24 October 2016

Fall Happenings

In the last two years my blogging has dwindled to only highlight birthdays and vacations. I'd love to make promises about more devoted writing time or more frequent postings, but I have no intention of doing either.

Here are a few pictures and blurbs about what we've been up to this fall, though.

On Eric's birthday we hiked to Donut Falls. It was a nice hike for our little family. Afterwards we went to an Indian restaurant. And we both were so happy that we can take our kids to actual restaurants to eat actual food without having to deal with them acting like horrible people.

I coached Ike's soccer team this year. My brother aptly calls soccer for this age group "Swarm Ball." It was a neat experience, and I'll probably do it again at some point. I loved spending extra time with Ike. I sometimes felt annoyed with parents who shouted at their kids opposite instructions of what I was giving them, or who wanted to give me pointers on coaching. Folks, I have never played soccer except in elementary school P.E. I only signed up to coach because I got a few emails saying our team still really needed an assistant coach. If all you other parents think you can do a better job, then by all means, please do. Otherwise, the appropriate thing to do is say, "Thanks for coaching this soccer team." Also, I think there was an attitude of, "Oh, I'm too busy to coach." Which, okay, I get it. But who isn't busy? We're all busy. It's the American thing to be doing too many things. If it were just the kids, I'd be all about doing this more often.

At this age level the teams do not play with referees, instead the coaches and parents referee the game. We don't really call handballs unless the kid straight-up picks up the ball with his/her hands, and we don't keep score (officially). I loved it when my fellow ref (usually a coach, but sometimes a parent) had the same attitude about this whole thing that I had. (My attitude was, "This is a game, and my kid is five.") Those games were the most fun for me. I never once reffed with another female. Some men treated me like I was stupid. These games were the least fun for me.

Sometimes this boy was constantly in the action, but as the season wore on he was more likely to hang out of the swarm and see if he could head off an opponent who had taken off with the ball.

It looks like I'm chewing this kid out, but I promise I'm not. His parents had come down hard on him during half time, and he came back very upset. I was telling him that he was doing a great job. (He was one of our better players, and one of my favorite kids.) About three minutes after this was taken, he got nailed in the face with a soccer ball and hardly shed a tear.

Being around Ike and watching him interact with a bunch of boys his age was such a fun experience. I really do love this little boy, and I'm glad we got to do this together. I'm also pleased to report that even if I had not been his coach, I think my boy would have been one of the better behaved and least annoying children on the team. And I'm grateful for that. I feel bad for the parents with annoying kids. (Not even going to try to pussyfoot around that. There were definitely some obnoxious kids on my team.)

We didn't manage to get a big group together for our annual Pumpkin Cruise down by the ropes course on the Provo River. Instead, we hired a sitter for Trixie and just took the boys. We didn't bother with jack-o-lanterns for our boat and just went on our own. There was a big logjam, and we had to portage around that. Felix found that experience really distressing for some reason and kept insisting that we just turn around and go home. But everyone really loved the lights. This was one of those rare occasions when Eric didn't want to do something, and I had to encourage him that it would be worth it. When it was all over he agreed and was glad we got it together to go.
Also, how long until my boys are bigger and stronger than me, and they can be the ones to help Eric with carrying the canoe to the river and getting it on and off the car?

17 October 2016

Felix is Four

I'm more than a week late, but Felix is four now! His birthday celebrations were numerous. On the day of his actual birthday I let him pick a treat to have with our dinner that night. He picked cinnamon rolls. We also had turnips because he requested them. The next night we had a picnic dinner at the Ashton Gardens (formerly the Thanksgiving Point Gardens). Saturday he had a birthday party with friends, and I made cupcakes for everyone. Sunday we had Grandma and Grandpa L., Grandma Great, and my nephew Tyson over for dinner. And we wrapped it up with pineapple up-side-down cake. Then, on Tuesday night we went to Cold Stone for birthday ice cream. Which is all to say, this kid had plenty of treats for his birthday.

A few of Felix's favorites:

  • Colors: blue and red
  • Foods: Pretty much everything. He's a delightful eater. But if you ask him, he might say cabbage.
  • Activities: playing with friends, watching movies and shows, playing with his cars, going on walks at the gardens
  • Movie: probably Planes: Fire and Rescue (I know, ugh, but it's better than Cars, which I absolutely despise.)
  • Show: Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood or Wild Kratts
  • Songs: "Praise to the Man," "Eye of the Tiger," "Slave March," "Mighty Lord and King All Glorious," and many other Primary songs and instrumental pieces from various movies, especially Star Wars
  • When he grows up: Wants to be whatever Ike is. "But what if Ike is just a bum? "What's a bum?" "A bum is just somebody who doesn't have a job and does nothing all day." "Well, if Ike is a bum, then I guess I will just have to be a bum too." Alternatively, he has told me he wants to work at the the gardens so he can be one of the workers that is allowed to go in the employees-only sections. And he has told me he is going to be a flower cutter so he can cut flowers and bring them in the house for me.
Special traits:
  • He's quite sensitive.
  • He's brave, even if he's scared of something.
  • He has a good memory for learning texts and lyrics. (But he skips #15 when counting 99% of the time.)
  • He will always share food with you if you ask, even if it's his last bite of a special treat.
Other stuff about him at age four:
  • He's scared of strangers and is trying to understand when to be cautious and when there is cause for alarm. (The other day he came in from playing because there were strangers outside. I asked him if they were walking, and he said, "No, they drove by in a car.")
  • He would go to preschool every day if he could.
  • He almost never cooks with me anymore, far preferring to play with friends. (This makes me insanely sad.) But he does come around begging for food a lot.
And here are a few blurry pictures (and also evidence of why I will never be a famous blogger):

