The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Sun Basket meal delivery

First, let’s be clear. This is not an advertisement. Companies are not knocking down my little door to gift me their products! But, I’ve long thought about using a meal delivery service. Since I’m gluten free, this used to be the only one available to me (I feel like others may have added gf to their menus?). I got on their mailing list a year or so ago after I checked out the menus, and when they offered me a huge discounted deal I signed up.

What is it? Sun Basket is a meal delivery service. I choose three meals (enough food for two people, which works perfectly for us) each week and they send me a box with all of the ingredients and the recipes. All of their ingredients are organic, and you can upgrade to have organic proteins if you want. I love that part, because it’s right there with the cost when you select the meal.

The meals are delivered on Wednesday which I thought would be really difficult, but it hasn’t been an issue. Almost everything we’ve made takes 20-30 minutes, which is easily doable on a weeknight and honestly, shorter than most of the recipes that I would have chosen. It’s also nice to have a meal that’s a little more special on the weekends.

We’ve gotten three boxes so far, which adds up to nine meals. Out of those nine, only two have been complete fails. One had glass noodles which we thought would be cool, but tasted really odd. The other was coconut shrimp, and I hated the taste. Oh wait, there was a sole arrabiata that was a fail as well. Clearly no more fish for us! But we all loved the two steak dishes we made, as well as both pork chop meals. There was a chicken one in the middle too that we liked.

On the upside, the girls have helped me cook every single one of these meals. The directions are clearly laid out, and they love helping. My kids are not necessarily the kids where if they help make it, they totally eat it, but I still love the help in the kitchen. I’ve noticed that many of the recipes are a protein along with some sort of salad/vegetable. I’m horrendous at planning side dishes, so I’ve loved this. The girls almost never eat the vegetable, but they will at least try a bite or two.

Verdict? We’ll definitely keep ordering, but only when we can find three recipes that really excite us. It’s $80 for the three meals, which is a lot. It definitely lessens my grocery bill, but not if we don’t like the meal. The best part is that it has been INSANELY amazing not to have to plan every single meal every night. And, we’ve all been excited about most of these meals which is also nice! Maybe we’ll do it twice a month? Add a little variety into things, and then our old stand by meals won’t get worn out. I document whatever we make on my instastories if you’re interested in following along! (I’m erinkrohn!)

If you’re interested in checking out Sun Basket, here’s our referral link. Full disclosure, we get $40 credit!

https://www.sunbasket.com/invite/Erin890181

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Girls Weekend

Internets, meet Becca. Becca and I were in a challenge group together and as part of the challenge, they wanted to you have an accountability partner. Someone you could bounce ideas off of and collaborate with, and so you could hold each other accountable for the things we were supposed to be doing. There was a map with everyone’s locations and we were the only two in the Midwest. There were states and states before you found another person! So I reached out, and a beautiful friendship was launched. We went from being complete strangers, to messaging each other every day.

Back in April I went to her birthday party, and this weekend she came here for the Rodan + Fields convention. Neither of us were going to convention, but it’s still way more fun to watch it with friends. Saturday morning we headed over to my friend and teammate Amy’s house to watch the Keynote and breakout sessions, which was so fun! They dropped some pretty amazing news, and I’m so glad I was with them when I heard it.

Saturday was hot, but after sitting and watching everything, we were both dying to stretch our legs. We tried to wait until it cooled off, but it just wasn’t happening, so we grabbed two of the dogs and went for a walk. It was fun to show her my neighborhood and all of the houses that I love on my walking route. It was also perfect timing because it was dusk, so we could see into everyone’s houses! I forget how fun that is! I had to carry Lark most of the way so I was pretty sweaty when we got back, but it was just what we both needed.

R+F has brought so many amazing things into my world, first and foremost is the amazing friends I’ve made through it. It’s also reconnected me with so many of my friends. When I made the decision to join R+F, I also made the decision to be more social again. When you’re a single mom and an introvert, it’s really easy to just stay home and not make plans with people. I made up all sorts of reasons in my head why people wouldn’t/couldn’t get together with me. But you know what? It was all garbage. Reach out, ask to grab breakfast together, ask to go for a walk together, ask to watch your favorite show together! Girl time heals the soul.

