9.19.14

letterpress

I have always been drawn to letterpress. I love the detailed, traditional process involved with the craft. When I see a letterpress design that I admire, I instinctively find myself running my fingers over the indentions of the print to thoroughly experience it’s beauty. If you don’t have this fondness for paper, you may think I’m nuts – I’m guessing most people never understand or they are well into their adult life till they have an idea of how much work is involved in this method of printing. Hard work and dedication goes into every letterpress piece.

All of this lead me to this idea: with Sela’s birthday approaching, I wanted to use letterpress invitations for her birthday party – created locally. And, I thought it would be so cool if my kids and I could experience the process of the cards being created. With this idea, I turned to a local letterpress studio – Paper Bandit Press. I shared with them my idea, and they warmly welcomed us into their studio last weekend.

letterpress lessons, seejaneblog

letter press lessons, seejaneblog

letter press up close, seejaneblog

sela letter press, seejaneblog

sela learning letter press, seejaneblog

sela at paper bandit press, seejaneblog

By visiting this studio, Kim and Brett Borup, the owners, allowed us to peek into their life filled with works of art. They were so kind, and patient explaining the meticulous attention to detail that is required with each step of the process.

Sela and KJ ran from one step to the next they were so interested and amused with helping.

letter press equipment, seejaneblog

letter press lesson, seejaneblog

paper bandit press letterpress, seejaneblog

fall style, seejaneblog

letter press student, seejaneblog

kj learning letter press, seejaneblog

The simple and complex tools of letterpress are an equal beauty to the works of art they create —

letter press tools, seejaneblog

heidelberg, seejaneblog

siblings together, seejaneblog

family letterpress lesson, seejaneblog

I was thrilled that my kids were able to experience first-hand the work that went into creating the invitations. Paper Bandit Press was so generous to allow us into their world. And KJ now believes he was meant to grow up and become a letterpress printer.

lets flamingle letter press, seejaneblog

selabration letter press, seejaneblog

Photos by: the talented Mindy Johnson.

9.15.14

unplugging to sleep.

Raise your hand if you have a small panic attack if you accidentally leave your cell phone at home or misplaced for a few minutes? Are you raising your hand? I am. We have moments at our house when someone says, “I can’t find my phone!” and everyone drops what they are doing to 1) use the Find iPhone app and 2) help the person who lost their phone find their missing appendage. Myla, our fourteen year old, mis-placed her phone this past Saturday some time between golfing with girlfriends that evening and coming home and has been in an all-out funk since doing so. Which, we all understand, right? Do you spend a LOT of waking hours in front of a computer, tablet or television than outside or with friends and family? My hand is still raised. It seems these habits are becoming second nature with all the advancements, improvements and even marketing techniques for the latest technologies. KJ, our son, has been watching the live Apple launch recording of the latest iPhone 6 for days – he’s waiting for it to arrive at our local AT&T store as if Elvis was in the building. I’ve come to think of my smart phone as a lifeline. I always have it with me to stay connected with family {TEENAGERS}, friends and for emergency situations. It’s challenging to remember how I survived without it just ten-fifteen years ago… It’s challenging to imagine if I’d ever get to communicate with my teenagers if I didn’t have it.

see jane blog - one

This obsessive technology insanity is what led my husband and I to take-away our kids’ technology (not just smart phones, but ANY form of technology) from bedtime to ready-for-school-time. Because you know what? Our kids weren’t sleeping if anything related to technology was available in their bedrooms! I have a twitter account, and 90% of the reason I do is because that is where I observe the life of the teenagers around me on a daily basis. (side note: they like it – they think it’s hilarious that i “like” photos of them doing silly things during school hours, etc. and they follow me. try it!) However, our family would all say good night to each other, go to bed, and the next day when I checked twitter I would see that my oldest daughter was posting tweets at all hours of the night – 1am, 2am… when I assumed she’s sleeping. Do you witness this situation in your homes? It affects our teenagers the most, who really need sleep in their busy-over-scheduled-still-growing lives, but our younger kids were also in the same tech-addicted-rut. just not on twitter. they were playing minecraft or watching videos of minecraft from under their sheets.

see jane blog - two

see jane blog - three

We have been applying this tactic for months now, and heaven knows our children would have sooner volunteered to go without food, water, or shelter. At ages almost-eight, eleven, fourteen, and sixteen, my daughters and my son don’t use media. They inhabit media. And they do so exactly as fish inhabits a pond. Gracefully. Unblinkingly. And utterly without consciousness or curiosity as to how they got there. They don’t remember a time before group texts, IG, snap chat, twitter, youtube, Google, audio books, or x-box.

