Welcome to Missoula

Jake and Lyra hiking to the "M"

Jake and Lyra hiking to the “M”

The girls had just gotten put to bed from the screaming fit they were having prior to our arrival. We are welcomed in, and our little dogs too. We talk until 12:30 am and when Lyra wakes, Jessi goes to put her back to sleep and we do the same. We get a mattress and blanket on the floor. Piggy starts on the couch with her own blanket and Sparky beside her using the couch arm and a pillow.

I get woken before 6:30 am to crying, prancing dogs. I go to the bathroom first, then go to let them out the back door, only to see a big kitty face staring through the locked animal door. I let the dogs out the front and then put them in the bathroom while I let Tibu in his house for a moment. Piggy is warm on the couch; Caleb is putting the bed away while I eat Hawaiian bread, and Sparky is keeping watch out the window.

view of University Hall to Blue Mountain from the "M"

view of University Hall to Blue Mountain from the “M”

The dogs are hungry and I feed them at 7:15 am. I’m hungry too, but breakfast won’t be until 8:30 am, so that we can let the girls sleep and Caleb can go pick up Robert to have waffles with us. Sammi wanted cereal so Jessi gave her an ounce or two and then Sammi changed her mind. She had to go to her room for screaming, even after I offered to eat the cereal for her, but we all enjoyed a noisy homemade breakfast.

We decided to hike to the “M” on Mount Sentinel and Robert chooses to stay behind. We don our coats and smiles and take frequent breaks to wait for the short-legged hikers to catch up – they are full of energy. Jessi has fun walking Piggy up and then we all make our way to the M where it becomes a bit steep – good thing I had on grippy shoes as I help Sammi down. Lyra will make it halfway down before she becomes hungry and tired.

Lyra napping

Lyra napping

Jessi will carry her in a baby front bag and we all have a good laugh and take some pictures of Lyra sleeping with snack, appears to be puffed rice, hanging out of her mouth. Back at the cars Sammi asks if I can drive her parents new Nissan Murano – they agree, and I drive it back to the house to pick up the father-in-law, and then to lunch at the Staggering Ox – famous for their cylindrical bread loaves and bread guts.

We choose a table outside and quickly put our jackets back on – we had warmed up from the hike. Sammi entertains us by dipping her Doritos into her mason jar full of water. When our food arrives we decide to move inside so we can be warmer while we eat. Sammi will now take some of the turkey from her sandwich and dip that in the water too. Not to be outdone Lyra starts by dipping the same piece of bread gut in ranch sauce and eating the condiment from the carb and re-dipping.

Sammi eating lunch

Sammi eating lunch

She does manage to eat some of the bread in the process, but also paints her hand and face with the tasty dressing. Minutes go by before Lyra realizes she can just drink the ranch directly from the serving cup and we all laugh as she gets some on her forehead – and here I am simply enjoying some veggie sandwich the simple way. With the kids done eating the parents can finish too and we go back to the house so Sammi can take a nap.

While she sleeps, Jessi and I will go to Garden City to pick up a new reel mower so that Jake can cut the grass when we get home while Robert wears a plant bowl on his head – this is how we garden.   Then Jessi will take her brother and dad grocery shopping for dinner. We will have leek and potato pie with corn and beans, and kale chips. I have a soda to wash it down, and brownies and an Oreo for dessert.

Lyra eating ranch dressing

Lyra eating ranch dressing

Before the eating, and during the cooking we don’t have to do, Caleb and I will ride bikes to the Pattee Creek Market to buy more dog food and some treats for them being so good with the girls. Our dogs don’t do so well with the slap-petting of small children or being mostly blind and chased around – it scares them. I was on Jessi’s bike, and with Caleb having trouble keeping up with me, we realized I need a new ride of my own.

Caleb takes Robert home at 11:30 pm and it will be another late night. Sammi picks Caleb to be the reader of tonight’s bedtime stories. Sammi is allowed to choose three books – this explains why she talks so well. She jumps on her bed for the last one. I thought kids were supposed to wind down, but it’s good to see her listening and so involved in the story. Her parents also help identify things on the page – shape, color, animal, etc. and ask questions about the story – education and imagination – sweet dreams.

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