We did something kind of crazy. We went back to Yellowstone.
I wasn't kidding when I said that this whole kindergarten thing wasn't really thrilling for any of us. It meant the end of an era. One of us was starting something new and big. And that new and big thing would change everything.
Jess and I decided to "just see" if we could find rooms in the park in the weeks just before kindergarten. I've mentioned this a few times, but it bears repeating: if you want to stay in the park, it requires a lot of time, wishful thinking, and some pixie dust. The room numbers are sparse, and you and every hopeful European want that dang room, toilet or not. When we did indeed find rooms, and in our favorite spots, we decided to give it a go. One last go before we let our baby into the world.
Yellowstone always acts as a sort of catharsis for us, a cleansing, a refreshing dunk in rotten-egg smell steam. Our heads are always clear, priorities screwed down tight. All the things that matter matter again. And this trip was no exception.
It was everything we needed to pull together our courage. To spend uninterrupted time together laughing and giggling and eating camp stove food that tastes gourmet because it's so much better than national park food. To draw pictures in the dirt, dangle our legs off the boardwalk and watch a little of God's wonderful earth put on a show. To cram our tiny family into a tinier room. To lick up the best ice cream on earth, sitting on Old Faithful's porch.
And our little anxious Annabelle - the worries in her forehead melted away. Her dark tooth smile came back. Lou readily welcomed back her partner in crime, and they were at their best - playing and scheming and imagining and coloring. The redhead lost his head spending hours wandering through steam and sky, capturing our world frame by frame. And the mama got to sit back and see it all melt away.
This trip wasn't so much about what we saw, although you cannot go to Yellowstone and not see something amazing. It was about finding the ground under our feet. It was about the kind of clarity we've been desperate to find for years now. It was so much more than I can type here, but let me say this: it was everything we needed, exactly when we needed it.
|We saw more bison jams this year than ever before. Bison are my favorite.|
I love how they DO. NOT. CARE.
|There it is.|
|Old Faithful in all her glory.|
We have so many photos of her close up - but I love this.
Look at those people.
|Watching Fountain Geyser from primo seats.|
|We saw two eagles within minutes of driving into the park.|
A good omen for sure. :)
|There is no other photo in the history of photos that so|
accurately describes tourists and our children.
|We totally took the giant runner stroller with us.|
We loaded the girls up with food, toys, coloring books
and spent hours in the Old Faithful Geyser Basin.
|Running through Jet Geyser's steam.|
Jet is one of my very faves.
|He'll kill me for this.|
But this is what he does at night.
And check out what he captures: