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Family, Foxes, and Fun

We pulled up in front of Abe's mom's house the day before Memorial Day and were greeted with bear hugs. She was the first of the immediate family we would see over the next week. We spent the afternoon with Pam, Richard, and Larae, Abe's mom, step-dad, and grandma. After a story and hug-filled visit, we went to my step-dad's house in Caldwell. Ted had texted us when he saw we were back in Idaho to offer a parking spot and his van to use while we were in the area. I am so grateful to the people who have lent us vehicles to make getting around easier. He also had a 50 amp plug in, which was a life saver when it hit 100 degrees. We were able to run both air conditioners to keep it nice and cool for the dogs when we had to leave them in the RV while we ran errands.

That evening, we remembered pictures. I am so bad about remembering to take a picture when I visit people! We made plans for us to go back Saturday after church to take a picture of everyone, which worked out perfectly because Abe's uncle, Russ, was there.

Top row: Me, Abe, and Richard

Bottom row: Russ, Larae, Pam

It was good to go back to our home church, Cloverdale SDA. We weren't going there very long before we lost our minds and decided to turn our lives upside down and inside out, so we'd only made a few friends there, but it was wonderful to see one of my friends from my school years that I'd just gotten reacquainted with before leaving, and the assistant pastor who was working as the interim pastor while they looked for a new one, along with his fiance. We also ran into a lovely couple I knew from a previous church I went to years ago. Even though we didn't go to Cloverdale for long, and are still waiting to become official members, it felt like home.

The week was BUSY. It's so much easier to work on repairs and get things you need when you're familiar with the businesses in the area. Abe finally bought a Safe-T-Plus stabilizer bar that he's been meaning to install since we started. After being hit with a crazy gust of wind just a few minutes ago while writing this, I'm convinced it was a good investment. As a passenger, I could feel the wind pushing us, but we barely moved sideways. I haven't driven with it yet, but according to Abe it's great when we're driving down the freeway, and not so great in town. It keeps us going straight, but makes it harder to turn when you need to turn a corner. Overall, a huge improvement and worth every penny, even though it was many, many pennies.

It was wonderful to see Ted again, even though we only saw him a few times in the week and a half that we were at his house. Him and Abe worked on some projects together while I was running around. They replaced the 50 amp outlet in the garage so we could plug in (one of the benefits of having an electrician in the family) and installed the stabilizer bar, and Ted brought out a slingshot and we all practiced shooting little white marbles into a bucket on a post about 50 yards away. I got one in! We all hit the bucket and the 4x4 wooden post it was hanging on a few times. After our first session, we ordered a slingshot and some pellets to use on our trip. I hope to be a slingshot marksman by the end of the year, but we'll see.

My oldest son, Christian, turned 20 on June 4. That's the reason I so badly wanted to get back to Idaho. Ted, Abe, and I saw him and his wife, Sierra, on the 1st, and I made him his favorite birthday dessert that he's asked for the last several Jell-O. I love making him his birthday dessert. It's so easy! Abe dared him to snort it with a straw, so of COURSE he did! After all, he's 20 years old.

Boys are so weird, but you can't help but love them and their antics. On Friday I took him to get his free Dutch Bros. coffee for his birthday. I thought it was a pretty good excuse to spend some more time with him.

(Ted, Abe, Me, Christian, Sierra, and Gimble the Duck)

My youngest son, Roman, just got a new pair of Rollerblades, so Abe and I took him to the Boise Greenbelt to try them out. I'm glad he was able to try them right away, because it didn't take long for them to come off. He needed a bigger size. I'd brought his shoes just in case, so we carried the Rollerblades and went on a walk. The greenbelt is my favorite part of Boise. Miles of asphalt that runs along the river, surrounded by thick trees and parks. Even in the dead heat of summer, a cool breeze is always blowing across the river, and there's shade from giant trees everywhere. Along the way, we passed some goslings that barely noticed me as I walked up to get a picture. I was able to get close enough to put my phone above a cluster of four before one stood up and laid back down a foot away.

I realized I'd forgotten to get a picture of Roman afterward, so I had to see him again to get one. I'm glad I forgot.

It's going to be WAY too long before I see my boys again. I was going to see go back to Idaho in August instead of June to spread it out a bit more, but as I saw Christian's birthday coming up, I HAD to get there for it.

I got to spend some time with both of my sisters. First, I saw my middle sister, Keri (I'm the youngest). Abe and I went to her house, and we made plans for me to go back over to make sauerkraut with her, but when I got there the next time we ended up talking and catching up for a few hours instead. Then, on Wednesday, we drove to Fruitland to stay with my oldest sister, Kathy.

Of course, I forgot to take pictures with either of my sisters. And I didn't remember in time to go back and get them. I'll just have to get pictures next time I see them.

It was more wonderful than I can express to see my family, especially my boys, but Abe and I are both getting antsy and ready to hit the road. After a couple months of being on the move, it feels wrong to stay in one place for too long, like there's something we're missing. I'm a person who always thinks about the future, so I'm spending a lot of time daydreaming about what I want when I settle down and I'm looking forward to that day, but I'm not ready to stop yet. Far from it.

* * * * *

I don't think I shared anything above that would give away the secret, but I didn't want to risk giving away our next destination. Abe's and my next stop was in Walla Walla, WA for a surprise party that Abe's cousin, Linnae, put on for her parent's, Abe's Aunt Jan and Uncle Steve. We joined a crowd of family gathered to celebrate Jan and Steve's 50th wedding anniversary. I think the final count was over 40 people that showed up from all across the country, some from as far as NC! That's a long trip, but 50 years of marriage AND still being happy and in love is worth it.

We spent the weekend eating way too much wonderful food that Linnae had made for everyone, and playing on jet skis. Abe and I got to experience jet skiing behind a barge. One came through while we were out, so we followed it (far behind it), and had the time of our lives crossing back and forth over the wake. As I'm sure you can imagine, barge wakes are big. We jumped the three foot waves over and over again. One of my jumps was a total fail. I hit it at just the wrong time and instead of me flying over it, the front of my jet ski slammed into the side, causing a wall of cold water to wash over me, drenching me. I watched Abe jump, no doubt catching much more air than me, but he's much more of a dare devil than I am. While he doesn't count it as a success unless he tips over and goes swimming, my goal was to stay dry. I didn't quite succeed, but I had a blast.

Friday evening, as we walked to the lake, we saw a family of six foxes. The kits were almost full size, but it was easy to see which one was the mama. She was the one that didn't take her eyes off us while the babies were running around, pouncing on each other, and just having a good old time. We got to see them several more times as we went to and from the lake.

Instead of going to church Saturday morning, Linnae's daughters and two of their cousins blessed us all with music that they sang. The four girls were adorable!

By Sunday evening, we were the only ones left. Linnae and her husband, Joe, let us plug in to their lake house after they went back to their full time home and we parked in their driveway overnight.

This morning, we started off toward Portland, OR, but not before we stopped at a U-Pick blueberry farm that we'd passed multiple times. I had no idea blueberry bushes could be so loaded with fruit! It took us less than 20 minutes to get 3 lbs, enough to eat today, freeze for later, and put into the refrigerator for the next couple of days. Between what I shoved into my mouth while picking and what I washed and ate afterwards, my stomach wasn't too happy with me, but the rest of me thought I was in Heaven.

Now, we're on our way to Portland to see more friends!

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