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

Over Labor Day weekend my parents and brother + sis-in-law came up to visit! You guys, our masterplan worked. We made it back west after 4 years away and now we are seeing family approximately 800% more often than we used to. My brother Jordan will be coming up this weekend, so that means that literally everyone in my entire family drove up to visit in a one-month period. (Besides Timbo on his mish. If you're out there, hey Timbo!) It's been so great. Casper isn't exactly a world-class tourist destination so it means a lot that they'd come up to see lil' old us and our new home. And someday we'll have a real bed (read: real futon) in our guest bedroom so all y'all won't have to sleep on our camping mattress anymore! Now Casper just needs to up their airport game so we can see Jared's family more often too! 
My parents arrived late Friday night. Jack and I were supposed to meet them at Martin's Cove & Independence Rock on their way up, but Jack spent the night before puking some really scary pukes so we stayed home. He's always had reflux, but this was like stinky barf-up-a-gallon-and-soak-all-the-bedding pukes. So between that and the exhaustion from being up with him all night, we opted to stay home and rest/prepare the house some more for guests coming. Plus a million loads of laundry. It's true what they say about doing 10x more laundry once you have a baby. Luckily he seemed back to normal by afternoon.

When they arrived I had just finished picking up Jared from work so we snagged a Sam's Club rotisserie chicken and salad on the way home for a fast and healthy dinner. We ate, got Jack down to bed, and then watched Peter Rabbit on Netflix. It exceeded expectations. The next morning we planted a couple trees and grasses in our front yard. Yay landscaping! Jack just sat on the grass and watched. Kiddo loves being outside.
When Chris and Caitlin sent word that they were passing Rawlins, we changed into our swimming suits and headed to Alcova Lake to meet them for some beach time. Alcova's a pretty lake about 40 minutes outside of Casper. It's tucked into some cliffs and has a white, sandy beach. The water is always cold and it was a windy day (pretty standard around these parts), but we enjoyed making sandcastles and floating on our inflatable rafts! We also enjoyed Jack's beach bod in his cute swim shorts.
I'm glad everyone humored me in coming to this beach. I really wanted to do it before the end of summer and this was our best chance at making it happen. Also, ONE MILLION THANKS to Chris and Caitlin for driving our nEw CaR up to Casper for us. It's actually a 20-year-old Honda that used to be my grandma's that we bought off my younger brother. We have never had a second car in 5 years of marriage. This has been a serious game changer.
Don't let the smiley pics fool you. He was ultra grumps by about an hour into this outing and he screamed the whole way home. That child came to earth with a set of lungs (the very first thing the nurses said before handing him to me for the first time).
Strolling around our apartment in his Sunday best! This kid eats a TON but I guess he's probably just extra hungry from burning calories walking around in this thing all day. 
We stopped at the National Historic Trails Center on our way to church. It's a really cool free museum with sections on Wyoming's Native Tribes, the Oregan Trail Pioneers, the Mormon Pioneers, and the California Gold Rush Pioneers. Being from Utah I usually think of the "pioneers" as being all the Mormon pioneers crossing the plains to Utah, but there were sooooo many more pioneers going to other places too, and all of their trails intersected in Casper. I'm not much of a museum junkie, but this one was really well done.
Escaped church to feed this grumpy gus in the car and grab his binky, but then he was like, "Psych! Me so happy! Let's photoshoot?" Typical Jack. He knows when he's punking us, and it happens on a daily basis.
Monday was a bit chaotic. I knew everyone would be leaving in the afternoon so I wanted to cram in all the last quintessential Casper things, but most of my plans fell through. Jared was finishing up a 28-hour shift at the hospital (YES 28 HOURS), so we met him there when he was supposed to be done so he could give us a hospital tour and join us for the rest of our activities. But when we got there he just had time for a short break and then needed to do several more discharges. He gave us a mini tour and then went back to work. We drove to main street so I could show them the cute cowboy shops and old-fashioned soda shops, but literally EVERYTHING was closed for Labor Day. Should've seen that coming. So then we drove up to Casper Mounatin to see the waterfall. This is the #1 "outdoorsy" thing to do in Casper, but it's a bit underwhelming in my opinion. I guess I'm a waterfall snob? Hey, at least we have a good mountain here!
At this point we were all pretty tired, but Jared finished his shift and we met him at the hospital so he could use his meal card to buy us lunch. The hospital cafeteria actually has a really good grill.
Jack was all about the pickles and red onions. He didn't eat them, but he was sucking on them pretty aggressively the whole time. After this it was time to go home and say goodbye to everyone. That was a toughie. It's always hard when family leaves, but I have to say, it's a little less hard knowing they're a 6-hour drive away than it was when we lived in the middle of the Caribbean sea, or when we lived 29 hours away in Georgia. I was expecting our move to Casper to be a difficult adjustment, but we really felt at home almost instantly. Having family just one state away helps with that. Until Thanksgiving!
Casper Travel Diary (lolz)


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