Daily Reads


Travel tips

Dingle, Ireland, 2007

We're kicking around the idea of traveling to Italy with Michael this summer. The thought leaves me equally excited and anxiety-stricken. So, it's nice to get some sound travel advice from Jordan at Oh Happy Day - she has travelled all over Europe with two young kids and (happily) lived to blog about it. 

Also, her recommendations on what to wear traveling.
I love to have a little creative project going all the time, and the january photo challenge was perfect for my life right now - inspiring, low-commitment, and fun :) So I'll be hopping on board for the february challenge, too. I probably won't post them all here, but my complete photo stream can be seen here at Instagram.

Day 31 - you

Me - sweats, ponytail, and never-ending laundry pile over my shoulder. 
That's a genuine smile, though. I'm happy :)

Day 30 - nature

Alligator attacks duckie. 
Baby rescues duckie only to spend the rest of the afternoon chewing on it. 
Sometimes it's like Wild Kingdom around here.

Day 29 - inside your fridge

The fridge is not quite camera ready. So here's the pantry.
(And a little varmint rummaging around in our foodstuffs.)


Montana in Instagram

Many of the photos in my last post about Christmas in Montana were taken by my Dad and my sister (thank you for sharing!) I took some on our "real camera", which I included in the last post, but most of the time I just used my iPhone since it was always close at hand. Here are some of my favorites, edited in Instagram
Montana, here we come!
Story time with Aunt Amy and cousins
Sunset on the Bridgers
Snowflake art
Christmas morning!
 Santa brought this for me?
Papa putting toys together
Playing in the snow
Warming up at The Leaf and Bean
Shopping with Aunt Van
Lunch at Stacey's

Day 28 - light

Sunny saturday morning :)

Day 27 - lunch

I forgot, so here's dinner instead. Mmmmmm.


Rooms I love

My dream kitchen. Wouldn't change a thing.


Christmas in Montana

I can't believe it has come and gone - more than a month ago now! Seems like so long ago my family started planning our trip to Crooked Canyon Lodge. I know I can't do it justice, so rather than try to describe the whole affair I'm just going to share some of my favorite pictures and bits of the trip. It was the kind of magical thing that only happens every now and then and I will never forget it.


It all began two years ago during a previous family Christmas in Texas (read: sunny and warm) when my parents offered to rent a lodge in Montana for our next family Christmas, in 2011. We were pumped! All of the Colwells had lived in Big Sky country, but most of our spouses and children had never been. Here was our chance to show off our beautiful home state and have a white Christmas together! A few months later my parents reserved the Crooked Canyon Lodge in Gallatin Gateway, Montana, about 20 minutes from Bozeman.

Finally - after two years of waiting - the day arrived! Travel was smooth for us (Mikey did awesome - he has become a pro at flying by now), but Van and Grant flew in to Bozeman in a snow storm, and Amy and her family drove through a blizzard all the way from Texas to Montana. It's hard to describe the giddiness I felt once we were all together, safe and snug in that beautiful place. There were lots and lots of hugs, and I will never forget Leah and Logan so happy to be out of the car and with family, silently running laps around the great room (so they wouldn't wake Michael) with huge smiles on their faces. Ryan built us a roaring fire and we all settled in and started visiting. Pure joy.

The house and the views were gorgeous. The back side of the house faced pine trees, the Gallatin River, and Storm Castle Peak beyond, all white with snow.
We got right to work decking the halls. It was so fun to do that as a family! And the lodge got even prettier!
There were lots of amazing meals, including breakfast in our pjs every morning - my personal favorite :)
And every night when the kids were all tucked into bed the adults gathered around the big table and played games and laughed and laughed. It was so good for the soul.
During the day we would laze around the house, go out and hike down to the river, or go into town to shop and get coffee.
I love this picture so much. Total relaxation :)
My mountain men :)
The very best part of the trip, for me, was watching Michael get to know his family. He loved playing with the kids, and snuggling with the adults. It broke my heart to take that away from him when we all went our separate ways.
Are these three cute, or what? :)
Foot nibblers :)
Loving on his Uncle Bubba
Snuggling with Papa
Lunch in Bozeman with Gigi and Grammy 
(and the rest of the crew at the table behind us)
Enjoying the fire with Gigi
I love how much Michael looks like my Dad :)
The guys enjoying the hot tub. (Love their Zissou-esqe hats :)
Here's the serious family picture we took. I love it, and I love these people.

This is one of those posts that could go on and on. But pictures and words never can do justice to the way we feel about our loved ones, so I'm just going to leave it at this and say how thankful I am for my family. This week was a perfect example of why I love them. We laugh together, we cry together, we do our best to support each other, we take care of each other and we celebrate God's blessings over us.

Thanks so much, Mom and Dad for bringing us together for an unforgettable week.

Fill in the blank Friday

1.   My favorite place i've ever traveled to is     France. Tim and I spent two weeks backpacking all over the country in late spring. We traveled by plane, metro, train, foot, car, and scooter. We went to Paris, Nice, Aix en Provence, Dijon, and back to Paris. It was the most amazing trip!   

2.    Israel     is somewhere I'd love to go someday. (Also, I'd love to spend time in Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Iceland, Argentina, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Egypt, and Morocco.) 

3.  I pass the time on a plane (or bus, or car ride or train) by     sleeping or reading (pre-Mikey). Post-Mikey we read books, eat snacks, get to know nearby passengers, walk around the cabin...whatever it takes    .

4.  My three must-haves when I travel are     my iPhone    ,    hand sanitizer   and     my wallet   .

5.  My favorite travel companion is    Tim. No contest  .

6.  The craziest thing that ever happened to me while traveling is    when on a weekend trip to NYC with my sister and her husband we scored a deal on a room at a very cool hotel. We were already pumped to be staying there, but when we checked in they upgraded us to the owner's suite!!! (Link here - click on owner's suite for a little tour.) It was bonkers. I will never know why they decided to upgrade us (we couldn't have possibly looked cool enough?!?) but we enjoyed every minute of that weekend in New York living like rock stars  .

7.  The most exotic food I've ever tried while traveling is    crocodile in Australia  .

8.  If I could live anywhere else, I'd live in    Paris. Just for a little while. It's been a dream of mine since I was like eleven years old. I get dreamy just thinking about the food, the language, walking the city...sigh.  

9.  I have been to    forty five   states in the U.S. (Still need to visit Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, and the Carolinas.)

Day 26 - color

Day 25 - something you made

Silhouette cameo of Ella.

Day 24 - guilty pleasure

Taking (and posting) lots of pictures of this guy.


Day 23 - something old

An antique, hand-drawn map of Montana - from Tim :)