Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yellowstone 2011

We took the kids to Yellowstone earlier this month. It was so fun! The kids always have fun, but sometimes the mama doesn't enjoy it as much as I should. It's hard with a baby! But little Jake was pretty darn good and it turned out to be a really good trip. We went fishing, hiking, saw tons of animals (11 bears!), slept in the trailer, ate lots of s'mores, saw some amazing sunsets, and just basically had a really good time together. I was sad to come home! And that is saying something. This was our third trip to Yellowstone, and I definitely think there is a learning curve to enjoying this trip (for me, anyway). It takes just the right campground, and the right amount of time spent AWAY from the crowds. The eastern part of the park is so amazing, but most people just drive around the Old Faithful loop and miss the best parts. Which is good for us. If you need any advice on what to do/where to stay, etc. when you go to Yellowstone, let me know. We have learned through trial and error and I would be glad to share our tips and tricks to enjoying the park. Dallin said about 100 times, "Can we live here?" and "This was so worth the drive!" I'm not sure I'm ready to move to Yellowstone, but I am already looking forward to next year's trip.
Can't go to Yellowstone without seeing Old Faithful. Well, I could, but no one else could.
Fly fishing.
So beautiful!
Watching Old Faithful.
There were so many bears this year!
Lukie Dukie.
Jake was thrilled to get out of his car seat any chance he got.
Sunset over Yellowstone Lake.
Abby with her new pet bear, Claw. There was still a lot of snow in the higher elevations!
We went on the prettiest hike to Trout Lake. The fish were spawning and were all in a stream above the lake. The kids were trying to catch them with their hands! I don't know if I've ever seen happier kids in my life.
That is a bear to the right of Luke!!
This sunset was so incredible, it looked like fire!
Fishing in Jackson on the way home.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My cousin Kacey

I received the sad news this morning that my cousin Kacey was killed in a plane crash yesterday. I am heartbroken for his sweet wife and two little boys. Kacey was my brother Ryan's age and spent a lot of time in Burley at our house during the summers. I have a lot of fun memories with him. He was always up for an adventure and had a smile on his face. He probably tested his parents' patience a tad growing up because he was so energetic, but I remember him always being really respectful to my mom and reminding Ryan and me, "Your mom is calling you! You better go see what she wants!" when we would be busy playing and choose to ignore the call to dinner or do our chores or whatever else. I hadn't seen Kacey for several years, but I had the opportunity to see him and visit with him last month at the Crane Reunion. It was good to talk to him and catch up. He was still just the same old Kacey, kind and happy. He and his wife went through the temple a few months ago and were sealed to each other and to their boys. That gives me a lot of comfort and I'm so grateful for the plan of salvation and the opportunity we all have to be with our families forever.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Festivities

We had a great 4th of July! I am lucky to have a mother-in-law who always plans great parties and makes sure everyone has a wonderful time. We started with some swimming in her pool. Jason had to pretend to catch the kids with a fishing pole, which they of course loved.

Oh, he caught a Dallin!
I promise I got in the pool right after I took this picture.
Jake LOVED the water. I can't wait to start swimming lessons with him next week!
Luke showing off the red, white and blue treat table.
This picture is strictly to prove that yes, I did dress everyone in 4th of July colors. Maybe next year I will run for Mom of the Year and head to Old Navy and buy flag tees or something.
The kids decorated their bikes and had a little parade.
And of course, lots of fun fireworks in the driveway.    

Monday, July 4, 2011

Crawdad Fishing at Strawberry Reservior

On Saturday we decided to take the kids fishing for crawdads at Strawberry. Or crawheads, as Luke calls them, or broadheads, as Abby calls them. Jason had surprisingly never done this before, so he hopped on Google and learned how to catch crawdads with a rope and some chicken bones. I wasn't extremely on board with the whole idea at first, but it was surprisingly fun. Strawberry Reservoir is so beautiful and it was a gorgeous day. We didn't plan on staying very long, but ended up fishing until dark. The kids loved it. We even boiled up our catch and ate crawdads fresh on the shore of the lake. They were delicious, or so I was told. When I saw how many legs and feelers and pinchers the little dudes had, and then watched them be thrown live into a pot of boiling water... well, it was enough to bring out the religion in me. As luck would have it, the next day was Fast Sunday, so I decided to start my fast a little early. It's supposed to be 24 hours, right? But I'm sure I would have loved every bite!
Jake was a little trooper in the pack-n-play.

Our first fishing spot was nice, but there were too many people around. And it was hot.
Luke borrowed my sunglasses and looked fantastic.
See what I mean about the feelers and pinchers and stuff?

Jake was thrilled about having the crawdads right next to him, and promptly threw his bottle into the bucket. Call me squeamish, but that is one bottle that did not come home with us.

Dallin caught a cutthroat all by himself. It looks like a rainbow, but it's not. I learned all about it.

Three little buddies.

Me and my four little buddies.

The crawdad boiling operation.

They really do turn red like lobsters when you cook them. Mm-mmm!
My little fishing daughter showing off her Sponge Bob smile. She is such an easy-going kid and enjoys everything to the fullest. Oh Abby, what would I do without you?

Little Jake has had a lot of adventures in his short life. I love Luke in the background, just prancing along the shore.

Luke finally got brave enough to pick up the crawdads without getting pinched. That's more than I can say for myself. Also, I think Luke looks like the Grinch in this picture. "I believe the child mentioned a... check?"

I really wish we wouldn't let the kids play with their food. And by kids, I mean Jason.
Jason let Luke reel in this cutthroat. Jason would be so mad about this picture because it doesn't display the fish properly, but I love it. Just the expression on Jake's face, and Luke's hands all splayed out and ready to grab the fish. I think it's hilarious.

This picture has a much better display factor, although ideally the fish would be held out at arm's length in front of the camera to create the illusion of enormity when compared with the tiny people behind it. The next time you see a picture of someone holding out a huge fish, don't believe it. It's just a mirage.
And... we're spent.
I'm so glad Jason has an adventurous streak and takes us on fun little trips like this. He's always up for anything and loves to explore and experience everything life has to offer. If a few crawdads die along the way, so be it. I think I have four lucky little kiddos!