Sunday, August 19, 2012

Project 365, Week 33

This week has a VERY long story attached to it, but I'll give you the VERY short version, just for some background.  

My maternal grandfather died in a tragic horse accident when my mom was two years old.  My maternal grandmother died of cancer when I was three years old.  Obviously I didn't know them but I also knew precious little about them.

A few years ago, my cousin Melody started thinking she wanted to change that.  At Christmas we started talking about taking a trip to Montana to meet people who knew them and to find out all that we could.  She kept the wheels turning and suddenly we had plane tickets.

My mom, my sister Amy, my niece Renna, Melody and I all made the trip.  It was a working vacation but we also had tons of fun and saw and heard amazing things.  We came away with nearly all the answers to our questions, or at least as many answers as we can have more than 50 years after the fact.

So very thankful to Pop and Kiki and Shaun for making it possible for me to go!

August 12
Fresh flowers at the airport bathroom...nice touch!

August 13
The day started out crazy, dealing with lost luggage and rental cars at 1 AM.  When I finally got to my destination, I crashed for two hours and was up at 4 AM for the day.  My cousin and I left for Montana, taking the scenic route.  Well, its all very scenic, but we took the long way so we could see Mount Rushmore.

We had dinner with family, went through old pictures and memorabilia and I saw a picture of my grandfather for the first time.

August 14
We had picked up my mom and sister and niece from the airport the night before and the next day we all headed out to the town where my mom was born and where much of the family still lives.
 This day included a trip to the Dude Ranch where my grandparents met, a visit to the cemetery and a family dinner.
 August 15
We stopped at a fun breakfast place and then we were off the explore the upper west corner of Yellowstone Park.  More beautiful than I remembered and another incredible weather day.
August 16
After visiting several different relatives homes, it was time for the big family reunion.  They were able to gather about 100 people for the occasion, most of whom I was meeting for the first time...others I hadn't seen in 25 years.

They put together a family tree board with names and helpful in figuring out who belonged with who.

Me, sister Amy, Renna, Cousin Melody & you see any family resemblance?  That's all we heard from the MT kin....can't complain about being grouped with these pretty ladies.  :)

August 17
After an early morning breakfast with my mom's dear Uncle Paul, we dropped off Mom, Amy & Renna at the Billings "International" Airport then hit the road to go back to Denver.
 We saw more amazing sights along the vast lands we passed.
The only picture I have from home for the week...Avery lost her other front tooth.  Way adorable!
August 18
I spent Friday evening and then all day Saturday with my BFF Shelva and her family.  They recently bought a house in Denver.  Though we slept on different floors, we counted it as a sleepover...something we did with much frequency "back in the day".

It was fantabulous walking around her city, taking our time over brunch coffee and having the kinds of conversations we simply don't usually have undistracted time for.

We are different in so many ways, but our 22-year old friendship has stood the test of time and distance.  Love you, Shelva!
I left Denver at 11:15 PM and am now back home with my family.  Couldn't be happier about the trip, couldn't be happier to be back home.  I am so very, very blessed.


phillips phamily mama said...

So amazing, the story and opportunity you had to take that trip!

Love the two missing top teeth; we are now missing the two BOTTOM teeth!

Melody said...

This post made me cry - shocker :)
I'll be stealing some of your pics!
So glad you and Shelva had a great time together!

The Bug said...

What a great trip! So cool to go see where part of your family began. And in such a beautiful place, no less.

I love the snaggle-tooth too - so cute!