Monthly Archives: June 2010

Montana

We are finally on vacation in Montana.  I’ve been wanting to bring the boys to Montana for a year and a half, but circumstances kept delaying our trip.  So earlier this Spring I decided that we were coming to Montana to visit family and the kids and I were staying a while.  We are now two weeks into our 22 day trip.  We have had a great time and overall the adjustments have been minimal.  Three weeks, three different cities and half of vacation without Daddy could lead to some interesting issues, but so far so good!

We started our trip on June 7th and flew into Missoula, Travis’ hometown.  Because I had gotten bumped on a flight back in January and the airline had misplaced G’s car seat for the majority of my trip, I ended up with pretty good compensation.  I was able to find some creative tickets that helped us get to Montana for really good prices.  Unfortunately, it meant flying through Denver.  Thank goodness Trav was with us at the beginning of the trip.  The kids were pretty darn good on the plane, but it is a long day of flying when you go west.  Due to slight delays, we didn’t get to Missoula until around midnight.  Add in waiting for all of our luggage, having to put in car seats, pack all of our crap into the car and then drive to Trav’s parents house, and the boys didn’t get to bed until 1am local time (3am DC).  It was a VERY long day!  I’ll be flying home on my own with the boys, so I’m hoping that they rise to the occasion and behave perfectly for me.  Thankfully, the flights will be shorter!

We spent our first week with Travis’ family in Missoula.  I’ll post about this part of the trip individually, but the boys had a blast.  GG and Grandpa kept them busy with horses, a tractor and many trips into town to see the kid friendly sights.  Mama and Daddy even got two lunches out sans kiddos, a date and a little bit of shopping on our own.  It was blissful!  The downside was rain daily, but for the most part it didn’t keep the kids inside.  On Sunday of our first week, we left Missoula and headed to Great Falls to spend time with my parents, Mimi & Papa.

Our first afternoon at Mimi & Papa’s house was beautiful.  The weather was actually warm and we got to wear shorts for the first time since arriving in Montana.  (Don’t worry, I brought a ton of clothes for us, but none of it weather appropriate.  We’ve basically worn the same three or four outfits and done lots of laundry.  Ugh!)  The next day, Monday, was pretty nice too.  We hung out a bit with my parents and then were able to get together with my best friend from high school and her family.  The weather was good for that day too and we had the best time.  Our kids are the same ages and they were fast friends!  After Monday, the weather went to hell.  In Missoula it had rained every day, but at least it was mostly sprinkling.  In Great Falls it poured the whole time we were there.  It was miserable and completely prohibited us from getting to be outside.  Such a bummer!  Travis left on Wednesday of our week in Great Falls.  Unfortunately he couldn’t get away from work for 3 weeks.  You can’t imagine how quickly 10 days went though.  I think he was pretty sad to leave and of course we miss him badly.  I’m sure it is harder for him though, since he is home without us.  (Well, home for the most part.  He is in Las Vegas for a few days for the NHL awards.)  For Father’s Day Weekend my parents, the kids and I headed up to my Sister’s house in Kalispell. 

Kalispell has been great.  My parents were here for the weekend and headed back to Great Falls on Sunday.  The weather was a little better and we were able to enjoy some time outside again.  The boys were excited to have Father’s Day with Papa.  The weather has been marginally better in Kalispell.  We were able to wear shorts yesterday and spend time outside.  The boys can’t get enough of Uncle Beau and all his outdoor gear.  They’ve been playing like crazy and Jack has been quite the little helper.  Today we are headed back to Mimi & Papa’s house until Sunday.  We will spend time over the next few days in Fort Benton where my brother-in-law is from and out check out the Summer Celebration.  My parents are watching the boys overnight on Friday night so that I can hang out with Sis & Uncle Beau (and his sister “Aunt” Crysta) and then will bring the boys for the parade on Saturday.  Uncle Beau has plenty planned for the boys on Saturday, including fishing, and then Sunday we head back to Missoula.

We will be back with Travis’ family for a few days until we fly out on Tuesday.  I’m very excited about heading back to Missoula.  A friend from childhood is in the process of moving there right now, so we will get to see each other for the first time in 9 years.  We’ve been friends since before we started school but then lost touch a bit in adulthood.  Thanks to Facebook we have reconnected and I CAN NOT wait to see her and her beautiful family.  We will have a few days to catch up amidst her unpacking and getting settled.  Then on Tuesday we will head home.

