Daily Life

Saturday

Saturday Alex and I had a quasi plan. An idea really. We woke up and asked what we should do that day. So much stuff needed doing. We chose to work on food storage. We were really low on so many things. We made a list and off we went to get it.

Did you know that toilet paper is still a stock up item and you are only allowed one at Costco? Yep. But a worker got us around it. If you buy different brands you can buy one of each. Fine. The world has gotten so weird.

On the way home we listened to the end of a podcast I had started the day before. It was on the second coming of Christ and the last days, a subject I am quite interested in. It was funny because the guest mentioned toilet paper shortage. He was saying that it is a fairly easy thing to be physically prepared for calamities; all you have to do is make a list and go to the store. But to be spiritually prepared takes constant daily work. Which one is more important?

Honestly, I think being spiritually prepared is the most important. The rest will follow.

When we got home we had all the kids help unload. I love that they all pitched in. And I was shocked that I fit most of it in my storage closet. I had to reorganize a bunch of it but it fit.

While I was shopping for food storage I got items for our 72-hour kits. Alex and I revamp them every six months during General Conference. (It is next weekend – Oct 3rd & 4th if you care to watch. One of my favorite two weekends of the year. Church at home at its finest.) So with the redoing the kits I got new food to replace soon to be expired food. It will give the kids a treat to eat while they watch conference. A win-win if you will.

After we’d gotten evrything done and cleaned up I sat down and turned on a movie- Hidden Figures. My kids started to wander in and when they saw what was on they exclaimed, “I love this movie!” I love that they love the movie. We all squished together and watched it.

We ended up going to bed late but it was a fun night spent as a family talking, watching a movie, and goofing off. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Daily Life

It’s the small things

I have started writing so many times but then get interrupted and the moment passes. I made sourdough bread dough this morning and totally forgot about it until I was putting the kids to bed. So now I am up waiting whilst it bakes. It should make some good toast in the morning to eat with some eggs for breakfast. As intimidated as I was by sourdough it has been fairly easy. I’ve been making up my own recipes because all. The ones I read were too complicated. Its bread. It is supposed to be easy.

So while the latest experiment is baking I’ll update you all on what’s going on.

My kids are home for harvest break. It’s potato time here in Idaho. And luckily the break coincided with my kids being quarantined due to possible covid exposure at school. There goes any planned outings. It’s been over a week and no symptoms so I think we are in the clear. And no, nothing’s changed from what we’ve been doing the last seven months so it really isn’t a big deal to stay home. We are experts.

The last bit I’ve been trying to notice the small moments. Every day Evangeline is near me and I’l ask her if she wants to go pick raspberries. She gets super excited and runs to the door and we go to the side yard where she picks all the ones she can reach and stuffs then in her mouth. I pick a bunch and she holds get little hands out for me to give her the ones I pick and I do. We eat all the ripe ones we can find and then lately we’ve moved on to the plum tree and eat a few from the tree. I was never a plum fan but straight from the tree the little red variety we have is so good. Evangeline can carry three in her little hand and will walk around eating them and spitting the pit out wherever.

Notice the plums in her hand as we pull her on our walk. She insisted on the helmet.

I remembered that I had to write this little story down. My Noah has such curly hair. He also has what we call the “Superman Curl”. It is a curl that hangs down onto the middle of his forehead. My dad asked him the other day how he got it. Noah replied, “Well first, you have to sleep a lot. And then you have to never comb your hair.” He was so serious. It was so funny. My dad said I guess I’ll never have one because I don’t sleep a lot.

Last week Elizabeth was sick. She wanted to go to school so bad because it was fire truck day. She wanted to ride the fire truck so bad but she had a fever the night before (either the masks don’t work or they aren’t used properly or something else because we were all sick with something last week). The night before her field trip I tucked her in and she said to me, “Mom, thank you for asking God to make me better so I can go to school tomorrow.” Oh my goodness how cute was that?! I was hoping the prayer would be answered and bolster this little girl’s already strong faith. She was able to go to school the next day and ride the fire truck. She was all bouncy and full of energy and so cute to watch. I have learned that if it is important to you it is important to God and that prayers are definitely answered.

