June 29, 2012

our final adventure to yellowstone.

Since we are leaving Idaho at the end of July, we are trying to get in our last bit of adventures in the Wild West. A few weekends ago, we took our final trip to Yellowstone. It’s easy to complain about Rexburg’s weather and how cold it can get come winter, but when summer rolls around, I can’t help but feel spoiled from being so close to Jackson Hole, Mesa Falls, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. Speaking of that awesome summer weather, it was suppose to rain in Yellowstone late afternoon, but Jason was intent on going because he knew how few Saturday’s we have left.

When we arrived at Yellowstone, we were greeted by the bison grazing near the meadows and streams. It never gets old to pull your car over to the side of the road and take pictures with childish excitement. I’m actually okay with seeing bison because, unless you get too close, you’re completely safe around them and they hardly notice you anyway.I feel like every time you go to Yellowstone, you’re almost guaranteed to see wildlife. Jason is still waiting to see a Grizzly Bear fishing in the streams for trout. I can definitely tell you that I won’t be getting out of the car for that one. 
This little guy was just crossing the street - no big deal.
We did our usual tour of Old Faithful, and like clockwork we arrived exactly after the last eruption. I swear every time we visit the geyser we have to wait an hour and a half from the Ranger’s prediction, but we took advantage of it and ate some hot dogs for lunch. Of course, in a place like Yellowstone, one hotdog is going to cost 6 bucks. After we ate, we headed back toward Old Faithful where we still had a little time left. The last time Jason and I watched the geyser erupt, it didn’t go very high and we were a little disappointed. Luckily, this time it redeemed itself and shot up really high! 
Hot Dog!
Old Faithful
Next we headed to Yellowstone’s Lower Falls. It took us a while to drive there so Jason and I started playing the license plate game from the cars that would pass us. We seriously got to 34 plates before arriving at the Lower Falls viewpoint. This waterfall is almost twice as high as Niagara Falls and is the largest volume waterfall in the Rocky Mountains. Lower Falls was absolutely amazing and now THE best waterfall we’ve seen together. It started to get chilly as the wind picked up, but we stood there admiring anyway. The sun even came out briefly so we could take some perfect pictures.
Finally we drove to Artist Paint Pots which wasn’t as majestic as the hot springs or pools, but it was bizarre to see the muddy water come gurgling up to the surface. We took a tour around the boardwalk and made sure to stop and take in the sun setting over the beautiful mountains, valleys, and rivers of Yellowstone one last time.
Hot spots

June 4, 2012

A Quick Trip to California

   Over Memorial Day weekend, things fell into place to allow us to have a reason to take a quick trip to California. Now, when I say “quick trip”, I most certainly do not mean it was quick to get there; I mean that we spent two days traveling and only two full days in California. The tipping point of convincing ourselves to go was being able to see Jason’s sister, Jessica perform the lead role of Cinderella in her high school musical that same weekend. It was perfect. We decided to make it a surprise that we were coming. 
    Unfortunately, by the time we arrived to California, Jessica was already fast asleep. When we woke her up in the morning, she exclaimed in a groggy, confused tone, “What are you doing here!?” I couldn’t help but laugh and think to myself “success.” 
"What are you doing here?"
Yay Family!
    For lunch, the five of us (mom, dad, Jess, Jason, and I) all met up at BJ’s in Laguna Beach. I was so happy to be able to spend some time and catch up with the family. The restaurant was right across the street from the ocean. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of being in the ocean, I sure got all giddy when I saw the big blue. I guess to me, it let me know that this was my time to relax and not stress over school.
Jessica's Birthday Pazooki 
Stuffed after a delicious meal at BJ's
Like a kid in a candy store
    After lunch, Jason and I walked along the beach and got our feet wet. Jason taught me how to catch sand crabs. He caught a full-grown one (the size of a quarter) his first try. I was a little squeamish and freaked out so when I finally stuck my hands deep into the sand, all I got were baby ones. It took me a while to finally hold on to one long enough for Jason to take a picture. The little guy kept trying to dig where ever he could in my hand to hide. It was really a lot of fun.
Digging for sand crabs
Just hangin out
"I see him!"
My turn
Yep, that's mine.
    Next, we moved to the tide pools in the rocks. I had been to these tide pools before, but never saw anything, so I didn’t expect to see anything this time. I’m glad I was mistaken because we saw tons of crabs, shells, sea anemones, hermit crabs, and even pelicans. I absolutely loved watching the crabs walk sideways! It was so cool!
Crab! We saw a ton of these.
Laguna Beach
Got myself a chocolate covered banana
    That night, we went to Jessica’s high school to watch her perform as Cinderella. I was so excited to watch her because I’ve never been able to see her “in her element.” This is what she loves to do, and she is darn good at it. It was hard not to sing along with her during all of the songs. Our whole family was sitting in the second row where she pretty much sang directly to us. It was awesome. After the show, we all gave her giant hugs and told her she did a fabulous job. 

Going to the ball
Oh yes, I got it ;)
And they lived happily ever after.
We were so proud
    On Sunday, we drove to Grandpa’s to spend time with more family. It was really nice to catch up with everyone and share our plans for our big move to New Jersey. We also celebrated Jessica’s 18th birthday in which she opened the gift I had sent her literally a day before we officially decided to go to California. 
Relaxing by the pool
Happy 18th!
Well, what did you expect?
    On our way back to Idaho, Jason and I stopped in Las Vegas. I had driven past Vegas a few times with Jason, but I had never actually been there so Jason thought it would be fun to take me. Neither of the casinos we were in even carded me! After all of this time waiting to turn the big 2-1 and they didn’t even card me. I guess it should make me feel good knowing that I didn’t look like a teenager. 
Inside between two Italian casinos, were gondolas floating in the "river" while a man was singing.
    Anyway, we took forever looking for a not-too-expensive restaurant and finally settled for Otto Pizzeria. I ordered the ravioli because other than the pizza Jason ordered, it sounded like the most normal thing on the menu. Well, to my surprise, when it said it came with greens it did not mean on the side, it meant in the ravioli. Jason felt bad so for dessert we ordered a gelato sundae with three flavors: dark chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio – we fought over the pistachio. 
Before our meal, we ordered cheese and it came with all this stuff I didn't know what to do with.
I know, he's adorable :)
I won't be ordering this again.
     After dinner, we headed back to the casino where I pulled the lever for the first time and probably the last. I don’t really understand the fun in losing all of your money. Jason told me there’s better luck with the card games, but considering I can never remember the rules to any card game, I’m a sure loser. After my new experience, we finished the dreadful drive back to Idaho where we will stay until we finally move in July!