Our Blog

July 2016

On the 4th of July, I decided to whip up some patriotic French Toast!  It was coconut syrup with berries!  It turned out pretty well for the first time and no planning.

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Took some patriotic pictures!

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Then we headed to a family friends pool to hang out and swim.  The kids loved the slide!

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Then we tried a new place for fire works.  There were benefits and downsides so I have no idea what we’ll do next year!

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Kinsley and Cason put on their Warriors jerseys to welcome Kevin Durrant to the team!

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Another Great America day!

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We went to the park on early morning to play!

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I set up the sprinkler thing that Connor made a couple years ago. 

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We were getting rid of some toys and Corbin hugged these and said but they reminded him of things so he didn’t want to get rid of them!

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We celebrated Aisling at her birdal shower!  So fun!

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Safari Run and then free slurpees for 7-11 day!

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Great America again!!!

Then we had our big RV trip (see separate post)!  Then back to summer at home!

The kids had more swim lessons!

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We went to the children’s museum

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My mom took the kids one Saturday and Connor and I hit the pool just ourselves.  

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One night for dinner, we roasted hot dogs and s’mores on our fire put.  It was a prefect summer evening dinner!

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Another fun summer month!!

The Big Trip

About a year ago, Connor’s borther bought a motor home (or RV, I really have no idea what the difference is or if there even is a difference) and they went on lots of trips.  They started to convince us that it would be fun to rent one oursleves and join them on a trip.  We thought about it and asked the kids who with no hesitation wanted to.  So we started to plan.  In January, we went to take a look at some RV’s so we could get an idea of what we would like.  We looked at several and the one picture I took from then happened to be in the RV we ended up renting.

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Carl and MaryAnn were taking 2 weeks for this trip and we weren’t able to do that so we had to make some adjustments so that we could maximize our time togeher.  We started a couple days before them and met them at Glacier National Park in Montana.  But that’s getting ahead of the story.

First, we had to pick up the RV.  They made us watch an instructional video before we could take it.

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The kids were really enthralled by it as you can tell.

Then there was going through the RV, making note of scratches and dents.  

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Now they are getting excited!! Connor drove it home so we could pack and be on our way.  When we were getting it packed someone stopped by and told us they had just done an RV trip and had a great time!  I think all of us were just excited to be on our way!!  We took a family picture just before we pulled out.

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We stopped at Safeway to grab a few last groceries and eat some lunch and then got on the road.  We thought we were leaving in plenty of time to miss traffic but it took us 3 hours to get to the top of the Bay Area.  I love my Bay Area through and through but this traffic lately is getting out of contraol.

There were some pretty views admist the traffic though.

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Cason had an extremely loss top front tooth and I was hoping he would pull it out before we left, but of course the first day on our trip is when it comes out.  Pretty cute though!

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This was at a park we stopped at so I could make dinner while everyone else played.  It took a little while to figure out why our generator wasn’t working, but we got it all situated.

Then we got the kids reay for bed and they watched a movie so we could drive into the night while they slept!  One of the great things about having an RV!

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We passed by Mt. Shasta.

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We stayed the night at a truck stop which was miserable for me.  It was loud and bright and very hard for me to sleep.  Connor moved us into the the shadow of a truck which did help but it wasn’t the greatest night of sleep I’ve ever had.

The next morning we made our way to Crater Lake in Oregon.  It was a beautiful drive!

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We found this really cool lookout point that had fossilized steam.  Corbin thought this was especailly interesting!

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The pillars in the background are the fossils.

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We made it to the lake!  It was so blue! I’ve never seen anything like it!

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The kids really wanted to play in this big pile of snow.  They thought it was cool there was snow in July!

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We then stopped in Bend, Oregon and I found this cute little resturaunt to have brunch/lunch at.  

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The inside had shelves and shelves of books!! 

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Funny story with Corbin.  He asked us if they had any Leo Tolstoy because he wanted to read it.  I told him I had no idea but he probably wouldn’t find it while we were there in just our section.  He truns to a book, picks it up and lo and behold!

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What are the chances!  Also, what 8 year old wants to read Tolstoy?  I’m 35 and am barely working my way up to reading Tolstoy. Ha!

Mango lemondae!

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I got a side salad with my crab sandwich.  Pretty much a full size!

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Connor goet biscuiits and gravy,  He said it was delicious but I’m not really a biscuits and gravy kinda girl so I took his word for it.

