Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Festivals, Fall Colors and Family Trips!

Once we got settled back into school routines it was time for Matthew’s school fall carnival. When he wasn’t helping take apart the raffle baskets, John took advantage of the long, empty hallways while we helped set up and cruised the halls!

John played some music:

Catherine played the duck pond repeatedly, winning lots and lots of insurance company coloring books. Woohoo?!?!
And Matthew met Champ!
As much as I enjoy the creativity and engineering employed while the kids build forts, they drive me crazy! Having toys strewn around the house is one thing, but having no place to sit and blankets all around is even worse, so we instituted Friday Fort Day. One day a week for the kids to make the house impossible to navigate seems like more than enough :-)

The next Sunday was the Bozeman Marathon. We formed a team with our running buddies and it was a gorgeous day for a run. This was the site of the second hand-off:

A friend took the big kids, but John joined us in the relay van as team mascot. He had fun!
I remember when I was teaching I used to give the “find a calm, quiet spot for homework and use it as a bonding time.” I now am on the receiving end of the speech and it makes me laugh. This is generally as calm and quiet as it gets. John tries to steal Matthew’s books while Catherine runs around in the background looking for attention . . . and that’s on a calm day :)

We got a fun back-to-school box surprise from Teta Sharon with a new fleece parka. Catherine loved it and got herself completely dressed for the change in seasons!
Sometime mid-September, John got an icky bug and took lots of in arm naps.
When he was feeling better we tried some sensory play (aka activity to keep him from crawling underfoot while I was making dinner) with flour, which in retrospect makes the whole event look like a crazy coke party gone wrong :-)
We walked over to a local restaurant for dinner one afternoon and they were having some sort of celebration, with photobooth!

We got a care package from Amma with new Alaska shirts for the kids. John’s “sometimes crabby, always cute” was perfect!
Catherine loved her shirt as well!
We started to welcome fall with cooler, wet weather!
Our library and schools foundation teamed up to give each first grader a new book AND hosted a fun day about yarn. Matthew enjoyed the “laser” obstacle course:
And Catherine and John getting in on the fun:

Learning about wool spinning:

Some yarn fun:
Learning to finger knit:
Fall is a tumultuous time for the weather but afterschool we try and make the most of good weather with bikes, chalk and playing with neighbors!

And everyone’s other favorite activity is trying to make John giggle!

And he reciprocates by sticking his tongue out 90% of the time, which makes us all giggle!
Matthew is barrelling forward in his reading abilities but needed a little nudge to read more books independently. We set up a “book graph” which is essentially just a square basket on its side. When he fills it up with books he’s read independently, we go on an adventure! Our first adventure was at Matthew’s request to go to Lewis and Clark Caverns. Catherine wasn’t interested and John’s at an age where he’d have likely just shrieked the whole time, so they hiked around while Matthew and I took the cave tour. John worked on hydration:
View from the top!


The “beaver slide” was hands-down Matthew’s favorite part of the tour!

We stretched our legs at the campground playground before heading home:

Meanwhile, back at home, John has become increasingly unhelpful around the house :-) On the ummm, plus side, most of our dishes get washed multiple times a day before being used for food!

And someone lost a tooth on the way home from the caverns!

Swing time fun at playgroup!

And slightly less fun as mom caught on to his dishwasher destruction and closed the door:
And tears followed this moment when I didn’t let him steal my coffee because I am clearly the worst mother ever.

The next weekend we headed down to see Amma and grandma Elsie! We took my favorite shoulder season route through Yellowstone. That Friday afternoon was a prime day for elk spotting, though sadly I had only brought my phone camera. There in the river was a huge 5-6 point buck bugling with two females behind him.

And further along our drive was this guy who was bugling up close and personal!

We stopped for a picnic along Yellowstone Lake, our original plans thwarted by the fact our favorite picnic area was closed for bear activity.
And a final nursing/potty stop with a gorgeous sunset and more elk bugling in the background.

On Saturday we went out to take advantage of the fall weather and stretch our legs with Amma at Sinks Canyon.

Matthew found his first skeleton on our hike! He was pretty excited!

Listening to the story of the sinks:
Our daredevil:

Playground fun!

And how can you be in Lander without at stop at Gannett Grill!

Sink bath fun for John:

We were in Lander for the lunar eclipse but sadly it was a cloudy night and our viewing efforts were thwarted. Luckily storytime with grandma is even better than an eclipse:

Grandma and her monkeys:

Great grandma and her monkeys:

Two very lovely ladies:

And a picture of all three of us courtesy of Matthew the photog:

Our trip home was fairly uneventful, just a cattle drive delay outside Dubois:

A much needed stop for admiring the view!

Another picnic with a view:

Contemplating the enormity of it all:

Bison Jam!

I’m still not certain exactly how it was pitched to the kids, but as soon as Matthew got his scout flyer he wanted to join! We stopped into the scout office to pick up his shirt and we were immediately tasked with popcorn sales!

John our little reader:

Every once in a while Matthew’s teacher shares pictures from class. They have a class set of chromebooks and often use them to access digital articles:

And dear Catherine makes certain to keep tabs on everyone. She was double-checking with me and taking notes about my evening plans, curious if I was headed out for a “meeting or friendship”.

John spent about a week learning how to do “so big” and has since refused to do it again.
Helping big sis with her games. He’s so close to standing on his own but has little interest in doing so:

Getting ready to go door-to-door:

We had friends over a few mornings for making mocktails and tutus. Catherine was excited to try hers on!

And speaking of costumes, we got the family picture costumed!

John’s newest favorite thing is to go stiff as a board when we try and put him in the carseat so we give him a 5 seconds to stand before we wrestle him in. He thinks it is awesome.

Catherine and I are trying to volunteer monthly at the food bank. Our first trip was a great success with a park playdate afterward!

And I’ll leave this here as I have no fewer than 3 kids touching me and one trying to disconnect my hard drive! Next up, the color run, Lake Powell and some fall fun!

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...