{7QuickTakes} Weekly mishmash: Vacation recap edition

 

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Redfish Lake, Idaho

Well, hello again!  We recently got back from our summer trip.  The house is still a mess disaster with piles of laundry and camping stuff in my living room waiting to be cleaned.  Sometimes I wish going on vacation wasn’t so much work!  But it was a good time.  Here are some highlights:

  1.  SHOSHONE FALLS  img_1722

We’ve called southern Idaho home for about 15 years and have never been to visit this phenomenal natural wonder.  It is near Twin Falls, Idaho, and is a natural falls on the Snake River.  This is from Wikipedia : “Sometimes called the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is 212 feet high—45 feet higher than Niagara Falls—and flows over a rim nearly 1,000 feet wide.”  Pretty incredible!  And very loud!

2.    BOISE

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Me and the kids getting cozy with Idaho.

So, all my photos turned out really blurry.  I think because my lens had fingerprints or something.  Most likely of a child-size nature.  But you get the general (blurry) idea.  We headed to our state’s capital for a few days, to cycle around their lovely Greenbelt and attend a family showing of Macbeth at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  Bellie recently won a really snazzy new mountain bike from her school in a bike challenge – and was really excited to be able to test it out on our trip.

loved Macbeth.  I realized that I had never actually seen a Shakespeare play professionally performed before.  (Even though I of course studied them in school and was able to see snippets performed at Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon last summer!)  I had prepped the kids before time that the play *might be a little scary* and the *witches were just ladies like Mommy all dressed up to look freaky*.  We also got children’s editions of Macbeth from the library so they would be familiar with the story.  Verdict: My kids were entertained and really enjoyed the play!  My 3-year-old was telling people afterwards that the “witches were not scary, they were like crows” (there was some cool bird-like choreography going on with them) and kept repeating, “Macbeth!  Macbeth!” ominously to her siblings.  My boys loved the swordplay.

 

 

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Bellie and me before the show.  They let people purchase seats onstage just like in Shakespeare’s day.

 

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View of the stage after the show.  It was such a lovely evening!

3.  THE BUTT TREE

My kids discovered this.  I think this photo is pretty self-explanatory.

 

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You, lucky reader, can find this tree yourself in Boise’s lovely Julia Davis park near the Rose Garden!!

 

4.    IDAHO CITY

Idaho City is about an hour northeast of Boise.  It is an old gold-rush town and still has lots of old buildings from the 1860s.  I could have probably spent all day there, but the rest of my family is not as fascinated by history as I am so I just made them tour the old cemetery with me.  The brochure said that only about 30 of the 200 identified graves from the early days contained people who died of natural causes.

We came across several 19th Century children’s graves, which prompted a great discussion with the kids about the benefits of childhood immunizations.  (as in, “Aren’t you glad Mommy and Daddy tortured you by making you get your shots?  These five siblings died when the diphtheria epidemic of 1888 swept through town.  And now we have an inoculation for that so it won’t happen to you.”)  A little morbid, I know…but the kids can do the math and they ask.  Big eyes from the kids, but I think it brought home to them how lucky they are in this day and age with our medical advances.

5.   STANLEY, REDFISH LAKE, and the SAWTOOTH MOUNTAINS

This area gets really busy in the summer, but when we went it was still “shoulder season”.  The campground was pretty quiet, but still full.  The water was c-c-c-c-cold.  For reasons unknown to me, that didn’t deter the children from attempting to swim.  Silly kids.  Anyhow, it was gorgeous.  We rode bikes, fished, hiked, and rode horses.  At the end of the week I really needed a shower.  And we had extremely tame little chipmunk friends who lived at our campsite (which we admired from a distance and kept our food away from because plague is going around in Idaho and is carried by those types of rodents!)

 

6.  SUN VALLEY/KETCHUM

Basically, by the time we got to Sun Valley we were ready to stay in a hotel.  And I am pretty sure the highlight of the trip for the kids was watching tv and swimming at the hotel. (It is so extremely HARD to go without electronic devices for a week.  I mean, we really tortured those children).  We just relaxed and ate at some fun restaurants (KB’s – yummiest burritos ever!).  I went to my favorite Sun Valley area bookstore, Iconoclast Books & Gifts and also visited the Gold Mine thrift shop in Ketchum (resort communities have the most luxurious thrift stores!!  I scored big with the name brands!)

I was in the middle of reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and got really intrigued by Ernest Hemingway and wanted to do the whole Hemingway pilgrimage in Ketchum but ran out of time.  Oh well, maybe next time.

The Paris Wife

7.    This is not related to our travels, but I take my first Teaching Certification test on Friday!!!  I am scared.  But I feel prepared.  So, we shall see.  I will let you know how it goes!  Send me good thoughts!

 

Hope everyone has a lovely Father’s Day tomorrow!  Talk to you again soon!

 

 

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Siblings Abroad: My wild European Adventure

I have been sort-of persona non here-a this summer, sorry about that!  But I have a lot to share!  I DID take my Mommy trip (sans family but avec my littlest brother) to Europe at the beginning of August.  And it. Was. Fabulous.  I plan to write a more detailed set of posts all about it soon, but here are a few highlights:

DUBLIN, IRELAND

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This is me and my brother outside the gates of the Guinness Brewery (or, as I like to think of it,  “Disneyland for ale-drinkers”)

THE HARBOR AT COBH, IRELAND

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Most likely, if you have Irish ancestry, your forbears left from this port.

COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND

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It was a dreary, wet, rainy day but Ireland was still magnificent.

