10 November 2014

Canoeing with Little Kids

Since May we have canoed with our little boys numerous times:

Our first trip was a short stretch (about 3 miles) on the Jordan River. I didn't take any pictures on the boat, but the boys were sure adorable getting ready to get in.

About a month later we canoed on the Buffalo National River in Arkansas.

In July we canoed a slow stretch of the Snake River in Teton National Park with Eric's parents.

We did the same stretch again in September (by ourselves this time).

We canoed the Provo River (near Utah Lake) on three separate occasions in October, two of which were at night.

And we canoed a decently long stretch (8 miles?) of the Colorado River in Southern Utah in October as well.

Which is all to say, we know a thing or two about canoeing with little kids. Here are some things we've learned:
  • Bring water and snacks. We are not normally fond of giving snacks to our kids, but on a long canoe trip, we pile it on.
  • Be on the lookout for wildlife. We've seen so many cool animals while canoeing this year. (A bald eagle, otters, beavers, fish, turtles, ducks, cormorants, yellow-headed blackbirds, herons, pelicans, geese, swallows, and countless others that I couldn't name off the top of my head.) We love teaching our boys about the animals we see, and we love coming home to learn more about them. (Okay, that only happens sometimes, but it's fun to teach our kids that way.)
  • If you've got a pre-schooler, consider finding things to count. On the Jordan River we counted yellow-headed blackbirds. (We didn't know what they were called at the time, but I went home and looked them up!)
  • Consider gathering rocks or other natural things for the kids to throw in the river along the way.
  • If you are in a group, allow your kids to switch canoes periodically. (This is how we survived the Colorado River without tantrums. It was a long day, but our kids loved the chance to canoe with different relatives and consume a wider variety of snacks.)
  • If you are using a canoe-outfitter, bring your own child-sized life jackets. Most likely they will only have adult and "youth" sizes that will not accommodate very small children.
  • If you give your child a paddle, do not be surprised when he is incapable of using it correctly and usually just puts it in the water to create more drag.
  • Wear bug spray, sunscreen, and hats. Also layers so you can peel them off if it's warm.

01 November 2014

Halloween 2014

Last week the boys donned their Halloween costumes for the first time. Somebody was happy to be a knight.

Somebody else was not.

 Like, for real, not happy about being a knight.

Once he took his hood off, he was sort of okay, but he grabbed at his tunic frequently and whined, "Off! Off!"

By Monday night he was sufficiently distracted to agree to wear the hood for quite a while.

And on Real Halloween, there was some finagling, but he eventually agreed.

They had a great night begging the neighbors for candy.

I used variations of this pattern for their knight hoods. They weren't particularly challenging, but they were reasonably time-consuming. Eric is responsible for everything else you see. 

14 October 2014

Baby Brown Bear Beanie

Remember how I said I was busy crafting while watching General Conference? This past weekend I finished one of the projects that I started during Conference. It's an adorable brown bear hat for my friend's new baby. (If you follow me on Instagram, then sorry that you are seeing it again, but these are definitely better pictures.)

I used a pattern for a polar bear hat, and it whipped together really easily. I was using a different yarn than she used, so I had to modify the pattern a bit, but I made sure it matched up size-wise with the sock monkey hat that I made for Felix two years ago. Now I can focus all my crafting attention to my Halloween projects. I'm sure there will be post-Halloween pictures to come.

09 October 2014

Crochet Pumpkin Bunting

This year around Valentine's Day I visited a friend who had some adorable crochet heart bunting hanging in her home. I thought, "I could do that!" I went home and found a pattern and did it. I subsequently found patterns and made a shamrock garland for St. Patrick's Day (which is kind of a big deal to me) and an Easter egg garland for Easter.

After reading Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, I decided to beef up my Halloween decorations by featuring photos of our family at Halloween. I made a few pumpkins before I found the best pumpkin pattern. I worked on this during General Conference (along with a few other crochet crafts that I may or may not post about.) Eventually I'll get around to making some more pumpkins to intersperse with additional pictures. But I'm quite happy with it as-is.

06 October 2014

Felix - Two Years

Felix is 2! He is such a fun and sweet little boy. Things he loves:

  • Cars, trucks, airplanes, any vehicles
  • Animals, especially dinosaurs or anything else that might roar
  • Books
  • Coloring
  • Mimicking his older brother
  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Picking flowers
  • Brushing his teeth
  • Emptying cabinets
  • Singing - Favorite songs include "The Wheels on the Bus," "Popcorn Popping," "ABC's," and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
Things I love about him and want to remember when he is not little anymore:
  • He's really tiny. Currently mostly wearing clothes sized 12-18 months, but many things that are 9-12 months. And his pants won't stay up.
  • His adorable facial expressions when he is excited about something.
  • How much he loves to be tickled.
  • How excited he gets when I pick him up from the babysitter's house.
  • How excited he gets when somebody comes to the door.
  • How terrified he was at first of Ike's nebulizer and the garbage truck. (Both fears are waning now.)
  • How much he loves to sing. And the fact that he's been able to sing recognizable tunes (without words usually) for over 4 months.

22 September 2014

Autumn Canoeing in the Tetons

In late July we went to the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park for a couple of days. We canoed a slow part of the Snake River with Eric's parents (after they had just finished an arduous canoeing adventure in Yellowstone National Park), and ever since then Eric has been fantasizing about doing that same stretch in the fall. We went up there again this past weekend, and enjoyed the Tetons in all their autumnal beauty.

The boys enjoyed being on the water. We were really clever this trip and filled up a box with rocks so the boys could chuck them in when they started getting bored. They also enjoyed watching other boats and fishermen. Ike spent a good deal of time with his hands in the water, and occasionally he managed to pull up out some grass. When Felix tried to reach his hands into the water he nearly went headfirst into the river. I managed to save him before he was able to test out his life jacket.

The boys also liked seeing various wildlife. We saw ducks, geese, cormorants, and herons. Eric also saw some otters at one point, so we canoed upstream to the opposite side of the river to get a better look at them. We counted a total of six, and they continued to swim upstream and play around logs as we approached. Eventually they got out and ran along the bank. I never got a great picture of them, but they were fun to watch.

Just as we were getting close to the otters a bald eagle flew right above them and went to a spot in a tree on the other side of the bank. So then we hustled over to the other bank to get a better look at him. Thankfully, he landed in a tree with no leaves, so he was pretty easy to spot. As we approached, he took off again.

Although our trip with the boys was certainly beautiful, it was not as colorful as Eric had hoped or expected. While we were driving out of the park we noticed that other sections of the river (the ones not really accommodating for canoeing with children) were much more vibrant.

After watching the BYU football game at my brother's house, we took advantage of the free babysitting and the ability of my 16-year-old nephew to shuttle us to a more adventurous section of the river close to my brother's house. It was fun to canoe without little kids in our boat. We had a great time going through rapids and definitely got wetter than we did with the boys. Eric fully intends to take them on the same section of the river next year. The scenery was gorgeous, especially as the sun was going down and lighting up all the yellow leaves along the banks.