Saturday, December 31, 2011

what goes up must (not) come down

Remember how Molly and I were so excited for Dad to bring the bucket truck home so we could take the Christmas lights down?
Molly wanted me to go first. . . because we already knew I was a natural right??
So I climb in and expertly steer myself up to the upper left corner of the house and as I am reaching to take down the first of the lights, I bump. . . something?
Power goes off. . . and dad can't get it back on!
The pictures tell most of the story. . .

I sit around waiting in the bucket a while-
After Dad gets tired of one too many fireman jokes- he pulls out the ladder
Down comes Shawna!
Without even one ride in the bucket, Molly now gets stuck taking down some of the lights the old fashioned way- dad's make shift pole and hook (boo!)
Dad climbs into the bucket-
Dad climbs out of the bucket-
Dad fixes bucket!
And up Shawna goes again!

I held no hard feelings towards ole bucket. . . he did his job. . . eventually!
Molly however lost all trust. . . and never dared climbed on inside-
Maybe next year Molly!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas at the Kellys

Christmas at the Kelly's was great as always. Molly, Bryan, and Brooklyn got to be here this year, which was perfect. Bonnie, Cayden, Aubrey, and Puppy (Lil' Wolf) all spent the night as well as Doogle and I. It was a packed house! We tried to remember our Christmas Eve "traditions" as well as start some new ones. We had our spa time and gingerbread house building. The kids had a visit from the Pajama Fairy. And we ended the evening watching Dad's traditional Christmas eve night movie "Rudy."
(Not a Christmas movie-- not really sure how that got started so many moons ago!)
Christmas morning we opened presents and drank hot cocoa all before we went to church. .
Scott and his family came for a visit after church as well.
Good ole Santy Claus was generous to everyone.
It was a happy day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

lights galore

This year I decorated TWO houses for Christmas. Mom and Dad's house was definitely a bit funner. I got to try out the bucket truck for the first time! I was a natural "driver." Though my house took a bit longer. . . it would have probably taken even longer if I had actually waited for the bucket truck to be driven up from California as dad had so kindly offered.
They both turned out fantastic though and definitely put both Kelly households into the festive spirit!

Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm officially a "Lousy Bowler"

One day, back in August, I decided that I wanted to join a bowling league. So I did some texting and got some friends together and . . .

Team INCREDIBOWLS was born!

The first words that popped into my head on day one of league bowling were "white trash." It was nothing like my beloved BYU bowling league memories. I was ashamed that I had suckered three friends into committing to this with me. The first team we bowled against were pretty much scary looking and I honestly wondered how these people could even afford the $20 weekly fee besides all that beer they were guzzling. But they ended up being super friendly and helpful in how the league ran (obviously they were not newcomers like us). And by the end of the evening, I was getting a little more excited to go back the following week (though not completely).

As it turns out, the first team we played against were definitely the weirdest. . . believe it or not, several of the other teams actually seem somewhat normal. Or at least- not too scary.

We actually joined a 4-man team league but due to unfortunate circumstances (like Shawna being mean), one of our team members quit just a few weeks into the league. Of course, it was annoying, but we have hardly had any problems finding someone each week to step in for the night. As this 13 week session comes to a close, and the January session nears, I do find myself getting a bit nervous though. Afterall, we have had some excellent and most helpful substitutes over the past few weeks, but I am not sure that any of them are yet quite dedicated enough to commit the next 13 Tuesdays of their lives to the Redrock Bowling Alley.

The rest of my team are definitely in it for the long haul though. Its an unspoken vibe that I get (or maybe its because BJ went and bought a pair of his own bowling shoes and Holly has told me that a bowling ball has made it onto her Christmas list).

Monday, November 28, 2011

For Thanksgiving this year, we started a new tradition. . .

Pie contest!!
The contestants:
Bonnie and Aubs went all out. . . homemade crust, new pear pie recipe. . . the works

Shawna had it a little easier. One of my sweet students (ok- lets be honest- one of my sweet parents) gave me a pie in a box: Homemade apple pie filling, the crumb mixture for the top, and the caramel sauce to drizzle on top of that. All I had to do was provide the delicious nilla wafer crumb pie crust and pop the whole thing in the oven!

Last minute entry- Cayden. After a silly orange/honeycomb pie failure, we booked it to Vons to grab a premade oreo crumb crust, filled it with some kind of ice cream that was chilling in the freezer, and covered the whole thing in the instant freeze chocolate. A ten minute pie for sure.

And Mom. . . she went to Costco...

Cayden got all into it. Immediately after dinner he got to work making ballots and a ballot box. Though he did refuse to put mom on the ballot. Something about store bought pies not being allowed.

