Posted in Toddler Life

How Did Women Mother Before Pinterest?

It’s Friday and I have no car.  Matt is being a fishing guide for a gentleman from North Carolina.

This morning a sweet friend came and picked Liam and I up so we could go to a play date at the Splash Pad in town.  But we are now home and Liam doesn’t take naps and quiet time lasted just under an hour.

He wants to paint but all of our paint has been mixed together to make black or has been used up.  What to do?  I headed to Pinterest.

Within point two seconds I had hundreds of homemade paint recipes at my finger tips.  Some bathtub paint jumps out at me.  YES!  No mess.  I mean, lets be honest, more paint usually ends up on him or my floor than on the paper.  All I need is four ingredients and I have them all…or so I thought.  Into the kitchen I go and apparently I have no cornstarch and now I have a child who is pumped to paint…and no paint.

What to do?  Back to Pinterest!

Now that I know of the existence of bathtub paint I just can’t abandon it.  Then I see bathtub paint with only TWO ingredients.  I’m not too excited yet because I figure these two ingredients are probably some rare flower that can only be found in three states.  OK, that’s an exageratoin but I’m not getting my hopes up that I have these two miracle ingredients.  It’s like winning a raffle.  Never happens for me.

Shaving cream and food coloring?  I do believe I can do that!

And so, I am now typing away undisturbed while my little artist is completely content and my bathroom is becoming quite fragrant and my bathtub is getting a good cleaning!


Credit goes to: http://www.onebeautifulhomeblog.com/homemade-bath-paint/

Advertisements
Posted in Toddler Life

Thomas the Train Does NOT Save the Day

While in college I worked at a local amusement park, Tweetsie Railroad.  It was set up like an old Wild West town in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains and had been around for decades.  The almost 100 year old steam engine, Tweetsie, pulled along passenger cars on a three mile loop through the mountains where cowboys and Indians put on a show.  The cowboys’ guns were sure to scare just about every kid on the train but the train show has scaled down its scary-factor a bit from years past.

I have no doubt you could stop several adults along Tweetsie’s Main Street and someone would have a story about how they were scarred for life by the Indians that ran onto the parked train screaming and swinging their axes.  My parents and husband would be three of them.

My earliest memories of Tweetsie Railroad were not from college but from when I was in elementary school.  We had come up for Tweetsie’s Ghost Train, a special event they put on around Halloween.  But my memory is not of the train ride or scary Indians but simply how cold it was waiting in line. Then again, maybe I have just repressed the memory.

But working at Tweetsie Railroad was the perfect college job.  The uniform…not so much.  Denim on denim is not the look most college girls are going for.  But I worked in the ticket office and I spent most of the day behind a set of pretend jail bars selling tickets to families as they came in.  At slow times, my boss would tell some of us to close our window and take a break.  “I’ve ordered us some fudge from the Fudge Shop,” he’d say.  “Go ride some rides and pick up the fudge on your way back.”  Carnival rides, fudge and getting paid?  Like I said, it was the perfect college job.


If not in my jail cell or fetching fudge, I was in the Call Center fielding calls for special events such as “Day Out With Thomas”.  It always baffled me why so many people were so excited for a big, blue train to come to town or why we changed so many of our daily events to accomedate all of the Thomas-related activities.  The cowboys were not even allowed to shoot their guns during their famous gun show!

Though my twenty-year old self didn’t understand the draw of Thomas the Train and about I about went crazy listening to the same Thomas CD on the speaker system day in and day out, I do remember finding myself imagining if I’d ever bring my own child back some day.

And yesterday was that day.

My parents and I brought Liam to Tweetsie last summer.  He LOVED it!  We watched every show and went on the train twice.  I will say my one bad parenting moment was the second train ride, though.  We were in the last car for the first ride and had trouble seeing all the action.  Liam loved it, though, and so the second ride we moved closer.  MISTAKE!  Moving closer not only helps you to see better but it makes the gunshots louder!

All in all, though, his first time at Tweetsie was wonderful.  He smiled for all his pictures.  He rode the rides he was big enough to ride.  He fed the animals.  He watched every show with great excitement.

So, I knew I was going to plan another trip back…not knowing it would be from Montana!

When booking the tickets, I was even more excited when I saw that Day Out with Thomas was during the week we’d be back.  Thomas is Liam’s newest show that he loves and he can name just about every engine by name.  So, I invited all the grandparents and we were going to make a day of it.

I envisioned him screaming excitedly and jumping up and down when he saw Thomas on the tracks for the first time.  I could see him excited to drive the boats he was too small to drive last year.  I saw him running down Main Street to get to the next cool thing with me yelling for him to slow down.  I was so excited to take him back.

But yesterday proved to be one of those days when the dream does not become reality.  The day before he’d had a slight fever and was just ‘off’.  I blamed it on a new molar, which I feel I am always doing (but he does have two more to come in and the first two were no picnic).  So, Tylenol and a good night’s sleep later, I had no doubt he’d be in a better mood.  Not so.

He fussed the entire way in his car seat.  He did not want to be in his stroller but he did not want to walk.  Only being carried would do…and most of the time only by the person of his choosing.  He covered his ears when Tweetsie blew her whistle and cowered down as we walked past Thomas as if Thomas would reach out and get him.  He kept whining and saying “Get off now” while waiting for our train ride to start.  He only rode one ride and that was only after some slight forceful encouragement that he was to drive his Pa and not Mommy.  Once in the car behind the steering wheel he was in Heaven.  He refused to drive the boats which he has driven before and was very wary of the animals he had once been excited about.  He did, however, let a stranger put two tattoos on his arm (the one thing I assumed he would NOT do).


I was crushed.  I just knew this would be a day to remember.  Well, it was, just not in the way I had hoped.  It was not the joyful, fun-filled, memorable experience I was positive we were going to have.

However, when asked if he had a good time he says, “Yes!  Saw Thomas!”  So, in some way he had a great time and I guess that should be what really matters.

But, I won’t be deterred.  I see another trip in his future.  The third trip will be the tie-breaker to see if we go again.  🙂

 

DO YOU HAVE A SIMILAR STORY?  Something you were so excited about that was just a flop?

Posted in Montana Adventures, restaurants, Toddler Life

Ducks and Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme or Duncan Donuts.  That is a big debate in the South.  Along with Coke vs Pepsi, Duke vs Carolina, Heinz vs Hunts, eastern BBQ vs western BBQ.  Do Southerns get along about anything?  It can be an all out brawl sometimes!  I absolutely hate my Facebook newsfeed anytime there is a Duke vs Carolina basketball game!  Everyone has an opinion.  And I mean everyone.  Even if they don’t have an opinion, they post about how they don’t have an opinion and how stupid other peoples’ opinions are!

And just to get my two cents in about the doughnut debate.  There should NEVER be a debate.  Krispy Kreme makes there’s fresh and Duncan Donuts are frozen and baked there.  Now, you can debate the coffee all you want to…

But the only debate I have come upon in Bozeman is how the word “creek” is pronounced.  Some say creek with the same long e as in street while others give it an i sound like trick.  The second grade phonics teacher in me will tell you that the double e gives you the long e sound but nobody wants a smarty pants.  And I’m not one to talk.  In the south, there are plenty of short e words that become i’s.  There is a big difference in how you pronounce a pen you write with and a pen a pig sleeps in.   I’m not about to change my ways because it’s not phonically correct!

But back to doughnuts.  Bozeman has no such debate.  There is only ONE doughnut shop in town: Granny’s Gourmet Donuts.  You just can’t count the grocery stores that sell doughnuts although Liam and I would agree that the chocolate covered sprinkled doughnuts from Albersons are very good!

File_005 (10)

So some friends and I made a morning of it and decided to take the kids to get a nutritious breakfast (ha!) and then go feed the ducks at the pond at Montana State.  (Stay at home moms are great at creating fun, FREE activities!)

It was the tiniest little shop but that just meant the boys couldn’t run around everywhere.  The workers let the boys sprinkle their own doughnut but for some reason Liam was very unsure about this.  He just kept staring at the doughnut in the bowl not quite sure how he was expected to get it out.  The other little boy dug right in and was ready to eat it before he even got off the chair!  Back at the table, Liam decided the only good part of the doughnut was the icing and while I agree partly with the deliciousness of icing he was missing out on a great tasting doughnut.

