Friday, July 22, 2011

My sweet little boy,

Yesterday, you turned two. You sang along.

You love to sing.  You go to sleep singing, you wake up singing.  Your favorite song was the ABC song, followed closely by "E,I,O" as you called it.  That was six months ago though.  Now your favorites are "Jesus loves me" and "Twinkle Little Star".  Every member of the family gives in to your requests to sing a song.

You keep up with your siblings.  I've never known a little boy to learn to ride a bike so soon (20 months).  You gave up your sippy cup long ago. You like to dress yourself in the morning now, and put on your own shoes.

You are extremely polite.  You always clear your place and say "Thank you Mom" (about 4 times).  You love to help out, and give everybody their shoes when its time to go somewhere.

I think one of your favorite things to do is say goodbye.  When Daddy leaves for work in the mornings, its a big to-do of hugs, kisses, waves, and "see you later's".  And you make sure that nobody is left out, every single time.

You are my little snuggle bug, and everybody cherishes the hugs and kisses you give out.
When I look at you, I see your Daddy and your big brothers, but I admit to being delighted to seeing my brothers in you as well.
You are pretty special, little man; I love you fiercely.

I need to get a 2 year picture of you this weekend.  Please tell me, is there a way to get you to sit still and look at the camera for more than 3 seconds???
Because I don't feel like I've been able to capture your sweetness on film yet, and I'd really like to.
Love Mom

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The rest of our trip

I never did share about the rest of our vacation, did I?  
Honestly, I have very few pictures.  I brought my camera with me pretty much every where we went, but I just wasn't feeling it. Sometimes I prefer to be present, rather than view everything through my camera's limited lens. 

After leaving Zion, we headed up to Provo and Salt Lake City area.  The kids of course loved the hotel pool, jumping on the hotel beds, and exploring every corner of the closets and kitchenette.  Our hotel room kitchen was even stocked with all the dishes and silverware.  I couldn't figure out why Dean didn't want to stay three more nights and do a 'little' shopping in Salt Lake City.  "Hon, we wouldn't even have to eat out" just didn't work.

We drove up to the Timpanogos National Forest, expecting to do a cave tour.  Unfortunately, there was a four hour wait.  I was disappointed, as the pictures and website I had seen looked spectacular.  Next time I'll reserve ahead of time.  
There was still plenty to see there, and multiple hikes and picnic areas.  And here was probably the last time on our trip that I had my camera out for an extended period of time.  It was beautiful with overflowing rivers cutting through the lush green, and snow capped peaks in the background. 
Snow? Hello, this is July! Definitely not Arizona.

Why is it that food tastes so much better outdoors?

For some reason, the mountains reminded me of the book Heidi, and of the Alps. That story was one of my childhood favorites.

After spending a few hours relaxing here, we headed to the Great Salt Lake.  We looked at a map, and picked the closest of the two state beaches.
We picked the wrong one.  It was very dirty and smelly with dead birds all over the beach.  We had to run into the water and stay there, far from the shore - thank goodness its so shallow, until we were ready to leave.  We didn't even attempt to see how easy it was to float with the high salinity.  I took everybody else's word for it; wading was good enough for me.

The second half of our trip was spent with Dean's brother and his family, as well as another couple living there.  We went to an Independence Day festival, saw the parade, and watched fireworks from the banks of the Snake River.  But really, the best part of our stay was the visiting.  And how fun it was for our kids to get to know their cousins better.  

I felt like I left with one stronger friendship and one new one, making it all the harder to say good-bye.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sewing Project Countdown

I wish I could say that I am down to a countdown of weeks till this baby arrives, but I'm not.  The end of September still feels pretty far away.

I am counting down to baby's arrival by sewing projects, though.  Car seat cover/canopy - check!

Isn't this thing the greatest idea?  Either that or it's a silly one.  I thought I would give it a try anyway, and you have to admit, how annoying is it when the wind whips the blanket off the car seat and wakes the baby up?  Or to make matters worse, the wind whips off the blanket when you're out in the rain or snow.

This project was a bit more work than it should have been.  As usual, I decided to try something new, without really knowing what I was doing (the ruffle on the bottom).  And because I thought I could sandwich three layers without pinning, and then was too lazy to take apart the stitching all the way around the edge, I have a top and bottom that didn't quite match up.  But I'm counting on nobody looking too closely and therefore completely missing the fold in the fabric that shouldn't be there.  I also still need to shorten the handle straps, but that should be pretty quick.  If I could lower the ribbon on the front without taking the whole thing apart, I would.  Darn, I wish there was no trial and error to teaching one's self to sew.
It's I like it.

About ten weeks (who's counting?) and some burp cloths, a minky blanket, and a nursing cover to go until this baby arrives.
Unless I find some other cute sewing project I can't live without.  :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zion continued

Our campsite at Zion National Park had these little irrigation ditches all around it.  At least that's what I'm assuming they were. The kids, of course, loved it. Once we set up camp, Connor asked if we could stay for a few days instead of just one.

