S 1 E 4: Reunion + Sealing + Birthday = Lots of Fun

Next stop: Boise Idaho.

Jeff (brother #5) and Brenna were married last June. This June they were sealed for time and all eternity in the LDS Temple. This was the real cause for celebration and reason behind a full Oxford Suites. Zed’s maternal side of the family was in attendance as were his paternal grandparents. All brothers were also there (Zed, Wes, Dallen, Erik, and Jeff) except Scott who is currently serving his mission. Mylee, Scott’s girl friend, Mylee’s friend, and Olivia, a family friend watched the kids so we could all go to the temple together.

After the temple session we headed back to the hotel and ate an amazing buffet provided by the hotel. This was followed by a cannonball contest in the pool, I believe Wes won. The brothers, their cousins, and their aunts and uncles headed out and raced go carts. The story I was told is Wes came in first for race #1 and Zed was 1st for race #2. The kids and sisters (aka wives of the brothers) stayed back and got some last minute bonding time and packed the bags (and went to sleep early).

As is normal Davies Family fashion the drive to Boise from the ranch to going to bed all took place within 15 hours, not two days at it may seem.

-S

S 1 E 3: Ranch Life

If you haven’t been out to the Roaring Springs Ranch, or really this part of Oregon, you need to find a way to make it out here. Each time we come out I am reminded of the beauty of it. This trip out was a little more relaxed than normal because I have no ties to anyone but my family right now. We have outprocessed from Tinker and have yet to inprocess to our temporary duty at Maxwell AFB.

We began this leg of our trip with a much needed nap. The kids played with all of PaPa and Grandmas toys while Zed and I enjoyed some sleep.

After waking up we had a date with 11 bulls. After getting them loaded in a trailer we drove 3.5 hours and dropped them at a ranch who would be leasing them for the summer. Along the way we stopped at Dairy Queen (more popular than McDonald’s out there) for dinner and ice cream. You’ll see that ice cream is a common thread for this trip. Once dropping the bulls we headed back towards the ranch and spent the night in the apartment over the office in Burns. On top of running the ranch Stacy also runs a co-op of ranchers who make up Country Natural Beef. They supply beef to places like Whole Foods, Blue Apron, and Burgerville. The next day we woke early, picked up kid horses and finished the drive to the ranch.

The kids enjoyed riding horses, helping PaPa work cows (it’s AI season currently), and riding toys. Zed and I are storing our four wheelers at the ranch while we’re in Germany and they bought 2 little motorcycles for the kids. Mia mastered the one without training wheels while Ana claimed the one with the extra help. Zed taught the kids how to climb rocks (I missed the photo op). It was great to see him in his element and sharing that with the kids. While we were there the ranch was hosting an AI school. Those who take part in the school learn something new and Stacy gets a few more hands to help out. Ana also adopted a calf and it was her responsibility to feed it each day.

One of the most fun days was when we enjoyed a trip to Fields for burgers and shakes. The kids (Jonah and Dallen (brother #3) had made it out and joined us) climbed trees and played in the mud while we waited for our food. This is another most stop when you come to visit the ranch. We then headed out on four wheelers and motorcycles to enjoy the reservoir.

While there Zed found a nest, where two of the eggs were beginning to hatch. The kids insisted we stay until they were out, but we explained we couldn’t wait that long and had to go see Sadie.

On the drive back, 3/5 kiddos fell asleep and we met up with Wes (brother #2) and Sadie. That night the couples went into town and enjoyed a benefit dinner for the boys’ high school English teacher.

The final day on the ranch we took a Steens Mountain tour and truly enjoyed the south eastern Oregon landscape.

One of the many gorges along the Steens. There should be some snow still visible on the peaks, but it wasn’t a great snow year.

This looks out over the historic Riddle Ranch.

Mia and Ana attempting to throw rocks into Wild Horse Lake. The angle of the picture deceives the eyes. Ana’s right foot is hanging over a sheer face that drops a “couple” feet.

Behind Zed and me is the Alvord Desert.

We concluded the tour with a stop at the Frenchglen Mercantile for some ice cream. The ability to easily come to the ranch for a break is going to be missed while we’re in Germany. It will be an amazing treat to be welcomed back to.

-S

S 1 E 2: The Final Push

After leaving Vernal, we set out in search of Cold Stone ice cream. The nearest that suited our rig (a Ram 3500 pulling a trailer with 2 four wheelers, a job box filled with things we didn’t trust the government to store, baby gear, food storage, and whatever else we forgot to send the movers with or they refused to take) was in Park City, UT.

