Well Blended | You call it chaos, we call it family
We are a bit of a yours, mine and ours situation just light on the "ours" part haha we do our best to juggle our hectic life and it makes for some pretty hilarious writing material. Hope you enjoy our adventures as much as we do!
Halloween this year was pretty different me, not only was my mom not around to carry on our family traditions, but the girls decided they wanted to trick or treat with their friends and did not need us to accompany them. What!? For the first time in 16 years, I stayed home on Halloween. It was weird.
Briggs lost interest in dressing up years ago and Dylan stayed at his moms house to trick or treat with his friends, so that left us with the girls, who dressed up with their friend Paislee for a group costume of M&Ms. They were adorable!
The girls made their own tutus and my friend Jess (who is a super star) had their hoodies made for them and braved a day of shopping with the 3 girls to get the rest of their accessories.
I met Jess at the school that afternoon for the big Halloween parade. I love watching all the kids and seeing what costumes they come up with, some are incredibly creative. Reegan jumped at the chance to walk with our niece Ruby when it was the preschoolers turn.
After school, Paislee came home with Reegan, Brad picked Robyn up on his way home from work and the 3 girls very impatiently, waited for me to cook dinner so they could get on with their night. Every Halloween we have sloppy joes with homemade French fries. My grandma started the tradition for her kids and my mom and her brothers did it for their kids and now I do it for mine. Somewhere over the years orange jello was added, and I thought Briggs was going to have a fit when I considered not making it this year haha needless to say, I ended up making it.
With full bellies the girls were off and Brad and I were left behind. I definitely cared more than he did. I spent the night watching “Hocus Pocus” and whining haha
We live kind of in the edge of town and have never been home to hand out treats. Turns out we weren’t missing much. The only knocks on the door were family and close friends.
How cute was Tynan though!?
Finally around 9 o’clock, we rounded up the girls so Robyn could go back to her mom’s and I carried out my last Halloween tradition, a scary movie and stolen Halloween candy.
I guess I better get used to spending Halloween at home and we should probably move to a more populated area so I have something to do all night haha
I cant even believe my baby is over a decade old already. Say what!! She had the brilliant idea to invite a couple friends to the local corn maze and call it a party. When I say local, I mean closest corn maze to our house. It’s actually an hour drive there and an hour drive back, not very local haha Brad ended up having to work on the night we had planned so I loaded up 7 preteen girls, and hit the road. That might’ve been the craziest drive of my life, but if you’re wondering who’s crushing on who in the fifth grade, I can now tell you haha
I was more than happy to meet my sister in law Rachel and my niece Ryan at the maze and have another adult to talk to. And of course baby Tynan!
The girls took off running the minute I parked and I had a hard time wrangling them for a quick group picture.
This is the best I got
The girls split off into the big maze while Rachel and I headed into the trivia maze. We surprised ourselves by getting through pretty easy and then headed back to the petting zoo to see what the girls were up to. We quickly found Robyn and Ryan and spent quite awhile looking at all the animals while the rest of the girls were still in the big maze. We instantly fell in love with the baby goats and loved cuddling them. Rachel and I decided we need to figure out how we can keep one at home haha
The rest of the group found us and we decided to head into the big maze as a group. On the way the girls stopped at the big slide for a bit and we had to eventually kick them off so we could move on to the maze.
We started the maze totally backwards and ended up getting completely lost more than once, so of course, we had to enlist the help of the workers in the tower, but the views were amazing!
By the time we got out it was dark and we were starving! While the girls took a few more runs on the slide, I ordered pizza so it would be ready when we hit the city limits, and then we were on the road again.
We couldn’t wait until we got home to eat and ended up passing pizza boxes around in the SUV and chowing down on the last half of the drive. Once home, Reegan opened presents from her friends and we enjoyed cake and ice cream.
By 9 o’clock I had dropped off the last of the girls, but not without them all begging to stay longer. They could’ve partied all night long, I however, was exhausted. Five and a half hours of little girls was enough for me haha
On the drive home Reegan told me it was her best birthday to date and I was pretty proud of myself. Oh, the things we do for our children.