My kids — like yours, I’m guessing — are part of a generation that cut its teeth, literally and figuratively, on a keyboard, learning to say “’puter” along with “Momma,” “juice,” and “Now!” They’re kids who’ve had cell phones and wireless Internet longer than they’ve had molars. Who multitask their schoolwork alongside five or six other electronic inputs, to the syncopated beat of Facebook messaging pulsing insistently like some distant tribal tom-tom.

Wait a minute. Did I say they do their schoolwork like that? Correction. They do their life like that. And to be honest, so do I.

see jane blog - seven

see jane blog - four

see jane blog - five

I passionately feel like my kids and I are pretty balanced regardless of this media-driven age. Besides summer months, they are each in school an average of thirty hours/week. In addition to that they each spend a small portion of time practicing the piano each day, going to dance classes, tennis practice, work, they have fun social lives, and family activities. I’ve always felt that if they are doing well at school, managing their extra-curricular activities, then I didn’t over-obsess about how much time they spent using electronics, especially since two of my kids seem focused on careers in technology. This was all fine until they were choosing not to sleep.

Do you stay on your computer or phone until right up until you hit the sheets? I’m guilty again. I read that the light emitted from the smart phone screens actually trick your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake and alert. This reduces your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Do you have challenges sleeping well? Who doesn’t want 8-10 hours of sleep a night? (note: no one is raising their hands now.)

see jane blog - six

The bonus of taking our kids’ phones, tablets, computers, etc away at night, is that it also gives us the opportunity to monitor what they are doing on them. (GASP!) With teenagers, it allows us time to peek into their text messages, downloaded apps, etc and make sure nothing is going on that shouldn’t be. My kids all know this is going to happen, and they also know they aren’t going to have tech-privacy till they are 18 and move out. so far, this has been a very good thing with some fierce consequences a couple of times.

Some helpful steps to unplug kids, teens, and yourself at night:

1} Disconnect before your bedtime routine. Parents must unplug too. Set the example for your children.
2} I added a little fabric lined tray I found at Target next to my husbands side of the bed, that is where all the hand-held techy gadgets sit and get re-charged at night. That way, when we are going to bed – we can check and see who has turned in their phones and who hasn’t. It is their job to bring them to us, we don’t go gathering at night. If they don’t turn them in by about 9pm, they don’t get their phone the next day. Also, having their phones right next to our bed allows us to know they can’t sneak and get them during the night if they were located somewhere else in the house, like the kitchen.
3} Find alternatives to technology. make sure the kids – and yourself – have new reading material for bedtime.

any other ideas, friends? Thoughts? I’d LOVE to hear!

I found this article to be interesting. We consume twelve hours of digital media on average? holy smokes! I think we can all improve. Even if it’s only an extra hour or two, maybe more, of sleep!

photos by Mindy Johnson, taken at the Rose Est. in SLC, hair braids by Rubi Jones – watch her video – “she lets her hair down”!

9.14.14

well hello…

Hey sweet friends. I’ve missed you. Its been a good ten months *off the blogging grid. Most of the things I hoped to accomplish or re-set in my life – I came close enough that life feels really good right now. We have settled back in to our Utah life, and in April I officially became cancer free!!! Over the past ten months I have learned a lot, changed a lot, and especially grown in areas I never expected as a parent. I am returning to blogging refreshed, re-inspired, balanced, and with some core ideas on how to make this space a bit more me.

Jane Rhodes - seejaneblog

As cliche as this may sound – embracing the fact that I am in my middle-aged years, I am starting to not only recognize but settle in to this season of my life with a fierce acceptance of time. I crave quality over quanity. I have a deeper affection towards truth, good hearts, loyal friends, simple happiness, nature, and love in all forms. I feel more alive.

You may notice those threads seep into my posts in coming months. I have a lot I would like to share and discuss with you, amongst this community. I had planned to return with a little bit more BANG. I hoped to re-launch with new branding, and more. Well, as we all know from this journey we are on – things get delayed. I could have waited, but it looks like my new design/site will re-launch in the new year, and until then I had ideas, posts, and thoughts I wanted to share. So, my site is not private anymore, but the new look will come soon.

