Tuesday, May 5, 2015

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After we got all our bike gear in order (and boy does it take a lot of gear to get us all wheeled!) we headed down to Yellowstone for a Sunday. The original plan was to do road biking on the *closed* road, but due to a very mild spring the main roads opened earlier than projected. Since biking with a trailer and trail-a-bike while sharing the road with cars scares me to death, we modified plans and found some roads/trails within the park to bike. On the way through the canyon we saw this pretty lady:

And our first stop to count bison and John’s first stop in the park. Thanks to the nice ladies who offered to take a family pic!

It was a gorgeous day along the Madison.

John had no idea what was going on but was pretty chill with the whole thing:

Well, except when we first got settled into the trailer he was less than thrilled.

We ended up doing a trail around Old Faithful that went out to Morning Glory Pool and then a side trail or two. It was not quite the mileage we were looking for but the scenery and stops couldn’t be beat!

The kids each wanted their own pictures taken. As I went to take Catherine’s picture her hair was 100% in her face so I tried to fix it. James chided me for making the picture staged or “inauthentic” but then Catherine made this very authentic face/pose to make up for it!

Tiny geysers on the banks of the river:

Catherine declared herself in charge of the map and took her job very seriously:

John tried to help:

As we wrapped up it was a few minutes before the next Old Faithful eruption so we decided to wait around. John was unimpressed.

Eruption time! John was still duly unimpressed!

We did more wildlife spotting on our way out of the park. This guy was hanging out fairly close to one of the pullouts:

And a stop along the banks of the Madison.

Everything I love about Montana all in one picture :-)

Since our original bike planned involved more bike sitting time, I had told the kids we would visit the Grizzly/Wolf Center when we were done. Unfortunately, since our plans changed we didn’t make it out of the park until just before they closed so it was a very quick trip through. The kids enjoyed climbing in the pretend wolf den:

As part of their education mission, the center is designed to almost guarantee animal sightings and they did not disappoint.

And we watched Sam dig around for hidden food for quite a while. Catherine was feeling especially brave and went up to the naturalist to ask a question. It was a good question too, as she was curious if the bears had hidden the food themselves, like squirrels. I was super proud of her for asking on her own!

It was too bad he was facing away but I find bears sitting in water hilarious for some reason!

Sleepy wolf!

We couldn’t leave without a picture on the big bear couch!

When we got home it was bathtime for some very grungy kids! The big kids love when we give baby John a mohawk “just like Uncle Matt”:

That next week John had plenty more opportunities for baths as we started having him join us for meals! We’ve decided to stick with baby-led weaning for him like we did with Matthew and Catherine, so as well so we give him whatever we’re having as long as it’s mostly healthy and let him do his thing. His first meal was pot roast, carrots, broccoli and mac and cheese. Broccoli was the clear favorite!

Breakfast banana:

The biggest catalyst for starting food with the little dude was his newfound ability to sit up really well. It felt like it happened almost overnight!

Though we still spend lots of time on our tummy “land swimming” and pushing up while the big kids play. He’s been getting up on his knees and rocking a bit. Heaven help me because I am no where near ready to babyproof again!

Though we had gotten the adult bikes and kid trailers ready for the season, it turned out our two little bikes had flats. We took them in for new tubes. Catherine was showing off and impressing the REI staff as she carried her own bike!

And oh my goodness, I am so thankful changed the tubes for us for free. It took the bike guys who do bikes all day 45 minutes so I can’t imagine how long it would have taken us if I had stubbornly tried to DIY it. I felt a little silly hauling in a Cars bike and strider bike while the guy next to me was picking up and customizing a bike worth more than our cars, but it was totally worth it!

Story time with daddy:

Olivia has decided to demand attention recently. Oddly she rarely demands it from James and I but instead will plop herself down infront of the kids and refuse to move.

I looked through old pics and she’s gone through this with each kid. I’m not sure if it’s some reverse cat psychology to let these newly moving babies know their place but it’s definitely odd.

John had a ROUGH few weeks regarding nighttime sleep. Thankfully he’s super chill during the day, but it was still rough. The kids however, were super eager to help make “lactation” cookies just in case they helped:

Even if they may not have helped, they were a delicious placebo! Plus, the kids are now old enough to work on the cookies while I am not in the kitchen. It was pretty exciting. Matthew likes to lecture Catherine on counting and arrays and whatever “rules” he thinks I gave them about the cookies and Catherine oddly takes it. Well, takes it until she errupts in a Hulk-like rage. Sibling politics are funny that way. Either way they were productive for about 15 minutes on their own while I took care of errands in other parts of the house!

Sadly that Saturday I literally crashed from sleep deprivation (at some point I passed out on the floor of the Master bedroom) so James took the kids to the museum and to run errands while I cat napped through the day. By that evening I was somewhat coherent again which was perfect as our neighbors invited us over for some firepit fun and the first s’mores of the season!

Sunday we spent much of the day in PJs just hanging out. Matthew has become quite the game player:

Not a bad few weeks! Things are accelerating rapidly here as we approach the end of the school year, the end of preschool and the beginning of summer travels! Today is my last full “kid lite” day with just John while Catherine’s at preschool/playgroup so we’re working on a few things that are easier to do without being interrupted by 1,000 questions from the big kids!

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