Home Sweet Home.. and States Visited.. Revised

visited 15 states (30%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

I can’t begin to even say how happy we all are to be home.  Over the course of the next week, I plan on blogging about the trip.. it’ll include pictures, stories and maybe even a video or two.

We expanded our ‘states visited’ list from 5 to 15!  Only 35 more to go… LOL


Days Four and Five!

>Well, after Wentzville, MO, we drove through the southern tip of Illinois for a bit, and then we drove through the southern tip of Indiana for a bit more, and then onto Lexington, KY where we stopped for the night.  While we were driving into St Louis, I managed to get some pictures of the Gateway Arch!  It’s really impressive; well to me at least, I’m sure locals are unimpressed with it.  I don’t know what bridge we’re on though, but driving through, you can see that there’s a TON of bridges on the river(s).  The picture was taken on a bridge, and you can see at least two or three in the picture!  It was amazing.  I discovered later that you can actually go into the arch, but we didn’t know that at the time, and honestly I’m not sure we would have stopped and gone in even if we did know.

When we got into Kentucky, we actually crossed the state line via bridge going over the Ohio River.  Of course, because Kentucky is famous for the Kentucky Derby, we saw a ton of horses.  Our stay in Lexington was quite uneventful; for me and the girls that is.  Jeff said at around 3:00 in the morning, he heard yelling and screaming coming out of the office -our room was right above it- and heard what could only be described a drunk lady calling the lady in the office racial slurs, and got called some names back in return.  I guess there was something going on in the city, because if it weren’t for online reservations, we would  not have been able to get a room.  Jeff said when he checked in, the guy behind him got turned away because there weren’t any more vacancies!

Our drive out of Kentucky was uneventful leaving Sunday morning.  It wasn’t until we got into West Virginia that it started to get… interesting.  It was okay until we got around Charleston -the capital city for those of you who are geography flunkies- and for some nutty reason, our GPS decided to tell us to get OFF of I-64 and onto I-79 to US 19, and then had us ride onto these state roads.  Not too sure what they are really called, but it was the worst/scariest 30 miles of our life.  They were these two lane roads; meaning it had one lane going one way and one lane going the other way.  The speed limit was 55, and the roads were crazy… uphill, downhill, aroundhill…  Jeff said it was very nerve wracking and he was strongly reminded of his days of driving in Honduras.  The only thing that was different was the fact that the roads in West VA were paved, whereas in Honduras they aren’t.  When we finally got back onto the interestate, we stopped off at a rest stop and took a potty break, because I know we ALL needed it!  During our stop, we made arrangements to stay with my aunt and uncle in Waynesboro.  We were planning to stay the night in Lexington, VA.. but we were fortunate enough to be able to cancel our reservation, save 70 bucks!  We crossed the state line into Virginia, and we stopped in Covington to eat dinner before we rolled into my aunt and uncles’ driveway around 8 pm.  Then we stayed up until 1:30 in the morning yapping like my family likes to do::wink::

We left Waynesboro after Uncle Pablo was kind enough to make us a quick pancake breakfast and we finally rolled into Virginia Beach around 3:30 pm on Monday afternoon.  I was planning on blogging about our first week here, but it’s taken so long to write this blog, I’ll have to save it for another time.

We’re having fun though, I promise!


We Made It!

> Just letting my readers know that we made it safely to Virginia Beach!  We’re staying with my dad and we’ve managed to get lost a few times in the city already, saw some family and friends!  I won’t blog the rest of the drive here, since the laptop is currently teathered to my cellular phone to get an internet connection, and it’s slow as beans, but we’re going back over to my mom’s house to hang out all day, and they have a computer connected to the internet the real way, so I’ll probably do a blog or two with picutres from her house.

But we’re here and safe!


Days Two & Three


Well, we stayed in Laramie, WY our first day, as you may have read previously.  Anyway, we did make it a point to go over and drive to see Hayford Avenue.  However, we discovered based on the enormous size of all the houses on Hayford Ave, you have to have a ton of money to live on it.  Some of the houses had to be more than 4,000 square feet and upwards of 6,000 square feet.  It was amazing.  We wanted to go and poke around at the history center, but we discovered it was inside of the meetinghouse, and no one was there to let us in, so we skipped out on that.

Anyway, the ride from Laramie, WY to Lincoln, NE was quite uneventful.  We didn’t run into any horrible traffic like we did on Wednesday…. thank goodness.  We stopped off in Kearney, NE to get gas, and then as we headed east out of the city, we saw the Great Platte River Archway monument.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a super impressive picture, but it’s still pretty awesome looking.

