“Are we in the middle of nowhere yet?” My friend’s eight-year-old daughter asked the question as we drove through Oregon, heading to the halfway point where we would stop for the night.
“Nope, were still somewhere.” Heather smiled at me as we continued down the highway. Our conversation picked back up where it left off. The boys continued playing their game, the older girl’s whispered in the very back with giggles escaping from time to time and little Adeline went back to her thoughts.
You might think that twenty six hours of driving with seven kids sounds like the plot of a juice box horror film, and I was a little worried that their could be a plot twist that sent us down a dark path, but it was actually an amazing
I’ve stopped calling vacations, trips, or excursions anything but experiences and/or adventures. It helps me keep perspective on what I’m truly trying to create for our family culture; experiences and adventures.
It’s funny though because not that long ago, I would have scoffed at such an “adventure.” No plane? No, thank you!
And yet, there I was, sitting in the passenger seat, 7 kids dispersed in the rows behind us heading from Washington to Utah.
Here’s how it all happened… My friend Heather (of Savvy Home Schooler) and I each found our initially planned family trips to Utah for General Conference, derailed because of our hubbies work schedules. Unwilling to give up the opportunity to be part of General Conference, we decided to combine forces. So, we packed up the kids, kissed our perspective hubbies goodbye, 😉 and hit the open road.
Not familiar with General Conference? It’s a really special and inspired 2-day conference held by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints twice a year, always the first weekend of April and October – its purpose is to help, guide, encourage, and strengthen individuals and families through Jesus Christ.
So off we went… General Conference of Bust.
And thankfully, we didn’t bust! We managed to fit so much into our 6 days. We left Thursday, stopped in Idaho for the night and drove the rest of the way arriving in Utah late Friday afternoon. Friday was pizza and lots of running around and making up obstacles at a playground to get out all that pent-up energy.
Saturday was ALL about General Conference with two very exciting surprises! We had tickets for both the morning session and the evening Women’s Session (for all girl’s 8+). And Heather’s fantastic Aunt was sweet enough to watch our 2 boys and even take them to a movie while we went!
This is the beautiful conference center.
I love our boys together, they’ve known each other their whole lives thanks to their grandparent’s sharing property. And fun fact – their dad’s have known each other almost their whole lives too. It’s been so fun watching our boys get closer and closer as they’ve gotten older.
Between sessions we walked temple square and had lunch…
Our first surprise was at lunch which became extra special when I saw that Neill Marriott, the author of Seek This Jesus was sitting at the table next to us! Her book was the first one the kids and I “read” (listened to in the car) this year.
Then to make our day even more special, surprise #2 came when Paysen saw one of the kid’s favorite artists, Alex Boye. Watch the Lemonade music video with your kids, or his cover of Let it Go with One Voice Children’s Choir is amazing too.
After we dropped the boys off with Heather’s aunt, we headed back down to Temple Square for Women’s Session. But before we went back into the Conference Center, we decided we should enjoy our “last course” first! Dinner is overrated. Just kidding, dinner is my favorite time of day… usually.
O.M.Gosh! Heather and I have a not-so-mild obsession with molten lava cakes. So when we saw that Last Course had a ‘Glamping S’mores Lave Cake, we had to take the girl’s in and try it! And yes, it was every bit as amazing as it looks! If you live anywhere near Utah, or you can get there – you must try it!
Monday we went to Brigham Young University! I love taking the kids to university campuses. When I turned 18, I was terrified of college life, it was so foreign to me that I just couldn’t wrap my head around how I could do it. Remembering that, has possibly made me a little on the cray-cray side in my quest to take the kids to explore university campuses. I want them to be excited for when it’s their turn, and feel comfortable making university life their own.
The BYU Campus had so much to do! We hit up the FREE museums (art and science). And we were maybe a bit immature with the animals, but we sure laughed a lot!
We ended our BYU adventures at BYU Creamery. I had this graham cracker ice cream that I’m not determined to see if I can recreate!
Tuesday was our final day in Utah! We took the kids to Provo City Center Temple after learning about the fire and restoration of this landmark building before our trip.
Every part of the temple is beautiful! The entry was breathtaking with the stain glass of the Savior caring for His sheep.
The girl’s got to do service in the temple, which was an incredible experience for all of us!
I can attribute (and some might say blame ;)) this whole road trip thing on my quest for more presence. For the last three years, I have been continually striving (and, often falling short!) to be more present and less busy. As a girl who found her value in her busy-ness and work-ethic, this has been an ongoing challenge and reformation. As I’ve strived to spend more time seeing and less time planning, and to place a higher value on fully living inside moments and less on crossing things off of lists, there have been some very interesting side effects – like wanting to embark on a four-state road trip.
In fact, I’m already scheming our next road trip adventure.