Monday, July 16, 2018

Well, our little roller coaster of  a schedule has continued to careen through the turns of summer and has pulled us in many different directions this week. At times we felt upside-down. Others, we could't tell which way we were facing. But time races on, and we are still here.

Rachel's family arrives in two days for the Almond reunion. I went shopping this week for food and ended up buying a second refrigerator/freezer just to have a place to put it all. Both our boat and Brandon's have had issues recently, but they are both looking like they'll be in shape. (Someone said something about boats being a money pit...they were right. But it's a worthwhile pit). Plans are all laid, and I think we'll come away with some good memories.


We needed to make some space in our garage for the new fridge, so Jackson and I built these bike racks. I'd say they turned out pretty good.

Besides getting ready for the reunion, Rachel has been gone pretty much all week in Vancouver for an interpreting conference. Her friends and her all went in together on an AirBNB and I think they had a fun time.


Meanwhile, I went to work while the kids were at a week-long summer camp.

This is the only picture I have from the camp with one of our kids in it. Way to represent, Maren!
On Friday we had one of my favorite days of the year as far as my job is concerned. Free Dental Day! I have written about this event in the past so I won't go on about it too much here. Let's just say that it was a rewarding day.

Me with my Post Falls team. Seriously, I couldn't ask for better people to work with. I love this team and they make it easy to go to work each day...even when other things make it not so easy sometimes.

Over the weekend, the city of Post Falls did their big annual celebration of...well...themselves. We live in a cool place, and that is worth celebrating, right? So, three full days of parades, vendors, beaches, food, and community. Good times.

Lindsey took part in the annual big-wheel race. She didn't win, but she still got a ribbon and a free Happy Meal. That was good enough for her.

Swimming

It's all about the free stuff. Just ask Jackson. What on earth is he going to do with all these lanyards? "Oh, you know...tie things up." Great. I can't wait.

Have a good week!

The most awkward picture of Lindsey ever

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Note: While I have been pretty consistent posting on here once per week, the pace of our activities has recently taken an upswing. Consequentially, I will be doing several posts in a pretty short period of time. So...if you are one of our many adoring fans that likes to keep updated on every aspect of our public lives (including our family reunion), then go back and make sure you didn't miss anything.

*****

What does summer mean to you? It sounds like a cheap back-to-school writing assignment. But really, think about it.

Is it a drink in your hand, back up against the burning sand, probably getting gorgeously tanned? Is it bowling in the arcade? Is it strolling, while you drink lemonade? Is it fishing in a stream while you lazily dream on the banks as the clouds go by? Or a perfect song on the radio? A smile? A kiss? Strawberry wine? No shirt, no shoes?  Or just standing on your mama's porch, thinking it'll last forever.

Is it listing song lyrics because you have some downtime at work and it makes you feel clever? (bonus to whoever knows all the above references)

But really, summertime has a certain feel to it that has inspired art and music for a reason. It's sentimental and lazy and full of life all at the same time. I found that feeling last week in Post Falls. I'll describe it to you.

*****

Picture a nice marina, with a dock leading up to a patio and a sandy beach off to the side. It is the time of day that photographers call "the golden hour," with the sun starting to touch down on the water casting everything in a soft, warm glow. At the beach are families playing- swimming, sand castles, Frisbee, volleyball. Further out are people on paddle-boards or kayaks. Boats are slowly coming and going from their slips, people happy just to be out on this beautiful evening.

On the patio there is a band with a great guitarist. Music fills the air, mixing with the sounds of laughter and smells of food. People are up dancing, completely taken up by the relaxed atmosphere. Others are sitting at tables taking it all in, some with drinks, some with fresh grilled meals or appetizers, and all talking with friends and enjoying each other's company.

All of this, the sights, the sounds, the activity, the smells...this is Summer to me. I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand times again- I love where we live.



The only thing that would have made the scenario better would be if Rachel was there to dance with me.

*****

Remember in the last post how I had to go back home to work while everyone else went down to Utah? Yeah. Well, I worked. But I played too. And relaxing in the Summer haze was only a part of that.

On Friday night after work I drove up to the trail-head for a climb I have been wanting to do for a long time. Chimney rock loomed up in the twilight as if it were a giant finger, beckoning me onward to discover its hidden secrets.