We left Lincoln this morning, and our ride was uneventful.  I managed to convince Jeff to stop off at a craft type store on the outskirts of Kansas City, since I fell in love with some awesome fabric, and one of 18 stores in the US that carries this line of fabric happened to be in Kansas City, at a store called Urban Arts + Crafts.  I already had 10 fat quarters of the line and was happily able to buy 4 more quarter of yards.  SCORE!  We continued on until we stopped for the night here in Wentzville, MO. It’s a decent sized city from what we can tell.

We also decided to stretch our drive to an extra day.  Jeff’s been getting burned out with driving, and the girls are getting crankier and crankier.  I’m not sure where we’ll be stopping tomorrow; Jeff thinks somewhere around Lexington, KY.  We’re roughly 16.5 hours away from Virginia Beach -around 960 miles or so- and instead of driving for two 8 hour stretches, we’ll be able to drive for three 5 hour stretches, and actually enjoy ourselves and the drive.  And maybe I’ll be able to convince Jeff we’ll be able to stop at some of the antique malls that seem to be so abundant in this part of the country.

Like Jeff said, it’s supposed to be a vacation; not a stressful drive.


Day One of Road Trip


Well, after having to wait two extra days to do bad weather and closure of the interstate, we’re finally at our motel here in Laramie, WY.  We were going to stay in Cheyene, but sometime after we left Rock Springs, we got locked in bad traffic due to a lane closure for ONE HOUR.  It was bad enough that the eighteen wheeler truck drivers were actually getting out of their trucks, walking around and chatting with each other.  Eventually we were on our way and got here safe and sound.

We decided since tomorrow we’re only going to have to drive for about 6 hours, we’re gonna spend an hour or two here in Laramie to see if we can learn some information for family history.  Apparently, there’s a street here called Hayford Avenue, and so of course, we’ll have to visit.  Apparently, Jeff’s great-great-great grandfather was a judge here back in the day when Laramie was a town of out-laws, and he cracked down on the crime.  In addition, he was also the first postmaster, and was the editor of a newspaper among other things; we’ll hopefully find out more tomorrow.

Anyways, here’s some pictures of things we saw today.

Welcome to Wyoming sign!  We also saw a TON of semi trucks; I guess when you cross state lines you have to check your cargo in at a way point.  The line of semis was LONG.

This is a picture of Rawlins.  It looked so quaint and awesome from the interstate.  Especially since there was a HUGE church that was clearly visible from the interstate.

And of course windmills.  Lots and lots of windmills.  It was amazing!

Anyway,  time for  me to tuck in!


States We’ve Visited

>And when I mean we, I’ve mean me and Jeff.  And I’m not talking about Airport layovers!  I figured since we leave for our trip two weeks from tomorrow, I’d create a ‘before’ map.  And of course, I’ll create one after we get home from our trip!

visited 5 states (10%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Obviously, we’ve both been in Utah.. which is the state we live in.  We’ve been to Nevada together, since we’ve gone to a Collective Soul concert in Wendover.  We’ve also been to Virginia together twice, and while we were there for the first time together, we went to Maryland in the car -and sat at the border going into VA to get some pictures- and then we went to this awesome Mexican restaurant in North Carolina.  So.. yeah.  We’re obviously going to be going through more together as a family!

It’s gonna be fun, I can’t wait!

Planning Traveling

T Minus Three Weeks….

>Until we leave to Virginia, and have we done anything to prepare for the trip? NOPE!  Unless you count buying four of these duffel bags.  We actually have two colors; two in this yellow and two in gray.  I don’t know where the other three are, which kind of defeats the purpose of using them for our trip; I hope we can find them before it’s time to pack!

We’ve got a long list of things we need to do.  I guess I can type up the checklist here, since I’ll be able to refer back to it later.

Contact the post office to stop our mail.  This also means I have to stop buying stuff online as of next Thursday.  Less packages waiting for us the better.

Clean the house.  This is actually going to be one of the last things that get done, because if I clean it all spic and span, it’s just going to get dirty again before we leave.  I would like to come home to a clean house.

