Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vacation Time

Family Vacation.  The words alone have the power to thrill.  And chill.  Goosebumps, all up and down my arms, or maybe that's a rash.

It took a full week to pack.  The entire vacation we only had one major tantrum--me, unfortunately in public.  Just when I think I'm a full-fledged grown-up.  Sigh.

The week before the vacation, Handsome, Cool, and Mr. L all went to camp.  Mr. Cool was High Adventure, the others were Scout Camp.
Mr. Lamadingdong earns one of 6 merit badges
  This meant that I had to pack everything for the next week.  Two days before the Grand Tour we had a fabulous Family Reunion at a resort in Park City with the ones of us who were not at camp.  This was the Pre-vacation vacation that was actually a nice break from packing for the vacation, and a relaxer for things to come.

The Family Reunion
My parents rented some condos at Park City and they were fabulous!  There are 11 adult kids, their spouses and children, making...um, a lot of us.  Anyway, most families shared condos, as they were very large and spacious.  Our family is rather large, however, so we qualified for our own condo.  As Handsome and Lamadingdong were not going to join us for the first night, and  Mr. Cool wouldn't be home until after the reunion, we had a little extra space the first night.  I talked one of my best buddies into bringing her little girls to stay with us the first night.  They went shopping while we were reunioning.

It was so fun seeing everyone, playing and swimming and eating.  I didn't take my camera, so if anyone posts pictures, I'll steal them and share later.  

My brother and his wife came over after we tucked the little girls in, and we all watched the Olympics and then some comedians until MIDNIGHT.  I cannot remember the last time I stayed up with friends and watched TV.   

For the talent show our family sang, "The Lost Sheep" which meant that I gave them a pitch, and then we all yelled "Baaaaa!"  We crack me up.

Grandpa and Grandma gave everyone a ticket for the Alpine Slide

and the Alpine Coaster.  Awesome fun!

Jana and her kids headed home on Friday, but Handsome and Mr. Lamadingdong never came--they arrived home too late to come up, which meant that they weren't in the big family picture.  Maybe we can photo-shop them in (and Mr. Cool).

We headed from Park City for the Great-Grandparents' family reunion.  On the way through the Canyon, Little K got carsick and puked twice.

We skipped the 2nd reunion and regrouped.  Was it carsick, or was it the stomach flu?  Should we stay or should we go on for the family vacation?  We changed our minds a couple of times, but Little K decided it for us, and after laying down for about ten minutes, she jumped up and ran outside to play in the water.  We loaded the van and the trailer behind us, took a deep breath, said a prayer, and headed out.

1st Stop:  Grandma's House!  We spent the night with Grandma and Aunt Becky (who the Caboose is named after, and was one of  my best buddies from High School.)

The next day we went to church with Uncle Chris and Aunt Shennie, who came from Korea for a visit and to have a baby.  I need the recipe for the baked beans they served afterward.  Yummy!

Then, instead of heading to Wyoming to stay with favorite family there and officially begin the adventure, we went back to Grandma's, as our cousin in WY was puking his guts out with the stomach flu.

We got an early (snort!) start on Monday for Jackson Hole, stopping only at Wal Mart for a couple of supplies.

Let's have a show of hands here, folks!  How many of you have taken 8 kids for a little jaunt at Wal Mart?  Anyone?  Well, looks like we're the only idiots on the planet.

We then staggered through the parking lot to the van, turned the key, and watched the   light flicker on.

Oye!  We'd just left Grandma's house, and we cleaned before we left.  I was NOT going to reappear with the gang--it just would have been too cruel.  So, we invaded Aunt Lisa's home.  COUSINS!!!  Not only that, but they have electronics, toys and LIVE chickens in the backyard.  (Plus, laundry facilities.)

(Just something to keep in the back of your head--we produce 2 or 3 loads of laundry a day right now.  This  will be applicable at the end of the vacation.)
 The Prince got the car fixed, and we were on our way!

Caboose drove
 First stop, the campground.  We drove through some really beautiful country.

The next morning we packed up camp and went to Jackson Hole WY.  We toured the visitor's center, then drove to a cool old log cabin church with a loud bell.  Here we are, standing in front of it, ringing the bell.  The Princess decided she had HAD ENOUGH and was sitting in the hot car.  Whatever.

Then we went to Jenny's Lake to take the boat across and hike the Mountain, when we saw the parking lot, we drove right on past, and pulled over at the less busy String Lake.  Uh...OK, I'm flexible.  PB and J for lunch, and "Hey!  Let's go swimming!"

Now, I'm not big on change.  I want to know the plan, and follow the plan.  Especially when the swimming stuff is all packed for DAY 3.  (Neatly, in the van.  Organized, ya know?)

I was the only one, of course who cared.  So we swam.  Beautiful.