I did it, I made through my first holiday without my mama. It was rough, more than a few tears were shed as I definitely felt her absence, but I made it. It did not help that my sweet grandpa landed himself in the hospital, which caused me total emotional anguish, but that’s a story for another time.
Friday night we banned the kids from video games and plans with friends and the 6 of us hunkered down in the living room, with an abundance of snacks, to watch one of my childhood favourites, “Wild America”. Why didn’t anyone ever inform me of how cheesy this movie is!? I giggled through the entire movie as I listened to my kids (mostly Dylan) rip it apart for it’s unrealistic scenes. The girls were more like me, totally blinded by the 90’s heartthrobs haha
Saturday we had a lovely, lazy morning and then Briggs and I headed to my moms house for the afternoon to sell some furniture out of her house while everyone else headed to Brad’s parents to spend time with our niece and nephew, Joe and Jazz.
I got home just in time to get ready to head into the city to meet my stepmom for dinner and a medium/psychic show, leaving Brad at home with the kids who were in the midst of planning various sleepovers with their cousins. The show was mind blowing! I was pretty skeptical going into it, but a few hours later I was a total believer, no way that medium could’ve guessed the things she was knowing about people, myself included.
Sunday was finally Turkey day! I look forward to this day all year, I didn’t even care that I was exhausted from listening to the 3 noisy teenage boys I had “sleeping” at my house all night. My entire family spent the day starving themselves just to make room for the feast at Brad’s parents. And feast we did! All 21 of us, and of course, baby Tynan.
For some reason, Brad is this little guys favourite.
All the grandkids
It was shortly after dinner that my phone started ringing off the hook about my grandpa and I spent the rest of the night an emotional wreck.
Monday was a day of pure laziness on my part. We slept in, kids did a few chores and then they all left to dinners with their other parents. Monday is usually the day we do dinner with my family but that didn’t happen this year and I gladly spent the day in my pjs, eating pumpkin pie (because I bought 5 from Costco), and watching movies with Brad.
Thanksgiving was very different this year, what is normally my favourite holiday, served as more of a harsh reminder of everything I still have to be thankful for. I really am one lucky girl.
Every summer Calgary has a 3 day, outdoor, country music festival and every summer I tell Brad I want to go, but for some reason, we never make it. So this year when Jess told me she was thinking of getting Adam tickets for his birthday, I was on it like white on rice haha since it falls on the weekend after MY birthday every year, I used it as an excuse to finally convince Brad into going. We realized all 3 days was going to be far too expensive and nobody wanted the 2 hour drive home Sunday night so we opted to get passes for just Saturday, spend the night, and then drive home Sunday. Country Thunder did not disappoint.
We drove up early Saturday morning (with a quick stop for McDonald’s breakfast) and were super excited to check out all the vendors and promoters. First stop was our hotel. We checked in, dropped our bags in our room and called an Uber to take us to the park. We got through security and were surprised to see how empty the park was. There was a little stage and a whole lot of food trucks but the people seemed to be missing. We stopped at the drink tent, where our ID had to be verified on a wrist band before we could even get in line for drink tickets, then finally after 2 lines of waiting, we got in a third so we could actually get some drinks. They really make ya work for those beverages haha We walked a little farther up a hill and BAM, people everywhere! We had found the main stage and the huge crowds.
We claimed a space on the hill with some blankets to save our spots for the day and then we were off to roam the grounds. We hit up a tent that had us do shots, post a picture on Instagram, and tag the company for a chance to win a meet and greet with Toby Keith, we didn’t win but had fun entering!
We wasted no time in finding the Fireball tent that Jess had been excited to look for and they supplied us with some more shots and pictures and even some free paraphernalia.
