Our final stretch in our month long summer vacation road trip was to my parents house. In years past, this stop has been a little bit longer which has given me time to do a couple projects such as cleaning out their garage, building in closet shelving or having my dad help build a table that he so lovingly helped me attach to the top of my car for the drive down!
This year the stay was a little shorter. We had time to play with cousins, see a couple friends and enjoy the beauty of Idaho. With 5 kids we travel with Thule on the roof so it would be difficult to bring a project home anyway!
First things first – my parents are amazing to let us stay with them every summer. I know it’s not easy to have people stay with you for any period of time and 5 children makes it a little chaotic. My parents might even say really chaotic. They turn their lives upside down to accommodate us and I love our time with them. Chaos and all.
Hunter’s highlight of the trip sadly has no pictures to prove it even happened. He went on a camping trip with his cousin, my brother, my dad and some of the local scouts. I heard stories of fishing and rain and fishing and treats and more fishing. Sounds like a total downer to me, but he was in heaven.
Hunter’s second favorite part of the trip – time at my brother’s house where he practiced his archery skills.
When he wasn’t hunting or fishing, he was collecting treasures from the mountains and rivers – mostly shell casings. Not surprising, we were in Idaho.
Bennett’s favorite spot was on the four wheeler or the little motorcycle my brother has. My brother was a good sport as he took him round and round and round some more around his property.
We went to many parks – the favorite being the “Death Park”, kindly coined by my sister-in-law who grew up going to this same park and all the original playground equipment is still in tact. You know all the equipment that has since been removed from every park in America because their too dangerous; long metal slides that burn you all the way down, fast metal merry-go-rounds, large metal monkey bars and teeter totters taller than me. I’m shocked we walked away from that park with only minor injuries after going to it so many times!
Not surprising – we were able to fit in a couple games of spikeball and frisbee golf.
I’m pretty sure his face looked like this for two weeks!
To be continued…
After our week in Utah, we moved on to Idaho. Steve’s parents have a house in Rexburg from when they served a mission there. If they were in the country, they would spend their summer there – but they’re in Africa, so we enjoyed the home for them!
Rexburg is where Steve and I met, fell in love, earned diplomas and brought home our first child. Although 8 months out of the year, the weather leaves much to be desired – there’s 4 months of beautiful weather and that’s when we went to visit. We took the kids on campus and showed them around. We had made arrangements to visit some people we knew and we were surprised to run into several more people who we never thought in a million years we’d run into. It’s a small world!
My family joined us in Rexburg for a pseudo reunion – we threw it out to the family that we would be staying at the house and invited anyone to join us if they were available. Everyone except one brother-in-law made plans to be there and we had ourselves a good time.
We celebrated my birthday the day after we arrived. Steve got up in the wee hours of the morning to make a run to walmart to gather supplies. He decorated the kitchen, supplied the birthday bucket and even made me a cake.
Being in Rexburg over Independence day was quite the treat – small towns know how to throw a party. The trick was trying to find activities that were suitable for the tweens, the baby/little kids and the pregnant lady. I think we kept everyone entertained.
We went to the local rodeo one evening and enjoyed the show. However, it always makes me a little nervous when I see kids on the other side of the fence competing. This is how we all looked at times:
We went and explored a civil defense cave. Even after reading the plaque at the opening, I’m still not entirely sure what the caves were used for, if they were used at all. However, if during the cold war there was ever a nuclear threat, this place was where you wanted to be.
We traveled in to the depths of the cave with flashlights in hand and coats on our backs.
There was some difficult terrain, but mostly uneven terrain and yet we had three two year olds handle it like champs.
We went to the carousel, the splash pad, the water park, visited the temple, spent hours playing spikeball and stayed up late into the night playing games.
And I would’ve thought 4 1/2 days together would’ve been plenty of time, but we could’ve stayed longer – there were still things on our list we didn’t make it to. Yellowstone – we’re coming for you next year!
We spent fourth of July in Idaho – it’s becoming a tradition. I may not get to see my side of the family on major holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but we’ve got the fourth of July with them and I love it more and more each year.
My love for color coordinated clothing, bbq and fireworks runs deep and I love celebrating our country’s independence. It’s a feel good day.
