Family


Shortly after vacation my nephew flew in to visit from Michigan.  Ivan had a blast playing with Silas.  They had fun swimming together, going to the playground, museum, creek, making and eating popsicles, reading Garfield and building forts.

The three of us flew together to Seattle where his parents and my parents met up and we all spent a week together in Birch Bay, WA.  My cousin was getting married in Bellingham so Nick flew up from work just for the weekend.  The boys really enjoyed the bay especially low tide when they could dig up rocks and shells and splash in the water.  The house we rented also had video games so they enjoyed playing against each other and the adults.

My cousin is an animal lover and her wedding shows that. Instead of attendants she had her beloved pets!  It was unique but fun to experience. Ivan loved watching the animals.

Check out the video of some of the fun memories we created at https://vimeo.com/227995067

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June 30th we headed out to Wyoming. We drove to Casper, WY and spent the night then headed to Livingston, MT for an overnight before entering Yellowstone National Park through the north entrance in Gardiner, MT.

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Friday and Saturday we enjoyed a relaxed drive with stops to eat and play at playgrounds. We ate delicious dinners at Silver Fox steakhouse and Neptune’s Brewery! Ivan loved the sushi and the server was delighted that he would order himself and enjoy sushi so much! We also ran into a car show in Sheridan, WY, with many diverse cars to look at.

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Great food, entertainment, atmosphere, and beer

Sunday: We entered the park and explored along the way to our campsite at the Madison campground. We hiked all over Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser and Artists Paint Pots.  Due to the danger of the geysers and hot springs I wore Ivan on my back the majority of the time. It was good to let him get out and play when we had picnic lunches or back at the campsite at the end of the day.

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Monday began with a Ranger led hike around Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin. We then hiked up to an overlook point and around to Solitude Geyer. We saw many hot springs at Biscuit Basin and then took the short hike to Mystic Falls.

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We decided that on Tuesday we would explore the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, so we took a ranger led hike along the rim. We trekked the 328 steps to see the Upper falls on Uncle Tom’s trail.  After getting showers, clean clothing, and lunch we headed off again to drive along the Yellowstone River to Mud Volcano where we saw 2 Bison enjoying themselves near the steam.  We went to Sulpher Caldron to see more hot springs and bubbly water. Ivan loved the stop in at Lake Village Visitor’s Center to play in the sand/water of Yellowstone Lake. We continued the drive around the lake and found a picnic spot with a view and ended the day at the Midway Geyser Basin to view Grand Prismatic Spring.  Nick and I both agreed that it was a bit disappointing since there is currently no trail to a higher vantage point. After a long day we were glad to be back at our tent to sleep!

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Wednesday was our final day in Yellowstone and we decided to take it easy. We also ran out of coffee so Nick was dragging. We headed to the original store near Old Faithful and got some coffee on the large patio with wooden rocking chairs.  We toured the old turn of the century Old Faithful Inn and watched the eruption from the balcony. After lunch we then headed over to watch the video at the Visitor’s Center. We then headed out to the Firehole River area to do a scenic drive and just happened upon an erupting geyser. This was the only other one we saw fully erupt.  We paused at Firehole River Falls before finding an area in the Firehole river that Ivan and Nick could swim. We ended the day with a campfire and hotdogs and meeting new camping neighbors.

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Moving day was Thursday. It rained overnight so we packed up a soggy tent and headed to Grand Teton National Park and to the Colter Bay tent cabins. Thankfully ours was clean so we could “move in” and set up the tent to dry. After lunch and repacking our tent we headed to do the drive all the way through the park to the south entrance and visitor’s center. After exploring the visitor’s center and catching the park video we headed out to do the Jenny Lake scenic drive. We took in the view at the top of Signal Mountain and ended the day playing at the Jackson Lake beach area at Colter Bay with a picnic dinner.

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IMG_1805Grand Teton does not seem to have many varieties of small hikes so we meandered along the Lakeshore Trail then arrived at the Colter Bay visitors center in time for a lunch snack and a National Geographic Documentary about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone in 1995. It was interesting and Ivan did great throughout as well.  We then decided to go check out Jackson Lake Lodge and get coffee. We drove out to a scenic lake a bit away from the main area of the park and ended up back at Jackson Lake Lodge to go swimming.  We all enjoyed the pool and shower before getting on a boat tour for dinner.  The boat tour was a fun last splurge and we enjoyed the steak and fish dinner on Elk Island.

Saturday we were on the road by 6am and with only a few stops made it home in about 10 hrs.  It was a long drive and Ivan did great and we were all glad to be back in our own bed.

Highlights of the trip include:

  • Seeing wildlife: bear, bison, birds, moose, deer, pronghorn
  • Experiencing Ivan spreading joy to multitudes of strangers
  • Watching the thermal features and learning about the geography
  • Playing license plate game and spotting all but one of the 50 states and many Canadian Provinces as well
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May was filled with Nick’s family coming to help his sister and her family move to Phoenix, AZ.  His dad came to help with the moving truck then after Memorial Day his mom flew in to help Abby take the girls down to AZ.  In the middle of all of that Nick took Ivan camping in the Great Sand Dunes National Park over Memorial day weekend and I had a wonderful relaxing quiet weekend by myself and with friends.

Here is a short video about the adventures. https://vimeo.com/223233531

 

 

 

Ivan and I were able to take a trip to AZ to see Ivan’s Reimer Grandparents for a week.  My mom actually was waiting for some news from the Dr so it was a great distraction to be there. Ivan loved going to the pool to splash Grandpa. We also enjoyed going to the train museum, library, playground and mini golf. The RV place they are parked at this winter has a great facility of pools and mini golf and live music.  We delighted all the people living there on walks and then were able to sweetly ask for rides on golf carts a couple of times.  One couple even let Ivan pick some grapefruit off of their tree, and it was delicious! As always Ivan was a great traveler and spread love and joy every where we went.

Check out the video here https://vimeo.com/209444307 for more pictures and watch Ivan jumping into the pool and playing golf.

img_0042This fall has been the 5th warmest in CO history.  We have taken full advantage by getting outdoors and enjoying all the parks and playgrounds near by.  Ivan would still be swimming if it were up to him.  He loves the pool and water.  Thankfully we have indoor ones to enjoy. Anyway, we were able to take a trip up to Bellingham, WA to see my parents and grandparents for a week the end of September. We enjoyed mostly sunny days up there.  We also went to the CO Mennonite Central Committee Sale in La Junta, CO to see Nicolas’ family.  Nick had a great idea of carving a pumpkin so Ivan could sit in it.  It turned out really cute, then it got a happy face, thanks to our neighbor.  Finally I took him trick or treating with some friends in their neighborhood for Halloween. He enjoyed the idea of collecting treats, even though he doesn’t know what candy is and didn’t get to eat any of it.  😉  I can still control that, for now!

Check out the video below for some fun pictures.

Or Click here to see the Video at Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/189885440

 

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We have had a very busy and fun summer already.  June started off with a visit from Grandma Karen Hostetler and cousin Avery’s 1st birthday! We then had lots of time at playgrounds and the splash park.  We have gone to ride the train at Bellview park and enjoyed time at the library as well.  As a family we got out to hike a couple times in Jefferson County open space parks and have gone camping two weekends.  Ivan and Kara also stay busy with the garden and running in the stroller.  Ivan loves being outside and has been sleeping well with all the exercise and activity.

 

Here is a short video of our adventures.  https://vimeo.com/173000479

 

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We were able to have a visit with Nick’s dad and aunt from TX. They came up to help Abby and we went over to hang out quite a bit. The trip ended with a day visit to the Denver Zoo.  Ivan is at a great stage where he really enjoyed seeing the animals that he knows by picture and in books. Nick’s brother has moved to CO so we are now able to enjoy short visits more often. The other weekend he came up and we went on a hike together.  Last of all my request for Mother’s day was a photo shoot with Ivan in the park.  Here’s some pictures of all these events.

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