Goats, Yellowstone, & Cowbabies

The past few weeks have been action-packed with countless calls and emails to insurance adjusters, a shower for Beckett, and a trip to Yellowstone National Park.

As mentioned before, the Sparks family has a knack for getting in ridiculous situations. I think it’s really a mixture of our friendliness to strangers and our ability to find humor in almost all situations. People think I make up the stories I tell, but I guarantee funny stuff happens to you too – you just have to think about it. If you live with a humorous outlook on life and don’t take yourself too seriously, you too can have experiences like the Sparks family.

Alas, even funny things happen in the far off lands of Montana, where we vacationed last week:


During our 1400 miles driving around Yellowstone and beyond, Mom and I kept seeing a quaint little store/gift shop called “Bob’s Trading Post” or something and decided to stop in one day. As we pulled in the parking lot, I could see that Bob had set up a little outdoor seating area with a fireplace in the front of his store. I could also see that Bob had about 10 goats and a dog milling around his property (honorable mention: pet snakes in hanging mason jars). Furthermore, I saw what appeared to be one of Bob’s goats hanging out in the outdoor recliner.

When we got out of the car, the smell of poop hit our nostrils as several of the goats and his dog came to meet us. This is what we saw next:

His beloved goats were everywhere. Fireplace, recliner...everywhere. We dodge the infinite number of jelly bean goat turds to get in the door, only to realize that the inside of Bob’s little trading post smells approximately 50x worse than his many animals outside. We spend less than 30 seconds shopping.

When we go back out to get in the car, two goats are starting to fight by the driver’s side of my rental car. The instigator looks at me out of the corner of his beady little eyes and I decide to walk around the back of the car to get to the driver’s side. I refuse to make it all the way through Yellowstone without being gored by a wild animal, only to be attacked by a pet goat at a gift shop.

There’s another family who made the mistake of stopping at this “treasure” of a store, so while I’m squeezing between my rental and their pickup, I look and see yet another goat jump from the ground into the back of their truck. The goat also managed to find a map in the truck that he starts eating in record time.

The last sight we have as we pull away is the family shooing the goat out of their truck while attempting to salvage half of the map (the only remnant that hasn’t been eaten) out of the goat’s mouth.

You can’t make this stuff up. You also have to be wary of gift shops in Montana. You’ve been warned.


We went to Yellowstone this year for our annual Smith family reunion. It was great to see our family from all over the country and to spend time with my cousins that I rarely get to see…but I think I’m all Yellowstoned-out. This was allegedly our 4th trip to the park. I say allegedly because I have no recollection of one of those trips, although my parents claim I had a blast.

Yellowstone is the land of geysers that smell like rotten farts, bison that love to use the paved road as their own, and fanny-packing tourists who think standing 100 feet from a wild grizzly bear is a perfectly good idea.

Some bison using our road as their path.

It is a great experience if you’ve never been before, but the overwhelming fart smell combined with the lack of any bathrooms besides outhouses really gets to you after a few days.

I hate outhouses so much, in fact, that I would rather use nature’s toilet. The only two times I tried this method, I failed miserably. The first time we were on what seemed to be an 18 mile trek to see more fart-geysers and I had to go really bad. (Beckett’s new hobby is playing hop-scotch on my bladder.) I veer off the path and find the perfect spot only to realize I am about to pee on a 1.5′ long snake. I think to myself, “No big deal, I’m not scared of snakes…” until I look down again and realize that I have found not one but a whole family of 1.5′ long snakes.

The second time I attempt to be rugged, I go off into the woods to a great spot when a chipmunk in the tree next to me starts cussing me out. Maybe you’re more well-versed in chipmunk than I am, but I didn’t know that they actually yell at you. Literal yelling. I don’t know what he was saying, but I feel sure it was something like, “This is my @*(#&$ area, *#$%&. Get outa here before I &@#$* your $*(#*@.” Although cute, those dudes are mean.

Even though I don’t really care to return to the land of Yellowstone, Taylor and I did have a blast with our family. It was a great vacation at a perfect time for us. Below are some great memories:

The mountains, of course. They don’t stink and they’re beautiful.
Two things currently not going well for the geysers.

Spending time with my family. I have the best family in the world.
Pictured above: Von Warren Smith, a.k.a. Papa.

Measuring Papa’s ears. They’re massive. He also refuses to wear hearing aids, so I told him the size of his ears was false advertising – he should be able to hear things on the other side of the world.

Getting to vacation with Taylor before Baby B is here. Taylor LOVED Yellowstone. I think he asked me at least 32 times, “What is the altitude right here? What about here? How about now?” He’s a very good Yellowstoner.

Yellowstone’s subtle warnings and beautiful artwork.

Buford – he got to go with us. This is him pictured above at Dragon’s Mouth.
If you don’t know who Buford is, well…you should know who he is.

Goomifier app on the iPhone. I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing with this app.
Pictured above: Father Curt, Taylor, Papa.


And no blog is complete without the mention of Beckett boy. Completely unrelated, Beckett has begun attempting to escape. Either that or he is testing the elasticity of my skin. Whatever the reasoning, it’s his new favorite game.

My favorite souvenir we bought on our trip were these Cowbabies cowboy boots from a farm and ranch store in Bozeman, Montana. Beckett will be a Texan, so we must outfit him accordingly.

I included a picture of one of my favorite onesies (from his Grammypants, Sandy Brooks). It’s a v-neck!!

I’ve always been a shoe person and I’m proud to say my son is too, at least while he’s small and doesn’t have a choice.

And since Father’s Day was Sunday, I had a card made online for Taylor from tinyprints.com (highly recommended). It turned out really cute and Taylor was proud of his little dude. Again, if you find sonograms weird and confusing instead of endearing, don’t feel bad. I do too, but it’s all we have to work with at this point. I can promise you sincerely I’ll never show you one and say, “He has his dad’s hands, doesn’t he!?” Unless you or your spouse have white blobs for appendages, you can’t tell who the kid looks like.

Beckett has had an exciting month of flying, vacationing, and showering. He had his first shower a few weeks ago – a Library Shower. Very cute idea by some spectacular friends. Everyone brought a book to help start a library for B. His literacy will have my friends to thank.

Newsflash: 6 weeks from Thursday, baby B will be considered full term. It seems like time will fly by when I type it out like that, but in reality, this Texas summer combined with unemployment has made time actually stand still. I’m ready for him to get here so I can go back to having one chin, adequate air, and no one kicking my liver. I’ve decided I’m not one of those people who just love being pregnant. I am very blessed, however, to be carrying a healthy baby boy. A lot of people (men included…for the most part) don’t have that honor. For that, I am grateful.

Now – who wants to get ice cream?!

2 thoughts on “Goats, Yellowstone, & Cowbabies

  1. Teresa

    Sarah, I love how you describe events and places in your life ~ I can just smell the goats, geysers and see the buffalo roam! So glad you got to vacation where it’s cool, although I am jealous! But hey, we’ve had a cold snap today ~ it’s down to 97 degrees instead of 103! Now, the next trip should be to Austin before Beckett decides he’s not wanting to travel any longer and you would have to stop for a bathroom every 5 miles! Love you!

  2. Wendy

    Ah, Sarah! I love reading your blog. One thing I hated about being pregnant was the acute sense of smell. Yuck! All those baby shoes…how precious! You will be lucky if he wears each pair twice. 🙂
    Could not help but laugh at the comment re size of ears and ability to hear! Looking forward to seeing you!


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