Daily Life, Remodel

Making Progress

I’ve said this before and I will say it again- I am overwhelmed. It is not the first time and it won’t be the last. That you can bet on. There is something (several somethings I am sure) that are making weird smells. I am trying to keep up but it isn’t working so well. I was thinking today that I could use a kid free day or week to just clean. I might ask Alex to take the kids out all day Saturday so I can clean.

I did what I always do though- mope for a fee minutes, regroup, attempt to organize my thoughts and get to work. I got the front room picked up and then swept up the construction mess that has accumulated in the torn apart kitchen. I started to look at it again and all the wiring that needs to be done. I looked on YouTube to see if I could learn how to do it myself. I could, if really wanted to learn it. I don’t. So I looked up all the electricians in the area and started calling down the list. One answered! I thanked him for answering and said he was the first person that had picked up. He said yeah, all the electricians have been swamped. I asked him to put me on his schedule- a month out because that’s when he’s available next. Yeah, that’s how busy they all are. He said he would put me on the list and then said he had guys in my town and would have them stop by. And they did! They saw how big of a job it was and took my plans, made notes and said the boss would get back to me. Hey, progress is progress. That combined with the bank finally catching up (they were swamped too) and we should be able to get the ball rolling. Thank goodness. But I fear my Thanksgiving deadline might be more of a Christmas deadline. Merry Christmas to me.

I did get some painting done. Well, the stuff I could reach from the ground. I don’t like heights at all. Ladders make me shaky. I was up a few rungs and as I painted and held the bucket and all the thoughts of what could go wrong went through my mind. I have a good imagination and it was working in overdrive. I soon got down from the ladder. Alex can do the rest.

When I was a teenager my mom had her kitchen redone. She put in hardwood floors and we couldn’t walk on them for whatever time it was. Well in order to get upstairs you had to climb the ladder and go through through the window. I did that fine. I can get up but I can’t get down. I was stuck up there for the duration. I think. I can’t remember if I got the guts to go back down. Ridiculous.

So now I am trying to figure out some more things to do with the remodel. One thing that we wanted to do was run a gas line so we could have a gas stove. I started thinking whether it would be worth it or if we should just stick with electric. Alex started to list off the pros and no cons. I guess that makes up the decision. But it all stands for nothing if I can’t get a plumber to show up. I did get in touch with one and I am on their list so hopefully they come sooner rather than later.

I will say this though, throughout the years I have come to trust Heavenly Father’s timing. Always on time. Never early, never late. So many experiences of “oh, so that’s why that happened” and lessons learned while waiting for something. I don’t get as antsy and freaked out if things take longer. There is a reason for the “delay”.when I started this project I prayed about it first. I didn’t get any feelings that I should stop so I went ahead with it all. Has it been a mess? Yes. Frustrating? A little bit but that is mostly me just whining because I want everything perfect. Have I learned stuff throughout the process? Definitely. And thinking back on this whole deal thus far I wouldn’t change it. Well, maybe I would get a dishwasher for the basement kitchen.

Daily Life, Thoughts

When Not to Social Distance

We went to church this past Sunday. First time we’ve had church in six months. We weren’t sure if we were going to go but I was asked to lead the music so we went. We got all ready to go and showed up 30 minutes early.

I went up to put the hymn numbers up and then sat to watch everyone filing into the chapel. I do like to see what is going on. That is why I like to sit in the back of the chapel normally, to see what is going on. I get a pretty good view sitting up on the stand.

As I sat there one of the members of our congregation came in. His wife of over 40 years died this past week from cancer. She was the prettiest and nicest lady. I was sad to hear of her passing and even sadder to see her husband left behind. As he walked in people greeted him. An older gentleman stopped him and said he was sorry (I can read lips) and then gave him a hug. I started to tear up. Then he walked further and another man enveloped him in a big bear hug to offer comfort. By then I needed a tissue. Social distancing be hanged. These people have been neighbors for many many years and no pandemic should ever stop someone from comforting one another during hard times. I struggled to hold it together after witnessing such a scene. The bishop got up and his voice started to waver. I’m sure everyone was struggling by then.

