Home is a wonderful place to be after three weeks of road tripping adventures!
In the past couple days, I've got stuff mostly unpacked, done a couple loads of laundry, got some of the serious dust cleaned out of this house, and have partially re-stocked food around here. The van needs to be seriously cleaned inside and out. We'll get to that. I've got hundreds of non-urgent emails I put off during the trip to deal with. I'll get to that. The kids have been playing non-stop with their neighborhood friends. I had a great meeting with April who was in town and moved some important and timely Power of Moms projects forward as we enjoyed the rare opportunity to work side by side for several hours. The kids and I celebrated a belated Father's Day with Jared yesterday (we were sadly apart last weekend) by going on a fun family bike ride and today we're serving him a special Father's Day feast and the kids have cute letters and notes for him. And I've had three nights of great sleep in my own bed. Hallelujah!
We had a great Retreat in Kansas City, MO last Tuesday evening (separate post on that coming soon - great group). The kids loved hanging out with the kids of my friend and co-trainer, Kristine, while she and I put on the Retreat. And the kids were OVERJOYED (as in literally jumping up and down and doing cartwheels) when the random hotel we got through Priceline proved to have a mini-water park in it.
After the water park fun, we met up with Kristine and her kids to go to Liberty Jail, our last church history site for the trip. Super interesting.
The kids listened so reverently and really seemed to get a lot out of the excellent presentation a sister missionary did for us while we were there. And they loved being with Kristine's kids for a little bit longer and were very sad to say goodbye.
Joseph Smith and several others were incarcerated in this tiny underground jail cell for nearly 5 months during the coldest part of the year for "crimes" that weren't fully explained while church members endured crazy persecution in the world outside. In the midst of terrible conditions, they were able to fend off despair, hunger, cold and deplorable conditions and Joseph received the powerful revelations that became Doctrine and Covenants sections 121, 122 and 123.
Here's the jail (exact reproduction using the stones from the original building)
Kristine and I (with sweet Sierra)
After the jail, we checked out Kansas City just a bit before hitting the road.
World War I Memorial:
Random cool graffiti:
As we started our trek home, Kansas seemed to go on forever. We wanted to make it to Denver but it was getting late and I was craving one unrushed hotel slumber party with the kids before getting home (every hotel stay had involved getting in late at night and leaving pretty early). So we stopped at Walmart, picked out frozen burritos and everyone picked out some veggies and fruits (we were all - even the kids - begging for fruits and veggies after sort of losing it on the healthy food the last few days), and stopped in Colby Kansas at what proved to be the nicest hotel we stayed at our whole trip (and thankfully our room had a microwave for our frozen burritos!). We ate while watching a movie and had such a nice, relaxing time together.
The next morning, we had our last hotel breakfast buffet with yogurts, eggs, waffles, sugared cereals and pastries galore. The kids at HUGE breakfasts at every hotel (the 2.5 star hotels always have free breakfast buffets which are all pretty similar - ample, lots of choices, plenty of sugar and preservatives going on, all things that appeal greatly to children whose mom usually makes them simple oatmeal or eggs with fruit for breakfast...). A super nice lady, Pricilla, helped make sure we got everything we wanted for breakfast (usually they just set out food and leave you alone but Pricilla went the extra mile). We've met some very kind and helpful people on this trip.
Then we hit the road for our last day of driving.
We stopped in Denver and explored there a bit (I've never been there before). Loved the musicians playing on the streets, the beautiful old Brown Derby hotel where people were having their fancy afternoon tea, the lovely tree-lined pedestrian main street, the familiar site of mountains in the distance, and the dry air (it was 100 degrees but felt much cooler than what we'd experienced with lower temperatures and much higher humidity on the East Coast).
First glimpse of Denver through our seriously bug-covered windshield:
Then we drove and drove and were SO excited to get home at about 10:30pm. The kids jumped all over their dad and gleefully got into their own beds and Jared and I caught up for a bit before my eyes started closing of their own accord and I felt super dizzy and weird. It was definitely time for a long sleep in my own bed in our own home with my wonderful husband beside me!