Thursday, July 19, 2012

Painting, Panning and more

The pictures keep stacking up faster than the blog posts are coming out but here's all the excitement since we returned to Montana last week!  Mas and Pas came back with us and we had a nice weekend visit with them.  Poor James often misses out on our mid-week visitors (and weeks long vacations) so it was great to have some weekend time with the whole family.  Matthew had a short run of the stomach bug so we hung out around the house and I let the kids paint their "house" I've been kicking around the house for weeks.  Matthew very quickly started to paint himself:
 And after Catherine tasted the paint, she decided to copy her brother:

 Both kids in front of a finished side:

Catherine got a belated birthday present from Mas and Pas and now has her own stepstool so she never misses out on the kitchen counter action.  Matthew's been showing her the ropes:
 But she didn't take much encouraging before she got serious about exploring
 The next day we took Mas and Pas to Virginia City and Nevada City.  It had the promise of a train ride and a fire engine/stagecoach ride so a certain 2 year old didn't need any convincing!  We opted for the fire engine ride and learned all about the colorful history of Virginia City:
 Wait!  Who is that strange man holding my children:
 Oh my goodness!  Finally an adventure that included James!!
 Much like any old western town, the "docents" were most excited to tell the stories of the bars, brawls and hangings.  I hope we can make it back to this old brewery for their "follies" show:
 And a picture of "Boot Hill" that I like mostly because we've had some rocking clouds recently that remind me of how much I love living here:
 And with the clouds came a little windswept look for Catherine:
 In front of the old firetruck:
 Of course no small western town would be complete without museum-come-cabinet-of-curiosities-and-old-western-crap museum.  As I work with Matthew on patience and waiting I count out lots of lists on my fingers of what we will be doing.  Before we entered the museum I had explained we would "go to a little museum, go have lunch, then go on a train trip (and possibly 2 or 7 more things as Matthew always wants me to finish out either one hand or both hands when we discuss our day).  Anyway, we walk into the museum and Matthew starts whining and saying "no, no, want to go to a museum.  Go to the museum."  I calmly tell him that this is a museum and he responds "No! This not a museum.  This a store!"

Give it to a two year old to loudly voice what we'd all been thinking!  As is noted in signs every 2 feet all around the store, the museum receives no government funding, so its run on donations and sales from its gift shop which bleeds into the museum.   I eventually convinced Matthew it was a museum.  I'm sure these awesome specimens helped:
 And besides this 8 legged, two butt lamb, there were these awesome boxing squirrels labeled as either the "first" or "only" boxing squirrels in Montana:
Once we finished our stroll through Virginia City, we headed down to the Depot for lunch and to work out our train situation.  I turned out with train tickets and admission to Nevada City we also got a gold panning experience.  Woot!
 Matthew didn't last long panning but he was pretty jazzed about holding our vial for all the garnets and getting in trouble bugging his sister who was taking a break from the backpack by panning for gold herself.  With her face. Sadly I didn't get any pics of the sight.

 None of us struck it rich with gold but we did find quite a few garnets.  Then we headed to Nevada City where for $.10 we heard this old machine play:
 Which Matthew tried to earn back at the poker tables:
 We checked out the living history cabin and he tested out the bed, though he was slightly more jazzed by the stamp on his hand:
He loved the swing outside the old schoolhouse:
Sadly, about this time the winds/rains picked up and we were going to miss out on the train ride.  Luckily there was one thing in the area that Matthew may like even more than trains that helped soften the dissapointment:
 And Catherine didn't mind either!
 Back at home we had to say goodbye to Mas and Pas but Matthew got some last minute cuddles and sillies in:
 Now it's been back to "normal" for a few days until we get to see Amma and Papa!  Catherine's decided she'll one-up Papa's goal of getting her walking by learning to ride a bike before she thinks about walking:

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