"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Friday, June 29, 2012

This Crazy Fire

Night in the day over Pinedale 
 This is a picture overlooking our town at 4:30 pm yesterday.  It was so smoky that it was dark enough to make the street lights come on, and people had their headlights on to drive.  You can see the street in the picture, with everyone's lights on.  In the house, it was so dark we couldn't see across the room without a light on.  I left the lights off for naptime, then we watched a movie in the dark.  We haven't been able to let the kids go outside in the afternoons at all, so we get all our outside playing time in in the mornings.  I've been keeping them up a little later so they nap later into the afternoon.

 We had a ton of debris again.  This was just taken around 4, but by evening, it was about triple this much.

 We have had a lot of pretty sunset pictures though.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We Finally Got a Camper!

 This camper might not look like much to some of you, but to me, it's a direct answer to prayer.  I've been praying for a camper just like this for almost 5 years - same age, same price, and this one is even in better condition than I had hoped.

 It's a 23.5 foot Prowler, and it came with all sorts of extras - things like a load leveling hitch with sway control, high mount axles, an awning, new tires, and even the dishes, cups, pots and pans!  I just have to load up the bedding, food and clothes and we can be on our way!!

 The inside is in wonderful condition, especially given how old it is.  The front end has a dining table that folds down into a bed, and the cabinet above it also folds down into a bunk.

 Looking back from the door, the kitchen is on the left, with a bathroom on the right.  Beyond that is a bedroom with two single beds, with bunks above each of them.

 There are a lot of cabinets and tons of storage all over the place.

 The bathroom is in really good condition too, and even has a little tub (which will come in very handy as we'll be camping with three young boys!).

This picture is looking back toward the front from the bedroom area.  So now I just need to round up our supplies and get it all loaded.  I'm sure once we figure out all the things we need, it won't be difficult at all to be ready to head out :)

Burning Up ... Literally

 There are so many fires in the west right now.  I guess it just hadn't occurred to me that we could have one in our own back yard.  My sister and her family were evacuated from their home due to the High Park fire in Colorado.  Now we have our very own smoke to deal with.

 They're calling it the Fontenelle Fire and you can read more about it here or here.  That second link takes a little while to load, but once it does it shows a map.  If you zoom way out on the map you can see where all the fires are in the west - and there are a lot of them.  Ours is roughly 30 miles from us, with no chance of getting to us, but we sure are getting a lot of smoke and ash.  I was surprised by it Tuesday afternoon, when the sky suddenly became orange, and smoky.  The front edge of the smoke got to us and we could hardly see more than two blocks.  The car had ash all over it within minutes. 

 I'm really shocked at how far the ash and debris carries.  I'm not sure you can tell in the picture, but there are unburned pine needles in the ash too - along with burnt ash and other debris.  These pictures were taken within half an hour of the smoke moving in, so you can guess how much more we've had.

 Later in the evening, the wind changed and the smoke lifted a bit, which was nice.  We even were able to go for a little walk without any breathing difficulty.

 It was eerie when the sun peeked under the smoke cloud.  Everything was glowing orange.

I was hoping that it would just be the one day problem, but yesterday afternoon - around the same time as the day before - the smoke moved in again.  I wish the pictures showed more accurately the color of the sun - it was neon pink the first day, and bright orange/red yesterday.  Anyway, I hope we don't have to deal with this smokiness all summer.  I'm glad we don't live in the town that is right next to the fire.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quick Emergency Trip to Idaho Falls

 We got home from Fort Collins late Sunday night, but had to get up super early to get to Idaho Falls Monday morning.  Unfortunately my eight year old was having problems with his blood sugar, and has now been diagnosed with diabetes.  He will have to do shots of insulin for the rest of his life (at the moment, it's four shots each day, plus checking his blood sugar with a glucometer which requires pricking his fingers.)  He's taking it pretty well though.

On our way to Idaho, we came across a typical scene in Wyoming ... cowboys moving cattle down the main highway.

After his appointment, he wanted to go to the museum.  They have the King Tut exhibit right now.  It was interesting, but not as cool as some of the other things we've seen.  The titanic display was so much better - it had at least three times as much stuff, and it was original stuff.  This was all just replicas.

 This is an interesting story of the supposed Pharaoh's curse.  If you click on the picture I think it will get big enough to read.

 Eww.  A mummy.  Thankfully it was a replica - ha.

 We thought this looked like quite the bed, but it was labeled as a couch.  The bed they had was tiny - not even as big as a twin, and very short.  I'm not sure my eight year old would have been able to sleep comfortably on it ... maybe just the right size for him, but I can't imagine an adult being comfortable there.

 The favorite room for the eight year old was the kids' discovery room.  It was a lot like the children's museum we were just at - only much smaller and simpler.

 My camera died halfway through the museum  (I hadn't recharged it after taking almost 500 pictures at the aquarium and children's museum) so I had to use my phone, which doesn't do so well in low light.  We weren't allowed to use a flash at all in the museum.  Anyway, this picture is kind of fuzzy, but I thought it was cute/funny.

