Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Driveway of Fire and Yellowstone

It's that time of year of again when we celebrate the birth of our nation, and it wouldn't be complete without the annual Driveway of Fire!  We were a little worried this year what with all the fires, but fireworks were still legal in a select few places.  Lucky for us, Katie's house was in the green zone, so begin the festivities!

No 4th of July celebration would be complete without a plethora of goodies, and our little party delivered for sure.  Joey got to have his first ice cream cone ever!  Looks like he enjoyed it...
 He also loved chill-axing in the chairs on the patio.
 Here's a view of the front just as we were getting started.  Chaos much?
 Maggie had no fear of the fireworks and kept running out to the road.  Grandma Swenson had to splash her with water a few times for her to learn her lesson---that is, until Maggie thought getting splashed was fun and then kept running out just to get wet.
 Sparklers were a hit as usual.
 This is a terrible picture, but I had to put it in.   I had the boys turn around and smile but before I got my picture off they had started turning back around.  I just think it is so funny--they look so much the same!  They are perfectly in sync with their inability to hold still for a picture.
 Fireworks make me a little nervous, and it turns out for good reason.  One of our large fireworks blew up and spouted sparks straight over the the kids sitting on the lawn.  A few got burned, and poor Kaylee had a big burn on her arm, and one spark burned through her t-shirt and her swimsuit underneath it!  Yikes.  Luckily we had a lawyer present who immediately began handing out business cards.
 By the end of the night we had a few minor burns but a lot of excitement. Then it was on to Yellowstone!

For our family trip this summer we decided to take Craig's house trailer and go camping up in Yellowstone for a few days.  We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and were out the driveway just before 4 a.m.  We made it up there, set up camp and set to explore the wild!  Here is everyone (except cameraman mom) on Fishing Bridge.
 Goof monsters.
 As expected we saw lots of wildlife.  Black bears, grizzly bears, elk, pronghorn, birds of all kinds, deer, etc, and we saw more bison than I thought was humanly possible.  In fact, if I never see another bison it would be too soon--we are not on good terms.  Our last full day there we had big plans that were ruined by an entire herd of buffalo who had decided to make camp in the middle of the road.  NO ONE was getting through in either direction.  Then the buffalo decided to move, but instead of moving off the road they decided to walk right up the road.  Let be noted that I recommended to turn around after a brief wait, but my advice was not heeded.  Lo and behold, 2 HOURS LATER, after having moved about one mile in that time, the driver (who shall remain nameless) relented and finally turned around.  It kind of foiled our plans for the rest of the day, but I guess that's how it goes.  I guess you can't get away from traffic no matter where you go.
 The only shot I managed to get in during the trip, and it isn't even that flattering either.  But at least you can see I do exist!
 Eric took this lovely shot.  Nature at its finest.
 We explored a lot of rivers and saw all the hot pots and mud pots, etc.  The kids loved playing and exploring by Slough Creek.
 Joey refused to hold my hand and insisted on walking alone.  The grass was as tall as he was in some places!
 Maggie posing with her collection of wildflowers.
 Along Slough Creek I got stuck managing the kids while Eric fly-fished up the river a ways.  Now how he did he talk me into that one?
 Joey liked watching him fish though.

 Daddy finally gave up after not having success and gave the kids piggy back rides through the river.
 A favorite pastime--throwing rocks into the water.
 We saw some fresh bear tracks along the bank, but we didn't see any bears there.  I am sure the volume level from my kids was enough to scare any predator off.
 I didn't take many pics of scenery but everything was gorgeous.  Here is where we picnicked on Sunday.
 Jacob at some hot pots.
 The kids admiring the micro-organisms growing.
 This hot pot was particularly pretty--called Black Pool--you could see really deep and the water was so blue.  They look so inviting, like a hot tub!  Too bad you'd burn up if you jumped in.
 And of course we made the stop at Old Faithful.  Oh, I guess I am in one more picture.  Our family...
 We explored the geysers and then rested at the lodge for a bit.  Joey giving me his cheeser smile.
 A little more normal looking.
 This is a funny before and after shot.  Jacob was mad at me about something, probably because I told him he couldn't have any snacks or something.  So he was mad...
 This is after I threatened to never give him a snack again...  Ha ha.
 Here are the kids at the Grand Prismatic Pool--the largest hot pot in the park.  It was lovely.  This picture is a pretty realistic view of what the kids are really like.

 Our last night we went and saw the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  The kids were already in their pjs but I didn't care.

All in all it was a really fun trip.  The kids had a blast and hopefully we made some memories.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Family Fun

For Mother's Day this year, Eric got me (and installed) a porch swing.  I love to sit in it.  I can relax there and watch the kids play.  They love to come and sit with me.  Maggie and Jacob like to swing it particularly hard which makes me a bit nervous but so far it hasn't fallen!  Last week I was sitting in it relaxing and saw this...
 Tyler decided to play ball with Joey.  It was so cute.  Joey LOVED it!  He would get so excited when Tyler would throw the ball into his mitt.
 Isn't that cute?
 What a sweet brother.  It was so fun to see them play nicely.
 So as I have swung on my porch swing lately, I realized I needed a little pop of color.  I had a nice chair Grandma Barbara gave to me, but the only problem was that it was a dark metal color that blended perfectly into my house so you could hardly see it.  I needed some pizzaz.  So I bought a can and spraypaint, a cushion on clearance from Target, and voila!
 It looks adorable and I love it love it love it.  Plus it only cost me about $12 total.  Can't beat that!

This past Friday night we went up to Strawberry Reservoir to go camp for the night with Craig and Sharee and Kaylee and Ashley.  We slept in Craig's house trailer.  Well, slept might be an overstatement.  There was one among us who was convinced he was being attacked by crayfish all night long (Tyler).  He kept waking us all up screaming, "They're all over me!  Get them off of me!  They are climbing on me!  AAAAHHHHH!"  It would have been funny if it wasn't at midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., and 4 a.m.  On Saturday we spent the morning on Grandpa's boat fishing.  The fish and game people (whoever they are) have tagged a fish in Strawberry.  Whoever catches it wins $25,000!   We kept trying and every time someone got a fish on Eric was convinced it was THE fish!  Alas, no winners for us that day, but we did catch a grundle.

Joey enjoyed driving the boat.
 As did Jake.
 Sadly, here is the only shot of me in what I suppose is the last 2 years.  I guess mom is always behind the camera!  But I did catch a fish!
 Even Maggie was getting in on the action.  She didn't have the patience to catch one but Kaylee taught her how to cast and reel in her fishing pole so Maggie spent about an hour just doing that.
 Land ho!
 Eric got the dirty job of cleaning out the fish at the gutting station.  Tyler was fascinated with all the guts and innards but wouldn't try it himself.
 He sure loves to fish!
 Here are the kids with the haul.  Not too shabby!
All in all a fun trip.