Today was dedicated to driving. However, I did learn something that I hoped I never would. My two year old is smarter than me (for my sake, she will be three next month). As Misti alluded to in a comment, we would be crazy to try this trip without a DVD player, but we do try to limit it. I told Kierra she could watch the rest of Brother Bear today. So, we're driving and driving and driving and the movie keeps going and going. I finally start to realize after about 2 1/2 hours (understanding that she is watch a Disney movie and not the original Pride and Prejudice) that something is up. I ask Kierra is she has watched her movie, and she says, "Yeah, this many times." Just so you don't call child protective services, I won't tell you how many fingers she was holding up. Apparently on our DVD player you can make the movie skip back an hour or so by closing the lid and opening it again...and Kierra was the first to discover it. So I was duped. Well, we also had a deal with her that she could have some candy after every few drinks of her medicine to help her constipation. So, she would take a few drinks, smile at me, and then I would give her candy (you can watch hours and hours of a movie without candy). Well, similar to the movie, I lost track of how much she was drinking. After a while, Kindra started to give her the drinks. So, Kierra took and drink and smiled at her mom. Her mom, unlike her dad, realized that that was Kierra's mischievous smile. She wanted to test her, so she gave her some candy and gave her the water again. When she got the bottle back, the level had not gone down at all. Kierra used me for candy...duped again. Disregard Day 11 when I declared that I am starting to get the hang of this fathering business. Father of the Year!!!
Today we spent most of the day seeing the sites in Nauvoo. I loved it. I could spend a few days there. We started with a horse and carriage ride through old Nauvoo. A sister acted as a tour guide. This was a good way to start because she gave us an overview of what was there, so we knew where we wanted to head after the tour. We started in the garden area that has 13 statues that are a tribute to women. From there we went to the family living center where they teach how the pioneers made rope, candles, bread and other things. From there we went to the bakery where they sampled out gingerbread men. Finally, we went to the kids area so Kierra could try some of the pioneer games. The entire setting was very neat, and it really helped to get a feel for what the era was like. I got a glimpse on the horse tour of what the pioneers might have felt like. Many of them felt like they were finally in Zion in Nauvoo, yet they were asked to leave. As we headed on the wagon towards the Mississippi River, we could see the Nauvoo temple fading in the background. It had to be such a hard sight for those Saints that knew they would not be back. Yet, they were faithful to what the prophet asked them to do. From there we went to Carthage. It was very interesting and heart wrenching to see where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed. Kindra and I went through separately, so the other could watch the girls. When I came out, Kindra asked me what I thought of it. That is a difficult question to answer. I can say that I came out of the tour with feeling confirming that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
Kierra Quote: "I just don't want Ariana to play with her toes like that." (a.k.a. - We have been in the car way too long.)
Happy Memorial Day! We celebrated by...driving! I officially feel like a dad on vacation today. I spent an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening with Kierra in the pool. My vocubulary as a dad is getting better. In Kadoka, SD my question to the hotel worker was, "Do you have a pool?" I got yes for an answer, so I was happy...until I checked in and realized that it was an outdoor pool and there was not water in it. That might have been useful information. In Council Bluffs the question transformed into, "Do you have an indoor pool?" (I still refuse to ask if there is water in it and am just chalking that up as on bad apple). I got yes as an answer so I was happy...until I got in and realized that their pool was cold enough to initiate me into the Polar Bear club (unfortunately I'm not over forty and I don't do speedos). So, by Nauvoo I realized the question needs to be "Do you have a HEATED INDOOR pool?" I am slowly getting this dad business down. Pretty soon I actually might think to check whether a diaper needs changing or give one of my girls a bath or something...one step at a time. We got to Nauvoo tonight and I am very excited to see the sites tomorrow. We did watch a short play. Nauvoo has a very nice feel to it.
