20 August 2019

Felicia is Two!

Felicia turned two on July 1. The boys were out of town with their Uncle John, and Eric was away doing his summer gig - being a teacher for a week at our school district's summer camp. The day before her birthday (and before Eric left for camp) we had a little dinner for Felicia with just the four of us, plus our friends, Joey and Priscilla.

Felicia was really not crazy about us singing to her.

She didn't really understand the concept of blowing out the candle either. Also, she ALWAYS takes her elastic and bow out of her hair during her nap, and then she wakes up with hair like this:

The day before that, we went as a little family of four to the farm and let the girls ride ponies and play in the air conditioned play area.

On Felicia's actual birthday, we hung out at home, went to our local park, and then went to the Butterfly Biosphere.

At two years old, here are some things I want to remember about Felicia:

  • She is getting better at playing with her siblings and loves to be a part of the group.
  • Felicia is quite the mimic. She doesn't talk a lot, but she mimics people in very physical ways.
  • At her two-year checkup, when they asked if she speaks in two-word sentences, I said yes, but it's still very rare.
  • She begs for bites of whatever I'm chopping, slicing, or cooking, especially onions and garlic.
  • Eric took her pacifier away while I was away at Young Women's camp. It doesn't seem to be the magic bullet for speech that it was for her older sister. But we're confident it's not going to hold her back either.

  • She's a bit tyrannical. Actually, she's very tyrannical. We have a kid-sized chair in our living room, and she doesn't like anyone to sit in it, even if she is also not sitting in it.
  • Felicia demands to say her own prayer after she hears anyone else saying a prayer.
  • She adores our nightly hug-a-thon, when everyone in the family hugs everyone else in the family. She happily says, "hu-fon" while she hugs everyone in the family, usually multiple times per person.
  • Felicia actually loves to get her hair done, and happily runs into her sister's room (where the hair stuff is) when I suggest we do her hair.
  • She likes animals but is pretty nervous around them.
  • Almost any time I ask her if she wants to ride on my back, she is excited to do so. I use the Ergo to carry her for far more than just hiking.
  • She is my most cuddly child, often asking to be picked up and held. At bedtime and naptime, we rock her in the rocking chair and sing songs to her. She usually insists on holding her pillow, a blanket, and as many stuffed animals as she can fit in her hand. When I tell her to close her eyes, she covers them with her hands.
  • She loves baths and frequently takes multiple baths in one day. I don't feel like arguing with her about the baths, so I just let them happen. She loves to dump water on her head over and over and over again.
  • Along those same lines, she loves swimming. She especially loves jumping off the side of the pool into the pool and letting somebody pull her out from under the water. She has no fear.
  • When not done, her hairstyle is definitely a mullet. Grow, hair, grow.

  • She is so friendly and says hello to just about everyone we pass. She is also rather scared of big trucks. One day she was repeatedly jumping off our front step (a hobby of hers), when a UPS truck came up the street. I was on the side of the house watering the tomatoes when I heard her screaming, "Mama! Mama!" I ran over, worried that she maybe had been stung by a wasp and realized that she was just afraid of the truck. As it went on by, her shouts of fear turned into, "Bye! Bye!" as she gleefully waved at the passing truck.
  • I hate to admit it, but she's looking more and more like Eric. She used to look just like me, so I'm a little sad to be losing my mini.

And here's a little video we made of her singing one of her favorite songs with me a few weeks ago:

Felicia is such a fun age. We love how she's learning, increasing her vocabulary, and discovering the world. We are excited to see what becomes of her in the coming year, and I'm really looking forward to having more individual time with her and her sister as both her brothers are in all-day school this year.

19 August 2019

2019's Fourth Summer Trip - Bear Lake

We returned from Jackson Hole on Saturday night, went to church on Sunday, and then went to Bear Lake on Monday. It was a quick turnaround.

