Dear Loved Ones, 15 July 2018
It’s kind of crazy that we are half way through summer and this is only our third letter about it, but so it goes. Summer time =Slacker time! The past two weeks have been a crazy whirlwind, but we survived! Many a night I seemed to hear “We Are the Champions” playing in the distance as I got our house guests situated, the boys to bed, and hit the hay myself (grateful I wasn’t hearing “Another One Bites the Dust”—aside: isn’t it interesting that Queen wrote the anthems for both winning majorly AND being the biggest loser?). Cousin time is joyful chaos, and so worth the work!
When last we wrote, we were heading into Roundup/Independence Day week, with lots of family from both sides coming to visit. My mom was here with Michael’s three kids. We had a fun time on Monday 7/2 prepping food for a BBQ in the morning and cleaning up, then taking the crew down to 2nd Street for the parade. It was a nice cool day for a change; we even got some sprinkles. The kids had a blast collecting the free stuff and waving to friends in the parade. We made it home before 5pm and got BBQ Pork and Kahlua Pork all set out for sandwiches with side salads and chips and hot dogs on the grill. It started raining, so our back yard BBQ moved into the kitchen, but we had a fun time. Mom was here with the three little Drews, The Johnsons came with the Parks boys, and Mom and Dad Melin came over with the Colorado Melins. My new friend Adair Peacock and her son joined us—they just moved up from Arizona and I am her ministering sister. Michael (my brother) and Amber and Marshall (another brother) arrived after the party had died down. They ate and got settled, then took the big kids to watch fireworks because we and the little boys were too tired!
Tuesday I planned a date with Nana after scriptures, breakfast, and chores. We had lunch at Cluck with Addie, and then took a stroll downtown through the Arts Fair and Obsidian gift shop. It was a nice date, but the weather turned freakishly cold on us. Michael took our kids to the pool while we were out, then we all gathered for dinner and more fireworks that night. We had to take a ton of blankets because it was like 50 degrees outside! On Wednesday 7/4, we woke up and made some side dishes for our family BBQ out at the ranch while listening to the Pandora Patriotic Marches station. We left at noon and met up with Mom and Dad Melin, Mike Melin, Mark Melin and the Colorado cousins, and Aunt Angie with Uncle Jex and baby Hudson. It was a sunny day, but still not hot. We ate outside and visited for a while, then the wind kicked up and we moved inside for naps/games/legos/visiting. We had a huge game of SCUM around the dining table, which was super fun. During one wild round, we had 12 people playing. I made it to the President’s seat in for the second round and I never was dethroned (beginners’ luck). My cute niece Samantha (age 9), who taught me the game when we visited in Colorado, leaned over and said, “I am coming for your seat!” I laughed and said, “We shall see, missy! You will rue the day you taught me this game!” After a few rounds, she ended up on the other side of me in the SCUM seat and said, “Okay, yeah, I am ruing the day.” She is hilarious. We had a blast together. We headed home to our house for siesta time, then watched fireworks again, late into the night, with Michael’s family, Marshall, Mike and Mark Melin, Liana, Sariah, The Jones Family, and a couple of Heidi’s friends. Michael was the life of the party setting off firecrackers and fireworks before the show. He burned his hand when all the sparklers burst into flame at once while the kids were gathered around him in a huddle to block the wind. What a hero he was! We had so much fun and got to bed just before midnight.
Thursday 7/5, Michael and Amber headed back to Rexburg to finish moving out of their BYUI house. We busted a move on scriptures and chores that morning, trying to get all the laundry done and ready for the Laytons to arrive on Friday. My sister Laura brought her sweet granddaughter Lily down to visit from Helena. We hung out at home for a while, then took the kids to the splash pad park. Laura had to head home at 4:30ish, so she took mom home and I took the boys to the pool on a perfect 80-degree evening. Rich joined us for a bit. We grabbed pizza on the way home and had a nice night with mom and Marshall. They packed their car and took off at 6:30 am Friday7/6. They passed Sam and Kristen’s family in Rexburg. Sam’s family arrived around 5pm and we went right over to Mark’s In & Out for burgers with the Colorado Melins. Sam drove Rich’s VW and loved it. Saturday 7/7, Kristen and I packed a picnic for the younger kids and took them to the splash park for an hour or so while Sam and Rich worked on the Lexus (getting it ready for Scout Camp) and moved our old couches out of the basement so Dad and Mark could take them to the dump and bring us the sectional from the ranch (it looks great down there!). We got home around 1pm and took off to Bozeman to visit Museum of the Rockies with all the cousins. We saw the cool History of Guitar exhibit and looked at some Montana History with the cousins. The girls and I slipped out to World Market so Addie could do some shopping before she had to be at work at 5pm. We returned to the museum and picked up the boys and the Laytons. Rich rode home in Addie’s car with Heidi and Ammon. I rode with Sam and we took the boys to the candy store to get Harry Potter chocolate frogs and Bertie Beans. We came home and had dinner and played a round of BeanBoozled and Uno and put the wild boys to bed. We got stuff ready for Sunday and had a good night’s rest.
