Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekly report card

Trying to fit all of our earthly belongings into a 16' by 8' trailer: D-
After three days of repacking, squeezing, and tossing (with MUCH help from Eric's parents and our friends), we finally rented a little trailer to tote the "necessities" that wouldn't fit in our POD. Besides the 8 mpg drop in our gas milage, it has been a pretty good deal. Plus, now we're part of the U-haul club on the road.

Saying goodbye to Salt Lake friends and family: F
Eric told me that I needed to stop crying just after I'd said goodbye to people--I should cry in front of them so that they know that I care. So I guess that I have to work on my farewell etiquette. Sorry if you were offended; I miss you.

Driving the scenic byways: A+
Our route has taken us through six national parks so far. I tend to toss around the term "amazing" without thinking of its meaning, but I can honestly use it here. Absolutely amazing! Even the roadblocks are picture-worthy:

Staying up all night in a hotel room with a vomiting baby: C-
This was terribly annoying, but at least I didn't have to wash the soiled sheets and towels! Plus, thank heaven, he was over it in one night.

Visiting Yellowstone: A
Seeing over 3,000 gallons of boiling water shoot upwards of 100 feet in the air amazed everyone except Michael, who was most interested in his own tennis shoes.
Yellowstone Lake and the Lower Falls were other favorites. I have to laugh at this next picture, however, where two people are crying and two are trying not to. Did I mention that it was freezing cold up there? We drove through a blizzard (and eight feet of snow pack on either side of the road!) to get to Old Faithful and the falls.

Implementing the "High Five" behavior system: A+
Every time the kids do something heroic (telling us that they have to go to the bathroom in good time, eating all their food, having a good attitude), they get a hand die-cut (a "high five"). After they collect five high fives, they can choose a prize from the prize bag. This has been the first time that I've successfully implemented an incentive program for the kids. A huge hit.

Stopping by Mount Rushmore: A+
Great faces, great places.
And really clean walkways.

Maintaining hotel loyalty: C
Super 8 is fairly inexpensive, but not so ghetto that you feel dirtier leaving than when you came. So we've gone straight Super 8 this time, with varying success. The first two places were nice: last night we got a huge suite (bargained down to the price of a single room!) at a place with a pool, internet, breakfast, the works. Tonight we're in a place that Eric says is "nice, for Russia"; I won't let the kids step on the bathroom floor without shoes on, and I think that there are bite marks in the ice container. Maybe tomorrow we'll try a Travelodge.

Reading my grandmother's book recommendation: A+ (so far)
Such a rich experiment in characterization and place has coupled perfectly with my interest in the people and places that we're enjoying on this trip. You must read it and call me to talk about it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Paradise Powell

If camping is no vacation for moms, then staying on a houseboat is no vacation for dads! When we went down to Lake Powell this weekend, poor Eric had his work cut out for him: he spent the first day disinfecting the bacteria-laden water system, servicing the jet skis, and repairing the electrical system. See him at work testing the water: Michael, worried that Eric was so often out of sight, would walk around calling out "Daddy-o, Daddy-0, Daddy-o!" until he found him (I don't know where Mike picked up this nickname for Eric, but he uses it exclusively: not Dad or Daddy, just Daddy-o). Eventually the boat was in running order, and we spent a few glorious days enjoying the lake. My mom and sister were even able to come, making it a particularly special trip.
We loved these:
1. Kayaking! The boys and I zipped around in this little beauty, even giving Aunt Kim a scare when we totally almost beat her in a race.
2. Sandcastle-building! My mom helped the boys make this intricate tunnel/dam/reservoir/waterfall system. The boys could poke around all day in the sand, digging and finding little treasures. Once Zachary, upon finding something special, turned to Eric and said, "This egg-shaped rock could really make a guy happy." Apparently, it had.
3. Jet-skiing! Because it's early in the season, there were only a few boaters out and we could really rip up the water.
4. Hanging out! Once I noticed Jacob holding a rope off the end of the boat calling, "Zachary, come here! I need you to help me lasso this fish!" After several failed attempts, the boys decided to feed the fish crackers instead.
These memories make family trips worth the effort, even for a husband who's too handy for his own good. So thanks, Eric, for making this a paradise Powell weekend. Sure love ya.

P.S. On the way home we stopped by Goblin Valley State Park, where we climbed and ran among the creatures. It was a perfect way to shake off the road trip restlessness and definitely worth the detour.