Monday, August 29, 2011

A Smile to Make My Heart Sing

Last Friday I had the pleasure of accompanying my nephew and his mama to a doctor's appointment. I am happy anytime I get to spend time with these two! What made it extra special? He's finally got that ol' smile thing down. He grins like it's going out of style! I'd heard rumors of this milestone, but it wasn't till Friday that I really saw it for myself. If you want to feel warm and fuzzy like never before, make a baby smile! That little boy gave me three big grins and I completely melted. Nothing like it! Of all the things I've accomplished in my 26 years, I think this deserves a slot in my top 5. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bear in a Bag Day!

My cat looked a little bored today, and after I was rummaging through some of our old saved paper bags I thought I'd set her up an obstacle course. She LOVES paper bags. And I love that she does! This is what my living room looks like now (and that's not all of them!)

(With a few cat toys standing by....along with Jesus in the background..)

Whatever keeps her happy! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Valley is Full of Smoke

For years we had what the town would call wildfire "seasons." Dry weather, hot temps and enough lightening strikes to set the state a-flame. August always had a haze to it (but phenomenal sunsets!). I never minded terribly, because it was just our version of a "natural disaster." Some towns had tornadoes, some towns had major earthquakes. I was happy that our issue at least stayed outside of the city. I felt kinda lucky.

The smell of smoke also always signified the start of school. Fall was coming when the town was covered in soot. Became part of the tradition.

The "season" has been pretty tame the last two years which has been a nice, but a few days ago the hillsides east of us were lit up again. The smoke started billowing and we could see its plume from the middle of town. Thankfully no buildings have been damaged and last night's downpour hopefully helped the cause some.

I rode my bike through a blue cloud today that covered the whole valley. Not ideal for asthmatics, but otherwise, to be honest, it just reminds me of Autumn. It's the start of the next season. Escorted in in the flashiest way. The only part that makes me sad this time around is that they're suspecting arson. Seriously?! What's wrong with people? Not cool. Lightening strikes and dry brush is one thing, forest arson is just cruel. And stupid.

So as much as I want the perpetrator caught and the mess cleaned up, I won't complain too much. This is what happens when you live among mountains. When you live near the forests and wild lands. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rednesday! August Adventure

Today I'm teaming up with It's a Very Cherry World for Rednesday. Oh how I love the color red! That's why I was so excited when I found this down puffy vest (I'd wanted one FOREVER) and all they had! Perfect! It comes with me whenever I go skiing--even if that's in August! :D

(Can you tell I'm excited to be in Glacier?!)

Head on over to her blog to see other red-themed entries!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Glacier Dreaming & August Skiing

My sister and I drove up to Glacier this last weekend to enjoy the scenery...and ski! Not too much snow remains, but still more than usual! We slept in the back of her truck, AKA the Party Wagon, and got up early on Saturday to high-tail it to Logan Pass for a parking spot. Success!

In the early sun we ate breakfast and enjoyed fresh coffee before loading our bags. I always forget how wide I am with skis AND boots attached to my backpack! We hiked up the boardwalk over the tundra like all the other tourists, but as soon as we got to snow we hopped off and hiked away from the masses. People thought we were so odd!

We got in a few turns on summer snow and enjoyed a light lunch above the valley. We saw bighorn sheep, a wolverine and a mountain goat. We shared our space with very few other hikers/skiers and the quiet and solitude was amazing. That park is definitely the "jewel of the continent" and I still can't believe how lucky I am to have it in my backyard. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Seeley Lake: A Trip Down Memory Lane

This last weekend my family of four packed up the car full of inner tubes, snacks, snorkels, fins and sodas. We drove for an hour through farm land, cattle ranches and warm, pine forests to our beloved Seeley Lake.

As a family we haven't visited this spot for years. It was a favorite growing up, spending multiple weekends a summer at our favorite little beach. The lake is smaller than most in the area, but has always held a special place in our hearts.

Stepping out of the car and looking out at the water, and the familiar mountains beyond, brought a grin to my face. It was good to be back!

(Please click to see larger image)

I'm linking up to Decor to Adore's Wayfaring Wednesday! Please go visit her and see the other blogs! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Fair Day 3: Chicks 'N Chaps!

We have an amazing fundraising event in Montana called Chicks 'N Chaps. To benefit local breast cancer patients, 250 women get together for a ladies-only rodeo clinic. Everyone wears pink, and joins PRCA cowboys for a day of rodeo events and socializing.

It was amazing! My mother went with me and I was surprised at all the detail that went into the event. Our 8-Second Saloon bartenders served up beer and wine all day long, catering filled the tables with tasty foods and Cowgirl Cupcakes whipped up the best little cupcakes I've ever had. Mmm!

Everyone got a t-shirt and a goody bag full of amazing swag. After we'd stuffed our faces to the music of a live country band, we were introduced to our hunky cowboys and headed out into the rodeo arena. We learned about the livestock from the guy who runs the rodeo, learned how to rope and also how to ride a bull. We also learned a dance routine we'd perform as that night's rodeo pre-show! Yikes!

It was hot and sticky but a wonderful time with some great ladies. And we learned that even after six Coors beers you don't feel a thing! Just have to pee a lot... LOL.

After our messy pre show of flailing to the music we retired to the Chick Pit to watch the rodeo and eat nachos. It was a long day but it felt great to be helping such an important cause. We'll definitely be doing this one again!

The Fair Day 2: Rodeo!

My second trip to the fair last week was with my sister. We passed on all but one of the rides and just ate good food and took a long stroll through the animals. At 7 we grabbed some beer and headed into the grand stands for a few hours of good ol' Montana rodeo. Can't beat it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Fair Day 1: Return to Childhood

My first day at this year's county fair was like a page out of my childhood. A good friend of mine (who I've known since elementary school) joined me as we spent six hours among the fun chaos.

We rode rides like we were in high school, going on as many as we could till we started feeling sick. (Which happens a lot sooner the older you get!) To cool down we'd drink root beer floats and play bingo.

We pet the sheep and wandered among the cows, pointed at huge rabbits and fluffy chickens. My favorite part? When he won me a prize from a carnival game. Because no one ever had before!

We had a great time people watching and ended the night piled high with cotton candy, vikings, tater pigs and fry bread. Mmm! What a delightful day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

DIY Wine Cupboard

On foot one day, heading toward a local grocery market, I found an abandoned jewelry chest leaning against a tree. It was surrounded by various other yard-sale style free items. I grabbed the case and took it with me. When I got home I noticed it held a bottle of wine perfectly. A rarely have more than a bottle or two in the house at once (I always fail to stock up) and thought I could make a nice cupboard for the wine and all accessories. (I've acquired wine stoppers, etc.) After taping over the door and removing a panel of stained fabric it was ready to go.

Next, I rummaged for paint. I always have a fair amount of black spray paint in the garage.

All pieces were painted on the lawn, including the little drawers.

All dry, I added a piece of scrapbooking paper where the fabric used to be. It now happily holds my latest bottle of wine (chocolate wine...mmmm) and additional stoppers. I think it's cute and will add a fun element to my kitchen counter.

My Latest Obsession... quite innocent! Summers are for reading and I've once again fallen under the spell of Nancy Drew and her mysteries! I can get through a book in a day and I've been steadily moving through the series for a week or two now. I remember some of them from childhood, and some titles are brand new to me! Wiling away the too-hot days with a book and cool drink is divine!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Color

Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning. ~Lydia M. Child

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