This past weekend Jared's residency program paid for Jared and the other 7 family medicine interns and their families to get away on a little 2-day retreat. When Jared told me this was going to happen, I started to laugh. We both thought it was some sort of initiation prank where they tell you they're giving you a free vacation and then when the weekend comes, they actually make you work back-to-back 24-hour shifts. Clearly we have some trust issues when it comes to medical life haha. Jared's residency schedule is INSANE and stressful, but holy cow it feels so good to be done with the stressors of medical school and to have a little job security and peace of mind about our future. It feels even better to be on the receiving ends of perks like this once in a while instead of just trying to claw our way through the competitive world of medical training. 

Anyway, the deal was that the program would pay up to $100 per resident per night for lodging, and we'd plan and pay for everything else. Wyoming has a lot of beautiful stuff going on, but Casper is about 4 hours away from all of it. It's a bit of a pain to have to spend 8-10 hours of a regular 2-day weekend driving, but that's pretty much the only option for "getting away" here, so as a group we decided we wanted to go see Jackson Hole. 
The interns that Jared works with are an awesome bunch. (Side note: Jared's residency is 3 years, but in the first year you are called an "intern." So he's a resident, but he's also an intern.) We all get along really well and it's fun to hang out with a group of people who are in the same life situation as you and have been through a lot of the same challenges and jumped through the same hoops. One of the interns, James, took it on himself to find lodging for everyone. He's a true hero. He found 2 townhouses next to each other for everyone to stay in. The families stayed in one house and the unmarried interns were in the other. Everyone had their own room and bathroom, and there were big shared kitchens and a hot tub. Since we all make the same itty bitty salary, we decided to each be in charge of making a meal instead of eating out in town.

Normally Jackson Hole is crazy expensive and impossible to book, but since we went in the off season we were able to book some nice stuff for pretty cheap in Teton Village. It's about 10 minutes outside Jackson Hole and right in the middle of a huge ski resort. We could walk to several lifts from our townhome. Teton Village is buzzing in the winter, but it was nice and quiet and still had a bit of color on the trees in late October. If we were to go back again I think we'd shoot for early October to catch even more fall foliage.
As a group we all went for a little walk in the mountains/neighborhood we were staying in. Jared and I were obsessed with this modern little cabin pictured above. On the bottom left there's a glass door through which you can see the most gorgeous, light-filled dining hall that overlooks the valley.
We stayed in the Wind River townhomes. Our place was filled with gorgeous handwoven rugs that Jack crawled all over. We have ourselves a crawler now! Homeboy is all over the place. Also it is a NIGHTMARE to "getaway" with this baby in a space where there are lots of families sleeping in close quarters. Jack fusses a ton during the night. We've done sleep training with him so normally he only really fully wakes up to eat once a night, but he still kind of cries and pouts a little every couple hours. When we're at home he just cries himself back to sleep in 3-4 minutes, but we couldn't really just let him cry and risk waking everyone up, so I had to attend to his every cry on this trip and it was horrible. Brought me back to the days of getting up with him every hour or two all night long. Howwww did we do that for months on end??? At least he's been taking really good naps since we got home. I think he's catching up from the weekend of rough sleep.
 ^^The mountains around Teton Village. Ok so confession time. Jared and I were STOKED to be visiting these gorgeous mountains. We love mountains so much, and Casper mountain's nice but doesn't quite have the "grandeur" that a full-on mountain range does. That said, the Tetons are, like, world-famous. People fly in from all over to hike and ski in these. And yet, when we walked outside and took them in, Jared and I independently had the same 2 thoughts immediately on seeing them: (1) Wow, they are so pretty! (2) Hey, Utah valley's mountains look just like this, and with Mt. Timp Utah Valley might be even more pretty?! We are probably partial but we just love Utah's mountains so much. I will say that the "Grand Teton" peaks were insanely gorgeous, but also you have to pay $35 per car just to go visit them. Boooooo. We did pay the fee, but still. I love the accessibility and freeness of my UV trails.
 ^^The group! L-R (not including kids): Taylor, Damian, Patty, Andrew, James, Tim, Jared, Katrina, Camille, Matthew, Laura. We got a stranger to snap this picture with my nice camera. After he took a few he was like, "Hey are you sure you've got the shutter speed right? It sounds like it's a little slow." So we all thought he was a professional photographer or something and I upped the ISO/shutter speed for the next few shots. Then when I was looking through the pictures later the framing was awful. Like, he didn't even get the full arch in and half the picture was the sidewalk in front of us. I had to tilt and crop it to get it looking this good. Also, in upping the shutter speed the lighting got all messed up. Pretty sure he was NOT a professional photographer haha.
^^In Jackson hole with our Jack. These antler arches were cool. Jackson Hole has a national elk refuge, and when the elk shed their antlers each year they leave tons of these behind.  We did see one elk with enormous antlers on the side of the road when we were driving through the mountains on our way to Jackson, but mostly that was just scary because we thought he was going to run out in front of us. Jackson Hole has some super cool looking shops and restaurants. We didn't explore much because there were lots of little kids with us and we were short on time, but if me and Jared ever go back I want to check out the Kilim rug shop and the cute lil' bakery.
^^Jenny Lake! This is one of Jared's Mom's very most favorite places in the world, and she has been alllll over the world. Unfortunately temps dropped and the wind picked up a ton right before we got here, so the water was choppy and we were all freezing. Also a cloud was covering the top of Grand Teton peak. But the water was still clear and beautiful. I want to come back in the summer and do a canoe ride or something. We did get some excitement when we stumbled upon a group of skinny-dipping teenage girls trying to get Instagram pictures of their bare backs with the Tetons in the background. Ohhh the grams. Hope they didn't get hypothermia.
When I go to family functions I get a lot of "why is your hair so long and when are you going to cut it?" type questions. So I'm going to take this moment to say, "Daaaaaang, my long hair be lookin' fine in the Tetons." I'm sure I'll cut my hair short in the coming year, but I'm like 100% positive that I'll never have it this long again so I'm just trying to appreciate it while it's here! It took me alllll of medical school to grow these luscious locks, and now that we're finally living somewhere that's not crazy humid, I can finally curl it and expect the curls to look good for several days.
Another group shot! This time we went with the self-timer method. I was barely able to sprint my way into the frame before this shot was taken. I do have a "just-made-it" look to my face, but I'm pretty proud of myself for making it work.

