29 December 2014

White Christmas

We woke up on Christmas morning to snow on the ground. After opening presents at home and then opening presents at Eric's parents' house, we eventually headed out to go sledding.

From the beginning Felix was not really crazy about the idea. Mostly he was just upset that we made him wear a snow suit. After the first ride together when he got snow in his face he always opted to face me as we rode down.

 Eventually he had just had enough. Eric took him back to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a nap while I stayed and sledded with Ike.

We had a great time together.

He enjoyed riding by himself, but mostly he loved to ride with me. I let him ride on my back a couple of times, which was fairly amusing.
Grandma and Grandpa came to join us just as we were calling it a day.

24 December 2014

Meeting Santa Claus

The boys got to meet Santa Claus a few weeks ago. It went about as expected. Ike was eager to sit on his lap, tell him that he's 4 now, and request some dinosaurs for Christmas. Felix was reluctant to meet him, and even more reluctant to sit on his lap. I did manage to get him to say, "toys, please" before we left.

On a similar note, on Saturday we had a choir practice before our Christmas program that was held on Sunday. Felix sat and stood in the last pew the entire hour. He didn't play with any other children or seek out Eric or me to hold him. Near the end of the rehearsal Ike informed Eric that he needed to use the bathroom, so off he went, and he didn't come back. Soon we were looking for him. I didn't realize that another ward* was having a Christmas brunch while our rehearsal was going on. One of the men from the other ward approached Eric and asked him if he was looking for a little blonde boy in a red hoodie. When Eric told him that he was, the man said that Ike had sat down at a table and eaten a plate of food (probably one that was set out for some other child who then abandoned it), and then went to go see Santa Claus. Eric found him in line, eager to talk to Santa Claus again.  And that story, in a nutshell, is how my boys are different.

*A ward is a name for a Mormon congregation. It's sort of like a parish. Usually multiple wards share one church building and stagger their meeting times for efficiency.

22 December 2014

Shepherds' Dinner

I've heard of a few families who have a shepherds' dinner as an annual Christmas tradition. We decided to do one this year. I used this blog post as a format for our evening. One of the small humans didn't want to wear his shepherd attire, but aside from that, it was a great success. I loved talking about the birth of Christ with our sons, especially with Ike who has a much better understanding than Felix. We talked about what shepherds do and what it must have been like for an angel to come to visit the shepherds. We also talked about what it would have been like to see Jesus when he was a brand new baby. It was about as spiritual as we get with our two little monsters whose rambunctiousness can make reverence rather illusory.

We are all looking forward to doing it again next year; the boys can't wait to have a picnic of cheese and crackers on the living room floor again, and I can't wait to have a good excuse to buy and eat goat cheese. (In fact, It's unlikely that I will wait for a good excuse to do that.)

15 December 2014

An Eventful 30 Days

On November 7 I became a Certified Genealogist. It's a big deal in the genealogy world. I started my portfolio last October, worked on it, fretted over it, dealt with insomnia because of it, and finally submitted it in May. The results took longer than I expected, and I was certain that it had been sent to a fourth judge who would decide my fate when I got an email with the great news on November 7.

Within the next couple of weeks things got shored up at work for me to be promoted (sort of), and I made my first renewal sale with a client (which meant a commission). Some of these things were supposed to happen back in May, so I've been waiting a while for them. So that was awesome.

Then I turned 30 and went skydiving.

On December 6, my older boy turned 4, and I attended my annual company holiday party. It's always a fun party, but this year was especially so since I won two airfare tickets to Hawaii. For real. We had been planning to go since Eric has an aunt and uncle there for a few more years, so we have a free place to stay. The biggest expense is the airfare, but our tenth anniversary is coming up at the end of April, so we were planning to celebrate in a great way. There were lots of other awesome prizes at the party, and there always are. We get tickets based on our length of time with the company. This year I put all six in the Hawaii airfare drawing, and I'm very glad I did.

Now I have all winter and spring to daydream about our trip.

11 December 2014

Ike is 4

This adorable little boy turned 4 on Saturday. A few things about him:
  • He is in pre-school one day a week, and he really likes it. He usually refuses to tell me much about what goes on over there, but I know he has fun because he asks me pretty much every day if it's Friday and if he's going to school that day. He loves to take the same favorite toys to show and tell over and over again. When show and tell has a theme I have a hard time convincing him to take something along that theme. (The pic on the left was taken after his field trip to the fire station.)
  • He is a (mostly) fun big brother. He loves to wrestle and "teach" his little brother the right ways to play things. He also can get pretty frustrated if Felix doesn't do things his way.
  • Ike is such a cuddly kid. It's so nice because he wasn't much of a cuddly baby.
  • He's really social and is constantly on the lookout for other kids to play with.
  • He loves to watch shows and movies. 
  • Ike is an early riser and is usually up between 6:30 and 7.
  • His favorite color is yellow.
  • He loves dinosaurs.
  • Ike loves being read to, but he doesn't often sit down with books by himself. This is surprising to me because when he was about 2 he'd sit down with books by himself for up to about half an hour.
  • His chores include putting away the silverware and other dishes that he can reach, picking up his toys, and helping with his laundry. It usually takes a lot of coaxing (and bribery) to get him to help with these things.
  • Ike frequently wears the same shirts for as many days in a row as he can get away with. His favorites are his dinosaur shirts, his cougar shirt, his fireman shirt, his Cars hoodie, and a few others. I will let him wear them as long as he'd like, as long as they are not visibly dirty and they do not smell. This is what I call choosing my battles.
  • He's very independent when it comes to choosing his clothes and going outside to play with his friends. But when it comes to taking his shoes off or putting them on, or going to the bathroom, he acts totally helpless. We're working on that.

For his birthday we went to the Bean Museum with his grandparents. Then we went to McDonald's for lunch. He had a great day but was a little disappointed to wake up and learn that he was still the same size as he was the day before.

24 November 2014

If I Must Turn 30...

I turned 30 on Friday. And then I went skydiving in Moab on Saturday. Eric came with, and yes, he also jumped.

I have always wanted to go skydiving, so I was incredibly excited to begin with.

The flight up was in a teensy plane. The five jumpers (two pairs of tandems and one singleton) were pretty crammed in there.

The scariest part, by far, was getting out of the plane. There was a little ledge to put our feet on. We were right beneath the wing. Once I had my feet positioned, I closed my eyes and waited for my tandem instructor to do everything else.

There was some cloud cover when we arrived at the airport, and we almost had to do a lower jump. The clouds cleared just before our flight so we could reach altitude (10,000 feet). And we got to dive through the clouds. Although, to be truthful, I was too terrified to really enjoy it.
But how terrifying could it be if I was smiling in every picture?

Eventually, blessed be, my tandem instructor opened the parachute. I loved the ride down once the parachute was open.

Immediately after the jump I was confident I'd never to do it again. Now that I'm a few days past it, I'm pretty sure I would, as long as somebody else paid for it.

(As scary as jumping out of the plane was, the drive through the canyon to get to Moab and to get home was almost as bad.)

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.