Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall in Bozeman!

As you've probably figured out, we find Bozeman to be pretty awesome year round, but fall is my absolute favorite time, specifically October!  We've been fortunate to experience some fantastic October weather and have developed quite a few favorite traditions that roll around each year.    It's also a time when we start inventorying our winter gear and we got an exciting early Christmas present from Mas and Pas.  The kids have been thrilled with their new thermals with thumb holes (gosh I hope this unbridled enthusiasm lasts forever!)  We haven't *needed* the thermals yet but the kids have wanted to wear them a lot!

2 years ago we were able to share some with Uncle Matt and were very lucky to share them this year as well!  I've been mourning the idea that with the school schedule our ability to up and go somewhere is greatly limited.  However, Uncle Matt timed his visit perfectly around little man's fall break so we were able to make the most of the visit.  He came bearing swag from his company in the form of a light up, noise making axe.  Having just perused James' company's swag website, Uncle Matt's wins for coolness hands-down.  (Though don't get me wrong, I'm very excited in my old lady way about a new soft-sided cooler.)
 Catherine was eager to show offer her costume (thus covering Uncle Matt with glitter) during storytime.  Uncle Matt brought some awesome new books, though we've all been disappointed with his choice of Froggy's Halloween as it taught both kids the "trick or treat, smell my feet" rhyme.  Though I think we've made it perfectly clear that it's not to be recited, I still worry every day that Matthew will be the one teaching everyone at school.
 Luckily we had 5 days of no school, so we took Friday to hit up the hay maze.  The kiddos did fairly well, though with two runners it was a bit more harrowing in past years to not lose one of them!
 Uncle Matt of course came with a plan to provide cotton candy on our hayride!

 Catherine showing off her sticky hands!
 And a quick flashback to our trip a few years ago!   Everyone except Matthew has far more hair!

Of course we spent some time in the corn bin burying each other:

 Dress up fun:

Next up was a trip to the Pumpkin Patch!  It's been hard to have Matthew meet up with some of his younger friends from our playgroups so we met up with a bunch of other Moms at the pumpkin patch.  Uncle Matt is an excellent sport!  
 Matthew set his eyes on this pumpkin from the very beginning:
And insisted he could pick it up himself.  Uncle Matt helped just a little!  
 The kids spent most of the visit horsing around on the hay bales and/or Uncle Matt!

 Catherine had to get in on the action:

 And some cuddles with Uncle Matt at breakfast (we have yet to work out a curtain solution for our dining room/deck, so just a heads up, for this month sunglasses are often needed for our guests!)
 Uncle Matt also helped us wrangle the family back to the pumpkin patch on Saturday!  A friend was doing a fundraiser photo shoot.  Here's a sneak peek that Uncle Matt took - here's hoping we get the pro versions back this week that include June and some helmets!  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Another backward march through time!

Prior to our Sourdough Canyon hike with friends, I hosted a Bunco night.  It had been about 10 years since I've played but thought it might be fun to spice up game night!  The first night we were short 2 players so these guys had to stand in, but since then it's taken off to become a monthly thing and James has been awesome about giving me some evening "me" time as my days of slipping out are numbered!
 In my role with our local mom's club, I've taken on planning service projects and speaker events.  Here's Catherine showing off the "cat toys" she made with some baby socks we all donated!
 And here she is with the pup we had just checked for a microchip!
 The first few weeks of September I taught Catherine's preschool and we started with a unit on our bodies.  Here the kids were making bodies out of cookie dough!  Catherine's preschool co-op is a bit larger than last year (7 kids vs. 4) which is a blessing since it means my next teaching obligation is in February, but it also makes for a busy and exhausting morning!  However, we've added a Thursday afternoon playgroup component, so every once in a while I end up with 6 gloriously free hours to myself (or soon with just baby!)  Catherine is really enjoying having her "own" preschool friends this year and really enjoys the playgroup component.  However, she's been experimenting with verbalizing her feelings, so when I drop her off she always says very matter-of-factly "I will be sad and miss you when you are gone" which is about the sweetest thing ever.
 As we started back to school, we worked (and continue to work) on a better rhythm for our evenings. On an ideal night we have dinner, then the kids clean up the table, then if we're being smart they put on pajamas.  Dinner is always the trickiest meal of the day with a combination of exhausted kids who struggle to focus and a tendency to have more savory, new and/or flavorful foods to taste and ours will dawdle with taking all their tastes.  We've put an "end time" on dinner (and literally have a clock on the table to encourage timely behavior) and if the kids have taken all their tastes without dawdling they get to choose a special privilege.  Most often the privilege is a game, though we sneak in dessert or a show on occasion :-)  Catherine has been rocking memory recently, but other favorites are S'match and Staying Alive, a vintage 70s marble game we're borrowing from grandma Elsie!
 Before the cooler weather set in, we took advantage of a nice weekend for a hike up to Palisades Falls and ended playing in the creek as always.
The hike we took to Palisades Falls was the perfect hike to work on "training" the kids to carry their water.  On longer hikes I still carry the water but at 1 mile roundtrip we thought it would be a good length.  The next weekend they both carried their water for about 2 miles roundtrip without complaints so we are making progress!  Matthew also decided he needed to hike with a hiking stick.  Such the handsome outdoorsman.
 Catherine was well prepared in her fancy dress, pirate sweatshirt and sensible shoes!
 They both really love their camelbaks, to the point of overhydrating!  Eventually James and I will learn that with the camelbaks we have to force the kids to stop for potty breaks much more often, or we need to pack extra clothes.
 Palisade Falls:

Though it would have been the perfect weekend to sneak in our final camping trip, we were hanging around to check out Matthew's Fall Carnival on Saturday.  James and I both were able to volunteer at a few different points as well as enjoy the carnival with the kiddos!  

 The eyeball prizes were a favorite, though not quite as popular as the free happy meals we went out to enjoy!

And we had a busy week of carnivals, as our Moms Group held a carnival where Catherine had me paint her face:
 We played some music:
 And rolled a big die:
Catherine also had her first day of preschool, though because I was teaching, we didn't have to go far! She did however, fully dress up for the day.  We've gotten a lot of use out of this dress!
And Matthew's first day of school!

 Goodbye hugs with Catherine!
 Before school started we hit up the library to see our first magician.  She was fantastic and the kids found her hysterical!

 And last but not least, as summer wound down we picked up a new favorite hobby of biking at the "pump track."

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...