Saturday, June 21, 2008

Days 18 & 19 - WE MADE IT!!!!

We are so sorry that we didn't do a post last night, but the internet connection at our hotel was not good and we kept getting kicked off, so we had to wait....but we arrived in Pittsburgh, PA safe and sound pretty early too and just settled in for the night. We called out for some yummy pizza and watched TV - just relaxed and got ready for our drive into MD today!

It was a pretty short drive & beautiful! We left our hotel around 11am and arrived safely at my Dad's house around 3pm. It felt so good to be "home"! Even though my Dad's house will be our temporary home, it feel so good to just be somewhere where we can settle, even just for a little bit. The girls are already making themselves at home and my Dad worked really hard to make his home comfy for us! Thanks, Dad!!

We'll be here for a few days and then on Wednesday we will be heading out to Albuquerque, NM for Mark & Mindy's wedding! We are so excited to see the rest of the family and to watch them get married! Craig is best man and Kylie is the flower girl! We will be taking TONS of pictures!! In fact, we will most likely be renaming our blog, so that we can post other happenings with our family so that our family & friends all over the country can keep up with what we are doing.

We love you and miss you all and thank you for all of your prayers! Please continue to pray for our family as Craig begins his new job at SPA in July and that our house in WA sells soon so that we can purchase our new home here in MD. Please keep in touch and let us know how all of you are doing! And, when we do get our new home, you are always welcome to come visit anytime! Please check back for more pics and we'll send out an e-mail once we've renamed our blog.

Love & Blessings Always,
The Thayers & Mom-Mom, too! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Days 16 & 17 - Peoria, IL & Indianapolis, IN

Since we had some flexibility in our schedule and because Jenny asked so nicely....we decided to stay an extra day at the Webers' in Peoria, IL! Kylie had so much fun with Aiden playing all day! They even did so good while we went to Wal-Mart for some goodies! It was so great to spend time with Jenny, Mike, Aiden, & Caitlin! Thank you so very much for your hospitality and for putting up with our chaos! We love you guys so much and pray that we'll see each other again soon! You know that, when we get our house, you are ALWAYS welcome at our house in MD!!

Aiden & Kylie "playing" the piano!

Cutie pie, Caitlin, sitting on her Daddy's lap!

Kim & Jenny - love ya, sister!!

After we left beautiful, Peoria, we headed East to Indiana! Since it was a short drive to Indianapolis, we stopped at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the Indy 500 & the Brickyard 400! We toured the Hall of Fame Museum, which was really cool! They had about 70 cars on display from 1887 to 2007! It was neat to see what cars looked like a century ago and to learn the history of the Speedway. Craig even got to sit in an actual Indy 500 car! It was lots of fun and a cool stop on our journey!

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Hall of Fame Museum at the Speedway

Carriage from 1886!

Danica Patrick's Rookie Car!

The Borg Warner Trophy - For the winner of the Indianapolis 500!

Okay, the secret's out - THIS is Craig's new job!! :)

Craig & Jillian checking out all the old cars.

It was a great day! Although, when we got to our hotel in Indianapolis, it looked a little shady due to the strip club next door and about 20 cabs to tractor trailers in the parking lot, so we headed to a new one! And what a wonderful decision!! It's a mini suite and so comfy! Jillian is already asleep and Kylie is well on her way and it's not even 9pm! Tomorrow we will drive through Ohio to Pittsburgh, PA and then onto Baltimore on Saturday!! We can't wait!! Not much longer now! ~The Thayers & Mom-Mom :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 15 - St. Louis, MO to Peoria, IL

Today we drove from St. Louis, MO to our great friends' house in Peoria, IL! Before we headed out of town we stopped by the Gateway Arch and Riverfront. The Riverfront park that had the Arch was absolutely beautiful! It was lined with trees with a calm lake filled with ducks that Kylie loved! It was right next to the mighty Mississippi River, which has risen alot from the large amounts of rain that the Midwest has gotten in the past weeks. It wasn't up to the point it was back in 1995 when the Mississippi flooded, but it was only a few feet away! The weather was gorgeous and we could've stayed there forever, but wanted to get back on the road to the Webers' house! We did get some good shots of the Arch and toured the museum & gift shop!