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Thursday

Things are pretty quiet around here, but that’s probably a good thing right?

* Week 2 of school has been going well. Delaney has a lot of new to her faces in her classroom, so I’ve been hearing new names which has been fun. Two of the names I’m hearing a lot are boys! Which I really like. Maybe that will give her a little less drama this year?

* We’ve been taking the dogs for a walk every night and I love it so much. It gives us some awesome family time together and I love hearing about their day while the dogs get some exercise.

* Summer is my favorite time of year for the weather, but I do love September for the weather plus the lack of plans. It’s so nice to have our evenings and weekends free!

* It’s the Rodan + Fields convention this weekend and while I’m not going, I’m super excited to get together with my team and R+F friends to watch virtually and hang out. This gig has brought the best people (back) into my life!

* Tonight it’s back to evening riding lessons. I loved our morning lessons, it was such a great way to start our day, but I’ve missed our Thursday evening friends! It will be fun to catch up with the other barn moms tonight!

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Weekend!

I took zero pictures this weekend! Ugh! I hate when I do that, but it also means that maybe it was a successful weekend if my phone was put away for most of it?!

Friday evening we got outside and did some serious yard work. The lawn was way long, so we had to mow it twice, AND rake. Never fun. While the girls tackled that, I weeded and weeded. The lawn is actually looking good, but I have so many thistles and crab grass and other weeds in my landscaping! It didn’t seem to matter how often I got out there, they multiplied at night! Next spring I’m going to put a heavy layer of mulch down in the hopes that that controls things.

Saturday. We had a lot to get done on Saturday plus the weather was perfect so I didn’t want to be stuck in the house all day. After breakfast the girls headed to the neighbor’s house to play. I was amazed at how much I got done while they were gone! They can be helpful, but I was able to just clean and organize, without having to constantly give them jobs to do and curtail their whining. After piano lessons (both girls are happy to be playing again which I love!) we ran some errands then came back home and enjoyed the day. I was able to get a run in, the girls rode their bikes, and we took the dogs for a long walk after dinner. We live on a fairly quiet street, and the neighbors were out in full force! Everyone was outside playing or going for a walk. It was so fun running into everyone and chatting.

Sunday. Cleaning day. It was rough, but we started with brunch at the club because that was one less mess I was going to have to clean up. The main focus for our day was the basement. It had gotten out of hand over the summer and needed some serious attention. The girls organized their legos and put away all of the tiny pieces that end up everywhere. They also moved everything so we could vacuum and mop. We ended up deciding to move/get rid of their small table. They don’t use it, it just ends up collecting things, and it gives them more space for their legos. While they did that I attacked my room. So dusty! Ugh. I cleaned and organized and the whole room feels so much better. We wrapped up our basement cleaning early enough for the girls to go and play, and for me to finish tackling the rest of the house. I felt so proud of myself for dealing with the basement, only to come upstairs and realize I still needed to sweep and mop upstairs, plus clean the kitchen. That moment was a little deflating. I really do hate cleaning, but it feels so good to have a clean house again.

I always say the perfect weekends are when we are productive and social, and I feel like we mostly checked those boxes off.

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First day of Fifth Grade!

I’ve posted pics to Facebook and Instagram, might as well go for the trifecta right? At least I’m posting different pictures to each site?

Caden has her best friend in her room this year so she’s super excited.

Delaney wore this shirt last week at horse camp and all the girls commented on how cute it was. I love that she chose it to wear for the first day of school.

While I adore this age, I know so many changes are coming for us. I think this year will be a growth year for all of us, whether we’re ready for it or not.

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Vacation – Days until the end – Jackson, WY

Delaney really, really wanted to see the Grand geyser go off. We checked the geyser times again on Sunday morning and it just wasn’t going to work out. It would have taken up our entire day and we were all really looking forward to hitting the pool and relaxing so we skipped it. We took our time eating breakfast and packing up since our room wouldn’t be ready until after noon and it was only a 3 hour drive.

