Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Bonus!

It's been said that happiness is the sound of a child's laughter, so let me share some happiness with you all today!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Local Adventures: Potatoes Times Two!

It’s Tuesday catch-up day as I blog some past adventures, recover from this weekend’s travel adventures and finalize plans for our next big adventure later this month so let’s jump in!

After our Lewis and Clark stargazing adventures, we were due for a weekend spent a little closer to home! After this summer’s big trip we decided a camping trip every other weekend was probably our limit for sanity and reducing overall household chaos! Since we were hanging around and had never been there, we hit up the potato festival in nearby Manhattan.

Adorable kiddos in blue:

We made it just in time to catch the end of the parade and then headed over to the kids area for some bounce house fun!

The previous weekend we declined paying $7 for Matthew to go on one of these inflatables so when he discovered these were free, we found our activity for the rest of the festival :)

At the Manhattan Potato Festival, very, very little involves potatoes, but we did find this art project!

And the local cheerleaders painted Matthew’s face. Too bad they used t-shirt paint!!

And John discovered free balloons are the best thing ever:

Well, besides stories with daddy of course!

The next day we joined our neighbor to the Raptor Center’s open house. We see the raptor center birds around town an awful lot but this is the only day the rehab center is open to the public. Little did we know the tours were limited and filled by the time we got there, but the kids had a great time with the other activities of course!

And even if we see them often, the education birds are still pretty amazing!

There were these ridiculously large, impressive and awkward nests in their raptor selfie section. The kids found them pretty hilarious!

And an activity on natural selection and beaks! It’s one I did with my 7th grade students so it was fun to see these kiddos enjoy it as well and start making connections.

Face painting!

We did get to see one of the rehabbed red-tail hawks as he took flight, and promptly landed on this post up the hill for the next few minutes.

John was amused, or maybe just amused by himself and his freedom from the carrier:

The kids like to go in and chat with John when he wakes up and one morning I found they decided to give him some company. I can’t decide if this is better or worse than when they climb in the crib with him.

John’s favorite game of hanging out at the top of the stairs and making us nervous:

Silly kiddos:

This boy LOVES watermelon. You can’t feed it to him fast enough!

Toward the end of the weekend the smoke rolled into the valley and stayed here for most of the week, cancelling a lot of outdoor activities and making a lot of things pretty miserable. Here’s a picture of the bridgers from not very far away:

And the comparison of what that same picture looks like on a clear day:

Catherine got some chalk paint and as we’ve been cleaning out the craft room we’re going with the use it or lose it strategy and she is using a lot of great gifts she’s received over the past years:

John is learning how to befriend cats, at least to the extent cats can be befriended:

Silly kiddos:

John also discovered this cool tiny-pool-large-drum thing we have the corner, otherwise known as the dog’s water dish. Rumor is that the big kids helped him discover this combo of activities:

And not because I’m a cool mom but because fort-building drives me bonkers, we’ve relegated fort building to “Friday Fort Day” which gives me a good reason to say no to forts the other 6 days of the week :-) Apparently the kids are learning early good fences make good neighbors as they build a divided fort that week:

A trip to Home Depot:

And our next potato adventure! A friend of ours alerted us to the Mesa Falls Marathon/Half Marathon in Ashton, ID. While neither James or I were prepared to run another Half, we decided to go support our friends running the half and signed up for the family run, as well as getting a pretty awesome camping adventure out of the whole deal. While nursing and potty stops can sometimes get to be annoying, especially when they are demanded just minutes after we are settled, passed a town or after someone has fallen asleep, sights like this definitely sweeten the experience a little:

Sunset as we were approaching our campground:

Someone was ready to race that morning!

But first playtime with sister:The kids found the finishers medals to be quite delicious!

And I enjoyed the race bags, considering we were in the “Seed Potato Capital of the World”. I’m still not certain where full sized eating potatoes are grown, as Manhattan is known for seed potatoes as well.

Due to a reservation snafu we were in two different campgrounds for the weekend so after the race Catherine helped break down the camper:

And Matthew kept John entertained:

And John helped make sure I was prepared for the sun:

Back in town we cheered on our friends and couldn’t resist this adorable diner with the rotating rootbeer sign for lunch!

Turned out the gal who helped run the kids race (which was sparsely attended) ran the store and gave us all free floats and shakes for running!

I picked the huckleberries out of my shake for John and couldn’t do it fast enough! The huckleberry shake was AMAZING!

When we went to pay someone had overheard how the kids had run the race and had paid for our entire meal which was an absolute surprise and blessing and we are looking to paying it forward soon!

Once we got settled in it was off to ride the Tetonia trail. John still hates his bike helmet:

Catherine rode most of the way but decided to ride her own bike on the bridge:

John checking out bikes with the big kids:

And trying to keep up with big brother!

So this spring we bought the green/black bike in the picture as Matthew had completely outgrown his Cars bike. Matthew was inbetween bike sizes and we erred on getting one bigger he could “grow into”. Big mistake! He had the bike most of the summer and though he could ride the little bikes without training wheels, we never could take the training wheels off this one. Then on this trail he kept high-centering and getting stuck and it was a ridiculous mess.

Along the trail, tossed way into the weeds was an abandoned kids bike. James picked it up, kind of as a joke and sure enough, it’s in good working condition and the perfect size for Matthew. Matthew got on it without training wheels and took off and has been unstoppable ever since!

The big kids helped keep John away from the campfire with a tea party:

Roasting hot dogs!

Some very dirty kiddos:

And one dirty, slobbery baby!

These falls were a short walk from our campsite!

Silly Catherine as we were getting packed up:

Silly kiddos:

The upper Mesa Falls!

On our way back we stopped by Earthquake Lake to do some hiking around and check out the areas we had missed due to high winds last time we were there. I think we discovered 3 little monsters who caused the earthquake :-)

We have stashes of books throughout the house and one of my favorite parts of the day is realizing the house is quiet and finding the kids plopped down and going through books:

And even John is now getting in on the action!

Next up: Back to School and our Labor Day camping adventure exploring all new places!

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...