Then a couple hours (and quite some nagging from Cayden) later, our stomachs had finally settled just enough to dig in to our very own "sample" plates.

It was a tough decision...
They were all so good!
(no worries- mom still got a write-in vote)

And the winner was declared. . .

But what does it really matter WHO won? It was the fun of the contest right?

Though I must say, I almost wept when my pie was gone. It was meant to be the winner.

I forsee this tradition living on in the future Kelly Thanksgivings. . .

What I was doing on. . .

1. Flew out to Indiana!
2. Bonded with Brooklyn
3. Shopped with Molly
4. Took a few naps
5. Mikki comes to visit from Chicago!
6. Photo shoot by the clock at exactly 11:11!
7. Touristed around Indianapolis
8. Drank some delicious Frozen hot chocolates
9. Bowling and Chilis!
10. Said goodbye and went home :(
11. yahoo. . . first class!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Groupon hits again!

I went mini golfing in a parking lot. Kind of weird, but it worked I guess.

The website claimed to be the only outdoor mini golf course in the city. So I pull up to the shopping center on a blistery cold and dark evening not really sure what to expect. And there it was, right there in the parking lot, a fenced in area where they somehow shoved together 18 little green putting holes. It was no Boomers. We had fun though.
I tried to get a picture of the set up. I was basically standing in front of the store. You walked out into the parking lot and there it was!

The boys (BJ and Ammon) doing some putting. Weird that I didn't notice that night, but they are totally matching. Funny.

And with Holly too.

I think we made it through the whole course in like an hour. Good thing. It was cold! My hands were numb. That's probably why I lost. :) Just kidding. I got 3rd. It would be embarrassing to lose to Ammon- he was terrible!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rated i for intense!

The hotel Circus Circus has a big pink dome enclosed adventure park that they spook up at Halloween time. Last week, my friend Jeremy took me for my first experience of Frightdome!

It doesn't open til after it's dark. They fog it up, and put lots of strobe lighting in it. Then there are tons and tons of scary people and clowns wandering around to spook you. They have 5 different "haunted houses" you can go through, plus all the rides are open as well.

Sadly, its not super easy getting good pictures in this atmosphere so I didn't really take many.

The first chance I got was when we went into the 4D show
right after the wet wet water ride- perfect!

The whole Frightdome is not recommended for anyone under 12, but the 4D movie seriously probably wouldn't scare a 4 year old. Lame. That definitely has to go.

We did get on a few rides early in the night, then went through 4 of the haunted houses before hitting the coaster one last time. On the way out, we passed a Frightdome hearse perfect for a photo opp.

The kind old man that offered to take our picture kept insisting on zooming. It was the end of a long, crazy night though, so sadly, zooming is probably what neither of us needed at that point.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another year. . .

Soup in Pumpkin bread bowls and building a haunted house, two of my favorite Halloween traditions.
(Even after pulling out the hot glue gun, we never did get that darn house to stay up)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On your marks. . .

I went to California this weekend. I got there Friday night, and stayed with Bonnie and her kids the whole night helping her on a little project she was doing. The next day was busy. We made dinners in the morning, went to Cayd's soccer game after that, and then on to a late lunch. Somewhere between 4:30 and 5 Saturday evening, I remembered that I was supposed to ask dad to help me out on my own little project I needed to do. . . whoops!
So I found pops, and told him I needed a little stand made to hang donuts from, for a donut eating booth at a Halloween carnival I had coming up. In seriously like 10 minutes, dad had the whole thing whipped up! We had to go to the Depot for one little 57 cent part, but everything else he just had, even black paint to make it a little more decorative!
Of course that night, just a few hours later, us Kelly's were having our own donut eating contest... (we had to test it out!)
My dad is the BEST!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I was wrong

With getting ready to leave town for one little night, I had so much to do that I misplaced my camera. which has since been recovered! So I used my phone to get one picture of my St. George trip number 2. Look familiar?
I drove up to St. George immediately from work on Monday. There, I met up with my friend Kellie and her friend Jen to see the play The Little Mermaid. I was much more impressed with this show than the last. They did a really good job with it. We stayed the night at Kellie's Grandparent's house and the next morning went to breakfast, did a little hiking, got some ice cream, then I was headed out. It was a fun little visit and it was nice to see Kellie again. Maybe one day I'll talk her into coming down to visit me some weekend. . . 3 years here and I've yet to have any luck. . . soon though I'm sure :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dinner is served

