Is it summer yet?

Fresh Cut Grass

I mowed the grass today, and it was surprisingly gratifying!  I think the last time I used a lawn mower was about 20 years ago... that's pretty scary when you think about it that way.  Wilder had his first introduction to the smell of fresh cut grass, and a lot of sunshine on a picnic blanket.  

If there is sunshine and a blanket, I am a happy camper, and I'm on my way to instilling this in Wilder as well.  Honestly, a big portion of the reason for moving to a place with open spaces is to fulfill my picnic blanket habit.  And now the sun is finally out and boy is it wonderful :)  I am so looking forward to a fun summer outside with this guy!  

My First Mother's Day

Today we celebrated motherhood - something I have been dabbling in for exactly 10 months to the day!  

Sometimes being a mom is like second nature, like I was born with the instincts to know exactly what to do.  But sometimes I know that my choices, actions, and decisions are directly shaped by my own mom.  And possibly her decisions in raising my sister and I, were directly related to parenting decisions made by HER mom, and so on...  It's fun to think about how years and generations are indirectly shaping Wilder.  

I think having a small human that we are shaping everyday, makes you stop and think about these things!

The day started with a cappuccino by Danny at home.  We then enjoyed a delicious brunch at Sherwood's Post, downtown Victor.  It was incredible!  We spent the rest of the day exploring a trail near our house.  Darby Canyon - I've been wanting to check out this trail since it is so close, but it's been so snowy still!  We got about halfway to the Wind Caves, and had to turn around because there was too much snow.  I've been thinking about checking it out again this week.  

We relaxed at home for the rest of the day, went for a late afternoon walk, then ordered pizza.  What a great day - Mama's Day!  Here's to many more of those :)


Day 57:

We made it.

It's crazy that the last post on this blog was from when we visited this exact same place 2 years ago.  Within that time we got pregnant, had Wilder, switched jobs, MOVED here, and landed new jobs! 

We traveled 5 days and stopped 2 nights in Denver to see some friends on our journey here.  It was a nice break from intense driving with a puppy and an 8 month old baby in my car, and Danny driving the U-Haul.   Aunt Cookie flew into Denver and drove the last 2 days with us in the card - a huge help with Wilder in a perpetual state of sleeping, eating, crying, repeat!  I must say.... Oliver was actually very good in his back seat spot as well.  We weren't sure how it would pan out, but he did great!


We moved to Victor unsure of where we would actually "lay roots" and so far it's been great!  I actually really love being in a quiet smaller town compared to Jackson, and Danny doesn't mind the commute (so far).  Its about 30 minute drive over the "pass", so it can be difficult but also beautiful.

We are renting a house for a while, and it's apparent that we are ready to be homeowners because all we want to do is fix it up!  It's so hard to live in a rental and not improve it.  Case and point, Danny is out working in the yard as we speak!  We are trying to get the grass more filled in for Wilder and Oliver to play around in.  There are SO MANY rocks just below the surface that it's a real challenge to do any sort of yard work improvements. 

I am searching on Zillow every few days to see what new mediocre houses are available, and mostly unimproved land is still listed.  Our dreams are to build a home on the perfect piece of property:  fairly remote with a few neighbors (ideally with kids also), surrounded by trees, near a small river.  think we can find it??  I found a pretty promising lot for sale in Tetonia, ID (north of Driggs) but its part of a subdivision that seems to be undergoing some sort of bankruptcy or something.....  In the meanwhile, we have decided that we could be okay with buying and improving an existing home if it fits enough of the before mentioned criteria.


Danny is really happy at his new job in Jackson, Carney Logan Burke Architects.  They are a great group of people that are very welcoming.  A local showroom hosted a seated dinner for their whole office and spouses were invited, so I got to meet most of the employees that night!  Good timing!

I'm doing about 10-15 hours of work for Warehouse 109 at the moment, and it seems to be a pretty good balance.  Wilder is going to daycare 2 days a week, which helps me keep the house, meals, and my part-time work under control.  I have put a few feelers out there to see about getting another part-time job in Interior Architecture, but haven't seen anything come through yet (which is fine with me!)   I'm sure something will come along that I can't say no to, and then I'll be back to being super busy again!  I just need to remember why we moved here in the first place, and keep the live/work balance under control. 


