Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Weekend of Camping + Hiking

I had this past weekend off work and it lined up perfectly with or plans! Last summer we weren't able to do many family excursions because I was always at work on the weekends. It was pretty frustrating, so this year I asked to have a few random weekends off work and it's been wonderful!

We had been wanting to take another camping trip with the kids and Grandma was wanting us to come out for an afternoon to meet a gentlemen she's been dating for a couple months named John. Perry and I decided we'd go camp, and meet up with them on Saturday. Getting ready for this trip out was a lot less stressful than when we went in June because everything was already together in our camping tote. I however forgot a few kitchen things...oops!

 After we drove around for a little bit, we settled on a site next to some others, and it worked our just fine. Once the tent was up, we spend about half an hour getting sticks and branches to make a fire. Hunter played in the river during this but JP was quite the help!
Ms. Gail also played in the river and was torqued that her dress got wet. It didn't help that going potty outside isn't one of her strong suits either...

In the morning after tossing and turning all night, we cooked up some scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. HD didn't eat much because his stomach hurt. We then headed to the cabin to meet John and head out with him and Grandma to hike to Morrell Falls. On the way up to the trail head, HD puked in the car. That was awesome...
 Once he threw up he felt much better and enjoyed running up and down the trail hitting things with his stick. Ms. Gail took the easy way up the mountain by riding on dad's shoulders. 
 She walked occasionally, but not for very long.
 On our way up, we stopped at this little opening for the kids to rest a bit. 
 John spotted a few huckleberries and picked a few for the kids to try. 
 Some hikers on their way back from the falls stopped and offered to take a group photo. Yay! All my kids are looking!
The falls was beautiful when we finally arrived! So calming to watch!
 [insert shameless selfie here] 
 On the way back down, JP found two caterpillars, who were later named Fred and Lucky, and carried them all the way back to Grandma's cabin. Ms. Gail attempted to carry one of her own home too, but later opted to put it in the mesh pocket of my backpack and ride on dad's shoulders again. 
She ended up falling asleep in his arms. Shortly thereafter, her caterpillar made its way out of the pocket and onto my hand where I jumped and flung it off before I realized it was her caterpillar. I told her that was going to happen!
 At the cabin, John grilled us mooseburgers for dinner and they were delicious! Before heading back to our campsite a few miles down the road, we had a cherry pit spitting contest and roasted marshmallows down by the river while HD looked for crawdads. At camp we wasted a little time playing on Snapchat. Hahaha!
This one kills me!  
 The next morning looked a little rough for the kids. When I left the tent they were all nestled in their bags, but by the time I came back Ms. Gail was just waking up.
 Poor JP hates mornings! Lol! 
 Again while we were packing up the tent, HD was down looking for more crawdads.
I went down to check on him right before he found "the biggest one I've ever seen" and he was so excited that he caught it! We spent the rest of the afternoon at home unpacking and cleaning out my car. By evening we started (and finished!) a 1000 piece puzzle, taking break to eat huckleberry pancakes for dinner! 

A Day Trip to the Lewis + Clark Caverns

The kids and I returned home from the round house after swimming lessons finished on Friday, and to stay it was a long trip would be an understatement. How many times do I need to say, "Keep your hands to yourselves!" Gahhh! Normally Hunter sits in the back by himself but with all the bikes I had to haul back, it just wasn't going to work, so the three kids piled into the middle row. It was a long ride home... but we made it.

I spent Saturday evening working at the hotel, and then first thing Sunday morning, all five of us piled back into the car for another road trip. I've been wanting to take the kids to the Lewis and Clark Caverns for a while and thought this would be the perfect time to do it.
 The hike up to the entrance was a little long for some short legs, but the view was perfect!
Ms. Gail was carried for most of the way, and when she wasn't, she enjoyed walking on the far edge of the trail. That girl.... JP walked/ran the whole way, where as HD needed to be carried because he was too hot. 
 Once inside we had to be extra quiet because the bats were sleeping. My nerves got me a bit when I glanced over this edge. Heights are not for me!
 The kids all enjoyed going down the Beaver Tail slide. (I think Perry liked it the most!)
 They always look so thrilled to have their pictures taken...
Perry and I managed to get a picture of us though! Aren't we cute though?
 The boys really enjoyed looking at all the cave structures. I was surprised to hear they wanted to go after that long hike at the beginning!
After we finished up at the caverns we headed down the road a short ways to play on the Ringing Rocks. Unfortunately we didn't make it all the way there. They are located up a winding dirt road, wide enough for about one vehicle. We were probably 1/2 mile away when we came up to a corner with a big hole and sharp rocks on the other side and I just couldn't make it over it. Not to mention it was starting to get a little stormy out so holding hammers wasn't a super idea. I checked the weather before I left to make sure that wouldn't happen too. Go figure. But at least we'll know what to expect for next time. 

Another Year of Swimming Lessons at the Round House

HD spent a week at the round house with Nanny and Papa, so we thought it was only fair that JP spent a week with them as well. I was a little nervous about leaving him there for a week, but he did fine. Nanny said he was really quiet, and didn't talk much. We FaceTimed a few times and even then he didn't say much, but when Ms. Gail, HD, and I returned the following Sunday, he was SO excited to see everyone. I think HD and JP really missed each other!

