It's incredible how much peace one can have in such a short amount of time when circumstances change. Yesterday, we packed up the hotel room and moved down the street to our longer-term rental house. We went from a single room with two beds, a TINY kitchenette (is that redundant?), single bathroom, no yard... to a 1,000sqft house with two complete bedrooms (3 beds), a bathroom, a nice sized kitchen, laundry facilities, a living room, a dining room, and TWO yards. The backyard contains food-producing vegetation! Huzzah. Saoirse (seer-shuh) LOVES the space, as do the rest of us. Kamatz? Well, he likes it under the master bed. Cats.
The air is fresh and it has a sort of crispness to it. Being able to open windows and let that air in makes us all happy in ways we can't explain. Sawyer just came in with a sappy look on his face and declared "it smells so good outside!"
We have a garden an a half! A half? Yep. I say half because the second section only houses tomatoes and bell peppers whereas the main garden area houses raspberries, beets, carrots, cucumbers, squash, and a melon I think. There is also a yellow apple tree. So much fun having an established garden again.
Out front there is a tree with long green bean-looking things. What a mess! Those things drop and all but cover the front yard. So, we will have some yardwork to do but that's good for the body, the soul, and for putting our boys to work when us adults don't want to use our body anymore. *wink*
The boys have thoroughly enjoyed having a room to themselves again. The two beds has been wonderful and the table and chairs in there has provided the perfect Lego building location. It is so helpful to have a space for them to go if they need time apart from each other. That doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Also, we enjoy having TWO DOORS between them and us at night. *wink, wink*
Jake and I are living it up thanks to having a bedroom of our own again. Being able to hang clothes, have separate drawers, a laundry hamper, end tables, windows, table lamps, a place for my salt lamp and essential oil box... glorious! We also set up the computer in there so we can watch our nightly guilty pleasure of Big Bang Theory after we put the boys to bed. Once that's done the whole setup gets turned off. No extra EMFs desired, thank you very much.
This house is wonderfully located for the things we enjoy. The freeway is close. Dutch Bros is close. Parks are close. Downtown in close. The church we might attend is close. It's wonderful.
Oh, the church... we visited Whitney Baptist Church yesterday. We enjoyed it. It was wonderful to be recognized as new! So many lovely, welcoming people. It's been a long time since we've attended a Sunday School Class, Jake and I. Honestly, we've never attended one together. So, this move to Idaho has been a real treat in this regard. I have Jake with me, right next to me, on Sundays for church. Thank you, Lord. The boys had classes themselves and then sat with us for the second service. While I love having the boys with us for a sermon and worship music, it is hard on Dempsey. He simply has too much energy to sit still and take in an adult message. So, I caved and let him have my cell phone. I need to find a Biblical coloring book for him to work through during this part of church.
Yesterday's message was on Colossians 2:6-15. Like the pastor stated at the beginning, we didn't not get through it all. Such a meaty passage to unpack and I LOVE how he doesn't water it down in an effort to blow through it. He will adjust his plan to accommodate taking more time with this passage. Sawyer enjoyed the experience overall. He's telling me his favortie part was towards the end when the pastor was explaining that while traditions are not bad, they become bad when they become more important that the reason we started them. From his Sunday School class he enjoyed receiving some visuals of the 10 Commandments to help him remember them in order.
Dempsey enjoyed his class, worked to remember new friends' names, and enjoyed being able to meet and play with new kiddos. Like I mentioned before, it was hard for him to sit (still) with us during the worship service. We'll work on making that more enjoyable for him.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, this house is fully furnished. How awesome is that? See, the owner was going to AirBnB it (which usually means it's totally furnished and people can just rent it short-term) but decided we were worth leasing to for awhile. As a fellow believer, she was interested in helping a Christian, cancer-fighting family out in their transition time. What. A. Blessing.
We are eager to see where God will take us and have us put down roots. We are meeting such amazing people all across the valley that it makes it both difficult and fun trying to figure out where we'd like to be. We have met lovely people in just about each city in the valley. Of course, people who live in those cities think we should more to their city. It is comical to hear people talk about traffic or visiting another city as taking forever to get to. We chuckle because it used to take us 15 minutes to go 2-2.5 miles! Now, we can cover 30 miles in about 30 minutes. It is just not apples to apples. Yes, they have traffic.... for what they know. Let me just tell my CA peeps something - IT'S NOTHING LIKE THE TRAFFIC YOU KNOW! During rush hour, you're still moving at around 50mph. Even the busiest street (Eagle Rd) that's most congested moves because there are lights to govern the drivers. Is it annoying? Yes. Is it downright maddening, not in the least. It just goes to show the stark difference between life here (in the growing valley) compared to life in SoCal (the newest sardine can). For me, aside from people we love, CA has nothing on Idaho. Nothing.