Sunday 7/8 was a peaceful day. We made it to church on time with all 4 adults and 8 kids. Adeline remembered as we walked in that she was supposed to give a talk in sacrament meeting about an article of Faith of her choosing. She panicked and began to cry. I told her to take her place on the stand as chorister and we could cobble together a talk over texting. She chose AF #11 and used Ether 2:12 to talk about the blessings of Liberty in our country and preserving our agency by respecting everyone else’s. She did a great job tying in a verse of “Come, Come Ye Saints” and her experience on trek and expressing gratitude for those who sacrificed to preserve our agency so that we truly may “worship how, where, or what we may.” She was an awesome pinch hitter. I hope that experience built her confidence and taught her that when we are worthy of the Holy Ghost, He will help us do our best and share our witness confidently in any situation. We don’t really need to prepare talks—we need to prepare ourselves and “ ready always to an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1Peter 3:15). After church, Mark and Elena came over and we all had sandwiches and tortillas and cheese and visited. They headed to Billings and Miles City on their way home to Colorado. It was so nice to spend time with them. We had some rest time in the afternoon, and then Sam and Kristen made taco salad for dinner. After dinner, we realized our big TV had crapped out on us, so we moved the new couch into the playroom and both families watched “The Other Side of Heaven.” The kids made the connection between Polynesian cultures in that movie and in Moana, which was really cool. Polynesian culture has blessed all our lives in some way; we are happy to pass that love on to our kids.
Monday 7/9 we got up and had scriptures and chores and breakfast, and I took the little boys to swim lessons When I got home, everyone was loaded up to go to Pickle Barrel for lunch, so off we went, into the war zone (construction) that is downtown. We had a leisurely lunch, then walked down to Obsidian to look at the toys and gifts. We came home and put Mairi down for a nap and the boys played together for a while. I took Owen and James to the clinic with me to get James’ scout camp physical. That evening, Addie and Heidi babysat while we went to Gils’ for dinner with Sam and Kristen. It was all delightful and yummy. They are such pleasant company. Tuesday 7/10, I had to take James to the orthodontist to get his braces on at 10am, so Sam and Kristen drove me over so they could run to Granny’s Donuts and try some fresh Bozeman donuts. Sadly, Granny’s was randomly closed (as usual) and there were no fresh donuts to be had. James got his teeth all bracketed and did all his hygiene training and we were headed back home by 11:15. We got home and fed the kids, then headed out on a Yellowstone adventure with Laytons. We drove down through the north entrance through the Northeast entrance to Cooke City to see the Dennistons and Izzi Petry at their restaurant, The Beartooth Café. We had an early dinner from 4-5, then Laytons had to leave to head home through the park. They went down to Canyon Village and saw the falls while we visited a little longer. Then we drove to the Soda Butte Creek pull out and waded in the creek and ate some gummi bears and took in the amazing beauty around us for about a half hour. We drove back through the Lamar Valley and several Bison jams and had another break at Tower Falls. We finally got in the van for good at 7pm and headed home through Mammoth and watched the sun set in Paradise Valley. It was a beautiful day and a fun but tiring 8-hour loop. Laytons made it home after midnight, safe and sound.
Wednesday 7/11 was a recovery day for us, big time. We slept in, went to swim lessons, and did laundry and chores, and had scriptures at 3pm! We watched movies and folded clothes and took naps and had cereal for dinner. Thursday I was a little more ambitious and got all the laundry done and started working on Pillow Treats for Girls Camp. That night Rich and I had a little date to Bozeman to check out TVs (ours was under warranty so it’s being replaced by Costco). We decided the replacement they are sending us is good enough (55”—we thought about buying a bigger one, but settled on a nice new sound bar). We got some bibimbap for dinner and headed home to our crew. Rich tried to mow the lawn at sunset and our lawn mower died in the process…all the things are breaking! He had a replacement by Friday night and the boys helped him finish. He and James spent the weekend getting ready for Scout Camp. I am so excited for Rich to get to take his own son this summer. After doing a bunch of chores Saturday, I had a movie night with my girls and did pedicures and watched “Dirty Dancing” because they wanted to see it and get the cultural references. It still kind of turns my stomach, but we had fun watching it and making fun of the cheeze. We had so much fun, we didn’t go to bed until 1:30! I thought it was 12:30 because I never changed the basement clock for daylight saving time…oops! Somehow we all made it to church on time this morning and had a good experience. As we walked in, Brother Fawcett pulled me aside and released me from my six-year stint as Ward Historian and called me to be a Primary worker (which I already am 80% of the time, so we just made it official). It will be fun to hand over historian duties to my cute new friend, Adair! I got to teach the 16-17yo Sunday School class, then teach Ammon’s sunbeam class. Both classes were edifying to me, I hope the kids had fun, too.
So here we are on another quiet Sunday night. I’ve got the psychotically over tired little guys to sleep. Rich and James are finishing up packing the scout trailer for an epic week at K-M Scout ranch. The girls went on a cemetery walk at 10pm, those kooks. Life is sweet. We love our extended families and friends who make our lives so abundant and fun. We love this beautiful part of the country we live in and the natural wonders in our back yard. As Ammon said in Sunbeams on our nature walk today, “Jesus made us so, so many nice things, mom.” Yep. We wish you a blessed week!