Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Yellowstone Bound

We love camping in this family. We don't do it nearly as much as we would like to. So when my sister said that she was getting together with some of the Sorensen clan to camp in Yellowstone for a few days my ears perked up. Sean wasn't going to be able to take off that much time especially since we were meeting his family in Duck Creek, Utah the very next week. But I started to contemplate the idea of heading up to Yellowstone with the kids and then meeting Sean in Utah afterwards. I got some crazy glances when I talked about my plan to some people (and I even wondered about my sanity to myself a couple of times), but the pros outweighed the cons to me and so I loaded all six kids (one being a two month old baby)and made the 18 hour journey up to Yellowstone by myself. I actually broke it up a little bit, which was nice. We had a great time with Grandpa and Grandma Sorensen, Jesse, Caleb, Corbin, Charity, Chad, Coren, Risa, Haakon, Garrett, Melanie, Genevieve, Aeris, Cian, Leia and even a super quick meet up with Kyra at Burger King on our way to the airport to pick up Sean. I knew it would be a bunch of work (physical and mental....HE HE HE), but Sean and I have always felt it important to make sacrifices to get together with family, especially since we don't live near any. I loved getting together with cousins at family reunions when I was a kid, and I want that for my children. I want them to know and love their cousins and get excited about spending time with them. Not to mention how much I love it when I have the chance to hang out with my family. And what better place to do all of this that at the awesome National Park of Yellowstone while we camped together. Camping is such a great outlet for kids for be free and explore. Staying up too late at campfires, tasty eggs and potato and sausage breakfasts, running free through the campsites and nearby nature, seeing wildlife close enough to touch, sleeping in the chill of the late summer with nothing between the fresh air but you and a thin tent layer, getting a free pass from bathing for a few days :), etc. So, here's a quick run down of our adventure:
Thurs: Got up early and hit the road. Made it all the way to Price, Utah (8 full hours of driving) before making our first stop. We only had to pull over to the side of the highway for one quick minute for Nathan to go to the bathroom. Every one else made it the entire 8 hours - even the baby (drinking a couple of bottles along the way). Made it to Charity and Chad's house that evening.
Fri: Hung out at Charity and Chad's. Headed up to Rexburg. Made it there by about 8 PM Sat: Went to the grocery store to stock up. Hung out at Garrett and Melanie's for the morning. Took Ben and Caelan and went and saw a town production of "Les Miserables" which Garrett and Caleb were performing in. It was so great! I love that musical and it was especially fun to see two of my brothers rocking the vocals (several solo parts each). And the kids loved it too (which made my heart happy). We spent the rest of the trip listening to the soundtrack. Headed up to Yellowstone late that afternoon and made it there around midnight, at which point we quickly set up camp.
Sun - Wed: Saw all the sights of Yellowstone: West Thumb Geyser Basin, Old Faithful, Artist Paintpots, Mud Volcano, Fountain Paintpots, Norris Geyser Basin (where Austin completely lost ALL control for a good two hours - Yikes), Steamboat Geyser, Gibbon Falls, Mammoth Hot Springs, Virginia Cascade Scenic Loop, Upper and Lower Falls (where we hiked down 300 steps for a great view and then hiked back up), LeHardy's Rapids, and more. We saw thousands of bison which delayed us on several occasions, elk, deer, and lots of birds. We swam in the Boiling River (where a hot springs joins up with a river), we found a shop with $1 fudge bars which we purchased more than once, we went on lots of hikes, we went to church at the lodge at Old Faithful, we saw a quadruple rainbow (that's right friends) and we got some tasty ice cream cones in West Yellowstone. And we battled the rain through the entire trip. We ate dinner one night all huddled under a canopy while it rained around us. The kids were real troopers. It was wonderful!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Duck Creek 2013

We did our annual Family Reunion at Duck Creek in August this year (since I was due with a new baby the weekend of Memorial Day). We stayed in the same cabin that we stayed in two years ago. We had a fun filled weekend of hiking (we hiked to some "falls" which were somewhat of a disappointment to the kiddos once we got there....more like a little trickle), crafting (Lani brought a project for all the ladies to do - a cute wood saying "Be-You-Tiful"), resting, spotting wild life, chatting, playing games, zip-lining (Sean got a part for the zipline in the yard and fixed it the first day. The kids spent hours on that thing...and even all the adults took a turn or two as well), cooking, scenic drives (we drove to a look out point one evening which was gorgeous - same look out point we went to when Caelan was just a couple of months old and we were together with the Crusaders), swinging, 4-wheeling, nightly family devotionals and just enjoying time together. We were challenged by Grandma and Grandpa to read the Book of Mormon by next year as a family.