Day 8: Amazing Race

Two monumental changes this morning! First, we slept in until 9:30! Thank goodness! Mr. John was our hero last night after the concert and drove us to a hotel closer to our next leg so we could sleep in a bit. It was much needed so we made up a cheer for him. Give me a d: D! Give me an a: A! Give me a d: D! Give me an x: X! What does that spell?! Dad with a silent X! Don’t ask me what it means, the kids have been making up a theme song for everything we do or see. It is hilarious. It’s amazing how creative kids get when unplugged. There have been no movies or video games played this entire trip. Just a lot of music.

The second big change today was as you will see in the pictures, it is our first day out of uniform. John proudly represented our family as he and I have a backup shirt, but the rest of our AR shirts were in the laundry bag as we didn’t do a laundry run. Sage, the one that at the beginning said she was a little embarrassed by us wearing the same shirts, was the most disappointed in us wearing different shirts. Don’t worry, we will be back in black tomorrow!

Denver, who had fallen asleep during the end of the concert the night before and missed out on the excitement, was curious about Bailey’s wardrobe addition with her new black cowboy hat. We got to retell the tale of “THE HAT”. After our leisurely wake up and pack up, we opened our envelope during breakfast and found out we were going to gold country! We drove 1.5 hours to the place gold was discovered. Coloma. The first challenge the kids got was they each needed to discover gold. They got a quick lesson in gold panning by Holly, the park ranger {she made it look so easy!} and the kids each grabbed a pan and got to work swirling and shaking their pans.

They found lots of pyrite and they seemed more interested in the chunks of garnet than the gold flecks. There were bits of garnet in the troughs as well because gold was discovered in January of 1848 and that is the birthstone. They carefully placed their little flecks of gold into their vials along with lots of garnet. They showed their sparkly vials to Holly who congratulated them and handed them their next envelope.

The next clue told us when we were done exploring gold country we should go to my Aunt Connie’s house. We looked at all the artifacts from the gold rush in the museum and all the buildings. It was fascinating to see how they lived and imagine the area filled with camps of gold hungry men, working to find that elusive metal. There are quite a few buildings and houses still standing and the place holds so much history. We went up to the Marshall cabin (the man who first discovered gold) and went through the little old historic cemetery. You could feel the history and the ambiance of the gold rush all around you.

After our gold fever had calmed down we were hungry so we made our way to Auburn, where a CNG fueling station was and filled up our car and ourselves. We had really great pizza…once again… and headed just 15 minutes to Aunt Connie’s. We were so charmed by the area. We got to my aunt’s house and the kids immediately wanted to know the all-important answer to the question, “do you have animals?”. They were delighted to hear that a couple of stray cats had two litters of kittens back in the wood pile. Kitten hunting commenced.

Once we finally were able to drag them from the kitten hunt, Aunt Connie showed the kids a Maori stick game. We all learned the challenging rhythms while Aunt Connie sang the Maori song. The kids loved it and it took a lot of coordination and teamwork. Afterwards Aunt Connie made us the creamiest, most delicious piña colada shakes. How did I get so lucky to have the best relatives in the world?!

The kids and Mr. John have crashed and are sleeping soundly. The kids have planned to wake up early to get in some kitten catching before we leave in the morning. My aunt told them we could take a kitten with us… Maybe a couple of scratches tomorrow will change their minds.

Small things I don’t want to forget from today:

  • We got a bag of “belly flops” (rejected jelly belly beans) from the factory and have been enjoying guessing the flavors. Denver said, “I just had one that was yellow with orange dots and a couple of red spots that changed my life!”
  • Sage made “planking” look so easy. We all tried it… It was NOT!
  • Bailey wearing her new cowboy hat all day today.
  • Tonight while putting the kids to bed and Denver hugging me soooo tight and saying,”I love you too much!… Can you breathe?”
  • The maniacal laughter coming from the backseat during the drive. They were enjoying the crap out of each other.


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Genae

    I've enjoyed reading your journey so much!

  2. Oh, my gosh! it is hard to remember to comment because you get carried away with all of the adventures. Your family has built a boat-load of memories in such a short time. These kids are going to be chatting to their friends for years! Congrats to you and Mr. John for being such creative and fun parents. Where do I sign up for the next trip! Can't wait to see the cookies that will result from some of these adventures…maybe a black Stetson!

  3. Vtay

    I see a kitten in your future!!!!

    That plank thing….she needs to join the circus!

  4. Paula

    I can't believe that you'll have room in the car for a kitten!!! Sage's planking is awesome!

  5. Oh, you were so close to me this day! Wish I could have been a stop on your trip… maybe a tour of Old Folsom Prison?? =) So glad you guys had such a fun trip!

    1. I totally thought of you and Trinnie that day and I had to talk myself out of tracking you guys down and dropping by :D.

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