Monday, October 7, 2013

Half Sleep-Over

For Stella's 8th birthday we threw a "half sleep-over" party.  I won't lie, I shamelessly copied the whole idea from a Pinterest pin.  Cause that's how I roll. 

The party was from 5:00-9:00 and was technically horse themed.  However, if anyone knows me, I'm not really into themes all that much.  It isn't that I don't like it or wouldn't want to be one of those that can pull off the parties where everything down to the toilet paper is part of the theme; its just that my creativity only goes so far sometimes.  Basically, the invitation had a horse on it and they watched a horse movie...does 2 things a theme make?  I shall ask my English teacher hubby...

While all the guests were arriving, the girls (and H-man) played Wii Just Dance upstairs. I'm pretty sure this is "Eye of the Tiger."  Stinkin cute.

After all the girls arrived in their finest jammery, we worked on their "party-favors."  We'd bought mason jars for each guest and 5 big boxes of sugar cereal.  You know, the kind you used to always want but all you got was Cheerios or Life?  We put the cereal in big bowls in the middle of the table and everyone filled up their jar to their heart's content.  It was so interesting to see some of the kids only fill it up half-way and politely say they had enough.  Then there was the birthday girl stuffing handfuls in her mouth the whole time and Hudson who filled his to the tippy-top with the sugariest in the lot. 

Next, they got to decorate their jars with puffy paint.  We had some real artists in the bunch!  I do have to admit that this part was not on Pinterest and I hadn't really thought through what you can use on glass...soooo...two trips to Michael's and a bunch of art-supplies that probably are not returnable later, I finally ended up with something that worked.  Note to self: just stick to what it says on Pinterest.  Don't go getting all fancy and having your own ideas.

Dinner was a pasta extravaganza!  Okay, we had two kinds of noodles and two kinds of sauce...again, I think this qualifies in my book as an extravaganza.  We meant to have a green veggie along with the pasta and bread, but alas, it didn't get cooked in all the excitement and needless to say, it wasn't missed by the party-goers. 

Next, on to the movie!  Stella has been really into the Misty of Chincoteague story, so I was super excited to find the old movie on Amazon.  Once again, I probably should have stuck with the script here and used the movie the other Mom had written about.  The movie was okay, but it was pretty slow in parts and the girls started to lose interest.  They did manage to consume an extraordinary amount of popcorn, however.  I don't have a picture of how cute everyone was cuddled up in the dark eating popcorn and watching the movie.  I do have a picture of the aftermath...

We did the traditional gift-opening and candle-blowing during the party as well.  Stella opted to not have a cake and just have the popcorn and smoothies instead, so we propped her 8 candles in a bowl of candy corn and serenaded her like only a group of second-grade girls can do-- "Cha, Cha, Cha!"

At the end of the evening, as we waited for parents, I rolled out the Twister board.  It was a little tricky because some of the kids still aren't 100% confident in their lefts and rights, but they managed it all right. 

Finally, everyone was picked up and we all spent an hour or so coming down off the half sleep-over high.  It was really fun to have all Stella's sweet little friends in our house and be able to have a great party without spending a ton of money.  I would do it again in a heart-beat.  Okay, give me another 11 months and 20 days to recover and then I'll be ready.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Summer Rewind

Frogs, water, studying, road trips, friends and family - yup, that pretty much sums up our summer.

Isn't it crazy sometimes when you look back and realize time has just. flown. by.  My last post was at the end of June.  CRAZY!

Here is my version of a summer rewind to get caught up.  There were of course a lot of other things that didn't make it into the photos, such as Hudson turning 5 and Vivi turning 2.  We also took a weekend trip to Georgetown Lake with my co-workers where everyone kayaked and tubed, but somehow I didn't end up with any of those pictures on my computer. 

Regardless of what we captured and what we didn't, the summer was hot, busy and wonderful.  I'm ready for the change of seasons though.  I know Stella loves running around without shoes, but we really are a winter family.  Bring on the snow and skiing!

