Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Teeing off Together

When I met Matt 27 years ago, he was big into golf.  His mom was the bookkeeper at the Ozark Country club so he got the privilege of playing the course out there often.  
Life kicked in once we got married and brought Gracie home and he hasn't played much.
I took lessons about 20 years ago with some girlfriends for fun and that's pretty much where it ended. 
Last summer, Matt started slowly getting back in and Gracie hit golf camp and fell in love with the game.  I decided to give it another chance and found that I really enjoyed it myself and we have a lot of fun playing as a family.  
This past Spring, Matt graduated Purdue, treated himself to some new clubs and our family joined a local club.  
Lily Grace and I were treated to private lessons for much of this spring and early summer.  We have had the best time doing this together.  Our coach, Suzanne is wonderful.  She is a very decorated LPGA player but more than that, she is genuinely nice, patient and wants more than anything for you to have fun with the game of golf.  Our last lesson with the three of us took place this past Sunday evening where we played the course with Suzanne.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  
Gracie and I have really enjoyed doing this together over the past 6 weeks.  We've learned a lot, helped each other and had a few laughs along the way.  
Gracie is going to keep taking private lessons from Suzanne and I'm going to put into practice all that I have learned.  
Matt, thank you so much for treating Gracie and I to that time together.  Thank you for working so hard for our family.  Thanks also for surprising me with a new set of TaylorMade Kalea's.  I still can't believe you got those for me and I am loving them.  They definitely beat my starter set.  
Gracie thanks for suggesting that we do this together.  I enjoyed every minute of it with you!!! 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

From the West to the Midwest- Back Home we go

After two weeks, it was time to return home.  We made memories, shared laughs, got on each others nerves and wouldn't trade a second of it.  Life is good!

Even though it was raining, Matt and Gracie got up early for one last cast on the Madison before heading to the airport.

On our way to the airport

The sheep were crossing as we were leaving.  Guess they wanted to say goodbye.

Of course being gone so long, we missed Molly.  Lily Grace brought her back a bear toy and she has had the best time with it.


Regardless how many times you go, you have to visit the park for a little sight seeing.  And this year, we got a big surprise.
This year we got to see our first grizzly

From as far up as I was willing to hike Mt. Washburn.  The drive up is much better anyway- and sooo much easier.
Taking a snow selfie and Mt. Washburn

Gracie made a friend

Wouldn't be a trip to the park without seeing Old Faithful erupt with ice cream in hand.

Our very first year to come to the park and see the eruption I made the mistake of telling these two how patriotic it made me feel to witness that with so many people from all walks of life.  Well let me just say that sharing is not caring, it's overrated.  These two endlessly tease me about that.  This year the actually made a video of the eruption and sang the Star Spangled Banner in the background.  Yep, in front of everyone just to get at me.  No shame I tell you.

As were driving down Mt. Washburn with has a very high elevation and no guard rails, we notice traffic slow.  This large fellow is the cause.  Matt was so nervous as he got closer to us.  Something about being on the side of a cliff with his family in the car and all the onlookers and the fact that the bison will ram the car.....  Gracie and I got a good laugh out of how antsie it made him.  Oh! And not wanting to pay for a rental car slammed by a bison.  hilarious!  And right after this, an antelope ran in front of our car and Matt stopped just in the nick of time. 

Now this is the real kicker.  Three years we've been to Yellowstone and no moose.  This year, we decided to drive to the northeast entrance.  As we were driving back, guess what we saw? A Bull Moose!!!!

Wetting a line

This year we mainly did dry fly fishing.  It's very different in that it take a lot of patients, coordination and you have to keep your eye on the fly.  
Matt was the big winner this year as he caught the first, the biggest and the most.
Gracie caught the first on a dry fly and I caught the biggest brown.  
This year, we did two guided wade trips in Yellowstone.  We fished the Madison, Firehole and Gibbon rivers in the park.
I will say, the snakes got more in the game (and in the water this year) and I wasn't a fan.
Nonetheless, we had fun trying, catching, getting wet and being together. 

First chance to wet a line

While fishing the Firehole, I waded out to a rock.  I hooked a trout and sadly didn't get him landed but found out that there was a drop off from the rock and nearly topped my waders.  I did get a little wet.  

Matt then comes along and gives me a hard time about not landing the fish.  I tell him that with the water deep and moving I couldn't get him.  Matt proceeds to go out and find my rock.  He gets up on it and tells me that there is a rock there so why didn't I stand on it and get the fish.  Are you kidding?  I told him I was on the rock.  Well I lean over and tell Gracie and our guide Nichole to watch.  I had already told them that there was a drop off.   I tell Matt once he's on the rock that he can wade out a bit faster for better reach. Needless to say, he steps and finds out for himself about the drop off and why I didn't land the fish.  He completely tops is waders and even has to strip them off and dump the water once back on shore.  It was hilarious.  The picture are blurry because Gracie was laughing so hard while trying to take them.
Soaked and dumping water from his waders.

After his waders filled up and he had to strip them off, he had to put on a pair of Lily Grace's pink wool socks because that's all he had other than cold wet feet.  
Her casting is beautiful.  People actually stopped to watch her .  She can put out a good amount of line and make it look so graceful.

Landing her first on a dry fly

This trumpeter swan on the Firehole in Yellowstone was relentless.  He followed me and I finally had to reel in and move.

We also had a coyote join us on the banks this year while fishing the Madison in the park.

And when you are tired of fishing, nothing beats reading by the water.

Back on the ranch, Matt caught this large and beautiful rainbow on the Madison.

On our last day on the water, I finally caught and landed this brown trout on a dry fly.  

On Stakeout

So we had been to Grand Teton National Park and seen a moose,  a cow moose to be exact.  I was really hoping to see a bull so we ventured to the moose habitat and sat for a couple hours waiting for the sun to go down and to see if we might get ourselves a visitor.  We had snacks, binoculars and hours to make each other laugh.  It was honestly one of the best times we had while in Jackson.

Not a bad spot to be on stakeout

From WY to MT with Idaho in between

We left Jackson Hole and headed for Cameron, MT.  We stopped in Idaho to see Mesa Falls.  We had a little excitement along the way as a bear ran out in front of us and crossed the road with his kill in his mouth.  We returned to Sunwest Ranch once again and to one of our favorite cabins.  

Before leaving Jackson Hole we gathered supplies and Matt once again worked his magic and got it all to fit in the back of the big Sequoia.
On our way out of Jackson Hole, we had to climb this very steep and winding mountain.  This is the overlook from the top.  Coming down that winding mountain was like a roller coaster and of the nausea.  

Mesa Falls in Idaho

Our favorite cabin on the ranch

Blue birds visited us often

The ranch added these cute little bird houses all around.

The cabin sits on part of the elk refuge and they came visiting one evening just before dark.

Gracie spent lots of time trying to see how close she could get to the cute ground squirrels. 

This year, the sheep grazed in the fields near us and the horses grazed the far pastures.  They've been sheered for the season and Matt loved how the birds would just hang out on their backs.

Sunsets were as beautiful as always

And sunrise was just a beautiful

I found her reading in the hammock one afternoon