Thursday, June 2, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend Trifecta

Summer is finally here.  Well, almost.  Willa has 2 more weeks of school.  But the weather has started to warm up and everything is green again.  Winter in Montana is great, but summer is glorious.  We took advantage of a nice, three-day weekend and played.  Three days and three adventures...
 
Rafting the Dearborn River
 
 
 
Matt floated the Dearborn River last spring and thought it was so pretty, he wanted to share it with us this year.  You can only float the river during a short window in the spring when the water levels are high enough.

 
I was a little nervous to bring the kids.  The float is an all day commitment.  We put in around 9:30 am and didn't finish until after 7:30 pm.  We were slowed down a couple hours by a friend that came along in his own raft.  He stopped a lot to fish and fell behind us.  The kids were great.  I think the first hour was the hardest.  The kids settled in to the day pretty quickly and they all took naps in the afternoon.



napping...

 
Montana sure has grown on me.  I really didn't know if I would like living here.  I love living in a state where it is super easy to spend the day in the middle of nowhere. 

 
 
Hiking in the Bridger Mountains
 

We also spent part of the weekend hiking in the Bridger Mountains.  The plan was to hike to Fairy Lake near Bozeman, BUT the road was still closed for winter.  The road closure turns an easy 1.2 mile hike into an 11 mile hike.  Needless to say, we didn't even try to get to the lake... another day... when the road is open.  Willa has been an awesome hiker since she was little.  Clark finally turned a corner.  He loved the hike and lead the pack with Willa.  Oliver is still young and wanted to be carried.  I'd say he hiked half of it.  We went about 2 miles.  It is such a pretty part of Montana.




Museum of the Rockies
 
We spent Sunday night in a hotel in Bozeman so we could visit the Museum of the Rockies on Monday.  Willa and Clark ranked the hotel as their favorite thing of the weekend.  So silly.  The "dinosaur museum" was a close second.
 


A museum full of dinosaur bones found right here in Montana.  What could be cooler than that?  It's not a huge museum, but it didn't disappoint.  The bones were really cool to see.  We've been watching dinosaur documentaries on Netflix lately so it was fun for the kids (and me) to see so many bones and fossils up close.



My favorite part of the museum were the T-Rex and Triceratops skulls lined up from baby to adult.  It was really neat to see the changes that happened as they grew.

 
There is also a planetarium.  Matt made sure he saw all of the shows.  Oliver only lasted one and was a little scared during parts of it.  Willa and Clark watched 2 of the 3 shows.

 
 Such a fun weekend with three fun adventures.  Bring on summer!!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Thanksgiving

Great Falls was cold and frosty and GORGEOUS on Thanksgiving this year.  Willa took these pictures as the sun was coming up for a project at school and I'm so glad she did because it really was a pretty morning.  There are only a few days like this every fall.  The thick frost happens when the river is still warm and the temperature drops so the steam from the river freezes on the trees.  Plus it had snowed the day before.  Such a pretty day!
 




I cooked my first turkey this year.  Last year was the first year Matt and I made a turkey on our own, but this year I did it without any help (unless you count youtube!).  We've been married 13 years and we were lucky enough to be invited somewhere for thanksgiving or visited family for the first 11 years. 

One of Matt's partners offered to switch a few hours with him on Thanksgiving so Matt was able to come home and eat with us.  We lucked out in the radiology group Matt joined.  You never really know how well a group works together after interviewing.  All of the physicians in Matt's group are super nice and family oriented.  Some of my best friends here are wives of Matt's partners.  It has definitely made the transition to living in Great Falls easier!

 
We spent the day toasty warm inside enjoying each other's company (and missing Matt, of course!).  The kids decorated the tree in their PJs and we listened to Christmas music.


 

 

Chopping Down Our Christmas Tree

It was Matt's turn to work on Thanksgiving and all of Thanksgiving weekend this year.  Boo!!  I have quickly adjusted to having Matt around on holidays now that he's out of residency.  It helped knowing that he was going to be off the whole week of Christmas and get a three day weekend the week of New Years.  Anyways, since he wasn't going to be around Thanksgiving weekend and since I was determined to chop down our own Christmas tree this year, we went the weekend before Thanksgiving and found our perfect tree.
 
We went to the Lewis and Clark National Forest in the Little Belts about an hour from where we live.  It was one of those perfect fall days... or maybe I should clarify... it was a perfect Montana fall day where everything is covered in snow, but it's warm - you know, in the 50s.  (That seems like a joke to Florida me, but it was a warm day for Montana.)
 