I am not one to just cook food on my own for myself. Seems like a lot of hassle for one person. And to make a whole pan of something or other to eat for a whole week didn't seem like the way to go either. So honestly I started eating out A LOT. If I did happen to be at home for a night and didn't want to go out (or was feeling broke- which is quite frequently), I'd eat a bowl of cereal or some kind of frozen pizza pocket from the freezer. Dinner time in my house was rarely what we would call quality.
So over the summer, Bonnie was introduced to Dream Dinners. When I found out what she was doing, I decided to join in on the fun.
It's a place that has the ingredients out and ready and often pre-measured for several different kinds of dinners that you prepare in either 3 or 6 serving quantities. You measure and bag the ingredients yourself to basically make some quality frozen meals.
So I got myself a cute lil' ice chest, learned how to use dry ice, and head down to California once a month to make dinners for the following month. Everything I make comes in servings of 3, so I usually cook dinner one night, then store the other two servings in their own individual containers that are quick and easy to grab for lunch each day.
I still manage to find myself out to dinner a couple times a week, so it works out perfectly to have a few extra lunches ready in the fridge when needed.
Not to mention, Bonnie and I now have scheduled monthly bonding time. :)
These are some pictures of just a few of the many delicious meals I have made since! YUM!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One runner, one fallen

Because September 11 was the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the city of Las Vegas put on a remembrance run in honor of the 3063 victims taken that day. One runner, one fallen assigned each runner the name of a victim to run in honor of.
Wilson F. Flagg was on American flight 77 with his wife when it was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. He left two sons, and four grandchildren.
I definitely wasn't the fastest runner on the 9.11 K course, and might not have been in the most "runnery" of moods that day, but it was a neat experience to be a part of this event and to be thinking of someone other than myself as I made my way through the course.
We met downtown on Fremont Street and ran through the side roads in that area. Anyone that knows anything about Vegas knows that this is not known to be the best of areas. I went by myself, but at 4 am the only crazies in the area, were the crazies that were running... so I wasn't too nervous. After the run was over however, was a different story! I found myself on a downtown street by myself, not knowing which direction I was even going. As I passed a group of policemen arresting some old homeless looking drunk man, a big woman came running down the street hollering at the police to stop wasting their time arresting some innocent old man and to go find the person that were just violating her!

Yup. . . the regular crazies had come out!

Geesh, I hope I find my car soon. . . I mumbled to the only normal looking person nearby.

Me too! She answered.

I got out of there ok. . . I hope she did too!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

St. George. . . part 1

My friend Jeremy's mom got 4 tickets to see the play "Grease" up at the Tuacahn Theatre in St. George. His dad was going too so I got to be the fourth. I had heard great things about the place. It's a big outdoor theatre set up right against the cliffs in St. George.

People were right, the theatre was really neat. The play, unfortunately, didn't live quite up to expectations. They put on two plays a year however, the other one this year being "The Little Mermaid" which my friend Kellie has already talked me into meeting her there in a couple of weeks for, she is coming from northern Utah. Some friends I work with said that "The Little Mermaid" was an absolutely amazing play. So I guess I'll find out on Oct 10th!
Hopefully I take a few more pictures next time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yet another adventure

To end the summer, Molly, Bryan, Brooklyn, and I drove up to Utah to do some long overdo visits before they had to head back to Indiana. It was a very FULL car with all their stuff, but we eventually made it!
Once in Provo, we were able to grab some deliciousness at the one and only J Dawgs. Then I dropped Molly, Bryan, and Brooklyn off at their family's house while I did a little visiting first with my friend Brittney and her baby, and later with Randi where we had a nice little gab session, ate some coldstone, and got one not so great picture before I went back to Bryan's brother's house late in the night. It was a short, but good visit. :)

The next morning, Bryan headed off with his brother for their own little adventure, leaving Molly, Brooklyn, and I heading back south to Provo to another food favorite, Brick Oven. Yum! Jenae and her baby Audrey joined us, along with our good pals Kellie and Brittney.

Way too much time has passed since the five of us girls had been able to get together. There was so much to talk about and catch up on, and not nearly enough time to cover it all. :( It was a fantastic visit however, and it was so good to see them all. Molly and I had to say our goodbyes first because we had to scamper off to the airport to say our own official summer goodbyes. :(

After dropping Molly and Bryan off in the early evening, it was time to fill my car with gas, and my cupholder with some coke because I had a long drive back to Vegas with just me. But shortly after departing Salt Lake, I got a (somewhat) expected call from Molly saying that her and Brooklyn could not get on the only remaining flight out that night. So back to the airport I went.

