Tuesday, July 6, 2010


We spent the night in Northern Oklahoma, but ended up only needing to drive 1 hour to our destination in Kansas. The drive in Kansas was very similar to Oklahoma. Its was not as clean and well maintained as Oklahoma, but still cleaner than Texas. It amazes me how you can drive for 45 minutes and not see more than 5 or 6 houses/businesses throughout KA and OK. And this isn't for 2 hours this is for the full 6. It is just full of COUNTRY...and is all just beautiful. There aren't a lot of trees, but the ones that are there, are gorgeous.

The only bad thing that has occured on our trip so far is Delaney has been car sick. She looks absolutely miserable. We have her wearing her wrist bands and holding her pink "throw up bucket" She drinks sprite and eats crackers and tries to sleep. I really do feel sorry for her because I have been there and done that too many times to count. Kaytlynn has done well so far.

We did find the prairie and it was certainly neat. We stayed for about 1.5 hours. Its a pretty small property of land. I realize that the definition of a prarie is a flat piece of land with not a lot of trees. But I think it strange that Texas is MUCH flatter than "the prairie...which is full of slight rolling hills. On the Ingalls property you are able to see a cabin that is similar to the one Laura's family lived in...it was AMAZINGLY tiny. It was maybe a 10 x 12 house. It as quite neat seeing what it looked like log by log with the clay filling in the spaces and seeing the iron nails poking through the ceiling. In the book Little House on the Praire you are able to see Pa build his little cabin...just he and Ma until Ma gets hurt, then Mr. Edwards helps out and even loans him the nails. I can't imagine. Laura and Mary's job was to pick up the nails that fell or that got bent, so that Pa could hammer them straight again so that he could use them...because they could never be wasted...just one more example of how spoiled and wasteful our society is.

We also go to go into the real post office...another extremely tiny building. It was probably a 8 x 6 building...and the customers area was only about about 3 x6....It had all the little mail boxes and little windows to go to for different purposes. It was all very neat. The kids liked playing with the little number locks for the mailboxes.

The last real building we saw was the schoolhouse. It was REALLY neat. It was a school house that was filled with things that you would see from the 1900s. One room, a piano and organ up front, a bell outside, the students desks were the wrought iron and wooden ones ... alot like the ones seen in the little house movies. The desks were really neat because they had little ones for the 5 year olds, small ones for the ones a little bigger...and then 2 larger sized desks....so it showed you just how small and large all the students were that studied in this room.

It had a book case of books, maps, small clothing articles and even some projects of what a student would have been doing in 1900.

In the very back, they had 2 interesting postings....one was of the salary of each teacher that had taught there at that school house from 1900 to about 1945. I think it started at about 20 dollars a month and gradually increased by about 5 dollars a month every year...until 1930...you could see when the depression hit because the salary started decreasing each year until about 1939.

Another posting was of rules for the teacher in 1900. The kids, and I thought it was hilarious that they expected some of these things from the teacher. Some of the ones that linger in my memory are: Teachers are not allowed to wear a dress any shorter than 2 inches from her ankle; Teachers are not allowed to get married during their contract; teachers are not allowed to go to the ice cream shoppes in town. Teachers must be in their home from 8 pm to 6 am unless given special permission by the school board. A teacher must NEVER, under any circumstances, dye her hair. There were many other rules, but this gives you a good idea!

2 other things that were neat on this property...You were able to see Pa's well. They had it boarded up but it was still quite neat to see that it was still there. Also...they had an outhouse for kids to see/sit in. My girls would not go inside it! Its like they thought the outhouse monster was going to get them. They finally stood inside for a pic once Brave Emily sat on the Potty for a picture!

They had a small farm house that had nothing to do with the Wilders and it was the gift shop. It was full of books, audio CDs, postcards, coloring books, bonnets, etc. My girls left with Laura bracelets. It has has charms of things from the book (a log cabin, Charolotte, her rag doll, Jack her bull dog, etc.) The girls loved them!