They actually took 4 different pictures and turned them into a gif
Next was a tent with, you guessed it, more free shots, and a magnetic dartboard that you could win another Toby Keith meet and greet but all we got from that one was a free shirt. And by “we” I mean Brad won the shirt and I took it haha we also tried our hand at ladderball. Brad and I failed miserably but Jess and Adam won drink cozies. By this time we decided it was time to eat. We hit a couple of the overpriced food trucks (I paid $10 for a hot dog!) and tried to gather ourselves. This is when we noticed the mechanical bull. No way were the guys passing that up and before I knew it Jess and paid my $2 entry free, giving me no choice. This turned out to be absolutely hysterical! Not to brag or anything, but out of the 4 of us, I lasted the longest. You can call me Lane now haha
We slowly started making our way back to our spot on the hill, stopping for some photo ops and a couple more tents and of course, free samples!
Sang a song and got some free shades
Back in our spot we enjoyed watching Madelyn Merlot and Restless Heart. Brad found it hilarious that I knew every song by Restless Heart and teased me the whole time about being old. What can I say, the band got together the same year I was born and I have an old country music soul.
Adam and I had been eyeing up these buckets of mini donuts that we saw everyone walking around with all day. Someone in front of us sat down with and overflowing bucket and it was our breaking point, we HAD to have them so off me and Jess went to find them. They were soooo worth the hunt and after overindulging in them we decided to try and get a little closer to the stage for when Dean Brody came on. It was a good plan in theory, but in life, it was terrible. People were pushy and rude, it was hard to see over the people standing in front of us and Jess got hit in the head with a flying red solo cup. We lasted one song before we hiked back up the hill to our blankets haha
Finally it was time for the main event….TOBY KEITH!! I was so excited, I love his music. We spent the next couple hours cheering, singing, and dancing in our seats. Oh and freezing. The sun had gone down and it got cold, I was very thankful for Jessica’s blankets.
When it was all said and done we ubered it back to our hotel, ordered some Boston Pizza through “skip the dishes” and hit the hay, totally exhausted.
It was soooo fun but I’m not sure how people do it for 3 days. My liver and bank account would never survive haha I will however, do my best to get back next year for Jason Aldean!
After our week in Yellowstone, we spent one whole day at home before Brad and I (kid free) turned around and headed to Brad’s cousin’s lake house in Sandpoint, Idaho to celebrate my birthday.
We headed out Friday afternoon after work and spent the 5 hour drive DYING of heat. The air conditioning in our car isn’t great to begin with and it was having a hard time keeping up with the record breaking +40 temperatures. To make it worse, it only seemed to work at its full potential if the car was driving, and guess what? We had a 45 minute wait at the BC/US boarder. By the time we arrived at Mike’s I was a sweaty, overheated mess haha luckily for us, Mike and his boys greeted us with open arms and cold beverages. We spent the rest of the evening bbqing and catching up until way past my bed time.
A view I could get use to
Saturday (my birthday) was our only full day so we crammed as many activities in as we could. After our morning coffee me and Brad hit the lake for a morning paddle board. I love paddle boarding but don’t own one so I never get to do it. I thought it was a great way to kick off my birthday.
After this, Brad was eager to get on the boat, so we loaded up a cooler and hit the lake. Brad and Mike’s boys did some surfing and a lot of hassling me to give it a try but they had no luck. We eventually had to pull into the marina for gas and decided to also have some lunch before heading back out on the water.
The boys were relentless about getting me to surf so finally on the way back, I caved! I could only be heckled by teenage boys for so long haha With Mike’s help and coaching I did pretty good! I’d never admit it to any of them, but I was happy I did it haha
We took a short break so Mike could run to town for a car part so Brad took the opportunity to fish and I payed out on the dock and got my tan on. When Mike got back we switched over to the pontoon boat and went cliff jumping and rope swinging. Brad and Mike’s boy Maccoy worked really hard and both mastered a back flip off the rope swing!
By this time it was getting later in the day and we were ready to head back to the house. Mikes neighbors stopped over and Brad was more than happy to make them a homemade drink he had concocted while Mike prepared dinner.
While dinner cooked the group took the guns out and shot some tannerite off the lake. I couldn’t believe how loud it was and we actually could feel the heat and the blow back. It was so cool!