I’ll be completely transparent here, it was right around this time that my anxiety kicked into high. I’ve thought about why I got super anxious and there are a ton of reasons. I was out of my routines, I was away from my dogs, and I’ve realized that both of those things ground me. When my anxiety kicks in it’s a repeat of “I need to go home, I need to go home to my dogs” over and over in my head. I threw out the idea of just driving home but we all decided that we really wanted to see Jackson. Long story longer, I had a moment by the pool the next day where a wave of anxiety came over me and I made the executive decision for us to come home a day early. If I did this trip again I would consider doing it in an RV, so I would have some semblance of a home base. It’s also made me rethink how I would do future long trips (Hawaii, Europe).

Overall, I learned so much about myself, my parenting, and my kids on this trip. It was truly an amazing experience. It pushed me in a lot of ways, and it bonded us in so many ways as well. My one regret is that the girls saw me a few times in some seriously anxious states. Since the trip they check in with me frequently “Mom, are you okay?” Ugh. Maybe it’s good that they don’t see me as wonder woman? But I also hate that they feel like they need to take care of me.

Back to the trip! We pointed the truck south east and drove through Idaho. The countryside here was so interesting. Very few towns, lots of ranches. Throughout this entire trip I never let my gas tank get much below half full and that proved to be smart over and over. Around lunch time we drove through the cutest town ever and we were all smiling as we saw a smoothie shop! We’d been craving fruit so this was perfect! It was all such a nice departure from Wyoming. Loved both states, but we are a family who needs some variety.

Once we checked into our hotel I hit the grocery store. I had rented a condo and the plan was to cook breakfast and lunch. This was amazing. Just being able to do this helped my mood!

I should back up. Our hotel was in the town of Jackson. A lot of people stay out in Teton Village and I had looked at hotels there, but ultimately tried to save a little money. I had no idea the geography, but it ended up being a super happy choice. Jackson is small and super walkable, and we absolutely took advantage of this multiple times per day. We were just 3-4 blocks from the downtown area which had gift shops, cafes, restaurants, and tons of amazing shops. It was everyone’s favorite thing. We walked into town in the morning, we walked into town for dinner, we took night time ice ream walks. It was absolutely the best part. We shopped, we ate, we laughed, we petted all the dogs. There are some really amazing restaurants, and almost all of them were awesome with the gluten free options. Also, our hotel had a small, but very kick ass pool and hot tub. It was right on kind of a main road, but it didn’t matter.

The one thing on my list to do was to take the tram up the mountain and eat waffles! It was cold up there! But the waffles were amazing. The tram takes you up to 10,000 feet I think?

Crazy views, but it was also pretty hazy from the wildfires.

Once up there, people were talking about hiking across to the gondola. We needed something more to do rather than just ride up and ride down, so I decided we needed to do this hike. Yikes. It was a pretty strenuous hike, but we laughed our way through it and talked about what we were going to eat when we got to the other side. Luckily, there were arrows that marked the way, but it was a crazy hike!

I tried to take some pictures and we tried to look up occasionally and take in the views, but there were some spots were you really just had to focus on the ground in front of you.

Our last day we ate breakfast, then walked into town to hit the shops for the things we wanted to buy but for whatever reason hadn’t yet. I really wanted a nice necklace, but couldn’t find anything that I couldn’t leave Wyoming without. I did find a cool pair of earrings though! Actually two pair! Both of which I’ve worn already. We also grabbed some sub sandwiches and a salad for me for dinner on the road. We left town at 2:30, and it was a 7.5 hour drive. I purposely left late because I knew we wanted to spend as much time in Jackson as we could, and then just sleep in South Dakota. You really don’t drive through many towns though, so I’m so glad we packed food! I am not a fan of driving in the dark on two lane roads in Wyoming, so those last few hours were rough but we made it. The last day of driving was 9.5 hours and that was a long one! We pushed through to Mitchell for lunch, but Culver’s took forever. Most of our stops were just 15-20 minutes, and we were there for probably an hour which sucked because then we didn’t get into Mankato for dinner with my parents until late. But I will say, I found that I didn’t mind the long drives as much as I thought I would. We listened to podcasts and for the most part, the drive flew by.