File_000 (38)
Watching them frost his doughnut.
File_001 (26)
He finally decided to reach in for it.
File_002 (22)
“All mine?!”

The special doughnut of the day was a Mojito doughnut.  Creative yet an interesting flavor choice.  One of the girls I was with got it and said it was good.  Then again, I don’t like mojitos in liquid form much less in a pastry.

Funnily enough, the shop gives kids free ‘duck bread’ to feed to the ducks at the pond.  So, each boy, complete with their white bag of dough for the ducks, headed out the door running, walking and excited to see the ducks.  The man in the shop warned us that the ducks may flock to whoever had the white bags…but he underestimated the energy of our boys!

File_003 (17)File_004 (13)

They fed the ducks plenty of food and ran around and around the pond chasing a lot of the poor ducks.  Many of the ducks were smart enough to head to the water and stay there until the two wild and crazy humans left!

Rumor has it that there could be another doughnut place in the works for this town.  But, it’s safe to say we’ll have a repeat of this play date sometime this summer.  Poor ducks!

Posted in Cooking, Toddler Life

Snow Day Cooking

May 17, 2017.  Bozeman, MT.  It snowed ALL day.  Big, fat, gorgeous flakes.  All.  Day.

Liam and I headed out before the snow got too crazy and went to the Children’s Museum here in town and was pleasantly surprised with some of the activities for him to do.  It will definitely be well visited by us this winter.

Back in NC, snow days were baking days.  So, Triple Chocolate Cookies were on the menu for the afternoon.  Well, technically Double Chocolate because I decided not to stop at the store and get a second kind of chip.  My giant Costco bag of milk chocolate chips would suffice.

I have baked more here in the last almost two months than I did back home.  Baking during the day is enjoyable…even with a two year in tow “helping”.  Baking after working with 24 kids all day was not.  In NC, though, I had a KitchenAid mixer.  That baby could mix anything and everything.  We put it in storage when we moved here so I went and bought a hand mixer from Walmart.  As I so often do (even though Matt has told me for eight years ‘you get what you pay for’) I bought the cheapest one I could find.  I’m talking the mixer was only FIVE DOLLARS.  I only used it twice when I started smelling a heavy burning smell right before the beaters stopped turning.  Just like that.  Right in the middle of mixing some tasty brownie batter.

So I headed to Target a week later and bought one for twenty dollars.  Again, after just one batch of cookies, I started smelling burning.  I quickly turned it off and it seems to have survived this batch of cookies.  We’ll see about the next…

File_000 (34)

Doesn’t all that chocolate just look wonderful?  And, yes, my child is licking the beater.  He actually asked “stick finger bowl?” so it seemed smarter to hand over the beater.  After all, I’d already cleaned off most of the batter anyway!

These cookies are a cross between fudgey brownies and cookies.  When the recipe says DO NOT OVERCOOK you know they are bound to be good.  It just left me panicking and second guessing myself when the timer went off and I looked in and they still looked gooey.  Plus the temperature seems a bit off in the oven here.  But, they turned out delicious with some non-expert guessing on my part.

And if your mouth is watering right now and you are wishing you were here with me (I mean the snow is gone and it’s going to be in the 50’s tomorrow!) here’s the link to the super easy Pioneer Woman recipe.  I can’t think of a time I’ve tried a recipe that wasn’t rated as ‘easy’.

Give them a try.  If you love chocolate half as much as me (and my child apparently), you’ll be glad you did.

 

Posted in Montana Adventures, Toddler Life

Off to the Water Park!

Snow.  Fields.  Cows.  More snow.  More fields.  That is the vision I believe almost all of my friends in North Carolina had when I told them we were moving to Montana.  I think most everyone had visions of me being surrounded by acres and acres of land (with snow) with no signs of city life around.  And they are partially correct.

Bozeman, where I am living in Montana, is surrounded by just that exact picture.  But Bozeman itself is NOT that.

Now, I was living in a town with a population of just under 8,000 people.  And Bozeman has a population of just under 42,000.  So in terms of all my local shopping and culture, I’m now in the ‘big city’!  I mean, Target is now only 10 minutes away not 45 minutes.  That right there was a pro on the Bozeman Moving Pro/Con list just a few months ago.

