Motorhome Trip - Las Vegas and Twin Cities

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Las Vegas

I get the weekly Top 20 Travelzoo deals email, which sometimes isn't good because all I want to do is take a trip when I see so many good deals, and this one was for a motorhome rental for $1 a day.  Brendan always talks about how cool it would be to take a motorhome trip with the family sometime.  He did it a few times when he was younger.  I've never been excited about the idea.  I think it always sounds nicer to go somewhere and just stay in a hotel.  So when I saw the $1 a day deal I looked into for Brendan's sake.  It was for an RV rental company that needed to relocate their new RV's from the Winnebago factory in Iowa to one of their 4 offices in either Las Vegas,  Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Denver. They had specific dates and when I called to find out the details there was only one left for the day we needed.  When I told Brendan about it he said, "Let's do it.  Call back now." So that's how this trip came to be.  I knew I would be almost 8 months pregnant, but we would be in a motorhome, so I wasn't that worried because I could walk around and go to the bathroom while driving.

We chose Vegas as our drop off destination.  They give you 13 days to get the motorhome back to the office from when you pick it up.  On May 28th we drove down to Vegas in the evening and stayed at Brendan's parents time share.  The next day was Hazel's 6th birthday, and she was excited to celebrate on the trip. When she woke up we had her favorite cereal for breakfast and a Frozen balloon tied to it.  After breakfast we went swimming at the resort.  Hazel requested hamburgers for lunch, so we went to Shake Shack for the first time.  I always see people posting about it in NYC, so I was excited to try it out.   
You could say the trip actually started out really rocky.  It was very stressful.  When we were at Shake Shack Hazel let go of her Frozen balloon and it went really high up in the restaurant.  She was throwing the biggest fit about it.  I had to go ask an employee if they could somehow get it down with a ladder from the very tall ceiling.  Luckily they did.  Then we were walking around town for a little while and it was really hot, and the kids were getting cranky.  Our plane wasn't supposed to leave until 4:30, so we had some time to kill walking around.  Niels needed a nap, but we had already checked out of our hotel and it was 102 degrees outside so we couldn't hang out at a park or anything.  Then we got a text from the airline that our flight was delayed to Phoenix, which meant we might miss our connection from Phoenix to Minneapolis.  I had to call the airline and try and figure things out.  They said they would make sure and hold the plane in Phoenix.  We decided the best thing for us to do was to drive to the airport together and check in all of our luggage and car seats first and then leave and take our car to our parking.  We had already booked a parking place for our car in covered parking at a hotel for the next two weeks and it said it was only 1 mile from the airport.  They have a shuttle that only goes hourly from the hotel to the airport.  When we put it in GPS it said 24 minutes.  Brendan started freaking out and we weren't sure we were going to make the shuttle to get back in time.  I'll just say we barely made it and it was extremely stressful.  When we got to the airport and were heading to our gate, Hazel freaked out about something.  I can't even remember what it was now, but it had to do with one of her new gifts.  She was throwing one of the biggest fits I've ever seen her throw as we were walking through the terminal.  We both tried pulling her aside and calming her down, but she just wouldn't.  She was also yelling this was the worst birthday every.  It was so embarrassing.  I'm sure everyone was wondering why we were having another kid when we could barely handle the three we had, as we walked through with everyone staring at Hazel as she chased after us screaming and stomping.  Not to mention I was about to have a break down just dealing with her and her madness at such a stressful time already.  When we got to the counter another lady told us they weren't going to hold the other plane and it was the last flight out for the night, then they confirmed it was going to be held.  They did end up holding it for us and I was worried how we would sit together on an already fully boarded plane, but they had saved 5 seats for us in the very back thank goodness.  Our plane ended up landing in Minneapolis at almost 2 am I think.  The kids were all sleeping and exhausted. 

Niels kept swimming away when we tried to take a picture.

We also tried to get a picture together and Hattie was running away in the plants and Niels was also taking off.  Typical picture taking for us.

We gave Hazel some little gifts at lunch that she loved and treasured the whole trip.  

 All three sleeping when we got off the plane.  We also had to grab all of our luggage and car seats and get on the hotel shuttle.

We woke up late on Saturday after our late arrival the night before.  Saturday was kind of just a play it by ear day because of the kids.  We stayed right by the Mall of America and took the shuttle over there for lunch and to check it out.  We also had a few meltdowns with the kids.  Hattie ran away from us for a little bit, but we tracked her down pretty quickly.  That was kind of scary, and of course the kids all started acting up at one point and we had to go back to the hotel for naps.  We wanted to go downtown and check it out, but the thought of doing it with the kids just stressed us out, so we headed back to the mall on the shuttle for dinner.  We weren't scheduled to pick up our rental car until the next day.

