Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Yellowstone Begins

BJ has been dying for someone to come up and see his life in Rexburg. His mom has made many trips but he wanted more people to come up. He really wanted to take his dad to the farm and milk cows, he wanted his sisters to see his place, he wanted people to just see what he has been doing in the year and a half that we have been gone. Rachel (the oldest) wanted to rent a cabin last Christmas for everyone to come and spend a weekend together but it just didn't work out. 

BJ then thought maybe she might be willing to drive and do Yellowstone with us. She was all for it! Since Matt would be in town we asked if he would be interested. Then we figured Liz is only 5 hours away and maybe she would be interested. Then we figured Helen and Bruce might want to come. Then Michele might be able to do it if she came up to her yearly Idaho trip for Sam at the same time. Then we invited Marie just in case she might be interested. At first most people said no it wouldn't work. BJ kept planning and had enough people say yes that we went ahead and found a campground 7 miles from Yellowstone that would let us reserve a group site. We need at least 25 people so we invited BJ's cousins in Pocatello. They have pretty much taken care of us since day one. They let us sleep at their house when I was 18 weeks pregnant and moving 2 states and having my car off in a ditch. They said they would come then about 2 weeks away from the trip everyone confirmed they were coming!

That is 32 people 6 of them teenagers 11 of them between 5 years and 3 months. 
BJ and I were so so so very excited to have everyone together for a family reunion. I made sure BJ planned everything. We assigned food assignments, planned out the park with input from all, had the camp ground ready, and places for people to stay.

It was a rough week getting ready though. I thought since I was going to clean my house I might as well do a deep clean. That meant scraping off all the dried food from base boards, washing all my walls, cleaning up junk in piles everywhere, watering my yard every single day. I was cleaning up until my deadline but I made it! I even got my house some what decorated too! 

Bruce, Helen, and Dan came up early to see Bruce's family. Wednesday they got into town and we had Big Jud's for dinner. Best place ever! Then the boys went off to the farm with BJ and Helen hung out with me and Rylee. It was so nice to spend time with Helen. It gave Rylee time to get use to her and show her all of her tricks and toys. I got to talk with her about everything and just relax before our trip.

Thursday we planned on feeding everyone breakfast. Marie, Salo and the twins came over with Matt, Camille and Lilli. We all hung out, ate food and chatted. BJ and Dan then went and worked on the car that BJ found for him (his DREAM car) while I finished packing up the camper. We then headed up to our camp ground to wait for everyone to get there.

Once we all got there we set up tents. It was tent city. All sizes from small 3 persons tent to luxury hotel 8 person tent! We heard there was a pizza place in West Yellowstone that was the best so we ordered pizza from there for dinner. I took charge and got an order from each family which was 9 pizzas and all different kinds. When I called it in they asked for my name. I told them Bruce Balls since he was paying and the kid didn't believe me! He asked if it was a joke or prank call. It took about 5 minuted to convince him I wasn't kidding and had a huge order to put in. He went with it but put it under the name "B" because you can't put "BALLS". I'm just soooo glad I didn't say my name was Krystal Balls. He probably would have just hung up on me. HA! 

Everyone made fun me the whole time because I am baby crazy. I tried to always have a baby in my arms!

Rylee did well playing with the older cousins. Most times she just wanted to wander but she would stop and play occasionally. 

The twins needed lots of snuggle time and their were plenty of people willing!

Boys chopping up the wood for fires

Grammy's tent looked so comfy that Rylee thought she needed to break it in for them and took a nap 

This one had the "porch" it was so funny to hear oh the kids are on the porch. I think I left it on the porch. So awesome!

We pulled all the tables together to have an eating area and fire pit

I loved when food came out because the kids came a running. Aunt Rachel was nice enough to go through all of her gogurts so each kid could have one

That night we did glowsticks thanks to Aunt Michele. We never really spent much time around the fire pit but when each family has a baby 1 or younger bed time comes a lot faster. That night we slept the best and were ready for a day in the park! 