I hope you have all been well. Is anyone reading blogs these days?

group hug!
-Jane

*When choosing to take a break from blogging, i didn’t know if i would come back – it felt like a phase of my life that could have been complete. I wanted my life to be more private. You may realize my instagram account and other social media networks were private. If you were blocked or not able to follow me – please shoot me an email (jane(at)prolook(dot)com) or let me know in some way and I will as quickly as possible, make whatever change needed to allow you to follow along again. my apologies.

photo: by Becky Kimball photography

10.28.13

a temporary farewell, my friends.

dear readers, without a lot of notice, i am taking my blog private for a while…

think of it as a sabbatical. i’ve been easily overwhelmed these past few months, and just need to step away from blogging, facebook, twitter, etc. indefinitely. i want to more easily focus on my health, my family and their constantly changing needs, getting settled into our new home, my classes, more yoga, thoroughly enjoy the holidays, and rest as often as possible.

this should be easy to do without formerly shutting everything down – but it’s not for me… i want to always be doing it all, i crave doing it all, and while i have access to these networks i am not able to walk away from them on my own.

i will still be on instagram – because oh how i love that jewel of a network. however, i will be cutting back to just the people i really really know in real life. please, oh please do not be offended if you are no longer able to follow me there.

i hope to be back in all of these places, by maybe the middle of 2014-ish. when i do come back, i hope to have a new look for this space + fresh ideas, and lots of our life to share with you!

be well.

***
warmly,
Jane

10.21.13

horses with hobbies – costumes

horses with hobbies costumes via seejaneblog

horses with hobbies no masks via seejaneblog

do you remember when i said our halloween costumes were really easy and teenager-friendly this year?!? well… do you agree? i have had a quirky obsession with these horse head masks for a long time now – but couldn’t justify buying them just for fun… so, halloween was the perfect reason to splurge! {on something so ridiculous!}

my kids each had their own ideas for what they wanted to dress up as this year, and as i started thinking about the little barbie that wanted to trick or treat in her barbie car, and two skate-boarders that want to go trick or treating on their long boards, etc. etc. — i realized we had horses with hobbies!

horses-with-hobbies-via-seejaneblog

the best part? we already owned most of the hobby-stuff, so i only had to purchase six horse head masks. after a little research, i found the best deals on amazon. most of our masks were under twenty dollars right here.

barbie costume via seejaneblog

barbie unicorn costume via seejaneblog.

barbie-unicorn costume via seejaneblog

skater girl via seejaneblog

skater horse costume via seejaneblog copy

longboarder via seejaneblog

ballerina horse costume via seejaneblog copy

skater dude horse via seejaneblog

skater style via seejaneblog

skateboarding horse costume via seejaneblog

jane rhodes via seejaneblog

horse head mask via seejaneblog

our big papi via seejaneblog

horse-head-masks-couple-via-seejaneblog

family of horses with hobbies costumes via seejaneblog

we’ve already had a lot of silly fun with these masks: kj wore his with a nice suit during a music festival while he played the piano (he had to practice at home wearing the mask!) – everyone in the crowd laughed at him and he loved it! husband has been putting it on when he is driving (VERY CAREFULLY) to try and catch people’s reactions. it’s been fun.

the other fun perk: taking pictures! i love every one of these goofy pictures. if you follow me @see_jane on instagram, you can watch a short video of our family in our horse head masks! #rhodesfamilyfilm

would you wear a horse head mask for halloween? more ideas: horse-baseball player! horse-chef! horse-super hero! horse-princess! the list could go on and on… there are other animal head masks too! we chose a panda in our mix, and it’s been funny to see what the kids put it on with as they run around the house.

{photography by becky kimball}

10.20.13

42/52

kiana fear the beard via seejaneblog

myla fear the beard via seejaneblog

kj fear the beard via seejaneblog

sela fear the beard via seejaneblog

a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.
fear the beard style.

kiana: went to her first sadie hawkins dance this weekend!
myla: her soccer team is currently undefeated!
kj: is currently obsessed with baking pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough. specifically: nestle toll house. his favorite treat, and it makes our house smell so good!
sela: playing with friends is her very very favorite thing – so much so she doesn’t want to sign-up for any dance classes, sports, gymnastics classes, etc. because she doesn’t want these things to encroach upon her friend time!

