And just like that…

…she’s in kindergarten.

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xo

Summer Road Trip…to Bellingham, WA!

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We set off from Boise for our annual road trip! Bound for Gig Harbor, Alice and Noble would stay and enjoy some quality cousin time while Jared and I head North to Bellingham to celebrate 20 years together (12 years married).

1st leg: BOI to Yakima, WA

We opted to break up the drive and camp near Yakima. It was hot and the campground was …eh, so we went to Cowiche Canyon Kitchen & Icehouse for an early dinner. I love using Yelp to find good, local places to eat when traveling.

IMG_7616Then, back to camp where we set-up, rode bikes, found some feral kittens, played games (Noble is a master at Slamwich), and “camped”.

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2nd leg: Yakima to The Gig

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Jackson Bridge over the Tacoma Narrows is the landmark that tells us we’re getting close to Gig Harbor, WA. We have some ‘cousin combos’ in our family and Cooper’s matching cousin is Alice. They look like siblings but protest any stranger who says so. We enjoyed some backyard fun, relaxation, and a boat ride through Gig Harbor and under the Narrows bridge. The view of Mount Rainier, sunshine and sand dollars, and kids daring to jump into the ocean, all highlights from a perfect afternoon on the water.

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Cooper and Alice

3rd leg: Gig Harbor to B-Ham

Jared and I bid farewell to the cousin crew and set off with our mountain bikes for Bellingham. We met up with cousin Ned (who’s not really our cousin) and Amanda who graciously welcomed us with a fine dinner overlooking Bellingham Bay (from their porch!). After dinner, we walked through the dark woods to Lake Padden, at sunset!

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Ned recruited his teacher team (plus 10 yr old Rudy!) to show us their favorite mountain bike trails at Galbraith and Chuckanut mountains. Bellingham’s trails = epic single-track with natural and man-made features through beautiful coastal forests.

And no road trip is complete until you find the best places to eat and drink. Bellingham did not disappoint and again, having local input made it easier to sample and taste what B-Ham has to offer.

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We stayed in a cute little old Airbnb house in the Lettered Streets neighborhood where we could see the bay, hear the trains, and get a feel for what it might feel like to live here. We even took a short ferry ride to Lummi Island for a romantic little bike tour! Bellingham is beautiful.

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4th leg: Back to the Gig

We took a different route back to Gig Harbor via the Coupeville to Port Townsend ferry (another great suggestion from B-Ham locals). The drive across Deception Pass, which separates Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, was breathtaking. If you ever venture in these parts, stop at Butcher and Baker Provisions in Port Gamble for a bite.

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Upon our return to The Gig, we found that everyone very much enjoyed their stay in Washington yet it was time to pack up and return home to Idaho.

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Cooper’s new bike…and his summer begins!

5th leg: The home stretch

A long drive, good playlists, Podcasts, naps, and another pit-stop in Yakima got us home…to Boise at least. Here we said goodnight to Noble, rested up, and hit highway 55 for home the next day.

Road trips…worth it…every time.

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Girl and Pearl

xo

Happy 4th of July!

 

 

Haven Hot Springs!

There’s a hot spring in the family!

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An exciting new adventure is unfolding in the rugged hills along the South Fork Payette River. Lisa and Ray are the proud new owners of Haven Hot Springs in Lowman, Idaho.  The Chambers family is packing up and moving…to run a hot spring! And not just a hot spring, the property includes a cafe, one-pump gas station with garage, hotel rooms with private soaking tubs, RV spots, and a large, mineral rich, warm water pool.

 

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not pictured: Seiji!

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It’s sure to be quite the endeavor but this Idaho gem is pretty special and full of potential. Situated on a corner at milepost 76 on highway 21, Stanley and the Sawtooth’s are only  an hour up the way. It’s worth the time to check the place out.

Molly, Alice and I stayed a night to see if we could lend a hand. Molly measured the space and dispensed valuable tips. I popped up ‘ol Hawk Eye and set up camp. We fed and entertained cousins, rearranged the kitchen and snooped around the place. IMG_2776

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babes in a booth

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hummingbird viewing window

Lisa and Ray are plunging in and day by day they will add more character to this Idaho experience. It’s morel season in a burn zone and the summer promises to buzz in the path of the great American eclipse. Let their adventure begin!

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xo

 

High Five!

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Hard to believe that just last year, Alice was learning to ride a bike. Harder still to believe she’s been the center of our world for only five years. Looking back it seems we’ve been pushing the bike life on her from the start. And so far, she doesn’t mind a bit.

Jared came up with a bike rodeo theme for Alice’s fifth birthday party. Her friends and classmates showed up with their bikes and trikes ready for some fun. They decorated  their wheels with bells, lights, and streamers before the biker gang paraded down the street for some biking games. Jared had an obstacle course ready and waiting, complete with custom teeter totter and rumble strips! There was drag racing and even a game called ‘Stop on Alice’s Face’. It may have looked a bit hectic but those kids ride like champs.

Alice, you have grown up so much this last year. You are clever and kind, funny and curious. Our lives are better because of you. Keep on being exactly who you are. May you always be surrounded by people who love you. Happy Birthday my love.

High 5!

P.S. I know you keep saying you want one of three things for your birthday: a mouse, a fish, or a bird. Sorry lovey. You’ve got Pearl!

xo

 

 

 

Dog Scouts

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Alice started a club called Dog Scouts. There hasn’t been an official meeting but the planning has been going on for months. I guess having a dog makes one feel responsible for being active in the dog community. And it’s not just dogs, this club is open to cats, chickens, and other pets too!