The four of us stayed for the rest of the week to do swimming lessons. (I stuck around so I could quilt a blanket I made for a co-worker!) 
 HD and JP had lessons together and both passed level 2, but they aren't strong enough swimmers to be in level 3 because they can't quite make it across the deep end yet. We're going to work on that this fall/winter. 
Ms. Gail wasn't quite tall enough for lessons on her own, so we took the Little Tikes class and she did amazing! She's a fish! I've taken her to the hotel to swim a few times, but she's always had her lifejacket on and would just float around, so I was surprised as to how comfortable she was swimming under the water. She'd jump in the pool and swim to me from 10-15 ft away without coming up for air first. Obviously she passed!
 We made a trip to Rudyard to see the dinosaur museum and the rest of place. The kids really enjoyed the old school house.
 JP even played a little number on his Great-Great-Grandma and Grandpa's piano (the one I was named after!)
 JP went to the dinosaur museum with Nanny the week before so he already "knew everything there was to know" about the museum. The kids even held a dinosaur bone, with Nanny's help!
 Ms. Gail wasn't too impressed with the museum. I think the dinos were a little to big and scary for her!
 We also wandered though the main museum and checked out the Canadian washing machine Nanny donated that was her Grandma's.
 As well as the sewing machine she donated as well. JP was really excited to show this to us!
 We also spent one windy morning flying HD's kite. I bought the kids kites a while ago, but it's never windy enough at home to fly them. The farm however... Ms. Gail took a turn flying HD's kite, and then immediately let go after I took this picture. I'm sure it would have been fun to watch Nanny and I sprint after it...
 HD was the one wanting to fly his kite, but one he did, he was over it. (It did take us a while to get it in the air...)
 JP seemed to enjoy it a little more. But not much more.
 I'm not sure we would have been able to fly it if Nanny wasn't around helping! Hahaha!
One night HD left me this note on his bedroom door. I went in and searched his room for him anyways. Turns out he wasn't even in there! He went down the hall and was sleeping with JP! Those two...

And one more blurb about the round house that needs mentioning - One morning early on in the week, Ms. Gail and I were heading out the door to go to swimming lessons, when she looks over to the bunkhouse where all the kitties usually are and says, "Oh mom! Look at all the kitties!" I look over to the bunkhouse to see not 1, not 2, not 3, but EIGHT (give or take) skunks running past! The rest of the week we were paranoid about the kids accidentally running into one. By the end of the week, the yard just smelled like skunk. Yum... I think they're down to two left. Glad it's them and not me! Hahaha!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4th of July at the Round House

Is it ironic that my last post was about HD losing his first, and tonight before I left for work, Perry told me HD *finally* lost his 2nd tooth. The only reason this one held on for so long was because the tooth that was going to replace it came up behind it, and at an angle. I see braces in his future for sure! After spending a week with my parents at the farm, I'm glad he waited until he was home to lose it!

Speaking of the farm, check out these shots I took while we were there to drop off JP and pick up HD. The fireworks were just a nice bonus!

They just melt my heart! HD spent all last week there, Monday - Sunday with Nanny and Papa and FaceTimed us at least once a day, telling us every detail of his days. On Sunday, Perry and I packed up Ms. Gail and JP and headed to the Round House to bring HD home, and to leave JP for the next week, Tuesday - Sunday. And then I'm headed back on Sunday to stay until at least Friday so the kids can do swimming lessons this year. By the end, July will be half over already! What? How?!

Normally we spend the 4th of July in Seeley Lake with Grandma, but she had made other plans this year, and with HD already being at the round house, we decided to go there this year. Pretty convenient planning. We don't have the opportunity to light off fireworks in town like we do when we're at the farm, so this was very exciting for my boys!
They used their sparklers to light other things and then used old fireworks as targets for other fireworks. If it could be burned, it was. 
Ms. Gail enjoyed her time with her super long sparklers. 
 HD really enjoyed the tanks, and having the tanks shoot at the egg-laying chickens. 
 JP lit up every time a firework went off too. I loved watching their reactions to the fireworks, instead of watching the fireworks themselves.
 I'm sure they'd have lit off fireworks all day if we let them, and had more.
Those boys definitely missed each other! It was sweet to see them reunite again!
 One of their favorite past times while at the round house is the trampoline. My dad dug a hole for it about 15 years ago when a wind storm picked it up and blew it threw our front windows... The hole has gradually gotten bigger as the years went on. At one point we had carpet all the way around it!
 Ms. Gail even got her kitty fix while we were there. Guess what she named this black one? Booties, but only after she wanted to call it Hunter. 
 After we went to Havre for dinner at Rod's Drive-In Sunday night, the boys were told to settle down or they'd have to walk home from Havre. We were kidding, but Ms. Gail really wanted to walk to Nanny's and cried about it for the entire trip back. Once we got close, HD told us he walked home from the 2nd field and wanted to do it again. We instead let him out at the corner and he ran the 1/4 mile home. (See that little speck on the road? That's him!) Ms. Gail, my mom, and I got out a few telephone poles away so Ms. Gail could walk home. 
While we were waiting for it to get dark out, Perry and I and the kids took a little walk to watch the sunset and I just happened to capture Ms. Gail playing in the wheatfield. So sweet!

 We also snuck in a campfire, which Stafford attended with JP. S'mores all 'round!
On the afternoon of the 4th, Perry and I took HD and JP to Havre Beneath the Streets. HD was telling us a while ago about how people lived beneath the streets in Seattle, and Havre has by far the best display, so he was excited to see it. They behaved really well, and HD even asked our guide a few questions! Their favorite part was getting candy from the bakery :) They were treated to DQ afterwards for being on good behavior!
 For the 4th we went back to Havre to watch the firework from one of my dad's cousin's business. Great view from there. So close we could see them being lit. Before they started, I snagged this photo of the gorgeous sunset! I just wish I could have gotten a better picture! 

After two late nights, we packed up in the morning and headed home so I could sleep the evening away to prepare myself to work through the night. I'm anxious to go back next week for lessons! I already miss JP!