The Gateway Arch from the highway.

The Gateway to the West!
A view through the trees!

Mommy & Jillian at the base of the Arch.

The St. Louis Arch and the Mighty Mississippi!

The flood waters in St. Louis at the Riverfront Park.

Flags in the flood waters.

Once we left St. Louis, we had a short trip to Illinois, The Land of Lincoln, to head to Peoria to stay with Mike & Jenny Weber for the night. It was great to see Jenny after two years of being apart and to finally meet their daughter Caitlin and for them to meet Jillian. Kylie & Aiden hit it off immediately and they played all night! Jenny was the best and bought Kylie a birthday cake for her birthday and had a present for her! After dinner of yummy pizza, we all sang "Happy Birthday" and had some delish cake! Kylie loved it!! It made her birthday so special! Thank, Ms. Jenny for being the best and thinking of Kylie on her special day! We are so glad that we could spend her 4th birthday with you!!

Kylie's special 4th Birthday cake! Thank you, Jenny!!!

Kylie & Aiden waiting patiently for a slice of cake.

Kylie & Aiden in the toybox playing "train."

"Say cheese!"

We've had so much fun catching up with our great friends! We wish we could stay longer, but we know that now that we are living closer, we can definitely visit again and hopefully, soon! We love you guys and thank you so much for letting us stay with you on our way through Illinois! We head out to Indiana tomorrow, so check back for more pictures! ~The Thayers & Mom-Mom :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Days 13 & 14 - Oklahoma City, OK & St. Louis, MO

Unfortunately, we do not have any pictures from the last two days. :( Both days have been extremely long (over 8 hours) driving days and we've been getting into town late. I tried to take a picture of the "Welcome to..." signs when we entered each state, but going 75 miles an hour, doesn't make for a good picture and all attempts came out either of trees or guardrails or extremely blurry. So, no pictures, sorry! :(

We had a great time with Mark & Mindy in Albuquerque and after an early morning, we headed off to Oklahoma City, OK. Along the way we hit some really bad thunderstorms, which almost looked like a scene out of "Twister", but they passed quickly and before we knew it, we were in sunshine again. Oklahoma was a beautiful state and was a welcome change after driving through the desert for a few days! The best part of our stay, though it was short, was the simple fact that there was a Panera Bread just down from our hotel!! Mom & I were so excited and we stopped by there for breakfast! It was DELISH and we enjoyed every bite!

After our yummy breakfast we headed off to St. Louis, MO. It was another long day of driving, but the scenery was beautiful! We stopped in Springfield for lunch and kept on trucking along till we reached our hotel around 8pm. We had a few bumps once we got here though.....first, they had our name misspelled in the computer and had originally told Craig that they didn't have our reservation. Then, after we were given a room, I headed up there with the girls only to find that only ONE of the two queen beds was made and we only had ONE towel in the bathroom! I called down to the front desk and was told someone would be up to make the bed and give us fresh towels. When someone came up, all he had was towels and told us that he didn't make that point we called down and requested a new room! They then had told us another room on the same floor which was good because Craig had brought all our bags up to the room and all we would have to do is go down the hall, but then the front desk called up and said we would be moving to a room two floors DOWN! So, once we got everything and everyone to the correct room that was clean and made, did we finally all relax and able to enjoy the rest of the night. Just a little drama, but nothing we couldn't handle and all turned out good in the end!

The most important thing about today is that it is Kylie's 4th Birthday!! That's right, our Kylie B turned 4 years old today! Can you believe it?? When we moved to WA she was 10 months old and now she is 4 and ready to go to pre-kindergarten next year! When I asked her this morning how old she was, she said "I'm 5, Mommy!" I corrected her and told her that she was indeed 4 years old and to PLEASE not grow up too fast, even though I know the years, just like the past 4 are going to fly by! We kept her birthday pretty low key and plan on having a party once we get back to MD. Happy Birthday, Kylie!! We love you so much!!!!

