And though my kids and I missed lots of sleep and woke up with back aches most mornings, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
It was a busy nine days, every day packed full of fun things, people to visit, and family to love on, and I wouldn't have had it any other way!
So I decided, in keeping with the Wordful Wednesday tradition, I'd post some pictures of my favorite highlights of the vacation to beautiful Idaho.
It's too bad we can't capture the real highlights on camera, though: the feelings and the love for the people most important to us. Because that was the best part of the trip. Seeing family and friends we hadn't seen in what felt like ages, and swathing ourselves in family love--something we so frequently miss out on here in Arizona, so far away from everyone we call family.
So I guess you can also consider this, in part, a Pour Your Heart Out post, too. I miss family so much. I miss that feeling of sense and belonging. I miss the feeling of fulfillment, that gets so abruptly interrupted when we have to journey back to Arizona.
Dave and I were talking about "home," and we realized that Arizona has never felt like home, and it's because, no matter the place, home is where the ones you love reside. And the ones we love reside in Colorado, Idaho, and Utah.
Besides, the desert stinks. Sorry to all you desert-lovers out there. The pines, the mountains, the cooler summer air, the green...that's my scene. And being around that again was such a refreshing break from life.
So to all you family who put up with us last week...we love and miss you so much, and valued every minute we got to spend with you!
Our trip started in Rexburg and Rigby, where we stayed with Grandma Mary (our permanent residence while Dave was in college the first four years of our marriage) and visited The Barton Family. There was a baptism (which was also the day Josh had the flu and threw up four times), a Fourth of July festival, fireworks (which Sam and Josh were both deathly afraid of), a movie night in the Barton "theater" (Country Strong: sad movie with a strong message), and many other great things between.
|Dave and Mom on the 4th. And no, they didn't plan this!|
|Luke strapped to me at the 4th of July festival. Gotta love the "moby" wrap...even if he does get crooked after a while.|
I also got to spend an hour with my best friend, Chloe, though I wish so badly we had longer. We hadn't seen each other in almost four years, but as it goes with us, we were able to pick up where we left off and it felt as natural as though I'd just seen her the day before. I love Chloe so much, and I love that God brought me to her as a freshmen in high school--my only kindred spirit on this earth.
Plus, it was
Then we spent almost three days up in Salmon. Actually, it was in Carmen, at the base of the mountains around Salmon. Dave's aunt and uncle own a ranch up there that has been in the family for years, and is usually the gathering place for reunions, escape, etc.
And that's exactly what it was for me. There's something about that place: the remoteness, the beauty, the stillness. It's just the peaceful break needed from a busy, monotonous life. The scenery lets you breathe, lets your mind actually open up and think. And it's refreshing to know that places like that still exist in this world.
|The green in the distance, at the base of the mountains, are the ranch fields.|
|Part of the view|
We played, some worked (the child-less cousins changed pipe daily), visited, went to William's Lake, went to the hot springs, had a camp fire and roasted marshmallows, and even watched a movie on the trampoline under the stars one night, with a projector and a white sheet (Beastly: cute, alluring idea, but horrible execution and even more horrible acting).
|Luke at William's Lake, protected from the sun in Grandma Julie's (Mom) t-shirt|
|Campfire songs, all accompanied by Jenni's guitar (and most sung by her, too)|
And thanks to Mom and Jenni at William's Lake (they watched Luke, Josh, and Sam), I got to swim out to the little island with Dave and some other cousins, and cliff jump.
|The dreaded cliff. It looks a lot less threatening from this angle.|
And by cliff jump, I mean twenty minutes of mental preparation to jump off of a ten-foot drop. I'm just not as cool as my husband and his cousins, who can jump from 20+ feet, multiple times. A ten-foot drop, twice, is enough for me, thank-you-very-much.
And because of my deathly fear of heights, by the end I was weak and shaky from all that the fear took out of me.
Pathetic, I know.
And then to top it off, Dave and I thought we would take the short cut and save our energy (it was a good swim back to the dock) by instead swimming to the shore closest to us and hiking our way around back to the dock. After all, it was a straight shot.
Wrong. Instead we ended up hiking up and around the long way, through trees, bushes, dirt, and rocks...barefoot.
I sorta felt cool for a minute, like Cody from Dual Survival...
Even with the gashes on the bottom of my big toe. And the fact that I had no sense of balance from my earlier adrenaline rush.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was when Dave took me on the dirt bike up Davis Creek (in the mountains that the ranch backs into), and it was just us and the pines.
|On our way up to Davis. The bike stalled...a couple of times.|
|Me and the hubs|
The trip ended in Utah, where we stayed at the Bartons' (a different Barton family) in Ogden so we could attend the Sessions family reunion at Cherry Hills the next day. It was a long, hot, tiring day, but it was a blast. The kids were cranky (and so was I for a bit), but the water park helped, even if the storm cut it short.
Sam even went on the rapids ride and because he's so light, his tube flipped and Dave had to catch him. He didn't like that too much. Actually, he hated it.
But we got in some playing before a storm rolled in, and Josh even fell asleep snuggling Grandma Julie afterwards.
We also visited Sam's grave at the cemetery in Utah (Dave's older brother, and our little Sammy's namesake), and every time someone said something like, "I love you, Sam," as they placed a dime on the headstone, our little Sam thought they were speaking to him and he'd always reply, "I love you, too." Too cute.
The trip was long and tiring, but as usual, went way too fast and ended way too quickly. And we look forward to the next one!
|Family pictures Jessica took for us in Rexburg. Yes, I know Sam's making a funny face. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until looking at them after. And yes...I know my belly is hanging over my waistband. Ugh.|
|The best boys ever|
|Jess and the boys|
|Me and my Jess|
|This was on the first day at the ranch. We walked up the fields in search of two baby deer that were spotted earlier in the day, and instead of finding them, we took some pretty great pictures. Well, I should say Dave took them.|
|This was our last morning there. Goodbye ranch. We miss you.|