Cabin trip July 2011

Friday we went up to the cabin! It was a wonderful trip.

Basically Mel and Liz joined us at our house after work, and we packed up the car to head up. There was a bit of a snafu with the kids’ TV sets, but we managed to get one going for them to watch on the way up. Well, Ollie watched, Landon played on the ipod. It was a pretty good drive, up until the last little bit. We didn’t stop in Payson, but went right on through to the cabin, which, in retrospect, was a mistake. Once we got off the main highway, and on the twisty road that leads to the cabin, Ollie got fussy. We thought he might be hungry, as it was dinner time. We fed him some snacks.

Unfortunately, he was not hungry. Less than 10 minutes away from the cabin, he started to projectile vomit. Apparently he’d been car sick. That is a first for him, he’s not been a very vomitous child, and he’s not been motion sick before. We pulled over and got him all cleaned up, then put the poor boy back in his seat to finish the drive. Once we got to the cabin, Oliver was fine and happy.

Friday night we had some really tasty taco soup and salad, along with amazing peanut butter cookies, thanks to Liz and Mel. We followed that up with some gaming, learning how to play
Forbidden Island, which is a fun little game, very much like
Pandemic , only faster and not as hard.

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Saturday morning we got up and had a lovely breakfast, courtesy of Dirk and Laura. Oliver woke me up at 5AM, which was not fun since I hadn’t gone to bed until after midnight, but that was my own fault. Anyway, bacon is tasty! Once we got fed and our act together, we packed up and went for our hike to the waterfall. This was our first time going since the fire that closed the area. We now have to take another path, which is longer, but still fun. We got to see a few new sites along the way.
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I had forgotten to pack the hiking backpack, which was sad, but thankfully I keep the cinchworm in the car at all times. I was able to put Oliver in that for the hike, which worked out well. He was so comfortable he fell asleep, although that looked decidedly uncomfortable to ride on my back while sleeping.

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Once we got to the falls, I took him off of my back, with help, and laid him across my lap for a bit while the others explored.
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This left me trapped, so for a while all of my pictures came from one spot. Eventually I decided I wanted to get up and play too. Oliver was showing no signs of waking, so I took Landon’s clothes (Landon was in his swimsuit) and made a pillow for Ollie, before moving him to the rocks.
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Landon loved being able to climb into stream and play in the water. He played skip the stones and splashed about for most of his time there, not bothering to climb up to the top of the waterfall.
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I realized that despite years and years of going to the waterfall, I’d never climbed up on the log. This seemed crazy to me. I know the first time or two I was nervous about it, but I’m not sure why I’d never done it. I decided to rectify this immediately, and I talked Mel into joining me on the log. Laura’s girls were already playing over there, so we had a fun time on the infamous log.

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Bobby and I switched off on who got to sit with Ollie while he took his nap on the rocks. On the bright side, it was a nice shady spot to rest, so Liz and Mel also took some time to relax in the shade.
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Laura’s family got their picture on the log, as they do pretty much every time we go.
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Eventually, Oliver woke up. He was rather cranky, and it was getting warm out. I had us pose for our family picture, but it was pretty impossible with the kids this time. Oliver just wasn’t awake, and it was about time for us to start hiking back out.
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We went into town at this point, and had lunch at the little Mexican place in the Swiss village. The place is tasty and there is lots of food for hungry hikers. After lunch we did some shopping and hit the old antique shop in Payson, where Bobby found himself a birthday present. Here it is on our patio at home:
Bobby stove

He loves it, and it is solid cast iron. I am interested to see what he attempts to cook on it.

Once we got back to the cabin, we decided to go explore the creek behind the cabin. It was running, which isn’t something that happens very often. My brother in law had said they had opened up something further upstream to keep it running through the summer this year. We saw the bats under the bridge and enjoyed walking around. It was sprinkling out, so I took my underwater camera, instead of my good one.
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Back at the cabin, we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves with games, books, and good conversations. The older children played Nintendo 64 (Bobby and I brought up the old gaming system a few years back and left it at the cabin).
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While Oliver played outside with Laura, who was trying to read her book!

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Bobby had a roast in the water oven, so I warmed up some potatoes and cauliflower to go with dinner. I ate a ton of oreos for dessert, way more than I should have, but it was nice to just relax, talk, and enjoy chocolate. We played Forbidden Island, again, as well as Betrayal at House on the Hill. The women ended up staying up till after 1AM talking, even later than the night before. Bobby and Dirk went to bed hours before we did.

Sunday morning, Bobby and Laura made breakfast, by virtue of being awake first.
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We then spent the rest of the morning cleaning up the cabin and packing up our stuff. I took Oliver outside to play, in order to keep him out of everyone’s hair while we finished up.
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Before we left, we stopped to pose for our family picture on the stairs. Ollie was awake and mostly happy for this one, and I think they came out nice.
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On the way back, we stopped for one more hike. This was a hike we had not done before, and it was cool to explore a new area. The kids really seemed to get a kick out of it.

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Damia was up and over and all over the rocks again. That girl might be part mountain goat.
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The other kids quickly followed her though, as she lead the way.

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It amuses me that Ollie once again managed to fall asleep within 15 minutes of us starting out.
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After that we went back to the car and headed back. Ollie slept about half way home, which was nice for him, and was not sick again on the way back, which was nice for everyone.

Overall it was an awesome weekend. It was so nice to get away and enjoy cooler weather and green trees with friends!

Full set of pictures is here.

Baseball and Sunsplash

Continuing on with my being rather behind in my blogging, I’m going to try and catch up today. This past weekend (July 22-24) we went up to the cabin, and I have 740 pictures to sort through. In the mean time, let us travel back to the start of the month so I can get this down on “paper.”

A very good friend of mine had an adorable baby boy, and I went over and took newborn pictures of him on July 9th.

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He was so cute, and I think the pictures came out nice. Newborns are hard to work with! I need more practice for sure.

That same day, I also took Landon to see his first ever play over at the Hale Theatre in Gilbert. He seemed to enjoy it, and was well behaved for the whole thing. It was totally children’s theatre, so he was not overwhelmed. Honestly, we had a lot of fun, and it was about the same cost as a movie now days.

We were in the very front row; the theatre is in the round.


Monday (July 11) Bobby IMed me to say that he’d gotten some free tickets to the Baseball Ultimate Fan Experience at the convention center downtown. So after work we picked up the boys and went. I was a bit ashamed when I realized that Landon had no real idea what baseball was, and had never swung a bat to hit a ball in his life that I knew of. Still, with a little help and some practice he seemed to at least get the general idea.

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Oliver, on the other hand, really liked anything that involved throwing around a ball, or bean bag, and nomming on baseballs.
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Actually, the baseball thing was pretty cool overall, even for non fans. They had lots of “free” things to do (the cost was $25 to get in.) And overall the boys seemed to enjoy it. We got some baseballs and other paraphernalia for free as well.

We took the boys to Sunsplash, the local water park, on July 17th, thanks to free tickets from my work. We knew that Oliver would love it, but that he wouldn’t be able to stay all day, and it’s not worth the cost when that happens. But for free, why not!

We started out with both boys in the wave pool.
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But I took Landon to ride the slides right after that. Landon hadn’t been on the slides before, and he wasn’t tall enough to ride all of them. Landon really loved the slides, he kept wanting to ride them again. He did both of the “open” tube white slides, all three of the Dragontail slides, and even rode the Bonzai slides once. My only concern was he had trouble swimming to the step at the end of the Dragontail slides. There is a bit of a back current. Landon swims very well when he focuses on it, but you can tell it takes effort for him to swim.

After that, we went back and met Bobby and Ollie in the kids play area. Ollie had been having a grand old time with Bobby.
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But by the time we got back, Oliver was starting to fade. I let Bobby take Landon for a bit, and I hung out with Oliver. Landon and Bobby ran around the kids area and played, having a lot of fun!
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But Oliver was mostly sad and ready to go home. We went back to the wave pool for ten minutes or so, then we went home. It was only about a two hour stay at the park. I’m hoping next year we can go and stay for longer.

On Weds I went and did a photo shoot for rather large family, and got some good pictures.
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Now if I can just get the photos from this weekend edited and up, I’ll write all about the cabin trip then!

Science and Fireworks

I feel like I’m a bit behind on my blogging.

We hosted a small gathering for the four of July this year. We had a good time, good food, and good company. I got some pictures, including Oliver’s first ever underwater picture.
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I am enjoying the fact that some fireworks are legal now, and we did set off a few. Overall it was great!