My extended family gathered in Rexburg this year and we enjoyed the small town, yet lengthy parade that the town put on. They threw out buckets of candy and otter pops and some kind and loving dentist threw toothbrushes. Surprisingly, the toothbrush was a hit with my kids. We had lofty plans for an afternoon in the park (which we observed was way too crowded for our comfort) which turned into an afternoon at the house where kids could take naps and we could play spikeball.
We also had lofty plans to go to Idaho Falls to see one of the largest firework shows…but it was really windy and would possibly be cancelled. It too would be crowded and we would all be stuck in traffic driving back late with tired kids. We saved ourselves the headache and instead went to the local firework stand and bought a large box of things we could light on fire!
We sat on the driveway, bundled in sweatshirts and blankets and watched our own little show. Never in a million years could we wear a sweatshirt on Independence day in Arizona! It was perhaps a little too chilly for my liking, but then again I believe my blood has thinned since moving here!
We spent a month this summer living out of suitcases, spending a lot of time in the car visiting family and friends. Little kids in the car for that long isn’t ideal and we made it work with a couple creative solutions with different modes of transportation.
Our first leg was spent in Utah. In the past, Utah has been a pitstop on the way to Idaho. Lunch, gas and some time stretching our legs, an overnight stay if we were lucky. This year, we made a week of it. Steve has two sisters there and my brother just so happen to move there the day we got there. We stayed with Steve’s sister where we laid low for the majority of the time with sick kiddos. No fun at all. But the older kids were able to play with their cousins which is fun even if you don’t leave the house much.
Our third day there, Hallie had a collision at the splash pad with another girl which resulted in her tooth breaking…again. In case you’re counting, this has happened more times than I would like to count. Every time we go to the dentist they tell us the same thing – its a large chunk, she’ll probably have a problem with it until she’s old enough to get veneers and cover the tooth all together. Awesome. Luckily my sister-in-law knew a kind and loving dentist who got Hallie in quickly and saved the day.
We spent our days playing with cousins and we were up late into the night after the kids were in bed at my brother’s new house helping them move in. (sadly not a single picture with them) We were running on fumes for many days!
By the last night we were there, the two youngest were starting to feel a little better and we ventured out to Temple square in downtown SLC. Which just so happens to be the area that both Julie and I got engaged. Although Steve and I were also married there so we love to go visit and bore our kids with our anything-but-average love story! 🙂
We visited the free church museum which had great exhibits for kids to enjoy. We toured the old tabernacle and the conference center. And rode the elevator to top of the Joseph Smith building for the ultimate view. With an evening like that how can you not top it off with a walk to City Creek mall for some Chick-fil-a. It’s a toss up as to whether the nuggets or the elevator were the highlight!
Later that night we were getting the kids ready for bed and packing up a few things to leave the next morning and Hunter came into the room. “I really liked tonight.” We asked a few questions including what his favorite part was, “All of it. I really just liked everything we did tonight. Thanks.” That summed up our last night. There wasn’t crying. There wasn’t fighting. The weather was mild and we were with family we love. It was peaceful.
A few more pictures from our Memorial Day with family:
We jumped from the tennis courts, to the volleyball pit, to the pool and back again. And again. Steve’s family is what many would call an “active” family. There is always a game and competition to be had!
We were able to enjoy a dinner sans kids (except Briggs) with these great people.
Sunday, we were introduced to a group game played through phones or ipads – similar to Apples-to-Apples. People grouped into 8 teams to answer questions and you tried to create answers that the other groups would want to vote for. We played a couple rounds and there was plenty of laughing and it kept young and old entertained.
Sunday night we enjoyed a fireside devotional by the fire. And if there’s a fire – it would only make sense to have marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.
I’m pretty sure Hunter ate 6 smores and then was upset I wouldn’t let him go for 7,8 and 9! Silly kid. Cannon realized he could grab smore supplies for other people and simply take one bite out of each item. His older cousins thought this was so funny, they kept asking him to help them get supplies. Pretty sure he ate 6 smores and not one was ever toasted.
We had a great weekend. It’s always fun to spend time with family. One Bennett-ism that I have to share: When we first got to the cabin, we started unloading the car and Bennett rushed in to check out the place. He saw Steve’s brother who we were sharing the place with and Bennett ran up to him and said, “I’m so excited we get to live together now.” I’m sure Bennett was disappointed to learn it was a short term gig. Who wouldn’t want to live with cousins full-time?!