Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The First Ishum Family Vacation - We Were NUTS!

A few days ago, we went to bed, and woke up to a COLD house. Somehow, the weather took a nose dive overnight, and we missed that beautiful transition from hot summer weather to cooler fall. I'm sure we will still have a few more warm days before we officially give up and embrace coats for the year, but it did leave me with two things:

1. I found myself scrambling for long sleeve shirts at 6:30am so the kids had something to wear to school.

2. I realized that if I didn't get our First Family Vacation photos up STAT, it wasn't ever going to happen. And first family vacation photos are kind of significant when you weren't allowed to leave the house for the first 2 years, am I right?

So without further ado....in July, we loaded up the kids for an absolutely NUTTY vacation idea that involved driving through 4 states, spending time with family in two different cities, and spending a total of....gosh, I think it was 43 hours of driving time in the car over a 10 day period (not counting driving time in the cities or the added time for potty breaks and food on the road). With 4-year-olds. I have to say though....it went better than it probably should have. Lol! What can I say? It was a very optimistic inaugural trip!

We started out by driving from Kansas City to Denver and stopped by the wonderful Kit Carson County Carousal in Burlington, Colorado that Ma and Pa (Sean's parents) stopped at just three weeks prior on their trip. In fact, it was one of the last things that Ma did before she unexpectedly passed, and she really enjoyed it, so it was definitely something that we wanted to stop and experience. 

It ended up being such a fun little detour! It holds the distinction of being one of the fastest antique carousals (if I remember correctly), and it was only $0.25 a ride. Definitely a budget friendly adventure for our family!
Top: Caleb and Elijah
Bottom: Abby and Ellie

We started driving to Denver EARLY that morning....like 4am-butt-crack-of-dawn-early. But what that meant was that we got into Denver that afternoon which left time for adventuring after a quick nap. We stopped by Uncle Nathan's homestead for bison burgers and popsicles and a little bit of Colorado country exploring!
Ellie, Abby, Elijah, Caleb, and Uncle Nathan

The next day we hit up the Denver Children's Museum. Definitely the most pricey thing we did on the trip, but the kids absolutely reveled in the chance to dress up and explore grownup places like a grocery store, a veterinarian's office, a fire truck, and a bubble factory without being told, "no touching!"
Ellie and Caleb

Ellie and Abby


I snapped this photo of Abby riding in the car one day in Denver. After a few hundred miles, she was tired of sitting like a normal human being. Lol!

I can't remember the name of the mountain anymore, but we took the kids on a mountain hike. It really wasn't that long. Maybe only a mile and a half or so total? There were some old castle ruins on the trail, so we took the kids up to see those. The scenery was gorgeous....but the kids didn't seem to appreciate it quite as much as we hoped. Caleb seemed to want to go the opposite direction the entire time we were on the trail....there and back. Oh well! The weather was perfect, and we got some good snapshots! We will certainly try it again the next time we make it out there!

Top: Caleb and Abby
Bottom: Elijah and Ellie

Of course, we had to stop by the Red Rocks Amphitheater while we were out there. Sean and Uncle Nathan went to a NEEDTOBREATHE concert one night while we were out there, but we took the kids by late one afternoon for a few minutes. Unfortunately, we managed to coincide that right when the general public was arriving for a Van Halen concert, so we didn't stay long. It didn't seem like it would be quite their musical style. ;)
Sean, Caleb, Ellie, Abby, Elijah, and Uncle Nathan

And then, we jumped down to Colorado Springs one morning to visit Focus on the Family and Garden of Gods.

The last time Sean and I were in Garden of the Gods was the summer after we were married. This is one of the most stunning places I've ever seen, and it was just as impressive this time around. We did manage to get our ONE family photo on the trip there. Some random guy saw our kids and jumped out of his car to try to take photos of them. I saw it happening and quickly handed him my camera and asked him to take a family photo. Our kids scattered again before he even finished taking photos with my camera. He wasn't too happy, BUT I'm not overly thrilled with strangers lining my kids up to take photos of them and then posting them.....where??? Seriously, it's ridiculous what people do. He didn't get his photos, but I got one. I'm good with that!

