Saturday, August 11, 2012

Epic Idaho Adventure- Final Take

I know I've been blogging about our trip for way too long and I just need to wrap it up. Especially since school started this week. Holy Hannah, where does the time go? I have no idea where the summer went, but it was here and now it is gone.
Before we left for Idaho we made a list of the things we wanted to do while we were in Rexburg. The only thing that Gracie wanted to do was go to Porter's. My little crafter has been missing this store and she was over the moon to get to go back. So Michelle, Gracie, Colby, Leelee and I went to Porter's on Thursday while the boys went shooting with Grandpa Archibald. It must be noted that Colby was completely distraught at this decision. He begged and cried and begged and cried to be able to go and shoot some guns, but we just decided he was a little too young to go.

Gracie at her happy place.
That night we had dinner with Uncle Eric and Aunt Lynne's family (she's the one who set me and Kris up on the blind date that started it all...) She likes to check in with us and revel in her success. :)

The next day we went to IHOP and the Tautphaus Park Zoo with Grandpa and Grandma Grover. That zoo is just about perfect, just the right size and nice and shady.

Matthew and Gracie and the lion.
Colby loved the lion fountain.
Is this picture not the cutest thing ever? I love it.
Someday all of my children will look good in the same photo. Maybe.
 Owen and the tiger.
We don't get to see these bad boys at the Phoenix Zoo.
Colby feels right at home with the monkeys.
The kids each got to pet this turtle, the lady explained that turtles can feel touch down the middle of their shell where it is attached.
One big happy family.
We were glad to get to spend some time with Grandpa and Grandma Grover!
That afternoon Matthew got to go hang out with his best friend and the rest of us went to Smith Park (on the list) and then the Flood Museum (also on our list).
We love that little museum with all it's antiques, scavenger hunts for the kids, the old grainy flood movie, and the children's room. What more could you want in a museum, really?
I was looking at these old dresses thinking, "I would totally wear those."
In the tree house of the children's room.
That night the kids got to sleep over at Michelle's, they had been wanting to since we got to Rexburg and it just didn't work out until the last night. They had a blast!
We went to the splash park with Michelle and Mia (and Dan for a little bit) on Saturday.
And rode the merry-go-round one last time...
Oh Mia! We miss you. For some reason Colby and Mia just get along really well. She tempers him in just the right way. He honestly does not get along with anyone else better. It was so hard to say goodbye to these two. We just wish we didn't have to leave them behind.
 We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa Walz before we packed up the car. They've been living in an assisted living home and we know their time may be short. We had visited them several times during our stay but knowing this was our last visit was pretty emotional. We miss her and Grandpa when they aren't down here in Arizona. We love them so.
As you can see once again, some good faces in one picture, some in the other. And grumpy Owen in both. Sigh.
Whew! This post turned out to be gigantic but I didn't want to drag it out any longer. Our trip to Idaho was a great success! We were so stinkin' exhausted with everything going on and all the people we were visiting. We didn't even see any of our old friends and some of our family (sorry Owens'!) We miss everyone and everything about Idaho (ok, so maybe not those looooong winters)! The kids talk about it all the time and it will always hold a special place in our hearts. So many wonderful memories.
Luckily, we can always come back for more visits!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Epic Idaho Adventure- Take 4

Fun on the Fourth of July
It's no secret that I love being in Rexburg on the Fourth of July so I was elated that we were able to be there this year. I love the small town atmosphere, the cooler weather (that was debatable this year) and being able to have our own fireworks.

We love going to the parade.
It was Leelee's first time. Her first Fourth actually.
After the parade and sitting in traffic for an eternity we finally made it to Porter Park about a mile away. Haha, so much for that small town atmosphere. I thought these two boys carrying this chair together was so cute, I didn't even ask them to do it.
We met up with Michelle and Dan and his family for some fried chicken ( a 4th must in our book) and good company. He's got such a great family!
Michelle doesn't normally dress like a gangsta, but she was in the parade (unfortunately I didn't get a good pic) and hence the sweet get up.
We took a spin on the merry-go-round. I never let the kids ride merry-go-rounds here cuz they are all like $3 a person. Say what?! Yeah, times that by 6 = no go my poor, poor children. They were pretty excited to get to ride a few times while we were there.
Gracie better never be too big to ride!
Then they played at the splash park. The water was a little on the chilly side for my wimpy Arizona kids, but they still had a good time!
Then we went and got a supply of fireworks for a little show in the backyard. We always love getting smoke bombs, snakes, tanks, ground flowers, etc. It's fun for everyone. We got to enjoy one amazingly beautiful sunset while we were lighting our stash.
It was just a perfect end to a perfect day and made us that much more grateful to live in this beautiful land. We love America!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Epic Idaho Adventure- Take 3

