Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Family Camping Trip - Dell


We headed out on our first family camping trip with the trailer.  As we were pulling out of the driveway the thought crossed my mind that I may enjoy the planning, packing, and the logistical aspects more than the actual camping.  Shannon has mentioned I may be a bit of a romantic ~ building little white picket fences in my mind, versus what our life really is.

When we initially discussed buying a camper Shannon was quite firm that campgrounds were not in our future.  We were going to camp out in the wilds, nowhere near civilized society.  So our first trip was planned accordingly.  As we drove up this incredibly bumpy, dusty road I was certain we'd be alone, surrounded by a gurgling brook and open blue skies.  An hour and a half later we arrived at "the spot" to find another camper parked right next to where we planned to spend the weekend.  There was no going back, so we settled in for the next few days.

We spent the following day searching for fish and lakes while feeding the mosquitoes.  Saturday was Shannon's birthday so he got to choose how we spent the day.  Now, I am a point A to point B hiker.  Wandering over hill and vale ain't my gig.  But Shannon.....he loves exploring the countryside.  And explore we did.  We found elk and deer at over 10,000 feet, a giant spring spewing from the mountainside, tepee rings, wildflowers that boggled the imagination, and a rock hillside up which my boys scaled - starting a small slide in the process that momentarily stopped my heart.

While it wasn't quite the romantic trip I envisioned when we first purchased our little #homeaway it was a successful weekend - even when our freezer pooped out with all the birthday ice cream inside.  I can't wait to head out on another adventure.  Meanwhile I'm striving to keep my expectations realistic. Skipping through fields of daisies singing The Sound of Music probably is not in our future.....at least not without some small catastrophes along the way.  



Early morning fishing ~



Clear blue skies ~ crystal waters ~ and a million mosquitoes



Changing tactics....surely they'll bite on a mosquito.



Joshie and his socks ~ fashion trends must begin somewhere.  



In search of cool water ~



#bouquetsfordays



One of my little guys on fire duty since the bigs were all fishing ~



The best thing about trailer camping ~ we almost stayed clean.



"So, we chased elk through that saddle. But today we're headed up the hill right below that snow."
#burningquads #mountainspringsnevertastedsoyum



"I'm not even tired at all.  Like, I could hike for another day. I mean, I'm kinda dizzy right now, but I could still hike for another day."



Studying rock formations.



This was the funniest ever.  Nickles' swim trunks tore the first day, but he refused to wear anything else for the duration.  Hence, his right cheek was perpetually hanging out.



This was just a couple hundred yards from the headwaters, which were gushing from the mountainside with this quantity of water.



A little mountain goat.



We are so small amidst God's magnificent creation.





I cannot even come close to explaining this profuse wildflowers.  Had we even been a week later I am not sure that there would have been as many blooms.  





My eldest son, who enjoys not shaving for a few days here and there.  




Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Maiden Voyage

So. Back to the camper story ~ a friend gave us a camper a few years ago. It had a bit of water damage and was generally kinda gross yucky not clean. I liked the idea of a little camper, but would not sleep in this one.  Call me a snob. So, in typical Nistler fashion, Eric and I did minimal research and dove right into remodeling it. It turns out that when there's minimal water damage showing, there's major water damage behind those walls. As we removed the interior paneling, the entire wall crumbled. Not a project Shannon had the time or the energy for, we gifted it to a 'friend'.  Curiously, he still speaks to us.  

Anyway, we decided we'd buy a camper after Christmas.  It made sense at the time.  So one wintry "Emergency Travel Only" day we set off for Kalispell since there were a few up there we wanted to peek at.  The salesmen were super impressed as they skidded around the lot in their golf cart, toting us to look at all their travel trailers.  We ended up getting a pretty good deal on one smaller one that seemed as though it would serve our purposes well.  We didn't want to spend a ton of money on something that we weren't even sure we'd enjoy or use.  

Now that it has finally stopped snowing in Montana, we are beginning to test out the new digs.  When Maria, Pat and their family were visiting from Michigan, Shannon took the boys out for one night and the girls out for the second night.  I'm not sure how much sleep the adults got, but the kids sure enjoyed it!  


A morning hike on top of the world ~
It appears as though they're eating the good breakfast I sent - Gatorade and Oreos.



Shannon said he never knew buns could be so funny - hot dog buns, that is.



Morning light~ and not an elk in sight. 


  

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ski The Fish

This year was our second family trip to Whitefish Mountain.  To say we scored in the weather department is an understatement.  Blue skies and sunshine, baby, and that's what I call a good ski trip.  The snow was a bit slushy, but that's spring skiing, and you can't really complain when you're wearing sweatshirts by the end of the day.

It sure was fun to ski with all the kids together, and Mom and Dad too.  My favorite was the runs we would all ski together. I'd hang at the back of the pack and watch all my kiddos - and there's a tribe - sail over the snow, even little Max in the middle of the group, their bright coats curving back and forth, and my heart would sing.  Skiing with the littles was relaxing and skiing with the bigs was inspiring.  My heart was full ~ right up to the top!

