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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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.