Road Trip 2013: Day 2, August 31, 2013

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Sledding at White Sands Nat'l Monument

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Last night I had said that Robby had not yet gotten Keaton to sleep.  Well that little thing tossed, turned, asked for RayRay, said “Where’s AA?” and kicked the side of the bed for what seemed like forever.  We have tried many times to get folks to go to sleep in hotels and the one thing we know for sure is you just can’t make anyone go to sleep and especially go to sleep in a hotel.  So there is no need to fight it.  After a while though Robby started moving stuff out of the closet.  I knew what he was going to do but would have bet a zillion dollars that it wouldn’t work-sure enough it worked: Keaton spent the night in the closet. Good thing we didn’t forget her this morning.

Now, for as long as I can remember, we have
had someone in a pack n play every time we have spend the night at a hotel.  If at all possible we have always put the pack n play in the bathroom.  And I mean if there is ANY way-we have had to step into the shower or have even climbed over a sink to get out of the bathroom door.  Of course this just meant that there was no chance you could go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Well, obviously we would have to sometime and that meant walking down to the lobby bathroom (um, not me in the middle of the night-I have seen too many crime shows) or using the bathroom at an awkward angle in our room and praying that the little one wasn’t awakened by the potty flushing.  All of that to say, no pack no play in the bathroom was delightful-I brushed my teeth, folded laundry, washed my face and even got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom just because I could.

Whitman was up at 2 to eat so I moved to his spot on the bed and fed him.  And before I knew it, it was 6:15 and he was stirring again.  I think that we all slept great and that was one of the most comfortable beds ever-Whitman, who slept on one of the beds, will probably refuse to sleep in his bouncy when he returns home.  Graham was up about this time too and we went to the closet to take a picture of Keaton because that was definitely blog worthy.  I with that I could have gotten that shot but as we walked over there a little head was crawling out of the closet.  

We quickly put on clothes and got ready.  Reagan asked why we had so much stuff and I gently tried to explain that we were a lot of people.  Really, we don’t carry that much stuff into a hotel (5 sleeping bags, 4 flat bins with clothes, a diaper bag, stroller, 3 ice chests, a big bag with towels/toys, Robby’s backpack and that is it)  The hotel had breakfast and for the kids, we could really just come home now and after a hotel breakfast they would be happy.

At breakfast, we had to limit everyone to how much food that could get.  Two items plus a drink and more if we had time.  They had a bit of time and ate quite a bit.  We had to rush them a bit trying to load up and head to the park.  

Carlsbad Caverns opened at 8 and even after a 20 mile drive we were there at about 8:15.  That is really good for us (the hour we gained helped out).  We took our picture and then I let all of the kids stamp their own park passport stamp book.  Robby ran to the car to grab the kids jackets for the cool cave and then we were on the elevator down.

On the drive up to the cave, the kids had been talking about bears and Campbell was already terrified.  As soon as we stepped into the cave, she was ready to leave.  Her hands were in her mouth just about the whole time and she had to hold on to Robby or I the entire way.  When everyone walked in, I think they were pretty much in awe of the cave.  Our junior ranger books that we worked on had things for the kids to find in the cave-stalactites, stalagmites, popcorn, cave pools, columns, draperies.  So that made it fun for them.

We didn’t walk the hour and half loop around the big room but we did do probably half of it.  We had to whisper in the cave-and for the  most part every did well on that.  They said that a regular speaking voice could travel ½ mile in the cave.  I am sure that people in other parts still probably heard much of our conversations despite the kids trying to whisper.

The kids were most impressed with the cave pools and dripping water that we saw in the caves.  Robby and I were most impressed that we had gotten there early-ish and it wasn't too crowded.  The kids took pictures with their Flat Stanleys in the cave so he (well, all 5 of him) was able to see the cave as well.

Even Anderson was ready to “get out of here” by the time we made it back to the elevator.  When Robby asked if anyone needed to go to the bathroom, Anderson did say he wanted to.  I don’t think he really needed to-I just think that he wanted to go to the bathroom down in a cave.  Back up in the visitor’s center, Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell turned in their junior ranger books.  The ranger checked them and asked they what they liked best from the cave.  Then she awarded them with their jr. ranger badges.  The kids were so pleased with themselves-and we even learned something doing our booklet.  Maybe we can count today as a school day.

Back in the car we passed out juice boxes, turned on the tv and prepared for a bit of a drive.  The kids watched a movie, played with our brand new etch a sketch, did some other little activities (fishing, felt faces and button up felt links all that I have copied from pinterest)  The first hour or so was in the desertish land but then we headed up the hills into what seemed like a pretty Colorado ski town.  And this is when the sky turned dark and it started sprinkling.  The kids slowly went into a panic.  They knew that today was sledding day and rain could tamper with those plans.  Robby and I grabbed our phones and started checking the weather and sure enough the clouds cleared but they did leave beautiful weather at our first stop.  

