Do you know what a serious First World Problem is? When you find out from your sister that there's such thing as a Death Valley SUPERBLOOM, and you talk your in-laws into going for a weekend with you, and you spend hours planning, and they bend over backwards scheduling rooms and rescheduling rooms and talking to the National Parks Service to make it happen, but then you get there and think, "Well.... I guess that's cool...."
These little baby flower seeds baked in 130° heat for a decade, soaked in an El Niño deluge, pushed their delicate little roots down and their brave leaves out and bloomed! And do you know what I said when I saw them? "Huh. I guess I expected a little more..." If those flowers could, they would throw a Death Valley Boulder at my face.
Colby & Uncle Dan drove down late Friday night so they could spend the day biking. Amber & I drove down Saturday morning right after the Girl Scout Discovery Museum Sleepover of 2016 so we could not spend the day biking. If you ever get the chance to drive through rural Nevada, don't. I don't recommend it. Unless you're driving 395 down through Bishop and Lone Pine. Those are lovely little towns. The ones we drove through? Yeah.... notsomuch. I was cheered by the youths I saw at our inevitable McDonalds lunch time stop. They were cute and fashionable and didn't seem like they hated their lives. Which is what I assume of everyone who lives a different life than me. (Of course, they were hanging out at McDonalds at lunch time. But I don't judge.) (Yes I do.)
My kids have stopped letting me pose them for pictures. Good thing we have cousin Lucy! I love you Lucy! (She hates me. The only reason she lets me stay around is because I bring her beloved Ella & Gretchen to her. Mostly Ella. And because I take pictures of her. She's really good at posing for pictures. I am personally affronted by this. Does she even know how popular I am at the girl's elementary school? Does she even know that, like, 10 kids say, "Hi Miss Apryl" every time I walk on the campus? I AM SERIOUSLY A BIG DEAL. Come on, Lucy! Kids love me! EVERY KID BUT YOU! And you are my NIECE! You know I only see this as a challenge. You will love me, kid. I will be your favorite.) (Behind Auntie Krista, of course. No one competes with Auntie Krista. Let's be reasonable.)
It looks like she loves me in this picture, but she's only happy because she's with Ella. And because I'm taking her picture.
Ella wanted to bring this natural salt crud home with us. I said, "Yeah, no sweetie. No. No. And No." So this picture was our compromise.
This here is the lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere. So of course they had to take their shoes off to feel the lowest earth under their feet (400' below sea level???) Amber's lowest point was just prior to this when Lucy had a meltdown in the stinkiest PortAPotty in the Northern Hemishphere. I remember those days (that's me pretending we don't still have those days). Ella tried yelling over the concrete divider, "It's ok, Lucy! Just put your arm over your mouth and try not to breath!" Also, there was a line of people waiting to use the Stinkiest Port A Potty because a million people came to Death Valley to see the SUPERBLOOM. I love having meltdowns in public with spectators. When I'm old, I'm going to do it to my girls and hopefully be self aware enough enjoy the irony.
Love this shot. (Also, she still hates me.)
This was a cool natural bridge. The girls stood in front of it...
...and then laid under it. Gretchen kept saying, "Yeah, I really don't think this is safe. Mom, I really don't think we should be laying here like this..." (as she's laying on the ground under it, pointing out the cracks...)
Awww, cousin Alex HAAAAAAAAAAAATED Death Valley. Like how Gretchen HAAAAATES Girl Scouts and homework. But the wind wasn't as bad in this little canyon, so he brought his face out from under the blanket. Temporarily.
The artist's canyon changes colors every time it rains. That is amazing. Gretchen walked off to enjoy it by herself. She wants to enjoy everything by herself. The crowds were very bothersome for Gretchen. She also has lots of first world problems (awww, just like me sweetie!)
Possible felony here with the plucked wild flowers. We put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, but this was when we first got out of the car. And they were already picked, and if she was holding contraband, she'd let me take her picture. So they didn't die in vain.
We got home at 11pm. We were exhausted. And we still had a full week of work and school ahead of us (including work for Colby, two deadlines for me, plus getting print files prepped for Grandpa Beck's games). But we made it. We're on the other side now. And I can now say that IT WAS WORTH IT!