Fun with Michele

Michele and Sam came up a week early to spend some time with Sam's Dad. We took that as us getting to spend more time with them too! Friday night I went to the farmers market with them. Then they invited us to go fishing the next day. BJ is big into fishing right now so we were up for it. We packed a lunch and drove out to a small lake. The Ashcraft's are very nice and it was fun visiting with Michele. Sam was nice enough to let Rylee use his sunglasses. She is a big fan of sunglasses. 
Sam caught 5 fish!

He was very excited even if they were tiny. He let them all go so they could play with their friends.

Rylee had no interest in fishing but if their is water she is all about playing in it. Thankfully the water didn't smell bad. She loved being in the water.

BJ even caught a fish. I was pretty excited! 

We also got invited to a BBQ that Sunday. We aren't ones to turn down free food. Sister Ashcraft had a ton of raspberry bushes and she was tired of picking them so she said I could pick as many as I want. Rylee and I love them so I picked a ton! Rylee ate all of them in 3 days. 

Camper Love

What do you do when you are out of school, bored out of your mind, and have a camping trip coming up? You buy a camper of course! I woke up one morning and told BJ I wanted a camper. So we went on good ole Craigslist and found this beauty!

It is a 1971 old school camper. Wood galore and dark brown tablecloth fabric every where. I couldn't pass it up. It sleeps 4 adults comfortably, has a heater, a stove, an oven, a sink, and lights that can run off of a car battery. 

 I figured if we put Rylee on the bed over the table and we slept on a full on the over hang we would be nice and comfy while camping.

It is small but has a ton of storage. The fridge doesn't work but we scored one from my sister in laws ex in laws that fits in the same spot so we will put that in at a latter date. You also have to have full hook ups to run it so I'm not sure how much use it will get. RV camp sites are pretty pricey. I'm thinking this bad boy is just for fun random trips out. We can even go in the winter time if we want! I really want to see Yellowstone in the winter. Can you imagine snow everywhere and seeing the hot springs and geysers going off. Sounds pretty cool to me!

Once we got this bad boy home I had knew I was going to redo it. It wasn't in the plans but I told BJ I wanted to paint and he said have at it! I have been DYING to paint where we live but since we rent we aren't allowed. I got my "redoing a living space" out of my system for awhile. It was hard work and a lot of time. Nap time and late nights made this bad boy pretty!

Of course I picked a pretty green color! Thanks to Pinterest I was able to convince the paint guy to tint my primer so I would only have to prime and not cover it with a color. I had him tint 2 gallons, antique white, meadow green. Thanks to the wood paneling we could easily do stripes without having to measure and tape off.

BJ was dying to paint the stove but I was weary of pulling it out and painting as well as putting it back in all before our big trip. It is the only thing not done. I even sewed curtains that weren't up yet when this picture was taken. The poor fabric lady spent a lot of time listening to my I want a cute pattern but sophisticated fabric ramble. The fabric I got was pretty cute and I actually did them like the youtube video said and didn't take the short cut like I wanted too. It made a big difference and finished it off too. Hopefully I will get a picture of them soon. We also put new flooring down. That was BJ's job. It looks so much better then a ugly plywood and made clean up go so much faster.

I tried my hand and covering the ugly brown fabric with a light brown fleece. I super suck at measuring for some reason and one side doesn't completely cover the dark brown and the other side has a patch like look to it. Oh well. I got it down and it looks 100 times better even if I can't do it right. BJ also installed his stereo and speakers so we can have music in there. 

It took many naps, many late late nights, and a lot of elbow grease but I think it looks so much better. It was a huge success on our Yellowstone trip. BEST night of sleep camping EVER! One night it got down the the 30's and my camper was set at 75. We all slept without the covers and it was amazing. We also cooked ourselves french bread pizza the second day in the park. It was nice to have a hot filling meal while out playing. BJ kept saying he nieces and nephews were going to love it. He was right! They called it their "clubhouse" and played it in the whole weekend. We didn't care. We have lots of stuff left over if they ruined something we could fix it later. It took a lot of convincing parents that we really didn't mind and loved that they wanted to play it. In the end it looks just like when we finished just a few crumbs here and there. Thanks my dad being a genius we were able to get it in the back yard to store it. This baby is going to be our new best friend!