Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day 1: From Happy Valley to Las Vegas

Renting a minivan to travel from Utah to LAX was a thousand times cheaper than buying tickets for the whole family...and a whole lot more fun.

We were supposed to leave at 11am(AIS). But, of course, we were lucky to pull out of the driveway by 2pm. It is fairly common to see Utah families stuffing 7 people and 13 suitcases in a Dodge Caravan - but not on Sunday afternoon. I'm sure our neighbors who saw us packing the car (while they walked to church) thought we started off on the wrong foot. Rumor has it that at church, many prayers were offered on our behalf.

The prayers worked! We managed to make it 47 minutes into our journey before our first 'incident'. 47 minutes is our personal record. FYI - our definition of an 'incident' is one that causes weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth (child or parent - it doesn't matter).

We stopped at a Texaco after 40 miles to make some luggage adjustments and fill up the tank. While I was pumping gas, Elijah(3 years old) decided to wash his hands with good ole fashioned American unleaded (I guess he thought it was my Dad's Brut aftershave). The weeping started when he rubbed his eyes. The wailing started when Emily rapidly swept Eli to the Texaco bathroom for a full, fledged professional eye-rinse. With the skill of a high ranking OSHA inspector, Emily saved Elijah's eyes from permanent damage...and also created a new mental illness called Texacobathroomphobia.

It only took 2 hours for Elijah to calm down and 4 hours for his clothes to dry. We stopped by the George LDS Temple visitors center to regain some spiritual strength and let the car air out. It was the perfect reststop. I think that Emma learned that Heavanly Father loves us 4 (meaning, the quantity of four). Victoria, of course, thinks it might be as much as a googel.

From St. George we continued (without incident) to Las Vegas to sleep in The Westin's incredible beds. Enjoy this 6 minute video of our St. George reststop.

Fly Away - The Music Video

For two weeks (From Nov 18th to Dec 7th) the seven of us traveled from Utah to Uruguay, stopping in Vegas, Los Angeles, Peru and Chile. Those two weeks were like a cross between "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" and Home Alone.

Tori is quick to point out that I'm thinner than John Candy and funnier than Steve Martin. I'm quick to point out that Tori is NOTHING like Macaulay Culkin.

Enjoy this 4 minute travel montage - set to Lenny Kravitz' popular song 'Fly Away'

I'm really going to start blogging. Really.

Last week I spend 4 days in Montevideo's Hospital Impasa recovering from pnemonia.

It is interesting how spending a week in a South American hospital motivates a person to reflect on their life, think of changes that are needed and spawn new strategies and ideas on how to achieve long term goals.

It wasn't too long ago that a close friend has a similar experience while spent several days in a United States hospital, also recovering from pnemonia.
Perhaps it doesn't matter whether the hospital is first or third world - maybe it is just a side effect of pnemonia.

So, after living abroad for six months (and recently deciding to stay one more year) and receiving hundreds of email inquiries from friends and family about our experiences, it is finally time for me to get serious about my blog.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Emmazon

Despite having ADHD, our daughter, Emma Kate, age 6, has a very healthy self esteem.

She lives in an emmacentric world, which is kind of fun to be a part of. Becuase she has no verbal filter or inhibitions, life is full of energy and logical conclusions that are surprisingly valid, yet sometimes absurd.

Our latest challenge is to convince her that Large South American Rain forest is not named in her honor. She is is telling everyone we are going to the Emmazon. In an effort to show her that it was the Amazon, not Emmazon, I googled 'Amazon'....which of course produced a bazillion web pages, none of which had anything to do with rain forests, just books.

Not waiting for a second google search, she jumped off my lap to declare victory and tell her sisters that they, indeed, are going to visit her private rain forest, the Emmazon.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The point of no return

Well, we did it... Today we bought non-refundable tickets to Montevideo. After weeks of research on flights and prices I decided to pick up the phone and talk to a person to book our air travel.

Danielle from Brasilian Wave Tours gave us an incredible deal. It was good to practice my failing Portuguese..perhaps she thought I was on drugs. She kept saying. "Boy, that's a lot of kids."

It seemed to be a shame to be in Lima and Santiago for layovers, yet not be able to leave the international terminal. Chances are very slim that we will ever get back to Peru and Chile. So, with Danielle's help we extended our layovers in Lima and Santiago for a week - for just $150 per ticket. Machu Piccu here we come!

If you need to travel to south America, call Danielle. Tell her that the crazy gringo guy traveling to Montevideo with 5 kids sent you.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Start of Something New

Whether business or personal, something exciting is always happening in our lives. I can't begin to count the number of times people have said to Emily, "You live such an exciting life, I wonder what it must be like?" I'm not quite sure if they are coveting our lifestyle or commiserating with Emily...probably the later.

So, this is an amalgamation of a personal diary for our family as well as a open diary to everyone else, including schoolmates, friends, family and those interested in Aaron's businesses.

We hope you enjoy our blog.