Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trenton's First Field Trip

Trenton's first was to the pumpkin patch. It was probably not as exciting for him, because we had just gone, but this time he was with his friends which made it a little different. I was able to volunteer, while Aunt Cammie watched the kids. I was in charge of Trenton and one other boy. The other boy ended up feeling sick and so I ended up with just Trenton. We wandered through the corn maze and were one of the last one's out, but we still had a good time. Trenton picked out a pumpkin for Addison, since he had already picked out a huge one! They were told they could only pick out a pumpkin that they were able to carry. It was neat to be able to volunteer especially since I won't be able to much in the future

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last week, we made plans to go to the pumpkin patch with all of the family and then come to our house for chili and hot chocolate afterwards. The sky had looked gloomy all day, but it had only sprinkled so we went through with the plans. We got to the pumpkin patch, it still had not rained, but Trevor knew that it was coming. We decided to go ahead and take the wagon ride out to the pumpkins and as soon as we did, it started to pour. With two babies and more little ones, that was the longest hay ride! We decided that getting pumpkins would have to be postponed.
A couple of days later we made plans to go again. The weather was gorgeous and we all were successful at finding the perfect pumpkin. Daddy, of course, got the biggest pumpkin and Trenton's was a close second. Trenton thinks that I should maybe have his pumpkin since the momma pumpkin should be bigger than the kid pumpkins! We plan to carve the pumpkins for Gavin's birthday and see how creative everyone can be!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Wow! What a trip! I am sure most of you have heard the story of our adventurous journey to Portugal, but for those who have not, enjoy!

Emily took us to the airport bright and early Friday morning. Our flight left at 6:36 and so we got there about an hour or so early. It was slow moving, but we left the Boise airport with no problems and were on our way. Our flight plan was to fly from Boise to Denver, Denver to Newark, and Newark to Portugal. At each airport we had a couple of hours of layovers to ensure we make our next flight. When we arrived in Denver, we immediately checked the board to verify we were on-time and all was good. Well, guess what, our flight had been pushed back an hour. So instead of leaving at 11:00, we were now scheduled to leave at 12:00, no big deal. So we went and had breakfast and took a tour of the airport. We continued to check our flight time and it seemed like every time we looked, our flight had been pushed back 20 min., an hour, now two hours. We started to worry a little about making our next flight and so we went and checked in at the United desk. The lady that helped us was very nice, she reassured us that we would probably make our original flight, but if by chance she didn't, there was a Continental flight leaving at 8:15 that we could make. She put our minds at ease and we were just anxious to leave the Denver airport. After about 5 hours of passing the time, our flight was able to leave Denver and head to Newark.
As we sat on the plane on our way to Newark, we started to get nervous that we may not even make our flight at 8:15. It was almost 7:30 and we were just barely landing in Newark. When we landed, the pilot ask that all those needing to catch an international flight, be allowed to leave the plane first. During this, we met another that was actually heading to Portugal with us. What a relief! As we got off the plane we realized what a huge airport we were in. There were three different terminals and you had to take an airtrain to get to each one. Our original flight was to be with Air Portugal, terminal B. We headed there with the other couple to check in. When we got to the check-in we handed the attendant the ticket we had received in Denver. The gentleman helping us started checking us in and then realized that we had been transferred to Continental and told us we needed to check in with them. He told us to look for anyone in a red jacket and they would expedite us through so that we could make our flight. Sounded easy enough. Caleb and I took off running, because, of course, Continental was at a different terminal. We got on the airtrain and headed to terminal C. Once we got to terminal C we rushed to find the Continental check-in. A nice young man printed us off "tickets" and sent us on to security. When we arrived at security there was a long line, but there were also to people in red jackets. Caleb ran to them, begged for them to let us through quickly so that we could make our flight. Well, they were not helpful and we had to stand in line just like everyone else. It is now about 8:10 and we finally make it through security. Caleb grabs his shoes and a carry-on bag and takes off to our gate. I gathered up our remaining belongings and began running right after him. As the story continues you will see that nothing could be easy. The gate numbers started at 54 and we needed gate 36 which was at the other end of this terminal. Caleb runs until he reaches the Continental desk. And with much relief, they are still boarding the plane! Yeah!!! I catch up with Caleb and we hand all of our ticket information to someone who prints us seat numbers. He starts to hand them to us and then asks his manager to double check what he had done. It turned out that we did not have tickets for this Continental flight. We began to explain how in Denver we were told to catch this flight if we missed our original flight. The lady then asked for our tickets. We handed her everything we had been given and she continued to tell us that we had not tickets. We again reiterated to her the situation, but she would not let us board the plane with out tickets. We called United, Air Portugal and neither were of any help to our situation. At this point Caleb is very upset and is arguing with the lady. I guess we were trying the good cop/bad cop routine and neither was working. So to make a long argument short, she would not let us on the plane, we were furious, and we were stuck in Newark.
