Monday, September 26, 2011

Idaho/Yellowstone--Summer Vacation 2011

You wanna know why I am so behind on blogging?  it's because i spend every free minute i have laughing with and smiling at my baby!!!  I am so madly in love with him, and can never get enough of him!!  So in the evenings, when the girls are down and i have time to blog--i don't.  I just play with my little night owl, and  i get him to laugh and squeal, and i absolutely LOVE it!  But, until i'm caught up at LEAST on our summer vacation and the first days of school, i'm not allowing myself to post more recent pictures of James...and believe me, that's ALL i wanna blog about!!!  I'm a little obsessed with him....

Just 4 weeks after James was born we left for 19 days to spend time with both of our families.  And though our families are in UT and WY, we spent the majority of our time at reunions in Idaho.  My dad and 6 of us 7 siblings (as always, we missed Cynthia!), spouses and kids included, spent 5 days in Island Park, Idaho.  Years ago my uncle Rick built my grandma a cabin there, so we used to go there lots growing up.  Soon after my mom passed away last year, we all decided that our next reunion--and the first without her--would take place there, where there are so many memories of her. 

It was wonderful. We spent time at the river, both wading and rafting.

We spent 3 days in beautiful Yellowstone

Love the colors in this pic!

And we spent a lot of time taking care of the injured.  My brother, Nathan, rented 5 mountain bikes for fun excursions.  But on the first night there, Julia ate it--big time.  This is a picture of her leg on day 2 or 3.  It was awful!!  People would stare at it as they'd pass by her.  They must've thought she was a leper.

The cabin we rented was awesome.  We spent lots of time in the kitchen--cooking fancy meals that both a zero-carb guy and a zero-meat gal could eat.  Believe it or not, we did it!  We ate like kings at that little cabin!  We also played games, though not nearly enough.  We roasted marshmallows.  We stayed up late.  We thoroughly enjoyed each others company.

We went to visit Grandma's cabin.  The current owners were there and kindly let us in!  It was so fun to see it again, and so crazy how SMALL that place felt.  I was 8 or 9 last time I was there, so I remembered it being lots bigger.  The owners loved hearing about the cabin's history and we loved seeing what they've done to it.  Sadly, not a one of us got a picture of it!!! (sorry, Robbin's cousins!) That was a highlight of the trip for me.  My mom would have LOVED to see that cabin!

This trip was also our first time meeting Jared and Kristie's little girl, Alia.  She is the happiest, cutest, fattest little baby in the world!  No one could get enough of her and her thighs!! (which aren't even pictured here--just trust me, they're amazing!)

She and James had much to talk about, mostly about who would be fatter by Christmastime (pretty sure James is gonna win)  This is the first time in my family that there have been TWO cousins born within less than 3 years of each other!  They love each other already :)
If Anthony had been there, we would have had ALL of my parents' grandkids there.  Just he and Cynthia and Tom were missing.  And my mom, of course.  All were missed.

After 5 days in Island Park/Yellowstone I forced encouraged begged my dad and siblings to take a detour home via Stay Valley, WY (Reid's parents' home) for James's baby blessing/christening.  On the way there, we stopped for lunch in Jackson, WY, where we said our goodbyes to Kevin, who had a flight to catch.

And then we drove up to Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton Nat'l Park.  That lake is just as beautiful as everyone told me it would be!  We rode the ferry across the lake, and then hiked to the Hidden Falls. 

 We crashed that night at Reid's parents' house.  They were so good to my family.  Mike made us an AMAZING chicken dinner and Marie got ALL of the bedrooms ready for the whole crew.  I felt so grateful that Reid's parents were willing to let us all stay there, and that my family was willing to add 2 to 6 hours to their drives home, just to be there for the blessing of this little guy.

This little blessing outfit is 50+ years old. Mike wore it as a baby, then Reid (and Tom) and now James.  And the blanket and sweater were Reid's, too--knit by his mom and grandma.  So sweet to have such precious heirlooms passed down!

I love these two guys so much!!!
It was so awesome to have both Grandpa's be part of the event.  James's blessing was beautiful.  Reid was calm and collected, as usual.  Though he did say something to the effect of "you are a special daughter, i mean, son of God"--it was pretty awesome.  I guess that's what blessing THREE girls in a row will do, huh :)

Later that night, Nathan busted out his AMAZING firework show that most of the crew got to enjoy--gotta love Wyoming's firework laws :)  And the next morning, after enjoying a breakfast of amazing fresh strawberries from Mike and Marie's garden, we all went our separate ways.  Reid and I drove back to Provo.  The first leg of our trip was a stop in Provo to introduce some of my life-long BFF's to Mr. James.  As always, it was awesome spending some time with them!  We'd left a bunch of stuff there, planning to return to UT to spend some time with Tom and Jana during the awkward two-day window we had between reunions. They wouldn't be coming to the Allred reunion because Jana was 38 weeks pregnant.  But Jana's baby decided to come TWO weeks early!  So, we got to meet sweet Winnie, which was a treat we hadn't anticipated!!