Sometimes Felix can be really ornery, but mostly he's a sweet boy who can be persuaded to do pretty much anything. He brings our family a lot of happiness. He asks great questions, and when his apologies are sincere, they are just insanely sweet. I sure do love him.

23 September 2016

Ike and Felix Speak

I have loved some of the hilarious things my kids have said recently.

While walking home with Ike from the bus stop:
Ike: I saw Cameron today in the gym.
Me: Oh, did you have P.E.?
Ike: Yes!
Me: What did you do in P.E.?
Ike: They gave us cups, and we put them over one eye and had to read tiny letters!
Me: That was vision screening, not P.E..


We have been reading Little House in the Big Woods, which has been a huge hit. We had tried chapter books last summer, and Ike was ready, but Felix definitely wasn't, which made things difficult. Felix still struggles a bit to be still and listen, but overall reading from the book has been a great boon to our bedtime routine. After reading about how Laura and Mary and Ma made butter, we made butter one morning. We then used the butter and resulting buttermilk to make buttermilk biscuits for our dinner that night. While reading about how Pa and Grandpa gathered sap to make maple syrup, Felix asked if we could do that sometime.

While reading from the book I frequently remind the boys that this book took place long ago, before there was electricity and cars. One time after a reminder Felix said, "Well, why didn't they just invent a car?"


On a walk with Felix, and I made him walk part of the way (after first letting him ride in the stroller with his sister while I pushed them both up a pretty big hill):
Felix: Mom, my leg hurts.
Me: Does it? Just keep walking, and it will feel better.
Felix: But it hurts worser than a lot!


While trying to get Felix to put his toys away:
Felix: You have to help me, Mom.
Me: No, these are your toys, you need to put them away so you can go play with friends.
Felix: But remember our family night, Mom? You have to do service!


While I was getting ready to go on a date with Eric:
Felix: How about Dad goes on a date, or you go on a date? But not both. It can't be both, Mom.

Then, later in the evening:
Felix: Mom, when I get big and I'm a grownup, can I go on a date with you and Dad?


While I was standing on the porch talking to somebody I saw Ike go by on a bike. He yelled, "Mom, look at me." I casually waved at him and said, "That's great, buddy!" Then I realized he was riding a bike with no training wheels! I had tried to teach him months ago, but he was too afraid of falling, and then I was too lazy to keep trying. But now he knows how to ride a bike!


Felix only has preschool on Fridays. In the week leading into his second day at preschool, he asked me on two occasions, "Is today my first day of preschool again, Mom?"


Felix took a cabbage to show and tell when the theme was "something you love":


At pre-school today Felix is taking something that starts with a letter B - his teddy bear. I was asking him what he is going to tell his class about his bear and he laughed hysterically and said, "I'm going to tell them I grew it in my garden!" (Which is what he said about his cabbage last week.)

07 September 2016

Second Summer Vacation

It happened over a month ago, but here is the rundown and summary of our second summer vacation.

We started with a very short visit to Hill Air Force Base. It had been a while since we'd gone, and the kids did not remember going before.

Then we camped in Idaho.

Then on to Yellowstone's Bear World, which was the best tourist trap I've ever visited. I seriously loved it. It was my favorite part of the whole trip.

It's a drive-through wildlife park with lots of animals, including bears. You can drive through as many times as you'd like. On our second loop through we got right behind the tour bus (which costs extra), so we got to have the benefits of seeing several bears really close without the added cost.

Some people think that this place teaches people that bears are not scary, but I think the opposite is true. We were told not to open our car doors or windows, and not even to slow down to less than three miles per hour because bears might crawl on our car or even try top open the doors! Seeing them up close gave me a realistic view of how massive they are - even black bears, which I (stupidly) thought of as not terribly big.

We also watched the bear cub feeding and the petting zoo while we were there, which were both great. Plus they have little carnival rides that were perfect for our children. The boys loved the roller coaster, which we rode a few times. (And no, I'm not getting paid for this review of Bear World. I just really liked it. But hey, if any Bear World folks want to hook me up with tickets to go again, I'd be all over that.)

After Bear World we headed up to the Tetons. We stopped in a town called Victor, Idaho, to get Huckleberry Shakes at the Emporium, and Eric showed the boys Pierre's Playhouse, which used to be a playhouse but is now actually a movie theater. When Eric was a kid his family spent a couple of summers near Victor when his dad managed a summer camp for boys.

