Twin Falls

Joe and I went on a trip without kids. We haven’t done it for a long time. I quite enjoyed it. Everything went rather well without them. I would see something like a playground and immediately thought That would be fun for the kids. But I didn’t have any with me.




We went up to Twin Falls and spent the night. It was rainy when we got there. The next day when most of our adventures were planned the weather was quite beautiful. We went out to Shoshone Falls and hiked along the rim a bit. There were base jumpers going off of Perrine Bridge. I was nervous watching them.




When I considered vacations this year, I realized my children hadn’t been to Yellowstone yet, and it would make a nice quick vacation. PB already love geography and volcanoes and just the right kind of subjects to make Yellowstone interesting to him. We camped for three nights and spent two full days and a little more exploring the park. I’ve been there quite a bit, it was fun to go back to places that I remember and show them to my kids. We also were able to take my sister with me. She was a lot of fun, and a great help in the car.

In Yellowstone you spend a lot of time driving and walking. My kids actually do pretty well in the car, and thank goodness I could occasionally had them a device when tempers were short. Sometimes the hiking/walking part was a bit hard, but luckily there are plenty of short hikes to do. If PB puts his mind to it and wants to keep going he can hike for over a mile and did quite cheerfully on at least one occasion. But if he doesn’t quite see the point or he is a little tired or it is raining…that kid can complain a bunch too. C is still young enough just to carry, and luckily Joe is willing enough to do so.

It did rain, but luckily only in the afternoon although not timed up well enough to match our trips to the visitors centers and nap time in the car. We brought rain ponchos and jackets and used them to keep exploring. The kids looked cute in them.

Before, and often during the vacation I was stressed a lot. Vacations aren’t as relaxing when you are camping with little kids and you happen to be the one in charge. But everything worked out well, and now I can remember the trip with much more joy than leading up to or even during it.


Having fun not getting wet in the rain.

Having fun not getting wet in the rain.

At Sheepeater Picnic area. I love this place, and we also missed it due to a non existent sign.

At Sheepeater Picnic area. I love this place, and we also missed it due to a non existent sign.

Made it to the top of the pile of rocks, although not up cliff.

Made it to the top of the pile of rocks, although not up cliff.

Joe climbed all the way to the top of the cliff.

Joe climbed all the way to the top of the cliff.


C called this a volcano at first.

C called this a volcano at first.

Joe's neck was a bit sore after the trip.

Joe’s neck was a bit sore after the trip.


The good tables were taken...but this spot was more fun anyways.

The good tables were taken…but this spot was more fun anyways.

This squirrel actually climbed up on PB's lap.

This squirrel actually climbed up on PB’s lap.

This is Grand Prismatic Spring during a rain shower.

This is Grand Prismatic Spring during a rain shower.

Joe took this picture, explaining that this is how we spent most of the trip.

Joe took this picture, explaining that this is how we spent most of the trip.


This is a quote from PB: “I have too much love, I need to hug you.”

We went and visited my sister for Conference weekend. PB was very excited to see his cousins. They exhausted each other with all their playing. Besides visiting, we went and played disc golf. I think disc golf is a great way to experience the landscapes of the area. Wyoming is windy and with hardly any trees and wide views. 
disc golf 

We also enjoyed a free day at the local college. Their were tons of activities. We decided to split up, and each took a kid. I got to look at animals, dig in the sand, play balls and play dough with C. I was happy we split up, it meant I could spend more time focusing on my child instead of everyone else, and I didn’t have to wait on anyone (not my strong point). 

(This picture isn’t from our visit. It’s just cute.)

Vacation Across the Desert

After a year of work, my husband finally got a vacation. We took a short trip out west to visit our twin siblings. (We are both twins: my twin sister is in Nevada, Joe’s twin brother recently moved near Sacramento.) It was a short and fun vacation.

But not without mishaps. We ran out of gas 25 miles east of Wendover. It was a combined effort of stupidity. After a short, tense wait, we found a tow guy and payed $20 per gallon of gas. I was hope that would be all, but it was not to be. Our tire went flat on the way to Sacramento. Luckily it didn’t happen until after the snowstorm, and our spare made it the rest of the way. We did have to buy a new tire to replace a two week old tire. Turns out the hazard insurance was well worth it, though at the time it didn’t seem like we would be keeping the car long enough.

I’m still not done. At Denny’s, I was enjoying my meal, but the food apparently hated me and prevented me from inhaling. After a few moments, I realized that I would rather breathe normally, and Joe successfully rescued me. I was fine, although a bit embarrassed.

