July 18, 2013

Muddy Boys

I challenge you to find two kids that can get as muddy as these two manage to get themselves. And they love every minute of it!
Brent took these pictures while I wasn't home, so if there are any funny stories behind the pictures he'll have to edit this post and insert them. In the meantime, enjoy the muddiness!

I love these kids

"This tastes better than it looks. Really!"

"...never mind..."

"second thought, it's kinda cool."

BRENT: Note length of grass in background. I believe it was actually a couple months and feet past this point before I finally mowed it the other day. 

"Look at this beautiful, beautiful bum"

This is why he is called Griz...

Griz The Great?

I liked the texture in the next shot

...And the next one...

July 13, 2013


We decided to go to Yellowstone (or as Chico would say, "Lellostone") for our last camping trip of the year. We decided it'll have to be our last because it is time to buckle down on things here at home and stay close to home for me who is feeling large with child.
We thought it might be cold while we were there but boy were we wrong, it was just beautiful weather the whole time! If it had been any hotter I would have died. As it was, it was just right. I'm glad we went when we did!  The boys were most excited about all the wildlife we might see. We were there for like 5 days and we saw almost everything on the list they give you as you come into the park! We were so excited!
Here are a few of the pictures from the trip... and when I say a few, I mean over 70 pictures. Ha!

Day 1...
After we got camp set up, we set out to look for some wildlife. First thing we saw was a herd of buffalo at a lake. We walked down and enjoyed watching them.

A long lens and lots of megapixels allowed us to see some stuff that we wouldn't have otherwise gotten to see.

Day 2...
We took a long drive early that morning (we made the kids eat their oatmeal in the car, we just threw them in their car seats straight from their sleeping bags). It was really beautiful driving around that early.

As we were driving Brent actually saw a grizzly bear off the side of the road. We were in a not very busy area so he slammed on the brakes and started backing up the car as I fumbled to switch the lens on the camera, while we were fumbling with the camera and lenses all the sudden the bear took off running behind our car across the road and up a hill. Brent tried to get a picture but man that bear was fast and gone into the dense trees before we knew it.  So anyway, we saw a grizzly bear in the wild! It was pretty exciting!
The rest of the morning was kind of blah, we were tired and the kids (and us) were grumpy. So we went back to camp, took turns taking little naps and let the kids play.  Once we had dinner we took off again for more exploring and picture taking...

The picture below is a beautiful texture shot that Brent got when  he took off running into a meadow to get a shot of some buffalo that were lit beautifully by the setting sun. It reminded me of a kid running into the balls at the playground without thinking of any consequences. After a couple of steps taken to avoid the most muddy spots I noticed that he was shoeless, shin deep in the mud, and standing there looking like he had no idea what had just happened.
Apparently, the step he had taken previously had sunk him in shin deep in the mud and removed his shoe as quickly as he was running. The shocked look on his face was a pretty funny and then  someone who saw it happen hollered from their car, "Welcome to Wyoming!"

We decided to do the short walk through painter's pots next...

Looking out Chico's window, good job young man!

There was still some daylight as we were driving back to camp so we stopped at Gibbon's Falls.  The sun was close to setting and there was hardly anyone around. These cute boys had more fun playing on the rocks than looking at the waterfall.

On the drive back to camp we got caught in a buffalo traffic jam (no pictures, just video).  It was crazy having the buffalo so close to the car. One time a buffalo bumped into the back of our car as he was walking past us, he turned and started head butting the buffalo behind him. I guess he thought it was the buffalo getting up in his grill. :)  Glad he didn't attack our car! We were just parked, we promise!

Day 3...
The next morning we went to Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon. It turned into a little bit of a nightmare getting lost from each other.  Brent dropped us off so we could get a head start down to the bottom of the falls while he took a picture from the lookout. We started down the wrong trail, I realized the mistake after 10 minutes so we turned around and went back to the right trail.  Somehow in the midst of all of that Brent and  I never crossed paths.  The kids and I made it all the way down the switchbacks to the top of the waterfall and as I reached the bottom my heart sunk. He wasn't there and there was no prospect of him finding us before I had to go back up the switchbacks. Griz was not in the mood to walk back up the mountain.  We did the best we could but it wasn't working out very well and after a few switch backs I broke down in tears. Griz saw me crying and asked why, I told him it's because we needed to keep hiking and I couldn't carry him. He said, "I do." and started hiking really good for one or two switch backs but then he got tired again.  A couple, probably in their late 60s came up to me a little bit after that and said, "Your husband is searching all over for you!"  I broke down into tears (yet again) and said, "I know, we got seperated and I can't get my kids to keep walking up this mountain to find him." So the man picked up Griz and trucked up the mountain with him.  Chico and I followed behind him and the tears  just kept flowing, I was just so grateful that he would do it, embarrassed that I couldn't carry my own two year old but a man in his late 60s could. After making it up several more switchbacks my wonderful, handsome, and sweaty husband found us. We still have no idea how we didn't cross paths earlier on and we learned our lesson and won't make a stupid mistake like that again. :)
He did get a pretty awesome picture though!

After that we drove around and saw some more beautiful scenery...

Then we stopped for a nice picnic, this was a really fun part of the day...

The trees were clanking together in the breeze this is Griz looking at it...

