Posts

Birthday Idea

Image
I was reminiscing about our time in Spain, looking at old photos.  I realized I haven't tried to do a photo a day challenge in quite some time!  Back when I did them I believed they were all boring, but now I love them all.  So, time for another 365 challenge.







Now that I have a great phone camera I think I will make it to 365, as it will be far more convenient than the old SLR to RAW to editing to converting to uploading route I used to have to take.  In 2013 I was able to get 308, so let's see if I can top that.  The start date doesn't matter much to me, so why not begin on my birthday ;)

Southwest Vacation - Wrap Up

Image
We're back into our usual routines, looking for the next adventure.  The kids were a little apprehensive about "staying in some stranger's house" beforehand, but are now completely on-board with Airbnb stays.  Everything went so well.  We saved money by cooking and it was much less stressful than our other trips.  I have finally learned what works!  A few of these I just learned.

1. No car rides longer than 6hrs in one day.
2. Plan at least ONE day of absolutely nothing per week for mental and physical recovery.
3. Always bring: snacks from grocery stores (larger portions, smaller prices), collapsible coolers, and empty water bottles.  Freezing water and keeping it in a cooler for road trips saves a ton of money by eliminating gas station stops.  You also get healthier options.
4.Book and pay for every large important thing far in advance so there are no preventable surprises (flights, rental cars, hotels/places to stay) and you actually take the trip.
5. Always have…

Southwest Vacation - Las Vegas, Nevada

Image
Josh had the presence of mind to book us some tickets at an IMAX to see "Solo" in Vegas on opening weekend.  Other than that we didn't do much of anything at all.

The boys were super excited to see the strip from inside the car, and we felt that was sufficient.  Not our kind of scene... that and we were all vacationed out.  I did laundry and we went to bed relatively early.  We were exhausted.

McCarran International airport is the least international airport I've ever been in.  No help for people who speak other languages on site.  There weren't even signs in Spanish.  The international tourists were treated like complete garbage for not knowing English.  It was nice to be leaving.  The flight out was really cool!!  We flew over the Grand Canyon & The Colorado Rockies, and for the first time ever our connection in Chicago O'Hare was on time!

We made it home to celebrate Memorial Day on our own turf, in our own way.  It was an amazing trip!!  Planning a lo…

Southwest Vacation - Utah to Nevada

Image
First stop we made was the grocery store, which is always our first stop before a road trip. We hit Zion National Park almost immediately after that, snacks and drinks in hand.  The entrance we were nearest to was closed for re-construction so we hit the south entrance.  It took us a little further away from our normal route, but we wanted to see Zion after looking at pictures online.  The drive there was gorgeous of course.



The park itself has very little to no parking and was full.  They have free shuttles that run throughout the park, but you have to walk to the stops first.  We found an overflow lot by the camping area (lucky us!), and started walking towards the visitor center/museum.  It was a loooong trail and it was already hot outside... especially for people who just came from a snowy mountain.  Great views though!!  It's definitely a gorgeous park.



We saw a lot of lizards and interesting plants along the way.  Everyone was pretty happy and eager to get going.  Then the …

Southwest Vacation - Utah Part 3, exploring Cedar Breaks

Image
Our condo was part of a ski town, and there was a path and hiking trails that would take us to the tippy top of Brian Head Peak.  Yes, please!  We drove as far as we could, but the road was snowed in.  We kept walking further and further up, but the air was getting thinner and the clouds were looking pretty ominous so we had to turn back.






Do not be fooled by these smiling faces.  Everyone was fighting at this point.  We tried to joke ourselves out of it, but we were just done with all the togetherness I think.  The views were amazing though!  We wanted the exercise and the experience of the park so we picked a trail to take further down the road.



Right around the corner from our condo was Cedar Breaks National Monument.  It was the look of Bryce, but with 0 people, a higher elevation, and lots of snow.  The overlook we stopped at boasted an elevation of 10,435ft.  Brennan stopped about halfway and refused to go anywhere near the edge: "I can see it fine from over here where it…

Southwest Vacation - Utah Part 2, hiking at Bryce Canyon

Image
After our luxurious day of nothing, we were ready to get out and get active again.  We took the drive out to Bryce Canyon National Park.  When we arrived, we realized we weren't the only ones who had the idea to hike the park on a Tuesday morning.  It was already crowded.  However, the crowds were mostly elderly people, people with small children, or physically unfit people.  We knew if we picked a strenuous enough path we'd have plenty of space all to ourselves AND we'd be able to hike it just fine.  We're thankful for our able bodies, and we should use them while we have them!



We were right.  The longer, winding, moderate path was barely populated and gave us amazing scenery.  We actually sweat during a hike for the first time (on this trip).  We took our time on the way down to the "Tower Bridge".



We hiked past the "Chinese Wall" and many other interesting hoodoo formations.  It looked like another planet there.  The trees were so different than …