Jump Creek Falls

Just outside of a small town called Marsing, Idaho is Jump Creek Canyon. Without GPS it would have been impossible to find as we maneuvered around private land. This one neighbor is obviously FED up with travellers thinking his property was the way to Jump Creek.

rawbrunettejumpcreek19

Yikes. We get the hint!

There is an upper trail and a lower trail. The upper one looked a little too advanced for the littles, so we decided to do the lower one. I’m so glad we did! It was not a super long hike, but it was windy and uphill with lots of rocks and slippery gravel. It winds along the stream that comes down from the falls. So, we took our time with the kids, and that was just fine. There were lots of caves and cool rocks to explore on our way.

rawbrunettejumpcreek18

The mouth of Jump Creek Canyon

rawbrunettejumpcreek15rawbrunettejumpcreek16

rawbrunettejumpcreek14

One of the many caves and caverns we discovered!

rawbrunettejumpcreek17

Once we made it to the end of the trail we were pleasantly surprised by the waterfall! It’s not as full as it would be at the end of spring/beginning of summer with most of the snow melt but it was still very awesome. There a good-sized pool underneath that’s perfect for swimming in. It happened to be an extremely hot day too (98) so the kids didn’t mind the chilly water. Shay discovered a cool tunnel right by the waterfall that she liked to explore and climb through. Memphis was content to stand in the shallows and throw rocks, but Calvin and Jess and I braved the cold water for a few minutes.

rawbrunettejumpcreek7rawbrunettejumpcreek8rawbrunettejumpcreek10rawbrunettejumpcreek12rawbrunettejumpcreek13rawbrunettejumpcreek9

When we had our fun with the water, we decided to climb up some rock formations to get a better look at the top of the waterfall.  I asked a very drunk gentleman to take our family pic, and thankfully there was one good one, because the rest had his finger in the way!

rawbrunettejumpcreek5

On our hike back through the canyon we decided to follow the stream instead of the trail and it was a whole different experience! We had to hold Memphis through some of the deeper water, but most of it he was fine wading through.

rawbrunettejumpcreek4rawbrunettejumpcreek3rawbrunettejumpcreek2rawbrunettejumpcreek1

Jump Creek Falls was totally worth it, and I cannot wait to go back and do the upper trail one day!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Advertisements

MK Nature Center in Boise

You know what sucks? Sinus infections. Even more so in the middle of the heat of June. Thankfully, a visit to the local Urgent Care has gotten me some meds so hopefully I will be feeling back to my normal self by tomorrow.

So, while I am sick at our temporary home here in Boise it gives me some time to sit down and write about our adventures last week to the Morris Knudsen Nature Center. It’s located on Walnut street behind the Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters. It’s also situated right on the Boise river and the green belt of the city.

rawbrunettemknature21

The littles LOVED these fish signs!

rawbrunettemknature14

We always have a HOOT!

The best thing about the MK Nature Center is it’s FREE! I love some good free fun, and this place offers so much. It’s 4.6 acres of gorgeous forest with an enormous pond and stream in the middle that has board walks to walk and observe the fish. They had some GIANT white sturgeon which the species itself is about 200 Million years old. My kids could not even wrap their heads around the fact that they were looking at something as old as dinosaurs. The longer one was about 7 feet long and 200 lbs!

rawbrunettemknature1rawbrunettemknature2rawbrunettemknauture3rawbrunettemknature12rawbrunettemknature13I could have watched the fish swim around all day, but my littles have much shorter attention spans. So, we kept walking along the stream walk. As you go further up, there are these cool viewing windows that give you a look under the water. There were lots of charts and signs telling us what we were looking at, and the kids really enjoyed it.

rawbrunettemknature10rawbrunettemknature9

As we made our way down the stream walk, I took a tremendous fall. I was attempting to take a photo, and thought that standing on a log would help me get a better view. Unfortunately for me, the log was not stable so the moment I put my weight on it, the thing rolled from under me. My legs literally went up over my head and I landed on top of the log with my back and my elbow went directly into the ground. It hurt, but thankfully other than some nasty scrapes and bruises I am alright. I am, however, grateful that no one other than my children witnessed my epic fall! After a trip back to the visitor center and some band aids, we continued on our adventures.

rawbrunettemknature11rawbrunettemknature8rawbrunettemknature7rawbrunettemknature6

Once we completed the stream walk, we visited the Butterfly Gardens, and then headed back to the visitor center where there was plenty to see and do. They had the cutest little burrowing owl named Hoots, a turtle named Splashy, and a one-eyed American Kestrel named Fiona who were outside that the kids had a good time watching for a while. A very informative employee had a table set up outside with various horns and antlers that the kids could touch and pick up. She even taught us how to tell the animals ages by counting the rings on their horns!

