We arrived at the River Ranch on a warm summer evening. The ranch was only a few minutes off I-84 and was easy to find. I loved the tall timbers outlining the property entrance as we drove up. A bit of nostalgia hit me as we drove lane lined with tall pine trees. It reminded me of visiting my uncle’s house as a kid.
We parked the car on the country estate. On the property, there is a main house to the right as your enter. We passed the guest house and a small cabin with a wrap around porch. There were also many outbuildings on the property. We met up with our family who parked who were camped in the RV site. They were lounging on the banks of the Snake River so we headed across the park like yard shaded by tall oaks.
One of the large tress had tree swing that we immediately loved.
We put our things into the guest house. It had two bedrooms, a bath, a living room/dining room and kitchen. There was also a sun room east. The kitchen was very fun. I loved the bright red and yellow hutch that held the old fashioned dishes and we enjoyed playing cards at the round table.
They had almost every copy of Natural Geographic ever written. They had a large selection of other books and lots of music. There wasn’t a movie collection, but the kids didn’t need it because there was so much to do outside.
Jason especially liked the leather settee in the living room.
We lounged for two days at the River Ranch. The boys fished, waded on the Snake River, and found a killdeer and her nest. I loved reading my book on the porch swing at the cabin and even took a nap on a blanket under all the glorious shade from the many trees on the property. We had a fire, roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. It was great place to “camp.”
We arrived in Twin Falls around 3:00 in the afternoon. It was a breezy, summer day and very clear. We visited the Perrine Bridge first and the view was totally worth it. I have to admit I missed the turn off the first time and had to turn around. It was a headache, but worth it once we finally got there.
The bridge spans the Snake River and you can see waterfalls flowing from the top of the canyon to the southeast and to the southwest.
We arrived a few minutes after a group of base jumpers launched off the middle of the bridge. Hopefully you will have more luck than us.
From the view point, we could see the twin waterfalls to the southwest and Shoshone falls to the southeast. It was an exciting place!
Next, we drove to Shoshone Falls. It is about twenty minutes through town and costs $3 per car for admittance to the park, but it very worth it.
View of the Snake River downstream from the falls.
and of course, the boys had to reenact their version of “Titanic’s” famous scene.
After the falls, we enjoyed the park. Families were picnicking and enjoying the cool summer afternoon and evening. We also were surprised to see a marmot in the trees near the falls.
We visited the ghost town of the Strevell, Idaho. It is located around thirty minutes outside of Snowville, Utah along Idaho’s 305 Highway. Established in the early 1900’s, Strevell served as port of entry town for over seventy years. It had several gas stations, a hotel, and many restaurants. You can read more about the town here.
Old Hotel in Strevell, Idaho. It was moved many years ago to Malta, a town several miles away and is now a private residence.
We had to be careful as we explored the ruins of an old service station. Jason should consider a career in archaeology with the quick way he discovered old relics.
We left our home at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. We drove north through Ogden, Brigham City, and Tremonton. Just outside of Tremonton we took I-84 toward Boise, Idaho. We drove for an hour and then had a break in Snowville, Utah. It is a very small town. We stopped at the small post office so I could mail a card to my father. Then we followed Grandpa on one of his “Grandpa” trails. We left I-84 for a back highway and headed northwest to Malta, Idaho.
Aaron (our junior ornithologist) had his binoculars out checking all the power lines for birds of prey. We had driven only a few minutes when he spied a golden eagle. It was the first time that he had seen one “in the wild” and he was very excited. I was excited too because I had only ever seen them at the zoo or the Ogden Nature Center.
No, I’m not! I know many parents count down the days until their children are back in school, but I have to say, I am not one of them. I really hate when summer comes to an end. I love summer. I love the freedom each new day brings whether we will stay at home or go on an adventure. I enjoy my boys and I love when they are home. I know they need school to learn and grow but sometimes I wish I could make time stand still. I have incredible boys and I am going to miss them when they start back to school tomorrow.