Maybe wrap up thoughts later this week? We shall see!

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Vacation Day 9 – Yellowstone

Our last day in Yellowstone! We were up bright and early. When I called in to book our horseback ride, I asked the Yellowstone lady what other activities she recommended and she said the boat tour on Lake Yellowstone. Since it started at 10:30, we allowed an hour and a half to get to the marina. We were running early though, so we stopped off at the Upper Falls area on our way. So pretty! I’m glad we stopped here when it was early, because I’m guessing it gets busy.

We may have also needed to stop because we all needed to go to the bathroom. Too much coffee!

This kid. She waited outside the bathroom for us and entertained herself.

You hear and see so much about the bison, but we were on our fourth day in the park and hadn’t seen any yet! Apparently, they’re all in one area. As we were driving we saw this huge herd off in the distance so we pulled over to check it out. We had no idea what was coming up! (There were two male bison totally fighting over there. They’re in rut, so everyone is a little testy.)

She loved taking selfies! I’ll say it again, but age 10 is just the perfect age for this trip. The girls were self sufficient, but also engaged in what we were doing. They were able to easily handle all of the time in the car (getting anywhere in Yellowstone is a 45 minute drive minimum), and they got super excited about everything we saw.

After the huge herd, we stopped in to see the mud volcanoes and this guy was just hanging out! You are supposed to stay something like 100 yards from bison, but that’s not always possible! I quietly took a picture and moved on.

I think this is called Dragon’s Mouth? I LOVED it. So cool. All smoke and bubbling and it just looked eerie.

As we were walking back to the car we saw two bison in the parking lot. At this point, we thought we were the luckiest people ever! And then we pulled back onto the road and headed into Hayden Valley and they were everywhere! When you hear about traffic being stopped because there is bison on the road, this is the area they’re talking about. They were on both sides of the road, as well as on the road! Our lane of traffic was continuing to move along, but the other side was completely stopped by this guy!

A little farther down, more herds. They are such massive creatures!

I have zero pictures of the boat cruise, but it was very interesting! I was picturing maybe a little bigger boat? But our park ranger was super knowledgeable and had a million super interesting stories about Yellowstone and the lake. There was some crazy stuff that went on there in the early days! It was a nice break from all of the walking around we’d been doing. After the cruise we headed over to the Lake Hotel for lunch. This was also a nice break! It was nice not to have to pack a lunch (even I couldn’t eat another turkey bagel), and the restaurant was nice and we felt very fancy. Their gift shop was the best we’d seen and we found a few things there as well.

We trucked it over to Old Faithful and tried to catch a few of the geysers, but our timing was just off. We thought about hanging around, but it didn’t make sense so we headed back. I really, really wanted to see the Grand Prismatic spring and since it was on our way I kind of forced the girls to see it. Traffic was crazy here and we had to park along the road, but this thing was INSANE. It was 90 degrees out already, and then the steam coming off of this! And the colors!

I was so in love. Pictures don’t do it justice.

West Yellowstone was a super cute town and we totally intended to wander around the shops, but we were all absolutely exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel. The heat just did us in. I was craving anything but steak, so we hit up the pizza place in town that had gluten free crusts. Unfortunately, so did everyone else so we had to wait a bit, and then our server ignored us, but the pizza was very good and gave us leftovers for the next day. Next up – Jackson!

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Vacation Day 8 – Yellowstone

Day 8! I had booked a 1 hour horseback ride/cookout dinner from the Roosevelt Lodge for the evening, so our plan was to meander north from the west entrance, going through Norris Geysers and the Hot Springs. Our first stop, Gibbons Falls! (Mornings started out around the 40 degree mark, but it warmed up very quickly.)

