Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the morning blahs

I've mentioned before that Chris generally wakes up at 6:30 and leaves for work within fifteen minutes, all the while being very quiet so Jane does not wake up. I will sleep in until Jane wakes herself up, usually between 8:00 and 8:30.

It didn't work today.

While Chris was getting dressed for work, we both heard Jane quietly calling me from behind her closed bedroom door. Chris tried putting her back to bed, but it didn't work. In the end, she came and laid down in bed with me. I was really, really hoping she would go back to sleep, at least for an hour or so.

yeah, right

I pretended to sleep while Jane climbed on me, pulled my hair, and handed me everything off of our nightstands. She got bored with that after awhile and got off the bed. I think I fell asleep at that point...I vaguely remember her coming back on the bed with two blankets and her bear from her bed...I also remember the moment that she dumped an entire mug of water on the floor...

At 8:30, I decided it was time to be awake (or did Jane decide for me?). But we didn't get up. She handed me Chris's iPod touch, and we spent half an hour playing games with that. Then I really did decide it was time to get up.

Now, usually I will get all dressed and ready for the day before we ever go downstairs. I always feel more productive when I'm dressed, even if I don't do anything. Well, today I figured that it would be nicer to Jane if I fed her breakfast before getting myself ready. So we ventured downstairs with me in my robe.

First we changed a nasty diaper (which I'm certain wasn't helping with the idea of going back to sleep), then I made Jane a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. She was all strapped in her high chair, spoon in hand, ready to go. But she wouldn't eat. I eventually had to trick her to get a bite into her mouth, then she decided that it did, in fact, taste good and was worth eating. Then she was fine. I left her with her bowl and spoon and got on the computer to check my email and read blogs.

That worked...until she finished her oatmeal. She moved all her dishes onto the counter, a sure sign of being done, so I proceeded to wipe off her hands and face and get her out of the high chair. It wasn't long before she let me know that she wasn't actually done. I tried to give her some toast or some fruit, but she wasn't interested. I finally caved and made her another bowl of oatmeal. I had to convince her again that it was ok to eat, then she took off and I went back to my blogs.

And then I heard a large CRASH.

I'm not sure how it happened, but the entire tray fell off the high chair. That's never happened before...apparently I didn't get it snapped in all the way. Well, that sure didn't help Jane's mood. I think it really scared her (it was loud). Luckily, and rather miraculously, the bowl of oatmeal landed right-side-up on the floor, so breakfast was saved. But once again, I had to feed her a few bites before she remembered how to eat. Blah.

When she was done, she was still really ornery. I don't know what to do with her now. I tried playing (no way, Mom), I tried laying her back down (dream on), I tried giving her other food in case she was still hungry...

Now we're sitting on the couch. Jane is laying on my arm, watching Word World, while I type this with one hand, occasionally two.


On the bright side, I was able to get a few pictures from the park the other day. Thanks, Laura Lee!

I think I'm supposed to be making lunch to take to Chris in the next half hour...maybe I should get dressed now...

...but jane just fell asleep on my arm

Friday, June 26, 2009

New and Improved Scooter

The guys at work and I got together and made some changes to the Metro today. It was part of a Poptropica blog post that we were having fun with. How do you all like it?

Life in Logan

Jane is taking a bath, so I thought I'd take this opportunity of contained playtime to get some blogging done. Yes, I am sitting on the toilet with the laptop. Who knew you would someday be able to get on the internet in the bathroom?

Let's just hope today isn't the day Jane decides to start splashing.

I enjoyed our vacation to Yellowstone, but it has definitely been nice to be home. Just a few things I missed: hot water, getting out of bed to go to the bathroom without having to get dressed, walking around with no shoes on, thermostat with regulated temperature control, Jane sleeping in a separate room...the list goes on. It's nice to be home.

