4.24.2013

A Daddy-Daughter Road Trip = Memorable Moments

Waaazzzz uuuuup! (do people even say that anymore?)
Cason here, and I have to say that I'm pumped to share with you guys my "Four Corners Adventure" that the girls and I had this past weekend while Shelley was away and busy with the SNAP conference.

What can I say, I'm a dreamer. If there was a support group for my kind I think Shelley would make me join. I have so many ideas in my head about things I want to do, see, eat and experience, that occasionally, I have to do one of them or I feel like I'll go crazy. This is a LOT of the reason that I actually enjoy the whole DIY and redecorating/renovating process. It's something fun, new and always adventurous.

Like I mentioned before, Shelley had SNAP this past week so I got the go-ahead to check the girls out of school for two days, to get my travel on!!!… Truth be told, Shelley was actually pretty excited that I was taking on this trip alone. Of course she was sad that we were doing fun stuff without her, but once I told her that the trip was going be over 1000 miles long in the car, she was juuuust fine with not coming.
Did you know that Shelley get's horrible carsickness? Always has. Road trips are almost unbearable for her, unless she's driving the whole time, so it was probably better that she didn't come on this little adventure. 

Something you have to know about me, is that (unlike Shelley) I've always been up for hauling three kids around wherever I go, no matter what age they are. It doesn't bother me one bit. Call me bizarre, patient or just easygoing, but Shelley used to look at me like I was crazy when I took our 19 month old twins (who could barely walk, because they were so premature) and newborn out to Target for a few hours to give her a break. She'll be the first to admit that she's more of a planner and likes to make sure she has control of the situations she's in, and with three babies, this was rarely ever the case.

Hopefully she doesn't get offended about that last statement, because it's not a bad thing at all! In fact, I think it's the thing that makes our marriage work so well. If I had married someone that was a dreamer like me, I think we'd be living out of backpacks and hostels, with no jobs or security. And if Shelley would have married someone really similar to her, well... I'd like to think that our blog may not be where it it is today, without me encouraging her to plow forward into unknown, unplanned, sometimes risky territory. I also feel like without me and my sometimes juvenile ways, she wouldn't do as much goofing-off and laughing. Boys will be boys, and as happy as I am with our situation, it still doesn't change the fact that I'm the only male in a house full of girls, so whenever Shelley starts to take life too seriously or gets overly emotional about the little things, I remind her to loosen up and just relax. And yes, this could be anything from a good game of "crack the egg" on the trampoline, to an impromptu dance party, with just the two of us.
If you subscribe to our little videos on Vine, then you know what I'm talking about.
:)

That being said, for the past year I'd been mulling around in my head a way for me to get my little girls down to the Four Corners area. Not only did I want to get to that specific landmark, but I wanted to explore all the attractions on the way down as well. For those of you that aren't from one of the Four Corner states, it’s a little Monument run by the Navajo Nation in the middle of freaking nowhere. It has a little grid on the ground showing the intersection of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. There are also flags from each of the states as well as the Indian Tribes present in the area.

I spent some time over the past couple of weeks finding a way to make the trip worthwhile. For me, this part is pure bliss… I get to pull out my mile long bucket list and start checking things off. The following things were on my to-do/visit agenda:

1 - Four Corners Monument (Middle of Nowhere)
2 - Go on the house tour at “HOLE 'N THE ROCK” (Moab, UT)
3-  Mesa Verde Cliff Ruins (Cortez, CO)
4 - Aztec Ruins Monument (Farmington, NM)
5 - Take a tourist boat on Lake Powell (Page, AZ)


That’s a lot for one trip, I know… but I was ready to make these four states in four days happen. Since I was traveling with kids, there was no way I was going to be able to do it without stopping frequently. Here are some tips if you ever plan on doing this trip, or something similar:

#1 - Rent a Car
No way was I going to put that many miles on one of our cars and tires! If you do it right, renting a car can actually save you money in the long run. For me, I knew I wanted a minivan with bucket seats so the girls couldn't touch or bother each other (because petty fighting about who's arm will rests on top of who's, is what can make a long road trip miserable), and I also wanted seats that could recline when it was time for a nap.