Now I had two travel companions to make the trip south with me but unfortunately, it was nearing one of their bedtimes and she was not a happy little passenger. So Molly and I made the executive decision to push back our departure time a bit and stop back in Provo at our friend Brittney's house to get Brooklyn a little more ready for the trip. Since Brittney's baby Macey couldn't be at lunch earlier that afternoon, it was nice to have a small visit with them. Brittney had everything we needed to get Brooklyn ready for the drive. She got a little bit of dinner, a fun filled bath, changed into her cozy pjs, and had a warm bottle. After that, we loaded Brooklyn back in the car and she fell asleep immediately. It was perfect!
I can't say that the remainder of our trip was quite so perfect. We were heading out of Provo at about 7 pm and Molly and I decided that since it was so late already, there was no harm in leaving a TAD later. So we swung by the BYU Creamery to get our favorite Earnestly Chocolate icecream, and a few minutes later we OFFICIALLY were on the road.
We hit a terrible rain and win storm immediately, as in, we weren't even out of Provo yet. That definitely started us off slower than we were hoping because we were already setting out so late. Somewhere around midnight we drove into good ole Beaver, Ut. We tried to get something to eat from Wendys, but after sitting in the drive thru for a good 30 minutes, we thought we'd have better luck at the only other open joint, McDonalds, and we left. We didn't leave quietly though, The poor overworked drive thru boy got to hear a bit from Molly as we drove off. It was pretty funny. Pretty much the same scenario happened at McDonalds. I don't know what was going on that night, but nobody could seem to get us any "fast" food. We were in Beaver for nearly an hour before we got to hit the road again. Definitely was not worth the short little pit stop we were expecting!
The remainder of the drive was pretty uneventful. We ended up in Vegas somewhere around 2 in the morning (3 am Utah time). We were exhausted! The next night Bryan flew back with hopes of taking Molly and Brooklyn home, but once again, they were stuck here. We enjoyed the last of our time together though, and on Tuesday morning they were finally able to catch a flight home. It was bittersweet. . . we all knew that they couldn't stay here forever. . . though some days it felt like they would. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

an apple for the teacher

Today a little biddy boy in my class came walking in with a pretty nice sized box. It looked heavy. In fact, it was heavy. He handed it to me explaining that it was a present from him and his mom.
pictures don't really do it justice. . . it's quite large

I open it up expecting to find some freshly picked apples? Afterall, it is an apple box. . . a very heavy apple box. . .

Nope, not apples!

Somehow word had gotten around that my favorite candies are reeses peanut butter cups.

I got everything under the sun in reeses cups. A shirt, stuffed animal, baking mix, cereal, white chocolate, dark chocolate, snack size, king size, mini size. . . etc etc etc.

It was quite the surprise. . . and completely made my day!

I have been so busy playing summer catch up on my blog though still not done that I have not even mentioned this school year yet. We are three weeks in and I really think I might have one of the best classes ever. No, not because they bring me some WAY nice presents, but because they really are a very sweet bunch of little 3rd graders. We have harder days than others boys will be boys but they are seriously some of the nicest kids you can come across.

I am really looking forward to this year . . . it is going to be great! and yummy too!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Yet another year goes by. . .

Well . . . the Kellys made it through yet another river trip adventure. This time we brought grandpa along and baby Brooklyn too. Think those were both the youngest and the oldest to ever come along on our trip. They brought a few new twists to the mix, but luckily for us we have gotten pretty good at the whole river trip experience and everything went pretty smoothly.
We played in the water by day. . . and played in the casino by night. Not too bad of a way to end a summer vacation.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where did the time go?

This was the first summer in a long time that Molly and I would both be not working. So basically, we had been planning this summer since before Brooklyn was even born. When my school ended, I took off for Indiana for a little less than two weeks. Our days of hanging out, and pretty much doing nothing, started there. The party was then moved to California where we could spend time with the rest of the family. Molly and I spent the days with the kids and the backyard, and we spent the evenings with Bonnie or Mom and Dad, or both. Bryan flew in when he could.
And that was my summer vacation!
(besides a few trips here and there. . . we'll get to those eventually!)

did you say FREE?

Anyone who is anyone knows that 7-11 gives away free slurpees on July 11, the official 7-11 of each year. As kids I remember getting free small slurpees, but as we grew up, the cups they offered on free 7-11 day got smaller and smaller. This year as 7-11 approached, I decided to see just how many free slurpees the kiddos and I could get. The challenge was on!
We hit 10 7-11's in Escondido alone. Two of them were out of cups by the time we got there. We had to give up after the 10 though. Because we had no more 7-11s to hit? Absolutely not! It was because whimpo Cayden started claiming that this was the worst day of his life! No joke. He was tired of slurpees! I told him at each stop that he didn't have to come in, Aubs and I could do the challenge on our own. But he was still done with it. So overall, we each drank eight 7.11 oz slurpees (plus we cracked and got some of the cheap corndogs to munch on too. . . to appease the boy of course).
I'd say that overall, we didn't do too bad. Though next year, we may have to start a tad earlier to beat our record (and may possibly have to leave the weakest link at home!)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

the BIG finale!

