Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Road Trip: The Final (Epic) Post

If it were only that simple.

(Jonah toddles through Idaho State Penitentiary)

Guy saw that sign and said "The person who made that doesn't have children." 
It's so true. 
You really can't control your kids.  They will do what they will do. 

But one thing we found on our trip was how much they could be influenced for good or not, by things around them.  With hours in the car and no a la'carte media at their disposal, the kids began to play games with each other and listen to stories read aloud or on CD.  We found that our dreaded fears of death and mayhem in the back seat had been unnecessary. 

Or we thought they had.   

From time to time we would stay at a place that had T.V. or Internet or an Xbox, and amazingly, as soon as we would get in the van after they had been indulging in several hours of "the junk", the kids were at each other's throats.  They fought and teased and were impatient and rude. 
I'm not kidding you, that stuff is of the devil.

I guess our trip taught me a few things besides the fact that Sponge Bob is evil.  I learned that I could be away from people I love for a very long time and upon seeing them, feel like we had never parted.  I had reconfirmed to me the importance of family, both immediate and extended. 

Aunt Mada and Aunt June... Guy's mother's sister and my mother's sister... what do they have in common besides living in The Great Potato State, the ability to throw down a fabulous spread and to grandma the heck out of kids?  They are magically connected to each other by the very fact that the DNA that made each of them is also in my children.

And so begins our final leg of the Family Road Trip.  This will be a booty-long ol' post, but that is more for my sake than for yours.  I frankly don't expect anyone out there to actually read this to it's belated ending, except maybe Rebekah, who says she always does.  So, without further adieu...

From Idaho to Utah!
First stop, Thanksgiving Point and the Dinosaur Museum!

Then off to my Alma Mater, BYU to show the kids around.  We visited the art museum with Guy's very funny nephew Jack and his friend Brian, and what to my wondering eyes...? 
My favorite painting of Jesus Christ, no, not a copy, but the 100 year old original!
 (By Carl Heinrich Bloch)
Oh, my goodness, I stood there and wept. 
I did.
The kids all made fun of me.
The security guard kindly waited until after we took this picture before telling us...
no photos allowed!
Oh, well!  I got mine!

From favorite painting to favorite song, we happened into the Wilkinson Center for ice cream and there was a guy playing Claire de Lune on the piano.  Oh, to be 5 years old again and not care what anyone would think if I danced around in my ladybug shoes!

It is a simple door on a non-descript building, but it was where I spent most of my time my last year at BYU as I did my final show for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program.  I thought my heart would hurt from going through that door, because the last time I had walked through it I had believed I was heading off into a successful career as a fine artist.

But quite the opposite happened.  While I do make art, it is not really my "career", but my heart didn't hurt at all as we walked around my old stomping ground.  I was so excited to show the studios to my kids, and they began to see me in a whole new way as they saw the foundry, kilns, and large power tools I used to use here.  By the end of our day at BYU, all four of the bigger kids, even Ethan, had in some way indicated that they wanted to go there someday for college. 
Who knows, maybe one day one of them will load that same kiln.

Sometimes we just had to get out of the van and play!

We got to visit my sister Julie in Herriman which was so wonderful.  I am still waiting for the recipe to her fresh fruit salsa.  Then "a moment" in our family history occured ... Cousin Jess, now a mother twice over and my parents' oldest grandchild, holds little Jonah, the youngest cousin of the clan.
We met up with my former missionary companion and her kidlets at the Church History Museum.  At one point when we were sitting amidst our combined 10 children I whispered in her ear
"Look at all the people we made."

Is he G.Q. or what?

The doors of the Salt Lake Temple

I think one of my favorite moments on our trip was when we visited with Uncle Max.  His eyes, fogged with age and dementia, tried to follow the conversations in the room, but it was too hard for him.  Then he turned to me and said, "You painted that picture of me with my big fish!".  How had he remembered?  For the next hour I listened as he told me stories and showed me his hand tied flies.  He showed me his favorites; the ones that caught the biggest fish, the ones that were so hard to make that men used to come from 3 counties to buy them from him.  It got late and we had to leave, and said so several times, but each time he simply held up another fly and said, "And THIS one..."

I don't imagine I'll ever get to see Uncle Max again, and if I do, he probably won't remember me.

We visited Guy's "little" brother Greg (above) and family, and Jonah thought his cousin Sylvia, 2 months older than him, was his own personal dolly.  We also got to spend some wonderful time with Guy's sweet Aunt Penny and super fun cousin Katie.  I guess I was having so much fun I forgot to even take a picture of them! 
Oops!  I guess we have to go back!

Our good friends, Marty and Sarah, opened their home to us for the entire week, and we thrilled at being there with them.  I was so moved by their loving example of gentle but firm parenting.  They are so consistent with family prayer and scripture study, and I must say that it rubbed off in some small degree.  Since we have been home we are trying much harder to gather our family each night to pray and read the scriptures together.  Sarah also taught me the fine art of Extreme Couponing!  I have already saved $101.  So cool.

Now, when I started this "blogety thingy" I swore that I would never,
not ever,
post a picture of one of my kids with food gobbed all over their face.

I guess I lied.

'Cuz oh, my gosh, I think he is so cute.  And it was, after all, his birthday.  I can't NOT post about his birthday, right? (oh, don't worry, there is more to come.  This picture was only taken halfway through his cake carnage!)

One last trip to the skate park before we say goodbye...

then back on the road.
The boy who could walk on water.

The Great Salt Lake. 
We told the kids not to get wet.  In ten minutes they were all in up to their thighs. 
They ended up riding all the way to Winnemucca, Nevada  in their skivies.
Is it legal to cross state lines in your underwear?

Well, thanks, all three of you, for hanging in there till the bitter end. 
It was a long, long trip, or, as Guy put it, "Five days too long". 
He said that 6 days before we went home. 

It is good to be home. 
Oh, wait.  School has started. 
Can I go back? 


Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

Oh, the memories that were made! And now that you have it in a blog post the memories will stay fresh in your mind!

Welcome home...

Christina said...

I stayed! I stayed!

Leach Family said...

Laine~ You always captivate an audience with your way with words! You can inspire so many even with just a family vacation! I guess I count as #3! And Rebeccah will be #4! More then you expected! Love ya girly!

Jenni said...

I love your writing style.

Jackie said...

I love your pictures, esp. the one's where your kids are slightly airborn! I think I went with you in spirit. When you unpack if you find my spirit, send it to me, will ya? I am missing it since you left :)

Elizabeth said...

Yes, I read the whole thing! :-)

What an awesome collection of photos - I love the one of Jonah toddling through the prison, Ethan flying high in the skate park (all the ones of Ethan, actually), and your girls dancing. Very cool!

Rebekahmott said...

I just wanted to leave a note this time and say what a fun trip. I did not go to byu but I was young when my dad got his masters and so I love going and rememberin the feelings of being a little kid. I think that it should be a family trip every summer.