New Habits, New Recipes

A couple of months ago Andy and I started a new weekend routine. On Saturday we look at the week ahead and see who is gone which nights and we make a meal plan for the week to get us through to the following weekend. We check the fridge, freezer, and pantry for inspiration and try to use up what we already have. Then we make a grocery list.

Sunday morning after church we head straight to the grocery store along with everyone else in our town, but with our list, it’s a 15 minute stop (thanks, Aldi!). We head home, make lunch, and often take a Sunday nap. Then Andy does laundry and I prep meals for the week.

I’m sure this sounds really boring, but the predictability of the routine has been really nice for us. It’s kind of like a re-set before the week begins again. And knowing what we’re cooking for the next 6 days takes all the, “UGH, what should we do for dinner tonight?” completely out of the equation. If we’re not feeling a meal one night, we’ll swap it for one we were planning to make later in the week, or for the always ready frozen pizza, so there’s flexibility. ūüėČ

Since we’ve chosen to make Sunday slow on purpose, we take our time and usually try a new recipe that night. Tonight Andy made this single sheet pan¬†Pesto Chicken¬†recipe with baby potatoes and pesto that was left over from a previous recipe, some chicken we already had in the freezer, and green tomatoes from this week’s local farm food share we joined.

 

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Not a Food Blogger.

It. Was. Amazing!

While he was making that, I started a new soup recipe we hadn’t made before, but we had a huge bunch of kale from the same farm food share, so I found this copycat Olive Garden recipe for Zuppa Toscana that was super simple with onion, potatoes, and kale. Hopefully, it’s good! We’ll have it tomorrow night for dinner.

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Still not a food blogger.

My friend Amber wrote recently about trading dinner with family or friends and I am totally into it! If you want to do this with me, hit me up- it doesn’t have to be once a week, it could be once a month- but I LOVE THIS IDEA! We’ve been trying a lot of new recipes lately and I’d be happy to cook one for you!

And if you have made anything you love that is even remotely healthy and delicious, I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Cooking ūüôā

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Practicing Sabbath

My husband and I have been in this two-year class at church where we learn about different spiritual disciplines to connect with God in new ways. One of the past retreats was on silence, solitude, and Sabbath. I quickly realized that silence and solitude were some of my strong suits, but setting aside a day of the week to intentionally rest for Sabbath was something I had entirely forgotten about.

I decided to give it a try and for my first attempt I shut off my phone for 48 hours and that was a nice break from technology/people. Another time I set a day aside to do things that were restful or refreshing, ie- no work or chores, just things I enjoyed. I read a whole book that day. I took a nap. It was lovely.

Then I forgot about it for a while and we had about three weeks in a row that were pretty bananas. All good things, but wildly busy and we have been intentionally less busy for the past two years so this kind of caught both of us off guard. We decided to try a Sabbath day together this weekend, and holy smokes it’s been wonderful.

Historically, Sunday has been our day to “get things done” like laundry, cleaning, errands. But we wanted to try a “be around home day” and a “buy nothing day.” To make this work, Andy woke me up from a cat-nap on the couch Saturday night at 7 and said, “Time to go to the grocery store!” We planned a quick week of meals, checked to see what ingredients we didn’t have, made a list, and zipped down the street to Aldi.

This morning we went to early church, then back home to make brunch. Andy left on a bike ride and I did the only part of work I would allow that day, helping write my Aunt’s resume that I had promised to do. I gave myself an hour time limit, stuck to that and then took a nap. Andy returned and he took a nap while I caught up with a friend out of state. I prepped veggies for the grill and Andy made dinner. He put on classical music which makes us feel like we’re older than we are, but it’s also proved to be really relaxing.

I sliced up more veggies and washed some fruit for us to enjoy this week for lunches and I mindlessly said, “I need to sweep and mop the floor.” Andy was quick to reply, “Not today, no work today!” I smiled- I appreciated how intentional he was being about today.

There was a moment with the windows open and the music on where I said, “Oh my gosh, why haven’t we been doing this every week?” There’s a reason that God suggested that we rest once a week. It’s like taking in a slow, deep breath before the new week begins. And I realize not everyone can take a whole day, but even fanagling a few intentional hours can make an incredible difference.