Then we went to Teton National Park and rented a boat on Jackson Lake. The boys were very excited about the prospect of going on a "speed boat" instead of a canoe, which is our family norm. I was overly nervous about the boat, having grown up in Dallas where there were constantly news stories about people drowning on lakes due to boating accidents. Eric reminded me that the bulk of these accidents were probably caused by excessive drinking, but it was very hard for me to stop being nervous. (Which is odd, because I'm not generally a worrier.)

Then we met up with my brother and some of his family for a cookout and playing at String Lake.

The next day we were supposed to go to Yellowstone, but we were already feeling pretty pooped, so we just went straight to Missoula, Montana, to visit Eric's brother and his family. The following day we went to Glacier National Park, which was stunning. We camped that night too, and I educated my niece on the ways of going to the bathroom outside. I do not think she was a fan. (Who is?)

After returning from camping and getting caught up on sleep some of us canoed a stretch of the Clark Fork River in Missoula, where we got rather wet. As the night cooled off everyone was a bit chilly and slightly grumpy.

All in all it was a fun and short trip. I really want to go back to Glacier sometime to do more hikes. Maybe next year!

01 September 2016

Trixie is One

I can hardly believe my little Trixie is one. She is a delightful little baby. She is still chunky, but she is certainly losing her rolls, and it makes me sad. Her hair is still blonde, and her eyes are still blue. She is a little cherub.

Trixie pulls herself up to standing and walks along furniture. She also occasionally stands by herself, but she hasn't tried walking on her own yet. Even when I try to get her to walk while I hold her hands, she just plops down. She climbs the stairs and has even figured out how to come down them without falling. I don't trust her enough yet to let her do it without considerable supervision, but she's improving.

Trixie loves animals. I cannot emphasize this enough. When she sees animals she sometimes tries to jump out of our arms to go pet (read: pull fur, ears, tails, limbs of) the animal. At our ward campout this month she had a blast petting the ever-patient Pancho. (At our ward campout this month, I also declared my fourth time camping with her my final straw. We will not be doing that again until at least next spring!)

She also got a kick out of riding the pony at Thanksgiving Point, but I think all she really wanted to do was pull Chief's mane.

She learned how to suck from straws, and especially from my water bottle this month. And now she obsessively seeks out my water bottle if she thinks it may be near her. Half of what she slurps ends up on her shirt, but at least it occupies her.

Trixie got two new teeth this month, bringing the total to eight. Ike and Felix were really late teethers, so this mouth full of teeth on such a little one seems very strange to me. She uses her chompers to bite people, especially the shoulders of people who are holding her. Also she uses them to eat all the food. She's outgrown her aversion to bananas and now will eat most things with meat being her least favorite food group.

This month we went to Park City for a couple of days with some of Eric's family, and Trixie got to have her first go at a pinata. She really didn't get it, but she was pleased with the loot she got from the ceratops's head.

Last weekend we had a little family party for her. While I posed next to her with the heart-shape caked I laboriously made and decorated for her, she reached out and grabbed a handful of icing. Clever girl.

 Trixie is a light in our family. She has a sweet and mellow demeanor. She is inquisitive and somewhat destructive. She loves to participate in our family and gets excited when we are all together, especially if we are singing. Trixie adores her older brothers and sometimes stands at the window by our front door so she can see them playing outside. She loves music and often reaches up to play the keys on the piano. In general she is pretty quiet and doesn't say a lot of words or make many sounds. (She says "hi," and I think "da" and "ma" are in her vocabulary too, but that may be wishful thinking.) Trixie waves, gives high fives, and claps. She smacks her lips and loves to visit other families during church each Sunday.

01 August 2016

Trixie: Eleven Months

I can hardly believe my little baby is already 11 months. It is going by so fast this time.

She has six teeth (four on top and two on bottom), and she bites.

The best news for the past month has been that Trixie does not need to see the cardiologist for another year! I had some concerns going into the cardiology visit in early July (because of questions her pediatrician had about her heart), so I was a little nervous about this cardiology appointment (our first since February). We are all thrilled that she is doing so well!

Trixie is a really mellow child. She doesn't babble a ton, but she does say "hi" occasionally. She also waves more enthusiastically now, but generally only to family members. She likes to smack her lips and click her tongue.

She loves animals. A lot. I took her and her brothers to ride ponies, and while she enjoyed her own pony ride, she loved watching her brothers even more. She giggled and giggled just watching the ponies go around, and she giggled even more when I let her pet one of the big horses. When we were at the petting zoo in Bear World, she couldn't get enough of grabbing the animals' fur. Likewise, she loved to grab fistfuls of my brother's dog's fur. Thankfully, all these animals were really patient with her.

Trixie has been pulling herself up on furniture for about a month now, but she is not yet walking along the furniture. This month she also learned how to climb up the steps, and she's had a couple of tumbles too. She loves to crawl around the house pulling books off shelves, toys out of baskets, and dishes out of cupboards.

She loves to go to the window by the front door and stand there to watch for her brothers or other kids playing outside.

Trixie also loves food. The only exception is bananas. Anything else is fair game. Pictured below: discovering apricots while we picked them at Eric's parents' house, eating the core of a caramel apple our family got from Cold Stone, and devouring an avocado.