Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Annual Family Vacation

This year for our Vacation we took a loop around Wyoming, at least that is what it felt like. We did a lot of driving and covered a lot of ground, visited some great places, stayed in some fun places, swam alot, ate too much food, saw things we had never seen before, and had a lot of fun together as a family. Isn't that why we vacation together!! Go ahead and enjoy the next 13 posts all about our vacation!!!!!!!!!

Day one-Lagoon

Our first day of our annual family vacation we went to Lagoon. A fun amusment park in Utah. I loved going there when I was a kid and I am pretty sure that my kids love it also. I am so glad that my kids are not scared to go on the rides. This year they were all just tall enough to make it to the next level of rides. It is fun to ride the rides, but even more fun to ride with your kids. They love it so much and they are so cute. Sawyer was bummed that he could not ride the coasters, but he is just too short maybe in a few years. My favorite ride is the Wicked!!! We had a great time and it was a great kickoff to a great vacation!!

History Detour

On our way to Jackson, WY were were traveling through Logan, Ut and Dennis informed me that Martin Harris, a witness to the Book of Mormon, was buried somewhere near by. So Dennis suggested that we go look for it. So we did. It is little things like this that I hope our children remember forever. Well after a few phone calls and a stop at the chamber of commerce, we had a map and were on our way. It was pretty easy to find and was a cute little graveyard. It was amazing to me to think that the man buried there actually saw the gold plates that Joseph Smith transalted into the book of Mormon. I am not sure if the kids fully understood the significance, but someday they will and then they can remember that they were there.

Day Two-The Tetons

Day two we drove from Ut to WY to Jackson to eat and then into the Grand Teton National Park. We found a nice cabin to stay in that night. It was rustic, but had a toilet and a shower, so it was perfect. We got there early enough to walk around the park that the cabin was on. We walked around the lake. The kids had fun throwing rocks in the water and playing on the banks of the lake, and Dennis and I just enjoyed the peace and happiness. It was majestic and very peaceful. It makes me wonder why we do not take advantage of being so close to such beauty.

Day 3 Yellowstone

Day Three of our vacation we went to Yellowstone. WE took the "BIG" loop through the park. It was very relaxing, we saw lots of animals and the kids really had a great time. They would get really excited when they saw an animal and there were great pit stops to get out and walk around a just enjoy the beauty.
I have only been to Yellowstone one other time and it was when I was 10. SO I did not remember very much, but some things were very familiar. We had a great day and loved seeing all the wildlife. We have been on some fun family trips/vacations, but the kids said they loved Yellowstone the most!! Who knew!!

Old Faithful

What would a trip to Yellowstone be if you did not visit old faithful. Well we did of course go there. We got there right after it had erupted, so we took the little walk around all the geysers and hot pool stuff. The smell is so bad, we all decided it smelled even worse then dad!!! The kids were very amazed at all the colors and formations and wanted their picture taken in front of everything. They kept asking a lot of questions, so I know that they were having a good time. WE saw this one geyser that hardly ever goes off and it went off when we were there. And of course old faithful was faithful and we got to see it. I still think it is one of the coolest things I have ever saw and the kids were thoroughly amazed. All in all a great time!! I will tell you though, the food at old faithful-nasty!!!!


Dennis loves to go to different states that he has not been to. He will go out of his way to touch a state that he has never been to. WEll his enthusiam has worn off on the kids, especially Ryan. We had originally planned to come into Yellowstone through the west entrance, so had told Ryan we might touch Montana, he was really excited, but we changed our plans last minute and decided to come up through Jackson and therfore had to inform Ryan that we would not be going to Montana, he was bummed, but got over it soon. Well when we decided to take the northern loop, last minute again, we realized that touching Montana might be a possibility, but we did ntot tell the kids yet. They had all fallen asleep so we snuck up to the Montana sign, which was suprisingly a happening place.(I guess Dennis is not so wierd after all). We woke Julia and Ryan up to wait in line to get a picture with the Montana sign. Sawyer needs his naps a little bit more then the older two. Ryan was so grateful that he got to touch another state.

1 Bear, 2 Bear, 3 Bears, oh my!!

When we were in Yellowstone we really wanted to see a bear. Our original plan was to just take the southern loop through the park, since we had only planned one day in yellowstone, but while we were at the old faithful visitor's center we were talking to a guy that takes pictures of Yellowstone, where the best place to see bears were and he said the northern loop. Well that did it, we wanted to see a bear so we changed our plans and decided to take the northern loop also. We were so happy when right into the northern loop we saw a bunch of people pulled over and got out to see what they were looking at and it was a bear. It was very far away and only could be seen with binoculars, but it was still a bear and we felt so lucky. Later on around the loop we went into see the petrified tree and there were tons of people hanging around and a forest ranger came up to us and told us there was a black bear sleeping under a tree. It was far away, but we could see it with our eyes, even though it was better through a scope. We thought we were so lucky, we had now seen 2 bears. Well a little farther down the and around the loop we were just driving and right off the side of the road was a grizzly. It was so close, there was a park ranger there and would not even let you stop, you just had to pause and then keep driving. We all saw this one, even Sawyer, it was so cool. Not only did we get to see a bear, but we saw three bears and they were all on the northern loop. So thank you to that guy for the tip. We saw a lot fo wildlife in Yellowstone, coyote, elk, deer, moose, fox, bear, snake, and lots and lots of buffalo.

