Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So the total amount of miles traveled in chaos is {drum roll please}:
Can you believe we covered that much ground in such a short time? I can't. Not only is hard to imagine we traveled so far I can't believe that we all made it seemingly unscathed and still liking one another. There were some moments when I wondered if that would be the case.
So we were understandbly tired upon arrival and DONE with driving anywhere. I was actually grateful that I didn't have a car initially because I could walk or better yet just lay on the couch and not move.
The second day we were here our sponsor's wife took me around Harrogate to show me where some key things were and to the grocery store. We went to Asda (which is the UK version of Walmart) and there I made a fool of myself on day 2. I know a few of you are NOT suprised by this news at all. I had a really hard time with my ears on the flight from Amsterdamn to Leeds, it was extremely painful and I could not get my ears to pop. I was not hearing very well and the checker apparently asked me if I needed bags and I said no. I have no idea what I thought she was asking me. Not only could I not hear she also had a thick accent* that I was struggling with. So I stood there smiling at her while all my belongs that I was buying piled up at the end of the checkstand. So as I pay she gives me a look like I am crazy and proceeds to bag all my groceries for me. So I learned that not only do they not bag your groceries for you, they only give you bags to put them in if you ask for them. They are very into bringing your own shopping bags. I felt like an idiot. Oh well not the first time and surely not the last :)
Harrogate though really is lovely. I think I keep saying that and people will get tired of hearing it but it is beautiful here. I believe you get sent to every place for a reason & I look forward to the next few years here.
As much as I love it there are a few quirky things about the houses here. I find them quirky atleast...I will take some photos tonight and post them tomorrow that way I can spice up the blog in some way besides my terrible paint drawings. Until then

*Just because they speak English does not mean you understand it all. They have different words for things, different expressions and sometimes the accents kill me. I had a repairman here one day and I got one out of every 5 words if I was lucky.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 9 ..or 1000

It felt like it had been about a 1000 days that we had been on the road but according to my calendar it had been a mere nine. When we landed in Amsterdamn Bill and I were so tired. While our children slept on the flight we did not so we had been up for over 24 hrs at this point. I don't remember all the details of the day obviously.

We were wandering the airport and we saw a place for the kids to play, a mini indoor playground so we stopped there and took turns watching/playing with the kids. On Bill's turn I think he actually did play with the kids... me I just watched them and made sure Benji didn't fall to his death from all the crap he kept climbing.

Finally we decided we should go find something to eat before we headed to our gate. I am wondering now if we decided it was time to go or if I had just had it with other kids and needed a coke to wake me up before I slipped into a sleep coma. Either way we were off to the other end of the airport to the restaraunt area.
The restaraunt area was upstairs and since we had the stroller the stairs were not an option. So I spotted an elevator and as we walked up the doors opened and people got off. The doors close and I am looking at it and I cannot find the button to open it anywhere. I know it works, people just got off of it. I stand there for about 5 minutes just staring at it and finally this girl who has been waiting behind us walks around me and pushes the button. Pushes the button immediately because she is not an exhausted person with mommy brain so she knows right where it is like some elevator ninja. The button was on the INSIDE of the door frame and low, like Benjamin could stand and reach it... I would have to bend down to hit it. It was not in the usual place which maybe is difficult to get from my toddler like drawing above. Ridiculous. I felt like a total genius next to the elevator ninja who also looked well rested and fashionable. I did not like her. Good looking and smart, yes that was us. World travelers extraordinaire.
Finally we were upstairs and we got McDonalds for the kids. Again. I don't know what I ate... maybe pizza I just remember drinking a really big coke that cost a lot of money. It was quite expensive to eat there. I want to say it was about $35 for us to eat and it was not a lot of food. {While eating I saw this Yotel... I think it is some weird version of a hotel... not sure but very curious if anyone knows.} It seems like there was some snafu clearing security again but I don't really remember so it must not have been that big of a deal.

