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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Thursday, June 30

Vacation Day 5

Today our hotel had continental breakfast, which the Bigs LOVED! I guess they were sick of breakfast bars. I do like that there is variety (because if you know my Bigs, they can't agree on anything, which is why I brought four or five different kinds of breakfast bars along!) and I think it fills them up a bit more than just a bar.

We were on the road at 8am sharp back to Yellowstone. If you didn't gather from yesterday, this place is beyond amazing. I really think you could spend weeks here and not repeat seeing things. I mean, there are trails and outlooks, wildlife and natural formations EVERYWHERE. If it were just Jim and I, I would LOVE to go on some of the hiking trails. Although, after going down to a river to see a herd of Bison today and lugging my "slim" 32 pound child back up, "the air is definitely thinner up here," thought that momma who was huffing and puffing!

We first stopped at the Norris Geyser Basin because it was on way in and we planned on going on the northern route today. After seeing all the amazing geysers at Old Faithful yesterday, I think the geysers here were a bit disappointing for the kiddos (and it wasn't nearly as stroller friendly!) but it had spectacular views, even if geysers weren't erupting.

Next on our tour was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, something I REALLY wanted to see. We stopped at the Visitor Center for a bit and asked for directions. She recommended the South Rim Drive because the North Rim Drive was under construction. It was BEAUTIFUL. It started out with a huge waterall and then opened up into this gorgeous canyon with the Yellowstone River running through it. Mac was tired and did NOT want to be here (it was late morning and he was ready for his driving nap!). I have to say, Jim and I saw the Grand Canyon of the Pacific when we were in Kauai...and that was WAY more impressive than this was. But it was also very different. Worth a stop for sure.

Then we went up to the Tower-Roosevelt area...but other than a waterfall, which we didn't get out of the car for, there wasn't much here. We did pull off the road to a picnic area to have lunch, which I loved. Eating in the woods/clearing. So peaceful. Earlier during a stop to see Elk, a couple had highly recommended Lamar Valley, if we wanted to see wildlife. So we turned East at this point even though it was out of the way. And it was totally worth it. We saw antelope, elk and tons of bison. This is the part of the trip I mentioned earlier when we went down to the river to get a close look at them. AMAZING and totally worth the extra driving time. Next time we want to spend more time here, maybe enter at the northeast entrance so we can see all of it.

From here, we headed to Mammoth Hot Springs. Finn really wanted to see this and it was on our way out of the park. However, just as we parked, it started POURING! We waited a bit and then all agreed it wasn't worth waiting it out and that we'd visit here on our next trip so we can really "see" it. After that, we left the park (tear!) and headed to Missoula, MT (about a 4.5 hour drive). There was a LOT of driving/car time today.

Today was a much less exciting day, in that we didn't see as many attractions as previous days but it was beautiful in its own way. We got Finn a book about things to see while in Yellowstone (he checks them off as he sees them) and he LOVED that. I highly recommend it if you go with kids. It really kept him engaged when otherwise he'd rather have been playing on his tablet.

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