Monday, July 29, 2013

Micro-blogging, Micro-vacations, Micro-exercise, and messing with the space-time continuum!

To fill in the lull of posting when I get behind on the blog (which is clearly often since we my last post was from Glacier, a trip we did a month ago!) I have set up a widget to automatically share my Facebook pictures on here in real-time.  So basically, for those of you who are already my friends on Facebook, my apologies that you will probably see some pictures 3 times since I'm very forgetful.  For those of you who aren't on Facebook, you will get a glimpse at the inane photos I share on there.  Also, this means that the blog will skip around in time a bit because my facebook "micro-blogs" stay closer to real-time than my complete blogs. Clear as mud?  Great!  Oh yeah, and this is all an experiment which for a variety of reasons I'm not certain I will continue so if the facebook blogposts disappear soon, let's all forget that I wasted your time with this paragraph! :-)

Now, in regular blog time we just returned from Glacier, which was fantastic.  When we got back we headed to the park with friends, caught up with our playgroups and then I headed to Portland for the weekend with a good friend!  She might have only been half-serious when she suggested I meet up with her in Portland because it was "close" (or at least closer than NY!) but what I heard was "opportunity for an adult weekend in a cool city with an awesome couple oh my goodness sign me up now!"  I had a crazy flight and a few delays so while I was waiting in the airport I got these sent out (with the wrong date, but still!) and felt productive.  I also may have binge-watched all of Netflix's Orange is the New Black (which I wouldn't recommend to everyone, but if you aren't too sensitive it's a great show!) but that's what childless weekends are for!
 While  I was in Portland we saw weird Portland, walked lots of gardens, ate lots of good food, saw a good movie in an uncomfortable theater and in general had a great time.
 The kids apparently did okay, based on the photos he took, they may have spent the whole weekend in this box!
 Which was probably best as these storms in Denver didn't help my ability to make it back in a timely fashion:
 When I got back I saw James in passing and then he headed out of town for a work training.  The kids were worried the house might be too quiet so they played a lot of piano while he was gone:
 We got this awesome lamp in the mail from Mas and Pas (courtesy of Uncle Ed) which inspired a little room reorganization.  Matthew loves it!!
 We also went for a much needed haircut!
 And headed to the library book sale where we picked up some more great finds.
 And Catherine just being Catherine.

 Love these goobers:
Then the next weekend we finally had a Saturday at home!  We took it as an opportunity to take care of a few of the projects in the garage and converted an ugly craigslist dresser into this:
 But mostly we were super excited because Mas and Pas were scheduled to arrive!  The kids even asked Pas to sit on their laps!
 Then we took them to the fair!
 Where we met these cowboys and their horses.  This picture is kind of a miracle because Catherine was scared to death of the "horses":
 It's interesting to watch our fair (and I'm sure many others) evolve to accommodate the changing demographics of fair attendees.  Ours does a great job with entertainment for little kids and city slickers alike.  The kids enjoyed the Wild West kid area again where Matthew rocked out:
And Catherine clearly was guilty of something!

 And there was a completely different petting zoo this year!
 The kids took part in the fair's Discovery Trail which seems to have two goals: reinforce healthy living ideas (which was the countered by the free ice cream and pizza coupons we were given!) and get kids and families into all areas of the fairgrounds.  At each of the 8 stations the kids had to do an exercise like touch their toes:
 Block jumping:
 Or stepping:
 Clif Bars were an apparently generous sponsor of the whole thing so we stopped for a clif bar break (followed by funnel cakes, but shhhhhh!)
 The kids then took a ride on the train with Mas and Pas:
 And came back to clap along with an odd trashcan-drum ensemble.
 At about that time the rides opened and after getting the lowdown from his buddy next door, Matthew was set on hitting the rides:
 He started in the trucks that were very slow, smooth and flat, which he thought was awesome.
 The old rickety cars that went up and down?  Not so awesome.  This must have been as he was getting off because the rest of the time he had his hands glued to the steering wheel:
 Daddy went on the bears with him and while I had taken Catherine in (she started crying everytime she wasn't allowed on a ride) I heard that he wasn't a big fan of these either.  He was however, very brave in trying them all, but if he has no interest in rides next year I'll gladly pocket the savings!
 We headed in for a science magic show and cotton candy!
We said goodbye to Mas and Pas the next day, but don't worry, they came back soon and hopefully I'll blog something soon!  We have lots of fun pictures from someone's 4th birthday!  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Glacier!

