Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dr. Wiggins retirement party (A catch up Post)

I knew the day was coming that Dr. Wiggins would retire.  I have trusted Dr. Wiggins since the first day I met him when Joshua had only been home two weeks.  He carried a feeling of peace when we came into a room.  To me he looked like President Henry B. Eyring, maybe that was part of why I trusted him so much.  When we went to see him in October he told us he was retiring soon.  I hoped they would do a reception or party so I could take Joshua to see him again.

On July 12th they held his retirement party at a park in Billings.  Neil couldn't go, he was up in the Bighorn mountains with the young men.  I really wanted to go so I asked Bethany to go with me.  We took Joshua and Lydia.  I don't like to drive very far, I don't think there are very many people I would go to Billings on a busy Saturday to wish them a happy retirement.  It meant a lot to me to go.

Dr. Wiggins was a children's doctor through and through. His retirement party was all about the children he has helped.  He served hot dogs and hamburgers.  There were clowns and face painting artists.  He gave out coupons for ice creams from the street vendor.  It was a fun afternoon.  I got to meet Dr. Wiggins wife and daughters.  I got the thank them for sharing Dr. Wiggins with us and tell them what a hero he is to our family.

Melissa, Dr. Wiggins nurse, is also moving on.  I feel as strongly about her as I do Dr. Wiggins.  She has been perfect for our family.  She helps me not to worry and lets me know I am doing alright.  If she wasn't working with heart kids she could be a children's photographer.  I have never seen anyone help children be comfortable and get smiles like she can.  She always has a hug and a smile for the moms and the kids.  She always remembers our names and asks about us.  She truly has been a blessing along this heart road.  I will miss her so much!!  I am so grateful that I got the chance to give her a hug and wish her the best on the next bend in her road.

Joshua told us that next time one of his doctors retires he is going to have his face painted like Batman.  He chose to have black triangles above each eye this time. He kind of looked like a cat.  Lydia just told the face painter to do something beautiful.  They both looked great!  They also got balloons from the clown.  Lydia had a purple sword and belt.  Joshua got an amazing giraffe.  It was fun for both of them.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day four (Chicago to Cleveland)

Friday July 31, 2015
                Today was a long day. It wasn’t supposed to be as long but there were several delays. The morning started out okay. We finished a Gillian’s Island episode that we had started the night before. We left Illinois and entered Indiana. We stopped at Lake Michigan and got out. We walked through a wonderful sandy beach to the shore. At the beach and put our feet in the water. Dallin got the wettest, he was completely soaked. We didn’t stay at the beach long – about 15 minutes. Then we brushed the sand off of everyone the best we could and got back on the road.
                We ate lunch in the car after leaving the lake. Mom made sandwiches and cheese tortillas. Then the younger kids watched Barbie Rapunzel. I read my book through pretty much the whole movie. After Indiana there was Pure Michigan. All the welcome to Michigan signs said that, Pure Michigan. I think it was because Michigan City was just on the other side of the border in Indiana. Michigan is offended by this. Once you cross the border, you are in Pure Michigan.   
                Somewhere in there was had to take a detour. The signs said Emergency Detour, but we never found out the cause of the detour. The signs took us out by some fields and through some trees before we got back on the main road. We were listening to Fablehaven while we went on the little detour adventure.
                Our main stop in Michigan was in Detroit. We stopped at the Temple and got out. It is one of the smaller Temples. We walked around the grounds and took a group picture in front of it. Joshua and Lydia are running a little wild by now because they are so tired of being in the car. MaryAnne also had to switch seats with Emma after we stopped for dinner.
                We were a little lost trying to get out of Detroit. There were all these really nice houses, and I mean really nice. They were practically mansions. However, there were a lot of the roads under construction and it seemed like half of them were closed. We went down at least three roads where we had to turn around because it was closed at the other end. We finally got out of Detroit and back on the road and stopped for dinner not long after. We got Hot-and-Ready Pizzas from Little Caesar’s. After dinner we watched Monsters, Inc.
                I think today had the most states so far. We started in Illinois and went through Indiana and Michigan, then ended in Ohio. In Ohio we stopped at Lake Erie for just a few minutes. Not everyone got out, I didn’t. It was getting dark and we just pulled over to the side of the road. We are still listening to Fablehaven; we are getting close to the end.
                After the Lake we got in a massive traffic jam. All the lanes were just crawling forward. Annoyingly the cars going the other direction were just cruising along, no trouble at all. It was completely dark and all we could see was a long line of red taillights stretching out ahead of us. We moved at a snail’s pace for about 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes we passed a car stalled in the road and we thought that was a problem, but things remained the same. Then for no reason at all, or at least that we could see, cars started speeding up and things got back to normal.
                We are spending the night in Cleveland. Our hotel is right in the middle of downtown Cleveland. Mom made reservations for 3 rooms, but for some reason the hotel didn’t have a record of all of them so we just got 2. We had two beds in each room and a very friendly guy brought 3 cots for us to use. MaryAnne is sleeping on the one in our room. We didn’t get into the hotel until after 11 o’clock, but we still turned on the TV. The Princess Bride was on and we watched that while we were getting ready for bed. We saw from the Rhyming Scene to just before Fezik fights the Man in Black. Now we have turned it off and we’re going to bed.
MILES: 500

