Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy 4th of July

The Fourth of July is Kris's favorite holiday. I used to think it was because of the warm weather, the barbecues, and going to watch the fireworks. Nope. It's because he gets to light things on fire and watch them blow up.
Here we are gathered on the steps of Nana Meek's house to watch our annual fireworks show. I'm pretty sure that Kris enjoys it even more than the kids.

Leah was enchanted with sparklers this year. Don't worry, other than to take this picture I was pretty close making sure she held it far out and didn't try to touch it. Kris and the kids did purchase some fantastic fireworks this year. The sliders were a big hit as well as the pop-its. We always love our Killer Bees, Happiness Fountains and Cones. Kris bought some Ground Bloom Bang fireworks that he thought were the coolest. But the little Ladybug stole the show by spinning around in a blaze and then rocketing high into the air. ( We won't tell you where we bought that one :)
Fourth of July morning dawned unseasonably cold. We all changed out of our shorts and into long pants and jackets for the parade. We had a lazy morning and still made it to a great spot just as the parade was starting. After that we wandered downtown for the Liberty Fest and Tal and I even were interviewed for TV. (Check out my Facebook page for the celebrity link.) Back home we rested up and Abi and Tal painted their faces with fireworks. We hosted a last minute barbeque with my family and our neighbors that turned out so fun.
And of course we took our annual 4th of July pic. Kris groused a little, but after 10 years he doesn't put up much of a fight anymore. This year we were adventurous and hiked clear down the Greenbelt in front of the LDS temple for a fantastic view of the fireworks. It was a little crazy getting out of downtown but we had Abi and Tal hold onto my blanket, while I held onto the back of Kris and he carried Leah. No one became separated and we made it back to our van. After a short ride back home we all collapsed wearily into our beds and with the help of earplugs to ward off the continued revelry of our neighbors, fell quickly asleep. Happy Birthday America.

Yellowstone - Take Two

Last year we drove up to Yellowstone National Park and raced around the Upper Loop of the Park and then down to Old Faithful. We drove a lot and saw many cool things but missed most of the geysers. So this year we decided to take a much more relaxed trip and just see the sites from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful.
We started our adventure with a little camping at Warm River just outside of Ashton, ID. It was a great campsite. We roasted our hot dogs and warmed our beans in the fire. Kris and I pitched our tent and we were set. Then Leah fell into the river. Blessedly, it is a very shallow, slow river at that point and a fellow camper plucked her out quickly. She was scared and soaked but OK. After we dried her off we started off on a little hike up an old railroad bed trail. Our goal was the train tunnel but as we started out late and mom couldn't really remember how long it was supposed to be, we had to turn back before the tunnel even came into sight. As we roasted our marshmallows that night we saw clouds moving toward us. As we got the kids ready for bed, we started seeing lightening off in the distance. And then as Kris was driving Leah about to make her fall asleep, the storm blew in in earnest. I tried to comfort Abi and Leah in the tent while lightening flashed and thunder boomed. (It is so much more vivid and loud in a tent.) Kris scurried about the campsite moving our gear back into the van in the pouring rain. And Tal slept through the whole thing. He didn't even stir. Finally the storm blew over and we could settle in for a slightly damp, very cold night of little sleep with Leah between Kris and I in our sleeping bag.
The next morning dawned gray and spitting rain. I cooked breakfast running back and forth from the fires to the shelter of the trees. Finally it cleared off in time for us to eat and then the morning warmed up with the sun. We drove into Yellowstone National Park through West Yellowstone. On our way to the Madison Junction we saw this huge herd of bison. You can see all the little calves with their mommies. There were probably 200 bison just lazing about.
One favorite spot was Firehole Canyon. Kris and I took our picture here back when we were dating before Kris's mission. Then we honeymooned partially in the Park and took another picture. And here we are now, fourteen years since the first picture. We are even better looking with three Little Meeks to show for it.

I won't bore you with all of my pictures of hot pools, fumaroles, and paint pots. But we loved it all. Well, maybe not the sulfur smell which Tal constantly complained about. But the pools are especially beautiful with their deep blues and greens. Our final stop was Old Faithful Geyser. As always it put on a great show. I remember coming to see it with my parents. It's really fun then to take my kids and give them the same experience. Leah was tired, hungry and grumpy so therefore less than impressed. But Kris and I, Abi and Tal all thought it amazing. What a beautiful world Heavenly Father has created for us to enjoy.