Monday, April 28, 2014

Spontaneous Field Trip

I already told you about waking up to snow and needing to find flowers.  We didn't just go straight to the flowers; we meandered around the state a bit, exploring places we hadn't been in years.

Our first stop was Grand Coulee Dam.  It is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States.  Justin and I had both been there several times, but it had been long enough that none of our children remembered it.  

Our Suburban can fit into each one of those spillway holey-ma-jiggys.  It is pretty gigantic (though Hoover is much taller).

My grandfather was an engineer on this and a bunch of other dams in the region.  It was fun to tell stories about him and think of he and Grandma throughout the day.

The dam has a great visitor's center.  It was very interactive, with light-up maps, buttons to push, virtual tours and even a jack hammer to try out!

Sometimes the 1930's-1950's seems like a not-too-distant past, but when looked at through at technology lens, it was a millennium!  

When the dam was built, it cut off the salmon passage upriver.  It was a huge controversy then and now.  One of the stations in the visitor's center was an interactive debate about irrigation/electricity vs salmon and native populations.  Interesting and the girls all learned a lot.  I love interesting and educational visitor's centers!

After the dam, we went to an amazing natural wonder.  It is called dry falls because that's exactly what it is: a dry waterfall.  A whole bunch of years ago, there was a humongous lake--bigger than the great lakes--over much of Idaho and Montana called lake Missoula.  When an ice dam broke (multiple times) it flooded toward the ocean.  These dry falls are bigger than Niagara. 

It was incredibly windy, the "barriers" were not very high (probably the originals built by the WPA in the 30's).  The one exception was this little bridge that wandered out onto a particularly exposed precipice.  Eliza tried, but only her eight year old sister was brave enough to make it all the way out.

I was a little (lot) freaked out, but worked hard to maintain my composure.

If you've never been to these two places, I highly recommend it.  And go now...Spring is the only time of year when these desert regions are pretty.

Even though there were lots of stops along the way, it was a lot of time in the car.

 After the apple blossoms, our final stop was supposed to be a tour of a candy factory.  The website said it closed at one time, but when we got there, they were taking down the open sign.  I tried to protest, telling her that their website said we still had plenty of time for a tour.  She just shrugged at me and closed the door.
And I wanted to buy some Aplets & Cotlets!

So, we wandered through town until we found a park to play and stretch our legs.

It was a wonderful day.

And, by the time we got home, the snow was all melted.
A great bonus.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Seeking Spring

We woke up to snow.
Now, I don't mind the snow; in fact, I like it.
But after seeing the snow, I looked on Facebook and a friend had posted pictures of fields and fields of brilliant tulips blooming in waves of color.

I asked my husband, who never does spontaneous things, if we could make a 14 hour drive (round trip) to go and see those tulips.  He was actually willing to do it!  
I knew we couldn't because we only had one day, but we came up with an alternative.
About 3 hours away is the apple capitol of the world.  
And the trees are blooming.

The orchards were so beautiful
and a balm for the spring-seeking soul.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Let it Begin

I'm happy to share with you
the porta-potty.

It's so beautiful!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Day at the Park

We've decided to take a hike every week as a family.  Not only is it fun and outside and away from our regular stuff, but it is a great way to explore our area.  This week, we went to the swollen falls and the surrounding park.

This is a place my husband and I have visited many, many times, but for some of our children, it was a first.

A rather rusty suspension bridge hangs over the rushing waters and it is a little unnerving.  When anyone jumps or jogs or walks to fast, the whole thing wiggles under your feet.  Eliza, especially, was freaked out.

We wanted to gaze into the mesmerizing swirls and billows beneath us, but she just wanted us to get across and live.  At least we paused to take pictures.

The long-awaited baby backpack arrived so we gave it a test run.  It is far and away a better pack than our old hand-me-down version.

The park boasts this old metal goat that "eats" your garbage.  It's hooked up to a giant vacuum, but I didn't get that as a kid.  I just thought it was funny that a goat would eat garbage.  Now that we have goats, I know that it isn't a joke; I've had goats eat the mail right out of my hand.

We ended up at a little playground.  It was a huge disappointment to my growing children since the toys were small and rather unvaried.  Spoiled rotten, I tell ya.

You can do it!!

First Monkey Bar crossing of the year.

And first squeals of delight on the swing.  One or two pushes and the girls were off the toys and gathered around the laughing baby.

I'm loving this new tradition--even if this one wasn't a "real" hike.

Dad and Eliza explore the clock tower.