We had one final stop to make in Riverside, Ca. It had been such a long trip and we were so close to home, I honestly almost did away with it. It wasn't one of the most exciting stops I thought and I didn't really want to end on a dud. Unfortunately though, our previous stop had been the paper cup. Not really a finale winner either, so ultimately we stopped for our final "California Must-see."

Yup- it's a chair! President Taft's chair actually. If you aren't very familiar with history, I'll remind you that President Taft was our fattest president. Meaning. . . he needed a really fat chair to sit in!

And there we have it. The BIG roadtrip was finally complete. It took us a bit over an hour to get home after that. Though we had many fun adventures, and saw many amazing and cool things. . . our stops were just the half of it! I mentioned very little of the actual road trip. . . the hours, upon hours, and days upon days that we sat in the car going from one stop to the other.

I had somewhat worried that it would be a crazy trip. Kids would get bored. . . and adults would get annoyed. But this trip proved quite otherwise. We planned so many car trip activities, that most of the time actually flew on by. We had computers with DVD players, we listened to a whole book on tape, played madlibs, battleship, and hangman. Aubs made bracelets and Cayd played his little game system. We ate snacks and had long discussions about what we needed to do to OUR houses, to get us on the map for people to come visit (don't ask!). And we ALL participated in the great License Plate frenzy game.
The picture shows the winner of that one.

The final car picture I took makes me laugh, because it was not only til we were 40 minutes away from home that Aubrey finally passed out in the car. Besides that, no car napping the entire way! Something I very much did NOT expect.

So here is to a great roadtrip. . . and for the year ahead to plan the next grans adventure!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Still thirsty?

Worlds biggest "paper cup."

Need I say more?

Riverside, CA

Back to our childhood

As our trip neared an end, we headed into Norco, Ca. Just a mere hour from home! If I had only known these old friends were there this whole time, I would have made my way up there sooner!

The kiddos actually had never even heard of Gumby or Pokey. So sad. So this stop was definitely more for Bonnie and I. They were actually located right in the front yard of just a typical house. Weird. Though this is what inspired the conversation for almost the rest of the ride home. What can we put in the front of OUR houses, to put them on the map of odd places to see??

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. . .

We woke up on our final day in Bakersfield, Ca. Originally, Bakersfield wasn't on our list of stops. But we had to side track there to find our "fireworks show" the night before. Bonnie didn't want to waste being in a city and not seeing a great site, so I played around on google a little bit. . . and this is what we found.

It's a building, shaped like a shoe. Originally a shoe repair? Now it's an old decrepid nothing building.

Now I remember why Bakersfield didn't originally make our list of stops.

Moving on. . .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday America

One of the hardest things about planning a trip like this was the timing. We could map out a route and easily figure out how many miles away something was, but how long it would take to get there, and how long the actual stop would be was harder to calculate. We ended some days much later than anticipated while other days we got through things a lot quicker than expected. . . and July 4th was a prime example of that.

I can't say we actually got through things quicker than expected, I just gave us more time for this stop because it was something we didn't want to be late for. On almost every other night, we drove about as far as we wanted to, then just found us a hotel when we were done for the night. The stops weren't really planned out. But July 4th was different because I had to find us a city that was putting on a fireworks show that we could stop at to watch. Those typically end late, meaning we would sleep near the city that put on the show. So when I planned the trip, I had to guess where we would be about an hour or so before fireworks started. So I found a little city called Gustine, Ca that was putting on a show at the local high school. Sounded just like the type of thing good ole Escondido High used to do every year. Hopefully there would be booths selling some food and glow sticks, some music playing, and a nice grassy area for us to set out our blankets and relax for a little bit.

Well, we got to Gustine a bit earlier than I thought we would. You have probably never heard about Gustine, CA either, because basically it was nothing. It was in the middle of some kind of farming community which was basically the middle of nowhere. When we arrived, the high school had nothing going on yet, and it seemed like the whole town was camped out in the local McDonalds because it was SO hot outside. We joined the town in McDonalds but were kind of at a loss as of what to do next. We surely did not want to stick around for another 3 hours just to watch some fireworks that honestly usually aren't that exciting anyway.

So Bonnie finally made the executive decision to keep driving. Hopefully we could get a bit further and then kind of stumble upon a city a few hours south that was hosting a fireworks show. So while she drove, I fidgeted with her phone and tried to find us an alternate plan. We came up with one, and at about dusk (the typical fireworks start time) we rolled into Bakersfield, Ca for the night. I had found that something was going on at a local ballpark, so after driving up and down a road, continually missing the street we were looking for, we frantically stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. By the time we actually found the ballpark, Bonnie was officially annoyed with me because apparently every part of this bad night was MY fault.