The falls weren’t huge, but they were a nice stop. There are a lot of tourists from other countries in Yellowstone, and the Asians particularly didn’t just take a picture of whatever landmark, they would pose in front of it. Seeing them do this would always make me shout to one of the girls to get in the picture! It really adds something, they clearly know what they’re doing.

Since we had loved the geysers the previous day, we were very excited to stop at the Norris Geyser Basin. Parking was insane here, and we had to circle the lot three times before we got lucky and found a spot. By the time we left they had closed it because the lot was so full.

There were a few different trails you could go on, but it was warm already, so we didn’t push our luck. We wandered out a little ways, but then came back because there was a different shorter trail we realized would be better for us.

Gorgeous, but zero shade. We all loved the landscape here. So many pockets of steam too!

Neither of the girls are huge sandwich lovers, especially after a summer of eating them 4 times a week at the YMCA, so when asked to pack a lunch, they instead chose Fruit Loops and jello. Even when I told them repeatedly that probably wouldn’t be enough. The Mammoth Hot Springs area had a hotel, old army barracks, a general store, and a restaurant, so we stopped in to go to the bathroom and walk around a bit. Caden really wanted to see the army barracks, and I wanted to see the hot springs, but instead we stood in line for food so Delaney could get a hot dog and fries since shockingly, those Fruit Loops weren’t enough.

Picture taken from the car. I think this was close to the Hot Springs since that area was really white?

I had consulted two high school friends when making our trip itinerary, and one of them recommended booking this horseback ride and cookout. It was such an amazing experience! There were a lot of people on this ride, but the cowgirls made such an effort to chat up everyone, it was really special.

They made all of the kids ride up front, and I was somehow the caboose. I loved it. It was so peaceful in the back. This was our third ride of the trip, and I had a moment where I looked around at this amazing scenery, and the fact that we were riding again and I thought “I can’t believe this is my life!” But honestly? Riding horse amid this amazing scenery was intentional. I knew it would be how we wanted to see this countryside and I’m so glad we did it.

So, there’s a two hour ride, the one hour ride, and then a bunch of stage coaches and everyone convenes at the same area and they do a big old steak cookout for everyone! More steak? Why not! The food was so good. And they had cowboy coffee! It was a great experience.

We had no fun at all. Especially Delaney.

After everyone had eaten they let us pet the gigantic draft horses. They were so huge! We gave all of them lots of love.

We got back to the Roosevelt Lodge around 8:00 or so? And it got dark shortly after as we were driving back. The girls snapped this blurry pic out of the car window, the sunset was really amazing.

So driving in Yellowstone in the dark? I don’t recommend it. There are no streetlights, there are lots of curves, and while they mark things, you really have to pay attention. As we were in the last leg towards West Yellowstone, a little black bear ran across the road in front of the car in front of me! He braked and swerved, and I could see a black blur running across the road. Eek!

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Vacation Day 7 – Yellowstone

We are going to start with wrapping up the evening of day 6. I knew we needed something to do for the evening, but I wasn’t sure how much we’d actually be able to get to in Yellowstone. So, while doing laundry I chatted up the front desk women at our lodge and they recommended having dinner at the neighboring lodge, then heading up to the Lake Butte overlook that’s just 15 minutes or so inside Yellowstone. It was perfect! It got us a little familiar with the park, and it was absolutely gorgeous. You can see Yellowstone Lake (which is huge) here.

There have been a lot of fires in Yellowstone, but this side still had a lot of dead trees. It looked eerie! Like a movie or something. This was the only part of the park that looked this way, everything else had regrown trees (the big fire was in 1988). The girls explored here for a bit, then we hightailed it back to our lodge since I did not want to drive here in the dark.  Can you spot the girls?

The next day we headed into Yellowstone again after breakfast. Our plan was to stop wherever it looked interesting, but head in the direction of Old Faithful. One of the cowboys had made fun of people who pull over just because a bunch of other cars are pulled over but guess what? When you do that, sometimes you get to see a grizzly bear!