Just for you, Sam.  I can now say I've been in Indiana.

Waiting at Lake Michigan in Indiana

Playing at Lake Michigan

The boys passing time in the van

Welcome to Michigan
Detroit Temple

Lake Erie

Did we take a wrong turn somewhere? We shouldn't be anywhere near Oregon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day three, Chicago

Thursday July 30, 2015
                Oh look! We’ve been really busy. We got up shortly before 8 this morning. We ate breakfast and got ready to go. Today we spent the day in Chicago. It took about an hour and a half to get to the city. I saw an advertisement that said “Oh look” and that became the day’s catch phrase. We drove around for a while, Chicago traffic wasn’t really our friend. Mom and Dad bought doughnuts for us and they were really good.
                The first place we went was the Museum of Science and Industry. For some reason when we got to the Museum of Science and Industry the side doors on the van wouldn't shut.  They weren't lined  up.  Mom was a bit worried about the situation.  How could we drive lots of miles if we couldn't shut the doors?  Dad looked at it and figured out a bolt had come out.  Thankfully we got it fixed so the doors can shut again.  The Museum was lots of fun. Before we went in we picked buddies. Dallin was my buddy.There were lots of cool things in the museum. We spent most of the day there. My top four areas were the Science of Weather, the You Experience, the Fairy Castle, and the Mirror Maze. The Science of Weather had a tesla coil that created lightning about every half hour. There were also wind chambers with 80mph winds. That was fun.
            The You Experience had a game where two people put on headbands that recorded brain waves and whichever was most relaxed moved a ball away from themselves and toward the other person. The one who was most relaxed won. David beat me, but it was close the ball moved back and forth for  a while.
            We didn’t spend a lot of time at the fairy castle, but it was amazing. It was a super detailed miniature castle. It took up the whole room with at least three levels and lots of rooms. It was a great castle.
         The mirror maze was really fun and disorienting. You could see people who were really somewhere else, around the corner or farther. Dallin kept trying to run through it and a couple of times I lost track of him, but never for too long.
                We also had tickets for 2 shows at the museum. The first was called Journey to Space and was shown on the domed ceiling. It was about space exploration and advancements and people going to Mars. It was interesting. The second was a tour thingy about coal mines. We road down for a while in an elevator and we saw some of the equipment used in the mines.
                We also saw a free, live show that lasted about 15 minutes. It was called America’s Got Bubbles. There were three acts: a duo who danced with bubbles, a Texan who made Texas sized bubbles (everything’s bigger in Texas), and some clowns that put a volunteer from the audience in a bubble. I liked the Texan the best; I thought he was the most impressive. But they based the winner on the level of applause at the end and the person-in-a-bubble group won. 
                We were in the museum for a long time and we just kind of skipped lunch. We left around 4ish. When we got out to the van we had an impromptu picnic in the parking garage. We had sandwiches and cheese tortillas and chips and those packages of mini cookies. Then we piled back in a started heading to the Navy Pier for a boat tour.
                It wasn’t that far, but it took us at least an hour to get there. Chicago was not really our friend as far as driving goes. We got stuck in traffic in front of the Fields Museum and there was a big group, like a tour group or something, and I think the poor guide was trying to get taxis for all of them. When we got close to the Pier we stopped in a parking garage. It was dim and pretty dirty, you know a typical parking garage, but when we got outside you could see that the outside of the building was really shiny and looked fancy.
                We walked about 4 blocks to Navy Pier. The Pier was busy and we weren’t sure exactly where the boat was. We were just about to ask a security guy when Dad saw the Shoreline Tours sign. We had bought our tickets for the boat online so we just had to verify them. We were about half an hour early, so had a bathroom stop and then walked about halfway down the pier and back. We passed the Shakespeare Theater; it was playing the Little Mermaid. There was a stained glass museum, a Ferris wheel , and a kid’s maze on the pier. 
               At about 5:45 we went back to the boat (our tour was at 6). The tour lasted about 40 minutes. It was interesting; mostly about the architecture of the Chicago skyline. We practically played musical benches on the boat. At first Julia, Emma, and I were on the upper deck and everyone else was on the lower deck. Then Dallin and Lydia came up to join us, and shortly thereafter everyone else did too. Then we moved from the front of the boat to the back; and Dallin and I moved across the aisle.
                After the tour we went back to the van and started heading back. We stopped for dinner and most of us went to Subway. MaryAnne, Lydia, and Dad went to McDonald’s instead. We used a Subway gift card we won from Summer Reading. 
                We drove the rest of the way back to Yolanda’s house. Emma, Julia, Matthew, and I played a great game called Imagine Iff… You wrote all the players names around the edge of the board. Then you move a token around the edge to pick one of the names. You get a card and use the player’s name to fill the blank. The card would be something like Imagine Iff… _______ _ was a holiday. Which one would he/she be? Then it lists 6 options. Each player picks and answer and the players that pick the most popular answer get to move forward. It was lots of fun! We played it twice. By then it was about 11 and we all went to bed.  

