Friday, October 26, 2007

Thanks, Shane and Keri !!!!!!!!!!!!

We had such a great time at the Thompson Family Cabin just outside of West Yellowstone. It was so fun to be able to be with the entire Price family and just be together. This happened on the weekend of October 11 -15, so I know I am a slacker about writing about it. I have been so busy catching up on laundry (I cannot believe how much laundry seven people can go through in five days!), cleaning, making meals, etc. and just being pregnant. I get tired really quickly, so I kindof have to go slowly or I hit a wall and am out for the rest of the day. On top of it all, we had our yearly Primary Program this past week, and being in the presidency and planning for it was a lot of work. Anyway, that's in the past and I am ready to sit and write about this wonderful adventure.

This is a picture of the north side of the cabin. It is really a lot bigger than it looks in this picture. You can see the upper floor. This is where all the kids slept. It is a huge playroom with beds built into the walls. They have a little peg on a rope that anchors them up and when you pull it they release and fold down. It is really a clever way to have beds, and the kids loved them. They figured out that they could fold them up while they were inside, but then decided that that was not a good idea when it folded up on Emma's leg and she got hurt. The first night the kids told us that they couldn't get to sleep because there was a bird upstairs. We told them that it was fine and to go to sleep. Shane told us later that bats get in there sometimes. It didn't bother them anymore, so I figured that it went out.

The next morning after breakfast we went to Yellowstone National Park. Tom couldn't believe that I had lived in the Salt Lake valley my whole life and had never been to Yellowstone. I guess that having eight kids in the family made a six hour ride in the car and paying for hotel rooms really unappealing, not to mention really expensive. Anyway, I really enjoyed my first time there. It is so beautiful. Different than what I thought it would be, but so beautiful. I
definitely didn't expect so many trees. It made me wonder if anyone has ever estimated how many trees there are in the park. It would sure be an interesting statistic to know. At least I think so. We saw lots of fly fishermen and some bison and elk.

Here are some geysers and paint pots that we
stopped to see. While we were there Isaac, Sara, Dan, Kati, Josh, and I don't know who else, saw a bunch of people stopped by the side of the road down below where we were. They decided to go investigate. When they got there they found....

Jeff Corwin from the Animal Planet channel filming a bit on Yellowstone and bison and coyotes. They got some great pictures of him, but I was not there so I did not. You'll have to look on Mat and Kati's blog to see those pictures and so many more great ones. Just click on their link on our friends and family list. Anyway, it took Mike and I a bit longer to walk the path around the geysers and paint pots, due to the wadling factor on my part and having to push a stroller full of 30 pounds of energetic two year old. When we finally got back to the parking lot everyone was already there and all the kids were sprawled out on the benches pretending to take a nap because it took us so long. After we got everyone back in the cars we went to Old Faithful. We found out that the next "show" wouldn't be for about another hour. We ate lunch and then the kids got kindof restless. All the adults took the kids for a walk, and Tom, Barbara, Aaron, and I stayed to save places. It was supposed to go off around 2:15pm. I think. Around 2:00 it started to send up some steam or whatever it is, but our group wasn't back yet. I didn't know how to make it stop until they came back. We just watched helplessly while it went off. Aaron was pretty much unimpressed, and I had thought that it would go much higher. I guess it does sometimes, but when we saw it this is about as high as it got. Here are pictures of the seats where we were all supposed to sit in, and a picture of me and my belly. (I can't believe I look so huge in this picture. I am only just over four months along!) The rest of our family said they saw the end of the eruption from the other side when they were walking back. I wish they had been here with us. Kati described to us some pictures she wanted to take of her kids. If they lean back and open their mouth and you are at just the right angle it looks like it is erupting from their mouth. Sorry about the pictures, Kati. I guess you can add
those pictures to the list of ones you didn't get, along with a picture of a moose and one of a bear. You guys did get a pretty rockin' picture of the bison migration though.

After we went to Old Faithful we decided to do our own thing for awhile, and everyone would head back to the cabin on their own. We were in charge of dinner that night so we just kindof scouted around and looked at the scenery a bit.

After dinner (taco soup, yum!) we had Christmas. Isaac and Sara decided to come home now instead of in December so they could be here for this weekend, so we had Christmas now. It was so much fun! I love seeing little kids ripping paper and throwing it and getting a look of delight on their faces.

