Thursday, July 31, 2014



4am departure toast at Jeff's parents' house! :)

Last sunrise we'd see for 3 weeks because it doesn't get dark in Alaska this time of year. That was crazy!

These two had a whole row of seats to themselves, but they always sat right next to each other.

First night's campground had a pool! The kids thought they hit the jackpot (good planning on their Grandma's part!)! :)
So, our trip! We drove to Alaska and back (the whole trip took just under 3 weeks)! We took two vehicles (a truck and a twelve passenger van), a 5th wheel trailer, a boat, and twelve people (Jeff's parents, his sister and her daughter, his brother and his wife, and the six of us), left at 4am on a Monday morning and off we went you know, after months and months of planning! The kids did AMAZING in the car and we were in the car A LOT. It took us 5 1/2 days to get there (driving for an average of probably 12 hours/day) but the kids did not fight, they did not whine, they were awesome no surprise there; they did way better than I did. {Ahem.} 

We played a lot of Crazy Eights in those 3 weeks!

A quick walk with Papa and Grandma (and Curious George of course) before bed.

Too bad we sold our Geo - looks like it could have made the trip! ;)

 The drive was just plain gorgeous! No words to even describe the majesty we got to see. God is BIG. Really really BIG.

It was gorgeous outside but we were hiding from all the mosquitoes (and bears!).

Mission Keep-the-toddler-busy-while-we-cook? SUCCESS!

We saw so many animals! In one day, driving through BC, we saw 9 bears and 7 moose (and a fox, a lynx, bald eagles, and and and) - it was crazy fun!

This is my husband. I'm so proud...

Being in Alaska was great too! We stayed with some of our best friends from our college years so that was fun in and of itself, but in addition to having the pleasure of just getting to hang out with them we fished, hiked (quite a bit - probably my favorite part of the whole trip!), I got to run (on the treadmill, lest I get eaten by moose and mosquitoes), we stayed up late and laughed, rode on quads, went to a museum, played cards, cooked yummy food, jumped on the trampoline (for hours!), got caught up in a crazy traffic jam in Anchorage, laughed, laughed, and laughed.

Mt. McKinley in view! GORGEOUSNESS!

You can wait until 10pm to shoot off fireworks on the fourth of July (like we did), but it still won't be
 The drive home was pretty fast and furious as we powered through to the end but we made it! :) Jeff hopped on a plane on the last Sunday morning of the trip and we headed out in our caravan the same day (Jeff drove up and flew back - his brother, John, flew up and met us there and then drove home so we all spent the week up there together). We pounded out the miles that last week and made it home in record time (including an unexpected 3 hour stop in Prince George where we had to get new tires for the 5th wheel trailer and the boat trailer but got to relax at a Boston Pizza and eat pizza and drink beer while the tires were being swapped out so it made it the best stop ever!). We were home by Thursday night (after a record breaking 16.5 hour day in the car that included a blow out diaper, multiple traffic jams throughout Washington, and a near miss while trying to "hold it" just a little bit longer). We were all exhausted and ready to be home in our own beds (and Jeff was so ready to have his family back in the too-quiet house!).

Ready to watch, I mean *listen to*, the fireworks!

Syd and John. LOVE these two!

Jer and Micah. The kids wouldn't have survived the long hours in the car if it weren't for these two. ;)

Fischer Michael.

Jack(son) James.

Carter McKenzie.
The trip was epic. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and I'm so glad Jeff's parents organized the whole thing (with bits of help from us kids) ;) and that we had the opportunity to take such an amazing family vacation (and we all still love each other!).


Seriously Jack? Just ONE 'nice' picture? No? Oh well...

Look at those smiles. I LOVE these kids!

Okay! Let's get to planning a Yellowstone trip! :)