Walking around

This is China. We have gone on a lot of walks. It has been humid. This week I was reminded of our seemingly mundane walks in Oregon daily. How do you keep your kids fit in the summer? We walked a lot. It was free. We would bring some snacks and water and pretty much do it every day. We would usually do one small camp per kid per summer to learn a new skill of choice and swimming, but walking was always free. It could be seen as boring, but being outside moving your body is never a waste.  The mundane walks to the park to play quickly turned into teens growing up.

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About an hour from our new home. 

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Dalian, China 

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Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

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Jenny Lake 

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The crowds really thinned out beyond the paved path, but it’s still a trail. 

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Jenny Lake adventurers

My cousins grew up in Wyoming so we grew up going to Jackson Hole. It was always cool, but now it’s very pricey. What you can do that won’t break the bank is go to the nearby National Park or watch an old West shootout.

 

Yellowstone

I hadn’t been to Yellowstone since I was 10 so it was time for my children to see it. We found a dog friendly hotel at Jackson, Wyoming as our base camp and off we went. The most notable thing to me as a child was extreme excitement to see a bear in the wild. It did not happen! 😢 However on Saturday, we saw a mama bear and 2 cubs. The trekking was limited as it was a long day of driving, but the options are endless. #Wyoming

The Holy Land

Spring break in Israel. It was a long trek from Idaho to Israel. We arrived on a sunny morning in Tel Aviv. We headed straight to our seaside hotel and allowed for a shower and some sleep time, but with the caveat that the sleep could NOT continue past a certain hour. Then, we had to get active so that we could get on the local time zone as soon as possible. We toured Jaffa on the Mediterranean Sea. On day 2, we took the train to Jerusalem. The train ride was nice and scenic. We arrived at the final destination and no taxi would pick us up. The taxi stand was nothing more than a nice sign? Taxis were dropping people off at the local shopping center, but would not take us to town. We were getting hot, angry, and desperate. Finally, we got a taxi and he was a great trustworthy guy. We felt very grateful to get to our hotel. There is a real language barrier there. Luckily, English is an option, but understanding anything was a real issue. We arrived as they were preparing for Passover. As a person who spends a lot of hours in church per week, I had an understanding of Passover, but not really how it would look in Israel. I still don’t, but we know a bit about how it affected us. The hotel told us that everything had to be cleaned in the restaurant. That meant EVERY single surface!!! If we hadn’t been told that we wouldn’t have known or cared what was going on at other restaurants in town that were closed. Also, it meant that the quality and service of food in the hotel restaurant would be drastically reduced and NO bread. I understand the no leavened bread part, but the total lack of abundance of all other food?? It was unique. McDonald’s was closed for cleaning. We didn’t know if it would reopen. The next day, it did and the FOOD which was then Passover approved was inedible. We did enjoy some local grub that was really good and some that was really weird, but which we ate cause we were famished at the time. The weather was nice. It was not too hot, but even quite cold one morning after a storm. We had planned on going to the Dead Sea, but we decided we did NOT want to drive there so we chucked our car rental and stayed in the city on foot. We walked a lot. We were in close proximity to the Old City and we spent a lot of time there. We saw a lot of stuff, but we missed a lot too due to being on foot and opting to forego public transportation in the event that we didn’t understand where to go or how to return. There are a lot of souvenir shops and by a lot, I mean too many. The problem is that I didn’t see one high-quality place to buy something nice. I paid too much for a couple of t-shirts, but only bought them cause I really wanted to. Prices are negotiable and I don’t really want to deal with that so largely opted to keep my shekels. At the end of the week, our tired feet had barely added a dent to their old stone streets, but we had seen for the first time the center of the universe.

 

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The Western Wall

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Spices for sale

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Walled city. One day we walked around the tower as far as we could. It required a fee.

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Rare smile by the teen who would rather a “normal” spring break.

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Jerusalem

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Armenian Quarter in the Old City

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Tour groups

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View of the Dome of the Rock from a residential spot.