Chicago July 29, 2015 on PhotoPeach

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Traveling to Virginia Day Two (South Dakota to Chicago, Illinois)(Guest Bloggist, Bethany Waite)

Wednesday July 29, 2015
                We got up about 8 this morning. At 8:30 we went down to the hotel breakfast. Then we went upstairs and finished packing up. After we had all piled back into the van we got on our way. I had brought some brain teaser question cards. Julia, Emma, and I (along with anyone else who wanted to chip in) tried our best to answer them. Some were pretty easy, but some we didn’t even try. Too many numbers involved! One of the questions was about NASA sending birds into space and Emma was all offended because they sent a dog into space without planning to get it back.
                We also played Uno. Emma got it in a car trip package from her Young Women’s President. We put the cards on a pillow on Julia’s lap (she’s in the middle seat). The draw pile kept sliding though, so Julia held it and handed out cards when we needed them. We played 2 games and Emma won both.  While we were playing Matthew saw a hilarious billboard. It said “Memories Can Be Made Anywhere! Come to Colorado!” This can be misinterpreted two ways: 1) Memories can be made anywhere, so why bother going all the way to Colorado, or 2) Memories can anywhere, even in Colorado and we couldn’t think of anything better about Colorado.    
                We left South Dakota and entered Iowa. The younger kids watched Dora this morning. We started out with the same seating arrangements as yesterday, but during the movie Matthew and I switched places. We continued this way until we stopped for lunch. We had somehow got on some sort of smaller road that had no rest stops, so we just kept driving. Dad eventually stopped at a town close to the road so we could eat and stretch our legs. We ate at a park after driving around town for a while. We decided against a golf course, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a school playground before finally stopping at the park. There was an old playground with the strangest merry-go-round I have ever seen.
                When we got back in, Matthew and I switched back so I was again in the middle row. We were listening to Fablehaven on and off throughout the day. Then we watched Patch’s London Adventure. We agreed that no matter how much you love dogs or that the dogs loved the puppies there is no way to actually take care of 99 puppies. It was impossible for them to notice when one went missing.
                Around dinner time we stopped to visit Aunt Janet and Uncle Paul. Janet in my grandma Karan’s sister. We stayed at their house on our Navoo trip. We had chicken salad sandwiches, cheese and crackers, grapes, and watermelon. We were there a little less than an hour. We had to walk about three blocks because their house is on a steep hill and a narrow street. We parked in a school parking lot and walked the rest of the way.
                   After dinner we drove some more. We were in Wisconsin for about an hour. Wisconsin has strange stop signs. There was a three way stop – but it was a normal intersection with cars coming from four directions. Several others were placed strangely: higher than normal, off to the side, and one had three signs for cars coming the same direction (one on each side and one high like a stop light).
                From Wisconsin we went into Illinois. We used two toll roads. Most of the kids had never been on a toll road before. We drove to Dad’s cousin Yolanda’s house near Chicago. Yolanda and her daughters are not actually here they are at girls’ camp. Yolanda’s husband and their son are here. We got here after 9. We had us ice cream. Dallin and I played Sorry! and then we went to bed. Lydia and I are sharing a room and there are about 8 decorative pillows on the bed. They take up so much room, when Lydia saw them she said it was for short people and asked where I was going to sleep.
MILES: 550