I’m off to do some reading next. But I didn’t want to let the day go by without recognizing how lovely it’s been.

Sabbath. What a great idea, God.

I didn’t marry my best friend

 

The idea of marrying your best friend seems like a relatively new one. When I was growing up and even dating, that wasn’t a big thing. But in recent years, I heard about it more and more. It sounds like a nice concept. Unless you’re like me and you know that you didn’t marry your best friend. Then the idea made me uncomfortable. Did I marry the wrong person? Should I have waited for my¬†best friend? Whoever that was?

I was in my mid-twenties and my husband was in his late twenties when we met. We had known each other for a few months casually before we started dating. Soon into dating, we started talking about marriage. We wondered how long we should wait to get engaged and we thought six months seemed reasonable. Andy proposed exactly six months later and we married a few months after that.

Did I love this man? Entirely. Was I committed? Absolutely. Was he my best friend? Um…. no. I had known him for barely over a year! I had shoes I’d known longer than him. Let alone my friends from childhood, high school, and college. I knew all their stories and they knew all of mine. These women were my collection of best friends. He was not my best friend– he was my husband. Even now I cringe while writing that because it seems socially unacceptable to admit, but it’s true.

Andy and I have had discussions about this over the years and he said I wasn’t his best friend either. He also came into our marriage with best friends from junior high, high school and college. Many of them stood with us on our wedding day to acknowledge the role and the history they held in our lives.

Two years into our marriage we started to make new couple friends and then we were a package deal, a two-for-one friend special. New friends would come into our lives to take the role of the best friend if even just for a season.

True confession- I actually hate the phrase ‘best friend’ and I’ve avoided naming anyone that my whole life. I always felt like it would leave someone out if I declared someone my best friend. So I’ve called my friends just, friends. Or, “friends we’re hanging out with a lot right now.”

Fast forward a dozen years and a road trip across the country later. Andy and I have built hundreds and hundreds of shared experiences into our relationship. With knowing each other for only a year when we got married, we simply didn’t have time and history on our side yet. But now we’ve gotten to know each other better than anyone else.

When something funny, good or bad happens, I want to tell Andy about it first. It wasn’t always this way. There were things I’d race to tell my friends or family. But that’s shifted over the years. It dawned on me recently that my husband is my best friend now. So I told him so over dinner one night. He smiled, considered it a moment, and said I’m his best friend too.

Imagine that.

Thirteen years after meeting him, I realize I did marry my best friend.

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A recent afternoon walk in the sunshine.

 

Crying is good for you

I’ve had a lot of tears the past month, seemingly out of the blue.

I cry every time I watch the moms on The Voice. They’re either clutching their hands or someone else’s and you can just tell they’re holding their kid’s whole heart in theirs and wishing every good thing for them. And when they cry tears of proud joy when their kid gets a judge to turn around? Then I’m officially a goner. Oh, and Grey’s Anatomy- I’m a season behind, watching it on Netflix, but shaeeessh- can we just talk about Maggie’s mom? In short, I’ve probably cried a few times a week for the past 4 or 5 weeks. And that is frequent for me.

A co-worker who knows me well and saw me falling apart asked if it was the anniversary of my brother’s death. I said, nope, just a random day! But I was missing my brother. And it’s weird to me how some days I don’t even think of my brother, and some days I think about him all day long. I feel guilty when I realize it’s been a few days since I consciously thought of him. Especially when other people, decades further along in their grief say they think of their loved one (brother, spouse, etc.) every day.

I have to imagine if I had died and my brother had lived, he would have some days where he didn’t think of me and I would know that didn’t mean he loved me any less. Maybe he just was going forward in his life. I hope that’s what I’m doing.

I had two really big sobbing fits over missing my brother in the past month, no three. One was on my birthday when I realized he wasn’t there to give me a hard time for celebrating my birthday for too long. He called it Missika, an 8 day festival of lights. Another was just a day I was thinking about how much I was enjoying our niece Charlotte and how wonderful she is, and I was sad he wasn’t here for each minute. Then most recently I just missed him so I scrolled through his facebook and at first I was smiling and happy to see his face, watch his videos, and hear his voice. But by the time Andy found me I was a puddle of tears and I physically ached with how much I wished he was still here.

So I tell myself the same thing I tell my friends when they apologize for crying; tears are healing.

