Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Overnight in Idaho

After church on Sunday, July 23, we left Seeley Lake and headed to Salmon, Idaho to stop for the night at Aunt Barbara and Uncle Boyd's house.  We had to go see Grandpa Jolley and Grandma Pat first.  Sammy threw up in the car, and then woke up from a nap as we got to Great Grandpa's retirement home, so he was grouchy and needy for the whole visit, but it was nice to get to see Grandpa and Pat.  
Then we drove over to the ranch to see some cows.  The cows replied to all of Sammy's moos.  They even came over to see if we had food.
Then we had to check out the tractor.
The kids dropped so many unsubtle hints to Josh that they wanted a motorcycle ride that he relented and got out the motorcycle.  Sammy was fascinated, but too shy to ride.  B was all aglow.
Josh is so cool.
Todd got out the four wheeler so that Sammy could get a ride with him.  I suggested we go down the road to Aunt Reah and Uncle Jim's house to see the animals.
Sammy was in heaven.  He loved chasing chickens and turkeys.
Reah and Jim's house is a great place for kids to play.
Sammy caught up with a friendly cat.
Reah came out to chat.
Jim came out to summon his tame deer.  Bambi runs wild, but she spends a lot of time around the Tarkalson house, since Jim took her in as a rescue when she was orphaned as a fawn.  Jim finally managed to persuade Bambi to jump the fence.  
This is why visiting Idaho is better than going to a theme park.  Even when we are only there for one afternoon, and there are no children to play with, so many memories are made.
The next morning we were off to Utah for the next stage of our adventure.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Montana Reunion

We had one more Sunday with the Warnocks, and then they left to spend a couple of days at Grandpa Michael's house before the family reunion in Montana.  We left Wednesday, July 19 to drive all day to Seeley Lake, Montana.  The reunion was at Tamaracks Resort, which was lovely.  
 We were immediately reunited with the Warnock Cousins, and a few hours later we were joined by the Jensens.  Faith came to represent the Alvarez family, or, as they prefer to be called, the Alvari.
 There was hiking, swimming, relaxing, and most of all, time to hang out with cousins.
 Cheyenne loves to show off her baby.
 Look! Me and Todd are cute again!  This must be a record for us.
 Todd and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary this year.  After 12 years of swimming together, I finally managed to dunk Todd in Seeley Lake.  It was a big day for me.
 The water was not too cold, but we couldn't go out very far before we were beset with seaweed and deep mud.
 This is just us being awesome.  After the kids were put in bed at night we had people come over to our cabin to play games.  We even got Uncle John's family to come over one night and do board games with us.
 My dad's mom, Grandma Lister, was there.  She is mostly blind, so she didn't participate very much in the outdoor fun, but she loved having the kids come in to see her.  She brought gifts for all of the children.  I don't think any of my kids have ever met this Grandma before.
 New toys led to more cousin fun.
 Here is Cheyenne, showing off her cute baby again.
 New toys had to be brought out and buried in the sand.  Miraculously all of our Great-Grandma toys did make it home with us.
 Stay weird, Todd.
With all of the Montana trees, we were bound to find a couple with the right spacing for some hammock time.
 Jared was persuaded to come to this reunion with the promise of an epic water fight.  When the first couple of days were windy, and Uncle John and Aunt Shaunna seemed reluctant to hold a council of war, child led water fights started breaking out spontaneously.  This water fight turned into a game of drench Aunt Faith.
 It was really fun to connect with most of my Humiston cousins.  They were always up for games.
 There were group campfires three of the four nights.  We let the kids stay up for one of them, on Friday.  We sang camp songs, told stories, swatted mosquitoes, and ate s'mores.
 Being allowed to stay up was a huge treat for these tired kiddos.  Look at the size of B's smile!
 Saturday, our last full day in Montana, we rented a little rowboat with a tiny motor and buzzed around the lake.  Rowing turned out to be kind of impossible with all of the small kids in the boat.  Sammy clung to me like a leech the whole time we were on the water. We hummed along at a snail's pace with the little electric engine, and we didn't lose anyone overboard.  At least not permanently.
Finally, we had the long anticipated water fight.  It had all of the soaking, tackling, shrieking, side-taking, hat stealing, and sneaking that Jared could ask for, and a lot more besides.  It was wildly fun.  Photo credit goes to Naomi, who tried to avoid a soaking, but failed.
 When we thought we were done with the water fight, we drifted away to other activities, only to find that both sides (My dad and family vs. Uncle John and family) had planned ambushes on the open field.  So we got wet again with our clothes on.  Sammy and B were big fans of Aunt Shaunna, and her willingness to refill water balls over and over and over again.
 The fun was over too soon.  We started our goodbyes on Saturday evening.  Sunday morning everyone scattered.  We went to sacrament meeting at the tiny Seeley Lake branch, which met in a room the size of the Relief Society Room in our building at home.  The extra six of us, plus nine of Uncle John's family, and Grandpa Karl and Grandma Bonnie, made for a packed room.  They had to set up a few extra chairs.  Uncle John had thought to call ahead and alert the branch president that we would be bringing a crowd, so we didn't have to feel too bad about springing our numbers on them.