*The pictures didn't quite load in order and I have decided not to waste time getting them into chronological order.  Think of this as hitting the "random" button on our summer pics.

Mr.'s happy place - on the Lochsa River during the return trip from McCall, Idaho.

This picture encapsulates what Stella and Hudson are always doing.  That is, looking down into the water for minnows or looking in the grass for some kind of creature.  They'd just finished their first "river snorkeling" lesson.

Somehow I thought it was a good idea to drive all the way to Iowa two weeks before my exam.  Luckily, Pouli and YaYa took the wild ones in their car most of the trip.  This is what I did most of the trip - study, study, study!

We stayed at a nice KOA on the way to and from Iowa.  It had a cute little playground which the kids loved.  Here is our just-turned-two-year-old climbing around on the monkey bars like, well, like a monkey!  That girl...I'm pretty sure I have a few new gray hairs from that.

I will never forget the kids running around in the evening at the reunion on Lake Okoboji, catching fireflies.  Hudson has one in his hand here, but my mediocre phone camera skills didn't quite capture the glow. 

Looking a little dorky for our pontoon boat ride around Lake Okoboji. 

The KOA we stayed at was right at 1880's Town in the middle of South Dakota.  The kids LOVED it.  I was skeptical at first, but loved watching the kids run around and discover.  Hudson particularly liked the bottles of ginger beer we bought in the saloon.  Here he is bellied up to the bar.  I seriously crack up every time I look at this picture of him with his little arm reaching way up there.

After he'd finished his "beer" he insisted on carrying the empty bottle around and posing with it.  Here is in in "jail" with his "beer." 

Skip ahead to our wonderful week-long vacation to McCall, Idaho.  I knew we would all need a break after I took my test in Phoenix, so we planned a trip to meet Zach and Lori at Lori's cabin.  It really could not have been better.  It was a true vacation for us.  I was done with my test and we just HUNG OUT.  So nice.  Vivi is showing her little cousin Gracelyn the finer points of the iPad. 

All the Klotovich-side cousins!  They LOVED little Gracie and I can't wait to get the kids together more so they can know their cousins as well as Mr. and I both got to when we were kids.

There was a pond behind the cabin we stayed in, and Mr. took the olders out fishing in the canoe every evening.  Heaven. 

The second half of the week we got to hang out with Mr.'s brother's family.  I snapped this pic because the kids happened to notice that they were wearing almost the exact same outfit and thought they should probably stand back-to-back to see who was taller...notice any cheating going on???

We spent an idyllic afternoon on the North Beach of Payette Lake.  There was a brackish backwater area near the beach where the kids spent hours trying to catch minnows.  Here is the minnow catcher that Mr. fashioned out of a ziploc bag, twigs and rope.  Mike was nice enough to be the minnow facilitator most of the afternoon.

One of the rare family pics.  An evening in McCall after dinner at the brewery and then ice cream by the lake shore.  Seriously, it was a wonderful vacation.  One week was definitely not long enough. 

I know this doesn't look too interesting or exciting, but it is to is my test results...I passed!!!  Woohoo!  Yippee! 

Mr.'s wonderful cousin Maria from Minnesota and her beautiful family visited us in late August.  The kids became fast friends and we spent a fun day up in Big Sky hiking and hanging out.

Here is one of the frog's of the summer.  These kids were FROG CRAZY!  Everywhere we went, they were catching something. 

Random picture from earlier in the summer...a day in Yellowstone Park turns interesting when Vivi slips and falls into a pile of fresh bison poo.  It just isn't an adventure with us unless someone is falling into poo or almost losing her hearing aid over the hot springs board walk. 

Hiking up Spanish Creek when Grandma Candy and Grandpa Pete were visiting.  Our goal was to try to hike one day every weekend.  That quickly went by the wayside, but we did have some nice family hikes.

