Scenes from Sun Valley, Idaho (Thanksgiving 2015)

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For the first time in years, we traveled for Thanksgiving: I have family who live in Sun Valley, Idaho, and we were thrilled to spend the holiday with them. My Aunt and Uncle moved there from California years ago, to be closer to my cousin (who also lives there with her family), and have never looked back. This was the first time Aron and I got to see why. What a gorgeous place! We can’t believe it took us so long to visit.

While the trip was really about seeing family and relaxing at their home, we got a small taste of what the winter season can hold there… 

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But first we had to drive.

Just as we were packing up the car on Tuesday, a major storm was rolling into the Sierras. It made for a slow pass over Donner Summit—which you may have gathered on Instagram—and then created some icy conditions through Nevada. But there’s no motivation to keep going like two sleeping children in the backseat, so even though we started the drive at 4:30 pm, we didn’t stop until Jackpot—just before the Idaho border—pulling into a casino/hotel at 3:30 in the morning. We literally carried the kids into bed and left everything else in the car.

Two hours later, they were at the window, practically squealing about the snow. Hudson quickly declared that snow is his favorite season ever.


The last bit of the drive that morning was a quick couple of hours by comparison and we were playing in the snow by 11am.

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And it was a white winter wonderland like I’d never seen!

It snowed all day, and was just gorgeous.

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I had packed so many toys just in case and hardly needed to pull a thing out. There were horses, and sled rides, and icicles—and my aunt’s chocolate cookies—all day long.




My parents came as well—with their little dog, Ruffus; my aunt is my dad’s sister.

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On Thanksgiving morning we woke up and saw all the mountains for the first time. I hadn’t realized just how much visibility was impaired by the snow until the skies were blue. The views went on for miles.

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We all did more sledding—this time behind the jeep.

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Most of us.

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Don’t worry, she got a turn later.

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Thanksgiving dinner was at my cousin Jeffra’s house—a beautiful, delicious dinner with many extended family I got to meet for the first time.


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The next day we toured Sun Valley Lodge. It’s a beautiful resort and it’s fun to look at all of the photos on the walls of the celebrities who have vacationed there over the years. And my cousin is a photographer and his photos are in the many of the hallways, too—so we of course went seeking views of those.

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One particular highlight was taking Hudson ice skating. He tried it once last year but grew quickly frustrated and we gave up right away. This time was so different. When I told him that you can’t be afraid to fall if you want to get better, he wanted to practice falling. And then soon he was letting go to balance and move on his own. I was so proud! And he was proud of himself.

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Of course Skyler wanted to try, too.


We also checked out the cool bowling alley in the hotel. It’s a kid’s dream.

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We wished we had time to get out and ski on the slopes, but there will just have to be a next time soon!

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We headed back for dinner at my aunt and uncle’s home and packed up, and drove eight hours back to Reno before stopping for the night—which meant that we got to pass back through the Sierras in the daylight this time.

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It’s a long drive, but it’s most definitely a trip we’ll be taking again. Have you been?

Hope you had a happy holiday last week, as well! Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. A collection of travelogues.

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