Little recap of our family's schedule on this 12 day break from reality (not really, reality came along buckled in car seats). We drove the 21+ hours to Utah to my sister and brother-in-law's near Salt Lake City. The ride out involved one puke episode, multiple potty breaks, so much snacking, a watching of Madagascar II, sleeping a few hours at a time in the van, chewing and spitting and chewing and spitting sunflower seeds, a speeding ticket and some serious gasoline consumption by Goldie (the Honda Odyssey).
We were warmly welcomed with hot wings when we reached our destination. So. Good. The next morning we prepped for a two day camping trip in the Uintas (which went better than I expected it to go). Most of these photos tell those tales. After the camping trip we went back to Gaalswyks' for 5 more days of fun! We went swimming at a mountain reservoir, hit up the splash pad, went mt. biking, hiking, caught an outdoor concert and BBQ at Snowbasin resort, the moms had a night out of shopping and amazing food. Speaking of uh-mazing food, Andrew cooked up a mean meal of salmon the night before we left. My cousin Megan flew in 2 days before, so she used her sue chef skills and sauced and season and saladed it up too. It could have been my last supper it was so perfect. We hit the road Thursday with the goal of finding a place to camp (in a TENT), before dark. I had some apprehension about being pregnant (read: extra edgy...not in the cute, high fashion way), and sleeping in a tent with 3 children in the wilderness. Oh don't worry, this particular campground had nightly bear activity so we were seriously instructed in all proper food storage. Whaa?? Then as Anj was setting up - what was that? sure enough, rain drops. Camping with my precious family in bear country in the rain while pregnant. My favorite. Okay, it went SURPRISINGLY well. I recently read a quote that could have been my anthem for this trip--
the difference between
That cuts. Deep. Anyway, the next day was spent adventuring in the Grand Tetons (where we had staked our claim...I mean tent), and Yellowstone parks. Holy cow. Andrew pointed out on the way home- sometimes you just need to see some of the amazing majesty of God's creation to better understand the smallness of me and the HUGENESS of Him. Our central Minnesota landscape is beautiful, don't get me wrong. But the glory of the mountains is awe-inspiring. We saw so much over sized wildlife- as in buffalo and elk. There's a gorge in Yellowstone that they call the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. My fear of heights tainted the vastness just a touch, but aside from almost dying of a heart attack on the hike down and back up, it was still a highlight for me. The thermal something something going on in the ground near Old Faithful is interesting...like kids, don't step a toe off the path or your foot might burn off. Yikes. They had really fantastic ice cream at the visitors center there. Also a highlight. After such exhausting exploring it was time to start the trek home. I swear it took twice as long to get back as it took to go there. It had to have. My kids are lucky they survived my wrath that came from sleep deprivation and the knowledge of all the dirty laundry that was stinking up the mobile home (again referring to the van). The children each ate their weight in Captain Crunch Oops All Berries on the way home, and the next day everyone's bathroom products were such extraordinary colors, it set me back in my seat thinking of all the dye my wee-uns had consumed. They're still alive though...so that's good.
Over all it was such a sweet and exciting time for all 5 of us. Best family vacation yet!
|The 4 stooges on Independence Day. Oliver, Margot, Theo, Geo|
|We stayed in a cabin July 4th and 5th, located far from civilization. Don't be fooled by those sweet half-logs and that safe looking fire extinguisher- this baby had just been visited by a 'brown bear' of sorts the night before we arrived. We learned this from the campground's groundskeeper- a 50 something gal who's been living up there alone for years. We nick named her Rousseau for anyone who has seen LOST. As in, the bear would lose.|
|A patriotic hike in bear country. Marg, Anna, Luke, Theo, Anj, Gigi, Oliver. Don't mess with team USA.|
|G making sure T is adequately hydrated.|
|Auntie and Margs at Mirror Lake.|
|Brother-in-law Luke assisting young Theo with the ole rod n reel.|
|Gang's all here.|
|Hello, Gorgeous Gaalswyks...and Luke.|
|MacGyver after an INTENSE hike that the ladies thought would be a half mile, but ended up being a solid 5, at least a third of which was spent 'scrambling' (aka crawling to avoid plummeting to your death). The view was almost worth it.|
|By the looks of it, Theo's catching something with his 'mountain special,' designed and manufactured by his dad.|