Friday, July 29, 2016

Henry–11 months

Is he really 11 months?  I am not ready to celebrate a first birthday next month!  It’s been a busy, whirlwind month.  Henry is enjoying taking steps on his own, depending on the flooring.  He is enjoying being at Grandma’s house, playing with Sadie, and exploring the outdoors. 

We added three new states – Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.  We have taken several trail hikes, including the Delicate Arch in Moab, Utah, and Bunsen Peak in Yellowstone National Park.  Henry had his first dip in the swimming pool, and an experience at the splash pad.  (He wasn’t too fond of either one).

Henry is finally eating regular food, and he quite enjoys feeding himself.  Watermelon, banana, mango, Oreos, and waffles are all new favorites.

Favorites right now include raiding the remote basket (to Grandpa’s dismay), playing with Sadie, climbing in the bathroom cabinet, opening the drawers in the kitchen, eating rocks & gravel, and getting up quite early!

Henry 11 month Portraits_thumb   Henry 11 month Portraits_0001_thumb
He’s so proud of himself every time he stands up!

Henry 11 month Portraits_0002_thumb
{What?  Wet grass!?!}

Henry 11 month Portraits_0003_thumb
The swing…much better!

Henry 11 month Portraits_0004_thumb

Henry 11 month Portraits_0005_thumb
Photo bombed by Libs!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Yellowstone Day 4: Midway Geiser Basin and Firehole River

Our fourth day at Yellowstone was a take-it-easy day.  We had seen everything on our list, enjoyed some hiking (thanks to the RV rental we were able to spend more time in the park and less time commuting to a hotel.  We asked the kids what they wanted to do, and we just had a leisurely day!

Elaine wanted to see some of the geysers which we had passed on previous days.  While on our way to one of the geyser areas, we got stuck in a line of traffic.  Someone coming from the other direction said it was shut down up ahead and a 2 hour delay.  Later we found out that a car tried to pass and hit an RV or motor home head on.  The two people in the car were “messed up” and had to be transported elsewhere for medical care. We turned around and went to a different geyser basin, and had a picnic next to the Firehole River!

Midway Geiser Basin
I think the geysers are mostly a little boring, and have a very bad odor.  But I was pleasantly surprised with this section.  The colors were amazing, and my pictures don’t do justice!

Midway Geiser Basin

Midway Geiser Basin
Grand Prismatic Geyser.  The colors were so intense!

Firehole Falls
We took a short jaunt down the trail near the Firehole Falls.  The drive along this scenic route was…well..scenic!  It was beautiful!

Firehole River Swimming
The kids enjoyed sticking their feet in the Firehole River, which soon led to someone’s pant legs getting wet, and then sitting in the water, and eventually we put their swimming clothes on and let them enjoy it!  There must be some great minerals in the river, because Liberty had a large boo-boo which was nearly gone when she got out of the river!

Firehole River Swimming

Firehole River Swimming

Firehole River Swimming
Elaine is getting pretty good at taking pictures!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yellowstone Day 3: Hiking Bunsen Peak

Our big feat for day 3 was hiking Bunsen Peak.  It’s 4.2 miles round trip, our longest hike yet!  The trail seemed to go on forever, just when I thought we were almost to the top.  But the view was worth it!  There was a hikers log at the top, and the kids enjoyed signing their own names and ages to say that they hiked Bunsen Peak. 

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Liberty’s turn to wear the Camelbak!  (This arrangement didn’t last very long!)

Hiking Bunsen Peak
I loved this tree!

Hiking Bunsen Peak
There were a bunch of wildflowers, but not in the picture I guess!

Hiking Bunsen Peak
View from midway up.  That is Swan Lake in the center.

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Beautiful vistas.  I couldn’t get enough of them!

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Hiking the trail was often slick and covered with lava rocks.

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Ben & Henry

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Me!

Hiking Bunsen Peak
The kids enjoyed sitting and using the binoculars.  Nehemiah couldn’t wait for his turn to use the “goggles.”

Hiking Bunsen Peak
We made it!  Bunsen Peak, Elevation 8564. 

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Oh yeah, I made it too! 

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Panoramic of the view and beginning of sunset.

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Swan Lake

Hiking Bunsen Peak
Hiking down we sang songs and followed closely so we didn’t slip on the lava rock.

