Sunday, July 28, 2013

3400 Miles, 54 Hours, 5 Kids, 1 Driver-Yours Truly

I don't know if you read blog titles, but yep, you read correctly. Fairly soon after school let out and Cal's baptism, we were on the road, sans Lee.  My sister Lena recently had her 7th baby and we headed down South to visit her.  So much has been going on lately, thus the recent lack in posts.  It's been a great summer filled with traveling and the unending projects in the kitchen.  Feel free to peruse the post at your pleasure as it's photo laden.

The cousins always enjoy getting together.  Sadly it's not often enough.
June 15 2013 Alyssa Erekson, Haley Shanna

June 15 2013 Ereksons

Keith and Elden were QUITE the pair.  These two little boys know how to have fun together!
June 15 2013 Keith Elden

June 15 2013 Keith Elden (2)

June 15 2013 Keith Elden (3)

Shanna l-o-v-e-s babies.  She asked quite a lot to hold baby Lillie.  And I can't but help love the name!  It's my middle name!  Oh, and the name of our great-grandma...
June 16 2013 Shanna Lillie

Mike and Jon headed off to scout camp while we were there, so we decided to make another big trip down to Texas to surprise my parents on their mission.  We both drove separately, but in a caravan, as there were a total of 11 kids-we couldn't all fit in one vehicle.  At a gas station stop in Texas.
June 18 2013 gas station (4)

June 18 2013 gas station

My parents were so surprised!  We left at 5:30am and arrived at the church building a little after 7pm.  They serve in the LDS employment centers in the tip of Texas.  If you are in Brownsville or Harlingen and need help getting a job, here are the experts to talk to!  It was so funny because we couldn't find our parents right away.  Lena was standing in the hallway with her baby when my parents came around the corner.  Initially my mom thought, that looks like Lena.  And the baby she's holding looks about the age of my new granddaughter.  And then she realized it WAS Lena, ha ha.
June 18 2013 Darrell Lois Lillie Erekson

My parents bought this bell for people to ring.  When they come to the employment center to receive help, my parents like to follow up with them to find out when they get a job.  They come in and ring the bell and get their picture taken when they land a job. 
June 18 2013 LDS Employment Bell

We had fun exploring their office. 
June 18 2013 LDS Employment Center

June 18 2013 LDS employment center Lena and crew

June 18 2013 Lena Lois Lillie Ruth

This is where we visitors slept.  I took the loveseat.  Next to the floor lamp on the left of the picture is a reclining chair where Lena slept.  We know how to pack 'em in!
June 18 2013 Missionary apartment

Our first full day in Texas we went to a sea turtle sanctuary.
June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (23)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (22)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (18)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (17)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (16)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (15)

We then went to the beach in the Gulf of Mexico in South Padre.
June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (14)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (13)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (12)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (11)

Sweet Lillie
June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (7)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (5)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas (2)

June 19 2013 South Padre Island, Texas

After an afternoon in South Padre, we met up with my parents.  They treated us to dinner at Carinos, which was very fun.
June 19 2013 Carinos (13)

June 19 2013 Carinos (12)

The kids had a fun time entertaining themselves while waiting for the food.
June 19 2013 Carinos (11)

June 19 2013 Carinos (8)

June 19 2013 Carinos (7)

June 19 2013 Carinos (6)

June 19 2013 Carinos (5)

June 19 2013 Carinos (4)

June 19 2013 Carinos (3)

June 19 2013 Carinos (2)

One of the churches my mom and dad attend.  They travel around to a few church buildings giving lessons and workshops.  This particular one had barbwire around it and of course you can see the bars on the windows.
June 19 2013 church

My mom and dad hosted an employment conference the next day, but no one showed up.  So they came back to their apartment and then we headed out for the day.  We stopped by a fun Mexican store that makes and sells a lot of pottery.
June 20 2013 mexican shop (6)

June 20 2013 mexican shop (5)

June 20 2013 mexican shop (3)

Weeping angels......freaky!  Well, not really. Not sure if I can look at winged angels again as innocent creatures....thanks to Dr. Who.  Remember, don't blink!
June 20 2013 mexican shop (2)

June 20 2013 mexican shop

I REALLY wanted to see the Mexico boarder.  It's very unsafe to cross into Mexico in this area.  I wanted to see Mexico at least, even if I couldn't go over.  I've been to Mexico and Canada before and someday want to take my kids to both places.
June 20 2013 Mexican Boarder (7)

June 20 2013 Mexican Boarder (6)

June 20 2013 Mexican Boarder (5)

June 20 2013 Mexican Boarder (4)

Another part of the boarder a little ways down the road.
June 20 2013 Mexican Boarder (2)

I was a little tempted to drive past the fence with all the parked cars and peek over the boarder.  But, I didn't do it.
June 20 2013 Mexican Boarder

We stopped at an outdoor Mexican market.  Cal liked the cacti.
June 20 2013 by Mexican boarder

