Tuesday, August 2, 2016


I had the loveliest vacation to MT. I have been yearning for my home state and home town for awhile now, and decided we never would get there if I waited for Justin to have enough vacation time. Another trip or family reunion or wedding eats up his vacation time, and Montana gets pushed back.
I couldn't stand it any longer, and I got to planning my MT trip. The kids and I headed out early one morning and made great time until Spokane. After that we hit traffic, bad weather, construction, and a freeway closure due to a wreck. We still made it in one day, and I was happy to be home.
We visited my job from high school and college summer days where my younger sister now works. Grace and Amelia helped her get her work done. 

Next we attended the Pioneer Day picnic at the church I attended while growing up.
Sunday we attended church services which my kids were horrible for most of it. They were so tired and worn out and being in a new church environment made them nervous and shy. 
I came out of the church to find Katie's dress and shoes in a pile on the ground while she was up in a tree. Luckily she had on an undershirt and a pair of leggings. 

Monday I took the kids to Clarks Park. When I was growing up, it was the best park. Mostly because of the two giant slides and the cowboy swings which are double sided swings so two people can ride in them. The giant slides were deemed unsafe years ago and removed, but the cowboy swings were still there. My kids loved them just as I knew they would! 
Then we drove to Bozeman to go to Museum of the Rockies where my brother Logan and his son Connor, my sister Toni and her husband Robbin, and my sister in law Elise with her new baby Aubrey,  met us. They all live in Billings, and I am so happy they came over to see us. We looked at dinosaurs and Pompeii relics and saw a planetarium show. The kids enjoyed it all, but really enjoyed their time with catching up with family the most. 

I was so happy to meet Baby Aubrey. She is tiny and precious. I love her already! Henry was dying to hold her. He loves babies so much.

Grace couldn't get enough of her either. She kept sneaking little kisses and cried on the way back to Butte because we had to leave sweet baby Aubrey.

Tuesday we went to a ghost town called Bannack. It was once the territorial Capitol of MT, and now a complete ghost town. I loved sharing this place with my kids. I have find memories of making candles and playing old fashioned games there during their Annual Bannack Days. The kids loved checking out all the empty buildings and running up the boardwalk. 

Katie met a rattlesnake near this jail. Nearly scared her out of her wits which is saying something because she's not afraid of much. Gave my mama's heart quite a scare too. 

The hotel or this schoolhouse was their favorite part of the ghost town. They loved playing school inside. 
They couldn't get enough to of this merry go round in front of the school. They keep begging me to take them back so they can ride on the merry go round again.

We went straight to Crystal Park from Bannack. Just as we neared the park it started to drizzle rain, and then I saw something worse than rain. The parking lot was roped off! This was the top priority stop in MT! We came all the way from Oregon to dig crystals! I couldn't believe it. I saw some cars parked just outside the park as we drove away, and it looked like there were people digging for crystals just outside the fenced area. The rain really started coming down, and I didn't know what to do. Should I ask these people if it was ok to dig down here since the park was closed? It was pouring and my kids wouldn't enjoy it a ways in a down pour. But it could just be s short storm, the wind was pretty strong and could just blow the storm away just as quickly as it had brought it. 

 So I pulled over and asked the girls what they wanted to do. We could go home to Granny's or turn around and ask about digging, and if it was ok, find a place to wait out the thunder storm. They voted to stay and wait out the storm. I turned around and pulled up to the people frantically packing up their cars to get out of the thunder storm. 
They said it was allowed to dig in this area and so we pulled away to find a place to wait out the storm.
 And Katie took this picture of a deer that we passed right before the rain started in.

We ended up at a campground a mile or two up the road where the storm was not as bad, only a little sprinkle. We decided we would look for a few crystals while we waited since we were in crystal country anyway. And lo and behold, we found quite a few just sitting on top of the ground! The girls were so excited! 
I didn't get a picture of the girls digging, dang it, but I did get a picture of the wild flowers that were all around us.
 After the storm stopped, we headed back to the park, and started to dig as the sky cleared to magnificent bright blue. 

They got right to work searching the ground and digging here and there. They would get so excited when they found one. They especially loved when two deer came to keep us company while we looked for crystals. We didn't stay too long since Henry decided he was done, and kept trying to drag me back to the van. But we stayed long enough for the girls to fill the old plastic icecream buckets my mom had given them to collect their crystals in. 
They were so dirty, but loved every minute of it. 
This was the very best day ever! I treasured sharing these places with my kiddos. Seeing them fall in love with MT made my heart bubble over. 

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