Social distancing has its place- especially in the line at Walmart- but not when someone needs to be shown love, support and comfort.

It was good to see people’s heart in the right place. The world isn’t the depraved, violent, hardhearted place the news would make it out to be.

Daily Life

Homecoming

This past week was homecoming week. My little community takes it very seriously. Friday they had a parade and I went and found Elizabeth and surprised her with her little brother and sister. She was so excited!

As the parade started and the band made their way around the corner Elizabeth’s teacher, who happens to be my son’s good friends mom, asked if my boys were still in band. I replied that one was. I hadn’t thought about it but I looked at the band and there was Michael playing his trombone. I loved it! It is so fun to see my kid participating in stuff like that.

As we were walking home from the parade Noah was eating a Twix bar he’d that had been thrown at the parade. He took a bite and moaned and exclaimed, “Why is this so good?!”

We stopped at a gas station to get some bbq for lunch- yes, there was a bbq joint inside the gas station. While we waited for the food the kids looked around. they had all kinds of candy there. Some of them I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I’ll be taking all the kids there soon. I couldn’t help take pictures of the little kids salivating and looking longingly at the selection.

How can you say no to such cuteness!

It was a fun day. We didn’t end up going to the actual game, but we heard it from our house across the street. Our team won and that is always a good way for homecoming week to end.

Daily Life

Another Day Down

I’m sitting in my chair and one of my daughters is sitting on one arm of the chair trying her hand at crocheting and one of my sons is sitting on the other arm harassing her. They are both squashing me. My son wants my phone to play a game and he looks at me, “Are you going to write in your dumb journal?” Yes, as a matter of fact I am.

This morning right after I sent the kids off to school I noticed it was a nice morning and the dog needed a haircut. So I’m sure my neighbors thought I was nuts because normally I cut the dogs hair out back and out of site but the sun warmed the front yard and the back was cold and shady. So I crazily sat on the front steps and gave my dog a haircut while the little kids played and rode their bikes. When I was done I pulled out the shop vac and vacuumed the steps, grass, my shirt and pants and then the dog. She actually let me vacuum her off. She is tolerant of anything I do to her. Dogs can be good that way. I’m sure looked ridiculous. Oh well. She is now clean and we can see her eyes.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning. The house is so overwhelmingly out of control. I’m completely overwhelmed. But I sat and ate some of the kids marshmallow cereal and tried to formulate a plan. The plan I made got altered along the way but it kind of worked. I just went through the whole house room to room gathering laundry. Next I gathered garbage and then dishes. My kids are slobs.

I cleaned all day! Eventually it came time for the kids to get out of school and the little kids and I along with the dog went to pick up the school kids. My neighbors were out so I stopped to talk to them and got the scoop on one of the new neighbors. Two houses finally sold and the occupants are moving in. One has five kids all my kids’ ages (not half because I pretty much have all the ages- hahaha) and the other is a couple with a baby. There are two other houses around the corner that we are waiting to see who moves into them.

For dinner tonight I made black beans in the instant pot and salsa from our garden stuff. It was way too good. I love that the instant pot takes an all day job of cooking beans and condenses it down to an hour. It really is one of the best inventions ever. I wouldn’t mind a couple more.

All while I was working I was listening to talk radio. I think I have been overloaded with information. I am kind of addicted to it but I like to know what is going on. I will say that what I am getting from all of the information I take in is how important it is to be prepared. It might sound like a weird thing to say, but combine the news with reading the scriptures and well, be prepared. Be prepared physically with storage- food and otherwise, and be prepared spiritually. Being prepared takes a lot of the fear out of situations. So I’ve been working on the spiritual part a little more. What has been coming to my mind a lot lately is to make my house a save haven from the world. A place where we can feel the Holy Spirit and learn and be together away from the world and all the chaos that goes with it.