Jake here to share about some of our recent activities.
Discovery Center of Idaho on the free admission day (thanks for the tip from local friend Haley!). Check out the giant sized Lite Brite. The boys loved the human-powered pulley basket & flywheel.
Dempsey’s first chemo infusion at St Luke’s MSTI (we’ve learned is pronounced “misty”) in Boise. Overall it went well, but it takes a bit of getting used to new/different ways of doing the same things. Dempsey did great, of course!
Many trips to local parks… Manitou, Terry Day (with the epic sitting zip line run), Settlers (Splash Pad), Shoshone, Morris Hill, Armstrong, Nampa Dog Park, etc. As of yesterday, Dempsey is now free-soloing on the hanging zip line.
Third visit to Eagle Island State Park for more playground and water fun. Dempsey is building his confidence thanks to some support from a life vest. Saorise got into an epic gladiatorial skirmish with a friendly dog.
Dawn and Sunrise adventures with Saorise in nearby Vista Neighborhood et al; spending the walking time listening to podcasts, watching the Space Station flyover (it almost collided with the moon!!), exploring along the Boise River Greenbelt, chasing squirrels and ducks, and first visit to a fenced-in Dog Park (Morris Hill).
Last week I introduced Sawyer to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey at a screening on Boise’s big IMAX screen (he liked it).
Driving/exploration of Melba, the outskirts of Birds of Prey National Preserve (a stones throw away from Celebration Park at the Snake River) and other parts unknown.
Visit to the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa. Great vintage airplanes and displays. (Dempsey really enjoyed the scavenger hunt and Sawyer liked seeing the various weapons on display)
Occasional shopping at Costco, Trader Joes, and Albertsons (will explore Natural Grocers soon).
Recent cheats: Papa Johns (thank you Heaths!), Chipotlé, Smashburger. Otherwise we do lots of PB&J and Salads.
In Room, we spend time playing Wii, reading books, playing legos, playing our new game (Kingdomino), watching Handy Manny episodes and various movies, eating popcorn, and generally trying to stay sane.
Last night’s movie night (since Coral was out for a NeoLife workshop) was Star Wars The Phantom Menace, complete with Life-Goes-On for dinner.
Looking forward to moving into a rental this week.
Thanks all for your prayers and support!
We went exploring again. This time, Jake landed us at Kristin Armstrong Park. Our family is thoroughly enjoying all the parks around and the intentionality Idaho places on making things family friendly. This park is right next to the Boise River and there is the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center attached to it - including white sturgeon in a pond lined with a sample beaver habitat and a butterfly garden, complete with a Little Free Library.
You will notice the last three pictures do not represent a park. However, they do represent exploration of a different sort... food. Jake found Boise Fry Co even before we moved from CA. What a find! It is some delicious food. The variety of potato choices is fun, but limited if you're wanting organic options. The patty choices are solid - beef, bison, turkey, veggie, etc. The guys had beef but I chose the bison. YUM. Add to their multiple potato options the plethora of dry seasonings and dipping sauces and you have a smorgasbord that tickles your palate.
We have been exploring nearby cities recently, trying to locate some neighborhoods we would like to live in. This is a HARD thing because we really can't tell enough about a "hood" without living in it or knowing someone who does.
There is a neighborhood in Middleton that holds a special place in our heart because it holds people who are special to us. Middleton is on the outskirts of the Treasure Valley and still has a small town feel to it. I both love that and am concerned by that. There is space, a person can breathe out there... but boy is it unnerving to drive down country roads at night... with NO streetlights. Here's Middleton...
We drove around Meridian today and really like many of the early 90's neighborhoods. The trees are mature, sidewalks exist, the lots are decent sizes, and the homes are not cookie-cutter sytle. We've heard Meridian is where lots of CA runaways land and I'm not sure I want to be around that... I would rather be immersed in Idaho culture.
We drove all the way out to Idaho City to take a look last week. Definitely will not be putting that on the list of possible places to land. It's charming to visit but not where I want to live.
Boise is nice but I find myself wanting to live away from a "big city". Yes, there is a lot of culture in Boise, and I am just fine driving to it rather than living in it.
Eagle is lovely and mostly out of our price range. It's another CA runaway location, probably because it still has a familiar feel to CA. Man, those neighborhoods sure are pretty!