The reunion was over too soon, but we were off on more adventures.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Andrew Came!

On July 14, everyone seemed reasonably healthy, so we drove to Edmonds, parked the cars, and walked to the Kingston Ferry.  
 All of the kids were dressed for swimming in the sound.  Cheyenne learned from her experience at Juanita Beach (and many other experiences) that adults feeling like this was not swimming weather was not going to persuade the kids.
 The ferry ride was a huge hit.
 Right next to the ferry terminal on the north side was a beach park.  We set up camp, wrapped Sammy's leg in shopping bags and duct tape, and turned the kids loose.  Madison had never been to the Pacific Ocean before, so this was special.
 The tide was on its way out.  The longer we played on the beach, the more treasures were to be found in the rocks that had been just offshore when we arrived.
 Between the sand, the treasure trove of shells and rocks, our picnic lunch, and the icy cold seawater, we had a full day.  We made quite the parade marching back to the ferry terminal.  Sammy turned heads in his tiny boot.

 After we rode back on the ferry, Cheyenne took her brood to the airport to pick up Andrew, and I took mine home.
Later that night, Grandpa Michael came to visit and get the most out of Cheyenne's family being on the west coast.
The next day we did all of the things that we had carefully selected to appeal to Andrew so that he would want to move to Seattle.  I'm kidding, but only a little bit.
First, we went to see the Fremont Troll.  What is not to love about a city that builds trolls under its bridges?
 Next we toured a historic firefighting boat at the Northwest Maritime Museum next to MOHAI.  McKay was very taken with the seaplanes landing and taking off from Lake Union.  South Lake Union has an air harbor for Kenmore Air.  This was heaven for McKay and his love of transportation.

 Then we walked around the corner of MOHAI to the Center for Wooden Boats, where the kids scrambled in and out of boats to their hearts' content.

 Some of them liked this more than others.  I think Grandpa Michael was probably geeking out the most, as he does.
 Toady was smitten with these Canada Geese.

 For lunch we went to the Seattle Food Truck Festival, which was near where we had parked.  This was sort of a stressful way to get food for eight children and five adults, especially since they were hungry.  Or, in Jared's case, not hungry at all, and just horribly thirsty.  Eventually we got them all fed, and we didn't lose anyone for very long.
 Look! Todd and I do things together! Aren't we cute?
 Our last order of business for the day was a trip to Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, near the airport, at low tide, so that we could go treasure hunting in the tide plain.
 Except for McKay throwing up, and multiple barnacle casualties, including Grandpa Michael's shoes, this part of the outing turned out to be a huge success.  Andrew discovered that turning over larger rocks exposed hundreds of tiny crabs, which could be scooped up by the fistful, if you were fast and bold enough.
 Aaron was fast and bold.  Eloise and I were a little more reluctant, especially after we picked up a couple of pinchy ones.  We even found a sand dollar, which was Cheyenne's goal for the day.  I don't think she took it home, though, since taking things off of the beach is prohibited, and our kids are old enough to read signs.  Just kidding.  We always followed rules.  We want this beach to stay pristine.
 Later, when we got the kids in bed, we played games with the grown ups, and Madison.
This day could have gone on forever for me.  We had so much fun.  We never see enough of our Georgia family.