Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day Trip to the Relatives

We woke up to a town covered in smoke today!. As bad as it was here this morning, I worry for those living closer to the Big fires.


Today I had the joy of riding with Maria (daughter) ...

and Eric (son-in-law) 

and my beautiful granddaughters for a trip to the town where my Mom lives.  It was a lovely time.

It was a really windy day up there but the girls wanted to be outside a lot anyway. 

Elise made a friend.

Cordelia got a lot of exercise! 

My sister came over. Elise and Cordy gave her lots of snuggles and she gave them both beautiful sweaters she had knit for them.

My niece, Stephanie, was in town. It is always great to see her. She graduated from college
this past Spring and is on the verge of some exciting changes.

We also got to see my nephew, Steven. Doesn't he look like a musician? Maybe that
is because he is. That kid can play a trumpet like nobody's business!

My Mom has a new puppy who was quite the hit. His name is Charlie and he is a fun little guy! 

My Mom and the girls had some mandatory fun in Mom's beautiful playhouse, AKA "she shed".
Looking at this photo I just want to say, "Isn't my Mom pretty?"

Conversation snippets from today:

When my Mom asked Elise what she expected to learn when she starts Preschool she quickly said she would learn about God and Heaven, then added that Grandma Rose is in heaven.  Everyone said, "Aaaaah."

Elise had a LOT to say today. During one long conversation with her she told me that "humans make sense and animals make sense but towels can't talk because they are not alive."  Ok, then.

Having a lot of grandmas can be confusing for little girls. Today Cordelia referred to me as "Plain Grandma".
When I repeated the term with a question mark in my voice she explained that I was a "non-great Grandma".  Funny little girl.

It has been a fun day!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Prettiest Rainbow I Ever Saw!

Last night we were at the home of some friends, standing our on their deck, when a little storm blew through. With it came the brightest, prettiest rainbow EVER!  At one point it was a full double rainbow... So beautiful. I took a lot of photos, trying to capture the breathtaking beauty. None of the photos captured it but you have to give me points for trying.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

More Montana - Helena!

Another fun part of our trip to Montana was a little exploration of the capital, Helena.  Even though Helena is the capital, it is not a very large town. It actually was really pretty quaint.

I need to tell you, in case you don't know, the correct way to pronounce Helena.
It is NOT Hu-lane-uh.  It is Helen (like the name) + Uh (like you can't think of what you want to say next. Really.

One of our first stops was to the capital building itself.

Is that really the governor sitting there? I am not sure. There was a sign welcoming us in but we aren't technically Montana citizens right now so it seemed rude to interrupt him. So, we may or may not have spotted the governor.

Capital buildings are great places to see interesting architecture.

We pretty much had access to all the big rooms as nothing was going on at that time. Mike & I were there in the 70's when our high school sent two classes to watch the legislature in action. I don't think I learned anything then but I'd like to sit in on it now. I'd pay more attention. Back then, I think I was mostly paying attention to Mike.

That is not a real couple up there... it is a statue.

There! Now you can see Mike and Maureen Mansfield. They were very friendly.

Can you see that flower garden? It is in the shape of the state of Montana!

The next day we went through the nation's saddest mall. There were so many empty stores!  The hallway felt dark with all the darkened spaces.

After that, we went on a touristy "train" ride. Here's our engineer who went around greeting folks before we started our tour of Helena.

I love being a tourist. There is so little pressure to be "cool".  Good thing.

We saw a lot of interesting homes!

Many were old mansions with historic stories to go with them. Too bad I can't remember which home belonged to whom. It would have been a more interesting blog, wouldn't it?

He drove us down their "walking mall". They have a hilly downtown area and they've made it an outdoor mall where there are several blocks with no cars allowed. Trains WERE allowed.  Our engineer cheerily rang a little bell and store owners came out to greet us and to remind us to come back later to check out their stuff.  We did.  It would have been rude if we had not.

Aren't they friendly?

