Monday, July 28, 2014

Lair 'O the Bear and Buffalo Bill

While in Denver, we've been attending a weekly moms' group and it has been a great thing for us - we have been all over the area with people who know where to go: swimming, parks, movies, splashpads, etc. Last Friday we went hiking in Lair 'O the Bear park, and you couldn't ask for a prettier hike. For one thing, it was green. Most of our hikes have been around the red sandstone, which is beautiful, but, what can I say - I'm from VA. So it was nice to spend some time in a really lush, forested park for a change. Riley and Joe stopped every ten feet to shovel gravel in their buckets, which drove me nuts a little, I confess. When I hike I like to just go for it, but whatever. Patience, I guess.
 We picnic'd and played by the stream for a long while till loud cracks of thunder had us wrapping things up, but it was several hours worth of fun before all was said and done. It was our last day going with this group and we are going to miss the friends that we've made there! This week we are moving into a hotel by Dave's work, and then next week we'll be leaving CO for good, and I'm glad I can say we will truly miss this place - what a wonderful summer it's been!

Saturday we went to a church breakfast to celebrate Pioneer Day, which is an LDS church holiday to commemorate the crossing of the plains by the Mormon pioneers back in the 1850's to escape religious persecution and settle in the West where they could worship freely. Dave and I spoke about it in church a couple Sundays ago and I really enjoyed researching the miracles and sacrifices that occurred to make it all happen.

Following the social, the kids and I went to Golden for the Farmer's Market. Not Dave, because he was gone this weekend on a crazy hike with his work peoples. They had to start at 5am and got hailed and rained on and hiked 5,000 feet up, and I don't think Dave appreciated it, but he took some pictures at the top and it looked phenomenal so I hope he'll post them here - they really are something to see. Anyways...

The kids and I went to Golden but the market was closed because they were having their Buffalo Bill Parade (Buffalo Bill was buried there) so we went ahead and stayed for that instead and I'm so glad we did!

Yup, hookers in a jail cell. I...ok.
Lots of local talent.
 It was HOT. Eventually I wised up and we found an ice cream parlor on the parade route and watched the rest of the parade from the air-conditioned comfort of their window seats.
 After the parade we walked down to the river where they were having a big festival - vendors, rides, games, and an 80's tribute band that had Joe dancing within an inch of his life. Oh it was lovely. And you better believe it got me a lovely long nap time after! The only draw back was that I lost our beloved stroller!

Try not to cry, but it really is sad. I was in a hurry getting the fussy, tired children buckled into car seats and then I pulled forward through our parking space and left it there in the parking lot, lonely and free to whoever took it home (of course I went back for it, but alas, too late). It was the handiest stroller, we have used it at least daily for two years, and it was at the perfect level of rickety-ness and tension - always gave me such a good work out wrangling it around corners and up and down hills and then having to practically drop kick it to get it to collapse before I could put it back in the car. I went on an early morning run today in anticipation of being stroller-less and unable to get our usual walk in, and I kid you not, I ran four miles and it did not even feel as strenuous as our usual stroller walk, up and down steep hills with two babies in it. We will get a new one asap - I am following up a few leads on Craigslist today, actually, but whoa is me and all that. At least early-morning runs have amazing sunrises:

 PS: To those who we'll be seeing at the beach in less than two weeks: I made the mistake of mentioning our flight last night and Riley perked right up and said, "The beach!" She ran to her room and got her swimsuit and cover up on and tried to get us to do the same. Boy are we excited!

PPS: I have been reading a Jillian Michaels' book, which I love, but she said child-rearing doesn't count in the "high-activity" level lifestyle and I must humbly disagree. Maybe her stroller isn't as rickety as mine. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Joe Mav Turns 2

We had a birthday last weekend! Joseph Maverick Munion is 2! We thought a bug zoo would be appropriate, even though no bug is safe with him...lots of squished bugs around here...he just loves them to death is all. At least most of these were behind glass.
 Tarantulas everywhere. But the bees were the stars of the show.
They make honey. And we love honey.
Oh hey, you can hold them! How quaint. *Shutters*.
 There was a decent aquarium too.

 Eventually we made it into the butterfly pavilion. Thousands of butterflies fluttering freely around this beautiful enclosure. They liked Dave's neon shoes.
 Riley, who we thought would love this exhibit because she has been on a big butterfly kick lately, frequently flying around the apartment saying "I'm a bootiful butterfly!", actually was not a fan. More like the opposite. She could not abide butterflies landing on her arms and flying into her hair. So Dave took her to the face painting and I stayed with Joe.
It was pretty dreamy. I kept thinking of one of my favorite children's books, Girl of the Limberlost, although Elnora's thing was moths. I have never heard of any moth pavilions - they wouldn't be as marketable, I suppose. Regardless, the butterflies were lovely and Joe and I passed a very nice 20 minutes chasing them around and peering into bushes to see how many different ones we could see. He desperately wanted one to perch on his arm - every time we got close he would raise his arm up and hope, but they were (rightfully) wary.