Each city really has its own feel, so there really is something for everyone. It's been kinda funny talking to people about moving to the Valley and trying to find a place to land. They each have their own take on which cities/ areas are preferable. I shouldn't be surprised, and I'm not, really... it's just humorous because no one seems to agree. That just goes to show the diversity of citizens up here and it's wonderful.
Suffice it to say, wherever we land, we hope to have enough room for you to come and visit.
What do you do when you’re living in a hotel and don’t have a job to race off to each day? Go exploring, that’s what! This exploration excursion took us 42 miles north to Banks, a shore of the Payette River. My favorite kind of “beach” is one along a fresh water river.
Enjoy some photos.
These things are not all related.
My parents have been up here visiting since Thursday morning - they drove straight through from Whittier to Boise. Crazy pants! This morning, after breakfast and showers, they walked from their hotel to our hotel (literally across the street). We put Saorise in her crate and the humans loaded up in our van to go see some homes that are on our list. We saw the Boise ones and a few of the Meridian ones before my head couldn't stand navigating and external home views only.
After house-peeking, we dropped my folks off, did lunch, and then picked them up again. This time Saoirse was with all of us as we visited Eagle Island State Park. My parents wanted to see the boys enjoying themselves in some water. While at EISP Saoirse made a new friend. His name is Bryce and he's a 2.5 yr old Copper-nosed Blue Merle Aussie (heavy on the black coloring). He was adorable! His dad, Dave, thought it would be fun to break some rules and let them off leash to play with each other. It was fun! Those pups had a BLAST. Then a park employee came over and told us the Park Ranger saw the dogs off leash and wanted them on leash... which they already were by that point. Such rebels. Bryce and his parents are new transplants from CA as well. Retired law enforcement and just couldn't take watching CA deteriorate anymore. They are building their dream home and beyond elated to continue life here is Idaho.
After the park shenanigans, we dropped my parents and the boys off at my parents' hotel. The boys got to do some more swimming, in a clean pool and a spa. Then the four of them went to dinner while Jake and I went on a dinner date ourselves. What a blessing! We got back to our hotel, let Saoirse out, and took her for a walk. My parents and the boys beat us back to our room and promptly started a Mario Kart tournament on the Wii. Boy was Saoirse excited to see her Granddad! I wish y'all could see her enthusiasm when he's around. It's priceless.
Well, there you have it. Family. Fun. Mayhem.
We say farwell, again, to my parents tomorrow morning as they plan to drive straight through from Boise to Whittier... taking a piece of my heart back with them. Until next time.
Last night was EPIC!
Jake's parents sent us the names and phone numbers of a couple they knew from Washington who has recently moved to Idaho. I tried calling the wife but the number was off by one digit. So, what does any normal, 21st century person do? That's right, gently stalk them on Facebook. Success! I was able to connect with Mrs H and we talked for a good hour. Obviously we have plenty in common. They invited us to have dinner at their place Thursday night (last night). We made it over there a little after 6pm and didn't leave until after 10pm.
They have three precious boys (8, 7, 4). Our boys enjoyed time with new friends and we did too. It's wonderful to spend time with a family who has similar interests and vision for raising a Christian crew. We got along so well Mrs H and I were scheming about how to get us a house in that neighborhood - FYI, there IS a house for sale on their street. Pray with us that if it's the Lord's will for us to be that close to them the doors will open accordingly.
This sweet family lives in Middleton... a town several Boise peeps have warned against (for various reasons). However, this family loves their neighbors, neighborhood, town, etc. Middleton is still full of farm charm and a much lower (but increasing) population than Boise. I am curious what it would be like to live there 24/7 versus visiting. Driving back to base (our hotel) in the dark on country roads took me back to places in my youth - Durango, CO and Hugo, OK. Durango was where my paternal grandparents in the early 90's. It was beautiful... and pitch black at night. I mean, so black that you couldn't see two houses away but you certainly could see a bajillion stars. It was also ridiculously quiet at night. That was so unnerving to my young self that I couldn't sleep. The remedy? A radio playing soft music. Looking back at that scenario I chuckle because currently I would give an appendage to have that kind of quiet. Hugo was more the small farm town with dirt roads that lacked street lights. That was where my maternal grandparents lived and where I would visit some summers.
Anyhow... our time with the H Fam was such a blessing. The conversation was lively, the boys even more so. This family was beyond generous in the way they loved on us, too... Mrs H messaged me saying "It was your youngest's birthday last week?" She proceeded to inquire about his favorite dessert which, of course, is chocolate anything. So, they had a cake for Dempsey AND a gift. Such thoughtfulness! Now, this cake... this cake wasn't just a cake with some frosting. Nope. This cake was two layers of chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse, topped with M&Ms, and finally fenced on the sides with KitKats bars. What an indulgence! Thankfully we work hard to maintain low sugar consumption 90% of the time so 10% of the time we can splurge. The H Fam lives that way too... so it's nice to have that element in common as well.