I am pretty sure that IA means Iowa...if not, then you now know what I meant. I had an experience today that Steven Covey would call a paradigm shift (don't worry, it is not contagious and it will probably go away tomorrow). Today's was good, but a little stressful. We planned to go to church this morning. Unfortunately, the alarm on my cell phone did not go off (which usually means I set it wrong), then we had a long day of driving. As we finally got closer to Omaha, Kierra starting to have to go to the bathroom. For those of you who don't know (and probably don't want to know), we are helping Kierra through problems with constipation. So, basically, she might say she "has to go" for days on end. It is her extreme version of what my brother-in-law would so eloquently call 'prairie doggin' it.' Anyways, I was getting very frustrated at the frequent stops. Finally, my GPS took me to the complete wrong side of Omaha (which, again, means that I probably put the address in wrong). So, we finally ended up at the Mormon Trail Museum (Winter Quarters) in Omaha. I was very impressed with what we saw. Those men and women went through so much with such good attitudes (see Quote of the Day below). And here I am getting frustrated over a few times having to get out of the car, a cell phone and GPS malfunction, etc. Needless to say, I feel rebuked. I will meet tomorrow's drive with renewed vigor and optimism. But first, we must have a dip in the pool.
Quote of the Day: "We only went through one mud puddle today...it was 6 miles long." - A quote from a pioneers journal.
Today we got up and drove to Mount Rushmore. I was very impressed by Mount Rushmore and it was a great chance to get out of the car for a little bit. Kierra was most impressed by the chipmunks in the eating area. Are you starting to notice a theme? We met up with Bryce, Lisa, and Sophie LaPierre at Mount Rushmore. Bryce was in my group my first semester of school, and we quickly became friends. Luckily, Kindra and Lisa seem to like each other too. It was really good to see them. After that we hit the road again. Something happened in the car that, if it can be recreated, will allow some easy driving. Kierra dozed off after Mount Rushmore. She was sound asleep, but Ariana was fussy. That is, until she found the perfect play toy...Kierra's pony tail. She wiggled around Kierra's head and didn't make a peep. Kierra didn't move a muscle. We have long known that she has her dad's sleeping ability. We then made it to Kadoka, SD. I have never felt closer to falling off of the face of the earth. Actually, it is pretty relaxing here. There is just nowhere to buy baby food. Kierra was pretty wound up in the hotel room. She cracked herself up by speaking in a British accent and reenacting this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM. I have to admit, it was pretty funny. I laughed so hard that my side hurt, and it's still hurting.
I've got it. An all new reality TV show to be aired on the Travel channel called Traveling Tetris. Each contestant is given, say, 3 months worth of stuff and, say, a 2001 Ford Taurus. The contestants would then be given 30 minutes to find the most efficient way to pack the trunk. They would be judged by how much luggage ends up leaned up against their 9-month olds car seat. If they do make this show...chalk me in as the champion as I get practice every morning and just about every stop! Today's drive wasn't too bad. We stopped at the memorial to the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It was very interesting. Kierra's favorite part was when she saw a bunny in the parking lot. We were all worn out in the hotel room...except Kierra. The drive through Wyoming was very pretty. We saw a herd of antelope, an owl, a hawk, and some pheasants all within a few miles. We would have felt like we were home, home on the range if the skies would not have been all cloudy and gray.
Kierra Quote: "I am ready to get out of the car now." (Ten minutes outside of Great Falls and on many subsequent occasions.
Today was packed. I played basketball again, and then Jake and I went to go golfing while my parents took the two little girls to go to the childrens' museum and bounce house. Apparently, two days of rain is a reasonable excuse to close a golf course, so we went bowling instead. To our surprise, kicking the ball down the lane is almost enough to get kicked out, so our fun was spoiled. Kindra made hair bows with Kelli. Afterwards we went to see Jake's house on Malmstrom Air Force Base. They have a pretty nice setup. We came home to an early birthday party for Kierra from my family. She was spoiled, but she deserves it. This trip will be hard the two little girls. We said most of our goodbyes tonight. I hate leaving Montana. It is always relaxing and fun to visit my family. It made it even more difficult knowing that we have such a long drive ahead of us.