Everyone was at Spanish Creek that day, even Penny and Pouli and YaYa. *Note Stella with the butterfly net..."I MUST. CATCH. SOMETHING!"

Back to Iowa here - we stayed a Lutheran Bible camp that had the coolest tire swing EVER.  All the kids had so much fun in this thing. 

Hudson and his second cousin, Alaric, making their way down to the lake.  So sweet!

The lake had two awesome floating swimming docks including one with a slide.  Of course, Mr. couldn't be left out of the action. 

Stella got right into the action too. 

Even Hudson embraced his inner dare-devil and went hurtling down the slide. He only did it once.

Pouli and the kids enjoying everything a summer should be about.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The best worst day of travel

For most people, today would have been an absolute travel disaster. An 8 hour delay out of the Bozeman airport totally threw off our travel schedule to San Francisco. I decided to make the best of a bad situation...

We arrived at the airport at 4:45 am only to be told the plane had mechanical trouble. We were told it would be at least 4 hours until departure. Rather than sticking around the airport, we decided to head back to Pouli and Yaya's house. I proceeded to get in one if my best study sessions in weeks!

A few other highlights from the day:

* The airline ticket agent, Phillip, told my Dad that he raised wonderful daughters. He also knows TSA officer Moeller (aka Meggie). Apparently, we were the nicest people he'd encountered all day.

* The restaurant had a veggie burger on the menu.

* The pilot said "hunky-dory"

* I got to hold hands with my sweet boy during take-off.

When we did FINALLY get on the plane, the flight went a liitle something like this:

"Why certainly miss flight attendant, I would love a glass of red wine. And you have a vegan Mediterranean snack pack for a mere $6...why yes, I will take one. What's that? It has olives in a foil pack and dark chocolate that I can eat with my complimentary wine? Does life get any better?"

Oh wait, it does. I got to close my eyes for a short snooze after my tapas smorgasbord. I call this vacation!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 13, 2013

Update on Vivi Lee

What can I say? Our Vivi is one ball of constant energy.  Her energy is usually directed at getting something she wants but can't have like candy from the pantry.  Here she has gotten a chair from the dining room, pushed it all the way to the pantry and then climbed up and pointed at what she wants.  Of course, the answer is usually, "No, no Vivi" which does not go over well.  Her usual response to that is either an arm cross with a furrowed brow, a full-on floor fit, or an extremely loud-pitched scream. 


She is not all tantrums and stink-eyes however.  In fact, she is a very sweet, smart little toddler that happens to have gotten an early case of the Terrible Twos or "TTs" as we call them.

Somehow, she slows down enough to pick up some words and work on her language.  We've dramatically reduced how much we are taking her to speech therapy.  Since she was hitting all of her milestones, the speech therapist thought it was okay to go to a quarterly check-in.  We just went this last week and Lisa, her therapist, was happy to see her starting to link some things together like "shoes on" or "I got it." 

Her only concern was that when she tries to form some words, Vivian pulls in her bottom lip instead of pushing it out.  So we need to work with her on making the "ooooo" sound like in "who" and "peek-a-boo."  She suggested we do things like have her blow bubbles and try to blow a cotton ball across the table. 

Here she is reading one of her favorite books while Hudson helps from the sidelines. 

Vivi reading with Hudson

One of the other really big developments is that she no longer has to wear her pilot caps!  She'd been doing a really good job at home of not pulling out her hearing aids. So, about a month ago we decided to try having her not wear her hat to daycare, and voila! no more hats!  I love seeing her cute little curls and getting to do hair-do's.

She's on her third pair of ear molds now.  In March, we decided that the current pair were getting a little loose in her ears so we went in to the audiologist.  She did great getting the pink goo squirted in her ears.  It took a few weeks for them to come in but now they are nice and snug in her ears.  This may have been a contributing factor to her keeping them in without her hats.