Please cover this family in a prayer of blessing with me...
Father in Heaven, rain down your favor upon the H Fam. Fill their hearts with joy, their lives with spiritual fruit, and their community with strong believers to build them up. I pray that Mr H will continue to have solid employment and that the little H Fam misters grow in Christlikeness to become world-changers for the Kingdom. I pray protection over the hearts, minds, eyes, and bodies of the precious family. I rebuke any negative influences or presences that would seek to steal joy or distract from your will. Please allow this new friendship to flourish, grow deep roots, and be a powerful force for Your Good. Amen.
So, it FINALLY happened.
Our Whittier, CA house sold. We packed up and drove to Idaho via NV, AZ, & UT.
So, what's the plan. Faith, my friends... lots and lots of faith. Currently we are all (six of us) living in a hotel. Yes, a hotel. We will be here for a month. Let me tell you, living in a hotel is hard. No real privacy. No real alone time. No space. I know this sounds like first world complaining... perhaps it is. It's also honest.
What's a faith journey without some hiccups? I doubt you could call it a faith journey without them. Thankfully our journey has had hiccups so it still counts as a faith journey. Hiccup #1: over-packing vehicles. That caused me too much anxiety. So, we repacked and left even more items behind at my parent's house. Thankfully, this means we get to see my parents sooner than expected. Hiccup #2: our Civic over-heated. IN VEGAS! The car we had just spent $2,000 on making sure that didn't happen. So, yeah... I was pissed.
When hiccups happen you can be sure the Lord is working on you through them. While the car was being handled ($400+ and hrs later...) we met a lovely angel. I took the boys and the animals to Petsmart to enjoy airconditioning. That's where we met the angel named Givan. She insisted that the boys come use her pool while the car was being handled. If this had been a day previous I would have quickly declined, but I didn't. Why not? Because we're on a faith journey now. So, the boys and I visited Givan's condo complex and they swam for awhile. What a treat! Jake stayed with the Civic and met up with us later.
We were supposed to make it to Provo, UT by the close of Day 1. That didn't happen. We made it to Filmore, UT instead because I just couldn't drive another 2.5 hrs. We lost money on our reservation (which sucks) because we cancelled way too late and we had to spend more on an impromtu stay at a Best Western. Thankfully, the breakfast was legit! Traveling with pets makes everything harder, folks.
By the close of Day 2 we were successfully and safely to our destination of Boise, ID. Here we unpacked our vehicles into a maybe-300 sqft suite. Thankful to have a roof over our heads and beds to sleep in, but man it's tight quarters.
➤ obtained a PO BOX (our first key in Idaho)
➤ visited the Zoo Boise (not Boise Zoo 😜), picked up our passes and Dempsey's ocelot plaque that my bestie and her hubby blessed us with (they gifted us with annual passes to the zoo AND they adopted an ocelot for a year as a birthday present for Dempsey)
➤ had ice cream at Delsa's for Dempsey's birthday
➤ explored dog parks (there are so many!)
➤ stuck our feet in the Boise River and watched people go rafting/ tubing
➤ explored some nearby cities (Idaho City, Meridian, Middleton, Star, Eagle... we'll keep exploring)
➤ went to Lake Hazel Bible Church on Sunday (small church, lovely people)
➤ visited Lucky Peak Discovery Park (not the fun beachy area that doesn't allow dogs)
➤ enjoyed Eagle Island State Park and made new friends
➤ Jake had a face-to-face interview with an A/V company (doesn't look like a good fit, sadly)
➤ I've left a message for the St Luke's recruiter I have had contact with
➤ been put in touch with more local connections via family and friends (what a blessing)
➤ met our future landlord, Jessica, and checked out the house we'll be renting come 9/12
➤ discovered a favorite destination - Dutch Bros coffee (dangerously close, like within walking distance)
➤ met Dempsey's new oncologist and toured his new clinic/ hospital - St Luke's Children's
➤ visited the local Trader Joe's (PTL there are familiar stores)
➤ Dempsey's favorite thing(s) we've done so far is "visit lakes... and parks"
➤ Sawyer's favorite thing we've done so far is "probably go to parks" (he is excited by the various zip line options they have)
➤ Jake's favorite thing so far was going to the Boise River at Barber Park
➤ took Saoirse (seer-shuh) to the vet for her vaccinations