Monday, July 29, 2013


Yellowstone was beautiful! We didn't see a ton of wildlife, but we were riding with a bunch of wild monkeys in the car, so that counts.

Nick came home and watched A River Runs Through It, in honor of all the fly fishing that was accomplished.

Gorgeous scenery - it never gets old! We would turn a corner and we'd all gasp at how beautiful the park was. And then one minute later it would happen again, etc.

What I love most about my family is that we are secretly P.W.T. (Poor White Trash). As kids we spent DAYS in the car on ridiculous family vacations going places like EVERY NATIONAL PARK IN UTAH IN ONE WEEK or ... that's about it. We would splurge for a meal at Denny's (Pancakes for dinner! Huzzah!) and we once stayed in the same hotel at John Wayne (!!!!). 
My parents never fussed about taking us on fancy vacays. We visited family and suffered as a family doing things that Griswalds do. 

Which is why I love this picture:

Sure my kid hadn't been bathed in three days and she might have had licorice and donuts for breakfast in the car, but we all had a great time.
Such a great time in fact, that "we all had to have plastic surgery afterwards to wipe the smiles off our faces."
When your dad is Clark Griswald, having a good time is part of life.

"It's all part of the experience, Russ."

Also, some super granola hip hugger lady acted like my dad was ruining the entire ecosystem by letting Ev touch the bacteria that grew off the sinkhole. Like the P.W.T's we are, we ignored her Save the Earth mantra.

Old Faithful did not disappoint.
Here is everyone waiting ...

There she blows!

Nigel Barker AKA Nick Jordan took (NO JOKE) 341 pictures of Old Faithful blowing her guts out. He's probably offended that I only included two in this post.

Everyone reading this is probably grateful.

Griswald Jellystone Vacation 2013!

We might have argued for twenty minutes about whether this was a moose or not.

The cousins had the time of their lives eating junk food, jumping on the beds in the hotel and to my everlasting shame, watching Spongebob (I swore on everything holy that I would NEVER let my kid watch Spongebob, but when it's either that or some extremely violent adult cartoon on Cartoon Network, you gotta relax).

My dad showing off his prize for winning the rodeo dance contest.

On our way down to Utah we drove through Bear World so the kids could actually see some animals. We promised them they would see tons in Yellowstone, so we felt obligated to make true on our promises.

Clearly, Bear World did not disappoint either.

This is where it gets mildly disturbing. We were following the truck that feeds the bears and I was shocked to see them throwing Wonder Bread to the poor animals. In the brochure (I'm an avid brochure reader) it listed all the items that were part of a bear's healthy diet and no where did it say Wonder Bread, sooooo I'm hoping Bear World isn't pulling a Sue Fox and poisoning/abusing the bears. 

That said, it was pretty cool to see them so close.
They acted more like puppies than bears.

They would sit and wait patiently to be fed some delicious Wonder Bread and then move on to the next checkpoint where they would be fed again.

Little puppies, I tell you!

Bear World also had two more awesome things to offer us:
1. Bear shaped french fries
2. Free amusement rides for kids

The kids rode every ride about five times.

Including the roller coaster! (It went about 7 MPH)

Oops, 2 of our 3 kids weren't old enough to ride without an adult.
Luckily the teenagers at Bear World running the rides didn't care and they let the kids do whatever they wanted.

Can you believe my two-year old went on this?

I'm so proud!

Just some bears at Bear World.

The baby cubs were the best part. You could see them up close and they were wrestling and playing the whole time. The kids loved it!

Thanks for a good time Bear World!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Calf Scramble

After our Canadian adventure we came home to the UNBEARABLE heat, had one day to unpack, do laundry and repack before leaving on another adventure, this time with my family.

My mom's extended family has a reunion at Bear Lake every other year. My dad came up with the idea of driving through Missoula (to fish, of course), Yellowstone AND the Tetons on our way to Utah.

Although, none of these things are technically on the way to Utah, and we ended up scratching the Teton portion of our trip, we still had a great time. It was tons of driving for the kids (all day every day for several days) but they did great! It was the pregnant lady's bladder that caused the most problems...
but anyway, here's what we did.

-Triple D (Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives) stop in Spokane
-Running away from Uncle Nick at rest stops before he could lasso everybody
- Paul's Pancake Parlour
- Cowboy essential shopping

By the time we left Missoula, we were clearly cowboys and cowgirls ready for a wrangle. 
Which was great because our first night in Yellowstone we went to the Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo.

The kids LOVED their hats and bandanas that Grandma and Grandpa bought them at some redneck store. Each child even got to pick out a special prize of a toy horse. Ev and Cole went the traditional route and chose a Pinto and Black Stallion, respectively. Ally miraculously found a unicorn, which she unconventionally called, "Uni."

We showed up to the rodeo a little early, so the kids were able to run around and watch the horses. The rodeo arena was pretty small, so we had great seats!

Our wild west gang.

Rough 'n' Tough Cole

Just a couple of cowgirls.

Ev the cowgirl and her fave mode of transportation, Bessie the Cow.

This guy - was the bomb. Can't remember his name, or his official title (Rodeo Officiant? Redneck in charge? Grand Poobah?) but he was hilarious/weird.
Naturally, he and my dad made quick friends and ironically, Brent volunteered my dad for any crowd including spectacles not knowing that they indeed had crowd including spectacles at the rodeo.

Darc ate, slept and drove in her hat all week. If that's not hard core rodeo material, I don't know what is.

The rodeo was fun and the kids loved every minute. The best part was when they invited all the kids to do a calf scramble, which is when they tie a ribbon around a calf's ear and the kids chase the calf and try to grab the ribbon.

Cole and Ally ran their hardest, but there were lots of older kids who reached the calf first.

Every kid who participated got a silver dollar.

Cole and Ally showing off their silver dollars like the real calf scramblers they are.

The thing that really stole the show was the crowd including spectacle of...
a dance contest.

I didn't even know they had those at rodeos, but the Wild West Yellowstone rodeo is not your average venue. Luckily Brent had pre-volunteered my dad, so he was promptly called out of the audience, despite looking like a total NorthWester in his Chacos and Northface.
I won't spoil the outcome, but I will say that the winner of the contest won $5 off at a local bar in town for a prize, so the competition was fierce.


More on our Yellowstone adventure to come.