We had blocked out the days on our calendar that we planned to go to Bear Lake. Eric and I had driven by, but we'd never been there. We knew lots of people go there for vacations and family reunions, so Eric asked a good friend what we should do. The good friend asked when we'd be there. Eric told him our dates and he said that's when his family and half a dozen other families (some we knew, some we didn't) would be there. They all stayed at a big KOA in their RVs and campers. We are not an RV family, but we figured we'd join the party and sleep in our tent at the KOA. (I don't generally recommend camping at a KOA, because what's the point of camping in a place surrounded by people? But, this time, we wanted to be by all our friends.)

On the way up we stopped at Ricks Spring, which was neat.

We stopped at Tony Grove to go fishing, which was a bust. It's a beautiful spot, though, and it would be a good place to camp.

One night we went to dinner with friends. Other nights we just gathered around various propane-fueled fires for roasting marshmallows and staying up too late chatting.

This KOA is rather large. It features a playground, mini golf, and other fun activities for kids. The girls were particular fans of riding around in the "train" in the evenings.

We went with lots of friends to the Minnetonka Caves, which was very cool. I love caves.

Before the tour started, our tour guide asked if there were any questions. The only people who had questions were our three children. (We were in a group of about 30-40 people.) At one point when he asked again if there were any questions Trixie asked, "Why is there so many rocks in here?" He told her that people brought the rocks in and left them. Also when the guide asked if there were any history buffs in the group, Eric and I were the only ones to raise our hands.

After the cave we stopped on the side of the road to go canoeing on the lake for a little bit. We sure do fill up a canoe!

After dinner that night we rented one of those horrible surries. They are insanely hard to pedal! They need some gears. The boys didn't want to come, and they missed out. (But we didn't miss them since they wouldn't have been tall enough to reach the pedals, and we would have had a lot more weight to haul.) We rode down and got shakes, and then went back up to camp.

The last day we went to the north beach and played in the sand, swam, and canoed some more. Everybody got at least a little bit sunburned.

We stopped for shakes one more time. (It was the third time for the parents and girls, the second time for the boys since they missed the surry ride.)

Then we stopped on the way to hike the Timber Pine Loop Trail. It was really hot when we weren't in the shade, but the information signs along the way made it really educational (at least for me). It was so interesting to learn about how the plants "migrate" into a new area - which plants come first, which follow, and what animals come along with them.

This tree is like two thousand years old. (There weren't signs telling us not to climb it.)

Trixie got tired of being in the carrier and insisted on walking on her own. Each time, she'd take of running and fleefully laughing only to face-plant on the trail. Then she'd insist on walking/running some more. It's hard to be little.

12 August 2019

2019's Third Summer Trip - Jackson Hole

At the end of June my brother's kids attended a couple of sports camps at BYU. My sister-in-law came to get them at the end of their camps and took Ike and Felix back to Jackson Hole with her.

The boys had a blast with their uncle, aunt, and two cousins. They went on lots of hikes and were generally spoiled.

They did the touristy things like Moulton Barn and the shootout (or shoe-out, as one of them kept mistakenly calling it. They didn't know what a shoot-out was, so apparently they were kind of concerned when some cowboys started "shooting" at each other).

They saw a moose, but Uncle John wouldn't let them pet it because, "Wyoming is not a petting zoo."

They did some hikes and some swimming, and Felix did a lot of whining about those hikes: 

Felix, also, apparently, was quite the food critic. This was his face after eating a jalapeno at a Mexican restaurant:

As a parent, I am very concerned about my kids being picky eaters. I know not all parents value a kid who can eat, but I definitely do. So I really don't cater to picky eaters. You eat what we're having for dinner, or you probably don't get to eat. I'm not a short order chef, and you need to learn to eat a variety of foods. I also don't believe in "kid foods" and basically only buy them when Eric is out of town and I need my meal prep to be as easy as possible. (The first time I bought chicken nuggets, Ike was 6.)