LONDON, ENGLAND

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I didn’t realize it at the time, but when we heard Big Ben chime the hour it was one of the last times it would chime for the next couple of years!  They are going to be doing extensive repairs on it through 2019 and the bell (which is the actual “Big Ben”, not the clock) will be out of commission.  It was lovely to hear!

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

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I love these Tudor windowpanes!  This is at Shakespeare’s Schoolroom/ former town Guildhall.

WARWICK CASTLE

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I’ve been slightly obsessed with Warwick Castle and “Warwick the Kingmaker” since I saw the Starz miniseries The White Queen.  Both my brother and I really thought seeing this fabulously maintained and imposing historical structure a highlight of our trip!

PARIS, FRANCE

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This was my second trip to Paris and it is still my favorite city in the whole world!  A lot has changed since 1999, but Paris still had all of its old charm in abundance.  Je t’aime, Paris!

THE LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE

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Chateaux country!!!  I think I may retire here…there are so many chateaux to choose from, and a dilapidated one probably wouldn’t cost too much, right?  One of my favorite things about the Loire Valley are the gorgeous gardens and flowers everywhere.  (This is the Chateau du Langeais, isn’t it delightful?)

NORMANDY

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The World War II sites at Utah and Omaha Beaches were poignant reminders that we owe so much to those brave young men (and women) who gave their lives to stop Hitler.

BELLEAU-WOOD, FRANCE

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This World War I battle site and village were of special interest to my brother and me for two reasons: our great-uncle fought here and was permanently blinded by German mustard-gas; and US Marine Corps history was made here when those men held the line and kept the enemy from advancing toward Paris.  My brother (a former Marine) was honored to see where the men who came before him fought so bravely.

More soon!!

{7QuickTakes}Weekly mishmash: Halloween and the Couch that Smelled of Pee, or Scary Adventures in Potty Training

Hello!  We survived a scary week of Halloween being on a Monday.  It was rough,  and I can imagine even more so for my children’s teachers – having to get through an entire week of dealing with candy-addled youngsters.  I salute you, teachers.  Your courage and fortitude is beyond my capabilities.

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What is scarier than kids hopped up on candy??

Here is what else has been going on around here:

ONE

I realized that I am becoming a Bah-Humbug Halloween mom.  This is so extremely sad because, generally, I love Halloween.  It’s one of my favorite holidays, and not for the whole pseudo-occult-scary-zombies-and-skulls-everywhere reason.  I just like to dress up.  But this year, the day before Halloween, as I was rushing around trying to find all the pumpkin-carving tools and laying down newspaper on the table while trying to remember where I put the battery-operated tea lights, it occurred to me that THIS IS JUST TOO DANG MUCH WORK.  And, of course, the kids are running around in crazy anticipation of things to come (i.e. candy) like wolves who get a whiff of a wounded elk two miles off.  Of course, I suck it up and remember that this holiday is for them, not me, and power through.  But I lament the fact that I can’t seem to find the joy in Halloween any more.  I will need to work on that (and don’t even get me started on Christmas!)

TWO

Hubby and I met 16 years ago at a Halloween party at his college fraternity house.  I was a cowgirl….he was a  – flasher [because what other Halloween costume can you make up with things you already own – a coat and boxer shorts (luckily he was a G-rated flasher)? – excited to try to explain that one to our kids later…] but it always makes the Halloween season special for Hubby and me.  I like to try and go out to eat or something to celebrate our Anniversary of Meeting.  This year, we did something different and went to a sip-and-paint place (you can bring wine in and everyone in attendance gets instruction about how to paint a specific picture).  I had been there once before with my girlfriends, but I was pleasantly surprised how my analytical, science-minded husband really took to the creative experience.  He was really excited about his painting afterwards and talked about the experience for DAYS.  It was really a fun date night.

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He’s a better artist than me…his steps had WAAAAAYYYY more structural integrity than mine.

THREE

Yeah. So…my couch smells like urine.  I am so done with this “potty training” stuff with Spike.  He turns 4 in a month and I am pretty sure he will still be peeing his pants then.  We have tried everything.  Pull-ups are glorified diapers, people.  I have never successfully used them to potty train.  So we are just going the underwear route, along with a “potty timer” so that he has to at least try to use the toilet every 45 minutes.  This works well, except for when ha! Mommy forgets to reset the timer, or, he has the urge to go between timer dings.  Apparently I need to give him VIP-escort to the bathroom whenever I read his mind that peepee is coming, or no cigar.  Grrrrr!  Junior was a pain to potty train as well.  Bellie, on the other hand, was a breeze.  (She was so embarrassed about pooping in her auntie’s bathtub that she instantly decided poop would never again go anywhere but the porcelain throne.)

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Quit your smiling, McQueen! This isn’t fun.

FOUR

I ordered my Christmas cards already!  I am totally on top of things.  Of course, they will still probably not be mailed until the day before Christmas, but it’s the intention that counts, right?

FIVE

That is how many baskets of clean laundry I have in my living room that currently need folding.  Ugh.  Sounds like a Friday Fun-day activity.100_9805

SIX

We are hardly ever out and about after dark around here and the other day I had to run Junior to karate with the other kids in tow.  The sun had gone down and it was getting darker and Spike worriedly asked me if we were still going to be able to find our way home in the dark, or if we were lost.  It genuinely concerned him, and I was glad I could put his mind at ease:-)

SEVEN

I hope everyone remembers to vote on Tuesday!  Hubby and I were having a conversation about the upcoming election and he remarked, “I don’t think the country has ever been more divided in an election before.”  Of course he is not a history major, but I had to remind him of the election of 1860…

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…at least we’re not to the point of secession – at least not yet.  God Save Our Country!

And God bless you all in the coming week!

Be sure to stop by Kelly’s for more fabulous Quick Takes!