I woke up at 7:30 to Sparky in my face. The rest of the house woke up at 9am and we picked up Robert on our way to Paul’s Pancake Parlor. We went to The Book Exchange next door while we waited the thirty minutes for two booths to hold the seven of us at 11:20. I ordered blueberry sourdough pancakes – a delicious first and had some of Caleb’s biscuit with gravy on it, even though there was visible meat chunks. Our waitress, Becky, didn’t have a sense of humor and had a sloppy pouring arm – spilling coffee and water.
Caleb and I sat with Grandpa and the other four sat behind us in the corner booth. Somehow Robert managed to get me to put pepper in my water – enough to see but not taste – and I drank it. I used to have more than that in my meal competitions in Waffle House while I was still in Pensacola or back home with siblings mixing things out of the fridge or classmates creating things from our lunch trays. It made the meal interesting. Jessi took the girls to the car to get them situated while we stuck behind to pay the bill and then drop Robert off at home.
We came back to the house after breakfast to let the dogs out and let the girls change into hiking clothes from the pajamas Lyra is wearing and the ballerina outfit Sammi has on. We’re standing in the yard watching the girls climb a tree and I see a spider descend in front of Jessi. I say, “You might want to back up a bit”, but it’s too late. The arachnid is attached to her somehow. I say, “It’s on you!” and she jumps back, knocks her glasses off, and then goes inside to change.
All the tree climbing and excitement has worked up the girls’ appetite and they will munch on graham crackers while I go with Jessi to get school books. When we get to the bookstore they’re closed, so she takes me from the fancy and professional looking buildings to the 70s style elementary school turned, used to be technical college, into university. While Jessi talks to the man behind the counter I see a box of Screen Cleanin’ Mist: “Public restroom seats are 50 times cleaner than most laptops.”
Sammi’s friend Lily came over while we were gone. Jessi and Jake like Sammi’s quieter friends. The girls find Harry, the orange cat, in the backyard and begin pouring dirt on his belly – the one I’m sure he recently spent hours licking clean. He puts up with a lot around here and being the smallest you are always the most susceptible to either being picked on or left out as any youngest sibling can attest to, but cats can’t eventually become the more muscular or taller of the bunch – just fatter or faster.
We drive to Lolo where there is a buffalo ranch nearby to show the girls how close bison can live to the city, but their usual location is flooded, so Jessi and Caleb stand near the railing staring off into the distance as if they were just selected for The Hunger Games before deciding that we can come back and look some more after our hike at the East Area of Blue Mountain. Jake brought his bag of frisbees and the guys have fun throwing them for the girls through an official course – through trees and over hills – practice and play at the same time.
We go one way and then another and have to turn around when we almost interfere with another game. We skipped one basket on accident and played through another quickly while a family was in the ditch nearby looking for their frisbees. We had to keep the girls from grabbing ones that weren’t theirs. Having pink and purple ones to look for made it easier to separate from the greens, blues, and oranges.
Lyra starts to get tired, so Jessi carries her on our search for the car. We find a parking lot with a map, and then Caleb will take turns carrying the girls as we cross the street again, climb up an embankment or two, and find our way back to the car. We went back by the Bitterroot Bison Co. and found them in the far back – a large herd of at least 50 with a few calves, but all of them future robes, skulls, and meat.
We’re ready to go, but Sammi wants to go into detail about something with Caleb. I get in the car and honk and what we all think is funny only upsets the little talker, but it gets my husband in the passenger seat and lets Lyra fall asleep so we can go home and prepare dinner. I watched more of Frozen with Sammi and Jake, while Lyra napped, waiting on Jessi and Caleb to go to the store and then pick up Robert.
We have pizza – one with cheese and one with spinach and artichoke, and the girls can make their own pizza – meaning putting the sauce, cheese, and pepperoni on it to their liking. We also have a Greek salad, and I will try a Flathead cherry ale from Glacier Brewing Co., to go with our picnic in the backyard. All the people sit on the blanket while the dogs sit in the grass with their noses very close to the girls in high hopes.
We come inside and as the chocolate chip cookies bake Sammi feels that the dogs deserve dessert too, so we hand her some of their peanut butter treats and she shouts out commands. Lyra has her cookies with milk and hilarity. The adults eat ours while telling funny stories about family members, old friends, coworkers, and strangers. I think the adults get tired before the kids and I’m definitely ready for a nap even though we got more sleep last night than we have for a week of the trip.