Row Row Row Your Boat

This summer in Montana, we decided to try rafting down the Yellowstone River. Peter, was so completely opposed to going, it was laughable. He said that the rafters screw up the fishing for any anglers on the river and he did not want to participate in ruining someone’s day fishing. There was also the big question if it was safe enough for Baylor and for her buddy M to go. Wild West Rafting Company assured us that the girls would have a blast. And did they deliver – for everyone! We had such a great time, we went back for two more white water trips and each time we had a ball.

The ONE thing about the rafting that killed me is that you can’t (or shouldn’t) take your camera or even phone. You get soaked while rafting and there’s a chance you could fall in – or jump in and go for a swim in the calm sections. Thankfully, Wild West thought of that and they snap group pictures before your float and then hike down and snap action pictures down the river. Love. Love. Love.

The girls were a little freaked out…

IMG_5420[1]And ten seconds later, they were both up front, begging to “ride the bull” which is sitting on the front of the boat, legs over the bow, holding onto a strap.

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B was also the second over the side of the boat for a (voluntary) swim!

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Our last trip included our niece and nephew, my sister Ali and her mother in law, Vicki. Who was terrified but thankfully was loving it by the first rapid!

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She was so pumped to have an oar

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Don’t let the fact that B was covering her face fool you – she just didn’t want her face wet
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Quinoa “Oatmeal”

I came across a recipe for a breakfast dish made with quinoa when looking for the Princess Sophia Amulet Popsicles (if you have a daughter, you know). I made some adjustments to the recipe to make it less for kids and more for adults and it is delicious!! I made a bunch so I’ve been able to have a quick, healthy breakfast all week.

1 Cup Quinoa, cooked 

1/4 Cup Chia seeds

2/3 Cup Coconut milk

1/4 Cup water

Big handful of chopped, dried cherries

1/8 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 Cup slivered almonds

2 Tsp honey

2 Bananas – smashed

1 1/2 Cups fresh blueberries

Cook quinoa according to the box. Mix remaining ingredients together and taste for added ingredients. Refrigerate over night and add with additional strawberries, blueberries and or bananas. Enjoy!

Head ‘Em Up

The last week in MT, PW and I snuck out for some horseback riding. It’s always been my favorite thing to do and I just can’t wait until B is ready to hit the open fields with us.

My step brother, Mike, was planning to take us on a gorgeous trail ride up to an old saw mill. I’ve been there once before and it’s really gorgeous riding up and there’s a Sound of Music moment at the top of the mountain that would make anyone sing about the hills being alive.

As we headed out, we noticed four cows across the road headed away from the ranch. So our plans changed to go round up some cattle and get them back to the right pasture. Which is a bonus for me because there’s a lot more action moving cows.

The blue blue sky with the yellow grass is gorgeous!

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Finally some pictures of me on a horse where I don’t look like a man

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PW working hardIMG_7635 IMG_7598 IMG_7630

A few hours, 5ish miles and 13 pairs of cows later – everyone was back where they were supposed to be!

Last First Day

I can’t believe that this is Baylor’s LAST First Day of Preschool picture! I told her that I sneak into her room when she’s asleep and squish her head and feet together to try to shrink her. I can’t believe this little face will be shipping off to kindergarten next year. IMG_7651 IMG_7653

And this guy? This guy will be having his first day on his second birthday in October. When meeting his teachers, they squealed they were so excited. He’s so lucky that he has such a cool big sister to pave the way for him. All the teachers wanted B’s little bro in their class.

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Parting Ways

If you told me that today was July 12th, I wouldn’t bat an eye. Why? Because this month has flown by. I swear we just got to Montana and now we’re packing up and headed out. We’ve had such an amazing time and having Peter work from home has been so fun. I’m sad to see it end.

We’re already making plans for next summer – but until then, this is the view I’ll miss waking up to every day!

 

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Yellowstone Adventures

Our Yellowstone adventure as a group of 7 looked more like the Griswalds headed to Wally World. We were packed into our rental SUV…but still, 7 people is a lot to squish into one vehicle. Not to mention Auggie was a particularly unhappy camper that day. We also imposed a “no electronics rule”. No iphone or ipad games. We were in nature, dammit. And everyone was going to look out the window and enjoy it by God.

We also had a loaned “Audio Tour through Yellowstone” CD. It. Was. Awesome. Mostly because for every feature that it described, it usually included a cautionary tale that was less cautionary for us and much more hilarious. It went something like:

And that brings me to the story of little Andy Shmandy from Portland Oregon and his dog Moosey. While visiting Noris Gysier, Moosey left the boardwalk and jumped into one of the boiling pools. Andy, defied those around that were trying to restrain him and jumped in after Moosey. He was able to climb out, but was severely burned over 90% of his body. While first responders were removing his clothing, his skin came off with it. He was transported to Salt Lake City where he later died. His last words were “that was pretty stupid, huh?”. 