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The club is limited to kids though. If you’re an adult you can volunteer by, “watching pets while we go out to walk pets.” Alice has loads of ideas and sketches about potential club activities. There will be a vet and dog washing station, pet parades, playtime, visits to McPaws (our local shelter), and best of all treat time!

We made Dog Scout Cookies and tried them out on a few lucky dog friends. Alice had no problem tasting the treats to make sure they were just right. And she kept on eating them, “I just love those dogs treats with the parmesan cheese!”

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She worked on a sign using the McPaws logo for inspiration 😉 Then begged to go to McPaws to deliver treats to the dogs (and cats) there. She was so disappointed the evening we were supposed to go until…we met a band! The band Mama Magnolia, from Denver, happened to be at Crusty’s Pizza that night. Alice bought a sticker, which had an image of the singer’s dog, Miles. Instantly, she thought of the dog scout cookies! She could give some to the band for Miles! Ever since, Alice has been saying, “I can’t believe I know a Band!”

So, if you and your dog want to be in Dog Scouts, Alice has a sign-up sheet! Perhaps we’ll get this show on the road and turn this idea into a reality. For now, it’s sure been fun brainstorming. Oh, and a scout master has already been named, our elderly golden friend, Scout.

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Go Dog Scouts!

Spring Chicken

We found Spring!

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In Riggins, spring is in the air. The new grass is bright green, flowers are blooming, there’s a new batch of red calves in the pasture, and we got to visit Fiddle Creek Fruit Stand for chicks!

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If you ever find yourself driving North of Riggins on highway 95, near Lucile, you have to stop at the Fiddle Creek Fruit Stand. It feels like stepping back in time. The shelves are full of interesting merchandise like jam, pickles, honey, nuts, feed, and books about the local history. We passed by a pile of colorful fresh eggs on our way to see the chicks in a room behind the counter. The folks that run Fiddle Creek are friendly and helpful, eager to show you what’s new and help you find what you need.

Thank goodness we can visit Riggins when we need a little spring and sunshine. Alice is an old pro. She’s always ready to help with the chores, especially feeding the cows and chickens, and collecting eggs.

She was so excited to help pick out chicks. Once they were carefully transported home and settled into their temporary home, Alice laid down to watch, “all the cuteness.” HipstamaticPhoto-512069323.707439

Cuteness indeed.

Here are videos of the calves and the chicks (don’t mind the commentary, hard to get vid without some extra chatter ;))

xo

Story Time

It’s rainy again. The snow recedes everyday and flood advisories are the norm this time of year. No bright yellow forsythia or crocus in bloom for us in the mountains yet, but there are signs of spring. We’ve seen robins, mountain bluebirds, and a few patches of grass revealing themselves from under the snow.

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Is there a better place to be on a rainy day than the library?

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Many Thursday mornings, we enjoy Children’s Story and Craft Hour with Mrs. Melody. Each week, kids gather excitedly on the Unites States map at the McCall Public Library to sing, dance, listen to stories, and create crafts corresponding with a weekly theme. Melody expertly draws children in with her kind and inviting way. And it’s not only kids who love hearing her read stories with fun characters and positive messages.

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Alice is usually front and center. All the kids are eager to listen and share their hilarious comments and observations. Melody is a local celebrity too! We saw her one day on the greenbelt near the library and Alice was star struck.

The McCall Public Library is in the early stages of an expansion plan that will increase the library’s size from 4,800 to 12,000 square feet. The expansion will create more space for the programs and events the library offers the community including our favorite, Story Time!   HipstamaticPhoto-493326042.830479

Reading is an important part of our lives and libraries help encourage a lifelong love of books. We’re so lucky to have this amazing resource in our community!

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heart books

Music Matters

During the intro to every song she hears, Alice proclaims, “This is my favorite song!” And they are, if she’s heard a song it goes straight to her favorites list. She loves music. That’s all there is to it. And at this age, she loves the music we listen to. So much for NPR in the car if Alice is a passenger, it’s music all the way.

Any new music in my life typically comes from a few reliable sources. I love getting a text from Molly with a link to a music video, or a shiny new mix from Kenya, and JD knows hiphop. I find it difficult to answer the question, what kind of music do you like? For me, it comes down to lyrics. Lyrics and a good beat is all it takes to move me. Music creates the soundtrack to our lives. Certain songs take me right back to a specific time and place. Lyrics can pull me from the depths of despair or simply let me wallow in my sorrow. But at the same time, music is the first ingredient for good times and celebration.

Here’s what we’ve been loving lately…

Michael Kiwanuka

Talk about lyrics, his are mesmerizing and I love his voice.

When I saw that the song Cold Little Heart was 11:58 long, I almost skipped right over it. Now the more I hear it, the more I love it. He doesn’t even start singing until about 7:00 minutes in. But the intro sets the song up beautifully.

Lapsley

Holly Lapsley Fletcher was born the year I graduated high school!

 

Brandi Carlile

I could go on and on. I think Alice would select the following song as her favorite favorite…

Milky Chance

She’s loved this song since she was about two and would beg to watch the “dusting the man” video.

Music will always matter to us.

In other news…

This season has been one for the record books. When you get multiple days and you think the powder can’t get better, it does. Our crew has been rallying this season and its been fun riding with some new peeps. The ladies from Snow Bunny Magazine were up recently and the timing was on point. Riding with an experienced group of riders, especially women, is the best. And even better with music!

We’re still watching and feeding the birds. Many of the same cast of characters and some new arrivals as the season changes. We did manage to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count and luckily had some data to contribute from McCall!

I feel like I should give an update on Pearl too. It hasn’t been all tail wags and dog treats. We’re struggling here. Working with a rescue dog with separation anxiety is no joke. We’re tired, frustrated, and going broke. We haven’t thrown in the towel yet but there have been some tears for sure.

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xo