Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Happy Boobie Shirts"

On Sunday we ran the race for the cure in Spokane, Washington.

Linda's sister Jennifer and her friends from work put together a team to run for one of Jennifer's friend's mom who has been battling breast cancer this year.
They raised an incredible amount of money by selling these "Boobie" shirts.
If you would like to order a shirt and read more about their team, just click here.

It was so moving to see all of the survivors and their families run the race.

There was an option to be timed, but we didn't sign Michael up for that. I stood at the finish line and counted the runners that came in. Michael came in 38th and was the second person that I saw come in without a yellow tag which indicated that they were a timed runner.
I'm so proud of him!

Zachary and David also ran the race as did Linda's husband and daughter.

Linda's sister and father ran too.

The girl in the pink is Linda's daughter Katie.

Here is Team Gigi, or otherwise known as the boobie shirt team.

Having been surrounded by boobie shirts and boobie talk all day long, Bren remained kind of quiet and just took it all in.
Later that night when I tucked her into bed, she said,
"Thank you God for my friends and thank you God for my family.
And thank you God for Happy Boobie Shirts!

Ya gotta have friends......

You know that one friend in your life who just gets you? The one who knows just what to say when you are feeling sad and who adds so much to your life that you feel almost like family?
Well, for me, that's Linda.
We met in California and after her move to Spokane 4 years ago and my move to Georgia shortly after, we've spent most of our friendship long distance.
We've been having so much fun crashing at her house while we wait for our moving truck to get to Marysville.

The boys went to shoot arrows the other day and really had a great time.

Thanks to a suggestion left on my comments (thanks Sandi!!!), we went to Huhots in Spokane for some mongolian BBQ.

The boys have had a blast playing basketball almost every evening.
It seems that the sons gave the Dads a run for their money.

We also went to the river front in Spokane and let the kids feed the ducks and run around a little. That whole area is so pretty and seems like it would be a really fun place in the summer when it warms up a bit.
It snowed while we were there, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

Here's the 8 of our kids ranging in age from 4-16!
We'll be so sad to leave on Wednesday, but like Linda says, at least we are in the same time zone.
I see lots of camping trips in our future.

Hello Washington!!!!

The drive from Missoula, MT to Spokane, Wa was the most beautiful of the whole trip.
The mountains in Idaho are just breathtaking!

Can you believe the amount of snow they have in April?! The whole Welcome to Idaho sign was almost completely covered by the snow bank.

This is the lake in Couer D'alene Idaho. I probably murdered that name, but I'm way too tired to look it up right now. It's such a pretty place! If you haven't ever been here, put it on your list of places to see.

And finally, we crossed the state line into Washington!
Our home state for the next three to four years. It took us a long 7 days to get here, but we saw so many beautiful and interesting sights along the way.
We've still got 5 hours to go until we get to Marysville.
We're enjoying our time here in Spokane with our friends, the Streltzoff's while we wait for our moving truck to catch up with us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A day of extremes.....

Day 6 of our travels and we find ourselves in the rocky mountains of Montana.
Montana seems to be anything but consistent.
She's got wide open prairies, dry rocky hills and soaring snow covered mountains.

Montana is definitely a wild state with little cluster cities separated by many miles.
Her scenery is beautiful at times and monotonous at others.

Madison got some gorgeous shots again!
I'm so excited to see how great of a photographer she becomes!

We've stopped for the night once again in Montana.
We are in Missoula now...just three hours from our friend's house in Spokane, Washington where we will spend the next couple of days.
We decided to drive just four hours today so we can let the snow storm that is coming blow over. We hit lots of snowy spots and some ice through the mountains, so I'm not up for braving that again when we can stop and enjoy one more night in the hot tub!!
Thanks again for coming along with us on our trip!!
I'll have more to blog from Spokane and then we'll head to Marysville, WA on Sunday!!

Look,Mom! Faces on the mountain!!!!

Sorry I left you all hanging last night!

We stopped in Billings Montana but the hotel's internet access crashed and I couldn't get on to blog.

We started the day out with a visit to Mount Rushmore. It was so neat to see in person what I had only read about in history books.

Most of the attractions in the little town of Keystone, SD that accompany Mt. Rushmore were closed until the end of April, but we made the best of the day and explored the trails around the mountain, stopping for photo ops of course.

Hwy 212...................