We got on the next flight and headed for Leeds. I think Bill and I were passed out about 2 seconds into that flight. We buckled the kids, handed them their DS's, PS whatevers and were out. Slept for about 40 min. and then landed at Leeds airport. The plane was a smaller one so we had to disembark on the tarmac and then ride a shuttle to get to the building. I think the kids were amused by this. I was not.
We went into customs and Bill started filling out all the forms. Our entire flight leaves customs before we do. Another flight comes and we are done with forms and get in line. Part of the problem was we could not find a paper we supposedly needed to get into the country so we were a bit panicked about that. We get in line behind this couple and they are at the customs window for 30 minutes. Of course it is the ONLY window open for non UK passport holders. So the entire flight they had been on passes through customs as well and we are waiting on them. So 2 flights went through customs before us. We finally make it through, rush out to get our luggage and go to find our sponsor and taxi driver. They were getting ready to leave because they thought we weren't on the flight.Luckily they had not.

Get loaded into the taxi and the kids pass out. Arrive at our apartment and start loading stuff in. We had 8 suitcases U think it was, three carseats, a dog kennel, a stroller and us. And 2 1/2 flights of stairs to go up to get that all into our apartment. Lay the kids down. The company that had picked up Finely for us was suppose to deliever him the next day and they called and said they were downstairs now with him. He was slightly hyper. Bill and the sponsor left to go see where the bus stop was and to go get a few groceries. I turned on the tv to try and catch some of the royal wedding & log into the computer to email the family to tell them we arrived safely. I woke up a few minutes later because Benjamin was climbing on me and trying to type on the laptop which he couldn't do since my face was on the keyboard. When Bill got back we went for a walk to keep everyone awake so we could have an early bedtime and try to start getting adjusted to the time change.

All in all the day was not horrid. The elevator thing was crazy & the customs thing maddening but we had made it. We were here finally after all the chaos and it really is a beautiful place to be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 8 - Departure Day

Departure Day Plan: Get up early, go have breakfast, get to airport early, check in and make a few calls before flight, eat lunch and board in a leisurely fashion. Get ready to read a long post on how that did NOT happen.

We woke up early, got the kids up and moving & left the hotel. We then headed towards the airport figuring we would find a place to eat close to it and we needed a post office to mail one last thing that we realized probably would not be good in our luggage. We called my sister who was at work and asked her to map quest a post office in Seattle because our GPS was not working right...again. She gives us the address to one and we head there. It takes 20 - 25 minutes to get to it. It is a block from our hotel... we could have asked the front desk where the closest one was and walked there faster and easier. Of course. Bill was driving but he hops out to go mail this car stereo we are lugging around and since it is downtown Seattle there is not parking right there so I do the other half of the Chinese fire drill & run around to the drivers side and hope in our ginormous excursion XL we have and spend the next 20 minutes or so circling the block. It was fun. When Bill first got in to the post office it was empty so he figured it would be quick ... ah but the fates had other plans for us just like all the other days. When he completed all his paperwork and looked up there was about 30people in the post office. So what could have been a quick walk and easy process ends up costing us about an hour.
We head back towards the airport again and need to get gas. We take an exit and there is not a single car in sight. Fill up on gas and I run in to the store to get some chips or something because we are starving, I see no McDonald's and it is clear that we are not going to eat before the airport now. Go to pull out of the parking lot and it is like someone opened a flood gate and there are cars everywhere. We are stuck waiting to pull out for 10 minutes.
Finally get to the airport. Take the wrong lane to get to the car rental return area and have to circle out and then back in. Pull in and are trying to quickly unload all our luggage and the kids. Guy tries to overcharge us (by a lot) for the rental car for gas. We had JUST filled it up. Fix that and head to the elevators. We each have a luggage cart full & Greydon is pushing Benjamin in the stroller. Get to the elevator bank and 2 of the 6 elevators are open. A huge group of obnoxious kids runs past us and hops in one and it closes. An older couple is getting into the other and they offer it up which was super nice but we would not fit with them so we say, "go ahead another one will be opening." And they close. And 10 minutes goes by and nothing. No elevators are opening at all. A line is forming behind us. 5 more minutes go by and still nothing. 5 more minutes and "ding" ONE elevator opens and in it is a guy with a huge dog kennel and luggage cart. 5 more minutes nothing. Then the same elevator with dog guy opens and closes. By this time everyone behind us in line has left for the stairs that can take the stairs. 25 minutes AFTER we try to get on an elevator finally opens and we rush on. After we board the other 5 elevators open at the same time EMPTY. Bill and I just look at each other.
Head to ticketing. Try to self check in and it doesn't work. Go wait in line for about 30 min to get checked in. Head for security & that takes forever. Of course they do additional screening on us. We are trying to hurry and get to our gate. We arrived at the airport at 11am... our plane leaves at 2:30pm. By the time we get through security and get to our gate it is about 2:00pm. While Bill checks us in at the gate I wait in line with all boys to get something to eat at a snack counter (all we have had to eat so far is some convenience store chips and who knows when they are feeding us on the plane). I get hot dogs for the boys a hamburger and chicken sandwich for us. Run over to Bill and he tells me we have to board now. I had no time to even call anyone. We board, one of the last people on and they close the doors right after. Barely made our flight.

