Saturday, April 26, 2014

Circus fun, princess dresses, Easter and more!

I'm sitting here enjoying some Mollie B. Polka Party and RFD-TV with grandma while she catches up with her kindle and I catch up with my photos.  So much has happened since last time we came to grandma's but it also seems like we were just here!

It's definitely "spring" in Bozeman which means lots of intermittent snow, wind and rain.  We took refuge in the Children's Museum one morning.  Catherine was our shop keeper (note that her outfit was one of her original "princess" outfits, according to her.  Anything dress-like is a princess outfit).  
James took the kiddos to the park one halfway decent afternoon.  Matthew conquered the climbing rock all by himself.  He was pretty darn proud.  He also got new tennis shoes sometime this month, and he oddly and consistently credits them with his increased speed and abilities:
We worked with using "plans" and following directions in preschool and Matthew made a pirate ship:
 We took the kids to the MSU pow-wow the other week.  It was quite impressive:
 Our view was blocked for a while but I definitely couldn't complain:
 Here's another one of Catherine's princess outfits.  She thinks a headband right now is a crown.  I'm happy for her to believe this for quite some time!
 Another big excitement was our trip to the circus.  A few weeks ago I told Matthew we couldn't buy cotton candy at Target because it was much better fresh.  He certainly remembered that and asked for "fresh" cotton candy as soon as he saw it!
 One of Matthew's buds is having a circus birthday party this summer so I'm glad Matthew has something to relate to, but the circus itself was underwhelming.  This is not surprising as it was held in the 4-H sale barn.  However, some highlights were the 3 motorcyclists in the cage:
We splurged on face painting since we skipped the very short and crowded elephant ride and photos taken with baby alligators.

  The elephants were impressing but the low ceiling impeded some of their tricks:
The kiddos had a good time with their friends and we adults had a few good laughs over the dancer/stripper/acrobatic acts. 
After the circus excitement, we started preparing for Easter.  Even though it was crazy late this year, it always catches up on me.  Luckily, we got a box of goodies from Amma and Papa to help spring us into the season.  Catherine fell in love with her Easter dress immediately.  Every time I turned around she was putting it on, unfortunately the first two "occasions" she chose were to play in the sandbox and for a spaghetti dinner.  I put it off as long as possible and then she got to wear it on Friday to a friend's Easter party.  She started off pairing it with a hat I had won at a workshop the week before and the matching sweater:
 Eventually she lost the hat and sweater (and I cropped out the bright turquoise socks she chose):

 Matthew being a goof:

 I tried to take a few more photos outside but the wind was blowing like crazy:
 And they were about ready for a major sugar crash:
 Of course we had to take a silly photo:
 Somehow Catherine changed from her dress shoes to rain boots for the pics:
Day 2 she started out with thermals underneath her dress, even though this may have been the warmest Easter on record in Bozeman. 
 On Saturday, I had to work a table at an expo so James was on egg hunt duty.  They hit up the Museum's egg hunt.  Unfortunately, this meant one parent for two age ranges of hunts as Catherine was eligible for the 0-3 and Matthew the 4-6.  James took the kiddos to the 4-6 hunt which was apparently intense and Catherine only ended up with one egg, but she was pretty darn proud of it!
 Afterwards, a friend had invited us for a potluck and egg hunt for the afternoon so James took the kiddos there.  She fared far better among our preschool friends:

 Saturday night we finally dyed our eggs.  I was super impressed that we had zero cups of dye knocked over and the kids mostly used the dippers for the eggs.  There were no dyed fingers at all this year!

 It was quite late as we started so the kiddos ran up to put on pjs before we took pics with the finished eggs.  Matthew was pretty proud of his "awesome" eggs:
 He really liked the mostly white egg with orange spots which we labeled a dinosaur egg.  He really didn't want it dyed in any other color.
The next morning they were pretty excited as they came down the stairs:
 The Easter Bunny left some soccer balls for the kiddos:
 And of course some Cadbury eggs:
 They also got some new clothes.  Matthew wouldn't step back so I could take pics but this is such a great pic of his ornery little personality:
 Catherine was a more than willing model, though she it's hard to take her picture anymore because she just wants to dance!
 Catherine got a new swimming suit, but because she is her own fashion maven, she promptly paired it with some Christmas leggings.

We spent most of the day working in the backyard and soaking up the sunshine.  Between the new soccer balls and some new sand toys we had to drag the kiddos inside.  Catherine later hopped back into her Easter dress (this time paired with polka dot leggings) and we headed over to the neighbors for a lovely dinner.  It was a crazy week and month but an enjoyable one!  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

March Madness!

We welcomed March in like a lion while in Virginia and England and so far we have yet to usher it out like a lamb.  However, this whole crazy month has been a ton of chaos and fun, sadly coupled by some major tech glitches that I'm still trying to get a handle on.  

While we were gone in VA for two weeks, the kiddos got to spend a lot of time bonding with their older relatives and each other.  When we got back, Catherine was pretty distraught and kind of lost when Matthew headed off to preschool without her.  Luckily a promise of a tea party remedied that!