9.30.13

selabration number seven! {doll birthday party} + giveaway

doll birthday party via seejaneblog

our baby girl turns seven officially, in two days. october 2nd. and, my heart is honestly hurting. this past year she really grew-up – i watched it happen. she made the transition from little girl to big girl, she lost so many of her baby teeth, and her big teeth just keep coming in, and she is taller – looks older – acts older. sela is truly something special. she holds our hearts so close to hers – she loves with such pure, gentle, kind, genuine unselfishness. she is so aware of those around her and so incredibly thoughtful. because of this sweet soul, any celebrations held in her honor are infused with an endless appreciation and excitement for what we do for her – she hugs us and thanks us so many times afterwards (and before!) that you want to just do it all again. and for this love we will selabrate for years and years to come…

doll birthday party via seejaneblog1

for this years selabration, sela requested a doll party. actually, sela has been begging for this party for about three years now – ever since her first visit to an american girl doll store in boston. i’ve been dodging the requests all this time, and finally caved this year to host the same type of party, but not at an american girl doll store – we don’t have one here in utah – so, we hosted the party in our home. i used invitations from minted, and set up our home to look like a little cafe for girls and dolls – each girl was asked to bring their favorite doll to the party.

doll birthday party via seejaneblog2

we served a few of sela’s favorites: french fries, fruit, finger-sized pb & honey sandwiches, frosted animal cookies, pink wafer cookies, and sodas.

doll birthday party via seejaneblog3

doll birthday party via seejaneblog4

doll birthday party via seejaneblog5

doll birthday party via seejaneblog6

doll birthday party via seejaneblog7

doll birthday party via seejaneblog8

doll birthday party via seejaneblog9

doll birthday party via seejaneblog11

white ruffles cake via seejaneblog

doll birthday party via seejaneblog12

doll birthday party via seejaneblog13

sela is an artist at heart, and also requested we have crafts. i prepared two activities with this in mind. first, each girl threaded bakers twine with her own needle {we were very safe} and made a felt ball necklace with large felt balls for themselves and a matching necklace with mini felt balls for their dolls. it was to-die-for! and so fun to see each girl so proud of themselves for making the necklaces!

doll birthday party via seejaneblog14

doll birthday party via seejaneblog15

next, i had prepared paper doll garlands for each girl. i also designed paper clothing for the dolls. each girl was given a small paper bag with the garland + nine pieces of paper clothing to design outfits for each doll including glasses, hats, and bows. using glue sticks, it was so cute to watch the little fashionistas at work! this was a total hit!

doll birthday party via seejaneblog16

doll birthday party via seejaneblog17

doll birthday party via seejaneblog18

i was so lucky to have a few sets of extra hands at the party helping me! my girlfriends {husband + older daughters!} saved the day! because of everyone’s help – sela had a very happy afternoon celebrating with her closest girlfriends and their dolls. each guest took home their doll seat, crafts, and at least two hugs from sela. she’s a super lovey one.

doll birthday party via seejaneblog19

and the rest goes something like a good party means the house gets trashed. i’m still picking up from the house being overtaken by little ladies and their dolls, but it was worth it – remembering just how incredible these past seven years have been…

another birthday. more love.

to see sela’s past selabrations, check out: …two, three, four, five and six!

***

party details

photographer: becky kimball
cake: stacia ross {local}
candles.
maypole felt balls.
wooden doll table seats: moi – handmade with the help of my incredible husband and our best friend danny.
party hats, paper dolls + clothing: handmade by yours truly.

*****

GIVEAWAY

this was such a fun party to plan – one of my favorite details are the wooden doll seats. i would love to give TWO seejaneblog readers each a seat! to enter: just leave a comment below, and the winners will be announced on the bottom of this post October 15th!

good luck!

***

the winners are:

doll chair winners via seejaneblog

congrats Jenn and Theresa! please contact me soon – jane@prolook.com – with your shipping address, so these can be put in the mail to you!

