Dolesh Family

Dolesh Family

Monday, July 13, 2015

Going to the Camp

Hello again, it has been awhile.  It is also summer and so I wanted to pass along a few picture updates from our summer.  Stimson and Merritt are very much into summer mode.  Summer in Montana can feel short and so we attempt to take advantage as much as we can of the great outdoors.  We attempt to camp as much as we can Merritt says "We are going to the Camp".

We tend to gravitate towards Glacier National Park in the summer and so below are a few of the pictures we took from our trip there in May and July.
Stimson and Merritt became "Junior Rangers"

Official "Junior Park Rangers" with their badges

Avalanche Lake

The moment looking at the waterfall before fighting over who would be the 'Leader'.

Merritt and I overlooking Hidden Lake while Katy and Stimson climbed a mountain.

Pedal bike adventures for Merritt

Lake time after a long day hiking

Heading up to Ptarmigan Tunnel - Merritt's BIG hike

Ptarmigan Tunnel.  The other end was in the clouds.

All those years of telling Stimson stories when we hiked finally paid off when Stimson told Merritt a story to keep her occupied on the 6 mile hike down.

Documentation that Merritt made it down after hiking 9 miles so she could be like Timmy.

The bear Merritt, Stimson, and I ran into.  We were more worried about the tourists and their bear spray than we were about the bear at that moment.  

Sorry for the unfortunate tail end view.  I just needed a Mountain Dew to go head-to-head with this animal.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Easter 2015

Rapid City Diversion

In late March, I took the kids to Rapid City to meet my parents.  Below are a few pictures.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Good and the Bad

Stimson's won the wellness challenge drawing
As tax season wears on, we all get a little more tired.  This past week, Nana left town.  Our live-in maid and nanny is back home and we are left to fend for ourselves for the last few weeks of tax season.  The fighting with the kids has ramped up.  Each kid has had their moments – good and bad.  The bad usually ends with a countdown to bedtime…if we can make it.  The good comes in spurts and often it is enough to keep us moving forward. 

Crazy 8's with Merritt's friend Anne
There were a few moments this past week that brought out the good and the bad.  First the bad – another adventure to Costco.  During the winter months, these trips have been good opportunities for Merritt and I to get out of the house and move around a bit.  Merritt is typically a great helper and knows all of the food we usually need.  A typical trip usually involves us racing inside and running to the fruit and vegetable section, with a short stop to press the buttons on the phones at the Verizon station.  We usually have no problem getting through this portion of the shopping trip.  However, the rest of the trip through the freezer section and into the chips and baking aisle involves running through each aisle hoping that I can stay up with Merritt so the 3 foot lightning bolt doesn’t get be-headed by a shopping cart and another shopper who has maxed out their cart and has no ability to see Merritt…..OR it involves me bribing my daughter to somehow make it to the checkout without losing her mind (randomly pulling items off the shelf, licking boxes, laying on the floor, crying, etc).  Yes, my daughter… not our dog.  If Stimson isn’t along to activate the competitive side of her and the antagonistic side…things are usually pretty good.  Last weekend, the two of us made a trip to Costco after she had spent a week out of town throwing up, playing with her cousins, and staying up late.  I think her tank was on ‘E’ when we got to Costco, but sometimes there are still fumes and samples at Costco to move her along.  We got through the fruit and vegetable section when she wandered off (away from me intentionally) to chew on some boxes while looking at me with the ‘eye’….that eye that says “I know I’m not supposed to be doing this and you don’t like it when I do this, but what are you going to do?”  I asked her 3 times very nicely to keep moving along so we could get the rest of our things.  It was now a challenge as she said under her breath “I dare you to come get me…sucker”.  I walked over and grabbed her hand so that we could walk to our next area.  She did the thing that all kids have pre-programmed in them as they come out of the womb – threw a fit.  She twister her body and proceeded to twist to the ground with her hand still in mine.  She then started to cry saying “You hurt me dad and you did it on purpose”.  I’m thinking, well for the record, I did ask you three times very nicely and I know you heard me.  I also did nothing other than grab your hand.  Hmmm, she must be tired and this is the emotional side of her coming out.  She doesn’t know what’s going on and all that she knows to do is cry.  Well, she kept repeating (loudly too) – “You hurt me dad and you did it on purpose”.  OK Merritt….I know we haven’t talked about this yet, but our society gets weirded out by those phrases….can you keep it down a bit?  Not everyone knows you haven’t been sleeping.  A lady walked up to me and asked me if she was OK.  Yes, I said, she is just tired.  However, as we continued to walk through the store, my tough daughter who rarely complains when she is sick (Let’s just throw up so we can move on)…..and rarely complains when she gets hurt (band aids are for wimps), kept saying that it hurt.  I then started to notice she was carrying her arm and not moving it.  My heart started to sink a bit as I thought back to a time when this happened with Katy.  As we checked out, I tried to get her to move her arm and she wouldn’t.  I knew something was wrong…..  Off to pick-up Katy at work.  I shared the news with her and we could see her arm starting to swell….Katy confirmed my suspicions.  She dislocated her elbow – AH!  After not really EVER going to the emergency room or urgent care, we have been there 3 times so far this year!!  Let’s see, we went to the ER for a freak infection and ended up with a large invoice (not doing that again) for someone to give us a prescription and a sling (that we didn’t wear)….then we went to Urgent Care for Katy’s dislocated shoulder only to have two people struggle to get her arm back in place (should have gone to the ER).  Which should we go to this time?  Well, we know what it is and we can beg them not to do X-Rays…..let’s try Urgent Care.  As we approached the parking lot of Urgent Care, we had another sinking feeling….they close at 5p and it is 5:05p….and Merritt is tired!  She needs to go to bed at 6p tonight if not now!  We stopped quick and Katy quickly ran inside to see if we could somehow get in.  
Our new babysitter
The receptionist responded – Sorry we are closed.  “I just need someone to pop my daughter’s elbow back in place!”, Katy said.  Then, as if the music started and Doogie Howser (remember him) entered the scene in slow motion, a doctor came to the front.  His response was, “I can’t do anything in here since we are closed, but I can help you in the parking lot”.  Wow, things aren’t like they used to be.  C’mon, can you help a brother out?  I know there are policies and scripts, but this is actually a real person and happens to be our kid.  He came out to the rescue and popped her elbow back in place, shook our hands and disappeared back into the walls of the American healthcare system.  Wow, what just happened?  Needless to say, there were several cookies that were made the next day and delivered to that doctor.  That was the bad.