rawbrunettemknature4rawbrunettemknature5rawbrunettemknature17rawbrunettemknature16rawbrunettemknature15

We finished our day exploring the inside of the visitor center which had plenty to do and see. The kids looked at the different stuffed animals who are native to Idaho. My daughter particularly loved the display about bats, since bats are one of her favorite animals. They also got to say hello to a gopher snake named George, and three adorable tiger salamanders. They made rubbings of different animals and charts, guess what skulls belonged to what animals, and even got to guess how much a newborn black bear cub weighs, (spoiler: it weighs 8 oz! I was surprised too!)

rawbrunettemknature23rawbrunettemknature22rawbrunettemknature20rawbrunettemknature19So, if you want something fun and FREE to do with the kiddos in Boise definitely visit the MK Nature Center! It did not disappoint! Now, here’s praying my meds kick in quickly and this sinus infection is soon a thing of the past!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

“Just always be waiting for me”

My Mom was in my dream last night. We were cooking dinner together in a large white kitchen. She had on a yellow apron, which was her favorite color, and it felt like she wasn’t gone. I was so happy to be with her, and we were talking and laughing as we put something together and into the oven. I’m not even sure what it was we were making, but clearly that’s not the point. When my Mom passed away, for the first weeks, and months, even, sleep could not come fast enough because I would see her almost every night. As time went on, she visited me less and less so the occasional night when she does enter my dreams it’s extra a special.

I feel that dreams are much more than just pictures we see at night while we sleep. Sure, some of the crazy out of this world dreams probably mean nothing, but for the rest of those dreams, they are messages and have meanings.

rawbrunettedreams

 

I have had vivid dreams since I was a small child, and I can remember most of them from about age 5 on. I used to keep a journal of them when I was younger, which I am sad I did not keep. My husband became accustomed very quickly in our marriage that every morning I would roll over and say “Want to hear what I dreamed about?!”. He’s a pretty patient guy to sit and listen to my dreams.

I have studied dreams because it fascinates me how complex my dreams are, and I wanted to know what things symbolized. For instance, once I saw Jurassic Park at the age of 8 it quickly became, (and still is), one of my most favorite movies. The T-rex, however, became a prominent terrifying presence in some of my scariest dreams. Being chased by a tyrannosaurus in a dream, represents your fears of becoming not needed, or not useful. When I was 8, my group of friends drastically changed, and for an 8-year-old who had been with the same friends since kindergarten, it was a big deal for me, and I was manifesting my emotions into my dreams. To this day, if I have a dream of being chased by the t-rex I will wake up in a cold sweat. Those things are scary guys!

Another example, is a bear. I have had recurring nightmares of being chased or killed by bears ever since I first went to my church’s girls camp when I was 12 in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of New Jersey. It’s probably from the horrifying experiences we had every year without fail, of the black bears who roamed the mountains. Any of my fellow camp mates can attest to this as well. The presence of a bear chasing you in a dream represents you running from something in your life that causes you fear. This makes total sense to me because this was the year my Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Clearly, I had a lot of things I was fearful of and had no control over.

I could go on and on. I have so many examples and crazy dreams I could write about, but it would take up so many pages! Ask me about it sometime – I would love to talk about my dreams!

Another thing I truly believe about dreams is that they can be messages or calls to action in our lives.

I started the search for my Birth Mom because of a dream. In 2006 I started to have a series of dreams about her. In the first and very vivid one, I was watching what was going on with her from a distance. I had no idea what she looked like so in my dream she was a blurry figure with shoulder length light brown hair. She was looking for something, and asking people around her if they had seen it. I quickly realized that the “it” she was searching for was my sister and I. When I woke up that morning, the dream kept running through my head over and over. I called my sister in Utah, (we lived in Dallas at the time), and told her about it. We decided that we were ready to try to find her. A few months later I had yet another dream about her. In this one, I was driving my car through a small town I had never seen before looking for my birth mom. I parked my car and started asking some locals who were gathered in the main part of town if they had seen my birth mom, although I didn’t know her name. They told me I was the “spittin’ image” of Jennifer, and surely I was one of her girls. Just a few months after that, my sister and I found her. It was fate, and another story for another post. When I told her about my dreams, and how I dreamt her name was Jennifer, (which it’s not by the way), she told me that in the hospital when she had my sister and I, she had named me Jennifer.

Chills right? Yeah, me too.