I have thoroughly anticipated something of a struggle adjusting from working full time to being home all day, and, sad to say, I was right. Getting ready for, being gone in, and cleaning up after Yellowstone kept me occupied for a good two weeks. After that, it took me about three hours to be BORED OUT OF MY MIND.

Ok, life isn't really all that bad. I have plenty of things to do, and I have kept myself quite occupied. I think it's the lack of adult interaction...Jane can only provide so much conversation when all she can say are things like "hi" and "bye" and "be-uh" (clean up, sung to the tune of the Barney clean up song). Oh, and "tickle tickle."

the garden

The garden is progressing nicely. The carrots have sprouted, the lettuce is up, and a few tomatoes are already popping out.

One interesting thing is the height difference...for some reason, sun perhaps?, the plants in the west end of the boxes are much taller and fuller than those in the east end--a location difference of a whole three feet. For comparison sake, here are some close-up shots of the lettuce:



See what I'm saying?

The only thing that really isn't doing well is this particular pepper plant.

From the looks of the leaves, I would think maybe we have some sort of bug infestation. Not being a devout gardener, I'm not terribly concerned. (Is that bad?) I am enjoying having the garden and I am looking forward to harvesting what does succeed, but I'm not willing to get overly stressed about a plant living or dying. I will do what I can in my limited power and knowledge, then we'll just let things take their course and see what happens.

our outing

Knowing that we needed to get out of the house for at least a little bit each day, and hopefully with other people, Jane and I went to Willow Park Zoo yesterday with a friend from my ward and her two-month-old baby girl. Sadly, this was the only picture I was able to take before the batteries in my camera died.

It's not even of Jane. Sigh. But, we did have quite a pleasant trip to the park. After walking around the zoo with Julie and Jessica, we decided to play on the playground for a while. The playground right next to the zoo is always crowded during the day, and it's a little big for Jane to safely play by herself (needless to say, I'm not always up to climbing all over the equipment with her...). We opted instead for the smaller playground next to the pond, which is actually designed for people with disabilities. That being the case, everything is much shorter and more accessible to small children as well.

Ironically enough, when we got to the other playground, we found everyone from Jane's day care, whom we haven't seen in three weeks. That was a pleasant surprise. All of the kids were incredibly excited to see Jane (holy cow), and I had a nice visit with Laura Lee. Julie was content to swing, which she doesn't get to do often, while Jessica slept in the stroller the entire time. :) The trip turned out even better than I expected. Too bad I don't have more pictures.

school work

Yes, I know it is summer and yes, I am still working on things for school. Our district adopted both a new math program and a new writing program to be implemented in this next school year. One of the teachers I work with has graciously offered to go through the math and get everything planned out and organized for the year, and I have agreed to go through the writing. I haven't gotten terribly far, but it's nice to have something to do that requires a bit more brain power than, say, loading the dishwasher.

high chair moments

Jane certainly does her part to keep my occupied, even if it isn't always my first choice of activity. One of my least favorite things to do is clean up after her when she eats...

She's all about feeding herself now. Sometimes she misses her mouth, though. Or she just gets too tired to try anymore...

We had macaroni & cheese and hotdogs for lunch that day. How can I let my child miss out on this growing-up classic? I was actually surprised at how much of the hotdogs were left. This kid has been known to eat THREE hotdogs in one sitting. And yet she still wears 12 month size clothes.

Note on the bangs: When we came home from camping, I decided to trim Jane's bangs before they were covering her eyes. Good idea, right? Well, maybe. She moved when I went to cut them, so they ended up way shorter than planned. And they look pretty dumb. I even had someone at church ask me if she cut them herself. Sigh. No, Jane didn't cut them, I did. Yes, they look bad. No, I don't care. Yes, they will grow out again. I just have that much longer before they need to be trimmed again, right?

the baby

I had my monthly pregnancy check-up yesterday and thought I'd share a funny story. The baby moves A LOT, way more than I ever remember Jane moving. (Are we doomed with two overactive girls?) While at the doctor's appointment, they always find the heartbeat to make sure the baby is doing well. I think she is, although it took them two people, three tries and probably ten minutes to actually find the heartbeat. She kept moving all over the place, and even kicked the machine off my stomach a couple times. Literally kicked hard enough that it bounced off. What have we gotten ourselves into this time?

