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Jackson Hole, that is. Nick and I met my parents there for a three-night stay at the Jackson Hole Lodge, as Missoula was entirely too smoky from nearby wildfires. We felt equal parts eager and anxious about the trip – traveling with kids is never ideal, but in the end, they did pretty damned well.

And we loved Jackson Hole.

Sleep was, of course, somewhat challenging. I mentioned previously that we moved the kids into the same bedroom at home, in preparation for our Costa Rica travels, so we assumed they’d do okay sharing a hotel room. The first night was amazing (and not just because we found a TV channel showing a marathon of Modern Family episodes- SCORE!). Both kids nodded off shortly after lights out, and even slept late (an occurrence as rare as a unicorn around these parts). Apparently, they were just lulling us into a false sense of security, because the next two nights we enjoyed a raucous game of musical beds. By morning, both kids ended up in bed with me, leaving Nick with a kid-free Queen-sized bed all to himself. Nap times took some finesse, but were much smoother than bed time. We cooed (or threatened) the kids to sleep, then hid out in the hallway listening to podcasts and reading. We actually met a lot of nice fellow guests that way.

Despite the kids’ relatively young ages, we found lots to do in Jackson. The hotel had a pool, which was a godsend for getting out their energy. The Jackson Hole Toy Store was incredible, with a laser gun that shoppers could use to “shoot” talking animal heads and empty beer cans hanging on the walls. Nick really took on the challenge, you know, for the kids. At nearby Teton Village, we rode the tram all the way up to the tippy top of the mountain range, where an old style waffle house exists with no running water. That’s right: no running water. The staff transports all of the water up the tram each morning. Incredible. And the views were unreal. Jackson Village also has a pretty nice little playground, which was a great way to entertain the littles.

Admittedly, maintaining a gluten-free, dairy-free diet on vacation makes us total assholes. Honestly, as much as I love to travel, I always feel a pinch of anxiety about where our next meal will come from, as most hotel and restaurant menus are extremely bread-heavy. But (praise be!) we found delicious food on this trip, from the deliciously authentic-tasting taco bus in Dillon, MT, to gluten-free burgers (Liberty Burger) and donuts (Lotus Cafe) in Jackson. My parents enjoy dining out, and were able to book reservations for our group at restaurants with plenty of fare for Nick and me, but the problem with public eateries isn’t usually the menu – it’s the children. They did fantastic the first night, chowing so many breadsticks they almost exploded, and coloring in their “Minions” workbooks. The last night, however, they pretty much lost their sh*t, throwing silverware at other tables, crawling on the floor in an attempt to eat (someone else’s) leftovers. Needless to say, we took our food to go and hightailed it out of there. Fun fact: fancy food looks way smaller and less impressive in a to-go box.

We hit a few bumps in the road, of course. There was the incident at the pool, where Joey jumped into the water before Nick was ready, smashing his nose into Nick’s shoulder. I have never seen so much blood. Thank God for the unknown guest who helped us stop the bleeding, and assured us that yes, blood clots the size of earthworms are totally normal (but me dry heaving the corner was probably a bit of overkill). Then there was the time I carried Joey – now a whopping 35 pounds – all around Teton Village searching for a bathroom so he could “caca.” Of course, once we reached said bathroom, he decided he didn’t need to go, only to again change his mind five minutes later. Such is life with a three-year-old. And we never did make it to the fish hatchery, which was one of Nick’s goals for the trip. It was almost comical (more for me than for Nick), the way we kept missing the open hours.

At the end of the weekend, we returned home to an apocalyptic amount of wildfire smoke, so the trip turned out to be a break we really needed in order to survive the next few weeks. Now to catch our breath before the next adventure: Wallowa Lake, Oregon.



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