Sunday, Nov 13th 2005

All's quiet on the western front. It's late. Gavin is somewhere. Not sure where. He is on a business trip, and i know that we are meeting him in Boston in three days, but where he is now, I can not remember. Chicago maybe? We bought a house. It is tiny, but it is ours. Well, technically the banks for like three hundred years, but why get technical? Atleast we can replace a toilet seat without having to get a landlord's approval! We move in when we get back from Boston. I am really going to miss it here at the ranch. My parents have let us stay at their home while we waited for our house, and it has been 100% better than I thought it would be. I think that is my motto in life- have zero expectations and then you will be pleasantly surprised! Anyway, so I thought that they'd be in our hair, and we'd get bored- but it has been great. While Gavin is here, they stay at their other home in Vegas. Then when he goes on his business trips, my mom comes in to town to help with the kids. Dalton loves it here. It is like living in a John Wayne movie. The guys who run my parent's ranch have taken him under their wing, and he thinks they are best buds. They ride horses together, he helps them feed the cows, they go out for burrittos after they practice roping. It is every kids dream. There have been many highlights over this past month. I have loved spending time with my grandparents, who will be living only five minutes from our new home. Gavin has loved a month with no rent and free sitters. Dalton has really enjoyed spending time with his cousins, and Shelby has loved being held ALL THE TIME. The bummers of the month have been #1. Finding a tarantula in the garage (ok, it was dead when I found it, but STILL, it is a freaking tarantula!) Just the fact that they are out there gives me the creeps. #2. Being in a really BIG house at night when there are creaky floors. I am just used to being able to hear my neighbors above me sneeze or pee in the middle of the night, so to think that I could be being bludgeoned to death and the only company that I would have are the cougars in the mountains is kind of creepy. #3. VERY limited delivery options for dinner. Do we want pizza, pizza, or pizza? Basically I am going to have to dust off the old cooking utensils or I am going to dry heave the next time I see a piece of pepperoni. That is about it. Life is going well, although we miss Boston and our friends there terribly.

(here is what our car looked like throughout the trip!)
Day 14- the end of our cross-country road trip...

So I have learned a pretty neat thing about our family, and that is: we can stand being together 24/7 for two weeks straight and still get along...infact, have a pretty great time! That is amazing. I really thought that we would be strangling eachother halfway through this trip. I have to admit that I did start having violent feelings towards Shaggy and Scooby from hearing their theme song 850 times, but other than that it was smooth sailing. Ofcourse, all good things must come to an end, and with the end of our trip also came the end of our two weeks of good health. We caught the stomach flu in Denver, so the first day in Salt Lake the kids were throwing up. Thankfully it's only a 24 hour bug. So, here we are...in Utah, and ready to begin our new adventure.


Day 13 - Denver to Salt Lake City...The final frontier!

We drove for about seven hours from Denver to Salt Lake. This last and final leg of the trip seems SO long. We are driving at night, so there is not any thing to look at. It seems to me that every semi truck in the state is driving right next to us. Thank goodness the roads are good, and the snow has melted, otherwise I would be nervous. We pull up to the SLC Marriott at about 1:00 a.m. The kids have been sleeping, but they wake up while being transferred in to their room. Dalton immediately falls back to sleep, but Shelby is not going back down with out a fight. I am too tired to listen to her cry, so I bring her in to bed with me. Unfortunately she has a bad case of the wiggles, so we get to play for about an hour. :P


Day 12- Denver, CO

I saw my friend Nicail today. I miss her, she is such a sweetie. Our girls played together while the "boy team" went to the Science Museum and checked out enlightening exhibits like "Grossology" where they learned about boogers and poop (I am not kidding!) but ofcourse they were both thrilled. Dalton went in to a giant nose and picked an enormous booger...yuck! Nicail and I had a great visit. Her new home is fabulous and makes me really want a roof over my head of my own. The babies could not get enough of eachother. Shelby hugged Aeyen to the point where it got dangerous. She got to climb their stairs (a big favorite) and play with Aeyen's toys. They didn't want to part, but we had to get on our way. So, we are now on the road again...on the way to Salt Lake City, where we will stay in our last hotel before we reach my parents home in Elk Ridge, Utah.

Gavin and Dalton's highlight of the day: Giant booger exhibit

Ashley and Shelby's highlight of the day: playing with girlfriends


Day 11- Denver, CO

Shelby's 1st Birthday!!

