A Week in Utah

The week before the 4th of July, we left right after swim lessons for our epic road trip to Utah. This was the first time in several years that we hadn’t done the trip in the dead of night while the girls were sleeping, so we knew from the get-go that what is normally a nine-hour drive would probably turn into 11+ hours with all the bathroom, get the wiggles out, and snack stops. All in all, it was about 12.5 hours of total time, and the girls did remarkably well, considering we haven’t done a drive like that during the day since they were babies!

Our plan of attack included leaving right before nap time, which worked well, since they slept the first little bit in the car, and stopping every few hours for breaks. Samantha and Amelia kept busy listening to music (I love you, minivan sound system, which lets you listen to something different up front while the girls could listen to whatever they wanted in the back), coloring, singing, and playing I Spy. I brought several DVDs, but the girls only ended up watching one show the whole trip.



Meredith was excited for our adventure, but near the end, she was absolutely miserable, and then angry! “I want outtttttt!!!” she screamed for the last hour before she finally conked out in the car at bedtime.


I bought and wrapped a bunch of random $1 items from Target before the trip and set the alarm on my phone for random intervals during our drive. When the alarm when off, we’d start getting excited and yelling, “Surprise time!” That meant the girls could open one of the prizes, assuming they had not been whining/crying at any time during the interval between the last alarm. They loved it and it kept their attention diverted for a little while, although towards the end of the trip, they became super whiny and kept asking when the next Surprise Time was ad infinitum, which negated the intended hour of peace and quiet Surprise Time was supposed to afford us.


I laminated a little scavenger hunt game and a map to Grammy’s they could draw on with dry erase markers, which bought us several peaceful minutes throughout the trip.

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When we stopped in St. George for a late dinner, everyone was restless, cranky and tired! Since we had Bandit and it was 100 degrees outside, I walked him around, while Jake took the twins and Meredith to eat and get their energy out in the play place. All three had an epic meltdown inside, and I’m sure everyone at the Chick fil A had pity on the poor “single dad” with three screaming girls!

By this time, Meredith was absolutely livid that she was back in her car seat, and the twins were overtired and just wanted a bed to sleep in instead of their carseats. After a harrowing hour of crying from all three, eventually, everyone fell asleep and the last four hours of our trip were peaceful. Despite getting there at 12:30 a.m., Grammy and Grandpa were there to greet us and carry sleeping twins and baby into the house and tuck them into bed. The trip was exhausting, but we all slept in that morning, plus we had the extra help from Grandma and Grandpa, so getting there late wasn’t too bad.

From there on out, we were in full-on vacation mode. All in all, I will say it was probably the closest we’ve ever had to a true vacation since having the twins. The girls were happy and occupied the entire time in the backyard and adjusted to the time difference and being out of their element perfectly. Meredith, as long as she wasn’t in the car, was a little peach. Bandit lounged on the grass all day and ran around the backyard barking at bikers on the trail. It was our most successful vacation with the kids ever!

Hours of entertainment in the sand pit.


They didn’t even have to come inside for drinks.


Meredith soaked up all the extra attention on her first trip to Utah.


Jake built a zip line in the backyard and we all took turns on it throughout the week.


The first time Amelia tried it out, Jake had put some WD40 on it to make the zip line faster, with the unintended consequence that she zipped so fast down the thing, that she crashed into the tree at the bottom since Jake couldn’t catch her fast enough. She was a little bit wary of the zip line after that and we had to bribe her to try it again. IMG_1710 IMG_1711 IMG_1713 IMG_1718 IMG_1719

Unbeknownst to us, there were some wasps underneath the deck chairs and Amelia got her first two wasp stings. She was a brave little trooper through the pain!


Recovering from the wasps with a plate full of cherries and ice packs.


Samantha didn’t get stung, but she must have been feeling the pain vicariously because she claimed she needed an ice pack as well. It’s a twin thing.


The triage unit! Jake went to spray the wasp’s nest and got stung in the process.


I used to spend entire summers in the sand box digging holes and making rivers with the hose. Good times!


Grammy froze some sea creatures in a block of ice and the girls were busy for an afternoon trying to free them.

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No need for clothes! Most days, we were too lazy to even grab their swim suits, so the girls stripped down to their undies and ran around outside.

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When I wasn’t relaxing on the deck, I was usually pushing the girls on the swings or riding on the glider with them.


So much to do and see for Meredith.


Grammy bought a new tree swing, which, after Jake unsuccessfully tried to make into a zip line, installed on the tree instead, to great enthusiasm.

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The swing/zip line was much too slow to be fun, except for Meredith.



Amelia loved feeding the garden bunnies.

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Lovely Meredith blended in nicely with the flowers.

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Smothered in love!

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Butterfly kisses. IMG_3513 IMG_3524

We all agreed it was well worth the drive! More vacation footage to come.

Lots of love,


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