Sunday, June 23, 2013

Montana Day 3 - On the Road Again

We got up and got ready to drive the 300 some miles to Billings. In Missoula the girls got to sleep in a bunk bed, which they absolutely loved. We cleaned up stuff, I repacked the car, and we got going.

Driving through Montana is beautiful. Just the change in geology and landscape is incredible. We got thought Butte, made a quick stop in Bozeman for batteries, and kept going. The girls did great for the 5 hour drive.

We arrived at Stephanie's parent's house, just on the west side of Billings. The girls ran around and showed off their bike riding skills for grandpa and grandma.

Elaine made a great dinner and we all enjoyed catching up. We're going to hang out here for a few days and relax and enjoy family.

Montana Day 2

Yesterday we spent the entire day enjoying Missoula. We started with a visit the the University of Montana where we graduated from in 2002. It was wonderful for the girls to run down the tree lined paths of the beautiful campus. We were impressed with the new construction and improvements.

While Stephanie meet a friend for lunch, I took the girls swimming in the hotel pool.  They really love the water and we are looking forward to beginning swim lessons this summer.

Later that afternoon we walked down to Caras park and went on the famous carousal. It went really fast and Elise and Charlotte had Big Sky smiles the entire ride.

We had been looking forward to eating at McKenzie River Pizza. In fact, many of our Missoula's destinations were for food memories. On the way to pizza we walked past Montgomery Distillery... More on that later. Pizza was great, then we hit Big Dipper for ice cream. I would've gladly driven 500 miles just for Big Dipper.

After the girls went to bed, I went back to Montgomery Distillery. They create vodka and gin from local grain. The still is German made, and they really seem to have a passion for what they do. And they do it well, it is some of the best I've ever had, and I'm bringing some home.

We had a full and complete day in Missoula and were able to check almost everything off our list.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Montana Day 1

Yesterday  wrapped up the first day of our trip to Montana. The girls are four now so we felt they could handle a 1600 mile roadtrip.... The question is, can we? We prepared by getting a portable DVD player, books, snacks, and leap pad tablets. Their daycare friends have them, and Elise and Charlotte have been politely asking for the little learning tablets for months. We were fortunate to find 2 very reasonably priced ones on craigslist. The roadtrip was the perfect chance to start indoctrinating them into the personal computing world. They can't text, yet.

We began our trip at 6:30, and made great time until snoqualmie pass where we sat on I-90 for over an hour. They did some rock blasting the previous evening and were cleaning it up.

Traffic finally got moving, and we made it to Ellensburg where we stopped for brunch at IHOP. On the road again, we didn't need to stop until Spokane. The girls did great in the car, even snoozing for awhile... But truly, who doesn't want to snooze through Ritzville?

Stephanie drove through Idaho, until I finally had enough being the passenger and finished up the day pulling into Missoula.

We checked in (at the "showntell" as Elise and Charlotte call the hotel), grabbed some dinner, drove around a bit, then hit the hay.

The day wrapped up with Elise climbing up onto her bunkbed, telling Charlotte, "Charlotte, I will think of you when I asleep." To which Charlotte replied, "Why Eyese?" To which Elise made the perfectly reasonable reply of, "Because I like you."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goodbye Emmers

Today we said goodbye to Emily, our friend for 16 years. She came into my family while I was still in high school, had yet to go to college, meet Stephanie, get married, and have Elise and Charlotte. Through all the changes in our lives she was the most consistent, loving, dependable, patient, and fun-loving dog I have ever known. She was also the bossiest!

Toby, Emily, and Holly
From Emily
From Emily

We met Emily the day we said goodbye to another dog, Valerie. The vet told us they had a young corgi who needed a home. She was the only one of her litter left alive after they were abandoned, with wire tied around their muzzles. Emily bore a scar from that her entire life. My dad and I waited, and suddenly this exuberant dog burst into the room, leaned against us and greeted us like long-lost family. She was the strangest looking dog I had ever seen - Short, brown spotted legs, a black and white body with lots of spots and a large saddle patch, a long bushy tail, thick ears ( like 1/4 inch thick!), and fur that constantly sprouted between her toes. It turned out that she was mistaken for a corgi, but was really an Australian Shepherd - our first "Bossy Aussie".

Over the years she was the part of many fun events - "Hurricane Emily" in the basement, being dressed up in camping clothes, taken on hikes, etc. Through it all she was patient with my brothers and I. I eventually left to go overseas for 1 year, and when I returned, she greeted me like I had never left. When I went to college and returned for breaks, Emily was always there, sticking her head between my knees for n ear scratch (which she taught Toby to do). When we adopted Toby, Emily helped teach him some good manners. And when my daughters were born, she greeted them with enthusiasm.
From Emily

Over the past few months, she has slowly declined. It was time for the toughest, most responsible thing that goes with owning a dog. The end was peaceful, and when we finally pulled ourselves together this afternoon, and left the vet's, the weather had turned from grey overcast, to sun.

Thank you Emily, you were the best.
From Emily

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Do You Want Fry With That?

From 55 Gal Aquarium
Yesterday I noticed one of my platys was about ready to give birth. Platys are live bearing fish and really easy to breed - they just do it. I put her in a little hatchery. Good timing, because this morning there were a whole bunch of little platy fry swimming around!
From 55 Gal Aquarium
The mother hadn't eaten them yet, so I took her out before she could. I counted around 35 fry. I put in a plant clipping for shelter and fed them. The angel fish will not leave the floating brood tank alone, they just see a yummy snack. Each fry is less than 1/4 inch long. I am hoping that I can keep most of them alive and have a ton more colorful fish swimming around.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Play Day

Today was a great play day around Port Orchard.

From Play Day
First we had a great time playing at home with the bubbles, walkers, and the big orange fabric tunnel. That thing is awesome!

Then we went to a new place here in town. The "Imagination Station" is an indoor play area for kids up to 6 years old. It is big, open, and full of interesting and exciting toys.
From Play Day
From Play Day
It also has A/C for those really hot days! I hope this business bucks the trend of businesses that close after a short period of time - there seem to be quite a few here in Port Orchard. There is a similar play place in Gig Harbor, but I really did like this one better, and it is a lot closer to home. The girls really had a great time and were definitely ready for nap time when we got home. I am sure we'll be back soon for more!

After nap time we took them over to Long Lake park to swing and wade in the water. The weather is finally nice and the park was very busy. Elise and Charlotte loved the swings and sunshine!
From Play Day