Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Wild West Adventure

My Wild West Adventure has come to an end but it doesn’t really stop there because I have PICTURES! Lots and lots of pictures! (And lots and lots more pictures.) So yeah, I made the best of my new camera! I’m a scenery kind of gal so most of my pictures are of the amazing landscapes but I managed to get a few of the family also.

We started in Glacier National Park


 We hiked up to Avalanche Lake. It’s very aptly named because while we were there we heard two avalanches. Notice I said “heard”. I was PISSED because we hung around the lake for about an hour enjoying the local fauna.



Finally we decided to head back down the trail. We got just far enough around a corner where we couldn’t see the mountains anymore and we heard thunder. At least that’s what we thought! We quickly realized it was an avalanche! I ran back up around the corner and the girls standing there were saying things like “That was the most amazing thing I ever seen!” They were really rubbing it in so I pushed them down the mountain. I was bummed. That would have been an awesome thing to see! (Note to panicky mother’s out there: we were not in danger, the mountains were on the other side of the lake and there wasn’t much snow that fell.) So we continued our trip down the mountain and about 40 seconds later we heard another rumble! Another avalanche and I missed it again! Bastards!!

I have to say that Glacier had the best scenery of any place we visited. We didn’t see much wildlife but the views were unbeatable!


After a few days at Glacier we traveled to Yellowstone National Park. For animal enthusiasts it’s the place to be!

We saw 10 bear…

a bazillion and one bison…


A lot of elk…

A lot of prong horns…

Two moose...


But my favorite part of Yellowstone was Old Faithful!


What an amazing thing! We were lucky and got to view it twice. A little fact I didn’t know is that it’s predictable in a complicated way. If the geyser goes off for a short time (the Ranger knew the exact minutes. I’m a mom so I didn’t retain that information) then it will erupt again in about an hour. If it erupts for a long time it will not go off again for about 90 minutes. We saw a short eruption and then got some lunch at the inn. When we came out it was expected to go off again any minute so we stayed for a second show. It really is very cool!


Any trip to Yellowstone isn’t complete until you almost get trampled by a herd of bison. I highly recommend experiencing that with your 14-yr old sister-in-law. Our first day there, we just entered the park, and saw a bear in a ravine. We got to the other side of the bridge and pulled off so we could hop out and take pictures. We were snapping away and a Park Ranger drove by and asked what we saw. He told us to take pictures but not to linger because there was a herd of bison up the hill and if they come down they will cross right over the bridge and we’d be trapped. “No problem” we told him. We took a few more and were ready to head back to the car. As soon as we turned around we were faced with an entire herd of bison…with babies! I guess they came down the hill faster than the ranger expected. At this point my SIL, I’m pretty sure, crapped her pants. She FLIPPED! First we all started running towards the car but then the bison were too close to it (at this point I feel I should mention that my MIL and kids were in the van, surrounded by bison, with the van doors open because we didn’t shut them when we hopped out. Yeah.) Since we couldn’t get back to the car my SIL decided that it was a better idea to jump off the 100 foot bridge (with a black bear at the bottom) then to get trampled by the bison. In the chaos I’m not sure what made her stop but thankfully she got down from the railing and ended up in front of me (she’s a track star, I think it pays off). Thankfully the park ranger had turned around and was coming back to our rescue. He came over his loud speaker and yelled at us to get back in our car. This apparently translated to my SIL as “make a desperate attempt at getting in my cruiser while screaming your head off”. They played the game where she tries to get in and he moves ahead while my husband is behind us yelling “DON’T GET IN HIS CAR! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! STOP GRABBING FOR HIS CAR!” Finally the ranger got his car positioned to block the bison and we high tailed it into the van and slammed the doors. I was laughing hysterically and all my SIL could do was change her underwear say “Oh my God! Oh my God!” We escaped completely unharmed so I’m allowed to make fun of my SIL now. She may never live it down! :-)

So that was…exciting.

Next we visited the Grand Teton National Park. The mountains were really beautiful!