Because sitting around talking, playing games and shooting Nerf guns gets a little old, we also went adventuring. First stop was the Discovery Museum in Reno. It was one of my favorite museums I’ve been to, there was lots to keep everyone entertained including brain puzzles that had me stumped. In Sacramento we went to the Zoo and Fairytale land, which were both fun.

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We had a great time. The warm weather in Sacramento made me realize how nice spring is. We had left our home in a snowstorm: but when we got back there was next to no snow. It feels like spring. And I realized I’m not quite ready for spring. I still want to sled and snowshoe and peruse seed catalogs.


We went up to Nevada to visit my sister. And my sister takes better pictures, so just go over to her post. I drove about 17 hours alone with the boys. It wasn’t too bad. Not that I would recommend it. The kids didn’t sleep as much as hoped, but we only had one bad tantrum where I had to pull off to the side of the freeway. The trip was a lot of fun.


I’ve been thinking of preschool for PB and have been a little hesitant. I realized why lately. He’s finally old enough to play with and I don’t want to send him away. I still haven’t decided what I want to do, but I have realized I love being his mom. I love doing activities with him, teaching him and playing. He’s old enough play is more involved and actually engaging to me, not just him.



Fun with Cousins

Joe’s brother and his family flew in, and we all went out and visited another sister in Alabama. It was fun. (Minus the car ride. CD hates the car for long car rides. PB can also get a bit squeally.) PB loved playing with his cousins.

Fun at the Space and Rocket Center. Very cool place.

Isn’t this guy cute? He hasn’t been sleeping well at all…and then he cut is first tooth. 

Eating sandwiches at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. 

On top of Stone Mountain. PB refused to pose for a picture

Thanks to all my relatives this weekend for a great time!

Camping and to the Beach

Last weekend we went camping. I had planned the trip for a while and waited for a rain free weekend. It rains too much out here…but we were lucky and had wonderful weather. In the two nights in the tent: everyone slept the night. Camped at Skidaway island, visited Savannah, swam at Tybee Island.  I have now swam in the Atlantic ocean, walked the cobblestone in Savannah, and camped under oaks covered in Spanish moss. I felt threatened on an early morning stroll by the growling of a suspected raccoon. I learned that now matter how much bug spray and sunscreen you think you’ve applied, it is probably not enough. I learned that crying abates in the car if I ignore it after all I can do. I learned the Monday after is too full of laundry and tired people to be any fun.

Sand, mosquitoes, sunburn, and occasional frustration were all a small price to pay for the beautiful time we had. Here’s some pictures to prove it. But only some:  I forgot to take pictures because I was enjoying myself.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here…but Curtis can sit up now. He’s still pretty tipsy and needs supervision, but can play sitting and not lying down or in the too small bumbo. 

Great Smoky Mountains

We went camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Friday night. After growing up and taking regular vacations to many national parks back west, I’ve wanted to visit all of them. Great Smoky Mountain is less than four hours from where we live, and it has been one place I wanted to visit ever since I knew we were coming out here.

I didn’t plan activities at all, expect for getting a campsite. What we did wouldn’t necessarily be what I would have planned, or would plan to do again, but we did have a great time. On Friday, we left early and drove through the park with its wonderful views throughout.

After finding the right road, we hiked Grotto Falls. I used to think three mile hikes were easy, but now with the two kids it is much more difficult and complex. I’m grateful Joe is able to coax or carry Peter the whole way.

Camping went great. Peter loved it. His favorite activity was throwing rocks in the river. He was soaked from picking up rocks in the river. He and Joe went and caught lightning bugs too. The lightning bugs are fun out here, but there is also more of every other kind of bug too: I have plenty of mosquito bites I’m trying to ignore.

We went up to Clingmans Dome the next morning. It was foggy so we didn’t see any views, but it was still pretty. The high altitude air reminded me of Utah, made me miss it a bit.

It was a great mini-vacation. I liked just having one night and two days, a lot less stressful than the longer vacations I usually do.


Two days after Christmas, we crammed too much stuff into our van and headed off to Georgia. Luckily, this photo does not reflect all of our travels, but some moments were like it. And you can see how packed the van was.

We drove seven to eight hours a day, and tried to do one fun thing each day. In New Mexico we took a walk in a nature park, where Peter had fun chasing geese and I enjoyed a demonstration garden.