* * * * *
If anyone is bored this summer too, please call. I'm not very good at inviting myself over to other people's houses--don't they say that's rude in the scope of appropriate neighbor relations?--but I am all up for walks, picnics, or trips to the park. I just might not call you first. But, you now have an open invitation to call me. See you soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

March 18, 1985

Laura: March 17
Chris: March 19
Compromise: March 18

"If we started a movie on the day you were born, and stretched it over your lifespan, this is where you'd be in that movie. So if you're a teenager, you might see Luke arguing with Uncle Owen, or Cameron making a phony phone call to Ed Rooney. If you're a retiree, you might see the Marshmallow Man, or Toto pulling away the curtain. And if you're in your mid-thirties, you might be relieved to know that Ferris is still eating lunch, and the Millenium Falcon hasn't left Tatooine."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yellowstone 2009

And now the moment you have all been waiting for... all the gory details of our first official family vacation. If you don't want the gory details, then just look at the pretty pictures. But don't worry, the details really aren't that gory. There's just a lot.

Let me add this preface: I remember someone (Mom? Dad?) telling me once that scenery pictures were nice, but in years to come, you'll be much more interested to look at pictures with people in them. I have found that to be true many, many times. Scenery pictures are a good memory jogger--"I remember that, it was really cool"--but unless you're a really skilled photographer, the picture itself isn't terribly impressive on its own. Such being the case, most of the pictures I am going to post will be either of people or some amusing anecdote of the moment. We have plenty (meaning hundreds) of scenery pictures, but I am not going to post very many. If you want to see, come visit sometime. Otherwise, I recommend you go to Yellowstone yourself and collect your own memory joggers to your heart's content.


We drove to Aberdeen on Sunday night so we would be able to head out as quickly as possible on Monday morning. Of course, there are always a few last minute things to take care of, like mowing the lawn.

Unfortunately, Jane's teething pains had continued on from Saturday and she woke up rather unhappy (and sweaty). We did have time for a quick trip to the grocery store to stock up on some children's tylenol. After a while, she was fine.

Fine enough, in fact, that she went outside and proceeded to fall in the freshly-cut grass. She didn't seem concerned by having grass clippings all over her pants, although she was fairly worried about the pieces stuck to her hands.

The major highlight of the trip up was (drum roll please) the License Plate Game. Craig had printed out several games, activities, and pictures for each of us, and this was the one I most enjoyed. Here is how we started:

I colored the states in as we went along, finding a license plate from each state. It didn't take long to fill in the West, but the East Coast was quite a bit more challenging. Turns out, though, that Yellowstone is an excellent place to play this particular game...

Janet gave Craig a GPS for Christmas last year, and this was the first trip that he's really been able to do much with it. He had the laptop hooked up in the car so the GPS could track everywhere we went. We also took a slight detour in West Yellowstone to find a geocache.

The coolest thing about West Yellowstone was the fact that it is in Montana--I've never been in Montana before. I got to add a state to my list! I'm up to 10 now.

We finally made it to our campsite in Madison Campground in Yellowstone around 3:30 on Monday afternoon, after leaving Aberdeen at 9:30. It didn't take too long to get everything all set up.

Jane kept herself well-entertained during the process wandering all over the campsite. It was nice to just let her wander without worrying about her getting too far into the road or something. Our campsite was quite large and lacking in trees, which meant it was easy to see all around. If you could manage to keep up with her, that is, even though the camera couldn't always.

Dinner that night was quite enjoyable. We made tinfoil dinners while we were still in Aberdeen, then cooked them up when we got to camp. They were delicious.