After two short days in Utah, which included getting together with some of my besties from our Boston days (so good to see you guys!) we drove up to Albion, Idaho for an extended Allred family reunion.  Reid's grandparents on both sides lived in this rural farmland part of Idaho, so he and his siblings and cousins went there every summer growing up.  Now many of them have kids of their own, and they were all so giddy about being back on their old stomping grounds.

We fished and barbecued at Lake Cleveland, picnicked and climbed at City of Rocks, played games and grilled at the Bed & Breakfast, and just enjoyed catching up/getting to know people.

love this picture that my SIL, Alisa, took!

Grace and Ella--attached at the hip, as usual

Minus the puckered lips, this is what i looked like most of the time.  i learned that this is not called "carrying" your baby, but rather "wearing" your baby.  whatever you call it, James and i loved it!

Here are most of the 2nd cousins

Abby, front and center
Grace, front and center.  I'm sensing a trend...

After 3 fun-filled days in Southern Idaho, we headed back to Star Valley for a week with Reid's immediate family. On the way home we stopped by the farm that Marie grew up on. The farmer-wanna-be in me spent most of the time there dreaming of a day when I'd have 5 acres of land to grow my orchards, my crops, raise some chickens, maybe even some cows.  And then we entered the barn.  And the stench was enough to literally reach into my conscience and kill all my farm dreams dead.  Thank you, manure.  You just saved us a lot of money.

The kids loved watching the pigs, and we loved hearing Marie tell stories of growing up on a farm.  And had the manure not already killed my fantasies, her stories would have.  Turns out having a farm is a lot of work.  And i don't do work. 

The week we spent in Wyoming was, as always, absolutely wonderful!! Grandma and Grandpa spoiled us all rotten.  The weather is always amazing in the summer.  They have an amazing back yard.  It's the PERFECT grandparent house!!  We got to swim, play by the canal, feed the horses, eat from their amazing garden, and even give Grandpa a haircut!

We also spent a day at the Lincoln County Fair.  And though there are (thankfully!!) no pictures to prove it, Reid and I embarrassed ourselves and our families by singing in the Karaoke contest.  We sang a duet.  From Disney's High School Musical.  It was well out of our ranges, and didn't help that right before us two 10 year old tweens sang a different song from the same show.  How embarassing!!!  But Karen begged us to do it, and it was one of those things that I figured would be embarassing in the moment, but not at all later.  i was wrong.  I'm actually more embarrassed for myself now than ever.  It was that bad.

Spending that extra week in Wyoming meant missing our first week of school here.  Who starts school on August 1st, anyway?  :)  We didn't tell Grace that she'd miss the first week of school until we absolutely had to.  We didn't want it to ruin her vacation, and we knew that we weren't going to change our minds about it, so, like all good parents, we lied to her.  How did she take it when she realized that her first day was not everyone else's first day of school?  you'll just have to wait probably a month or two since that's about how often I blog now until my next post!!


Stacey Mom said...

Whewww! That exhausts even me! I'm so glad you guys came up to SV even though Grace missed her first week, so glad! It was a blast. It was quite a marathon vaca for the both of us, but totally worth it.

Jessica Mason said...

You're a rockstar! Sounds like such a fun trip. I wish that I could nibble on your babies fat cheeks. LOVE THEM! Baby #5's due date is on March 1. Him and Tate will be just shy of 2 years apart. So, not super close. We find out next Thursday what the little grommit is. Love you!

Melissa said...

Wow, you have been busy. I loved reading your post. Sounds and looks like you had a blast! What fun memories you create for your children. Glad your little guy was a good traveler. My children, never in a million years would have done well with that much traveling. Plus, they all take after their mom, we all get really car sick. No fun! You look great and I hear those Moby wraps are awesome.I need to try it out myself.

Candace said...

I didn't realize how much traveling you guys had done when we saw you. Sounds like a fun trip,I'm sure that you are glad that you did it all. Cute kids!

Boss Lady said...

What a great post! I miss you SOOOO much I can hardly stand it!