Monthly Archives: January 2023

Bucket List Item #11 (Part 3 of 3): Visit 3 States. OREGON

We are in the home stretch of crossing the remaining items off of the bucket list and I’m pretty much using any available free time to accomplish a remaining task at this point. Yes, it is seeming daunting and yes, I have lied awake for hours many nights wondering how I’m going to finish everything.

To be honest, I confided in Zeb this weekend that it probably wasn’t a great idea to give myself this many things to hold myself accountable for during the first year of becoming a mother. Many of which are not baby-friendly and require arranging a sitter (AKA my parents) to watch Brynnley. In hindsight, I probably would not have committed to this many things during the year that I became a mom. But I did, and here we are – I’m not giving up on something I publicly agreed to!

This bucket list item was a three-parter. Even though I visited Washington in September and Arizona in November, I haven’t been able to officially cross this item off of the list until this morning as we drove home from Oregon.

We live in the Boise area, which is only about 50 miles from the state border between Idaho and Oregon. We decided to make it easy on ourselves and get in the third state with the easiest option available to us – Oregon – and stay in the “quaint” historical town of Baker City. My own standards require us to spend the night in order to count it as a true “visit” so I found an adorable hotel for our family of three right on Main Street. It’s called the Geiser Grand Hotel and I think if you ever visit Baker City, Oregon then it’s the best place to stay!

We timed the 1 hour 45-minute drive to coincide with Brynnley’s nap time, leaving around 3pm on Friday after logging off of work. She wasn’t as cooperative with my carefully timed plan though, and only napped for about 20 minutes. She usually naps for 90 minutes in the afternoons, so I worried this would cause an extra cranky baby. We also gained an hour crossing the state border, so her bedtime which was usually 8:30pm would mean she would be starting to meltdown closer to 7:30pm local time. I was quickly seeing how tricky it is to travel with a baby/almost toddler and I did somewhat yearn for how easy long weekends and little road trips were before last year.

Our little one was very happy when we checked in to the beautiful historic hotel and took her out of her car seat though :)

Baker City, Oregon is part of the Oregon trail with so much preserved history. The railroad came to Baker City in 1884, and the Geiser Grand Hotel was originally built in 1889 during a gold mining boom. It had the reputation as the finest hotel between Salt Lake City and Seattle. The Geiser family spared no expenses during the time it served timber and cattle barons, politicians, and even Teddy Roosevelt. It boasts the third ever elevator West of the Mississippi River. It’s architecture and style have been preserved in the three-story hotel with a full bar and restaurant, a stain glass ceiling, and four poster beds. Our suite had a living room with a fireplace.

We unpacked, set up Brynnley’s pack n’ play, and toured the building. We sat in the lobby bar and I ordered a glass of prosecco while Zeb enjoyed an old fashioned. Brynnley was a total ham, babbling up a storm and practicing her new trick…blowing kisses. We wanted her to get in a bit more of a nap before our dinner reservations, but after an hour of trying (including her pack n’ play with a blackout cover, a walk in her covered stroller, and another car ride) she resisted all of our attempts and was wide awake as ever. We knew we’d have to keep her entertained during dinner before she became overtired.

Dinner was delicious! I ordered the crab cakes with green beans and smashed potatoes. Zeb enjoyed a 12 oz boneless ribeye with a loaded baked potato that he attempted to share with Brynnley. The service was amazing and we really enjoyed the atmosphere. Brynnley say between us in her high chair and enjoyed her own puree and rice crackers.

We just retreated to our suite for the rest of the night because Brynnley was definitely ready for bed. She didn’t love the change in atmosphere and protested quite a bit, and I wondered if we made the wrong decision taking this weekend trip. It can be hard to travel with an infant, and as someone who loves traveling and exploring new places…that’s a hard new reality to transition to. I know it’s just a phase of life and I hope she will be a happy traveler with us before long.

In the morning, we decided to avoid struggling to get Brynnley to nap in the strange new place again and just hit the road earlier than planned. We packed up and found a cute local coffee shop on Main Street for some oatmilk lattes. We sipped them while walking around downtown and enjoying the cute artistic touches on each of the corners. We were on the road back to Idaho before 10am, and Brynnley did finally cooperate and nap for about an hour on the drive home.