Our neighbors in the campsite across the way were from the UK. They were motorcycling across the United States. I thought that was cool.

The forecast was pretty accurate--they predicted rain for the majority of the week. Oddly enough, it rained. This was the view from inside our gazebo on Monday night. I never knew rain to be so blurry.

Of course, rain does have its own perks.


Jane slept in her playpen in our tent, with double-layer pajamas for warmth. One catch to the trip was that since we were in bear country, everything had to be locked in the car overnight so no scents would attract bears to our camp and eventually lead to our deaths (that would be bad). The upshot of that was that I couldn't keep any wipes in the tent with us, so Jane got her shoes put on over her pajamas first thing in the morning so we could get into the van and dig out the diapers and wipes. But the result was admittedly cute.

Breakfast Tuesday morning was Mountain Man Breakfast, dutch oven style. Chris was pretty excited when the eggs all cracked in such nice order.

If you ever plan to cook with charcoal briquettes (I had to look up how to spell that), you should invest in a charcoal chimney. It makes lighting them way easier, and it takes no time at all for them to heat up. $10 at Walmart.

Our first real sight-seeing visit in Yellowstone National Park was to Artist Paint Pots. This was the first geyser I had ever seen, although I quickly learned that it wasn't the most amazing of the bunch.

We did bring a stroller with us, but it was only useful on a few of the stops, depending on the arrangement of the trails/boardwalks. This particular stop required more shoulder riding. Jane didn't seem to mind.

The mud pots were interesting. Don't ask me about the chemistry or physics of everything, because I don't care enough to know how it all works. I know enough to teach as much as is required by fifth grade curriculum--beyond that, I just think it looks cool. This mud pot kept bubbling up and popping. I managed to catch the bubble, but no pops. Sorry.

Jane is not a shy child, but when faced with a sudden group, it takes her a few moments to collect herself.

This is probably my all-time favorite picture that I took the entire trip. I'm not entirely sure why, I just really like it.

When we were leaving the Paint Pots, there was an older couple in this van who were stuck in the parking lot. They seemed quite worried because they couldn't get the van to start, and it wasn't their van. Chris went over and had it fixed in about two seconds. The steering wheel had locked--if that ever happens in your car (you can't start the ignition at all), all you need to do is jerk the wheel to the side and hold it there while you turn the key, then it will start. They were grateful enough that she even gave Chris a hug.

And they gave us a Wisconsin license plate to color in on our map. I was excited.

The weather was not cooperative for lunch that day. The sky stayed clear enough to cook some grilled cheese sandwiches--well, let's be honest, Craig and Janet cooked the sandwiches while Chris, Jane and I all took a nap in the car--before it started raining. Jane found the umbrellas quite amusing.

After lunch we made our way over to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. One funny side note: I noticed that in everyone talking about this, both in our group and people I overheard while we were there, referred to it as The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I was personally inclined to abbreviate it to the Canyon, or maybe the Grand Canyon, but I guess that's wrong. So, this is a picture of the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

But since scenery pictures aren't always exciting, here are the lower falls again with some added subjects.

I can't remember exactly now where this bridge was, but I think it looks cool. It's still in the canyon (sorry--Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone), but I don't remember if it's the Lower or Upper Falls. Oh, well. It still looks cool.

This is the Upper Falls, up close and personal. We saw it from above first, then went closer. We tried to go closer to the Lower Falls, but there was an emergency in progress and the park rangers wouldn't let anyone down. We never did find out what happened.

This is where we saw them from originally. It was farther away then.


Wednesday was primarily occupied with Norris Geyser Basin. The colors there were amazing. It was nice to stop in one place and stay for a while looking at everything there, without having to get in and out of the van a lot like we did on Tuesday. Variety in a trip is good.

Yes, I am still pregnant. It makes for less-flattering pictures in my opinion. And this one isn't even that bad.