 The boys had a ton of fun gathering firewood from our picnic area. They were so cute about it and so proud of themselves.  It was piled under their feet in the backseat.  We drove for a while after the picnic and Brent stopped to get this picture. While he was out taking it I saw a HUGE spider crawling up the side of Brent's chair. I tried to catch it to kill it but it scurried back down into the wood before I could! I was a little creeped out and the kids could tell and Chico felt so bad that they had brought that spider in the car with the fire wood, he thought they had done a bad thing. I did my best to convince him otherwise. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty wary for the rest of the drive though!

We drove to a hike called Mystic Falls. It was supposed to be just a short 2 ish mile hike but we took a loop scenic trail instead which turned into a bit longer of a hike, but it was really fun (minus the constant swatting of mosquitos away from ourselves). We got hailed on for a few seconds rained on for a bit, but nothing too bad. It was later in the evening too, so not too hot for me which was nice!

The boys found a lot of stink bugs and had to stop and point them out every time. You can't see it in this picture but that is what Griz is doing. Call us terrible parents but sometimes Brent and I would deliberately stand by a stink bug to block it from their sites so that they'd keep hiking instead of stopping every few feet. There were a lot and we wanted to keep on hiking!

 Hmmm...this will make a good walking stick

 This was the pretty view as we were leaving mystic falls...

We got home and got the fire going for dinner and s'mores and Brent pulled out the camera for these fun shots...

Day 4...
Next day we needed a little break from Yellowstone, so we went to  West Yellowstone. On our way there we pulled over to get some pictures of this bald eagle perched across the way.  
 As Brent was walking back to the car, sure enough it started flying away. I pointed it out to him and he spun around and caught this picture before it was out of site.

They have a little zoo type of thing in west yellowstone. It has wolves, bears and eagles. It was fun to see the bears and wolves up closer but kind of sad to see them in enclosures.

I love this next picture I caught...

The boys had so much fun playing in the pretend wolf den. Especially Griz, he was in there forever. It was adorable. They were pretending to be wolves if you couldn't tell.

While we were in West Yellowstone we also went to the Imax (kind of a waste of money if you ask me). And we also went out to eat for lunch at Woodside Bakery. It was really good! If you go, you have to get the chocolate filled croissants. Oh my gosh, they were amazing!!!

Back in Yellowstone, zoomed as close as we could get it is a mountain goat...

A coyote...

Another attempt at the waterfall picture... we like this one better.

Griz took this picture of us. I just helped redirect the lens so it was pointing at us.

Another awesome picture that Brent captured. He was a little closer to the elk than I would have liked but it is a cool shot my dear!

That night the boys wanted to explore our campsite area instead of going on a hike somewhere else. Those silly boys and their daddy ended up wading into the river. They even found a hot spring in the river where the water was even warmer than it already was. I headed back before them and got a fire "started" luckily Brent showed up in time to save it and make it a real fire to warm up their cold wet bodies. Then we had dinner and had made a big fire with lots of firewood to burn. Griz fell asleep pretty fast and I was falling asleep in my chair pretty bad so Griz and I headed to the tent to call it a night. Brent was tired too but he and Chico diligently stayed by the fire until it was all done burning. They probably didn't get to bed until midnight, Chico loved it though. He loves sitting and telling stories with Brent. Brent is the greatest Daddy!

Day 5...
We packed up camp to leave. Drove to West Yellowstone and got more croissants. Then instead of going home the short way we turned around and went back into Yellowstone to drive home through the Tetons. Brent just really loves the Tetons AND we hadn't seen a moose yet so we thought we'd give it a shot. Right as we were getting into the Tetons we saw a commotion off the side fo the road. Across the way there was a black bear hanging out. I only got a picture of it's backside, bummer! ;) Of course it turned at a better angle for a picture after I was headed back to the car.

Some pronghorn sheep I believe they are called...
 The boys and I getting out to see them and to stretch a bit (it had already been a long drive and we were only in the Tetons still!)

We got caught in some traffic and Brent got this beautiful shot as we were waiting for our turn to go...

As we were nearing the end of the Tetons, right by the snake river there were tons of people pulled over taking pictures of....
Yes folks, that's a moose! Our wish was granted... we saw a moose! It was chowing down on leaves in the brush and never came out fully enough for me to see it, but I think this is a pretty cool shot of its face.
Chico had an especially good time because there was a park ranger there and he and Brent were asking questions to her. Then Chico started talking about all of these animal facts he knows. She was very kind and acted really interested in the things he was saying. As we were leaving we told Chico to thank her for teaching him some stuff and he frowns and says, "But I was teaching her." The ranger laughed and said, "You sure were! You're going to make a great biologist someday!"
Then as we were getting in the car Chico had his hand in the frame which I didn't see and I shut the door right on his cute little fingers. Poor kid, he was hurting so bad. Luckily we were able to put a cold pack on it from our first aid kit.  When I was buckling Griz in a little later he had his hands on his lap as far from the door as possible with a worried look on his face and he said, "no my hand".  As if I had done it on purpose to Chico! Silly kid.
We drove through Jackson and as we were driving out of the city a HUGE hailstorm hit us! I was so glad we were in the car, it was crazy loud and the pieces of hail were BIG! It was crazy.
Then we drove into a small town... Afton?... to the Red Baron Drive thru and  ate dinner, we had skipped lunch so we were all starving!!! Then began the long  trek home, but we made it safe and sound and were SO glad to be home in our own beds!