Montana; Water, Parading and Celebrating

A little catch up from earlier this year…!

When we finally landed home in Arizona, I realized how physically exhausted I was…but how refreshed my brain felt! I think that sums up a good Montana vacation – physically hard, mentally great.

We packed a LOT into our two weeks!

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I don’t think anyone enjoys the river as much as this fur faceIMG_4853IMG_4864IMG_4867IMG_4861

How pretty is Chico Hot Springs? The water in the pool is fed by a natural hot spring – the water is about 103 degrees. It’s strange to swim in a hot tub but a good strange.

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The Fourth of July Parade in Livingston is one of my favorite things. Seriously, how cute is this town?

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This guy’s style is so on point. He is obsessed with Baylor’s hand me down boots.IMG_9690

Patiently waiting.IMG_9712IMG_9699

Less patiently waiting.IMG_9713IMG_9746

There’s either a firetruck, ambulance, forest service vehicle or farm machine coming…IMG_9733

This guy lassoing these crazies was hilarious. I think I need one. IMG_9742

They even made the local paper! This was the picture on page 7 of the Livingston Enterprise.

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Children wait along Main Street for the next float handing out candy during the Livingston Roundup Parade, Saturday afternoon.

We spent the 4th at the lodge celebrating with all our friends and family. And of course, we have our annual flag picture.

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Gorgeous sunsets waiting for fireworks.IMG_9839

Baylor is not a fan of sparklers.IMG_4846

But Auggie is!IMG_4848IMG_4875

Auggie got to go on his first rafting trip down the Yellowstone! It was with our friends at Wild West Rafting and as usual, it was a boat full of fun. IMG_4714IMG_4717IMG_4724

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Easter 2016

As we drove to mass this morning, Baylor and Auggs each told us what Easter meant. They talked about how Jesus died because He loves us so much. How He opened the gates of Heaven and then how He rose from the dead. It was so sweet to hear them speak about our faith so perfectly.

After yet another amazing brunch at my mom’s, we headed over to her friend and neighbor’s house. Joyce offered up her yard for an egg hunt. It was like being in a secret garden!

IMG_9217IMG_9231IMG_9220IMG_9229IMG_9242IMG_9245IMG_9248IMG_9251 (2)Happy Easter!

God Bless America

I’m behind, way behind on blogging. I don’t really have a good excuse…writers block? Too many kids with too little to do on hot days? Too many house projects? I don’t know. I do know that Stephanie D says that when you finish your house, you die. And judging by the looks of things around here, I’m going to live for evah. Might as well carve out some creative time to write in between bossing around contractors and fighting with the HOA. Mac Attach is sleeping on my foot, the air conditioning is blowing and the house is quiet. Time to get to work.

We are so lucky to get to spend part of July in Montana. It was a big goal for Peter and I to be able to do this, so heading up for our second extended vacation was amazing. Nothing feels as patriotic as a small town Fourth of July. The parades, the fireworks, a rodeo and lots of roast pig. What more could you ask for?

The view from our rental house did not disappoint. This was the perfect way to end a full day of 2 flights (complete with vomit bags…), an hour long grocery trip with the kids, then a two hour drive. Phew.

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The parade in Livingston is serious business. Every “float” throws candy. Nasty, leftover Halloween, been-on-the-street candy, and yet it’s like gold.

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Auggie’s sweet waves to all firetrucks, tractors and any other kind of service vehicle melted my heart!

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Baylor is always our designated wrangler for pictures. She takes her job very seriously.

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Rides in Noni’s Gater are legendary. She lets them all take turns driving. It’s terrifying.

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Wildfires are terrible…and yet make for some amazing sunsets

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This guy. He fears nothing. But he is absolutely convinced that he hates fireworks. We bribed him with a set of shooting “ears” to get him to stay out side for fireworks (the pink ones were half the price, sorry kiddo. buck up and then you won’t have to wear them!). And thankfully it worked! He loved the sparklers and he made it through the big fireworks show after a bit of protesting. Progress!