I was very curious what a "Colloidal Pool" was meant to be, so I looked it up.

A colloid is when two substances are mixed and one disperses evenly into the other, but doesn't dissolve. Apparently, this colloid involves several different chemicals that co-exist in the pool without actually mixing and creating new substances. And that's enough science for me.

Like I said, the colors were amazing. It was very impressive how vibrant different areas were, and how much the colors varied throughout the park.

This is the Whirligig Geyser. It went off probably three times while we were walking around the far side of the basin, so when we arrived at this point, we decided to stop and wait so we could see it go off up close.

We ended up waiting for quite a while without ever seeing it. I guess it was done after it's three rounds shortly before. Jane did well again at keeping herself entertained while we were waiting, though.

Chris took an interest in some photography while we were out and about during the trip. These little mushrooms were all over the place in this basin. Our high-resolution camera made for some cool shots.

Chris stayed behind waiting for the geyser while the rest of us moved on ahead. Michael (he joined our group on Tuesday evening), Jane and I made it back to the top before anyone else. I took the opportunity to sit down. A rare occurance when the van was far away...

Michael ran off at one point to get a picture of something.

Jane seemed quite concerned. She recovered once Michael and Dad came back.

A scenery shot. Enjoy.

This scenery shot has its own amusement value. Can you see the dragon?

Another scenery shot. Enjoy again.

The second path around the basin was a mile and a half long. I was getting worn out by then, so I kept walking up ahead just to keep my momentum going. This shot was taken through the steam of one of the hot springs.

Christopher photography.

On the back side of the license plate game was a scavenger hunt with forty or fifty items to find. One of the items was a license plate with the letter Q. We spent tons and tons of time looking at license plates, but hardly ever paid any attention to what they said beyond the state name. When we were leaving Norris, we found a license plate that had a Q! It was noteworthy enough that we had to take the picture. Don't worry, it has nothing to do with the numbers...

Wednesday also happened to be Janet's birthday. This picture was taken on Saturday, but the hotpad was our gift to her on Wednesday during her specially requested dutch oven dinner with barbeque chicken, potatoes, and peach cobbler.

Funny side note: she actually crocheted that hotpad herself. She gave it to me a while back because she had used my yarn and my crochet hook. When we gave it to her, I had to make sure that she was okay with us regifting her present back to her.

On Wednesday night, Chris and Michael decided to venture out and have a little adventure of their own, elk, rock climbing and all.

I believe this is Gibbon Falls.

And how could this really be a post about Yellowstone without a buffalo?


First thing Thursday morning, we packed up camp at Madison and headed out. We had a few stops scheduled for the day, then we were going to set up camp again in Grand Teton National Park.

This geyser was right next the Grand Prismatic Spring. It erupted in the 1880s, expelling over 4,000 gallons of water each minute. It hasn't really erupted for many, many years. It actually created a crater, which to me looked like a mini-Caribbean island beach from far away. It may be the inspiration for next year's vacation...

For Dad.

Christopher photography.

This was in the algae mat across from the Grand Prismatic Spring. There were four movie stubs for the movie Coraline in 3D. I haven't seen it yet, but I am curious. Perhaps I'll have to investigate further.

Jane generally did very well in the car for the duration of the vacation, but of course, everyone has their moments.

I was very, very excited when we found this license plate. How often do you see Vermont?

Our next stop of the day was Old Faithful. We had to wait about an hour for the next eruption (is eruption even the right word? see how much I know about geysers?). When it finally came, it started raining about two minutes before.

We did take our own video, but I didn't want to wait forever for it to load. This one is funnier anyway.

We did have some entertainment before hand. A blue jay kept flying up right in front of everyone--it would hover for a few seconds, then drop all the way to the ground, and a few seconds later do it all over again.

I think Jane enjoyed it, although I'm not sure how much attention she actually paid to the geyser going off.