In case you can't tell, that's a raccoon on his head.  Gives a whole new meaning to coon skin cap - ha.

This was inside the log cabin.

 Here he was with an actual (immitation) coon skin cap and a horse made from a barrel with a mop head for a mane. Fun.

 After we saw the King Tut display, we toured the local history section.  They have a lot of neat things, and several of the displays are set up in buildings or sections of buildings along what is made to look like a street.  Pretty cool.  This was an old school room.

 This was my favorite display - the Millinery/Dressmaking shop.

 Here's another view - where you can see the sewing machine.

 This was another fun display -a typical kitchen.  The sign in front explained that the women of the town of New Sweden started cooking extra food so the school children could have hot lunches instead of cold.

Here is the sign if you want to read it.  It's pretty interesting.

Denver Children's Museum

 After our visit to the aquarium and lunch at the Mexican place, we headed over to the Children's Museum. 
(We had originally planned to visit the zoo, but when they forecast temperatures of 103, we opted for indoor entertainment.)  It was much cooler there, and quieter too.  There were less people and more space to move around, and the kids could run and play.

 We all LOVED the baby/toddler area.  So fun, and very well designed and decorated.  I was really inspired to try to create that type of atmosphere in my daycare.  Problem is we have the daycare in our home and don't have a separate space for it, so it's difficult to do that.  I'm considering finding a different building where I can re-create something like this.

 This area was a pond - made with a fabric covered squishy pad and pillows that look like rocks.  They had hand puppets that looked like turtles and other pond animals.  The chicken is a puppet too, but the three year old brought it over from a different area.

 There were carpet covered climbing things and tunnels through logs.  The whole floor was green for grass, with a blue stream running through it.  They had laminate in areas to look like bridges over the stream.

 There were mirrors where the babies could see themselves.  Mine was more interested in trying to pick at the bracket holding the mirror to the wall.

 Each area was set up with a different theme.  They even had a boat - the Minnow (lol) - that would wiggle when the kids moved.  They had fishing poles and stuffed animal fish with ropes on their mouths so they could be hooked.

 His uncle was wiggling the fish.  He wasn't sure what to think of that.

 Looks like he's excited to go fishing, don't you think?

 Upstairs, the different rooms are more geared toward older kids.  But the three year old was still able to participate in most things.  The eight year old spent most of his time (while we were in the baby/toddler area) building a massive train track.

 I love that there are so many tables and that he was able to connect them all together.  They have little stools that help bridge everything together.

 He even made it so it went downhill to the shorter stools.  I think he used every piece of track in the room.

 They also have a room that is all about bubbles.  Very fun, but very messy.

 There is a room full of art easels and tables and chairs.  They have aprons too, which is much appreciated ;)

 The baby's favorite thing was all the stuffed animals and puppets.

 He was so excited by all the toys that he even figured out how to crawl!  Now he goes everywhere.  (And since we've gotten home, he has been trying to pull himself up to standing too.

 They even have tunnels that go a long ways.

 And there are costumes too - this is a bird of some sort.  They also had an earthworm costume, a squirrel, and something else I can't remember.

 Near the market area they have a pizza kitchen - complete with real pots, pans and utensils.  The pizza parts are felt and the kids are able to create whatever type of pizza they want.

It's nice that the pizza kitchen is right next to the store - so when you run out of supplies, you can run to the store :)

 This is the rocket room.  The eight year old said this was his second favorite area (after the trains).  The hanging parts are planets and the kids were able to shoot paper cones through the planets.  They could make their own cones or use the ones that are already there.

 The cones are placed over tubes that can be adjusted and aimed, then they press the blue "air" button and watch the gauge to see how high the psi is.  When it's fully pressurized, they hit the red "launch" button.

 They have a puppet theater too, with the curtain and everything.  There were so many areas that I can't even show them all to you - like the veterinarian clinic, the magnetic "word wall," and the "recycling center" - where kids could build things from trash.  (They even supply patterns).

 This room was really dark, and had a white lighted floor, which would react to you. Wherever you stepped, a light circle would form and follow you.  If you got close to someone else, your circle would either grow really big, or combine into two half-circles.

 Everyone had fun testing that one out.

 (See my baby doing pushups in the background?)

 He was getting pretty close to standing up.  I guess now that he has figured out how to crawl, he's going to try to do everything at once :)

 Outside they have "Hopscotch" - a chalkboard cow.  I think it's fun that they have old metal tractor seats lining the area where the cow is.  I don't think you're really supposed to sit on the cow, but oh well.

 Right next door to the museum is an amusement park.  They had a fun looking ride that is called "Halfpipe" - and has a skateboard that rocks back and forth.  The people sit in little clusters at each end that also spin around. Thinking about it makes me queasy - ha.  No stomach for amusement park rides anymore.

After our busy day, we decided to make a rest stop at Krispy Kreme.  It was a fun, exhausting day :)