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More Christmas

I want more Christmas. I want more nights snuggled on the couch, watching holiday movies. More cinnamon candles. More holiday parties. More Christmas cards. More excuses to make and eat a lot of sugar cookies. I’m not ready for it to be over!

And here’s why…we had a great Christmas season:

We visited Santa’s workshop

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Rode the camels at Zoo LightsIMG_2701 Someone insisted on going by herselfIMG_2699Braved the lines at the Train Park with our friends, the D family, for the 4th (we think…) year in a row!

(I swear those kids were happier than they look in the picture…apparently waiting for an hour to ride the train took it’s toll…)

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Made some super awesome cookies for Santa. Note the difference in Baylor and Auggie’s decorating technique.

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And celebrated with the whole family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

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FullSizeRenderI know by the end of the week I’ll be ready to pack it all up and be ready to be done. But for now, I’m soaking up every last minute.

Oh How They Grow

We got the best surprise at Auggie’s school Christmas program last week – he sang! My money was on him crying his eyes out the entire time. But instead, he quietly sang along to 1 Little 2 Little 3 Little Reindeer and was particularly enthusiasic about the HEY! arm swing and all.

Sadly, his perfectly matched and pressed pants did not make it to the show. Sigh. Oh well. At least he was wearing pants, even if they were his back ups.

Please forgive my pictures – I was A. hiding from him and B. not using a flash so I didn’t distract them!

IMG_8035 IMG_8037 IMG_8038At this point my mom leaned over and said “Goodness they are tiny! I can’t believe B was this small at her first show!”. I dug around and sure enough, they were that small. It’s so cute to see all her buddies in these pictures were singing with her this year too.

IMG_3603 IMG_3607 This kid has never been shy a day in her life!IMG_3613

 I’m trying not to get emotional thinking about this being her last preschool Christmas program…

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Singing her face off…

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Holiday Do Over

I want a do over.

All of the Wand’s in our house fell like dominoes to the nasty flu virus the week of Thanksgiving. Slowly but surely, we went down one by one. We visited the doctor 4 times the week of Thanksgiving; fevers of 103, croup (momma learned her lesson – I refused to leave the office without steroids), wheezing, vicious secondary infections…by the time Monday rolled around, I took both kids back to the doctor and with very little examination, everyone walked out with antibiotics. I think our doctor took one look at my face and knew I meant business. There would be no “wait it out” on bronchitis.

That said, here we are a solid 2 weeks later and we are just now getting to enjoy the holiday season. We missed a whole two weeks of holiday fun. Instead of happily putting up the Christmas tree, it was a race to finish before the DayQuil wore off. Rather than enjoying hot chocolate, snuggled on the couch, we were downing fluids and hiding under the covers. We traded fun parties for household 7pm bedtime. Instead of the smell of warm, cinnamon candles, our house smelled like we had invested in Vicks Vapor Rub and bleach.

So now that everyone is feeling a bit more human, we’re catching up on all the fun. I’m squeezing our lost two weeks into the next two weeks. We’ve updated and added to the decorations. We’ve done Zoo Lights and watched Prep and Landing at least 15 times WITH hot chocolate (and a little Baileys…), presents are wrapped, cards are out. We are ready to participate! Christmas 2014, here we come!

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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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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.

Come On Ring Those Bells

This past Friday we saved almost an entire pew in the chapel of Baylor’s preschool for family and friends so that we could all witness the adorableness that is the preschool Christmas program. Three songs and a group sing along have never been cuter.

The beautiful stained glass window in the chapel

IMG_5857I’m the mom with the super zoom lens…everyone makes fun until the pictures come out

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This is the picture from the program two years ago. Eeek she’s getting big!

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Thankful

This perfectly sums up our Thanksgiving. Warm, beautiful, delicious. Family, friends and pumpkin pie.
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The rest of our weekend included:

Brunch with the lovely Karen and Patrick

Melissa (Missa) and Jullien’s wedding

Post reception, reception

Wedding brunch

Lunch with all my cousins, second cousins, aunts and uncles

Invoicing (bleh)

Full house Christmas decorating

Addressing and stamping 80 Christmas cards

It was a fantastic weekend. And completely exhausting. Yeah holiday season!