Thursday, September 25, 2014

September Visitors

We've had a visit from this beautiful Black Bear twice this month! Viewing him from the safe height of our deck make his twilight visits even better :)

Jason's parents, sister and nieces headed down from Spokane for a Labor Day BBQ and exploration of the nearby Virgil Phillips Farm. Somehow I missed taking any pictures, but Marilyn passed these on to us ...

Jarvis couldn't resist the apple tree full of ripe apples - he picked enough for me to make a nice batch of delicious applesauce!

Luke loves hanging out with his cousins and aunt.

And this week we had a wonderful, surprise visit from my parents -- they'd been on a road trip to South Dakota and decided to pop by. That was the joke anyhow ... Moscow is really not on the way to anywhere and definitely not a place anyone will just pop in. So they actually took a rather long, out-of-the-way drive to see us which was really cool.

We did a very quick tour of the area and Luke got to show off all that he's learned in the past three months to his grandparents :)

Hangin' out with Papa --

And Nana (Luke is really into people's necks right now)

Leaving this morning -- always so hard to say goodbye when we don't have a next time planned yet.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Enjoying our new digs!

We are slowly getting settled into our new place and LOVI,NG that we no longer share walls, ceilings or floors with anyone. Our nearest neighbor is over 50 yards away and that's the only one for quite a space. We are also super happy for Luke to have his own room for the first time ever!

Our landlords are snowbirds and have headed south for the winter, so we shouldn't have to move again until next May -- yahoo! (I think this was our EIGHTH move in just over 12 months, so nine months in the same place sounds a-mazing!)

From the road, our place doesn't look too exciting, just a three-car garage (which is exactly what it is, with a little extra!)

But, if one happened to be approaching it coming up through the woods, it looks like this!

Inside, we have an over-sized laundry room - a great place for Luke to play during inclement weather this winter.

Up a steep set of stairs is our cozy cabin -- complete with everything a person could need to live here (and a lot more!).

Every evening we continue to enjoy the outstanding sunsets from our deck. With Jason commenting "I think this is the best one yet" -- everytime! They are fabulous and we are trying to drink them in (and the nice, long days we are still having -- we know they will be getting short all too quickly). Our camera has been blowing out the sunset pictures which is frustrating - no matter how I fiddle with it, the colors just don't come out right :(

The view is still amazing anytime! And, we are completely stoked to have a BBQ grill for the first time! We're already using it a ton and loving it!

Perhaps my favorite room of the place is the bathroom. I know this is weird, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the fact we had no towel racks/hooks or basically anywhere to put things in our bathroom in Guatemala (the only cupboard available was constantly filling with termite waste and water - ick). And, for the two years before that we had a very rudimentary bathroom in our Vermont barn. This one makes me feel like I'm in a hotel...perhaps it's because our landlady folded the towels so neatly? Whatever it is, it's lovely to be in a bathroom that has all the facilities and also feels clean.

Our room was decked completely out in pink flower decor - really pretty, but poor Jason. I de-pinked it a bit and while it doesn't look quite as 'together' I think it's for the best. There's a skylight above the bed that makes me think of the Swiss Family Robinson house ... after over a month on our air mattress and nearly a year on a full-size mattress, this bed feels heavenly!

Luke's room also sports a queen-size bed, and his pack-n-play -- someday we're hoping to get him a real crib/bed. The right one just hasn't popped up on craigslist yet. In the meantime, he doesn't seem to mind the only bed he's ever known -- our landlord thoughtfully found a changing table for us to use which was really sweet and unexpected.

We've thoroughly been enjoying the 25 acres of outdoor space here. Plus, this property borders the 160 acre Virgil Phillips Farm which was donated to the city as a park/recreation area. So we have that to explore too.

The only downers are that we are a one-car family and 5 miles from town (with nothing in between) which can be pretty isolating for me, especially on Jason's longer school days. Luckily, since we live right off the highway (which is the other downer because of the constant highway noise as big rigs try to get their loads to the top of the hill that we live on) and one of Jason's co-workers is able to stop and pick him up several days a week which means I can get out on those days and keep from getting too stir crazy :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Idaho is an upside-down Vermont

We've been living in Idaho over a month now and still feel like we're getting settled in and into a routine. There have been some fun things that remind us of living in Vermont which makes us feel happy. Idaho's shape is almost the same as Vermont if it was flipped upside down!

Images from here

I did a little more comparing and found that Idaho is about nine times bigger, but only has about two and a half times the number of people. Vermont felt under-populated, so I'm thinkin' Idaho is really going to feel that way.
  • Vermont's area code is 802, while Idaho's is 208 (Yes! Each state only has ONE area code for the entire state!)
  • Vermont has only one time zone, but for some reason, the southern part of Idaho is on Mountain Time while we northerners are on Pacific (not that I'm complaining, but it just seems weird. Did anyone else know this? And why the tiny section of Oregon on Mountain Time too?)

Image from here

  • Vermont's highest point is 4,393, while Idaho's is nearly three times as high at 12,662 feet (Mount Borah or Beauty Peak is located the Lost River Range -- mountains I have never even heard of before)
  • 20% of Vermont's land and 22% of Idaho's land is used for agriculture. It has been fun to live in another farming state. I even saw a hardware store with posted "harvest" hours.
  • Another upside-down thing is of course the politics. Vermont tends to be a very blue state while Idaho is incredibly red. Not really an issue either way for us ... 
  • In Vermont, we did not have any Tribal reservation land nearby, in Idaho we are sandwiched between the Coeur d'Alene and the Nez Perce reservations. I am interested in learning more about the history of these people groups.
  • We were sad to say goodbye to our lovely Green Mountain State license plates, in exchange for what feel like boring Idaho ones with the tag line 'Famous Potatoes'. Ugh! 
One awesome bonus to registering our car here is that for a mere $10 a year you get free day use at any of the 30 Idaho State Parks. Awesome! We already checked out Hells Gate State Park (on the Snake River) since it was less than an hour away -- a great place for boat/water recreation.

And, we had a family day at Heyburn State Park (on Lake Coeur d'Alene) with Jason's mom, sister and nieces. Luke had his first try at fishing with the help of his Aunt Mel!
Two parks down -- 28 to go!

We continue to miss Guatemala, but are enjoying this interesting place with it's scenery SO SO drastically different ...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

You know you're a parent when ...

 ... this is exciting ...

Luke's become increasingly interested in the toilet of late, so I was stoked to find this training potty at the thrift store for him. He loves sitting on it and we've had a few successes with what it's actually supposed to be used for. A step in the right direction I hope :)