Monday, August 29, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."  ~Sam Keen

It was hot this weekend.  Now I realize we are blessed that we haven't been rocked by either an earthquake or hurricane but I'm not a graceful enough person to not complain about this heat.  It kinda reminds me of our first summer in Wyoming when I felt compelled to do things during the day/afternoon instead of get up early with grandma to do things and then rest and nap in the afternoon.  I'm still an idiot that way.  Somehow I missed both the "early bird" gene and the "common sense" gene my ancestors seemed to have.   In better news, my camera de-wonkified itself sometime over the weekend.  The current theory is that it's a cold temperature issue since I'd left it in my car overnight.  Who knows but it works again so I'm happy.

In the interest of potty training, heat and overall dog days laziness, my kids spent most of the weekend being cute in the buff. 

And then there were many pics that are impossible to modesty crop for the blog of Matthew giving Catherine hugs.  However, it definitely was not a one time photo op as this boy loves his sister and climbing all over her for hugs and kisses.  I'm not so certain however "love" is the exact expression on Catherine's face right now:

And of course he needed to play spider spider to Catherine's non-amusement:

And the kiss.  He has a little girlfriend (or two!) that enjoy giving him kisses and after a few months of freaking out and crying, he's warming up to the whole kissing thing and is now kinda obsessed with them.  Heaven help me. 

And finally the shot I was actually going for :-)  Catherine in her sweet and super soft onsie from Uncle Ed.  Soo cute. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mama said there'll days like this


This was apparently the last picture my nice camera was willing to take yesterday before it stopped taking pictures this morning.  Oddly appropriate.   Though we've had a bunch of great outings this week, all the fun plus some necessary long errands have taken their toll on the kids, who took turns this afternoon seeing which one could make me the craziest.  Don't let this picture fool you, Matthew more often than not likes to join in on the screaming fun and may in fact be the "winner" of the contest right now, though my annoyance with my camera may have them both beat.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Camping Success!

I set the "goal" for our first camping trip as a family of 4 (or 6 if you count the furry ones) really, really low. My goal was to leave during naptime Sat. and returned during naptime Sunday, bringing back the kids, dogs and most of our gear in similar conditions to when we left. We didn't have plans to really hike or explore, just set up and take down camp while caring for the kids seemed like enough of a challenge and any nature appreciation that came with it would be a bonus. We went into it knowing we were not above aborting the trip at 2am and peeling out if needed for everyone's sanity. I'm not certain if I've mentioned it (a billion times) before, but Matthew is a crap sleeper which is why I've avoided camping with him like the plague. Regular travel where we have beds, cribs, white noise etc. can still disrupt his sleep for weeks. However, we've now had 2+ years to make our peace with this and learn to work around it. He's getting more flexible now that he's older but travel and new noises still set him wonky so to keep his first camping experience positive (and James and I sane), we kept it pretty short with two semi-guaranteed car naps.

We picked Delmoe Lake outside Butte because it was close but new to us. I'd guess it gets used kinda like Hyalite reservoir just outside Bozeman so it was definitely busy, only there were far fewer mountain bikers, hikers and climbers than we're used to and way more dirt bikes, 4-wheelers and jet skis than we've ever seen up Hyalite.

Catherine was unimpressed by the lake excursion:

But when we headed back up the hill to the campsite she had her shoes and jeans on ready to romp around if needed, though mostly she just hung out under the trees.

Between the boy and the dog, I'm not sure who enjoyed the lake more.

When I passed through the area the past few times the rock outcroppings on the interstate reminded me of Vedauwoo, one of our family's favorite camp spots when I was little which was another reason it became our destination. It's amazing how many memories camping always brings back of my childhood and how appreciative I become of all of mom and dad's hard work to give us so many amazing experiences. While Matthew may not always show his appreciation right now, he certainly appreciated the chance to have hot dogs and s'mores again, as well as play in the dirt and find sticks and rocks:

After all the fun and dirt of the day it was eventually time for bed. We read stories and rocked just like at home and Matthew requested to sleep in his little yellow tent. It just so happened to fit in the big tent so I put it in and he crawled right in, shut the door and I left thinking we had made rockstar progress in the "camping is just like home" routine. I was even silly enough to believe that James and I might get to enjoy some alone time around the campfire while the kids snoozed. Long story short, James and I ended up going to bed at the same time as Matthew on a deflated air mattress, Matthew flopped between us all night waking up every 2 hours and at one point insisting on a diaper change (great news for potty training, terrible news at 2 am in a tent) and Catherine snoozed soundly with a mattress pad in her own tent within a tent. She definitely slept the best of all of us. Maybe I should have swaddled Matthew for the evening. For the first time in a long time she actually woke up before Matthew, so I snapped some pics with camera phone as proof to myself that some sleep did actually occur:

****As an aside, here's the only other worthwhile picture ever taken with our camera phones. Verizon doesn't seem to want to make it reasonable or easy for us to get pics off our el cheapo phones so I retrieved this picture and I'm done trying to retrieve pictures from our phones. Thanks however to the nurse who reminded James he could use his phone to capture Catherine's first bath since we were more worried about my having a baby in the parking lot than getting the bags inside. This is our first pic of Catherine****

Back to camping. After hanging out in the tent with Matthew and Daddy Catherine got rebundled and proceeded to go right back to sleep while we made breakfast:

We spent Sunday morning taking "woks" to and from the lake, splashing rocks and exploring the campsite.

While trying to get a picture of Matthew with Daddy he took to exploring this tree:

And James and I learned a very important lesson about keeping an eye out for excessive pine sap when choosing a campsite. His feet may never be the same again.

