How do I even begin to describe how much work my parents put into having us visit? Especially when it's all ten of us at once. I know there were months of planning activities and meals and beds and we SO appreciated it. My parents' home is absolutely my kids second favorite place on earth after their own home. In fact at the end of this trip Eden was really upset about leaving and expressed her desire to have Babum and Nona give us their home so we could move in. She wanted them to buy the house next door so that we could always see each other. But she wanted THEIR home to be hers.

We landed and there were Italian ices on the porch. A classic. We had a chill day the next day with my dad returning from Wisconsin. We went to the Rec Center and visited my Grandma Scoof and honestly had one of the best, most lucid conversations I'd had with her in awhile. It was so special to have that time with her. One of the most fun parts of the time was the fact that she was only 3/4 of a mile away and we could easily hop on a bike and go visit her. Canaan especially liked seeing her and he'd go with whoever would take him. He has a sensitivity for the elderly and since processing that visit with Scoof and her death so shortly after he has decided that he'd like to volunteer at her nursing home next time we are in the US. 

My dad arrived and we celebrated Nate's birthday with fresh peach pie. My parent's neighborhood had a garage sale and the kids used their newly earned money from verse memorization to score wedding barbies and minecraft mazes. Then my sister and whole family showed up and then we all turned the house upside down! I'm sure I'll forget so much because it was full and fun. The boys played so well together, going to the park, playing with cars and legos, and biking around the neighborhood. Eden and Rajah spent a lot of time with her new Barbies. The kids spent an afternoon at Circus Trix, a fantastic indoor play place full of different equipment to jump and climb, etc. One of the biggest highlights was a day spent in Crouch, at a cabin on the river that belongs to some friends of my parents. The kids walked up and down the river exploring in a make believe world, we ate sandwiches at the picnic table and alternated taking naps and my dad brought his bb gun and let the kids take turns shooting. After dinner we packed up and headed just a few minutes away to the Starlight Theater for a dusk production of The Little Mermaid. I love watching the sun set as the acting goes on and the kids were glued. Their favorite part is meeting the actors at intermission and getting up close. They loved it but nothing will top the magic of Belle for Eden as her first live performance. We drove the winding road home at midnight with kids asleep on my mom's shoulder. One of the highlights of my time in Idaho was the conversations Nate and I enjoyed the conversations with my mom as we shared a car for many different trips.

We tried to go to Eagle Island but it was closed and we ended up at the Julius Klein splash park instead where Eden took hours of gopro footage and we ravaged through all of the fresh farmstand peaches my mom had bought in no time at all. Brock and Nancy Luginbill met us there and it was fun to catch up with them even as the afternoon heat set in. We ended the time with a giant game of tag and then a color game I made up. It was fun to have so many different kids join in and make it a community game. We tried to eat at an empanada place but when it was closed we ended up at Freddy's (my mom's nightmare and the kids' favorite) where everyone was given coupons for free custard. There were afternoon popsicles for the kids, almost on the daily. 

My mom played with the girls at home while all the adults and boys went to an escape room that my dad had set up. It was a WW2 bunker, which was fun. It was too scary for Jordan so he ended up eating a bag of chips with one of the game controllers while the rest of us played. Nate, FP and my dad got super into it. We went to the county fair for a bit and watched a guy do magic tricks and different cultural dances in between going under the sprinkler spray. We went down the Boise river on a raft and it was relaxing and fun. We rented a boat and one kayak because of how many of us there were and Nate and FP would switch off in the kayak, taking a kid with them. The boys had a blast getting to break the rules a bit and explore inlets with Nate while the raft stayed the main course. 

Another highlight was a day spent with a distant cousin of my mom's. They run a feedlot and have 17,000 cows in their care, mostly high end Waygu and Kobe. They gave us a tour of the operation and it was fascinating to be exposed to an industry and lifestyle that I know nothing about. The cowboy culture is so unique and of course so different than what is conveyed in movies. I had a migraine most of that day, which put a damper on spending time with people who were so open and inviting to us. The kids all got to ride their horse and became instant friends with their little, distant cousins. We did hi, low, buffalo each night at dinner and it was fun to hear the themes and also the differences in what was important to different family members. Jordan is a bit quieter in a big group of adults and I liked those few minutes to hear his thoughts. My favorite dinner was one where we started telling puns. The kids are at such a great age to enjoy them and it was a moment of family from 6 (Rajah isn't quite ready for them yet!) to 67 all enjoying and laughing over them.

After Kim and family left we had two more days and we spent those shopping and packing and visiting Grandma. The kids loved going on longer bike rides out of the neighborhood with my mom each morning. It's fun to have them get older and be able to do those shared activities. It's also fun to see them to those quintessential American experiences that we can't let them do in this big, mountain city yet. We got to do dinner at Alex and Toni Fonseca's house with the Stocketts. It was fun to meet their kids and Jeff's wife and connect over shared experiences of living overseas. More bb gun time in the backyard was had with a balloon target that my dad created. Our last night we made it back to the empanada place and it was so, so good! It was hard to choose between all of the different flavor combinations and we almost all tried different ones, ending with dulce de leche and chocolate marshmallow ones after dinner.

 

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