Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Should Be Simple Enough.

I'm thinking tonight about how hard it is for me to get past myself sometimes. How I stand in my own way. How I make one mistake and let it snowball into a day of mistakes.

If I could figure out how to get past, move on, and let go I would be set.

I'll start tomorrow.


A weird thing happened to me over the weekend. I clicked to start a new post and realized it would be post #700. And I froze.

For some reason, this particular post didn't feel right for my 700th post. It wasn't...I don't even know...deep enough? Good enough? Interesting enough?

It wasn't 'writing' so much as it was just a bunch of stream of consciousness type self-obsessed journaling.

So then I spent a few days thinking about what would be a better 700th post. What would be big and meaningful. Maybe something insightful and thought-provoking? Perhaps a good story or some beautiful pictures. I even thought hard about waiting it out until next weekend when our master bathroom should be completely done and I could REVEAL it in all its glory.

And then I realized it doesn't matter that much after all, and maybe it would be better if my 700th post just said:

Holy wow...700 posts!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eek! (A Peek.)

I wasn't going to share pictures until all is said and done and my last to-do list items are checked off. But I'm a fool for photos, and this morning while the light was good I snapped a few. A sneak preview of the bathroom. I think I'm in love.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yellowstone (continued)

All in all, we spent 4 days in Yellowstone and the surrounding area of West Yellowstone. We visited the park each day and got out of the car at every stop off, look off, and easy hike.

Yeah, no. I have no idea what the hell that face (---^) is about.

So, Yellowstone = Old Faithful, right? At least, to most people it does. Well, my Yellowstone spoiler includes this tip: Old faithful is pretty damn far down the list of awesome things to witness in Yellowstone. As evidence, we went and sat in the seats surrounding Old Faithful just in time for her to spout. And when she did spout? The kids could not be torn away from picking up tiny black stones in order to look at Old Faithful, no matter how many times their Grandma tried to convince them to look at it.

I did convince Mo to smile for me in front of Old Faithful, only you would never know it since his big ol' thunder dome of a head is covering what's left of the spout.

And then, there were more hot water pools and sulphur smells and big trees and wild animals. One of my favorite moments was Friday evening, when we were leaving the park close to sunset and had to pull over on the side of the road to let some bossy bison pass. We pulled to the right and put on our hazard lights along with 2 or 3 other cards, and I got out of the car (I was on the far side with a van between the animals and me) to take some pictures. Just as they were about to pass the van, the veered very slowly and  - we can only assume - very deliberately toward the van and walked about 8-10 feet from the driver's side. By this time I was back in the car with everyone else (I had gone back in the car when the bison got about 10 yards away because I'm no fool) so we all had a good laugh at the bison getting feisty and showing us who owned the road.

Now, if you go to Yellowstone for Old Faithful and also find it fair to middlin', take yourself on the trail behind O.F. that leads you to Grand Geyser and Riverside. We never got to Riverside (it was a little too much sun and the kids were getting tired) but we did hit Grand Geyser. We weren't sure what it was or whether it was worth a wait, but coincidentally Rohan was feeling a little blah right about the time we got there, so we decided to give Grand a chance and let him rest. We happened to sit next to an older couple from Idaho who told us they are in Yellowstone sometimes every week in the early and late summer and Grand is one of their favorite spots. While we sat there, they told us all the ways to tell when Grand is ready to blow, including the easiest tip of all: wait for Geyser Watchers. I'm not even kidding....there are volunteers and park enthusiasts who pass time by staking out around the geysers and documenting their every move and change. The couple from Idaho told us, "See that old man in the red jacket? When he stands up and picks up that walkie talkie (used by the Geyser Watchers to contact each other and the park) you know the geyser is ready to blow. And they were right. And Grand was totally worth the wait to see 3 vents going at once for almost 10 straight minutes. That's not even mentioning the raven we witnessed killing a squirrel as we waited. Holy nature.

(Yep, there's still be continued again...)

Bathroom Progress.