Catherine wanted to chat about the whole thing:

Meanwhile, Matthew also had some very intense interactions with some logs. I'm totally at a loss for explaining what he was doing, but it's best described as having very intense shrieking conversations with all the logs at our campsite:

All in all we brought back two tired but happy kids and I'm excited to try it all again soon. Anyplace where Matthew is free to pretty much wander and explore everything in sight and we're a short distance away from splashing is a good weekend . . . though I can't wait for the day he can go down to the lake himself and I can lounge in the shade with a good book :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Play Time

Catherine is an incredibly great sleeper right now (unlike her brother) but she's pretty finicky about where she sleeps (very much like her brother) and that doesn't include sleeping in the carseat (very much unlike her brother). Because every time I've taken her out in the stroller to nap has ended in a crankypants baby and crankier toddler, we've gotten creative about hanging out indoors in the afternoon. Matthew's newest favorite activity is car painting. Unfortunately most of his cars have wooden wheels and/or low clearance, so we do sheep and pig painting instead. Matthew's colors of choice today were pink, purple and white on blue paper, which was far superior to his pink, brown and green painting the other day.

We also did a little dino "stamping" with his T-Rex and of course, we always have to do a little finger painting:

When we finished, Matthew was more than eager to help clean up and wash his toys and body (thank goodness for super washable tempera paint!)

Matthew's also now slightly addicted to the scarves and likes to direct Mommy's dancing. When we play with scarves, Catherine likes to join too. And though Matthew always gets to pick Catherine's scarf out, leaving him with the other 3 as choices, as soon as I lay her down on it, it's inevitably the color he wants. I can't believe I'm in for 18 more years of this!! I thought it would at least wait until Catherine had an opinion about things. Most of the time, Matthew just likes to hang out with Catherine, although I certainly can't get them both to smile at the same time (I'm assuming I have an entire lifetime of this phenomenon left):

Lord help us we're taking the kids camping this weekend. If I'm not insane now, I'll likely be when we get back!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting Out

After a summer of awesome visitors, the apartment is back to its baseline state of chaos. I'm working on going back to work part-time so we're busy interviewing nannies meanwhile also trying to catch up with friends and get out and enjoy the last bits of summer while we still can. On our 101 things list is for James and I to run a 5K. In addition to also wanting to be good role models for Matthew (especially since he copies everything now) now is as good a time as any to get a bit healthier. We picked up a new to us stroller/bike trailer off Craigslist and have been taking long walks (to be turned into jogs soon) as a family in the mornings. Since Catherine isn't quite big enough for the new stroller, she rids in the old stroller while Matthew rocks the new stroller. Oh yeah, and we bring both dogs along making us a giant, 6am, stroller-human-dog train. Right now we're a calamity of leashes wrapping around stroller wheels but it's the thought that counts right? With 2 different bedtimes and wake up times at the moment, either of our dreams of making it "to the gym" by ourselves seem far-fetched so we just dream of a one stroller outing. Catherine doesn't seem to mind all the early morning bundling and chaos though. Most days she sleeps straight through her brothers incessant chatter and exclamations of "ducks! pey-cans! birrrs! daws!" the whole trip:

Saturday we headed out for a short hike. Matthew did about a mile and a half by himself which is hugely exciting for those of us who don't want to carry him more than we have to. The trail was mostly flat so Catherine hung out in the stroller being cute:

Though road races may not be his thing, Matthew's calling might just be as a trail runner. Location is everything. He also (unfortunately) has decided that yelling "runs runs" and taking off in Target is also fun. We're working on that one.

Of course his favorite part of the day was splashing of course!

Though a later round of scarf dancing was also pretty popular! Amma has sent Matthew a lot of great books with CDs and now with his new mp3 player from Mas and Pas he's been rocking out (for better or worse!)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cuddly Prehistoric Kids

The other day James and I got the kids dressed and somehow ended up with both a Snuggle-saurus:

and a Hugasaurus Rex (why yes, that's a Star Wars ABC book courtesy of Uncle Matt, why do you ask?):

So I thought we needed a picture of both kids and typical chaos ensued:

Matthew's really enjoyed all the company (and I've loved having the extra hands around) and playing but boy did it tucker him out.  On Sunday I found him in the exact same position I had literally dropped him in over an hour earlier:

Unfortunately Mas and Pas had to head home today so we snapped one last picture with some of Matthew's favorite people.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why do nice guys always finish last?

Uncle Ed came to visit and the Watsons are back! It also just so happens to be Sweet Pea Festival weekend. We thought Uncle Ed could help get the kids into marathons early so he took the kids with Daddy to participate in their first run. It was a very strenuous 1K along Bozeman's Main Street.

The runners had their numbers and were ready to go:

Here was the beginning of the race as the 10 and 12 year olds whizzed by, followed by a mass of kids, strollers, parents and pups:

And then definitely last of 1,000+ kids but certainly not least came our little man:

He did run quite a bit

but he was mostly distracted by, ummm, everything. Horses, dogs, planes, people, cheering, Ed's shadow etc.

When they passed us along the route Catherine gave up the stroller for her older brother in hopes he might finish the race before being run over by the parade looming in the background. Looks like she didn't mind one bit:

Matthew rode for a bit but walked over the finish line on his own. Their 37:49 pace probably won't go into Uncle Ed's race logs, but not bad for Matthew's first race. Then he came back to enjoy the parade with the rest of us:

And of course he enjoyed the parade treats:

Then we headed over to the park for Sweet Pea. Catherine chilled out in the shade:

While Matthew watched attentively

He also made some of his own art:

Though we wish they were here, it looks like my mom and dad were having a good time this weekend as well:

Summer may be short out West and way up North, but it certainly is sweet!

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...