Our Grand Vacation and Wedding Adventure! (Part 1)

We just returned from nearly two weeks of exhausting, fun and family filled vacation. If the criteria for knowing you had a fun trip is being completely and utterly exhausted, then I’d say we fulfilled that one hundred percent!

Our trip included two countries, four states, five hotels, 1300 miles of driving, and a big, beautiful family wedding.

We always tell ourselves after this kind of trip that we’ll never do it again. We’ll never try to cram so much in to one vacation. Yet we always fall into the trap because there is so much we want to see!

It all started with my brother. When he was a pilot in Arizona, he gave a tour of the Grand Canyon one July day, and the woman in the front seat of his helicopter introduced him to her daughter (who was in a back seat). She was moving to the area and needed friends. A year and a half later, he got engaged to that very girl and wedding planning began.

Since we knew we’d already be spending thousands of dollars for airfare, hotels, rental cars, and all the other wedding related expenses, we decided we’d just take a little family trip first to get our money’s worth. While we were already all the way over in Ohio, we may as well see some other stuff before wedding festivities began.

We left on a Thursday morning, and our first flight landed in Phoenix. Elias was extremely excited to be there because he has never been to Arizona before. He kept talking about how he could color it in on his travel map when we got home. Nathan and I aren’t counting it because he was only in the airport…but if you ask him, he’ll say he’s been to Arizona. Even though he hasn’t “officially” been there, I decided to take him to an airport gift shop while we were killing time in the airport. I thought I’d get him a sticker book or something to do on the next flight. However, he latched on to this cactus that said “Arizona.” My first thought was…”no way” but then I thought it was so cute that I just caved. I told him to pick something for Simon, and he picked a funny looking triceratops. Since then, Simon has latched on to that thing and brought it on all our adventures. It is quite cute how much he loves it.

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We flew into Cleveland, Ohio and our adventures began right away. Our flight was late, and in fact arrived so late that our hotel’s shuttle van had stopped running. We had to haul our massive load of luggage all around the airport looking for a way to get to our hotel with two extremely tired boys. Imagine having two adults and two little boys, and needing enough clothes for 12 days including cool weather, warm weather, sight seeing, and nice clothes for rehearsal dinners and wedding attire. We had diapers and food and all sorts of stuff. Anyway, we finally found a taxi driver who was comically rude to us about the amount of stuff we had.

Despite the reluctant cab driver, we did make it to our hotel at a little past 1:00 in the morning. We even started out exhausted! When I was trying to check in, I told the boys to go sit on the couch in the lobby. I thought they were pretty exhausted, but they still had enough juice in them to cause a little bit of mischief. I looked over at them to find them standing on the couch, having removed the backing cushions to use them as sumo-wrestlingish weapons. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What in the world were they doing?

We cleaned up the lobby, finally made it into our room, and got as much rest as we could before we set off early the next morning for the real start of our adventures. More on those to come. For now, I need rest!

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