The good……Merritt asking for Stimson (not mom or dad) to put her to bed.  One of those sentimental moments that you file away for the rest of your life of Stimson reading a book to Merritt, putting her in bed, tucking her in and saying a prayer to her.  Hmm, babysitting may have just gotten a whole lot cheaper!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ides of March

The last of winter
The Ides of March are here.  That means we are halfway through the month of March and everything feels like it is changing fast.  The weather is warming up - A couple of weeks ago, it was bitterly cold and now we are wearing shorts.  Spring break is over and Nana is about to head home and leave us to survive on our own!  Somehow, it seems like the end is near….with only a month left.  I would describe it as “mile 17” of a marathon.  Of the 26 miles in a marathon, mile 17 is where it starts to get real…and fast.  The euphoria of starting a race with hundreds and sometimes thousands of other runners has worn off.  For me, this is when I begin to pull on any reserves I can find.  I start squeezing gels in to get quick energy and I think about the easiest 9 miles I have run so that I can correlate that to the remaining miles I have left.  Nature starts to apply pressure in the form of leg cramps, side aches, and possibly suicidal thoughts.  The optimistic and energetic outlook as a result of the carbo loading is gone.  Negative and sometimes masochistic thoughts run through my head.  “Why do I do this?  Can I really continue putting one foot in front of the other for another loooooonng 9 miles?  Who cares that we are over half-way done with the stinkin race….9 miles is a long way!   Well, we are mile 17 of a marathon with tax season.  Cramps are starting to set in.  We are close, but those last 9 miles are brutal. 
Stimson was throwing up so Merritt had to take over

Did I mention Nana has been here?  It has been nice to have meals prepared for us nearly every night, someone to wash dishes, clean the house, do laundry, help watch the kids.  She even took the kids to Kalispell on her own while kids took turns vomiting.  Katy and I were left alone in a quiet house for a few days.  Party right?  Stay up late, go out to eat, sleep in, watch movies?  Heck, no!  That’s not how tax season works…..still get up early, still work a bunch, still look for the quickest meal we can find, etc. 

Speaking of running, Katy and I ran the annual Run to the Pub race this past weekend.  We didn’t win the race and we didn’t win the free trip to Dublin, Ireland….but we did get outside and enjoyed the nice weather in between taxes.  Stimson also built a leprechaun trap.  We will see if we catch anything tonight on ‘St. Patrick’s Eve’.  Apparently it all happens at midnight tonight.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

Race Day
Hoping to catch a leprechaun

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Keeping up with the Kid-ashians – (Tax) Season 1

Winter was back this week
I doubt there are many people in our family circles that “Keep Up with the Kardashians”.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there is little to gain in ‘keeping up’ with them.  For a couple of days last week, many locals were tracking the Kardashians and their visit to Bozeman.  Apparently they had an interest in extending their rather uninteresting reality TV show into the state of Unabombers, open space, fishing, hunting, gun rights, and mountains for a dog sled excursion (aka film event).  For most people, that visit probably would have gone undetected had they not attempted to drive the roads here. Check it out if you want to learn more about their high maintenance adventures.  Regardless, if you do keep up with the Kardashians, you will be happy to know they are safe and unharmed….only uncontrollable screams and crying from the entourage during the car accident.  If they had filmed that, I might actually watch it.....

