Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aubrey's Outie

Today, we said goodbye to Aubrey's "Outie." She's had it since birth, and we were told she would most likely not need surgery and that it would correct itself. But here we are 2 1/2 years later and it's just as big. So we decided to have the surgery and get it corrected.

This little belly button is quite famous within the family. Lots of cousins like to touch it, poke it or just stare at it. Aubrey likes to squish it to make noises, and loves to hold it. I thought it might be a little sad for her to loose this little nub...but it was time for it to go!

Aubrey has SO much personality. She is the most animated of our three. She is silly, is a copy cat, and loves to make us laugh. But when she is in new situations or around strangers, she freezes up and doesn't say anything. She becomes this total serious little girl. These pictures above demonstrate that a little. Each nurse that would come check on her or talk to her must assume she doesn't talk...if they only knew! She is a crazy one!

Here is the flat belly! She did so well and we're so happy it all went great!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July in Jackson/Yellowstone

We went to Jackson Hole & Yellowstone for the 4th of July. We have decided this has to be a tradition each year. Jackson is a special place for Matt and me. I spent three of the best summers of my life up there, the third summer with Matt (we basically spent our honeymoon there, working on the river for 10 weeks). We've made it up there several times in the past over the 4th of July, but last year we stayed here. We decided never again if we could help it would we spend the 4th at home. The fireworks are amazing in Jackson. The hiking is incredible, the river is always high and fast, the weather is great, and the memories we're making, and the memories from the past are enough to keep me on a high for weeks!

We got to Jackson Saturday evening. We got a great camping spot (which I was shocked on the weekend of the 4th there would be a spot on the river!). We set up camp and then headed to town to get some dinner and hang out around town. We had some yummy Mexican food and then headed back to camp.

Sunday we woke up and headed to the Park to hike around Jenny Lake. We usually take the boat across with the kids being as little as they are, but this year we hiked to the falls and then took the boat back.

Stacie and her husband JJ and their little Ozzie came with us too! It was seriously a dream come true! We always said when we used to work together that one day we'd come here every year with our families to hike and run the river, and this year we did it! We missed Katy and her family though. Hopefully next year we will be able to all go together!

The water is so high this year! We had to move off the trail a couple times because the lake had risen over it.

We've heard all summer that the water levels are crazy and super high. I witnessed it first hand up here. Typically by July a good portion of the snow has melted off the Tetons, and the river has usually peaked by the 4th of July. Not this time! The Tetons have tons of snow! So much that you wouldn't be able to climb it without crampons and an ice axe. Additionally the Moraines are covered with snow so you'd be building a snow cave!
Here is Hidden Falls. It's a great hike, easy and beautiful. I've never seen so much water raging down the falls!

It was so hot this day! It was in the 90's and so humid!
We all had a little snack before we made the trek down.

Stacie, JJ & Ozzie

The high water levels and force of the river had taken out a few bridges along the way
The kids did really well on the hike to the falls, but they were not up to the hike back so we took the ferry across Jenny Lake. Stacie and JJ left the same time as us and we arrived just a few minutes earlier than them! They cruised!
We saw a heard of Elk close to String Lake on our way to have a picnic.
Mt. Moran. Seriously so beautiful! I've attempted this summit twice now, and haven't summited. Once due to weather, once due to altitude sickness. One day maybe! Matt made it to the top on our second attempt though.
So much snow on the Tetons! This is so crazy for July!
Amber checking out the Buffalo

On Monday Matt's parents, his brother Aaron & wife Fitriah and baby Zach and some of their friends Brian, Megan, Max, McKenna & Mason Duncan joined us in Jackson. We took them down the river Monday afternoon. The river was running at 23,000 cfs (cubic feet per second). This is about double what I'm used to running it at. In high water the rapids are more intense (dangerous), the water is faster, and your chances of flipping the raft at lunch counter is increased dramatically. You can't believe all that you hear, but one guide had told us over 30 boats had flipped at lunch counter in the last 24 hours. That is seriously crazy. I've never flipped a raft of been in a raft that flipped, so it was super scary for me to face the fact that it could happen. The water temperature was in the 50's, so hypothermia was very possible if we were in the water too long. Knowing we were taking "newbies" that had never been on the river before made me even more nervous! Between Matt, Stacie and me we had lots of rafting experience so I wasn't worried about our skill, I was worried about the wild conditions.

Funny enough I went in very first at a rapid "Million Dollar Fishing Hole." It freaked me out! I went under the raft and was being thrown around but finally came up. I didn't feel cold, but I was seriously nervous about the rapids to come. The Fishing Hole is not even comparable to others up ahead! It was super wussy.

We made it through the rest with out many problems until Lunch Counter. We hit the waves perfect but on the 4th one Aaron fell out. I jumped right up expecting to see him and pull him in. I didn't see him though. I was looking all around and still didn't see him. I started panicking and yelling "where's Aaron!?" Usually people pop right up within seconds, but Aaron was not surfacing. Enough time went by the I literally was freaking out that something bad had happened. FINALLY after at least 30 second he popped up way up stream from us and gasped for a breath. We threw him a throw rope and pulled him in. It was one of the scariest moments I've ever had on the river. After that I didn't want anyone falling in. I just wanted to be done with the river trip! I was so glad when we got to Sheep's Gulch safe and sound.

Matt, me, Megan, Brian, Max, Aaron. Stacie & JJ ran it with us too but aren't pictured.
Here we are at the fireworks!
Grandma, Aaron, Max

Grandpa & Parker

Aaron & little Zach
YELLOWSTONE! We got to Yellowstone on Tuesday and started off with Old Faithful. We took the boardwalk all around Old Faithful and saw lots of hotpots. Parker was in heaven and asked a million questions and enjoyed seeing every single hot pot.

Here we are waiting for Old Faithful to go off.

Parker, Aubrey, Amber, McKenna
One of thousands of Buffalo we saw on our trip
We spent a night at Canyon Village. I've never stayed in a "cabin" in Yellowstone...only camped. It was great! It was practically camping! It was a singlewide on stilts with no a/c, a tiny little bathroom and we shared walls with several other tourists. So as Matt and I are loosing it at 10:00 PM telling our kids they need to settle down and be quiet, we are certain we have may listening ears (all our windows were open due to the lack of A/C). The kids were SO hyper, so we seriously were dying about not only their loud and crazy behavior, but our stern attemps to get them to settle down!

Aubrey wants to be done sleeping in a port-a-crib, but it is too conveinent to keep her in there. She was screaming she wanted to sleep with Daddy (this was added to the above mentioned chaos).
Wednesday we hiked to Yellowstone Falls.

Fitriah and Zach.
Aubrey & Louis

Dragon's Mouth

Mud Pots

These were pretty stinky!
We didn't see much wild life. We saw a TON of buffalo, some elk, a deer and this cyote on the way out. We did see a bear but it was so far away we couldn't get a picture. On our way out of Canyon Village Wednesday, we saw a helicopter and some firefighters hanging around in a meadow. We just figured it was for some training or something, but it turns out a man and his wife were hiking Wednesday morning when we was attacked by a grizzly bear and was killed. It was in an area we litterally were. Our cabin was just blocks away from where they were. It was really sad, and crazy to think it was where we were at the exact same time!

We headed home Wednesday night. We didn't want to go home and stalled until the last possible minute. The trip really was so much fun, every second of it. I usually am grumpy planning and packing for trips just because of the stress of it all. Not this trip. I was so excited to be able to hang out with Stacie, to be in Jackson, to run the river...I was just so happy to be going to a place that feels like a second home to me. I have the best of memories in Jackson. I told Matt I wish more than anything I could pause my life now, and just experience Jackson as a river guide for just one week. I would love to feel that care free feeling, spending the day in the most beautiful surroundings, soaking up the rays, meeting new people, and just laughing non-stop at all the funny crazy things Stacie said or did. There wasn't one place we ate at or hike we went on or store we shopped at that didn't bring back a flood of memories. I am so glad Matt and I experienced one summer together there, because then we could enjoy the memories together! I'm also glad our kids have been able to and will continue making memories of their own of our favorite place on earth!