I’ve been thinking what I can do to get the house to feel like I want it to. Two of the things that I cut out was the video games and internet streaming. My kids don’t really fight unless it involves video games. They fight over who gets it all the time. I took away all the video game consoles, tablets and such. I even lock the computer sometimes. It has cut down on so much contention. The next thing I’ve done is cut out the streaming. My kids watch a lot of YouTube. It’s all good stuff but you have to be so careful. I started this week to ban the internet use unless it was for school. The kids have been going through our dvd collection and watching them all. It’s fun and now I’ve got to add to it this year. I am compiling a list of movies to get for Christmas and even buying them as I see them go on sale. I’ve got puzzles and games in my cart online, too.

Oh, and I can’t end without mentioning my cat. Ugh. This cat has done naught but cost me money. The cat has to stay because Benjamin is in love with the cat. If I could have her be an inside cat to keep her out of trouble I would but Lauren’s allergies won’t allow it. I had to take her into the vet again this morning. The bite she got last week was supposedly getting better but then got worse again. It was purple and swollen and gross. The vet had to put another drain in. I sincerely hope it gets better this time and she never has another incident because she is costing me too much. I haven’t even spent that much money on myself but the cat gets pampered. Ridiculous.

Well, I guess I’ll end here. I write another “stupid journal” entry tomorrow. Teenage boys. Trust them to call it like they see it.

Daily Life

Throwback

This past few weeks we have been so busy. We prepped for school, worked on the house, worked in the garden, visited family and tried to fit in some fun here and there. Like I said busy. But that is life.

The kids are now in school. I gave them the choice to wear masks. Some don’t mind and others, like me, can’t breathe. I feel like I can’t breathe and thus can’t think with the darn thing on. I shopped online this morning so Alex could pick up the groceries and Amazon can deliver some stuff because the thought of going out and dealing with that hullabaloo was just more than I wanted to deal with.

I am a bit discombobulated though. I am trying to get into a new routine, pick up the old one (it has been six months with the kids home, I am out of a lot of habits), and trying to regain some semblance of order that was lost during the summer months. Plus I have only two kids home now. Noah is pretty much doing what he always has and Evangeline is now my sole responsibility now that her entertainers (siblings) are all in school. She is more like a cat, winding her way around and through my legs while I try to get stuff done. She is hilarious so I let her get away with it. Yesterday I caught her getting mad at the dog because as she was putting her toy microphone into the dogs face, the dog refused to sing. She wasn’t happy about that. I on the other hand was thoroughly entertained.

This past Monday we prepped for what was to be a bad day of wind and a cold front. Alex and I put away the pool and decided to end the growing season. We probably could have left the tomatoes outside and covered them but when I woke up the next morning and the wind was still blowing after 22 hours straight (and had kept the entire inter-mountain west corridor awake all night) I found the damage that had been done. My raspberry stalks had been stripped of most of their leaves and the raspberries that survived had been frostbitten and wind damaged. I think the tomatoes would have been worse off since they aren’t nearly as flexible and the tomatoes are heavy. The apple (the only one left on our young trees) was on the ground along with a smattering of plums. So on Monday before the storm hit we pulled off all the tomatoes and now they are scattered on a table in my living room waiting to ripen rather than the ground outside. Hundreds. I am not joking. But at least the garden is done for the year and I can concentrate on other stuff.

The plan is to eventually make salsa and diced tomatoes and bottle them up. I did order canning lids from online because they are as scarce as toilet paper was months ago. The new must have item. Luckily there are tons of canning lids available online and if you can wait- I can wait- then you are good to go.

I was telling Alex that I enjoy this throwback to the old ways. It is a lot of work, I will grant you that, but it is much more simple. I am not saying I want to live back then, nope, I like the modern conveniences too much. I was eating raspberries off the bushes, checking the ripeness of the plums, tasting the apples off from the trees we just planted last year (they are so good!) and I thought how good life can be. Lunch Monday afternoon consisted of carrots, broccoli and cucumbers from our garden, eggs from our chickens and fresh bread straight from the oven plus we had the company of our family to enjoy. It really is a good life; a slower pace. And due to the cold front and our heater being out during construction I had to start a fire in the wood stove to warm the house up last night and this morning. That and the sourdough bread baking in the oven this morning and I’d say I am enjoying myself. Just don’t look at the rest of the messy house and my to do list that is a mile long. I’ll get to it eventually. I’ll just pretend that all is well in the world for a few minutes and get back to reality soon enough. It isn’t going anywhere.

