Towards the end of our summer road trip, we met up with my family in Rexburg, Idaho – beautiful in the summer time, but avoid at all costs in the winter. 🙂
This location seems to be good meeting ground for our family coming from so many directions so we’ve gathered as a family there multiple times. One advantage of going to the same place over and over again – you learn what the area has to offer. The drawback is we have so many activities on our to-do list and we can’t do them all. I was bummed we didn’t make it to the caves this year.
We did make it to the local rodeo though. I was mostly excited about the fireworks show afterwards – which they announced towards the end that it had been cancelled. I felt cheated. That was my whole motivation for going in the first place! We made the best of it and entertained Briggs the best we could.
We spent one day at a wake boarding park. It was situated just outside of Rexburg on the smallest body of water. There was a zipline with a rope attached that took us back and forth. For those more adventurous souls, there were jumps and obstacles. This was Hallie’s first experience wake boarding and her wake surfing time at Powell paid off because she popped right up. There were several who tried the jumps but only one stuck the landing. We also rented paddle boards to cruise around on. I’ve decided I want paddle boards. Several times in the last 6 weeks we were able to play on them and every age seemed to enjoy them. I’m adding them to my Christmas list.
With so many babies in the family this year, we spent more time hanging around the house than ever before. The girls had a dedicated craft table where they spent a lot of time. There was often a lawn game taking place and the boys scooted around on scooters and plasma cars. I wish I had taken pictures of all the kids in their respective age groups. You would have seen this group of girls, and then several groups of boys.
The night before 4th of July we had our little fireworks show. Every year I’m amazed at how sparklers can keep kids entertained forever. And is it just me or are sparklers getting shorter and shorter? Many of them have a burnable area of 3 to 4 inches. So by the time you’re able to light it – they’ve got a good 10 seconds before it goes out. I’m all for longer sparklers and less lighting. (Luckily we got that figured out for the next night!)
It comes as no surprise that I like diving into new interest and hobbies (much to Steve’s dismay! Although this makes it easy to buy me gifts because there’s always new materials or tools I need!). I’m always anxious to learn something new for my “tool belt” of skills. My brother shares this trait. He’s about as handy as they come and when he wanted to weld a table for their kitchen, he did some research, bought some tools and got to work. Welding is an area that I would like more experience. I took one class with Steve as part of our anniversary one year but that’s it.
While in Idaho, I had him show me the ropes of welding. Really, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I could weld and take home with me. All my ideas were too large to fit in my car! Instead, my brother and I spent a couple hours practicing – grinding, welding joints, polishing, etc. I’m sure I sound like a broken record to Steve, but I could totally see myself getting into this! I’ve got a list of projects already that I could weld and add wood. By the time my kids are all in school I’m going to have a laundry list of interests and still no time to do them all.
Its a good thing I have fun and adventurous siblings or else my kids would be bored with me on our summer road trips. My brother suggested we camp in teepees in Oregon. I’m pretty sure I’ve made it clear, we’re not campers. And my brother knows me well enough to know that camping isn’t at the top of our list. So teepee camping was a nice bridge to the outdoors. Half the battle with camping is all the gear that you have to bring and then set up and take down. I’m all for showing up and having my tent set up for me and comfortable sleeping pads ready to go. Just add sleeping bags!
We planned simple meals that required little prep or clean up so it was a breeze. My parents didn’t want to sleep over so they drove up to spend the afternoon/evening with us.
My brother brought his fishing boat so the boys were occupied after dinner, then on the shore as the sun tucked behind the mountain and first thing the next morning. Hunter was in heaven.
Little sidenote: One of Hunter’s great attributes is his ability to find interest in just about everything. He’s a chameleon. If he’s with a group of boys playing football, he is in the middle of it all. If he’s up in Utah with cousins, he turns into the best Nerf sniper and then he goes to Idaho and he becomes an outdoorsman begging to go fishing or practicing his archery skills. And he loves it all – it’s what make him such a great friend, he’s happy doing just about anything.
I’m not sure if the kids were more excited about the teepees or the campfire and s’mores!
I couldn’t get over the beauty as the sun set that night. It was peaceful. So peaceful that we got the kids to bed (rather late) and then sat talking under the stars – and they put on quite the show that night. It was probably the most stars I’ve seen in a night sky since my summers working at Zion National Park. It was worth staying up so late enjoying the ambiance even though we knew our kids would wake up with the sun…and they did!
Camping checked off the summer bucket list!
The sun has officially set on our 2017 summer road trip adventure. Steve joked that you know it’s time to come home when you leave with a large full tube of toothpaste and it’s nearly empty!
We rolled into town late Friday night/early Saturday morning. We had been gone for over five weeks – six if you count Steve’s family gathering just after school got out, but we came home for three days before setting out again, so none of the numbers below count that part of our summer adventures. As we drove through beautiful southern Utah at dusk, Steve and I recounted our trip and broke it down into the following numbers:
63 hours in the car (Steve was with us for 21.5 hours)
Slept in 5 states and 8 different beds
1 kid threw up (luckily not in the car)
2 kids had fevers
Slept in a boat and a teepee
Steve saw 4 airports
Filled up with gas 15 times and came really close to running out of gas one time
Watched Beauty and the Beast 8 times
Listened to Moans and Trolls soundtrack…too many times to count
Sang happy birthday 5 times
Went through 1 1/2 large jars of peanut butter
Kids learned how to wakeboard, wake surf and knee board
Fortunately we had 0 car problems
Ate at Subway, Taco Bell, Wendy’s McDonald’s, Chipotle, Chick fil a, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, Little Chasers, Costa Vida, SAMs club, Peruvian restaurant, Qdoba, Five guys, Wingers
Attended a missionary farewell (niece) and went with one missionary through the temple (nephew)
Stayed 14 days overnight with siblings
Washed my windshield only three times, vacuumed once
Had 3 potty accidents
Bought four pairs of shoes
Worked only 6 hours
Did 11 loads of laundry
Ate 5 Costco sized bags of popcorn
Kids used one deck of cards to play over 150 games of speed, lucky under, trash, war and never lost a card
Uploaded 3,200 photos and videos
…and only 11 months until we get to do it again!
The small sleepy town that I grew up in, and the town my parents still reside, has been hit hard with winter storms this year. I often explain to people that although I grew up in Idaho, we were not usually buried in snow. Yes, it snowed every year, but it never lasted long – just the way you want snow, right? It’s fun to have a fresh white blanket on Christmas morning, and then two days later you’re over it.
My mom sent us a picture on Christmas Eve with their cars covered in a large amount of fresh snow. It looked dreamy – at least for Christmas eve. It looked as though they had met the annual average snowfall of 10″ in one shot! And then she sent more pictures a couple weeks later.
Unfortunately, the snow just kept coming. And coming. There was concern of the river flooding due to a large ice jam and warming temperatures. That fear was never realized as the ice jam broke and the temperatures stayed low. But the snow didn’t let up. The roads remained icy and school cancelled. Church cancelled. Day after day after day. The snow accumulation is more than the area has ever seen and many of the buildings have collapsed from the weight of the snow. Every day, the news reports school cancelled once again and more buildings that collapsed. It has been devastating to the entire valley.
Everyone is ready for some relief and hoping the rest of the winter comes in mild. To add to the current concerns of the situation – all that snow is going to melt and make for some serious flooding. In addition to my hometown, I’ve lived in eastern Idaho and Wisconsin where we experienced serious snow storms and never have I experienced snow as damaging as this. I think my parents may be ready for a visit to Arizona.