I'm personally not really a fan of minivans, because with how tall I am they're never comfortable for me, and they're pretty much worthless in the snowy Utah weather... BUT, they ARE great for space and storage, so I went ahead and rented one. I was able to pack snacks, drinks pillows and blankets between all the seats which was perfect, and for a whopping $48 and unlimited miles (not including gas along the way, of course), I was okay to sport one around for this weekend adventure.

#2 - Keep the travel as short as possible.
I tried to break up a couple of days with longer stops to make it feel shorter.

#3 - Prepare kids for what they're going to experience that day.
          Like how many hours in the car and a little about the event you have planned. For example, I knew I was going to Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings and there would be ladders and steep stairs. Typically my girls are afraid of heights, but because we had talked about it beforehand, they actually were fine with it and knew what to expect once we got there, and did great.

#4 - Take a TON of pictures.
   This will be a great way for them to remember the whole trip, and can help you score MAJOR brownie points with the Misses especially if she's a blogger.


#5 - collect a few souvenirs.
  It doesn't have to be anything huge or expensive, even just a few maps of where you went on your adventure. Shelley's been getting the girls into Smashbooking and so I made it a point to pick up a few pictures or postcards along the way, so the girls could put them in their scrapbooky journal thingys. (that's what you call them, right?)
        On one of our last stops I let the girls pick out something special. The twins got dream catcher necklaces and Aubrielle picked out an Indian doll.


This trip was awesome for me, I felt like we were able to see so many nearby natural wonders, but more importantly, it gave my girls and I time to create really great memories together that we will get to cherish forever. As a Dad of little girls in today's world, I am finding it so important to have positive and respectful male role models for them as they grow up. I want to show them how they should be loved and respected. I don't like to think too much about my little girls letting another man into my their hearts one day, but as long as I show them what love looks like, by loving and supporting their Mom in all she does, and what love should feel like, by keeping those doors of communication open and taking them on occasional little trips like these to spend time with them, I know that they will be able to make the right decision later on in life, when it's time to finding life-long friends, boyfriends and potentially husbands of their own.

117 comments:

  1. OMG, You just described me in a sentence!! "I have so many ideas in my head about things I want to do, see, eat and experience, that occasionally, I have to do one of them or I feel like I'll go crazy."
    I live in VA but Four Corners is on my bucket list when I get out west someday, I would have been all about this trip, so awesome you made memories with your girls.

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  2. Awesome idea!! I need to go to these places, since I live in UTAH! :)

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  3. Oh my gosh. The awesomeness of this post brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful dad! Those girls are so, so blessed. I grew up with a Dad who did special things with me too, but he would have NEVER braved a solo road trip without Mama. Bravo to you!

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  4. What a great daddy/daughter adventure! Looks like y'all saw some beautiful scenery and made some great memories the girls will never forget.

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  5. AWESOME. Your girls (and you) will never forget this!

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  6. What a beautiful post! You are all so blessed to love and cherish eachother the way you do.

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  7. I love that your husband posted and likes to take the girls out and on trips! my husband took my kids away overnight a few months back to give me a break and it was awesome for everyone!

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  8. Beautiful post and pictures!! What an awesome trip for you and the girls!

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  9. sounds like it was a truly wonderful and fun filled trip that your girls will always remember. great job on the pics too :-)
    and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the under-the-fun thread of the trip, that was lovely!

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  10. First let me say Cason you are a REMARKABLE FATHER!! Like SUPER REMARKABLE FATHER. You remind me very much of my son-in-law that I just adore. Second, your daughters are INCREDIBLY BLESSED! What a wonderful world it would be if every Daddy was like you.

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  11. That was so fun to read...Cason, you rock!!

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  12. What a fun trip! I'll have to add them to my list of trips to take our little family on. Thanks for the tips!

