Monday, June 30, 2008

Backyard Sunset

This is an unusually beautiful sunset for June. Normally the really amazing ones don't come 'round until September with the fires and harvest.

Hiking the Letter M

Last week we decided to go on a family hike one evening. We started out at the Fish Technology Center, but decided the trail was too mosquitoey so we headed across the road to hike the M instead. The whole drive out to the area Ellie was pretty excited. She spotted something up on the hill and then pointed at it saying, "Letter M!! Letter M!!" It was really cute. We didn't even point it out to her. She managed to walk just about the whole way up to the M, which is impressive, because it's a mile and a half uphill. But she did it, and she did a good job staying on the trail and not being too slow. When we finally got to the M Ellie was ready for a little rest and something to drink. Oh, and some time enjoying the view before we headed back down.

The hike is pretty this time of year. The wildflowers were abundant and everything was yellow and purple as far as we could see.

Along the way down the trail Ellie kept slipping and tripping on the sandy trail, so we sat down for a bit to give her scraped knee a rest and she decided that we ought to switch hats. She was very silly about it!

Because Ellie kept tripping and slipping she was carried by Leif most of the way down. She was pretty tired, too.

We walked home to the sunset and enjoyed the view, the flowers, and the contrails in the sky. Pretty nice way to spend the evening as a family if you ask me!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Ellie saw her first movie in a theater yesterday. Leif was gone hiking with a friend, so Taylor and I took the Ellie and Corinne garage sale-ing. Afterwards Taylor suggested we take the girls to see the new Disney movie WALL*E. Neither of the girls had ever seen a movie in the theater before, so we sat close to an exit just in case! They did get a bit wiggly halfway to three quarters of the way through the movie, but in general they did very well! Ellie sat in her own seat (once she figured out how to sit so it didn't fold up on her!) and ate popcorn through most of the movie. A couple times she settled for sitting on my lap when the movie lost her attention, and there was a stretch there where she kept trying to sit on the floor despite my attempt to convince her that it was dirty and she shouldn't sit there. She didn't cry out at all or disrupt the movie, except a couple times when she pointed to the screen and said, "WALL*E broke it!!" She was very concerned when things "broke" during the movie. Considering the main character was an antiquated trash compacter who kept spare parts for himself on hand, that happened a few times. The other disturbance wasn't so big as it was cute, and I don't think the disturbee minded too much. Ellie managed to sneak herself over a couple seats (next to Taylor's seat) and tapped the man in front of her on the shoulder and asked him, "You see WALL*E too?" He just grinned as I pulled her shirt to get her to come back to me and then went back to watching the movie with his kids. But Ellie liked it. I think if the animation had been a little more "cartoony" looking it would have held her attention better, but all in all it was a good experience. When we left the theater I asked her if she liked the movie and she said yes. I asked what movie we had seen and she said, "WALL*E!!" and when I asked what the movie was about she very seriously said, "WALL*E broke it." That was apparently what she remembered most of all!

WALL*E was a cute movie. It definitely has environmental under (or over?) tones to it, but it was cute. I think I would have preferred Horton Hears A Who as Ellie's first theater movie, but we missed that opportunity and this made for a fun afternoon.

Blanket Fort!!

Not too long ago we had Zoe over to play right after we got a new ottoman/coffee table for our living room. The girls wasted no time in building Ellie's very first blanket fort! And they loved it!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend Getaway: Part III

After driving around MT and WY for a couple days, we met up with Leif's family for a Father's Day lunch and a trip to the zoo. We did the same thing last year, too, and figured Eliana would be more excited about the zoo this time around. We were right. It started with gawking at the peacocks...

and visiting the bald eagles...

and Ellie was tired by this point in the day (as she hadn't had a nap yet) so she rode in the stroller.

She rode in the stroller, that is, until she saw these guys:

Then she had to get out and get a closer look. She LOVED the tiger and had a blast running around waiting for it to come by the window again.

She walked for a while after that, and got to spend some quality time with Uncle Eric, looking at the animals.

We saw the red pandas...

And Ellie made sure to point out to Daddy the things she was seeing.

Then we headed to the wetlands exhibit where Ellie and Grammee fed the ducks while the others just relaxed and enjoyed the afternoon together.

The zoo closed after not too long and we headed down the road for our 2 hour drive home. We enjoyed our view of the Crazy Mountains on the way and decided that this was the most relaxing weekend we'd had in a very long time. It was good.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Weekend Getaway: Part II

Now that another week has come and gone, I suppose I should post another segment from our weekend getaway.

After leaving Yellowstone we stayed the night in Cooke City. When we awoke in the morning we were able to see a little more of our surroundings:

We also discovered a cute little black cat that wandered into our room every time we opened the door. He just came in and made himself right at home! Very friendly, but we kept putting him back out nonetheless. After we checked out of our room we decided to check out the town of Cooke City. There's not much there other than hotels, bars, and a few coffee shops. This is about it:

We did stop at this little coffee shop, though, and decided that they have really good caramel mochas. That's a good way to start off any day.

We drove up the Beartooth Pass. It was fairly strange to be in the middle of June and find so much snow around. There were plenty of other people that were enjoying it, though.

The weirdest part had to be driving through snow drifts on both sides of the road that were taller than our car:

Unfortunately, as we neared the top of the pass we learned that the road was not completely open due to snow, so we had to turn around and take another way. We drove through some beautiful scenery along the way, though, and I'm glad we went that way. The rock formations were very cool and there were some crazy sharp mountain peaks. You could definitely see that it was a glacially formed area and, as I said, it was beautiful to drive through.

As we rounded a corner on this twisty, curvy road, we came to a bridge and saw that it crossed a gorge. Not just a little gorge, either, but a really deep one, with rock cliff walls and a tiny river (at least tiny from where we were!) at the bottom. We stopped there and got out for a bit to look around, but the pictures we took could in no way do justice to the sight. It was amazing. You can sort of see the gorge running up the center of this picture (though not the bridge):

And here you can see the gorge drop off under the bridge, but you can't even see halfway down the rock cliffs. It was deep! (And yes, for those concerned, there was a giant fence to keep people from falling down and we did stay on our side of it. =D )

Along the way, we saw a few not-so-natural spectacles, too. We drove through a lot of podunk MT on this trip, including the town of Edelweiss (population 3)...

and a quick drive through the town of Belfry (yes, their school mascot is the Bats... because they apparently have bats in the belfry)...

(But really... would you want to walk under this creepy looking sculpture every time you went to school? Me either.)

And as we joined up with the highway on our way to Billings, we stumbled out of nowhere land and into... a ferris wheel? Oh, and a giant cowboy with a rifle. I felt like I was on Route 66.

And though we were a couple hours late due to the Beartooth Pass being closed, we eventually made it to Billings for Father's Day with Leif's family. But that is part III of our Weekend Getaway, so you'll have to wait for that story a bit later. (Though hopefully not as long as you had to wait for part II! I'm hoping to get it up later today if I can!)