Monday, June 29, 2015

Little Trippin'

My close-as-you-can-get-with-one-living-in-Montana-and-the-other-living-in-Florida friend, Robert, asked me if the fam and I had been roadtrippin' lately. I told him that while I still (marginally) keep up with my blog, no, we don't really roadtrip anymore, as the highlight of my existence stems largely from our crazy lives at home, recent awesome vacation to Tucson not withstanding. But while we don't travel far, we are able to do a little bit of here-and-there trippin'.

(Sidenote: If you live in Florida, or in any of the states within driving distance, and require photographic services, look no further than Robert Hunter Photography. He recently started out and has a natural talent for the art. I only *wish* he could take my picture. Maybe one day when he's famous and I'm a D-list celebrity for my Hallmark movie.)

Leaving the house is a production I try to avoid at all costs but every once in a great while, I work up the courage. As the kids get older and more active, leaving the house turns into something I do just to keep them busy until nap time. So here are some ways I've been doing that:

 The playground is always a popular choice, until it gets too hot, of course. Would you believe it's not uncommon for it to get over 100-degrees in Montana?

 Holding her own with the boys.

Swing King.

The Manly McIntyre Men.

 Anywhere with a play area is also high on my list and the mall is one such place. In fact, we only ever really go to the mall to visit the play area.

 Baby geniuses.

 Sometimes we leave the house out of sheer necessity, and on one such occasion I turned it into a short, impromptu Girls Day. Zoey has adjusted remarkably well to having a baby in the family but I can tell she gets frustrated every now and then, so I've been trying to carve out little moments just for her, where she gets all of my attention. And it's positive attention; not my usual frazzled mom self. One rainy day, we ran a quick errand, then I spoiled her with hot chocolate and a giant cookie, and we sat in a coffee shop like grown ups.

 Cookie Beard doesn't work so well on me...

 The exact moment she realized her chocolate was in fact hot. I have to admit, I pat myself on the back for this one. I managed to hit the shutter at the precise moment her lips touched a shockingly hot cup of hot chocolate while simultaneously reaching for her to make sure she was ok (she was). Then we both laughed until we cried and she spent the rest of our time there trying to recreate the moment. Then she demonstrated for Daddy when we got home.

Some days I set aside specifically for a Mommy and Zoey date. Having a baby and having a "big kid," I appreciate each in their own special way. Oh, who am I kidding? I LOVE that Zoey is a big kid and can eat regular food, doesn't require a nap she'll ultimately fight, can be reprimanded for throwing a tantrum, can buckle her seat belt, and doesn't demand require to be held. I love being able to walk around with her and share experiences, especially since she's reached an age where special, undivided attention is important to her, and necessary. When I heard about the Billings Strawberry Festival I thought it would be a great thing for the two of us to do together; she loves strawberries and I love walking around outside in downtown Billings. One of those Jacob sort-of likes, the other Jacob would rather do without.

Welllllllllllll, the Strawberry Festival was some seriously weak strawberry sauce. We walked all around and didn't see a single strawberry in sight, save for the block-long strawberry shortcake with a line to get a piece being just as long. Watching people turn away from the cake with a pallet full of slices wasn't all that encouraging, either. My inner-Leslie Knope was thoroughly disappointed as I pictured a giant, tiered, skyscraper of a cake with a jolly old man passing out slices. As we decided against waiting the next few hours for a slice and turned away, Zoey said to me, "I thought it was going to be tall." After 30 minutes - including parking, walking from the car, navigating seriously long lines for Native American-themed crafts and Chinese food, and walking back to the car - we decided we didn't want our date to be over and headed to the nearest playground. Now *that* was fun.

 Now *this* is a Strawberry Festival!

 Not one drop, morsel, or bit made it into his mouth.

 What's a Strawberry Festival without an accompanying Banana Festival?

 Most of our regular outings, though, are walking the old men around the neighborhood.

If nothing else, leaving the house makes us appreciate coming home that much more. And we do manage to have fun within the confines of our property line.

 Preparing for our Big Top Garage Circus.

 Perfecting our selfie-skills.

 But whether we leave the house or not, we always do our makeup.

And dress in our best.

 As a 13-year old girl we came across during one of our neighborhood walks so eloquently said, as she blew bubbles with her friends and Zoey, "Bubbles are fun at every age."

 Always something to do outside!

 Montana roadtrippin'.

 Hey Girl. How *you* doin'?

Hmmm...maybe it's *not* best to "stop and smell the flowers."

While we may not travel the globe (yet), we do manage to keep busy and squeeze in some fun and make good memories. Our summer seems to be filling up nicely so who knows what more little trippin' is in store.

(Don't forget to book Robert for all your photographic needs! Click on the "Robert!" Happy modeling!)