And then, after dinner, she pulled out the giant box of slides from her family's recent trip to Yellowstone and for the next two hours it was just one fuzzy bison shot after another.
"And as you can see from their delighted faces in this photo," she said while slowly pressing the button to advance the next slide, "the kids had a terrific time."
But seriously, our Yellowstone trip was wonderful. The scenery surreal. The kids amazingly happy campers (when they weren't really sick of having their pictures taken). Here's the summary, by the numbers...
Amount of times I thought We should really do this more often: at least a dozen (which is saying something, considering there was not a good-night's sleep to be found in the entire five-days.)
Number of times Nora begged us to adopt her cousin Rachel as a sister: I lost track. Cousins are the greatest thing evah.
Number of grizzly bears in this photo: one. Can you find him without a pair of binoculars and a huge traffic jam and ranger pulled over to alert you to his presence? We never would have.
We had better luck with the smaller, rodent-family wildlife. Percentage of her own lunch that Nora actually ate the day we set up our picnic in the middle of a pot gut colony: 25%
And we had the best luck in our favorite hunt of all, spotting the Prius in its natural habitat, the National Park. Total number of Prii we counted in Yellowstone and Grand Teton: 68.
Number of photos I took just like this one of colorful bacterial muck that if it had been growing in my home would have gotten the bleach treatment pronto: three dozen.
Waterfalls viewed: at least 10. (Number of times I made my kids pose with their backs to the waterfalls: do I have to count?)
Number of mosquitoes in Yellowstone: a gazillion. Amount of carcinogenic DEET I exposed myself and my children to over the week: toxic levels. Amount of mosquito bites I got in Yellowstone park: zero. Amount of mosquito bites I got while taking this photo in a gorgeous alpine meadow as we paused for a few minutes from our drive over the Bear Tooth Highway in Montana: five.
Number of computer games played, movies watched or episodes of Avatar consumed by my kids all week: zero.
Times I made Ethan pose against orange backdrops the day he wore his funky tie-dyed shirt: "ah Mom! Again?"
Number of teeth lost by Gabie while eating sandwiches: one. Amount of "woe is me!...look I'm still bleeding" mileage gained by said loss of tooth from said child: nearly a full day's worth.
Amount of time we spent slowed or parked in traffic in Yellowstone (usually at the mercy of bison wandering on the road, the big oafs): ...
... : less than the amount of time spent in the presence of sublime forces of nature.
Number of times where I held my breath at the surreal scenery in front of me or laughed out loud as Ethan narrated his own personal wildlife documentary plus amount of times I found it hard to believe I had ever resisted coming: enough that it might be easier for Ken to talk me into next year's camping trip.