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July is almost over.  I thought I should have at least one post this month.  This is what our month has looked like:

  • I got extremely sick with sinus infection
  • I started new job, boys start preschool, Zach gets more sleep
  • 4th of July hike and parade (the boys’ first parade)
  • Boys’ first time at the movies (we watch 3/4’s of The Croods)
  • Swimming at Lucky Peak
  • Three weeks later, I’m finally over the worst part of the sinus infection
  • More swimming at Lucky Peak, this time with Lee & Katie
  • Merrick family reunion in Twin Falls (We got a family picture!! Yay!)
  • And multiple scattered gatherings with Zach’s family (most which Zach and boys went to while I was at work… and he apparently took no pictures with the camera.)

And here’s our month in pictures.

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City of Rocks

Zach made the plans for our fifth anniversary. He did very well.

We spent a whole three days and two nights away. The kids stayed behind with family, so it felt like one awesomely long date. We went to City of Rocks National Reserve, and the adjacent Castle Rock State Park.

The first night we stayed at Sage Yurt in the Smoky Mountain Campground in Castle Rocks State Park.

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It’s a smaller yurt, (a 15-footer I think) by Colorado Yurt Company. This is relevant to us, since one day we hope to have own our yurt, but one manufactured by Pacific Yurts. And also something much larger than this!

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The yurt is wired for electricity. I guess this makes sense, since it’s located in an RV campground. We were also surprised to see the full beds on the bottom of the bunks. The ceiling fan was a nice touch as well.

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It had been a few summers since I’d put on my rockclimbing shoes. It hadn’t been that long for Zach, but we were so anxious to get going!

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It was a short drive and then a hike over to Castle Rock.

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We had planned on climbing just a few pitches, as a warm-up. Even though both our feet were screaming profanities at us, we decided to keep going.

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I love all the pretty colors…don’t the draws just look like a bunch of Christmas ornaments? 🙂

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The view from above is beautiful. Castle Rock State Park is surrounded by range land.

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Looking straight down at the trail.

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I think this is where we are four pitches and about 400 feet up, and getting ready to rappel down.

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Slowly making my way down.

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After a total of about three hours, we were finally back on the ground. Off came the shoes, not knowing what to expect. Blisters, black toenails…? None of that was the case, but Zach had an interesting situation:

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I guess this is a combination of red dye from the leather and his sweaty feet.

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He’s such a perfectionist. That rope must be wound up perfect!

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Straight to soak our aching feet at Durfee Hot Springs in nearby Almo, Idaho.

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The two pictures below are from Durfee Hot Springs’ website.  Even though there are four pools, we’ve only cared to sit in the hottest pool. Once you get in, you just don’t care to move!

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The next day was our anniversary. It was also time to pack up and leave the yurt behind.

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We set up camp in City of Rocks spot #13, with a picturesque view of Elephant Rock.

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When we were setting up and exploring around our site, a pair of fighter jets flew over quite low… not once, but twice. It was seriously bad a**. All we needed was some background music  from Top Gun.

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Zach thought this spot protected from the wind was perfect for a little siesta.

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Everywhere you look in the City is a gorgeous view. It could never get old to me.

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Cacti were in bloom everywhere.

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We went on a hike in the afternoon for several hours. This was my third time at the City, but I’ve never gone on this hike. Seriously, it is just so beautiful!

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This is a climb we’ll do in the future. I think it’s called Lost Arrow Spire.

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Exhausted and back at camp, we fired up the grill for New York steaks and corn on the cob.

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We had dutch oven monkey bread for dessert. And there was way. too. much.

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As the sun was setting, we walked over to elephant rock, where a group of guys were rappelling down.

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We ended the day with another soak at Durfee’s. A memorable anniversary for sure! It’ll be hard to beat for next year, but he’s sure welcome to try!

A Yurtin’ Good Time

Tomorrow is my first day of work, and taking any weekdays off will be a thing of the past, at least for awhile. With this in mind, last week Zach and I made plans for a little last hoo-rah.

The boys hadn’t yet been to a yurt, and we wondered if it was time to give it a go. The only yurt that was available to reserve in Idaho City was Rocky Ridge Yurt, one that we hadn’t been to yet. We invited Keith, Carmen and Riley to join us.

Less than a minute after we arrived, Max waded through a nearby puddle. The boy turns off his ears completely off when he wants to get wet and muddy.

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It’s at least a 300 yard walk from the parking area to Rocky Ridge Yurt. We were glad to have the wagon and stroller for carrying all our stuff. It took several trips.

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Once we got settled in, we went for a little hike. Ever since Father’s Day weekend at Baumgartner where we went on two nature hikes, the boys have asked daily to go on a hike.

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The hike helped to pass the time, until Keith and Carmen got there in the early evening.

