July/August goals

July goals:

  1. Continue to work out to prepare for Montana
    1. I was ok at this. Less running since it’s oppressively hot, more weight lifting.
  2. Organize the girls’ school art
    1. Technically I did this the first day of August, but it’s done! I had saved…a lot of stuff from Louise.img_9097
  3. Start on 2017 photo book
    1. Yup!! My computer is slow because I have way too many photos stored on it, so I’m working on uploading photos from 2009-2012 to the Amazon Prime Photo storage to have a second backup (in addition to an external hard drive…and Shutterfly and Facebook too, I guess). It’s taking forever, which is holding up my ability to continue with the photo book.
  4. Take inventory on the girls’ school uniforms and order what they need.
    1. Done and done! Just need to get a few gingham dresses for Louise at the school store, but everything else is purchased. Polos, bottoms, socks, shoes.
  5. Start on our Halloween costumes.
    1. “Start” means order various things on Amazon, which I did.

August goals:

  1. Drink more water. I’ve noticed my water intake is pretty minimal these days (lots of tea…caffeinated and non-caffeinated), so I need to fix that.
  2. Scan in Louise’s art that I don’t want to keep but want to remember.
  3. Get on a more consistent schedule with working out. I’ve been doing ok but it’s pretty random. Hopefully after Montana I can normalize.
  4. Finish the cloud storage for photos and delete from my computer. (Very stressful…deleting 9k+ photos from my computer!! But I desperately need the memory).


This past Sunday, we set up a private tour of Yellowstone with Big Sky Shuttle. Our tour guide, Bruce, was very knowledgeable and we were glad we could all be spectators (versus one of us having to drive).

Even the scenery on the drive from our house in Big Sky to Yellowstone was amazing. I tried taking pics from the car – you can imagine how those turned out.img_9476

Louise fell asleep on the hour drive. Saving energy for the park I guess!img_9469

We stopped at the visitor’s center to get our passes for the park. The National Park Service is amazing – one $10 senior citizen pass granted our entire van access – and access to all other parks for a lifetime!

We headed in to the park and, lo and behold, the first thing we saw was a bison lumbering along the side of the road. We were pretty psyched about that.img_9665

Our first stop was Gibbon Falls, a waterfall that drops over a remnant of the Yellowstone caldera rim.img_9575img_9486img_9482img_9478

Celine wasn’t jazzed at this moment of the trip because I asked her not to sprint down a hill (crushing spirits, that’s me). We tried to get her to give Juliette a high five.img_9492

She was also complaining because her sunglasses were in the van. So I gave her mine…and she complained that they were too big. #toddlerproblemsimg_9489

We packed back in the car and headed to Artist Point – the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It was majestic…for real. Look at it:img_9507

Obviously we took six thousand photos in front of it.img_9582img_9577img_9576img_9506img_9501

Notice Celine acquired her sunglasses.img_9497

Some photo attempts were less successful.img_9583img_9509

After that, we headed over to the Lake Hotel for a picnic lunch. We had the option of eating our lunch inside, but we wanted to sit on a picnic table by the lake and take it all in. Which is what we did…img_9511

…until it started hailing on us!img_9666img_9578

We packed up our lunches and headed to the car, finishing up lunch and playing around while we waited for the hail to stop.img_9515

After lunch (and a brief rest at the Lake Hotel), Bruce drove us the 1.5 hours to Old Faithful. Juliette wasn’t interested in napping but Celine took some time to herself.img_9518

We got to Old Faithful about 15 minutes before it went off, so it was good timing (it erupts approximately every 90 minutes). We looked inside the Old Faithful Inn while we waited – it’s a pretty impressive place!img_9521img_9519

Mike stayed in the car with Celine as she was still sleeping, but she woke up just in time to see the geyser erupt. She was calling all geysers and hot spots “fireworks” all day.img_9522img_9579img_9526

The next stop was the Grand Prismatic Spring. It was probably the fan favorite of our van – SO interesting. Celine in particular couldn’t get enough.img_9547img_9542img_9538img_9553img_9555img_9556img_9561img_9560

The water dribbled down to the adjacent river.img_9532

We saw some other hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, and paint pots.img_9580img_9581img_9563img_9534

Many of them smelled of sulfur which delighted the girls. Lots of shrieking about things smelling like toots!img_9584

We were all pretty beat at this point, and the kiddos had done their best at being good kids but were tired as well.

