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!
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!
Sweater weather! I kept calling the girls’ fleeces “sweaters” which really irritated Louise. “They’re jackets, mom!!”
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)
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.
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.
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*
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)
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!
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.
A little puzzle time!
We stuffed quite a bit into Saturday – another hike, boating, and an evening concert in the town square of Big Sky.
We started with a hike on the ski mountain.
Celine was not into it until we started picking flowers.
Trying to get a picture with three small children…
Oh well. Let’s head down!
We hung out for a bit at the base of the mountain, soaking up the good weather.
After nap/rest time, we gave Grammy a bit of alone time and took the girls to the lake for paddle-boating and canoeing.
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.
Grammy tried out a huckleberry smoothie which immediately gained interest from the grandgirls. So they each got their own to devour.
In between bursts of energy, all three gathered grass in cups – followed shortly by dumping the grass clippings all over everyone. Rinse, repeat.
Celine and Juliette decided we were stationed too far back, and ventured to the pit for some dancing.
Mambo Kings’ biggest fans!
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.
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.
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.
Celine absolutely loved being above the clouds. I had an iron grip on that klutz!
Visibility was not great, but there were breaks in the clouds so we could see the surrounding mountains.
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.
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!