We did something totally different for vacation this year and headed to Lakeside, Montana where we stayed in a beautiful home right on Flathead Lake for the week. We had a very generous offer from our brother-in-law's family to stay at their lakehouse, and we are so happy we went!
Disclaimer: I was nervous about this vacation. I get nervous about any new type of situation, and this one was especially unsettling for me because I knew there would be a lot of outdoor time (not always my thing) and I just didn't know what to expect in general. It was also a long trip to get there, with crappy flight times and a time zone change (they are 2 hours behind us) and I wasn't sure what to expect with the kids.
The good news: I had NOTHING to worry about!! Everyone had an amazing time (so much so that there were tears from literally everyone, including myself, when we were saying goodbye!) and the kids honestly could not have been better on all of the flights.
We left on Saturday, August 1st and our flight wasn't until 5:30pm; obviously, this isn't ideal as it put us getting into Montana after 11pm, but on the flip side, we didn't have to rush around trying to leave early in the morning. The kids have only flown once, and it was the fairly short 2.5 hour trip to Orlando, so we tried our best to be upfront with them about how this ride would be much longer and how we'd have to have a layover.
The first flight was just to Chicago, so it was quick and painless. The kids were really pumped to be on a plane again, and Liam was sitting with Brian and kept saying "is it time for blast off yet? NOW are we going to blast off? WHEN IS BLAST OFF??" :) We finally blasted off, and as you can see from the picture that Brian snapped, hit quite a bit of turbulence as we got closer to Chicago. No one was bothered but me, I swear the kids didn't even look up from what they were doing while I was all "SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, WE'RE GOING DOWN!!" Clearly, we were ok.
We made it to Chicago on time and our next flight was on time as scheduled...we were at O'Hare airport, which was our first time there...holy gigantic airport!!! It took us awhile after getting off our first plane to make it allllll the way over to our next gate...we were there for about 15 minutes and then they announced a gate change.....10 minutes before we were supposed to start boarding!! UGH. So we RACED through the airport, Home Alone style, and made it to the other gate just in time to line up.
Thankfully, the flight took off close to the scheduled time....once we took off, we gave the kids the little gifts we had purchased them to keep them occupied for this next leg of the trip...Liam got his coveted newly-released Everest from Paw Patrol and Jake got a set of Pokemon cards.
Thankfully, they crashed for the last 2 hours or so of the flight....
Uncle Ben and Aunt Amy picked us up (along with our 4200 pounds of luggage....half of which we didn't need, but more about that later!) and we were off to the lakehouse! Aside from saying hi to everyone and taking a quick peek at the lake, we didn't do anything that night but CRASH (it was 2am, Pittsburgh time!)
Our clan kinda-sorta slept in the next day, I think it was 7am there (so 9am at home) and the first thing we did was step out onto the deck with our coffee in hand to admire the view and sunrise.
Gorgeous. Seeing that every morning never got old!
The kids, of course, were dying to get in the water and get the vacation started! Brian is a better sport about these things than I am, and while I was helping myself to a 2nd cup of coffee, he was getting the kids in their swim stuff and heading down to the water with them by 9am. Mommy will be up here with caffeine in hand waving to you, you guys have fun!
These kids amazed me. All week, every single day. I have to give them a shout out for their behavior, because despite being exhausted by the end of everyday, they were so, so well behaved for the most part. In addition to that, they amazed me by what they were willing to try out in that water! Liam is our daredevil, so it wasn't shocking that he was yelling "FASTER!" while being pulled on a tube by a boat...but Jake? Jake is more cautious. But this week? He threw caution to the wind and he was ALL IN. :) It was so much fun to see.
The family we stayed with had stand up paddle boards and kayaks....and Jake became obsessed with the kayak, it was his favorite! In fact, I nicknamed him "Creeper Kayak" partway through the week because I started noticing in pictures you'll see in a future post, that he is in nearly all of them, creeping around the lake on his kayak!
After a day of non-stop fun, the only way to end it is with some s'mores by the campfire!
Stay tuned for the rest of the trip soon!!