All in all, Yellowstone was almost exactly as I imagined – amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and vast. It was really cool to get out in true nature and remember what’s out there. I was slightly bummed we didn’t spot a grizzly…but it gives us a reason to go back! 🙂


Whew…where to begin!

Earlier this year, we planned a week in Montana with Michael’s side of the family. Mike’s mom heard of a place called Moonlight Basin in the southern part of Montana (Big Sky), so that’s where we booked. We headed out last Wednesday for a week of excitement!

We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do when we got there since the three girls are too young to do any of the outdoor sports stuff (whitewater rafting, mountain biking, etc), but we ended up filling our days quite nicely.

Grammy, Grumps, and the Chauvins had an early morning flight to Dallas, and we were all on the same plane up to Bozeman. The plane had screens and was only about 3/4 full, so it was an easy flight and the kids did great. We shuffled around quite a bit to visit each other and before we knew it, we were in Montana!img_9223img_9145img_9153img_9157

The Bozeman airport is really small which made for an easy exit. Getting our rental cars took about 10 minutes – really wish Boston could learn a thing or two from the Hertz counter in Montana!

The ladies piled in one car to take the kiddos to the house while the men took the other car to Costco. It took about 45 minutes to drive to the house which included multiple animal spottings (elk, mountain goats, and deer). We spent the rest of the evening unpacking and frolicking around in the gorgeous weather. The views weren’t crystal clear because of the forest fires but it was still a beautiful place!img_9158img_9170img_9178

Sweater weather! I kept calling the girls’ fleeces “sweaters” which really irritated Louise. “They’re jackets, mom!!”img_9212img_9203img_9186img_9222

As I tend to do, I decided last minute to get matching mountain pj’s for the girls (we can all agree that matching clothes is VERY important). Look at these cuties! “The mountains are calling and I must go.” (John Muir)img_9224img_9225

We started out strong with a hike to a waterfall. We rented hiking backpacks with the house which worked out perfectly. Louise and Celine both were a little cranky on the hike back, but in general it was a great way to spend the first morning in Montana.img_9236img_9320img_9321img_9277img_9269img_9253img_9251img_9634img_9264img_9266img_9245img_9319img_9322img_9291img_9281img_9305

We took it easy for the rest of the day, acclimating to the altitude. We headed into the base camp area to check it out and get some ice cream in the afternoon.img_9330img_9325

Juliette had a toy that was plastic cake slices in different colors. She and Celine immediately clashed over the pink cake slice. Louise tried to mediate, hiding the slice in different places in the house. Celine would wait until Juliette was distracted and swoop in to snag it. Here she is hoarding all of the slices under her legs. We all learned lessons about sharing on this trip. *sigh*img_9323

We took it pretty easy the next day (Friday), too. Lots of hanging out around the house, hot tub time, and matching pj’s. (Notice the cake slices next to Celine)img_9335img_9362img_9366img_9365img_9357img_9360img_9363

Mike and I decided to take a jog while the girls were resting…turns out we weren’t super prepared for a hilly run at such a high altitude. We completed two miles but it wasn’t easy!img_9343img_9345img_9341

We headed back to base camp for some playground time. Celine found an enclave of candy and launched into a five minute rationalization of why she should have some.img_9347img_9339

A little puzzle time!img_9348

We stuffed quite a bit into Saturday – another hike, boating, and an evening concert in the town square of Big Sky.img_9369ce6ad406-e769-46b2-9773-dd029fddc6f9

We started with a hike on the ski mountain.img_9437img_9404img_9431

Celine was not into it until we started picking flowers.img_9435img_9412img_9436img_9418

Booger Queen.img_9421

Trying to get a picture with three small children…img_9434img_9639

Oh well. Let’s head down!img_9426img_9420

We hung out for a bit at the base of the mountain, soaking up the good weather.img_9430

After nap/rest time, we gave Grammy a bit of alone time and took the girls to the lake for paddle-boating and canoeing.img_9636img_9637img_9638

We headed back to the house to pick up Grammy and motored to the town center for an outdoor concert. It was easily one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip – the girls were free to frolic, we had pizza and drinks, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Also, I learned that a can of wine is two glasses…good to know.img_9443img_9441img_9459

Grammy tried out a huckleberry smoothie which immediately gained interest from the grandgirls. So they each got their own to devour.img_9642img_9643

In between bursts of energy, all three gathered grass in cups – followed shortly by dumping the grass clippings all over everyone. Rinse, repeat.img_9641img_9450

Celine and Juliette decided we were stationed too far back, and ventured to the pit for some dancing.img_9640

Mambo Kings’ biggest fans!img_9635

Sunday was our all-day tour of Yellowstone. I’m doing a separate post on that. It was amazing!