Off to Oklahoma...

We drove 6 hours the first day on our trip and made it to Northern Oklahoma. I can't remember the town we stayed in. We stayed in a Super 8 Hotel. It had been recently been remodeled so I thought it was very nice. My sister is used to staying in hotels that you enter from the inside and that are much pricier, due to safety concerns. So she was laughing on her way inside because she just couldn't believe that she was about to pay to spend the night in this place. It was quite funny.

I've learned that my sister has become quite the safety concerned person...she used to get tickets for speeding about as often as people wash their hair...now she drives the speed limit, to about 3 miles per hour over it. She stays in nice hotels....and she passed the state sign, because it was too close to the road and was in a weeded area. Too unsafe. And last but certainly not least....She will NOT let me drive. She will talk about being tired...her arms hurting, being sleepy, being tired of driving...each time I will offer to drive...and she politely declines. It has gotten to be a joke between us. If you get sick, can I drive? NO. If you have an allergic reaction, may I drive? NO If you pass out can I drive? Well...you can drive us safely to the side of the road and then call 911 for them to come pick me up. Same answer for if she has a seizure. So...no driving for Judy. She says that she just knows I would end up in Hawaii...Its all quite funny.

Oklahoma is absolutely beautiful. Lots of slight rolling hills...very prairie like, and VERY clean. Everyone has seemed very nice and of course, the girls think it is the coolest thing that they are in their first NEW state! I told them that if we finish the trip as planned, they will have gone to more states than I have in 35 years of life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Laura Ingalls Wilder Vacation

So our plan is to go to many of Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites and also just visit a few interesting places that we will pass along the way. We plan on going to Kansas, which is where the "prarie" was. Then to Mansfield, Missouri. Burr Oak, Iowa, Pepin, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and De Smet, South Dekota. We really don't know if we will be gone 20 days or just 3 due to the kids not being able to handle the long road trip or someone getting car sick.

Getting ready for our vacation...

So that we didn't have to eat out for every single meal on our 3 week long vacation...I chose to make a few things....Wow...lots of work. I've made 24 servings of my white bean chicken chili and another 15 servings of 10 bean sausage soup. The girls helped me bake 7 dozen no bake cookies and then came the packing.

Since we were going to be 6 in a mini-van....even a spacious mini-van, we had to really limit what we took. Something that made this a little difficult was that we would be in weather that would be in the 90s and weather in the 40s. So we decided on 3 short sets and 1 pair of blue jeans that they could wear over again 2 long sleeve tops and a waterproof coat. This meant we would have to wash clothes every few days...so I cheapy me, thought of filling up a water bottle with laundry detergent :-)

Each child was able to pack a small "carry on" filled with coloring books, colors, Leapster with cartridges, cards, etc. Then they chose a movie "portfolio" and filled it with 100 movies for their movie viewing pleasure. My awesome sister just bought 4 new headrests for her van that have individual TV screens in them. The front 2 can watch one movie, while the back 2 can watch something different, or they can all watch the same one! Pretty nifty, huh? She also bought a canvas car top that will hold our luggage!

It took DAYS to really sort everything, cook everything and then pack everything. It kinda blew my mind just how much thinking it took to prepare for a trip like this....but we didn't want to forget anything! It all ended up being a very tight....but perfect fit!

My Birthday Presents

I turned 36 this past month. My mom always asks me what I want for my birthday and after thinking about it...I asked her to help me make my girls some pioneer dresses (think Little House on the Prairie) so that they could wear them on our trip. I bought the material, patterns, etc. and then cut it all out for her and she put it all together. They came out looking so darn cute! Both the girls loved it and its one of my favorite birthday presents ever. It gave me and the girls a great memory and something we can use now for playing dress up...and then when they get to small, we can fold them up and put it in our "remember when" box. I'm so blessed that God gave me my mommy and only dream and hope that my girls feel the same way about me when they are 36!