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  13. What a fun trip!! I really want to know how you rented a minivan for only $48 for four days?!

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  14. So sweet! I think you need a fabulous husband award!

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  15. Aww. Such a sweet post. Especially the last part. You're a great dad, Cason!

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  16. Thank you for an awesome story - well done to you for taking your girls on such a great trip - love the photo of you all at the end of the post!

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  17. Cason, you are such a wonderful dad and great example for your daughters and Shelley! So glad you were able to get away with your girls and had a great time!! Thank you for sharing your trip.

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  18. Great memories... great photos.... great Daddy and Daughters time!! You rock Cason!! :)

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  19. Looks like a fun trip. I hated my mini van, but it was a life saver on long trips.

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  20. That looked like so much fun!! You are an awesome Dad!! now to talk my husband into doing that hahah

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  21. That was awesome and lovely. Made me cry..and I am at work...shhhh, secret blog addiction going on here! I love thinking that my daughter will have special moments with her dad too!

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  22. What a great dad you are! Looks like an amazing adventure! Way to go ;). My hubby wouldn't be near that adventurous w/o me close by!

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  23. I am recently a new reader... and I cant believe how inspiring your guys are! You truly are so wonderful for sharing yourselves with strangers... I have learned so much from your blog... and not just DIY around the house, this last post is awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

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  24. I am recently a new reader... and I cant believe how inspiring your guys are! You truly are so wonderful for sharing yourselves with strangers... I have learned so much from your blog... and not just DIY around the house, this last post is awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

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  25. Wow - I love this!! My hubby likes to go on little adventures with our kids and I can totally see him doing something like this when they're a bit older. You're a great dad Cason! I wish I had a father figure like that when I was growing up. Major props!

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  26. I LOVE this!! Your girls (Shelly included) are the luckiest to have a dad like you! My husband would do something similar and I think he actually looks forward to me having weekends away just so he can do things with the kids that I normally kabash - like camping in a tent!

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  27. Very impressive! You are doing a great job at being their dad - you definitely have the right perspective. I wish every kid could grow up with attentive parents - this world would not have the problems it has now.

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  28. Wow ... the last paragraph brought a tear to my eye! That was an amazing trip Cason and you are an awesome daddy and role model to your girls!

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  29. As a mum to two little girls, I am SO with you on the healthy male role models thing. What a precious thing that our girls have dads who are so willing to invest in them. It is SO worth it!

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  30. Awwww! What a great idea! I was the oldest of 9 kids and my dad couldn't handle all of us at once. So instead I ended up traveling a lot with him by myself and it was awesome! They are some of the happiest times of my childhood.

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  31. I loved everything about this, great job Dad (and Mom)! We need all parents to have these priorities!

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  32. Cason, you are the best dad!
    We are heading from Oregon to Montana this summer...my hubby and I would love to squeeze in the Four Corners, The Arch's, and more, but I just don't think we have enough time to see it all. We have 4 kiddo's and I've always want to put each one in a different state...corny...I know. :)
    Thanks for the details on your trip, it really helps in planning ours.

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  33. What a great road trip Cason it looks fantastic and the girls & you look like you had a wonderful time. We love road trips with our boys too it can be very a lovely bonding family time.... Especially if you prepare them and yourself which it definitely looks like you did....love all the pics too. Totally sympathise with Shelley short winding steep roads make me feel car sick too even if I drive. Yuk. Great post.

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  34. Sir, YOU are awesome! Its great to see a man who adores his wife and daughters and is genuinely involved! BRAVO!

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  35. I love this blog - Shelley does a great job with it, but Cason, this post totally rocked! Thank you for being such a positive role model! I recommend starting a travel blog for you!

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  36. I love this blog - Shelley does a great job with it, but Cason, this post totally rocked! Thank you for being such a positive role model! I recommend starting a travel blog for you!

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  37. Wow! You must be getting dad of the year award!!!

