, KY). Shelbyville is home to Kristen and Adam and Connor, who pleasured us with their company this summer and helped with those dang peaches so we just had to return the favor.

Kristen, Erin and I were all roommates back in our glory days at BYU. Erin and I had known each other all the way back from our primary days in church in Virginia, and Kristen happened to room with Erin her freshman year so we met through her. We all got hooked up together during our sophmore year when Erin and Kristen decided I was just too cool not to live with. Actually, they probably really regreted leaving the nice, safe coccon of on-campus living to enter the crazy world of off-campus housing, complete with weird, smelly roommates and odd personalities. I entertained them all year with my interesting choice of classes and distusting knowledge - Artifical Insemination and Animal Breeding were some of their favorites - and they kept me civilized all that year while I desperately tried to become a cowgirl.

Kristen, Erin and I in 2005 at Erin's Wedding

We stuck together even after that sophmore year and have forged quite a connection. We've somehow managed to meet up every few months over the past few years and I can honestly say they are still my best friends. Now that Kristen and I have kids it's especially reassuring to have an always listening and understanding ear, even when I'm telling her I'm gonna throw my kids out the window. That's how I knew that Kristen could put up with me and mine for a whole week and not hate me at the end of it.

We originally planned on John dropping us off at Kristen's and then coming back and getting us a few days later on his trip home, but of course this trip quickly snowballed (literally) into a bigger adventure.

We started off on a little bit of a rocky note as we didn't end up leaving til about 9:30 pm on Friday night since I was in charge of the ward Relief Society dinner that night. We were ok with that though, since we figured the kids would sleep the whole 8 hour drive while we took turns driving and sleeping through the night. And 2 out of 3 of the kids were angels and slept the entire time. And who didn't, you ask? Did we need to ask?

Nathan Finally Sleeps

Nathan, of course, was not at all cooperative and stayed awake noisily expressing his opinion on the world. At about 11:30pm, after trying to appease Nathan's every whim so he wouldn't wake up Lias, we made the comment that maybe we should just turn around and put John on a plane. He finally crashed at 12:45am but there went all our sleep and so when we finally got to Kristen and Adams at about 6 the next morning we were bushed. We took turns taking naps till about 10am when I left with the older kids to see
at the library.

All I can say is that the Shelbyville County Library rocks. They had Santa, snacks, Christmas crafts, and candy canes galore. It was a great way to entertain the kids and take my mind off the fact that I was dead tired. And the library printed off our own picture with Santa to take home. How cool is that? I'm considering moving to Shelbyville, just for their library. They also had a rocking storytime/Christmas party later in the week that we got to crash with Kristen.
Connor was a great sport about sharing his cool library and luckily didn't realize what he was in for yet when his mom agreed to let 3 twerpy kids invade his house for a whole week.

Ava Creates

Connor and Kristen Create

Life's Sweet and Sticky to 2 yr old boys

Connor starts to rethink this friendship

Candy Canes are the BEST

John and Adam spent that night being manly: watching basketball (Adam is the most diehard basketball fan I know) and making runs at the halftime to the Lowe's down the road to fix the garbage disposal.

Adam repaid John's help the next morning by taking him to the rental car place and then coming back to pick him up when it was actually the wrong place and taking him to the REAL rental car place. John headed onto Kansas City to go to his meetings and we all ditched church that day, realizing that with 4 kids and only 2 adults we weren't gonna get much out of it anyway. Nathan also had developed a mysterious fever that day but it wasn't enough to stop us from heading to Kristen's mom's that night for a yummy dinner.

We spent the rest of the week gabbing and trying to have fun with 4 little kids. It was such a nice diversion to be with someone else rather than all alone while John was gone. We did all kinds of fun things that I always want to do with the kids but never have the energy to do alone. Things like....

Baking Christmas Cookies

We bought a tub of cookie dough and a tub of frosting, Kristen pulled out the sprinkles, we turned on a little Christmas music and stuck Lias in the highchair and had a blast making cookies. We ate a few, left a few for Adam and took the rest onto Chicago with us. As we reached the end of the cookie making, we looked to find that Connor had the whole shaker of sprinkles on his cookie. Luckily, we kept our cool and took a picture to document it, then decided we were done for the day.

We also had a great time, albeit a very rainy time, going to the


By the time we got ourselves and our kiddos out the door to go the to zoo, it was pouring rain. We decided we weren't wimps so we went anyway and we had the place all to ourselves. We ran from building to building pulling kids in the wagon and pushing kids in the stroller and we both felt the burn. Nathan and Connor had a great time riding in the wagon and amazingly didn't even pick on each other too much.

Nathan was very worried at one of the exhibits that the bird only had one leg so I had to show him why it looked that way. Kristen was nice enough to snap a picture of me in such a delicate position.

The above mentioned bird with his one leg.

We also had a grand time doing all the mundane things that go with kids like
changing diapers
putting kids to bed

Nathan and Connor found a shared love of trains

Check out this kids tongue!!

