Earlier this week we returned from the longest vacation I think we've ever taken in our lives. We drove out to Idaho to visit with my family. Aside from the drive out there and back, it was so relaxing and fun. The drive wasn't so bad, when we spent the night in Cheyenne we were able to meet up with one of the Soldiers that Kevin served with at Fort Hood and his awesome wife and adorable baby. Please keep Kris in your prayers as she is currently deployed with the Air Force.
We didn't really plan what we would do while in Idaho, we just went with the flow. We visited with friends but mainly just hung out at my parents house. They live on a small farm and I think Kevin got some ideas about what he might want to do when he retires from the Army. I'm just not sure I'm on board with his ideas. He really enjoyed spending time with my dad feeding pigs, weeding the garden, mowing the lawn (well the property, lawn sounds like such an understatement) and just doing little things here and there. It really warmed my heart to see them getting along so well. Kevin and my family really haven't had a chance to hang out since he has not been to Idaho with me since 1999.
The boys had a good time to because they got to do things they don't normally get to do here in MO. They rode the four wheeler and Michael and Neil learned how to drive a standard car. The kids spent so much time running around outside it was just a lot of fun. Even our dogs loved it in Idaho, I think they enjoyed the freedom to run around on the property.
We also got to celebrate my nephew Hunter's second birthday and Michael got to perform my niece Lexi's baptism. That was a really special day for our entire family. We spent a lot of time with my brother and his family and I'm really grateful for that. I wish my youngest brother could have been there, I miss him and I know my mom would like all her kids to be together.
Hunter immediately took to Daniel and called him "Baby" the entire time we were home. No one knows why but he did.
My mom spoiled us with her cooking. Neil is still melancholy over not having Grandma's good food. Fresh tortillas everyday and just the concept of "mom's food" is what I miss. I got to make tamales with her and just spend time with her, it was so nice.
I saw a few of my friends and I am grateful for the bonds of friendship that don't break over time and distance. It is however, always challenging to balance a visit home with friends and family. I got to see my friend Emma and her three boys (and Rusty too, of course!). We always laugh because her boys are so stinkin' small compared to my boys but I love it. Being around her family makes me want to move back there so our boys can be friends. Josh and Daniel especially hit it off and I know they would be great buds if we lived closer. I'm just glad that when we go back they do all get along. I got to see Cathie and her family and I just really love her daughter, she is such an amazing young women, her potential is endless. I was also happy to reconnect with my music teacher from high school. I wish I had been able to spend more time with her but I'm still happy I got to see and hug her.
Life was just fun and happy in Idaho. We went to the church bookstores and bought way too many books, I won't even count, let's just say we probably don't need to buy books anytime soon. We made a visit to Utah to visit some of the missionaries we knew from Fort Knox. I wish I had been able to meet up with more Utah friends but time just didn't really allot for it. One day we'll have a bit reunion of some type. We spent the night with the Williams and it was so nice and relaxing. I felt bad about springing an overnight trip on them but they were happy to see us so I felt better after being there for a while. We also got to see one of the missionaries who taught and baptized us. He has such an amazing family and I have to just say it, I love his parents HOUSE! Michael played their grand piano and was in heaven! It was nice to be able to connect with people who made such a difference in our life. We also met up with Bear Baker, I just love that guy. We have been blessed with such awesome people in our lives, I love when we can reconnect with them.
I felt pretty spoiled while at home, with my mom and dad and their good friend Vicky who owns the house they live in. She is the one who lent us the 4-wheeler and jeep to drive around. That is one thing I love about small town Idaho.
I'm glad that our family got to spend time together before Kevin heads off to Korea, again I'm just grateful for the opportunities the Lord creates for us to be a family.
Here are just a sampling of the 3000 pictures I took while on vacation!