Saturday, July 30, 2016

Brewer Lake

Last night we slept at Brewer Lake Campground, which is just an hour or so north west of us.  The boys camped here this summer for our church's annual Father & Son Campout, and I'm happy to report that they returned home tick free this time!  We just wanted to get outdoors for the night, do some fishing, and sit by the fire.  The fish weren't biting, but we had a great time.  The double rainbow and gorgeous sunset were a bonus!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Canada & Montana

This trip... sigh. It was amazing. I knew we needed a vacation, but I didn't know we'd end up feeling so refreshed and reconnected as a family after getting home. It was simply great.

Seven years ago, Jordy and I were planning a honeymoon in Banff, but ended up not going. Finally, an opportunity to head that way presented itself and we knew we had to take it. We decided we'd do a family road trip to Banff, Jasper, and Glacier National Park. Our boys are used to road-trips and love camping so we knew they wouldn't be an issue, but I was a little unsure about how our 6 week old would do. Let me tell you, planning ahead was key in the overall ease and success of a road trip and 13-days of camping with an infant. About a month before we left I started planning our itinerary (a loose itinerary as we wanted flexibility, but an overall idea of what to do and see in each place) and a meal plan. Almost every dinner was either pre-cooked and put in the freezer (to heat up on the camp stove) or ingredients prepared to throw together as needed. This was really helpful because if Rowen was fussy or needed to be fed around dinner-time, Jordan could easily put dinner together without having to do any prep work. If anyone wants a copy of our meal plan for ideas, let me know and I'll email it!

Another thing that saved us was making lego boxes for the boys! They are pretty obsessed with Lego Mixels these days, so I bought a lego base plate, cut it in half, and super glued it into the bottom of a pencil box. Then put a few handfuls of the legos into each box for the boys to have their own travel-size set. This was a life saver! It kept them busy the entire time we were in the car. For other ideas, I also got them each a new coloring book, some stickers, pipe cleaners (you'd be surprised how entertaining pipe cleaners can be..) markers, and colored pencils and put them into a container for each boy to use and take care of for the duration of the trip. It worked really well!

Our first stop in Canada was Banff, Alberta. We ended up getting there a day early and foolishly thought we'd be able to find a campsite for that night (we'd reserved the next three nights ahead of time). WE WERE WRONG! It was a huge drag because we'd been in the car ALL DAY and were so excited to get out and set up camp, but we ended up driving around an extra 2 1/2 hours looking for a place to stay. Every camp ground was full, and we knew that the hotels and lodges would be super expensive. Finally, we ended up getting a room at Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. Because we stopped in so late (it was about 10pm by the time we showed up looking for a room) they gave us a spectacular rate. They kind of down-played what our room would be like, explaining that we'd be in a twin-double so Jordan and I were expecting a tiny room with twin beds, which at that point was more than okay. We were sick of the car. It was so much more than that! The room was HUGE, had two queen beds, a large bathroom, and a living area with fire-place. If you want to visit Banff and camping isn't your thing, I definitely recommend this place.

We quickly learned that the town of Banff, and the National Park in general was a total zoo. Yes, we went during the busiest time of year, but we had no idea it would be so crazy. We felt like we had to race against the tour bus crowds at certain places, but other than that it was easy to get around and see the many sights.

And speaking of sights.. I thought I was going to write out a play-by-play of everything we saw and did, but it would take forever so instead.. enjoy our very amateur video. Also, if anyone needs ideas and wants a copy of our itinerary, let me know!