Saturday, August 16, 2014


As we set off for our family cabin near Darby, MT, so many wonderful memories came rushing back to me. I have been going up that cabin and lake ever since I was a brand spanking new baby. Seriously, there is a picture of me sleeping in a box up there as a four-month-old baby. Not sure why it was a box...but that isn't my point. So this cabin is special and really gets you in the mood for relaxation. You are in the mountains, the air is fresh, there is zero cell service, and you're on the water surrounded by family. I still get all giddy thinking about it.
Driving up, large mountains with snow-capped peaks settled beneath vast blue skies fill your views and you drive through quaint, but quirky  Montana towns.
Sitting around the campfire, laughing over stories and roasting marshmallows for s'mores is a nightly ritual at the cabin. I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in s'mores that week--honestly it is the only time I EVER have them. And I love them.
Breakfasts are an important focus of the day, we all pitch in/ rotate through cooking. For example, the first morning there my cousin and her husband made eggs and toast. On my day to cook (Monday) I made two breakfast casseroles. We also rotate through dinners. Lunches are light since we are usually down at the water all day, and usually consist of sandwiches or leftovers. Every once in a blue moon we will wheel the grill down there and cook up some burgers for lunch.  
You see those eggs, all of those were gone in one day. I mean, we've got 20+ mouths to feed.
At the lake, your days are spent lounging down at the water or sitting quietly in the cabin while little ones nap.  There is a strict "Why Aren't You At The Water?" policy up at our cabin. The water usually starts off as pretty chilly since it comes directly from the mountain snowpack, but as the week goes on the water feels more and more refreshing. There is lots of frog and fish catching, swimming, water skiing and lots of other water sports.
A picture of someone taking a picture.  
Our lake is special and fairly private--especially during the week
Love that gorgeous lake.
The kids should never complain of boredom because there is always something to do or someone to play with.  
The mountain does funny things to your mind, like making kids sleep in until 9:00 a.m. or lulling adults into a rarely heard of nap.  
We like to try and uphold family traditions here at the cabin. Each year, when my grandparents were still able to travel up to Painted Rocks, we had one night completely dedicated to the kids. Homemade ice cream was served and a piñata was the entertainment for the evening. As all of my cousins got older, we stopped doing the piñata for a time, but have now started to bring it back now that we all have our own kids. Be prepared--these next pictures are piñata overload.  
I'm actually kind of amazed we were able to get them to sit still for so long...(kudos to Jill for that!)
And then we took a break and added one more child who was sleeping, but we woke up for the cousin picture. I caught an action shot of that little gal falling off her seat. She was having a rough day.
While that little lady was getting some loves, we attempted the piñata again. 

We got all the kids together for another picture attempt, this time with an adult.
It kind of worked...
We usually cap off the evening for the younger kids with a movie, there is a lot of lounging, tooth brushing, and jammie-talk going on.
Once all those little chickens are tucked away in bed, the adults usually get together for games. This year's game was Cards Against Humanity. Oh. Lord.
And in the mornings, before lake time starts, there is time for motorcycle rides, running/walking/hiking/biking in the mountains or playing "Pooh Sticks" at the creek with your Mimi and Papa.
Overall, our week at the lake was a blast. I loved it and look forward to going up next year. I feel blessed to have a place like this where family can go and relax.
And, to have a family of over 20 people in fairly tight quarters not fight or kill each other during that whole week really speaks bounds of the kind of family I am blessed with.
Plus that first shower/tub after that week in the cabin feels so, so, so amazing.
My kids left disgusting dirt rings around the tub this year. That's how you know they had a good time. 
Dirt, not poop. 

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