9.26.13

Gatehouse No.1 open house + DIY masquerade masks

gatehouseno1 open house via seejaneblog

you guys know i have a soft spot for events. and creating. so, when stephanie {the owner of gatehouse no. 1 in orem, utah} asked me to be a part of her open house i was thrilled! plus, i was able to teach a fall decorating class and plan a make & take with one of my all-time favorite ladies – courtney snowden! double thrill!

if you came to the open house, thank you so very very very much – it was such a fun evening packed with festive cheer. gatehouse no. 1 is a really impressive home furnishings store, and if you are coming to utah, plan a visit!

gatehouseno1 open house masquerade masks

gatehouseno1 open house make and take via seejaneblog

gatehouseno1 open house peeps via seejaneblog

(sela requested that we wear matching outfits for the night. she loves events like this, and even more loves being my little assistant. in lieu of matching outfits, we attempted to coordinate our outfits by both wearing track-style pants!)

DIY masquerade masks via seejaneblog

to download the masquerade masks template (there are two printables, each with two different masks!) – click here and here.

what you’ll need:

card stock
scissors or exacto knife (if using an exacto knife, make sure you have the proper surface to cut on!)
hot glue gun + glue sticks
wood dowels and/or paper straws
crafty adornments for the masks

how to make them:

1) trim the masks using scissors or an exacto knife.
3) attach to a dowel or straw using hot glue
4) decorate the masks however you would like! i suggest using glitter, feathers, pom poms, ribbon – you name it!
5) if you make the masks, i would love to see your creations! post a picture on instagram, tag me @see_jane and hashtag #seejanemasquerade

DIY masquerade masks template via seejaneblog

gatehouseno1 open house seejaneblog friends

my favorite part was visiting with friends and watching everyone create their unique masquerade masks. crafty happiness!

gatehouseno1 open house make and take fun via seejaneblog

big thank you to gatehouse no.1 for having us! if you didn’t make it to the open house, stop by the store soon! the fall home decor is amazing, but the big holiday – christmas – is OFF THE CHARTS at gatehouse!

gatehouseno1 open house pom poms via seejaneblog

are you thinking about halloween yet? i am getting ready to host sela’s seventh birthday party on saturday, but as soon as the party is done i will be decorating for fall! i can’t wait. also, we have finalized our costume ideas for this year and i will be sharing those soon {they are super easy, and teenager-friendly} – do you plan on dressing up?!?

{photos by becky kimball, masquerade mask template designed by lovely lindsay for seejaneblog.}

9.10.13

gatehouse no.1 – fall open house

hello friends!  i am trying to get back to a regular routine of blogging, and posting. my goodness, the past three months have been a whirlwind! to start off this goal, i have a fun event this week, and would love to see all my local buddies and readers!

on thursday, september 12th – THIS THURSDAY – IN TWO DAYS! – i will be doing a demo with my darling-talented friend courtney snowden at gatehouse no.1 in orem! it is the fall open house for gatehose no. 1, and we will be giving a demonstration including ideas on how to decorate your homes for fall/halloween + sharing ideas on hosting this season. also: there will be a fun make’n take that we are creating this week!

the open house will also include: live acoustic guitar, treats, incredible shopping discounts, and giveaways!!! to start the giveaways, we are hosting an instagram contest right now! if you follow me: @see_jane, you will find the details posted with an image that looks like this:

gatehouse no.1 fall open house via seejaneblog

see that cute pile of poufs? you could win a $350 credit towards the pouf of your choice! (i LOVE the white one!)

how to enter:

1) follow @gatehouseno1 on instagram
2) repost the image found on instagram – sharing the details about the open house. {date/time}
3) hash tag #fallintogatehouse
4) come to the event thursday! the winner will be chosen at 6:15pm-ish, and you must be present to win!

good luck!!! i hope to see you {and hug you!} there!

9.8.13

36/52

kiana edited

myla edited

kj edited

sela edited

a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

kiana: is going to her first high school dance this saturday!
myla: multi-tasking. talking to her bff in boston while doing chores.
kj: recently became obsessed with ryan nyquist. (this video is one of kj’s favorites)
sela: her new fashion-designing medium: balloons. barbie’s outfit + headband were cut from one balloon, then she draws on them with markers to add a pattern.

