Conor somehow finagled a work trip to Montana, so we planned a whole week plus trip around that. It was perfect timing for when one of his brothers was also in town, so all the Keenan boys were together! One of his sisters wasn't able to make it back for our visit, but the rest were home; so naturally, we fit in as much family time as we could. Conor is one of five kids, and I love the big family dynamic. We especially love taking Liam to see all his cousins.
The two days that Conor worked for a bit hard for me. His parents live right on the water, so I was terrified of Liam wandering to the lake while I was putting Finn down for naps, showering, etc. But I have one of the bestest best friends ever, and she stayed with me for a night to help with the littles. She logged some serious hours with legos! We stayed up late, snuggled up on the couch, and chatted over some trashy TV just like we used to do in high school. For her, I will forever be grateful!
One of the work days, I snuck up to Whitefish to my sister-in-laws house. They seriously have the most dreamy backyard ever. It's what childhood dreams are made of. Chicken coop. Firepit. Sandpit. Zipline. And all the space you would ever want to just run around. We had 5 little ones between the two of us and still thought hitting the evening farmer's market together was a good idea. Liam decided to throw absolutely the biggest fit of his life while we were there. Worst meltdown I have ever seen. Nothing I said or did would calm him down. So for the first time ever, I carried Liam kicking & screaming to the car... FIVE blocks away. Not easy! Finn was strapped to my back, and it took every ounce of my energy to get Liam to the car. And bless my sweet SIL for texting me "you're a good mom." after witnessing the whole debacle. I hope to never repeat the experience ever again.
Once all Conor's work stuff was over, we both settled nicely into vacation mode. Morning coffee boat rides still in our jammies led to long afternoon naps. Delicious dinners at the family restaurant, followed by icecream cones from the other family business. And it should be noted that Finn insisted upon his own icecream cone. Full size. He would only take a few bites, but then not let go of that cone until all the icecream was melted and dripping down his hands & face. And there were tears. Lots of tears if anyone dared to try and lick up the sides. So that was fun for all. There were sunset boat cruises. Tubing. Swimming. Rock throwing. Deer watching. Lawn mower riding.
There were morning walks, that always included fence climbing. Oh how I had a little love affair with all the beautiful fences and wide open spaces in Montana. And one of our walks ended at the golf course, with Liam being able to play the last two holes with his Dad, Uncle, & Grandpa. Special memories for sure. Perhaps next year, Liam will join them for a whole round! He loves all the time he gets with family, especially those we don't see very often. He was more than happy to help Grandpa with any little projects or to sit on Grandma's lap for some books. He played hard & slept harder our whole visit!
I love visiting this beautiful state. I love the lakes & the mountains. The time with family. The slower pace of life, and the horrible cell service which practically forces me to unplug in all the best ways. And since my newfound love for photography, I now experience Montana with a new set of eyes. I have a whole new appreciation for the state.