Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yellowstone at Christmas 2010

We opened an awesome present Christmas morning. You know I love you, since I'm willing to post such an awful picture of myself, just for the sake of documenting. Papa Rex and LeeAnn paid for us to go to Yellowstone Park and go via Snow Coach! Such an incredible gift!
We moved the boys' carseats in the snowcoach and we were on our way!
Family shot! We got great seats, right at the front of the coach.
Someone, please tell these beautiful trumpeter swans that they forgot to fly south for the winter!
Dude, check out my lens. We decided if you're going to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Yellowstone, you might as well pack the goods you need. Which, of course, includes a lens as long as your arm.
Ethan loved getting out to get a closer look at all those Buffalo.
Isn't it amazing they can brush their heads side to side to dig down through the snow to get to the frozen grass? Talk about brain freeze!
We had several stops along the way, none of which I would remember the names of, had I not taken a picture of the name posted.
Poor Lincoln preferred to stay in the coach where it was nice and warm!
So this is what a snow coach is, in case you were wondering. It's basically a bus outfitted with snowmobile tracks instead of tires.
I loved seeing the hot spots all along the way.
But brrrr it was freezing!
I think my favorite parts was seeing what they call the "paint pots." Such gorgeous color.
It was like visiting a different planet.
It was so cold though, it was tempting to want to jump in that 200 degree water.
Lincoln came out for this one, although I'm pretty sure, he would have preferred to stay in the coach.
I love our little family shots along the way.
We saw so much wildlife in the park too. Especially considering the temperatures outside.
We even saw a pair of bald eagles!
Look at that beautiful snow coach. 
This buffalo came right up to the coach, I had to put on the macro lens for this shot!
Lincoln was such a trooper through the whole trip. Actually both boys did an amazing job with the long ride through the park.
And of course, we saw Old Faithful.
Although the wintertime version seemed to be much different than the spring geyser I remember from my youth. It ends up being a whole lot of sputtering steam in the winter!
We had such an amazing trip! Thank you Papa Rex and LeeAnn!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in ID

From the moment we arrived in ID, there were fun things planned for us. Our first day, we got to go to a shooting range and shoot some clay pigeons. Ethan was completely compliant with all the rules, he kept inside, wore his earplugs, and was a fantastic listener...even with those earplugs in, hmm.
Lincoln is enjoying the warming hut with Papa Rex.
I have to say, I was not all that pumped to do this. I was completely paranoid that my children would lost their hearing and get shot, and I really didn't think it would be all that fun. That was, of course, until I saw our guide who had a serious 'stache. Then I decided, that this man meant business.
So I tried it out for a bit.
Ethan and John waited patiently in the warming hut, while I did my warming up.
They had, I think at least 7 different stations where the pigeons would come at different angles and you could call out which one you wanted to shoot at. There was even one that rolled along the ground, and the man with the manly mustache called that one "the rabbit."
Then John and I each got to shoot together, calling out the numbers we would shoot at. It was awesome! I was surprised how fun it was and amazed at the number of shells we went through. Do you see the pile at my feet? I mean, I was totally a good shot at everything...
We got a family photo op, because, how many time do you get to pose as a family with a gun in hand?
Immediately after the shooting range we got to go snowmobiling.
Monica totally dressed the part. I was only slightly jealous I didn't have a matching dumb and dumber-esk jumpsuit. I shall definitely be putting that on my wish list for next year.
We spent quite a bit of time educating Ethan on the fine art of snowball fights.
Lincoln spent much of the time in his little papoose.
It's my turn to take a ride!
What, you can't tell that's me? It totally looks like me.
Back at Papa and LeeAnn's house, Ethan and Lincoln liked to live on the wild side, preferring to run around the tree with all the ceramic ornaments.
I was going to have a heart attack.
We had a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner that did not disappoint.
On Christmas Day, we first opened presents, and we received a Snow Coach Tour of Yellowstone for Papa Rex and LeeAnn. Of course, I'll have to make that a separate post!
Also on Christmas, we went to see my Grandma! She is such a doll, isn't she?
Ethan immediately took a liking to her. Perhaps it's the huge stash of candy she had next to her chair. Do you see that devilish smile on my boy?
Lincoln was all smiles too.
We got some good family shots too.
My brother, Nate, got to come along with us to make sure we didn't get lost. I think he might be my grandma's favorite grand child. And he just loves hanging out with her.
Back at Papa's house, we got a family shot of everyone there. I really should have taken more photos of the house to explain what we did while we were there. They have a fantastic theatre room that we spent, I think every night watching a movie. Plus there was a shuffleboard there that we must have spent hours enjoying. I certainly got worse with each game, but next time I'm absolutely sure I'll beat John/Papa Rex/Ethan.
One of the highlight of the trip happened after our second visit to my Grandma Genevieve. She offered one of her handmade quilts to me! I was beyond excited! These are the coveted items in my extended family and I am so proud to have it on one of our beds at our house! It makes me smile every time I see it!
On our way back to the airport, we drove through the craziest snowstorm ever. We saw at least 30 cars off the road in just a few miles drive. Amazingly, we still had some extra time to drive to see my Grandma Delma too. She showered the boys with love and attention. We were so glad to spend some time with her.
We were so sad when it came time to leave for our flight. We had an amazing Christmas and wonderful visits we won't forget!