More Montana 2016

The rest of the week was jam packed. Did I mention that the Dehaven’s came to visit? They always bring the fun. And Jeff shared his pictures too!

 

We rodeo’d in Livingston…

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We creeked…

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Which lead to a lot of this….

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Do you see the fish right in front of Baylor?!

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And after taking a year off from our last Yellowstone Park visit, we again braved the winding roads with all 7 of us. This trip went far better and we even made it all the way to Old Faithful without murdering each other and only one person vomiting. Success!

Stephanie studying the warnings carefully…

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The amazing Grand Prismaticsimg_4923

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I’m so bummed – the colors of the pools are amazing – but it was barely 32 degrees and so the steam made it hard to see.img_4962img_4987

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A tourist died earlier this year jumping into one of these pools. It’s so hot, by the next morning, they could only find a few bones….img_5086

We also got to see the Beehive Geyser. It’s less predictable than Old Faithful, erupts for a shorter period of time but is as intense. Plus you can get a lot closer!

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And the Old Faithful Lodge was fantastic. At 112 years old, it’s seen some amazing history. Also I’m sure it’s haunted.

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And it wouldn’t be Montana without visiting the Long’s for some horseback riding lessons. The girl’s favorite, Duke, was donated to a school to be a therapy horse. They get reports once in awhile about how happy he is to be ridden every day! Thankfully the ladies were happy to give Heidi a try – and they now have a new favorite.

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Auggie is still not sure he’s a fan

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Auggie with the safety checkimg_9918

And we drove kids and a dog around in a gater. While taking selfies. This looks safe, right?

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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

Fish Points

Our lovely friends, the D family, joined us for the first few days of Montana time. And just like last year, it was awesome! They are make your own fun kind of people, which are the perfect friends to vacation with.

We decided to do a parent fishing day and left poor Noni with all three animals for the whole day. She looked like she’d aged 10 years when we picked them up…but she swore they were angels. I think they may have threatened her…

Leading up to the big fishing day, we decided to make it a men v women contest. Details were discussed, handicaps given out in the form of “fish points” and wagers made. The end result was that trout were worth 3 points, white fish 1 point and the losers had to feed, bathe and put the kids to bed.

After a quick refresher and lesson, Stephanie and I were off with Red Beard, our guide. It was a cloudy and chilly day on the Yellowstone River, perfect for fishing.

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With in a few minutes, she had the first fish. A rainbow trout! 3 points on the board. IMG_8566

We listened and watched for activity from the men’s boat, trying to judge how they were doing. We were informed later that they didn’t “squeal” every time they caught a fish. Lame.

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After a few trout, we became reallly good at catching white fish and decided we would rack up points one little fish at a time.

IMG_8569At the end of day, about 6.5 hours of fishing total, the ladies were the winners with 53 points! Which is a lot of freaking whities!

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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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Aaaannnddd We’re Back!

This has been the longest break in Goon Room history! But for good reason…we’ve been busy. A quick recap of the last twoish months:

Kindergarten, here she comes

It was surreal to watch B walk down the church aisle and receive her preschool diploma. It made me think of all the graduations to come. We decided to give preschool one more year and wait until she was six for kindergarten. I wasn’t sure this was the right decision until now. Her ability and desire to spell words, sound them out and memorize them is leaps and bounds better than it was a year ago. Kindergarten will be a snap!

IMG_3322It’s wild to see how much these two have grown since the first day of school! And yes, wearing jammies to school was intentional.IMG_3358

We bought a house!

And sold a house! I always said I wanted the ugliest house on the prettiest street and then we could redo it the way we wanted. I didn’t think we had quite achieved that until we walked into the totally empty house the day we closed…our good friend and realtor looked at me and said “are you ok??” It hit me just then; we bought a big, old, slightly funky, tired, house. Suddenly our plan of moving in asap and remodeling next summer seemed so overwhelming. And change isn’t really my gig so getting the house and our lives back into working order with a new routine and process was a tall order. But I can happily report that a month later, we are loving the new neighborhood, the house and dreaming of the big plans for next summer.

Also, moving? Just sucks. It’s so much work trying to fit one house into another. And in 110 degree heat. On a budget. With kids. First world problem, I know, but when the first world problem is burying you, it’s a problem. In the thick of it, buying, moving and selling was daunting. But now that it’s done, I realize how incredibly lucky we were that it went so smooth. Thank goodness God didn’t think I was tough enough for more because I could barely handle the best case scenario.

SIX.

How quickly they go from getting teeth….

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To losing them!IMG_3311 (1)

Baylor turned 6! SIX. Holy moly. We celebrated a little later in June with her friends at the new house in the pool. We scrambled to get the yard cleaned up and party ready and we succeeded. The combination of pool and mostly dirt back yard resulted in a mini Woodstock, which I did not see coming. I always judge a party by the time people leave, the manner in which they leave and what is left behind. The majority of our friends were carrying exhausted, crying children out the door at 9pm and the next morning we started a pile of goggles, swim suits, towels, mostly left shoes and a smattering of other random items left behind. Translation? Total success. Peter said his favorite part was walking out of the kitchen to a couch, a hearth and the floor full of friends laughing hysterically. It was a good night.

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Thirty Three.

I do the math every time I tell someone how old I am. I just can’t quite get my head around that number. I am once again so grateful for a healthy 33 years – for a body that can carry kids, dogs, and whatever else needs to be transported – and I wish for 99 more years just like this one.

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Ten. TEN!

PW and I celebrated our TENTH wedding anniversary. It feels like another lifetime that we said I do after moves, dogs, kids, jobs, promotions, deaths, births…it’s been a busy 10 years. And I wouldn’t change a thing. There have been some  sad situations we’ve watched (and tried to support) our friends through in the last year that have made us even more grateful for a working marriage. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner, more handsome husband, loving dad, or hard working spouse. I’m grateful every day for you, Peter Wand. Ok, so most days I’m grateful for you. No really, every day. And most of each day, too. See?? We laugh! That’s how I know we’re going to make it 100 more.

Someone asked me what the tenth year traditional gift is…I’m still not sure, but for us? It’s Pebble Sheen. As in the pool surface. Because for what that sh*t costs, we can’t afford gifts. But we’ll get to spend a lot of quality time in a real nice pool!

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Montana Time.

Before we found our new house, we booked our annual trip to Montana. And amazingly, the timing was pretty perfect. We moved, we settled, we threw some stuff in bags and headed north. Our friends the D Family joined us for the first five days for nonstop fun. White water rafting, rodeos, 4th of July festivities, hiking, laughter that makes your muscles ache, and memories for a life time. It’s the kind of trip that leaves you exhausted and rested all at the same time.

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And now we are home and anxiously awaiting the pool resurfacing (see tenth anniversary gifting) and the start of school. School uniforms, here we come!

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Ta da!!

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When we I thought our living room needed an update, I thought we needed a mirror over the side board. We went round and round on what size, what kind, what shape…and then it hit me. I wanted a barn wood mirror. Specifically old barn wood that we found ourselves in Montana. And because I’m married to a carpenter, I get what I want (well that and I’m pushy…).

We got the barn wood this summer and PW and compromised on a taller, horizontal rectangle. He spent an entire day plotting out how to cut the wood that we had which was all different depths, slightly different lengths and with a lot of character to be preserved. He is most proud of the little dowel that was stuck in one of the pieces.

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One thing we didn’t account for is how freaking heavy it is. Thankfully with several different heavy weight hooks, a lot of swearing and some luck, we made it happen. Thank you for being so good at this stuff PW!

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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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