The kids and I took a special trip this summer after saving up for a few years. It was perfect timing because Nate had some really heavy work and school weeks, in which we would barely see him. So off we embarked, one mom, a 5 and 7 year old and a 20 hour day of flying. After some really stressful circumstances that made us have to miss our first flight out, we flew out 12 hours later. We were SOOOO glad to land in Idaho after all of the extra complications. 

There were so many highlights of the trip, but the biggest for me is just how restful and relaxing it is to be at my parents home. And how comfortable and delighted the kids are to be with their grandparents. First stop is ALWAYS Babum's gumball machine in the garage. There were visits to the library for books, a lego exposition, and a butterfly talk. Shopping in which I whisked around stores quickly while my mom wrangled two wired kids through racks of clothes. One night where my mom and dad dropped me off for a speedy mall trip while they took the kids to a jump house place. A trip to the Splash Pad where the breeze under the picnic table was perfection. A night of pure kid-friendly indulgence: Freddies for burgers and fries, a trip to Krispy Kreme and a dozen donuts to see how donuts were made, and a walk through The Village at Meridian. There was fun in the sprinkler, first attempts at mowing the lawn, morning races out the door in pjs to jump on the neighbors' trampoline. A night in downtown Boise eating Greek food and getting drenched in the fountain in the square. A day at Eagle State Park in which I 100% regretted not packing a swimsuit, not realizing how big and beautiful the river was. The kids happily swam all around while I nervously tried to keep an eye on both in the big space. There was a playdate with Elliot to walk the Greenbelt and feed ducks.

 

The kids tried their first Dairy Queen Blizzard and Canaan begged almost daily for a trip to Wal-Mart because he was dying to get a little Lego guy. Babum made huge C and E pancakes one Saturday, drenched in canned whipped cream and syrup. He took them on walks over to the house under construction in the neighborhood and explained I-Beams and more. Canaan went on Nona's walk with her every morning, talking up a storm and savoring the one on one time. The kids lived in flip flops and barefoot and loved it. We spent many an afternoon at the rec center, Nona exercising while the kids went down the loopy slide time and time again. Scoof came for dinner, which was chaotic but good. We went to Jump Creek Falls after church one day and after a short hike in waded around in the freezing water. Dinners were almost always on the porch and after kids went to bed my mom and I watched saved episodes of "Food Network Star."

There were morning runs for me in which I spent most of the time praying about how to be a less stressed, more patient mom as attitudes were thin at the start of the trip with sooo many late nights. There was a good talk with my mom that helped me unclench from my frustrations with the kids and relax into not expecting perfect attitudes out of them. There were rootbeer popsicles and Italian sodas, pounds of blueberrie, peaches and seedless grapes, moose tracks ice cream after dinner.

The kids loved all of these things and soaked up time with their grandparents, holding their hands while we walked, talking to Babum before work, having them put them to bed with long songs and stories. But there were two big highlights to the trip: the Rodeo and Beauty and the Beast. It was my first rodeo and I had no idea what I was in for. I had about a million questions, knowing none of the culture but was fascinated with it. Canaan watched mesmerized, particularly transfixed by the bull riding. 

Another night we drove for about an hour and half to an outdoor theater. We ate a quick picnic dinner and then found our seats as the sun began to set and the show started. Three hours later, after the full production was over it was pitch black, almost midnight, as we trooped quietly back to the car. The kids were tired but entranced with the magic of the show ... and asleep within 3 minutes of getting back on the road for a quiet, tired ride home. That show is probably the highlight of Eden's life to date. It came totally alive for her and she could NOT wait to see Belle come out in the golden dress. She didn't lose focus on the show even once. The costumes were really creative and the scene for "Be Our Guest" was impressive. At intermission the actors graciously came out on stage and took pictures with any kid who wanted them. The starstruck look of Canaan and Eden was fun to watch.

 

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These kids were amazing on the LOOOONG trips but you can't expect less than a little crazy out of them by the end!

 

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Italian Sodas is their new favorite treat and probably one of the most-remembered parts of the trip.

 

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Who doesn't want not one, but two, kids on their lap on a small, hard rodeo seat? At least Canaan was thrilled with it.

 

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Greek gyros for the win!

 

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