The next morning I started bright and early, working up a light sweat on the six mile hike up to the base. It was a pretty hike in the North Idaho wilderness, and once again I was thankful that I had this place as my backyard.



Once there, I switched out my trail-runners for technical climbing shoes, and three short pitches later (easy fifth class) I was standing on top of the world. It was an exhilarating morning in a beautiful location. I was back in Sandpoint in time for a big lunch, followed by a much-needed nap under a shade tree by the lake.

Summit!
Have a good week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

*Deep breath*

I don't even know where to start this post. Summer is in full swing and we have so much going on and I don't feel like it's even possible to get everything out there right now. Since I last wrote, we have visited my sister's farm in Southern Idaho, had a family reunion in Rexburg, and gone to another family reunion in Utah. I did an awesome hike/climb that I want to talk about, our kids started summer camp today, our annual free dentistry event is in just a few days, and Rachel leaves tomorrow for a week-long interpreting conference. Two days after she gets back, we will have a packed house for another family reunion which we are hosting here.

Summers are fun.

But there is no way I am going to cover all of this stuff in one post.

*****

Alright then. Let's go back to Friday, June 29th. On that day, Rachel got all the kids in the car and headed out for Rexburg in the middle of the afternoon. I stayed to finish my work day, and then followed her in my car just a few hours later. The vacation had started.

After a leisurely morning at my parent's house the next day, we all got back into our cars and made the short trip to Courtney and Rick's farm home on the outskirts of Twin Falls. Upon arrival we were hit with the smells of the farm (not altogether unpleasant), the sound of children playing, and the smiling faces of family who were involved in a game of volleyball. There was a bounce-house setup in the back, and food cooking in the kitchen.

Courtney lives in the house her husband grew up in, and on land that was in the family long before that. The entire property is permeated with an engaging sense of "story" - like it fits into a greater narrative, each doorway glimpsing into the past while simultaneously anticipating the future.

Just down the road from their land is a historic homestead that was a landmark on the old Oregon Trail. We went and visited it, entering into the lives of the early settlers and imagining how things must have been.

I have to admit, the world of trucks, guns, quads, animals, and crops is one that I don't step into very often. It's a novelty to me, and as such, retains a certain charm that adds that much more to the experience. On Sunday afternoon as we sat around with extended family, children running wild, meat on the grill, wide open spaces all around us, it all hit me. The food, the laughter, the friends- I suddenly felt satiated of a certain thirst that I didn't even recognize I had- one that yearned for a slower, simpler lifestyle, steeped in the history and experience of those who had gone before.

It was nice and we had a wonderful time. Thank you Courtney and Rick, for being such great hosts.

The bounce house was a hit with the kids

Guns. So, I would officially starve to death if grocery stores were to go extinct.



Evelyn and I escaped for a quick ride around the fields.

My grandma and grandpa with sweet little Hazel Joy- Courtney's new baby that was blessed that day in church.

*****

After visiting the farm we all drove back to my parent's place in Rexburg to continue our reunion.

I have to say, these events have become difficult for me to write about because they are always so full of activity that it is easy to get swamped into describing what "happened" rather than what it all "meant." This second question, I think, deserves a lot more time that it is usually given. So let me just say this:

We had fun. We did stuff. Fun stuff. The stuff was fun. Good fun. Good stuff. Good, fun stuff.

But more importantly, we did it together. There's a bunch of us now, with brothers and sisters and kids and aunts and uncles, and cousins, and regardless of what we were doing, we had a chance to reconnect with each other. Don't get me wrong- I think the good, fun stuff was an important backdrop and catalyst to these ongoing relationships. But, as always, the real story is in the people. In the small conversations that last into the night- in the hugs- in the fights and reconciliations- in the games- in the children- in becoming, if only briefly, a more tangible part of each other's lives than we do on a regular basis. I think that good relationships are one of the most worthwhile investments into long-term satisfaction and fulfillment in life, and because of this, I love that we do these reunions.

My family is awesome. On to the pictures.

This first set is from a swimming pool and hot springs area that we went to. The kids loved the big water slide. My favorite memory here was watching all the little kids attack uncle Clayson in the pool and thinking "Gee- I'm glad that's not me." He was a good sport.




I had to include this next one. One staple of family reunions is an endless supply of snack foods. So much, that sometimes it gets out of hand and kids forget that nutrition is a thing. I think that Haley was onto something when she put this sign around Callahan's neck.