We went on a date while my family watched the girls today. It was very relaxing. Despite the rain, we decided to to play disc golf. It was a lot of fun. Kindra and I tied. I can handle that. With Kindra as a wife, I am plenty happy when I don't lose...at anything we play. We had a birthday party for my brother Jake. We ended the night with a game of dominoes. I am gearing up for our driving to begin the day after tomorrow.
Kindra started today with a jog. Kierra just spends a lot of time playing outside with her cousins. I played basketball with my dad and with some old friends. Then we relaxed at home for a while. Our days are filled with a lot of naps. With two 2 year olds, a 9 month old, and a 1 month old, it is very difficult to coordinate schedules with all of the children. Luckily, we all enjoy just relaxing while the kids nap. Trust me...they need it. It the afternoon we went to Gibson Park and fed the ducks and geese (and the baby geese), and let the kids play on the playground. Then we had dinner with mom and dad, Jake's family, and Kelli's family. Then I came to a sad realization. I am getting old. I know because I can no longer handle late shows. Last night Kindra and I snuck away to the 10:30 showing of Prince Caspian. I really enjoyed the 2/3rds of the movie that I was awake for. This is the second time in a row that I have fallen asleep at the late show even though I really enjoyed it. Before you know it, it will be waking up at four in the morning, I nice bowl of oatmeal at 10:00 a.m., a slice of bread at 1:00 p.m., doctors visit, a cup of soup at 4:00 p.m. watch Matlock at 6:00 p.m., and lights out by 7:30. I guess I better start working on my shuffle board.
I started today with a round of disc golf with my dad. The course here is pretty fun. It is full of gopher holes. It was fun just to be outside. It was a nice day out. Then my dad and I helped my cousin Christy load up some stuff they bought from Sam's Club. I remember Christy as a little girl, and now she is married with children. Time flies I guess. We spent a lot of time outside. The weather has been nice, and I have done a lot of relaxing. We also spent some time looking for new clothes for Kindra. She has the hardest time finding new clothes (finding time and finding clothes that are cute and that fit). She is very practical and typically thinks of herself last, so I hope we can find some clothes for herself. She definitely deserves everything that she needs and most of what she wants. We didn't have much success, but we will keep trying. I finished off the night by playing a few games of pinochle with my grandma, her freind, and Kelli. Pinochle has been my grandpartents' game of choice for years. I thought it would be the least I could do, as a good grandson, to let them whoop me.
Today was nice. Kindra and I took the girls to church. Kindra was asked to play the piano in primary here just like she was in Portland and just like she has been doing for two years in Orem. Of course, she was more than willing to help. I saw many people that I knew growing up. I always enjoy coming to church here, and see how people, the wards, and just the feeling of the church changes here over time. We came home to my my mom and dad and Mike and Kelli being home. It was very good to see all of them. Kindra and I made a dinner for a late mother's day present. We made pulled pork tacos, and I must say they were delicious. We went and saw grandpa in the hospital. He couldn't hear us because his hearing aids are broken right now, but I could tell that he definitely appreciated visitors. His eyes followed Kierra all over the room. Jake's family and grandma and her friend, Barbara Lee came over. The cousins all had fun playing outside...for the most part!
Today I started out the day by playing disc golf with my old roommate, Nate Esplin. It was a lot of fun. He is the person that got me into disc golf. We also went and had ice cream with him and his new wife. We made it to Great Falls, so there will be no driving for a while. We stopped at two more parks. I am starting to enjoy that more. I get so anxious to get back on the road, but I am working on it. Over the past 4 years Utah has really begun to feel like home, but there is something about driving through the beautiful mountains in Montana that makes me feel at ease (especially when nobody in the car gets carsick). I doubt that I will ever live here again, but it is sure a beautiful state. Nobody was at our parents house when we got here (they are getting back from Boise tomorrow). We went and saw my grandma and visited for a little while. Grandpa is in the hospital with fluid in his lungs, which was news to me. He hates being in the hospital. He is definitely one tough cookie. He has endured a lot. Then Jake and Khanyi's family came over. It was good to see them and their kids. Everyone (kids and adults) got tired very fast, so they went home and we went to bed.