 We also randomly saw some geology students from the college where I work at sitting in a university van in a scenic pull off. They were out there for summer fieldwork. What are the odds that we would pull over at the same scenic overlook at the same time in Wyoming?! Weird! 

Some other awesome pictures…


 The most photographed barn in America...so they say

 Grand Tetons

 A tree fell over in Glacier National Park. It makes me think of the Fire Swamp from Princess Bride.

 Glacier National Park

 If you look closely my SIL is feeding a chipmunk.

 Glacier again...

 and again...

 and again.

My SIL doing her best Bruce Springsteen impression

 
So we really had an amazing trip! Bud LOVED it. He told me when he is a dad he’s moving to Montana. I just hope airfare is cheaper!

Not only did we survive the bison but we survived each other…and more importantly, I survived the kids…being trapped in the car for most of the daylight hours for 7 straight days. Bud had no problem like I expected. Babe did pretty well too. As expected she was not especially happy to be strapped into her car seat for hours on end but she made it through without getting thrown out of the car. I call that a success!

It’s good to be back!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New York, New York!

I’m baaaaaack!!! We had an absolutely AMAZING trip to Montana and Wyoming! I will be writing more about it later but I just couldn’t stay away from blogging another second! The entire trip I kept thinking “I hope I remember this so I can blog about it.” Of course, I didn’t write anything down so you know I will forget everything but I’ll do my best. The recap will be sure to include how we almost got trampled by a herd of Bison and my sister-in-law almost jumped over a 40-foot bridge. Good times people! Good times!

Also, prepare for a photo dump. I won’t post all 600 pictures (really) I took but it will be hard to whittle it down.

For now here’s a little teaser into the scenery that we experienced. Yes, I actually took this picture with my awesome new camera!



I’ve missed you guys! It’s great to be back!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm leaving on a jet plane

(Don't know about the rest of you but I officially have that song stuck in my head now. You're welcome.)

We are off tomorrow (way too early) for Montana. Happy to report that two suspicious devices were found on an inbound plane to Syracuse yesterday (of course that's where we fly out of) so security is going to be the BEST! I can't wait! (Does the sarcasm come through in my writing?)

Being that we are in the technological stone age in my house I do not have an iphone, ipad, or any other i-products that will allow me to blog while we are out there. So I hope you'll all be around next week when I do a massive photo dump of our trip. I got a brand new camera (Yay!!!) so you can expect a lot of beautiful pictures. At least that's my goal. We'll see how it pans out. I did get a telephoto lens so I'm hoping I'll be able to get some nice pictures. (Landscapes are my friend because they don't move around unexpectedly.)

***************

Bud had his kindergarten screening today. He scored above average on everything (Yay!) and he's all set for kindergarten in the fall. They said we'd be done by 1:15, we finally got out at 1:45. The entire time I had to listen to the lady next to me (who looked about ready to pop) huffing, puffing, moaning, and groaning. I was afraid she was going to go into labor right there in the band room! I think she was looking for sympathy because as soon as me and another mother talked to her for a second she stopped all the acoustics.

Also, Bud is officially the smallest kid in his class. During his graduation I was happy to see another small child. I thought he was smaller than Bud but we measured them side by side today and Bud is definitely shorter! Poor kid! I was always the smallest too. I just hope he realizes the advantages and doesn't see it as a detriment. I'm certain he'll be closer to my height (5"1') and Babe will be closer to my husbands (6"1'). :-)

Have a great week and I'll be back to blogging on Wednesday!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Olympics 2024 here we come!

So I was chatting my new good friend Daily Mom yesterday about her adorable little daughter taking gym classes and how I wish there was something nearby for Bud to do because (much to his father’s horror) he’d make an excellent little gymnast! Case in point…


video


I think we’ll be signing him up for karate in the fall or winter instead. Maybe it will help with his focus and concentration!

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Bud graduates from his "big" school today. Or as he put it this morning "Today is my grad-u-ate!" 