And this was before he even saw the river, which was just a short walk from our camp site. It was the perfect solution to a hot, humid day.

While Aubrey and Donovan made mud cakes, Connor and Brant kept busy catching tadpoles.

Tadpoles were a new experience for these Arizona kids.  Connor really wanted to take some home "for pets".  Despite our warnings, he bottled up a few and checked on them daily.  Those little critters made it as far as Idaho Falls before finding a grave site on the side of the road.

After our early morning wake up and 6 hour drive (darn construction), we were ready to hit the sack at 7 PM.  Unfortunately, it was still light out, not to mention humid.  

at least some of us were able to sleep

That was the first of a week of late nights for us.  
Which made for some slightly crabby kids. 
Which made for a change of plans for our second day in ZNP.

We had planned to do two or three of the hikes in Zion on the second day.  With our tired kids, we managed one.  And would you believe that I have no pictures of our Emerald Pools hike??  We hopped on the bus for the ride up canyon and then I realized that I had left my camera in the car!  
Dean hiked/swam the Narrows, the most popular hike in the canyon, by himself, while I took the kids to a park.  He didn't bring the camera, though, as the 'trail' is the river and he didn't want to worry about getting the camera wet.

Just take my word for it, the place is beautiful.

Monday, July 11, 2011

First Stop - Zion

Do you call it Zi-uhn or Zi-on with a long i?  I was calling it the former, but all the guides on the buses called it the latter.  Now I know.

Zion National Park is stunning, and definitely worth a visit.  The first day of our road trip, we drove into the park on the scenic Zion Park Boulevard.  The views were awesome - Checkerboard Mesa, Zion Arch, deep canyons, and of course, the mile long tunnel was a big hit.  As I was driving, I have no pictures.

We got lucky and found an empty camp site right in the park at South Campground.

The kids loved it!

You'll see why in my next post.
Sorry, no time for more today, business calls.  :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Off she goes

Yes, I still have pictures to post from our road trip to Idaho, but life keeps on moving and happening, even while on vacation, and I have something else to share today.

My little five year old is now in someone else's care for six hours of each week day.
She has started a summer Kinder Camp, which brings on mixed emotions on my part, but also which prompted me to schedule a mommy/daughter date night the night after we got home as I completely forgot that she'd need a backpack. Ooops.
So after dinner, we sneaked past the toddler still looking for his shoes, and headed out the door.
I let her choose what we should do.  My little bookworm wanted to pick out a backpack, buy her own book from Bookman's, and get ice cream, which she "really, really wanted" (but didn't find worth the effort of getting out of the car for as she'd just started reading her book).

We talked about a lot of things, most of which didn't surprise me.  She commented on the lady she saw a while ago that had really long, really pink fingernails. She told me she had been lost three times (each for about 30 seconds), and we talked about how she felt.  She wished her backpack had some yellow on it, but thought that orange was pretty close, so it was okay.  She said that if we made a picture book of the photo of us behind the fence, the title would be "Silly".

She held my hand and chattered through all of our stops. For once, she had all of my attention.

When she was in bed, and long after it got quiet in the house, she said "Mom...I love you", and I thought about our evening and I knew it was one we'd both cherish, as short as it was.

Now she is off on her own. I dropped her off at Kinder Camp yesterday morning, wondering how she would do. Wondering if she will stand up for herself if need be, wondering if she will be the quiet mouse at the back of the pack, or the eager beaver that talks too much, wondering if someone will notice if she can't open her milk carton, or if she is upset. Wondering if I've done my job preparing her for this, and wondering if her first experience of life as a Kindergartner will be a good one.
First day of Kinder Camp
I left her at the table in the cafeteria. As soon as I walked away, she had turned to the girl next to her and started a conversation.  She didn't even see me turn back for a final wave at the door.
I left smiling to myself.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We've been home for 36 hours. Home from our week long vacation, and besides the pictures and memories, it seems like we never even left. The household chores loom the minute you step foot in the door.  Namely because everybody needs something clean to wear and because the inside of the vehicle looks disastrous.

So while I attacked  the pile of mail, loaded the washer, emptied the van, and paid the bills, my kids were happily adjusting to the slow and happy life of home sweet home. Or not.
After hearing the twentieth "There's nothing to do," and "I'm bored", I pulled out the pile of trash.

Actually, it was recycle bin material, aka junkyard forts or towers of trash.

For a couple hours, they constructed and built and cut and messed. And I dreamed of another week of vacation.
While I do prefer our own bed and shower, I easily could have kept travelling.  Except for the overtired toddlers and the issue of money, I would have loved to stop at all the National Parks and cool spots on our way back home. We passed about three that looked interesting, and I could have found plenty more.  Salt Lake City was begging us to linger, and the green and mountainous scenery of Utah was bound to hold some awesome camping.

If only travelling with kids was a little bit easier.

Pictures of some of our trip to come...