Epic Summer Road Trip – The Drive Home

It took us two days to get home from Santa Fe. It’s quite a drive really. I think really the worst part of traveling is the trip home. You know the vacation is over, and it seems the fun is all over too. Especially if you’re driving through Kansas to get home. Let’s face it, it’s a boring drive. Add in the fact that we weren’t even driving on I-70 and you can probably imagine how exciting that drive is.

Well, if you can’t find fun, you have to make your own fun. We made handcuffs with Wikki Sticks, we blew bubbles in the car, we made our own ‘hidden pictures’ puzzles… And then Ava had an epic meltdown. She’s such a mellow kid, but she’s a picky eater. And it’s hard to get her to eat sometimes, especially when we’re traveling. And when she’s starving, she’s GRUMPY! And that girl can scream! We had to pull over on the side of the road for an intervention. (I love that Josh took a photo of me with her). We ended our day with ice cream at Braum’s. It’s hard to believe that was our first time eating ice cream on the whole trip!

We made it to Wichita that night and then headed home the next morning. We stopped and got donuts one last time (you can’t blame us, can you?). And then we drove. On a whim, Josh pulled off the highway in Peabody, KS to check out their “1880’s Main Street”. Well, Main Street was pretty lame, but as we turned to head back to the highway, we drove right past a fire hydrant that was open and shooting water HIGH in the air. We asked the kids if they wanted to play in it and they said no so Josh kept driving.

He got about 3 blocks and I made him turn around. I’ve NEVER seen an open fire hydrant in my life. Seriously, how often do you just happen upon something amazing like that? So I did what any mom would do, I bribed my kids to have fun. (True story by the way). So we pulled over, I got clean dry clothes out of the suitcase, located our beach towels, and then forced my children to have fun in the fire hydrant sprinkler. And after we had our fun, we got back in the car and drove home.

Banana was SO excited to see us! And I think we were glad to be home. Let me just tell you though… it took almost a week to get the car cleaned out and everything put away. And I spent an entire afternoon buying groceries. But it was amazing. We did SO many awesome things on this trip and we visited SO many friends and family. I can’t wait till the next time…

kids in the car on a road tripseek and find family road tripkids eating ice cream at braumspeabody kansas family playing in a sprinklerfire sprinkler spraying water family playinghome from family vacation excited dog

Epic Summer Road Trip – Phoenix & The Petrified Forest

We got up early on Sunday and left Tucson, headed toward Phoenix. It was totally backtracking, but we had some friends in that area that we really wanted to see and the timing worked out well. We actually didn’t take any pictures… not sure how that happened. But we spent a good part of the day with our friends the Nortons. We went to church with them and then ate lunch together at their house while the kids played. And then when it was time to leave, it started POURING rain. The only photo we have from the day is one Richie took on Natalie’s iPhone… it will have to do!

After we left, the rain stopped a bit and we had an hour or so to kill before our friends Jason and Anna would be home from the airport. So, we decided to go to Ikea. We had never been and wanted to see what all the fuss was about! We wandered around the store and of course we ended up buying some stuff. Everything in the store is so modern looking and sleek and bright and colorful… definitely our kind of place!

When we finished at Ikea, we met our friends for a late dinner at La Grande Orange. The kids were exhausted, but they loved the Wikki Sticks that came out to the table instead of crayons. They played with them, we ate, we chatted, and then we headed to our friends’ house. The kids watched a little bit of Olympics and then went to bed.

The next day, we were off early… we had to drive from Phoenix to Santa Fe in one day. We had a bit of rough driving day, with five grumpy people in the car. It was HOT outside and there was not much to do at all. We did manage to salvage the day, however when we stopped at the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. We had been there once before (on our Route 66 road trip). I didn’t get to walk through the petrified forest with them on that trip because Lia was asleep. Everybody was awake this time, so we all walked the trail together. We chose the long one.

It’s an enjoyable hike and the kids loved looking at all the petrified wood and climbing on it. There was a storm coming and we kept willing the clouds to open up and pour on us. All we got was a few raindrops here and there. There were some awful flying insects that kept biting my legs and chasing me. Josh thought it was incredibly funny watching me run and swat at the “invisible” insects. I can assure you it wasn’t funny!

We finished up our hike, loaded in the car, and finished our drive to Santa Fe.

kids playingfamily road trip driving in the desertfamily visiting the painted desert in arizonafamily vacation petrified forest arizonakids climbing on petrified wood

Epic Summer Road Trip – Tucson

Tucson was fun. We woke up Saturday morning and headed downtown for breakfast at The B Line. Our friends said the pancakes were amazing, so we didn’t really have much choice. They were crepe pancakes with pecan maple butter and everyone seemed to love them… all the plates were clean when we left! I had an egg bagel sandwich that was tasty as well.

After breakfast, we explored downtown a bit and then headed out to check out the San Xavier Mission. It’s gorgeous and they’re in the middle of restoring it right now. I wasn’t sure how long the mission would hold the kids’ attention, but they seemed to enjoy exploring it for the 30 minutes or so that we were there. They especially enjoyed the museum section that loops in a circle. It wasn’t long before they were running circles around the place. Luckily there were not a lot of people there and no one seemed to mind.

It started getting pretty hot out, so we decided to head back for lunch. We made a pit stop at Target for supplies and then enjoyed a quiet lunch at our friends’ loft. The kids were overjoyed to be watching the Olympics, so we let them rest and watch TV for a couple of hours.

And then we went roller skating. The kids have never been roller skating, so it was interesting to say the least. Within the first five minutes of getting our skates on, Lia fell a couple times, got mad, and took her skates off, AND Max fell a couple times, started crying, and took his skates off. I was not a happy camper and figured this would end disastrously, but Josh kept saying it was good for them. (Turns out he was right, but it was still trying in the moment.)

Ava was a champ on roller skates. She was determined to skate alone and pulled herself down the training rail over and over again. And every time she fell, she would get right back up and keep going. Max and Lia…. well, we had probably 10 meltdowns between the two, each time, me consoling them, then begging them to put their skates back on.

Josh finally rented some contraption that looks like an old lady’s walker on wheels. Max and Lia took turns using it, with either Josh or I holding on and helping them push. Ava tried it once, but she did way better without it. Max actually tried to skate with it, but Lia just liked to hold on and let me push her. Thanks to the skate training thing, all the kids ended up having a great time. They even said they want to go again!

kids sleeping eating and playingthe b line restaurant crepe pancakes tucson arizonasan xavier missionkids playing at the loftskate country family roller skating in tucsonkids roller skating with helpfamily roller skating in tucson arizona