Flight departs and Bill and I finally feel like we can kinda relax. We made it & got Finely gone. An hour into the flight someone collapses on the plane. Now let me say that the person is fine and I am very happy that they are fine...but my first initial thought was selfish and I was thinking, "really, seriously something else is happening to us? if this flight has to be re-routed to another airport and we miss our connecting flight I am going to be so pissed!" Yes I realize how cold and selfish that was but I could not take anything else happening. Not one more thing.
The flight went pretty well. I was really proud of the boys and how good they all did. Our flight was about 10 hrs I think. I don't really remember the exact amount and by the time we landed in Amsterdam we had been up for over 24hrs so all I could focus on was putting one foot in front of the other and taking care of the boys while not falling asleep.

This concludes today's story I will finish tomorrow. To recap we had another crazy day, almost missed our flight, drove around in circles (again) in Seattle and flew 4847 miles.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 7 Run around Washington like a chicken without a head day

Here is a direct quote from my journal that day. "Day prior to flight & with each passing moment I just can't wait to get on the plane. Seattle has wrecked us."

We were up at 6am and on the road by 7:15am that morning. Drove from Seattle to Olympia to drop me off at the endodontist for my root canal. Bill headed off (this time to Tacoma) with all three boys and the dog to clean out the car (vacuum, etc.) and drop it off at the port. Apparently most of that went well, until Benji had explosive diarrhea that involved getting poop all over the office chair at the port. Then the rental guy was over 30 minutes late with our rental car. Bill drives back up to Olympia and picks me up so we can go to the airport to drop off Finley for his flight. No one has had lunch and there is no time for lunch ....we have a quickly approaching deadline for when we have to have Finley there and we have to drive back up to Seattle.

