Monday, June 25, 2012


Sean's company put us up in a furnished apartment for a month so we could have time to find housing while our stuff gets here. We're staying in a place in Hoboken, New Jersey right next to the Hudson River. The location is amazing.
There are a bunch of really nice parks nearby. Lots of families were having fun hanging out at the park.
Downtown Hoboken along Washington street is really fun. There's old style buildings and cute shops all along the street. We even passed by Carlos's Bake Shop. For those of you who dob't know, the reality tv show, Cake Boss, is filmed there. During the day there is a line two blocks long of people waiting to get in. Crazy huh?
We've been having fun at night once our house hunting is finished for the day. We've been taking walks around town and sight seeing or letting the kids play in the park.
The house hunting is going okay. It's difficult to know what area we want to move to and places are really expensive. We think we may have found a place, but who knows how that will turn out. Keep your fingers crossed that we can find a good place quickly.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Final Stop: Hoboken

We had a leisurely morning. We took our time getting out, but left about he same time Geaorge did. The drive went off without a hitch, but we were shocked at how much it cost us to use the toll road. At one point we had to stop at a store to get some cash because we didn't have enough for future tolls.

As we were nearing Hoboken, we saw the skyline of New York City. I saw the Statue of Libery in the distance too. It was a little mind-blowing to think that we'd be living here. We finally arrived at our residence for the next month and it was... nice. It was right by the Hudson river with a spectacular view of NYC.

Sean had been talking to his friend Sterling who was going to be in town. He had to drop his parents off at the airport in JFK so he was going to stop by and say hi. We had parked our car in front of the lobby and Sean was unloading our stuff onto a cart and hauling it up to our room. I was sitting in the car waiting for him when some guy opened the car door and sat in the passenger seat. I was about to start freaking out when I realized it was Sterling. Hahaha.
Once we had all our stuff loaded into our apartment and the car was parked, we got to relax for a bit. Sterling hung out with us for a bit.

After he left I guess he walked around the building to check things out. He kept messaging us about how there were great parks nearby. He said we were going to have a great view of the fireworks for the fourth. Can you say, AWESOME!
We told him that he had to bring his family over here for the fourth. We would have a blast. We later found out there is a playground on the fourth floor out on a terrace with the perfect view of the pier where they are going to have the fireworks. It will be perfect. Hopefully it'll be open and not too crowded.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kirtland Temple to Philly Cheesesteak

We slept in a little at our hotel. The parking lot was adjacent to a McDonalds so you can guess where we had breakfast. I fed Jayce some oatmeal while Terryn ate a breakfast burrito. We got our stuff together and I got ice for our cooler. We were planning on spending a bit of time in Kirtland.

Our first stop was the temple visitor's center. It's run by the Community of Christ and is quite nice. The tour starts with a movie. It's interesting to say the least. I sat in the back while Terryn and Jayce chased each other around. Hopefully the other tourists weren't totally upset by that, but at least they were being somewhat quiet. After the movie was over, the curtains opened up to a spectacular view of the temple. It was a gorgeous day too so the view was amazing. Then we went to the temple.

Terryn was being a little turkey during the whole tour. I can't say that I entirely blame him though. He'd been cooped up in the car for the last four days and Terryn is quite the high energy kid. It was cool to see the inside of the temple, but we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside. Once our tour was over we took pictures outside. I think I got some good ones.
Then Sean took Terryn to a playground for a bit. I had to go to a store to buy diapers. We needed them bad. We were trying to decide what to do next. We wanted to made decent time to Pennsylvania, but we figured, "We're here in Kirtland, we better see what we want because we probably won't be here again." so we decided to see the Church's visitor's site too. It was the historic downtown of Kirtland. We attempted to watch the movie here, but Terryn was not going to let us.

We walked around and saw the Whitmer store. It was pretty cool.
 I took a few pictures of the inside. It was cool.
Then Sean showed Terryn some of the tools they used to use. He was pretty interested in some of them... mainly because he wanted to sword fight with them.
We learned that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared here. Wow. We visited the next house on the tour too, but Terryn was done after this so we left the tour early.
We took a potty stop and then grabbed some lunch at Burger King. Terryn got a kid's meal and it came with a crown. He thought that was awesome and so King Terryn sat in the back for awhile. The kids were really tired and I think they slept pretty much the rest of the drive.