There are studies that found chemicals released in tears actually help humans heal. Our tears can reduce pain, lower stress, remove toxins from our body and help us to self-soothe faster than an anti-depressant. It’s actually pretty cool. Especially for someone who’s become a professional crier over the past 4 years. I like knowing there are benefits to feeling like you’re falling apart.

My mom says I¬†never cried so easily until I came home from Kenya. Apparently, Africa broke my heart for the first time. But my brother’s death broke my heart wide open and left it raw and bleeding. It feels pretty stitched up these days. Just a leak every now and then.

This back and forth thing with grief is so unpredictable. I’m feeling mostly fine most of the time with plenty of joy, happiness and silliness sprinkled in like any other normal life. And then SURPRISE the rug is pulled out and I’m flat on my face weeping like the grief is fresh and new again.

Most grief moments still catch me totally off guard. And I still find myself grateful to have known Justin, to have loved him and to still be missing him so much, two years later. All the grief is worth it, for all the time I got to call him my brother.

Touch the hem of His robe

Today in church we read Matthew 14. The message honed in on the story of Peter getting out of the boat to walk on water. I was caught up in what happened just after that when Jesus got to the other side.

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

When my brother was sick I was praying all. the. time. Little bits of bible verses would come to mind and I would pray them for my brother. This passage reminded me of a similar story of the woman who had been bleeding for years. It’s found in Matthew 9, Luke 8 and Mark 5 where we get the longest account.

The story tells that crowds of people were pushing around Jesus and this woman thought to herself, if I can just touch his robe, I’ll get well. She got herself through the crowd and touched Jesus’ clothes. Instantly she felt the blood dry up (message version) and knew she had been healed completely. Jesus knew something had happened to and asked who touched him. The disciples were like, um… we’re in a crowd. Literally, everyone is touching you.

31¬†His disciples said, ‚ÄúWhat are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you‚Äôre asking, ‚ÄėWho touched me?‚Äô Dozens have touched you!‚ÄĚ

Jesus is persistent and says he felt power go out of him. The woman knows she has to fess up so she tells her whole story while she kneels at his feet.

And this is the best part. When Jesus responds he tells her¬†‚ÄúDaughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you‚Äôre healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.‚ÄĚ (Matthew 5:34)

Often when I would pray for my brother to be healed I would reference this story in my prayers. I would tell/ask God, hey— just let him touch the hem of your robe and be healed. Just a tiny piece of your power. Could you direct it to his body and heal him?

Going back to the verses we read today from Matthew 14.

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Reading it brought to mind all those prayers I had prayed. Prayers left unanswered for who knows why. Or maybe they were answered and my brother lived much longer than was originally intended. I have no idea, but I like that possibility.

Okay, back to these verses ^^

I love that all the surrounding areas were like, “Hey- Jesus is in town, bring all the sick to be healed!” And I imagined what it would be like if Jesus’ time on earth coincided with my little life right now. Jesus being in town, or just getting to the other side of a lake would be big news. I would have bought two airline tickets so fast to get my brother to wherever Jesus was. Just to push him through the crowds to touch the edge of His clothes so he could be healed.

When my brother died two years ago I yelled/prayed to God to remind Him that I was asking for my brother to be healed here, not in heaven!

So what do I do with these thoughts now? Knowing Justin could be sitting with Jesus this moment? Heck, maybe he has touched the hem of His robe!

Image courtesy of: Hem of his garment, "Faith that Touches" sermon at http://icdpentecostal.org

The truth is- I don’t know what to do with these thoughts. And to be honest they don’t come with as much frequency as they used to. So when they do, I just write them down to make note of them. To remember.

The only thing I can think to say is what my dad said just the other day. “It’s weird that he’s not here.”

Six short words. But it sums up all my feelings too.

 

Grief Anniversary, year 2

Two years ago on May 13th, my brother died. As the days got closer to May 13th this year I cried more often, remembering the days before he died. 1 year ago our family got together on the anniversary of his death for breakfast. This year we were invited to a birthday party on my husband’s side of the family. I planned to attend while knowing if I needed to bail on the day of, that would be fine too.