With that background established, here were a few things that Felix, the apparent food snob, said to his food-providers:

  • When served pasta with sauce from a jar: You should make homemade pasta sauce. That's what my mom does. (Please note that this is a lie. I do not do that.)
  • When served Mexican food with shredded cheese as a garnish: Is this cheese the kind that you grated at home? Or was it already grated before you bought it? (Answer, it was purchased already shredded.) Felix then shared his opinion (which he got from me) that cheese is best if shredded freshly so it doesn't have the weird powder on it. (He has since that time informed me that he didn't even notice the weird powder.)
  • Catering to his non-pre-shredded preferences, there was an evening where they were grating cheese at home, and Felix insisted on being the one to VERY SLOWLY grate the cheese, all while whining and complaining about how long it was taking for dinner to be cooked and how starving he was.
  • When served a ham sandwich with American cheese: AMERICAN CHEESE? YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. I HATE AMERICAN CHEESE.
So, you know, on the one hand I've got this kid who ate bites of onion and garlic and ginger as a two-year-old while I prepped dinner. And it was awesome and magical. And on the other hand, now he is six and has really strong opinions about the quality of his food and the ingredients that go in. I guess I've created a monster.

On July 3, Eric and I drove up with the girls to spend a couple of days in Jackson Hole and to pick the boys up. John and I ran a 10K on the 4th. I had been training for it, but I hadn't quite run the full 6.2 miles until the very day of the race. I ran the whole thing, minus about 20 feet at the turnaround point. One lady ran in front of me and then would walk for a while. Then when I'd catch up to her again, she'd take off again until I caught up with her again.

After the race we went to the town's parade, which was fine. My family gave me an endlessly hard time about the fact that it was Trixie and Felicia's first parade. But y'all, I hate parades. I obviously live in the wrong state.

Then Eric convinced John to watch our kids "for an hour" while we went and canoed the Snake River. It was longer than an hour. The water was high and fast, which we knew before we got there. When we pulled up to unload our canoe, Teton County Search and Rescue told us to be on the lookout for a body (not a missing man, but a missing body, very reassuring). We took on some big rapids and also took on a lot of water. Our boat was very full and very precarious as we navigated through an endless run of whirlpools. Eric is basically a canoeing pro, which is the only reason we did not tip. Eventually we found a place where we could pull the boat ashore and dump it out. It was then that Eric realized his phone was inside his Ziplock bag, but the bag was not zipped up. Ask me about the other time Eric ruined a phone on a trip to Jackson. (I'm going to assume you asked - he left his phone on top of the car, and we drove off with it on the roof of the car and then eventually found it smashed on the highway. This is why Eric cannot have nice phones.)

That night we watched fireworks until they were over, and then the rain started pouring, and we had a bit of a walk to get back to Nicole's parents' house. But nobody melted.

The next day we went to Bear World. Y'all, I have an unreasonable love for that place. I can't really explain it, I just love it. It's super touristy and cheesy, and I do not care. You get to see bears and other animals pretty close, and there are little roller coasters and kiddie rides that are perfect for my size of family.

The train is kind of pointless, but Felicia liked it:

The little roller coaster is the best, and Trixie was even big enough to ride it. It was definitely my favorite.

While we rode the roller coaster over and over, Felicia rode the little cars over and over. She loved them, despite her neutral face.

Eric also really liked them:
(Why didn't Eric ride with Felicia? Because then they would have exceeded the weight limit. You can imagine how amused I was to get off our ride and see my husband riding in a little kid car all by himself.)

Along with my unreasonable love of Bear World, I have an unreasonable love of these little photo boards. On my work computer I have a collection of my favorite photos that are used as my desktop background, and about 10 of them are photos of people whom I've forced to put their heads in the head-holes of various photo boards. Anyway, here are our four bears in 2019. Obviously we can't have any more kids since we've maxed out the head-holes of the photo board at Bear World.

And for the sake of memories, here they were in 2016:

We've done more things this summer, and I totally lost track of time. It wasn't until writing this post that I realized I'd never written about Felicia's birthday, which was over a month ago.