After dinner, which was fantastic, Mike and Brad surprised me with a birthday cake and we spent the rest of the night visiting around a campfire. It was a perfect end to the day.
Sunday morning we tidied up and hit the road for the long drive home. The one day there was totally worth the ten hours of driving, it was one of my best birthdays yet! Thanks for having us Mike!
The last 3 days of our trip were filled with…you guessed it, more driving!
Monday we decided to head to Jackson Hole Wyoming, it looked like a shorter distance on the park map and google maps said it was only 2 hours which we didn’t think was so bad, so we made a plan to hit a geyser Robyn was dying to see, and old Faithful on the way.
They first stop was more of a lake than a geyser but it’s a big attraction in the park and it probably took us longer to find somewhere to park than to actually look at it. It was quite the sight!
There was a lookout across the way where you could get a Birdseye view of it but it was a pretty big hike and none of us were interested, so we settled for Brad hoisting Robyn on his shoulders and her taking pictures with everyone’s phones haha better than nothing.
Back into the vehicle and off to finally see Old Faithful. We made it right on time! We found pretty decent spots and only had to wait for about 15 minutes before the world famous geyser started spewing
We were pretty pleased with the sight but the kids were eager to get going to Jackson.
The short drive we thought it was, wasn’t. It was easily just as long, if not longer than the day before and we were all STARVING by the time we finally pulled in. Our first stop was somewhere to eat. We tried going into an old saloon looking restaurant, complete with wenches, but were told we needed reservations so down the street we went.
We decided on a pizza place a few streets over. It wasn’t your normal pepperoni kind of pizza place, we ended up ordering some unique flavours but it was delicious and the kitchen was wide open so you could watch them make it from scratch and cook it in the wood burning ovens. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite filling enough and we were still on the hungry side when we left. Dylan however, thought the pizza was worth the hours of driving haha
Our next stop was the town square to see the archways made of antlers. We’ve seen so many pictures of them and couldn’t wait to see them ourselves. They did not disappoint! There was four, one on every corner of the park.
We spent the next little while browsing through the stores and buying hoodies and other souvenirs. We couldn’t believe how expensive the town was and started referring to it as “the Beverly Hills of Wyoming”. We had a long drive ahead of us so we didn’t get to stay as long as I would’ve liked. I found Jackson Hole really cool, everything looks like an old western. Totally my jam.
We headed home on a different route that took us around the park that shaved a little time off our drive, but it was still close to midnight when we got back to camp and we couldn’t wait to get to bed. Brad and I swapped beds with his parents because Bob woke up that morning with lung issues from sleeping in the cold tent. So we froze in the tent, listening to wolves howl all night, while the kids had a sleepover with grandma and grandpa in the heated camper.
Tuesday was our last full day and we decided on a camp day. The furthest we drove was 10 minutes into West Yellowstone to the wildlife sanctuary. We got to see some pretty cool stuff including wolves and big grizzlies.
If you like lots of driving, Yellowstone is the place for you! Our first day on the road we loggged almost 8 hours of driving, and didn’t even make it to Yellowstone haha our first destination was the Lewis and Clark Caverns about 2 hours from the park. It was only supposed to be a 6 hour drive but with food, gas and pee breaks, it was longer. We found a crappy little campground on the side of the highway for the night and were totally outraged when it turned out to be a $50 fee for one night. This campground had absolutely NOTHING to offer, not even fire pits. Oh and any children under 16 had to be constantly supervised. Needless to say, I threw a bit of a fit and let them know what I thought of their prices, lack of amenities and ridiculous rules. No way was I escorting my 15 and 13 year old boys around an open field they called a campground. Word of advice, don’t ever camp behind the gas station in Cardwell, Montana. Unfortunately we were in a hurry to catch the last cave tour of the day so we had no time to find another place to sleep.
The caves were a quick drive down the road and we made it just in time for the last time slot of the day. It was quite the hike from the parking lot to the cave entrance but the view on the way was beautiful.