30min from the amazing ice cream shop we were diverted south to Provo to see Davies boy #5 Jeff where Zed ordained him as an elder in the Church. This needed to be done ASAP so Jeff could receive the Church’s ok to be sealed (married) in the temple this coming Saturday.

2hrs, a church ordinance, and 3 sleeping children later we made it to Draper where we enjoyed our Cold Stone. We only made it a few miles farther when we realized there was no way we would make it to the ranch tonight. We sought out a hotel and enjoyed a free night on Marriott (thanks for my anniversary present). If you’re ever near the Salt Lake Airport and need a place to stay, stay at the Springhill Suites. AMAZING hospitality. They let us park our rig at the front door so we could sleep without fear of something being stolen.

We woke around 2am for the last 8hrs to the ranch. Dax keep Zed awake talking about why the moon goes away sometimes (because it dips behind the mountains). Dax was convinced a baby snake kept eating it. We passed through Winnemucca, NV and everyone was now awake to entertain Zed those final 3 hours.

S 1 E 1: Vernal, UT

The best way to sum up this leg of the trip is by saying within 30min one child was missing a chunk of hair and the other we now call Scar.

We drove straight through, only stopping for gas that we coordinated with pee breaks and food. Overall the kids did really well after the first fight. 6 people in a 6 seatbelt vehicle is never fun. We made it to Vernal at 0330 and crashed instantly. We spent the morning letting the kids feed baby bottle goats and enjoying some time out of the car.

Thank you to Jessup and Amanda for always being the best hosts no matter the time of our arrival and departure!

Season 1: American Road Trip

Sung to the tune of Little Einsteins

We’re going on a trip in our big blue rocket truck

Zooming down the road, Davies Family

Climb aboard, get ready to explore

There’s so much to see, Davies Family

We’re going on a vacation, start the countdown

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Everyone to the truck, rev it up now

RRRRRRRRR

We’re going on a trip in our big blue rocket truck

Zooming down the road, Davies Family

Climb aboard, get ready to explore

There’s so much to see, Davies Family

Come on, let’s go, Davies Family

Can’t wait to see you, Davies Family

Yeah!

On this season follow the Davies Family as we leave Tinker AFB in our rear view and head out on a 3 week family vacation. Follow us as we go from Oklahoma City to Vernal, UT to Frenchglen, OR, to Boise, ID, to Oklahoma City, OK, to Allen, MD, to Bay City, MI, to Montgomery, AL. You’ll get an inside look at the chaos of traveling as a family of six from sea to shining sea.

Enjoy!

-S

A True Day in My Life

Let me give you a quick run down of my day. Let me also say I’m not looking for praise or compassion.

0015 – Comforted a 4 year old with a nightmare

0045 – Last numbers I saw on the clock before falling asleep

0345 – Comforted a 3 year old with a nightmare

0400 – Doctored a sick 30 year old

0430 – Fed a no longer sick 1 year old

0445 – Laid down and reset alarm

0505 – Woke up to reset alarm

0510 – Notified my flight of a mandatory recall (For non-military…We run a phone tree of everyone I’m over telling them to show up at a specific location with specific items)

0515 – Showered/dressed/did my hair

0530 – Dressed/Fed 4 kiddos (All kids were helpful and happy. Chocolate peanut butter sandwiches all around)

0545 – Warmed up the car and checked on sick 30 year old

0555 – Loaded the car

0605 – Left the house

0620 – Dropped the kiddos off at school (only took me 10min…ooo yah)

0630 – Opened up the office/led a mock deployment bag check/gave a motivational speech (at least I hope it was motivational)

0730 – Logged into a Professional Development class

1130 – Logged out of class/did homework for the class (a discussion post and two responses to others posts, it’s kinda like a master’s class, but put on by the Air Force)

1230 – Checked email (had to sign a couple documents)

1300 – Ran to the kids school and checked up on 1 year old

1330 – Went to staff meeting (12 people that make up the leadership team of our unit solving problems and passing along information to the boss)

1500 – Changed for unit fitness

1545 – Unit Fitness (we played ultimate football)

1630 – Ran 2 miles (no, it did not take me 30mim to run 2 miles, more like 17)

1700 – Picked up the kids from school

1745 – Bought Happy Meals for the kids

1746 – All kids, without my prompting, say thank you for their Happy Meal (all except Zoe)

1747 – Pulled over to pick up spilled Happy Meal from the floor

1749 – Pulled over to swap the boy and girl Happy Meal toy (Ana is not a boy if anyone was curious)

