Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Trip to Blanding

 For quite a while now Brandon has been talking about taking a trip to Blanding, Utah.  His grandparents and a bunch of Rigbys are out there and he has wanted to pay them all a visit.  While I had never had anything against southern Utah I wasn't that enthusiastic, mainly because after driving all the way out to Ogden adding another 6 hours on top of it just really isn't that appealing.  This year we decided to do it and I was more than pleasantly surprised.  It was gorgeous and had that sweet small town feel.  The truth of it though was that the best part was hanging out with family.

On the way there we acted like we were good parents and took our kids to Arches National Park.  I was not prepared to be as enthralled as I was with the park.  The beauty that can be found in nature truly feeds the soul.  The kids were delighted as we hiked happily together as a family.  There has been a lot of buzz in the media lately about the 100 year anniversary of National Parks.  They truly are a treasure.  I have so many positive memories from when I was a kid and my mom would trek us around visiting them and it is truly an honor to be able to take my children to them.

We were fortunate because a storm was brewing while we were doing our hiking so we had a strong breeze and that incredible just before rain air quality that smells great and keeps the temperature cool. We also had a fantastic view of a far off lighting storm which in and of itself was a real treat.
We spent much more time than we had originally planned hiking in and out of the otherworldly landscape.

 I am not sure how much the girls will remember, and Ike will not retain a bit of it, but I will never forget what a lovely afternoon we all spent together with the arches and rock formations.  In fact, just thinking back right now is making me a little bit choked up.  The truth is that being able to see amazing things with your babies is just about the best part of being a mom.
 Once we got into Blanding we spent lots of time hanging out with Jay and Shauna.  The girls immediately became Jay's shadow and he showed them all kinds of interesting Native American artifacts and petrified wood and taught them how fun it is to throw juniper berries.  I spent most of my time picking Shauna's brain about all she has learned about parenting after raising 15 kids. We got to hang out a bit with Renee at her family's cabin.  I am always so touched by the Rigbys that even though we don't get to see them often they always treat us like we belong.  Also we had the most incredible relish I had ever tasted.

We hiked around the Utah State Extension park and saw all kinds of different homes that had been made by the first people who dwelled in Utah.
 Then we had another special treat.  We got a whole afternoon with Grandpa Rigby all to ourselves.  he took us out on the boat.
 It is not every day that kids get to be pulled in a tube after a boat being driven by their great grandfather.  Within a few minutes it was clear that they considered him a kindred spirit.  He has such a great sense of humor and the happier the little ones were the happier he was.
Daisy wasn't so sure about tubing.

Snuggling with Auntie Shauna

 Brandon was able to spend a few hours recording Grandma and Grandpa sharing some of their memories.  It was truly a sweet and special moment when the three generations snuggled up on the couch together.
Our only regret was that we left town right before the big 4th of July celebration.  Blanding seems like the perfect place to celebrate such a special little town.

On the way back we ended up doing a last minute slumber party with the Springville Howards.  Matt and Kristin are such good hosts and it was so much fun spending time together.  I love going to their house because there is great food and lots of stimulating conversation and so many toys and a feeling that the whole point is that everybody should be happy and have space to be creative.  Every time I am over there I am inspired and think of ways that I can make our home in Eugene a better place.
 Of course when the cousins get together there is always a dance party.

 The next day we spent a lovely day at the best splash pad ever.
 So even though it was another 12 hours in the car it was worth it for so many reasons.  The time actually just flew anyway, probably because we listened to Hamilton.  I maybe was crying real tears as we made our way back north.

Coincidentally even though we didn't spend the holiday in Blanding we still got to keep up the 4th of July tradition of going to the parade and fireworks.

 And one more fun thing we did that week was to do our best to tube down the river in Ogden.  There were quite a few mishaps and we ended up with more popped tubes than we expected but the chill of the water and the good company made it a good time.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ike's Birthday

 I blinked once and Ike had already finished his first year of life.  I thought for a long time about how to best celebrate.  The more birthdays that this family has the more I dislike birthday parties.  The problem that happens is that I get so focused on making sure that the party will be fun for our guests that it ends up turning into being more about me than the kids.  So instead of a party I decided that we would spend the day letting the birthday boy do all his favorite things.

The only issue is that most of the stuff he wants to do is dangerous or gross.
 He obviously doesn't speak but his body language couldn't have been more clear.  He was the happiest little birthday boy.

 He went up and down the stairs several times to the delight of several adoring fans.
 And participated in his favorite guilty pleasure, chewing on flip flops.  This is no joke.  We have all learned to keep our shoes out of his grabbing range because he is worse than a dog.
 It seemed only fitting that he would spend his birthday with Katie since she basically delivered him.
 He also loves any type of computer or screen.  He can't get enough of pushing buttons and messing up phones with his fingers.
 He pulled a bunch of food out of the pantry and then waited for me to put it away so he could pull it all out again.
 We don't know what he would have chosen for dinner but we made sure that everything we ate that night was Ike-sized.  He does have a clear preference for fruit, especially watermelon.
 When we gave him his cake he didn't believe that we were really going to let him eat it but once he got the hang of it he was shoving it into his mouth by the handful.

 The blue frosting was a poor choice as I realized later while trying to clean up.  Not only was it all over the high chair it was on the walls and floor of every room in our house.
 After a quick bath it was onto his nighttime hobbies.  After the girls go to bed he gets to hang out by himself.  He has learned that if he is cheerful and darling during this time he gets to stay up even later.
During this sweet spot he chose to bang on the DVD player, just like he does every night.
 And he finished his perfect birthday celebration with a quick bounce in his Johnny Jump Up.

 We love our Isaac.  He is a charmer and a wild animal.  He can be sweet and sour depending on his mood and while most of the time remains pretty mild when he wants to speak his mind he will.
He has only been around for one year but I can't imagine a life without him.