After a little history lesson from our guide, we headed down into the huge caves. It was so totally worth the hike to get there. We spent the next few hours heading deeper and deeper into caves and learning about stalegmites and stalecites until we came out the bottom about 300 ft lower than we went in. It was easily one of my favourite parts of the trip.
The next morning we were on the road bright and early so we could find a camp spot for the rest of the week. We found available spots in the park but decided to stay at the Bakers Hole campground just outside of the West Yellowstone town. We loved it there! We found a prime spot by the river and set up camp. And guess what! It was only $60 for 4 nights! We couldn’t resist comparing it to the last place for the rest of the trip haha After a quick lunch we loaded in the vehicle and headed into the park to see what we could find, wild animals were at the top of our list. The park is beautiful but I couldn’t believe how spread out all the main attractions were.
We drove for over an hour before finally seeing smoke from a geyser and decided to pull over and check it out. Turned out to be a little boardwalk tour around a few geysers and pools, the kids thought it was pretty awesome but the smell, oh the smell! The sulphur made our stomachs churn.
We continued on until we found the legendary Old Faithful. Just our luck, it had just gone off and wouldn’t be going off again for another 90 minutes. We did some browsing in the gift shops but decided we didn’t want to wait so we headed back to camp to play lawn darts and swim in the river before eating dinner and calling it a night.
We woke up Sunday morning to cloudy skies but decided to stick with our plan to head to Cody, Wyoming to see the ghost town. We weren’t on the road long when it started to pour. It made it hard to see and since we only have one windshield wiper, it was even worse. A couple hours into the drive we finally saw a buffalo! We pulled off the road and Brad, Dylan and I braved the cold rain to run down the road and get some pictures. Once back in the vehicle, we weren’t far up the road when we saw a sign for a mud volcano, the rain had stopped so we pulled in. While admiring the bubbling mud we heard there were a ton of buffalo just up the hill a bit and it was totally worth the hike!
My dad has been wanting to do a bike trip of some kind with us for about the last 3 summers and it never seems to work out, so finally we found a couple free days and we made a plan. Bright and early Saturday morning we headed off on the bikes for an over night adventure.
My step mom Kelly had never been over Logan’s Pass and I was super excited to take her to one of our favourite places. We made sure we pulled over at our favourite stops on “Going to the sun road” so she could take in the total beauty of it. She loved it, but really, how could you not?
By the time we got to the other side and through West Glacier, we were starving. Luckily the town we were staying in was also home of our favourite biker pub/bar so we headed straight there for some grub. If you’re ever going through Coram, you need to stop at Packers Roost, the food is to die for!
Hanging up our signed dollar bill
After lunch, and a good ten minute search for Kelly’s sunglasses that we couldn’t find, we went to check in to the little, one bedroom cabins we had rented for the night. Speaking of to die for, these cabins were the cutest! I could’ve stayed for a week. The only problem they were located next to a highway instead of a lake.
We went to our separate cabins, dropped our luggage off and then met up in my parents cabin to decide what to do next. As I was sitting on the couch I looked over and there was Kelly’s sunglasses! Turns out I had put them on in the restaurant thinking they were mine, and the whole time we were searching for them, they were on my face! Haha I felt pretty silly about that one. There was a little outdoor family fun center right around the corner so we decided to spend our afternoon there and were pleasantly surprised at how much fun we had. We raced go carts, almost died of heat stroke playing mini golf, and laughed until we cried on the bumper boats.
Kelley and I left completely soaked from getting caught in the fountain at the bumper boats and had to change as soon as we got back to the cabins, but it was sure refreshing. We spent the evening sitting on our front deck, visiting, enjoying some drinks and ordering pizza from the restaurant across the road. It was an awesome end to a fun day
Sunday morning we stopped at a gas station restaurant for breakfast and were blown away at the portion sizes. We almost couldn’t finish them!
Brads pancakes were bigger than my head
We headed home over Mariah’s pass this time, which is flatter than Logan’s, but equally gorgeous. One quick stop at the “Snow Slip” pub and then it was straight to the boarder.