We were going to try to get to Hoboken that day, but thought better of it. We're going to try to stay with Sean's Aunt Kathy and Uncle George instead. Sean called them and they were cool with it. At some point Terryn woke up and said, "I want ice creams!" Then he fell back asleep. He may have been sleep-talking. It was pretty funny.

Sean was driving and he really wanted to make good time. We were all sick of being in the car. Our gas tank was getting pretty low, but we were so close to their house. Sean decided he'd try to make it. At some point the emergency gas warning went off. "We can make it," Sean assured me. He said we still had about 20 miles left on this tank. He'd run out of gas before so he said he knew. We had 10 miles to his uncle's house. "We'll be fine," Sean said. I think we went about 3 more miles when the engine turned off. We were now coasting down the highway. We went as far as we could and then we pulled over and turned off the car. Sean waited a minute and then started the car again and we drove about another mile before the car turned off again. Was this really happening? So much for getting there early. Sean did this over and over again until we could actually see our exit. We were 2 miles from their house. Sean managed to get the car up the exit and then it was just dead. I got into the driver's seat and Sean got out to push. We had to at least get the car near the toll booth. A couple of guys came to help push the car. Sean called his uncle and asked him to bring some gas. Luckily we were so close. It only took him like 5 minutes to get there. I think he was laughing at the situation. I was kinda mad at Sean for being such a ding dong and running out of gas, but the fact that we were so close to a gas station and our final destination made everything pretty hilarious. I thought it was more funny than anything and we were fine. Hopefully he learned his lesson.

We filled up, paid our toll and then went to the nearest gas station to fill up. George met us there and we filled up the gas can. Then he offered to pick us up some Philly Cheese steak. Mmmmm. Awesome. We were so hungry.

We made it to the house fine and everything was great. We got to chat with everyone for awhile before we went to bed. Katie even stayed the night there too. I don't know if she knew we were going to be there or if she just had wedding preparations to do. It was nice to stay with family that night. It would make our drive tomorrow pretty short and then it would be over for awhile.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Iowa to Ohio

I slept in. Nobody woke me up and I was so tired. I think everyone slept pretty well. We were all so tired. I was kinda bummed though that nobody woke me up before Peter left because I didn't get to take a picture of their family.

We let Terryn enjoy the morning. He had fun playing with all the toys and cars. Then the kids went outside for a bit. He got to jump on the trampoline and sit on a "tractor" or riding lawn mower.
He had lots of fun playing with Megan, Ethan and Collin. I think he was pretty bummed when we had to leave.
I ended up taking the first driving shift again so Sean could attempt to take a nap. Since I slept in, I wasn't tired. I drove for a long time. We were planning on making it to a city just outside of Kirtland, Ohio. We already had hotel reservations.

Once we got into Illinois we ran into a bit of a problem. Our GPS told me to exit at this weird place. I knew it had to be wrong, but I didn't know where we were or why it giving me weird directions. I knew that the highway was becoming a tollway and it was telling me to exit at the last exit before it became a tollway. I figured that had to have something to do with it. Unfortunately for Sean this happened while he had managed to fall asleep. I pulled off the exit and was freaking out. "What do I do?" The really unfortunate thing was that there was no way to re-enter the tollway from this exit. Arg. We had to go a really long ways to find another entrance to the highway. We pulled off the road and messed with the GPS to allow toll roads. It took us awhile to find where this setting was. Ugh... Technology at its finest. I think this delayed us about 30 minutes. When we could finally enter the tollway, we had to have exact change... which we didn't have. We went through without paying, but noted the website where you can pay unpaid tolls. We did that later.

We finally made it to Indiana. It went by fast. Had plans to meet some friends of ours in a park on the Indiana/Iowa border. It was Joan and Chuck Moon. They are the parents of Betsye Park who we know from Vietnam.

I was still driving at this point. We were still on the tollway. I got distracted and missed our exit. I noticed it right as it happened and pulled over. I kept thinking, "What am I going to do?" The next exit was 33 miles away. Uh... yeah...I don't think so. I was going to just back up all the way to the exit, but then I noticed a u-turn. I'm sure it was so illegal, but oh we'll. I made the u-turn and managed not to kill us. The toll booth took my ticket no problem and we made it to the park. Sean was teasing me the whole time asking me how I missed the exit. To my defense I think I was passing a semi and missed one of the signs for the exit and our GPS is not always the easiest thing to follow.

