School Pictures

My experience with school pictures has been – well, ok. Some of them have turned out pretty well, but some of them – not so much. I usually buy one sheet.

That is, until Kate’s school pictures this year.

I may have overbought this year. Just a little. 😂

Although that top one is my favorite, I liked these pretty well too.

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I mean, you gotta buy some for posterity, right? 😉

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The Pumpkin Patch Tradition

Even though I feel like we are a home without a ton of tradition, fall does seem to bring out everything I’ve got. First up on the list is, of course, the infamous pumpkin patch.  This year, I had to do it solo, but I was so proud of the girls and how well they now pose themselves and encourage each other to smile for the camera. (what??!!)

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After some successful picture-taking, we rewarded ourselves with pumpkin bread and more time to play.

I sure do love my little pumpkins.

Time for School!

It was hard for me to believe that this year I would have TWO elementary school kiddos. But I had to believe it when it was time for the first day of school.

I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t easy dropping off my Selah girl for her first day of kinder. She was completely fine and ready for me to go, but I lingered a minute extra to get in another hug and kiss. I sure will miss having her around the house all week.

And for some reason, leaving Macy in third grade felt strange as well. It’s in a different (much older) hallway and I felt like I was losing a piece of her babyness. Third grade is so, well, old. She, of course, wasn’t interested in me leaving and I had to distract her with her before-school-started project in order to take her mind off of me leaving. While she showed the teacher her handiwork, I snuck out.

So there they go, off to kinder and third. I left the building feeling a little off with only one kid. Time to figure out what life looks like with two girls in real school.

The good news is I’ve still got one girly who spends most of her time with me.

Except for Tuesday and Thursday mornings, that is. 😉

Here’s Kate-Kate on her first day.

So here’s to learning. And a little time where I can hopefully get something done. 😂

Summer, Sun, and All Things Hot

This was not my hardest summer in Houston, but it was by far the LONGEST one I think I’ve ever had. The good news was it was my first summer without official naptime, official diapers or an official “baby”.

This means we had lots of times for all things water.  And some zoo. Parks. Playgrounds. TWO trips to the beach. Basically it was every kid’s dream summer.

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I even was crazy enough to squeeze in some impromptu ballet lessons once a week for most of the summer. (Actually, only for Macy and Selah, but doesn’t Kate look cute all dressed up?!)

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Even with all this fun, Selah was waiting and waiting to go to kindergarten. When the date kept getting moved back, she was the only kiddo who was sad. Mommy, she’d ask, WHEN can I go to KINDERGARTEN?! Soon, baby girl, soon. 😉

The Finale

It's our last full day in Yellowstone. Tomorrow we may get to do some sight seeing, but we will begin the trek back to Denver – this time split a little more in half with a hotel stay in Idaho.

I've learned a lot on the trip.

1. No matter how careful you try to be when packing – you will probably still forget one major thing. This time, it was Kate's leggings. The good news is she really only needed them for the first few days of the trip and Selah's leggings fit ok when you roll up the top a little bit. 😉
2. Technology may fail you when you need it most. While I've been pretty happy with the Kindles, the Netflix app has failed me a time or two. 😔
3. When you've got three girls, always bring a brush in the car. And some extra rubber bands for ponytails.
4. Patience, patience, patience. We are probably averaging five-six hours in the car. Every day. To see some amazing things, sometimes you've just gotta sit in a car.
5. There are huge sections of the country that still have limited or no cell service. This was an adjustment at first, but I've ended up enjoying not having a phone all the time.
6. Just when you think you've seen every geyser you possibly can see, there's still one more.

Today has been about finishing up the last parts of Yellowstone we haven't done yet. First up the list was the North Rim Upper Falls.

We stopped at Lookout Point and I took this shot. This section is also called the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It does look pretty similar.

Lookout Point is pretty intense. I didn't used to be nervous in places like this – where there's not much separating you from sudden death – but since having the girls, I find myself very nervous leaning over large cliffs to take a photo. The above picture is actually one that a stranger took because I was holding Kate and didn't want to lean over and get the shot. Thank you, kind stranger.

After this, we headed toward the Norris Geysers. This is an impressive collection of more geysers and hot springs.

But the smell of sulphur isn't for the faint of heart. 😂

Here's Kate posing in front of the Steamboat Geyser.

And Selah in front of the Echinus Geyser.

Our next to last stop was the Artist Paint Pots.

Macy especially liked these because of all the colors.

Finally, we stopped by the Firehole River Falls. I didn't get out to take a picture because Kate fell asleep on me. Remind me to ask Jeff if he got one. 😉

We celebrated our last night in town by eating at a hotel restaurant – strategically chosen because of its fast Wifi service and the need to download different shows on the girls' Kindles – and by finding a candy store. Honestly, this was probably the girls favorite part. They each got their own bag and I ran around trying to make sure no one put too much in it.

And now, it's time to go home, do a final load of laundry (I know, I know. I just can't help myself) and maybe watch a movie so I can pack everything up.

Goodbye Yellowstone. We sure will miss you and will tell your stories often.

Waterfalls

I love waterfalls. How can you not? Something about them is so mesmerizing. That is, when you are able to look at them without constantly scanning to make sure your three children are still safe.

This morning, we got off to a VERY slow start – not so much because of us, but there were super long lines at the gate and then lots of slow traffic due to some deer that were close enough to the cars for everyone to see.

We did eventually make it to the waterfalls, and they were worth the wait.

Pictures just don't do the Canyon Falls justice. But we tried.

I always giggle when the girls pose themselves and call for me to take a picture.

Here we are attempting a family shot in front of the falls. The sun was not our friend again.

Ah, well. Can't win 'em all.

After this, we hit the Tower falls. They were beautiful as well.

After lunch, it was time for the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. By this point, the girls (and I) were a little tired, but we all perked up once we saw the terraces.

I even got them to take a group shot with very little effort.

It took us even longer to get out of the park this afternoon due to road construction. There are parts of the road that become one lane – and each side has to wait about 15-20 minutes for the other side to come through. Yellowstone in the summer is not for the impatient. There are so many people here – buses and buses of them! – and when you add that with animal crossings and road construction, sometimes you've just gotta wait. So we waited until our turn and slowly made our way back out of the park.

Jeff had promised the girls a special treat when we made it back to the house, so he stopped in a convenience store while I ordered some pizzas to go.

This is our backyard. Well, for the next two days. 😉

These s'mores are yummy, Mommy. ❤️

Yes they are, Selah. 😘

Seven Teeth in Three States

I almost forgot to mention that Macy has lost two (two!) teeth on this trip. This makes seven teeth lost in three different states – Texas, California (shout-out to Auntie Kasie and Uncle JB) and Wyoming. I almost want to lie and say four states – because we were SO close to the Montana border when she lost the seventh one, but I won't. Who knows? We've still got a couple more days on our trip. 😉