Tomorrow is also the end of an era. Sniff. My youngest is going to be in school full time. It is bittersweet. I am happy for him because he will grow so much this year, but I am feeling a bit melancholy. I no longer will have any little person at home with me. There have been many times over the last fourteen years that I have been home with my children that I have wanted to tear my hair out and run away from the craziness, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I remember feeling overwhelmed with the task of holding my oldest in his car seat as we left the hospital. I thought,”they are really letting me take this baby home? Don’t they know I know nothing?” It was difficult. I had taken classes and looked after children before, but never infants on only on a few hours of sleep. I remember once my son was crying. He had been fed, changed, burped, and snuggled and I couldn’t figure out what he needed. I remember thinking at that point “And I wanted this?” but the truth is I did. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to look after children.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I haven’t always listened, I’ve yelled, I had my own embarrassing temper tantrums, and I teased my boys when I shouldn’t have. I haven’t been as patient or kind as I could have been (or as my husband who is the Saint of Patience) and there are many times I should have kept my big, fat mouth shut, but being a mother has been the most rewarding job of my life. I have no “work experience” but I have grown so much as a person as I have watched my little ones grow. They have taught me so much. My oldest has grown into one of my best friends. My other two keep me on my toes. They are smart, articulate, and are always making me laugh. I am grateful for the hard days and the great days. I am also grateful for the mediocre days.
My Heavenly Father knew I needed these boys to become a better person and I am so grateful he sent them to me. We may have closed the door on having little children now, but I know my husband and I are excited to enter the new door of having older children and the joy that will come from it. I’ve got four years (just four years!) with my oldest, and I am determined to try to be the kind of mom that my boys need.
Our family recently went on a trip to Southern California. There were three things on our list: Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, and my favorite The Mormon Battalion Historic Site in San Diego’s Old Town.
Yes, it was fun to go on the new Guardian of the Galaxy ride at California Adventure, to have everyone laugh at me and my terrified face as we went over Splash Mountain, and to see the koalas and pandas at San Diego Zoo, but the part of the trip that meant the most to me was when my children go to learn about their fourth great-grandfather, Zemira Palmer.
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is located at 2510 Juan St., San Diego, CA 92110. It is free to the public and open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The last tour is at 8:00 p.m. I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to go because we had spent the majority of the day at the San Diego Zoo and the children were exhausted from walking, but I really wanted them to go. I knew they shared information about their ancestors and I wanted them to see it.
When we walked in, two beautiful young women (missionaries) asked us if we wanted a tour. We went into the front waiting area.
It was a lot of fun because the pictures on the wall talked to us almost as if we were in some kind of Harry Potter movie. The young man on the bottom right-hand corner represented Zemira Palmer. He was the narrator and took us through the journey.
First, we started in the room that represented Mount Pisgah, Iowa, then we moved on to Fort Kearny, Kansas.
At Fort Kearny, my ten-year-old son got to dress up like a member of the Mormon Battalion and carry a gun that they would have carried.
After Fort Kearny, we followed the Battalion on their journey of over 2000 miles to San Diego. One thing I learned is that the Battalion stayed in San Diego for over a year later and helped the people learn to make bricks, irrigate, and so many other things.
Outside, my boys got to pan for gold, make bricks, and wash clothes like the members of the Battalion did. It was a great, interactive way for my children to learn about their great fourth grandfather Zemira Palmer. As the missionaries told the story, I also supplemented with additional information that I knew about him. It was the highlight of my trip.
Zemira Palmer was born 9 August 1831 at West Borough, Frontier County, Canada to George Palmer, Jr. and Phebe Draper. Zemira was the six child in a family of 7 children. His father passed away when he was two, and his mother Phebe met Brigham Young and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Many years later, Phebe remarried a man named Ebenezer Brown. Ebenezer enlisted and Phebe followed to become a laundress. She mended and washed the clothes for the Battalion. She also cooked for the officers.
Zemira was fifteen years old when he volunteered and was assigned as a personal aide to Col. Allen, which included caring for his horse and shining his boots. The Mormon Battalion march was very difficult. They dealt with cold, heat, lack of water, sickness, and even problems with wild bulls. There were also soldiers from Missouri; some who had helped drive the Saints from their state.They made it to the Pacific Ocean at the new settlement of San Diego in January 1847. The war ended and they never had to fire a shot. Zemira, his mother, and his step-father all re-enlisted and stayed one more year in San Diego. Phebe taught school to the children of the area and Zemira and Ebenezer made adobe bricks and helped build new buildings.
The Mormon Battalion made a good impression on all the people with whom they had associated. After their enlistment was up, they traveled north to find work before coming to the Salt Lake Valley, They were employed at Sutter’s Mill during this tune and were there when gold was discovered. It is said that they paid the first tithing in gold. They rode mules all the way to the Valley. When they finally arrived there was a great family reunion. It had been three years and they were glad to be with the family and the Saints again. Zemira was now 18 years old.
Later Zemira married Sally Knight and they had 12 children together. He was a strong man who did amazing things because he exercised his faith in his Heavenly Father.
We’ve been busy the last few weeks with family in town and celebrating birthdays. I had fun adding more information to each of my “baby’s” stories. They certainly aren’t babies anymore! Our youngest just turned six years old. If you are starting when your baby is only a few weeks old, congratulations! My details are getting foggier the older I get. Here are the questions to add to your child’s story this week.
Who drove the mother and the baby home?When did the mother and baby arrive home
Where did the mother and baby live? Who did they live with?
Describe the baby’s home and room.
Did the baby sleep in their own room or share a room with the mother or someone else?
What were the siblings’ and/or other family members’ reactions the baby’s arrival home?
What visitors did the baby and mother have in the first few days home?
Did anyone come or help the mother and the new baby? Who? How long did that person stay? What other help did the family receive?
Did the mother and/or baby receive any special gifts?
Describe the feelings the mother and father had during the first few days home. Did they have any special impressions or thoughts?
A few of the highlights from my answers to these questions comes from that the last one. Describe the feelings the mother and father had during the first few days home. When we had our first beautiful baby boy, I was twenty-four. We were students in college and working hard to make ends meet. I remember when we first brought our baby home to our little apartment, I was so excited, but also very nervous. We had a lot of support. My mother came every day to help us out a little and my mother in law came for a few days as well. Our church family helped us with dinners and always checked on me.
It was hard the first time I was left alone with our son. I had taken care of children, even little babies, but not for hours at a time. I was trying to nurse him because all my birthing classes had stressed that “breast is best.” However, our sweet little guy would not latch on in a comfortable way and it hurt terribly every time I tried to feed him. I was frustrated and exhausted. However, I would not, could not supplement with formula. I was certain in my foggy postpartum mind that if I fed him from a bottle, he would die and I would forever hold the title of “worst mother in the world.”
I remember praying,”Please Heavenly Father, please help me, please bless him to be able to eat.” Well, I tried to do everything the lactation specialist had shown me and it wasn’t working. The baby was hungry and tired. My delivery was rough and I was still recovering. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I cried and cried, the baby cried. It was so overwhelming. I didn’t know what to do anymore when exactly at the moment by my sweet husband walked in the door. He had come home from work earlier than I expected. He looked at me and the baby and he took the sweet infant in his arms and snuggled him and sent me to bed. I remember saying the baby was upset because he was hungry, but I couldn’t get him to eat. My level-headed husband said, “We still have samples of formula from the hospital, right?”
He said, ‘formula’ but I am sure I heard ‘arsenic.’ I glared at him. “We are not feeding our baby formula!”
He looked at me kindly and put his arm on my shoulder. “Karen, scientists created infant formula for this reason: so that their dads could help feed their babies. Our baby won’t die if he drinks formula. I promise you. He is going to be fine.”
I tried to protest, but I was so exhausted and somehow he got me to go lay down. I fell asleep almost immediately. I woke an hour or two later and came out to my husband watching television in the living room. Our baby’s belly was full and he was happily dosing in the crook of his father’s arms.
I realize then my prayer was answered. It wasn’t in the way I thought it would be, but it was an answer. My husband coming home when he did was a tender mercy. I never thought I would go to feeding our baby formula, but after seeing how my husband could help me. Later I realized how much easier it was for me and the baby and we never went back.
If you are wondering if feeding our baby formula hurt him, well he is in the eighth grade, 6’1″, sings, plays piano, and has great grades.