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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Super Moon Summer

We were able to catch the July Super Moon and it was just spectacular. I think I’ve written a time or two about how I have no clue how to use my camera – especially in low light. The Super Moon was so bright, I was able to capture this on just Auto settings!

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And with a little bit of tweaking…

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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!

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…

 

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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Summer Time and the Living Should be Easy

When Baylor was a toddler, I dreaded trying to keep her entertained in the summer. There’s a limit to how much pool time a two year old will do. I got sick of sweating it out at the splash pad. The museams start to loose their appeal….and trying to get a bored toddler to nap? Did not happen.

As soon as she was old enough to go to day camp, I would sign her up immediately. Our days went from being filled with bordom to being jam packed and allowing just enough time for some mommy and me fun without putting either of us in the looney bin.

That is until this year. I jumped at the chance to sign her up for camp at the swim club. She was bumped into the older group because she can swim well (score one for weekly swim lessons – yes I am patting myself on the back) and she gets to play tennis, golf, basketball and anything else they can play on the grass. And she loves it – she comes home with rosy cheeks, tired eyes and a belly full of junk food. She is running with an older group and the kids are allowed to move between their activities without a lot of guidance – plus there is free time where they can do whatever they want from video games to swimming. She is in love with the independence!

The down side is that I’ve heard her say a dozen times “we have to leave now?! I just want to play with my new toys!”. And pick up time is smack in the middle of Auggie’s nap. Which means my mid morning is spent trying to push his nap time out which is amazingly fun.

That’s when I realized that somewhere in the last year or so, we’ve started to transition to the big kid “I don’t need constant entertainment” phase. And Auggie has never been in that phase which is leaving us a little over scheduled and for no reason. So we pulled the plug. I canceled the last two weeks of camp and instead, we’re going to spend it getting bored. We’re going to stay in our jammies until nap time. Hit the pool. Watch Frozen too many times. Make and eat popsicles.  Play with birthday presents.

So here’s to easy living, catching our breath, getting bored and enjoying a relaxed summer.

It’s My Kinda Town…

When we saw friends Karen and Patrick in January, Patrick issued PW a put up or shut up on a visit to Chicago. Patrick has been living there for nearly the last decade and Peter is always saying we need to go. You can only make your wife cheer for the Cubs for so long before you actually have to take her to see a game. (side note: I’ve now been to two more major league baseball parks than Peter. Which kills him. )

So, we booked tickets, PMac and Karen’s guest room, and dropped the kiddos at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The party started at the airport when we decided we had time for margaritas (plural) before our plane ride. Patrick and Karen had planned a full weekend of baseball, great meals, a little sight seeing and a lot of fun. It kind of went like this: arrive, drink, drink, eat, drink, sleep, eat, drink, drink, baseball, driiiiink, eat, drink, eaaaaaat, drink, drink, sleep, repeat. It was, in a word, fantastic.

Game #1, Cubs v Astros. Bleacher seats.

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photo 3 (13)We actually believed that it was going to miss us. We were wrong.

photo 4 (12)Three hour rain delay felt much shorter with the assistance of many many beer vendors. And a batting helmet full of nachos. No really. Like an actual sized batting helmet. With nachos.

 

photo 5 (6)How do I know our friends are professionals? They brought their own ponchos. $0.69 v $10.

 

photo 1 (14)Watching the mechanics of rolling back the tarp was so cool.

 

photo 2 (17)I love the ingenuity of the people that own the buildings across the street from Wrigley. They remodeled the rooftops with bleachers. Genius.

photo 4 (13)The ivy. Properly trimmed to keep jerks like me from picking it.

 

photo 3 (14)After the game, we headed home to change and then back out to The Loop for dinner at The Girl and the Goat. Reservations in June were booking for August…thank goodness Karen is a smart thinker and booked our reservations in February! It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Tapas with amazing ambiance, good wine, great servers, no time to take pictures because we were too busy eating a drinking. But I did manage to snap a picture of the Chicago River from the cab – so pretty.

 

photo 5 (7)Saturday brought sunny skies and game #2 – or as PW called them “the really good seats”. We were in the 6th row behind home plate. I’ve rarely seen Peter as excited and happy as he was for the pregame, game and post game.

photo 1 (15)Panorama of our view

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photo 5 (8)Post game bar crawl. Happy camper.

photo 1 (16)Our last stop of the night was Red Ivy – an all encompassing Chicago sports bar. We caught game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals and it was a blast. Everyone in the bar was electrified – it would have been hard not to cheer for the Blackhawks.

Duh duh du duh duh du da da da duh duh!!

(Chealsea Dagger. Look it up)

photo 3 (16)Check out that mullet.

photo 2 (19)We went home tired, a little hung over but oddly well rested. It was the break from parenting that we very much needed whether we knew it or not. Getting to laugh with old friends, swear, sleep in, drink at will and have conversations that were only inturupted by more food, drinks or funny comments was amazing. Big hugs and thanks to Patrick and Karen for being the most amazing hosts! Can’t wait to see you in the desert in July and for the big day in 2014!!

 

 

 

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy

Baylor has been in swim lessons year round since she was about 10 months old. Lately I have been getting the business from a few parents as to why I would do that. I questioned it a little myself until Baylor jumped into the club pool before PW was near her. If you’ve ever watched a kid panic in the water, seconds seem like hours. I saw the flash of panic on her face when she came up for air as the pool was deeper than she thought. As Peter made his way to her, I saw the panic quickly be taken over by muscle memory. Her head went back and her chest came up – she back floated for a second to catch her breath, get oriented and then calmly rolled herself over and kicked to the wall. I realized then and there that the last 156 swim lessons have been worth every penny.

Fast forward a few weeks and we’re in our lovely neighbor Melissa’s pool. Baylor was splashing on the steps and then decided she would swim to me – she swam half way across the pool with “scoops” (arms) and side breaths. I. Was. Amazed. I have been in the baby pool with Auggie during lessons for the last 6 weeks while Bay was in the big pool. I had no idea her strokes had gotten so good. When Peter joined us later, I thought his jaw was going to hit the cool deck as he watched her swim so well.

 

Want to go where we go? Check out Hubbard’s Family Swim School. Indoors (no sunscreen, no sun, no bugs, no chlorine), year round in a heated pool. What’s not to love?

First and Last: Preschool Year 2

I can’t believe we are another done at preschool! For some reason this year was a sad ending. I don’t really know why, but it made me a little emotional saying goodbye to her teachers and the Panda room. B will be back next year and the year after, but she’ll be on the big playground next year. Yikes she’s growing up fast. Her end of the year packet had three dates where her teachers measured and weighed her. From August to May, she grew 2.5 inches and gained 4lbs. No wonder she can pack the food away.

My mom always said she enjoyed every phase of our lives (with the exception of the snotty teenager). She said she rarely longed for the days gone by because each new phase held great things that were better than the last. I feel the same way about B. Yes it was amazing when she was little and snuggly (she’s still a good snuggler), but I love listening to her make up stories through a bubble beard in her bath. I love when she says “Mommy. You know…” because I know she’s about to try to swindle me – and I usually give in because I love that she’s thinking not just about what she wants but how she can get it. She’s growing up and it’s really adorable. I just wish it wasn’t so fast.

August 2012

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May 2013

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