I'll admit I was less than enthused at first. My brain and "camping spirit" really wanted to go. I wanted to get away desperately and spend some time with family. But camping with kids is tiring enough, not to mention when you're almost 7 months pregnant. I tried to talk Cory out of all the trips we had planned this year but this one he just wouldn't budge on. And I'm glad he didn't. I can't even tell you how much we needed this time away. There was no stressing out, no worrying... it was perfect!
Don't get me wrong, it was EXHAUSTING! I lost my crap a couple times. But it was also an amazing trip. The weather was perfect and the scenery was gorgeous. The only thing that didn't go as smoothly as it usually does when we camp was the kids. Especially Brynlie. I don't know what her issue was this time, but she was extremely difficult. TONS of whining!! Granted, she was really tired the whole time. The sun came up at 5:00am and it didn't go down until 10:30, so the kids got a lot less sleep than they're used to.
The drive up took longer than we expected thanks to tons of construction in Idaho. Once we passed Rexburg we drove right into a CRAZY storm!! It rained so hard we thought it might break the windshield. And there was so much lightening the thunder was a constant rumble which was super cool. I love a good storm. It stopped just as we pulled into the campground which was super helpful since we needed to set up our trailer.
After we got settled we decided to surprise Kennedy with her birthday present a little early since it was the perfect place to ride a bike and we just couldn't wait. She was over the moon!! Look at that face!
She took off super fast and never stopped riding. And bonus, she didn't notice that it wasn't the exact bike she wanted from the store! Parental win!! That helmet... I love it.
Next step is teaching her to ride without training wheels. Yet another thing that fell by the wayside the last 18 months of our life cause of the house...
That night one of my worst nightmares happened. While trying to get to her chair around the fire, Brynlie tripped over the cooking grate that lifts out and fell into the fire! I saw her trip, almost like slow motion, and my instant instinct was to get up and catch her. My body was trying to move before I realized my brain had told it to do so. But I was in a camping chair and I'm pregnant so getting to her quickly wasn't happening. I screamed "grab her!!", desperately trying to get up, just as I watched the left half of her body land in the fire, high centering herself on the hot fire ring. I watched her left hand/arm land on hot, flaming coals. I can't even explain how I felt in that moment. At the same time Cory got to her as well as our niece and they pulled her out quickly. She started SCREAMING and I finally got up and got to her, certain we were heading to the emergency room.
We tried to calm her down and started looking her over to see how badly she was burned. I grabbed her left hand and just stared at it; there wasn't a single burn on it. No clothes caught on fire. No hair was singed. Her skin wasn't even red. We continued to examine her and found one tiny little burn on a finger on her right hand. I don't even know how it happened since I wasn't watching that part of her.
I felt kind of numb as I held her and waited for my heart rate to come back down and completely in awe that she wasn't hurt. I know I saw her touch the coals. It was a total miracle. 100%. My faith has been struggling a lot lately as we've been going through a pretty tough trial. I've felt like my prayers are being ignored and I was starting to question if there really was anyone who cared about me. As I said my prayers that night, all the emotions came out and I just sobbed and sobbed in total gratitude. It was what I needed to know that there is someone watching out for us and I will forever be grateful that He helped B come out totally fine. It was amazing.
The next day we headed into the park to see Old Faithful. It took us three hours to get there thanks to a huge traffic jam because of buffalo... (eye roll) and it was pretty darn busy
But we found a good spot and didn't have to wait too long for the eruption.
And the girls thought it was super cool!!
We spent a long time walking around the lodges and getting ice cream. Then we headed back to camp and had dinner and more campfire.
The third day we had an earlier start. We went to the Grizzly and Wolf exhibit in West Yellowstone.
We had to get there early because we wanted to sign Kennedy up for a kids program where she got to hide food for the bears, and we needed to get there before the cut off time. We got her signed up and watched some of the grizzlies and wolves while we waited for the program to start.
The wolves were Brynlie's favorite.
The it was time for Kennedys program to start. The ranger taught them all about how to act if they encounter a bear and how to use bear spray.
Then they got to take food into the exhibit and help hide it so the bears could try to find it. I have way too many pictures of this but she was having so much fun I couldn't stand how adorable it was.
She came back just beaming!! Then they let some different bears out and we watched them dig in the rocks to find the food. It was definitely the highlight for me watching her have such a great time.
Once we were done there we headed to The Gusher for lunch. My sister worked there one summer 18 years ago, and I told everyone we should go because it was good.
But then it occurred to me that was 18 years ago... so I was nervous it wasn't going to be good. But, it was. The pizza was delicious!! Phew!
After lunch we walked around West Yellowstone and did some "shopping", which really consisted of the girls touching everything and asking to buy every object they could see and then getting upset when we said no. We did find them some hats though. Typical Brynlie picture. No smiles.
Once Kennedy tried this hat on I absolutely could not say no. Good thing it was cheap.
Side note: the second we got home she threw off her shoes and put her cowgirl boots on. Adorable!
After shopping we headed back to the Bear and Wolf place because they were letting out their biggest grizzly and we wanted to see it. It was over 900lbs and totally massive!! You can't tell at all in this picture, but he was gigantic!
And then we took a ton more photos.
Day 4 started out at Grandma and Grandpa's condo while we waited for everyone to get ready. The girls got to play on the playground and we finally got to see Brynlie enjoy herself! Grandpa took a turn pushing them on the swings.
Then Daddy joined the fun and smiles really came out!