And maybe she was right because somehow I misread stuff and the ballpark was NOT where fireworks were being put on afterall. It was a place however, that they open up to the public for whoever wants to go set off their own fireworks. They had some flags raised, a snack bar open, and some music playing and a little bit after we arrived and wandered around confused for a while (did we MISS the fireworks show?) random people went onto the field and began putting on their own shows.

This was definitely a new experience for us all. I've seen the "professional" shows. . . and I've set off my own little fireworks. . . but have never watched a bunch of strangers set off their own. I must say, it was not my favorite activity. Maybe it was the fact that most of the hillbillyish people of Bakersfield, Ca did not look like they could even read the caution signs displayed all over their fireworks let alone should be playing with fire! So I spent most of the night fearful of some stray firework coming and getting us. It just seemed a little too chaotic and unsupervised to me, but Cayd seemed to love it and I guess it was neat to try something new for this particular holiday. After about an hour or shorter of watching our fireworks, we found us Dennys to eat at and a nice hotel to sleep at. The day ended well and we all happily slept in our FINAL hotel of the trip.

Tractor, or building, or. . .

Just a wee bit south in Turlock, Ca we discovered a building shaped as a tractor, or bulldozer, or whatever it is. It was pretty cool. But outside was still super hot. So we captured a few pictures and were off.
Cayds got a hold of the camera on this trip as well. Quite the photographer I must say.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Besides the capital building, there were two other sites to see in Sacramento, Ca. Both of them got the same clue.
(which of course. . . we were!)

Our first site was located in a hotel right near the Capital building. We found a parking spot a ways away, then walked around the corner to the hotel. After we wandered the hotel for a while (which we didn't mind too much because it was nice and cool), we finally had to ask someone about our next site. And sadly we learned that it had been removed.

Apparently since bottled water became a hit, people don't use fountains much anymore so the hotel no longer found them necessary. Though I'm not sure if 9 fountains in a row were ever necessary!

Sadly, we were getting ready to leave the hotel when I realized that I needed some quick directions to our next exit. Now the hotel man thought we were really weird! We came in looking for a bunch of water fountains, which they no longer had, we then refused his kind offer of some free water bottles for our apparently thirsty little family, and then we ask him if he has ever heard of our next site, and how we were to get there. No- he had no clue what we were talking about, but he took the address and gave us the directions we needed. We thanked him prefusely. . . as he wished us luck finding our odd destination, and we headed out. And about 15 minutes later. . . we arrived!

Good ole Coke . . . didn't let us down!

Now the turnaround

Some people might think we lucked out on this next day just a bit, but I just say that it was all very excellent planning! Because on Monday, July 4, we dressed in our matching 4th of July apparel (courtesy of Bonnie) and began our drive towards home. Because there were so many more sites to see, we decided to take a different route home so that we could continue on our adventures. And wouldn't you know that our excellent planning this July 4th holiday took us right to our state capital of California! Going to Sacramento on 4th of July seemed perfect. I pictured flags and banners along the city streets as well as maybe some patriotic music lightly blasting from the capital building. Perhaps a small marching band or a little all day fair to attend?

But sadly, I was mistaken. We made it to the capital building (which was not swarmed with people as I had somewhat expected) and took a few pictures. It was so hot, that we practically had to drag grumpus Cayden out of the car, and often found him wandering away towards the shade of a tree rather than enjoying the kodak opportunities. The only thing that kept him moving at times was the promise of an ice cream run after we were done.
Being July 4th though. . . everything was closed. No ice cream for Cayd :(

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bigfoot or Bust

The next morning, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, the four of us grabbed breakfast from the local gas station and drove about a mile down the road to the edge of town where we found Bigfoot Rafting. We met our tour guide for the day whom Bonnie nicknamed "Jed" when she couldn't remember his name, and frankly according to her that's what he looked like.
We loaded into a jeep which took us down the road and to the river, hopped aboard our little raft for the day, and "Jed" guided us on our search for Bigfoot.
We floated down the river some, enjoyed the scenery, looked for clues of bigfoot, and busted our way through some rapids. "Jed" was a great sport and caught on quickly how into the whole Bigfoot thing Cayd was, so he would sporadically pull the boat over, and help Cayd search the area for signs of the beast.

We had some lunch on the river and then on our final stop, Cayd finally found his proof!

I must say, we were all pretty relieved. None of us girls really wanted to end the day by tramping through the forest on our own little hike trying to appease Cayd on this quest for Bigfoot.

So from all of us, thank you Jed!

We got back into town in plenty of time to continue our exciting adventures with a trip to the Bigfoot Museum.
We spent a good twenty minutes at the museum. Long enough to see some artifacts, hear some bigfoot facts, sign in the guest book, and get some amazing souveniers.