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That night we stopped at a RV park near the church for the next day.

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We took the kids swimming, put them to bed and then relazed outside.  Luckily I got a much better nighs sleep.

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Connor wanted me to document our RV in the church parking lot and him in white socks because he forgot his black ones.  The Dukes are keeping it classy!

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After church we drove up to the Spokane temple to have lunch!

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Then we drove through idaho and into Montana where we stopped to get som Huckleberry shakes.  Yum!

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It started pouring just before we walked out to the RV so we got a little soaked but nothing a warm blanket can’t fix!

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We finally met up with some cousins and found a place to crash.  Kinsley and her bed.  She likes things just so.

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The next morning we headed into West Glacier.  The kids loved this stream (river?) which was freezing but they could care less.

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I couldb’t get over all the beautiful color rocks!

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Rock skipping!

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Couins around a tree!

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So we finally realized that we were not hiking the right way to Avalanche Lake, so we turned around and went back to the RV for lunch.  On the way back, we found this tree that the kids all piled into.  There was a girl who thought it was hilarious and had to get a picture herself.

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We decided to ride the shuttle up to the top.  We had a few nappers along the way.

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We headed back and decided to retry making the hike to Avalanche.  Kinsley had a rough time, but we made it!

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We stopped at A&W for dinner!

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Some cute cousins!!

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For lunch the next day, I made some nachos on the go using the taco meat I made at home before hand!

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Some more grogeous views on our way to East Glacier.

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We stopped at the ranger station so the kids could get their Jr, Ranger badge.

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Look at Kinsley with her hand raised!

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Up at East Glacier we took a boat from one lake, got off, took a boat across another lake and then we hike to another lake and then hiked all the way back. 

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We got back and had fun with some apps while we waited for our table at the lodget resturaunt.

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We found a place to sleep that night and then made our way into Canada the next morning!  At the stop where they checked our passports the guy was asking why Connor moved around so much as a kid and what his dad did for a living.  It didn’t seem like making conversation but that he wanted to know in case we are…??? I have no idea what that could mean. Ha! 

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We then were in Waterton which is the Canada side of Glacier.  We wanted to ride horses so that was our first stop!

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After our just shot ride, we decided to do the hour long ride.  

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Kinsley was on Slow Joe!

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Corbin got to ride his horse all by himselef without a trainer holding on the reigns.

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I thougt it was so cool to get to the lake and have my horse drink from it.

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Cason wondered why his horse didn’t drink.  Perfect time for the lesson “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink!”

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Back in Waterton the kids played in the lake!

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We found the police station!

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We had to stop at the cute candy shop!

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After lots of fun and being on the go, Kinsley had a bit of a tanturm.


But then she fell asleep!

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On our way up to Banff we found the biggest truck in the world.  We had to stop at it, right?

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Connor’s other brother, Cole (who served his mission in Canada), told us to try out Tim Hortons, a popular doughnut place.  

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It was so good!  It’s a fast food place but I had a breakfast sandwich and the english muffin was the best I’ve ever had.  It tasted and looked more home made then the English muffins we buy here in the US.

As we were getting closer to Banff, look what was one the side of the road.  We got out and close to it, which I must admit did kind of scare me.

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I spy two cute cousins in the RV in front of us!

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We heard about some hot springs that we decided to check out.  They had a normal pool and a hot spring pool and it was a nice break for the kids.  

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Back on the road!

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We stopped for another mini hike!

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It was so far down and it scared me a bit!

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Then we finally reached the town of Banff and headed downtown.

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So, while the town was cute and there were lots of fun shops, it was so incredibly crowded and the majority of the resturants do not allow kids.  Seriously, lame.  We finally found a Mexican place that was okay.  

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The next day was our big day to the famous Lake Louise and the hike up to the Tea house. 

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It looks all great and peaceful, right?

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And I will admit that it was absolutely gorgeous! But this is what it looked like just a few feet back!

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People EVERYWHERE!  I think I was spoiled from all the other hikes and lakes we went to that had very few tourists, but Banff was just crazy.

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Another lake on our way up!

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I had wanted to get something at the Tea House resturaunt but the lines were out of control.  

But the color of the lake is just unreal and so awesome!

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We then had to say good-bye to our cousins and head back home!  We love this family of ours!

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After we left them, we drove for awhile and then stoped at a steak place for dinner!

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Back on the road, we saw a slight double rainbow that came with the rain!

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The next morning, we had some Tim Hortons!