Daily Life

Growing Gardens and Growing Kids

I was sitting out on the back steps yesterday. The weather has warmed up but it still feels like fall. I was emptying the pool and Evangeline was playing in the water and with the hose it is coming out of. She loves water but hated the pool up until a couple weeks ago when Lauren coaxed her in.

The other day when it got cold we had our garden all covered. It ended up not needing it but better safe than sorry.

I made some phone calls for the remodel and one electrician was booked and not taking new jobs, one wouldn’t answer, one I texted but have heard anything back. The plumber at least answered and I can get an estimate. I still have more calls to make. I thought that I ought to call the flooring guy as well to start setting it up. The countertop guy emailed me a quote back and the one we liked out of our narrowed down choices is the lowest price of the three. Yay for what little progress I’ve made- even if it is just tentative and mostly on paper.

Later we all sat down after dinner and watched Trolls World Tour. I’m not a fan of the Troll movies but the message was a good one- everyone is different and that is a good thing. It really is. In thinking about it, what would we ever learn or how would we ever grow our have any challenges (yes, challenges can be good) if everyone is the same? Boring. I could definitely do without the violence and anger that comes with people thinking they need every one to be the same or that one is better than the other. As long as no one is harming another I think the differences can be beautiful.

I registered my oldest son for high school this week. School starts next week. We went and paid the fees, got a locker and he also signed up to audition for the school musical. He’s so nonchalant about the whole thing. He’s so cute! I can still see the little boy when I look at him. Same with Lauren. She is in junior high this year and I was watching her play with her best friend at her friend’s birthday party and she just looked so grown up and happy. She was singing to whatever song was on the radio and dancing like no one was watching. It was adorable. It is sad to see them grow up but so fun to watch at the same time.

There’s a quote from C. S. Lewis,

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?”

It is one of my favorites. It reminds me to slow down and pay attention to the little things, the moments. The other night I was lying next to Evangeline trying to get her to sleep. I was looking in her eyes as she was holding my cheeks and we just stared at eachother. Moments like that I am glad I could experience. Being a mom is such hard work but it is moments like that, that we slow down for, that make it so worth it.

Daily Life

Mondays Happen

Ever have once of those days where the day ends and you know you were busy all day and can’t for the life of you figure out what took up the whole day? Yep. That was my Monday. I did get a lot done but it was time consuming but felt like nothing was accomplished.

I had to make an appointment for Elizabeth to finish up her kindergarten vaccinations (it was all drama at the appointment, in case you were wondering because there were needles involved). After I had made the appointment I noticed that the cat wasn’t getting any better. Ugh. This cat needs to stop getting into fights. We’re going to have to lock her up at night. Last week she had a weird lump on her neck. It looked like she got bit by something and got infected. I thought I’d give it a few days to see if it would heal on its own. Nope. The poor thing. She’s still running around and acting normal but the sore is anything but normal. I’m kind of miffed. This cat is costing way too much. I take her to the vet this morning.

I did find out some good news yesterday though. Ten more days until we are done dealing with the refinance stuff. I finally have a date to work with and can now start scheduling contractors and getting serious bids. I have given myself the goal of being completely done with the upstairs by Thanksgiving. That’s three months and I hope it doesn’t take that long. I’d prefer two. But I’ll give myself some wiggle room.

Alex and I did some discussing and since he built cabinets for eight years we decided that we will make most of the cabinets ourselves to save money. Would I rather someone else build them? Yes. But if we can use the money elsewhere then we figure that is a better plan. At least we hope. We had dreams of paying others to do all the work but when it comes down to it, we know how to do most of it. We really only need to have the plumbing and electric done by professionals. Alex can do basic wiring and plumbing but the stuff we need done isn’t basic. $$. So today I get to make a bunch of phone calls.