It was 3 years ago that Robby and I went on this little leg of our journey and remembered our first stop of this leg of the drive.  We stopped at an Old Apple Barn.  Any place that has a huge statue out front is a stop that these picture craving Dennies will stop at.  And since this place had a big apple headed boy statue we had to stop.  It was pretty crowded inside but we did make it to the bathrooms and then bought a big apple icee and an apple pie.  No, I didn't leave off the word “slice”-we bought the whole pie!  

We loaded up and headed down the hill for lunch.  And when we were walking to the car, a lady walking beside us started counting the kids.  How do I know-well she was waving her arm around as she pointed to each child counting them.  But Robby said that when I do have them walk single file behind him it does catch ones attention.  It was a busy parking lot with cars passing beside us after all-single file was the only way to get to the car safely.

Just about 45 minutes later, we arrived at White Sands.  Robby stopped by the visitor’s center to pick up our necessary equipment-sleds!  Then we drove around until we found a good spot.  Our original plan was to picnic first but we changed that plan when we realized how hot it was.  White Sands is just an odd place-white sand dunes as far as you can see.  

And those dunes that you are supposed to climb up carrying your sled are steep.  Robby got the big 4 up the hill and Anderson who had wanted to go first since getting out, suddenly decided that he wanted Robby to go.  I think he became a bit chicken.  Robby finally convinced him, sat him on the sled and gave him a good old push.  He flew down that hill grinning from ear to ear.

Reagan, Graham and Campbell each went down.  I took Keaton up half of the hill and Robby met me.  Keaton even rode down with Robby and seemed to enjoy it.  Meanwhile, Whitman who had been parked in the van’s shade had to be moved back in the van.  It was so, so hot out there that he started fussing despite his fan and shade.  We turned on the van, buckled him in and gave him a bottle.  Keaton was with me doing this and when I tried to take her back up the hill to Robby, she was going to have no part in it.  She wanted back in the car too-she knew the cool air and a juice box would be waiting on her.  

Campbell just made it down the hill twice but she was soon headed to the oasis of the van.  Graham went down a few times and even raced me down once but then he was finished.  Reagan and Anderson were the sledding champs going up and down quite a few times.  It was crazy, crazy hot.  My phone just said 90 but it was pass out hot.  

Then kids had so been looking forward to the sledding and I think that they enjoyed it.  It was just so hot and climbing up a huge sandy hill was tough.  Now we have sand in every inch of this van.  Robby just said that we will still probably have sand in here when we sell the car.  I guess a messy car is the sign of good times.  

We all sucked down our water and cooled by the time we made it back to the visitor center.  I took the girls to stamp our books and potty but our bathroom was closed.  Then we switched and Robby took the boys and the girls to his potty.  Then we were back on the road with a snack and another drink in our hands.  

It wasn’t too long of a drive to our hotel in Las Cruces.  We hadn’t had a real lunch yet and since it was quickly passing supper time, we just brought up all of our picnic stuff and had ourselves a picnic in our room.  We are on the second floor in a handicap room so it is big with lots of floor space-that is nice.  Robby always request handicap rooms since they are bigger and first floor rooms.  Tonight we did luck out since even though we have a second floor room we are over the lobby so the kids can stomp their little hearts out-though we aren’t letting them.

After eating our picnic, we went down to the pool.  It was indoors and cold but the kids didn’t seem to mind.  Robby found the hot tub and the kids joined him quickly.  I think Whitman really wanted in because he just watched everyone kicking his little feet.  

We decided that Keaton needed new shoes.  I don’ t know if I mentioned it yesterday but she wore her shoes some without socks and got blisters.  But I do not know if that happened because she didn’t have socks on or if they had happened when she just had on her shoes earlier in the day with socks.  Either way, new shoes were in order-we can see if it was just her socks when we get home.  Also the van needed vacuuming out because of the sand.  So Robby took the little girls with him.

Meanwhile, the big kids had showers and Whitman changed into his pajamas.  We laid out clothes for tomorrow, put sleeping bags out for tonight, had a snack, brushed teeth, worked on some of our daily papers and were pretty relaxed when Robby and the girls came in.  After just a few minutes, Keaton was standing by the closet saying “milk” so we took that as a sign and tucked the child into her closet.  Tonight’s closet is a bit small so once she falls asleep we will have to open the door so she can stretch her legs.  

Right now, the big kiddos are playing on their kindles and watching football and Whitman is in my lap. Despite watching football, Graham started looking around for something.  He then asked “where is my wart hog?”  I started at him blankly and then he said “the one I brought.”  He was talking about his razorback stuffed toy.  I believe that his father, a proud U of A alumni, has some child training to do!

Hopefully, we will all sleep tonight as well as we did last night.  Tomorrow is Tombstone and Sierra Vista to see my aunt and uncle.

1 comment:

Amber said...

You took my recommendation for comments! Glad you are having a wonderful time. Thought about you when we were driving 4 hours to Bentonville this are much more woman than me to stay in the car so long! :0)