Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The OTHER Best Thing About Christmas

Yep. There is Jesus. The best thing about Christmas for sure. And then there are Christmas cards in the mail. Really that is a truly awesome part of Christmas. BUT, over the last week I've discovered something that just might trump Christmas cards. Especially now that that Christmas is over and so are the cards: NOT having to drive my kids anywhere. Ever. Or wake them up for school. Or get them dressed in a hurry while shoving toast down their throats. No frantic searches for the other shoe at 7:30 am during which the baby wakes up and is starving and poopy and needs my attention NOW. No hurriedly slapping together a peanut butter and honey sandwich while Daphne has a melt-down about her sock seams and whether or not she gets red Doritos or blue Doritos in her lunch.

I am not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. So getting up in the am with my kids to get them (mainly Daphne) ready for school is a HUGE sacrifice. I would love to tell her to get herself ready so I could keep sleeping. Or to find a school that starts at 10am and keep sleeping. But neither of those is going to happen, so I just have to get up and suffer through that frantic hour before I push her (usually literally) out the door and throw her school bag after her (not literally. She can't catch that well.)

So at this special time of year where we give thanks for Jesus and his birth and life and sacrifice and atonement and Christmas cards in the mail, I also want to give a massive thank you for school vacations and turned off alarm clocks. Haaaa-aa-leluia.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Beyond the Obvious

There are lots of reasons to like Christmas. Baby Jesus, for one. Christmas lit streets, for another. Presents, of course. Especially watching your kids open them. I feel bad for anyone who thinks they will keep themselves younger by not having kids. Ya, you'll lose some sleep if you have kids, but you will regain the joy of Christmas morning, which is worth a few lost z's--even coming from this sleep connoisseur. Eggnog. Yes, I like it. Sue me. Really cute wrapping paper. Ornaments. Carolers, when you're lucky enough to hear them. But honestly, my favorite thing about the Christmas season has got to be the mailbox. For once in the whole year I actually enjoy getting the mail. Normally it's full of junkmail and flyers and the occasional bill. But for 2-3 glorious weeks, it's full of REAL mail, mail from PEOPLE, people who don't want money from me. Well, maybe they do but they are polite enough not to ask for it. Anyway, today, for example, there was no junk mail, not even any shopping ads. Just TWO CHRISTMAS CARDS!!! Sigh (of contentment)...

It's been a kinda sparse year for Christmas cards. Normally our Christmas card holder (i.e. blank kitchen wall) is packed. We have lots of space left this year. You may notice that you haven't gotten one from us either, so I may sound like a hypocrite But we are sending one out. No, really. Just as soon as it gets here from the printers. (I may have put it off just a tad too long this year.) Anyway, thanks to those who sent one. It made this already joyous season a little more fa la la-ier.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just When You Think You've Seen It All

Today's post will be about poop. Yes, poop. Oh don't get all self-righteous and squirm around like you can't handle it. We ALL have poop! But fortunately this post isn't about our poop. That's not very interesting. No, it's about the amazing world of baby poop! So much more fun. And today's episode is no exception.

Let me set the scene for you. I am at my husband's work, to exchange my phone since his company get on a new plan and they're letting me tag along for the discount. I've had to bring all three kids. The baby is in high spirits, cooing and smiling at everyone. And then I hear a loud sound emanating from her lower half. Even though I know every man in the place is a father, many with small children themselves, I realize it isn't proper etiquette for your baby to fill her diaper at work. So I whisk her off to....hmmm....where can I change a baby at a workplace full of men dressed in khakis and pullovers? I spy an empty cubicle on the way to the bathroom that I already know has no baby changing station. It's covered in some wires and cables and ancient computer monitors the size of helicopters. There is an empty square foot or two on one desk. But no, someone might walk by and not appreciate the view. So I continue on to the bathroom.

As expected, no baby changing station, and the bathroom counter isn't big enough to lay a baby on. The floor (ew) is the only option. So I lay my coat down (the things a mother will do for her child), lay down her diaper changing mat on that, and set to work.

