Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brandon's BIG days

Wow. Not only have we survived a month-long road trip, but Brandon had some very eventful days along the way.

First up, his 8th birthday! My big boy is eight years old. Crazy. And he's grown into this lean and lanky big kid. He spent his birthday at Boondocks, a huge fun center in Utah with


bumper boats,

and laser tag.
Along with a bunch of fun video games.

And he was able to celebrate with cousins,
which made it even more fun.
Thanks, Grandma S!!!

He had a Star Wars cake.

And got a skateboard and helmet,
along with some fun Bionicle sets,
Lego sets, and a Transformer.

Next, his baptism day. In our church, you can get baptized when you're eight, so part of why we planned this huge adventure was to be around family for his special day. And I'll tell you what, we got what we wanted.

Twenty-nine family members to be exact.
(You can barely see Aunt Denny's left eye
above Grandpa's shoulder.)

The baptism went really well.
It was a special, spiritual day.

We are happy for you, buddy,
and know you made a great decision
to follow the Savior's example and
be baptized.

And, finally, Brandon got to take a trip to California with his Gigi and Grandpa. My mom has been saying for years that when her grandkids turn eight, she wants to take them to Disneyland.

She lived up to her promise!
Brandon had a BLAST being the center
of attention. Some of his favorite parts
were Space Mountain, Innoventions House,

the fireworks,

and getting chosen from the crowd to fight
Darth Maul. Go B-train!

He also got a bonus trip to
(Or what heaven will be like
for eight year old boys.)

They saw amazing lego creations,

rode some roller coasters,

hung out with R2D2,

and Grandpa battled Darth Vader
and won! Oh, wait, he was made
out of legos. I guess it was a stale mate.

Thanks so much, Gigi and Grandpa
for making some amazing memories.

These are most definitely days to be remembered.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Care Bear's studio pics

So I didn't get the Brandon post put together yet. In the meantime, enjoy some adorable pics from Caroline's one year photo shoot.

This little girls wins over pretty much everyone she meets. She has a sweet sense of humor and loves to explore her world. And we're all surprised to hear her super loud screeches. It doesn't seem like that little body should be able to make that much noise!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Adventures in Utah

Wow. We are having a blast visiting with our family. If pictures really are worth a thousand words, this will probably be my longest blog post ever. So I'll keep the actual words to a minimum and let the pics do the talking.

Here's a sampling of what we're doing for fun:



the zoo

seeing if we can stuff our heads into a pillow

at the same time as our cousins

visiting the Grand America Hotel

and enjoying afternoon tea

(caffeine free, of course.)


enjoying the grounds of the

Salt Lake Temple

getting my birthday present from Andrew--

An Anthony Sweat original painting,

"The Andrea Nebula"

based on this photograph from the Hubble

Telescope of the Swan Nebula

watching Hannah Montana at Movies 8 in Provo.

That brought back some memories.

eating at Cafe Rio!

Visiting the Bean Museum on BYU campus

where Whitney saw a butterfly made out of butterflies!

walking around our old stomping grounds at BYU

enjoying the sunsets where we can actually see the horizon

getting our first flat tire ever from some sheet
metal that was dropped on the freeway

SOOOO thankful Andrew was with me and
got us all fixed up.

going up the canyon

swimming at a sandy beached lake


playing, laughing, and hanging out with cousins

Touring the Oquirrh Mountain Temple
during the open house.

Phew. The kids just crash at night and in retrospect I can see why. We've been running them ragged! And I wouldn't change a thing. Just a couple more days with my parents in Roosevelt and then we're off on our return voyage.
Brandon has had an extra special trip, but it deserves a post of its own. Look forward to that soon. (Hopefully.)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Destination reached

We made it to Utah. Hooray! We are THRILLED to be here and to have a couple of weeks to chill with our families before heading back out. We've traveled 3066 miles so far and are having a great time. I love watching the scenery change as we drive across states. I love taking my kids places that they've never been. And I especially love visiting with so many friends and relatives. It is the best!

Here are some of the highlights from the trip out.

Whitney's favorites:

1. Visiting the Dallas World Aquarium

Everyone loved the otters.

And we ALL love Grandma Cuca, who joined
us about halfway through our trip. She rocks!

Watch out for that shark!

2. Visiting two science museums along the way.
(We are getting the most out of our membership
to the Natural Science Center back home!)

We stopped at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV.

Whit thought this bubble wall was AWESOME.

We also visited Science Museum Oklahoma.

She got to try out a segway.
Pretty good, huh?

3. Trying to go "fishing" at a little lake in Georgetown, Colorado.

We took a very different route this time than we did on our last cross-country road trip. This lake was one of the only stops that we made both times.

Whit found a stick and held it in the water.
You know, she was fishing.
(Grandpa Gerber--I think she needs some lessons.)

Brandon's favorites:

1. The two museums

He built a free-standing arch at the Clay Center.
And also enjoyed making little movies and
choreographing fountains using "the force."

He had a blast at the GIANT tree house in SM Oklahoma.
It had a TWO STORY twisty slide.

He and Whit got along pretty well throughout the trip.

2. Getting Bionicles.

Both his Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Alex

AND his Aunt Irene and Uncle Bill got him Bioncles.
He has been in heaven. He LOVES building those things.
They are currently gracing Grandma and Grandpa's mantle.

3. Breaking fish guts at Georgetown lake. (What a boy!)

Leave it up to B to find guts in the lake and use
sticks to pull them out and examine them.
I think he'll enjoy anatomy lab in college.

My favorites:

1. Playing Chickenfoot and Dominoes at night in both Texas and Wichita.

I even won a game. Woo hoo!

2. Taking in the scenery during the drive from Colorado to Utah. Seriously breathtaking.

The pictures don't do it justice.

If you ever have a chance to take this drive,
DO IT! Sooooo beautiful.

We had been driving through plains for so long,
then all of a sudden the majestic Rockies.

And then into the desert.
(I'm still a desert girl at heart.)

We even caught a glimpse of a rainbow.
(A rarity in NC.)

3. Singing really loud to the song "Ghostbusters" in the car.

Every road trip I make a new CD of downloaded songs and while the whole CD isn't as fun as some of the others we've had, this song is a BIG hit with us.

Who ya gonna call?

Other random moments

A bird landing right on Marianne's head at the
aquarium. Cracked me up. Freaked her out.

Looking at Caroline THROUGH one of the tanks.
Hi, baby...and Uncle Bill!

Stopping at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

We packed a lunch and ate under the shade of
the only tree that survived the blast.

Stopped at a random elementary school
in Kansas for lunch and to play.

It was HOT, but we had fun.

When we were driving through Kentucky, we passed a truck with the official state seal that said "Abandoned land mine detection." I was so fascinated. I had no idea that land mines were a problem in Kentucky. I was talking to Andrew about it and he had me doubting myself--I must've read the truck wrong. I googled it and found that they have a Division of Abandoned Mine Lands and a Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement. I guess land mines aren't a problem, but they apparently have lots of abandoned coal mines there. Simple mistake, right?

We're enjoying the break from the car now, but I'm excited to make more memories along the way as we travel home.