1805 – Arrived at gymnastics and picked up the second spilled Happy Meal

1820 – Changed Mia into her leotard

1823 – Convinced Ana that her usual gymnastics outfit was dirty (honestly I didn’t have time this morning to look for it)

1830 – Dropped Mia and Ana off for class

1830-1920 – Entertained Dax and Zoe and ran inside to check on Mia and Ana occasionally

1920 – Went inside to pick up the girls

1923 – Doctored a rolled ankle and convinced Mia it wasn’t that bad if she still wanted to run back in and get a stamp

1927 – Doctored a stubbed toe and Ana convinced me that drinking her chocolate milk left over from her Happy Meal would make her foot feel better

1930 – Headed home

1943 – Upon entering I turned left (if you’ve ever driven my children home you know what this means, if you don’t please remind me to tell you before you do)

1950 – Hugs to Zed and bathtime

2010 – PJs and kids/daddy snuggle time

2015 – Bedtime for Zoe

2020 – Shower time for this tired Momma

2030 – Put my boys (Zed and Dax) to bed

2035 – Did the big girls hair

2040 – Snuggle time with my big girls

Multiple times today I questioned why I do this. Why did I think it would be a good idea to have everyone show an hour early to work? Why do we keep the girls going in gymnastics? Why do I choose to have a very demanding job? I am exhausted. I am sore. But, I am happy. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m sticking to my goals. My kids are learning new skills. I am tired, but I am happily successful. Happily Successful is the answer I always gave when teachers would ask what do you want to be when you grow up successful, famous, or rich.

My why is because I cherish the hugs they give me as I leave them at a school they love, with teachers who fight and request to have the Davies come to their class as they move up in age. As I walk around their school during nap and give them each a kiss on their head I remind their subconscious self that they have a mom who would give up her lunch just to be near them for a few seconds. My life is insane. I’ve said before we live in survival mode. But this crazy life detailed down to the minute has taught me to slow down. It’s taught me the moments I have with my kids should never be taken for granted.

We’re called the Davies Crazies. We’re the first asked to handle special events at work. The teachers ask us to request for our kids to go to their class. We laugh. We cry. We yell, though we do our best to reserve it for when one or more of the kids run into the road. But most importantly we love and we work hard. My why is because why not. My kids, my husband, me, and our family are happily successful and I could not ask for anything more.

Thanks for reading, this probably meaningless post and very long post. Hopefully if nothing else it made you laugh, remember your days raising kids, or hopefully did not scare you away from having kids in the future.

-S

*I knew at 0445 today would be interesting so I’ve been writing this post throughout the day. For any of you who were impressed I remembered exact times after a day like I’ve had, sorry to let you down. After 4 kids this mom has serious mom brain.

2018 – Selfish Year

I saw a a post on Pinterest this weekend and I fell in love. “2018 will be selfish year. My time will be invested on me. On improving myself. I want to become a better person physically and mentally.”

How’s that possible with 4 small kids you may be wondering, well if I’m not being the best Mom I can be, I piece of my mental betterment will not be successful. So below are my resolutions and the first of each monthI will check in here to track my progress.

– Run 400 miles

– Read 12 books

– Get a 90 on my AF fitness test

– Post 52 times

– Lose 20lbs

– Complete 12 sewing projects (a got a machine for Christmas)

– Have a monthly date day with Mia and Ana

– Complete service for one person/family each month

– Set aside $ each month so Christmas gifts are totally cash purchased

– Read the Book of Mormon

– Focus on how I talk to the kids

– Get the kids on a chore and bedtime routine

– Add a new resolution each month

So please help to keep me on track. I would love to hear what your resolutions are.

-S

Christmas Chaos

Now that I’ve recovered some, time to fill you all in on our first Christmas at our own home.

Dec 23rd

We ventured down to Chickasha, OK to see their lights. After waiting in line for about 45min, it was our turn to drive through. Our initial plan was to ride a carriage through, but with temps in the 20s we decided to stay out in the car. Lights were followed by a drive in movie. Ferdinand was amazing! It made us and the kids laugh, which is definitely a feat. The double feature was Jumanji which was a pretty good sequel. The Rock, as always, was great. The drive home was quiet with all 4 kiddos passed out. Once the stockings were hung and visions of sugar plums were dancing in the kids heads from their own beds, assembly of an Elsa bike, a piano, and train tracks was accomplished. We’d be enjoying Christmas a day early.