The biggest difference is that in North Carolina, I had many cities within an hours driving distance…and those cities were truly ‘big cities’.  You know, the kind with skyscrapers or even buildings with more than five stories?  I asked Matt just yesterday if there were any skyscrapers in Montana and he just laughed.  I took that as a no.  Here in Bozeman, the nearest city is at least two hours away (with Bozeman being the fourth biggest of the state).

To help put it into perspective a little better, imagine the city you live in with absolutely no suburbs around it.  It’s as if you can draw a line around the city and color it in.  Anything not colored in is the gorgeous, spacious Gallatin Valley and beyond…for about two hours all around….with the occasional small, small town sprinkled throughout.

I am learning that things in Montana are not quite the same as the more metropolitan areas I am used to.  I was researching zoos here in Montana and found one in Billings.  I plan on taking Liam sometime but I’m glad I checked the website first before I got there and was majorly confused before becoming disappointed.  There are no elephants or giraffes or chimpanzees like I normally think of at a zoo.  But Liam will be just as happy seeing the tigers, wolves, owls, and beavers…so I see a trip there in our future this summer.

Matt and I have laughed several times about my reaction when we went to the Grizzly Encounter a few weeks ago.  My (unrealistic) expectations of a drive-through grizzly bear experience seems ridiculous now but that is just a perfect example of my way off expectations that I’m learning to turn down.

On Saturday, Matt, Liam and I went to “Montana’s Biggest Indoor Water Park”.  Now, I would place money that it is probably the only indoor water park in Montana but I could be wrong.  It has an attached “resort” so I had visions of Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte, NC.  We drove two hours to the ‘nearby city’ of Billings.  Gorgeous views along the way but nothing in between.  I have to assume there was at least one gas station along the way but I didn’t see it if there was.  Matt had looked at booking a room for the night but they were full.  It’s a good thing, though, as Liam was finished playing in about three hours.

File_002 (18)

File_001 (21)

But it was great family outing.  Liam loved playing ‘baketball’ in one of the pools (his deletion of the /s/ sounds is still so precious these days).  He’s getting better at swimming with his float and so he loved swimming back and forth between Matt and me.  There was a big toddler area with some water slides and squirt guns and such but he was very apprehensive about all the water falling from above.  The one time that the large bucket at the top of the play area filled up and dumped all the water down, Liam grabbed onto my neck and wouldn’t let me put him down for a few minutes.  He enjoyed the water slides some but not near as much as I thought he would.  The boy LOVES slides but with all the newness he was a bit skeptical of them at first.  He wanted me to go down with him so I broke the age/weight rule and headed down with him several times.  Not that any of the teenage lifeguards cared.

CD41E031-9295-4F7F-80FA-075087F64345

I don’t know if I’m truly getting old or if my ability to judge age is off, but no one working there (from the front counter to the life guards to the concession workers) could have been over the age of 22.  As I waited for close to twenty minutes for our nutritious lunch of hot dogs and chicken fingers, I calculated that the workers had to have been born somewhere around 2000.  Not even in the twentieth century!

File_000 (30)

Liam’s favorite part of the water park was the wave pool.  He had a blast just floating up and down as the waves came by.  I have a feeling, though, that he will not have the same feeling when we’re at my parent’s place in Myrtle Beach in two weeks but maybe he’ll prove me wrong!

1433C4E4-85D3-4A3F-BD47-13D7A95B93AA

And the best part of the water park?  This momma got to go down a ‘big person’ slide a few times and didn’t have to wait in line for 45 minutes to do so.  They had two three-story water slides and I felt like a kid again going down them.  I was shrieking and laughing out loud as I went through the dark tunnel on the tube having no idea which way the slide was going.  And, my smile got even bigger when I got down to the bottom and saw Matt and Liam waiting for me and I listened to Liam talking all about how Mommy was coming out of the purple slide so fast.

Montana may have twice as many cows as people and it might have a tenth of the population of North Carolina but the four of us (yes, I am including Tippet) are enjoying all of the adventures no matter how big or how small.