Get to the air cargo place 15 minutes late & Bill heads in to get Finley settled. I am expecting this to take 30 minutes at the most. It is now about 2:40pm. According to the website we had as long as Finley's head did not touch the top of the kennel it was fine for flight, however they said he needed three inches space between his head and the top of the kennel. Great. It took about 30 minutes to discover this - meanwhile I am in the car where the kids are crying we have eaten all the snacks I could find in the diaper bag which consisted of some fruit snacks and stale pretzels. Finely is whining. My mouth is finally not numb from my root canal and I am not in immense pain and can eat so I am starving as well. Bill comes out and we head to the closest pet store we can find. In the store Bill is trying to hurry and find the right size kennel with not a lot of luck. We drive trying to find another store and end up back where we started. It has started to POUR rain. There of course is hilarity and chaos involved in Bill buying the two giant kennels he got but it is much funnier when Bill tells it then when I type this portion.
The kennels were not cheap & we ended up leaving our kennel that was perfectly fine & $70 there for them to donate or throw away. We rush back to the airport to get Finley on the flight and they are trying to cancel his flight because he needs to be down on the tarmac and we are still in the air cargo office. Oh and his flight is significantly more now because of the larger kennel. It was nuts.
Finally at 6pm... we have been there for three hours we finally get him sent. We return the kennel we didn't need to the pet store and Bill gets the same idiot checker he had the first time... he was super excited about that.
We wanted to take the kids to the Rain Forest Cafe to eat since they had such a long day as kind of a treat. Greydon and Dylan both really like it there. There was one close by luckily and we had made reservations for 6:15. By 6:30pm we were seated and right by the monkeys so Greydon and Dylan were so excited. Benjamin on the other hand took one look at them and started crying, then they started moving and making noise & he lost it. Started screaming and put his head down on the table and would NOT look up for anything. He would not eat even though he was super hungry. So we all quickly ate, I drank 3 sodas as quick as I could (I needed them!) and we booked out of there with his food to go. The day was not shaping up well.
Headed back to the hotel, took the kids up to the pool for a little bit and then put them to bad and started to repack our bags. Finally about 1am we headed to bed ourselves. It had been a long day. We drove 183.28 miles just between cities and then I am guessing about 30 miles around Seattle that day. So Amber when or if you read this now you know the full details of why we couldn't meet up :(

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 6: Salem to Seattle

We left Salem the morning of the 26th and drove to Centralia Washington 136.64 miles away. The plan was to go to the vet & finish Finley's flight paperwork, medicine, etc and then head to Seattle to sight see and visit friends. The best made plans though...
We drove through McDonald's (again) and discovered their oatmeal is quite good. I was grateful for it because I hadn't eaten a lot in the last 24 hours since most food requires chewing and I was in too much pain for that.
At the vet in Centralia I decided enough was enough so I asked for a phone book to look for a dentist and the receptionist recommended a dentist who was just down the street, I called them and they said they would fit me in.
The dentist took xrays, looked at my teeth for about 30 seconds and then said "You need a root canal so we need to get that scheduled." I said, "we are leaving the country in two days to move so can it be done today?" He said, "You might not be getting on that plane." My options were not looking good. Luckily he was able to call an endodontist he knows in Olympia and he was able to schedule me for an emergency root canal for the next day. I was so excited to walk out and deliver this news to Bill (insert heavy sarcasm and sigh here). I remembered though that my niece had a brother who was a dentist so I called her to get some advice and she called him and he actually was a endodontist and he said to give him a call with any questions I had... so I was able to get a second opinion via phone which was great. Thanks Kelsey and Stu!!
So after getting all that scheduled and figured out we finally head to Seattle. Traffic is a nightmare, I am in increasing pain & everyone is sick of being in the car. We were staying in the Sheraton in downtown Seattle... I did not realize this until we pulled up in front of it. It is a beautiful hotel and I would love to stay there sometime without my kids and dog :) I felt like a country bumkin though as we unloaded onto a baggage cart with our tons of mismatched luggage and we all just looked awful - everyone in the lobby had one smart looking bad and were very polished. It was about 8:30 by the time we got all checked in and made it up to our room and then we realized we had to feed the kids and Finely probably needed to go the restroom which could not happen in front of our posh hotel so we loaded back into the car and headed out.
We had a mission of three things: food, potty for Finley and then we needed a few things for the flight for Finley so we needed Walmart or something. We start driving and our GPS stops working just as Bill takes this exit that happens to be a long bridge headed in the exact opposite direction we need. About 20 min or so later we turn around and head back the way we came, having no idea where we are or how to get back to our hotel or where to go... GPS still not working. I am ready to cry again, the kids are falling asleep but complaining about being hungry, Finley is whining and Bill was about to lose it. GPS kicks back on. We type in Walmart and drive to where it says...there is a car dealership there. We try another Walmart address... again nothing where it should be. Bill is really starting to get a little testy and we still need to eat. Its about 9:30,10:00 at night now. We pull into the next parking lot we see so Finely can get out on this tiny patch of grass we have found & we can calm down. I think we were at our breaking points. The day should have been simple and fun and instead it was drama and running around until all hours of the night. We loaded Finley back up into the car and drove to the nearest McDonald's, got food and headed back to the hotel.
Once back at the hotel we had to figure out the next day. Due to my emergency root canal we had to re-plan our day. We had on the schedule drop off van at the port, pick up rental car, drop of Finley for his flight and repack suitcases. Add in root canal. And of course these events were happening in THREE different cities - now add root canal in a FOURTH city. Good times people good times.
Salem, Or to Centralia Wa 136.64 miles
Centralia to Seattle Wa 84.68 miles