Just a few hours before the party when I couldn’t stop crying, my husband suggested I opt out of the party. The next thing he suggested was a nap. It was the first thing I said yes to all day. I was in a weird mood, like a brain fog and every question he asked me I answered with, “I don’t know.”

The morning started out not too abnormal. After crying in the bathroom I tried to put a sentence together for Andy and all I could think to say was, “I used to have a brother and I don’t have one anymore.” ¬†It’s a weird thing my brain does. I imagine what I would do if he was still here. Things I would text him that I find while out in the store. Questions I would ask him about family. I imagine we’d be hanging out more often than we did. Which I don’t even know is accurate, but in my pretend fantasy, we do.

A friend came over for a walk. We picked lilacs from the neighbor’s yard and rearranged our living room furniture. ¬†I don’t know why rearranging furniture is good for the soul, but it is for me.

After she left, my husband and I divided some hosta in the front yard. We gave some to a new neighbor we met that morning and the rest we replanted. ¬†We planted some basil and then I didn’t know what to do next.

My mind got a little twisty and I couldn’t seem to shake the repeating thought of, “my brother’s gone, my brother’s gone.”

May 13th is hard. His birthday is way better. On that day we’ve gathered with family and celebrated the day he came into this world. The day he left this world is so much more somber. I hope to eventually treat the day differently. Several hours into the day I called my mom and she¬†said she kept telling herself it was Saturday instead of focusing on the date. What a simple strategy. I tried it and it worked well enough for me to get in the car to go to a family birthday on my husband’s side of the family.

As May 13th approched, my friends came closer. The first messages I received were from a friend¬†in Washington DC, followed by friends in Kenya and St Louis Park the day before my brother’s anniversary. Then Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nebraska and Oregon. Family and framily from Corcoran, St Michael, Maple Grove and Chanhassen rounded out the messages. Each person simply checking in, acknowledging the day and remembering with me.

Each message meant a lot because each person took time to remember, and then they did the hard part, they acted. The got out their phone and sent a message.

Maybe it’s because words are a big deal to me, but it meant a lot.

It meant a lot that all these people who have their own lives, they stopped to acknowledge and remember something important that happened in mine two years ago.

Shifting Memories

‚ÄúGrief, I‚Äôve learned, is really just love. It‚Äôs all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go‚ÄĚ ~ Jamie Anderson

The way I talk about my brother’s death has changed over the months and years. When people ask if his death was sudden I used to say yes. Then somewhere along the way, I said, well, others probably saw it coming but it was a surprise to me. Later I added an explanation, “I was too close to see it coming. I didn’t want to accept the possibility, so it was sudden to me.”

Then this morning, facebook showed me a reminder that 2 years ago on this date, 2 weeks before my brother died, we were looking into PCAs to help during the day and my brother was eating more than he had been. We were planning for his strength to increase.

I didn’t make up my surprise. I don’t need to justify the timing of events. It was sudden.

There was a big shift in a short period of time from– okay- this is the next step to get some strength to- oh shit- there is nothing else to do.

I read that post this morning and then I got out of bed. I walked to my closet, held onto the door for support, and I wept.

Sometimes a memory brings all the weight of the loss right to the surface. And there’s nowhere for the love to go but through my eyes.

Prayer & Death

This is something I wrote for our church recently.

The Story Project

At the start of a new year I decided I wanted to learn to pray better. Eight months into that year my brother was told he had germ cell cancer with two tumors in his chest. I cried and I prayed.

His chemo treatments started and I relaxed. There was a plan. So many of us prayed for his total healing, and by Christmas he was cancer-free. The cancer was stubborn and returned multiple times to his brain and spine with different treatments to remove it each time. A year later my brother went through a stem cell treatment out of state. He received a great report, there were lots of tears and praising God for his healing. And then the cancer returned.

My stomach dropped at each new diagnosis and relaxed at each new treatment. It was a twenty month roller coaster ride that ended abruptly. When the doctors…

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WA camping and God on the beach

In between visits with family and friends we’ve had some good camping nights just the two of us. Our¬†night in La Push, WA was especially fun because we weren’t even planning to go to Olympic National Park, but then, we did. And once we were over there, we needed to find a place to camp. There was a campsite in the woods not far from First Beach, but it was full. We drove past a place on the ocean that had cabins but it said no vacancy. Getting a campsite/room has often become my responsibility with Andy parking the car and saying, “go do your thing.”

