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!

America the Beautiful

All American 4th of July 2014

Small town parade….

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Rodeo…where the only limit on the number of beers you can purchase is how many you can carry

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I’ve got some work to do on high speed low light pictures….IMG_7096 IMG_7089 IMG_7079 IMG_7050

Fireworks, pig roast, family and friends

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‘Merica

(Did you notice Baylor’s missing tooth?! More on that later when I can stop crying…)
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Loving Cousin Z timeIMG_7105

There was much controversy brewing over the ring in my back pocket. Anywhere else? No one would notice. In MT? Everyone things I’ve taking up dipping…I assured everyone it was my lens cap, not a can of tobacco!IMG_7173

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We did discover that Auggs is not a big fan of fireworks. But he was a trooper and agreed to watch them from inside so there’s hope he’ll be with Peter on the fire duty in the future!

Ride ‘em Cowgirl



The first week we arrived in MT, Baylor was scheduled for riding lessons with a friend’s wife. She is a teacher and she and her family have an arena and a pony perfect for lessons. I skipped the first lesson and I was totally shocked at the second lesson how amazing she did! Our friend, Carolyn, also noted that she seemed like a natural. She has a calm yet excited respect for the horse, Duke. She listened to everything Carolyn told her and she did each action, even the scary ones, happily. I’m excited to find her a stable at home and keep up her skills. Can’t wait until we can go out for rides together.

 

IMG_7209Leading Duke to the arena

IMG_7225 IMG_7228Each lesson starts with her turning herself around in her saddle while Duke is lead by Carolyn. It is to teach balance and this kid must have been a cat in another life because she does this like she’s done it every day of her life!

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You gotta love having a school teacher teaching riding. Carolyn put the letters of her name on signs around the arena and B had to ride Duke to each letter in order.

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In just three lessons she had Duke in a trot and was neck reining all around the arena! I’m guessing by the end of the month she’ll be jumping him over obstacles…

 

Keep on Washin’

I got an email last month that a post I wrote for Scottsdale Moms Blog had been picked up as part of an article for SheKnows.com. It was really exciting! Totally the boost I needed to keep writing AND a new place to start shopping some articles! On to find all that creative writing time…

Check out the article here: Cool Down with these Fun Water Games for Kids

 

 

Nailed It

On the second day of our Montana adventure, Peter took the kids to Baylor’s ridding lesson. When he asked me what I was going to do while they were gone was A. work and B. clean up/laundry/dishes.

So substituting “beach” for “mountains” this article nails it. Sigh. Oh well. At least it’s cool and the windows are open!

http://www.theonion.com/articles/mom-spends-beach-vacation-assuming-all-household-d,33431/