Pool party…

While we were in Utah this summer we met up with our Wisconsin friends for an evening pool party. It takes a few minutes for the kids to warm up to each other again, the older they grow, longer the warming up takes. But then they’re inseparable again, just like when they were young. Everyone has a buddy their age.

The house we went to swim at was our friends parent’s house and it was more than just a pool. When the kids were done swimming they could roast mallows at the fire pit, play some basketball/tennis or go visit the horses. It might as well be considered a resort!
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I’m not a big animal fan, but these horses were beautiful. Perhaps it was the sun set casting a warm light on their shiny hair. Or perhaps it was the perfectly manicured stables that were nice enough I wouldn’t mind living in them. Either way, the boys enjoyed their time admiring and feeding the horses.
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We definitely scored in the friend department when we moved to Wisconsin. Grateful we’re able to keep tabs on each other over the years.
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Summer Vacation…final leg…Idaho, again…

While we were in Idaho, I made a comment to Hallie that I wanted to show her where I went to school, nothing was planned but I threw out the idea. Hallie, with the help of Hunter and Steve created a plan. Without my knowledge, they worked on a super secret scavenger hunt for me to visit my old stompin’ grounds around the small town I grew up in. Have I mentioned how small the town is? It’s pretty small so even seeing several places in town only takes minutes! They had me stumped on a couple clues and their creativity was top notch.

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The start of our hiking spot to go find treasures.
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When I was younger I used to ride my bike down to the library on a weekly basis. Although the library has been torn down and rebuilt since then and the creepy cat they used to let roam among the books is no longer living.
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We picked up a scotch n’ soda and fries at the A&W, where I worked when I was in high school.
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And we landed at the “Dome” – our high school gymnasium. There aren’t many gyms that can top this in the coolness factor. A lot of hours were spent in that place!
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Don’t be fooled by this picture. These two hated each other. Any chance they could get, they were stealing toys, pushing or wrestling one another to the ground. We tried to keep them separated which proved to be harder than expected and minutes before my sister and her son left for the airport to head home I snapped this picture. Years from now we’ll tell them just how much they fought and we won’t have any pictures to prove it. I’ll pull out this picture and they’ll think I’m a liar! And funny enough they both appear to be sporting Christmas jammies in July.
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We made a visit to my happy place in McCall. The lake, the boats, the weather – I soaked it in. Although the water was a little too cold for my Arizona blood children. They want warmer pool water, not cold lake water!
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The night before we left, we kidnapped the older kids after they had already gone to bed to enjoy one last late night treat with Grandma. Kids love all surprises no matter how small and these two thought this was just about the coolest thing.
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As we made the drive home, we stopped for lunch and enjoyed Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls. The perfect pit stop to stretch some legs.
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Can’t thank these two enough for putting up with us. Hopefully we’re welcome back next summer.
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And that concludes our month long road trip – props to anyone who got through all those pictures over so many posts!

Summer Vacation…Final Leg…Idaho…

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!

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Not surprising – we were able to fit in a couple games of spikeball and frisbee golf.
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I’m pretty sure his face looked like this for two weeks!

To be continued…

Summer vacation…leg 2…Rexburg

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!

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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.

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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:
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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.
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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.
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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!

Independence day…

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.

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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!

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