Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jelli Melins & Yellowstone

We found a HEIDI COKE & brought it home for Heidi.
 SUNDAY 7.12
Sunday evening dinner at Grandma's with our California cousins.They just arrived on 7/11. This is Cousin Matthew and James. They are exactly 4 weeks apart.

Never get tired of this view at the ranch.
 MONDAY 7.13
Me and my posse heading to Old Faithful on Monday morning.

Addie was so excited to go meet up with her LDS Instagram friend, Shelbie from Arizona. Shelbie's extended family was on vacation in Yellowstone.

The drive was beautiful and the high for the day was 76 degrees.
(you can see my driving reflection I the window in this picture)

Shelbie, Addie and Heidi meeting up at Old Faithful

Shelbie and Addie

Our family just after Old Faithful erupted
(Heidi, James, Mom, Ammon, Niles, and Addie)

We had 25-minute construction stop near Swan Lake south of Mammoth. On the way down we stopped and made sandwiches and went "pee in the weeds" (a highlight for the boys) and on the way back we got ice water and blueberries for a snack and entertained ourselves by throwing berries at an obnoxious crow. The kids also liked watched the weird birds you can see in the field in the middle of this photo.

I snapped this while driving...I wish the camera could capture the vastness and the greenness.

Zoomed in-- Heading up the hill toward Mammoth.

Ammy crashed.

Heidi snapped this photo of her dream car.
I got to tell the girls about "the short bus."

James snapped this photo of an adolescent Elk. They were all just chillin' in Mammoth as usual. There is a beautiful new visitor center at Mammoth but we were waaaay behind schedule so we couldn't stop, so we will take a trip just to Mammoth later this summer.
So I had planned our on our Yellowstone trip taking from, like 8:30am til 3:30 pm. We had invited the Elders over for dinner and also offered to take dinner to the Mills family and I needed to be home to do that. Turned out we didn't leave home until 9am, then we drove an hour to Gardiner (the north gate) and the line to get in the entrance was backed up all the way through Gardiner (I had to slow down at The Flying Pig...and I got out of line at the gas station to use the bathroom cuz I could tell we would be there a while).

We finally got in at 11 am and I remembered why we haven't gone to the park in the summer in 4 years. I feel so sorry for the tourists. Then there was the construction. Then there was mass hysteria about something in the trees. I assumed it was a unicorn judging from the faces on the people running down the highway with their giant cameras. But it was a bison scratching his back on an aspen tree. Which we can see at our nearby bison ranch anytime. So annoying. So we got to the super crowded Old Faithful parking lot at 1pm...two hours later than I thought. We had just enough time to use the rest rooms, change the baby, grab some froyo and watch the eruption. Addie;s friend arrived just after the eruption, so we found her, took some pictures, then headed home at 2:40.

The traffic was so bad that we didn't arrive home until 6:12. Luckily Rich is awesome and he made a huge Breakfast-for-Dinner. The Elders had just arrived and the kids were starving. They sat down to pancakes, sausage, and hash browns. I ran some of the food over to Mills and visited with Sheryl a little bit (bless her heart, chemo is way worse than they warned her it would be and her hair fell out this week--cancer sucks). I came back to crazy kids, overwhelmed dad, and snickering missionaries at 7pm. They gave us a message and went on their way. Rich and I got the kids bathed and into bed and he worked on packing for Scout Camp while I had a bath. PHEW! What a crazy day...but so fun. The kids didn't fight, the baby didn't fuss, even though things didn't go as planned at all. Being a family is pretty awesome.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Layton Fun 7/4-7/8

My brother Sam and his family came to visit from Utah in Saturday July 4- Wednesday July 8th. We had the best time together and I wished they could stay forever!!
 
You saw the pictures of our July 4th festivities--that was a hot day! Sam was complaining because he came up to Montana to cool off, not to hang out in blazing 99-degree heat. Well, he got his wish on Sunday the 5th because a rain storm and cold front blew in and we actually needed sweaters (it was like 58 degrees)! It was a perfect day to go to church, then stay inside and read and snuggle and visit and nap and eat quesadillas and indoor s'mores with your cousins!
 
Niles, Heidi, Addie, Kristen, Sam, James, Owen, and Gavin making s'mores at the dinner table.
(I was on the phone with my sister Jill--also a huge treat :))
 
On Monday the 6th we took our cousins to visit Museum of the Rockies.
Here we are at the chocolate exhibit again. Owen was just as disappointed as we were the first time that the exhibit didn't include ACTUAL, EDIBLE CHOCOLATE. It's a huge bummer, even though the exhibit is cool.

Owen and the other little boys had fun dressing up in The Yellowstone Discovery Room. Here he is being a park ranger, heading out to check for fishing licenses and nuisance bears ;)

While I was looking up where to go to lunch on my phone, Ammon stood up on a chair in the kids' play cabin and fell over and knocked his noggin on the stone fireplace. It was gnarly, but we survived.