I walked in and spoke to the woman at the counter. I mentioned I saw the no vacancy sign, but wondered if she knew anywhere we could tent camp. She brightened and said, “Tent camp? We have two spots left on the beach if you want to see them!” We did and we happily took one. The Native American reservation we were on limits spots on the beach due a big fire that happened there years ago.

The beach¬†was beautiful and quiet with not to many other campers, and the roar of the ocean was loud. Andy walked up and down the beach first. He came back with some rocks he wanted to bring home to my step-dad who loves all kinds of rocks. Later, I walked up and down the beach and found one rock I thought was pretty cool. I put it next to Andy’s outside our tent (which was on the little rocks) near our tent pole so we could find them in the morning.

There was a beautiful sunset- the whole night was like a dream.¬†Falling asleep to the sound of the waves was something I didn’t expect to do on this trip and it was amazing.

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First Beach in La Push, Washington

This was my view when I woke up the next morning!

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Happy Camper! (Insert Jim Gaffigan camping quote here)

See all those rocks on the beach? They all look roughly the same. So when we took down the tent I didn’t think about moving our special hand-picked rocks. I bumped a pile with my shoe and remembered and went back to the corner we had placed them, I found Andy’s but not the rock I had picked.

I know this sounds silly, and it is, but I was particularly fond of that rock. It was mostly grey but had a big white¬†spot on it with some pretty shiny parts¬†going through it¬†and it was-in my humble opinion- a unique rock compared to the others which was why I had picked it up. But that rock was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t with Andy’s rocks.

Andy picked his favorites to bring to my step-dad and helped me look for a little bit and then he headed back down over the creek, and across the logs with most of our stuff to start loading the car. I let him know I was going to look a little longer.

And then I did something even sillier. I prayed about it. I said, “Okay God- I know this is just a rock and I know there are¬†far more pressing things in the world than this rock so I completely understand if you don’t answer this prayer, I just really liked that rock, so if you wanna help me find it- cool, and if not- I totally get it.”

I stood there staring at the same hundreds of rocks, and I slowly started moving piles of them with my shoe back and forth and back and forth. They all looked the same. This went on for several minutes (I was dedicated) and then, all of the sudden, there it was. That same silly rock, mostly grey with shiny white. And how did I respond, like a normal person, perhaps?

I burst into tears.

It was a swell of emotion so abrupt I caught myself off guard. All I could think of was verse after verse in the bible where God talks about knowing every hair on our head, every tear that falls is kept in a bottle, the story Jesus shares about going to look for the one lost sheep or the lost coin, how very, very valuable each human is to God.

And to think that the God of this universe cared enough about me in that moment to remind me that He is with me, listening and loves me enough to let me find a special rock- well… that’s beyond¬†cool. I can’t find the words to describe the feeling.

Side¬†note here: I’m choosing not to read into this any further and wonder about all the hundreds of people that were praying for my brother to live and he died, but God gave me a rock?! I really don’t believe in the phrase “everything happens for a reason” because I don’t think it does. But I do believe “God’s timing is perfect.”

For one example, I look at my sister-in-law’s life now and though I wish my brother was still here- I can’t help to see that God is doing an amazing thing in knitting together her new family, in the way He provides for her, and for her daughter, and I can’t deny that God works through really crappy situations to bring good out of them too (my paraphrase of Romans 8).

Okay- but back to the rock. Honestly– what are the chances I could have found it again? Look at that picture! They all look the same- and maybe from God’s view of the earth all people look the same, but He can pick any of us out of the crowd and say, “Hey you- yes YOU, I see you, I hear you, I know you, I’m with you, I love you. Let’s spend some time together.”

We’re not unknown to Him. He’s with us, loving us and listening¬†to us-¬†even when we don’t (even when I don’t) remember that simple truth.

First Days on the Road

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Teddy Roosevelt National Park, channeling my inner Ansel Adams

Last week we left town for three-ish months on the road. As I hugged my mom goodbye she said, “Have enough fun for all of us who wish we could go with you!” I told her that was a lot of fun but we’ll do our best.

Here are some highlights of our first few days.