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  38. Awe! That is so sweet & what an amazing adventure for you all!! And I can totally relate- we don't have twins- but we do have 3 small children & my hubby has always been up for taking them out and about while I...am no always as excited. :) thanks for sharing your trip!!

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  39. This is so great! So many times Dads are too nervous to get involved and make memories with their girls. Cason you are a great role model for other dads. Kuddos!

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  40. You are an AWESOME dad Cason! And Shelly, you are one lucky girl! How fun for your daughters to have a vacation just with dad!
    Bravo to both of you!

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  41. You are an awesome Dad. Love the last picture. I have been to several of those places. The girls will always remember this trip.

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  42. Wow, Cason that was just a wonderful read... Im soo proud of you for taking your house of girls off into the great world God designed... I live in a house of all men, I have three boys and there has never been anything greater than just going fishing , or just rock climbing!! Those girls are blessed to have the time with you.. and Shelley is blessed to have you as an amazing father and husband. What memories!! Those girls will always remember those special Dad times!!

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  43. What do you mean when it comes time to find Mr. Right??? Hasn't Aubrielle already done that??? I THINK SO! ;) Looks like it was a wonderful trip and THANK YOU so very much for thinking of my two little kids along the way and picking them up their own little treasure from your trip!

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  44. WOW Cason, great for you. I loved reading about your trip with your daughters. What a great Dad. You all looked like you had a blast and I'm sure Shelley will love seeing all the pictures and hearing all about it. You got to see quite a bit and WOW, you got a steal on the rental. That was impressive.

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  45. What a great trip and a great dad!

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  46. Wonderful post!!! You sound like a great dad! We visited some of the same sites on our last summer vacation- 4 corners, MesaVerde, Arches NP. It's an amazing part of the country to drive around.

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  47. My parents once took all six of us kids on an Indian Ruins trip through Arizona. We enjoyed it as children, and now as a mom of seven kids, we've driven across the U.S. numerous times, stopping at Nauvoo so often our two younger sons never want to go there again. Congratulations on having such a wonderful trip with your girls!

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  48. Sounds like a blast! Thanks for the tips!

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  49. What a great photo.If I where you I would send the last photo in your post to the National Park Photo Contest. WHat a great shot... Looks like you all had fun

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  50. I give you major kudos Dad! Looks like you guys had a blast :-)

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  51. Where did you find a mini-van for $12/day (right, 4 days for a total of $48), that's crazy inexpensive. And I am loving your road trip -- I love them too, and and almost all of those are on my bucket list! :)

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  52. I am so impressed, way to go, Dad!!

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  53. What an awesome dad you are!! Lucky girls!

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  54. What a sweet post! I will definitely be passing these tips on to my husband.

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  55. oh my gosh! how fun!!! what a good dad. those girls will remember that for the rest of their lives! five stars to you!

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  56. I love this for many reasons...I love a good road trip, I love being in 2 places at once so FOUR just blows my mind, and I'm a total sap for dad's of girls. My husband and I have 2 girls, 2 & 6 mo, and I know it kills him that he will never have a boy, but it is so beautiful to see him with his girls and talk about them like you did yours in the last paragraph (I'm sobbing over here!). Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to take like that!

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  57. I really enjoyed reading this post and the different perspective! Being close to my dad myself, I instantly loved this post! I'm looking forward to reading more from the both of you!

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  58. I love this! Nice job, Dad. I also liked your voice in this post. With moms being the primary face of the family, it's always so great to hear a dad's point of view. Especially when you start out with a "Waaaaasssss up!". I was disappointed not to see an "Aaaahhhhhhwwwww Yyyyeeeaaaaahhhhhhh!" somewhere. :) haha.

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  59. This is so neat. So glad you shared this with us Cason.

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  60. Nice Post Cason! Great to see someone who loves their kids doing cool things together...and even better when it is a dad! Looks like the girls will remember that fun trip for years to come:)

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  61. Eres increible.Ojala hubiera mas papas como tu.