His excitement leads me to believe we are in for quite a show this afternoon! (God, please don't make them count to 100 like his "little" school! Amen.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why can't girls stand up to pee?

Babe will be turning 2 on July 1 (insert me hyperventilating here). This week the only time she’s worn a diaper is to sleep (and once on an outing when I wasn’t sure of bathroom facilities). I would like to say that I have worked hard with her to get her to use the potty. However, that would be a lie. I have barely worked with her at all. She has taken it upon herself to potty train and does it with gusto. When we can’t find her we usually check the bathroom first because she generally grabs her seat, gets up on the potty, does her business, “wipes” (quotes for good reason) ,then gets down and washes her hands all by herself (with the help of step stools, of course).

I don’t know where this alien baby came from but it’s definitely not the same place my son came from. He had a lot of fun torturing us with having NO interest in training and nursery school looming in front of us. Thankfully he has an older cousin who was going to school every day and he was jealous that she got to go and he didn’t. We manipulated convinced him that if he used the potty all the time he’d get to go to school too. It also helped that we let him pee outside. Man, he really enjoyed that. I don’t know about our neighbors though. We had just moved into our house and there’s our son, back arched, pants around his ankles, in the middle of the front yard, facing the road, waving to cars as they pass, peeing for all he was worth! It was a proud moment. We also still have a bare spot in the grass. I didn’t really think pee was that powerful but I swear we have a bare spot where he went. Not kidding, I’ll take a picture sometime.

So Babe is getting all “big girl” on me and stuff and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for it. I have to mentally prepare myself for this and I’m having trouble. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about not having to change her diaper anymore but I have to remember that she needs to go to the bathroom. She’s a big helper and has been telling us when she has to go (or doing it herself) but I still need to be the responsible one (HA!) and make sure she really does go often because as much as I hate changing diapers, cleaning pee off my carpet is not very high on my list of “Fun stuff to do when I’m busy”.  

I think one of my biggest concerns is when we are out in public. Did you know boys pee standing up? I know, right! When Bud started doing it I was like “Whoa! That’s so cool! You don’t have to squat!” and I was a big fan while training him because I didn’t have to worry about touching all the nasty toilets in public bathrooms. But yeah, Babe, not so much. She’s all short and stuff so she can’t squat on her own (total bummer for me!). I haven’t taken her far from home without a diaper yet and I’m really dreading it. I’ll be all hyper-freaked and lay like 14 layers of TP on the seat but you KNOW she’ll find the sliver I missed and put her hand right on it and then you KNOW as I’m trying to clean everything up and get situated that she will put that same hand in her mouth before I have a chance to wash it! I just KNOW it!!!! (I just threw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it!) And what about when we go to Bud’s t-ball game and we have to use a (shudder) porta potty? Wait, I know, I’ll make my husband take her! Phew! Glad I figured that one out!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Almost done

We are officially back in our dining room (although I was really enjoying using dinner time to catch up on our DVR). The room still needs the crown molding so I promise to give updates when that’s done but being that we are going to Montana (WOOHOO) I know it will be a loooong time before it actually gets put up (we haven’t even bought it yet). So here are the “Almost Done” pictures.

If you need a refresher, this was the before...way before and in progress. (So, totally didn’t realize it’s been a full month since this project started. I can’t even tell you why it took so long. It didn’t feel that long, that’s probably a good thing.) (I am probably mostly to blame for it taking a month. I’ve dragged the family all over the eastern seaboard the last few weeks for family functions.) (Ok, I’m definitely to blame but whatever, I’m the mom!)

I love it! My husband…he’s letting it grow on him. I think he’s just being nice when he says that but whatever, I’m the mom! 

Please keep in mind that I live in Central NY and that means the closest home goods stores are about an hour away (not to be confused with Home Goods stores. If you are lucky enough to live near one of those I hope you know how lucky you are.) I haven't found curtains or art work yet but if I waited for everything to be perfect all of your children would be graduating from college before I posted any more pictures. So this is what you get for now. 

Tell me honestly what you think about the blue. I won't un-follow you for more than a day. Promise!