Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Northwest to Midwest Part 1: Bozeman and the Museum of the Rockies

We drove our fully-loaded Suburban east out of Idaho the day after Memorial Day.  Nothing makes you want to get rid of all THE STUFF like jam packing a POD and then trying to find a place for everything else in the car.....Anyway - on the fun!

Throughout our trip, M kept singing our mantra/jingle: "the great....American....WEST!" 

We stopped in Missoula for lunch.  We picked up Five Guys' burgers and had a picnic by the river.  There was a great playground with an old-fashioned carousel!  M sat on the dragon long enough for a photo op, but once he found out that it moved up-and-down, he downgraded to the chariot.  I guess he doesn't remember that he handled the up-and-down horse on the San Diego carousel just fine in 2014!

Bozeman was our destination for the evening, where M played waiter in the restaurant and enjoyed 2 seconds in the hotel pool and 30 minutes in the hot tub.  Hotel pools became our saving grace for getting the wiggles out on this trip!
Roaring at the T-Rex

After breakfast, we went to the Museum of the Rockies, which is great.  They have a wonderful dinosaur exhibit and D & I probably could have spent all day there!  M mostly ran around and roared at the dinosaurs, so I'd say he enjoyed it.

I also highly recommend taking a 3 year old to a planetarium show.  We watched the movie about black holes, which was fascinating, and M's reactions were priceless ("LOOK OUT, HERE COMES THE SPACE ROCK!!!").
Camping in the children's section at MoR

They also have a working pioneer homestead and other exhibits on early settler life and Native American life.  It really is a great museum and worth the effort if you happen to be in the Yellowstone/Bozeman/Big Sky area!

Bison sculpture constructed of musical instruments - of course our music lover found the electric guitar!
We ate lunch at another playground, shook off the wiggles again at hit the road for a drive through Paradise Valley down to the North Entrance to Yellowstone.  To be continued!

The famous Roosevelt arch, the gateway to Yellowstone!

North Idaho Bucket List: Ride the Hiawatha

There was one thing that I REALLY wanted to do before we left Idaho:


The Hiawatha Trail is a roughly 15 mile gravel/dirt trail through the mountains of Idaho/Montana.  There is a VERY slight downhill grade, but not enough to just coast the whole way down.  It was such a fun experience and I'm so glad we did it.

D and I took a day off from packing to take M up to ride in the Burley trailer with us, while grandparents watched baby J.  We started riding around 9:45 am and I'm really glad we didn't start any later because it got warm and it took us quite a while to finish!

The first 1.5 miles pass through an old railway tunnel.  We knew this, and friends told us to bring flashlights/headlamps and wear a sweatshirt, but man, even with that knowledge I was still surprised at how dark/cold/unsettling it is to ride a bike for 10 minutes in pitch black!

D and I each had 1 headlamp on and M had a flashlight in the trailer.  If I did it again, I would bring even more lights because I could really only see about 5 feet in front of me!  The folks who went through before us had flashing rear lights, so I tried to focus on following them while not freezing my fingers off.  Wear gloves if you go!  I had a sweatshirt, but that wasn't enough so I was frozen by the time we popped out the other side.

The rest of the ride was gorgeous.  We stopped for photo ops and snack breaks.  M did great until we had about 5 miles left to go - by that point he was tired of the bike trailer and the trail was fairly bumpy, so he had enough.  We made it to the end though, without any major fits, and he LOVED riding the big school bus back to the top of the trail.

The bus ride was probably the scariest part of the trip for me because there are no guardrails along the road back up the mountains, and people on ATVs were driving crazy out there.  Dude, what's the rush?  I was having some mom-heart palpitations for sure.

At the end, you ride back through the 1.5 mile tunnel again, and it got really exciting for us because D's crank fell off of his bike midway through the tunnel!  So there we were, standing there in near darkness as he put it back on.  It was comical, and he was able to fix it enough to get almost out the tunnel, so we only had to walk about a quarter mile in the dark.

It was super fun and I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to #ridethehiawatha!  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day 2015

Weekend Dad with his boys.
Every day, but especially on Father's Day and Mother's Day, we are incredibly thankful that our boys' mothers gave them life and chose us to guide and love them through it.

If you are a mother who chose adoption, know that you are a hero and we are eternally grateful to you.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Brotherly Love

I should have known it would be one of those mornings when, while climbing into my bed this morning, the 3yo says to the baby (who beat him into the bed) "don't smile at me, baby J."

Happy Friday, folks!  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A New Favorite Book

In This House of Brede, by Rumor Godden.

I kept seeing different bloggers mention it, and when I finally saw it also appear on the reading list of the editors of First Things magazine last spring, I decided to give it a try and picked it up at the library.

What a great read.  The writing is beautiful and the story captivating.  The author does a fantastic job revealing the complexities of the characters and it is just a lovely book to read and ponder.  Give it a shot!  I'm so glad I did, and now I'm aiming to add more of the Loyola Classics to my to-read list.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Q'emiln Park - Post Falls, ID

Before we left Idaho, we did some family hiking at Q'emiln Park in Post Falls.  It's a pretty cool spot.

The hiking is rocky with lots of ups and downs.  M loved the adventure and we got to see lots of folks working on their rock climbing skills on the cliffs.

Not representative of a "rocky spot."
It's another great local place to spend a morning outside -we are going to miss it!