I’m happy to have accomplished this bucket list with a baby, though none of these states were new to me. I hope to get to explore new unfamiliar places in the next year :)

Bucket List Item #22: Finish the Harry Potter Movie Series

So far this item has taken the longest to complete, start to finish time! We just watched the 8th and last movie in the series last Friday night. We had started the first one……in May!

This is my second time watching the series; the first time was when I first moved to Idaho during a brutal winter (known locally as “snowmageddon”) in 2016. However I have the memory retention of a goldfish when it comes to movies sometimes, so it was almost like watching some of the movies for the first time again haha.

I have read the entire book series before as well, years ago. But despite that, I still had no clue what was going to happen from the Goblet of Fire on.

The first two – Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets – are so cute and innocent. They are so dramatically different from the characters and plot in Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. It’s almost unbelievable that they are part of the same series! Once Cedric dies in the fourth movie, it’s like the whole mood shifts and then entire story darkens, and the death never stops coming.

Spoiler alert ahead!

I absolutely could not believe that Dumbledore really died. I thought “he has to be coming back! He has to have lived!” That was shocking to me. I also was stunned when Snape also really died. Then in the final battle, finding out that Lupin and one of the Weasley twins dies – it was so sad! Little did we know during the cute scenes of movies 1 &2 what a dark ending we were in for. I could not have predicted that’s where it would turn from the beginning.

I did enjoy the fact that it concluded with the “19 years later” look at Harry, Ron and Hermione with their own small children.

We liked watching the movies on dreary cloudy days and making big bowls of popcorn or kettle corn.

The Harry Potter series is a classic and I plan on reading through the books with my own kids when they are old enough. Although now rewatching it myself, I’m not sure exactly what age that is.

There are a couple other cult-classic series that I’ve never seen before, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings but I just don’t have any desire to right now. Maybe I’ll add them to a future milestone bucket list…

Bucket List Item #21: Sled Down the Bruneau Sand Dunes

This bucket list recap post has taken me the longest to write! Probably because it was such an anticlimactic event….ha. We actually completed this item in late fall, long before Idaho was covered in a fresh white snowfall like it is right now.

The Bruneau Sand Dunes are an Idaho State Park about an hour south of Boise. It holds the title for “Tallest Single-Structured Sand Dune in North America” with a peak of 470ft. The surrounding area is primarily desert and Dunes Lake. It’s a popular area for camping and even includes a little observatory.

Many people take day trips to this unique area with sleds to play with on the dunes. They are very steep, so it would be a good workout to climb up and then enjoy the fun ride on the way down.

The area can get pretty windy and since it’s made up of SAND, we didn’t want to bring our baby with us. She didn’t need to risk getting any sand in her eyes! We left her in great hands at home and had a day-date.

We packed out red snow sleds and a cooler with some snacks. The drive down took about an hour, and we stopped in Mountain Home for some iced coffees.

Once we got to the sand dunes, we saw only a handful of other families sledding down the sand structures and saw the vast landscape as one big playground!

Unfortunately we learned pretty quickly that our plastic snow sleds were not the ideal mechanism to glide down the hills. I didn’t realize we would have issues getting traction. I thought the steepness of the dunes and the smoothness of the sand would allow pretty much anything to breeze along. It seemed as though I was very wrong….the friction on the bottom of our sleds made them stick completely into the sand and not want to budge. We tried running starts, scooting along with our feet, pushing each other to get momentum. Nothing.

We tried several times, even tried just “sliding” down on our slick vests but the sand dunes were picky with what they would let glide down.

Apparently during warmer months, there is a state park office that rents out sand-appropriate sleds which we will have to utilize next time. :)

Since we’d made the drive all the way out there, we spent some more time just hiking up and down the hills to get a little workout in. My tennis shoes were filled with sand by the end! We finished our iced coffees on the drive back home and reunited with our girl.

Now we are officially caught up from my bucket list report-out from 4 months ago! Recently I’ve been planning Brynnley’s first birthday party, which we are quickly approaching. I’m really excited about the theme and decorations that I came up with and I can’t wait to see it all come to life & share with you. For now, I think we might go enjoy some of this fresh snow while it lasts because there doesn’t seem to be any more in the forecast for the foreseeable future!