We are so very close to being done with the bathroom renovation that I don't want to get into a detailed or photo heavy post. Instead, just a quick update to the to-do list. If all goes as I expect, there will be pictures of everything completed to share in the next week!
- Call insurance and file claim
- Remove baseboards
- Remove toilet and cover hole
- Remove tile
- Remove subflooring below tile
- Remove flooring BELOW subflooring.
- Remove tub surround (also involves removing showerhead and closing off that pipe)
- Pull out and discard tub (also involves removing and covering drain into floor)
- Have insurance assessor look at damage and determine if it's going to be covered by insurance
- Cut away water-damaged drywall in garage ceiling
- Put in new insulation and replace drywall.
- Potential repair/replacement of subflooring in bathroom
- Potential refinishing of cabinets
- Sand, stain, buff, and poly cabinets, doors, and drawers
- Build risers to increase height of cabinets
- Buy new counter tops and faucets for cabinets
- Move sink plumbing on both sides to accomdate taller cabinets
- Move, replace, or cut down mirror to accomodate new taller cabinets
- Replace layer of plywood on subfloor, sealing together with Liquid Nails

- Install Hardi Backer over floor plywood with mortar and screws
- Install new tile
- Grout new tile
- Fix pipes below floor level for toilet
- Replace toilet flange and put in new toilet
- Removal of current counters and cabinets
- Removal of hardware (towel rack, light plates, etc.)
- Spray paint bathroom hardware to brushed nickel
- Buy new globes to cover bathroom lightbulbs
- Spray paint light fixtures to brushed nickel
- Spray paint cabinet hardward brushed nickel
- Clean ceiling to prepare to paint
- Repaint bathroom ceiling and walls
- Move existing drain and pipes for bathtub to accomodate new height of tub

-Move showerhead up 6"
- Build support box for tub to sit in
- Installation of new tub and surround
- Buy and install new waterproof drywall for shower surround
- Tile new shower surround
- Tile front of tub- Hook up plumbing to bath and shower
- Paint room- Reinstall fixtures on walls
- Reinstall bathroom lights
- Installation of cabinets (either refinished old ones with risers or new ones)- Paint and install new baseboards OR use tile as baseboard
- Installation of countertops (either current one or new)
- Put in new faucets
- Add new shower curtain and bath mats and toilet paper roll
- Look into storage options in room

Yep, all we have left to complete is the tile baseboards, a second coat of paint, putting the fixtures back, painting the ceiling, choosing storage for between the vanities, and buying accessories like new towels!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


After a 5-ish hour drive through northern Utah and eastern Idaho, we found ourselves in West Yellowstone, Montana without even realizing it had happened. Our KOA appeared almost out of nowhere by the side of the road, patches of snow still covering the ground in the shadows. We checked in, went to our kabin (the KOA version of a cabin, of course), went back to the office to switch to a kabin closer to the bathrooms and with a little more grass outside, and settled in. The kids were as excited as I'd ever seen them, running in and out of the kabin's door, climbing the bunk bed and 'helping' us unpack. We decided as soon as we got there that we would skip the park that afternoon and just settle in, eat dinner, and roast some marshmallows.

My in-laws had also made the trek, leaving a few days before us and taking a slower pace getting there. They were staying in a hotel up the road a few miles, so they came over to join us. The kids were so excited to see Grandma and Grandpa in a whole new state! They could not get over the fact that we'd traveled so far and still got to spend time with family.

Luca made her own marshmallows with just a little help. Oh, and if you're a novice camper please take note of our 'chocolate warming' technique seen in this picture. You have not had s'mores until you've had them with the graham cracker slightly toasted and the chocolate melty and warm like this. In a traditional campfire, you just set them on the rocks near a flame (but not too near, unless you want chocolate syrup).

But while I may be an expert in s'mores, I am less of one in beers. We'd stopped for groceries south of Salt Lake City and I thought I was a totally awesome wife for buying a 12 pack of local brewery beers for my husband. And he was happy. He was. Except for the fact that those bottles of beer were 3.5-4% alcohol each. What can I say - - - Darrick likes a good, strong beer and Utah didn't deliver. (He did say, however, the the funny names like Polygamy Porter and the good flavor almost made up for it.)

Sadface beer.

