Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Most Memorable Day!

  • "Time to start counting backwards."
  • "It's all downhill from here."
  • "I'm still young!"

Meeting Wyatt

One of the highlights of our trip was the opportunity to meet the newest member of our family. Fortunately, his cuteness met our high expectations. We also learned his parents weren't exaggerating when they talked about his multiple facial expressions.Everyone got a chance to hold him! And you can find even more pictures of our first meeting over on his mommy's blog, along with her descriptive commentary. We agree wholeheartedly with Wyatt's other grandma: He's a keeper!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Westward Ho!

Time to try catching up a bit, although I suspect it will take a while to do so - we're already on the fourth day of trying to get this posted!

In case you haven't figured it out yet, we had a long summer vacation. It was long in both duration (almost a month) and distance (about 7,000 miles). It also consisted of many long days, but they were all worth it. We started off bright and early one Monday morning, meeting the Scouts at the church at 4:15 AM, to make sure they got off to Scout Camp okay. Wayne was actually disappointed he couldn't go with them, but a son's wedding trumps Scout Camp.Because we were going camping as part of our adventure, we took the big van. That meant Steven and Michelle got to travel in comfort, each with their own bench seat.First stop was the Lodge Factory Outlet outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. It's a fun place to visit, although this time the clearance section was pretty bare. Smith & Edwards was a better excursion, but more on that later.There were plenty of other stops as well, and our handy-dandy picnic supplies served us well. We also discovered that planning ahead and finding a Little Caesar's around dinner-time is a very frugal dinner option for when you're tired of ham sandwiches. Instead of making the trip all in one chunk, like we did last year, we actually had a couple of overnight stops. First was at a hotel that not only included breakfast in the price, but dinner as well. (Wayne's a good bargain hunter.) Even at that, Michelle just wanted her own cup-a-soup, because she wasn't feeling well enough for egg rolls and chicken wings. She was feeling well enough, however, to check Facebook on the computer in the lobby! The second night we stayed with Wayne's brother and his family. Steven and Michelle joined their cousins at Mutual that evening and learned how to play Water Softball - a great activity for a hot summer night.
Someone likes driving until the gas light comes on. That gives you the opportunity to find obscure little gas stations out in the middle of nowhere - like this one in Kansas.
We had to do some major convincing, but when we left Park, Michelle was driving. She had a chance to set a personal land/speed record, making it all the way to 70 MPH before pulling into the next rest area 40 miles down the road. She did great, but was in no hurry to try it again.
Steven had a turn to drive as well, and enjoyed navigating us through this long tunnel in Colorado.
The drive was long, but made enjoyable by the beautiful scenery.
And we made it to Utah!

That's it for now, but there's plenty more to come :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WFMW - Vacation Laundry

I don't think I've participated in "Works for Me Wednesday" all summer, so I was excited to get back into that routine. However, as usual, it was hard coming up with an idea to share. Then I went to start laundry and remembered that we have a system that has worked for us for years on our annual national park camping trip.

Anyway, we don't have enough clothes to go more than a week without doing laundry, which means that it must be done on vacation. I don't like the idea of buying mini boxes of detergent from the laundromat (and I've learned from experience that those aren't always available), yet I don't want to drag my 20 pound box of detergent along on our trip. (I don't even want to drag it out on regular laundry days, so tip #1 is that we transfer it to a smaller container that fits in the cupboard over the washer. The large box is in a nearby closet.) So, before vacation, we prepare several little ziploc bags of soap, toss in the quarters we've saved and a few dryer sheets, and throw the whole thing into the suitcase. Then if there are any leftovers, I just use them up at home. "Pre-packaged laundry soap" works for us!

This year "laundry day" was after we hiked to the highest point in Big Bend National Park - Emory Peak.
That's the destination!
It's getting closer!
Made it to the top!
We had actually planned to do laundry the next day, and while Michelle and I were gone doing that, Steven and Wayne were going to do another long hike. When I realized we'd be back from hiking Emory Peak in mid-afternoon (instead of dinner-time), I suggested the boys take over dinner preparations and the girls could go wash clothes. Steven was thrilled with the idea, because it got him out of a 14-mile hike the next day. Michelle was thrilled, because it meant she got to take a shower. (The laundry/shower facilities were 45 minutes from our campground.) So, that's what we did.
When we returned a few hours later with clean clothes and clean hair, dinner was simmering away.
Steven enjoying the fruits of his labors.
So, here are just a few things that work for us:
  • annual camping vacations to a different national park
  • putting laundry detergent in smaller containers
  • taking our own laundry supplies to the laundromat
  • limiting the amount of clothes we own
  • letting the men cook dinner occasionally!
To find more ideas for things that could work for your family, visit We are THAT Family today. (Kristen's tip of the "brown sugar bear" is another thing that works for us too!!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer's Officially Over

and we have a couple of kids ready to go back to school, in spite of the fact that a lot of their time this summer was spent on school work - economics, government, chemistry, Spanish, and English. It's great being upperclassmen, and they're excited to have three classes together - seminary, photography, and AP Chemistry.

Now maybe I'll have some time to get caught up here with all of the summer activities. Stay tuned because there were a lot! (I promise I won't post all 1,000 pictures on my camera. I'm not sure our computer will be able to handle that.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wayne's really a Grandpa.

He kept saying that because he hadn't seen the evidence in person, it was possible Wyatt didn't really exist. He can't say that anymore!
four generations of WOWs - William, Weston, Wayne & Wyatt -
and the other half of the WOW equation. Welcome to the family little man!
(Megan's posted some more pictures over here. Thanks Megan!)

A Beautiful Wedding!

We've had a wonderful couple of weeks, and yet I've missed being close to a computer! Here are just a few pictures to let you know what we've been doing. I'm so proud of myself for limiting it to five!!!

It's official!

That duck face just means they'll have lots of fun together.

I don't particularly like this pose, but it's the only decent one of our immediate family on my camera (or rather Elizabeth's camera), and we need proof that we all went to this wedding.

I do love this one - Grandma and Grandpa Beckstrand with 8 of their grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

The miniature horse was the hit of the reception, and the perfect way to "drive off into the sunset."