The biggest and best outcome of this long snow season was new skis and boots for Momma.
Me.
Yours truly.

Shannon and I made a roadie to look at campers in the middle of a snowstorm mid-February.  It was a grand time to look at campers, as I don't think they'd made a sale since October.  But that's a different story altogether.

What we didn't realize was that it was an emergency-travel-only day.  So when we swung into a ski shop, there were salespeople available to help this rather hasty shopper before I changed my mind and left.  Shannon made me sit down and try on boots til I found a pair I liked - or rather, that fit well. Then they were heat molded to my feet!  Ahhhhh.  Pure bliss I'm telling you, after wearing too-large hand-me-downs from one of my brothers for, oh, say, 20 years.

Following that, I demoed several pairs of skis thinking I'd look forward to new skis next year.  Of course, after using the same skis since Michaela was a baby (or perhaps before) it wasn't difficult to find a pair I loved.
 
All the demos were going to be sold the following week, but I knew they'd be way more money than this cheapskate would want to spend.  Shannon made me get up early on sale day and drive to the hill.  I was rather annoyed, thinking of all the time I was wasting and the line I was going to get to stand in, all for naught.

As luck would have it, I was first in line.  When I asked for the pair that had stolen my soul, they only wanted $250.  I nearly tipped over, considering they sell for over $800 before adding bindings.
Naturally, Shannon hasn't let me hear the end of how wise he was to force me to make the drive that snowy Monday morning.

And now, my old Rossi Cuts stand in the corner.  I know they really belong in a dumpster, but I can't quite make the break just yet.  Years ago when I couldn't afford new skis, I vowed to learn to love them, and love them I did.  There are so many scratches on the tops from my babies skiing over them as I taught them to ski, that, I dunno, I may keep them tucked away just for sentimentality.



Cards with Grandpa ~ my boys were in Heaven!   



We never realized how beautiful the mountains were!



Max was proficient by the end of our trip ~
Thank you, Daddy!



Two of my girls ~
The other one was racing down the hill with her brothers.





I often ended up on the chair behind Shannon with some random stranger.
And the people I met!
It sure made for some interesting lift rides.



Headed back to our rental home ~ 
Could Montana be more spectacular?!



Seriously, Dom!  Always a smart face.  



The whole family....and Jesus. 
I know I should take this statue more seriously, because, well, it's a statue of Jesus.
But it always kinda cracks me up standing around Him slopeside.



Where WAS Michaela?



One funny moment ~ Nickles was laying in the snow by the lift waiting for Daddy and Maximo.  He may or may not have been throwing a little temper tantrum.   
This skier comes hauling the mail into the lift line, not even noticing this kid whose legs were simply too tired to stand up.  The skier made a fabulous spray of snow, completely burying Nickles in the process.  Adding insult to injury, all the rest of us were laughing so hard tears were 
streaming down our cheeks.  



Sometimes you just gotta sneak off for a hot chocolate.



I was gonna ski off the top with Eric, buuuuut then decided against it.



The littlest angel ~





Hooray!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Starting Over ~

So.  When your kids keep pestering you about blogging....for months on end...it's probably something they miss.  I do too.  I just didn't know how to get caught back up.  So here goes, clean slate, I'm not catching up and I apologize for the birthdays and events I've missed, kiddos.  You each know I'm a failure at a good many things and this is just one example!  That being said my eight-year-old doesn't understand that yet.  One day while making rhubarb crisp, a birthday poster, and correcting a math paper, Nickles roars into the kitchen holding his piggy bank.  He wanted to count his money.
I lost it, "What do I look like?  Wonder Woman?"

"No," came the reply, "Wonder Woman can't cook."

There you have it. Unfair expectations.  I am supposed to be Wonder Woman AND cook and it hasn't worked out so well for me the past year and a half!  Actually ever.  But here's to striving!


 I just had to begin teaching the boys to cut one another's hair.  I may not be around some time.
And, who knows, it could be a good side hustle in college!



"I'm gonna kiss you...on da yips!"



This winter. 
 It was interminable.  
I never wanted to see another white flake, then another foot would pour from the skies. 
September 15th was the first snow.
The final one....oh yeah....last week.
At least I'm hoping praying BEGGING God that it was the last white stuff til Christmas.



But my cherubs....they had a rip-roaring good time.
Even last week, while I was sobbing over a cup of tea in the kitchen, they went swimming.
Yes. 
Swimming.



Pierce ~ his smile couldn't be wider! 



With sisters home each weekend from college, there was always someone to pull them up and down the drive making sledding much more enjoyable!









Annika can keep up with her brothers, even though they're skeptical!



Is it a chairlift?
Is it a gondola?
No, momma is the liftie in the truck!
Warm and tunes!
Except for the guys in the bed of the truck.  It may be a bit cold for them.



Never enough snow ~




"I put two flashlights on my helmet in case one's batteries run out."
#luckfavorstheprepared #justusetape #lifewithboys