Idaho wrap-up…

This is going to be picture heavy because I have far too many random pictures left of our Idaho trip.

We made it to my friend’s farm where the big kids picked cherries while the younger kids entertained the goats. I’m pretty sure my kids were more entertained than the goats.

My brother put my kids to use cleaning up the yard of one of his properties.

We spent so much time playing sports/games. Evening soccer and tennis was always on the schedule and we spent most afternoons in the church gym playing more games and the kids did their sports workouts.

My brother’s pond got so much use. If they weren’t fishing it, they were playing in it.

We visited my grandparent’s grave and then spent some time walking around the cemetery. We had some great discussions looking at headstones that evening.

My brother took my older kids up to McCall to do some natural river surfing. My kids were expecting it to be like lake wake surfing – which is so far from what it actually is. But they all got the hang of it eventually. (The clouds in this picture look totally fake!)

We always make a visit to the local city pool which is funny since we get so much pool use at home, but they are all big fans of the high dive.

Hallie and Hunter both participated in some tennis tournaments. And evidently, we like Hurley sweatshirts.

My brothers really enjoy tennis as well and Hallie has been playing against my younger brother for the last couple years when we visit. She was close to beating him last year, but he pulled through in the end. You can imagine the trash talking they had been slinging back and forth. It was a fun night when we were all able to witness Hallie beating him. Of course he was looking for a re-match the rest of our stay and they couldn’t ever find a time. So the is the picture in which we will remember their one and only battle this summer.

I was able to visit with several friends and managed to snap a picture at on of our meetups. The lady in the middle was my teacher and then coach all through high school. Every summer we meet for lunch and every summer I wonder how I was so lucky to cross paths with her.

We played hard. Every. Single. Day.

I can’t even count how many air soft battles were fought this summer. These boys couldn’t get enough of it.

One morning Hunter and my mom were twinning in their turkey trot shirts.

The local Wendy’s was crushing it with their wall art and failing at actually having frosty’s available – and we went more than once!

The fishing/camping trip was definitely a highlight for my boys and they had stories for days!

I’m not going to post every sunset picture that I found on my camera, but those sunsets never got old.

My parents and brother were such good hosts – obviously making it a little too comfortable for how long we’re willing to stay.

Our Idaho summers always hold a special place in my heart – and it’s taking root in my kids’ hearts as well. As one of the songs on our road trip playlist says, “I’d rather be in Idaho…” at least in the summer time. 🙂

Summer road trip Idaho…part 2…

Here are some more nuggets from our summer adventure to Idaho to see family.

I loaded and unloaded that Thule so many times and as you can see the kids were always very helpful. 😉

We happened to be in Boise for one of Hallie’s tennis tournaments one day when we realized that the regional soccer championships were taking place a couple miles down the road. This tournament has the best teams in every age category from every state competing to go to nationals. It was fun to watch soccer at that level of play.

My kids always look forward to going to my childhood friend’s house and picking her cherries. She has a lone cherry tree on her property and their family doesn’t like cherries so my kids are always happy to help strip her tree.

We hit up Lego day at the library. They dump buckets and buckets of Legos out on all the tables and kids build to whatever the theme is for the day. When we went it was farm day.

We went into the mountains one day for my uncle’s memorial service. After the service, the kids were able to play and explore and even hopped in the river which was the only refreshing moment of a very hot day.

My brother threw up a target challenge with the air soft gun and these 4 boys are the sharpest of the shooters.

We had so many park evenings. We played games. We played tennis. We enjoyed the golden hour.

I saw old friends and unfortunately this is the only one I snapped a picture with – she even joined me for one of Hallie’s tennis tournaments.

The kids played in the sprinklers and had water balloon wars with cousins.

The cousin time was the most valuable time.

We visited the local pool a couple times and the high dive was by far the favorite feature.

Night after night we enjoyed beautifully vibrant and then peacefully silent sunsets. I think Arizona has equally beautiful sunsets, I just never get to witness them with farmland, which really adds to the beauty.

We had ice cream outings with grandma or as Hallie calls her G-Ma.

And I say it every year, but it’s true – my parents are so great for letting us come stay with them so my kids can experience a sliver of what Idaho has to offer. I love coming home. I love the small town (visiting, not necessarily going back to live there!). I love spending time with family. I love that my kids are begging to go to the library and the public pool. I love that they have experiences that we just can’t provide in Arizona. In all reality, Idaho and Arizona are vastly different and yet I love both of them and see the good each area offers – which is why I love that we are able to make this happen each summer.

Summer Road Trip Idaho…Part 1…

One of the highlights of every summer road trip to Idaho is the time my kids get to spend with their cousins. To add to that, my brother has worked on his property for years (and is still working) and it’s my kids’ very favorite place.

It’s a large property in rural Idaho and it has just about everything you could ask for in country living. Want to ride dirt bikes or ATVs – he’s got you covered. Want your own private pond out your back door – don’t worry, he dug one (and was expanding it this summer) and if you want fish – he stocked the pond. There’s animals. And guns. And a woodshop. And archery. And everything else that my kids think is amazing.

We don’t always stay with him, but this year it worked out and my kids were in heaven. The minute we walked into the house, Briggs went straight to my brother and requested a wooden axe. My brother takes his role as the favorite uncle very seriously and all my kids walked away with a wooden arsenal they are so proud of.

The kids enjoyed all the heavy machinery he was using on the property as he excavated a larger pond.

