It was especially neat to see the sealing rooms and to wonder with the kids which one their Grandma and Grandpa Dahle got married in over 57 years ago. I am so thankful that we were able to make this experience happen.
When we finished the tour, it was just after 3:00. Aaron noted that if we just drove straight back home we could actually make it by 9:00pm. How crazy would that be to squeeze such a long trip all into one day? But we had promises of visiting the zoo and overnight camping and ice cream cones to keep, so we decided to prove our integrity to the kids and not let them down rather than go the practical route. (Overall, I am glad we did, although in a moment of weakness in the wee hours of the morning when I was awake in the car in my snuggly sleeping bag with a screaming Kaleb next to me, I did call that decision into question.) After we divided and conquered, with Dad heading up the zoo/playground fun and Mom heading to Winco, we drove to a nice little mountain campsite just off I-15. Xander and Elodie were a great help in getting the two tents set up.
Thanks to Aaron's excellent survival gear, we all stayed cozy warm even though remnants of winter snow spotted the campsite. It got down to 34 degrees, nearly freezing, so the roaring fire Aaron built in the morning and the gourmet hot chocolate--Mexican or Mint truffle--were just what everyone needed to feel excited about getting out of their cozy sleeping bags.
After the make-Aaron-a-happy-camper breakfast with heaps of sausage links, fried eggs, and biscuits (I wanted to serve the far simpler oatmeal but was overruled in the planning phase), every capable hand pitched in to take down camp and load up. At a rest stop up the highway, we washed up in running water and changed into our Sunday clothes. Still smelling mildly of campfire, we tried to get the timing of going to church en route just right. We just missed sacrament meeting in Lima, were disappointed when we discovered that Butte didn't have a ward meeting at 1:00, and felt truly blessed when after hightailing it to Helena and arriving at 1:15, we were just in time to partake of the sacrament. That tender mercy was a direct answer to prayer as we were doing all that we possibly could to honor the Sabbath. Sacrament meeting was a delicious spiritual feast.
The drive home went so smoothly, with peaceful travelers happily enjoying the tasty Winco bin snacks and learning from CS Lewis' insightful allegory. We passed the little town of Augusta and cheered that home was just 20 minutes away! And then Oliver suddenly threw up all over himself and screamed incessantly. Tender-hearted Hazel had to join in the weeping and wailing because she felt so bad for Oliver. Being so close to home and having no shoulder on that stretch of country highway, the only reasonable choice was to just push through and get the kid home! The last 20 minutes were definitely CRAZY, but that just made us all the more grateful for HOME when we arrived! And really, what's a family weekend adventure without a little vomit?