A few weeks ago, we got a package in the mail with James’ old shoes so we let John try them out.
Matthew spent much of the last days of summer riding his bike with our neighbor. They tackled their first solo loops around our weird, giant block. We’re still working on safe street crossings but we’re inching super close to his being able to ride to school by himself. Woohoo!
We got ready for preschool with the other co-op moms and Catherine was ready to cheese it up for class pictures!
Matthew made some letters spelling John one day:
It reminded me of when John first got his legos.
Catherine has been a drawing fiend recently! I find all sorts of great drawings around the house. This was a picture of James and I having ice cream.
More reading. John is a master at clearing all the bookshelves in the house and wallowing in the pile:
He also has taken on climbing up the stairs and even the stools. Many days during dinner I have a big kid, a cat and then a baby trying to climb the same stool. On the plus side he’s taken a break from climbing the stool, which is slightly nervewracking, and into emptying our drawers out.
We had friends over for manicures one day and as always, John made friends by poking them in the eyes.
And then continued to practice with his own baby:
Matthew was thrilled for his first day of school! He walked onto the playground with such confidence this year.
Catherine has really taken off on her bike as well and bikes to and from school to pick up Matthew.
We spent the first few weeks of school soliciting donations for Matthew’s Fall Festival. Catherine was a great helper.
She took some shade selfies:
Matthew had fun playing with John:
Over Labor Day, we took a trip to Bannack State Park to explore the area. The weather forecast was cold and rainy but we were determined to make the most of the 3 day weekend. Bannack is about 30 miles from the middle of nowhere. We arrived late Friday night only to realize John was wearing the only diaper we brought. We also realized the coffee cups didn’t make it back into the camper which was tragic after waking up to 35 degree temps. We headed back into town first thing the next morning to make a grocery run and drove right past the snow line for the evening! It was also the Dillon Fair, an adorable small town fair and rodeo and home of the Patagonia outlet. There were plenty of 4-H projects and animals to check out, but Matthew had his eyes on the fair. One of James’ coworkers actually lives in Dillon so we planned to meet up with him which gave us the perfect excuse to indulge the kids in a few fair rides!
Catherine stuck to the kiddie rides and chose Matthew as her ride partner. We threatened Matthew with reduced ride tickets if he pointed out that he got more rides with Catherine and he was on his best behavior and James and I were thrilled we didn’t have to cram into the kiddie rides with her :) Matthew chose the fun house:
And the bumper cars:
Just hanging out:
The weather remained pretty awful and we had been invited to a rodeo tailgate so we hung around and explored town while waiting to see what the weather was going to do. The county museum contained two main staples of all small western museums. Some taxidermied genetic anomalies:
And a multi-decade school house exhibit.
The weather remained cold so we headed back to camp and skipped out on the rodeo. The weather was clear but cold when we got to camp:
And we took the dogs on a walk:
And John took some time to hang out. He’s at a rough stage to take camping as he spends a lot of time climbing toward campfires and putting rocks in his mouth and shrieking when we attempt to contain him :-)
Beautiful and chilly sunset:
The next day it was nice and sunny so we hit up the Bannack Ghost Town. There was lots of vigilante and outlaw talk as we watched the intro video, which led to lots of interesting and crazy discussions throughout the visit.
Hanging out in front of the hotel:
And we took a few minutes to stick our hands in freezing water and pan for gold. The kids did lots of panning for pretty rocks, but we found a few flakes of gold too :-)
The kids wouldn’t sneak into the jail cell but were happy to take my picture:
The kids really liked the antique merry-go-round:
And John stretching his legs:
Then we headed up to Crystal Park. The views were gorgeous from our dig site:
John tried to help by crawling out of the holes:
Our diggers and their buckets of crystals. They had tons of fun digging and finding quartz crystals. We are pretty sure we were digging in a hole with the “too small crystal” castaways from some more serious rockhounds but it was perfect for the kiddos.
The Pioneer Mountains:
John couldn’t be bothered to wake up for a family picture:
And stayed zonked when we got back to the car and took off the backpack.
Grasshopper Creek and the valley below:
We ended our day with a dip at Elkhorn Hot Springs, where we ran into a friend of a friend from Bozeman. Montana is such an adorably small state : )
When we got back the kids worked hard to wash their crystals:
And some last cuddles before bed!
The next morning John supervised our packing:
And eventually it warmed up enough to just hang out in his adorable thermals!
We headed back into town for their Labor Day parade. We ran into our Bozeman neighbors there and the kids made a major haul on candy from the parade! We decided to grab a quick lunch at a fun little lunch spot in town. John again couldn’t be bothered to wake up!
When we got home we started playing “No Stress Chess” so I could relearn and Matthew could learn. He’s still very excited about the knights and “castles” but is slowly picking up some strategy. Can’t wait to see where he takes it and/or where I take it. I’ve always wanted to be able to hold my own in chess :-)
And while we were playing John tried to make an escape! I didn’t quite catch it but the door happened to be open just enough he could get his shoulders out but his diapered bottom got stuck. It was quite hilarious!
And Miss Catherine on her first day of school. She had a fantastic time and is really coming into her own about it. She’s so verbal and picks up on so much, she’s going to give us a run for our money next year in kindergarten!