Monday Night for Family Night, we ate grilled teriyaki chicken and Asian slaw for dinner, then we went to family swim for an hour. Kristen and I sat on the side and watched Sam and Rich play with the kids.
Addie, Heidi, James, Owen, Rich and Sam are in this shot, I think.

?, Heidi, Owen, Addie, Sam and Rich

After swimming, we went to Pickle Barrel and got some delicious Wilcoxson's ice cream. Addie gave the FHE lesson, a story from the friend about choosing how you will act and react in a situation, no matter what others choose to do. Uncle Sam fell in love with Graham Slam ice cream. I think it's the best thing ever, too, although that Salted Carmel Fudge stuff is running a close second.

On Tuesday July 7th we hiked Pine Creek. The kids did such a great job. Kristen and I were a little worn out, but we cheered on Niles and Gavin and they did the whole two miles! Sam was awesome and carried Ammon most of the way in the back pack since my hip (the one I fell on) can barely carry me on the sharp inclines. We also took Layton's dog Seamus and he seemed to enjoy it. Everyone was so relieved to get to the falls, we all waded for a while and cooled off and it was beautiful.

Gogurts are go-juice! Gavin, Owen, James, Niles, Ammon, and Addie all enjoyed some refreshment after wading in the creek. We got re-energized for our trip back down to the car.


Cute Layton family
(I love how Seamus looks like he's snuggling Sam's leg in this photo)

Closer

James pretending to have an Indiana Jones adventure along the creek bank.

We were all so exhausted after the hike, we came home to rest for an hour or two, then the parents went on a double date while Addie, Heidi, and Eden Jones babysat the kids. We had such a nice visit over dinner and the food at Rib & Chop House was great. For dessert, we bought more Wilcoxsons Ice Cream at the grocery store and came home and had cones with the kids. It was the perfect ending to a really nice visit. It was really fun staying up late with Sammy after we got everyone else to sleep. He even watched the first two episodes of "Poldark" with us on PBS--THAT makes him the best brother ever.
 
On Wednesday 7/8, the Laytons headed home early in the morning--they went to Yellowstone on their way, so they didn't get home to after midnight, but it was a beautiful day. We had a lazy day at home, doing laundry, reading, playing in the sprinklers and on the trampoline, and missing our cousins.
 

Independence Day Celebrations

PARADE July 2nd
This year was the first year in over a decade that we didn't have any Melin cousins with us for the Roundup Parade on July 2nd. Rich was leading a scout fundraiser, so it was just me and the kids. Then the Jones/ Browns sat by us and Aunt Laura and Jared made a surprise visit from Helena and we weren't  lonely anymore! :)
Niles

James and some Jones/Brown kids watching a tractor in the parade.

Rex, Elanor, James, and some Brown cousins watching the parade, with me and Mama Jones in the background.

Clara and Addie muggin'

My sisterfriend Robyn


Niles, Heidi, and James

It was super hot outside, we drank 4 liters of water!

and no breeze...where was that Livingston wind when we needed it?!

Ammon had fun watching, mostly from his stroller

He ate lots of crushed ice and apple sticks to keep cool

We had fun with Auntie Roo!

RANCH BBQ JULY 4th
My brother Matthew and his kids came to visit from Helena Friday night and Saturday night (7/3-4). We had such a fun time together, it's always nice when cousins come!
At noon, Rich and Ammon took a nap, before the festivities even began!

We got out to the ranch around 1ish and set up sprinklers for the little kids.

Ammy loved it!

He was so fun to watch!

James and Cousin Emily playing in the water.

Heidi, Cousin Jake, and Jeanette Jones floated in the river from the beach to the pavilion over and over again.

Jeanette, Heidi, and Jake
FLASHBACK to 2004:
 Jake, Heidi, and Addie chillin' at the ranch after Chico.

My brother Sam and his family arrived around 3pm from camping in Pocatello with Dad Layton.
Kristen, Sam, and Matthew chatting under the pavilion while the food grilled.

It was another super hot day, so the grown ups enjoyed the shade while the kids played in the water and the treehouse.
(Robyn Jones, Rich, and Lope Jones)

Cousin Sam swinging under the treehouse

Cousin Gavin swinging under the tree house

Pretty girls relaxing on a pretty day
Clara, Eden, and Beatrice Jones with Addie near the tree house

Rex Jones having a ranch adventure

Old School selfies with my man.

Heidi carrying Jeanette to her shoes after another ride down the river.

We went home and took naps and ate leftovers and got the kids in their jammies, then we went over to the high school football field to watch the last night of roundup fireworks. A few other ward families were there and it was such a beautiful night! Next time we will go earlier and let the kids play glow in the dark Frisbee and glow sticks...but it was so fun to have Sam's and Matt's families with us. Loved every minute with them, and we love our country so much.

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