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!)
I was trying to find this picture when I was writing about Missoula and the carousel and I just came across it.
When I took Hallie on the carousel for the first time, she was just under one year old and we stood outside afterwards and snapped this picture together.
I remember taking that picture so when we were back at the carousel this summer, I told her we needed to recreate it. She was more than willing and only slightly heavier this go around! She loved the carousel then and loves it even more now. Like mother, like daughter.
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!
When planning our summer road trip this year I had grand plans of an RV packed with kids visiting multiple national parks, including Glacier National Park in Montana. It was going to be amazing, but it didn’t end up happening. We were invited to Lake Powell and instead of loading up kids, we parked it on a houseboat for a week. But the pull to travel to Montana was strong because my grandma was turning 99 this summer and 4 of my 5 kids had not met her. My kids pray for this woman on a daily basis and they didn’t know her. I was determined to get them all up there this summer and then prayed that she would live long enough to meet them. (She is more frail than ever and every health scare makes me hold my breath)
After Lake Powell, I made the six hour drive up to northern Utah and stayed with my brother for a couple nights. We then caravanned the 7 hours up to Missoula. We rented a little cabin in the middle of nowhere which just so happened to be just a few miles from my grandma who lives outside of Missoula.
Our time was short – shorter than I had originally planned. But my kids were able to spend some time with her, I was able to say hello and goodbye one more time and we were able to celebrate 99 years of living. There is something uniquely special about spending time with someone towards the end of their life. Even though her memory is gone and her hearing is failing, I can hold her hand and feel of her love.
She has years of experience and wisdom and interests and yet is confined by her physical abilities at this point. We took her outside in her wheelchair to take some pictures one afternoon and as we were getting ready to take her back inside, we asked if she would prefer to sit outside for a bit. She recognized the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and chose to stay outside. She’s a woman familiar with the outdoors and I’m sure marveled at the beautiful flowers and hummingbirds that afternoon.
Our four generation photo – Now and then!
It would be impossible for me to travel all the way to Missoula and not take the kids to my favorite carousel. If you ever find yourself in this part of the country, you need to pay a visit. Read up about how it came to be and the history behind it – it’s quite interesting. However, for the kids nothing is as interesting as the coveted gold ring. They fight for the horses on the edge so they can have a shot at pulling rings from the dragon’s mouth in hopes of grabbing the last ring from the mouth which is gold. (I wish they could keep the ring, but instead they give it back and get a free ride in exchange – don’t worry, we bought a gold ring from the gift shop!) Twenty dollars bought us more rides than we needed and even at the end I was pulling kids off!
Bennett had his shot at grabbing the ring but his horse was on it’s way down and his arms just weren’t quite long enough.
Hunter snagged the gold ring on his very last ride (which consequently then became his second to last ride!) riding my very favorite horse – I love it in all is patriotic glory.
The kids found my grandpa’s name, purchased in his honor, outside the carousel.
Steve thought I was crazy driving so many hours on my own for such a short visit. But I got out of it exactly what I was hoping for – worth every hour of crying kids in the car. I’m just mad I didn’t go just a little further north to Glacier. My kids are confident there will be a 100th birthday and if that’s the case, we will be there, and Glacier will be there as well!
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