Consolidation

For the last three years I have been writing at two blogs--this one and YourWildChild. The idea was to have personal stuff here (and lots of photos of the kids) for friends and family.

YourWildChild was meant to be activities and inspiration for connecting kids and nature. As you can imagine, there was a lot of crossover. I found myself debating whether a particular post went on this blog or that one. I sometimes posted about the same thing on both blogs, even though there are some readers who follow both.

As of today, I am shutting down YourWildChild. It's been fun and I have made a lot of friends through it, but I'm having a hard time keeping a regular posting schedule. And so much of our personal life is about connecting with nature.

As TravelingMel readers, you'll still see the ridiculous number of kid, wildflower, dog and river pictures. But, now you'll also see gear reviews and environmental education activities.

If you look up at the top, I've added a tab for reviews and another for activities. I imagine, however, that most of our activities will end up on the main page. Slowly, I'll be moving the 300+ YourWildChild posts over here. That should be a blast.

My three year anniversary at YourWildChild would be July 7. I'm kind of sad to see it go, but just as we are getting rid of things we don't use or want in our house, it's time to clean up my Internet stuff. It feels good to have a tidy online presence.

Permalink 06/29/11 10:48:11 am, by Mel Email , 259 words, Categories: Announcements [A] ,

Father's Day

On Father's Day, Henry and Big Henry went on a photography excursion in Yellowstone. I'm sure H will be posting photos of that soon ;)

We went to the Wilsall parade and rodeo.

But first, the boys made this.

Don't worry, I had it laminated so Henry can keep it forever. I got the idea here.

Permalink 06/28/11 12:21:01 am, by Mel Email , 55 words, Categories: Anders, Family, Finn ,

More Yellowstone River coverage

Oh yes, I am posting about the river, again. I can't tell you how many requests I get for more river posts. I could tell you, but I am not going to.

You may be thinking, "Doesn't Mel have anything to do other than watch the river rise and fall?"

Not really.

It's not just me. Over on Facebook another river watcher posted a bunch of photos of the rising Shields River and the Yellowstone.

The USGS has been watching this river for years. And NOAA even made a little chart about it using USGS observations.

The river peaked on Friday at 9.85 feet--that's moderate flood stage. It looks like they are predicting another crest on Wed.

The boys and I did a little river study of our own last week. More on that later, but this is what the river looked like two days before it peaked.

Finn takes his eyes off the water for just a moment. (6.22.11)

Anders insisted on a photo of him standing on the same corner of the bench as Finn did. (6.22.11)

Big river, little people. (6.22.11)

(Tangent: A professional photographer friend forwarded me a story about how photos with people in them are more memorable than scenic photos. As you'll see later this week (and later in this post), I am still taking lots of people-free photos, but I hope these ones with the boys in them are memorable.)

I spent the weekend in Jackson and took a few more shots of the river on the drive down. Even though I was driving south, I was moving upriver. The Yellowstone is funny that way, flowing south to north through here. Obviously, south is always downhill in this hemisphere, so I don't know how that works.

From the Highway 89 rest stop south of Emigrant. I call it "The prettiest rest stop in America." It's worth drinking a bunch of water just to have an excuse to stop here. (6.24.11)

Also from the rest stop. (6.24.11)

Yankee Jim Canyon (6.24.11)

I didn't take photos through Yellowstone (what, that old place again?), but there was a ton of water. Lakes were huge, rivers were flooding their banks, ponds stood where only meadows grew before.

In the Lamar Valley, rushing waters at the confluence between the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek undercut a 30-foot section of the eastbound lane of the road. They had to close the road until it could be repaired. The Lamar flows into the Yellowstone adding to our rising river.

And the saga continues!

Permalink 06/27/11 09:03:44 am, by Mel Email , 428 words, Categories: News, Montana, Yellowstone, Anders, Finn ,

Emails from Anders

Anders has been loving emails lately. I open them up, insert the name of the recipient and then let him go at it.

The first thing he does it push "caps lock." Maybe he feels the capital letters give MORE EMPHASIS to his little voice.