The kids were beyond adorable in their bedtime excitement. They could not wait to put on footie jammies and climb up in the top bunk together to go to bed. Not to SLEEP, mind you, because sleep would be boring and kabin adventures are not boring. It took these two beasts over and hour to settle down and sleep, but the payoff of sitting outside in the cold night area drinking hot chocolate with Kahlua and listening to their giddy laughter was more than enough compensation for kids up hours past bedtime.


The drive into the park the next morning was breathtaking. Darrick and I were in Yellowstone 8 years ago at the end of summer, but early summer Yellowstone did not disappoint. Getting in for 5 days only cost $25 and we felt a little bit like we were ripping off Mother Nature.

We were in the Park about 5 minutes before seeing our first field full of bison. Mamas and babies and males skirting the edges of the herd, all eating grass and laying in the sun. They took your breath away.

That first day was a tour of hot pools and sulphuric smelling water and beautiful rock walls and more wild animals than you could count.

There were hikes and silly faces in pictures and this new diva girl pose Luca randomly decided to adopt for pictures:

Swear she's trying to give her dad high blood pressure already.

My favorite things the first day in Yellowstone, in no particular order:

- blue, blue pools of steaming hot water
- bison
- elk
- kids eating up their Grandparent time
- Luca's fashion sense
- cold weather
- my kids, just being best buddies and loving being outdoors

^--This is what happens when you marry a science nerd.

(to be continued...)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

60 Hours (Part 2)

The second day of vacation we ate shitty hotel free breakfast (because it's basically a vacation pre-req, right?) grabbed groceries and hit the road. Northern Utah is amazing, and southern Idaho will make you long for afternoons running through fields of yellow flowers.

We stopped just south of Idaho Falls for a picnic lunch and dove into a watermelon full force. The kids took off their shirts and let the juice drip down their faces. It was a slice of heaven.

This particular rest stop had a mini hike you could take over volcanic rock. The best part of the walk wasn't the nature or the weather, but the scares from Dad. Darrick would go ahead a bit while the kids took their sweet time lagging behind with me, waving a bubble wand through the air and sending huge bubbles floating above the black rocks.

And then they would come around a corner and...

Oh man, every time I look at those faces, I laugh so hard. Kids. Gotta love them.

We wrapped up our walk and headed back to the car to finish the drive north.

The kids fell asleep in the car, tired from running and shitting their pants with fear and eating half a watermelon. So Darrick and I had a little over an hour to just swoon over the landscape as it unrolled and unfurled around us. Everywhere we looked were idyllic farms and green pastures and rolling mountains.

The most amazing part was when we found ourselves in the northern part of eastern Idaho and out the right side of the van was nothing but endless green pastures and a sneak preview of the Grand Tetons. They rose into the sky and touched the clouds and I snapped about 200 pictures of Idaho rushing by.

Shortly before we got into the corner of Montana that we'd be making into a home-base the kids started to stir in the back, so we took the first turn off road we could find to give them a chance to go to the bathroom and stretch their little legs. By luck, we ended up in Henry's Lake Park which was a beautiful glimpse of what the next week would have to offer. Luca's head bobbed up sleepily from her nap, she stretched and looked out the window, and from the backseat we heard her exclaim, "Wow! This is awesome!" And let me tell you that even if the rest of the trip had been a complete disaster, that little outburst of pure unadulterated kid amazement would have made it all worth it to me.

There was a lot of time for running around in tall grass and picking wildflowers, which was just what we all needed after so many hours driving.

Those dandelion flowers became a mainstay of our trip. They were everywhere, and my kids could not be stopped from picking them. People would give them weird looks, carrying around these weeds, but in their eyes the were picking bright yellow wildflowers. Isn't a wildflower just a weed someone chose to admire, anyhow?

I mean, this guy is technically a weed, but he's also the size of Rohan's head and had people stopping to lean over and snap shots of him.

That's the most beautiful thing about traveling somewhere lik Yellowstone with kids. People go there for the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone or Old Faithful. Kids see the beauty in bright yellow blooms they named 'sunny flowers' and a huge purple weed thriving by the side of one of Yellowstone's biggest pools of thermal waters.

(to be continued....)

(posting is slow going because of the # of pictures...)


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