In Albuquerque we toured the Balloon Museum. I discovered hot air balloons are quite boring to fly. They only go up and down, and then you have to wait for wind currents to take you anywhere. (They had a few simulators up.)

I enjoyed the humid, swampy air in Arkansas where we took a little walk and went disk golfing. We lost two disks in the first two holes on the disk golf course. The course was by a river, and on the first hole there was water on either side. I threw mine into the water on the left, and Joe threw his into the water on the right. We kept going anyway and enjoyed the rest of the course.

We spent the weekend at Aunt Becki’s house. Peter had lots of toys and cousins to play with, and it was a great break from lots of driving and Cars 2 (we watched that many times to get Peter through the trip). I’ve wanted to go visit for a while, and enjoyed spending lots of time with them. The weather has been incredible, so we went out to the park one day. Becki’s a great photographer to, and posted photos of us here that are very cute.

One week after leaving, we arrived at our final destination: Duluth GA, just northeast of Atlanta.

California Vacation

We left Sunday afternoon for the long drive to California and proceed to drive hours through the middle of nowhere. Highway 6 in Nevada has got to be one of the boringest roads ever. We found a lovely motel in Tonopah called the Clown Motel. The name scared me a lot, but the price was good. The hotel was decorated in clowns, not my choice of décor, but it was clean and functioning and most of all cheap so it worked for a night.

Back to the road, we made it to Yosemite before lunch and entered the east side on the Tioga Road. It’s not the prettiest part of Yosemite, quite a bit like what are mountains are here and I don’t need to drive hours to see that. We did climb the Lembert Dome which was a four mile hike to the top of a granite capped mountain. It’s a good way to wimp out of hiking half-dome. Peter hiked a lot too.

We camped up at Hodgdon’s Meadow. It was a bit far from things but at least in the park (reservations aren’t plentiful a month before going). That evening we made a stop to Bridal Veil Falls and then to the store to buy everything we forgot, including a can opener and flashlights. I’m miffed about the flashlights. I love a good headlamp. A cheap flashlight was not a good replacement.

The next morning we went down to Mariposa grove to see the Sequoias. We took the bus down (Peter quite enjoyed that), and enjoyed a stroll through the forest. I absolutely love old-growth forests with huge trees. We went back up to Yosemite Valley and took a bike ride to Mirror Lake. It wasn’t much of lake, but was a fun ride. Joe set to work building something with sand and Peter and I waded around the creek. There was a good view of half-dome there too. We visited the visitor’s center and finished by hiking to lower falls.

Back at camp we had our only camp fire of the week. (I really don’t like camp fires.) We cooked hot dogs and strawberry marshmallows and Peter didn’t get burned. (Last trip he picked up a hot hot-dog stick and burned his hand pretty good.) That was it for Yosemite—we camped up and drove out the next morning.

We went through agriculture paradise mixed with very dry areas to visit Joe’s brother in Pacific Grove. After a short visit, we went down the coast to camp at Limekiln State Park. It is a beautiful place to camp. We were about 100 yards from the beach. There were also areas up in a redwood grove.

The next morning, we hiked the few trails in the park. That was probably the most serene, fun and pretty part of the whole trip. There was a 100 ft waterfall, lots of redwoods, creeks, and the lime kilns for which the park was named. The kilns were much bigger than expected and pretty cool to see as they gradually eroded into the landscape. On our way back a random guy hailed us. He recognized us from the Yosemite campground. We were neighbors for a couple of nights there, and then ended up in the same campground 5 hours away. Very random.

We drove to a few other State Parks, including a cool waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer state park, and another less-cool one at Big Spur. That one involved a hot, ugly trail up to it. The original trail went thought the cool redwoods, but had been burned out and instead we bypassed the redwoods for a steep, shrubby slope. We went to Pfeiffer Beach in the afternoon and played in the sand. I even got a little nap in.

Friday we spent visiting Joe’s brother and family again. He had a double sea kayak that we took out on the ocean. Even Peter got a ride. We also took a very long walk over to Fisherman’s Warf for chowder and ice cream. It was a lot of fun to visit with them.

Saturday we drove home. It included a delicious lunch at Chili’s, which was wonderful except Peter threw up his huge pizza right after. He threw-up a total of five times before I wised up and gave him Dramamine. After that, he was so much happier. The drive home was long and almost uneventful. We ended up getting a flat tire 40 miles west of Wendover at 10:30 at night. Somehow we still made it home on the spare and pulled up at 2:30 am on Sunday.

Here’s a load of pictures to complete the long post. Enjoy.

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