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  62. this is about the sweetest thing ever. rock on cason, you're a great daddy!

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  63. You are an awesome father and your daughters will always cherish memories of this road trip.

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  64. What a great time for the 4 of you! I really liked your message about being a role model for your girls. What a great dad and husband you are. If only everyone was like that.

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  65. You make me want to throw my 4 boys in the car and just go:) this looked like so much fun!
    Although you can't rent a car for anything near that price where I live. That's just crazy. I looked at a minivan to rent for 10 days to drive to fL & they wanted $800.

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  66. I love that although Cason is spending fun, quality time with his daughters; ultimately, it is a life lesson. How could the girls possibly accept anyone not as loving and amazing as their father? We too try to do the same with our son. How my husband treats me and the world around us will hopefully will be the perfect example to our son of how to be a good man, husband and father. I commend you Smith family, great job of leaving by example. Thank you for sharing.

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  67. What fun!!!! Loved the post! We live in NC and are taking our kids to visit my brother and his family in NM this summer... thinking of taking them to Four Corners as well. Will have to look into the Aztec Ruins Monument - looks really cool. It will be the first time for our kids to see all the red rocks :) Thanks for sharing!

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  68. Cason, I love that you just up and took on that adventure with the girls. You and Pretty Handsome Guy are very alike in that respect. He took our boys on a road trip to the zoo one year when my boys were very little. I thought he was nuts, but they had a great time. It is so important for us planners to have dreamers in our lives. ;-) Maybe someday you two dreamy guys will meet.

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  69. You truly are a loving and giving husband and father. I especially love the closing paragragh because it's so very important! What a wonderful trip and memories you have made for them. Thanx so much for sharing.

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  70. that looks so fun, I am sure the girls will remember it for years to come!

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  71. What a blast! You're such a good daddy.

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  72. Dude- I live in Durango, CO and you came to my stomping grounds and didn't even know it!!!!!! I feel I almost met someone famous :)

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  73. What an amazing trip and what a great DAD you are! Thanks for sharing this with us!!

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  74. Shelley you've got a keeper there. What a great post and what a wonderful trip. Looks like everyone had a great time.

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  75. I love this post! We have just been toying around with going on the same trip but from Idaho Falls...and with 6 kids all under age 11! It will be an adventure, but awesome memories!

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  76. i just cried reading this. those girls will cherish this memory for forever! Shelley, what a good man you have! :)

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  77. Yeah! As a native Utahan I moved to New Mexico (aka: middle of nowhere) about 6 years ago. But, we go "home" to Utah at LEAST 5 times a year and we have hit many of those same spots! What a fun memory for your girls!

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  78. That was very beautiful!! So glad you took the time to spend with your girls. They will NEVER forget it!

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  79. What a great trip and post! The girls will all cherish their time with Dad for many years!!

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  80. Wow!! all I could think about was I wish all dads could be like you! You are giving your children beautiful memories you both should be proud of yourselves, great parents! I am married to my polar opposite for 31 years it has been interesting at times but as you said the same personalities don't always work. Fabulous blog and family God bless,K Sunday

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  81. Cason, what a fantastic role model you are for your girls; your last paragraph about love and respect really moved me. They're very lucky girls!

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  82. Nice blog. I looked for an email link, but couldn't find one, so I'll comment this way. Your text would be far easier to read if it were flush left rather than centered. I speak as someone who's done many corporate annual reports.
    Please! Thanks.

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  83. awwww, those girls are lucky to have such a daddy!

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  84. Um. You're kind of awesome. Those girls and Cute wife of yours are lucky to have such a dedicated daddy/hubster! Love it!

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  85. We just did a road trip to AZ from OR, we are mean parents:) First day 17 hours of driving, and we fit in an accident in there too, only derailed us for 45 minutes (thank God for suburbans, we could drive away OK! This is with a 4yr old, 3 yr old and a 15 month old.