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The boys just weren’t afraid of any steep hills or drop-offs. Here’s Zach trying to keep Max from getting too close to the edge.

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A nice view of the yurt on our hike.

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Miles and his Oreo mustache.

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Rocky Ridge Yurt, as the name suggests, is on a rocky ridge. Not ideal for the young ones… but we made the best of it and kept a very watchful eye.

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This is the view looking over the deck. Very rocky. Very steep.

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It was just so HOT. Shade seemed to be scarce at this time of day.

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Unlike all the other Idaho City yurts, Rocky Ridge has a wood shed. It was a perfect little play fort for the boys, once the axes were put up out of reach.

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After Keith and Carmen arrived, we had dutch oven enchiladas for dinner. They were yummy!!

A few hours later after dinner had settled, (and all kiddos were asleep) we put on the Dutch Oven Caramel Apple Pie. I found the recipe here. I will most certainly find a reason to make this again. Note to self: we halved the recipe and used a 10″ oven. Next time, still use twice the apples and pecans.

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We were all ready to dig in once the cream cheese caramel frosting was added.

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The temperature finally started to drop a little after the sun went down. I seriously thought it was going to be 90 degrees all night.

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Keith stepped into his role as the fire master.

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I slept next to one of the windows, and snuck out of bed at about 6:30 in the morning to get a picture of the sun coming up.

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Then, I crawled back in bed, where I noticed I could see the moon through the dome.

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After a delicious breakfast of French toast, sausages, and fruit, (thanks Keith & Carmen!) we headed back out to play.

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We started loading up before the heat of the day could really hit. Riley was too cute helping Keith push the load up the hill.

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Max and Miles slept part of the drive home. The poor boys didn’t feel very good, and neither did I, so the three of us took naps once at home. A four and a half hour nap to be exact. Zach did all the unloading and unpacking, and even several loads of laundry. He’s awesome like that.

We are glad we finally took the boys for a night at a yurt. A few things to remember for next time: go to a more kid-friendly location in the spring or fall when it’s a bit cooler. It will be more enjoyable when everyone is healthy too!

Father’s Day 2013

We spent Father’s Day evening at Uncle Tony and Aunt Char’s. We had perfect weather, tasty food, hoards of rowdy kids and a bounce house.

Funny moment: Max ran to the far end of the massive lawn where a sprinkler was running. Not wanting a soaked child, Zach ran after him, but couldn’t actually get to him. Smart little Max was at the head of the sprinkler, fending him off. Zach would go the the right, Max would move the sprinkler to block him. Zach would dodge to the left, but Max was already there, soaking him. This went on for awhile. The final score was 10-0 Max. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy… you were just shamed by a two year old.

I really wish I had a camera for that moment, but just got this picture before we headed out.

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Now that I think about it, I’m 97% certain that the boys got into the water last year too.

Just before the sun went down, we decided to get a picture of a dad and his boys.

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Then we hung around long enough to enjoy the country sunset.

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Camping at Baumgartner

Aahhh… camping. I love it. It’s in my blood. There’s no doubt that I am my father’s daughter.

I’m certain it’s in Max and Miles’ blood too. Baumgartner was the campground of my childhood memories. I hope that someday they have their own fond memories of it too.

Highlights: Baba and Papa stayed for one night, we saw a moose, (which later ran through our campground) and possibly the most exciting thing ever…. wait for it…. Max and Miles are great little hikers!!

In true mom fashion, here’s way too many pictures, but that’s just how I roll. This time I used a gallery so you don’t break your finger, scrolling for miles. You’re welcome. And, if you fall asleep after the first 10 photos, I don’t blame you. I know I have a picture-taking problem.

I always come back from camping/outdoor adventures feeling a bit more centered. I just sounded like a granola hippy by saying that. But it’s true. I feel more relaxed, yet rejuvenated. And feeling like I need to plan more fun stuff out doors, immediately.

So we’re headed back out for the next two weekends for more little adventures!

An Early Father’s Day

I wanted to something different for Father’s Day this year. Something meaningful, that could show Zach how much he is appreciated and loved by his little family.

I jumped right into the photo book project almost as soon as I thought of it, even knowing that I really didn’t have the time. It took 12 hours start-to-finish, 9pm to 9am. But seeing his face this morning when he read it made it so very worth it.

FedEx delivered it when we were still in bed, (they were early… we’re not sleeping in. That would be impossible with Max and Miles.) and I just said what the heck… want your Father’s Day present early?

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Below are the screenshots, page by page. I went with a “Love you because…” theme, from Max & Miles’ perspective. For a something extra, I placed QR codes throughout. They link to fun videos of Zach and the boys. (a QR code is scanned by a cell phone camera using a smartphone app)

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We love you Zach! You are an amazing dad. Two little boys couldn’t possibly love their daddy any more.