 ^^Another long-luscious-locks-blowing-in-the-wind appreciation shot.
 ^^Only-family-selfie fail. We r kool.

After a day of exploring with the group, we all had a delicious lasagna dinner and played some games at the townhomes. Jared loves board games a lot. He was in his element.
It was a clear morning as we started our drive back to Casper, so we pulled off for a couple iconic Grand Teton pictures. It's fun to think that next time we're here Jack will probably be walking around a bit and we can maybe do a couple hikes. Wyoming, you're a babe.
Jackson Hole

One of the things I love most about our new town is that it's literally called "Bar Nunn." How awesome is that? If I get the right angle I can capture the entire "city" in one picture. We don't even have a grocery store. The neighborhood we live in is small, pretty new, and quiet. We're close enough to Casper that the furthest we'd have to drive to get anywhere in town is 15 minutes, but "far" enough away that I get to say things like, "I'm going into town today, need me to pick anything up?" Also we just really love how underrated and quiet it is out here on our edge of the prairie. Jared's coworkers always make fun of Bar Nunn, but we're just like, "Sweet, the more people make fun of Bar Nunn, the less people will come crowd it up." I would make a seriously awesome hermit/crotchety old person. (For real though.)

There's not really a point to this post. Just a random post to put some random pictures. Some are of walks through our prairie, and some are fun moments in our home.

 ^^4th of July church outfits. Jack was 4 months old and somehow this outfit of his passed as both pjs and church clothes. Basically the maxi dress of babywear.
 ^^Jared's first day of work as a doctor! I love that his scrubs have a fishing fly as the logo. The North Platte is the river that runs through Casper, and it's got great fly fishing. In case you haven't guessed, our child is full of personality.
 ^^Cowboy Jack!
 ^^Our neighborhood park. It's a perfect 5-minute walk from us and they're putting in a splash pad next summer!
 ^^Impromptu family pictures! We don't really have any formal family pictures yet. Jared's schedule until the end of the year is pretttttty rough (like leaving before Jack wakes up and getting home after he's down for the night rough), so when he got home 20 minutes before the sun disappeared and Jack was still awake one evening, we booked it to the prairie and did a couple self-timer pictures.
^^And last but not least, Jack in his Harry Potter outfit. He hates having the glasses on his face and knocks them off immediately, so that last picture is the hilarious only shot I could snag with them on.
Bar Nunn

Here in Casper we are lucky enough to have a cute lil' mountain--Casper Mountain! It's not quite the same as being surrounded by rockies with never-ending trails, but we're so glad it's here. 
Last month when the weather was still consistently nice, we went for a family hike on the Bridle Trail. It exceeded all my Casper Mountain expectations. It had a couple great overlooks, a babbling creek you have to cross, a variety of trees, and a cool little tunnel.