Three weeks is a long time, especially when you have planned it to stay with family in 3 different places.  Somehow the time has gone pretty quickly.  The weather has basically sucked, although it is better than the heat advisory we’ve been missing in DC.  I’m not really ready for vacation to be over, but I am ready to see my dog.  And, I miss my husband terribly.  This is the longest I’ve been apart from Travis since our infamous summer breakup in 1999.  Two weeks is a very long time for us and bedtime without his help makes me appreciate him even more.  I’m pretty sure he was appreciating me when he had to do laundry and pack for his trip to Vegas.  I’m wondering if he’ll have to buy socks or some other random item ’cause he is the WORST at packing?!  Just a few short days of vacation left and then we are in the full swing of summer in DC.  Gosh, I might need a vacation from my vacation!

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Curious George Exhibit

I recently took the boys up to the Baltimore Children’s Museum to see the Curious George exhibit.  It was a pretty big hit!  Jack had actually seen the ad for it while watching the Curious George show on PBSkids.  He told me all about it but I didn’t initially believe him.  He kept bugging me about it and finally said “just Google it”.  I did, and yep, he was right.  That kid is too smart for his own good.  And I’m still reeling from the fact that he knew was Google is used for.

A friend had told me to not get to the museum too early because of the school groups.  She suggested doing lunch first and heading into the museum a little later when all the groups were heading to lunch.  It worked perfectly.  I packed the boys a lunch, we ate out in front of the museum and

when we went in, it was still busy.  However, it slowly thinned out until we were one of two families left in the exhibit.  What a great tip!

The exhibit was good.  They had little areas that were each specific to a story line from the books or explained details of the author’s life.  The kids played with everything.  Both boys were pretty enamored with talking on the phone at what appeared to be the Man With the Yellow Hat’s desk.  Jack also like the maps on the wall in this section.  Garrett LOVED to climb next and all around a statue of Curious George.  This was nice because I could always know where to turn to find G, since I was corralling two kids alone.  Jack could not get enough of one section where he turned a wheel to move a conveyor belt that carried large blocks to a series of rollers.  The rollers returned the blocks to the ground.  He was fascinated with how it all worked, loved turning the wheel and enjoyed bossing his brother around to get the blocks for him.  For as energetic as Jack is, he will focus forever on something like this.  He seems to like science!  Curious George made an appearance.  In true Garrett fashion, he was scared to death of him.  Jack being the opportunistic kid, quickly ran up to him.  He said his hello, got his picture taken and raced back to the conveyor belt while all the other kids pandered to Curious George.  Jack of course seized the moment and had the entire contraption to himself.  Garrett just continued to climb the statue.  What different little men they are!

We really enjoyed the museum.  The exhibit is done now, but there is a Bob the Builder one replacing it later this month.  Jack has already put in his request to return for the new exhibit.  It isn’t a bad little trip, so we just may head up some other hot day this summer!

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Six Flags Season Pass

Because we are pretty random and always running off to do some kid centered family activity, we bought season passes to Six Flags.  The big draw is that the local Six Flags has recently been upgrading the facilities and this year opened a Thomas Town.  Our boys are big Thomas the Train fans, so the idea that we could see Thomas multiple times this summer was pretty appealing.  Throw in a coupon for passes that made the cost for the entire season equal to going twice, and you have the Gianchetta’s trekking to Six Flags on many a weekend.  The glitch, Six Flags is in the hood!

On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend we headed over to the park to get our passes squared away.  We were anticipating complete

chaos in actually getting the passes.  Turns out Six Flags has upgraded their processes since Trav and I got them pre-kids.  It was a pleasant surprise when we were in and out of the line, passes in hand, in less than 10 minutes.  Jack had to get a pass but G is still free.

I have to say, anytime your kid needs a photo on a card it is adorable.  The pictures are funny and they are so proud of their new id.  Anyway, we had been talking up the whole Thomas Town for a while.  The boys had been looking at photos of the potential rides onlin

e and couldn’t wait to get a chance to see a favorite character.  We headed straight over to the new area, only to find that they had barely broken ground.  I’m not kidding, hardly anything was together.  Although the kids were disappointed and pretty confused, they handled it remarkably well.  W

e told them there was another kid section and just headed to Tune Town, with a stop at the tea cups on the way.

Tune Town turned out to be pretty fun.  We rode the Antique Cars.  Jack was excited because he can actually touch the pedals this year.  In the past, he has manned the wheel while Daddy controlled the speed.  Now he is big stuff and can do it all by himself.  G is at a weird age where he is big enough to want to ride rides, but because he is inherently small doesn’t actually qualify for many rides.  There were some things he couldn’t do because he was too short but that seemed so strange that the height requirement was so high.  There were other rides, where with a parent he could go but in your mind you are wondering why any little one would want to go on it.  And then there were even rides that adults couldn’t go on but that Jack could accompany G on.  Really?  I can’t help my almost 2 year old but my 3 1/2 year old can be his chaperone?  Seems a little suspect!