As it was Monday and we have Mondays set aside for what we call Family Home Evening I was finally on top of something and Sunday night I gave the kids their assignments. So after dinner we all gathered together and Lauren gave the lesson on listening to the Holy Spirit. She did a pretty good job. We played a game similar to battleship but with just paper and pencils and then had popsicles that Gideon had chosen. It was a fun time.

Last night before it got dark I suddenly remembered that we needed to cover the garden. We had some freak cold front move in and we had a frost warning. Just one night of weird cold freezing weather before it shoots back up to 90° F. So annoying. I called Alex and the boys to join me outside and we covered all the cold sensitive plants. I didn’t know we had that many tarps- Alex kept bringing them out of the garage. He said I should know because I’m the ones that bought them. Well good thing I did. I even found all the old sheets and brought some towels out, too. I’l be danged if I’m going to spend six months working on the garden only to have six hours of cold ruin it all. Not on my watch. Hail, cold, and bugs (and possibly toddlers) are the nemesis of the garden and I’ll protect what I can. Even if it does look stupid.

Yesterday, as I was going about my daily chores, I thought that I needed to do a better job with my kids. Some kids seem to need more attention than others and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. My two middle boys just kind of do their own thing and I had an impression that I needed to spend more time with them. So last night I got some of our favorite books and sat down and read to them. Now that we’re trying to get on a school schedule it isn’t insanely late at night when we finally get them in bed so I have time to spend reading a small book or two before bed. I had six kids cuddled around me. Not what I had planned but it worked. I have been thinking recently about what memories I want my kids to have when they grow up. The nightly tuck-in is one, scriptures and prayers is another. If I can add reading fun books to them and talking then that would be good.

I did have a sad moment last night. Elizabeth had gotten a bunch of stickers at the doctor’s office. I went to tuck her in and she had stuck them all over her dresser. Her brand new dresser. I said “Nooooooo!” Exasperatedly. I’m trying to teach them to keep things nice and stickers on dressers don’t look nice eventually. Luckily they came off easily but she was very upset and crying because she’d worked on it and was proud of her work. It broke my heart to see her heart broken. We did find a good solution but I still feel bad about it.

I guess I better get started on my day. I don’t even want to think of what needs to be done. I really do miss my dishwasher and the dream laundry room in my mind. Oh well, such is life.

Daily Life

Weekend, Fires, and Long Drives

The weekend was a good one. It passed pretty quickly. We didn’t have much planned but we got it done and then some.

First task, besides dishes because there are always dishes, was to take the three youngest boys shopping. We went to Walmart to get some clothes for school. We probably need to get some more but what we got will have to suffice for now. They will have something new to wear the first day of school. To enter the store you need a mask on, of course. I had one but Alex and the boys picked one up at the door. The kids had never worn a mask before so it was fun for them- for about a minute. They put them on in every conceivable way: on their head, on their neck, on their face covering their whole face- eyes included. After a few minutes the masks made it into the cart. We were social distancing if you are worried about it.

After Walmart we stopped at the nearest nursery. I have been looking at my yard and it is lacking. I did some brainstorming and saw what was working and what wasn’t and I have some ideas in my head of what I need. At the nursery I looked around for plants that were the right height and texture I was looking for. I found a few but only bought a small little bush. When we got home I spent a good while looking at the flower garden trying to imagine what all my plants and bushes would look like big so I could see where to put the new bush. I think I have it figured out.

While I was doing that, Alex was using the weed-whacker to take care of the weed growth. When we were out in the yard we saw to the north of us that there was a huge brush fire that had broken out. We later learned it was started by lightning. The firefighters were not going easy on that one. A few years ago we had massive fires to the north of us and it took days, probably a week or so to contain. This one they got put out in a hurry. There was a giant helicopter with a water bucket making trips to the nearest lake for water. We were watching that and this massive airplane came into view and was flying low. We don’t get big airplanes around here, just crop dusters (which are so fun to watch especially when they fly low over our house). We watch the giant plane circle around trying to gauge where exactly to drop the fire retardant. Within probably an hour or two the smoke was down to almost nothing and the planes and helicopters went away. It was a fun spectacle to watch.

