4th of July 2017…

We spent the fourth of July in Idaho – something that has become a tradition over the past five years. It beats the heat of summer in Arizona. Last summer we were up in Rexburg for our family reunion the same exact week and we had lofty goals of going to the Melaleuca firework show in Idaho Falls. As it drew closer, we all agreed we didn’t want to fight the crowds and try to find parking – so we changed plans.

This year the Melaleuca firework show went back on our schedule and I kept expecting it to get knocked off the list like the previous year. But this year the idea stuck and we found ourselves driving down to Idaho Falls at 5pm to find a place to watch the fireworks. This Freedom Festival is quite the production and we were surprised at all they had to offer as people waited for the big show. The inflatables area was entertaining. It’s fun to watch a large log knock your child off a pedestal or get knocked off a bull. We watched it time and time again and it never failed to make me laugh.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

My brother was drawn to the Archery contests and we enjoyed watching him win. He won more than once – he could’ve stayed there all night and cashed in. I guess it’s a skill set not held by many!

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

As they sun started to fade on the horizon, we ate our picnic dinner and celebrated my nieces birthday with cake. The kids played football, corn hole and card games while the other’s played spike ball.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

Evidently, the kids didn’t get enough sparklers the night before and we used the dusk hour to light up the night. I’m now beginning to wonder if there’s ever enough sparklers. I think not. Luckily we had the longer sparklers this night – less lighting more sparkling.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

The Melaleuca fireworks show was…amazing, just as everyone told us it would be. By this point it was 10 o’clock, Briggs had fallen asleep in the stroller and was sporting noise cancelling headphones. And I sat with a permanent grin on my face. So many fireworks. So many booms. It was just as I had hoped. The 31 minutes went by way too fast. I could’ve sat for another hour enjoying that moment. But it ended with the largest bang. And as expected there was the biggest rush to the parking lot. We looked at each other and realized we were going to be sitting in a parking lot for a while, or we could sit where we were just a little longer. So we sat. The kids watched movies, we played night games (with glow in the dark balls and glow in the dark necklaces) and waited for the crowd to clear. The kids were rockstars. Over two hours after the show ended we finally got in our cars and made it home after 1am. Even with my 5 young children, who refuse to sleep-in regardless of what time they go to bed…it was totally worth it.

4th of July Melaleuca Freedom Festival

Summer adventures…Family reunion…

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.

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

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.

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

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.

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

Rexburg Reunion

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!)

Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion Rexburg Reunion

Summer Road Trip…Welding…

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.

Welding

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.

welding class

welding class

welding class

welding class

Summer Road Trip…Teepee camping…

Teepee Camping

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!

Teepee Camping

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.

Teepee Camping

Teepee Camping

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.

Teepee Camping

Teepee Camping

I’m not sure if the kids were more excited about the teepees or the campfire and s’mores!

Teepee Camping

Teepee Camping

Teepee Camping

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!

Teepee Camping

Teepee Camping

Camping checked off the summer bucket list!

 

 

Our summer adventures…

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!
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