25 July 2017

Canada 150!

This year was the Canada 150 celebration. It was a big deal. We... did everything exactly the same as every other year.
We headed to Raymond, wore awesome clothes. watched the parade, (got lots of candy), played with cousins, went to Carter's baseball game, and watched fireworks.

Awesome clothes
Craig was especially excited to match both Calista and Caleb.

I love going to the parade and seeing my kids playing with their cousins. Calista, Katelyn, and Scarlett have a little club or something called "The Three Favorite Cousins." They love hanging out and collecting candy together.
Craig rotated between hanging out with Paige and Brock. Paige helped Craig collect candy since he's still not very good at it (or focused). When all was said and done, she probably was the one who picked up 90% of the candy in his bucket, and she only claimed a small portion for herself. Very kind of you, Paige! Obviously, Craig also hung out with Brock. They danced and were silly nearly-4-year-olds together, as they are wont to do.
Caleb enjoyed the parade mostly in my arms, which enabled him to steal a sucker out of my hand.
He very much enjoyed that part.

Baseball game
The kids' favorite part, but we almost flaked. Kyler and I knew the kids were already tired, and we suspected they'd be hot and bored. We actually discussed on the drive to the game how many kids crying at once would it take for us to head back to Raymond. But everyone loved it! Carter had two doubles and 3 RBIs, and a solid performance as catcher. Calista and Craig loved cheering for him and were thrilled when he told them afterwards he could hear them.
Caleb made eyes at the people behind us, and they loved him.
In the end, Kyler and I were happy we went.

After the game, we were allowed onto the field to watch the fireworks nearby. Craig loved it, Calista liked it for a while and then asked to go home (but thankfully only a little bit before they were actually done), and Caleb hated it. He cried and kept going between Kyler and I, not sure who could comfort him best. In the end, I won, and Caleb fell asleep while nursing during the fireworks. And then he was much happier. Or at least much less whiny.

Finally, we headed back to Raymond to sleep. Or, in the kid's case, slept on the way back to Raymond and then get carried into bed fully dressed.

Yay, Canada! Happy Birthday!

22 July 2017

Grammie May to the rescue!

Since Kyler got his new job up in Edmonton, and I was single-mothering all week for two months, my mom decided to come help me survive. She definitely did, and we also had a lot of fun.

One of the things my mother specifically wanted to do was visit Banff, and I was more than happy to oblige. As I was planning our trip, I kept having to change which hike we were going to do because of strong wind storms and the resulting downed trees blocking trails, flooding, and aggressive black bears. We finally found one that was appropriate for our gang (read: not too hard) that I'd never done but always wanted to: the March Loop Trail by Cave and Basin National Monument (the stinky, spooky cave).
Calista and Craig swearing to protect Canada's wilderness.
It was fantastic! Very kid friendly, and a lot of fun. We also headed to our favorite Cajun place and all around had a great day.

Mom was here through the end of school and activities, which means she got to help watch Caleb while I coached Craig's soccer (talk about relieving some stress!). It also means she got to see Craig's preschool "graduation" (okay, so I really don't get this one. He's not even onto kindergarten yet! He's got one more year! Oh well, they looked cute)
and his last day of gymnastics. I was so proud of Craig at his gymnastics performance. He was so brave and excited to do all the things he had learned.
Jumping enthusiastically off the podium
And he did really, well, too!

In the end, one of the ways Mom was most helpful was completely unexpected. Right after his birthday, Caleb got sick. It started as a cold, and got progressively worse. I spent a lot of time cuddling him at night, and Mom spent a lot of time cuddling him during the day.
Eventually, it reached a point that he was inconsolable and I decided to take him to the doctor. Mom was able to watch the older two while I could focus of Caleb. It was invaluable. Caleb ended up having a nasty ear infection, and Mom got to help pin the poor boy down to give him antibiotics for 10 days.
But they worked, and my happy baby boy returned and everyone rejoiced.

And, of course, Mom helped with packing, though maybe not as much as the kiddos "helped."

Because Mom was here during the Butikofer reunion, we decided to all head down there together. We took the trip in two day, stopping for the night in Helena, Montana.
And for a photo op in Craig, Montana
The hotel had a pool, which was a big hit with everyone involved.
The next morning as we headed out, I quickly realized something was wrong with the car: it wasn't accelerating or steering as it should. So I pulled into the first parking lot I could fine: Wendy's. Yup, there was a screw in our tire. "Well, there's your problem!" Mom and I started pulling kids and stuff out to get to the jack and the spare tire, when two maintenance guys come out of the closed Wendy's (it's 8 AM). They bring their jack - much bigger and better than ours - and take our wheel off.
One then drives Mom to Les Schwab to fix the tire (for FREE!) while the other invites me and the three kiddos into the (closed) dining room to wait. Inside the Wendy's, the employees apologize for not being able to give us food since, you know, they're closed!, but offer us drinks and toys for the kids.
It was amazing how many blessings and tender mercies Mom and I felt during this time of (small) trial. It was the best possible way to have a flat tire. An hour after we pulled into the parking lot, we pulled back out, this time with 4 functional tires. A big thank you to Wendy's and Les Schwab for taking care of us so well.
Only an hour behind schedule, we made it to Idaho and to the family reunion the next couple of days.
Craig spent the majority of the time in Idaho throwing rocks into the fishing pond at Mountain River Ranch - thankfully no one was trying to fish at the time.
Calista went back and forth between throwing rocks and successfully getting Grandpa to buy her things at the auction.
Caleb smiled at everybody.
He especially loved my dad, going up to him specifically and wanting to be picked up, and also falling asleep in his arms one evening.
It was adorable.
I loved seeing my family, especially my grandma,
and watching my kids interact with their extended family.
We also went to Heisie Hot Springs, where Calista jumped off the diving board at the deep end. I asked her if she was a little bit scared and she said, "No! It was so fun!" She didn't want to do it again, though.
Finally, after a whirlwind trip, we headed back into Canada (stopping to sleep in Helena and eat at the Wendy's, of course). It was exhausting, but I'm glad we went.

Right before Mom left to go home, we spent the day at the zoo.
Kids got to see all their favorite animals, including a tiger eating a rabbit (not pictured),
a chameleon,
the butterflies (Calista was afraid they'd land on her, too, and that she'd hurt them accidentally),
play at the park,
and ride the carousel.
All in all, a pretty good day.

And all in all, a pretty good time with my mom. Thanks for coming to visit us and help prepare to move! We appreciated it.
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