Our family has similar drama, as most with kids do, so I thought it might be a good point to help you keep up with our “Kid-ashians”.  Before I update you on our reality show, I gotta say there are two scenarios with kids that make me smile and enjoy life a bit more.  One is a happy household.  That can mean several things, but a few characteristics come to mind - my kids playing well together, no emotional drama from my kids, no attitudes from my kids, my kids laughing and playing together, my kids wanting to help, my kids saying they love me, etc.  The second scenario is when I see the emotional drama, attitudes, fighting with kids.....and they are NOT MY OWN!!!! is so refreshing to see other kids doing those long as my kids are not taking notes.  Sometimes our pictures and our social media updates make it appear as if everyone else's kids are perfect and mine are the only ones acting up.  There has been plenty of drama here…...breaking up fights and arguments and trying to help my kids understand that competition is a good thing, but it doesn't have to involve who eats the fastest....among other things.     
"Fancy Day" at school

During our walks to school this week in the winter weather, I had several conversations with the kids about life….or life as they know it.  I thought I would share those here.

Question 1: Do you like tax season?
Stimson (S) - Yes
Merritt (M) - Yes

Question 2: What do you like about tax season?
S - The before-school program
M - We get to go to a hotel

Question 3: What are you looking forward to doing with Nana when she comes to visit?
M - Go shopping

S - (unanswered)

Question 4: What do you like least about tax season?
S & M - We miss mom

Question 5: What would you tell mom if you had an hour with her over dinner?
S - I don't like tax season because I don't get to spend time with you.
M - Can I have some french fries and a flat egg?
"Shopping" with Dad

Question 6: What is your favorite food that mom makes?
S - Scones for breaskfast and Oreos
M - Granola (cereal) for breakfast, Pickles for lunch, and Pesto Pasta for dinner

Question 7: What is something you like doing with mom?
S - Playing "Sorry"
M - Going to Nastiks

Question 8: What is the best thing that mom has taught you?
S - How to be polite
M - How to go down a water slide at a hotel

Question 9: What is your favorite game to play with mom?
S - Uno
M - Crazy 8's

In other news this week, we were desperate and pulled an old friend off the street to watch the kids so we could attend a wedding reception....only to discover on the way to the reception that we were off a day.  UNPLANNED DATE NIGHT!!!!!  Stimson and Katy got to ski today and Merritt and I hung out downtown.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Too Busy to Not Enjoy

As mentioned a few posts ago, the intent with this blog was never to fill the time.  Time seems scarce enough these days that we don’t find ourselves looking for things to do.  When I hear of people sitting down to watch TV at night, read a book, or post random ‘selfie’ thoughts on social media my thoughts are usually “How do people do that?”  “What are they giving up to squeeze in those activities?” “Is there a way we could equalize the world so that the single parents around the world could benefit from this apparent extra time that a percentage of the population has?”  While I have learned to embrace social media for the instantaneous electronic connection to ‘friends’ and other benefits it can provide, it sure seems like the world might not be getting smarter based on some of the posts I see.  OK….off the soap box.  The goal of the blogging was to improve the interaction with those close to us, namely our family, while we disappear for a few months.  Weekly pictures and updates on our family was meant to help others know we didn’t move to another country…..although sometimes that doesn’t sound too bad.

What I have found through the blogging is that squeezing in a weekly post may have actually had the opposite effect.  Instead of adding another item to the ever-growing ‘To Do’ list, it seems to have slowed down my life and created more reflection.  Truthfully, I don’t have time to blog and I don’t have time to post on social media how great my talented kids and hot wife are.  It’s possible that telling my kids how great they are by being fully present with them may be more beneficial than posting to my uninterested friends how great they are.  The blogging though….it takes time to collect new thoughts.  Yes, it seems to be well received with family members begging for pictures of the kids.  The time spent pondering the weekly thoughts and emotions though has forced me to stop for a moment and reflect.  While the last several posts have taken on a tone of frustration, exhaustion, and endurance, those are real thoughts.  Everyone is busy these days so I understand we are not the exception.  It’s a relative term.  However, sometimes I look at our life and wonder how much more complicated we have made it by simply living by our family standards.  It would be much easier to not make lunches for our kids and rely on some food program or MREs (Army term for meals that are ready to eat).  It would be much easier to shove the kids in the car and make the scheduled stops to drop them off at their respective locations rather than spend the extra 20 minutes to walk them to school and hear the thoughts of sometimes innocent kids.  It would be much easier to turn the TV on and let them be entertained rather than having them create their own adventure.  It would be much easier if Katy sold purses out of the home from 10a-1p rather than considering health insurance penalties and unnamed deductions on tax returns.  We would probably sleep better, the kids would fall into some kind of normal way of life, and a number of other things would probably be true that would seemingly improve our life.  At the end of the day, none of this would be true to our family. 
Winter is Back

