Wednesday, August 28, 2013

on the road again

Soooo, we took our annual summer/fall trip to Yellowstone National Park. We started doing this when we moved back to Utah and have missed only one year. It was the year I'd just had little Lou. She was tiny, I was borderline hysterical, and I think Jess was too focused on deciding if I needed to be committed to a mental facility to even remember Yellowstone existed. 

You may remember from last year that we love to stay in the park. At all the main points in Yellowstone, there is some form of lodging, ranging from deluxe and remodeled to a step above camping. Our friend (who hails from Europe) who accompanied us for a portion of this trip asked if our ultra micro cabin built in the 1920s was part of a former refugee camp. Pretty much. Even then, to snag rooms in the park, it requires diligence and months of planning. Jess and I spent far too much time than we'd like to admit waiting for rooms to pop available when and where we wanted them. Mostly Jess. He became the King of Xterra Reservations. In the end, combined, we made 21 reservations. Twenty one. We kept three (one for friends).

The trick is, anyone and everyone can cancel reservations whenever they want up to 48 hours in advance. This includes the giant groups of Asian tourists. So randomly swaths of rooms will open or maybe one here or there. We're also "particular," and prefer our own bathroom. If you're cool showering with the next hippy over, it's a little easier and cheaper. But ask me if I want to haul my kids to the shared bathroom at night? That's called camping. And this, may I remind you, is a step above camping. As in walls. And a toilet. And a really old bed. So whenever anything suitable came available, we'd snag it. Then we dumped the most expensive ones or ones that weren't in our preferred locations.

Anyhow, this year, we spent two nights at Canyon and two nights at Old Faithful. These two areas are probably our favorites, with the Old Faithful area being numero uno. And not because of Old Faithful. While we do love her, there is so much more there. I'll be throwing up another post of our geyser hunting adventures, but for now, a photo dump to keep the grandma appeased. :)

Here we're waiting for Old Faithful to blow.
We told Annabelle we were eating after Old Faithful did her thing.
And no lie, two seconds after it started,
she goes, "K. Can we eat?" 
A pair of eagles. We saw these just minutes after entering the park.
Turned out to be a good omen.
We didn't see a bear, but we did go on to see plenty more wildlife.

Sometimes these girls do not look very related.
Belle looks like a Christensen, Lou looks like a Cheney.
But then sometimes - TWINS.
Jess took the girls hiking while I went running.
Here you have a darling photo, and then..

...a typical photo of Lou.
Bananas. Girl is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

I celebrated my birthday while in Yellowstone.
And this sweet party planner worked on my "secret" gifts
and beautiful works of art the entire week before we left.

She was so excited to celebrate my birthday,
and these pictures are of her watching me open my gifts.
I know these pictures are a little grainy and fuzzy,
but her face. That face. My tender, sweet Belle.
Oh, how I love her.

This picture cracks me up.
This particular geyser is dried up.
I love that they're sitting there waiting for it to wake up.

The girls were obsessed with baby animals.
Any animal that was slightly smaller than others was from this point forward, "a baby." 

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