Monday, July 18, 2011


The day after Adam defended his master's thesis, we loaded up a rental truck and he drove from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Missoula, Montana. A month later I crammed our tiny car full of all the things we managed to forget to pack into the truck, put my daughter into her car seat and made the trip north to join him.
I took the Orange street exit, and I will admit it, promptly got lost. So rather than being absolutely ecstatic, I was more than a little grumpy when I finally managed to fine the MUD site where we would be living for the next year. I was even more grumpy when I walked into our new home, only to see how literal my husband had taken my request to not move in completely with out me.... everything, and I really mean almost everything was still in boxes or laying on top of boxes.
So, I unpacked, sorted, moved furniture and slowly put my life back in order and started to explore this new place we lived in.

In August Ivory and I will have lived in Missoula for two years. So many things have happened: my husband got a new job, we moved to our 2nd Missoula home and our family grew a little larger. Ivory (Sylvan) and I have had a chance to explore.... and these are a few of the things that make Missoula wonderful:
  1. the Missoula Public Library – The Missoula Public Library is definitely number one on my list. Shortly after we moved here I walked to the public library and signed us up for a library card. Before I knew anyone else in town, Ivory and I strolled down town to attend Tiny Tales on Tuesdays, Thursdays and, yes, Fridays. It was a great way to meet other moms, get ourselves out of the house and it is absolutely free. There have been days on which I have wrapped Ivory in layers of blankets, stuck her on a sled and pulled her to the library, pregnant belly and all, because the snow on our neighborhood walkways was to high to push the stroller through. We no longer go as frequently and have switched from Tiny Tales to Story Time that is Fridays at 10:30. Sometimes, we just go to check out books. Sylvan, Ivory and I cuddle up on the sofa in the kids area, read a few books, and then bring them home by the dozens. Alphabet books, counting books, gardening books..... truck books... and every now and then I even check out a book for myself.
  2. The Children's Museum – The Missoula Children's Museum is a fantastic destination. Ivory's grandmother's have purchased a family membership for us for the last two years and we make good use of it. We pack a lunch, walk to the museum, explore for a few hours and make it back home for nap time. I have to admit, that after having gone at least once a week for months, it has gotten a little monotonous for me, but Ivory still loves it as much (if not more) as the first time we went. So now, I invite a friend to come along.

  3. A Carousel for Missoula – Missoula has a carousel!!! Does that need any further explanation?

  4. Missoula City Parks – I know that I have by no means been to all of the city parks. I have no idea how many there are, but here are my favorites so far:
    1. Lowell School – It has a giant playground and water features...
    2. Greenough Park – This place is perfect for a dip in the river, a wooded walk and the occasional edible mushroom find.

    3. McClay Flats (I'm not sure if this is actually a city park, but it is still on my personal list of favorites.) – The Flats have a nice flat walking trail, so if perchance there is a whiny toddler in tow, it is perfect for pushing a stroller.
    4. Currents – While we very rarely go to Currents it is wonderful to have an indoor water park as an option, especially in the winter.
  1. Hot Springs – Grab some snacks, a few towels, fuel up the car and head out of town. Forget the bathing suits, they are more trouble than they are worth. We love going to soak in either the Jerry Johnson or Wier hot springs. The drive is breathtaking, the hike just long enough and the water... well hot. On the way there, take a moment to stop at the DeVoto Grove. On the way home, we like to stop at the Locsa Lodge for a beer, coffee or hot chocolate.... maybe even dinner.

  1. Orchard Gardens – On her second birthday, Ivory and I spent the morning just like many other mornings that summer. We were volunteering at Orchard Gardens, except that day, she got to try out the hoe so had received as a gift (along with a rake and shovel, but I told her she could only bring one). We have been volunteering there through Garden City Harvest's Volunteers for Veggies program. I love watching Ivory munch on carrots that have just been pulled from the ground and cucumbers that have just been picked from the vine. I want her to know and appreciate where her food comes from. I feel guilty that we have not been able to make it out very often this summer... our car has been acting up a bit, and I have no good way to transport two kiddos out there.

  2. Taco Del Sol – Of all the things we have tried, restaurants are not usually on our list. They require expendable cash which we usually do not have, but we always make a little room in our budget for Taco Del Sol. Before, I moved here I had never dared to try a fish taco. But now, I order a fish taco with hot sauce and jalopenos for myself and a bean and cheese burrito for Ivory. She loves them and will eat the ENTIRE thing if I give her enough time.
  3. Big Dipper – locally made, fantastically fabulous, absolutely delicious ice cream. What more can I possibly say??
  4. the markets – Missoula has two farmer's markets and a people's market on Saturdays. The streets are teeming with people and the air carries the sounds of street musicians. There are also Sunday and Tuesday and Thursday markets all though we usually don't make it to those, it is nice to know that they are an option.
  5. Good Food Store – I haven't gotten tired of going grocery shopping yet. I used to dread going shopping, when my only option was Walmart, now it is a chore I usually look forward to. I can buy almost anything I want in bulk, buy organic, buy products from local businesses and the cheese selection is, well, delicious.
  6. Inner Harmony Yoga – After all the wonderful adventures I have with my kids and my husband I need a moment to myself to breath. I found Inner Harmony Yoga through my number one stop on the list, the public library. I met Brian, the owner of IHY, with his daughter at Tiny Tales.   

There are so may other places that make Missoula unique. I haven't even mentioned Home ReSource. It was walking through the aisles at Home ReSource, that I somewhat reluctantly admitted to Adam that this store sealed the deal: We could make Missoula home.

Our house is quiet. Ivory finally fell asleep after crying because it got to dark to read her new library books. Sylvan is tucked way in his co-sleeper and Adam is sprawled out on our bed taking up just enough room so that he will wake when I finally crawl into bed next to him. This is home.

1 comment:

  1. You know more about Missoula after 2 years than we know about OKC after 59 years.