Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Fair, a Float and Lego Madness!

After we left Mas and Pas in Great Falls the kids and I came back for a "normal" week (as if there's every anything normal or scheduled about our weeks in the summer!)  We had some summer produce we made into a cobbler and later that week we had a "popcorn" picnic, one of Catherine's favorite things to do.  The kids have taken to bringing in front row seats to watch the timer count down for these experiences. Who says a watched pot never boils!
 We headed out geocaching with some friends and the kiddos traded their spoils for a decorative stick and "camera".  They were real troopers between the mosquitos and the heat!
 Later that week Mas and Pas came back and took the kids on a park adventure!

 Pas grabbed this great shot as Matthew helped Catherine up the hill because his shoes were "stickier":
 At this point Matthew was starting his birthday preparations and got Mas to help him make some batman symbol decorations, which of course has to be done while dressed like Batman!
 And what's summer without roasting some hotdogs!
 Pas and his buddy Sky:
 And even more Calvin and Hobbes.  Matthew is a bona fide addict even though (hopefully) he doesn't get most of the jokes!:

 Saturday we did our family's favorite outdoorsy-yet-lazy activity and floated the river!
 Catherine of course liked to be in the lead of our little flotilla:
 But spend a lot of time on the look out for and spotting "jellyfish."  None of us are still very certain what she was looking for and finding!
 Toward the end the kids took turns "paddling" and Catherine got passed around to some different laps:

As we put away gear and shuttled cars Matthew made a valiant effort to capture some minnows.  I managed to capture a few for him but this guy was the real excitement:
 A friend also had alerted us that Smokey the Bear and some smokejumpers and wildland fire equipment were in town so we stopped in!  Though the day was incredibly hazy with smoke, it was all smoke from fires in Washington and Oregon.  Montana has been extremely luckily and there were no fires actively burning so they had firefighters around for educational purposes.  Trying on the flight helmet:
 Smokey the Bear!  Catherine was not a fan at all when we saw him but later she tells the story as if they were best buds.
 Turning on the siren:
 Spraying the hose!

 The next day we were off to the fair!  There were sharks!

 Here's Matthew's best "I'm scared" face:
 He got to brush a cow:
 Catherine was eager to feed the animals, but not if they actually got near her so she sprinkled food for them:
 Then it was carnival time!  This was a big treat for the kids and the first year either one has been really into it.  As the carnival made it clear that no pregnant riders were allowed, James took one for the team:

 This was Catherine's favorite ride:

 And they both did well on the ferris wheel:
 Matthew even held Catherine's hand for a while:
 Catherine gave us the thumbs up when she got on the dragon ride:
 But it was definitely not by the end of the ride:

 One of Matthew's favorites was beating daddy on the yellow slides:
 And we even got Catherine on a moving horse and she enjoyed it, at least for a few minutes :-)
 The kids wrapped up a very hot, long day with their choice of fair treats!  Catherine picked kettle corn (eaten with a spoon naturally) and Matthew chose a root beer sno-cone.
As Mas and Pas had brought out some birthday presents, we started the celebration a little early with what Matthew called his "starting birthday."   He got to go with Mas and Pas to pick out an ice cream cake!

 While he was gone Catherine and I surprised him with a little birthday decorating!  Catherine also generously shared her kettle corn with the celebration:
 Opening his trains with great anticipation:
 And one last evening of Calvin and Hobbes with June and Pas:
 And goodbyes on the porch the next day.  These two are getting very difficult to photograph with all their sillies and movement!
 While it was awfully tough to say goodbye to Mas and Pas, we had just a few days to fill before Amma and Papa came so we headed to the Splash Park!

 And we got down some of James' old lego sets for Matthew.  He built and rebuilt about 6 dinosaurs throughout the week, mostly by himself.  He's gotten really good at following build directions but still gets really impatient when finding the pieces:

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