 

 

 

Posted in Toddler Life

I Want My Mommy!

Warning: This is a REAL LIFE post.  Moving 2,000 miles away is not without it’s struggles.

Toddlers are little but they have lots of personality…and constantly keep you guessing!

I looked back at Liam this afternoon as we were driving down the road and just had an ‘oh wow’ moment.  His legs were dangling out of his car seat further than they ever have before showing off his newly acquired scabs on his knees and shins.  The shorts he was wearing seemed to have made his legs grow by several inches.  He was talking a mile a minute about ‘lellow school buses and dump trucks.  Where was my baby?

Rewind.  Did you catch what I said?  He was wearing SHORTS.  That’s right people.  It is shorts weather.  Well, for another day then it’s back to pants but I am thankful for the 60s/70s and SUN we have had for the past week!  But where are my shorts?  Being shipped to me from NC by my sweet in-laws.  Apparently, my mindset back in March when I was packing my clothes was that it will neeeeeeeever get warm in Montana so I might as well leave my warm clothes in the south until I come back in the summer.  But the warm weather pleasantly surprised me and got here first.  But for now, my pasty white legs are covered while my arms work on a nice farmers tan.

But I digress.  Back to toddlers.  Liam is in the stage where he is the boss.  I can’t imagine where that personality trait comes from–ha!  He tells Matt and I who can sing and who can’t.  He constantly says “My do it,” demanding for us to stop helping and leave him be.  He has developed quite the extent of stall tactics at bedtime.  And he likes to bark out commands that usually get met if he remembers to add the ‘please’ at the end.  Simply, he is growing up.

But remember the child from before that walked into nursery all big and bad and waved goodbye to me?  He moved to Montana but within a few weeks disappeared.  He now whimpers and says “noooo nooooooo” just at the sight of the building.  He hasn’t stayed in there (without me) for at least three weeks.  (And, yes, we’ve tried but he cried for so long they called me to come back and get him – he’s that strong-willed.)

And last week his nights started being just as bad.  He has always gone to bed with no problems – even for babysitters.  And now, our routine has changed into an almost 30-minute ordeal.  And between a cold/teething/and whatever else, he’s been waking throughout the night which is something he never did back home.

All of this is completely normal and a product of his age and all the changes that have happened to him, but it was enough to throw me for a loop last week.  I cried twice just stressing about everything – blaming myself, convincing myself its just age, making plans on how to ‘fix’ things, praying for Liam to ‘go back to normal’.

Like all moms, I took to the internet to convince myself that everything that was happening was in fact ‘normal’.  But the best response I got was from someone who 100% related to each thing I said.  Her two and a half year old child was fine when they first moved here a year ago and then one day ‘snapped’.  Isn’t it funny how we can feel better by someone else’s struggle?  But it was great to know that the anxiety her child had, had been overcome.

Bedtime has become better over this past week but I fear long gone are the days of a simple story, laying him down and kissing good night before walking out and watching him talk himself to sleep on the monitor.  And next week, I am breaking down the pack-n-play which he has been sleeping in since we got here and moving him to a toddler bed.  Hopefully his new Choo-Choo bedding set will entice him to say in bed!

As we are meeting new people and doing play dates, I watch as Liam ventures out away from me to go play.  While at a lady’s house last week, he was content playing outside so I told him I was going upstairs to get us some food.  I fully expected him to follow me right up the stairs but he said “OK” and kept right on playing.  Watching him grow and change is mind-boggling and heart-wrenching and wonderful all at the same time.

So, while he may be a bit of a “Momma’s Boy” right now, I find comfort knowing that it’s all a stage…and that there’s no doubt my boy loves me!  After all, as a newborn I thought there were some nights he’d never sleep more than two hours…!

So, what was/is your hardest part of parenting?  Do you remember your toddler going through anything similar?

Posted in Montana Adventures, Toddler Life

How to Take a Toddler On a Drift Boat

The boat rocked gently back and forth.  I looked up from the book I’d been reading for the past fifteen minutes or so and saw Liam sitting quietly in his seat gazing up as Matt cast his rod out over the water.  Liam seemed to be taking in Matt’s every move as if to memorize just what to do for when he was older.  From the corner of my eye I saw Tippet sit up straight and gaze out over the water.  I reached down to pet her as she laid down for me to rub her belly.