I love this picture of Haleigh! And Ryan and Jackson so excited about the Pokemon cards they got. I think Jackson said that now he has eighty-something Pokemon cards. Mike got a great cordless screwdriver kit from Kati and I got a gift card to Robert's Crafts from Keri. Does she know what excites me or what! (By the way, I went over to Robert's the other day just to browse. They were having a grand re-opening because they remodeled. I did not know that this was happening. There were seriously no less that about fifty million people there. I am NOT even exagerating here. I took one look in the store and turned around and walked back out. I prefer to browse without bumping into people every two seconds. Besides, I had to get my kids from school in a couple of hours, and I felt I didn't have the proper time to devote to browsing.)
Anyway, after "Christmas" we put the kids to bed so the adults could talk or play or whatever.

Here's a picture of my cute husband. He was "chief driver man" for this trip. He's so awesome! On this day (Saturday, October 13, day three of our trip) we went back into the park after breakfast. This time we went up north to a town called Mammoth. Along the way we stopped at some paint pots. It was a short hike, but steep and bumpy. We did not know this so Mike and I ended up pretty much carrying Aaron in his stroller up the side of this huge hill and back down the other side. It was really pretty and cool to see the paint pots, but not worth the hike up for us. If I would have known what it would be like, and how much energy it would take, I probably would have passed on this one. We saw a HUGE elk pretty close to the road and stopped for a look. Isaac said that there is a law that says you have to stay 25 yards away from any wildlife. This law was broken by everyone in this picture, and everyone driving by on the road. The elk was really close to the road. We stopped and saw this waterfall, too. It was beautiful.
We stopped for lunch at a little place by the road that had a bathroom and picnic tables. The kids were more interested in the stream
that ran through the area and in climbing trees. After awhile we reached Mammoth. It used to be a fort and is now the Park Headquarters. They have a nice visitors center there. There are literally elk everywhere. They are lounging on the lawns, walking down the sidewalks (or wherever else they choose to go), and eating all the grass. All the trees have little fences around them so the elk can't eat the bark and leaves. When we first entered the town, there is a little place between some buildings. There was a huge five-or-six point buck standing there with his harem lounging around him. We thought that this might be a statue because of the pose of the buck and because there was no movement. We literally watched these elk for about two minutes before we could tell that they weren't statures. I wish I had gotten a picture. It was so much like something you would see in a museum or on display at Cabela's.
Here is a picture of the moose we didn't see, and here is a picture of the bear we didn't see.

This is a really cool formation that Shane and Keri took us to see after we left Mammoth. The picture on the left is the end of it, and the picture on the right is the side of it. It is called Orange Spring Mound. It has a spring that flows from several vents in the top and side. The colors of it are made from the thermophiles that live in the hot water of the spring. (I just read that in the brochure. I really have no idea what that means.) Anyway, it was really cool to see. Thanks again, Keri and Shane!
After that we all kindof went our own way, and decided to meet up later at the cabin for dinner. (Mat and Kati made the yummiest spagetti sauce I have ever tasted!) Our family decided to stop at the visitor center in the town of West Yellowstone. It used to be a train station way back when, and they had some cool displays. Things like the china they used in the dining car of the train, stagecoaches, dust jackets, etc.
Here is a bear getting ready to eat me for dinner.
This is a little friend that Kim and Josh found. His name is "Dan the Depot Bear".

After a few minutes of looking around my family disappeared. I thought that maybe they all got bored and went outside. I looked around the museum to make sure they weren't in there then headed outside. The museum had a great big bus parked out front that we had all admired on our way in. Josh was asking a man about the bus and found out that it was used as a touring bus a long time ago. They only run it on two days a year, one when they get it out of storage at the beginning of the summer and one at the end of the season. The day we were there was the last day of the season. They offered our family and a few other people a tour of West Yellowstone in the big bus. They needed to run the gas out of it before they store it. We drove around the town for about 15-20 minutes while they told us all about West Yellowstone. The bus was used 70 years ago (it was one of the original buses used-with the original engine still in it) as a touring bus through Yellowstone. People would pay $50 for a three day tour. The $50 dollars would include the three day tour through Yellowstone and lodging for the three nights. When the weather was nice they would roll back the top so the people could stand up and look out over the bus at all the sights. We found out later that Rex and Kathryn spent their honneymoon this way. Maybe they were on the same bus we were on. Who knows? We sure got a lot of looks and waves as we went through town. Most of the looks said, "how do we get on that tour?" We were just incredibly lucky that day. That ride was one of the kids favorite things about this trip. This picture is of the driver (the one with the hat) and the tour guide that took us around.
After our tour of West Yellowstone we went back to the cabin and had dinner. We eventually put the kids in bed, and not more than five minutes later Emma was crying. I went up there thinking that someone was playing and bugging her. As soon as I hit that top stair a bat flew right by my head and landed on the rafter above Emma's head, not more that about five inches away from her. Of course she started screaming. I ran down the stairs and told the guys to get up there and catch that bat so everyone would settle down (by this time everyone was screaming). Mat ran downstairs and got his head flashlight that he got for Christmas the day before (it has night vision), and Isaac, Dan, Shane, and whoever else grabbed a towel and ran up there. We could hear some bumping and thumping and yelling. Then we heard the sliding door open and closing and then laughing. They tucked the kids in again and came down. We asked about the laughing, and they told us that they put the bat outside and it flew away. They wanted to check and make sure that it was gone so they looked over the balcony and just then the bat flew back so they slammed the door so it wouldn't fly back in. The bat flew right into the window. They kids finally settled down and the adults talked about the trip so far and about the slides we looked at.