We stayed right by the airport and the kids liked watching the airplanes.  I was surprised you could barely hear the airplanes from where we were at.

 The Backyardigans.

 The Lego Store.

 The Peeps and Mike and Ike store had some great samples.

 Hazel had been looking forward to going to Build A Bear for a long time for her birthday gift.  

 They had lots of rides at the Nickelodeon them park inside.

On Sunday we picked up our rental car and went to church.  After church we drove around and saw some of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  I thought it was really pretty and green.   
 This is the St. Paul Cathedral.

Minneapolis is known for it's thousands of lakes.  We stopped at the chain of lakes near the city.  First was Lake Calhoun.  Hazel and Hattie love walking on things like curbs like they are on a balance beam.  There was a curb along the lake they were walking on and just as I was taking this picture I noticed Hazel was running along it, and was just about to yell to her to slow down because she was going to trip and fall in the lake, but I was too late.

 I knew it wasn't deep, so she wasn't going to drown, but I was so mad.  Brendan and I didn't even rush over to her very quickly but another man did.  It ended up being pretty funny.

 These two were being so cute together.  They were holding hands running around everywhere together and pointing at things.

Over by Lake Harriett we hopped on a historical trolley and took a little ride.  The kids really liked it.  The neighborhoods and houses were so cute in this area.  It looked like a great place to live.  We loved it, but we were there when the weather was nice.  I hear their winters are the worst in the states.  After the lakes we headed down to a small town called Forrest City, Iowa which was two hours away from Minneapolis.  We stayed in a hotel there that night and the next morning we picked up our motorhome.

Hazel's Kindergarten Graduation

Monday, June 29, 2015
Hazel loved Kindergarten and her teacher Mrs. Johnston.  They put on such a cute graduation with lots of songs that the kids learned throughout the year.  Hazel was glad she passed, because when Hazel didn't want to do her homework Brendan would tell her she wasn't going to pass Kindergarten with all of her friends, and she would stress out.  

Miss A. was the instructional assistant in Hazel's class and also her reading teacher.

California with Cousins

My sister Breeze gave her missionary farewell talk in church over Mother's Day weekend, and all of my siblings and their families came, so it was a fun filled weekend being together.  We drove and got in late Thursday night to my parents' house.  On Friday we went to Old Folsom and walked around with Dawn and her family.  We went to some pioneer museum by the train station where the kids could pan for gold.  There were also some blacksmiths making some stuff.  I didn't manage to get a picture of that though, and I think our husbands spent most of their time over there too.  

After Old Folsom we ate lunch and headed to Funderland in downtown Sacramento.  The kids had so much fun.  My aunt Bonnie also met up with us with a few of her younger kids.  The last time we came here was 4 years ago when I was 8 months pregnant with Hattie.  We have a similar picture out front of the park too.

 This was before the ride.  Niels hated the teacups. 

 These three loved this Stagecoach ride.  I thought they would hate it.  It's the kind that makes you sick.  It's the one that goes forwards in a circle and then backwards really fast.  They went on it over and over.
 Brinlee was very helpful with Niels.  They went on quite a few rides together.

Later in the evening on Friday, we all went up to Merrill's house and had shaved ice and popcorn and watched an outdoor movie.  It was too dark to get any good pictures.

On Saturday afternoon Bill planned a big BBQ with everyone up at a park in Shingle Springs.  It was really pretty up there.  We went to take a sisters picture all standing next to each other and Brendan said we should do something fun since we always have the same pose.  This is what we ended up with.  It is all the sisters except for the youngest, Ivy.  She had a volleyball tournament in Reno that she was at.

 It was Dawn's 40th birthday that day.

I didn't manage to get any good pictures of the BBQ and other family members.  Dawn happened to send me some that she took.  I feel like I'm usually taking the pictures, so it was fun to get some of me.

After the picnic we went down the road a little bit to Coloma where gold was discovered and the California Gold Rush began.  There was some special event going on that day, so they had lots of activities for the kids.  All of the other cousins were going to it, and I wanted to leave because I was tired, but the kids started crying and begging so I gave in.  They actually loved it!  I'm really glad we stopped and stayed.  

 Hattie making rope.

 We bought each of the kids a cone full of salt water taffy.  Niels was taking a break listening to the live music eating his candy.

 Hattie dipping her candles.

Hazel learning calligraphy.

Breeze spoke on Sunday and it was also Mother's Day, so we had a big get together for lunch up at my Aunt Bonnie's house.
 Here is our whole family with all 11 children and their families.  The only person missing is Whitney's husband Spencer.  There are 39 of us!

Here are all of the siblings in order from youngest to oldest.  Ivy is 15 and Dawn just turned 40.
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