Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Weekend in Jackson

 Cody has many perks to being the Secretary of the Utah Dental Association. Last weekend our entire family was able to partake of one of them. He had meetings with the UDA and other delegates from around the region at the Teton Village in Jackson, Wyoming and we didn't want him to have to go alone. We took the kids out of school Friday and drove up. We stopped for lunch in Jackson Hole and walked around town taking our photo with one of the famous antler arches. The poor lady that tried to take our photo took about 5 shots before getting us all in. It's the one picture of all of us together on the trip. We actually came up last fall to visit Cody's extended family and have a picture here, but I wanted another one "when in Rome". : ) Awesome I'm wearing the same shirt. At least Cody's not flipping Jayson off this time. 
 We were able to utilize the free 4th grader National parks pass and drove through Teton national park on Friday. It was beautiful as always. If our kids don't appreciate those mountains, Cody didn't say it enough. I'm pretty sure he wanted to stop at every viewpoint. 
 We stopped and walked across the damn at this turnout and wished we had our boat with us to carve up the glass on the lake. 
 It's been on my bucket list for ages to see a bear in the wild. I figured I'd see one at some point this weekend. A group of cars were pulled off to one side so we pulled over too and saw this cute bear cub running through the weeds. Made my day! Not sure where Momma bear was, so of course we stayed in our car. 
 Bison are everywhere in Teton and Yellowstone. This one was the lone buffalo on the opposite side of the road. After I snapped its picture it decided to cross the road behind us. The large animals sure can cause a traffic jam. We waited 20 minutes the next day for a herd to cross the street in Yellowstone on Saturday. 

Here's a bull moose we saw relaxing in a stream.
 On our way back to our hotel Cody saw this herd of elk. The bull is back in the trees. 
 And this majestic eagle sat on this pole for a couple hours while we went to and from dinner the first night. 
Saturday morning Cody had meetings starting at 7:30 so the kids and I got ready, grabbed some McDonald's and drove the 2 hours to Yellowstone. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my friends I worked with at the ice castles a couple years ago was the ranger that checked our pass upon entrance to the park. Small world. After that fun friend moment we continued our drive to Old Faithful. Right as we were parking the geyser was going off. Bad timing. The geyser only goes off every 1:45. I didn't know that and my smart phone isn't so smart. I'm on a borrowed old droid until my plan renews in November so I was guessing on the next time it would go off. We decided to walk around the board walk and keep an eye out for the next eruption. 
We passed this cool looking formation which was called the Beehive geyser.
 There was lots to see, smell and try not to fall into. With my boys they like to balance on the walkways. Thankfully no one fell into the water, just the woods. We made it back around with what I thought would only be 10 minutes left. It turned out to be 20+ minutes. All the benches were taken so we found some spots on the ground and waited and waited. After driving a full day before and a few hours that morning, needless to say the kids were done and I had about had it by then. It was hot and they were trying to will the geyser out of the ground with their super powers. 
Each time some steam or water would start boiling out Cole would tell me to take a picture so we could go. He didn't realize that wasn't it and when it was ready, he would know. Finally - Old Faithful emerged and blew up. They will all agree it was worth the wait. The wind was blowing our direction and we were cooled off for a bit. 
 By the time I got a picture of all of us it was dying down. 
 Our next stop was supposed to be the Grand Prismatic spring, but I didn't see a sign on the road for it. I should have stopped at the Midway Spring/Geyser. Being the driver and navigator you tend to miss things. I knew we would have a long drive home and didn't want to turn around so we drove along to our next stop. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. 
We only stopped at the Lower Falls Overlook. It was fun seeing people in their BYU and having strangers tell you "Go Cougs!"

 Our last stop of the day was at Fishing Bridge. The more we drove through Yellowstone the more smoke we saw in the sky. It was very apparent at Fishing Bridge. The fire was 10 miles away from here. No danger to us. It was started by lightening the Wednesday before. After we walked across the bridge we went to the Lake lodge and had dinner before heading back to the hotel. We skipped lunch, just ate snacks in the car. 

 The views are really spectacular. I haven't been to Yellowstone since I was a little girl. I remember my Mom buying bear bells when we camped.  
Before we entered Jackson on the drive home cars were stopped on the side so I pulled over and grabbed my camera. They were watching this bull elk coming out of the trees and work it way through the grass down to the river to drink. I let the kids get out to see it too. 
 I caught this sunset while I was out. 
 We got back to the hotel at 9. Cody had driven down to Provo with his cousin Jayson and his friend to go to the BYU vs. BSU game and then was coming back right after for more dental meetings Sunday morning before we drove home. I wanted to watch the game on tv, but I had promised the kids I would take them swimming in the hotel pool. We swam for 30 minutes before I made them go to bed. Blake fell asleep fast, but Cole and I stayed up watching the game until almost midnight. BYU won in the last 30 seconds of the game.

