Monday, September 10, 2012

the 200,000 trip -- yellowstone

Our big summer get-away this year was to...Yellowstone.  I had only been there once before, just after Daren and I were married, and we thought the boys would like it, so we headed north a few weeks ago.  


First we stopped at Brenda's for haircuts.  Jake wanted a faux-hawk haircut and Will...well, he never wants a haircut, but he at least got a trim.  It had been at least 2 months since he had his last trim.  After our hairs were done we headed to Island Park to stay at a friend's cabin there.  It was pretty sweet!

Ever since Will got boots for Western Week a few weeks ago, Jake was dying to get some.  These are the pair he chose.  Their favorite outfits?  Shorts and boots.  Typical.  :)

There were some raccoon skins hanging over the ledge, and when he saw them Jake exclaimed, "Wow!  Are those real live dead raccoons?!"  Gotta love him!

We added to the puzzle that was already started previous to our visit.

That evening Ben and I went out for a walk, but he just couldn't help pulling out his phone.  Aaaaah!  I am really starting to hate all electronics!!


Our first day to Yellowstone.  I felt almost like Clark Griswold in Vacation because by darn, we were going to put away all electronics for a day and have fun!

"This is no longer a vacation.  It's a quest.  It's a quest for fun.  I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun.  We're all gonna have so much fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our smiles."

I'm sure the boys felt like this was a little bit of torture to them.  No electronics?  For an entire day?  With what to look at--trees?  You call this...FUN?!!  

We tried to do the Jr. Ranger program, but that lasted one stop, here at National Park Mountain.  The ranger was entertaining enough, but unless you have a week in the park, you don't have time to do the 6 pages, or however many there are.  The boys liked the cool Jr. Ranger pencils they got out of the deal though.  

Well, there was that one little thing called "Old Faithful," and that was pretty awesome to see...along with thousands of your closest friends!  

 As we were traveling the lower loop, we stopped at Fishing Bridge to see what there was to see, and boy, did we ever get an eye-full!  A whole herd of bison were meandering across the bridge at the same time.  
This is as close as we got to them! 

After completely missing the lower falls, we started heading out of the park...but not before our beloved TLC, Toyota Land Cruiser, turned over 200,000 miles.  Thus, the 200,000 trip!  

This car has been so good to us over the years.  We bought it back in 2000, before we had any kids.  Since then it has been everywhere with us, including Route 66, a cross-country trip to Washington D.C., and numerous times to California.  We love this car, and it was fun to celebrate this milestone in Yellowstone. 


The next day we opted for a more relaxing, closer-to-home day.  Thanks to brother Darren who told us about floating down the Henry Fork River.  We rented a flat-bottom metal boat and three inner tubes for the boys.  Good times for sure!

 Ben got sick and tired of floating so far behind us, at one point he stood up and walked up to our boat.  

 We also found the rope swing brother Darren told us about.  Daren and Jake were the only crazy ones who dared to jump into the freezing cold water.  After Jake got out of the water he came up to me, and through his shivering teeth he said, "I would have NEVER survived the Titanic!!"
 Jake continued to entertain us on the river by getting everyone else around us, including other people floating and people on land to sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," just so he could win a bet with Daren, and Daren would have to help buy a Lego set he wanted.  It was hilarious!

After the float trip, and a yummy dinner at a place called Pond's (seriously good food), we F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. went fishing.  Will got it in his head at the beginning of the trip that he was going to go fishing and actually catch a fish.  Daren is less than fond of fishing, but he took one for the team and we found a little fishing hole...

 ...and after all the tangled lines, guess who caught the one fish that evening!  
 This has been one hot and dry summer, and with all the wildfires around, the smoke in the air creates the most beautiful sunsets!!  This was taken from the fishing pond. 


Daren and I decided to try Yellowstone again, but this time we did things a little different.  We got up early (6am!), ate a quick breakfast, and was on the road in no time.  We wanted to beat the crowds and I wanted some great pictures in the early morning sunlight.  We accomplished both! 

 What did we do differently?  The first day everyone had to wear shoes and socks...just in case we went hiking or we had to run away as fast as we could from a bear or something.  This day?  Boys could wear whatever they wanted, including pajamas and boots!  Or flip flops.  First day--hair combed.  Second day--who cares!  First day--no electronics (iPod's, etc.).  Second day--electronics, movies, whatever.  They were so much more pleasant the second day.  Go figure.  

I don't know who those people are, but this is one of my favorite pictures.  

We made it to the south rim to see the lower falls.  No wonder they call this place "Yellowstone."

 We took pictures along the way of Will to send to his school teacher / class.  I love this picture of him!!

 The mud volcano...
...really did stink this bad!!
When you start so early in the morning, you can stay in the park for 7 hours and drive both of the loops and still make it back to the cabin with plenty of daylight to spare.  Unless you have to drive back to McDonald's in West Yellowstone to get Jake's jacket he left there.  


Get up, clean up, pack up, leave.  And stop by Krispy Kreme while the red light is on to get fresh, hot glazed donuts.  It was a great trip to celebrate the end of summer!!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Where does the time go??  Just yesterday I held two little twin baby boys in my arms, and now they've turned 8 in the spring and are going into the third grade! Actually, let me clarify that.  Will IS in third grade, and has been for almost a month now, and Jake will start third grade in two weeks.

Will has scored every year with amazing teachers, and this year is no exception. His teacher, Mrs. Fay, is about as country western as you can get (her husband is a pro-rodeo-er), and her classroom reflects that, "as they gallop their way through third grade."  Their first full week of school was Western Week, complete with a visit from a few farm animals.

Of course I offered my assistance in taking pictures that day.  At one point when I had stopped taking pictures for a minute, I turned around looking for Will, and this is what I saw.  Seriously, how cute was he in his cowboy hat, boots, shorts, and sheriff vest?!  It was fun just to sit and watch him checking out his shadow.  He wore those boots with his shorts and vest non-stop all week.* (see below)

 Mrs. Fay and Cowboy Will

*(this is the below part) 
Every morning I took a picture (with my phone) of Will in his outfits.  
(We ride bikes to school almost every day, cowboy boots and all)

 and Friday:  
Obviously the Indiana Jones hat won out over the cowboy hat as his favorite of the week. 

 I had to include this last picture that I took that Friday after school, with Will in his swimsuit, helmet, bike, backpack, AND boots, heading over to swim at Adam's house!  

What a great kid he is, and I love Will's unique style!  We're looking forward to a great school year.  Even if he still hates math!  

Monday, April 16, 2012

endangered explorer

Since Jake returned to school after spring break three weeks ago, he has been working his tail off, along with the rest of the second graders, on his endangered animal report.  It all paid off last Tuesday when the second graders had an Endangered Animal Exhibit.  Jake was so excited to dress up as an explorer, that he set out his outfit the night before.  

Jake's animal was the blue whale, aka "The Krill Bandit" (because they eat a lot of krill--about 40 million in one day, says the expert)

I love how his personality and wit comes out, even in an animal report..."ESPECIALLY you, whalers!"

 Here's the whole outfit, and I think he wore every piece all day long.  So funny!!