OK, so that’s not exactly how our first trip on the boat went.

After floating down the Madison River for about four hours, here’s my take on taking a toddler out on a drift boat.

  1. Take rocks.  While throwing rocks in the river is not exactly ideal for catching fish, it is the number one thing that kept Liam most entertained.  Thank goodness we knew this ahead of time as he throws rocks into any body of water he can find.  He’d throw them into the bathtub if they were accessible to him.  At the beginning of the float he was spotting every rock imaginable: on the banks, across the way, in the water.  Matt had grabbed a grocery bag on our way out of the house and filled it full of gravel rocks.  So we had plenty of rocks to last us the four hours.  Although, let’s be real.  I pretended numerous times that “Oh no!  No more rocks! Let’s _____.”  He never quite caught on to the magic bag of rocks that appeared every time he wanted to throw them again.
  2. Start a family choir.  That’s right.  At one point we were floating down the river singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” under the leadership of Liam who would dictate “No Mommy.  Just Daddy.” or “Mommy, Daddy, Liam sing!” or “Louder!  No, louder!”  And, ladies, there is nothing better than watching your husband singing loudly on the open water with your son (though, let’s be real, he probably looked to see that no one was close by…at least I did!)
  3. Point. At. EVERYTHING.  At the birds, planes, rocks, boats, people, animals, motorcycles, trucks, cars, fisherman, trees, bugs.  You name it and we pointed at it.
  4. Count, count and count some more.  If you point at it you might as well count them too.  We counted rocks.  We counted birds.  We counted boats…and people in boats…and dogs in boats…and kids in boats…and people wearing hats on boats.  We counted the Goldfish that dropped onto the floor of the boat.  Liam can count upwards of 15 and he finds no boredom in practicing his numbers over and over.
  5. Let ’em row.  While we didn’t get far or fast with him as captain he had great joy in rowing the boat.  And it was NOT okay if Matt was helping.  “Myself!” is what he’d yell.
  6. Lunch…I mean Goldfish. And pretzels.  And Cherrios.  And fruit packs.  And Pringles.  And Capri Suns.  And milk.  Yes, I packed us some sandwiches and pasta salad but he had no interest in those.  He just wanted to graze all of the other snack foods we had on board.
  7. Become a naturalist.  Liam and I would point at birds and trees and flowers.  “Black bird!” Liam would say.  “Yes, that black bird has red on it’s belly,” I’d say.  And Matt’s response was, “It’s a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.” I’m amazed at all the names of birds, trees and fish Matt knows.  But, maybe one day Liam will acquire that knowledge as well because I simply know simple bird names like:  duck, goose, flamingo, woodpecker–and I only know its a woodpecker if it’s pecking on a tree!
  8. Catch a fish.  While I know our float down the river did not provide Matt with the ample fishing time it normally would have, he was able to catch one fish and Liam was so excited.  He kept telling Matt, “‘Nother fish.” as if he could snap his fingers and make another appear. But the entertainment lasted until the fish was back in the water – much to Liam’s disappointment.
  9. Throw potty training out the window.  Trying to get your two year old to pee off a boat while it’s rocking, the dog won’t sit down and there are a million things to look at is virtually impossible.  And the same goes for on the side of the road as ants are crawling up your leg.  Just give it a rest for the day.

File_002 (17)File_000 (28)File_003 (13)File_004 (9)File_001 (19)File_005 (6)

The float trip was not exactly like the last time Matt and I went where he fished and I sunbathed while reading a book….but it was a wonderful time in a whole new way (just as everything with a toddler is)!

Posted in Montana Adventures, restaurants, Toddler Life

I’m not the only one who likes FREE, right?

FREE: adv. without cost or payment

There is no better sale than FREE.  Everyone loves a BOGO sale.  Who can resist getting something for nothing?!

I’m the worst for going into a grocery story, seeing a BOGO sale and buying two even if I only needed one (or sometimes none!).  What’s an extra 60 oz box of goldfish?  I have no room in my pantry but they were giving it away so I must take it.

