Yellowstone: the Inappropriate Version

Actually, this post isn’t about Yellowstone.  It’s about the Grand Tetons which, my younger sister informed us, loosely translates to “Big Tits.”

It was an accurate name for the mountains, if not very imaginative.


We stood there in awe of the mountains while Kevin explained an app he was thinking about designing where the Grand Tetons are sitting there all mountainous and  majestic and then you touch them and they go “all jubbly.”

We were not worthy of this view.

That night when we went to the ranger talk and Ranger Garett held up a pair of moose antlers and said, “This is a particularly big rack,” can you blame our entire row for busting out laughing?

And can you blame us again when, at the end of the talk, Ranger Garrett wanted to show us the beaver he kept in a cage?

And yet again, when we rode across Jenny Lake and waved to all the people riding the Beaver Dick Leigh boat?

When someone goes and names a mountain range after a big set of “jubblies,” that’s just the way things go.

Grilled cheese sandwiches
Tomato soup
Green beans


Yellowstone: the Pretty Version

Hey, does anyone think it’s weird that I’ve posted three entries about Yellowstone and zero pictures of Old Faithful?  I mean, maybe we didn’t even go to Yellowstone.  Maybe I just walked around the yard and took some pictures of my family and am just MESSING with you all.  Right?

So here.  Proof that we went and stood in front of some things at Yellowstone National Park & the Grand Tetons.

Standing in front of the other-wordly Mammoth Falls:


Standing in front of an amazing waterfall at Artist’s Point:


Standing in front of the majestic Grand Tetons:


Standing in front of the stunning Fountain Paint Pot:


We didn’t always stand in front of the park’s magnificent features.


Sometimes we sat.

Okay, okay, sometimes we stood back and gawked and took pictures without any of us in them at all.  Here are a few of my faves, with minimal captions.

Artist Paint Pot (or maybe some other spring; I can’t remember anymore), sans selfie:


Mammoth park was happy to see us:


Fun fact: The original Star Trek used Mammoth Park as the setting for Spock’s home planet of Vulcan!



The Grand Prismatic, which Kevin kept calling the Grand Spasmatic, in honor of our youngest son:



Artist’s Point:


And…it’s a boy!


If you look closely enough at this pic, you’ll see a mother moose and her baby at the side of the river. For once, I’m not being sarcastic—they’re really there!


I’m kind of a flora geek and took more pictures of flowers than I did of my own kids on this trip.  I’ll try to post just one of my flora pix.


Well, maybe just one more.


Oops, my hand must have slipped, because here’s another.




On our way to the Tetons.  The only thing missing from this picture is a random kid standing on the side of the road saying, “Zoom zoom.”


Hidden Falls on Jenny Lake hike:



A kid who got in the way of some flower I was taking a picture of:


And because we are getting toward the end of the post and I see you are nervous I’m going to forget to put in that picture of Old Faithful…


What?  It’s true!

Okay, okay.


IDK!  Maybe curry & pad thai?  Hot dogs on the fire pit?  Maybe we’ll go out?  Maybe we’ll order in?

Yellowstone: Funny Pix Version

After a day of marmots, moose, bears, wolves, bison, and pronghorns, I saw Vincenzo standing at the window of our cabin, looking out.


Me: See a cool animal?
V: No.  But I can almost get wi-fi if I hold my phone up to the window here.

Rocco is the kind of person who cannot help himself from opening every drawer and cabinet in a new place.  He was super excited to find one of the drawers in the cabin contained a book.


Nothing like a little light reading before bedtime.

Here is Leo at a ranger presentation, sticking his hand in an otter pelt and making it dance around.


It got us all wondering: in some alternate universe, is an otter pup sticking his hand into a human skin and making it dance around?

Kevin’s parents wanted to know how the kids were enjoying the trip.  Kevin sent them this photo and text:

Here’s a picture of Rocco playing outside.  He eats a lot more raw meat than we remember, but he seems happy!


At the Grizzly Bear & Wildlife Center we read about wolf #13—a calm and passive seeming male who researchers thought was lower ranking until he mated with wolf #14, a dominant female.  Kevin turned to me and said, “I think I’m a number 13.” 

The #13 kept following him around all week.


14 always was my lucky number. 


Looks like it’s Number Thirteen’s lucky number, too. 

Corn & risotto stuffed poblanos
Grilled chicken
Lemon garlic beans

Yellowstone: City Boy Version

Anyone who has met my husband knows that he is allergic to the world, so planning a trip to Yellowstone was akin to planning a slow and painful death for him.  In fact, I originally planned the trip without him.  I figured it would save him a lot of whining and complaining and making comments about how much more comfortable it is sleeping on the ground than in a bed.  But then I heard him telling our friends that he couldn’t believe his family was planning a vacation and not inviting him. 

The next day, Kevin received an E-vite to his family vacation.  He never accepted, but he did show up.

Inviting Kevin along changed things.  We could no longer road trip because he would spend the whole ride pointing out all the airplanes passing us and trying to find a flight attendant button in the minivan so he could get an extra pillow.

We could no longer camp because of the whole “this ground is so comfortable” line of comments.

We were going to have to leave the showering bucket at home because Kevin would tell everyone at any party afterwards how his wife once showered in a bucket.  True story.

So we booked a house in the woods outside Yellowstone for four nights and a cabin for two nights in the Tetons.  Kevin’s skin would get all rashy every time we said the word “cabin” in planning for the trip but it cleared up when we told him there was a flat-screen TV in every room and the best wi-fi on the face of the earth.  A little lie never hurt anyone, right?

