Our family had a trip planned to Utah for the last two weeks of April.
We loaded up the car, bought a new DVD, and rolled the dice.
We left at midnight on the 15th.
Everything was going wonderfully for about 5 hours.
The kids were happy, the car was rolling along, and Dennis was awake in the driver's seat.
At 5:00 am, we were in central Kansas. I-70 was shut down due to a snow storm. We decided to wait it out in a truck stop parking lot. At 7:00 am, we picked up breakfast at McDonald's and learned from some fellow travelers that the road most likely wouldn't open until later on in the evening. At that point (8:00 am) we opted to head a little further south to a road that would eventually link us back up with the interstate in Colorado where the weather was better. Just before 9:00 in the morning, our car sputtered a few times. Dennis stopped in the next town to pick up some fuel tank cleaner (I'm sure there's a better term for what he bought, but I don't have a clue) because he thought we got some bad fuel at the last stop. While he was pouring the stuff in, the car stopped. We were able, after far too many attempts, to get across the street to the conveniently located mechanics shop in town. It was windy - I've never seen it this windy before. And, it was very very cold. The day we left Oklahoma it had been over 90 degrees. I think it was about 26 degrees where we broke down. The mechanic told Dennis he wouldn't have time to work on our car that day. Dennis's response, "I have four kids in my car. The oldest isn't yet six years old. They are sitting inside your garage..." He found time to work on our car that day! It took six hours to replace our fuel pump. We passed the entire six hours by sitting in the convenience store accross the street. It was too cold and windy to venture out anywhere else, plus we aren't sure there was anything else! We ate pizza, bought ice cream sandwiches, watched movies on our DVD player, and played lots of pretend. We finally got back on the road after 3:00 that afternoon. We should have gotten to my parents house at 5:00 or 6:00 for dinner. Instead, we rolled in at 4:00 am the next day. Not our favorite trip, but we did it and we survived.
I really felt like turning around, calling it quits, and heading back to Oklahoma. The reason we didn't?
My dad. The main reason for our trip was to be in Utah for my dad when he was released as stake president. For the last 9 years, my dad has served as the stake president in his stake. I remember the day he was called... I was in my freshmen year of college at Utah State, and I had come down for the weekend to work at Dad's model home. I can't believe all that has happened in those 9 years. I met Dennis a few months later, got married, lived in 3 different states, and had 4 kids! My parents went from having 5 grandchildren to now having 18!
My dad is a great man. I love him, and I am so grateful we were able to be there to support him. It was amazing to sit in church with my 4 siblings, their spouses, and all our families there together. It's another day I won't forget.
Following church where my dad was made a "free man," we had an Easter egg hunt in my parent's back yard. Everyone was there, and our kids ate it up. They love being with their cousins, especially because they don't have the opportunity very often.
Sarah is at such a great age right now. She loves to help everyone. She is constantly asking me what she can do to help me. This actually resulted in her learning to change Jared's diaper recently! During the egg hunt, she pointed out eggs to the younger kids to help them fill up their baskets faster.
Every time Andrew picked up an egg, he shook it to make sure there was something inside. If he didn't hear anything, he dropped it!
The last night of our visit, Dennis captured a very rare moment. All three big kids smiled for the camera... at. the. same. time! Wow.