Following the pavilion, we joined Riley and Dave for face painting (or, arm painting, as the case may be). We picked a good weekend to be there - they were celebrating the Pavilion's something-eth anniversary so in addition to the usual displays there were all kinds of games and snacks, face painting, a caricature booth, people dressed up like bugs and one very tall person on stilts.  How nice of the universe to arrange large community parties on our children's birthdays :)
Cockroach Race. Yuck!
Riley found another bee display. This bee expert is finding the queen bee for them.
Sitting for a portrait. It's a patient artist that will sketch these wiggly babies.

"And from up here you all look like little ants."
Afterwards, we went for ice cream. Well, fro yo - the Munions like to pile candy on top of and in addition to our frozen sugar milk. Hey, it's a birthday!
 That is, almost a birthday.

It was official on Sunday.

 Joe loved being the birthday boy - he got toys, books, handmade clothes from Mom, Belgium chocolates fresh off the boat from Don, Jake the Pirate toys and a soccer ball from us, and Jake the Pirate band aids from Riley. Really! She saw them at the store and begged us to "get them for my Joey." They have both sustained multiple, if invisible, wounds since then that required a band aid with a pirate on it.

Riley also got a dress from Mom that matches Joe's outfit and they have worn them two three days in a row now. But just try and get them to hold still for a picture!
And ah well.
The problem was they were too excited with Don and Jake there. Thanks for coming, you guys! That's two birthdays in two months - you know you are a tradition now, right? 
It's safe to say our little boy had a happy birthday. We certainly enjoyed celebrating his two years with us - what a blessing he has been!

When I first saw him he was a little purple, a little long and scrapy looking and my first thought was, "I guess boys don't come out as pretty." But my second thought, when they laid him on my chest was, "I have a son and I'm going to love him everyday for the rest of my life." Man, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was dead gone on him; still am.

It took about a week for me to become convinced he was smart and on his way to handsome. Before he could crawl, he showed a determined, patient nature - repeatedly reaching for toys that were too far away till he wiggled or rolled into reach, but if we moved them into reach he quickly lost interest. He has developed into a very loyal and affectionate toddler with the merriest eyes when he is amused. I could go on but lest I come off braggy (too late?), let's wrap this up.

Thank you for all the light you bring into our lives, Joe! We love you!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Interview with Riley

I have been meaning to do an interview with Riley since her birthday. Now she is 3 and can sort of answer some questions. I think it would be fun to do one of these every year, at least until she is a teenager and too cool for me. It makes for a fun afternoon, though! Love you, Riley girl!

Golden Farmers' Market

Last weekend we went to Golden again, this time for the farmers' market. I love a farmer's market! This one isn't as big as St. Paul's but is REALLY good for people watching, kettle corn, dog watching, and of course, local produce, vendors, what have you.
What a Daddy! Be it known, Riley selected his outfit this morning. Guess she wanted to get us going!
Fair Trade stall with handmade baskets from Ghana.

In line for balloon animals.
Minuet II! Riley took some convincing that the cello wasn't actually a big violin.
 Joe offered a balloon snake as his token of appreciation.
We picked up some homemade wheat bread and raw honey, which made me feel very "of the earth" this week :)

Sunday we had some friends from Dave's work over and they brought their beautiful little 7 lb baby. I was a little concerned when Joe approached her (Riley is no worry - she loves the babies - says they're "soooo coot!") but he held out his hands and said, "Hold! Pease!"
Turns out, Joe loves little babies too. It's just the ones who can crawl around and take his stuff he is not so fond of.

This week Dave went in Mexico and Texas for business. You know, for an intern, Dave seems to do a lot of legitimate work. They are getting their money's worth out of him - none of this coffee-run stuff, which is clever of them because Dave's awesome. I am so proud of him! But we miss him when he's gone!

I kept the babies super busy so A) they wouldn't get to sad and B) bedtime would be nice and easy. Tuesday was especially busy. Tuesdays are the best day! Largely due to phonetics. Taco Tuesday. Toddler Tuesday. Target Tuesday...Target marks down women's clothes on Tuesday, apparently...the things you learn at Mom's group. Oh, and our local theater has 1 dollar matinees for kids every Tuesday! I took Riley and Joe once, to see the Lego Movie. Unfortunately it was a little intense for them and we left after ten minutes because Riley was yelling, "I don't like this!" at every lego-flame explosion.

Anyways, Tuesday we went hiking, then we went to Cafe Rio, because the one by our house has 5 buck salads and burritos on Tuesday so of course, and then we went swimming, napping, walking to the park, dinner, another walk, and bed by 7! Success! I had planned to catch up blogging that night but guess what: in my zest to wear out the kids, I exhausted myself too and ended up passing out with one on each side! The best laid plans...
This is Riley's official hiking skirt. I ask her if she wants to hike and she runs for this skirt.
It's hard to believe our time here is coming to an end in three more weeks. I don't even think we've been here long enough to feel like we aren't on vacation (and how great is that?!) We hike and swim and explore every week. We haven't explored the half of it yet, and I know if we end up moving here next year it will be a good place to settle down, although, who knows? We could end up anywhere at this point.

2 more baby antics to take us out? Here we go:
Riley "hiding". She giggles and calls to us way to loudly to hide effectively, but it is a good spot!
We were discussing the upcoming beach trip at dinner and Joe started piling his food up like this. "San. Castle," he said.
Now go have a great Thursday!
*Great "Tabless Thursday" video and great blog post about single-tasking found here.