I know this is a humungous blog post, but I just wanted to blog the whole vacation at once :) I have sat down three separate times to work on this, lol.
Our kids got to fly on an airplane for the very first time. They were so excited. Ethan was quite nervous at first and asked if the plane was going to crash any time it made any sort of movement or had turbulence. Alayna was chill.
We had a layover in Seattle.... this was at 9:00 PM. We got to fly on a prop plane, which actually eneded up being great. They served complimentary beer and wine! We had a great experience flying with Alaskain Airlines.
We arrived in Montana after midnight, and non of the kids slept at all! They were so tired, but very wound up and excited :) JOlene's parent's brought two vehicles and picked us all up from the airport, then took us to their house in Seeley Lake, which was an hour drive. The kids all finally conked out at 12:30 am in the car.
Our first day
Waking up in such a beautiful place was quite a treat. There was as stream flowing through the back and green everywhere you looked. I never got tired of the sound of that stream, and sleeping with my window open and that sound was so very peaceful.... I miss it! We spent our first day relaxing and recovering from travel, and exploring the house and surrounding land. The house is on a golf course and has such a great view. Not too shabby huh?
The stream in the back
The stream is actually down a little hill, and they have a deck overlooking it with a spa and a fire pit on it. Do you think they'd mind if I moved in???? :)
Tana Nana (Jolene's mom) was so sweet and thoughtful and had fun toys and gifts for the kids to enjoy. As you can see they had quite a bit of fun with these squirt guns :) That is the front yard! Pretty huh?
Tana Papa (John, Jolene's Dad) let the boys try a little fishing down in the creek. Nothing was caught, but they enjoyed trying!
They have four wheeler's that we had a blast taking out on rides. I had actually never driven a four wheeler, it was so much fun. There were roads that went all behind the house and up to the hills. The views were breathtaking (you might hear that word a lot in this post).
This picture is a pano from Matt's phone at the top of one of the hills!
Our kids loved riding with us a couple of times too :)
In addition to four wheeler's the Meyer's have a golf cart, which we all enjoyed taking out for little spins. That is the driveway leading out from the front yard.
I love this picture of the kids.... I took them for a golf cart ride one evening and about 10 seconds after this picture Jonny ran in the water and got soaked :)
John had a fire going in the fire pit every evening. The kids loved roasting s'smores on the second night we were there.
The four amigos :) This is trouble right here ;)
To top off the s'mores John lit a couple of fireworks directly from the back patio (they are legal in Montana). The kids thought that was great!!!
Cleaning up after a long day of playing.
The sun doesn't set there until after 10:00. It wouldn't be completely dark until almost 11:00!! Crazy huh? I don't think our kids fell asleep before 10:00 but a few times. We never went to bed before midnight. It's odd because it made you feel not tired with the sun blazing at 9:00 pm, lol.
After we'd put the kids to bed we enjoyed hanging out on the deck and relaxing in the spa. It was the perfect way to end each day!
Seeley Lake is a gorgeous place, and actually there are many lakes in the area. We found our favorite lake to be Lake Seeley. It had great swimming beached and was really nice.
Hiking Lake Holland
One day we packed the kids up and went hiking at Holland Lake, which was a 20 minute drive from the house. The lake was breathtaking. We did a 1.5 mile hike (one way) that went to the top of a beautiful waterfall. It was a pretty tough hike for little ones, and Alayna had quite the hard time. I ended up carrying her most of the way :( She made us promise that we'd never ever take her hiking again, haha. I'm sure she'll soon forget though ;)
Tana Nana made the kids walking sticks :)
Once we made it to the top we took in the sweeping views around us....
We then cooled off with a dip in the lake afterwards.
I think we tired them out :)
The Flores' drove up to Canada to camp for a night, and the Meyers went away for a night so that left us with the place to ourselves. We decided to spend our time relaxing and playing at Lake Seeley. It was perfect for this beach bum family :) We got to swim, float around, and play in the sand.
What did we do the next day that we had to ourselves? Well, we lounged in our jammies and played with Legos and drank coffee, then had another wonderful day at the beach :)
The 4th of July
4th of July in a small town is fun. Nothing beats a small town 4th of July parade :) On the 4th we dressed up in our red white and blue, and headed to the parade where saw all kinds of fun stuff, and the kids got more candy than could fit in their pockets.
The Flores and Meyer families
We went back to the house and got to make cotton candy. They Meyere's have their own cotton candy machine. How cool is that? Growing up I also loved that machine when I would go to Jolene's house :)
Tana Nana and her brood :) I'm pretty sure my kids think she is actually their Nana :)
We had a FABULOUS dinner of prime choice Rib Eye steaks and then waited for it to get dark enough to blast off the fireworks John purchased for us.
We ended the night watching the show at the Lake which started at 11:00 pm!! The kids were pooped :)
Glacier National Park
We packed up one day and trekked out to Glacier National Park. It was a two hour drive one way, but oh so worth it. I seriously can't even describe how beautiful it was. We drove up the "Going to the Sun Road" which was a road that went along the side of the mountains up to the top, it was so crazy. Once we got to the top at Logan Pass we were on the Continental Divide.
The 8 of us at the top of Logan Pass. The kids had fun throwing snow balls in July :)
These are a wildflower called a "Glacier Lily"
A Day in Missoula
John and Joy watched all the kiddos one day so that us four adults could go out and do something fun. We drove about an hour to Missoula and had a great day. We had lunch and then tasted at a brewery, a distillery and a winery. Matt and I love tasting local fare when we travel. We will say Montana wine is no bueno... but that's really not their fault being as they can really only grow grapes a few months of the year. The rest of the stuff we tasted was great, and the scenery of course was beautiful! We had such a fun day.
The last evening we were in Montana all ten of us had dinner at the lodge. The best part for the kids was that we drove them over their in the Wildcat. Jolene's dad has had this car since we were teenagers and I have fond memories of us driving around in it! Such a sweet car!!
Here is the whole gang... Meyers, Hekmans and Flores' at the lodge after dinner.
I"m not sure who has more fun, Tana Nana or the kids :)
Pretty amazing view huh?
Since our flight didn't leave Montana until 7:30 that evening Jolene and I still had time for some fun on our final day in Montana. We went on a 2 1/2 trail ride through some amazing mountains. It was gorgeous filled with nothing but visual eye candy straight from God. I loved it. This was my first trail ride, and I think I did great, although I will tell you I was sore for a few days!! What a fantastic way to end the trip :)
On our very last day as we were pulling out of the driveway to go to the airport Ethan lost his very first tooth! Then when we got to the airport he lost his second tooth! Two teeth in one day :) When we got home the tooth fairy brought him a special $2.00 bill for loosing two teeth in one day.
We were very sad to leave Montana, 10 days was great, but I think I could have easily done more! We loved every moment. What a huge blessing of a vacation this was... one we will never forget. Thank you so much John and Joy for your amazing hospitality and generosity and to the Flores' family for including us in your fun :)