"The Gravity Zone" is a business in Rexburg that is part bounce-house, part ninja warrior training course, and part gymnastics gym. Everyone had a good time. And by the way- Addy could be a gladiator. She dominated among the kids.



A new way to solve marital disputes?

Playing dress-up never gets old. This next one comes from a fashion show the kids put on for us. Jackson was a "rock star."



On July 3rd, Lindsey became a 4-year-old! As our only kid with a summer birthday, she is going to have to learn to celebrate while on the road. Ask me how I know. Also, I am so glad that she had finally outgrown the "threes," as she is easily the most mischievous child we have had. She is also a spunky little firecracker who still runs to give me hugs when I walk in the door and asks to read stories while cuddling. I love this little Linzy-Binz.



So, the town of Rexburg treats independence day the same as Times Square treats New Year's. They go all out. For such a small town, the parade is one of the best I've been to. The only reason anybody isn't watching it is because they are in it. That night we did the best homespun firework show in history, thanks to Matt who brought a whole truck-bed full of flashy explosives. Good times.

It got loud. Jackson was a sweet brother.



Photo credits on the last two to Matt and Haley- I took them from Facebook so the quality isn't there, but I thought they were great pictures. 
Unfortunately for me, I had to head back home on the 4th to work the next day. Almost everyone else continued the vacation by driving to Utah for a different reunion. Rachel will write about that at a later time. As for now, I just have to say thanks to my family for being the best ever.

Have a good week!

We did family pictures too. Here are preliminary results. Stay tuned. 






Monday, June 25, 2018

I don't remember exactly what sparked this exchange, but a while back we were on a drive when Maren remarked, rather seriously,

"I don't want to die."

To which Addy responded, "Don't worry Maren, I'll plant you in really a pretty place."

Evelyn chimed in, "Yeah. And you're young. You have a long and happy life ahead of you. Unless you don't."

Our kids are still working on giving positive reassurances.

*****

Yesterday, Rachel and Lindsey were driving in the car. Lindsey talks a LOT.

L: Blah blah blah, blah blabbetty blah
Rach (politely): Ok. Yeah. Uh huh.
L: Blah blah blah
Rach: Yes. Oh, okay.

Etc. Suddenly, Lindsey's tone changed and she announced, "Mom, I don't like it when you say 'okay' and 'yes' and 'uh huh.'"

Rach: Why not?
L: It makes me feel like I'm eating salad...with SPAGHETTI in it! I just don't like it at all!
Rach: I say those things to show you that I am listening and have heard what you are saying.
After a brief pause Lindsey piped up and asked, "Mom, can we go to the store to get candy?"
Rach: Nope
L: Mom! Are you even listening to me??? You are supposed to say "Yeah."
*****

This week we went to the lake a couple of times to fish and swim. Our boat is in the shop getting "de-winterized" and should be ready in a week or so. Where we live, you have to get in line early for routine services since so many people have boats. Lesson learned. Next year we should be out on the water a little earlier.

Over the weekend we did a few fun things. First of all, the four older kids and I went camping at "Wolf Lodge Campground." A lot of people talk about it and we had never been there. I have to say, I was not very impressed. We had a good time though- told some good stories, made a fire, played in the creek...did all the things.

Here's some pictures:

With your clothes on? Really? 

This guy loves fishing more than I can even say. I have no idea where that interest came from. Certainly wasn't me.

Maren- Always stylin'
*****

Also, I got the chance to take my Maren to Silverwood for her first time ever. She wasn't too into the rides, but loved the shows, swimming at Boulder Beach, and doing the water-slides. Sounds like my kind of girl. The weather was perfect. As for me, it was one of my favorite visits yet to the park.




Have a good week!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A well deserved shout out to Logan!

Logan is the driving force behind our blog and most of the pictures in it, and I think he needs a bit more credit for all that he does.

I love The Hazard Chronicles. These books are treasured in our family, and they are read, reread, quoted, and referred to constantly.  Our children have an awesome family history from the very first day each of them were born. This is all thanks to my amazing husband. Logan has taken it upon himself to be our family historian and he has done a fantastic job.  He is an excellent writer and this year he has undertaken the exciting task of learning to be a stellar photographer which has shown in the uptick of quality of the pictures on the blog.  Recently, I have noticed that it has been easy for me to let him write the blog, and lately, to take all of the pictures since he does such a good job.  The result of this is that Logan rarely appears on the blog because he is busy behind the camera. Also, he does not get nearly enough kudos for the work that he does. I thought I would take a moment to brag about my awesome husband.