A couple weeks ago we headed over the boarder to Two Medicine Campground in East Glacier Montana for a weekend camping trip with the kids and Adam and Jess and their kids. Because it’s a national park we knew it would be busy and fill up fast so we woke the kids up at the crack of dawn and were on the road by 6:30am. The kids were not impressed but we were sure grateful we did because we barely found two spots together and the rest of the spots were full by 10am! I’ve never been to this Campground before and I was immediately in love. We were directly across from the lake, it was a 30 second walk through some trees and it was beautiful.
The view from our camper
The view from the other side of the trees
After we got unloaded and set up the boys headed off to fish and Reegan, Robyn and Paislee were antsy to get their kayaks on the lake but first had to take them to the boat inspection site to be checked over.
They also had to make sure they were clean.
They passed inspection and were off to the water. Jess and I blew up dingys and headed to the lake ourselves. This is how our entire day went. I mean our whole ENTIRE day, Jess had a beautiful sunburn to show for it haha After dinner we lit a fire and made camp fire treats and the kids played games that turned into a terribly horrific wedgie game. The things kids do for fun these days haha
Underwear was sacrificed haha
The next day was a little over cast and as the boys did more fishing, us girls took a nice little hike to a waterfall.
I think the girls were expecting some majestical, tropical, raging waterfall so they were a little disappointed when they had to view it from afar. I loved it anyway.
The guys had heard about a little hike that apparently led to a honey hole of a fishing spot so after lunch the ten of us gathered lawn chairs and snacks and started hiking. I should clarify, when I say hike, I mean a couple km walk through the woods where the path slightly inclines. Nothing an actual hiker would bat an eye at, but beautiful nonetheless. It was a lovely couple hours of fresh air and conversation. Adam even caught a fish!
Our last evening consisted of more fishing and of course a campfire, the games were a lot tamer, fortunately.
The three little amigos
Our last morning we woke up just in time to pack up and hit the road before the parks noon check out time. Adam told us about a restaurant down the road that served deep fried stuffed French toast so obviously we had to stop. Sadley we were too late for breakfast and French toast so we ended up just ordering regular lunch items which were still totally delicious.
I’m a big fan of the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” so I was thrilled this place was called The Whistle Stop
Because it was a national park, the kids weren’t overly thrilled about rules like having to ride their bikes on the paved paths or the 11pm noise curfew but I spent the whole weekend in awe of how beautiful it was and I’ll definitely be going back the first chance I get.
Oh how I love summer!! I don’t know if its because I was born in August or what, but I adore this time of year. I’m a total sun worshiper and there’s nothing I love more than finding some water and basking in the sun on a hot summer day. My days off this year have been spent in our soft sided pool, getting my tan on.
What’s not to love about summer though? Other than the mosquitoes haha it’s possibly the most relaxing time of year, everyone seems to hit a “summer mode” where it’s like constant holidays, around here anyway. Bed times go out the window for my kids, they’ve been sleeping in until almost noon, my house is for sure messier with kids home every day and who wants to stay inside and clean? Not me! Weekdays are filled with friends and swimming
And weekends are packed full of fun activities like camping, days/evenings at the lake, and one of our favourites, motorbike rides. The boys usually do a lot of dirt biking, but Brad and Briggs had their dirt bikes stolen out of our shed a few weeks back so now the boys have been spending a lot of time at the local golf course, working in their swing.
Can’t forget the gorgeous views from the bike!
What would summer be without some soft ball action?? Every Monday evening me, Brad and our boys play on a team with friends and family, in our towns rec league. It’s a sport we all love and it’s so fun to get out and be active in the community.And of course summer always, always brings fireworks! Our kids love packing up blankets and treats and watching a late night firework show.
I don’t know about anyone else, but our summers book up sooooo fast! We only have one weekend this entire summer that doesn’t already have something planned. I’m really excited about the activities we’ve planned but unfortunately it makes the summers fly by and we often miss out on things because it’s too hard to do everything. I could easily use another month of summer around here.
Anyone else have favourite summer activities? Let’s hear them!