Sunday, September 28, 2014

Selfie War (Mom's Side)

 Since Micah worked so hard and earned enough money to buy an iPod, he encouraged me to participate in a selfie war. I was on my way out the door to go shopping, but I happily obliged. I've got to find Micah's end of the war to post now!

Big Sky

 Blake and Maren are wonderful hosts when we come to stay. Maren made wonderful meals for us, and we wanted for nothing. We each had a place to sleep comfortably.

 It was relaxing, just hanging around, letting the kids spend time together. We went to church with them on Sunday. Micah and Mira had upset stomachs, so they stayed home. Thankfully, they recovered quickly, and we did not have a repeat performance with Ziploc bags and vomit on the way home.
 We introduced the cousins to Geocaching. We followed directions to their nearby park. The first geocache was a devil to find. But Aunt Maren saved the day. She persisted in looking. Some of the littles and I played at the playground while they continued the search for a second geocache.

 Cousin time.

Washington Trip

After we'd had a day at Silverwood, we stayed a night in a hotel and then headed up the mountain to ride the Trail of Hiawatha. While unpacking, I realized I'd forgotten all my toiletries. I had no toothbrush, floss, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner. 
 Not much better in life than spending time with cousins! And they so enjoyed being together.

 Maren had worked so hard to organize everything for us for our 15 mile bike ride.  She went around to borrow bikes for each one of us, as well as headlamps, helmets, and a trailer for Matthew to ride in. Whew! Thanks, Maren!
 The first of a series of tunnels was the longest. And very, very dark. We tried staying all together, but immediately, Mira had issues with her bike being in the wrong gear, headlamp being too dim, and just being plain frightened. Once we took care of the bike and light issues, we pressed on. It is unsettling to ride in a long, dark, damp tunnel. The lights only illuminate a small area. It was reassuring to follow others ahead of us, and even to see people coming from the other direction.
 Once we got through that tunnel, we stopped for a breather, some play and exploration, and a few pictures. Here I am, gathering everyone together for a group picture.
 "Right here, guys!"

 Aw, we love these people!
 The entrance to the tunnel, St. Paul Pass.
 The trail is on a slight decline the whole way, which makes for a nice, easy ride. Not necessarily easy on the tush. We heard some about that from the kids. But they didn't give up.

 The views were incredible! The long drop-offs had Mira freaked out some. She didn't want to be anywhere near the edge. And she didn't want anyone else to get close, either. We passed over some trestles that were pretty amazing.
 Our little family one the trail:
 Maren and I enjoyed a little chit chat along the way. I feel so lucky to have such a great sis-in-law.
 There were *big* drop-offs!
 All the adults agreed that we would have loved to stop at each information board to learn more about the history of the trail. But with children in tow, we had to keep up the pace if we wanted them to make it to the finish!
Once we reached the end, Chad and Blake waited in line to take a bus back to the parking lot to pick up the cars and come get us. (It saved us, like, $9 per person to not ride that bus.) And it was worth it, because the kids had a great time just playing around. We were able to end the day on a high note, rather than kids whining about being tired of the bikes. :)  And Mira had a spill right before we went through the last tunnel. She got scraped up some, and she was so tired. Thankfully, one of the employees stopped over to give her a few bandages. That helped her enough to finish the ride.
 I'm not sure what these two were talking about, but it looked and sounded funny!
 The children tossed rocks down a hill, gathered sticks to make pretend campfires, and explored the area. Good, dirty fun!

 Maren wanted to get a picture of Braden with all this dirt on his face. He was having a great time!
 The cousins at the finish! They made it!

Matthew wanted to throw a rock from this trestle and watch it fall all the way into the stream below. There's a funny-not-so-funny feeling you get, as a parent, when you watch your child try to peer over from that height. I held on tight!

This is a gorgeous area. I am so glad we did it. Maren says maybe another time we could do the Trail to Coeur d'Alene, which is not quite so long. Sounds like a plan!

Silverwood with Uncle Blake and Aunt Maren

We'd been looking forward to our trip to visit cousins this summer. Colin had been asking for a while when we'd be able to return to Silverwood Theme Park. We went the day after we'd arrived.
The park really wasn't busy when we first arrived, so we got on some of the rides pretty easily. The kids were excited to soak each other on the bumper boats. And they did!
The weather was cool, which was great. So glad it wasn't a scorcher.

Chad tied to protect Matthew from getting soaked. But I think Matthew enjoyed trying to get others!

Here they are, Ella, Mira, and Braden, all wet!

The Dumbo ride was a bit hit with a bunch of the kids. And there was no line. So they went on several times in a row. They squealed and hollered back and forth. It was fun to watch.

In the afternoon, Maren kept an eye on the little ones so I could go ride with a few of the bigger kids. Matthew, Hunter, Brody, and Braden had so much fun in the sand play area. The sun was warm by this point. Braden was a hoot. He kept collecting tons of sand in his shirt, folding it up into a pouch to carry it around.
Matthew and Hunter pretty much claimed this tree trunk as their own. Mira played for a while before heading off for some of the bigger rides.

We did make time for the water area of the park. Chad, Blake, Ella, Mira, and I went on one tube ride, which was fun. Colin and Micah became separated from us at some point and mostly walked around, trying to find us.

The first ride Matthew went on when we arrived was this little ferris wheel. He was terrified at first. As he clung to me crying, I explained how the ride would go, and reassured him that we'd be safe together. He stopped crying at that point, and was fine. Once we got on, the panic set in a bit. But Ella was such a good sister, and helped to distract him. We talked about the butterflies we get when the ride goes around. Then he was cracking up and having a good time.
It is fun to see Matthew try some new rides, compared to last year at Lagoon. He's a little more brave. He did *not* enjoy the ride below, however!

Waiting in a long line for the bumper boats: