I know. These pictures could be taken in lots of places. Here's another more obvious clue.
You're getting warmer, aren't you? But just so there's no doubt...
Yes. We just got back from our yearly trek to Yellowstone. We almost always go the week after school is out. Love that place! No matter how many times I see it, I am always amazed by the beauty and majesty. Who wouldn't be?
If you put your ear to your computer and listen carefully you might be able to hear my washer and dryer congratulating each other on a job well done. They just finished the last of fourteen gargantuan loads of vacation laundry. Yes. Fourteen.
Before summer slipped away from us, we decided to take a little road trip. The seven of us piled into the Suburban with our luggage and a lot of cough syrup (I wasn't the only one to have the 'ick'), and away we went.
Our first stop was Seattle.
Our last stop was Seattle, too.
In between, we visited one of the most fabbity-fab-fab beautiful places in the whole wide world...Orcas Island.
On the island, we enjoyed amazing vistas.
We played in enchanted forests.
We poked around in the tide pools.
And the creme de la creme... we hopped a boat to watch the Orca whales that summer in the San Juan Islands. Shooting a picture of a whale is a bit like catching a shooting star. You just don't know where they're going to show up or what direction they might be traveling. This picture is so inadequate. It doesn't begin to illustrate the magnificence of these creatures. I have gone whale watching two other times. I never cease to be amazed by these giant guys. They rank pretty high on my wow-o-meter.
It's hard to say goodbye to a magical place like Orcas.
We are home now. School has started. The mornings are cool. The afternoons are warm. I've said goodbye to August (gulp). It's beginning to feel a little like fall. Life is good.
Bear Sighting--We thought we were pulling in to a turn-out for a second look at a moose we'd seen earlier. As luck would have it, we were pulling in to see a GRIZZLY. Here he is. Isn't he a beauty? (It might be a she. I wasn't going to get close enough to peek. LOL!)
I've been to Yellowstone many times. This is only my second up-close look at a Grizzly Bear. It really was a treat to see this big bear. His location couldn't have been any better. He was only about 30 yards away, but there was a wide swift-moving river between the two of us. I felt completely safe. Plus, I knew I could run a lot faster than most of the other people that stopped to look at him. I think there's a saying that goes something like this--I don't have to run faster than the Grizzly Bear. I just have to run faster than you! Ha-Ha!
Black Bear Facts and a Question--A Black Bear can be brown. A Black Bear can be blond. A Black Bear can be cinnamon. And, yes, a Black Bear can be black. So if it can be all those different colors, why is it called a Black Bear? It causes a lot of confusion. When a group of people gather to look at a bear, you often hear a conversation like this:
Frank: Oh, look Marge, a Black Bear.
Marge: That's not a black bear, Frank. That's a brown bear.
Frank: Yes, but it's still a Black Bear. It's just brown in color.
Marge: Oh, whatever. Looks like a brown bear to me.
Well, it is a brown bear. It's a brown Black Bear. Brown Black Bear. Blond Black Bear. Isn't that a contradiction in terms or something?
This blond Black Bear was sitting on a ginormous ant pile right beside the road.
He would scoop up a pile of ants and put them in his mouth.
Then he would rub his face with his paws to get the ants that had escaped his mouth off of his nose. It was very funny to watch.
Bear-ly Had Time To Doodle Stitch-- Or, would that be barely had time to stitch? I usually do a lot more doodle stitching in the car. We were so busy spotting things that I didn't stitch much this time. This is all the stitching I did...
When I finish this, I plan to pair this doodle with some red Full Moon Polkies. I think the two will look very bear-y smashing together. I know. Lame. I should probably go now.
We are home from our annual trek to Yellowstone National Park. I am a nut for that place. There are wild animal sightings galore. You know my affinity for seeing animals in their natural environment. Shucks. I even get excited when I find their poo. Remember this? I had to apologize here. I promise that this post has NO poop. (Check out this book, though. I didn't write it, but I could've. LOL!)
The wild animal count in Yellowstone went like this:
many birds of different feathers
two jack rabbits
several big horn sheep and one little lamb
herds of elk and their babies
lots and lots of bison and their calves
five black bear, and...
ONE GRIZZLY BEAR
Yep, we saw him. The biggest bear in the park. His picture is on a different memory card than I downloaded from today. I'll sneak you a peek of him on my next post. For now, here is some of the glory we saw.
This guy was eating ants right beside the road.
Isn't that blue the best color ever?
Some geyser action...
We drive by this geyser every year. It is the first time we've seen it spouting.
And the amazing Grand Teton mountains...
It is hard to capture such magnificence in a single frame.
And the wildest beasts of all...My girls.
Picture all seven of us in one hotel room. Every night when we headed to bed, I wanted to yell "Dog Pile". It's a good thing we like each other!
And my favorite...
Who says there's no such thing as a free ride? Doesn't Mr. B look thrilled?