I have written before about my miscarriage I suffered in September of 2015. It wrecked me emotionally and I was a mess for weeks. About two months after, I had an incredible dream. In it, I was in a vast, white landscape that seemed to have no end. I was dressed in white, as was everyone else around me. I wasn’t scared or worried about where I was, in fact, I felt very at peace. I realized I was in the after life. Not necessarily Heaven per se, but some sort of post mortal life. As I searched the faces of the people milling around me, I locked eyes with a man probably no older than me. He was tall with dark hair and dark eyes. When we saw one another, we realized we knew each other. We embraced one another and shed tears of happiness. I told him it was so good to see him, and he said the same to me. I asked him where my Mom was and he said matter-of-factly that she was busy “working”. I was fine with this answer, because I was so happy to be with this man who I knew. He asked if he could show me around, and I said of course. He told me that in this place we were, I could think of any place in the world or history and we would go there. I thought of Shanghai, China and instantly we were transported there. We were in a market, and I could smell, touch, and taste everything as if i was really there. This was definitely one of the most vivid dreams ever. Never in my life have I been to China, but in that dream I was really there. After we explored the market for a while, we went back to the white place. He proceeded to show me some specific places in the afterlife, but I cannot for the life of me remember what he showed me. Maybe there is a reason for that? Who knows. We talked for a long time, and then he told me it was time for me to go. I didn’t want to, and began to cry. I did not want my time with him to be over, but he tearfully told me that he was good, and not to be sad.

I woke up, and the morning light was streaming in the windows. I laid there for a few minutes going over the very real dream I had just had.  A thought suddenly overcame me, tears welled up in my eyes, and my chest burned telling me it was true. I belive the young man in my dream was my child that I had lost just a few months before. My son was visiting me to let me know that he was okay and that he loved me. Remembering how long and emotional our reunion was only further solidifies that for me. I cannot wait until the day we do get to meet again, but for now, I know that he’s in a good place waiting for me.

Whether you are religious or not, dreams are something we all have. They can explain a lot of what’s going on with us internally, and are really very fascinating to explore the meanings of. Give it a try sometime! You won’t be disappointed.

 

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

 

 

Car Troubles that broke the Camels Back

I took my van in yesterday for what (I thought) was just a routine alignment before I head back to Utah for a few days this weekend. After an hour and a half of sitting in the Meineke lobby with my kids in tow, they told me the bad news. Turns out, they could not align my van’s tires until they replaced a part that was broken. Don’t worry, I was skeptical too. I feel like women always get swindled at car shops, ( hey, if you’re offended by that I’m sorry but it is how I feel from many experiences). They even took off the part and came and showed me up close, and YES, it was beyond broken. A few more weeks or even days and it may have broken completely off which would have been big trouble.

Even better news? It was going to be $800. UGH. I mean, no one wants to put that kind of money into a car repair, but if I didn’t align my van, my brand new tires would be ruined quick, and that would be another $400.

After then spending ALL day at Meineke when I had only planned on about 45 minutes the kids were all going crazy and Mommy was DONE. So, when we finally got our van back and were going to head home, the traffic was insane because of rush hour. Not wanting to sit in traffic for an hour, I decided to look for a park and wait out the traffic.  One popped up on Google Maps called Camels Back Park, and with a name like that I thought it must be cool!

We were all pleasantly surprised with just how cool it was!

First, we noticed just how large, clean, and fun the playground/outdoor workout area was.

rawbrunettecamelsback12

Memphis thoroughly enjoying the outdoor gym

The playground area alone, kept my kids busy for over an hour. I really liked how clean the whole park was. Definitely one of the cleanest I have been to!

Once we had our fill playing, we decided to go hiking. The main unique characteristic of Camel’s Back Park is the sand dune!

rawbrunettecamelsback11

Memphis for scale

rawbrunettecamelsback10

Heading up!

So, the hard way, would be to walk straight up, which we opted not to do. If it was just me I would have, but I had six pairs of little legs who would not have been able to make it, and I was not about to carry them up! So, we took one of several trails that went up and around to the top.

rawbrunettecamelsback8

Once we got to the top, the views were amazing! The littles were pretty proud of themselves, because even though we went the “easier” way, it was still very steep, and the sand was slippery. We stayed up at the top of Camel’s Back for a while and soaked in the view.

rawbrunettecamelsback6rawbrunettecamelsback2rawbrunettecamelsback3rawbrunettecamelsback5

There are many trails up there, and I definitely want to go back and explore more of them! I think I should keep hiking essentials handy in my van for the rare occasion that we stumble upon another cool hike! Oh, and if you go here, do NOT try and go down the sand dune. I made that mistake thinking it would be faster, and boy was I wrong! The kids were all slipping, and I did too. So, our solution was to all sit on our butts and slide down the sand! Just don’t do what I did, because I am still picking sand out of my crack!If you are ever in Boise, go check out this unique park!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

