Friday, June 10, 2016

Vacation 2016 Part 4: Idaho!!


We left Utah Tuesday morning and drove up to Idaho to spend some time with Neil's brother Caleb, his wife Juli, and their seven kids. We always have such a great time with them and we're so glad that while they're no longer close-ish to us in Missouri, they're only a few hours from all of our family in Utah! 


When we arrived at their new house, we got the grand tour, then we loaded everyone up and headed out to go water-skiing! They just bought a really awesome new boat that fit everyone comfortably, and despite the 60-degree air temperature (Neil's guessing that the water was around 40?) we had an amazing time!!


Luke was pretty much giggling with joy the entire time--he loves boats!





Whenever we see Joshua (below on the left) I always think that's what my boys will look like in another few years, since they are basically the spitting image of him when he was younger. I love this picture of Josh holding Abigail when she was a baby! And I'm really wishing I'd gotten a few photos of Caleb & Juli's five boys with mine...Isaac and Nathan both look so much like their kids that I kept losing them in the sea of little brown-haired boys! 



I can never get over that gorgeous Idaho landscape. When I was a kid we very rarely visited Utah but always went to Idaho, since that's where my dad's family all lived, so the Idaho desert very much feels to me like revisiting my childhood.



This was the first chance Neil has had to go waterskiing since before Abigail was born--we went a few times when we were first married before his dad sold their boat. Oh, how he has missed it, and he was SOOO excited to go again!!


Look at that joy!! I love it! He was whooping with glee and we could hear him from the boat. At one point a bald eagle flew alongside him while he was skiing and he was pretty darn excited about that too. :-)


Just as good at waterskiing as he is at snowskiing!



He was pretty tired afterwards...but I love this shot of him resting on the edge of the boat!



 We didn't have kid-sized wetsuits with us, so the kids opted to go in the tube rather than ski since we could better control how wet they got. 


Abigail was so stoic--we couldn't tell if she was having fun or not, but she assured us that she loved it!


Jules had a blast--she probably spent longer out on the water than anyone else, adults included!





Nathan wanted to go, but I was worried about how cold the water was for his tiny little no-fat body, so I kept him on the boat with me...it was REALLY cold with the wind so we did a lot of snuggling in his blanket.



Isaac setting out on Neil's lap...





And another Nathan photo...he wasn't quite sure about having Neil out on the water away from him. 



Lukey! Luke LOVED the water. 



 After a few hours we pulled in to this tiny little island and had dinner. The kids loved the fact that it was only accessible by water!


And the floating toilet was also extremely fascinating--nothing like a toilet seat that gently bobs up and down in the wake of passing boats, amiright?


Happy happy Juliet...sun, water, sand, cousins, and unlimited Oreos. Does it get better than that?


Jules round II--she was SO ready to go again! Look at that little smile!


In this shot of Neil & Caleb you can see why Nathan kept getting confused about which one was Daddy...


Prow of the boat packed with little boats! I love it! The kids had such a great time up there, and Juli and I had a blast sitting in the back holding our babies and talking a mile a minute. Juli is super sweet and it's always such a treat to spend time with her! I was bummed that we didn't get to go running together as we usually do, but we were pretty worn out once we got home. :-)


At the very end of the day Caleb and Neil decided they wanted to go skiing again, but Caleb didn't want to shimmy into the clammy wetsuit after Neil took it off, so he just went in his swim trunks. Oh man! It was SO cold and we could see him getting redder from the boat! Fortunately their boat has this really cool personal heater thing so once you're out of the water you're totally warm and dry in five minutes.


Getting the boat back on the trailer and Nathan seized his moment to slip into the driver's seat...he was pretty overjoyed but I could tell he was trying to be quiet about it in case someone noticed and decided he shouldn't be there--hah!


And the sunset as we drove away. So completely beautiful and such a perfect day!



The next morning we said our goodbyes to Caleb & Juli and headed over to my grandmother's house on the other side of town. Her house is a total paradise for kids and I've told my kids SO many stories about summers there--they were super excited to see it! I was really grateful that we were able to see her--she was quite ill a year ago and I'm so glad that she has recovered and that we were able to have this time with her.


We had an absolutely wonderful visit with her! I got pretty choked up as we were leaving.

And then much much more choked up as we drove just a bit down the road and stopped at the cemetery where my grandfather is buried. He died in an accident on the Grand Teton the year before I was born, but I've heard so many stories about him and spent quite a bit of time reading his writing (he was a professor at Ricks College) and reading about his mountaineering exploits (he had first ascent on many routes through the Tetons, so there's a pretty good record out there). One of my favorite things I've read about him as I've tried to create an understanding of who he was is the funeral address given by his best friend Hugh Nibley. 


The children laid a few wildflowers on his grave and then I read this poem written for him by another friend, Donnell Hunter, that used to hang on the stairwell in my grandmother's house. I'm not sure where it is now, but when I was about 14 I copied it down and saved it in my little box of treasures. And we spent a few minutes looking out from his grave at the beautiful view of the Tetons he loved so much. It was a really special moment and I'm glad we were able to make it happen.


The handwriting isn't super easy to read, so for posterity's sake I'll go ahead and type it out here.

The View
for Don Decker

At the edge of the desert
where lava gives way to Plano
farms and wind drifts pure
sand in the lee we chose
the graveyard, pumped water
ninety feet to keep it green.

It's only waste land--nothing
to erode the county tax.
Besides, it's easy digging, no need
to give up more than half a day
if death comes during harvest or just
before planting time.

Lizards bask blue sides
all summer. Winters, black-tailed
jacks play hide-and seek
with owls. The backdrop lava outcrop
forms a natural moment.
As for the view

you can see the Tetons Resurrection
Morning and know exactly where you are.

--Donnell Hunter, 1982


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