Friday, November 14, 2008


...there is one more place I really do like to go at least once a year.


Winthrop is what I love about Lake Cheland; the dry, scruffy hills and the sunshine and the family connections I have there. But while Lake Cheland is a sunscreen smell and the summer buuiiiiizzzzsplashsplash of skidoos on the lake, Winthrop is a quiet walk on the windy ridge on my parents' property. If I needed a place to simply relax, I would probably choose Lake Cheland. If I wanted to go somewhere to think, I might go to Winthrop instead.

Those of you who have visited the Methow Valley may remember Winthrop as the funny little town between Twisp and Mazama that decided to dress up as a cowboy one year and has yet to take it's costume off. Wooden board walks. Hitchin' posts fer the horses. It's kind of funny to me to think that just like Leavenworth, Washington, Winthrop did not always look like this. If you have been there, you know that Leavenworth wears lederhosen year round rather than cowboy clothes. Probably just the outworking of someone's good marketing idea. It beats the heck out of the City of Auburn's claim to being "More Than You Imagined". Been to Auburn recently? Yeah, I could imagine more than that, too. (I'm going to stop bashing the next town over from mine right... about... now.)

Winthrop has a neat feel to it but my family doesn't brave the 5 hour drive once a year to hang out in town.

We go for Family Weekend of course! And we are blessed the entire time to eat good food with good company at my aunt and uncle's house. They live in Winthrop! And each year, when Family Weekend is over, I'm almost ready to sign up to live there too.

Josiah was about 10 weeks when we made our pilgrimage to Winthrop this year.
To help the drive over the mountains go smoothly, we usually stop to eat lunch and stretch at a park on the way.

Josiah watches Mercy eat her raisins and apples during our lunch break. Check out the double chin on this little boy! He's finally gaining weight!!

The men spent their time enjoying the sunshine at the picnic table while Mercy and Josiah and I were thankful for the shade under a pine tree. Boy, was it hot that weekend! I was totally unprepared for a warm Family Weekend in May. Usually the wind is quite brisk and chilly during this time of year over there. Check out the sparse green patches on the hills beyond the park in the picture above. I love going to Eastern Washington in the spring for the green hillsides. Summer's heat dries those hills to a dusty brown. The spring green grasses look pleasantly out of place.

Our destination, when we do reach it after several hours of books on tape and a hopefully a quiet afternoon car nap, is this:

My aunt and uncle's hilltop; a veritable paradise for little wannabe farmboys and their parents.

Daniel on a neighbor's tractor, age 2

Michael and Daniel ride the horsies that live on the deck

Papa Jim and Grammy Carol's house comes complete with cousins who live just a horse pasture away.
The young man with the lizard coming out of his shirt is my cousin's son. He and Daniel spend the entire weekend adventuring on the property together.

Some of the activities we enjoy while at Grammy Carol's house include: p
ushing each other on the "go cart"...

Daniel gets a push from one of our favorite cousins while Papa Jim and Michael give him some pointers.

Michael and the break lever

taking long walks on the property with the dogs...

Daniel, Grammy, Kenzie and Lady walk in the sunflowers

and enjoying God's creation...

Michael and his flowers, age 2ish

with family!

The pictures in this post were collected from several years' worth of trips to Winthrop... It's fun to reminisce with myself... but back to this year's trip.

Like I said, it was incredibly hot! This is the one summer-y outfit I brought for Mercy. Here she is blissfully blowing bubbles while Tigger withers in the 90 degree heat on the grass behind her.

We tried out some new accomodations this year. As our family grows, we are challenged to find an affordable place to stay. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Hazel's house fit us and Grammy and Grandad just fine!

While our three older kids rambled around on the property with their cousins, Josiah spent the weekend being passed around to and admired by all the uncles and aunties.

In an attempt to end this really long post, I give you this picture of Josiah as a parting shot. I love his cheeks in this picture; he's looking so chubby and healthy!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vacations and Small Children

When I was very small, my parents started taking our family vacations at a time share resort on a large lake in eastern Washington. My children call this place "Lake Cheland".

My parents would watch the boaters and relax while my sister and brother and I fed the ducks (before it wasn't allowed) in front of the "unit". This is the kind of vacation where you spend a week leisurely going back and forth between the sandy beach and the outdoor pool, with a walk or two into "town" for Dixie cups.

My outdoor-loving Mom and Dad also took us hiking, camping and even to ski resorts as we grew old enough to put on our own gloves and goggles. I have always felt especially privileged in the family vacation department of my childhood but by far my favorite place to go has always been that time share resort in eastern Washington.

I try to think of really good reasons why I like it best of all.

Is it because my dad now has a ski boat and willingly spends every sunburning minute of his morning and afternoon teaching a cousin or a child of mine to enjoy boating life to the fullest?