Keeping entertained while in the van all day

The most unusual merry go round

Lydia took this picture looking down from the top of the slide

There was an amazing War Memorial here

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Traveling to Virgina Day One (Guest Bloggist Bethany Waite)

Tuesday July 28, 2015
                Well let’s see, first of all Dad got us up shortly after 6 this morning. We did a few last minute packing and stuffing, ate breakfast and piled into the car. I have never been in such a crowded car! The walk-way and pretty much all the foot room were packed with stuff. My feet were on some folded blankets or towels or something. We had to get in and out in order. To get in: first the boys (Matthew, David, Dallin) climb over the middle row and into the back seat. Then Emma, Julia, and I get in the middle row. Then Dad/Mom put a couple crates in the doorway and Lydia, MaryAnne, and Joshua are in the front row. Getting out is the reverse.
            We decided to count off instead of doing roll call. But we am going to start with 2 instead of 1. Rebecca is our Silent One. Julia thought of it, and I like it.
            We drove till about lunchtime. We listened to Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star, but I fell asleep for part of it. We have a new TV in the car; it uses wireless headphones. We watched Tarzan. I saw a sign that said MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE. Every time we saw a motorcycle Julia, Emma, and I were like “Motorcycles are everywhere”. And we really did see a lot of motorcycles.
            We stopped at a rest stop for lunch. We made sandwiches with chicken and ham from a cooler. After lunch we drove more. We listened to more Fablehaven and also watched Big Hero 6. 
            For dinner we stopped at another rest stop for dinner, this time in South Dakota. There was a giant teepee frame that the kids enjoyed playing in. I had sour-cream cheese potatoes, everyone else also had corn dogs or ham or a sandwich.
            After dinner we drove some more. We watched Toy Story. I love that movie!! During the movie we crossed into a new time zone and lost an hour. We got to the hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota a little before 10. We have 2 rooms. Each room has two beds and a hideaway in the couch. Mom, Dad, and the boys are taking one room and Julia, Emma, MaryAnne, Lydia, and I are in the other. The hotel pool closes at 11, so we hurried and got ready and went for a swim. The cold water felt really good after being in a hot car all day. Julia and Emma enjoyed the hot tub, but I didn’t even get in it. I scrapped my knee when I slipped off the ladder in the pool. The middle step was unstable and turned when I stepped on it. Other than that we had a great time in the pool.
            We went back to our rooms and showered. We watched the end of A Cinderella Story before we went swimming, and funnily enough, the same movie was still playing when we got back. The channel had just started the movie over. So we watched that until almost the end. Now we are going to bed. I’m sharing a bed with Lydia, who is already asleep; MaryAnne is asleep on the couch.
MILES: 733

HOURS: 11   
We were pretty packed in 

Playing at a rest area in South Dakota

Emma posing at the South Dakota sign

Our only view of Mt. Rushmore this trip

The girls hanging out in their motel room