That's kinda how I feel about the laundry piles I need to tackle. Oh, well. Loads and loads of laundry is a small price to pay for a few days visit to The Park.
Did you miss me? Silly me. Of course you didn't miss me. I didn't tell you I was going anywhere. I also used blog magic to make it seem like I was here doing something when I really wasn't. Can you tell where I've been?
If you guessed Florida, you're right. Mr. Handsome and I saved our pennies and our sky miles so we could take the fam to sunny Florida. I'd never been to Florida before. I can now tell you that I love that place. If any of you reading are from Florida, give me a little shout-out in the comments. Your state is a dandy. Now back to what I was saying. Mr. Handsome has a sister who is living in Tampa. She and her husband have five kids like us. We've been promising to visit. We finally did. The seven of us and Mr. Handsome's parents hopped a plane to Florida for Spring Break. We spent some of our time in Tampa. We also took some time to visit Minnie and Mickey in Orlando. Disney World was lots of fun, but very, very CROWDED. I'm a Montana girl. Not much for crowds. My favorite places we visited were the beaches around St. Petersberg and Venice. Lots of good shells and warm sunshine.
In between wandering the Magic Kingdom, shelling on the beach, screaming on the coasters at Busch Gardens (I rode on this crazy coaster. It should be called Shriekra, not Shiekra.), and playing with "the cousins", I stitched. Two doodles. All done. Tah-dah...
I was hoping to share more pictures of our adventure, but I keep getting an "error message" when I try to download to the computer from our vacation memory card. Since I have no idea what the error is, I'm going to save the pictures for later. Just know that we had a really good time being a family.
Life is good~
P.S. While I was gone, I peeked in on my blog every now and again. I enjoyed your comments very much. I was going to try to get back to each of you. In most cases, though, it seemed a little after-the-fact. Just know that your words always encourage me and make me smile. Thanks for visiting my blog while I was away. Toodles...
I had a whirlwind weekend. My little sister had a baby on Friday. (This deserves a post of its own. I will share pictures and more info later. Just know that my new neice is all sweetness and love. I have a crush on her, for sure!) My older sister and I made plans months ago, before we knew the baby was going to be a C-section scheduled for Friday, to see Phantom of the Opera in Spokane, WA on Saturday. So I left home on Friday, traveled to the lake to stay with my parents and visit my little sister and her new baby in the hospital, got up on Saturday and traveled with my big sister to Spokane, watched the Phantom (amazing!), stayed Saturday night in Spokane at the historic Davenport Hotel (beautiful!), shopped a little on Sunday before driving three hours to home. I got home Sunday evening just in time to wolf down a little pizza, correct homework, listen to piano practice, and tuck the girls in bed. Whew, I'm tired just writing about it!
It takes a while to recover from a weekend away. It is already Wednesday. I haven't been down to visit my sewing machine even once this week! Before I left for my whirlwind weekend, I stitched up this bag using some of Heather Ross' dog fabric from her Lightning Bugs collection. I love this fabric, especially the little chihuahua in the teacup.
I was sure I had lost my bag mojo after my last bag making attempt. I am pleased to report that everything seems to be fine.
Last week I also discovered Ottobre. I know. I'm always a little late to the party. Oh, well. I've never claimed to be cutting edge. LOL! Anyway, back to Ottobre. I'm dying to try some of the patterns in this magazine. The pattern sheet is a little intimidating...the measurements are all metric and there are lots of pattern pieces overlapping each other and confusing my simple mind. I think I can do it, though. I'll let you know how it goes.
We were going to go somewhere but things got complicated-- Gas prices are high. Hailey had a commitment at school. Mr. Handsome had a few projects at work that needed attention. The roofers were supposed to start working on the house. We had landscapers digging out our basement window wells. (What a change! Larger window wells means more light. Not that it's going to matter much to me. Paige is ready NEEDS to move to her room in the basement. That means I have to move out of my craft room [screams of no]. I fear I might be a gal without a place to land [sigh]. We're kicking around a few solutions. There's been talk of putting my craft room in a shed [ahem] studio in the backyard. More on that later...) Now, back to my original story... We were going to go somewhere, but in the end, we decided to stay put and do fun things right here in our own backyard.
Here's the picture tour.
Glacier National Park--Last Monday we drove to Glacier. We started our day with a hike to Avalanche Lake. It is a four-mile hike on the most beautiful trail in the park. The trail is so pretty that the journey is almost better than the destination.
Following our hike, we had a picnic lunch at the Lake McDonald Lodge. We ended the day with a hike to John's Lake, which should really be called John's Pond. We always have a good time catching frogs and salamanders here.