We walked back to the hotel for some clean up and down time. Then onto dinner!

Back to the gas station for some dessert, and on to the hotel for a movie.

I couldn't think of a more perfect way to end our day of Bigfoot adventure!

Welcome to Willow Creek

This is it! This is what we came for. . . the city that revolves around Bigfoot.

Willow Creek, CA
We checked into our hotel somewhere after 4 pm on Saturday. Right from check in we realized that people in this neck of the woods were a little on the odd side. But we were only going to be there for a day and a half, how bad could it possibly be?

We decided to hit the town before dinner because we weren't very hungry yet. Unfortunately, the town was only about a street long and had very little to see. Bigfoot Museum was closed for the day and according to the lady who ran our hotel, we probably should have called in advance because basically they open and close whenever they feel like it. That's small town life for you.

We hit the bigfoot-shaped pool (but come to think of it, most typical pools can be somewhat considered foot shaped) meaning it looked like a regular pool. We met some more weirdos, hung out in the hotel a bit, hiding from the before mentioned weirdos, had dinner, and went back to our hotel where the kiddos ended the evening by watching some tv. Had to be all rested up for the next day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Our next stop was obviously only about 63 miles north of the giant redwoods for a reason. . .
Must see # 19: World's Tallest Totem Pole - - - Mickinleyville, CA

The WTTP in all its glory, stood in the parking lot behind a grocery store. We hung around it for a while, Cayd climbed it a bit, we got some pictures, then we loaded up and headed out.

Next stop. . . Willow Creek, California. Our final destination. 3 days later and a little less than 1,000 miles up through California. It is here that we will begin our trek for the one and only Bigfoot.

Stay tuned

Tree- mendous!

It was a good thing we stopped for the night where we did, because day 3 is when we basically started driving through the foresty parts of northern California. Stops were few and far between. We had a few planned stops for the day, but you never know what you can stumble upon!
As I was planning our trip out, I saw a neat place called the one long house. . .
In case you haven't already guessed, this is a giant redwood log that's been hollowed out and furnished with a secondhand bedroom set. Since it's mounted on wheels, Famous One Log RV might be a more appropriate title.
Hmmm. . . the wheel thing is what kind of threw me off. Apparently the One Log House gets moved from place to place on occasion and I didn't have the patience to try to figure out where it is currently residing. So imagine my surprise on day three when we are driving along the road and run right into the One Log House! This became our first unofficial stop for the day.
We then continued on to our planned next two stops which were located in the same little park in Myers Flat. Little park might not be the right term for this place though, because it's a park located in the middle of the Redwood forest. So the trees were HUGE. Big enough to say maybe drive on? Or drive thru? Two things that had definitely been planned into our trip!
Must sees # 16, 17, 18: One Log House, Drive on tree, Drive thru tree-- Myers Flat
When we stopped at the One Log House we were out of the car for just a few short minutes. Long enough to take a few pictures, and to peak into the house. When we got back into the car and were driving away, we noticed a weird "handprint" on our very dusty car window. It clearly wasn't a handprint though. It looked more like a bear claw! We don't know when or how it got there, but we did attempt many pictures of our own little traveling oddity.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good grief

With some yummy snacks in hand, we hit the road once again towards our next destination, Santa Rosa, Ca. As we neared our spot, the family wanted a clue as to what our next stop would be.
I ignored the question and instead kept asking them to "hand me" stuff from the back seat. I repeated it several times. Bonnie laughed as we drove by our next ginormous California oddity, but sadly the kids didn't get it. Cayd even complained that I didn't give him a clue. Geesh . . .
Must see # 14: Giant hand-- Santa Rosa, CA
The giant hand was located in the front of a mall entrance. So we drove around and found a spot to park and as we were walking towards the mall, we actually came across part of our next must see adventure!
Must See # 15: Peanuts statues-- Santa Rosa, CA

The city of Santa Rosa was home to Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. So now there are several statues located around town of his many different characters. We didn't visit with them all, but did find many of them.

At one statue, we were attempting a self timed picture that we could all be in (I must say, our family is pretty good at getting self timed photos). A kind lady walking her dogs came by though and asked if she could take the picture for us. Great! We said. Then she kind of looked around and told us that she didn't know what to do with the dogs while she took the picture. It was a little odd I must admit, but good ol' Bon had the perfect solution, and that is why there are a few extra guests in one of the photos.

In the same area that we found some of the peanuts statues, we came across this random scissor statue as well. We think it was a slide, meaning, we all took some time to actually slide down it, but I don't know if that is technically what it was meant to be. It was a fun little addition to this very statue crazed city we were in.