The girls had my camera for most of the day, and apparently things got a little boring during one of the construction traffic jams!

I’m going to screw this up, but I do believe those are the Grand Tetons in the distance. The view across the lake was just gorgeous.

We pulled over at a few overlooks, then pulled into the West Thumb area. So many cool things here! Nature definitely knows what she’s doing, because I loved the color combinations that the minerals in the area make. That turquoise ….

Mama elk and baby! I think there were four elk in this area?

I would have loved to know the temperatures of the pools. This looks so serene and peaceful, but you just know it’s super hot water. Plus, it was crazy deep!

This is also where I should note that if at all possible, pack a picnic lunch for Yellowstone. There are restaurants, but the lines are long and they are few and far between. There are tons of picnic spots though. All of the hotels we stayed in had good sized refrigerators, and we were able to pack our cooler with enough ice to get us from hotel to hotel. It was so nice to have a cooler full of food, snacks, and bottled water!

Old Faithful! A few things. The parking area is huge, and if you park in the wrong spot you could have a lengthy walk just to get to the geyser. The closer you can park to the hotel/info center, the shorter your walk. This isn’t a big deal when you get there, but when you’re leaving you will appreciate it. Second, the info center is amazing. Plan on spending a few hours in this area. (We were there for 5 hours, but we also stayed to watch a geyser.) We watched a movie and chatted up the park rangers quite a few times.

Old Faithful is obviously fairly regular, and the window when the geyser will go off is shorter than some of the others. We didn’t get out to the viewing area until close to when it was predicted to go off and we were able to find benches to sit on. Also, there is no shade out there. Not by Old Faithful and not by any of the other pools or geysers, so be prepared. It was HOT, so we had to be strategic about our walking and make sure we stayed hydrated.

After Old Faithful we hit the General Store to cool off a bit and to get some water and snacks. Then we headed out onto the paths to see what we could see. The area is full of these little bubblers (not the technical term). I loved them all.

Should we go back to Yellowstone again, I would plan better and stay at the Old Faithful Inn. That hotel looked so adorable, plus, geysers everywhere!

Early into our walk we happened upon a park ranger that had parked herself in front of a geyser, so I asked if it was supposed to go off soon. Beehive was predicted to go off at 4:57pm, but it isn’t very regular, so they had no idea what would happen. We wandered a bit, then joined the crowd to wait to see if Beehive would indeed go off.

Some geysers have indicators, which go off in advance of the geyser. In the foreground of this picture you can see Beehive’s indicator going off, and in the background is Old Faithful. Behind us, another geyser is going off. It’s worth mentioning that Old Faithful was HUGE this time around. I have no idea if all of the geyser activity at the same time makes a difference, but this was SO MUCH FUN. Everyone really got into it and was excited.

Beehive! They said it’s like a firehose going off and they were so right! The cool thing about this was that we were so much closer than we were able to get to Old Faithful. Front row seats!

I was pretty proud of myself for this picture!

Once Beehive went off, it was late and we were exhausted, so we headed towards our hotel (which was on the west side of the park, in West Yellowstone). We passed another set of cars pulled over so of course we pulled over again. There was one elk roaming on that side of the river! The girls feet were super hot, so they took a moment and dunked their feet into the cool water. Then we hightailed it out of there because we were way too close to that elk!

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Vacation Days 5 & 6 – Horses!

I feel like it’s kind of a given that we would ride horse on this trip given our love for the animal but actually, we rode three times!

Tuesday morning (Day 5) we had a long drive (7.5 hours) ahead of us to Cody, WY so I booked an hour trail ride that morning so that we had a fun activity before getting in the car. We rode at the ranch that we stayed at, so it was easy enough getting there for our 8:30 ride. I’ll be honest, this was the least favorite of our rides. There was a pretty trail back through the woods of the property and it was fine, but given the scenery of our next two rides? Eh. Plus the owner and her grand daughter came along, so the guide talked pretty much only to them. Still, it was the perfect way to start off our day.

