Here's our family blog.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Road Trip Versus Flying

So, last month marked Jeff's fifth year working at eBay.  He is now eligible for a one month -well more like 4 work weeks off- paid sabbatical.  A few years back, he promised that I quit nagging him for yearly trips to Virginia to see my family, he would be willing to take his sabbatical off to go visit my family for the whole month.  Roughly.  We haven't picked a time of the year to go yet; however we're thinking to shoot from mid-April to mid-May.  Not too hot, not too cold.. just right.

So at this point, we're now at a crossroad so to speak.  Do we fly and spend $1,200 on plane tickets, plus another $700 or so for a car rental and get there in about 8 hours?  Or do we take one of our vehicles -most likely the Mazda for comfort- and it'll take us a few days to get to Virginia, yet we'll be able to stop along the way and see some friends?  Sure, we'd have to factor in gas, food expenses as well as possibly accommodations,  however, it'll be a better experience.

If we drive, we'd most likely drive from Salt Lake and then stop in Denver to visit with some friends and stay the night.  That's roughly an 8.5 hour drive.  Then we'd leave Denver and stop someplace in Kansas -possibly Kansas City or thereabouts- and stay there for the night.  And then at that point, it'll be a straight shot from Kansas to Atlanta, GA where we'd most likely stay a few days to visit with a dear friend of mine, and after we leave Atlanta, it's a straight shot up the coast to Virginia Beach.  I know for a fact that's roughly a 6-9 hour drive, depending on traffic and whatnot.  I know while in Virginia, we'd most likely go visit some family in the western part of the state, and then we'd even hit Washington DC to visit the capital.

On the drive home, I know we'd drive up from Virginia to Indiana and stay with my sister and her boyfriend, and then from there up to the Chicago area in Illinois and then come home from there.  Not sure how much time that route would take us, but I'd imagine probably quicker to get home than to leave.

One thing we're considering as a long term investment if we drive would be to purchase a compact tent trailer.  That way if we don't have a place to stay, we'd at least be able to pull up into a camping ground area and stay the night there rather than spending money for motel or hotel rooms.  This would not only be beneficial for road tripping, but also for fishing and camping together as a family after we get home.

It's too soon to make concrete plans; however I know there will be alot of expenses into driving.. we'd have to get our car tuned up before leaving, and then we'd have to tune it up before coming home.  We'd have to make sure we have a spare, we'd have to definitely upgrade our GPS's software to have more up to date maps and a laptop with wireless internet capabilities.  I guess it's a good thing that we have Allstate as our insurance company, since they are nationwide, and we'll have coverage while we drive.  And hopefully, I'll have my driver's license at that point, and Jeff will be confident enough to let me drive so we can switch driving and he won't have to drive the whole entire time.

We'll have to have a backup contingency plan in case things, but I think it'll be doable.

It's just a matter of weighing the pros and cons and deciding which way we'd want to go.  Either way, I'm excited!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Presenting... Casey Hayford!

No, we did not adopt a new baby.. but we did adopt a dog!  It was unexpected, but I'm so glad we did.

Every Saturday, we always go to lunch.  We budget for Saturday lunches, and so it's been a tradition since.. forever really.  We'll usually go out to fast food, or sometimes buffet places, depending on how hungry Jeff and I are.  If I really had to name the place we go the most, it's Souper Salad.  Anyways, we went to lunch at Blimpies, and then went down to Draper to hit Michaels, I needed to purchase some jewelry making tools.  And of course, I ended up getting more than tools and instead of spending around $10 like I planned, I ended up spending around $27, because then I had to get a little caddy, and then Jeff saw these cute little beads with letters on them and suggested the girls would like personalized bracelets, then of course I had to get some filler beads, and then I had to get some elastic string to make them... yeah I love when stuff like that happens.

Well, Michaels is actually right next door to Petco in this particular shopping area, so while we were walking in, Zoe somehow recognized it as a pet store, and asked if we could go in to look around.  Jeff, being a softie said sure and so after we were done in Michaels, we went into Petco.  The Utah Humane shelter was doing an adoption thing there that day, so they had some extra cats and seven dogs there to adopt.  Three large dogs, three Chihuahuas, and then a medium sized dog.  Well, apparently one of the dogs had issues with men; to be more specific, tall men with facial hair.. which fits Jeff's descriptions.  He was going crazy when he saw Jeff, barking and growling at him so Jeff had to walk away for the dog to calm down enough for me to get a look at all the other dogs.  The other two larger dogs were good, except that the chow/lab mix was around a year old and seemed too high energy for us and the other large dog was a pit bull mix.. and seemed sweet enough, but we're not really a pit bull family.  Jeff absolutely hates Chihuahuas because of Grandma's dogs she had, they were ill tempered and nasty and I think they ruined the breed for him.  So that left.. Casey. 

Jeff said he noticed that Casey was just watching him as he walked away and was just staring at him, and he did it with respect, and I think at that point Jeff got attached to him.  Eventually we were drawn back over, and dispite the other dog's aggression towards him, we managed to indicate we wanted to see Casey closer and walk him around the store.  Casey was in a cage on top of another dog -the one that didn't like Jeff- and instead of waiting for her to pick him up, he JUMPED out of the cage and straight for Jeff.  We walked him around the store, and Ruthie just took an instant liking to him.  Normally it takes her a bit to warm up to dogs -she's been exposed to Newton and Oreo, the dogs at John and Wendy's house- but it was almost instantaneous with Casey.  Everytime he'd stop and sniff something, Ruthie would hug his butt, something he did not mind at all.

Anyway, we ended up going back and telling the gal that we wanted him, and so we filled -and by we, I mean me- out the paperwork and then we bought the basics, dishes, collar, leash, food, and brought him home.  I have to clarify, it's been a long time coming.  Ever since we bought the house, Zoe's been asking for a dog.  She's been drawing pictures like this for months:

What is that you ask?  Well let me tell you.  This is what we like to call "Emotional Blackmail".  That's our house.  With a dog door.  Then that's Zoe with pigtails, and the smaller, four legged creature is a dog.  That's right, a DOG.  This was the first of many pictures like this.  It started coming to a head about two weeks ago, when Zoe said to Ruthie, "Lets go upstairs Ruthie and play Animal Shelter."  At that point, we knew she was wanting one BAD.  And that's what lead us up to getting Casey.

Anyway, Casey is a great dog for us.  He's a medium sized dog, so he's between 25-50 lbs (we haven't weighed him yet) and he's half Beagle, half Lab.  He's gold and white, and he's pretty straight down the middle in terms of which breed he favors physically.  He's also a shorter dog, and since he's 2.5 years old, we know he's not going to get any bigger.  He's great with children, and he's also not an 'in your face' dog unless he has to go outside, then he comes over and licks you and noses you and starts a low whine.. which for the most part is the only noise he makes.  He also does this rumbly throaty sound too if he's happy.  Anyways, here's Casey!

He's such a handsome dog, and it's pretty clear from the beginning that he's Jeff's dog.  We were thinking of changing his name, but he responds so well to Casey we're going to keep it.