We brought our sleds.  My kids LOVE sledding.
 


 
And here's where our tree used to live.  I've had real trees most of my life and never felt bad about it.  But I actually felt bad chopping down a perfectly healthy tree.  I got over it, but it did seem wasteful.
 
 
Matt and our tree. 
We wore hunter's orange since it was still hunting season and we heard gun shots in the distance.
 
 
 
We played in the snow and took lots of pictures.  The kids and I were so busy sledding (and chasing after Oliver - that little stinker!) that we missed the actual "timber" part of the day.



I like this picture of Clark.  I'm not sure why.  He's not even looking at the camera.  I think he looks older and handsome.  Clark is a hard kid to parent.  He's super stubborn and sensitive.  But we sure do love him and are grateful he's part of our family!




 
Another exciting November event - Willa lost her two front teeth!  She lost them on the same night.  Matt pulled out the first one and she asked him to pull out the second and it was ready also.  I can't watch!  I used to let my teeth get so loose, they would literally fall out.  Willa likes to pull hers out as soon as they start to wiggle.
 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2015 Birthdays

Willa - January - 6 years old

Willa loves birthdays and birthday parties.  She planned her party for months and changed her mind a dozen times.  In the end, she had a tea party at home with a group of friends.  She was very specific.  She wanted the color pink, fancy dishes, fancy tea pots with chocolate milk and apple juice, costumes, a zebra piñata, a Frozen cake, flowers, flower shaped sandwiches, mini treats, and I can't remember what else.

 
It was a success.  We hit up all the thrift stores to find fancy dishes. 
My mom flew in from Florida and we had fun setting up and getting the food ready.
 
 
The kids played several games, decorated white tea cups with sharpie markers to use during lunch and hit the piñata.
 
 
Then we had our tea party lunch, cake, and presents.


 

Matt - March - 35 years old


 Matt always wants a simple birthday.  Dinner with the fam, pound cake or cheese cake, and a present or two.  He got a DSLR camera this year.  Now he really takes a lot of pictures... thousands and thousands.  Lots of great ones though, so you don't hear me complaining. 
 

 

Clark - March - 4 years old

Clark loves birthdays as well, but didn't want a big party.  I kept trying to plan one and even bought some invitations, but I ended up returning them.  I realized that I was planning a big party because I felt like I had to to be a good mom or keep it fair or something.  He wanted one friend (our neighbor, Wes) and our family.  I'm glad I listened to him and kept it small.  It was a perfect day for him.

We invited Wes and his family to meet us at the trampoline park in town.  We had so much fun.  We had the place to ourselves.  We all jumped and really played.  Sometimes at birthday parties or play dates, I find myself working the whole time and not being able to just play with my kids.  We kept Clark's birthday so simple that we could play right beside the kids.

Afterwards, we picked up Café Rio take out and brought it back to our house for dinner, cake, and presents.  The Bryant's have two boys the same ages as our boys so it works out great.

 
Clark is into Toy Story.  He asked for a "Woody cowboy who talks when you pull a string" and a "Buzz who's wings pop out when you push a button."  My mom was able to find both on amazon.  He was thrilled.

 
 
The picture below makes me laugh.  It's from the morning after.  He's enjoying his cup of soy milk and a chocolate something wearing his new Buzz jammies.  Looks like such a content little boy.


Oliver - July - 2 years old

My parents visited in July so we celebrated Oliver's birthday while they were here.  My Dad, Willa, and Clark set out on a mission to find a cake with a motorcycle on it.  They came back several hours later having had a wonderful time with the perfect cake.  Oliver loved his cake and the motorcycle on it.

 
 
We kept it very simple.  We had streamers, balloons, and poppers that were filled with paper crowns and little toys. 


We ate dinner and cake on the deck. 
 
blowing out his candles - not sure what Clark is doing



Blue frosting equals blue mouths!
 
 
 
 Oliver's big present was a mini trampoline.  He was scared of it at first, but quickly fell in love.  He jumps on that thing all the time.
 
 

Lindsay - September - 34 years old

We unofficially celebrated my birthday the weekend before with the Bryants.  Steph and I have the same birthday - we are basically twins.  Mike and Steph brought over their jet ski and we spent the day on the river.  I took these pictures of our kids.  Such good little friends.  Steph was doing the chicken dance behind me and the camera.

 
 
 
We officially celebrated with a delicious homemade cake on my actual birthday.  My friend, Sarah, made it.  It was so good.  I need to bake more cakes for our birthdays.  Homemade really is so much better.