Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tourist-in-Our-Town Trippin' Two

Let's face it: as nice and new as your house might be, a change of scenery is always good. We finally reached the point where we physically needed to do something fun, yet inexpensive, and new, so we decided to go back to Pompey's Pillar, a National Monument we tried to see the year before but was closed (although, as we learned during this visit, if the park is closed, you can still hike in).

Most recently being in the news for an angsty-adolescent's graffiti, the monument is most famous for being the only physical evidence of William Clark's journey. According to the guy who took our money, Clark climbed the "pillar" to get a better view of the Yellowstone River in order to map it, and named it Pompey after Sacagawea's son. So, since Clark climbed the pillar, as did we.

Excited that she actually gets to climb the giant rock behind her. (She has reached the age of wanting to dress herself, so the pj's were her idea. As many of my friends and family pointed out, at least she's wearing pants.)

We all have to take pictures in front of the monument, like it's a long-lost family member.

 That's right - eight months pregnant and I hiked up this bitch! I'm determined to get rid of the old-man butt I've had since the early months of Zoey's pregnancy.

 William Clark's signature, about halfway up the pillar.

 It's surrounded by various other signatures from over the centuries.

Stopping for a rest, something she didn't want to do but Mommy found necessary. P.S. Taking an energetic child to a place with miles of stairs is pure genius. She even encountered another girl about a year or two younger than her who was also named Zoey. It was refreshing to encounter someone who had a human named Zoey instead of someone who beamed at us while they proudly declared that their dog was named Zoey.

 View from the top.

 We hiked - and by "hike" I mean took the stairs - back down and walked around the rest of the park. At one point was this giant slab of rock with the signatures on it, up close and personal. We're not sure of the purpose of it, if it's a replica, or where it came from.

 The very high, very swift-moving Yellowstone River.

Hopefully the water wasn't like that when they had to travel in these treacherous-looking canoes, which were top of the line in their day, I'm sure.

Although our approach to summer hasn't been nearly as rapid as in previous years, we've had our fair share of extremely warm days. On one such day, I decided I needed to get the children - fur and non- good and exercised. The problem is, Billings doesn't have a lot of options for dogs (off-leash, specifically), especially for swimming. So I took advantage of a weekday and took us all to Conney Dam (weekends are notorious for being boat-to-boat crowded).

 There goes Louis!

 Durbin always manages to look humiliated no matter what he's doing.

 The non-fur child had to get in on the mud action as well.


 That's Louis way out there. Mr. Likes To Ignore That He's a Senior Citizen was sore and crabby a good two days after this adventure. (Quite honestly, so was I.)

 Keeping this one away from water is about as easy as keeping Louis away from water.

 Playing in the dirt is a close equal. She asked me to take a picture of her "building my sand castle."

 Very proud of the *very* small shell she found.

 We lucked out and I was right - the park was empty because we went in the middle of the week so I didn't have to worry about who Durbin was off humping. And it turned out to be a perfect day in terms of the weather.

The explorer and her beast companions.

We're lucky to live in an area where we have access to "changes of scenery" that aren't very far away. We have plans to do more far and wide traveling but not until the McBun has joined us. So until then, we'll continue to enjoy being tourists in our own town.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Oasis

Our house is located within walking distance of the one and only water park in Billings. With our population barely cresting 100,000, our The Oasis is definitely no Water World. And that is definitely ok.

The prices are reasonable, the size of the park is manageable, and the trance it has held over our child since moving in last November is magical. Having to drive passed it every time we leave or come back to the house, Zoey has, literally, been asking to go to the water park since it was covered in snow. So you can imagine her jubilation when the wait was FINALLY over and we could make the trek to her Shangri La: The Oasis.

 Starting things off in the little-people area.

 "The water park is so AWESOME!" (Actual quote as this picture was being taken.)

 Once she was familiar with - and sufficiently wet from - the slide, she ventured to the wave pool, which is a puddle in comparison to those at other major water parks, THANK GOD!

 Then it was on to the medium-people slide.