We took a few days to get situated, get groceries and get back into the swing of things and then I was scheduled to run my first 10k.  The kiddos got spoiled by the ladies at the check-in table and were showered with shamrock fun!

James and the kiddos were waiting near the end of the race with this awesome sign! 
We then hosted our own little St. Patricks Day party and potluck for our MOMS Club friends. The kiddos made rainbows crafts and snacks
 And then in true Montana fashion, the older kiddos tiptoed around through a crazy snowstorm looking for a sneaky leprechaun that left some clues around the house and yard.
 Once tea parties became a "thing" in our house we had many, many more and even included big brother in the fun.
 And in funny things kids do, Catherine has taken to describing everything as teeny-tiny and holds up her pinkie as she demonstrates.

 March is a very weird time in Bozeman with kiddos desperate to break out the bikes and scooters even with lots of snow on the ground!  This impromptu neighbor playdate started with jeans and chalk scribbling on the sidewalk but ended with the kids in full snow gear as they played in the snow!
They eventually combined the best of both worlds and set up the snow "cones" and then mowed them over with their bikes.  Over about 3 hours they had tried just about every winter and summer activity they could think of!  

Amma Dot grabbed some Thomas pajamas for Catherine which she adores.  Surprisingly, she was only even more excited when she realized that she and Matthew had very similar pairs
 Around this time we had intended to go to Grandma Elsie's house but the weather prevented the trip.  Luckily we had good friends coming to visit for a few days and I got to celebrate at a friend's baby shower while we waited out the weather.   We headed to the museum with friends to check out the geckos again:

 And we worked on sending care packages to some Montana troops serving in Afghanistan.

35 of these adorable bunnies were the final products!
Our next big excitement in March was our trip to Grandma Elsie's.  Last time we went I was spoiled as James got to join us but this time it was another solo trip.  I waited out a storm and ice in the morning, and enjoyed a good 4 hours of sunny, beautiful road trip weather.  However, in the hills outside Meteesee we ran into a crazy hail storm, coupled with very, very close "light up your car" lightening strikes.  The kids were not particularly phased by all of this, except when they felt the need to cover their ears and shout about how loud it all was, which as you can guess was super helpful to the situation.  I was not impressed.
 The weather cleared as we got closer to our destination and when we arrived I was able to hand off the kids to two well trained grandmas for storytime.
We mostly just hung out with grandma around the house with the kids reading and stealing some time on her kindle.  
Grandma Elsie helped me fill in some gaps in my genealogy, while Amma Dot played tiddlywinks with the kiddos:
 We snuck away on a few of the nicer days to one of our favorite parks:

And we checked out a new park.  I even got to be that crotchety old lady who yells at the middle schoolers for being jerks, and all be darned, they were totally intimidated by me.  (And by intimidated I mean that at least 1, maybe 2 of the kids' parents were doing it right and had instilled the fear of being reprimanded by a stranger into them.  Or, you know, maybe I am scary enough on my own.)  Meanwhile Matthew had one of those awesome big brother moments as he helped Catherine down the slide:
 The kiddos had a great time taking pictures of each other with Amma's camera:

Which worked out well because my 12,341st tech glitch of the month was the fact that my nice camera would not read my "nice" memory card while I was at grandma's so I unfortunately just had my phone camera the whole trip.  The 12,342nd glitch is the fact that my computer imported all the photos from Mom's camera as occurring June 16, 2010 so none of my smart albums and slick blogging/organization tricks to process things quickly have worked well (and truthfully I couldn't find most of the photos for a week or two in any of my searches).  However, now the photos are found and we were at least able to get a group photo or two!   First I took one:
 Then Matthew offered to take one:
 And finally Catherine took one!  I'll pretend it was so each of the kids has their own 4 generation picture :-)
Before we left we also made some Gingersnaps with grandma.  Sticky hands and all, the results were certainly delicious!

We eventually said our goodbyes (a day later than planned due to another snowstorm) and headed back to Bozeman.  I'm still ironing out tech glitches and addressing new ones (thanks heartbleed!) but it certainly isn't boring around here with these two crazy ones!   And speaking of not boring, it's been a while since I shared some videos.  Here's one of Matthew helping Catherine pack for this trip to grandma's.  It's pretty much a spot on example of the good side of his daily big brotherness and "helping" with Catherine:  
Then there's this stunning example of the kids and their "exercises".  Somewhere in the past month they've picked up the idea of these pseudo-push-up type exercises while hanging off the couch.  Truthfully, they kinda look like dogs awkwardly humping the furniture but it's hilarious nonetheless.  Also, in athletic feats, Matthew got new tennis shoes that fit and he firmly believes they make him super fast and that he'll be able to outrun his friend next time he comes to town. 
And hanging out in my video queue is this one of Catherine singing Happy Birthday to Uncle Matt as we were logging on to Skype:
And my kids' in-depth discussion of what they would like a robot to do (please pardon the videography - I didn't want Matthew to know I was filming because he then turns into a crazy ham so there's a lot of awkward footage of Catherine kinda eating):

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...