Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dance Recital, 2010

It happened a month ago but late dance recital pics. are better than no dance recital pics., right?

Isabelle takes dance classes at Turning Pointe Dance Centre with the year culminating in a spring recital. This year she took two classes: Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Ballet 1. We had originally signed her up for just T/J/B but her teacher thought she needed to be challenged more, so suggested Ballet 1. However, Isabelle didn't want to give up her tap dancing shoes so she stayed in both. I guess she loves to dance!

We aren't allowed to take pictures during the actual recital so these (as well as the videos) were taken at the dress rehearsal. Isabelle's favorite part about dance is definitely the costumes and getting to wear make-up.

Onstage ready for her first number (Ballet 1) The girls in this class ranged in age from five to eight years old. Isabelle was the youngest at four years old.

Tap, Jazz, Ballet (I think Isabelle and her friend Laney were the youngest in this class too!)

Before the big show!
We were so proud of her performance. She smiled through the whole thing!
Madeleine sat through the whole two-hour show too.
With the fam.

After the recital we all went out to lunch and then headed to the nearby beach...
...where Papa seemed to be on granddaughter duty.

Tweedledee tap number

Ballet 1 Number

After a nice break from dance over the summer Isabelle is anxious to learn some new moves. This year she wants me to sign her up for ballet, jazz and hip-hop. We'll see how that goes...

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The last two days of our trip we spent at Yellowstone, which I liken to a trip to Disneyland, except a bit more crowded and overpriced. After the relative serenity and calmness of Grand Teton I think we were surprised by the hoards of people on every trail. Not to mention the frustration we experienced watching people ignore the numerous signs to stay on the marked paths and away from the wildlife.

Yellowstone had some beautiful spots as well and at times the landscape was so unusual it felt as though we were walking on another planet rather than just a thin crust of earth. Isabelle thought the stinky sulphur smell was pretty gross but at the same time I think she was delighted by it.

Guess where we are!
We had dinner at the Old Faithful Inn and enjoyed the amazing architecture.
Old Faithful in all its glory.
The beautiful Lake Yellowstone Hotel.

After having breakfast we sat in the sun room and I couldn't help but think it was very Great Gatsby-esque.
Yellowstone Lake
Yellowstone definitely didn't disappoint with regard to wild animals. We saw herds of bison (several very close), elk, pronghorns, moose, pelicans, a wolf (stalking bison), a black bear and, the best sighting of all, a mama grizzly bear with two little cubs running behind her.
At the mud volcano.
These two look like they're up to no good don't they?
It's very hot and steamy in geyserland. The different colors in the water are microorganisms that can survive in the heat.
Castle Geyser

In Mammoth on our way out of the park.
One last ice cream stop. On our second day of travel on the way home we stopped in beautiful Coeur d'Alene, Idaho for lunch at Beverly's (great calamari and lobster bisque!) and to stretch our legs a bit. Even on our last day the girls were still smiling. Amazing!
Taking on a huge road trip like this was definitely an adventure but I'm so glad we did. We saw so many stunning sights driving in our car that we would have missed out on had we flown. Since I had so many hours to think while cruising the open road I compiled a top-five list of why I heart Montana, Idaho and Wyoming:

1.) Breathtaking mountains, rock cliffs and rivers
2.) Cowboys
3.) Bears and Bison
4.) It's possible to drive hundreds of miles through prairie land and not go through a town with a population larger than 200
5.) Huckleberry ice cream

On the other hand, I also had time to compile my list of why Washington will always be my home:

1.) I can only read so many Ivan Doig novels
2.) Over-sized belt buckles with too-tight jeans
3.) Driving down the road it's possible to see a pick-up truck loaded with hundreds of bloody animals pelts
4.) See #4 above
5.) The culture of a "red state" is very different - as evidenced by Glen Beck being the main event at the 4th of July fireworks show. I'm definitely a "blue state" kind of girl.

**.) BONUS: If we thought our family got noticed frequently in Seattle you can just imagine how much we stood out in Wyoming. I don't think we made it through even one meal without being asked questions and once the "geriatric league" even laid in wait for us outside the loo to try to take pictures. I don't often compare myself to Angelina Jolie, but paparazzi are kind of annoying. Geesh!

So glad we're home again, home again, jiggety-jig...at least until tomorrow when we meet up with my family down in Oregon. See you in a week!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun on the Fourth of July

Our last days at Teton Springs were fun and relaxing.

Right Maddy?
The girls played...


...wore huge helmets that must have been for preventing aliens from disrupting brain signals...
...and rode bikes.
On the Fourth of July we went to Teton Village outside of Jackson Hole for a delicious dinner and a ride in the gondola.
I absolutely HATE gondola rides and was coerced by the entire family to get in and ride to the top. Even though I am smiling in these pictures, if they had been snapped a few minutes earlier you would have seen a look of sheer terror on my face, mixed in with a few tears.
Isabelle finishing dessert at Il Villaggio Osteria. This restaurant makes their own pastas, cheeses and sausages. Sooo delicious!
After dinner we played on the playground...
...danced to live jazz music...
...and practiced "To infinity and beyond!"

The next morning we were sad to say goodbye to Teton Springs but were excited for the next leg of our trip. On to Yellowstone!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grand Teton National Park

The morning after our cowboy adventure we woke early to head over to Grand Teton National Park for a day of hiking. Yes, we really are that brave with our two little ones. Our hotel had printed out a day tour that was just right for us - only about five miles of hiking but we were able to see some beautiful sights. They even recommended a couple of great local places to eat. We had the best breakfast ever at Nora's Fish Creek Inn, even though it took us over an hour to eat. The town of Wilson only has a population of 200 but I'm pretty sure all 200 were eating breakfast the same time we were.

Back over Teton Pass we went, this time stopping at the summit for a great view of Jackson Hole.
After entering the park and driving several miles down an unmarked, dusty, windy road we made it to our first trailhead. Two miles round trip to see Phelps Lake. Madeleine was strapped in and ready to go.
Grand Teton is probably one of the most beautiful national parks I've been to. In comparison to Yellowstone there was hardly anyone there and it was far less commercialized. Look closely below and you'll see Jason, Isabelle and Madeleine making their way up the first mountain.
Isabelle was pretty proud to make it over numerous streams and rivers all by herself.

At the top of the mountain, overlooking Phelps Lake. We could have continued for the next 20 miles around the lake but that would really be pushing it.
Maddy was as conscientious as ever about not over-exerting herself.
After safely making it back to civilization we toured the visitors center and checked out some animal tracks, which came in handy when we got to Yellowstone.
Then it was on to our next destination - a boat ride across Jenny Lake! Maddy wasn't sure what to make of it...
...but Isabelle thought it was fantastic!
On the other side of the lake we hiked a couple more miles until we came to Hidden Falls.
Here we are at the rapids gushing down the mountain about a 1/2 mile from the falls.

We made it!
After riding the boat back to the other side we made one more trek up Signal Mountain and came to this jaw-droppingly beautiful view of the Teton Mountain range and Jackson Lake. The picture really doesn't show how gorgeous it was but it's definitely a must-see if you're near the area.
Of course all that hiking and clean mountain air made us pretty hungry so we stopped at this great wood-fired pizza place on the way out of the park. Isabelle and I shared a delicious appetizer of pita points and assorted tampenades. Yummy!