 The medium-sized-people area was more like a playground jungle gym that sprayed and dumped water. To be honest, the majority of the park is to the benefit of little-to-medium-sized people. There are two big-people slides, and a small "lazy-river" type thing, but not nearly enough to keep an already bored high schooler from *still* being bored. As for full-grown adults, there's nothing for us to do except sit in the waves, watch our children have all the fun, and remember fondly what it was like to have so much energy.

 I can think of one person who certainly wasn't bored. For the entire three hours we were there, she was full-throttle, non-stop excitement and energy. Towards the end of the day, though, I did catch her shivering in the pool and stifling a yawn, yet insisting she wasn't at all tired or ready to leave.

 Look out, water park, here comes Zoey!

 In the middle of all the action, our little girl is growing up. *SNIFF*

The face of a great day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Montana Nowhere Trippin'

My mom asked me awhile back, "Have you gone anywhere? Done any road-tripping?"

Sadly, the answer was no and still is. But we've been enjoying being in our house, getting it cleaned, organized, and how we like it, and spending time getting to know what and who is in our neighborhood. Turns out it's lots of very nice people who also have dogs that bark at the front windows whenever someone walks by.

With me nearing my due-date, travel will continue to shrink to places that aren't very far from the hospital. But with summer quickly approaching, the door to a lot more activities has suddenly been opened.

Until then, here's what we're been up to...

 Ever growing, ever changing.

 ...Into Spider Man!

 Being very Spider-y.

 Always time for snuggles, of course.

 Durbin knows - you're just plain foolish if you don't love Cookie Monster.

 And learning!

 She said, "Mom! Take a picture of be gluing!"

 Zoey's Abstract Period. The product of learning how to cut and paste.

 And then she declared, "I'm off to school!" (Which will be a rude awakening when she discovers wearing pants is required.)

Durbin has been learning new things too! ;-)

 Otherwise, we're just waiting around for summer.

And Durbin is waiting around for his rightful lick at the ice cream cone.

 We may open a Big Top...We're thinking about it...

 Or start a band...

 Must be one of their more emotional numbers.

Or we've just been waiting for our tide to come in...

 Gotta get the lawn ready for those impeding hot temperatures!

 Ok, I was mistaken; one of us has been able to do some roadtrippin'. "I'm goin' to Grandma and Grandpa's house!"

"I'm here!"

At the end of May, Jacob and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary and took advantage of my parents visiting to have a date night. It wasn't anything outlandish or fancy, we just did what we both like to do. The best part of any date night is the ease in which we transform into just two people who enjoy spending time together; not husband and wife, not mother and father. Just Jacob and Breanne who wouldn't want to spend time with anyone else.

 Jacob got to drive a favorite of his many vehicles.

 Our first stop was Two Moon Park. With all the snow we got - and all the rain we had been getting - we knew the river would be pretty high and wanted to check it out. The grass poking up in the distance used to be an island.

 Then we went to one of our favorite places to eat - The Staggering Ox. They have this salad - SOB (Salad of Billings) - that I actually crave, and not just when I'm pregnant. And everyone I know who tries it says it's the best thing ever. But their true claim to fame is what Jacob had - a sandwich in their trademarked can-looking bread that is much easier to eat than you'd think.

 Part of our date also consisted of Jacob driving through mud and puddles. I guess if you have those tires, you should probably do something with them... *sigh* I joked that between taking his Jeep on our date, listening to Railroad Earth (a band I can take or leave but mostly leave), and driving through puddles, he was really just on a date with himself.

 On our way back from dinner, we stopped at another area of the Yellowstone River to take a walk. Nope, won't be going that way, I guess.

 We walked a little ways before my weariness and craving for frozen yogurt took over.

From there we went to Cherry Berry for fro-yo and took the long way home. We got back just in time to say goodnight to Zoey so it was an all-around successful evening.

Going through the pictures later, I realized Jacob and I have worn these outfits before. Oh, this picture makes me laugh! (And wow do we need to go clothes shopping!)
(July 2009 and May 2014)