A scream emanates from the bathroom. A shrill, alarmed scream. It is my scream. For there in my baby's diaper is...a half pound of melted lipstick with the title "Cherries Jubilee." Red, no fuscia poop, and slightly creamy like a smoothie, is what greets me. Not even a hit of the usual baby poop colors. This whole thing looks like someone dumped a bowl of melted raspberry sorbet in there! I am shocked. And just a little bit freaked out. The good thing is, it doesn't look like blood. Blood is scarlet. And brownish. This is seriously pinkish red! Plus she's smiling at me while I have this tiny heart attack, so she clearly isn't in pain. So I clean her up, save the diaper just in case the doctor's office thinks I'm making this up, and head to tell my husband and the three guys standing in his office about what I just saw, because I know their Friday afternoon hasn't gotten this exciting in months.

Luckily, one of the other young dads present has experienced this before. It happened to his son. "Is she taking antibiotics?" he asks. Why yes, as a matter of fact she is. "It's the antibiotics. It does that. Turns their poop red." Well you'd think the doctor might have mentioned that when he prescribed her Cefdinir the day before. But why would he do that and rob us of all the excitement!?

So--10 days of Cefdinir, 10 days of raspberry sorbet. Oh joy.

Just thought you'd want to know.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Does This Count As Keeping The Sabbath Day Holy?

At 4pm Sunday afternoon our kitchen looked like this:

But fortunately, by 4:30 it looked like this:

Can you tell which house Big Daddy the boys were in charge of and which house Mom the girls were in charge of?

My favorite features of the boys' house: The poptart door. (Cut with a ban saw, which is pretty much cheating.)

My favorite features of the girls' house: The melted snowman. (The stupid boys stole all the white gumballs. Jerks.)

Daphne decided to be the judge of the houses. She got a piece of paper and pen and held it so officially as she walked around them, writing things down (either critiques or possibly doodles of panda bears) and making mysterious judgement noises. In the end, though, the girl house won. No, I don't think she was at all biased. It was all based on the artisanship displayed. For sure.

Anyway, the best Sunday afternoon I've spent in a long time. Maybe next year we'll actually let the kids participate other than sampling the candy.



Welcome to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How To Keep From Overspending At Christmas Time

I don't know about you, but I've never walked out of Costco EVER without spending at least $100. Even if I went in there JUST to buy a tray of cocktail shrimp for $9.99 (doesn't everything at Costco cost $9.99??), I always end up throwing a bunch of really good bargains (i.e. super delicious mega sized portions of whatever that lady was handing out at the end of the aisle) into my cart.

So today when I went in for a pack of AA batteries, I came up with a foolproof way to keep from overspending which I will generously share with you: Don't get a cart. That way you can only buy what you can carry.

As it turns out, I can carry quite a bit. 1 pack of AA batteries, 1 giant case of taquitos (hey, we're almost out!), a bag of truffles (teacher gifts are coming up, you know), some wrapping paper (I am addicted. Seriously, disturbingly, ADDICTED to buying Christmas wrapping paper. I'm pretty sure I could wrap all the presents in North America right now. But this paper was so cute...I couldn't resist!), a Christmas music CD two pack (um...no excuse for this one. Just a pure impulse buy) and a giant package of Oreos (you should see my kids inhale Oreos!). I am pretty sure my biceps increased by 2 inches by the time I got to check-out. BUT...only $57! Cha-ching!

So, almost foolproof. You're welcome.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tigers, Skeletons, and Stuffed Sausages

Here are a few pictures for the friends, relatives, and other random strangers who enjoy pictures of my kids.

(And I can I just say, in case it isn't clear, that I no longer have any input on my kids' choices for costumes? Well, except Pippa's. And let's just say this about hers: It was NOT my first choice. My first choice was a darling bumble bee costume that Costumes4Less was supposed to ship to me between Oct 21 and Oct 26, but who informed me on OCT 27th that, oops!, they didn't actually have that costume in stock. They also informed me that they would "do everything in their power to make it up to me." But when I told them they could ship me a different costume with expedited shipping that they'd pay for themselves, not only did they not do that, they never responded at all! So, for future reference, DO NOT ORDER FROM COSTUMES4LESS!!! They are a terrible terrible company who doesn't mind screwing someone over 3 days before halloween and forcing them to dress their baby in a horrible $5 costume from the local party store which didn't even remotely fit her although it was sized 6 months larger than their baby and which required them to use the shoe covers that came with the costume for a beanie because, though the costume was made for a 1 month old, the shoe covers were made for a 6 year old.)

Phew! I just had to get that out because I told Costumes4Less I would if they didn't come through.

Now on to the lovely, scary, amazing, and very rotund pictures of my kids at Halloween 2011...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The One Thing You Don't Want To Forget To Take On Your Trip

Bathing suit? Check!
Pajamas? Check!
Toiletries? Check!
Socks? Check!
Underwear? Check!
Clothes? Check!
Sunscreen? Check!
Lube? Check! Check!
Cell phone and charger? Check!
Laptop and charger? Check!
Blistex? Check!
Sweater? Check!
15 pairs of shoes for a 4 day trip? Check!
Ok..That's everything.

Now let's go over here by this beautiful waterful, with the sunset and ocean in the background, and have someone take our pict...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Boo Humbug!

I realize that this post is going to make me sound like some kind of cranky Halloween Skelescrooge, but I can't help it. I've got some bones to pick (get it, BONES?) about Halloween and the various way people evidently enjoy spoiling it for small children.

1) No costumes at school. Really, School? Because spending a whole 7 hours in costume is going to monumentally ruin my children's long term education? The absolutely FABULOUS education they're getting? LAME. Can't they even dress up as someone historical to brain up Halloween a little? Sheesh.

2) People not giving out candy. Seriously, how hard is it to give out candy? You spend $3 on treats, turn on your porch light, and start watching TV. Every so often, get up and hand some candy out. What's so hard about that?? Well, evidently it's super hard because this year (and in past years) at least half my neighborhood didn't give out candy. Do you know how lame it is explaining to your kids over and over again that they can't go knock at that dark house because mean weirdos live there who don't like candy or children or holidays?

3) Trunk-or-treat. I'm not sure if they have this where you live, but where I live they have this strange condensed version of Halloween where instead of the kids going door to door, all the people in the neighborhood gather their cars together in a small area like a cul-de-sac or church parking lot, and the kids just go trunk to trunk as the people hand them candy. It's kinda handy if the weather is super cold. And an indoor trunk-or-treat can work well if it's rainy or snowy. But this year it was a balmy 65 degrees. And yet they did a trunk or treat. So that probably explains why the houses were all dark and no one was giving out candy. And why no kids came to my house to eat the loads of candy I bought. Trunk or treat is such a lazy killjoy version of Halloween!

4) Houses who leave their porch lights on but who aren't home. Hello? How long have you been alive?? If you're not participating in Halloween (LAME) then turn your porch light off!

5) Similarly, people who deck their house all out for Halloween with giant spiders on the facade, big blow up Frankensteins in the yard, ghosts hanging from the trees, spooky music playing from a stuffed black cat, skeletons sitting on the porch welcoming you, AND THEN THE PORCH LIGHT IS OUT NO ONE IS HOME. I like to call that FALSE ADVERTISING.

Ok, that pretty much sums it up. Stay tuned in a few weeks for my Thanksgiving and Christmas versions of griping about the holidays and how everyone else does it wrong!

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Time For a Pipdate!

5 months old. How is that possible? I'm pretty sure 5 months of pregnancy feels like 5 years. And five months of your first child's life feels like at least a year. But for some reason 5 months of your 3rd child's life feels like 3 weeks. Yet here it is.

Pippa is:

GORGEOUS. Something about her is different than my other two kids. I think they had my coloring. So they looked...normal. But Pippa is golden. And pink. And fair. Her skin is so pale, her eyes are still blueish-grey, her hair is so strawberry blond. And she is sooooo plump. She is just different looking than my other babies. And I LOVE to stare at her. She is breath-taking.

BUSY. That girl. That girl! She cannot hold still! She is on the go, she is looking around, she is turning from one side to the other, stretching to reach what is just beyond her hands, above her head, behind her back. She can't quite roll over, but she's close. And trying ALL THE TIME. She's too busy to eat. Any sound makes her head whip around, away from her bottle. She's too busy to sleep. My once easy sleeper wants to roll and turn and grab and look. Sleeping is so passé. Even her binky is so passé. She puts everything (but not her binky) in her mouth. Every gross thing you hand her or she finds near her. She sticks it in her mouth (by way of her eye or nose or cheek, because her coordination isn't quite honed yet). But baby food? Oh no. That makes her face squinch up like you just fed her something crazy. Dirty socks? Acceptable. Sweet potatoes? No way lady.

BIG. 16 pounds big. 9-12 month clothes big! I've never had a big one. I remember my babies both being fat at one point or another, but Daphne was always several sizes behind her age, and Beck was lucky if he was on target most of the time. Pippa? She wears a size 3 diaper and a size 12 jammy. And the rolls on her arms and thighs are delicious.

SWEET. When I kiss her neck and shoulder really fast, when her brother jumps up and down in front of her, when her sister sings her a song, when Daddy throws her in the air, she laughs this sweet laugh, like water trickling down a pebbly stream. Like a small pop of firecrackers. It's perfect. And when I hold her in my arms, and she drinks her bottle, and she looks up at me with this look like I'm the most beautiful, wonderful person in the world....ahhh, then my cup is full.

Five wonderful months.

M.I.A. or A.W.O.L?

I'm here. Really I am. It just appears as though I have fallen off the face of the earth. Or maybe it doesn't cause there is no one out there to notice.

These days I feel really proud of myself when I spend 10 minutes reading and commenting on other people's blogs. It brings back fond memories. Of when I spent 2-3 eager HOURS a day reading and commenting on other people's blogs. And another joyous hour writing a few of my own. (Remember that? When we would write MORE THAN ONE BLOG POST A DAY?) How did we do it?? Why did we stop?

We stopped because there was life. Oh that. Life. Kids. Kids who need attention. Kids who don't want me to shout "Just a minute...I'm almost done with my post!" from the other room while I upload and edit the pictures that will go on the blog post I haven't even begun composing yet. And a husband. A husband who wants a meal when he gets home from a hard day's work. And a kiss. And a hello. A hello not wedge in between the third and fifth edit of my blog post. And then there's the laundry and the sweeping and the dishes to put away and the bathroom to scrub and the and the and the.

And then there was the baby...and, well, she trumped everything. 'Cause she just doesn't wait for me to sort through my reader, looking for the most neglected blogs to catch up on before I hug her and change her and make her a bottle.

And so, it appears, I am missing. But not lost. I'm out there somewhere, mentally composing clever, witty, interesting posts. With pictures. Perfectly framed pictures.

Anyway, I love and appreciate so much those real-friends and stranger-friends and virtual-friends who have continued to read my blog despite my becoming a super dooper LAME blogger.

I dream of the day when I will have the time (and will?) to get back to the good old blogging days. I'll have to go out and search for new bloggers to read me. Bloggers who don't have LIFE pulling at them from all directions. So let me know, you guys, when that's you--when your laundry and kids and husband are all done and loved and satisfied and paid-attention-to and everyone around you is begging you, please, to just sit down for a few hours and blog. OK?

I'll see you then.

(p.s. I'm not quitting blogging. I just realized it sounds like I am. No, I'm just making excuses for how much I suck. I will still be here, in a few days, continuing to write to a make-believe audience who hangs on my every word, don't worry.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Little Slice Of Heaven

Kids at school

Baby in Bed

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies, warm

Milk, cold

Say Yes To The Dress" on DVR.

Ahhhh....27 minutes of heaven.

What does your slice of heaven made of?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I have taken so many photos of my kids lately, I swear I feel like their own personal paparazzi. Mostly it's because I'm getting used to my new camera. Also because I happen to think they're extremely cute. I'm not biased, I'm a photo-journalist in my dreams, so it's completly objective. Here are a few I've taken lately (grandparents, this is mostly for you.)

At Bridalveil Falls...

Her Royal Cuteness

Beauty School Drop Outs

Her Royal Fatness

At Cascade Springs (We have been getting in some serious nature lately. 9:00 church rocks!)...

(Look! I'm actually IN a picture!)

SO Attractive...

Well, that should tide the relatives over for a few more months, right?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The History of a Pant Leg

It was 1986, and we wore our jeans high and narrow. The waist went way past the navel, the pant leg should be as skinny as humanly possible. In fact, we couldn't get our pants narrow enough at the bottom. Everyone wanted the skinniest pant leg possible, so skinny your heal would barely fit through when you pulled them on. But for some reason, no one actually MADE pants that narrow. Sometimes you could find one with zippers at the bottom and it was proclaimed "totally awesome." Mostly you just had to buy straight legs and peg them. We folded, rolled, sewed, pinned, and tucked our pants into our socks in order to achieve the skinniest pant leg possible. And when we watched old shows from the 70's, we hooted and pointed and wondered how they ever wore something so hideous as bell-bottoms. "All fashion comes back around," my mother told me. "Well, I will NEVER wear bell bottoms," I informed her. "I swear it on my life."

In 1990 I headed across the Great Pond and inland to Germany for a year. When I got to school, everyone said, "Vy do you do zat to your cheans? "Cause I'm cool," I thought. "Duh." But within a few months I realized the Germans were not so into cool and that I just looked weird, so I stopped pegging my pants.

Flash forward to 1991 when I returned home and realized that it wasn't that the Germans weren't cool. It's actually that they were fashion forward. Because guess who wasn't pegging their pants anymore? Anyone. Good thing all my German jeans had been straight leg.

Somewhere after the horror of the fashion-dead-zone that was the 1990's, a retro 60's-70's look came back in fashion. The baggy, shapeless shirts of the last decade were out and tight-fitting baby shirts were in. Guess what else was in? Bell-bottoms! Only they were called flares now. And they weren't the horrible high-waisted type that went up to your ribs like the 70's versions, luckily. (Because nothing became so abhorrent to the child-of-the-80's once the 80's were past as the high waist. ) But I still resisted. Then just as I was about to keep my promise from 1986, I tried them on. And that's when I realized: nothing is so disgusting for a hip-heavy figure like mine than pegged pants. Flares, on the other hand, seemed to distract the eye and make me look far more proportional. Flares it is! My new love! Forget that silly promise I made in my early teen years. What did I know then anyway??

I lived happily for nearly a decade in my flares. The degree of flare changed slightly. The shape and location of back pockets moved. The waist-lines got ever lower and lower and lower until you were lucky if your underwear didn't creep 6 inches above your belt when you bent down. But still, flares prevailed.

And then came the horrible day a few years ago when I saw them: skinny jeans. I would have died for these in the 80's. The skinniest, narrowest, most tapered leg you've ever seen in your life. Matched with stretch material, they could be skin tight and you could still get your heels through the bottom of the leg holes. Only this time around skinny jeans were super-low waisted, creating the soon-to-be-ubiquitous muffin top. Only 11 year olds could wear them without waist fat hanging over the top. It was unlikely for most teenagers to look good in them, and it was hopeless for moms. Fine with me. I had already come to accept that flares were more flattering, and this new ultra-low-rise version of pegged pants was the worst of both worlds. So I just watched from a distance with a baffled expression as teenagers by the thousands ran out and stocked their closets with these super tight, super low, super super ugly skinny jeans.

But soon pant legs in general followed suit. I tried to hold out. As skinny jeans pretty much took over all the stores, and flare legs became nearly impossible to find, though, I had to adjust slightly. To the bootcut. The bootcut is not nearly as flattering to my hippiness as the flare. But what can you do when even Target doesn't carry flares anymore?

And then, last week, it happened. I saw these while out shopping...

"The High-rise Retro Flare" A.K.A, the bell-bottom. I don't know what to think now. I'm nearly dizzy from how fast fashion seems to be cycling through. I've gone from bell-bottoms to pegged pants to straight legs and back to flares, back to skinny jeans and now on to bell bottoms again! Shouldn't fashion cycle through more slowly, like every 20-30 years at least? Wait, has it been that long already? Well, still...am I really going to have to go to the high-waisted retro flare in order to save myself from the ultra-low-rise skinny jean? Sigh... so be it. Beauty is pain.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Time For a Pipdate!

Do you ever feel that with each consecutive child that time goes by faster? Cause it sure seems that way. I am pretty sure every second of my pregnancy crawled by, but for some reason the last four months have gone in the blink of an eye.

Pippa is 4 months old!

Weight: FAT! (14.4 lbs, 60%)
Height: Longer than our other babies, still slightly below short (24 inches, 44%)
Noggin: Gargantuan (I forget what this stat was, but her enormous brain is in the 79%)

She Rocks At:
Grabbing things--her binky out of her mouth when she should be trying to sleep, my hair, her bib during feedings, not her bottle.
Making her siblings laugh--Beck has almost burst blood vessels in his brain from laughing so hard. Mostly this occurs when he's teasing her, but also from watching her laugh at him. They get each other going and Beck usually ends the laugh fest by running to the bathroom holding his crotch.
Burping--she lets out the biggest, loudest, most resonant burps ever. Also a source of Beck's hysterics. Burping never gets old when you're four.
Standing--whereas Daphne started standing at age 1 1/2 weeks and never looked back, and Beck wouldn't even straighten his legs until he was like 2 years old, Pippa has chosen a nice happy medium of 3 1/2 months to start standing. She loves to lock her knees and stand on our laps. But this means not so much snuggling in my arms. She wants to be a big girl. :(

She Sucks At:
Sleeping. My former star sleeper, who slept through the night from age 4 days old on, has regressed a bit. She wakes up about 3:30 am every night lately and is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, chirping, talking, ready to rock and roll. After 3 or 4 binky applications she sometimes goes back to sleep. Sometimes I must resort to using the-tool-which-no-baby's-eyelids-can-resist: the swing. And then I get to sleep for a few more hours. I refuse to pick her up or feed her. I am so not down with that.
Napping. Similar to sleeping, Pippa has suddenly decided napping is so passe. She'd much rather stare at the birdies on her wall, gab and slobber, wiggle out of her swaddle and try to roll over. ARG.
Keeping her food down. She has followed in her siblings' stinky, messy footsteps and has developed reflux. Not as bad as either of them, but bad enough to require a bib or burp cloth at hand at all times. And lots of changes of clothes. Mostly mine.

Eyes: Pippa's eyes are giving me hope. They have not turned brown! I was looking at pictures of Beck at this age and they were definitely brown by now. Pippa's are still a steel grey-blue, but quite clear, with a starburst of brown in the very center. A bunch of her aunts and uncles on Big Daddy's side have eyes exactly like this, so I'm hoping and praying they'll stay this way.

Hair: Still rather strawberry blond, but in some lights it looks just plain mousy brown.

Somewhere between transparent and actually glowing. The doctor yesterday said, "You're doing to need to apply a lot of sunblock to this one!" Thanks a lot, Grandma Boppie.

Overview: I have to say, Pippa is still a delightful, easy child, despite her sleeping boycotts. She smiles all the time, laughs, coos, hates her carseat, but forgives me after a day with many trips and looks at me like I'm chocolate ice cream. I love her.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sloppy Seconds

Here I sit, on my bed, reading blogs, eating leftovers. I love leftovers. Not my own cooking's leftovers. At least, not passionately. But I passionately love restaurant leftovers. How awesome is it to go out to dinner, eat a fantastic meal, and then get to eat it again the next day!? It's very awesome, that's what. Even if you do have to share some of your coconut-crusted mahi-mahi leftovers with your cat, who is suddenly on the bed next to you, staring at you pitifully with eyes that say, "I know I won't even look at dry catfood containing seafood, and I scorn even the Fancy Feast if it has fish in it, but if I don't have a bite of that coconut-crusted mahi-mahi right now I will jump into a tank of foaming pitbulls, I swear." So you share a few nibbles to keep her from such an awful fate, and you enjoy the rest yourself, grateful that you are eating something delicious that you didn't have to cook yourself and which, of course, contains ingredients you would never buy in a millions years anyway. And that is what makes leftovers so wonderful.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Idaho, You Da Ho

Let me give you some advice: If you want to impress people with the location of your summer vacation, don't start with "Idaho." "Idaho" doesn't really make most people's eyes widen and heartbeats quicken. And "Boise" will get you an even less impressed response. They might even walk away at this point, regretting that they even asked. Nevermind that you got to stay in a huge, awesome 3000 square foot cabin. That you got to golf, swim in two different hot-springs-fed pools, that you roasted marshmallows every day and had s'mores for dessert every night. Nevermind the wildlife you were able to observe and the cool bear and wolf and elk tracks you were lucky enough to spot. It doesn't matter that there were a bajillion stars visible overhead, and complete peace and quiet all around. No, people won't care about all this stuff when you tell them "I went to the Boise National Forest in Central Idaho." It just doesn't have any cache. So if you want people to think you went somewhere really cool for summer break, just keep it vague. "An awesome cabin" will usually suffice. If you've got an interrogator on your hands who just HAS to know more, try adding "in the woods" and "on a mountain." Cause that's just going to sound way cooler than than anything starting with "I" and ending with "a-ho."