We had a nice lunch with the Moons. Joan had brought us sandwiches. We sat at a picnic table right by a playground. That way Terryn could burn off some energy. He had fun. It was a bit difficult to get him to eat though. He was not happy when it was time to leave.
Sean took over the driving from here and I was grateful. Too many crazy things happened while I was driving.

Sean had been talking to his Aunt Marilynn and his Uncle Henry (they are Paul's parents who we saw in Montana) and they we going to visit Paul. Initially they were going to fly, but they changed their minds and decided to drive instead. We were going to be crossing paths in Ohio somewhere. We decided to meet up for dinner. They kept calling every few hours to see what progress we'd all made. We ended up meeting near Toledo.

We had dinner and it would have been nice except Terryn was being horrible. I think he just had so much energy that he would not still still enough to eat. He kept running around and whining. We finally got him to eat his dinner. It think as we were all done eating and about ready to go, he decided he was hungry enough to eat. I did manage to take some pictures of everyone before we said our goodbyes.
It was starting to get a little dark as we left. We drove through Cleveland on our way to the hotel. We got in kinda late. Our hotel was fine for what we needed, but it was pretty ghetto, especially when you compare it to the Hilton's we'd been staying in. Oh well we were tired and it didn't matter that much. We went to sleep just fine.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dakota to Davenport

We slept in a little. It was nice since we'd been getting up so stinkin early every morning. Somehow Terryn ended up sleeping in our bed. I don't think I even knew about it since he was on Sean's side of the bed and so Sean was really tired.

We left Rapid City later than we had intended. We were going to have a long drive day today because we were trying to make it to Davenport, Iowa. Sean's old roommate lives there and they were letting us stay the night there.

I started out the drive day. I ended up driving 350 miles before we had to stop. I guess you can do that when you drive a Prius.

As we were driving through parts of South Dakota we kept seeing signs for Wall Drug. My brother had warned me about this. All he said is "You'll see Wall Drug. You'll know it when you see it." He was right. "All roads lead to Wall Drug." "Kids love Wall Drug." "Free Ice Water in Wall Drug.""Giant Dinosaur Wall Drug." I started reading the signs out loud and it was annoying Sean because there were so many. Finally we got up to the city of Wall, and I couldn't help but think of the movie "Stardust", and it was just this tiny little town. We saw the giant dinosaur at the tail of the town. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful.

We saw corn... Lots of corn. We arrived in Minnesota at 3:45pm. Sean kept trying to sleep but as soon as he'd get close Jayce would start crying or Terryn would start whining. As we got closer to Iowa, we saw lots of windmills. It's cool to see green power at work, but man are they huge. We finally got to the Merrell's place at 10:30 pm. It was a lot later than we'd hoped. We barely had time to visit, but everyone was still awake... more or less so we got to say hi.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Montana to Mount Rushmore

We left the hotel around 7:30. We were surprised at how well the kids had done the day before with our drive. Terryn was content to watch DVDs and Jayce did really well.

Our next stop was Billings where we were going to meet Sean's cousin Paul. I think we ended up getting there around 10:30 or so. We met him at a restaurant for brunch. He was there with his girlfriend Jenny and his daughter Rose. Rose was 4.

We had a nice time chatting. I took a group shot outside when we were done. After that we left to go to a park. There the Rose and Terryn got to run around and play. I went to Target to buy a few things. When I was done, I went to pick up everybody else and we started out on the road again.
At one point on our drive there was this ridiculously beautiful rainbow stretching across the sky. I don't think I've ever seen a rainbow so close to the ground before. It was like it went straight for a long ways. I pointed the rainbow out to Terrryn and he said, "Wow! A CHOO CHOO TRAIN!" apparently there was also a train passing us in that direction and that was more interesting to Terryn. Hahahahaha. He is such a boy.
I looked back at the boys at some point during our trip and Terryn was asleep with Jayce's foot on his head. Every once in awhile Jayce would be kicking Terryn in the face because Terryn kept trying to sleep on his feet and he didn't like it.