 

 

 

Freak Alleys and Pie Holes

Boise has so many hidden treasures. Last summer when we were visiting, my husband and I discovered the Freak Alley Gallery. It’s located in the downtown area between 8th,9th, Bannock, and Idaho streets. It’s an ever evolving art installment that’s free and open to the public all year-long.

rawbrunettefreakalley19

The cool piece at the entrance off of 9th street

Artists can submit their work and be chosen to add to the gallery every two years. It was started in 2002, and has been a very unique addition to the character of downtown Boise ever since. Whats cool about it is that even in just one year, so many different art pieces had been added, but my favorite one was still there.

rawbrunettefreakalleytiger

August 2016

rawbrunettefreakalley6

This tiger, I decided, is one of my spirit animals

So, if you happen to be in Boise, you have to go and get your freak on (not in THAT way. Mind outta the gutter people!) at the Freak Alley Gallery.

rawbrunettefreakalley18rawbrunettefreakalley17rawbrunettefreakalley16rawbrunettefreakalley15rawbrunettefreakalley14rawbrunettefreakalley13rawbrunettefreakalley11rawbrunettefreakalley10rawbrunettefreakalley9rawbrunettefreakalley7rawbrunettefreakalley2rawbrunettefreakalley8

rawbrunettefreakalley1

Also, the Freak Alley Gallery is right around the corner from one of our favorite Pizza joints here in Boise : Pie Hole. It’s a local pizza restaurant, that has a good variety of pizzas, all served in a cute little eclectic funky space. You can buy pizza by the slice or a whole pie, and it’s very reasonably priced. Best of all, it tastes AMAZING and it’s open late! So, of course we had to all grab a slice after we walked around the gallery.

rawbrunettepiehole1rawbrunettepiehole2

Who doesn’t love a great slice of pizza? I know I do! If there was a pizza diet, I’d be all over that!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Idaho Botanical Garden

We will be exploring Boise, Idaho for the next few weeks! I absolutely LOVE the gem state, and I may be a bit biased since my hot hubby is an Idaho boy. But I digress. We got to spend some time up here in Boise last summer, and it is such an enchanting city! The people here are so nice too! So, when we found out we would be getting to spend about six weeks here again I was excited. We will be exploring all Boise has to offer so stay tuned!

Yesterday, the littles and I ventured to the Idaho Botanical Garden and it did not disappoint! The garden, which is nestled on about 33 acres of land is beautifully landscaped and had so many trails and pathways to explore. And the smell! That heavenly aroma of flowers was intoxicating! My oldest son had fun reading the names off the plackards of the types of trees, flowers, shrubs, and plants to his younger siblings.

rawbrunettebotanical20rawbrunettebotanical19rawbrunettebotanical18rawbrunettebotanical8rawbrunettebotanical7rawbrunettebotanical4rawbrunettebotanical17

 

The cool thing about the botanical garden too, is that it’s right next to the historic Idaho State Penitentiary which is another place we will definitely go visit. So, I found out while we were there that the land the garden is on, was originally part of the prison, and some of the old guard towers are still standing among the gardens. I love that they preserved a part of history.

rawbrunettebotanical21

You can see part of the outer wall of the prison behind my kids in this photo.

The Idaho Botanical Garden is super kid friendly. There were so many hands on parts of the experience that they loved. The children’s area with the tree house was by far their favorite part. Besides the flowers and exhibits, the amount of wildlife we saw was impressive too. We saw various birds with nests and babies, an adorable baby bunny hopped in our path, about six snakes, tons of lizards, ducks, fish, and squirrels just to name a few! My oldest son, and we were leaving turned to me and said “Mom, when you first told me this morning that we were coming here I was not excited. But this place is AWESOME!” Thats a Mom win if i have ever heard one! I gave myself a high five. I’m so glad my kids had such a great time, and we spent about three hours there but could have easily spent more. We cannot wait to go back! If you’d like to plan your visit to this beautiful place, head to their website here .

rawbrunettebotanical16rawbrunettebotanical15rawbrunettebotanical14rawbrunettebotanical13rawbrunettebotanical11rawbrunettebotanical10rawbrunettebotanical9rawbrunettebotanical5rawbrunettebotanical3rawbrunettebotanical2rawbrunettebotanical1

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

My Tribe, My Pride

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say, it takes a pride. A pride of powerful lionesses.