This week in Bozeman is “Week of the Child”.  I honestly am not really sure if it is promoting anything in particular but I know that there is something every day of this week that is free for Liam.

Yesterday, we went to a music class at the library.  I fully expected for it to be crowded.  After all, it was advertised for everyone in Bozeman.  And Bozeman is FILLED with moms and young kids.  In total I think there were seven parents that showed up with their child/children.  I was shocked.  Out of the entire city of Bozeman only seven parents took advantage of this free opportunity?  Now, I am new to town so this could have been an opportunity that is offered a lot so maybe it wasn’t as enticing to other parents as it was to me.  But Liam thoroughly enjoyed banging on tamborines, playing with the drum sticks and watching the other kids.  The dancing, though, he wasn’t to fond of.  🙂

Today’s ‘free activity’ was a free burrito–with the purchase of an adult item of course–at a restaurant called Taco de Sol downtown.  Again, free lunch for the kids?  I assumed the place would be filled with moms and children.  I knew nothing about the restaurant but had seen it driving down Main Street.  And I’ve been wanting to try a lot of the restaurants on Main Street so this was the perfect excuse.

We walked in the doors at 11:45 and saw only two other group of patrons.  I checked out the menu which was pretty simple (tacos, burritos, taco salads) and then ordered.  The guy behind the counter didn’t mention anything about a free burrito so I immediately wondered if I’d gotten my dates mixed up.  When I asked he replied, “Is today the 25th?”  “Yes.  Am I the first one to come in and ask about this deal?” was my shocked response.  Apparently I was!

File_002 (9)

Again, it could be the newbie in me.  Maybe the restaurant doesn’t have good reviews around town.  Maybe people do not like burritos in Bozeman.  Maybe people do not like free as much as I do around here.  But, whatever it is, Liam and I were able to enjoy a nice lunch together.  Was it the most amazing taco I’ve ever had?  No.  Was it horrible?  Not at all.  But Liam and I had a wonderful lunch for $3.25 and I found another restaurant that caters to the kiddos.  They had a little children’s area with a table and toys that kept him entertained after he finished eating.

And I was able to check another Bozeman restaurant off my list!

Posted in restaurants, Toddler Life

Some Southern Eatin’

I’ve never been a “foodie”.  And as Matt will tell just about anyone we meet, I tend to be picky.  What I don’t think he realizes even after almost nine years of marriage is just how far I’ve come.  I didn’t even eat salad until late in college and even now what I put on my salads is pretty scarce.  Ham, cheese and croutons with a side of lettuce anyone? Meanwhile, Matt will eat literally anything put in front of him except cucumbers.  He will absolutely gag if he gets even the smallest piece.  But Liam seems to be taking after Matt’s palette and that is just fine by me.

My mom tells a story of a time when she went to McDonald’s just after moving to St. Louis.  She ordered a ‘ham biscuit’.  She took a bite and went back to the counter to inform them she had recieved the wrong biscuit.  It turns out that what she was wanting was a ‘country ham biscuit’.  St. Louis’ McDonald’s did not have such a thing on the menu.

Years ago, I met a cousin from up north.  He informed me he had never had grits before.  I couldn’t wrap my head around that as I tended to have grits for breakfast every now and then at home and almost everytime we went out for breakfast as a family.  Even just a few months ago, I attended a wedding where one of the dishes was shrimp and grits (YUM!!).  One of the ladies at my table was from St. Louis.  As we were going through the line she asked what grits were.  To be honest, I was stumped at first.  I wasn’t sure what grits were…just that I’d eaten them all my life!

File_000 (17) File_006 (1)

All of this is to say that different parts of the country have different types of food.  And a lot of the food I am accustomed to is just ‘food’ to me not ‘southern food’.

On Friday, Matt, Liam and I tried out a restaurant called Roost.  Fried chicken with a side of a lot of southern.

File_001 (9)

The white pepper gravy on the mashed potatoes was VERY good and can you really go wrong with adding bacon to macaroni and cheese?  Matt got some deviled eggs as well.  We missed out on the fried okra, collared greens, coleslaw and any of the homemade pies.  One thing I haven’t had here in a while is some GOOD sweet tea.  I got some ‘sweet’ tea at Roost but it wasn’t up to my southern very sweet standards.  I needed some Ben Hall or Grandma Blevins tea to truly make my meal complete.  Come to think of it, I have some tea packs and plenty of sugar here.  Just might have to make a ‘whole mess’ of sweet tea this week.