The next morning we attended Church in the West Yellowstone Ward of the Aston Idaho Stake. It was really cool. They have a very small chapel with a really cool pulpit area. During the sacrament they thought they wouldn't have enough water so they got more. It ended up that they didn't need the extra but used every last one they had.
After church we came back to the cabin, had lunch, the kids did some crafts, and Mat, Kati, and their family, and Dan and Spence had to leave for home. The rest of us went to Hebgen Lake for awhile. The kids learned how to skip rocks for the champion-Grandpa. They had a great time.
The next morning was filled with getting things packed up and cleaned up. During the rush of activity a horrible thing happened, but we didn't find out about it until about 1/2 hour into the trip home. I had taken Aaron's Christmas stocking with us so that I could finish it. I had been working on it off and on for two years. I was really trying hard to get it done so that he would have it for this Christmas. I was almost done. I only had a few things left to do, then put his name on it, then sew the back on.

(This is what it looked like.)
In the commotion of getting things packed and garbage thrown away I accidentally threw it away too. I realized what I had done and we stopped the car, unpacked, and looked through some of the bags. I finally decided that if it was in one of the bags we would find it when we got home and unpacked. Mike said we weren't too far and we could go back and find out where the garbage had been taken and dig through the dumpster and find it. Too much trouble, and who knew how long that might take. We were facing six hours in the car with five kids and I didn't want to add one more minute. Sure enough, we got home and it wasn't anywhere. I looked in all the craft stores and couldn't find another one. Apparently, this was designed for the 1997 season and is now out of print. I could've bought an already made one from a lady online for $125.00 but who has $125 for a Christmas stocking and then it wouldn't have been made by me. I finally found a pattern I liked so I ordered it. This will be Aaron's stocking. He won't have it for this Christmas, but maybe for next Christmas. I guess we'll see how things go with the baby. Maybe I can get most of it done before March. Anyway, it all worked out in the end, not how I wanted it to, but that's okay.

We went into Rexburg and drove around the Temple. The open house will begin on December 29 and will go for four weeks. Then the dedication will be on February 3, 2008. It is really pretty, and I'm sure you all saw it up on the hill when you drove by.
We also stopped in Blackfoot. When Mike and I were first married, (you know way back when-B.C. -before children) Mike and I went somewhere in Idaho. It was probably Shane and Keri's wedding, I don't know. Anyway, on the way home we stopped at a potato museum and took our picture if front of this huge potato. I mean huge. Like, bigger than our van. Anyway, we have had this "disagreement" through the years about where that was. Mike said Shelley and I said Blackfoot. We decided to settle this "disagreement". We decided to stop and see if it was in Blackfoot. If it was not I would owe Mike a full body rub, and if it was he would have to give me a thorough foot and leg massage. The kids were really excited to see who would win the bet. I don't know why, or who they were rooting for, but they were excited. We followed the signs from the freeway to the potato museum, and lo and behold, what was sitting in front of the museum, but a HUGE potato. I was really glad to win the bet, because after all the walking around Yellowstone I did I really needed a foot massage. My only regret about going to the museum was the fact that we didn't get there fifteen minutes earlier. The museum closed at 3:00pm and we arrived at 3:10pm. Oh well, maybe next time.
Here is Mike's favorite picture from our whole trip. He took it as he was driving after Blackfoot and I was basking in the glory of my recent win. We were lucky there were no other cars and we were on a straight road.
We feel so blessed to have family close by who love us and want to spend time with us. Thank you so much Shane and Keri for arranging this weekend. We all had such a great time and now my father-in-law can be happy that I have joined the ranks of those who have enjoyed Yellowstone. We are all looking forward to next time, wherever and whenever that may be.

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