Amusing anecdote with no accompanying picture: by the time Old Faithful was finally done, I desperately had to go to the bathroom. Now, for the most part, this was not a major issue for me during this trip, despite the fact that I'm five months pregnant. I count myself lucky that I'm not rushing off to the restroom every 30 minutes...but in this instance, I wasn't up for waiting any longer. So I headed off to the bathroom while Chris, Janet, and Jane waited for Craig and Michael to come back from the lookout point where they had watched the geyser.

When I came out of the bathroom and walked back to the boardwalk, I didn't see them. I figured they had either gone to the bathroom themselves or back into the visitor's center. I wandered around for quite awhile, then finally decided to walk back to the car. They weren't there, either. So I walked back to the visitor's center again. Then I found them, standing right between the VC and the bathrooms. Apparently they had gone over to the other side of the boardwalk and I didn't walk back far enough to actually see them. Sigh.

Before heading out to any other sight-seeing destinations, we needed some sustenance. We pulled off at a picnic area on the side of the road to make sandwiches. Jane was asleep, so we left her in the car. Lunch was cut rather short due to the sudden HAIL that pounded us and the ground. In the rush, I didn't bother to make Jane a sandwich I knew she wouldn't really eat. Instead, she got a cup full of cold hotdog and pickle slices. I know, I know. You think I'm a terrible mother for feeding my child such a meal. I'm ok with it, though, because she ate lunch and seemed quite content about its contents. Eating is good.

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake--This is Michael. Chris's back had been bothering him most of the week, so he opted to stay in the car for a nap at this particular stop.

The cool thing here was the underwater geysers. We didn't see any go off, but the craters were still cool.

And now for one of the ironies of the park. This was called the Black Pool.

It was incredibly deep, but there was no "black" involved. This next one was called the Abyss Pool.

Michael and I think their names should be switched.

And now for my favorite part of the entire park: Crawfish Creek. This was not a major destination location, which I think is part of why I liked it. There was no neat, even boardwalk--instead you had to hike just a tiny bit down into the ravine. And we were right next to the waterfall, closer than you could really get anywhere else. (Michael and Chris did get closer to Gibbon Falls, but that was quite a bit more of a hike.)

This bridge was actually the highway going over the creek. I just thought it looked cool. Apparently I have a thing for cool bridges.

I do believe I preferred our second campsite to our first. The trees made a huge difference. There was a lot of shade, which provided both protection from the weather and added privacy from camping neighbors. I was ok with both.

The Colter Bay campsite also had this huge toilet sink. It was actually a sink, meant to dispose of dishwater and such, but you could flush it just like a toilet. I found that highly amusing. There was a big sign, though, that very adamantly informed campers that it was not to be used as a toilet, so don't get your hopes up.

Random shot of the van: As I mentioned previously, we had to keep pretty much everything but clothes and bedding in the van at all times, unless in immediate use. I confess that I didn't actually do a whole lot of the heavy lifting, but it still got really old by the end of the week.

I have learned that my husband cannot go to any family function without performing some kind of car repair. Heather joined us shortly after we had everything set up in Colter Bay, and Chris ended up replacing her headlight. They also fixed a brake light, which had been installed backwards and was melting anything in the trunk that got too close.


Friday definitely had the best weather of the entire week. The sky remained clear for most of the day, although the morning was COLD.

While eating breakfast, I noticed this weird spot on the side of the fire pit...

...which Heather confessed was the top of her shoe that got too close.

The major activity of the day was canoeing. Jane and I opted to stay on shore, since neither toddler nor pregnant go well with canoe.

Craig, Janet and Heather had one canoe, while Chris and Michael had another.

And they're off!

My grand excitement while they were gone (for two hours) was the discovery of this Maine license plate. I was probably more excited about this than Vermont. I would like to point out that it also has a Q. And it's a Volkswagon, which was on our scavenger hunt and took us an impressively long time to find.