8.25.13

34/52

kiana first day of school

myla back to school pic

kj back to school

sela back to school pic

a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.
how was your first day of school?

kiana: “sooo boring! i have no classes with any of my good friends, so i was alone!”
myla: “it was so fun! except keyboarding. that was boring. but i think it will only be boring today, my teacher talks a lot…”
kj: “it was good. all my friends i knew before are in my class. it was just such a long day…”
sela: “it was soooo OSM!!! (sela’s choice of spelling for awesome.) i get to ride the bus to AND from school!”

***

curious about our chalk art backdrops? you can find them all right here! they are so easy (and affordable!!!) to purchase, download, and print! while you are on the caravan shoppe site – make sure you check out their home page, and click on the “confetti, please” button. coolest thing ever. i really want a confetti button.

8.19.13

back to school teacher gift + free printable

back to school teacher gifts via seejaneblog

my kiddos start school this week. and while i am not ready for summer vacation to end, i am craving some routine in our life! any other parents feeling this way? our oldest daughter has sophomore day today – here in utah some of the high schools are only tenth through twelfth grade, so the sophomores go a day early before the upper class-men arrive to help them find all their classes with less students in the buildings. kiana has technically started high school twice now. she’s a pro.

all three of my other kiddos start tomorrow. sela has the same first grade teacher that all three of her siblings had and we couldn’t be more excited!

back to school teacher gift via seejaneblog

for my kiddos in elementary school, i wanted to send a small gift for their teachers – to wish them well for the upcoming school year. teachers work so hard, why wait till the end of the year to show our appreciation?!? right?

volcano room spray gift idea via seejaneblog

i enjoy sharing my favorite things with others when it’s time to give a gift. this time, i chose volcano::capri blue room spray and candles – i love these! have you smelled them? sooo good!

also – keep the room spray in your car, and use it in place of an air freshener!

teacher gift for back to school via seejaneblog

download the free printable here, and wish those you care about a year erupting with good things! teachers. coaches. roommates. friends. children. if i had kids in college, i would use this idea and tuck the card + gift into their luggage as they head off this fall for a little surprise wishing them well.

you can find the volcano candles and scents here, at anthropologie, and if you are a local to utah county – they are available at soel boutique and amara day spa.

best wishes to everyone this fall! hope this year erupts with good things! xo.

{photos and styling by me, Jane Rhodes. card printable designed by lovely lindsay for seejaneblog.}

8.18.13

33/52

kiana I

myla I

kj I

sela I

a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

kiana: started rehearsals for her high school dance company this week – she could not be happier!
myla: there is a paved path that goes around our house and yard that is a perfect one-fifth of a mile. myla rode her bike around it fifty times to bike ten miles! (with her brother) she loves cruising on her electric scooter around it too – the kids time each other to see who can go around it the fastest!
kj: is trying really hard to improve at whistling… this is difficult when your teeth are always changing.
sela: built a cardboard house for her barbie dolls.

8.4.13

31/52

kiana pic

myla pic

KJ pic

sela pic

a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

kiana: this girl is adventurous. and will be lucky if she spends any days in twenty-thirteen not grounded.
myla: she has been working-working-working around the clock. including at her daddy’s company. she’s been saving (for months!) to buy all the parts she needs to build her own computer!
kj: earning his keep.
sela: turns seven in seven weeks. my baby will be seven!!!

8.3.13

cross country Rhodes trip

cross country rhodes trip one

1: little miss six likes to travel like her momma… she takes everything but the kitchen sink!
2: holy holy holy, upstate new york is beautiful! (visiting the LDS church history sites in palmyra, new york.)

cross country rhodes trip two

cross country rhodes trip three

3: the kids loved taking turns driving with danny in the u-haul truck.

4: something about all that water and all its power makes me feel uneasy… small. weak. it’s amazing, but i’m terrified of being near it. same feeling happens to me on big bridges and in the ocean.

cross country rhodes trip four

5: we dined here. beautiful view. not the best food.

6: one of my girlfriends from h.s. lives in buffalo, new york – the entire time i lived in boston we hoped to meet up, so it finally happened! we hadn’t seen each other in at least fifteen years. she is a seriously talented momma, check out her blog here!

7: our family has a fetish with starbucks.  if you haven’t had an iced chai, or their egg white, spinach feta wrap – try one of those {or both!} soon!

