Salt Lake City

After two full days of travel, a day in Salt Lake City was just what we needed. Given that the kids really needed downtime outside of the car, running around doing touristy things wasn't an option. Then again, that isn't really us. How we spent the day is really a representation of how we travel. 

Ian researched local coffee roasters and we stopped at one to start our day. Then we headed to Wheeler Historic Farm. I found it online and was excited to see there is a farmers market there on Sunday. While at the coffee shop, the worker was talking to us about our day and said, "Yeah, there is a small farmers market there." So imagine our shock when we get there and not only are the grounds huge, but the farmers market was ginormious. Like at least five times bigger than the one in Modesto. And there was so much fun stuff to look at…and eat. Isla saw the face painting and wanted to do it. While the lady was doing it, I complimented her and she said, "the paint really does all the work." But I am pretty sure paint in my hands wouldn't come out on someone's face like that, so I am going to say she was talented.  Also at the farm had a three story play structure. Ian, Callum and I rested in the shade, while Connor and Isla ran off some energy. 

After we left the farm, we headed downtown to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. It was a super nice children's museum. Like it may top the list for children's museums I have been to. It had a lot of exhibits I had never seen before, was very interactive and super clean. As a plus, it is cheaper to go on Sundays and was practically empty. We spent probably five hours there and you could easily spend all day at it.

We stayed at the children's museum until dinnertime. We stopped at another coffee roaster on our way back to the campground. We made dinner, then the kids enjoyed the campground pool. It was a good down day that really helped the kids get out a bunch of their wiggles before another big day of travel. 

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On the Way There

The thing about a road trip is the getting there is half the fun. It's not like a long plane ride that you may wish away. It is out on the open road, seeing new things, taking it all in, enjoying the ride.

Given that our little day trip to the aquarium a week ago didn't go so well, I wasn't having extremely high hopes for our rather long road trip. And given that we only made it an hour before our first bathroom break, the expectations were again very low. Thankfully, it all went up from there. The kids fell into a rhythm. I made sure we had plenty of food on hand. And, I used the website Roadside America to find rather underwhelming and random places to stop along the way.

There was the world's largest polar bear in a rundown casino in Elko, Nevada. Then the huge cowboy in Wendover, Nevada. And the oddly fascinating "hole 'n the wall", a house in a rock, in the middle of nowhere Utah.

Some things I have learned so far in our journey. Other states aren't as populous as California. You can drive for a long, long time without coming across a town. There have been some interesting bathroom stops…thankfully we are pulling a trailer so that helped! All the states we have been in so far have had higher speed limits than California. Can I get a whoop, whoop?!

Honestly, the hardest part of travel has been trying to find whole30 approved things to eat when we are in the middle of nowhere and the only option is McDonalds. Let's just say, I've consumed a lot of larabars this trip!

We spent two nights in Salt Lake City, so that allowed us one day to explore and be out of the car. That really helped. Now we are in Durango, Colorado. I am feeling all sorts of feels, doing things with my kids that I remember doing when I was growing up. It's been a fun trip so far.

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Connor: He's started asking when school is going to start again. He misses it.

Isla: She had a big week. She got to go to a preschool vbs all by herself…which when you are the second child, doing things by yourself is a big deal. Then, she got her face painted on vacation, which she has been wanting for literally a year and it just hasn't ever happened. 

Callum: He is starting to not want to take naps on the go and instead wants to be present in every moment we are living. At least the kid is smiley! 

 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

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A Quick Trip to the Aquarium

^^ I always love how it looks like stingrays are staring at you

^^ Shark stare down. I actually got a series of photos of this going down. It was pretty cool.

We have been focusing so much on our move and fixing up our other house to rent that our summer feels like it's just flown by without us doing much family fun. Instead of falling into the trap of doing more house stuff (that definitely needs to be done) we decided to take a day trip to the aquarium. 

I should mention that this trip started out VERY rocky. Traffic was horrible. Like the worst ever. Add to that a screaming baby and whiny children, I was about ready to just have us turn around and head home. I am so glad we persevered though. We got to the aquarium pretty late, but given that we are members, it doesn't feel necessary to spend all open hours there to get our money's worth. The crazy silver lining is, just about dinnertime, the aquarium cleared out and we practically had the place to ourselves. It was so nice to let the kids have a little freedom to run and not feel like we were going to lose them in a crazy crowd. And they got special attention because of this too. Isla spent about 15 minutes having riveting conversations with the people overseeing the touching area. They even walked her to other areas to see other things. 

Sometimes just getting somewhere with three kids is the hardest part. Then it's all uphill from there. Though I have to admit, the trip there had me questioning our decision to head out on a 2000 mile road trip with the kids in a few days. Thankfully these kids of mine are usually great travelers (or at least good travelers…they are kids after all) and I will just chalk up Saturday to being a bit of an off day or something…whatever I have to say to make myself feel better ;)

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Fun at the Fair

^^ The kids wanted their own turn at the photo booth. I compromised by letting them each do two. I wasn't sure how the swap mid photos would go, but it totally worked. I love that they both decided to ham it up for the camera. 

^^ The Lowes kid activity is always one of my favorites. It gives the kids something fun to do that is totally and completely free…and free at the fair is hard to come by.

^^ We let the kids choose two activities. They could have done different things from each other, but they chose to ride the merry-go-round and do these blow up balls. 

The past few years we've made a habit of going to the fair. I didn't go to the fair much growing up. At least that I can recall. I can remember going once or twice, but that was it. After we moved home from Scotland, we have hit up the fair pretty much every year. And, I have to admit, my expectations this year were rather low and this was the best year yet! There was not a meltdown or tantrum in sight. And, what was supposed to be an incredibly hot day, seemed to cool down enough in the evening to make it totally bearable. Also, I thought I would be in food hell, given I am in whole30 and being around all the fair food, but I was totally fine.

After getting into the fair, we walked around. I wanted the kids to survey the scene before making a decision on what activities we wanted to do. That's when I spotted the photo booths and we hit them up. It's become a bit of my thing to squeeze us all in a photo booth when I see one. Photo booths are kind of my favorite thing ever, so yeah. I love how Callum seemed to not have a clue what was going on in the pictures. And I love even more that the big kids are getting all into the photo booth love now too. Then the kids wanted a treat and ended up splitting an icee. After that, they did some painting at the Lowes tent. Then they went on the merry-go-round and went in those ball things. After that, we went into the baby care center (totally awesome, by the way…it's air conditioned, has a bunch of toys and huge leather couches to sit on) to feed Callum. The kids played for a while in there before we finally convinced them to leave. By that point, it was getting pretty late, so we moseyed on out on the fair. Callum fell asleep on the walk to the car…I swear the ergo has sleepy dust powers for him. Put the hood on and walk around and he is out in minutes. But, back to the fair.

It was a really good year at the fair. 4 & 6 are good ages. Really good ages.

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Connor: He's got a little bit to learn about catching a football ;)

Isla: This girl has independent play down packed. 

Callum: He got a sippy cup and is learning how to use it.

I feel like the monotony of summer finally arrived for us last week. And I have to admit, I totally loved it. I like having t-i-m-e. Time to be spur of the moment, time to get things done, time to curl up and read together, time to be outside, time to be. Of course this happens when the start of school is just around the corner! 

 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

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