I had the keys to the van, but again, I was tired of hauling everything in and out and didn't want to attempt the heavy lifting on my own (nor am I supposed to). So, courtesy of a Wells Fargo ATM in the general store, Jane and I had our own unhealthy, overpriced, but highly enjoyed lunch of corndogs, pink lemonade, and chocolate doughnuts.

While everyone was still out canoeing, Jane and I wandered through the general store, gift shop, visitor's center, and Indian Art museum that were all located near the Colter Bay Marina. I took a picture of this:

in the visitor's center. It is Bear Deterrent--basically pepper spray intended for bears. I found it funny, but it was also significant because Michael actually already owned a bottle that we had been joking about all week. I'm glad, though, that he bought it somewhere else outside of the park. If you can't read the price tag, it says $50.95. Holy Cow. That's way too much to spend on a practical joke.

When they did finally come back from canoeing, I was ready to have some company that1 could actually carry a conversation. While I was waiting for them to unload, though, I was impressed by how cool the mountains behind them looked.

We went back to the campsite for lunch (yes, Jane and I ate again). Jane was doing quite well at helping "clean" the log with her rag. She even sang the clean up song while she did it.

Most of the afternoon was spent relaxing, taking naps and playing card games. Heather is entirely too good at Nertz. That evening, we actually ventured out into the public again for dinner and a show at the Bar J Chuckwagon Ranch just outside of Jackson, Wyoming.

We found this on one of the doors inside the building:

No one ever said the license plate had to be attached to a car. It totally counts.

Dinner consisted of barbequed beef (for Jane, Chris and I paid extra for steak), beans, cornbread, applesauce, baked potato, spice cake and lemonade. The show consisted of five men singing cowboy songs. The songs were nice, and they were quite funny inbetween.

But, as you might have guessed, Jane is not the best audience member anytime that quiet is required. I took her outside to let her run around (and dance, as it happened) during the show. Michael came out shortly after because it was too hot in the room, and Chris came out shortly after that because his back was hurting too much to sit at the picnic-style tables they had inside. We could still hear most everything that was going on, and we all found it rather pleasant to just hang out outside and visit for a bit.

I don't remember what Jane was laughing at, but it appears to be the funniest thing she'd ever seen.

They had quite a few statues around, adding character to the establishment. Jane kept kissing the bear, but I wasn't ever fast enough to get a picture.

Michael left straight from the ranch to head back to Rexburg. That was sad.


Saturday was fully occupied with packing up and driving home. We did stop for a few minutes at a turnoff for some rather impressive scenery photos.

For some reason, we couldn't fit as much of the Tetons into that last picture. Apparently Jane is shorter than the rest of us...

While we were taking pictures, Jane sat down and played a game I've never seen her play before. She is quite a fan of playing with balls, and will often sit down and push them away from her, generally hoping that someone will push it back. This time, she sat down...and pushed the air. She had no ball, but she was having just as much fun pretending she did.

We also took a short detour (short meaning into a parking lot off the side of the highway) in Wilson. The town was founded by one of Craig's (and I guess Chris and Jane's, too) relatives and we stopped to get some pictures of the statue erected in his honor.

Of course, not all of the pictures were of the statue.

We left the campground at 10:30 Saturday morning. After our two short picture stops and lunch in Idaho Falls (and a stop at Barnes and Noble, where Brandon Sanderson happened to be doing a signing, which was cool even though that wasn't why we were there), we made it to Aberdeen shortly before 4:3o. We quickly moved all of our stuff out of the van and into our Mountaineer, then we headed out shortly before 5:00. We finally made it home to Logan at 7:15.

Rhode Island was the last new license plate we found. Here is our finished product:

In the end, we were only missing New Hampshire, Connecticut, Delaware, and South Carolina. Yes, we found Hawaii. That was cool.

And there you have it. Our trip to Yellowstone. I think everyone should go at least once (this was my first time). But be careful. Many visitors have been gored by buffalo.