We had the BEST time in Idaho. How we all feel in Idaho:
I'm so grateful my sister still managed to take an official boat-load of pictures despite being in her first trimester of pregnancy and a single mother all on the same vacation. She's pretty awesome. Elusive sister photo:

But honestly, everyone in my family is awesome. Without a doubt, everyone's favorite is "Baby Nora" or "Doodle." Please see evidence below:

Luke and Olivia become inseparable whenever they are together and morph into conjoined twins that we refer to as "LukeandLivy."
Funny side note: Olivia was going in to give Luke a kiss earlier when she looked at him horrified. "Eww, Luke, your face is so dirty. You have to wash it."

Plus there's my parents who throw slumber parties every night and make all the runs to Wal Mart for diapers and snacks whenever World Cup games aren't on.

We stayed with my Uncle Dave, who spent his every waking hour cooking for us, and Aunt Beaney who no words can describe. Everyone who meets Kristine wants to BE her, and be loved by her. Kathleen and I get so jealous of the kids when she is spending time with them.
She basically will do anything you ask her do, even it's jumping in a lake fully clothed or pedalling along for miles on end at Luke's turtle speed. She makes everyone feel like they're perfect.

In Idaho, the days all blur together. There's always a lot of swimming, eating, and cousin loving.

And always, always, bike riding. We all have bikes up in Idaho and the kids spent hours on those everyday. We biked to see my mom's Unlce Harold and Aunt Margaret. We biked to pick peas from the farm.

We biked to play tennis at the Matsuura's (our other family in Idaho). We biked to the playground. LukeandLivy biked circles from the driveway, to the car park, over the bridge and onto the sidewalk for hours on end. Nora rode her pink baby quad (modeled here by Luke).

Speaking of quads -- there was a small incident the very first day we got there which reminded us all why my dad is not allowed to do anything even slightly adventurous on the first day of vacation.
Luckily there were no broken clavicles this time, just a few bumps and bruises on LukeandLivy. They made a full recovery.

The Matsuura's built the coolest "barn" in their backyard. It's right next to a lighted tennis court, and has two kitchens, 4 bathrooms, an apartment, a poker table, a piano room, a movie theater, a fridge stocked with root beer float ingredients and cupboards full of chips and candy, a ping pong table, a wii, a pool table, a foosball table, darts, every board game imaginable, a basketball court and an art studio.
My kids were discussing how it had everything except a hot tub when someone pointed out the hot tub off their back deck. We spent a lot of time over there.

We put together puzzles and painted rocks. We went to Wal Mart 4 times a day. We ate junk food and dessert three times a day. Ellie went school shopping and finally convinced me to let her get romperalls (they were on clearnace).
We even used technology to help decide which color shirt she should get. Can you guess which she chose? Also ignore me photobombing. I looked Jake from State Farm hideous. 

The little kids all got Paw patrol stuffed animals everytime we needed to bribe them to do something. We filled and threw hundreds of water balloons.
We played croquet and badminton. We got out the trains. We played Clue. We played paper dolls and Hot Dog Tooth Fairy. We ate at Rupe's.
 Ellie did over 100 bum sits on the trampoline. We went out on Midnight Runs. We cuddled, ate ice cream and watched the World Cup.
The kids had "Tramp Camp" (they named it, not me) which meant they told scary stories and slept on the trampoline as long as they could handle it (midnight). Idaho is heaven if you suffer from ADD. There is always something to do and the kids literally bounce from one to the other every 10 minutes.

 One of everyone's favorite days was boating day. We drove down to Bear Lake and grabbed some raspberry shakes before hitting the lake. We caravaned down and somehow Dustin, Kathleen and I scored a car with only Ellie.
The trip was suppose to take about 2 hours but in the end I think it took 3 hours. We had to stop to use the restroom once. There was a dirty diaper. One time we stopped to read a sign about Butch Cassidy. Kristine forgot the cheese so we made a quick grocery store stop. Another time we stopped for directions at a gas station and a water fight erupted between all the cars.

Finally arrived, grabbed some raspberry shakes and headed to the lake. This would be the last thing we drank for 4 hours since we totally forgot all the water on shore. Luke sat on my lap and told me, "It's so beautiful here, Mom." The lake was turquoise blue and there was no one out there.

The little kids were not eager to get on the float. Especially after they watched Nate get flipped off.
Although, he handled it like a champ, and just sat there waiting for us to swing back around and get him.
Somehow we coaxed them out there first with a "rope ride," and then eventually with boat actually *moving* as long as we went "really really slow." I think we got to about 9 miles an hour.
After boating we went over to the beach side and had a picnic dinner while the kids played in the water. It was the most relaxing day.

 One day we decided to go check out a museum on the ISU campus. It was pretty much a snooze fest except for the kid center. Kathleen and I were pretty pumped that we completed all the giant floor puzzles.

Meanwhile the other kids were actually learning educational things.

Somehow my dad scored a tour of the museum archives and my kids were able to hold tortoise bones that were 13 million years old. It's the only thing that saved the day.  Unless you ask Kathleen and Dave; then there was nothing that saved that visit.

The 4th of July was an eventful day. It started out slowly with a drive out to the Reservation to buy more fireworks than we could possibly need. Then a family bike ride.
For dinner Dustin and Dave barbequed ribs for everyone along with cooking a smoked turkey as well. Yuki brought us all some spam sushi and I made all my kids try it.

We did some fireworks before the little kids went to bed because it doesn't get dark until eleventy-thirty in Idaho it seems.

While we were waiting for the sun to set we headed up to the Matsuura Country Club (it has a lot of names, including the Garagmahall) to wait. We were playing a little family game of tennis until the State Tennis champ (Meg Matsuura) showed up with her tennis buddies. Somehow Nate scored getting drafted to their team. It was probably the funnest game of tennis I've ever played even though I played terribly.

From the house you can see three or four other firework displays so we watched those and solved Meg's love life over text while Dustin and Josh set off ours. After the fireworks, we went inside to play games, eat some chips and salsa and watch a movie until Dustin and I were ready to head home. Kristine and the kids had planned to spend the night there, so we kissed them good night and headed home.

Around 2 am, Dave came downstairs to let us know that Nate was really sick. I sent Dustin to pick him up and bring him back home.
Only fast forward to when I woke up at 8 am and saw a text that Dustin and Nate had just gotten home from the hospital! Long story short, after a scare of appendicitis and probably the world's most expensive ER trip, it took 5 hours to find out Nate had most likely eaten too much spicy food too late at night.

On our last "fun" day in Idaho, we headed up to the ponds to swim. We brought rafts for the kids to float around and bikes for the kids to ride around all the bike trails.  It was so easy and quiet that it reminded me why Idaho is such a perfect place to be.
We were so sad to say good bye and Luke still cries thinking about how much he loves everyone. Best family ever.

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