We arrived¬†at our first stop,¬†Teddy Roosevelt National Park in ND¬†in the¬†pouring rain. Andy said, “Let’s go take a pic at the scenic overlook!” and he took off running. I yelled, “Oh, you’re serious!” as I pulled up my rain jacket hood and ran after him. We took a pic and got soaked. It was a great first stop.

After the rain moved on we drove through the park and we got out to do a hike. Andy said it was like walking in mud slippers as the clay stuck to our hiking shoes. There were sage bushes everywhere that smelled amazing.

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Andy’s mud slippers

After this hike we did another short one. At the end of the trail there were a couple benches to take in the scenery. Andy jumped up on one and yelled, “I’m the King of the World!” Excited to be the Kate Winslet to his Leo I jumped up too and grabbed his arms ala Titanic. Andy did a quick jump back and he does this on heights sometimes to fake me out like he’s falling. But then I heard him whisper, whoa! I followed his gaze and about 15 feet away was a huge buffalo eating some grass on the hill just below us. We stood frozen, watching him, until the buffalo made eye contact and I whispered in Andy’s ear, “time to go!” We walked briskly back to the car and watched as the buffalo walked right up the trail we had just been on. Very cool, but we don’t need to be that close again!

It was nearing sunset at this point so we needed to find a place to sleep. The park campground was full but I had seen a run down¬†sign that said “campsites” with an arrow a couple miles back in Medora, so we went to check it out. There was karaoke going on outside and that sealed the deal. After we set up the tent we went back to listen and cheer on the brave singers as they sang everything from Achy Breaky Heart and a teen who killed it with¬†Halo by Beyonce. Andy even did a duet with another camper of Sweet Caroline for the closing song of the evening.

I kept smiling all night telling Andy this was my best camping experience ever. Every campground should have live karaoke. This was the perfect ending to a really great first day of the trip.

The second morning we did some more hikes in Teddy Roosevelt National Park, the sky was spectacular and looked like a Microsoft background of clouds had been laid behind each gorgeous view we were treated to hike after hike.

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After a few hours we hit the road again to head to Montana. We stopped at Pompeys Pillar that has the last physical evidence of Lewis and Clark’s original exploration from when Clark etched his name into the rock and dated it on July 25, 1806. Next we drove to a family friend’s home in Joliet, MT which had gorgeous views of its own. She treated us to a home cooked meal and great¬†conversation, so kind and fun- she even sent us off with homemade cookies!

We drove into Red Lodge the third¬†morning and took the Beartooth Highway, the highest elevation paved highway¬†in the northern Rocky Mountains. It’s 68 miles total but takes about 3 hours to cover due to the slow speeds for the switchbacks and hairpin turns. Also, it’s beautiful so there was lots of stopping to take in the views.

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Overlook in the Beartooth Mountains

We slept in Wyoming at a campsite next to Beartooth lake, making our fourth night in a row of sleeping in a different state each night. The next morning we drove to Yellowstone National Park and did some exploring of the Lamar Valley as well as taking in the sights of the lower falls near Canyon Village.

At one point we pulled over to watch a bison who was eating some grass. Andy was in the driver’s seat and I had my door open to take some pictures. Suddenly the bison started walking toward our car so I closed the door but kept taking pics through the¬†open window.¬†It was less than 10 feet away¬†before Andy yelled, “Holy, Wow, Sheesh!” and¬†hit the gas and got out of the way.

After leaving Yellowstone we found¬†a taco bus for a late dinner, with authentic Mexican and handmade tortillas in West Yellowstone. The back half of the bus was converted to a kitchen and the front half had bar stools and a small counter for diners. Maybe we were just hungry, but we both said¬†it was the best tacos we’ve ever had.

Once we were¬†tucked into our campsite in West Yellowstone, at about 12:30 am lightning filled the sky and the rain poured down on us. It was the worst rainstorm we’ve seen while camping since our small group camping adventure in 2008 (remember that, friends?). The storm lasted for 9 more hours. We stayed dry and packed up the sopping wet rain fly and tent the next morning.

We’re now visiting with Andy’s parents¬†who are vacationing in Big Sky, Montana for the week with beautiful mountain hikes and views. It’s wonderful¬†being in one place for longer than 12 hours, and the chance to sleep in a bed and wash hands in a sink- oh the little things I had forgotten I take for granted!