June 20 2013 shop by Mexican Boarder

Later we stopped by my parent's friend's place.  She has donkeys and goats, chickens and kittens.
June 20 2013 Sister Dukes'

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (3)


June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (5)

So one of the baby goats was a triplet.  The mom would take care of only two of the goats, not the third one.  Somehow the third goat figured out that the donkey had milk (the donkey had just had a baby donkey) so would go and nurse from the donkey.  Anyway, pretty funny.  Another different mom goat had lost a baby so that third goat nurses from her now too, and the donkey. 
June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (6)

Clark found a dead lizard
June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (14)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (15)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (16)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (18)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (12)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (22)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (24)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (7)

They got to see baby chicks too.
June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (8)

June 20 2013 Sister Dukes' (9)

Sweet baby Lillie
June 20 2013 Lillie

On the way home we stopped by the Iro Jima monument.  
June 20 2013 Iro Jima Monument (5)

June 20 2013 Iro Jima Monument (4)

June 20 2013 Iro Jima Monument (3)

June 20 2013 Iro Jima Monument (2)

Our last full day there we stopped by another Mexican market in downtown Brownsville.  It was fun haggling prices. (I am not really good at that actually, but I did barter a little!)  I let each of my kids pick one souvenir.
June 21 2013 Brownsville TX market

We also stopped at the Harlingen library.  They have a fun courtyard with a sculpture garden.
June 21 2013 Harlingen Library

June 21 2013 Harlingen Library (2)

June 21 2013 Harlingen Library (3)

June 21 2013 Harlingen Library (4)

June 21 2013 Harlingen Library (6)

We also stopped at a local grocery store. It was fun seeing the different things carried there.
June 21 2013 HEB

June 21 2013 HEB (2)

We went swimming twice at the pool at my parent's complex.  It was really nice and warm. I LOVED the palm trees lining the pool area.
June 21 2013 Missionary pool

Oh, and early evening we stopped at a snow cone shack; Mom and Dad treated us!
June 21 2013 Snow cones

June 21 2013 Snow Cones (2)

We had a great trip and left early Saturday morning.  Thanks Mom and Dad for letting us crash there! Lena was amazing too, traveling with a three-week old. We got up early on Saturday to leave...5:30, but didn't leave till about 7:30 am.  About an hour and a half out there was a boarder check.  Kind of crazy because it was so far from the Mexican boarder.  The guy just asked me if I was a citizen.  That was an easy question. Lena snapped a photo of the back of my van going through.
June 22 2013 Boarder Patrol

We made great time on Saturday.  I think we had only two official stops.  We pulled over a couple of times...once someone had to use the bathroom (quick side-of-the-road deal), and Lena had a wasp in her van.  When we got back to Lena's town, we did stop and get gas....so I guess you could say we had three stops. We stayed for church on Sunday and then left really early Monday morning.  We took off at about 2:45 am.  I drove till about 5am and pulled over and slept on the side of the road for a couple of hours.  When we lived in Johnson City back in 2008 we loved the red velvet ice cream at a local grocery store chain, Food City.  Well, I drove by a Food City on the way down, and looked for it on a way back.  I did find it and there was an exit right by it!  Well, they didn't have red velvet ice cream, but did have chocolate velet ice cream.  I bought ice and put it in my cooler to surprise Lee.  The ice cream wasn't as good at the red velvet ice cream, but still a fun surprise, if I do say so myself. 

Clark stayed at Lena's for about a week and a half.  Then we met up with them in Independence, Missouri on the 4th of July.  More about that in another BIG upcoming post.  It was weird not having Clark around.  He had a great time there though, which was great.  I don't know if he'll have another opportunity to stay at a cousin's house for so long.  It worked so well.  Thanks Lena!!!

Meantime back at home the kids made robots one day...more posts coming!  Not sure when.......
June 25 2013 Shanna Haley Cal robots

7 comments:

Lena said...

Love the update! Glad you could come and visit!!!!

Lena said...

What an awesome trip. Glad I could share it with you!!!

Lois said...

Fun photos. Thanks, Ruth for sharing.

andyandsteph said...

That's so awesome that you got to go to mom and dad's! I bet they were so surprised. Loved all of the pictures too.

Welcome to Our Story said...

Wow, that was quite a trip to do by yourself. Did you also drive out west by yourself, I thought Lee was with you for that? I am very impressed. How neat that you and your sister surprised your parents. I'm sure they loved it. That's great that you do live close enough to siblings to drive to them, we don't have any siblings out East at all.

Emilee said...

And here I am feeling cool for driving a few hundred miles alone with two kids. You are amazing. I love the first picture of your parents and the their newest grandbaby--the baby looks surprised. :)

Melissa S. said...

What a fun (and crazy) trip. Seriously, you're insane. And if you were EVER traveling on 1-85 and didn't stop by Greenville (like I didn't stop by you) I would be mad. ;)
The picture of Eldon and Keith crammed in that little chair makes me laugh.
That's pretty resourceful of that goat to go get milk from a donkey! haha