There were two hit rides in Tune Town.  The first was a small train that only the boys could ride together.  Trav stuck the boys on the train, got them all settled and then had to leave them.  Then we stood there waiting for the

ride to start, all the while G is sliding out of the seat belt to get out.  The kid wants to go on the rides, but once he is on them he gets nervous.  Then he starts asking to nurse and trying to get out of the situation.  However, once the rides starts he is a happy camper.  Travis and I stood there mumbling under our breath “hurry up and get this ride moving!”.  G somehow stayed in the train car and really liked the ride.  There was also a great kids coaster.  We had stood in line for it earlier but Jack had to use the bathroom right when we got close to the front.  We decided to try again.  This was one of the rides that G could go on, but only if with an adult.  The four of us stood in line.  Garrett was pretty much game right up until the time the gate opened for us to get on the ride.  Then he kind started to freak.  He didn’t scream, but he wasn’t happy.  Travis decided there was no going back and Garrett was riding the coaster.  This was a kids coaster, but it was no joke.  It was pretty long for a kids ride and went around 4 times.  Once again G tried to wiggle out of the seat but the guy had it so tight on Travis, I don’t think anyone was going anywhere.  Jack and I rode in front of them, so I could look back until the ride started but after that I couldn’t really see them.  Apparently Garrett sat very quietly throughout the whole ride.  I’m pretty sure Trav and I both thought we were scarring him for life.  (We love roller coasters and we were sure we were setting ourselves up for a kid that would forever be traumatized by the parents who took him on a coaster at 22 months old).  Have no fear, he loved it!  As soon as the ride came to a stop, he starting clapping and yelling “yea”.  We figured at least we didn’t scar him.  On the way home we asked what his favorite ride was and he said the train with Daddy, aka roller coaster.  Whoo, Hoo!  He is one of us!

The next day was remarkably hot.  We wanted to hit the pool but got a late start due to naps.  We contemplated going to get our pool passes, but decided we were cutting it close.  Travis decided that we’d just go over to Six Flags again and check  out the water park.  We wouldn’t have more than about an hour to hang out but we wouldn’t have to deal with tickets or getting passes since we’d already done the dirty work the day before.  The water park was interesting.  They have recently upgraded it and the facilities aren’t bad.  It is pretty clean and had several things for the kids.  But, WOW, what a snapshot of a different world.  Clearly it is a whole mix of people that frequent the water park.  I’ve never felt so skinny, in shape or sure of myself in my bikini in my life.  All you Mama’s out there that are feelin’ down about the post baby body in a bathing suit, spend a day at the Six Flags water park and you will be weary no more.  I’m telling you what, I looked pretty good.  And honestly, do women really think they look good in the things they are wearing?  Or should I say what they really aren’t wearing?  I guess I should give them props, ’cause they clearly aren’t concerned about what others think and are quite comfortable with themselves.  WOW, really, that is all I can say!

So, last weekend Thomas Town did open with a 65th Birthday Party for Thomas.  We promised the boys we would go on Saturday for the big celebration.  We were kind of dreading it but decided to just hit the road early, be there before the park opened and get in and out quickly.  Again, it all worked out pretty easily.  We were early, we got right in (relatively speaking…they have a ridiculous way of getting people into the park first thing) and went straight to Thomas Town.  We arrived at Thomas Town to find that portion of the park was still not open because they were having a ribbon cutting.  We weren’t excited about more waiting, but it was fine.  We had a little entertainment.  As we walked up, there were these two women yelling at a Six Flags rep that they wanted their tickets and Six Flags was screwing them over.  We had no idea what they were fighting for, other than some little raffle tickets.  Other people were trying to get the tickets, these women were screaming.  Travis didn’t know what it was, but decided if they were going to scream over the whole thing to get more tickets, then it was probably something worth getting.  He’s tall, so he got a ticket for Jack right away.  I’m short and couldn’t get around screaming women, so I had to wait.  I finally got a ticket for G, but not until I’d figured out what the other women were so pissed about.  Turns out, that the first 65 kids got a ticket to be redeemed for a prize pack.  These two women brought family photos of kids and wanted a ticket from the sales rep for each kid in the picture.  Really?  You think if you show someone a picture but don’t have the kids with you, that somehow you deserve 6 tickets each.   Really?  The Six Flags rep refused them and said they could have tickets when they brought the kids up.  Of course, they didn’t actually have ANY kids with them.  They were just there for the prize pack.  Again, a snapshot of the clientele of the park!  In the end, we stayed for the party and had fun.  The prize pack was a pretty nice goody bag including a “Percy” train, a DVD, lots of little toys and stickers.  The kids loved it and enjoyed the rides.

I actually think that I will take the kids some this summer on my own.  It is a pretty manageable park and apparently is much less crowded during the week.  We get several coupons for free or reduced priced admissions, so hopefully I can con some friends into joining us there for some morning play dates.  As for now, we’ve had the passes for less than two weeks and have already used them three times.  Not a bad value so far!

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