We had packed up the night before, so after our ride we threw everything into the truck and headed out. For me, the first hour of any drive was the hardest, after that it got easier, and once we got to under four hours it breezed by. The hardest part was finding decent places to stop. I naively assumed the drive would be freeway? But no, it was mostly two lane roads, so minimal rest stops and minimal restaurants. Luckily we packed a lunch and only stopped maybe 3 times total? We also had no cell service for probably half the time? But my GPS continued to work, although I don’t think it could have rerouted us had we gone off course.

The girls were awesome on these long drives. For this drive they only got about two hours of ipad time? The rest was spent reading, coloring, doing their BrainQuest worksheets, or listening to music on their wireless headphones. Those things were golden! I think Caden listened to music and looked out the window for 2-3 hours.

The drive wasn’t bad, but it was pretty quiet. Lots of wide open spaces, not a ton of cars.  I am maybe not a wide open space girl?  It gave me a little anxiety knowing we were the only ones out there. We did wind through a mountain for a bit, which was really cool. When we talked to my parents they said they remembered doing the same thing when they took us on this trip as kids!

We stayed at the Shoshone Guest Lodge in Cody, WY. (That’s deceiving, since it’s 45 minutes from Cody, but it’s only 3 miles from the east entrance to Yellowstone which was awesome.) My aunt and uncle had recommended the place, since they had horses and a really good restaurant. This room was our smallest on the trip, but the shower had good water pressure (our place in SD didn’t) and the fridge worked really well which I appreciated. They also had a campfire every night which we visited and made s’mores at, and we had cute little rocking chairs on our front porch. There was zero cell service here, and I had to pay $10 to get 24 hours of satellite wifi. I took some heat from the locals for missing my cell service, but I hated being out of touch with the dog sitter so I paid up.

We had lots of riding options here. I booked a four hour trail ride which was perfect. We headed out at 10:30, and they packed a lunch for us.

This is my horse Buster.  Buster was awesome!

Caden riding Miss Blue, me on Buster, and Delaney riding Titan!  They put mesh bags on their horses so they don’t try to eat grass the entire ride.  And apparently I wore the same outfit both days?  Why not?  This was about 45 minutes into the ride, and it was already heating up.  I had the saddle bags and all of the water, so everyone got a drink, and then later we passed bottles around again while riding. The heat was no joke and I did not need anyone passing out.

Take a moment and appreciate this picture.  When we left the corral Delaney was in front of me, but we crossed the road and were walking through a gravel parking lot to get to the trail so I came up beside her thinking we’d ride that way.  But no, we were forced back into single file and I ended up in FRONT of her.  The horror!  She was mad for a solid hour plus until we could switch spots again.  She could not believe I did that!

I’m really hoping I don’t screw any of this up, but I believe that’s the Shoshone River.  It winds along and we passed it quite a few times, both on the ride, and to and from Yellowstone by the east entrance.  It was so hot and that river looked so good, that that night on our way back from Yellowstone we pulled over and jumped out so we could put our feet in it.  So refreshing!

You can see our guide River at the front of the line, and you can also see the gun he brought along.  This is bear country and he saw a bear on a trail ride just a few weeks before we were there.  They take bears very seriously which I appreciated.

Our ride went along the river and then up into the mountains.  It was gorgeous!  And a steep hike for those horses!

After about two hours of riding we crossed back over the highway again and then went up the side of another mountain.  This was less of a straight up climb, and more of a small pathway next to a steep drop off kind of ride.  Mama did not love that part.  I’ve learned I don’t mind heights, but I don’t like sheer drop offs (but I didn’t mind the Grand Canyon?).  I was very happy to get up to the camp spot to eat lunch!

We got back to the ranch about 3:00.  It was perfect timing because we all needed a rest and some clean clothes, so the girls read their books while I did a load of laundry.  Then we headed out for an early dinner and a quick run into Yellowstone.  Pictures on that tomorrow!

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