Then, suddenly, the kids were out of school and we were flying above all those road-tripping cars and a couple hours later we were watching the elk mow the lawn at Mammoth Falls. 


Kevin was doing really well, minus the comments about “potato wi-fi” and also the constant reporting of how many bars he had on his cell phone. 

“Zero.  I have zero bars.” 

I handed him couple of Lara bars.  “There.  Now you have two.  Did I mention there are also X-boxes in all the rooms at the Tetons?”

Poor guy.  He didn’t know any better.

After four nights at Yellowstone and innumerable comments about the potato wi-fi, we were on our way to the Tetons.  Kevin was doing fine, except for the giant welts where he got mosquito bites because his skin can’t be cool about it and just get a little bump like the rest of us.  We were playing those murder mystery games.  You know the ones—There’s a man who is dead on a stump and it’s wet all around him.  What happened? 

I was feeling pretty good about things.  “There are actually two X-boxes in every room,” I said, just to give Kevin an extra boost.  But I think he was onto me because the next murder mystery he threw out there went like this: There is a man dead in a cabin at the Grand Tetons and he’s holding a cell phone in his hands.

It only took us five questions to guess it.

Does he have any bars?

Are there any potatoes in the room?

Does his face look like this?  Surprised smile 

Is he happier now that he’s dead? 

Does he have a good life insurance policy?  (This question being from me, of course.)

I’m not sure how to end this post.  Do I write a eulogy for the man who died in the cabin?  An ode to potato wi-fi?  Should I tell you to look under your seat for a free X-box?

Or do I just post a picture of some random guy pretending to be excited about his family vacation?


Computer nerds.  You can’t take them anywhere.

Salad with chicken, raspberries, candied pecans, and blue cheese
Fresh fruit & vegetables
Ricotta gnocchi


You know when you dive into a pool and swim underwater as far as you can until you can’t possibly swim another stroke and you come up gasping for air, not sure at all of where the walls are or whether you can touch or if you’re still alive and you and you can’t even open your eyes to figure it out because of all the chlorine? That’s what summer has felt like so far. I dove in last week and have popped up in some other week and I’m not sure if it’s the beginning or the middle or the end, or what those words even mean anymore. Like, I can do the math and see that the kids have been out of school for 10 days, but I have been to another planet for most of that time and am not sure how long a day is anymore. Yellowstone is, after all, a different planet.  Maybe it has that effect on everyone.

I won’t do the math to figure out how many days are left of summer because no number could be big enough for me to be okay with. 

Gah!  Now I have to take a big, messy, hilarious, other-worldly, mind-bending, life changing vacation and turn it into a neat little blog post?

I give up.  I can’t do it. 

I’m just going to do it quick.  Don’t blink because here it comes now, my Yellowstone blog post:

I left. Saw some cool stuff. Came back.

There.  That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Oh, you want a photo too?


And that’s a rap.

Can someone remind me how to turn the stove on?!

Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

Leo brought home a summer bucket list he made at school, and now I’m not feeling so bad about mine.


It reads: “I win two coloring contests, become a billionaire, go to Disneyland, and win America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

Good luck, little guy.  Good luck.

Grilled salmon
Wild rice & tangerine salad
Fresh fruit
Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate ganache


Summer is mere days away so as always I am 100% excited and 100% anxious, which makes me 200% crazy.  And excited!  And antsy!  And nervous!

The excited part of me can’t wait for beaches and museums, bikes piled up on our front yard, shady afternoons under the deck, sunny evenings on top of our deck, hikes and popsicle trucks and messy crafts that make me wonder why I  let the kids do crafts ever.  I’m desperate for long afternoons reading books to the boys in every available couch, fort, secret hideout, grassy patch, artificial turf, hammock, lap, and bed available at our house.

The anxious part of me is all questions.  When am I going to work out?  What about writing?  What if I try to write so much it ruins summer?  What if I am so busy summering it ruins writing?  How can we have long, lazy summer days and adventurous, action-packed ones at the same time?  What if we’re don’t spend enough long afternoons reading everywhere?  What if summer is TOO SHORT AGAIN?!

If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know I always make a summer bucket list.  I decided not to last year, then ended up making two fabulously color coded ones.  This year I decided not to fight the list.  I’ll just keep it simple.  Ten things, tops.

My plan did not work.  The list is twice as long as last year’s.  So now I invite you to close up your computer and resume to rest of your day. 

Please do not read the rest of this blog.  It will just cause you to break out in hives and run around the house from room to room yelling, “THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME!” to no one in particular.

Summer List 2018

Make popsicles
MOHAI museum
Houghton Beach—tons!
Bellevue Park
Sammamish State Park
Grasslawn Park
Make popsicles
Water balloon fights
Sand art
Leaf rubbings
Name monsters
Spin art
Pacific Science Center
Capilano with Kevin
Mt. Rainier
Whidbey Island
Read absolutely everywhere
Maker’s space at library
Evergreen State Fair
Ballard Locks/visit Kevin
Bike trail to frozen treats
Rocco’s perfect day
Leo’s perfect day
Vincenzo’s perfect day
Remlinger Farms
Play tennis with boys
Tile printings
Circuit kit
Rock tumbling
Organize boys’ rooms
Redesign firetruck room with boys
Scavenger hunts
Barbecues with EVERYONE
Storm game
Bus to Pike Place
Visit Silverdale
Carillon Woods
Crossroads water park
Play in tent in yard
Lemonade stand
Underground tour
Peter Kirk pool
Science experiment day


Jap chae
Egg flower soup
Summer fruit!!!!
Sticky brittle (damn you, humidity!)