Daniel and Grandad drive the boat

Or maybe because of all the family members that gather there each summer- so many that when we eat together at dinner, our chairs and tables spill out of our unit onto the grassy hillside above the beach?

Sometimes I really think I like going to Lake Cheland best of all for my vacations because of the nostalgia; because I get to dig with my children in the same sand and watch the sun set over the same mountains I saw when I was a toddler, as an insecure teenager and now as a happy wife and mommy.

Those are such nice, happy reasons!

The Montgomerys go grass kayaking.
Yes they do!

But the real reason I like to take vacations at this particular time share resort is because it is EASY.

Every time we go, we stay in the same place. We know where the kids are going to put their sleeping bags. We know that our pack'n'play fits in the bathroom and we know that if we happen to have a baby, the baby will sleep in the bathroom, in the pack'n'play. We know that the kitchen has a blender and a coffee maker but no waffle iron. We've been so many times with our kids that we know exactly what we will need to bring for them. I LOVE this about it.

Sometimes I ask myself if I wouldn't rather go somewhere new and different. Maybe I should be more adventurous. But my version of Life with Small Children doesn't leave much room for adventure. I've had some adventures with them and they usually require more wipes than I have on hand.

And while I am a bit of a stickinthemud with regards to family vacations, there are a few worthy events that have required me to travel in a manner that I wouldn't normally choose for myself.

Josiah and Grammy on the airplane

My sister, Heather, studied in San Francisco for a few years and when it came time for her to graduate, my parents and I flew down together to help her celebrate. Since Josiah was nursing and still in kind of a delicate stage of doing so, he came along.

Now, I know lots of people do fly with their babies. They have the check-the-carseat-suitcases-pack'n'play routine down pat. But when I travel with my little family, I go to the time share resort for a few days or maaaaaaaybe camping. For one night. I don't do other types of vacations because, to put it simply, they stress me out.

Having my parents along with me made me feel much more comfortable about the whole thing and really, Josiah was a happy little traveler. I don't think he made a peep anywhere we went.

Grammy and Grandad with Josiah in our hotel

I think he did question the wisdom of the engineers and architects who designed the Neiman Marcus bathrooms without changing tables. Frankly, so did I.

Changing diapers in Neiman Marcus

We had a great time congratulating Auntie Heather on becoming Doctor Auntie Heather! And later in the summer, we got to spend our yearly Lake Cheland week with her, playing at the beach and making up new vacation-appropriate drinks.

Viva la Wapatini!

Maybe when my kids can pack their own suitcases we'll go to Disneyland!

What's your favorite vacation spot? (Mom, I already know that Lake Cheland is your favorite, too!)


Sunday, November 2, 2008

A few things I want to remember...

Here is our little buddy with his special blankie his Grammy made for him. My mom has made one for each of the kids to welcome them when they were born. She ended up making two for Mercy because we um lost the first one.

As each child comes along, it's so fun to notice the different funny things they do. I think I mentioned already that Josiah liked to have his hands up by his face when he was very little as you can see in this picture.
Josiah also had a funny habit of rocking himself to sleep. After I had swaddled him and put him in his cradle or into the pack'n'play we kept in the main part of the house he would shake his head back and forth until he was asleep. I thought it was a little odd. He did it almost every time. And when he was tired and not yet in his bed, he would start with the head shaking, letting us know that he was ready for a nap.

This baby of ours rarely fussed during this stage. Aside from the
nursing difficulties we had during his first 10 weeks, he has been such an easy baby. When I say that, I should also say that all our babies have been easy, really. We've been blessed to have babies that are healthy and relaxed in temperament.

Here are all four of our kids enjoying a visit with my sister, Auntie Heather. Don't let Mercy's pouty face fool you.

I want to remember these things about Josiah, too:

-He rolled over from tummy to back at four weeks. (I think he was a little top heavy when he held his head up.)
-He slept all night starting at 10 weeks, after the doctor told me I could stop waking him up to feed him at night.
-I didn't give him a bath until he was um 6 weeks old. He just wasn't that dirty! In retrospect, earlier may have been better...

-He liked sleeping in his cradle in our Baby Room... until he started wiggling himself into the corner of it with that head rocking I mentioned.
-He is the first child with whom I've used a Boppy to nurse. A friend of ours was so kind and gave us their extra Boppy. To this day, it is lavender with Disney princesses on it. Not very manly, Josiah! Maybe
I should have made a new cover for it with pictures of beef or car engines on it.

Josiah's First Bath

I'm sure there are many other fun little things I could write down about Josiah's early days but for the sake of finishing this post I'll end here. I'm going to try to write shorter more frequent posts so I don't get so bogged down on one long one. Ultimately, I'd like to catch up to what is going on in Josiah's life as well as in the lives of his brothers and sister.