Figure out what to take.  Obviously clothes, shoes, my makeup, and toilet paper.  Yes, that’s right, toilet paper.  You never know when you go to that rest stop if they’ll have toilet paper in the stall.  Figured I’d be proactive and take my own TP, and besides, it’s better than using that thinner than tissue paper stuff they call toilet paper.  I also plan to sew myself one of these cute little bags:  It’s called “Weekend Away Travel Bag” and it can be found in a great book by Heather Ross called “Weekend Sewing”.  It’s got a lot of nifty patterns and the like for things such as purses, clothing and various other things.  In case you didn’t know, Heather Ross is a well known and highly sought after designer of fabric.  She’s got amazing talent and… eh hem, I guess I better get back to the blog on hand, I can rave about her on my creative blog.  Oh, obviously we’ll have to take toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and pull ups for Zoe -we are NOT stopping every 20 minutes for her to go potty- and diapers and wipes for Ruthie.

Make reservations.  We’re staying at Super 8s across the country -well in Nebraska and Missouri anyway- and we need to obviously reserve our room so all four of us aren’t sleeping on a twin bed or something.

Well, that’s all I can think of for the check list at the moment.  I know I’m taking my sewing machine, and I need to get a sewing box/basket so I can take my thread and other things I may need to sew.  I promised my mom I’d help her sew new drapes for her living room.  I wish I could take my Juki, but it’s so big and heavy, and I don’t have anything to transport it in unless I buy a Rubbermaid container for it.  I’ll have to settle taking my BabyLock Xscape, which is conveniently a travel sized machine and it came with a travel bag.


So… It’s Official!

>We are for sure taking our road trip!  I think we’re expecting to leave around the first weekend of April.  More to follow, but here’s the rough route we’re planning on taking:  to Virginia and this is the route we’re taking home.  It’s going to be exciting, and from the looks of it we’ll be meeting some folks along the journey.  Plus, we’re planning to go up and down the Eastern Seaboard a bit too, so hopefully we’ll be able to meet more people that way!

I’m super excited.. and I think Jeff’s not as excited as I am, but I do think he’s looking forward to the trip.  More details to follow!


Road Trip Versus Flying

>So, last month marked Jeff’s fifth year working at eBay.  He is now eligible for a one month -well more like 4 work weeks off- paid sabbatical.  A few years back, he promised that I quit nagging him for yearly trips to Virginia to see my family, he would be willing to take his sabbatical off to go visit my family for the whole month.  Roughly.  We haven’t picked a time of the year to go yet; however we’re thinking to shoot from mid-April to mid-May.  Not too hot, not too cold.. just right.

So at this point, we’re now at a crossroad so to speak.  Do we fly and spend $1,200 on plane tickets, plus another $700 or so for a car rental and get there in about 8 hours?  Or do we take one of our vehicles -most likely the Mazda for comfort- and it’ll take us a few days to get to Virginia, yet we’ll be able to stop along the way and see some friends?  Sure, we’d have to factor in gas, food expenses as well as possibly accommodations,  however, it’ll be a better experience.

If we drive, we’d most likely drive from Salt Lake and then stop in Denver to visit with some friends and stay the night.  That’s roughly an 8.5 hour drive.  Then we’d leave Denver and stop someplace in Kansas -possibly Kansas City or thereabouts- and stay there for the night.  And then at that point, it’ll be a straight shot from Kansas to Atlanta, GA where we’d most likely stay a few days to visit with a dear friend of mine, and after we leave Atlanta, it’s a straight shot up the coast to Virginia Beach.  I know for a fact that’s roughly a 6-9 hour drive, depending on traffic and whatnot.  I know while in Virginia, we’d most likely go visit some family in the western part of the state, and then we’d even hit Washington DC to visit the capital.

On the drive home, I know we’d drive up from Virginia to Indiana and stay with my sister and her boyfriend, and then from there up to the Chicago area in Illinois and then come home from there.  Not sure how much time that route would take us, but I’d imagine probably quicker to get home than to leave.

One thing we’re considering as a long term investment if we drive would be to purchase a compact tent trailer.  That way if we don’t have a place to stay, we’d at least be able to pull up into a camping ground area and stay the night there rather than spending money for motel or hotel rooms.  This would not only be beneficial for road tripping, but also for fishing and camping together as a family after we get home.

It’s too soon to make concrete plans; however I know there will be alot of expenses into driving.. we’d have to get our car tuned up before leaving, and then we’d have to tune it up before coming home.  We’d have to make sure we have a spare, we’d have to definitely upgrade our GPS’s software to have more up to date maps and a laptop with wireless internet capabilities.  I guess it’s a good thing that we have Allstate as our insurance company, since they are nationwide, and we’ll have coverage while we drive.  And hopefully, I’ll have my driver’s license at that point, and Jeff will be confident enough to let me drive so we can switch driving and he won’t have to drive the whole entire time.