Hiking Bunsen Peak
I love mountains!

And, on the way out of the park, a little bit of sunset!

Yellowstone Sunset

Yellowstone Sunset

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Yellowstone Day 3: Sheepeater Cliff & Swan Lake Flats

Since we were out late at the rodeo last night, we slept in and had lunch over the fire pit at our campsite.  Then we drove into Yellowstone for some hiking and hoping to see a beautiful sunset.  We also stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs, which was a huge disappointment in my opinion!

Yellowstone Sheepeater Cliff
We turned off at Sheepeater Cliff mostly to use the facilities.  But the rock climbing attracted the kids, and they wanted to climb to the top of the cliff like everyone else.  The twins got scared and stayed in this place, Elaine gave up, but…

Yellowstone Sheepeater Cliff

Yellowstone Sheepeater Cliff
…Nolan made it to the top!  So proud of him!  (It was the new “hiking boots” that helped him along!)

Swan Lake Flats from  Bunsen Peak
Swan Lake was just south of Mammoth Hot Springs.  It was absolutely beautiful!  Just up the road is Bunsen Peak, our hiking objective for the day. 

Swan Lake Flats from  Bunsen Peak
Swan Lake Flats

Mammoth Hot Springs
Nolan, Elaine, and I did Mammoth Hot Springs while the three littles were napping in the van with Ben.  We were pretty disappointed in it, but Nolan enjoyed wearing the new Camelbak!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Yellowstone Day 2: West Yellowstone Rodeo

After dinner in our cozy RV, we headed into West Yellowstone, MT to attend the local rodeo.  Our kids have never seen a rodeo before, but they are enamored with cowboys and life “out west.”  We introduced them to bronc busting, calf roping, and bull riding!  The kids even got to participate in a calf scramble.

RV Life

West Yellowstone Rodeo

West Yellowstone Rodeo
Instructions for the calf scramble…

West Yellowstone Rodeo
…the clown said they had to put out their arms…

West Yellowstone Rodeo
…lay down in the dirt (only two of mine got in the dirt at first), roll over (“Don’t worry, we wash this dirt every day!”), and while they were distracted, the calf came running out!

West Yellowstone Rodeo
We watched the sunset grow more beautiful,

West Yellowstone Rodeo
Until it seemed that the sky was on fire!

West Yellowstone Rodeo
Elaine got to meet a REAL cowgirl!  This was the first lady I had ever seen participate in bull riding!  The kids loved the rodeo!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Yellowstone Day 2: Lamar Valley

We let the kids take a snooze in the car as we drove to and through the Lamar Valley.  Ben and I enjoyed the beautiful mountain vistas, hillsides covered in wildflowers, and then we found the huge buffalo herd.  The herd was positioned across the river, so we left the parking area and hiked down to the river’s edge.  We enjoyed seeing the buffalo closer up, and the kids loved skipping stones!

Lamar Valley Wildflowers

Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley
Burn out trees, and wildflowers

Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley

Panoramic of Yellowstone Mountains

Lamar Valley Buffalo Herd

Lamar Valley Buffalo Herd

Lamar Valley Buffalo Herd

Lamar Valley Buffalo Herd
Henry enjoyed the rocks.  I pulled several out of his mouth!

Lamar Valley Buffalo Herd
Nursing calf

Lamar Valley Buffalo Herd

Lamar Valley Buffalo Herd
The kids had just watched the buffalo episode on Wild Kratts and they were excited to see a real buffalo taking a dust bath, just like in the show!

After leaving the buffalo herd we encountered a lot of cars pulled off the edge of the road…where there wasn’t really a pull-off location.  We couldn’t see anything so we asked another person what everyone was looking at.  “A grizzly cub.”  We were so excited because the kids had been wanting to see a bear!  I took the kids into the field for a closer look (through binoculars, and with my bear spray handy), and Ben watched from the vehicle since there wasn’t a parking spot.  We watched the cub walk over trees and jump around in the forest, all from a safe distance.

Yellowstone Grizzly Cub

Yellowstone Grizzly Cub

Yellowstone Grizzly Cub

We saw all of the animals on our “bucket list” except wolves (rare sightings) and moose.  It was a great day in Yellowstone, but we had another surprise in store for the kids!