Cody Wyoming

Aren't they the cutest kids you have ever seen!! I think so!!

After leaving Yellowstone, we headed to Cody, WY. WE got a hotel there and swam that night. It was an outdoor pool and it felt great. I love Wyoming evenings in the summer. That next day we went to the Buffalo Bill museum, well it is like 5 or so museums under one roof. It is really neat. Lots of great things to see and some great interaction exhibits for the kids. Almost too much in one day. This is a picture of the kids in front of Buffalo Bill's original house, it came all the way frpm Iowa, or somewhere that directions. The kids thought of their own pose and I just love it!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sawyer's New BEST Friend-BUFFALO BILL

First of all you have to realize Sawyer is about the most friendly person that I know. He will talk to anyone, especially grandma, grandpa type people. Well when we were on out way out of the Cody museum, there was a guy dressed up like Bufflao Bill and he said hello to us and we all started to walk out the exit, well all except Sawyer. I turned around and he had decided that he wanted to chat with Buffalo Bill for a moment. Well chat he did, after while of a lot of talking on Sawyer's part and alot of listening from Buffalo Bill, I noticed that Buffalo Bill was leaning down to get closer to Sawyer to hear him better, after awhile he knelt down on one knee. Sawyer being the master mimic, got down on one knee and continued his conversation. I am not kidding, Sawyer talked to him for like 10 minutes and then got up and came over to us. We casually asked him, who were you talking to and he looked at us like, duh, and said Buffalo Bill. Like they were long lost friends or something. It was one the cutest things that I have ever seen. Later he informed us that Buffalo Bill was his best friend. Now everytime we see a gray haired man on a horse, Sawyer points and says "It's Buffalo Bill!!

Water Park Motel

On our way to Rapid city, where we were going to stay our next night, we saw a sign for a motel that had a water park inside. Since we do everything last minute and did not have a motel yet, we decided to get this one, without telling the kids. When we got there, they were so excited and, according to their own words, had the best day of their lives. So easy to excite my kids, I know!!! It was a great motel, the water park had a couple big slides for Ryan and a nice little kiddie area that Julia and Sawyer loved. The rooms were great also, the beds and sheets were so nice and everything was so clean, the kids had their own tv and Dennis and I had our own bed and tv, so fighting over cartoons and other stuff.

Mt Rushmore

After our fun night in the water park motel, we went to Mt Rushmore. I had never been there and I was very amazed at how amazing it is. When you drive from Rapid City to Mt Rushmore, you coem around the bend and there it is, right there on the mountains. It is truly amazing. If you've been there you know what i am talking about. We got out and walked around and took the loop that takes you up under it and gives you lots of differnet views. It is a lot of walking and alot of stairs. The kids were pretty tired right before we were done, so we had to do a little Sawyer carrying and pumping up Julia, hoping she would make it, she did. We did our usual gift store browsing and was privileged to meet one of the actual workers that helped to create mt. Rushmore. We got his book, of course autographed, and was a good read to our next destination, which was Soda Springs, SD Mt Ruchmore was very cool and a for sure return for us someday.

Alpine Slides

After we went to Mt. Rushmore, we hung out in the little town of Keystone. We did a little touristy shopping, the kids made sand creatures, and we rode the alpine slide. The kids loved it and we went again and again. It really is fun and if you have never tried it, you should. WE love this area of the country and wished that we had many more days to spend here, maybe next year, any one game?

Smallest Pool ever

Our final overnight stay of the trip was in Soda Springs, SD. We got there a little later then we had planned, so we did not get to go to the pool that we really had wanted to, but we did get to stay at a brand new motel six and it was really cheap, but we were tired and it had a pool so we knew the kids would be happy. Little did we know that it was going to be the smallest pool ever. It was fun though, we had it all to ourselves and the kids had a blast. Sawyer started this new thing where he likes to pose showing his muscles, I thought that it was cute so I added the pictures. The next day we drove home. WE stopped in Laramie Wyoming where Dennis and I want to UW. The town has grown so much, it was very cool to see all the places that we loved and remembered from the good ole collage days. We also stopped and saw Dennis's brother Ben and his wife Heather, then we headed home. Vacationing is a lot of fun, but it is always good to get back to your own bed!!!