Last weekend we went to Missoula for our cousin’s high school graduation. This is the same cousin who feels the distinction between “cousin” and “cousin-in-law” is very important. We visited there last Thanksgiving, and the day after, Chad and I went into town to hit up the fabric sale at Jo-Ann. While we were waiting in line, the lady behind us asked something about our mom, and to answer I had to clarify that we were cousins. At this point, Chad goes, “Well…cousin-in-laws,” like it was the most important distinction in the world. I didn’t let on how amusing I found that, but it still gives Ben and I a chuckle when we think of it.
Since it’s cheaper to fly here than it is to fly to Missoula, Ben’s grandparents came here and the four of us drove together. I’ve never gone on a trip with elderly people, so it was a new experience. Part of me missed the quiet that I have become accustomed to with just the two of us, and I learned that it takes significantly longer to make the drive with grandparents than it does on our own, but overall it was a really fun trip. I very much enjoyed having the time to spend with them, and I can’t wait to do it again next weekend when we all go to Great Falls.
Our aunt and uncle have 5 acres in the country. I absolutely love the way they live, and I dream of having a similar set-up someday. They raise sheep for meat and chickens for eggs. I’m not sure how their heating system works, but it involves a wood furnace outside that is incredibly efficient. They also have a large exhaust fan in the house that cools the whole place down in a jiffy. There are plenty of places to hike nearby, and they have an excellent view of the mountains. The only thing that’s missing is a cow for milking.
When we got there, Aunt Lisa had a delicious lunch ready for us. She made some kind of vegetable soup that tasted amazing. I was hesitant when I saw it, but I enjoyed every bite. I should have asked her how she made it. All I remember is that it had green beans, carrots, and potatoes in it, among other things. She also had chicken salad that we ate on croissants. I really like croissants. After lunch, Ben and I went on a short walk to see the river, but we mostly spent the day enjoying being with family. While I wish we could make it more often, I appreciate the opportunities we do get to spend there.
Since Chad goes to a small Christian school, they did a dinner for all of the graduates Sunday night. That meant that Aunt Lisa, Grandma and I got to spend Sunday morning making a couple hundred chocolate covered strawberries. We were able to save space and make them look nicer by inserting a toothpick into the top of each strawberry and sticking the other end of the toothpick into a styrofoam board to let them harden. We ended up covering the styrofoam with tissue paper and serving them that way, as well. I don’t know how they tasted since we had to head home before the dinner, but they turned out beautifully. The only downside was that some of the juice dripped and stained the tissue paper.
The graduation itself was nice, but the highlight of the weekend was simply enjoying the time we had to spend with family. Right after the ceremony, Ben and I had to head home since I had work Monday morning. The quiet drive was a great conclusion to a wonderful weekend. Hopefully we can make it back to Missoula some time soon.