Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Days 16-21 of 21

Papa Echo joined me and the kids at Stimey's house Friday night and then Saturday we drove across Washington DC to Papa Echo's Dad's house in Virginia. After a day of visiting and eating Dim sum, Papa Echo, Jessica, Jonathan, Grandpa, and Grandma Patty went on another sightseeing tour of DC at night.

at the WWII memorial

On Sunday, Papa Echo had to fly back to Canada and we were on our way home. Before dropping PE off at the airport, we stopped at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum next to Dulles International Airport.
The space shuttle!! How cool is that!!

Jonathan was thrilled to be here!!

When we were planning this trip, and looking for a route home, Alyssa asked, "Can we go to Kentucky?" I asked, "Why? What's in Kentucky?" And she says, "I just like the way 'Kentucky' sounds and think it would be fun to go there." So, I look at the map and figured it would only be an extra 4-5 hours of driving and after going so far anyway....

We drove through, Virginia and stopped for the night. Then drove through West Virginia and then into....

We proudly present our very quick trip through Kentucky.
Even the lizards were glad we stopped by.

What do you do in Kentucky when you only have a couple of hours and then need to be on the road again? What if the kids are tired of museums? What would be something to do that would also represent the state?

Let's see, Kentucky = Kentucky Derby = horse racing = horses = horseback riding.

Yes!! The kids want to go horseback riding!! We have a winning idea!

Our guide did not understand that I needed to take pictures for scrapbooking documentation, and put me on a horse after Jonathan, so please forgive the "not so close-up" photos...

And then we kept on driving... and driving... through Kentucky, up into Ohio for a few miles and then to Indiana.... stopping for the night there.

And then we kept on driving... and driving... through Indiana, and through Illinois... and then into Iowa... stopping for the night there.

And then we kept on driving... and driving... through Iowa and into South Dakota and stopped for the night.

And then we drove through South Dakota, into Wyoming briefly, into Montana and we were HOME!!! We did it!!

One last photo op, though... At some point between Indiana and South Dakota... (I can't remember where) I was pretty tired of driving and needed to stop for a nap. We pulled into this neat rest area.
Good thing the kids took my camera to document me sleeping...

I absolutely LOVE my kids and am so glad we went on this wonderful adventure.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Days 13-15 of 21

We made the LONG drive through New York and Pennsylvania to Stimey's house!! On Wednesday, she drove us into Washington DC. The only thing we had to remember was where we parked and to go pick up her boys from day camp by 2:00. Done and Done.
I refrained from saying ALL the things I wanted to say in front of the White House.

Before I continue with our sight-seeing around our Nation's Capital... I would like to just say that where I come from, a mall is something that you go to and buy clothes, lotion, jewelry, and cheap/greasy food. With that in mind, Stimey asked me what I would like to see. And I say, "The Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial... things like that." She says, "Great, the mall is just over there." I say, "Okay? Um.... and maybe the Washington Memorial, and the Reflecting Pool? You know?" And she says, " Yeah, we just go down this way and we'll be at the mall". And I say, (still not catching on because I'm quick like that) " basically all the stuff you should see your first visit to DC....?" And then figuring that she is going to have us walk through Bath and Body Works on the way, I just followed her lead... Not sure at what point I finally asked the obvious, which was, "Oh.... the National Mall is not like a mall/mall.... okay...." Luckily I had a VERY patient tour guide in Stimey.

So, onto the National Mall walk/run. (We had to hurry because of the time constraint and all...)

The Washington Monument
Our fearless leader and tour guide, Stimey!!
Korean War Memorial (my favorite one there because it had the most emotional impact for me and the kids.)
My little troopers. They were good sports with the fast paced walk.
Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam Memorial
One thing to know about staying at Stimey's? She is a bad influence on kidlets. How can I compete with a mouse in a ball? The kids could have stayed watching and playing with the mice all day long!! And NO! WE ARE NOT GETTING ANY MICE!! I don't care what Stimey says...
Nature Center so close to where Stimey lives... one of the benefits of living in a real city.
Jonathan and Jack
Jonathan helping Jack put on a beekeepers outfit.
Quinn and Jessica watching frogs, I think...

While in Canada at the Discovery Center, we watched a movie called "Forces of Nature". It was about the "deadly effects of volcanoes, tornadoes and earthquakes."
About 5:00 am, I woke up thinking I had heard a big 'ol truck going past the house. Then I realized that it wasn't a truck, but an earthquake. And then it stopped. Jessica came hurrying into the room and said, "Mama, Mama, I think that was an earthquake." And I said, "yep, I think you're right". She says, "what should we do?". And I say, "Well, it's over now, so go back to bed." What are the odds of having a tornado in Billings in June and then an earthquake in Maryland in July?

Friday we went to the National Zoo. Once we got there though, Jessica became really pale and felt really sick. (She has a very sensitive stomach with traveling and if she isn't hydrated, it can turn ugly quick.) I stayed in the van with her while Stimey took Alyssa, Jonathan and Quinn into the zoo. After about an hour, I could see that Jessica wasn't going to feel well enough for the zoo and took her back to Stimey's.
Hero Stimey to the rescue!! Thanks so much for taking my kidlets into the zoo on the hottest day of the year and taking pictures so I can appropriately scrapbook our adventure!!
How can panda's be so stinkin' cute!!
Stimey distracting the kids with cotton candy from the heat.
GRRRR..... Alligators
I love the look of terror on Alyssa's face. She is a great little actress. And I should point out that only Stimey can get people to "pose" for pictures like this. It's a power that not many possess.

It was a quick trip to Stimey's, but we sure did have fun. Stimey was a WONDERFUL hostess and I hope we can return soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Days 9-12 of 21

After Papa Echo got off work, we drove to Toronto. On Saturday, we drove to Niagara Falls. On the way there, we saw this boat in the bay and just had to stop. Jonathan said he thought it looked like a pirate ship.

Then we spent the day at Niagara Falls, returning to Toronto for the night.
We took the tour underground where there was tunnels going behind the falls.
Breathtaking view!!

For Montana standards, Billings is a big city. It was good to have the kids see a true BIG city.
Jonathan and Papa Echo
We loved the paint job on this building.
Jessica took this picture. I love it!!
Jonathan and Papa Echo watching planes land.

Papa Echo flew back to work Monday morning, and I drove south back to the US. I learned that I need to work on my "poker face" going across the border. I wasn't even doing anything wrong, and my heart was racing and I was all sweaty. The border guard made me nervous when he asked me to take off my sunglasses. When he asked where my plates were from, I could barely stutter out Montana. When he asked what I was doing in Canada I squeaked out, "visiting my husband who's working here....". And, when he asked where I was headed, I gave a big, long explanation of what was still on the agenda for the trip. Oy!!! Not good at all... He probably just laughed as soon as I left.

One place I've always wanted to visit is Palmyra, New York. We stopped there on the way to Maryland. It was wonderful to go there with my kids and see my church and family history.
Smith Family FarmThe upstairs bedroom.
Hill Cumorah

After visiting Palmyra, we continued on our drive to Maryland, where my best friend Jean (also known as Stimey) and her family lives.

The kids were getting a little "punchy" on this part of the drive. Here are some pictures.

Alyssa tried to make the craziest face and hairdo.
Jonathan watched the Star Wars trilogy again and again and again and again...
Jessica keeping track of all the license plates she saw. The only ones that didn't count were the ones from the state that we were in right then. She found all the US plates except Hawaii.