Oh, which reminds me of another story from Denver! Believe it or not, we were actually harassed and stalked by someone on this trip!! Like....this lady figured out what hotel we were staying in and showed up at the hotel to see our kids. Long story. I can not even begin to tell you how unnerving that is. So yeah, I'm going to be careful, and if people aren't happy about it....I'm okay with that. My kids. My rules.
Ellie, Elijah, Mommy, Abby, Daddy, and Caleb

I did get my most favorite picture on this part of the trip though! Love, love, love the way this one turned out! I only wish I was in front of the camera with my family instead of behind it! Then it would be perfect for Christmas cards!
Elijah, Ellie, Abby, Caleb, and Daddy

Anyhow, then the trip to Focus on the  Family was a total FAIL. It was a series of things that went wrong: Elijah went to the use the bathroom and didn't get himself far enough back on the toilet. We didn't have a change of clothes with us. People would NOT leave our family alone and let us look around. We are used to people gawking and asking questions, but people refusing to let us escape, even knowing we needed to take the kids to the bathroom, is what caused Elijah to hurry on the toilet and not take the time to position properly. Caleb was having a bad day. A very bad day. I think we were there for 20 minutes. It was that bad. I literally cried from Colorado Springs all.the.way. back to Denver about my horrible parenting skills, how Caleb's autism can have such a huge impact on family life, and how people can be so rude sometimes. I was really over people at this point.

If you are curious. This was a little under the halfway point in the trip. I may have told Sean that we were absolutely insane to attempt a road trip of this length with this many kids at this age. But it's all good, because moments like that are what marriages are made of. I married the best guy. He told me it isn't all pretty, but we are making memories, and we are doing it together.

The next day we got in the car and started the 9 hour drive to Las Cruces, New Mexico (read 11 hours with quadruplets) to visit my family. I snapped this highly flattering selfie on a nice stretch of desert. Lol!
Becca and Sean.....still kicking!

I'm originally from New Mexico, so the trip down there was just to spend three days visiting my extended family, **finally** introducing our kids to them, and of course, eating as much Mexican food as humanly possible before having to leave again. Yes, it involved #GoalEating. And I'm not ashamed of that.

Top: A photo with my brother Mark. We only got to see him for about 30 minutes before he went out of town!
Bottom: A photo with my cousin Brooke who was one of my best friends while growing up!

Fun selfie in the hotel room!
Abby, Caleb, Ellie, Elijah, and Mommy

I had a chance to teach my grandpa the fine art of taking a selfie and making yourself looking thinner than you really are. You have to hold the camera up higher than your face. He was all giggles! Haha!

Any chance to catch a precious photo of my littles with their great-grandpa is one that I will take! I have some cute ones from the few visits he has made to Kansas City since they were born. We will add this one to the lineup (even though a couple of kids aren't looking or have their faces covered):
Elijah, Abby, Great-Grandpa, Ellie, and Caleb

And then we headed home. As much as we enjoyed our adventures....and we really did, other than my ugly face cry on the way back from Colorado Springs.....we were definitely looking forward to our own beds. It took two days to drive the 16 hours (more like 20 hours) from Las Cruces back to Kansas City. We stopped overnight in Amarillo, TX where I realized that I'd made a mistake. In all of our travels, I had booked suites that slept six people: 2 queen sized beds and a pull-out couch. In Amarillo, we checked in and realized that we had...2 queen sized beds. It was a bit comical for one night as the room was non-refundable through the Hotels(dot)com website. We started out this way, but the boys decided to sleep on the floor after awhile. Hey, it worked for a night. It definitely made us even more excited to pull into our driveway 24 hours later!

If you read this far, you deserve a medal for vicariously spending 10 days on the road with us! Fun times! Hopefully family trips become even easier and more fun in the future.

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  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure and precious memories. It was also nice to see Nathan. Hoping that in time, some of the challenges can be something you can laugh at, or at least make the kids laugh when you retell the stories in years to come. My boys love to laugh at some personally mortifying experiences that they have no memory of except through pictures and my retelling of the story. :)

  2. You all are most definitely brave souls! Looks like all in all it went very well. Definitely memories made that you will never forget ;)

  3. I feel like we went through a period of time that people stopped noticing 'the triplets' & then suddenly, shortly after turning 4, the attention came flooding back! Weird!!!
    We have traveled, sometimes for vacations, A LOT! Not initially by choice but it ended up working in our favor & our boys are decent travelers now but they each have their moments... or days.
    PS, walmart sells toddler air mattresses for $35, so awesome for traveling! No more special hotel rooms or taking up all the beds at family's houses. You should check them out :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your family adventure!!!!


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