August 2010: Nature calls

Crabbing continues...

Let's catch them,
Let's cook them,
Let's eat them...

The Butler's will be missing
all this fun... They are moving back to England. They have a lot on their plate - house fixes & sale, schools, furniture packing, job transfer... Best of luck to the whole family!

Ambroise's very first birthday party.
Theo was there to show him the ropes.
Thanks for inviting us Amelie!

At the beach with the DiPaolo girls

Then Abe's 1st birthday!

At the Stypa's, the boys are in charge of a beach BBQ.

"Some things never change!" Ambroise vs. Theo
Ambroise and Madeline have exactly the same facial expressions!

Beach time!

Not such a good idea to play with a balloon and a fork

Eating applesauce all by himself.

Vacation time! Where can you go as a family with such diverse ages and interests? We decided to do a trip somewhere we've never been but always wanted to visit..... Try to guess. It's a National Park.

A hint: you need to fly to get there, somewhere in the North West, around Montana, Idaho and Wyoming....

The girls got Ambroise on the flight over. Despite what this photo says, it didn't go very well on the way in.

[From the editor: still much better than on the way back, which was when the boys were in charge...]
The park is big. Very big actually. You can drive through it for days.

We took the RV option... and we fell in love with this style of travelling/lodging!

How else can you change a diaper/ take a shower/ take a nap/ cook dinner/ play games/ drink coffee/ watch a movie/enjoy the scenery/ go for a hike.... all while driving?

o need to pull over! No need to pack and unpack every day! It is like having a moving hotel.

So did you figure it out?

Yellowstone National Park!!!!

Get yourself ready, and open your eyes wide!

Ambroise sure is opening his.

Beartooth Highway

Lamar Valley

Canyon and Falls

Hiking this canyon started like this,

... a long walk, with many stairs

which gets a bit hard on Ambroise

(who, as you can see, isn't convinced at all about this family smiling face business)

And, naturally, it ended up like this:

Walking in a backpack is so exhausting!

Norris Geyser Basin

(Ambroise isn't quite convinced yet about this family smiling face business again)
Mammoth Hot Springs

The "Boiling River"
where a boiling hot spring flows into an icy river. So you have find the right spot - not too hot, not too cold.

How about the Heated Pool at Chico?

(Ambroise is getting closer to buying this family smiling face business.)

Or simply some family life... while on the run?

Ambroise learns to catch smoke...

On to Bozeman!
What a great town, with a fantastic park with a swimming pool.

(Ambroise still have a few thoughts about this family smiling face business, but he's made his mind - 99% there.)

And a microbrewery of course

Ambroise sticks with milk and a baby mozart DVD

Pioneer Museum

The Museum of the Rockies was fabulous.
If you have an interest in paleontology, that is THE place, but Ambroise isn't into that either, quite yet...

Hyalite National Forest

Some of us were not so happy
about all these nature hikes

But all is forgotten when smores come.

Same place, different times:

On to the Lewis and Clark caverns where we met up with the Terrell- Diede's.

Friends for 30 + years
On to an old mining town

with its bank, post office, newspaper printing shop, church, jail, barber...
two general stores

and its colorful inhabitants

West Yellowstone Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.

The kids got to hide food under the rocks for the Grizzly bears to find. How cool!
Ambroise learns to howl like a wolf

Bison for dinner... the kids wave to the cars... we play Apple to Apples... time with old friends is like family time.

Here is what Elizabeth has been inviting us to... every day:

Quake Lake

This lake appeared overnight, when an earthquake in 1959 caused a landslide that blocked the river.
The original road is still down there.

Time for a swim?

Ambroise is standing by himself!

My boys!

Elizabeth bought some expensive Dwell Studio disposable bibs for the trip (so cute!).
They turned out to be a total waste. Plastic grocery bags work much better, even the Walmart ones (shame on us!!!)

Upper & Lower Basin

Parental supervision, did you say?

Old Faithful and its surrounding valley.

The famous geyser erupts every two hours.

And the Old Faithful Hotel (built entirely out of Yellowstone trees)

Bath time on the run

Milk and a baby mozart
Hey! get off my road!

Nature calls!!!

Every day landscapes

There used to be a forest on this hill, until heat boiled the roots!

A bison fell into this mud pot a few years ago... It smelled like stew for a week!

The effect of fires can be seen everywhere for years, especially the 1988 fire, which burned half of Yellowstone.

Fires are considered part of the forest life cycle, as longpole pines need them for germination.

But even the best things come to an end. <<Sigh>>
Thank God, the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, right outside the park, is one of the most spectacular drives.

Cody, Wyoming
Buffalo Bill, his wife Louisa and his adoptive children

Line dancing,

and a great steak dinner

Ambroise slept in the RV, but we kept an eye on him through the baby monitor.

The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is amazing.We went 2 days in a row.
Theo created his own masterpiece

Ambroise got lots of space to crawl.

15 months old!
We celebrated with margueritas (virgin for the kids)

The kids participated in a calf chase

and tested their equestrian skills

Ghost town

Last night at a campground let's get dirty!

... and enjoy the pool

See you soon!

(and now, Ambroise is now fully supportive about this smilling face business... perfect timing.)