No really. I’m not making it up.

The stories were so gruesome, they were hilarious. We were sure to remind each other often about each victim often. Stay on the boardwalk kids! You don’t want to be the next Andy Shmandy!

Warning: picture overload ahead

I love that you immediately see elk when you drive into the park. They are really really close to the cars and you realize how big these guys are.

(Side note: run fast little elkies! Please don’t come home to my home in the stuffed form!)

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First stop: Noris geysers. But first, a warning illustration. Who the hell draws these?

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Everyone of these pools is hotter than the boiling point of water. But they don’t bubble because of the altitude. The color comes from a special form of bacteria that only survives in super hot water.IMG_7278It’s like the surface of the moon

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IMG_7303 IMG_7305 IMG_7318We caught one of the geysers going off

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The Griswalds Do Yellowstone!

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Not the happiest camper….

IMG_7291  But he does like a camera so that helps – take a look at his shoes. He loves them because they look just like “dada’s”, but he wears them between his second toes!

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“Pose in front of the boiling hot water!!”

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The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is amazing. The only problem is that it never looks real in pictures. The dads win parent of the year award for carrying each girl UP the 200+ steps from the bottom of the canyon. Jeff still can’t feel his shoulder. Auggie fell asleep in the car so someone had to hang back and nap with him. I was happy to fill that position.

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These two kill me.

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Can you see the lip gloss on her eyes??IMG_7332

We did pretty well with the wildlife sightings. This guy was just off the road scratching his head on a tree. It was awesome. IMG_7264 IMG_7269
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We passed a horse drawn wagon. Some go out for tours, others for overnight camp outs and they are original to the park.

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The wildfire devastation is still very visible. Some is very old – from the fires in the late 80’s. Some is more recent.  I was really surprised to learn that they don’t thin the forest to prevent large fires. They found after the “Summer of Fire” that a lot of the pine cones will only open when introduced to the extreme heat of forest fires, thus self regenerating the forest. IMG_7355 IMG_7365

Baylor and Morgan had the way back seat to themselves. They are fold down seats so they were a little isolated in the back. At one point they asked the moms for lip gloss. We made the mistake of not asking for it back. Eventually we looked back and realized they had “done” their hair and used some of the lip gloss as eye shadow. Then they passed out.

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Traveling Friends

My friend Beth M always catogorizes friends into three groups: friends, good friends and friends you would travel with. The last group is the biggest complement because it means that you like your friend enough to spend tons of time together for days on end.

We are so lucky that we have lots of friends that fall into that last catagory. And this summer, we were lucky enough to have our friends, the D family, came to visit us in Montana. As if we couldn’t love this family more, after sharing a glass of wine in Big Sky Country really put it over the top.

One of the best parts of having them visit was that their daughter, Morgan, shacked up in Baylor and Auggie’s room each night. And they. all. slept. Like all night. So clearly we have to move in together.

We did a little of everything – rafting, hiking (well, tried to, that’s a long story), Yellowstone Park, roamed around Livingston, and just enjoyed laughing with each other. It was a fantastic week!

I can’t stand this picture. It kills me. The girls are THRILLED to be playing the hardest game of Go Fish (no numbers, only names, they can’t read. You get the picture.) ever and Jeff is physically in pain over it. I’m laughing as I type.

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 I’m not sure what this is about…but I like it

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 Someone finally finally won the game and put poor Jeff out of his misery

photo 3 (43)More to come on our Griswald-esk trip through Yellowstone National Park.

Losing It

A few days before we departed for Montana, Baylor told me her tooth felt “funny”. My first thought was oh super. The occasional skip on tooth brushing has caught up to me. I’ve got to figure out how I’m going to spin this to the dentist when he tells me she has a cavity. Good God I hate brushing their teeth…. So I took a peek in her mouth and noticed her tooth did look odd – I touched it and it wiggled under my finger!! SHE HAS A FREAKING LOOSE TOOTH!!

My reaction was a little strong. It’s not often that life’s events sneak up on me and take me by surprise. But man, this one caught me off guard. I sort of gasped, yelped, freaked out in one sentence. Which, of course, made her freak out. Suddenly there was a total freak out had by all with lots of I don’t want to loose my teeth!!” being screamed.

After we were able to get it together, we decided it was all ok and actually very exciting. A week later, B woke PW and I up with her tiny little tooth in hand and a big toothless grin on her face.

toothThe Tooth Fairy, Penelope, shelled out $5 for her tooth. She said it was because her tooth was sooo clean, it deserved a few extra dollars.

I sighed in relief that we survived the whole ordeal….and then B informed me that her other tooth in the front is loose. Holy moly. What’s next?! Didn’t she just get her teeth and now their falling out?! Cripes, at this rate, she’ll be in college by the end of the week!