Tomorrow, we are off to Peoria, IL to visit our great friends, Mike & Jenny Weber and their children Aiden & Caitlin! I cannot wait because we have not seen each other in over 2 years and we'll get to meet Caitlin for the very first time! It's going to be so much fun!! It's also a very short driving day, so I think we'll all sleep in tomorrow! We will definitely have some pics from Illinois, so check back soon! ~The Thayers & Mom-Mom :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day 12 - Albuquerque, NM

It is so hard to believe that we have already been on the road for 12 days! In just one more week, we'll be back on the East Coast and in MD! Today we spent the day in Albuquerque, NM visiting with Craig's brother, Mark and his fiance, Mindy. They have been so gracious allowing us to invade their house and use their washer & dryer! The girls have loved hanging out with their Uncle Mark & Aunt Mindy and I know we will have a hard time saying goodbye tomorrow! But, we'll be back in two short weeks for their wedding!!

We started our day with a tram ride up to Sandia Peak to have lunch at High Finance - the two mile high restaurant. The tram ride was really fun and Kylie loved looking out the window as we rose higher & higher up the mountain. We saw some fantastic views on the way up and once we got up to the top. Lunch was delicious and it was hard to leave, but we rode the tram back down the mountain to continue our day in Albuquerque.

The Sandia Peak Tramway

View from the Tram heading up the mountain.

What a view!!

Daddy & Kylie looking at Albuquerque from the top of Sandia.

Our family at the top of Sandia.

Uncle Mark & Aunt Mindy - you guys are the best! We love you!!!

Once back down on the ground, we headed to Old Town Albuquerque to do some sightseeing and shopping! It was a hot day, but it felt great to get out and walk around and stop in some of the cool shops in the plaza. We bought some great souvenirs and even got to enjoy some Mariachi music from a band playing in the middle of the plaza! Definitely made for a great day!!

Mariachi Band treating everyone to some great music!

St. Felipe de Neri Catholic Church in Old Town Albuquerque, NM

A carving of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a tree behind St. Felipe de Neri Church. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Albuquerque and when this was carved in the tree, they believed that the tree would die. However, remarkably, the tree has thrived for the past 20 years since the carving!

Sadly, our time in Albuquerque ends tomorrow and we are headed to Oklahoma City, OK. We're in for a LONG day of driving, but we're starting out early and hopefully, we won't get in too late. Not sure if there will be pictures tomorrow or not, but check back and find out! Till then.... ~The Thayers & Mom-Mom :)

Day 11 - Grand Canyon, Arizona

Today we explored Grand Canyon in the daytime and even stopped at the Visitor Center and watched the IMAX movie, which was amazing! Last night we got to see the amazing colors that the Grand Canyon creates with the setting sun and the views are indescribable! Words or pictures do not do it justice - you need to see it for yourself!

Gorgeous view of the Grand Canyon!

The multiple colors created in the Canyon at sunset!

Today we went pack to a different viewpoint called, Yavapai Observation Point. It literally takes your breathe away to look at the Grand Canyon. We were so glad that we decided to make this a stopping point on our journey!

View from Yavapai Point at the Grand Canyon.

Craig showing the girls the greatness of the Grand Canyon.

Kim, Craig, & Jilly pause for a quick picture.

"Look at THAT hole!!" - Craig's exact words!

Our family looking at the Grand Canyon - what an experience for us to share!

After our time at the Grand Canyon came to an end, we headed East to Albuquerque, NM to visit with Craig's brother, Mark & his fiance, Mindy. Kylie couldn't wait to see "Uncle Mark & Aunt Mindy, my family!" She talked about seeing them ALL day! The trip took a little longer than we thought, but it was so great to see them!! And, of course, we took a picture of the New Mexico sign when we crossed the border.

Welcome to New Mexico - The Land of Enchantment!! It's a little of center, but a good shot anyway!