While Alex and I were out doing yard work the kids were in the house making dinner! I love that I have kids old enough to make dinner. Michael did most of it but for a 14 year old he’s got the pizza making thing down. It was late when we ate but it was good!

So Friday was 6 days since I made my sourdough starter. It smelled normal now! It stunk so bad three days prior. It really smelled like vomit. Luckily the chemistry or microbiology worked like it was supposed to and it was ready to use. I made a double batch and I guess it is supposed to take 12-15 hours to raise. Oh my gosh that it is a long time to dedicate to bread. But I guess if I am sleeping through most of it then it isn’t too big of a deal. The longer bread is allowed to rise the better it tastes anyways even if it isn’t sourdough. Benjamin is really excited for it. The other kids don’t like sourdough but maybe it will grow on them because Alex and I love it, too, and will probably be making it several times a week if I can figure it out.

Saturday we are planned to just get away. There is always going to be work to do but the kids will only be young for so long. The majority of us are homebodies and are content to just stay home forever but I made us all go out of our comfort zone.

We drove around the mountain to Jackson Hole. It was a long drive but it is a pretty drive. I think even better than Jackson Hole is Swan Valley. I would live there if I could. On the drive traffic was backed up due to the widest load I had seen. It had to pull over occasionally to let traffic pass from both sides.

The picture doesn’t do it justice.

As we were driving behind this behemoth, I saw a gross pile of roadkill on the side of the road. Then we smelled it. Oh my gosh. Skunk. It was the worst! I have slight PTSD from skunk so every time I get a whiff I think “Oh no, is it going to get worse?” And it was.

When I was probably 20 I was driving home with my mom and there was a very fresh skunk kill in the road. You could practically see the vapors coming off from it. There was no escaping it. We drive right over it and oh the stench! We had to pull over a moment later so my mom could throw up. That is how bad it was. I had to air my car ot for over the days and it still had a slight smell for a while afterwards. Sho you can see why I get a little nervous when I smell it.

The ride continued and was starting to get more altitude. We found out why Benjamin hates the ride. Actually all the kids started freaking out a little. Mountain roads are scary because of the drop off on one side. Benjamin said we were inches away from sudden death and was freaking out. Well, we weren’t that close.

When we finally made it to the town center the games began. The last times we’d gone to Jackson it was empty. This time it was packed! We almost just left then. But we’d been in the car so long we decided to just brave the crowds. We stopped at a park first and let the kids run around. Then we walked the seven minutes to the candy store to let the kids pick something out. It was a fun little store. The kids picked out some stuff and I grabbed a few different flavors if salt water taffy.

We didn’t stay longer than that. It was enough to get the wiggles out. As we drove around the kids and Alex continued their game of cool car spotting. Jackson is a perfect place to play it. Teslas, Porsches, Aston Martins, Bugattis, you name it, we’ve seen it there. It was fun.

As we were driving it off town Alex started coughing and sputtering.  At the candy store I had grabbed a piece of mango chili taffy just to try. I hadn’t told Alex about it.  He thought it was pumpkin. I could see why,  but it wasn’t. I was laughing so hard.

Top of the mountain. Behind us is Jackson Hole (you can’t really see it through the smoky haze).

The ride home was faster because we went over the mountain this time. Alex wanted to stop at the Teton Dam. Look up the history of that one if you want. We stopped to look at it for a minute and in the few minutes we were stopped a fire had broken out. We got in our van and turned around and there was smoke and flames that weren’t there minutes ago. A farmer was out harvesting wheat and his tractor must have caused a spark and started the fire. It was kind of scary. I didn’t see any news stories on it later so they must have gotten it out fairly quickly. Luckily he’d gotten most of that field mowed already and it was just that last corner.

That was the weekend. It was nice to do something different. School starts in a week so we have that next adventure to prep for and look forward to.