Thursday, July 2, 2015

Less Travel, More Adventures!

When we returnned from Yellowstone we had a few days to hang out with Amma and Papa. John enjoyed all the extra laps!

The big kids went out on a special date with Amma and Papa one night and James and I had a belated birthday date night, lite (hey, standards change with 3!) John figured out the straw:

And we discovered he has a maniacal love of steak!

Through the week John was working on crawling really hard, and much like when Matthew learned, the dogs and cats provided plenty of motivation! (John on top, Matthew on the bottom. Admittedly John is just 7 months in the photo and Matthew was closer to 10 or 11)

Matthew got a squirt gun as a prize for his fun run donations and Amma and Papa rounded out our collection to 3 for self defense. The kids spent a lot of the week stalking around the yard!

Happy baby glad to be back in his own crib!

Of course, the big event was Catherine’s Elsa Batman birthday. I love this little monkey! She helped bake and frost her cake and of course had to get dressed up for pictures!

And lots of backyard baseball! Matthew played with some friends in Jackson and has taken up an interest in being pitched to instead of using a tee.

Four years with Miss Catherine!

Birthday morning hugs from Papa:

John has just discovered he doesn’t like to wear hats much to his siblings’ dismay.

Blowing out candles on our cake for breakfast with fancy grape juice:

Birthday strawberries:

And more cuddles from Papa:

Elsa fun from Teta Sharon!

Our little Wonder Woman:

And her giant Olaf from Amma and Papa (who would have been on our cross-country adventure if I hadn’t caught it!)

That night our museum was doing a fundraiser pre-screening of Jurassic World with our local paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner, who has consulted on all the movies. We snuck out for a quick cajun dinner and then got in line.

A question and answer with Jack Horner.


The next morning we woke up to find this, a newly pulling up baby in his crib:

And we sent this handsome man off for his last day of Kindergarten.

A comparison with Day one.

We met Matthew and his classmates for a picnic at the nearby park to celebrate the last day and then it was time to get ready for Catherine’s birthday party! A dear friend took lots of pictures that I haven’t had time to snag from her but here’s a sneak peek!

There was too much excitement to get a family pic before hand:

Matthew was a little uncertain about this new guy who was bigger than him!

Matthew made his own superman mask for the occasion.


Getting ready to blow out the candles!


Opening presents:


It was a great afternoon with good friends and a chance to run off some last day of school energy.

Sadly on Friday we had to say goodbye to Amma and Papa.

Not without one last waterfight of course!

And some last cuddles:


Friday it was time to catch up on naps and try and enjoy a too quiet house:

Lap monkeys:


Then Saturday we were up bright and early to head to West Yellowstone for our second half marathon. John was a super fan:


Our babysitter for the day cancelled on us and a dear, dear friend who has been super supportive of my running offered to come down and wrangle kids during the race. They had a great time at the Grizzly Center and made it back in time to make signs and cheer!

Pre-Race:

Cutest cheering squad ever!


We were both a little slower than the previous week but we did two in a row with not a lot of slowing and rest in-between.



Bathtime! There was A LOT of dirt to play in and try and eat at the race! Both John and Catherine find their shared bathtime hilarious:

And then we got an official 3 days of “rest” after the half marathon before John was off and crawling and we haven’t rested since! Look at that determination!


However, while we’ve been busy, we did spend our interim two weeks between travel and visitors mostly at home. Besides needing to pack and clean and all those mundane things, the kids needed to experience some good old fashioned summer boredom, some backyard exploration and some good old hanging around the house that had seemed more like a pass-through the past month.

Matthew has taken to reading John a bedtime story or two:


And asks for daytime cuddles quite often:

Matthew started a 5 page story about Jurassic World. Here’s page 1 and 2. He hasn’t quite figured out 3-5 but he’s determined that’s how long the book will be. Hilariously, when we told Matthew we were going to see Jurassic World he of course wanted to see it. I told him no for now, but we started discussing the plot. Matthew cannot wrap his mind around bringing dinosaurs back in any way, shape or form. There is no convincing him it’s a good idea because it’s cool or interesting, he’s convinced in no uncertain terms it would be dangerous and silly to bring them back. Maybe he doesn’t need to see the movie since he already gets it :-)


As we prepared for our current road/international trip we had errands to do. LOTS of errands with 3 kiddos in tow, so we hit up some local parks after our visits as some behavioral motivation while we were at the stores/waiting rooms.

Chilling at the park:

And then two days after John started crawling, he started pulling himself up on random furniture:

And cruising around his crib, much to my dismay!

The downside of being home and homebound except errands for 2 weeks was the exact house I was trying to clean and organize was full of the exact things the kids were using to entertain themselves. At one point we had 3 forts going on, 2 large boxes converted to rocket ships and about a million Duplo and Lego cars, trains, and various structures littering the house. This was all on top of the art supplies that had gotten a little out of control and art projects taped to nearly every surface.

Our recycling also started to make 2-3 passes through the house, including this which became an AT-AT one day:

And in later days became a gift, a light saber and a snack container before becoming recycling. Finally. Again.


Matthew knows how to tug at the heartstrings though and sneaked away to write me this note one day:


And Catherine reading bedtime stories to John. She’s getting really, really good!


For our only full weekend at home in a while we took care of errands and celebrated Father’s Day. Unfortunately for James, we celebrated Father’s Day not with sleeping in but being up bright and early for a 7:30am photo shoot! We are in desperate need of an update for our dining room family photo (and eventually the blog header etc!) that includes John. A new friend has just moved her photography business into town and took some great shots for us. Here are her sneak previews, we can’t wait to see the rest!




We took James out for brunch afterward and then once we were home he tried on his new shirt from the kiddos. In just a few short weeks we’ve gone from being able to take one pic of John with a headband to no pics of John. He wouldn’t tolerate the Yoda ears for even a second, but found the light saber delicious:

More crib standing:

Catherine loves to be the one to go chat with John when he first wakes up. I love it because it buys me a few seconds to finish up whatever I’m working on during nap :-)

Matthew headed out to a good friend’s one afternoon while I packed. Poor catherine had a runny nose and NEEDED a nap so she couldn’t join in on the fun, but joined us to pick up and pick strawberries! John was thrilled with fresh strawberry off the vine:

And clearly he wasn’t going to share with anyone!


Catherine drew notes for our vacation and as far as I can tell, was expecting to cliff dive : )

And while I spent all week admonishing the big kids about not taking things out of suitcases, John was the one I really should have kept my eye on!


We eventually made it out and across the country as our mini-updates have indicated! More on that adventure soon. Despite my trepidation about the large undertaking, it’s really been fantastic!

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