This cathedral was beautiful.  Our engineer told us a tale of a pilot flying his little plane between those steeples!  We were told that military pilot was quickly reassigned to the infantry. Who knows how much truth was in that story. Did he turn the plane sideways or what?

We also returned to the cathedral and went inside. They give tours but it was pretty quiet at that moment.

Really beautiful...

I think the ceilings were the most fascinating.

I loved the old, old buildings downtown.

We had a delightful little time in Helena.  I wouldn't mind living in a place like that.

Next up...Gates of the Mountains!  

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Montana Vacation

We just returned from a vacation to Montana.  We did things a little differently this time.  This trip wasn't so much about visiting people but rather about visiting places.  It was also an unstructured vacation.  We didn't plan too far ahead, sometimes only minutes!  I'm a planning kind of gal so I had to let loose of the reins a bit, but I really enjoyed it.

One of our stops was to Big Timber Waterfall in the Crazy Mountains.  When we last lived in Montana we went there from time to time for a little day trip.  I love that place!  The last time I remember being there was 22 years ago.  Our son, Sam, was only 2 weeks old and Ben and Maria were only 8 and 12 years old. This return visit was overdue!

Do you ever try to imagine yourself back to a favorite spot? Well, this is a place I go to in my mind sometimes.  That visit 22 years ago, for some reason, was special. Part of it was that we had a new baby and I remember feeling that our family felt just right, complete.  I just remember feeling a strong sense of peace and joy.

I took this photo of Mike at the waterfall on that visit 22 years ago.  He had just been sitting there relaxing and looking handsome.  One year I framed it as a gift for him.

Years after that, Maria did a painting for him, based off that photo.

And then, her painting became the cover for one of his CD's.

Of course, I wanted him to recreate that photo.  You wouldn't believe how many times I took his picture, making him move this way and that way, until I settled on this one.  It isn't perfect but close.  It makes me happy!

After that "photo shoot" we just hung out there. We saw a few people early on the trail but seemed to have the place to ourselves after that. It was so lovely! It was so perfect.

Early in our marriage we lived on a farm in Montana and had most of our hours spent together.  It was one of my favorite times for just that reason.  Now, with both of us working, it isn't that way.  Like most couples, we really have to be intentional about making time for each other.  I loved this day because it was just us, reliving memories and making new ones.  Such a day is a gift, nothing less.

We talked about our sons and our daughter and their childhoods. It went by so quickly.  It was fun reliving those memories, just a little bittersweet.  Still, it made me think about how precious a memory is! We can go back to those times whenever we wish, as long as we have our memories.

But then, as long as I have Mike it is as though I still have a child, right? Get off that log before you fall in, Mike!

This man... I know that I am so blessed to get to go through this life with him. I better stop with the mushy stuff, though, or I will embarrass him. 

Water! I just love being near water!

I have aged in the 22 years between visits to Big Timber Waterfall.  So many things have happened in our lives, mostly good things.  We could not have dreamed of how our lives would be, all the places we'd go, the new people added to our family during those years. It makes me wonder what new experiences are ahead for us.  Now matter what lies ahead, I'm certain I will look back at this visit to the waterfall as one of my favorite days.

This last photo was one of my favorites. Sunshine through the trees in the mountains always makes me feel closer to God somehow. It is almost as though his love and caring is coming down with those rays. Peace.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mountain Hike

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of going on a two hour hike up a mountain with my daughter. What a sweet pleasure! 

It was a pretty strenuous hike for me but soooo worth it.  The scenery was so beautiful and two hours with Maria was a real treat.  She does this hike frequently so she showed me the way, pointing out beautiful things along the way. When, early on, I asked how high we were going, she wasn't exactly forthcoming. That was probably for the best as I had no clue how much climbing it would entail.  As it turned out, my Fitbit thinks I climbed 105 flights of stairs that day! 

Anyway, I took my phone along so you, too, may enjoy the hike.  

Great day!