Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kamiak Butte

The day before we left for home, Maren took us to Kamiak Butte, which was only about 20 minutes from their home. Right after we parked, the kids took off for this great little playground. Here are Braden, Micah, and Matthew.
 Braden and Micah:
 Braden, Micah, and Colin:
 Mira and Matthew:
 Braden, showing off either a rock or a huge piece of bark. Either way, it's totally cool in his book.
 Nearby, there was a little amphitheater which the kids couldn't just leave without first doing a little acting themselves. (Notice Ella's main focus is her pose in each picture.) The boys duelled with "swords" and incantations (think Harry Potter).

 At one point, Mira gets her hands on the camera and does some picture-taking. Here are: me, Ella, Brody, Maren with Hunter, Colin, Chad, and Micah.

 Chad not too enthused with having Mira running around with the camera, but manages to fake a smile. (Definitely fake!)
 We hiked the 1/2 mile to the top of Kamiak Butte and were rewarded with a great view of rolling hills, wildflowers, trees, etc. With kids in tow, you can't expect to go far without snacks. We came prepared with goldfish and water.
 I got to hold sweet little Hunter! (Matthew was okay with that.)
 Some one (but more likely many people) had built this lean-to which the kids adored. I'm telling you, the only toys kids really need in life are sticks, rocks, trees, water, and imagination.
 Braden and Mira:
 Mira, Chad, and Matthew:
 Not so fast!
 "C'mon, just one nice with with Daddy?"
 Micah, Colin, Nicole, Chad, Matthew, Mira, and Ella from the top of Kamiak:
 Mira again with the camera. She goes around, shooting a hundred pictures. Mostly of trees and random things, but she manages to get in a few of people.

 Here's that awesome lean-to:

 And Mira gets a token self-portrait:
 I think that's Brody climbing around:
 Nicole and Matthew. I love those snuggles.
It was a great last day to spend with Maren and the kids. We missed Blake because he was at work, but we enjoyed all the time we had with him during dinners, Easter, and just hanging around the house. They were so good to us. We completely took over their home, Maren prepared all the meals, and we were spoiled. We look forward to reciprocating in June! We love you guys.


Spokane's only an hour and a half from Blake and Maren's place, and we'd never been there. So we dedicated a day to beautiful Spokane. Thank goodness for electronic devices! Many hours were spent in the car like this:
 Notice Mr. Matthew nodded off (literally):
 This is in reverse order. (I guess Blogger decided to change things up so they make more sense, now...but I'm not about to go through uploading my pictures in the correct order all over again.) We had done a little research on what's not to miss in Spokane. One was Manito Park. It is a huge park, designed by the same person who designed Central Park in NYC. This spot in particular is like a European garden, symmetrical with a water fountain. I would imagine it's gorgeous when all the flowers are in bloom. The kids had fun running around the paths and rolling down the hill:

 Right next to it is the Gaiser Conservatory. It isn't large, but is just filled with delicious flowers, cacti, a stream, and plants. We enjoyed our time in there. A treat for the eyes. At the end, I let each of the kids take 3 pictures each of whatever they wanted to. Somehow I ended up with more pictures than the alloted 3 each. But aren't they pretty!

 The boys set up this one. So silly.
 Colin tried to make me promise not to post this. He was goofing off, but I just think it's too funny.
 He sure was on one that day!

 Ella had a penny she wanted to drop into the water. Mira watches.
 Can I drop it in, Mom?
 Aren't they scrumptious? I just love them!
 Me and my sweetie:

 Ella loved all the flowers.
 My first attempt at getting one of Ella when Colin pops in for a hello. That kid!
 Mira giving herself bunny ears. That girl makes me laugh.
 And another one of Colin hamming it up:
 Chad, Ella, Matthew, Micah. This was the Japanese garden in Manito Park. It is very well maintained with a koi pond, small waterfall, rock garden, and all sorts of lovely trees and shrubs. A great place for the locals to stroll through and relax in a quiet environment.

 Spokane River runs through the city, has a few waterfalls which you can walk over via bridges. It was a clear, sunny day and we loved it. Well, maybe excepting Mira. She got to the breaking point. As we were leaving to head to the car, she's on her scooter and drops it shouting, "I'm so tired, Mom! I'm not going anymore. You need to pick me up." That wasn't going to happen. I had my hands full with some other things and I tried to coerce her by saying I'd tell her a story while we walked. She just collapsed on the ground, people milling around us. Crying and shouting, I got sympathetic smiles and comments from people. It must have been humorous to see.
 Micah, Chad, Matthew, Ella, Nicole, Mira, Colin:
 Checking out the water. I can't remember if the boys actually had a spitting contest here, or if they started planning it and I nixed it. Either way, a spitting contest is always a boy's favorite activity on a bridge over water.

 Mira at a little playground in the city center:
 Maren told us to take this tricycle for Matthew, and we're glad we did. He felt like a stud on it. Chad followed him around while he scooched here and there. The girls had their scooters and Colin had his RipStick. (Micah lost his scooter a while back, so he used his legs.)
 At Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane is the huge Radio Flyer wagon which has monkeybars underneath, a play area up top, and a slide where the handle would be. Totally cute and lots of fun.
 Everyone tried coaxing Matthew down the slide. He's look like he was ready to go, but then would back out. Micah's at the bottom, trying to reassure him he'd be safe.
 Mira offered to take him down on her lap. He didn't go along willingly.
 It's so scenic here. You've got geese, ducks, fun play equipment for little ones, bridges, a bell tower, a lovely river...

 Colin: "Mom, make it look like I'm squishing the wheel!"

 These city-themed cement blocks were very cool.

 Matthew the Stud:
 Chad ran back to the car to fetch crackers so the kids could feel the geese and ducks. Very fun.
 Matthew loved the birds.
 Before we left for Spokane, I grabbed a few shots at Blake and Maren's. Our kids loved playing with Braden and Brody's Trios. They created ships, battlefields, etc. Ella wanted pictures of their creations. She was quite proud.

 Not only was there time spent in the cars watching movies, but also playing DS. And not just in the car, either. Colin and Micah enjoyed teaching Braden the finer aspects of "Plants vs. Zombies." In return, Braden taught them how to play "Where's My Water" on Blake's iPad.

 Everyone loves new baby Hunter! Here are Brody, Mira, and Hunter: