Archive for April, 2015

  • Chapter 110- An Epic Road Trip to Colorado

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    I’ll tell you a story about a woman who had cabin and then spring fever so bad that she decided to pack up her four kids under age 6 and drive to Colorado.

    So let me back up a bit…I realized two weeks before Little T’s spring break that well, she had a spring break (I’m still getting used to having a child in school).  And because my parents took us on long car trips to Montana as kids, I will always have a yearning to hit the road and head west even if it’s with my four children while my husband stays at home to work (thanks babe!).

    My parents were heading out to visit my sister, Angela, and her husband Bobby, so I tagged along with them and they graciously offered to take two of the kids in their car.  We made it to Lincoln, NE the first night with no major happenings.   Sort of boring, actually.  I mean, I thought I’d have more horror stories about the car ride!

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    After a night’s stay at a hotel, we ate some free breakfast and put on a very loud singing performance (which half of the staff/guests trying to eat breakfast loved, and the other half I’m sure hated) before hitting the road.

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    There was one small puking incident in my parent’s car right after we crossed the border into Colorado, but the above picture is of Little A 5 minutes afterwards.  She and her siblings were picking dandelions for me, and she seemed alright.

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    We arrived to Buena Vista, CO, a mere 1,200 miles from home.  We immediately set up shop on my sister’s front porch, and stayed there for pretty much the rest of the week.

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    The kids were either a little sick or adjusting to the altitude (BV is at about 8,000ft.) so we laid low and did such amazing things as ride bikes…

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    …practice opening and closing the front door…

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    …get spoiled by aunts and uncles who get their nieces and nephews hats and sunglasses and flip flops…

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    …and read books with my dear sister, Aunt Angela.

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    My amazing sister has a really cool shop called Made, and every time I go in, I say things like “Ang!  I love the feel in here.  It’s got such a great vibe AND some really awesome clothes.”  Anyway, Angela is working on an exciting project at the Jailhouse.  It’ll be an art space that’s open for classes, workshops, exhibits, and shows.  Here she is showing my dad the space.

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    I come from a family of artists, if you didn’t know.

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    Back to the kids- they cruised around BV, and got used to the parks.  No swings or slides, but lots of rocks to boulder on and ropes to climb.

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    Angela and Bobby have a great back yard, mostly because it’s enclosed and has a lot of garden space that’s yet to be planted for the season.  So the kids put on their pearls, got some spoons, and started digging.

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    We explored the city with Grandpa, and relaxed in the shade.

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    We also practiced our climbing.  Someone complained about walking LITERALLY BEHIND MY SISTER’S HOUSE to the park because it was too far away.   I may have replied, “You guys are soft.  We need to get out and exercise!”.  And we did.

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    This was the best shot I could get of me and the kids.  Better than nothing!

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    More front porch shenanigans.

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    And Blu, the kindest most mellow dog you’ll ever know.

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    Since Bobby is out on the river as many days as possible, he took the kids on some adventures to see the water.  We did a lot of throwing rocks.  I mean, A LOT.

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    And Little T started a pretty rad rock collection.

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    And oh my gosh!  She lost her first tooth!!!!

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    A few nights in, we decided to try out staying at a hotel in town.  My kids were all a little needy and insisted on sleeping in the same room (or bed, UGH) as me.  It wasn’t working at the house, but the hotel was perfect.  I only had to share a bed with one kid at a time!

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    They also got to watch cartoons they never get to watch at home and jump on beds.  I’m positive they enjoyed themselves.

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    We took a mini expedition to see some cool tunnels outside of town, and got out to see some bones we spotted.

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    When we got back to the house, the kids were thrilled to tell Grandma about the “reindeer” bones they saw (I thought it too cute to correct them).  Little T is particularly interested in natural science currently (yay!) and loved discovering the bones, trying to determine which part of the animal we were looking at.

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    Another amazing photo of me and the kids.

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    And after a week, we packed up and headed home.  This is obviously a VERY abbreviated version of the week, because I haven’t even told you about my finger.  Mandoline slicers are incredibly sharp, people.  Be careful.

    On the way home, all four kids requested to be in my car which was totally fine with me.  They were champs and I can’t even tell you how well they did.  Don’t get me wrong, they complained towards the end of both driving days.  A lot.  But without any technology besides the stereo, they did amazingly well.

    That said, I need to give a shout out to raisins in tiny boxes (because they’re basically the equivalent of putting treats inside a complicated dog toy, except for children), the public library for a slew of new books, and Fox and Branch.  I bought two of their CDs at the last Anodyne show, and THANK GOD for the album “Did You Hear That?”.  In particular, the song “Bling Blang” which my kids are still singing, and my personal favorite “Rock Island Line”.

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    This was at the same rest stop in which my dad cleaned up Little A’s puke on the way to Colorado.  This time we ate ice cream and looked at ants.  Right after I took this picture, I realized they were making friends with red biting ants.  Oops!

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    And they graciously posed for a final shot.  We made it back in one piece (well except for my finger) and were all exhausted but feeling fresh from breathing the cool mountain air.

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    Thanks for reading, guys.  I’ve been a little out of the loop with keeping up with the blog, so thanks for sticking with me.

    Hope somewhere out there, someone is enjoying warm, or even mild/not snowing weather!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 109- Organ Piper Pizza

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    After one failed attempt at Organ Piper Pizza (we showed up at 6:30pm and there was a 30 minute wait.  You can imagine that timing doesn’t work for a family with 4 kids under age 6), we headed back and arrived right when they opened.  I’d heard about this gem from my native Milwaukee friends, and had to check it out first hand.

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    The musician at the organ that night was really talented.  He played show tune upon show tune, and even played some requests.  The kids had fun dancing and well…all they did was jump.  “Dancing” to them is “jumping” to the rest of the world.

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    When our pizza a mozzarella sticks were ready, we made it back to the table to chow down.  The food was pretty good!

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    And then, the kids noticed the game area.  We’d tried to keep them from seeing it because it involved coins and prizes and lots of potential for meltdowns.

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    BUT, we used my favorite parenting technique of foreshadowing, and let them all go on one ride and get one treat.  And it worked!

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    Just because this sad clown was delightfully creepy.

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    And I’ll leave you with Little A’s inaugural bite into a giant gum ball.

    Happy eating, everyone!

    A. Storm