Lias had (and is still having) major issues with his pooping habits right now. His body is shaped just perfectly so that anything that comes out is funneled directly up. He pooped straight through at least 6 outfits on this trip and I just threw away at least that many onesies.

Say what? There's something on my back?!

I think it was all just a ploy to get him into the bathtub since he loves it so much. I come out dripping since I have to keep a hand on him at all times since he's so excited he wiggles everywhere.

Finally bathed and ready for bed. But not Nathan, who didn't go to sleep until at least 10 on any of the nights except one. And that one night he fell asleep at 6 in the afternoon then woke up and was up til 11:30. Argghh......

Thursday finally rolled around and we had to pack up and leave to find John in Chicago. I don't think Kristen and Connor ever thought they'd get their quiet house back again and doubt they'll ever want us back again but boy, oh boy, did we have fun. Nathan asked me today if we were gonna go back to his friend Connor's house and was so sad when I told him not now. But we left with a ton of fun memories and are satiated in the fact that we now know how to get to Kristen's house without even using a map. And that means that someday we'll be back for sure.

Part 2 - Chicago or Bust

Me and the kids left Kristen's house on Thursday night and drove 5 hours up to Northbrook, IL where John had ended up. He left his meetings in Kansas City and hit a really cool bluegrass store in St. Louis so he could get himself his Christmas present - a new fiddle. He's been entertaining us since.

Ever since John got this job here in Virginia and has had to travel to Chicago to do the budget with the big bosses, I've been trying to get up there too. Before John and I met I had frequented La Grange, IL (about 20 minutes outside of Chicago) with the family I used to nanny for in my high school days - the Rogers. I ended up staying with them one semester and doing an internship at the coolest zoo I've been to - the Brookfield Zoo. I didn't want John to have to sit all alone in a hotel room enjoying his peace and quiet so we crashed his budget party and hotel room. We had fun swimming in the pool, delivering Christmas cookies to his big bosses in their office and then going to the zoo Saturday morning.

The Polar Bear Express

This cool sleigh was pulled by two polar bears and just like I remember, it was as cold as the North Pole
. Chicago is coooooldddd and winddddyy in the winter and still humid so has a bite to the wind. Burrr.

A Tiger A Giraffe and A Dinosaur

In front on the giraffes I used to clean up after every day.
There were 2 new babies since I worked there last but I guess I've had 3 new babies too. Man, time flies.

A Hippo with A Hippo

The pachyderm house was a nice, warm, smelly shortcut on my 1/2 mile walk to the Habitat Africa exhibit when I worked at the zoo so I walked through here everyday.

Closeup of the Dinosaur

There is a family play zoo inside the zoo that the kids loved. They were building it when I was there and it has tons of kid sized activities - do-it-youself face painting, write the animals letters (or Christmas cards), be a veterniarian for a day complete with X-rays and stuffed animals, a kid sized exhibit to put yourself in the zoo, a indoor greenhouse with all kinds of plants, and more. Everything is hands on and we could have spent all day there.

Dear Santa, I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

We were joined at the zoo by one of John's "Big Bosses" Tony, the controller for John's company, and his two girls, Gianna and Gabriella. How's that for a real Italian Chigaco family? We also spent a few days with them in New Mexico this summer. Ava nd "G" have hit it off and Gabby is a great helper for me. They're great fun to be with and we're having a grand time rendezvousing across the country with them.

Yo, Big Na-Ten - You's Got Somefin on You Face

Yep, and you've got something on your head Tony. Every time Tony calls John to talk about work he asks for Johnny-G. He's quite the funny guy.

Redneck Baby in the Big City

Lias blew out his pants, of course, while we were at the zoo so while John was running to get him more clothes he looked completely trashy in the kids section. I have no idea where the sock went.

Dolphins Up Close

The zoo even has their own dolphin show and since we were 8 of the 14 people that were at the show that morning, they let us get up close. It was quite cool.

Acrobatic Dolphins

Ava and G Pre-Face Painting

Lias Pre-Blowout

Lions in the Snow

Their was a crowd (of about 15 people) around the lions so we stopped to see the show. Every time I've been to a zoo the cats are either sleeping or not on exhibit so it was really fun to see these being active. There was a lion and a lioness in the exhibit and they were totally playing with each other and fighting over a stick. Pretty dang cool. Visiting the zoo in the winter is worth the cold and rain.

All Tuckered Out

We made it back on Sunday night after stopping to watch a real steam engine take people to the North Pole via Cumberland, MD. Awesome trip in all and I'm just glad John lets us tag along each time. Thanks for following that incredibly long post and now I'm all tuckered out too.


  1. The pictures in the tub are so cute! For like three days after you left I woke up thinking you were in the other room. :( Come back soon!!

  2. Ymir is laughing out loud at Lias. May I never have a kid with a funnel shaped anything!! too funny.

    Great lion pictures!

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