We didn't drive the Going to the Sun Highway this year because: a) we ran out of time; and, b) the road construction signs warned of long delays. The Going to the Sun Highway is one of the most spectacular drives I know of. As an added bonus, there are always mountain goats waiting to greet you at the top of the mountain. We tease that the goats are paid by the National Park service to stand and greet people when they get to the top of Logan Pass. It's always a treat to see them. I'm glad they like to hang out close to the road. I hope we will get to visit them next summer.
Garnet Ghost Town--Not far from home is an old gold-mining settlement that used to have a population of 1000 residents. We had fun peeking in the old buildings and looking for the items on our scavenger hunt list that we picked up in the visitor's center.
I'd never been to Garnet. It was fun to peek back into the past. The girls had a great time.
Boating and Swimming on Flathead Lake--Does it get any better than this?? This is the lake of my childhood. I grew up right on her shores. Sometimes you don't realize how lucky you are, especially when you are a child. I love the lake and so do my girls. Can you tell?
We also hiked around Holland Lake in the Swan Mountain Range. Forgot the camera. Big bummer! It was truly magnificient. We hiked to a falls at the base of the Swan Range that dumps into the lake below. From the falls, you can see across the lake to the Mission Mountains in the distance. Breath taking, I tell you. I wonder if the state of Montana would frown upon me building a house at the end of this trail. I think right beside the waterfall would be just perfect. Lovely views in all directions. Quiet. Fresh. Peaceful. Ahhhh...a girl can dream.
We wanted to tube down the Blackfoot River, but the weather didn't cooperate. On Monday, when we were in Glacier, it was a hundred degrees. No kidding. It would've been perfect for floating. Tuesday, the high was in the mid-seventies. By Wednesday, the high was only sixty seven. It slowly warmed up for the weekend, but not in time for us to venture down the river. It needs to be at least in the mid-eighties for a float to be any fun. Oh, well. There's always next year.
When I had down time, I worked on this.
This is just a little peek. I'll show more later.
One last question before I go--Have you ever thought your butt was much smaller than it is? Mr. Handsome, bless his heart, snapped a picture from behind of me and my oldest daughter walking on the trail (screams of horror). I will spare you the retina-burning image. I think I am done eating until 2009, though! I hope my grumbling tummy doesn't compromise my sunny dispostion! Hah, hah!
The June snow has melted. Summer is here! My family decided to spend the first official weekend of summer vacation in Yellowstone National Park. We always have a good time in the Park.
The geysers and hot pots are intriguing.
The wildflowers always put on a glorious display.
The vistas are amazing.
My favorite part of the Park, though, is the wildlife. I am a complete NUT for seeing animals in their natural environment. We saw lots and lots of animals this weekend. Yellowstone has a huge herd of elk and bison.
This time of year there are lots of babies...very cute! We also spotted some cranes, a few bald eagles, a moose, three coyotes, an owl, a badger, and BEARS! In four days, we spotted eight black bears. All of them were close enough to see without the binoculars. The most exciting bear encounter happened on one of our hikes. We rounded a corner. A mother bear and two cubs were standing right in the middle of the trail.
We backed away slowly and gave her plenty of space! She was kind enough to walk out where we could see her. Eventually, she took her cubs down an embankment and into the river to play. Bears are way cool. I was over the moon, I tell ya. I am thankful it was a mild-mannered black bear standing in the trail. (I know she looks brown...black bear can be brown, cinnamon, or black. Go figure!) We've seen a few Grizzlies on our Yellowstone trips. I fear this story would be a lot different if we had crossed paths with a Grizzly and her cubs!
Last, but not least, I had some time to doodle stitch in the car on the way to and from the Park. I have doodled something for you! I am giddy with the excitement of my very own giveaway. Stay tuned...
I am now home from a trip of a lifetime. As guests of the Chinese government, we were shown the best of China in a whirlwind tour that took us from Beijing, to Guillin, to Shanghai, and a couple of small towns in between. We walked The Great Wall, visited The Forbidden City, bicycled through the countryside, cruised the Li River, toured a silk factory, shopped Chinese markets, ate exotic foods...I could go on and on. The girls danced two big performances and participated in a few cultural exchanges with Chinese dance students. (A third performance was canceled because the nation was in mourning for the victims of the earthquake.) I won't bog down my blog with details of the trip. Instead, I will let my pictures do the talking. You know the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words..."
The trip exceeded my expectations. I marvel at the creativity of God every time I visit a new place. There are so many unique and beautiful things to see in our world. It is still good to be home, though. I missed Mr. Handsome and the girls, for sure. I also missed seeing blue sky, brushing my teeth with tap water, and inhaling a fresh breath of air. China is so beautiful but struggling mightily with pollution. I hope they will recover their fresh air someday.
On a different note, thank you for the lovely comments you left while I was away. I don't know when, or if, I will find time to respond to all of them. I read each one with a smile, though. Thanks, again.
Glad to be home,
PS-- Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Tinkerbell can't get enough of me. I guess all is forgiven. Whew!