Friday, January 31, 2014

Snow and Ice and January Adventures!

January's an interesting, exciting and odd month.  First there's the coming down off the high of the holidays and getting back into our "routine" which often only points out how fragile our "routine is.  Then there's the combination of resolutions, goals and planning combined with the craziness and bitterness of the winter that leads to a lot of ups and downs.  In preschool we've even been talking about goals and went to visit our neighbor's vet clinic.  The kids loved the "balloons" and feeding the dog carrots!
 We headed out for some skiing and tested out Matthew's new skis.  He's slow but steady
 But loves the downhill parts the best!
 We also did more boot skating, though Matthew found a more efficient way around.  I don't even know what to think about this!
 In the meantime Matthew's been doing lots of fun drawing with some of his new "how to draw" books.  On the side, I highly recommend the Ed Emberley books, or any step by step drawing book for young kids (especially young boys) who don't particularly like sitting down to practice letters.
 Catherine has been hamming it up!
 While Matthew has been playing with our new kids camera case and app:

 And taking selfies:
 A few weekends ago we took the kids to West Yellowstone.  Our main goal was to do some ice fishing but there were all these snow berms that kept the kids busy for quite a while!

 Our ice fishing adventure started with a safety lecture while Catherine hung out in my lap:
 Then we took to the ice:
 It was a goreous day!
 Catherine had quite the little dance to make her line jig:
 Unsurprisingly, we didn't catch anything (along with the other 50+ kids on the ice!) but we had a good time.  After we left the lake we headed into town with a few minutes to kill so we decided to head out on the photo scavenger hunt! We searched through downtown for different animals:
 And a final pic with a "moose" for end of the hunt!
 We then hit the IMAX for the Yellowstone movie.  While I think the movie only gets 1/2 a thumbs up, it was a nice break and Catherine's first movie:

 After the movie we had dinner with friends and then it was time for snowmobiles:
 And climbing up this giant snow berm!  Matthew loved it!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Christmas Aftermath!

The day after Christmas we took advantage of some nice weather with a hike/walk along the Gallatin.  This gave the kids a chance to try out their new "camel backpacks":


 But mostly it gave them plenty of opportunity to burn off some sugar and be goobers:
 Not surprisingly, Matthew spent most of the time plotting how to get us with snowballs and/or trying to eat all the snow:
 Though he took a moment to contemplate the enormity of life with Uncle Ed:
 Catherine has taken to riding in the sled as if she has been injured or is passed out:
 And we got Pas to sneak in a family photo in front of the Bridgers:
 We ended the day with a nice dinner out thanks to Uncle John!  We hit up Open Range, a new restaurant in Bozeman.  It was a hit with everyone, minus the kiddos who were not all that impressed with the "gourmet" ants on a log and ketchup.  Afterwards we finally stopped to check out a pretty cool set of Christmas lights programmed to music!
 The whole thing exhausted Catherine to the point she didn't even want to put on her PJs!
 We followed up with a day of playing around with our new Christmas toys.

 Some front yard skiing:
 Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our excellent company but still had lots of fun toys and books that needed reading:
 Putting up the new wall decals from Uncle Matt:
Catherine didn't really want to put hers up herself but was a very particular supervisor with daddy:
136 pieces later, we created a mini-London for Matthew's room!  
 Uncle John had picked up a Catan game for the kids on our last Virginia trip and Mas and Pas brought it out with them this time.  It's is Matthew's new favorite game, though he calls it "Pirate land"
 My lenses was apparently smudgey, but this boy gets absolutely giddy when he buys a parrot tile in the game and/or when he totally beats James and I:
We took advantage of the piles of snow and plentiful sunshine at the end of the year with some "boot skating" with friends.  Catherine gave me a ride around in a chair:
 While Matthew stole a ride with friends by hanging onto their sleds:
 Goobers:

 We topped of the year celebrating the new year with some good friends.  James was pretty excited!
 We actually missed midnight because the kids were busy playing and the adults were, well, busy playing a game.  We eventually gathered all the kiddos for an apple cider toast:
 Complete with hats, leis and noisemakers:
 Plus the random fireworks we've had sitting in the garage:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Christmas!

After our sledding excitement we continued our Christmas Eve tradition of sorts with appetizers and Pas' delicious peanut soup.  We worked with Catherine on taking slices of potica instead of the entire loaf she tried to munch on:

Catherine contemplated her wine glass of apple cider:  
 James and Mas entertained us with Christmas carols:
 Then it was time for pajamas and opening a special Christmas Eve gift, an I Spy game!

 The kids picked out treats for Santa and helped me write a note and leave a picture of a gigantic ghost for Santa:
 And one passed out baby girl!
Santa snuck in and left plenty of good things out over night! 
 Including our family's traditional "Books in Bed" which we got to reading immediately.

 There was palpable excitement as the kids made their ways down the stairs:
 She was pretty excited to get a scooter and something Ghostbusters!
 Checking out the art easel from Mas and Pas!

And testing out their new scooters and bike!!

As we waited for the rest of the adults to wake up the kids went down to check out their stockings:


Catherine got the rest of her "list" with a stocking full of candy!

Speaking of lists, I don't think I shared this but these were Matthew's original Xmas lists!  We generally shoot for having the kids think about things in terms of the whole "want, need, wear, read" idea so  I asked Matthew to come up with 4 ideas (on the right.)  It was one of the first times he really "got" representational drawing so when he asked to make another list I mistakenly encouraged it.  I worked with him on the idea that these lists were just suggestions, but when you have a very loving and generous family with too few grandkids, they sometimes get used as kill lists:
If I remember correctly, this was (from l-r): scooter, game, skis, bike like Dexter, camel backpack, new bike helmet, "Chick Hicks" slippers, a book with a giant spider on it, a pteranadon shirt and a ghostbusters book.  Meanwhile Catherine's original list was this:
Which was interpreted as "Robin for Halloween".  Anyway, as Catherine's list later changed to "Ghostbusters and candy" she was ecstatic with some Pez and her too-mature Ghostbusters comic book.   Once we gathered the family there was lots of present opening:

 Some new PJs:
 The kids helped hand out presents:
 There were breaks for breakfast and for some indoor scootering:

 There was lots of "camel backpack" wearing:


 A new Pteranadon shirt!
 Lots of new legos for Catherine and Lego mugs for James and I, and lots and lots of camel backpack wearing!
 Catherine going on a picnic:
 A surprise hit of the day was this voice-activated robotic Dinosaur from Uncle Matt!  Matthew has been shouting commands at it every day since.  Kudos Uncle Matt because not only is the toy itself incredibly loud, Matthew shouts at it incredibly loudly so I think it's a double win in the world of obnoxious gifts from Uncles :-)  It has been duly noted in my revenge notebook as well (sorry future Mrs. Matt Pozun where ever you are!)
 We also got some great activities from Uncle Ed and Georgina like these origami boats!
We took a quick break for some family photos!




 Thank you to whoever taught my kids that every formal pic needs a silly picture!
 It was a very, very exhausting day!!

After some naps and rallying we sat down for a nice Christmas dinner!

 Followed by some Christmas crackers, English Pudding, Marionberry and Christmas Oreos for dessert because we are classy that way! :-)


We ended the night with a few games and laughs.  A fairly successful Christmas indeed!

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...