So, we continue on…. The kids continue to cope with tax season in their own ways.  Katy misses the kids.  Work is busy for me and the evenings are usually filled with dishes, lunches, and at least one item on the ‘To Do’ list.  We skimp on sleep and we seemingly take the road less traveled in a lot of ways.  Along the way, we have tried to make the most of our circus and juggle the different acts as they come along.  Just as in a well-run circus, numerous acts are performed, but only one act can happen at one time.  Blogging has helped me reflect on the different 'acts' throughout our week.  Life does not always flow as well as the pictures would lead us to believe, but slowing down to be present within each act has been enjoyable for me.  Many of these moments with the kids are fleeting and will never come back.  Our kids get to be a part of the effort to make it through the marathon and see Mom and Dad work together.

We press on…..


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


We made Valentine's cards
Merritt's valentine bookmarks
Sometimes life has no explanations?  Or maybe there are explanations and we have simply run out of what's necessary to answer the questions.  Or maybe the answers to the questions are best left to the one asking the question....where providing an immediate answer devalues the question itself.  During tax season, I find myself asking "Why?".  The four months of Daddy Daycare seem to be going great at some moments and at other times, boulders start crashing down. I would like to think I have been able to anticipate the needs of our household.  I learned from the last minute gingerbread house making that I didn't want to be up at midnight making Valentine Cards for the kids and their school parties.  Why do we celebrate Valentine's day anyway?  Aren't we setting up our kids for major disappointments down the road (sending/receiving the right/wrong card in junior high)?

Fear the "Look"
It could be the 3 year-old in our family influencing that thought process with an overwhelming number of "Whys" throughout the day.  Consider a few of these conversations - "Merritt, you need to eat your vegetables before you can have hot dogs." Why?
"Merritt, can you please not dig your muddy shoes into the car seat?"  Why?  "Merritt, we are not going to be able to keep your favorite penny now that you threw it into the toilet."  Why? (sobbing - however Dad broke the family code.  After flushing and the penny did not go down, I figured it must have truly been a valuable penny. I reached in and then applied all forms of disinfectant that I could find . It was sure worth avoiding the deathly sobbing)  "Merritt, please do not put your hands in your mouth after rolling on the floor in the grocery store." Why?  "Merritt, please do not hit your brother." Why?

Overcoming 'meltdown'mode in the store. 
This past week, I was reminded about the "Why" dilemma. We have been setting the same alarm, to get up at the same time, to go through the same eating process, so we can brush the same teeth, put the same coats on, and leave the house at the same time to get to the same before-school program and yet the world crashes and the kids don't understand "why" we have to leave at that time.

We go to the same store to get the same food so that we can get the same stickers at the checkout and return the same carts to their spots when we are done.  For some reason, since Dad is along, the process doesn't go the 'same' way as it does with Mom.  Luckily, I step back and let Stimson do his magic and calm down the 3-year old while onlookers are aghast with my inaction.

Valentine's toy before the 'foot crunch'
Merritt got a new toy from one of her fellow students on Valentine's Day.  It is the 'new, favorite, all-time best' toy.  She wouldn't put it down and yet she steps on it as only Merritt would do.  When it broke, all she could say was "Why"?  Why doesn't it work anymore?

I was able to spend time with the kids on Monday.  President's Day meant a holiday for me and a day off from school for the kids.  It was going to be an epic day with the kids.  We would throw quarters in a washing machine, go to the toy store, go out to eat for lunch, geocaching downtown.  After two hours of the kids fighting, moody Monday attitudes, incredible misunderstandings and failed expectations....I was ready to go back to work. Why did this have to happen?

At the end of the day, I have been reminded how incredibly lucky I am to spend time with my kids (including the frustrating and comical fits), get to know more about the friends they are spending time with, see Merritt's eyes get big when I stop by her school to pick her up, enjoy the walks to school with the kids who will one day choose to walk with cooler friends, etc.  It also makes the Valentine's Day cards meaningful.

"Dear Dad, Happy Valentine's Day. You do such great things all the time.  Where would I sleep without you making my bunk bed? Love Stimson? "

"Dad, I love you! Happy Christmas (Valentine's Day)!  I like to go swimming with dad. I like to go to the park with dad.  I like going to waterslides with dad. I like going to the tunnel park with dad! Love Merritt" (dictated by Merritt)


Journaling and drawing the sunset for school