We began the day thismorning by leaving the Kansas Kountry Inn. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but we were anxious to get to Denver. We had breakfast at the local truckstop/ cafe and Dalton got a waffle in the shape of a semi-truck! We had to get that little gem on film! We sang happy birthday to sis, who threw half her food on the floor, and walked in circles around the place. We bought some postcards to mail to Dalton's buddies, and got on the road. Only 5 hours to go...

Denver is beautiful! After the heavy snow of the previous evening, the skies are clear and the air is crisp. And after driving through Kansas, which is quite flat, it is such a relief to me, to see mountains and diversity in the landscape. It is also a relief to be out of the car after driving for four hours. Dalton now has his Scooby Doo DVD memorized...he busts a gut over it...Thank goodness for old Shaggy! Gavin had a rotten head cold when we got here, so he hung out at the hotel while I took the kids to the Cherry Creek mall. Shelby celebrated her first b-day by throwing all of her food on the ground (again) at California Pizza Kitchen. Mommy celebrated by downing some Cinabons (oh yeah!) We tried to do the "Build-a-bear" thing for her, and make her a new stuffed animal. But she has a major case of fluffyanimalphobia that prevented me from justifying the purchase of a thirty dollar bear that I had to assemble. I splurged on a few new pairs of shoes for Shelby. Dalton had a meltdown because I would not buy him his 3rd pair of cowboy boots, but got over it and later told me "never mind, I don't want the boots because I already have some." The boys swam at the hotel pool later on while the girls watched "America's Next Top Model" (my guilty pleasure of the day). We ordered room service and gave the kids a bath.

Gavin's highlight of the day: leaving the Kountry Kansas Inn

Ashley's highlight of the day: strolling through the Anthropology store with a Cinabon and a sleeping baby.

Dalton's highlight of the day: a call from Dalton's best friend, Chandler from Brookline, while we were driving through Kansas. They planned their next sleepover and the care packages they would send to eachother.

Day 10- Kansas, and the car wreck!

So we made it almost all the way across the country without one speeding ticket (and no radar detector) driving a little quicker that we should have at times and on the final leg we get a fender bender! Why you ask? I will tell you- ICE CREAM! Baskin and Robin to be exact. Gavin was so excited at the thought of his Oreo ice cream that when he passed the sign he stopped the car, put it in to reverse and backed right in to the car behind us. Oh yeah...and it gets better! The woman he backed in to was an employee at the ice cream store. Luckily she was SO nice and didn't yell any obscenities at us. We did have to wait for an eternity for a cop to write up a report so that we could be on our way. I took a lot of pleasure in the fact that my speeding did not cause us any bodily harm during the course of the trip, but Gavin's need for dairy was the real cause of danger :) He got a little sick of me teasing him after the first hour, so I stopped. But I will always have the pictures! I must say that it was a bit of a disappointment to find out that the Baskin and Robin sign was for a Quikie Mart that only had a few old tubs of ice cream that were covered with a thick layer of freezer burn, and the girl serving them needed a few lessons on health code violations when dealing with food. Lesson number one: smoking and scooping ice cream do not mix. She literally had to have another employee come over and teach her how to scoop ice cream! So, from here, it is on to Denver and hopefully some better scenery!

Day 9- St. Louis, MO

This is the best time that we have had on the trip! The weather is great, the hotel is beautiful, and we have had a blast, seeing all the sights. We pulled in to town last night at about midnight and took the wrong freeway exit by mistake. If you have seen the movie Vacation, with Chevy Chase, that is where they filmed it (I am dead serious!) South St. Louis is not a pretty place at midnight on a weekend. To say that we stuck out like a sore thumb is the understatement of the year! So, we found out where we were supposed to be and checked in to our hotel. It was the prettiest hotel that we have stayed in. It was in an old historic building, but the inside had been completely renovated. We slept in the next morning (see photo of boy team drooling) and had a great breakfast. Then we set off to see the arch. Dalton had a blast. Riding up to the top of it is not for the faint of heart. It feels like you are in a little space pod, and the elevator is pretty rickety. Once you get to the top it is worth it! We all loved being up so high...Especially Dalton. We ate lunch at Friday's where Dalton got a desert called "worms in mud" (jelly worms in pudding) that he thought was awesome. The architecture in St. Louis is really diverse. The old buildings of downtown are magnificent, and the new ones are stunning.

Gavin's highlight: the arch

Dalton's highlight: another snowglobe for his collection

Ashley's highlight: the museum at the arch, oh and room service

Shelby's highlight: same old same old