Jack has just about outgrown his little Infantino baby carrier. When he falls asleep his head flops over the side. Must be time to start using our Ergo carrier.
 ^^The best picture to ever exist.
The more time Jack spends outside, the happier he is. Unless it's been longer than 2 hours. Then he turns into a dinosaur and ugly screams all the way home. This hike was just a little longer than homeboi can handle at this age. I think it was like 4 miles round trip? I had to feed him once on the trail and he took one backpack nap, but the last mile was a bit rough as he just wanted out of his pack and into his crib.
Look at that perfect little baby face! Jack has the best blue eyes. Hopefully we'll get to go hiking once or twice more before the weather completely quits on us this year. Jared's schedule is pretty horrendous for the next 3 months but I'm hopeful.
Bridle Trail

Last weekend my brother Jordan and his wife Amanda came to visit with baby Asher. Jack and Asher are the only grandkids on my side and they were born 6 days apart. It's been so fun to have them in the same stage as us through pregnancy and baby things. Granted, Jack and Asher are very different (Asher was nice to his mom in the womb, and he's verrry calm and sleeps great at night), but they are developmentally doing a lot of the same things at the same time. Also, look how cute they are.
I'm still figuring out how to be a good hostess. In other places we've lived (the Caribbean and Atlanta) I'd try to show guests a good time by getting them out to see the sites. Casper doesn't have many "sites," and I'm realizing that when we have guests they've probably come all that way to see us and not so much Casper, so it's ok to relax a bit and spend time together at our home instead of go go go. I feel like we had a pretty good balance of relaxing and getting out with Jordan, Amanda, and Asher. Having babies and working around their nap schedules forces you to slow down a bit anyway.
 ^^Jared uncling Asher.
^^Jordan uncling Jack.
They got into town late Thursday night, and luckily Jared had a 3-day weekend so we were able to spend a lot of time all together. On Friday morning we relaxed and Jared planted some more cute plants my parents sent up for us. After the babies had their morning naps, we took off for an "outdoorsy" day seeing the waterfall and Lake McKenzie (a little pond near our home that smells a little weird but is pretty). 

At McKenzie Lake we took turns floating around on our inflatable raft and then we headed home and had some dinner. Jordan and Amanda sent us out for a little date night while they stayed home and got the babies to sleep and hung out. We are so so so grateful to them! This was our first date together since we moved to Casper nearly 4 months ago.
^^The view from our mailbox, which we checked before heading out on our date. We hit up the mall massage chairs, walked around the lighting section at Menards, got frozen yogurt, and had a nice drive together.  
On Saturday we hit up the thrift stores, Target, and this cute lil' soda/shake shop downtown. The chocolate soda and shake were mediocre, but my old-fashioned cream soda float and Jared's oreo shake were SO good.

Back at home we napped, the boys played with Asher's super cool toys, and we had a baby photoshoot.
I'm just now realizing that there are, like, no pictures of me or Amanda from this weekend. I guess we were always the ones behind the cameras. One day we will have to train our babies to take pictures so we can be in the shot sometimes!

We finished off the evening with a walk, then we picked up some pizza from Bar Nunn's local bar and had a game night after the boys went to sleep. Jared demolished everyone in our last round playing Ticket to Ride. He's the rudest.
And that was our fun weekend with family! Probably the last family we'll see until Thanksgiving, which is only 2 months away now. We love these guys and are grateful they came all that way to see lil' ol' us in our lil' ol' house. Next time we move hopefully we'll have a basement or upstairs where guests can enjoy a little more privacy and babies can nap in a quieter area, but for now we're just so grateful to be where we are and have what we have. And to have such wonderful family in our life. We are the luckiest.
Jack Ash


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