I am extremely lucky to have Logan as my husband!  He is a great example to me of how to be passionate about life and learning while maintaining balance with the many roles that he plays.  Logan never fails to surprise me with the topics that dominate his passion for learning.  He is constantly delving into subjects ranging from history, religion, exercise science, photography, and personal autobiographical histories. His constant reading/listening list (he always has one book on Kindle and one on Audible) rotates between fiction, non-fiction, biographies, and anything else that catches his eye. His passion for learning also includes hobbies that he not only dabbles in, but excels at. These range from photography, running, rock climbing, guitar, snow skiing, mountaineering, weight training and much more!

On top of all of his interests he is able to be passionate and constantly work on goals to improve his dentistry.  He is also able to consistently perform in the worship band at church, spend a lot of time with me in great conversation and going on frequent dates, juggle a workout/running schedule, and find time to rock climb with friends.

Whew! Have you noticed that I haven't yet mentioned him as a dad? Well, let me just begin by saying that right now he is out camping with the oldest four kids on the Coeur d'Alene river. It also happens to be raining, but I am sure that is not what our kids will remember about the time they spent with dad.  He has a way of making everything fun and exciting.

Logan is an amazing dad and he does a great job of making each of the kids feel unique and important to him. Our kids are pretty darn lucky! Here are a few things that each of them had to say about him:

Evelyn
  • Dad always challenges us to foosball
  • He likes to take us camping- I love exploring and building fairy houses with him
  • I love our Silverwood dates and individual dates together
  • I remember exploring with just him and discovering the "Hidden Lakes"
  • I like to cuddle with him when we watch movies
  • My favorite bedtime book he has read to us is "Frindle." I love all of the Andrew Clements books he has read.
Adalie
  • He is the BEST Karaoke partner ever!
  • He is the most handsome dad I have ever seen!
  • I like that he moves around to cuddle with each of us on family movie nights
  • He challenges me to foosball
  • Dad is good at cheering us on and letting us know he is proud. He cheers me on when I am swimming and doing well
  • He is a good hiking partner
  • Sometimes he surprises us with unexpected fun things like rock climbing or going to the beach
  • Good dancing partner for family dances!
  • He is really strong and can climb FAST!
  • My favorite bedtime book he has read to us is Because of Winn-Dixie
Jackson
  • Dad takes me fishing and I LOVE fishing!
  • He take apart things with me
  • He helps me learn about how to fish and then lets me do it myself
  • He always finds me to help making a campfire. He taught me to make a 1 match fire 
  • He teaches me to set up tents and be a good camper then lets me do it myself
  • He is an awesome rock climber and he takes me with him
  • My favorite bedtime book he has read to us is Shiloh

Maren
  • Dad is my movie watching partner (she is right! She has gotten out of bedtime so many times for this!)
  • He is funny
  • I like camping and roasting marshmallows with him
  • I love his spooky bedtime stories that he tells when we are camping in a tent
  • I loved the backpacking trip with dad last year
  • He saved my life when I was drowning at the beach
  • My favorite bedtime book he has read to us is Ivy and Bean

Lindsey
  • I love to hug him when he gets home
  • He hugs me all the time I go to bed
  • I like going to the beach and the Kroc center to swim with him
  • I love to go boat camping with Dad
  • I love cuddling with him at bed time
  • I love how he reads me books- my favorite is Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus


Something about Logan that most people don't know is that he loves Italy. He has recently mentioned that Italy is pretty much Heaven. We actually plan to move there for a few months at a time after retirement... stay tuned as we will definitely blog about it (even though I understand that blogging will probably be completely outdated by then!).  Last night we watched an episode of "I'll Have what Phil's Having" about Italy.  Logan's new favorite quote came from the episode:
"The problem with the world is that it is not Italy."
-Phil Rosenthal

I look forward to the fun and crazy adventures that await us as a family and as a couple. I sure love you, Logan!

Here are a few more pictures just for fun.  Notice that most of them are selfies... It is my resolution to do a better job of being on the other end of the camera so that we can get more action shots of this handsome man!












 Have a good week!