We saw a bunch of hillsides that had been burned. It looked like there had been a forest fire a couple years ago and the hillside was still scarred.
 We also saw something that I thought was awesome and surprising. Sean looked over and said, "Hey, aren't those 737s?" Sure enough I look over and there are 737 fuselages sitting on a train on its way to the Renton plant. Who would have thought we'd see that in Montana? We also saw a bunch of oil pumps.

The next destination on our trip was Mount Rushmore. I was hoping we'd get there before 8:00pm and I think we just barely made it. It was quite stunning. I wish we would have had more time to see the other sights nearby, but we only had time for Mount Rushmore.
Terryn was in the middle of major meltdown so it was difficult to see anything in the visitor's center. I wish we could have watched the movie they have there, but Terryn wouldn't let us. Oh well. We at least got to see the "Mountain with the Faces". Terryn really didn't want to see the mountain, but he sure did want ice cream and he kept saying it over and over. We were only there for a short period of time, but I think it was worth it. When am I ever going to be in South Dakota again? We could have tried to stay for the lighting ceremony, but that would have meant getting to our hotel at like 11 pm with two whiny kids. No thanks.
We stayed the night in a Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City, using more of Sean's hotel points. It was nice and it was nice to be in a comfy bed.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Leaving Washington

We had planned to leave my parent's house at around 4:30, but somehow I knew we wouldn't make it. We were about an hour late in leaving. I had stayed up late the night before packing up the car. We were pretty stuffed in our little Prius.

My parents were up to see us off. We'd been having some trouble with our car not starting. When we went to start the car it wouldn't start at first. I'm sure my parents were thinking, "I hope they make it to New Jersey." Eventually our car started and we were off, but not before the bottom of our car totally scraped the edge of my parents' driveway. Again I'm sure my parents were nervous that we wouldn't make it.

The kids were asleep as we took off and stayed sleeping for the first couple hours. We had arranged them both near a door and had a suitcase in between them. When Terryn woke up he was really upset. "I cannot see Baby Base!" he kept saying. It really upset him.

Our first stop was in Spokane. We saw our friends Ryan, Heidi and Andrew (who was visiting). We met up at Riverfront Park. 
It gave Terryn a chance to burn some energy. He slide down the giant Red Flyer slide a bunch of times.
 Then he climbed up on the blocks.
 I chased him around the river side for a little bit and the we looked at the ducks and geese.
 We spotted a little gosling and Terryn thought it was cute.
 We only visited for about 45 minutes, but I made sure we took a picture of us all.
Then it was off to St. Marie's, Idaho where we were going to visiting my aunt Linda. We arrived at about 1:00 and she had lunch ready for us. I'd never been to her house before so this was a real treat for me.

Her husband, Lars, is in the fur trade and so he has a big shop where he stores and prepared the furs. Linda let us take a peek at it. It was pretty awesome.
I let Jayce touch the moosehead and he thought that was kind of interesting.
Terryn didn't know what to think of the bear skins. I tried to get him to show me his bear growl.
We only went to where the furs are stored and Lars' office. We got to see a bunch of different skins. We decided that the shaved beaver pelt was just about the softest things ever. I think Sean was contemplating getting is made into a pair of underwear. Hahahaha... Just kidding... Sort of.
Then we got to see my aunt's studio. She is an artist. She sculpts, paints, makes jewelry, sketches... and dabbles in a lot of different art mediums. We got to see some of her work. I've always loved being in her studio. When I was little she would let me and my brother make clay figures and things and then she'd fire them for us, glaze them and send them to us. My mom still has a bunch of the pieces we made.

My aunt also had this really sweet dog named Kody. She got her at an animal shelter where in her previous home she had been abused and was really scared of everybody. My aunt worked with her a lot and she's just the sweetest dog. Terryn really liked her.
After we saw the shops we went back inside and got ready to go. Terryn disappeared for a short time and when I found him he was hiding in my aunt's bed. It was hilarious.

At my aunt's house, we rearranged the car so Terryn and Jayce were sitting next to each other. That made Terryn a lot happier and now they both could entertain each other. Every once in awhile we'd hear both kids cracking up. It was so cute.

We drove for a long time. We tried to figure out why they called Montana the Big Sky state as we drove. We were trying to make it to Billings, but we pretty much knew we weren't going to make it. We ended up staying in Missoula, Montana. Sean ended up being able to use his hotel points and we stayed in a Hampton Inn for free. So that was nice. It was a nice hotel and had everything we needed.