After the excitement of July 4th, the kiddos slept in pretty late and then we headed back into Whitefish.  A friend of mine lives there and I wanted to take her out for her birthday to the restaurant we didn't get to go to the last time I visited.  I brought the kiddos along for the ride to the restaurant, where we could see the lake where we had watched the fireworks the night before:

 And the view was incredible:

The kids hung out at the nature center for a while before they headed back to town:
 And Jenn and I got a chance to catch up, and catch the beargrass in bloom:

 It was a gorgeous day up top and the food wasn't bad either
 When we headed back we took a short hike to the village center to help plan our next day.  By short I of course mean short in distance and long in time as the kids were interested in everything:
 And came back to our site for a campfire dinner:
 Unfortunately about halfway through, the skies opened, the rain poured and there was a little bit of hail.  Once I rescued dinner and the fire I snuck away to the lake to catch the sunset.

 Earlier in the day when we were in town we had run into one of James' coworkers.  She joined us for the campfire and gave us lots of good tips about planning the next day.  Unfortunately, the best laid plans fall apart when your kiddos sleep in, the trailhead parking lot is crazy full, as well as the buses.  The west side where we were is the busier side so after we couldn't get to the trailhead we decided to head over the pass again and check out the other side of the park.  There were lots of rivers to check out:
 And wildflowers:
 And the views weren't half bad:

 Going to the Sun road is about 50 miles and speeds rarely top 40 mph.  It makes for a good day but a lot of car time.  The snow and two tunnels provided excitement for the kids and of course driving through the waterfall.
And of course the kiddos wanted to splash, touch and play, which is admittedly hard in Glacier considering:

Which is frightening as there have been 2 deaths in the past week on trails I want to go on for our next visit :/  With lots of supervision Catherine got to touch a "waterfall"
Matthew was a bit more cautious and just wanted to hang out with me, which I'll take:
And more wildflowers:
We ended up taking most of the day to travel the road, stopping a lot for short walks and gorgeous views.

More water:
with views:
And this guy right off the trail:
We stopped at Sunrise gorge where the water comes down this narrow gap:
And then takes this odd 90 degree turn:

As we headed into Many Glacier we just missed one grizzly but ended up fairly close to this one along the road.  Unfortunately it was close enough I was uncomfortable being out of the car and I didn't put on my tele lens.  Either way, it was cool as always:
Views from Many Glacier.  A storm was heading in as we were going to take a hike with the kiddos (both napping on our backs) so we opted for just the car tour of the area.
But we did see this guy down the hill:
On the way back James humored my photography/wildflower attempts and requests to stop.  Here's some lupine:
As the sun was setting we enjoyed the alpenglow which I didn't catch, but it did give me a chance to play with my exposure settings and

We saw this guy up on Logan Pass.  Apparently his name is "King" and he's the most aggressive at the park.
But these guys stole the show.  First there was this guy near the boardwalk:
And this gal along the boardwalk:
And someone offered to take a family pic at the overlook:
Where we met these guys on the boardwalk on the way back:
And then I fell in love with this guy:
And a short mountain goat jam:
And more of the baby:
A family shot:
Exciting faults:
Fun playing with the sun:
The river below is where the road starts out:
Another harrowing section of the road:

As we were driving the indian paintbrush were gorgeous, but due to sunlight and construction there were none to be found at any of the pullouts, until James spotted these:  I had one heck of a time balancing the lighting, but it was exciting nonetheless:
One last stop along the river:
Where the kids did some "silly running"

And hugs with daddy:
And here's the inside peek of our camper and its chaos.  This shot is taken from our end of the camper.  Normally the kiddos start sleeping seperately and then I move them both to the same side where Matthew is.  The suitcases sit where the sink theoretically goes.  Since we mostly camp in grizzly country we've figured out both the sink and stove just took up space so we removed them.
And looking from Matthew's side to ours:
It's a tiny camper but perfect for us.  The bed Catherine is standing near becomes our seating/table area, perfect for rainy afternoons and games of cribbage, but it's easiest for sleeping when we leave it down.   One last breakfast before we hit the road:
While we were at the big pig roast, we discovered one of Dad's cousins has a house about halfway between Glacier and Bozeman so we stopped in to say hi and the kiddos tried playing some games with their cousins:
After a great visit we headed back home for a week of annual check ups, errands and just hanging out.  We really pushed the kids on the amount of carseat time and they did awesome, however James and I were definitely exhausted after answering Matthew's 50 billion questions.  Inspired by big brother, Catherine has also started asking "why?" so it's always a good time in our car and I've explained things I never ever thought I would. 

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...