At the same appointment, we tried a round of "behavioral hearing testing" where we go into this little sound-proof room and face a big mirror.  The audiologist plays or says sounds into a microphone that play on either side of the room.  The idea is to see if Vivi is turning her head to the sounds.  Now, as I explained before, this girl does NOT like to sit still.  So, sitting in a tiny little room on our laps with not much stimulation is torture for her.  She only lasts about 5 minutes, so I'm not sure how good of a test result we are getting.  

All-in-all, things are going well for this little lady. I am excited for her to get to the age where she can do hearing tests like dropping a ball in a box when she hears a sound.  It will be nice to get a better idea of what she is actually hearing.  In the meantime, we'll all try not to go deaf ourselves as she works her way through her defiant stage!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day treat

I had a most wonderful Mother's Day today. There are many things I could write about.

However, all I have in my mind at the moment is this dairy-free ice cream I discovered today. Best of all, it is made right here in Bozeman!

Yum...great way to end my day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ski Season - Part II

In the last post, I didn't get a chance to mention the fantastic lesson series Stella and Hudson took.  I will admit that I was a little nervous about it because we've always taught them ourselves.  We've always been those parents with a kid between our legs...

...for the last 5 years.

Our legs were tired.

We decided it was finally time to push our little fledglings out of the nest and let them try flying on their own.  After four Sundays of fantastic instruction with nothing more than a wink, a nod and a small credit card balance they did!

Kids rippin' Lone Creek Gully

Hudson flys down the hill to Mommy and Pouli

Stella works on her hockey stop

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ski Season - Part I

We finally bit the bullet this year and bought season passes to Moonlight Basin Resort in Big Sky.  The Mr. thought his ship had really come in when I announced last fall that I was ready to make skiing "our thing." 

I won't lie, it was hard for me to swallow the original cost of the passes and some of the extra gear we had to buy.  In fact, it was quite hard because we only had one and 1/2 incomes this year due to our decision for Mr. Yost to work part-time in a job-share.  However, we aren't too extravagant with our other expenses, so I knew we could make it work. 

The year had some serious ups and downs.  Luckily, it was mostly ups. We had so many experiences that I decided to split it up into two posts.  Hopefully I can put a couple little video clips in the next one.  

Here we are now heading into the last weekend and I think we've hit somewhere close to 17 ski days for the season!  I can't believe it.  It was certainly worth every penny and then some. 

The first day back in December.  Stella and Hudson were a little apprehensive the first few days on the hill.

Gotta love this boy.  He is content to sit on the lift and "scope out his lines."  He also could be heard saying things like, "ski good or eat wood!" which I think he learned from one Mr. Yost's ski movies. 

I already feel like Stella has grown up so much since we took this picture.  in fact, last weekend she rode the chairlift all by herself!

Over New Year's we were fortunate to have "Uncle Boise", Lori and Gracie join us.  It was little Gracie's first time in a full snowsuit.  She doesn't seem to mind...I hope we get her up on the slopes in a few years with us. 

Viv and cousin Gracie

With the massive amounts of STUFF we seem to need we had to come up with a creative way to get it all from the car to the lodge. 

Eek!  Yep, we all skied when it was 5 below zero.  We even survived to tell about it. 

This was a picture I found on my phone that Stella had taken of the table in the lodge.  I think she has a good eye.

Every once and a while we splurged for a little hot chocolate on the drive up.  And yes, splurging for me is buying one for them to share!

We tried getting Vivi out on the little plastic skis  a few times.  I wouldn't say she "liked" it. 

A whiteout during one of the drives home.  Not fun.

About half-way through the season we had to split these two up in the car.  The brotherly/sisterly love only lasts for so many shared hot chocolates.

This is the view we always see as we turn off the main highway to go up to the hill.  Breathtaking every time. 


Passed this on the side of the road the day of that whiteout.  This was one of probably 5 accidents we witnessed. 

A little surface hoar glistening in the early morning March sunlight at the lodge.