Halloween Recap

Better late than never, yes? Totally worth it when you see Auggie in his Olaf costume.

Trunk Or Treat was bigger and better than ever! We had the “party section” with an extra space for chairs, pizza and umm, we’ll call it juice.

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It was 90 degrees so Olaf was not happening. Good thing his Fireman costume from last year still worked (with the hem ripped out anyway…).IMG_8019 IMG_8021 IMG_8014The C Family haunted truck!

IMG_8016 IMG_8026It’s such a bummer no one was dressed as Elsa…

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Too much juice

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Actual Halloween was cooler…but still involved me cutting Olaf’s sleeves off

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I always get really excited to carve pumpkins. Then the reality hits when we sit down to get to work and realize that the kids can’t use the knives. Thankfully B was happy to sort out the seeds for roasting.

If I was a nicer mom, I would let them draw something and then I would carve it. But how can they deny me when I have such talent?!

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Happy Birthday Auggie!

I can’t believe that this guy is already TWO. The saying goes that the days are long and the years are short and that couldn’t be more true with this guy. It feels like yesterday that I was dropping B at school and heading to the hospital.

We celebrated the birthday boy with a fra-mly party with a construction theme and I have to say, it came out pretty awesome. I think the birthday boy wasn’t the only one who had fun!

Who knew blue prints made such cute and easy table cloths.

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Fun party favors

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Ready to par-tay!

IMG_7866CHEEEESSSEEEEE!

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His home made cake didn’t turn out too shabby

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It’s too bad they don’t look like us….

IMG_7895Happy birthday Auggie boy! You are such a crack up and bring so much happiness to our lives. Please stop growing so fast!

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.

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!

Stretching Christmas

I need more Christmas. Christmas time, really. I need more festive parties, quiet nights watching movies, cinnamon candles, cookies, good excuses to leave work early, letting the kids eat too many Hershey Kisses, more of all of it! I’m not ready to say goodbye yet. I need to be eased out of Christmas. I mean, we start sneaking Christmas into our lives in late October, why does it just have to go – bam- done-! I need some time to say goodbye. I’ve still got cookie dough in my fridge for Pete’s sake. Therefore I am protesting. Christmas does not end in our house until New Year’s Day. And really, that’s only because the tree will be like really dead.

Family pics!

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Lovely cousin Madi

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All the cousin’s except Ms.Z – sad. And if we could figure out how to make Mason sit still…I’ve got like 6 pictures where all I can see is his posterior…Thank you Mason.

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Those curls

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Checking out Noni’s Nativity scene

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Christmas Eve ended with an all out cousin wrestling match

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 Christmas morning brought presents from home, Aunt Nancy’s and Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Santa broke his back getting all the goodies to some very happy kiddos.

“I got my wish!! I got my wish!!”

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The new tool table was a hit with everyone!

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Mackie loves Christmas too

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 “Auggie, that’s not your gift. Auggie!! That’s not yours!!”

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Auggie crawled away with his truck for some alone time…

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Presents were followed by my mom’s world famous brunch. She makes enough food to feed an army and we all attempt to eat like an army. The day wound down with a warm fire (backdoor open of course because otherwise it was too hot), Christmas tree lights, stretchy pants and playing with all the new goodies! Which is exactly why I need at least one more week.

Surprise Santa

Last night we were invited to our friend and neighbor’s home for a little surprise party. The special guest? Santa!

Their family has been inviting Santa to their home right before Christmas since they were kids – in fact it’s the same Santa. The looks on the kiddo’s faces when they heard the sleigh bells was priceless. We are incredibly blessed to have such fun neighbors who included us in their party!

“Do you guys hear something?!?”

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It’s so strange. We’re really not sure where she gets her chattiness from….Santa was impressed / a little overwhelmed by her detailed wish list.

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Auggie was a little unsure.

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Warming up with high fives

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Hands down my favorite picture of the night. I love how B is holding Auggie.

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My little shutterbug. I’ll finally have someone who wants to geek out over lenses with me.

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