Nellie L and the Caboose in the sand

Little P

Little P
Lil' Mama

Primcess, Lil' Mama and Mr. L

Mr. Cool , Nellie L and Caboose

Littles P and K


Mr. Lamadingdong

Mr. Cool

Little K

Fun times.  Then I asked Handsome Prince if he wanted the kids to wear our suits under our clothes in case we swam again that day.  He thought we probably wouldn't have time, and I agreed and headed for the outhouse to change the little girls back into their clothes and clean them up.  The facilities were NOT comfortable, and did not have a flush option.  UGH.  I helped the little girls an tried to be sanitary as I put my clothes back on.  About the time that the Caboose decided to pee all over the already disgusting floor, Lil' Mama came back in to tell us that Daddy said maybe we should keep the suits on  under our clothes instead.  This comment prompted a mass stripping by the little girls, who felt this was the best idea all day, and wouldn't let me talk them into changing back later if we stopped to swim.  "What if you need to use the bathroom?"  I plead as they each took a turn stepping into the urine--it was like a magnet.  "You'll have to take everything off to do it.  Let's just keep the suits off and change again when we need them.  PLEASE!  You're already dressed.  STOP, EVERYBODY!  JUST STOP STEPPING IN THE PEE!  IT'S 200* IN HERE!  WE'RE NOT CHANGING MID-STREAM!  OUT, OUT!  EVERYONE OUT!  NO!  IT'S TOO HOT AND SANDY."
I baled out of the hut and started spewing venom at my baffled, innocent Handsome Prince.  (Who only had large boys to supervise and no foggy urine to guard.)   I'll spare you the details--you have most of them already.  Let's just say that I'm not proud of losing it in public.
Later, in the (now completely sandy, wet, disorganized, stinky) van, I apologized.  Lil' K was the funniest--she kept reminding me that we were going to a hotel that night, and that I was still Mama.  (I'd sort of alluded to that fact that I was turning into...well, an undesirable.)

On to Yellowstone!

Old Faithful

We toured some hot pots, saw Old Faithful, teased about souvenirs, and saw some amazing stuff.
We decided to eat dinner outside of Yellowstone where the prices were better, which would have worked if we'd realized that we were still in West Yellowstone when we stopped at the Golden Arches for a cheap meal.  OVER $60 LATER... (Sheesh!)

After the final drive of the day, we went to the hotel, showered everyone off and had everyone tucked away by midnight.  The next day we went to the farm!

My Aunt Julie and Uncle Gaylen have the most awesome farm ever, and they let us come for a visit.
Aunt Julie let us help feed the cows, horses, chickens, goats, cats and bunnies.  We were in Heaven!!!

Little K and  Mr. Cool led by Nellie L

Lil' Mama and Caboose

Little P, Nellie L and a hag

Princess wants to go back alone next summer

Mr. Cool

We milked the goats and tasted the milk--she even gave us some soap she made with goats' milk!  Unbelievable.  The best part was riding the horse!
Caboose couldn't get enough

Aunt Julie says, "You don't do STUPID on a farm!"

Little P

Mr. Lamadingdong and Little K


Little P and Lil' Mama

I think this was the highlight of the entire trip, and it was the thing the kids talked about the most before and after.  A ton of work goes into a farm, and we were so blessed to get to share the fruits of the labors with the Sommers'.  THANK YOU!

Most of us weren't ready to leave when the time came.

After the farm, we met up with Aunt Brenda, Uncle Jeremy and the S cousins at a playground for some lunch.  Unknown to the adults, the park had puddles that were knee-deep in several places.  Let's just say that some of us tried to take a bath.  It was a muddy, glorious mess!   (Can you feel it?  Can you feel the laundry?  It's starting to hang over your head, isn't it?)

I was as surprised as anyone else that there was not a huge Mommy-tantrum after this one.  Is our Mom learning patience?  No, probably not.  It was just a fluke.

On the way to the Bear Lake campground, we stopped at Soda Springs.  OK, get this.  There are these natural springs that you can drink from that are carbonated!  We just dipped a cup and drank.
 There was also a man-made geyser.  So cool!
We mixed up some Kool-Aid with the spring water and it was delicious!

Little K chillin'

Princess has some hot cocoa

The very first thing that the Caboose did as we lighted from the car was trip and fall full-force into the fire pit.  Thank goodness there wasn't a fire!

As I put the little girls to bed that night, Handsome Prince took the oldest four to tour the nearby ice caves.

The next day, we all toured the Minnetonka cave.  Breathtaking.

I carried her to the end, and a little of the way back.  Nellie L took her up the Stairway to Heaven and most of the way back to the entrance.

Mr. Lamadingdong

Little P

Nellie L

 The Caboose was hilarious--she had to wear the headlamp, and it was either backwards and shining in her eyes, or flashing into mine the whole time.  It made the experience that much more freaky.

When we were are far into the cave as we could go, the guide turned off all the lights and we experienced total darkness.  It was awesome!

After that, we headed for Bear Lake.  We didn't take any pictures, but it was perfect, and relaxing and fun.  We all buried Daddy in the sand, and collected rocks and tiny shells.  Afterward, we stopped for raspberry shakes.

That night we spent the night at Grandma and Becky's home again.  Becky bought me a copy of "Mirror, Mirror" and we stayed up until midnight watching it.  So fun!  Twice in two weeks--I'm practically a real person!

The next day, Aunt Lisa watched everyone while the Prince and I went to The Korea House for lunch.

Now we're home and I'm going to do the laundry.  We left all the church clothes at Grandmas, but stole two of her pillows and a rubbermaid container.  Maybe we'll get together and exchange hostages.

Side note--Saturday morning, two different kids came in to tell me they were bored, and asked if we could maybe go do something fun.

School starts in six days, not that I'm counting...


Jeri said...

What a fun vacation you had! You are amazing at getting your vacation all recorded. It was so fun to have you here and I'm so embarressed to tell you I forgot one of the funnest parts of our farm, the barn swing. Your kids would have loved it! Well hopefully you'll come again and they will be able to try it out then.

Love ya, Julie

Cummings said...

Jeri, thank you for the story of your post swimming adventure in the port-a-potty....I haven't cried due to laughing so hard in a long time =). And thanks for the meal organizing tips...what a great idea! I've been floundering in that whole "coming up with a different dinner every night thing", so I'll have to give it a try!