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  86. wow! you are awesome! there aren't many dads that would pack up their girls and road trip it and i commend you for that. way to go dad!

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  87. I LOVED this post- especially to hear from a dad how to treat his daughter/mother. Amazing. We stopped at Hole in the Rock this year on our way to AZ. Goofy little place. Looks like it was a fun filled trip. Nicely done, dad.

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  88. How fun! You sound a lot like my hubby who is always taking my two girls to Menards or Lowes so I can get a few things done ;)

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  89. You guys are the best parents! That van with all the snacks looked awesome...next time can I come along? :)

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  90. Cason is AWESOME! And to be honest, my kids do better without out me (mama) because with daddy, they have no choice but to be brave. Hope Cason gets lots of rewards for this awesome trip with the girls!!

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  91. Wow, you win dad of the year. Could you take my kids next weekend for me? I want a break too.

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  92. This was so fun to read as I grew up in the four corners area, in a tiny little town called Pleasant View that is close to Cortez. I live in Washington State now but this post brought back many familiar places as we travel this exact road when we go back to visit. Thanks for sharing!

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  93. It's inspiring to hear how much you love your daughters and that you understand that your actions today will help them choose good husbands. Keep up the good work!

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  94. Awesome trip and post all about it! Thanks for getting the wheels spinning for the rest of us :) LOVE this blog, you guys do a great job!!

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  95. I love that you did this with your girls!! So sweet! I also love that you went to Monticello! That is where my dad grew up and we would make trips from California out there and to Mesa Verde. My hubby also proposed to me in the Monticello cemetery : ) I know your girls will keep these memories forever! good job dad!

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  96. This made me smile! My dad grew up in Monticello so I have fond memories of driving out from California and visiting all of the same places! My hubby actually proposed to me in the Monticello cemetery. What a great dad. I know your girls will remember that forever.

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  97. Awesome post! Shelley must be so proud of the way you "held down the {blog} fort" in her abscence. What an amazing father you are, and brave I might add!

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  98. Awesome post! Shelley must be so proud of the way you "held down the {blog} fort" in her absence. What an amazing father you are, and brave I might add!

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  99. You are probably the coolest dad on the face of the earth! This is what dreams are made of! Your girls will never forget that trip, nor, I'm sure, will your wife. And where is that last picture? That's amazing.

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  100. I loved reading this. I think it's just brilliant that all four of you have had that amazing experience. It's something your girls will never forget - and certainly "sets the bar high" for future partners! :-D
    And Shelley - if you ever get tired of Cason, I have a feeling a queue is forming.... LOL
    Jude.x

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  101. Cason, my Dad just turned 81 yesterday. To his five (yes, 5!) daughters, he still hangs the moon! Your sense of adventure reminds me of his! We have the best stories and memories to pass on! This is what I forsee for you and your daughters! God Bless you all! Karen V from PA

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  102. What an amazing opportunity! Such a fun dad!

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  103. that last paragraph is so so sweet and we can only hope that all men feel the same!

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  104. What an amazing Dad!! I LOVE this post!!

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  105. how awesome is that !! inspires me to take our kids somewhere ! ps. you are amazing !

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  106. Please share your secret on where you can rent a minivan for a weekend for only $48 dollars!

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  107. You have such a beautiful family!

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  108. Great post and fun vaca! This one made me teary too!

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  109. Great post and fun vaca! This one brought tears to my eyes too. You are an awesome dad to take this on!

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  110. what a gem of a husband and father! I was always super close to my dad, I always loved it that he would get in the floor and "play" dolls with me! I agree...Daddy's are important to little girls self esteem. Cason is a keeper!!

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  111. Nice Family bonding.. I was brought here by your Cinnamon recipe tho, can you please show that to us? I was salivating to it (for real) but there was no recipe at the end of the article.

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  112. This was awesome and brought tears to my eyes! What an amazing dad and husband! Memories!!

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  113. What a great trip for you and your daughters! Thanks for the planning tips - looks like they worked!

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