23 May 2016

Agate Fossil Beds

We look forward ALL year to when our Lance cousins come to visit for as long as they can. Seth cut short the visit this year because he is on the cusp of teenager-hood, meaning he has activities and responsibilities to get back to. So we had to coddle each moment of their visit for all it was worth. Friday the "sister cousins" whined to get their faces painted about a 123 times. Miekka finally relented and painted faces. She painted intricate masks on the girls. Phillip got a tongue with rock n' roll lightening on each cheek, and eyeballs on the tongue. Evelyn was not keen on getting her face painted so she painted mine. The look on her face as she painted was stellar: big brown eyes full of intense concentration. It was quite magical for me as a mother to sit still while my child decorated my face. I was quite impressed with her skill. She had so much fun with mine, she painted up her own face as well.

Everett graduated from The Learning Korner Preschool Friday evening. He is quite an amazing child. He wants to be a baseball player when he grows up! His class worked hard memorizing songs to perform and practicing the graduation walk and diploma exchange. Our kids were pretty cranky, so sitting and waiting was a test in patience. Everett looked handsome with his church clothes on! He wiggled his hips during the song portion of the graduation. Everett's dance moves are well-known in our family circle. He was beaming during his turn to walk and get his Iploma. After graduation I took a couple of birthday photos in his fancy clothes. We celebrated with shakes from Sonic and playing with cousins.

Saturday we left relatively early only 45 minutes after our desired 9 am departure time. We drove 2 hours and 7 minutes north and east to the Agate Fossil Beds. It was super windy out on the open prairie. The kids were starving so we had a picnic first. The kids all completed the Jr Ranger program by working on several pages out of a special booklet, watching an educational video, and examining the museum. A park ranger swore the kids to take care of National Parks and such. Each earned a special medal, certificate, and a postal card. Pretty intense. Phillip amused himself with a large magnifying glass. He realized it not only magnified the fossils, but his face as well. After the badge earning we hiked around University and Carnagie Hills. With Amelia's bum hip we had to push a double stroller for Amelia and Evelyn and another stroller for Josie. The other kids whined most the way because they were soooooooooooooo tired. Miekka told the boys about the Mountain Goat award. That actually helped quite a bit to pass time. The trail is paved and quite easy to walk up and around the agate bone bed sites. We saw more than one rattle snake! One the way down Phillip and I told each other awful jokes, with many references to farts and burps, to pass the time. Before we knew it the Visitor's Center loomed large. A screw holding the handle on Amelia's crutch fell off during the hike, we stopped in Scottsbluff for a new wing nut and some dinner. It was a nice diversion.