It’s official! I’m taking the plunge tonight, the polar bear plunge! I’m so thankful for all my friends & family who have supported me! We’ve raised almost $300 in 24hrs for Special Olympics Montana! I’m super excited to be making the jump, but equally excited to be supporting such a great cause. I’ve been involved with Special Olympics for most of my life & it’s always held a special place in my heart.
So let’s get to the logistics of the jump. They are expecting temperatures to drop down to -26 tonight! Don’t worry though! There will be rescue divers in the water and EMTs on site. Immediately after the jump we get into a hot tub to warm up.
I’m on the local law enforcement team, The Copsickles. Since they are one of the major sponsors of the event we will be some of the first to jump. I love that, because it just means more time in the hot tub for me!
Just when I thought the adventure on this trip was winding down, tonight I was presented with the opportunity to do a polar bear plunge this weekend! Why on earth would this Florida girl jump into freezing cold water when it’s -20 out? The event is to raise money for the Special Olympics, but also why not! I’ll keep you posted if I raise enough money tomorrow to jump! If you are interested in donating, you can do so here.
Wow! I was super excited for the snow, but quickly realized I was more excited about the idea of it. Yesterday afternoon it had just begun to snow when I got to my hotel. I couldn’t stop smiling as I unloaded my car and the big, weighty snowflakes covered me. It brought back so many memories and made me feel like a kid again! I kept peeking out the window throughout the evening to check the status of the snow.
My Snow Gauge
This morning I was forced to deal with the reality of interacting with the snow, not just my fantasy of it as I watch from a window. As I walked to the parking lot, I immediately had an “OH” moment as I noticed all the other cars with their windshield wipers in the air. How could I have forgotten one of the simplest tricks! While scraping off the car, I maintained that goofy grin as the snow squeaked beneath my feet. However, after 30 minutes of scraping in single digit temperatures, I think my face may have just frozen that way!
Oh how I love small town events! I was recently in Chinook, MT for their parade of lights. First thing in the morning I met some new friends at the old sugar beet factory to work on one of the floats. Christmas music was playing, people were giggling, and power tools were buzzing. The framework was completed earlier by the same guys who made the homestead float for the wild west parade. Three hours and two warm up in the car sessions later (I may be a Montana girl at heart, but my body quickly reminded me I live in Florida now), we stood back to admire the twinkling lights of the float.
Now that the float was done, it was time to wonder Main Street and mingle with all the wonderful vendors. They were selling everything from local food to handmade jewelry to Christmas wreaths. Of course there were several guns being raffled as well. It is Montana after all!
Chinook Christmas Stroll
Waiting for the parade to start, I checked out the festival of trees. My mom and aunt donated a decorated “chicken” tree including several dozen fresh eggs from their chickens. All proceeds from the event went to the local volunteer fire department and PAWS.
The Chicken Tree
The main event of the day was the parade. The floats included everything from local business promotions to teasing a local for turning 50. I patiently waited for the float I helped with to come by. It was almost the very last in the parade. The theme of the float was “join the church crowd” so it stopped at each corner where people would jump on the float or walk alongside it handing out glow bracelets to the kids. I loved that this church used the parade as an outreach opportunity!
It took me a little longer to get back out to the homestead/ranch than I expected, but it was worth the wait. We were welcomed by both the cows and a message from my phone company saying welcome to Canada! The ranch is only 10-15 miles from the border so I can see why my phone got a little confused.
The Welcoming Committee
The original homestead shack built by my great-grandfather is gone, but there are many buildings left from my mother’s and even grandfather’s childhood. At first glance it’s just a few rundown old buildings and a bunch of cow patties. However, if you look closer and listen every shack holds a memory, every hill and valley has a story. My mom showed me where she used to milk Mag the milk cow, where she and her horse Concho loved to ride, the spot on the creek where she learned to swim, the best spots for sledding, and even where the outhouse stood that she used as a child. It was such a beautiful day and so special being out there with my mom!
Old shop where my mom and her brother and sister would play basketball growing up
Where old Mag the milk cow used to provide for the family