July +August 2017

It wouldn’t be July if we didn’t do Coronado! Even when it’s just for a few days, it’s always good.

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I absolutely love sitting on the beach and hearing someone shout your name! I love running into friends and having the down time to actually sit and talk.

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Cousins being cute in matching jammies.

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I love this picture. It’s still the lock screen on my phone. Just watching waves, enjoying a snack in peace and quiet.

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Ok the seaweed was a little gross…but the people were cute!

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The famous beach lobster boil. It’s still talked about in hushed, reverent tones.

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We took a vote, s’mores are better on the beach

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Coronado is always the last hurrah of summer. Then there’s the dreaded 10 days before school starts where everyone is bored, tired of swimming and there are no camps. It’s a rough time. But thankfully we get to celebrate the best fur buddy anyone has ever had! Happy 4th birthday Mac!

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Ah the first day of school. So much fun, so many nerves! 2nd grade and PreK.

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The total solar eclipse was on August 21st. It’s the first time in years that a total solar eclipse was visible in North America. I remember the last one – we went downtown to the science center and looked through all their glasses and instruments to see it. The kid’s school deemed it “unsafe” and vowed to keep everyone indoors for the entire event. I tried to get enough glasses for at least one class at a time to see it, but apparently that was unsafe too…so instead I got doughnuts, sprung the kids from class and we had our own viewing party with friends in the parking lot! It was amazing – totally worth potentially damaging our retinas forever.

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It was also August in Phoenix. It was stupid hot, as you can tell by Auggie’s face.

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June 2017

This isn’t *quite* where I left off, but it’s close and there’s always a lot going on so here goes.

June 2017 was a typical for us – nutty. It’s always filled with camp, swim team, birthdays, our anniversary and prepping for vacation. It’s jam packed, flies by and is always a ton of (hot) fun.

This is pretty much where we were if we weren’t in someone else’s pool….Also, you’ve never seen anyone happier than PW when Sylvia the Swan finally flew away in a monsoon.

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Case in point:

Also it was clearly the year of enormous floats.

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This sweet little lady turned 8. EIGHT! This one really threw me for a loop. The slippery slope to 10. And then she’s driving. And off to college. I tell both of them at night, I squish their head and their feet so they stop growing so fast.

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And in true Wand style, you get two parties; one on your actual birthday with family with a cake of your choice; this year she went for my triple yellow cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. What it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in taste! (Also it was like 110 degrees and even in ac, butter melts so)….

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…and one insane party with all your friends.

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I don’t know why she’s mad, but those eyes kill me.

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Someone else celebrated 35 years (ūüė≤)

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And we had friends celebrate birthdays in June too Рincluding Abby who turned 8 right after B. Her amazing mom channeled her love of Target into a theme. And Target happily hosted it!! It was so much fun.

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There was a lot of camp too. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous following these two in every day. Not pictured; the stupid amount of crap from the snack bar that they ate and I allowed because they must have burned off thousands of calories each day. Or because I’m lazy. Either way, they had a ball.

*Do you see Auggie’s little ankle bracelet? And all 24 of Baylor’s? This was the summer that B really got into making bracelets – like the kind you do with the #4 knot over and over. Needless to say, the nostalgia was awesome and we tied bracelets until our eyes crossed and fingers bled.

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And for our annual trip to Montana, we decided that splitting up with me flying with the kids while Peter drove with Mac was really not all that much easier. It was expensive and took almost the same amount of time. So we decided to ALL drive to MT! I have to say, it actually went much better than anticipated. The kids were awesome and we made it in two days. No one puked, we didn’t kill each other or lose anything out of the back of the truck – overall, it was a success! The return trip however…well that’s a post for July.

There is also a 75 pound dog in this picture. He’s laying on the floor with about 2 feet total to his name. And he does it like the saint he is.

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Aaaahh. The payoff of 18 hours and 1,100 miles of driving:

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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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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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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!

Big Sky July

In a moment of stressing about packing lists, I realized how far we’ve come and how much we’ve done in a short time to make a dream of ours come true.

Let me back up to last summer. After a long flight and drive to the ranch, Peter and ¬†were sitting in rocking chairs on the deck waiting for Auggie to doze off. It was after 10pm and the sun was almost down. It was cool and quiet and…perfect. We started seriously thinking about how we could make a transition that would allow us to spend more time in Montana. After a lot of conversations, we came up with a plan.

In just under a year, Peter has passed the Montana bar, been admitted and we have booked a rental house for all of July. We can both work from here and he’s working on a Montana client list – ensuring lots of summers in Big Sky country to come – and I’m sure a few “client meetings” during hunting season too…

The logistics of getting here were a little daunting.¬†We settled on having Peter drive the 18ish hours with Mac and all our crap stuff while I flew with the kids. I’ll save you the details…but there was a barf bag involved in my part of the trip. But we made it all in one piece! The house we rented sight unseen has turned out to be great (with a few additional baby proofing measures post Auggie’s minor tumble down the stairs. Hearing Baylor scream “Auggie fell down the stairs!!” was as close as I’d like to come to knowing what a heart attack feels like).

 

We’re unpacked, settling in and awaiting the arrival of our friends/house guests! And this morning, we’re waking up to this:

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