The latest - everything - is going to be mighty hard to cover.
Some highlights, before I delve too deeply in are: Simon turned an entire decade old a week ago. We got a new trampoline that is the entire purpose of existence for Simon and Gus since its arrival and assembly. 5th Grade and 2nd Grade are almost 2 entire weeks into session and we just planted our garden. It is September.
Now let's backtrack a bit. Our summer was incredible. The day after school ended we got on an airplane to Minneapolis. We stayed at Maynah and Steve's house for 10 days, met our newest cousin Maximus Oakley Voss - who was born 1 day before Mama's birthday. We played with cousins, snuggled Grandparents, visited old friends, and made new memories. This summer was the summer we did things "right." I was a bit disappointed in our adventures last summer, so this summer, we barely worked at Walking Stick (which is for sale) and made sure to make the very most of our 3 months. I think my kids would agree that we succeeded.
We saw Jonathon Richman! I hope my kids never forget. It was in the basement of the ZACC, very intimate, they met him before the show and have one really cool photo to remember it by.
The next big adventure was Family Camp, which was, and always will be, one of our favorite parts of summer vacation. The relationships that have come from the magical Camp Paxson are some of my favorites. The kids are so comfortable there, and they don't sleep for 5 days, swimming, catching fish, canoeing, paddle boarding, playing games, the campfire, the mosquitoes, the food, the activities - all of it - more memories to last a lifetime. We came home just in time for the epic East Missoula fireworks on the 4th.
We ran the 1/2 marathon again. But, this time we got to run it with Maynah and Uncle Steve. We beat our PR by 20 minutes and Uncle Steve's eye didn't pop out. Simon and Gus chilled with Grandma and Grandpa and cheered us across the finish line again. It was seriously one of my favorite days of summer. We were done by 8:30am and spent the rest of the day in our backyard in the kiddie pool, in the hot tub, eating delicious foods and of course indulging in too many mixed cocktails.
We had a lot of river dates, maybe not as many as last year, but I definitely feel like we did get our annual float and several dips in the Blackfoot and Clark Fork.
We camped at Lake Inez - actually between Alva and Inez at a pretty fun spot with Sarah, Edie and Simone - later to be joined by Leslie, Edgar, Alice and Otto. Lake Inez was full of gigantic rare larchballs. The kids were finding them left and right - some bigger than softballs. We brought a couple of those specials souvenirs home.
As usual there were many caterpillars, crawdads, and frogs in little boy hands this summer. Wouldn't be summer without them.
We rode our bikes A LOT! Gus has finally mastered the 4.5 mile ride to work. By mastered, I mean, he rides it as quickly as I can run it, but he whistles and hums all the way. We only drove to work a couple of times, which made me proud of us. We rode home in the rain on several occasions, but it was always with a smile.
We camped with Amy, Luci, Fynn and Myli in Glacier Park at Fish Creek and then spent the next chilly day on Lake McDonald's shore chatting, picnicking, the boys all dunked in the freezing cold water and we finished our short visit up on the Trail of the Cedars. Whenever we manage to make time to get back together with the Ridgeway kiddos they all warm up to one another immediately, as if we spent everyday of our lives together. Just like cousins.
Shane and I went back to WI for my sweet Katy's wedding and had the opportunity to visit both of my Grandparents that live in the Madison area and some family and Nicole and her babes. It was a short visit but full of everything I'd hoped it would be.
Then, we saw a Beatle! Yep a Beatle. Paul McCartney decided to play Missoula, at age 72. We are so lucky, it was in the Griz Stadium and I am pretty sure the boys will remember that forever. I know I will. Since this event, we've been nearly non-stop listening to Beatles records, putting our turntable to good use.
We made it to the Western Montana Fair. Good Job us. We missed it last year because we were at a wedding in WY. It was a legit excuse, but this year we didn't have one, so we had to take our kids or they probably would've murdered us in our sleep.
Fish Creek swimming and that sandy dreamy beach! A lost chicken. A found chicken! A wounded chicken. A healed chicken! A new chicken from our friends!
And then, Baby Max came to visit us. We rented a little cottage in Columbia Falls for several days, right on the Flathead River. It was another dreamy location. Uncle Mitch and Auntie Megan and Maximus and the Hickeys hiked around Glacier during the days and glamped in the evenings. The 3rd day of activity we decided to let Mitch and Megan venture back into the park and we headed up to Whitefish Mountain to take on some ziplines. Dad and Simon did the 5 zipline tour and Gus and Mama did the Aerial Park Adventure. All of which we will be back to do again. It was so much more friggin' fun than I'd ever imagined it would be. Gus and I were in the treetops (trying not to poop 'em) balancing on hanging logs, walking tightropes and doing short ziplines (for 3+ hours). Dad and Simon spent 2 hours zipping around the mountain. It was just what we needed. Oh, and the Alpine Slide was also pretty choice. We had a great day. We got up the next morning and headed to Coeur D'Alene to visit Aunt Jean and Uncle Bert, also so fun. Mitch and Megan left the next day.
Little did I know, I'd see them again about a week later. My Grandpa Merlin passed away on the day they left MT. So, after Simon and Gus started school, I headed back to the midwest and saw every.single.one. of my Aunts and Uncles (on my Dad's side) and so many of my cousins (almost all of them). I was happy to be surrounded by family. It was a celebration of his life and it was a big life. He was 94 years old and the number of people who he touched, influenced and mentored in those 94 years was a feat. It was a good life.
This is a good life.
To see us INSTANTLY follow my mom on Instagram at walkingstickmama.
Here is my Mama's You Tube Channel.
The Kindergarten Powerband will probably make me cry until the day my soul leaves earth.
Simon's Limo Ride
We have too many blogs these days, but if you're interested you can check them out. Mama is still rockin' the Lunch Blog. Mama's Crafty Blog and Knitting Blog are pretty fun. And then of course the old standbys, our home away from home Walking Stick Toys and my Papa's rock band Volumen. Oh and I almost forgot my Papa is THE Ukulele Guy!
Mama's oil blog can be found here! It's a great place to learn more about oil uses and share your experiences.
And in case you have a nerdy side and want to see my Papa's jobby job go to How's Your Network?.
Last but not least...If you'd like to see our cousins Abbey and Alice they have their
own web site too!
And, our cousins Sloane and Roman have a blog called Wonderful Trouble.