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 5 - A bit of calm before the storm

April 25th leave Westwood CA headed to Salem, OR. Stopped in Ashland to eat lunch. Parked downtown, walked around a bit, found a cool restaurant in a basement that the boys really liked. The monkeys were extremely well behaved during lunch & we even had comments from two separate people about how good they were... I loved it truth be told. You work really hard with your kids & sometimes you wonder if they are getting any of it and so when it is confirmed it is a slice of heaven but anywho...
Bill left to go get Finley so we could walk him while the boys finished eating.
So we were ready to go the outing had been a success but then everyone need to wash hands and go to the restroom. I let Dylan and and Greydon go in by themselves while I stood outside the door because it was a closet bathroom with just a toilet and a sink...and of course they came out after locking the door and shutting it so no one else could get into the men's. Fabulous. I told the waitress, apologizing profusely and left after the busboy said he would get it open.
We met Bill and Finely outside and walked along the river back to the car and it was so nice. I really thought it was a cool town and I wished we had spent the night there but we pressed onto to Salem.
Salem was no bueno. Bueno = good for you non-multi lingual peeps out there :) We got there late and there was no place to eat other than McDonald's which we did not want to do so we ran into a grocery store and got some lunchables. Everyone was really tired and irritable, Dylan was not feeling well at all, Benjamin sounded terrible & I was in so much pain with my tooth/ear/jaw thing that I hadn't been able to eat since lunch. We finally arrived at the hotel around 10pm and five minutes after walking in Dylan started projectile vomiting. Super. I started to cry, the boys were crying. Poor Bill.. so now he has multiple crying people and a pile of puke and a hyper dog to deal with. Sometimes I think he really is a saint for dealing with some of the situations we put him in. So once everyone had stopped crying and cleaned up we crashed wishing for a better day tomorrow. Ah but if wishes were horses....
Westwood to Salem 433.07 miles

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What day is it?

I interrupt the thrilling tale of travel with a different post. Someone asked Bill today at work how long we had been married. So he said "9 years this month... oh crap we missed it." So he called me to pretend like he remembered and to bust me for not remembering. I totally had spaced it (as he had). Our anniversary was 9 days ago... yes you read that correctly 9. I asked him where he was taking me for dinner and he asked where I was taking him since I forgot. I told him that we had both forgotten and since he was reminded and then called he was obviously the one with the plan.
In our defense our actual anniversary was the day we received our shipment of household goods so we were a little busy. I do wonder though had someone not asked a simple question at work how long would it have been before one of us remembered?
This is sadly not the first time we have forgotten... I see that as a sign that we are too busy or maybe it is because we have to anniversaries and so I remember the first one but we celebrate the second one so it is confusing. Feeling very disorganized in Harrogate.
It has been an adventure filled 9 years. We have lived in 5 different places in 9 years, had kids, got a dog and had lots of ups and a few downs. I love you babe and I look forward to many more years together :) Who knows maybe I will even beat you to remembering next year :)

Day 2

Well I already told part of day two...since day two started in Ely. When we left Ely in the afternoon we headed to Reno, Nevada. Ely to Reno is 320.43 miles. We arrived there late, checked into our room, ate McDonalds for dinner (which sadly would become a staple on this trip) and slept. We woke the next morning and went to Walmart to grab a few things & to Costco to get a giant super yummy chocolate cake to share with Bill's family. Then we headed to Westwood, California which was 119.41 miles away. Finley was super excited to be at a house with a yard where he could actually run & be with other dogs. The cats who live there were not as excited about Finley being there as he was.