Afterwards, we went down the street to an ice cream place that had just opened.  While the choices were no where near Jack Frost in Marion (nor were the prices!!!) it was just the sweet treat I needed.  Liam was less interested in the ice cream and more in the magnets and the balloon he recieved.

I have to say, Bozeman has quite the assortment of restaurants to try out but it’s going to take us a while to get even close to taste testing even a just a handful.  Bring it on!

Posted in Montana Adventures, restaurants, Toddler Life

Cars are Overrated

Did you know that on average households have more vehicles than drivers?  That definitely rings true of suburban America.  Before I went to college, there was one year when my family had four licensed drivers.  And so we had four cars constantly in the driveway.  We had to get creative in the way we parked but it worked.

I knew then that having my own car was a blessing.  And sharing a car was such a foreign concept.  If I needed to go somewhere, I got in my car and went.  I didn’t need to schedule a time or confirm with someone that I would need the car at a particular hour.

Even when I went to college I still had access to my car.  Granted, I had to get on a bus to get to the parking lot where it was parked but it was my car and it was there if I needed it.

In November, Matt drove ‘my car’ to Montana and I was left in North Carolina with ‘his car’.  But last month, we sold his car.  There was no way I was driving me and Liam the 30+ hours to Montana and we certainly weren’t going to pay to have it shipped.  Plus, it wasn’t four-wheel drive which seems a good idea to have in the winter months here.

So here we are, a one-car family.  And it has not been a big deal at all.  Liam and I take Matt to work every morning and drop him off.  And let’s be real.  If I didn’t have that reason to get dressed in the morning, I might find myself still in my pajamas at 11.  We then have the car for the day before coming back that evening to get him.  Only twice has he needed the car to get to a meeting across town.

There have been a few occasions where he’s had to get a ride home from somewhere after work or a day of fishing but for the most part having one car has not been challenging.

Last Saturday he had a fishing event for work and needed the car.  So I made Liam and I a plan for the day sans-car.  In Marion if I had not had a car for a day, Liam and I would have been stranded.  We probably would have gone for a walk down our street to see Mr. Virgil’s chickens and rabbits and maybe made a stop at Ms. Anne’s house but that would have been our days excitement.  Our house was not in walkable distance to anything (although I did run to Jack Frost for ice cream one time!)

File_000 (15)Here, we are exactly 1 mile from some restaurants and 1.2 miles from Museum of the Rockies.  So I planned on Liam and I walking to breakfast and then over to the museum.  Which is exactly what we did except that morning I woke up to a small kink in my plan.  It had snowed the night before.  This wasn’t technically a problem but the snow also included ice.  Parts of the sidewalk were skating rinks whereas other parts I got my workout pushing my ten-dollar Walmart stroller through the snow/ice.

But I had a plan and I wasn’t about to forgo it so we bundled up and off we went.

We walked the mile to Sola, a restaurant I had passed many times and that was recommended to me.  It’s a cute cafe that slightly resembles Cracker Barrel (in the decor aspect not the food).  There were homemade pastries galore and desserts that made my mouth water even at 9 AM.  I definitely plan to go back just for the tiramisu cups and chocolate cake I saw…not to mention they have a mac and cheese section on their menu.  An entire SECTION just for mac and cheese!

The added bonus (and one of the reasons it had been recommended to me) was that it had a perfect little kids area hidden under the stairs for Liam to play in.  So not only did I get to enjoy a nice breakfast at a cute cafe but I got a little ‘me time’ as well!

File_006

Then we headed over to the museum.  I had seen that they had a kids show in the planetarium and I (uh, I mean Liam) wanted to see it.  He LOVED it.  I haven’t gotten to snuggle him that much in a long time.  He just sat in my lap and we layed back and took in the show all around us.

So until a second car becomes absolutly necessary, we plan to dodge another car payment and continue to be a one-car family.  I wonder how long we can make it….