Boating Day

Tuesday, July 3rd we spent the day at Ririe Reservior with Grandma and Grandpa Archibald on their boat.  Michelle and Mia were able to join us for the windy (really, really windy) fun.
Me and Leelee
Rex, Mia and Colby
All the kids loved getting to ride in the boat, it's not something that we get to do very frequently. For some of the kids I think this was only their second time on a boat.
Sittin' on the dock, wastin' time.
These brave souls braved the freezing cold water. I'm not such a fan of swimming in any body of water that I cannot see the bottom of, and add to that the temperature of the water and there was no way I was getting in. I've turned into a wimpy Arizonan again.
They have this little floating police car (fitting, don't you think? Well, if you know Kris' stepdad...) that we all took a ride in. Matthew and Owen pictured above and below.
That's Gracie and Colby.
Michelle and Mia taking their turn.
Me and Rex.
Even Grandma Archibald took a spin.
Colby was in hog heaven riding in that boat. Man, this vacation was right up his alley with all the hiking, boating, dirt playing, fireworks, etc. He loved every minute of it.
Kris took a turn on the tube.
I was proud of Mia for being brave enough to swim out there! Love these girls!
It was a great day soaking up the sun, gathering a tangled mess of hair, riding the waves, and cruising on the boat. We had so much fun!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Epic Idaho Adventure- Take 2

Monday in Idaho was our Yellowstone day.
We loved going to Yellowstone while we lived in Idaho.  We bought a year pass more than once during that time, so of course we wanted to spend a day there.  We enjoy spotting wildlife, playing the license plate game (I think we got almost 40 this time!) and just spending some quality time together (how can you not when you spend most of the day in the car with each other!)
Just a word of warning this post contains a boatload of photos! Sorry in advance. :)
So here we go:
First animals spotted were these elk grazing in a meadow.
We headed north towards Mammoth and Tower/Roosevelt once we got into the park, instead of south towards Old Faithful. You're more likely to see bears if you go this way and that is always Kris' main objective when going to Yellowstone.
We took the Artists Paintpots hike. It's interesting to see how much it has changed over the years, it's much more dried up and crusty now, but still bubbling.

There are some gorgeous views from this hike.

We stopped and ate lunch at Sheepeater Cliff. This place is a little boy's dream, all the climbing and exploring your little heart can handle.

Matthew was the first to climb to the top. He made a little friend up there. We've seen rock chucks every time we've come to Sheepeater Cliff.

We saw deer lounging in the middle of the town at Mammoth.
Kris was excited to spot this deer.
We've been to Yellowstone and seen herds of literally hundreds of buffalo, this time we only saw one or two all by their lonesome.
After Mammoth we headed north to the Gardiner entrance because this is where you can spot the mountain goats, but all we saw was this skeleton. We surmised perhaps one of them fell from the sheer, rocky cliffs to his untimely death. 
Then we headed to Tower, but instead of taking the normal hikes there, a small one caught our eye off the side of the road. It turned out to be one of our best finds, it offered some of the most amazing views of the waterfalls and the river and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
I'm not sure why Owen's face looks so funny in the picture above but the view was beautiful!
Oh! My! Gosh! I just love, love, love the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, it's my favorite part of the park. It's where you see how the park got it's name.

And...we got super lucky on this little gem of a hike because we got to see a mountain goat and her baby. The first pic is the mom and the second one is the baby. These are my personal favorite animals to see in Yellowstone and this is only the second time we've seen them so I was pretty dang excited!
It's so incredible to watch them navigating these mountains, they are so stinkin' steep and rocky and they just hop around like it's nothing.

It's always nice when some kind soul stops and asks if we'd like them to take a picture of all of us together.

At the end of our day the kids were making friends with these little buggars or should I say beggars? I think these little guys are a little too used to the public. I think one of my kids could have picked one up if I'd let them, it kinda grossed me out. Like rats in New York City or something, although not quite that bad...
Leelee was cracking me up in the bathroom, she thought it was hilarious to see herself in the dryer.
We had a gorgeous almost full moon following us on our way home.
Unfortunately, Kris did not get to see a bear. We had a close call on that one. If we had only taken one of the little side drives we would've seen one. We could see all the cars stopped on the road after we decided not to do it, so Kris pulled over but we couldn't see anything from where we were. A little ways down the road we asked someone what everyone was looking at and they said there was a bear up there. Kris was pretty bummed, so close yet so far...

It was a pretty great day at the park though, in addition to all these animals we also saw a fox and a bald eagle. Not too bad, if you ask me. Just don't ask Kris... :)