(Sorry, this is a long one!)
Well, I am back...sort of! After 5 weeks of going, going, going, I am exhausted! Our family vacation turned into a fun filled adventure with a few situations that made my husband and I consider turning our truck around and heading home before something else happened but all in all, we had a GREAT time together!
We first headed up to Northern Nevada to spend a week and a half at my in-laws. They actually have two homes near Lake Topaz which allowed for us to have our own space, which we are VERY thankful for, especially with 3 kids! You should have seen the amount of stuff we brought with us for this LONG vacation...we seriously looked like we were moving! As we arrived after our 6 1/2 hour drive, we pulled into the "guest house" driveway and as soon as we opened the door to the house, we smelt something not so right! Immediately I realized that the smell was GAS! Fortunately the situation was easily fixed but we had to stay out of the house for a long while so that it could air out BUT we wouldn't have hot water until MONDAY! In other words, I had to drive up to my in-laws to take a shower and bath the kids each morning.
During our time there we were able to drive up to Reno to visit some of our friends over night. It was such a nice visit, the kids kept eachother company playing from morning until evening and the adults just sat back and relaxed (something I was desparate for at this point). On our way back to the Lake Topaz area the next morning, we heard a loud bang and figured a rock had hit the bottom of our truck. Moments later my husband heard a strange noise coming for the truck and look out his window to find that the drivers side tire was QUICKLY losing air! Amazingly he noticed this right before the last exit to civilization...otherwise we would have been stranded on the side of the road for a long time! He was able to pull into a gas station right before the air was completely out of the tire. The only problem was that the air from the tank at the station was not able to fill the tire enough to drive it to a shop. He pulled the truck into the side parking lot that just happened to be connected with a Starbuck's ( thank you Lord)! I grabbed all of the things needed for the kids, not knowing how long this ordeal would take while my husband called AAA. (We just signed up with AAA a couple of months ago and I HIGHLY advice any driver to have this service after this event!) Anyways, so the kids and I camped out in Starbuck's not having any clue how long we would be there. My 15 month old's nap time was rapidly approaching and I was trying to figure out exactly how I was going to get him to sleep without disrupting the whole coffee shop...he likes to fall asleep on his own in his own area! Right about that time I saw the tow truck pull up and thought that our truck was going to have to be towed to a tire shop to be repaired BUT within 10 to 15 minutes, the tow truck pulled away and we had a full tire again! Oh, how relieved I was at that very moment. After sending up a very special "Thank you Jesus", I grabbed all of our "stuff" and reloaded the kids, high chair, diaper bag, toy bag and snacks back into the truck. Let me just say that while in that Starbuck's I came across some of the nicest people from all of the workers to the other patrons around me and my "crew". I will forever be grateful for all of their kindness during our little mishap.
The following weekend we headed back up to Reno to spend a little time with my mom who had driven up from Central California (about a 3 hour drive). This has become an annual event and we always stay at the same place and just hang out, relax and go shopping for a day or two together. But as this vacation goes, things did not go as planned. We had planned to meet up at the Red Lobster near by (something we do every year). We got there a few moments before my mom and right about the time she pulled up, steam started to come up from under her hood! My husband tried to assess the situation but being that he is not extremely familiar with BMW's, he could only guess that there was a leak in a hose. After eating he took my mom's car and we drove over to the hotel. He stopped at 3 different shops, all of which turned him away because they don't work on BMW's before he finally and reluctantly took it to a BMW dealership (which just happened to be 5 minutes from our hotel). The problem was that they wouldn't be able to diagnose the problem until Monday and most likely wouldn't have the parts needed until Tuesday, which left my mom in a bind. After much brainstorming and phone calls to my step dad, they came up with a plan that my step dad would drive up Sunday after he got back from working all night and would stay over until the car was repaired while my mom took his car back so that she could make it in to work Monday morning. See, just another episode in our "interesting" vacation! We drove back to my in-law's for a few more days of visiting.
After our nice visit with my husband's family, we headed to my parents (yes, I know, we just saw them the weekend before but hey, we love eachother gosh darn it). This part of the trip was more just to drop off the kids and visit for a couple days before my husband and I got to have our own mini vacation within a vacation! When my husband turned 30 (2 years ago), my mom had given us a week long trip to Tahoe. Of course, I got pregnant 4 months after his birthday which delayed our trip over 2 years but hey, we were finally getting a little "just the two of us" time together. So, we headed to Tahoe...just the two of us! We felt lonely without the kids! Being that our kids are with us ALL of the time (I am even starting home school in a couple weeks), we felt incomplete without them. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed ourselves but it fully brought to my attention how much I truly LOVE being with my whole family. As for our trip together, we did quite a bit. For those of you who have never been to Tahoe...it is BEAUTIFUL! We went to the lake a few times and took a ride on the gondolas all the way up to the top of the Heavenly moutain for a full day of hiking, eating and enjoying the view! We also became aquainted with the many buffets and I have to say that Monte Blue's is by far the best. By Tuesday I was so ready to see the kids again that my heart ached for them. I had hoped to win on the Mega Bucks slot machine but considering that my husband is back at work today I guess it's obvious we didn't win!
Once the week was over I was SO excited to get back to my parents house to see the kids! We arrived after the kids had gone to bed and I was so sure that my little guy would be thrilled to see me in the morning when he woke up. So when I heard him cry I jumped up to get him out of bed only for him to want NOTHING to do with me! He wouldn't even look at me. As soon as he saw my mom he leaped into her arms and turned his head away from me with his eyes purposefully shut! He was so mad at me! It took him about 2 1/2 days and a solid hour of just the two of us cuddling together before he fully accepted me back into his world. Amazing! I don't know if I have ever felt so helpless than those few days of him not letting me mother him. My 3 1/2 year old and my 12 year old were so glad to see us back and my mom said that our 3 year old mentioned at least 20 times a day how much she missed us while we were gone. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my family!? We spent another week and a half at my parents house before we finally returned home. That time seemed to fly by so fast. I had hoped to see more of my high school friends during that time but we were so busy that I think I would have needed a solid month to see everyone I had wanted to. I did get spend some time with a friend of mine and her kids for a few hours and I drove the kids up to see one of my dear friends in Roseville for the day but primarily I just enjoyed being with my parents and kids! I even did something I have never personally done before...I planted a garden with my mom in their front yard! My husband is usually the one who does that at our house but now he may have a little sidekick because I thoroughly loved it!
Fortunately we didn't have any other mishaps and our visit was so nice and went by WAY too fast! I am now home and trying to unpack ALL of our "stuff", I feel like we are moving back in. Did I mention that my mom bought the kids all new toys so that they would have fun at her house while we were there? Yep, it was like Christmas in July for them! AND, she sent all of the toys home with us, bikes and all! She seriously is the best mom and grandma EVER!
As for my Etsy store, eventually it will be back open but it may take a while...after we are fully settled back into our house, I have to get prepared for the start of home school!!!! Oh the adventures never stop! I hope that all of you have had a fantastic summer. I am looking forward to the fall season and the cooler weather...and all of my ideas for my store! Keep posted, I have some neat ideas that have been boiling in my brain this whole summer!!!!
OH...and I'll post some more pictures soon! :-)