Monday, June 4, 2012

The Travel Curse Has Lifted!

Though it was touch and go as we left on Friday as 1) Uhaul did not have our trailer or any 5x8 trailers and 2) there was some crazy standoff at the i-90 exit blocking the onramp to the interstate, against all odds we made it to WY.  Matthew had his backpack all filled up and was ready to go:

After our debacle last time, we decided to take the long way around through the sagebrush with no snow in sight.

When we stopped in Laurel we met the nicest old couple and talked all things kids and grandkids. Their outlook on the world and life was far sunnier than the gentleman we met last week.  Kudos to James for doing all the driving with the trailer while I took on the sippycup/snack/toy/book/singing/I-spy duties.  I'm still not sure who got the better end of the bargain but my van was definitely the loser and looks like some sort of baby/toddler armageddon occurred.
Saturday morning we headed out to the property to retrieve some yard tools/gear we had left and scavenge for any tools/gear we might need to inherit (or at least borrow until Dad comes to visit so he can help me with my projects :-).  We had encouraged Matthew to wear his boots to the farm and his first task was heading out the play in the irrigation water:
The renters were really great and she took Matthew on the grand tour to see "hens and horses" as Matthew excitedly shared.  As we wound down on our tour, she offered to let Matthew go pick some eggs:
 Matthew picked 4 eggs as he shares but mostly he's excited because of the "tiny baby chickens" inside and does not want to eat them.  He also got to feed the chickens.  He wasn't so keen on letting them eat out of his hand, but he had seen them eating out of the feeder so he thought he should fill that.  Catherine of course thought she should help (and eat some feed).
Rachel offered to take some family pictures.  Unfortunately the one where we're all looking at the camera and smiling turned out blurry but I'm so very thankful for the ones that turned out even when not everyone was cooperating.  I really need to hand over the camera more often to get some whole family shots!
 Really, our bigger issue is either Matthew trying to help make Catherine smile:
 Or vice versa:
And my .02 seconds playing with my camera's settings.  I had grand plans of spending some quality time with my camera's manual and instructional dvd's on the ride down but there's no rest for the sippy cup/snack/toy retriever.  
After a quick nap we headed to Lander's City Park with grandma and the kids.  Catherine was all smiles as she played in the woodchips and grass and entertained the 7 year old who kept coming to play with her:
 She had some pretty serious things to discuss with grandma:
 But then was all smiles:
 I attempted to take a picture of grandma with both kids but not surprisingly chaos ensued:

 And while we were there I was pleasantly surprised to find this stone Grandma Jennie must have gotten in memory of Papa:
 Sunday Grandma Elsie gave the kids some treats she had tucked away.  Matthew was super jazzed, though for Daddy's safety we probably need to get a tee:
 Though Matthew also enjoys playing outfield as well (with bat in hand):
 The boy already has a pretty mean game face:
Though he also has a very sweet side.  Grandma makes some awesome gingersnaps and Matthew got to have one.  He later snuck in and grabbed another one . . . and gave it to his sister:
He's been experimenting a lot with mimicking empathy/manners recently.  He's now pretty insistent on receiving a "spesh you" (bless you) when he sneezes and tells me "sorry mom" when I bump into him.   James and I were in the car the other day discussing the cracked oil pan of our previous trip and I said something like "I'm so sorry I decided we should go through Yellowstone" and Matthew pipes up from the back "that's okay mommy, it happens".  He still doesn't quite understand the cause/effect of his behavior on Catherine's fussiness, but when he's not the cause he rushes to her and pats her on the back and tells her "its okay" or "oh Caffrin"
 And one last group pic before lunch as we headed out (thanks to whoever taught Matthew the cheese face!):
Plus final goodbyes.  In Matthew's early toddler phase he was kinda standoff-ish toward grandma, but over the course of the weekend Matthew decided she was ready for "one hug":
 "one kiss"
 and "one cuddle":
We decided to try coming back through Yellowstone as it cuts about 80 miles off our trip.  The terrain is more mountainous, the speed limit slower, the construction greater but you sure can't beat the views!  From outside Dubois:
To the Tetons:
To Lone Peak:
 All in all we made almost exactly the same time driving through Teton and Yellowstone and probably got better gas mileage as we weren't trying to push 70+ the whole trip.  It's not a trip we'd likely do later into tourist season (or earlier if the weather is even somewhat questionable) but it sure was enjoyable (or as enjoyable as 7 hours in any car can be with a toddler and infant).

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