We were able to spend a few days and have a good visit with Bill's family. While Dylan was pretty sick, Benji got sick and I was sick there it was still nice to have a few days out of the car and relaxing and visiting.

We also had our butterfly project with us. Greydon's Kindergarden class were going to have catepillars and watch them transorm to butterflies & then they were going to release them. Well, since he were leaving he would have missed that. So Bill being the overachieving great Dad that he is ordered some online and so we could do the project as well.

So to recap we have been traveling in a van packed FULL with three kids, a dog, some caterpillars now in cocoons (that are really fragile) and two parents who were suffereing from bouts of tiredness, frustration and stress. Oh and now half of us are sick. Good times.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bill and Krista's Excellent/Not So Excellant Adventure: Day 1

We left Mt. Home on April 19th. We ended up leaving much later than we had wanted due to a postal problem. We had boxes to mail... stuff that either the movers had missed, I had missed whatever. 13 boxes that had to be taped shut, addressed, custom forms filled out & then taken in and mailed. I spent over an hour just taping, addressing, etc and I was still not done. Bill came to help. I was stressed trying to get us gone & he was a little stressed so we were super friendly to each other in the parking
Anyway we finally are basically done so he starts hauling all the packages into the post office (which is really small) so we can finally mail them. Discover that they are not taking debit cards and so we need cash. Bill leaves to get cash and comes back empty handed because all the atms on base are not working. Great. Load all the boxes back into the van which is loaded in the back I can't see out the back window and now with all the boxes in the passenger seat I can't see out that window either. Drive to town and take our circus act into the post office there. Finally get that done. Bill and I are so happy this whole time...and so are the kids and the dog. Go to our good friends house to drop off Bill's car that they are nice enough to sell for us. Spend a little time there, go to leave and we forget the dog in the backyard. About a block away they call and remind us about our dog... go back and get him. (Thanks Jerry!!)
Finally get ready to drive to Ely around 5pm. We were suppose to leave around 1pm... Bill is super thrilled. Drive 339.23 miles, arrive late and get to our hotel to discover the room that we had booked we couldn't have because they didn't account for our dog - even though I asked about a room for pets several times on the phone. So we put our kids back in the car, drove and found another hotel room and crashed because it was late and we were done.
Next morning we got up and did the following:
- had breakfast with Pop and Nanna and my Aunt Peggy
- got yelled at by some random woman for supposedly speeding in a school zone...of course in order to yell at us she had to speed up to 18 so I guess it was the pot calling the kettle black
- put flowers, a tacky/cute pink flamingo yard stick thing and a coke on my moms grave
- visited two of dear friends for about 5 min. each
I feel like we packed a lot into the short short time we were there. And really we should have know how this trip would go with its auspicious start but we are optimists so I counted it as a rough start... should have know better.

Monday, June 6, 2011


We are now here in Harrogate... actually have been for just over a month now. I truly was wondering if we were going to make it here since our journey was full of insanity. But we did make it and it is beautiful. Life has been busy and then when it wasn't busy and I had time to blog, etc. we had no internet. Boo :(

But we are hooked up again with technology which is fabulous! Of course we got our internet the day before we got all of our stuff so I am back to no time because I have a ZILLION boxes to unpack. Bill has too much stuff.

So soon I will be updating on the chaos of travel..I know you are looking forward to it! Stay tuned for crazy because it is coming :)