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.

01 July 2016

Trixie: Ten Months

Trixie is now a very mobile baby. She can go from lying to sitting and sitting to lying, and she can crawl all around.

In addition to her two bottom teeth, she has two of her top teeth breaking through. Oddly, it wasn't the "two front teeth" (or incisors), but the teeth to sides of those (lateral incisors). I have also caught a glimpse of one of the incisors, so I think it will break through soon.

This girl loves to eat everything. We have yet to give her something she doesn't like.

She learned to wave this month. It took a lot of practice, but it was worth it.

She loves our family's new-to-us piano. She makes a lot of noise when anybody plays it.

She loves bath time and always leans forward to lap up the water like a dog. When she hears the bath water running she comes to check it out. (Felix was like that too.)

This month we've had a lot of family in town, and it has been fun to watch Trixie interact with her cousins. She met Daniel for the second time; he's about 3 months older than her. No pictures, but it was sweet to see him try to mimic the way she crawls. (He's a bum-scooter rather than a crawler, but he was intrigued watching her on all fours and gave it a try a few times.) She also got to meet her nearly-twin-cousin for the first time. They are about 17 hours apart. We took several pictures of them together but this was the best I've got. They are behaving like Disney princesses and not looking at one another. (Has anybody else ever noticed this? When you put multiple princesses in one image, they don't interact with each other and they all stare in different directions.) Also, Trixie sure is chubby next to her little peanut cousin.

All in all, Trixie is a delightful little girl. We are loving watching her grow and develop. 

10 June 2016

Road Trip to Southern Utah

Our original road trip plans were rather ambitious, but as the reality of "we have a small baby" set in, Eric and I (mostly I) decided to tone things down. We spent a few days in Southern Utah, and everyone had a splendid time.

First we went to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was my first visit, and I was really impressed. Eric had been once before, but he only hiked around the rim. We did a few hikes, and our boys did great. One hiker said, in broken English, that Felix is a future Everest hiker. We loved listening to people speak different languages and then telling our kids to say hello to those people in their native languages. Also, some Asians took pictures of our boys while they were sitting at the picnic table without us. I guess they like blondes. And many Asians were obsessed with Trixie, especially when she was leaning out of the hiking backpack as best she could to see what was going on in front of her.

We hiked the Navajo Loop. It is 1.4 miles total, with the first part being down some switchbacks, and the next part being up some different switchbacks. Our little troopers hiked the whole thing (with many breaks).

Most of the time, Trixie looked like this, and people found her position very amusing:

Ike and Felix are best friends, and I love it. (Though, if you ask them who their best friends are, neither will name his brother. One day they'll recognize that they are more than brothers.)

That night we camped near Bryce Canyon, and it was a perfect camping spot. Everyone did great at camping, except Trixie. She needs more practice.

The next day we returned to Bryce Canyon for more hiking. We hiked the Queens Garden Trail, and I liked it even better than the Navajo Loop. It was slightly longer, and again, our boys did really well.

We ran into Eric's cousin and her family while we were there. The following day they ran into Eric's brother and his family, who also were in Southern Utah for our sister-in-law's family's reunion.

As the weather warmed up (triple digits - we did not luck out with nice weather for this trip. It was blazing hot.), we headed to Cedar Breaks National Monument. It is like Bryce Canyon on steroids. It is a much higher elevation, so it is closed for most of the year, and it is generally inaccessible. There are a couple of trails, but they were still very muddy and snowy, so we just checked out the lookout points and went on our merry way. (Also note that this was the only time during the trip that I wore Trixie in the pack. Eric is a pack mule. That girl is heavy.)

Really though, these boys love each other. And look how blonde they are. It's no wonder the Asians were marveling at them.

After Cedar Breaks, we went to St. George and stayed in a condo. The next day we went to Snow Canyon State Park, which is a pretty cool place. Have I mentioned the heat? It was oppressive. We didn't last long at Snow Canyon before we headed back to our condo for mandated naps before going to see Zootopia.

On Saturday we went to Zion National Park. We had high hopes for an early arrival and a day full of hiking, but our late start and exhausted bodies stymied us. We hiked to the lower Emerald Falls, walked along the River Walk Trail, played in the very cold river, and then called it a day. What should have been a four-hour drive home took us six due to unscheduled potty breaks and ornery children, but we all made it home in one piece.

For the record:
  • The boys had been to Zion before, but neither could remember it.
  • On his last camp out (father and sons camp out with the ward), Felix fell into a Dutch oven and sustained a nasty burn on his leg. On the camp out before that he fell into a cactus, and we had to pick barbs out of his bum by flashlight in the dark. This camping trip was injury-free for him! (My dad says we need to get him a suit of armor to wear while camping, and that's probably true.)
  • Trixie liked to fall asleep with her head sticking out. In the one picture above where she is resting her head on Eric's back (like a normal person would), she was only in that position because I placed her so. Usually when I tried to rearrange her sleeping body to a comfortable position, she would flop right back to the head-sticking-out-to-the-side position.
  • If you ask Ike and Felix about their favorite part of the trip, they will tell you it was the swimming pool at the condo and going to see Zootopia. So, basically, things we could have done at home.
  • I really am pleased with how well my boys hiked, in case you couldn't tell. Nearly two miles (length of the Queens Garden Trail) on steep trails for a scrawny 3.5 year old is pretty impressive.
  • Ike wore a "Don't Mess With Texas" shirt one of the days, and he loved to "trick" people by telling them our family was from Texas. Where in Texas? "Just the normal part."
  • Both boys were totally zonked out during church on Sunday.
  • On the drive home when Felix was incredibly cranky, Eric and I decided to stop and get ice cream. We went to a Burger King, but ice cream was not on the dessert menu, so Eric ordered a couple of shakes, which, Felix was not particularly interested in having. He then declared he wanted crackers (which we had in the car). As Ike and I finished up the shakes, Eric took Felix back to the car to get the more desirable crackers, when he saw a man walking out with a couple of soft-serve ice cream cones. And that was not the most humorously frustrating stop on our drive home, but now you have a better idea of why it took us so long to get home.
  • Okay, I can't reference a more humorous stop and not give more details. Shortly after a bathroom break, Ike declared he needed to go. We tried to make him wait but ultimately had to pull over to a rarely-used exit to let him do his business. While helping him, Eric was attacked by angry bees. While Eric literally ran around the exit ramp swatting at the bees, I stared, baffled, from the car. Ike continued his procedure totally unaware of his father. Somehow everyone was able to re-enter the car un-stung.