Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring Break!

Today we are sitting watching the snow fall, the kids are napping after an exciting morning of egg hunting and swimming and I'm catching up on chronicling our spring break adventures!

So the Friday before Spring Break John had his 4 month shots.  We were warned his body might react with a low grade fever and sure enough it did.  Since most of the time we also pick up some other virus at our well-checks we decided to wait out the fever before we headed to see grandma, just in case.  Well, it was a good thing either way as the next morning we woke up to a completely flat tire on my van!
Getting the tire fixed required running around town and then while we got the tire fixed on my van, the fuel pump went out on James'.  A tow, some car shuffling and 3 cranky kids later James' van was at the repair shop, the tire was fixed and we were exhausted!  The kids were also pretty disappointed as the original plan for the start of the trip was for James to follow us to Billings so we could go swimming.  I am in no way brave enough to take 3 non-swimmers near water by myself!   John took full advantage of the delay and squeezed in one more story with daddy:
 And we took the extra night to set up Matthew's email account.  We used and downloaded TocoMail and Matthew started his email career with this first email.
 Emailing has been fantastic practice for both Matthew's reading and writing skills, though he spends an extraordinary amount of time adding funny faces to pictures.  It has also been a great way for him to connect with daddy when one of us is traveling.  Speaking of traveling, by Sunday we were on our way to grandma's.  For John's first long car trip he traveled exceptionally well.  We made it down with minimal stops and were even ahead of schedule so we got to stop and play in the park in Thermopolis!
 Matthew was very proud he could climb this faux rock!
We were excited to introduce John to Grandma for the first time!
 And Matthew was excited to read to grandma this time!
 John hung out with grandma:
 While Matthew made a new friend across the street (a grandchild of one of Amma's friends).   It was actually gorgeous out, but as grandma's front yard is north facing, she still had plenty of snow while there was no snow across the street.
 We built a snow cave and grandma's neighbor brought over an old box to use as a wall and the boys proceeded to have a snowball fight!
 And we dug around for a piece of wood to add to make a roof for our cave!
Lovely ladies loving on John!
 A group picture.  Boy it's hard to get 3 kids to cooperate at the same and sadly it's generally the child with the least amount of motor control who does the best :-)
 Tummy time!

 With love from siblings of course!

 Ridiculously failed attempts at a picture of all three.  2 out of 3 ain't bad, right?

 Attempt 2 at a group shot with my lovely and wonderful grandmother!
 Who took to spoiling the kids by coming in at the end of lunch with a tray of ice cream.  With sprinkles!!  The kids were shocked and thrilled!
We happened to be there the week of Winter fair so we headed over and the kids picked up an unnecessary amount of non-profit swag including these sweet elk antlers.
 Hanging out with grandma while mom packed the car:
 Matthew took one last picture for me!
 Because we can't do a WY trip without some fiasco, on Thursday Catherine was hit with a tummy bug.  We were supposed to leave Thursday but decided to stay one more day.  For better or worse before we left Friday I was hit with a version of the bug.  I made it home thanks to some exceptionally well-behaved travelers but was in no shape to do much of anything when I arrived and Catherine's tummy bug had returned overnight.  It was too bad because James and I were supposed to run the Pub Run together.  We sent James off that morning in style while the rest of us stayed home to recuperate.  Matthew had also saved enough money before we left to order his newest Lego set.  It arrived and bought us all 4 days of concentrated focus and silence :-)
 John wanted to wish everyone a happy St. Patrick's Day!
 James had a great race and thankfully a friend snapped some pictures for me!
 The next morning we had all passed the 24 hour mark for recovery so we finally took the kids to the water park!  When the kids started swim lessons 2 months prior we had discussed going to Billings but agreed they couldn't go until they had some improved swimming skills.  After having to cancel the trip the weekend before we did everything possible to make sure we squeezed it in before the end of spring break.  We were also able to meet up with some friends of ours which made it even more fun.  It was also John's first swim!  He basically chilled out and then took a nap.  I think he likes the water!
 Matthew enjoyed the wave pool with his buddy!
 Wave pool tummy time!
 The favorite place to be for our kids was the lily pads.  Basically they were floating foam things tethered to the bottom of the pool.  There was a rope for taller kids but our kids leap frogged across.
 Matthew made it across by himself a few times, but got a little ambitious this try:
 The second part of the excitement of going to Billings was their chance to use their new goggles.  During swim lessons many of their peers had goggles and they did lots of retrieving rings from the bottom of the pool.  The last few cheap pairs of goggles we've tried were a disaster, but I think we finally found a winning set up.
 Happy post-swim baby!
 After the pool we headed out for lunch at the largest, weirdest sporting goods store for lunch!  They had a fantastic restaurant that served bison, elk and gelato, as well as a huge fish tank at the entry, with a scuba diver feeding the fish!
 Oh, and a ferris wheel in the middle of the store!
 John was too little so we chilled out while everyone took their turns on the ferris wheel.
 There was also duckpin bowling upstairs!

 Catherine's dance of excitement could not be contained with a mere smartphone camera:
Also sprinkled throughout the store were presidents.  Here's the animatronic Lincoln!  Also, as a friend pointed out, yes, Matthew is holding legos for a picture.   Again.  However, these were actually James' legos for his growing desk collection at work.
 And last but not least, an odd Ronald Reagan bronze out front.  Because.

It was a wonderful, crazy week.  I got over my "fear" of taking 3 kids to grandma's by myself and I think I finally have the trip down to a fine science, including knowing exactly where all the bathroom stops are along the route!  The only big change with 3 kids is the loss of cargo space in the van so it wasn't as easy to throw in extra strollers, bikes, scooters etc. Luckily grandma's neighbor has his great grandkids a lot and not only brought over a toddler bed for us to use, he assured me that any toys in his yard were up for loan next time we came!  The big question is if John will travel as easily once he can move and/or for 10 times the length this summer :-)

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