We had scheduled an expedition to the peak of the mountain at 8:45 in the morning, but we awoke to rain and cold weather. We moved it to 11:30 which worked out much better. The morning was spent lounging around and watching Mary Poppins.img_9610img_9609img_9611img_9612

Then we headed out! We waited around for a few minutes before the trip began, and the girls played some putt-putt and Celine found a walking stick.img_9587img_9613

To get to the peak we had to take the chair lift to a covered truck to a gondola/tram. The truck and tram really tested Dominique and my height anxiety, but Louise and Celine LOVED the chair lift. Might have been their favorite part of the whole trip. Celine couldn’t stop exclaiming “this is so FUN!” the whole ride up and down.img_9588img_9604img_9616img_9615img_9617img_9614img_9596img_9597img_9599

Celine absolutely loved being above the clouds. I had an iron grip on that klutz!img_9595

Visibility was not great, but there were breaks in the clouds so we could see the surrounding mountains.img_9598

The excursion took about 2.5 hours, and after getting back, we relaxed at the house and the boys cooked one final, delicious dinner. We started getting everything together for our trip back the next day.img_9621img_9622

We were out of the house around 10am and drove back to Bozeman. We took a quick detour to check out the downtown area and then headed to the airport. We were so sad to leave the beautiful house and perfect weather, but we were happy to be back home!img_9626img_9630img_9633

Toledo Bend

Just like last year, Louise is spending a week in New Orleans with her grandparents. We headed to the border of Texas and Louisiana to make the hand-off with Mike’s parents over the weekend. There’s a reservoir called Toledo Bend, and we met up at Cypress Bend resort for the night. Dom, Ross, and sweet Juliette came as well so it was a fun 24 hours with cousins!

The resort was lovely and had beautiful views of the reservoir.IMG_0909

We were there for less than 24 hours, so our primary activities were swimming, coloring, and eating – and taking copious photos of the cousins giggling around town.IMG_0911IMG_0913IMG_0914IMG_0915IMG_0929IMG_0918IMG_0931IMG_0916IMG_0917IMG_0932IMG_0926IMG_0927IMG_0919IMG_0920

Good times. 🙂IMG_0922

June/July goals

A little late to the game, but here you go. Here’s how I did on June’s goals:

  1. Get back on the workout bandwagon
    1. I did a pretty good job of this!
  2. Celine and Louise’s photo books.
    1. I finished Celine’s and had it printed, and have one more month of Louise’s to go before hers is done too. I’m excited to get the girls’ books done because I have an idea of how I want to do the calendar year books moving forward and I wanted to get started on 2017!
  3. Organize the girls’ art from the past school year. I want to do two things: pare down what I’ve kept to the ones that mean the most and put them in a portfolio box, and scan them in so I can eventually create a photo book with all of their art.
    1. Moving to a July goal – something good to get done before school starts again. They’ve been bringing a lot home from summer camp too so it’s really piling up.
  4. Put the shower curtain up in the girls’ bathroom.
    1. Done! Finally bought a curtain rod and put it up.
  5. I have two Mike goals (things I want done but would rather Mike do them): change our air filters and clean our gutters.
    1. He did them – along with power wash the outside of our house. Boy did it need a cleaning!

July goals:

  1. Continue to work out to prepare for Montana
  2. Organize the girls’ school art
  3. Start on 2017 photo book (excited about this one!)
  4. Take inventory on the girls’ school uniforms and order what they need.
  5. Start on our Halloween costumes. I know it seems super early, but both girls are very clear in what they want to be (they want to be the same thing, just like last year), and I know exactly what I need to do to get all of our costumes in a good place. Mike’s will probably take a bit of time, so starting it now means I won’t be in a time crunch later.