Jim (Beau’s best buddy from their youth in Alabama), Jim’s wife Chelsea, and their baby girl Kaylyn spent 10 days with us this August and just flew back to Birmingham three days ago.
The title above is not completely true of us Blakes; we only made it to three parks/monuments while our visitors were here. But Jim and Chelsea squeezed in Mount Rushmore, bringing their grand total to four! While they were here and in between the national sight-seeing, we also made a loop or two through the ranch, hit the Jersey Lilly for beans (of course), stopped by a county fair, and shot at a few prairie dogs.
Two Fridays ago we made an appearance at the Big Horn County Youth Fair. Somebody in charge at that fair evidently thought it was a good idea to build a giant, tarp-lined mud puddle to distract the little kids, and so of course the puddle was the only thing our little kids could focus on as we/I tried to watch my cousins’ kids in junior and senior beef showmanship. Asher was at least knee-deep in mud by the time our Montana/Alabama party departed the fair for the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument just a few miles down the road. Such amazing history there! (Asher experienced it all with soggy boots and socks.)
Come Sunday our whole crew made the excursion to Medora, North Dakota and Teddy Roosevelt National Park, and we stayed for two nights. Medora is a tourist trap styled after the Old West, but I love it anyhow. It’s a landmark from my own youth — especially the Medora Fudge & Ice Cream Depot, where our family used to stop twice every summer, on our ways to and from visiting family in Minnesota. It wasn’t just us Blakes and Jim’s family in Medora — my parents and my sister and her kids took us all along for the ride as part of the celebration of my folks’ 50th anniversary (more on that in the next blog). Our stay in Medora included an evening at the Medora Musical, which I sincerely enjoyed but which the men in our party loved less. As I told everybody with me, I think that after I finish high school and before I start college, I’m going to spend a couple summers working in Medora. That’s how much I like it there.
When we left Medora, the Alabamians in our group headed south in their rental car to view Mount Rushmore National Memorial. They added eight hours of driving to their day by doing so, and we Blakes decided that eight hours were just too many for our three little kids, so we skipped out on South Dakota.
Come this most recent Friday, it was time for Jim and Chelsea to fly away home to Alabama. We Blakes drove along with them on the way to the airport and stopped with them at Pompeys Pillar National Monument, which is where I finally thought to have someone take a picture of our whole group:
And then we all climbed the last rock of the vacation:
After Jim and family headed off to the airport, we Blakes made a quick stop by MontanaFair in Billings to visit family friends who have already jumped head-first into the world of kids in 4-H, summers spent caring for market animals, and 10-days-living-out-of-the-camper-and-in-the-exhibit-barn-between-check-in-day-and-sale-day.
Moral of the story: I am not ready to be a 4-H Mom. I’ve got three years to go before Asher is old enough to join 4-H, and though I very much believe in 4-H… I’m hoping the next three years drag by.
Our Alabama visitors are back in their home state now, but our schedule continues at its usual pace: Yesterday we celebrated my folks’ 50th anniversary with a grand party at the Jersey Lilly. Also yesterday, the 2-year-old threw up three times. The 4-year-old has thrown up twice so far today. I’m glad our 11-year-old niece and 13-year-old nephew are here for a week so they can help with and distract my kids… but I’m kinda afraid they’re gonna end up with the bug, too.
Guess it’ll be just another day at the Blakes’. Our niece and nephew know us well enough to know you participate at your own risk around here!
© Tami Blake