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While we were there, Cason lost his other top front tooth!

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So we made our way into Seatlle and had planned to stop there BUT we could not find any parking.  We spent over an hour searching and it was frustrating and dissapointing, so this was basically our only view of it!!

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We drove out of the city and stopped for a little hike.

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Corbin was a little mad at all my picture taking!

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We did find a Cafe Rio for dinner, so that was nice!

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We found a really nice RV park to stay in that night.

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After church the next morning, we headed to Portland and found this great lunch spot!

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Then we rode the tram up to the hospital and back down.  It’s just a few minute ride but the views are amazing!

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Kinsley showing her heart!

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We started driving back and got into very very Northeren California and stopped at this gas station to make some dinner and let the kids run out some energy.  I kind of like the brown weeds and the sun going down!

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They played catch!

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Movie watching!

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We found a donut place called Kevin’s (the name of Corbin’s best friend).

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As we were getting closer to home, we decided to stop at the Jelly Belly Factory,

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Then we got home and cleaned out the RV and the returned it.  The kids all fell asleep in the car while were were waiting.  I guess it was a tiring 10 days!

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Wow!  What a trip!  It was amazing and there were so many things traveling in an RV.  I loved being able to get up while we were driving.  I loved being able to just have everything you needed with you pretty much all the time.  Driving while the kids were sleeping comfortably in their beds, being able to see lots of things on one trip because you can drive and stop as you wish.  The bad thing was not being able to park easily.  But I think the benefits outweigh the negatives, so I call it a success.  I know this is a trip I will always remember, and I hope the kids do too!

Branson, MO

This summer my moms side of the family had a famiyl reunion in Branson, Missouri.  I thought it would be fun to take the kids even though Connor wouldn’t be able to come with us.  I wasn’t going completely by myself since my mom and Abe were also flying with us.  We flew in to Tulsa, Oaklahoma and made the 3 hour drive to Missouri.  

The kids after our flights waiting for our rental car!

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Since I’d never been to this part of the country before, I was expecting lots of open fields but instead it was beautiful and green with lots of trees.  The views made the 3 hour drive worth it!

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We had a testimony meeting with just the family on Sunday since the ward there thought it might be overwhelming to have us all there.  Then there was food and activities.

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There was a big checker board at the palce we were staying

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On Monday we went to the Butterfly Palace.  It was pretty awesome!

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That evening the kids did an art project!


Tuesday, most of the family headed to Springfield to see the Fantastic Caverns.  We stopped for lunch at Steak n Shake!

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The caverns were pretty cool.

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i thought it was cool that the first explorers of the cave were women!

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We then went on a litte hike around the grounds and saw a cooperhead snake!

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On our way back to Branson, we stopped at this huge Bass Pro Shop.  I think it was the headquarters but the whole shop was as big as a mall basically.  It was so big.  

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Once we got back to the hotel, we took a break to watch some of Shark Week.

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We then took family pictures and I got one of just me with my kids!

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On Wednesday, we went to a lake and went boating and played on the beach.  The kids were asweome and were loving the boat that had a slide off the back.  They went down the slide tons of times right into the lake!  If course, I didn;t get any pictures.  The one picture I got was from when it started raining and lightening and we had to leave soon after.  You can see there is no one in the lake but it was crowded jsut earlier!

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Then we got all nice and warm in bed!

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On Thursday, I decided to take the kids to Silver Doallar City.  No one else wanted to go and I just felt I had to go.  Luckily, my cousin’s daughter, Maddie,  agreed to come with me to help with the kids!

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Corbin and Maddie went on this awesome roller coaster!

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We came back and celebrated my uncles birthday!  The kids room!

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Friday morning we went on a small walk to a waterfall near the hotel.  Kinsley didn’t want to get out of bed to come so she stayed with grandma.

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Later that afternoon we went to see one of the shows down on the Branson strip.  There are hundreds of shows but we picked Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede.  It was fun and there was so much food.  THe highlight for me was the cheese biscuits.  My kids didn’t like them so I ate close to 4 biscuits.  It was worth it.

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We took some pictures with my cousin.  We lived together at one point so she is definitely my closest cousin!  This picture cracked me up because it looks like we don’t want to sit close to her!

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Tie-dyed shirts!

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On ou drive back to Tulsa, Cason fell asleep!

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Finally on our way home from Oakland!  I was exhausted.

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What a great trip and memory for all of us!

© The Duke Fam 2014