Saturday, July 27, 2013


We left Ammon, ID early Thursday morning so that we could get to Lagoon by the time it opened at 11:00.  The older kids went off on their own and we had a pleasant time in the kiddie area with the little boys.  Archie wouldn't go on anything at all!  But he was happy and liked looking around at everything and everyone.  About halfway through the day we went to the pool for a few hours.  We always have such a good time there -- it is one of our favorite amusement parks!


Friday, July 26, 2013


We left Yellowstone and instead of driving the 1 1/2 hours to Rexburg from West Yellowstone, MT we decided to drive the 7 hour scenic route through the beautiful Tetons and back up through Jackson Hole and some gorgeous parts of Idaho.  We couldn't pick up Ella until the next day anyway, so why not?  We got to Aunt Karen's house after dinner and got all settled in.  She was so gracious and hospitable!  The next morning we woke up early to go get our girl and she was so happy to see us! She said that she had been extra homesick for the last few weeks.  She was pretty much done cleaning her apartment and everything when we got there, but we had some glitches getting her computer turned in since it was Pioneer Day.  You would think that they would have limited business hours since it was the end of the semester, but oh well!  So we had to take the computer and then ship it back to Rexburg.  We also didn't have room for all of her stuff (and she had given away most of the items that I had spent so much money on just a few months ago...) so we had to run to UPS and ship a lot of her things to our house in Illinois.  Once we had the worked out we spent some time wandering around campus and visiting the places where Ella ate burritos with her "friends." 

 And the kids played at the park while Matthew and I went to Deseret book.  We then went to Idaho Falls to see the temple and have a pizza picnic along the river.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Old Faithful

Another day into and out of the park -- we started becoming quite familiar with the twists and turns and lovely vistas!  We visited the lower geyser basin and waited in vain for one to erupt -- it wasn't very faithful.  And then we drove to the upper geyser basin to see Old Faithful.  Charles didn't want to see the museum or the film, so he and Archie saved us some front row seats.

 Waiting, waiting, waiting...
And there it is!  It was worth the wait!  The whole time I was in the park I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the first explorers when they stumbled across some of the hot pools, sizzling fountains, and exploding geysers -- I would've thought the world was ending!  
Here is our pic at the sign, but my lens had something on it so this is as good as it gets.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


We tried to get going early, but it was quite a drive to get anywhere in the park so it seemed like it was a slow start.  We took a hike around the Norris Geyser basin -- it was so pretty, and so hot!

After some lunch and a long break we decided to drive up to the north end of the park

 We snacked, the kids slept, we got out for little jaunts every now and again.  The park is so amazing as we went through forests, deserts, mountains, pastures -- it has it all!  We ended the day by visiting the waterfalls.  I didn't get any good pictures because I was quite certain that someone was going to fall of the cliff at any given moment -- fortunately, no one did.

Monday, July 22, 2013

a 48 hour day

It isn't really July 20th when I'm writing this, but I am going to back date the posts so that I can keep track of where we were when.

We are off on our adventure!  We left the house in pretty good time.  It is 14 hours from Bloomington to Mount Rushmore so instead of booking a hotel room in advance we decide to just see how far we get and stop somewhere in South Dakota.  It isn't that populated so surely we won't have any trouble finding a place to stay, right?  The kids were very good on the first day and we made it to Minnesota by lunch time.  I missed Iowa, but took this picture thinking I would catch all of the state lines on our trip.  Sadly, this is the only one.

Minnesota is so pretty and, as usual, we think, hey!  We could live here!  But the mosquitoes at the rest stop helped me to quickly change my tune, yikes!  By midafternoon we had made it to Mitchell so we pulled off to take a gander at the Corn Palace!

 It was had a big auditorium, and, most importantly, some nice bathrooms.  We also picked up a few corny snacks.
 The flavored popcorn was amazing -- seriously the best we'd ever had.  I had determined to not break my "no eating sugar" rule even during our trip, but after the white chocolate caramel popcorn was presented to me that resolution was thrown out the window for the duration.
 Aaah, the prairie -- it is quite pretty!
 By late afternoon we had made it to the badlands.  We got out of the car for a bit of hiking and determined that we would just stop in Wall for the night.

 It's never not a good time to check our texts...
 The Badlands were so cool!  We had never been there and realized we hadn't planned enough time there -- as a rule, we're chronically bad at planning out an itinerary.  We're better the second time around... Phin loved it so much we had to promise that we would return someday.  The whole rest of the trip he kept asking if we were in the Badlands again. 
 So we piled back in the car and drove into Wall.  Not a single vacancy!  And that place was chock full of motels!  So we stopped in the next town, and the next, and the next place that wasn't even a town, but had rooms rented out behind the convenience store... nothing!  It turns out that there was a music festival in Rapid City that weekend and that everything was booked within 100 miles.  We finally pulled into Mount Rushmore around 1 a.m.  We tried to get as comfortable as we could in the car and went to sleep.  As my head bobbed, and my body contorted to find a tolerable position, I couldn't help but say a prayer of thanks that my children are so wonderful!  Not a one of them complained about the situation, there was no one whining about how cramped and horrible it was.  They are really nice kids who just roll with the punches for the most part.  Aaaah.  

At 5 a.m. Matthew turns to me and asks if we should just get going.  Yes!  Definitely!  Let us not prolong this night one more minute, thank you very much!  So we drove up to Mount Rushmore to watch the sunrise.  Surprisingly enough, we had the whole place to ourselves!

 We then hobbled our way in and out of Montana and Wyoming to Yellowstone.  Matthew was such a good driver while everyone else drifted in and out of consciousness.  I drove one scary stretch through some very curvy mountain roads, but I think he took care of the rest of it.  We basically just drove through the park to get to our hotel in West Yellowstone, MT -- we had had the foresight to book something there, but that made more sense at the time.

We saw some buffalo
 And some elk... no bears, though.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

kind of a dud

Happy Independence Day!  We were so excited because they were going to have the old fire truck to take the kids on rides again this year -- I think it has been several years since it has come -- but Phin woke up feeling very sick and started throwing up.  So, so, sad.  So the girls and I went and participated in the usual parade around the street, hot dogs, visiting, etc.  Archie was too nervous to get on the fire truck so we just stood on the sidelines and waved at the girls.  We were supposed to do some fun things in the afternoon, but we just stayed home because of the sick boy.  Our awesome neighbors took Ibby with them to see the fireworks and at the last minute I grabbed Lucy and we drove a couple of blocks over to the hospital parking deck and watched from the deck. I was surprised how many other people had had the same idea so it was quite a party up there.  I think that people who don't enjoy crowds (Matthew) and loud noises (Charles) would definitely like this arrangement, but I personally prefer to be closer to the action, as it were.  The fireworks simply didn't seem as out of this world from a few miles away.  When we got home, Phin was looking out his window and had seen a few over the treetops.  It is so sad to be sick on a holiday, why not any other day?

I got some super cute shoes in the mail yesterday.  One of my sweet "what the sheep" friends just sent them to me for the cost of shipping.  It makes me excited for cold weather (because heaven knows I'm not wearing anything close-toed until that time).
 And this is my harvest for the day...  It has been such a mild summer.  We haven't put in our window air conditioning units yet, and I don't think we will at this point since we're leaving so soon.
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