After we cooled a little, we called the travel agency that was in charge of the trip. They informed us that there were two other couples that also missed the last flight and that she would go ahead and find us a room for the night. She told us that she had booked one of the other couples at the Hilton and would try to book us there also and she would call us back in 10 minutes to confirm. Ten minutes go by, 15 min., and still no call, so we called her. She told us that she was still trying to get things taken care of and to give her ten more minutes. Again, ten minutes go by, 15 min., and still no call. Again, we called her, no answer. We waited another ten minutes, called her, still no answer. We then called her back 3-4 more times and left her a message each time saying to call us back, let us know if we need to get a room, etc. Still no call back. It was now 11:00 and we had no idea what to do. So, we found one of those lovely helpers in the red jacket and he sent us downstairs to a board that had a list of hotels you could call that had shuttles to the airport.
Caleb began calling each of the more prominent hotels around. Every single one was booked. He then began calling the Holiday Inn, Best Western, etc., all booked. He finally got down to one called America's Best Value Inn and guess what, they had rooms! We soon found out why! The shuttle came and picked us up. She had Christian music playing and so we felt a little more at ease. The hotel was to be minutes away from the airport and it ended up being 20 min. As we got off the freeway we entered what we considered, the ghetto!!!! There were lots of people standing on the side of the road digging through garbage, there was graffiti everywhere, and there was a certain feeling of fear. We pulled up to the hotel and there was an iron gate all around. When you walked into the lobby, the hotel staff was placed behind a bullet proof glass with security cameras monitoring the entire building. We quickly paid for our room and became excited of the thought of a shower and a bed. As we found our way back to our room we quickly realized that we were not staying at the Hilton! We quickly showered and headed to bed. Just as we were attempting to fall asleep, the yelling started! You could hear everything through the walls. This man was yelling at his girlfriend/wife, with some very inappropriate words. We both decided it wouldn't be a surprise if we heard a gunshot go off! Well it was a sleepless night for me and it was about 6:00 when I finally woke Caleb. We tried the lovely woman that was no help the night before and again no answer. Caleb said to wait until at least 8:00 because that was when everyone was opened. I forced myself to sleep and it was finally time to make some calls. We finally got a hold of the woman who would be taking care of our flight arrangements for the day. She asked if we had gotten a room for the night and wondered if we had gotten her text message. We are still bothered by that! She told us that she couldn't get all of our flight arrangements taken care of until the airlines opened and so we were to call her back in a couple of hours. We tried to sleep some more and then finally it was time to check out of the roach motel! We went back to the wonderful Newark airport and spent the rest of our day there. We found a place that sold toiletries and we tried to get our selves smelling somewhat decently for our 8 hour flight to Portugal.
Our flight left at 6:15 and we arrived in Portugal at 7:00 the next morning. There was a tour scheduled for that morning at 9:00 that we were hoping to make. By the time we got through customs it was 7:45 and all we had to get was our luggage, which Newark had promised us would be in Portugal with us. We watched the conveyor belt bring out every one's luggage but ours. Of course this would happen with the way things were going. We checked with the lost luggage and they said that there were some extra pieces, but she couldn't verify that they were ours and they would be coming out on another console. We waited anxiously praying that it would be our luggage. Guess what, it was ours!
We were now on our way to our hotel. It was now almost 8:30 and the tour left at 9:00. We rushed to our room, showered, put fresh clothes on and raced down to the bus just in time.
This began our vacation. We spent four days in Lisbon. Lisbon was a huge city and it was not very pretty. We went on some tours and everything that was worth seeing was about a 30 minute bus ride. We went and saw some castles in a local town on the first day, did a city tour of Lisbon another day, and then Caleb and I had a free day and we went walking around Lisbon.
