Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Montana Summer Adventures

Now that we are back on our school routine and schedule, I have lofty ideas about getting the blog updated weekly when I’m not teaching preschool. Tuesday morning seems like a great time to catch up with photos etc. Of course, we’re only 2 weeks in and John has decided not to nap. However, he really enjoys the quiet, uninterrupted time of having the house to himself, so here’s a glimpse of what he’s up to while I blog:

After returning home, it was time to make the most out of our remaining Montana summer. There was some slip and sliding (though ours remained inferior to Papa’s):

And John found a multitude of ways to get around the house:
There was some shark wrestling:
And getting reacquainted with the dogs:
We spent the first weekend hanging around the house with lots of cuddles:
Love this monkey and her rockstar sunglasses:
The next week it was time to reconnect with friends at the park! We celebrated National Rootbeer Float Day with a playdate:
I think the cats were glad to see us, in the way cats kinda show appreciation for human beings.
We took advantage of some nice evenings for dining outside:
Unfortunately, the weather was not so nice the next weekend for Sweet Pea. Matthew was super excited to run it “by himself” so we perservered through the rain!
While we waited for the race to start the rain picked up significantly so we stopped in for some pre-race hot cocoa:

Our very wet running crew. James followed Matthew and John and I ran back with Catherine:
Catherine was SOAKED by the end but was a real trooper. She runs with a kind of prance of sorts and garnered lots of cheering which helped I think!
At this point we were already soaked and the parade candy canons had come out so the kids wanted to stay for the rest of the parade. John merely tolerated the experience:
Back home it was time for more hanging out, crafting and then a friend’s birthday party to cap off the day. We skipped the arts festival portion of Sweet Pea this year.
The next day the skies had cleared by the afternoon so we headed over to check out another arts festival in town. They were wrapping up but the kids got to play in a bounce house and at the park and we shared a huckleberry smoothie. Well, maybe not “shared” as John was reluctant to pass it around :-)

The next week it was time for even more park time as John got to explore the Dino Park on his “own”:
The stairs were the perfect height and had plenty of landings for him to practice his new found climbing skills:
And big brother and sister were eagerly waiting at the top to take him down the slide to start all over again:
Baby in a vintage hat!
When the temperatures got super hot we headed over to the mall to check out the last of the $1 summer movies.
And Matthew discovered a Lego contest in the back of one of his magazines and made this Ninjago trophy to submit:
Catherine, always the mother hen to John:

We had friends over one morning and did some painting/paint eating:

And then we were off to catch the Perseids! While Bozeman does not have the light pollution of many towns, it’s still much easier to catch them in the wilderness and I had hoped to catch a few on camera. Unfortunately, the shower peak was not during the weekend so a midweek camping trip was on order! Looking back at pictures, since we got the pop-up, I’ve taken the kids camping by myself at least once each season. While I’d much rather prefer to have James with us, there’s something empowering in knowing I can do it by myself if needed. Though that’s not all that fair because the big kids are becoming quite the helpers. John however, is too adventurous for his own good with all his rock climbing and attempts to crawl away:
Big kids!
Once I got the kids to sleep I was able to lay out on the grass and enjoy the meteor show. While I didn’t catch any of the meteors on camera, I did get to learn more about my camera and nighttime photography, and I caught some planes, satellites etc.

And the big dipper before the cloud cover took over:
A little out of order but the clouds before bed:

And the clouds the next morning:
My helper:
Breakfast cheers!
One of the hardest parts of camping and travel is managing baby sleep and getting the camper put away is not really possible with a baby on my back or chest so we took some time to rock to sleep and then shockingly John let me lay him down out of the way so the big kids didn’t step on him.

Catherine was right there to check on him when he woke up though!
The day got windier and rainier as we packed up. We camped at the base of Lewis and Clark caverns as it was a close campground and nice wide open spaces for star viewing. When a friend reminded us it had a playground that sealed the deal for a solo trip. We have never really explored much of the park besides the caves so we drove up to the top of the hill to investigate.
We ducked out of the weather into the visitor center to explore their faux cave:
And by the time we were done the sun had come out and Matthew was face-palming our selfie attempt:
We looked for fossils:
And checked out the nature walk:
We hit Wheat Montana for some lunch deliciousness and extra large cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next day and it became clear that I had some exhausted, happy campers!
Through the whole camping adventure Matthew was extremely curious about the information about bats in the visitor center. Trying to take an unenthusiastic four year old seemed like a recipe for disaster so Matthew and I set going to the caverns as his goal for filling an entire basket with books he had read himself. He filled his basket up just in time to squeeze in a trip before the cave closes for the winter! Catherine assures us she will be ready to go when she is 5 or 6. More on that soon :-)

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