8:  we stopped in ohio for lunch and hugs with husbands niece.  it was so fun – and the most charming town!

cross country rhodes trip five

9: have you ever looked closely at the roots of a corn stalk? driving through the midwest was incredible – corn fields as far as the eye can see!

cross country rhodes trip six

cross country rhodes trip seven

cross country rhodes trip eight

cross country rhodes trip nine

10: husband is a big fan of nike stores. *chicago has one of the best.

*i am completely electrified by the energy of monstrous buildings, taxi line-ups, enticing windowfronts, and huddles of pedestrians making their way to city adventures. and i imagine they are all very important and off to do something fabulous… and if that isn’t the case, i never want to know otherwise.

cross country rhodes trip ten

11: we celebrated america’s independence day split between chicago and small town (south beloit) wisconsin. it was the cutest town, and we watched fireworks over the river from our hotel. we were truly living the american dream – moving from one adventure to another with our family – i felt wildly blessed to be a citizen in this great nation.

12: we all had our first butterburgers  in wisconsin dells, that city is the place to be in the summer! wow!  water parks galore!!!

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13: my co-pilot, eli howell.

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14: the most amazing oatmeal raisin cookies ever!

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15: somewhere in minnesota – along i-90 is the most mind-blowing stretch of wind farms. hundreds of them! it’s absolutely unreal. i’ve never seen so many. have you seen them? we were all stunned by their beauty.

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16: my backseat fashion designer. using wipes to make dresses for her dolls.

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17: porter sculpture park. one of america’s top fifty roadside attractions by TIME!

18: we stumbled upon an original-authentic 1880’s town – it was the best surprise! {it was used to film Dances with Wolves – which happens to be the first “big” book i read in elementary school and i loved the movie!}

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19: 1880’s town has a saloon that is open all year for live music, chess, rootbeer in the bottle, and dress-up clothing in the back!

20: yolo! WALL DRUG. their site says it’s america’s favorite roadside attraction! we had to stop because after 200 miles of seeing billboards advertising for this place, we couldn’t drive pass and not see what all the advertising was about! all signs lead to Wall Drug!

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mt. rushmore: one of the moments — one of many on this trip — where I stood in awe, in gratitude, in perfect contentment. i’m so happy to be right here, right now i thought.

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21: the u-haul had minor problems along the way – thankfully we had danny to help us out. fyi: u-haul had incredible customer service when we needed it.

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22: young faithful meets old faithful.

23: wildlife in yellowstone national park. we were really really hoping to see some bears, but we crossed paths with elk, and…

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24: a huge herd of buffalo!

25: sela’s little bunny, bun-oh visited all the sites across america with us. {jackson hole, wyoming}

26: the tetons! and our caravan.

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27: the last day of our trip. (afton, wyoming)

***

we went from boston massachusetts to northern utah in eight days. (which i consider close enough to be cross country!} we had three hotel rooms each night, and stayed in different hotels for eight nights in a row. we used hotels.com for all of our reservations, and our favorite hotel was this one in rapid city, south dakota – it was an unexpected, modern surprise! on day two of our trip we only drove two hours. whoops. (touristy distractions are to blame, and fun friends!) but we typically drove six hours/day.

so as we drove… miles across america i fell in love with this country even more. i was in awe of how diverse and beautiful our country is – i thought it would be exhausted and feel like america was sooo big. it was the opposite. our eight days of driving made america feel smaller, one tightly-knit nation. i am blessed to tears to be an american.

our kids were troopers! {honk-honk} i don’t know if i should even tell you that we didn’t have one meltdown. well, besides the time kiana managed to wake-up too quickly and knocked her head into a wall reaching for her iPhone. she didn’t actually have a meltdown, but a nifty goose egg on her forehead. she also broke a hotel vase in the process. another whoops.

i am so proud of my three-thousand-mile road trip movin’ family. road trips are super fun…and if ‘super fun’ had any i’s in it…i’d dot them with big bubbly hearts this time. i’ve never been very good at ending happy events like holidays and vacations. i tend to clean-up too quickly, or move on a little too fast. but it’s easy when you slide from happy road trip to happy new home. from boston adventures, niagara falls, chicago, mt rushmore, and yellowstone national park, i’ve been **deprogrammed. i am ready to reestablish our home routines starting with the most familiar and well-established and add some new, inspired by travel.

school starts two weeks from tuesday here in utah and that will kick-off our new routines!

**apologies for the month long hiatus!

{photos by me, Jane Rhodes}

© 2014 jane rhodes.