Monday, September 11, 2017

Courtney and Rick's farm and the Solar Eclipse

Summer is slowly winding down and we are sitting back and enjoying quickly shortening final days. Since we returned from our double family reunions I have felt a shift with our kids. A few days after we came home we were planning out a day that included shopping, filling out star charts (stars are earned by completing math, science, or reading work and will be followed up by a party at Skate Plaza for those who complete the chart), chores, showers and a picnic lunch and afternoon at the beach.  Evelyn mentioned that the day sounded extremely busy and she announced that we should probably skip the beach so that we can just stay home.  Since then we have stayed home almost every morning.  A typical morning begins with me hearing the kids wake up and almost immediately begin playing a “game.” They imagine a new scenario and play it out throughout the whole morning.  Many times it is all of the kids together and sometimes they break off into groups.  I LOVE this.  Mornings are a great time for them and they typically play well together.

On Saturday, Logan took off on an exciting trip to Europe with his brother and cousins (see last week's blog post).  He is currently experiencing a greater adventure than either of us had imagined.  I will let him tell that story after he returns because with how things are going I am guessing he will have more stories to tell before his trip is done.

Courtney and Rick’s House

Before I get into this week though, I want to jump back to our fun trip to Kimberly, Idaho to visit Courtney and Rick’s farm. We decided to add on a few extra days to our vacation because… why not? 

We pulled up their driveway to a picturesque little house and farm silos silhouetted against the morning sky. When we opened the doors our city kids quickly learned that pigs do not have the same inviting aroma as freshly cooking bacon and that flies are more interested in the former.  After we unloaded we walked into the cutest farmhouse I have ever seen!  I was so impressed with the fresh paint, cute and inviting d├ęcor, and warm comfortable feel of Courtney and Rick’s home.

We were there for a short time, but we were able to cram a LOT of activity into our brief stay.  As per normal, I will let the pictures do the talking! Let’s just say that the kids have been asking repeatedly when we can go back to the farm, and when I am alone in the car with Lindsey she regales me with stories of our fun activities there and how much she wants to go back.  I am looking forward to it, too!

I am going to let the fun pictures do the talking now.






After we arrived we packed a lunch and went on a picnic at Shoshone Falls.  We walked to the falls, then the kids had time to run around a large grassy area with water running through it and just be kids!  Love them!

The Backyard Bird Club could be a post of its own, but I will take a quick second to explain because it was relevant to this visit.  Evelyn, Adalie, Jackson, and Maren began this club at the beginning of summer. They have their own bird watching journals, books they have read together, bird watching times, etc.  I thought it would be a fleeting thing, but whenever we are outdoors it never fails that one of them will point out some random bird and tell me the name and an interesting fact about it. I am shocked with how much information they know!  Anyway, now I will relate this to our farm visit...

As we got settled at the farmhouse, the older four immediately gravitated to the office and began and bird watching meeting. Evelyn did a presentation (youtube videos, notes, and all) about hummingbirds and they observed the hummingbirds at the window.  They were in this room 90% of the vacation learning about hummingbirds, owls, and even doing a bird craft!  Crazy kids!

We encourage our kids to climb trees with a few simple rules: the branches MUST be bigger than their arm and they have to be able to get back down by themselves.  The kids had been outside for a while and I went to see what they were up to... Well. They were up to the TOP of this tree!  To their credit- The branches were bigger than their arms and they were able to get down themselves (with the exception of a tree sap covered Maren)! Also, Jack was able to get to their objective. He saw the inside of an owls nest and all of them saw the owl swoop from his nest into the neighboring tree (probably fearing for his life!).

Jackson headed up the "Museum Project."  He quickly made this little space his own and even had labels for the items on display. 




When Rick got home we took a tour of the farm via four wheelers.  We checked out the farm equipment, rode down to the corn fields, and played with (tormented) a sweet baby pig. So much fun!


The Solar Eclipse


I have to admit: I went for the kids.


I went back and forth on my decision to go to Rexburg to see the Solar Eclipse.  In the end, I left it up to the kids.  They all were a definite “go.” So, we packed all of us, our stuff, our solar eclipse road trip notebooks, minus one Logan who was in Europe and headed south.  The kids were awesome on the trip (let’s be honest, they are great road trippers and I would happily have them on any trip), and everything went smoothly.  

Nancy and Greg definitely had a full house for the event! It was exciting to be there because a lot of the Hill side of the family joined the celebration and I have not seen many of them since our Provo/Grandma Wilma family nights. It was fun to catch up and see familiar faces again.

The night before the eclipse we all sat around in the living room trying to predict what the actual event would be like. No one had any idea, but it was fun to speculate. It also revealed who was and was not planning to be impressed.  Honestly, I was more in the second camp. 

The morning of the event the guys went out and picked a spot for us to save.  It was on a wheat hill overlooking Rexburg. We arrived as the moon was quietly approaching the edge of the sun. I put on my fabulous pair of eclipse glasses and saw blackness.  I was pretty surprised that there was nothing else.  As soon as I aimed at the sun there was a yellow circle. This yellow circle had a tiny indent on the top right corner.  I was surprised by my reaction.  This tiny discrepancy impacted me more than I expected.  It was cool. At that moment I became a bit more excited about this whole eclipse thing. As time went on the air took a hazy quality. It felt like I was wearing sunglasses during the day. I struggled to find something to compare it to, and the next night on my drive home I studied the sunset to see if there was any time that feeling was present, but it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was surreal.

"The total eclipse totally blew all of our expectations out of the water. Wow. There are no words. That was completely worth it."
-My text to Logan after the eclipse

There really are no words, but I will give it a shot.

As a group of strangers sharing a wheat field we studied the town of Rexburg and watched a dark shadow sweep across the town. The Temple lights in the distance recognized the change and came to life. As the darkness approached there was both a tension and stillness in the air. We were enveloped by darkness that felt as deep as the final light of sunset.  Sunset colors played on the horizon in every direction and the sun was a magnificent ring of light. We were all together, yet all in our own minds, in our own thoughts.  Then, magic happened.  As I looked at the sun there was a flicker of movement and a vivid, brilliant light exploded from the top edge of the sun. The diamond effect. It was Stunning and unable to be caught on camera or in words. This was just something you had to experience. 

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