Cody made it back to the hotel at 6:00 Sunday morning and then got back up an hour later to attend his 7:30 meetings. He was exhausted, but said it was well worth it to see BYU beat Boise State in such an exciting game.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekend in Maryland

One of my really good friends from dental school, Rizwan Ahmad, was having a wedding reception in Maryland over Labor Day weekend and invited us to attend. Lisa and I jumped at the opportunity to return to Maryland again. We loved our four years living there and often miss aspects of that beautiful state. We flew in late Thursday night and went straight to our hotel.
Friday morning we went into Baltimore and drove around a little to reminisce. Around lunch time we drove to the dental school and picked up Spencer, my brother's brother-in-law. Seeing as how he is a starving student, we took him out to eat at an awesome restaurant, Bo Brooks. It came highly recommended from some of my patients that are from Baltimore so we decided to give it a try.

The #1 most popular Baltimore dish is the steamed crabs. We ordered a bunch and went to town.

They were delicious and did not disappoint.

After the wonderful lunch with Spencer we did some shopping in the inner harbor and bought some tasty treats. Baltimore really does have a charm about it. I love where I live the most, but I could easily live in Maryland again if given the chance.
For Friday evening we drove down to Washington DC to attend a Nationals game. It was fun to take a quick trip around the mall. I had forgotten how big it is and was impressed that we have walked all of that on several different occasions.

We bought tickets for some great seats just above center field.

We got some great views of Bryce Harper. His first at bat was a home run. Pretty exciting.

It is a beautiful ball park and has a fun atmosphere. We really enjoyed it.

Saturday morning we went down to the DC temple. We originally wanted to attend a session but the temple was closed for cleaning, so instead we went to the visitors center and watched Meet the Mormons. That temple is still one of my favorites. So beautiful and majestic.

After the temple we drove over to the wedding reception. On the way over we saw this street sign for Tuckerman Drive. Tucker got a kick out of this photo.

Rizwan is from Pakistan and his wife is from India. They are both devout Muslims. The reception was amazing. So much color and such fun culture. It really made our culture look bland and boring. As the immediate family members were arriving to the reception, a cousin was announcing their names and a guy dressed up in full Indian regalia was beating on this large drum. It was so cool.

Their outfits were so neat.

It was easily the best wedding reception I've ever been to. The food they provided was quite incredible as well. I'm so happy for Rizwan and his new wife Aisha.

After the reception we drove down into Northern Virginia to go watch the BYU vs Nebraska football game. Through some friends I found a group of people that were going to be watching the game. The homeowner invited us down and provided all the drinks and food we could want. He had an incredible theater room with a huge 15 foot projection screen. It ended up being one of the most exciting finishes I have ever seen. BYU won a tight fought game on a last second hail marry from our true freshman quarterback.  It was so much fun to watch.

 On Sunday morning we met up with Lisa's dancing friend Maureen and her boy friend. We ate a delicious breakfast and had a great time with her.

It was a quick, short trip back to magnificent Maryland that we really enjoyed. I hope to make it back there again soon.

Back to School

It's that time of year again. Back to school!

All four kids are at the same school this year. It will be the only year we can ever say that. Tucker is in 4th, Aubrey in 3rd, Cole in 1st, and Blake is in half day kindergarten.

Thankfully we don't live too far from the school, so the kids love to ride their bikes together to school.

Even Blake rides to the school with them in the mornings.

Our little baby is finally in school. He is in dual immersion like Aubrey and Cole, so we should have several Spanish speakers in our home.

August fun

Summer time in Utah is awesome. We love it. We love to get out and go boating and camping as much as we can. In August we took a day trip to Starvation Reservoir to do some skiing and wakeboarding. It's a great lake because there aren't nearly the same number of people as Deer Creek and Jordanelle. It's a much less crowded lake.  We had just purchased a kids wakeboard for our kids to use, and Tucker got up first try. Here is a video of his run. He was so excited to not only get up, but to also go outside the wake. 

Aubrey tried to get up on the wakeboard but had a wicked crash. Maybe next time.

Lisa got out and used her ski. She had a great run.

After Aubrey's crash on the wakeboard, she decided she wanted to ski. She did great.

Everybody had fun on the tube. I got out and had some good runs on my slalom ski and on my wakeboard. It was another successful and fun day on the lake. The boat has been put to good use this summer.

Later in the month we went camping up near Soapstone Basin with my parents and Kristin and Chris. There were some massive forest fires in California and Washington that were sending smoke all the way to Utah. It created some beautiful sunsets for us.

The kids love riding my parents little blue four wheeler. It's been a hit.

Cole and Blake really wanted to build their own fire pits and fires. So, with my supervision they did just that. They had so much fun.

It was another wonderful camping trip up the mountains with great food and good fun. We are so lucky to live so close to such wonderful settings.

We have also really been enjoying our garden this year. We have harvested so many tomatoes, squash, zucchini, strawberries, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, onions, radishes, bell peppers, anaheim peppers, salsa peppers, and basil. We even made some home made bruschetta with mozzarella cheese and some tomatoes and basil from our garden. Next week our apples should be ready to harvest as well. Home grown veggies and fruit are so much tastier than store bought.