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Old City of Jaffa

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Jaffa

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Street of Jaffa 

 

 

Spring Break Season

In my mind, when I think of spring break, I think of Florida and booze cruises. I went to a college where nobody really much did spring break in the nineties anyway. #univofutah Even back then, my friend went to Mexico on a college organized trip on spring break and she was pretty uncomfortable with the partying level.  I was glad I didn’t have any cash to go with her, nor would I have wanted to endure that. #iamamormon These days, spring break is an important time to do something. We try really hard to not miss school and one week off of school means 9 days. You can do a lot of trekking in 9 days. I’m glad I’ve never been anywhere near a booze cruise, but now the idea of spring break has evolved and it’s a welcomed week off. Any plans???

ski IDAHO

I grew up skiing A LOT. I don’t ski as much as I should. It’s a fun sport, but I’m not going to lie, if you don’t already know how it is a money and time investment. We don’t go enough to justify owning our own gear with growing children and getting all the rental gear for a family about makes me go crazy. Besides the fact that you need: a coat, gloves, ski pants, warm socks, etc… If any of those items get lost on the way to the lift, your budget is ruined. (Unless you don’t care about buying additional gear on the spot for a premium.) With that said, it is fun. It is really fun. If you don’t know how and want to learn, there are really great ski schools at most resorts. Do it!!!

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Brundage Ski Resort

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Already 2 weeks into 2018.

Have you already gotten used to writing the correct year on your checks? The holiday was really long around here with school being out until this week and then a sick child the first 3 days back.  I seriously would have enjoyed a couple of days off of school somewhere else instead of all at once. We didn’t do much, but I loved not traveling. We planned on going to Utah to ski, but the snow conditions are really poor so far this year out West.  I’m really happy I didn’t invest in a ski pass this year, but we need snow in general. I did buy this pass as it worked for my 5th grader. https://www.skiutah.com/passes/passports One time use and it will more than pay for itself. Anyone with a 5th grader can buy it, not just a Utah resident. It also contains some good gear coupons, etc. There is still plenty of time to make it to the slopes without committing funds for the wrong conditions. I grew up on skis in Southern Utah at +9,000 feet and I really only want to ski in good conditions. For me, that means lots of snow and not too cold!

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Our gorgeous white Christmas

 

1st Thanksgiving

at home since 1998. We’ve been some fun places for turkey day, but also spent a lot of time

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slaving to prepare a feast. With a very busy summer though, we couldn’t make the trek home earlier. This was the day before Thanksgiving. As the weather was unseasonably nice, Zion National Park had a lot of visitors. We drove home a different way due to the crowds and we spotted a flock of turkeys. They are a common sight in the vicinity of Bryce Canyon so I suspected we would see some and we did.

Disneyland at Halloween 🎃

 

We wanted to go to Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party, but it’s only on select days. AND our day was not the day! Having never been there during the Halloween season at all though, we loved the decor. The Haunted Mansion was particularly fun. I don’t wear a pedometer, but we walked a lot. We walked all the way to our hotel to crash at one a.m. Our weather was just perfect. We rode every ride we had to ride and some other fun ones too. At the end of the day, it was a success. What is your must ride Disney ride? I have to hit Pirates! every. single. time. ❤️

Spain or bust….

We had a busy summer, but we managed to get what we needed to be done: drivers ed, sports camps, swimming lessons, camping, and travel. In order to walk all over Spain, we needed a car. Travel by train in Europe is excellent, but it doesn’t take you off the beaten path. It is also not the most economical idea for a family. The biggest saving grace was that when we were hot and couldn’t take it anymore; the car kept us alive. Thank goodness for air conditioning. We visited a lot of good medieval destinations full of tourists and where we were alone to imagine the wondrous former glory of the place where we stood. Truly awesome. Deals abound in 2017 with new low-cost carriers and the regulars competing for your business so it’s a good time to go.

VIVA ESPAÑA