We then went to the mall and had some dinner. Originally I had planned for this to be our stop for the evening. But being that it wasn't too late, we opted to drop that plan and drove about an hour north to the little city of Ukiah where we found us a hotel which oddly enough, was located right next door to the slowest McDonalds in all of California. Eventually though, we did get our desserts and headed to bed.

What's your flavor?

One of the reasons I have always wanted to visit San Francisco. . .
Must See # 13: Jelly Belly Factory - - Fairfield, CA

Not really located directly in San Francisco, but about an hour north east. They had a free sample bar as we waited in line, a free tour with our stylish new hats, and a free bag of Jelly Bellys after the tour! It was a pretty smashing deal.

Of course we spent some time in the store afterwards making some delicious purchases. YUM!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moving on

After Brisbane, it was finally time to head into San Francisco. Though I have lived in California for most of my life, I have never traveled the 500 miles or so to visit this city. This trip was the perfect opportunity to knock it off of my list of places to go.

San Francisco was a hard city to maneuver through. There was tons of traffic, and we seriously had to go through so much of the city to get to the bridge. That was the main thing we wanted to see there. We had compiled a small list of possible sites to find, but since we were under a bit of a time constraint for our next big stop, we didn't have the freedom to play around the city as much as we hoped. Ultimately we had to cancel the other planned San Fran stop (if someone has seen the cartoons drawn on toilet seats, I would love to hear about them), and didn't get to add the few we had hoped to. But we made it to the bridge. . . finally.

Because we couldn't stay long, and the bridge had a toll to drive over, we decided to park the car on the San Francisco side, take some pictures, and walk a bit over it. Unfortunately, communication between navigator and driver failed at a critical point and we ended up going over the bridge after all. So we enjoyed our mistake, and eventually made it to the other side, searched out a parking spot with the many other cars that were trying to do the same, and squeezed through the crowds to find our perfect picture spot.
Must see # 12: Golden Gate Bridge - - San Francisco, CA

Since we mistakenly drove over the bridge, we had to cross it again just to come back. So back over the bridge we went and then on to our next destination, with high hopes that we make it on time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Serious? Another cemetery?

Yup, as if one cemetery wasn't enough for a trip like this, I thought another one would complete the adventure. This was a cemetery like none other though, no tiptoeing around people's long lost pets, just their long lost, ripped out, fire hydrants that happened to be painted as people.
Must See # 12: Fire hydrant cemetery -- Brisbane, CA

The city of Brisbane actually paints all their fire hydrants that are located around the city. Once they need to be replaced however, they relocate them to this small grassy corner. It wasn't very big, and didn't have a ton of them. . . maybe 7 or 8? I guess they have pretty long life spans and don't have to be replaced very often.

So we parked, huddled around a few hydrants. . . definitely got a stare or two (brisbane was full of some interesting looking people), snapped some pictures, and were off!

Monday, July 11, 2011


On day two, we didn't have to wake up too bright and early. Our next stop wasn't opened until ten o'clock and was only about 35 minutes away. So we grabbed some breakfast and headed on out.
Throughout the drive, the kids (and Bonnie) would ask for clues about the next stop. We kind of played 20 questions with it. I think this was one of two stops that was guessed ahead of time. Somehow Cayd knew that the only Pez museum is located in California and he sure was hoping he would get the chance to go. Because every time we would head to a new place, he would always guess the Pez museum, even if it didn't match the stinkin clues I was giving him! So of course, this was one of his first guesses that morning.

Must See # 11: Pez Museum-- Burlingame, CA
When we first drove by the tiny little shop in the middle of a little shopping center, I thought that this was going to be a bust. We parked, stuck one quarter in the meter (cuz 20 minutes would be plenty of time) and headed on in. The room we walked in to was very small, and filled with, you know it, PEZ. This apparently was the store. But for $2 a person, we could get into the museum, and have a personal tour. Yes! So we forked over the $8 to the weird Pez man and he led us into the museum. . . which frankly was another tiny room separated from the store by some little Pez curtains.
I must admit, the "tour" was quite interesting. We learned about the history of Pez, saw the original packaging of it, and then saw every pez dispenser that has ever been made. He told us which dispensers to keep our eyes out for (that's my new plan A for striking it rich) then had random other old toys that had nothing to do with Pez, but were from the same pez era? but honestly, I'm still not too sure what the other toys were really for.
We snapped some photos in the museum, then of course we had to get one by the world's biggest Pez dispenser (created by Mr. Pez museum tour guide himself)
Cayd and Aubs (and yes- even Bon) then had ample time to souvenier shop and find the perfect Pez dispensers to take home.
Bags and photos in hand, we finally left the museum and realized that we had definitely exceeded our parking meter time. Who would've thought? Luckily for us, the Pez parking men didn't ticket us and we were happily on our way.