Where the deer and the antelope play.....and nothing else!

We crossed into Wyoming on lonely Hwy 212 and before we knew it, we were through it and into Montana.

Would you look at this? I mean seriously look at it.

Can you imagine living here?

Every once in a while, we'd see a mail box on this road ( hwy 212 ) and a dirt driveway leading off to the left or right and then far off in the distance we'd see a house. The kids and I would spend the next few miles talking about what it must be like to live in this kind of solitude.

I suppose the peace would be alluring. It would definitely take a few weeks to detox from our dependence on entertainment, but I imagine that after the shock of no shopping at the mall or pizza delivery, we might actually enjoy this kind of lifestyle. But then again, I really like people and I love interacting with them and meeting new personalities, so I'm not sure I'm cut out for the kind of loneliness that I assume goes along with living so far away from civilization.

Madison took all of the scenery photos. I especially love this one!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

7 hours in South Dakota

We began the morning in Fairmont, Minnesota with a little silliness before a loooooooooong trip across rural South Dakota. We were warned that the trip would be boring because of the miles and miles and miles of nothing but fields with a few (very few) sparsely populated little clusters of farms.
But the lady who warned us of this, doesn't know my son Michael. To him, she had just issued a challenge. She might just have well said, " I dare you to make this trip fun and exciting!"

Armed with his usual wit and charm, I was lucky to have Michael ride shot gun today. No way were we going to be bored.

But just in case, I had to amp up a bit before beginning the drive.
The bright eyed strawberry blonde lady at starbucks was especially chipper this morning. She practically reached out and hugged me through the drive through window when she was talking about how gorgeous the day was.
"There's more on the way!!" she said, her eyes twitching with excitement as her broad smile spread across her face.
Being a sun lover myself, I can totally understand her quivering joy over the season's first warm rays.
And it was a beautiful day...just gorgeous!
It got up to about 82 according to the gage on my van.

Ah, South Dakota.....you thought you had us with your barren fields and your wide skies that stretched so far it appeared as if we might actually fall off the end of the earth.
But, I had my secret weapon......the one person who can truely make a game out of road kill and have us all wanting to be no where else but where we were. Michael has such a gift for humor.
Here's a conversation we had during or drive.....
Michael: "If I were from outer space, I would hate it here."
Me: "Why?"
Michael: "Because it's not my home."

Is it just me, or is that a total off the wall thing to say? I think I laughed for 13 miles over that! Coulda been the triple shot of espresso too though.

Here's another:
We had been talking about poems when Michael asked me if I wanted to know what his favorite poem was. Thinking that he was about to recite Robert Frost or Ralph Waldo Emerson, I said, "Yes, please tell me your favorite poem."
Here is my son's favorite poem.....
"There's too many kids in this tub.
There's too many kids to scrub.
I just wiped a behind
I'm sure wasn't mine
There's too many kids in this tub."

Well, what can you say after that?

Here we are crossing the Missouri river. It was so sudden and so beautiful. We stopped for lunch just on the other side of this river. I had a South Dakota buffalo burger!

Here we are driving on highway 90 west......this is pretty much what we saw for 7 hours!
Here are the details of the road kill game that put a fun spin on the boring landscape.....
Michael counted cows on his side and I counted cows on my side. Each time one of us saw road kill, the other player's cows were dead. As soon as one of us thought we were winning, we'd spot a pheasant or deer and the game would flip. Michael actually got up to over 1,000 cows at one point before I finally found a jack rabbit to call.

We stopped at "Wall Drug" in Wall, SD. If you have ever driven on 95 toward South Carolina, you understand the signs that line the interstate for miles letting you know of the tourist trap ahead. This is the same thing...only with cowboys instead of Pedro.
We had some homemade ice cream which was worth the stop.

We finished the day in Rapid City, SD. We are staying at the Marriot which is connected to Watiki Indoor Water Park Resort. It was the perfect end to a loooooooooooong drive through the wild wild west!

Tomorow we'll go see MT. Rushmore and then make our way into Montana!
It is supposed to be another gorgeous day.
I want to give a very special thank you to each and every one of you who are reading this blog and who have left such sweet comments.
I have read and cherished every one of them and I wish I had time to sit down and write each of you a heart felt response because you deserve it, but for now, please accept my public thanks!!!

I'll see ya in Montana!