When I come back, I find things like this:

HI GRANDMA
GOATS LIVE AT THE FARM. TIGERS LIVE IN CHINA. LIONS LIVE IN THE OPEN GRASSLANDS OF AFRICA. FISH LIVE IN THE OCEAN. BISON LIVE
IN YELLOWSTONE. ALLIGATORS LIVE IN SWAMPS. I SENT YOU A E-MAIL A FEW DAYS AGO.
ITS THE YEAR OF 2011

or this:

HI SCOTT I SENT TWO E_MAILS. WE SOME TIMES GO TO THE CO-OP ITS THE YEAR 2O11 I CAN COUNT TO TEN.
THIS IS HOW I COUNT TO TEN 12345678910 AND THATS HOW I COUNT TO TEN.
I LOVE SENDING E-MAILS AND I LOVE LOVE LOVE GOING TO THE CO-OP BEY

He likes to keep track of how many emails he's sent and the year. I like discovering things about him, such as his love of the Co-op. I don't even remember him going to the Co-op (it's in Bozeman) but maybe H took them.

To grandpa:

HELLO
HOW MANY $ DID MY LEGO ZOO COST? HOW MANY $ DID MY PETTING ZOO COST?
I WENT TO SWIM LESSONS YESTERDAY.
WHAT DOES NINE ELEPHANTS MAKE?
I LIKE PLAYING GAMES WITH YOU
WE WENT TO THE RODEO IN WILSALL
WE WENT TO THE PARADE IN WILSALL
I GAVE DADDDY A KISS.
DADDY GAVE ME A KISS AND A HUG. I GAVE DADDY A BIG HUG.
LOVE
ANDERS

Which makes me wonder, what does nine elephants make?

Here's another he wrote to H when we were in California:

I LOVE YOU
UM YESTERDAY WE WENT TO THE FARM AND HAD LOTS AND LOTS OF FUN.
we played in the school bus and we played in the woodin train. and we played in the fire truck. mmmmmmmnnnnnnnaaaaffffffccccc
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkoooooooooouuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwwwwyy
yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyylllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttr
ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt
ttggggggggggggggggggggggggggjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjhhhhhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzqqqqqqqqqqqqqqwwwwwwwwwwwwwbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbppppppppppppppppppppppssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssffffffffffffffffffff
ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

Love, Anders

Another to Henry:

Hi Daddy,
I miss you henry. I love you. We're at grandma's house and we were at escondido. THERES STILL MORE DAYS TO GO
AND yesterday We . ate lunch with .grandpa and nana i anders
ate noodles with marinera.

I love that he wrote, "I, Anders, ate noodles with marinera."

I don't know why these crack me up so much, but they do. He's so sweet, earnest and hilarious--exactly what I want in a kid.

Tags: anders, email
Permalink 06/22/11 12:07:52 am, by Mel Email , 413 words, Categories: Anders ,

{hiking} Suce Creek

Before I had kids, I hiked up Suce Creek about once a week. It's just 20 minutes from our house, I seldom see anyone there, a nice hill at the end gets my heart rate up and the carcasses are usually close enough to the trail that I can find Rigby and drag him out. What more could a woman want?

I don't get there as much as I used to--midweek hikes are a thing of the past--but we still hit the Suce Creek Trail from time to time. I hiked very slowly through the snow the day before Anders was born and it was one of the first trails I carried his newborn-self on.

These days, Anders is hiking like a boy who was almost born on a trail. Finn walks a bit, with much "encouragement," then enjoys riding on my back and telling me he thinks we should go home. Here's our conversation:

Finn: I don't want to hike.
Mel: You aren't hiking. I'm carrying you, so you can just enjoy the view.
F: I don't want you and Anders to hike.
M: Well, this is what we are doing today. When we get home, you can pick what we do.
F: I am hungry some more. I need a snack break.

Anders wasn't that into hiking until last November when something suddenly snapped clicked in his brain. I'm hoping the same thing happens to Finn when he's 3.5 years old.

Suce Creek was roaring. In my six years of regular visits, I've never seen so much water there. Part of the trail was washed out, forcing us to bushwhack through young woods. Then the second bridge was gone, so I had to shuttle the boys across one at a time. It was crazy cold and the crossing was not helped by the loving shoves of a certain black lab.

When we regained the trail upstream from our crossing, we found it underwater. Anders and I hiked through the stream for awhile until it finally left the trail. We were glad to be hiking in water shoes. It was a pretty fun adventure, and though we didn't make the six miles Anders was hoping for, we did have a lot of fun.

It poured rain on the way back, but we hardly noticed since we were already wet from the knees down. We're tough like that.

Our first snack break.

Suce Creek

Calypso orchid

Oh yes, there are photos from other Suce Creek trips:

Jan 2011

From the same weekend in 2010

Memorial Day 2009: Anders had long hair and we made it to the ridge we were hoping for this time.

A trail description and directions in case you want to go.

Permalink 06/21/11 12:29:05 am, by Mel Email , 450 words, Categories: Montana, Hikes, Anders, Flora, Finn ,

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