Why a pride you ask? Sure, there are male lions in prides, but let’s be honest, the female lions run the show. Lionesses are strong and fast hunters, and are relentless until the kill is had. But, they are also very loving. In fact, lions are the most social of the big cats, and really take care of their families. Lions themselves are one of the most recognized symbols in human history.

It all started on Marco Polo. If you non- tech savvy people don’t know what it is, Marco Polo is an app where you can video chat, but not in real-time. So, you can record a message, send it, and your friends or loved ones can watch it, and reply at their leisure. It’s like video texting. Go download it! My sisters and our birth mom have a chat thread that is added to daily, and it’s a great way for us all to keep in touch. One of my sisters today mentioned  in our Marco Polo thread how each of us individually are so strong, but when we are all together, that we are like a lion pride, and an unstoppable force.

I have been thinking about it since then, and it really made me consider all the women who were and are in my life. They all have unique strengths and talents, and all have inspired me in my own life.

Obviously, I must start with my Mom. She gave my older brother, and my twin sister and I such a wonderful childhood. She adopted my sister and I, and loved us as unconditionally as if we were her own biological children. Our home was filled with so much love, opportunities,creativity, and freedom to be ourselves. She cooked amazing home cooked meals, and tried to be as involved with our lives as we would let her. Let me put it this way, I can literally count two hands the number of sports games, concerts, graduations, awards ceremonies, and any other events that she did not attend. Even when she was sick she tried her best to go. Besides her ability to be a mother, she was probably one of if not the smartest person I have ever met. I always told her to go on Jeopardy, because she would have won hands down. She read like two books a week, sometimes more, and always tried new hobbies and succeeded at them. She was truly an incredible, loving, selfless woman. Her example helped me so much in my journey into motherhood, even beyond the grave. My heart aches for her still everyday. Her friendship is a loss that is hard to fill. I literally called my Mom every day, and after she died, and even still today, I instinctively will want to call her with random questions or stories I have to tell her.

rawbrunettemealymom

My twin sister naturally, is a given member of my pride. She is my soul mate, and if that’s a weird thing to refer to your twin sister as, I don’t care. She and I have been through more together than I could ever write down. We have an unbreakable bond, and twin connection. Yes, for anyone who has ever wondered if twins really have a connection, WE DO.  She’s my person. (For any Grey’s Anatomy fans, you know what I’m talking about). I like to think that she and I loved each other so much in Heaven before we came down, that we begged to not be separated. So, we were sent down together. I honestly don’t think I could have survived this life without her with me. She has also been a second mom to my three children, and I know one day when she becomes a mother, her children will be as loved by me as my own are.

rawbrunettemealyshay

rawbrunettemealywedding

 

To remind any readers who have forgotten, my twin sister and I are adopted. We recently found our birth mother a few years back, and also got to meet our three half sisters. My birth mom is an amazing woman, who has been through a tremendous journey in her life. She inspires me, as well as makes me so proud to have her blood in my veins. She and I met each other in person in the summer of 2013. It still amazes me the similarities we have, and that I also have with my sisters even though we were not raised together. Genes are a funny, funny thing.

rawbrunettemeandsherrimeet

It was a marvelously emotional day when we met. So much, that I may need to write an entire post just on that. She is such a rock in my life now, and I am grateful that for the rest of our lives we can continue to strengthen our bond, and get to know one another. She is one of my best friends.

It was as if these missing pieces of my heart were now put back into place – that being my birth mom, my sisters.

rawbrunetteseestersrawbrunettesisters

Since then, we have formed what I now like to refer to as our Lion Pride, thanks to my sister. Each member of our pride is different in our unique talents and abilities, but we have so much in common too that it’s pretty funny sometimes. None of us ever has to feel like we are alone in any situation. If one of us is in trouble, or just needs a good cry session, we never have to be afraid to be vulnerable and open up, because we are all there for one another. It’s the type of support system that everyone should have, and when I talk to them, and by chance get to be in the presence of all of them at once I am in awe. It just makes me so damn grateful and proud to be a woman.

When I found out my second child was a girl, I was beyond ecstatic. She is an irreplaceable addition to our family. Although she has shown her fiery personality quite early, it makes me so happy to have her in my life. If anything, her stubbornness and very strong opinions give me zero doubts that my daughter will ever grow up and be afraid to be herself. I also have zero doubts that she will be without female support throughout her life.  She is so lucky, because she has these five intelligent, capable, talented, and tough women to look up to. They will and have helped me raise her (even if they aren’t aware of their influence), and I would be proud if she turned out like any one of them. Just like I said, it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes a pride.

 

xoxo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette