My name is Cindy Steel. I grew up on a dairy farm, milking cows, moving wheelines, and driving tractor in Rupert, Idaho. After high school, I moved to Rexburg and had a blast at BYU-Idaho for four years. After trying out a few majors, I finished with a degree in Sociology. From there, I moved to Utah for a time, working, but—let’s be honest, mostly playing and traveling with roommates and friends. I ended up moving to North Salt Lake with some cousins and it was there I met my husband, another Idaho boy, and we both fell pretty fast for each other. We were married soon after, and a couple years later we relocated to Twin Falls so he could attend nursing school at CSI.
We loved our time in Twin Falls. I was a portrait and wedding photographer for six years, which I loved, but my main focus was trying to expand our family. After a few years of infertility, we decided to see the professionals. A few months of pills and a couple other unsuccessful treatments later, we were referred to the Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine in Boise. There, we did three failed IUI’s before they recommended the scary word…IVF. Soon, we were inundated with schedules and pills and shots and fragile emotions. Our first IVF cycle failed. After a six month break, we tried again and, this time, we had good news. We were over the moon to be pregnant for the first time, with not one, but two baby boys. I had a great pregnancy, a great delivery, and hearing their cries for the first time, the feeling of their tiny bodies against mine, and taking them home from the hospital are some of the most precious memories of my life.
The first few months in baby-land are now a blur in our memories, mixed with sweet newborn smells, and cuddles, interspersed with spit-up and acid reflux. I have never cried so much in my life, whether from happiness, exhaustion, frustration, or anxiety over our two little charges. It seemed after the three-month mark, however, we hit a good stride with sleeping babies, acid reflux medicine, and me growing into a bit of confidence in my role as a mother. These were just the happiest of times.
Just before our boys turned two, my husband, a newly graduated nurse, told me he wanted to take our family on an adventure. Since his early days as a CNA, he had always told me one of his dreams was to be a travel nurse. He thought this would be the perfect time to do it since we had a few years before the boys would go to school. With thumping hearts, we bit the bullet and jumped in headfirst. He gave notice at his job, signed on with a travel nurse recruitment agency, and soon after, we landed our first travel assignment Fargo, North Dakota.
Well, it wasn’t quite the tropical oasis he had painted me a picture of, but still, we found an apartment, packed our snow clothes, and stuffed a third of everything we own into a small travel trailer and set out for North Dakota. To say we were scared and unsure would be an understatement. Friends either told us we were crazy or that they were jealous. So much of where we were headed was unknown to us, but we were determined to try our luck in Fargo and knew that if we hated it, we’d always have our house to go back to.
Spoiler alert…we loved it!
Oh, Fargo was cold. Bitter, cold. He worked nights and me and the boys spent a lot of time stuck in our apartment or driving around the city in our van with the heater on full blast. Soon enough, though, the weather began to thaw and we saw Fargo for what it really was…a surprisingly cool little city. We explored every inch of that city and beyond, and discovered that being out of our comfort zone, meeting and exploring new faces and places had filled our buckets in the best possible way.
After four months in Fargo, we traveled to Delaware/Maryland where my husband lived and worked there for three months. We were busy every second seeing all the sights in DC, Philly, New York, and Amish country. Following that, we spent a gorgeous fall in Vermont. Next came sunny Yuma, Arizona for the winter, and then we had our last contract in Billings, Montana. Each day off in all of these places found us chasing a new road, visiting a new state or national park, or exploring the areas around us. We met the most amazing people, made good friends, and learned so much about people everywhere. It was amazing. That year and a half will go down as some of the greatest memories of my life.
Though we loved traveling, we always knew that at this point in our lives, it would be temporary and we hoped we would feel when it was right time to stop. While in Billings, James found out there would be a new hospital opening up in Idaho Falls. Something about it felt right, so, in the fall of 2019, we moved to Shelley, where we have found ourselves feeling right at home.
A couple months after arriving, I started an online, home bakery business called The Farmgirl Bakes. I’ve always loved baking and it has been so fun to learn and grow even more in the kitchen. I specialize in pretty cakes and gourmet cookies, but dabble in some custom work as well. It has been so great to keep my busy and happy creating in the kitchen. I am also a portrait photographer with Farmgirl Photography, and a budding author (at least hopefully someday.)
If traveling has taught me anything, it’s that we women, especially moms, need each other, and whether that connection is through friendships, a blog post, a family portrait, or yummy cake, we all have things and experiences to connect us. I love the area of Idaho Falls and am looking forward to being active and contributing member of this great community!