I have decided to keep a travel-log of our trip across the country. I realized two things today. First, we cannot afford the gas to drive to Connecticut. Second, there are not enough hours in a day for me to drive to Connecticut by the time I am supposed to start work and still keep my wife and daughters sane. The first realization came when it cost more to fill up our car for our first leg of the trip than it did for our hotel room. There is something wrong with that. The only solution to the problem is that we must now sleep in our car. My second realization came when it was 6:00 p.m. when we arrived in Idaho Falls (typically a 4 hour drive from Orem). I keep forgetting that I can actually enjoy the travel on the way. We stopped at parks in Malad, ID and Inkom, ID (I know what you are thinking, and, yes, those towns are 45 minutes apart). We got a hotel room in Idaho Falls near the river, ducks, and with a nice view of the temple. We had a picnic near the water. It was a very pretty day. However, we walked past our car on the way to the river's edge, and Kierra thought we were getting back in the car. She declared, "I am not getting back in that car!" That is exactly what I did not want to hear 4 hours in to a 45 hour drive. She was very relieved to find out that we were going to feed the ducks. I ended the night by watching the Jazz lose to the Lakers to be eliminated from the playoffs. Next year I guess.
It is now time for the much anticipated, never imitated, often contemplated addition to our blog. So get out your pens and paper and arm yourselves for water-cooler conversations everywhere...all twelve of you. Obviously, it has been a while since I have written. We have been very busy, but that is no excuse to leave you all in suspense for three months. Right now we are rapidly cleaning our apartment as we prepare to head to our internship this summer. Our travels began last week with a great visit to Portland to see my brother, Randy, and his family. Our time was spent with trips to the beach, tolf (golf with a tennis ball), disc golf (as you can see, we can't afford to play golf the way that it was intended), four-wheeler rides, a visit with President Hansen (my first mission president), and relaxation. It was a well-needed trip after a grueling final month of school. I definitely owed the time to Kindra and the girls, but they were very supportive as I tried to wrap things up. We leave Friday to head to Montana where we will spend a week with my parents, grandparents, and siblings and their families. I am excited for Kierra and Ariana to spend time with their cousins. From Montana we will head to Mount Rushmore and then visit historic sights from the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is a trip that I have always wanted to make. I think it will be great to see the place of so many hardships that have made it possible for me to come to know my Savior better. It is also the first time that we will take a family vacation with just our family where we are not visiting other family (did you catch that?). I am very excited and also a little nervous to see how our two little girls will handle a drive across the country. I am sure that the portable DVD player that Kevin's family gave us for Christmas will become our favorite present ever. We will end up in Greenwich, CT where I will spend 12 weeks doing an internship in corporate finance with United Rentals. I am very excited by the opportunity. I interviewed there and really enjoyed the people that I will work with (as much as you can enjoy people in an interview). The area sounds great. It is an old New England town that is a 50 minute train ride to Manhattan. We are accepting visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis. After the internship we will drive to Boise and spend a few days with my sister Leslie and her family, then it is on to Sun Valley to spend a weekend with Kindra's extended family. Then we return to Utah the day before school starts. And I thought summers were for rest and relaxation! So we are taking our show on the road, and considering the fact that we will be in about 20 states this summer, check your local listings to see if we will be in a town near you!
Dad: "What are your ears for?" Kierra: "Ear Wax."
Dad: "What songs did you sing in nursery today?" Kierra: "'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star', 'Wheels on the Bus', but they forgot to sing, 'If You Could Hie to Kolob'!"
"Why are you stinky, daddy?"
"Ohhhh, Dad! I love Ariana's witch hat!" (See photos to the right.)