The temperatures in Idaho were hitting record highs which meant every day those kids were in the pond. They had mud wars. They paddle boarded. They had races. They sought refuge from the heat.

Bennett was soooo excited to try the dirt bike and I was soooo hesitant. We are city people and my kids are city kids. So when they go to the “farm” they like to think they are country folk which couldn’t be further from the truth. I doubted his abilities but my brothers assured me the bike was small enough that it wouldn’t be much different than riding a bike. Luckily, they were also there to teach him and help him. As a precaution, we only allowed him to stay in first gear which limited how fast he could go.

I was pleasantly surprised with how well he did and how much fun he had. Even in first gear he was flying high on adrenaline. Lucky for us, my brother can own all the toys and be our destination every summer.

Hallie and her cousins had a new found sense of freedom since my niece now has her driver’s license so they were often on their own. Grabbing lunch. Grabbing ice cream. Running to the grocery store. They enjoyed the ability to run to the dollar store to buy whatever supplies they needed for their bucket list items – make a cake, make suckers, make popsicles, paint portraits of each other…it was a long bucket list and it kept them more than busy!

Even when we weren’t staying at their house and we were staying at my parent’s house, the kids were begging most days to drive the 30 minutes to their cousins – they were always scheming up some fun activity.

It’s time my kids will always remember about our summer road trips.

Bear Lake…

Every summer, my extended family (parents and siblings) gather together. It’s a different location every year, we usually pick up an VRBO in Idaho or Utah that can accommodate our group. It’s the only time each year that we’re all able to gather and the only time I see my sister who lives on the east coast. It’s a week my kids look forward to every year – they love time with all their cousins.

Although the location changes every year, the theme is always the same: Play hard.

Sun up, to sun down we play hard. We are always in need of a vacation from our vacation because they can be physically exhausting. 🙂 And if there is a moment of light that isn’t already planned, you better believe there will be a group at the tennis court. I need to start taking lessons just so going to the tennis court to join in the fun is an option for me!

We spent a day at Bloomington lake (which I wrote about here).

We spent an afternoon at Bear Lake – it’s lower than I’ve ever seen it which means the beaches were beautiful and long and nice sand. We played every sand/lawn game imaginable and took kayaks out for a little adventure. (My brother owns every lawn game and each year he teaches us something new. This year we learned Kubb and Ramp shot and both were great beach games – add to that the regular games we play like horseshoes, Spikeball and bocce ball and there was never a dull moment.

We spent one afternoon going to the Minnetonka Caves – just a short drive from the northwest side of the lake where we were staying. This was a guided, paid 1.5 hour tour that is only open during the summer. Bennett dubbed this as his highlight Bear Lake activity. It was interesting and the tour guides were great. 440 stairs into the cave…which means that many stairs coming out as well! But Briggs’ little legs handled it without complaints. It was a chilly and consistent 40 degrees in the cave which meant pants and sweatshirts to stay comfortable. They were very cautious about COVID and required masks so that humans don’t pass COVID to the bats in the cave. The irony was not lost on us. 🙂 They also wouldn’t allow children under two to enter because it’s unsafe for them to wear a mask so we had to do some swapping so someone could stay behind with my sister’s baby. There’s another cave in the area that is an ice cave and isn’t guided and we thought that would be a fun one as well but we didn’t make it there this year.

These cousins played at the pool together, they made bracelets (lots of bracelets), they had air soft gun wars, they played all their other made up games and they stayed up far too late. There was never a dull moment and there were tears shed when it was time to close another reunion chapter.

They have no idea how good they have it to gather every year the way we do – they have special relationships with one another because of the time invested. It’s always a highlight of every summer.

Bloomington Lake…

One of our adventures during our time at Bear Lake this summer included a day trip to Bloomington Lake, a cold mountain lake. It was a quick 1/2 mile hike to the lake, but the dirt/gravel road to get to the trailhead could use some improvement. We had a high clearance vehicle, although I saw several sedan cars in the parking lot – I’m not sure how they made it on that road!

The short hike was easy and beautiful and it opened up to a small lake with a rope swing and some rocks for cliff jumping. I was surprised with out busy the area was, but even busy we got on the rope swing and had plenty of time without feeling rushed.

Not surprising at all, Bennett was the first to hop in line for the rope swing…but he had never done it, so he was looking for some pointers. We quickly ushered a cousin to the front of the line to show him out it was done. As soon as he saw how to do it, he was ready to go.

After several rounds of the rope swing, the older kids trekked around the lake, over the boulders, and then swam to the cliff area. They had to earn their cliff jumping experience! And I just watched from afar, trying to pick out which kid was jumping when and then I saw a backflip and I knew that was Steve. All his diving days as a kid pay off in these situations.

Our afternoon scenery was beautiful. With so many fires every where, the air had been smokey for weeks and the higher we climbed in elevation to reach this trailhead, the more clear the air was – truly a breath of fresh air.

We passed several people as we hiked in and everyone said how warm the water was this year. I was so hopeful and convinced I would do the rope swing – I love rope swings! And then I felt the temperature of the water and realized if I jumped in, even on this warm summer day, it would take me forever to warm up so I gave it hard pass! 🙂 I can’t imagine what the water feels like on a cold year.

*Highly recommend water shoes for this hike, and don’t forget a towel. Also note that the road to the trailhead is closed most of the year, this year it opened on July 1st.