There is no shortage of activities here!  We had a couple weeks when we first arrived, when we could "hit the slopes" and Danny took full advantage!!  I even got out there one day and had a really good time!  It was more fun than I anticipated actually.  I hadn't been skiing in about 15 years, and that was only once!  I took a half day lesson at Grand Targhee which also bought me a lift ticket for the easy slopes.  I was happy just to get onto a Blue by the end of the day!  I think Wilder will be all over that resort in a couple years, so I need to be prepared!!

We've recently had a few very nice and sunny days which we spend mostly outside walking and at the park!  Oliver and Wilder love the park equally (I think).   We also split our Fridays between Tot Swim in Jackson at the Rec Center and Storytime at the Victor Library.  Already keeping him nice and busy, and he's only awake like 9 hours a day!  haha!

Also on Fridays, Danny's office is only open half day so we can easily go out for a hike in the afternoon or explore a new area.  Last Friday we went on a 4 mile hike to Taggert Lake in GTNP (Grand Teton National Park).  This Friday we did some exploring around Jenny Lake and String Lake.  So much to see!!!

Danny's parents and his cousin are visiting in a couple weeks, so we've been trying to get more familiar with the hiking, fishing, site seeing options.  Also Danny and his cousin are planning a backpacking trek the first night, and I want us (me, Wilder, Elle and Mr. Chris) to be able to hike a few easy miles to meet them at the end of their overnight trip.  That's what most of my research has been about lately.  This area received sooo much snow this year that there are still a number of trails closed!  And they don't expect to open them for a few more weeks... so we wait.


So far its been wonderful.  I'm sure my friends and family were hoping we'd get here and turn around, but actually quite the opposite is true!  SORRY!

We moved to this new place with the intention to become better.  Not that we were bad people before...haha but we needed some more breathing room!  We have generally been more active, eating better, cooking at home, exercising, relaxing, and exploring / discovering new territory.  All fundamental reasons for moving out west to a new exciting spot!

It dawned on me the other day that I should probably be documenting this momentous time in our little family's existence.  Hence the journal.  This blog is most likely going to be less informational and more journalistic for a while... consider yourself warned :)


Yellowstone National Park

Monday June 30th:  By 4pm we were at the Ranger Station of Yellowstone National Park, ready to hit the trail again.  We knew that we were getting a late start, so we hurried as much as possible.  Once arriving at the Hellroaring Creek TH the sky was getting darker by the minute.  We changed back into our hiking gear, and packed our bags for the next couple days.  I decided to put the rain cover on my pack just in case it started to rain, and then it started!  We climbed back in the car, and decided to wait 15 minutes to see if it was going to pass.  Lucky for us, the rain slowed after almost exactly 15 minutes.  Danny looked at me to get a comfort reading, as to whether we should venture out at 6:30pm, with light rain, and sporadic lightning... I thought, well we made it this far - might as well keep going!  

We put on even more gear - rain pants and rain jackets - and hit the trail.  

The excitement of it all and the nightfall creeping in, kept us moving briskly.  Going downhill I was lightly jogging just to keep up with Danny long legs.

We headed straight for the creek, which would determine our hiking schedule - if we could cross/ford the river, our campsite was only 2 miles further.  If we couldn't cross/ford the river we would have to hike an additional 3 miles to use the bridge to cross!  That would put us to camp after nightfall.  Needless to say, I was REALLY hoping that we could safely cross the river.  We arrived, and quickly got to work strategizing.  Danny would go first, carrying both of our packs, drop them at the other side, them come back across to help me.  I was so proud we made it safely across!!  Looking back now, there are a number of ways this could have gone wrong, but we didn't really have time to worry about those when we were in the moment.  

Covered head to toe with long sleeve shirts, pants, socks, and mosquito nets, we continued our hike through the buffalo pastures to our campsite.  Once we arrived are could not stop moving for 3 seconds before being attacked by 50 mosquitos THROUGH our long sleeve shirts!  It was so intense.  

Our only saving grace, was to set up the tent and focus entirely on getting inside without letting any creatures in... So Danny worked on the tent, while I started dinner about 100 yards away, near the bear pole and the creek.  Our Ramen dinner was made quickly but there was no way of eating it with a mosquito net on, so we had to enjoy this meal on the move.  We literally had to hike while slurping soup, up and down the trail until it was all eaten and we could quickly clean up and hide out in the tent.  

Although it was just barely dark out, it had been an exhausting day that started in the Tetons and ended in Yellowstone.  We were more than ready to be in our sleeping clothes, tucked into our sleeping bags, well protected from the hoards of mosquitos buzzing around outside.

Tuesday July 1st:  We took our time waking up and packing our things, since we were spending the whole day today in the park and only hiking about 6 miles to our next campsite.  We climbed up out of our buggy campsite, to the top of a rock outcropping to make a yummy breakfast of oatmeal and coffee.  It really is so much better when you're out in the elements with such a treat like coffee :)  

Again, after taking our time with breakfast we packed our things and headed back down the path we came to meet the main trail.  This part of the day was not my favorite by any means.  We were up to our elbows in buggy pasture brush, with an occasional mucky puddle on the trail.  We were each carrying at least 50 flies on our packs.  As we moved back toward the creek, the mosquitos came back out in full strength, forcing me to put my rain jacket back on even though it was over 90 degrees out.  yuck!  

About 2 hours later, we made it to the an amazing overlook over the Yellowstone River.  Danny was so excited about fishing, it's all he could think about!  We took some photos and made our way down the ravine to the river.  For the next 2 or 3 hours we would stop at a good looking fishing spot, Danny would do his thing, I would relax on a rock, and then we would keep moving to find the next fishing spot.  It was nice not having a strict schedule of regimen for the first time since hitting the trails.  The only issue was that I was so busy hanging around and relaxing in the hot hot sun, that I forgot to keep drinking water and electrolytes every 10 minutes, like I was on the trail.  This left me feeling a weak and a little dehydrated once we started hiking again to our final campsite.  Chilling out for a minute in the shade and drinking an entire bottle of electrolyte water got me back on my feet, long enough to get to camp. 

Our last campsite was very nice!  It was near a creek that Danny eventually fished as well.  We got to camp at around 4pm and all I wanted to do was rest.  I pitched the tent and took the best nap of my life while Danny went in search of more fishing spots further down the trail.  Best decision ever :)

When he returned, we made a good hot meal, then went straight to bed.  The mosquitos were much better than the night before, but we still couldn't stand to hang out outside of the tent.

Wednesday July 2nd:  Last day on the trail.  We packed up our camp and set out to the main trail.  We crossed an awesome suspension bridge, and decided to climb to the water below the bridge to have breakfast and coffee.  Danny was obviously interested in one last fishing opportunity, while I painted a quick watercolor postcard.  It was perfect.  We were finally comfortable with the routine of making camp coffee, breakfast, filtering water for all four of our water containers, and everything that went into "trail living", that it was easy to just sit back and take it all in without worry about what's coming next and how to prepare for it.  This was a real ah-ha moment for me, as a first time backpacker.  It was pretty tough making it to this point but this one relaxing hour, deep in the park, made it worth it for me.  

And then - the final climb out began!  haha  Just as I was lingering and loving the "trail life" the reality of a really tough climb set in.  For the record, the final 3 hours of our hike out were up there in the toughest of the trip.  It was WAY more elevation change than we anticipated, and most of the trail was completely exposed to the sun with little or no tree cover.  SO HOT!  Luckily, the bugs seemed to leave us alone the farther be walked away from the river.  

I could just barely make out the Trailhead parking lot in the distance, when we came up on some fellow hikers.  Three girls with WAY too much gear.  This might be mean, but when I saw them struggling way more than me, it made me feel better about my stamina and strength after the past 16 miles we hiked the past 2 days.  Not to mention, this was my 5th consecutive day on the trail!!  Anyway, we chatted with them as they sat on the ground trying to regain strength, and they offered to take us to our car a few miles away.  This was a huge help, because it meant that Danny wouldn't have to hitch hike back!  The girls were eager to help, because it gave them a much needed excuse to get off the trail and enjoy some AC and lunch :)  

I stayed back with our gear, as Danny hitched a ride to get our car.  It took what seemed like forever for him to return!  I was so ready to be sitting down on a comfortable seat, out of the heat and sun.  I know there is some saying about the difficulty of the journey make the destination better... and boy is that spot on.  We hiked a total of 42 miles with over 5000 feet in elevation incline in 5 days, and it was an incredible feeling to be able to say, I did that!  I was hurting and tired and sore, but I did it!!