Dec 24th

We woke the kids up, dressed them in their matching Christmas jammies, and began the unwrapping. All presents were opened and played within 90 minutes. Everyone dressed for church and we enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve service from a side room. It was better for everyone that we could hear them, but they couldn’t hear us. After church we headed to Tractor Supply where there was a 40% toy sale. Dax is now the proud owner of a 4ft grain truck complete with lights and sounds. The rest of the afternoon we lounged, talked to family, and listened to Mia’s amazing piano skills.

Dec 25th

We all slept in and then packed our bags. Off to Branson we go. About 30 minutes into the drive, we need gas, and realize neither of us has a wallet. Back home we go, retrieve the wallets, and make it to a gas station with 5 miles until empty. We continue on, with a new destination of Sullivan, MO. Zed’s youngest brother is serving his mission there and we forgot to mail his Christmas gift. We FaceTime the Davies family on the drive and Scott (brother on the mission) is able to dial in as well. We enjoyed a great Chinese dinner (the only restaurant open on Christmas) with Scott and his companion and head for Branson, MO. The Davies don’t do well sitting still.

Dec 26th

We enjoyed the indoor pool and slide at the Welk Resort of Branson. It’s no Great Wolf Lodge, but with just two adults and 4 swimming kids it was much easier to manage. Exploring Branson was next on our list, definitely a place I recommend visiting, but maybe not when it’s 19 degrees and having 4 under 5. Hopefully Zed and I will have a chance to go back before PCSing. We enjoyed some time walking around Bass Pro. Zed collects smashed pennies and wouldn’t you know it every Bass Pro and Cabelas have a unique smashed penny machine. We were also able to cross a gift for someone off our list already…now to not lose it the next 364 days. With kids having burned quite a bit of energy we began the drive home. I would be the first to fall asleep, I don’t do so well with back roads. An hour and a half later I wake up to us driving through picturesque Eureka Springs and all kids still awake. By the time we explored the town, another added to our pre-PCS bucket list, all kids were asleep. We saw Broken Arrow’s lightshow and went to Christmas at the Castle in Muskogee, making it a total of 5 lights how’s this year.

Dec 27th

I was back to work, kids back to school, and Zed spent his time off getting things checked off his to do list.

We hope you all had an amazing Christmas!

-S

Christmas Caramels

A Christmas we have each year is I attempt to make Caramels. I say attempt, because I’ve never gotten them right. They’re either too runny, too hard, stuck to the paper, stuck to the foil, etc. Actually, I’ve gotten them right once…Zed and I’s first Christmas together. I call it beginners luck

I was determined to get them right this year and after the second batch, I did. Below is my recipe for Caramels if you dare to brave them. May the odds ever be in your favor.

INGREDIENTS

• 1½ sticks butter (12 tablespoons)

• ½ cup sugar

• 3 tablespoons maple syrup

• 14 oz sweetened condensed milk

INSTRUCTIONS

1 In a medium sauce pan combine butter and sugar and stir over medium heat until melted. Reduce to low heat, because without fail this is when a kid will need a diaper change or a peanut butter chocolate sandwich made. Stir in maple syrup and condensed milk.

2 Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute and then decrease to medium low heat for 10 minutes, when mixture achieves deep golden color, stirring constantly (not vigorously).

3 Pour caramel into a foil 8×8 inch pan, pray they’re cooked enough, and allow to cool completely. I leave it out on the counter for about 10 minutes and then use the refrigerator to cool completely.

4 When completely cooled, cut into squares, I like to use our pizza cutter, and wrap in Saran Wrap.

Good luck! When in doubt under do them. If they don’t set up, stick it back in the sauce pan for a couple more minutes and repeat steps 3-4.

Garbage Disposal

Do you ever have that conversation with you spouse or best friend, “When I build my forever home it’ll have…” Well I told Zed, when we build our forever home it’s going to have a garbage disposal in our laundry room sink. He laughed, knowing why I was saying this, and said that’s a great idea, but you won’t need that function by the time we build a house.

I was cleaning up throw up (my least favorite Mom job) for the fourth time this week. Each time I would take the stopper out of the tub rinse the chunks off and then hurry the dripping clothes/towels/blankets to the washing machine. Why didn’t I just do this in my kitchen sink you’re probably wondering…because dishes are a close second to cleaning up throw up. Thankfully Zed doesn’t mind it too much, but we’ve had a lazy week (remember 4th time cleaning up throw up). So the sink was full of dishes and I wanted that smell gone as soon as possible.

So a garbage disposal in the laundry room sink is being added to our list that includes radiant heat, three car extended length garage, and stairs/ladder up to the empty space of the home. Maybe when/if this custom built home comes we’ll have grandkids who will get sick while staying at our home…yay 🤢

-S