We’ll have to have a backup contingency plan in case things, but I think it’ll be doable.

It’s just a matter of weighing the pros and cons and deciding which way we’d want to go.  Either way, I’m excited!


Presenting… Casey Hayford!

>No, we did not adopt a new baby.. but we did adopt a dog!  It was unexpected, but I’m so glad we did.

Every Saturday, we always go to lunch.  We budget for Saturday lunches, and so it’s been a tradition since.. forever really.  We’ll usually go out to fast food, or sometimes buffet places, depending on how hungry Jeff and I are.  If I really had to name the place we go the most, it’s Souper Salad.  Anyways, we went to lunch at Blimpies, and then went down to Draper to hit Michaels, I needed to purchase some jewelry making tools.  And of course, I ended up getting more than tools and instead of spending around $10 like I planned, I ended up spending around $27, because then I had to get a little caddy, and then Jeff saw these cute little beads with letters on them and suggested the girls would like personalized bracelets, then of course I had to get some filler beads, and then I had to get some elastic string to make them… yeah I love when stuff like that happens.

Well, Michaels is actually right next door to Petco in this particular shopping area, so while we were walking in, Zoe somehow recognized it as a pet store, and asked if we could go in to look around.  Jeff, being a softie said sure and so after we were done in Michaels, we went into Petco.  The Utah Humane shelter was doing an adoption thing there that day, so they had some extra cats and seven dogs there to adopt.  Three large dogs, three Chihuahuas, and then a medium sized dog.  Well, apparently one of the dogs had issues with men; to be more specific, tall men with facial hair.. which fits Jeff’s descriptions.  He was going crazy when he saw Jeff, barking and growling at him so Jeff had to walk away for the dog to calm down enough for me to get a look at all the other dogs.  The other two larger dogs were good, except that the chow/lab mix was around a year old and seemed too high energy for us and the other large dog was a pit bull mix.. and seemed sweet enough, but we’re not really a pit bull family.  Jeff absolutely hates Chihuahuas because of Grandma’s dogs she had, they were ill tempered and nasty and I think they ruined the breed for him.  So that left.. Casey. 

Jeff said he noticed that Casey was just watching him as he walked away and was just staring at him, and he did it with respect, and I think at that point Jeff got attached to him.  Eventually we were drawn back over, and dispite the other dog’s aggression towards him, we managed to indicate we wanted to see Casey closer and walk him around the store.  Casey was in a cage on top of another dog -the one that didn’t like Jeff- and instead of waiting for her to pick him up, he JUMPED out of the cage and straight for Jeff.  We walked him around the store, and Ruthie just took an instant liking to him.  Normally it takes her a bit to warm up to dogs -she’s been exposed to Newton and Oreo, the dogs at John and Wendy’s house- but it was almost instantaneous with Casey.  Everytime he’d stop and sniff something, Ruthie would hug his butt, something he did not mind at all.

Anyway, we ended up going back and telling the gal that we wanted him, and so we filled -and by we, I mean me- out the paperwork and then we bought the basics, dishes, collar, leash, food, and brought him home.  I have to clarify, it’s been a long time coming.  Ever since we bought the house, Zoe’s been asking for a dog.  She’s been drawing pictures like this for months:

What is that you ask?  Well let me tell you.  This is what we like to call “Emotional Blackmail”.  That’s our house.  With a dog door.  Then that’s Zoe with pigtails, and the smaller, four legged creature is a dog.  That’s right, a DOG.  This was the first of many pictures like this.  It started coming to a head about two weeks ago, when Zoe said to Ruthie, “Lets go upstairs Ruthie and play Animal Shelter.”  At that point, we knew she was wanting one BAD.  And that’s what lead us up to getting Casey.

Anyway, Casey is a great dog for us.  He’s a medium sized dog, so he’s between 25-50 lbs (we haven’t weighed him yet) and he’s half Beagle, half Lab.  He’s gold and white, and he’s pretty straight down the middle in terms of which breed he favors physically.  He’s also a shorter dog, and since he’s 2.5 years old, we know he’s not going to get any bigger.  He’s great with children, and he’s also not an ‘in your face’ dog unless he has to go outside, then he comes over and licks you and noses you and starts a low whine.. which for the most part is the only noise he makes.  He also does this rumbly throaty sound too if he’s happy.  Anyways, here’s Casey!

He’s such a handsome dog, and it’s pretty clear from the beginning that he’s Jeff’s dog.  We were thinking of changing his name, but he responds so well to Casey we’re going to keep it.