Washington and Oregon are big states. We've been driving through them for a long time. But they sure are beautiful! We started yesterday morning from Jonah and Aja's home right up near the Canadian border and have been driving along I-5 through gorgeous forests and hills, over rivers with lovely bridges, past lakes and fjords. We've seen spring unfold as we've driven south - great to go from bare trees to beautiful new leaves and blossoms everywhere in the course of a day. We stopped in Olympia and Salem for a bit - checked out the state capitols there and ran around to get our wiggles out. I've decided that visiting state capitol buildings is a great way to learn quite a lot about an area in a 1/2 hour or so - nice murals, lots of plaques with interesting tidbits of information, lovely grounds to run around in. We were all excited when we spotted a Trader Joe's in Olympia and stopped there for lots of our old favorite treats - used to frequent that place when we lived in California - why can't it come to Utah??? We stayed in Medford, Oregon last night - the kids were thrilled that we found a hotel with a big indoor pool and free breakfast. All the sugared cereals, bagels, juice, waffles, sausages, yogurt, etc. was super exciting to my kids who are used to the healthy boring breakfasts we usually have around our house.
We just passed crossed into California and we're almost to Mount Shasta where we'll stop for a bit.
I love family road trips. There was a time when love wasn't really a word I could use for road trips. Long stretches of time in a car with babies and toddlers is probably not at the top of anyone's list of favorite things. But the kids are all old enough now to really be great in the car for the most part and we have great times talking about the scenery and sites outside the windows, listening to music (we're listening to the CD from last summer's reunion with all the cousins' favorite songs on it right now and the kids are rocking out), watching a movie here and there (love grabbing a dollar movie from Redbox in one place and dropping it off in another when we're done with it), talking about the history and interesting facts about the places we're headed to or just left, reading the scriptures that go with Easter week (we had a great time the other day comparing the descriptions of Palm Sunday and the cleansing of the temple in the four different gospels). Ashton's been teaching Isaac about how to edit movies on a computer (he's been making movies quite a bit for the Power of Kids blog - check them out by clicking on the link in the right column). Eliza's in the way back showing all the cool rocks she's collected to the twins and I hear a little bargaining going on (apparently she's trying to sell some to them - Silas just got money from the tooth fairy...).
I love just being together here in our good old mini van. I love how we do our individual things for a while - some read, some sleep, I get some work on the computer done during dull patches of road or while the kids watch a movie (Jared's got me hooked up to the internet with a mobile hot spot on his phone - not sure how it works but it's been awesome to do lots of post-Retreat follow-up stuff as we drive along...). Then we all come together to notice stuff outside the window or read something or discuss something for a while. Sure there are moments when someone needs a bathroom quite urgently and there's none in sight or when the kids are squabbling and bugging each other. But these are good times.
We're headed to San Francisco and will have a couple days there with my sister Charity and Jared's sister and brother-in-law, Kathryn and MJ. It'll be so great to be with Kathryn and MJ for Easter since we were always with them for Easter the 6 years that we lived in San Jose. We love the Bay Area and want our kids to stay connected to this place where all of them were born so we've tried to come back every couple of years.
We're in sight of Mount Shasta now - pretty impressive. I'll sign off for a while and check the Internet for any quick hikes near here. Later on, I'll do a post with great photos of our adventures with Jonah and Aja's family.