Tonight & tomorrow we are having fun with Mark & Mindy! We're headed to Old Town Albuquerque and then maybe lunch or dinner at the Top of the Mountain! It's going to be great to relax for a few days before heading off to Oklahoma City, OK. Stay tuned for pictures from Albuquerque! ~The Thayers & Mom-Mom :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Day 10 - Leaving Las Vegas for the Grand Canyon

Today we left the excitement of Las Vegas and headed for the grandeur and beauty of the Grand Canyon in Arizona! On our way, we stopped at the Hoover Dam to take some pictures. We did get some good shots, but unfortunately, we found out it was a big tourist trap. It is an amazing sight to see if you have the chance, but they charge fees for everything. We paid $7 to park and then found out we would have to pay another $35 just to go into the Visitor Center and we could not go into any other building along the top of the dam without the pass. It was extremely hot & the girls were tired, so we just walked a bit along the dam and took some pictures before heading on our way to Arizona.

Craig with the Hoover Dam in the background.

The Hoover Dam - Nevada

The other side of the Hoover Dam

A dedication plaque to all those who lost their lives while constructing the dam in 1931.

We continued our journey into Arizona and took some scenic shots along the way. We didn't have as long of a drive today and got to our hotel which is just outside of the entrance to the Grand Canyon around dinner time. After a yummy pizza & pasta dinner, we made it to the park to see the Canyon at sunset and it took our breathe away! Words nor pictures can truly express the beauty and feelings seeing this natural wonder with your own eyes! We'll save the shots of the Grand Canyon for tomorrow's entry, but here are some that we took along our drive today.

Welcome to Arizona!

The amazing scenery of Arizona!

The Red Feather Lodge - our comfy hotel outside Grand Canyon National Park.

That's all for tonight. Stay tuned for our pictures of the Grand Canyon tomorrow! Tomorrow after we tour the Canyon again, we are headed to Albuquerque, NM to visit Mark & Mindy. We'll be there until Sunday and we can't wait! And in just two short weeks, we'll be back to Albuquerque for their wedding!! Good night, for now! ~The Thayers & Mom-Mom :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 9 - Exploring Las Vegas!!

Today we all slept in, which is something we ALL needed! Then, after a yummy breakfast at the Sherwood Forest Cafe, we headed out to the Vegas Strip to see the sights! We walked through New York, New York and the MGM Grand. Along the way we snapped some shots of the different hotels, including our own, The Excalibur! Kylie LOVES our hotel and last night she got a princess hat & magic wand which she has been playing with ever since. When she wears her princess hat, she thinks she is so special! It's too cute!

Daddy & the girls in front of our hotel before beginning our walk!

Princess Kylie walking through the casino on our way to dinner.

While at the MGM Grand, we got to look at the resident Lions at the Lion Habitat. Kylie LOVED seeing the lions and didn't want to leave! Jillian liked looking at them too, but Kylie was definitely the most excited!

Kylie watching the lions at the MGM Grand.

Two of the lions that are residents at the hotel.

Kylie looking up at a lion lying on the clear tunnel.

Once we left the MGM Grand, we continued walking along the strip, stopping in a few shops along the way to pick up some souvenirs. It was really hot out today, but not as hot as yesterday. It was actually 14 degrees cooler today at 90 degrees, down from 104 yesterday when we arrived in town! You could still feel the heat & the girls were real troopers during our walk - the stroller helped out alot too! :) Here's a few pictures from our tour of Vegas:

The Bellagio Hotel & Casino

The Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel.

The Gold MGM Lion.

The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

The M&Ms posing as Indiana Jones at M&M World - you can buy M&Ms in ANY color you can think of!

New York, New York - one of the coolest hotels!

The Brooklyn Bridge at New York, New York

It was a tiring day of walking, but after dinner, while Mommy & Jillian relaxed in the room, Daddy, Mom-Mom, & Kylie walked down the strip to watch the dancing water at the Bellagio! Along the way, they took some great shots of the hotels all lite up! They also went to visit the lions at the MGM Grand again and toured the inside of the Luxor. Kylie couldn't stop talking about seeing the giant pyramid! She has loved every minute of being in this exciting city!

The Bellagio at night.

The dancing water at the Bellagio

The sphinx outside the IMAX theatre at the Luxor.

M&M World all lite up for the night!

Sadly, our time in Vegas has come to an end and tomorrow we leave this fun city and head to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon!! We can't wait to see yet another of our nation's great natural wonders! We all had a great time in Las Vegas and were able to relax and have some fun! Tomorrow, our journey continues....

~The Thayers & Mom-Mom :)