On our fourth day, we flew to the island of Madeira. We stayed in the city of Funchal. When we first arrived in Madeira, we immediately went onto a bus that took us on a tour. We went to a local fish/fruit market. There is a fish that they eat that was called blackened fish. This fish is long and black. This fish is a deep sea fish and they can't catch it. They believe that the fish is originally white and then when it dies and rises to the surface it skin oxidizes and turns black. The fish was quite good and it was served at most all the restaurants. After the fish market they took us up to the top of the island, where we had lunch at this restaurant. After lunch we went on a toboggan run. They had these baskets that you sat in, with these ski looking things on the bottom. Two men would push

you to get the toboggan going and then they would continue to speed up, slow down, brake, and etc. We rode in this toboggan clear down to the bottom of the hill.
After this we headed to our hotel and checked in. The hotel had an amazing view of the ocean and was definitely first class! We took a little nap and then got ready for our evening. We, again, went with the group to dinner. They took us, again, to the top of the island to an old home that had been made into a restaurant and winery. Every where we went they had wine before dinner, wine with dinner, and wine with dessert. Caleb and I always tried it, but still never acquired that taste! Dinner began with several samplings of some local cuisine. When the main course came, they brought out these steel skewers with meat and hung them from a rod that was in the center of the table. You would pull your meat off the skewers as you wanted it. Dinner was amazing and ended with some passion fruit dessert. The next morning we went on a tour of the north side of the island. Like Hawaii, the other side of the island was a bit more damp and it had more agriculture. The island was gorgeous and we ended our tour at a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was set on the edge of the water and the room rotated and so your view was always changing. That evening we were on our own for dinner and Caleb and I decided to go down to the docks for dinner. All of the restaurants had pictures of their food and they tried to bribe you to come to their restaurant. We were offered free cocktails for the lady, 10% off our bill, the best food around! We finally found a restaurant whose food looked appetizing and enjoyed a nice quiet dinner by the water. I had steak on a stone and Caleb had the blackened fish. My steak basically came out raw, and it cooked on the stone. The next day, we went to the downtown shopping area of Funchal and looked at a bunch of the shops they had along the road. One thing we found interesting was that every taxi was a Mercedes. And it wasn't a 1970's Mercedes, they were brand new. That night we went to dinner at an Indian restaurant that was near our hotel. We sat next to a couple that was from Denmark. They wondered what Americans were doing in Portugal. I guess Portugal is a summer get away for the Europeans, but never Americans. Before dinner that night we were walking around and we saw this sign that looked like the sign for an LDS church, but it was in Portuguese and so we really couldn't tell. We wanted to find the church and so we hiked up this hill, down an alley way. We came to this building, but it didn't look like a church. When we finally got to the front of it, we saw the steeple. It was interesting because that was the first "church" we had really seen since we had been there.
The last day that we were in Madeira was a free day from tours or any other planned event. Caleb and I decided to go on a yacht out to watch dolphins and whales. The yacht held about 20 people. When we first got going, some of the ladies on the boat were taking some anti-motion pills. They asked if I would like one. I kindly said no thank you, thinking that this boat ride would be nothing compared to all the adventurous roller coaster riding. The boat ride was about an hour before we started to see anything. Right before we stopped to see the dolphins, I was starting to feel a little queasy, but thought I just need to breath and drink some water. We stopped and watched the dolphins for about 20 min. They would come right next to the boat and jump and play with each other. It was amazing how many there were and how close we could see them. I had started to feel more sick the longer we sat there and I was just hoping they would get the boat moving. We started heading back and on the way back, there was a whale. We saw him spit out water and then he turned over so we could see the white of his belly. They said that very rarely happens and it was neat because you could really see how long the whale truly was. Again, they stopped the boat and watched the whale. As we were stopped, I turned to Caleb and told him I didn't think I was going to make it. He kept telling me I could make it and that it was all in my head. He told me to breath and try not to watch the movement. I followed his advice, but within minutes I was over the edge of the boat. It took a couple of times before my stomach finally felt calm. The very nice looking captain brought me over a puke bag and some tissues, but by that time I was good! The ride back seemed even longer than the ride in. Luckily, there were no more incidents and I felt much better once we hit solid ground. All around, it was fun!
That evening we had a very nice dinner through the company as a farewell dinner. That ended our vacation. The next day, we were back to flying and were anxious to see the kids!