For some weird reason, my work also gave me July 5th off, so Laura and I decided to take the kids to the science center. The full set of 4th of July party pics and science center adventure is here.

The Science center had a special exhibit on Mazes, which Ollie loved, because he could wander around aimlessly while I followed him. Also, I love the shirt I got him from Café Press, so the pictures of him made me extra happy.
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Landon really enjoyed himself, although a few things sort of frightened him. Overall he really enjoyed himself, and loved having Darion and his sisters around to explore with.
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I love this picture because it has everyone in it (but me, of course)
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Oliver did great up until the end, when he was suddenly done and got really fussy. I know part of it was that he didn’t have a great nap, but overall the trip to the science center was a lot of fun!

Afraid of monkeys?

A couple of weeks ago we got on sale tickets to the local aquarium, which is at a mall that happens to have a Rainforest Cafe. I thought, “Let’s make a day of it! We can go to the mall, eat at a place the kids will think is cool, and see the fish! Also shopping indoors is wonderful when it’s over 110 outside! What could go wrong?”

I called ahead and made sure they could accommodate Landon’s dairy allergy, and they could, so off we went. If I’d really been thinking, I’d have remembered that despite Landon doing so well at Disneyland, he’s not a fan of animatronic things. But honestly, I thought he’d love it.

I don’t know if I could have been more wrong. We got to the place, and he thought it was cool, until we walked into the actual restaurant. Once inside, he saw the apes moving and freaked out, begging for us to sit far away from them. The hostess changed course and found us a table not too close to any of the action. We sat down, but Landon was still freaked out. He cuddled close to Bobby and looked around wildly, telling us he did not like it here. Bobby gave Landon the DS, in the hopes that Super Mario would calm him. Landon tried to play, but a “storm” started, with thunder and lighting.

We’d been there less than 2 minutes, and Landon was already almost hiding under the table, and on the verge of tears, so we left. I honestly didn’t think it would scare him! I felt like such a horrible mom. Oliver was fine with the place, he didn’t seem to mind.

We ate in the food court and then went on to the Aquarium, which was a lot of fun!
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Landon really enjoyed it.
Oliver would have rather played tag.
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Landon letter 4.11

Dear Landon-

Oh my, has it really been five months since I last wrote you a letter? You’ll be five next month. I’m one month away from you turning five, and you start kindergarten this year! But enough about the future, let’s talk about the last five months. This letter might be a bit long, as we’ve got a lot to cover!

Let’s see, back in February, you came home from school with lice! Everyone in the house got their head shaved (except mama) but you were the only one with the little bugs in your hair. I don’t like your head shaved that close, but you didn’t mind.

In March, we went in for you milk allergy testing. You were 42.5 inches tall and weighed in at 42.5 lbs. Weird, I know. Your milk allergy has continued to get worse, although just a tad worse. Since you are starting Kindergarten this year, the doctor went ahead and prescribed an Epi-pen.

In May, you had a Preschool Graduation for your class. There was an adorable ceremony where you were supposed to sing, but alas, you did not. You would make the motions, but refused to sing. You’ve never really had a love of music, and while you had no performance anxiety, you just weren’t into it. The graduation went swimmingly overall. You stayed at the school until the end of June, and you were a little sad to quit going. We were very proud of you for completing your writing prize chart. You did an excellent job. Your teacher, Ms. Tanya, totally went the extra mile to ensure that your writing improved greatly during your time there.

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For the rest of the summer, you go to Laura’s four days a week, and stay home with me on my work from home day. Laura has you do a couple of worksheets every day, and I am so impressed with your math skills! You can do basic addition and subtraction worksheets with ease. You now write stories, although you do need assistance to spell or sound out words. You can sound out words to read, but you don’t really like to. Also, the idea of reading quietly to yourself confuses you. Whenever you see me reading, you tell me that I have to move my mouth to read!

You took your very first trip to Disney Land this summer. We went with Laura’s family, and you had a blast. You were very brave, and rode everything once, although some rides scared you. You really hated Pinocchio, Snow White, and Mr. Toad. I thought you would like Mr. Toad, as we had read the books and seen the movie, but you did not. Your favorite ride was “The Haunted Mansion” even though it scared you. You would shake like a leaf every time we road it. The first time through, you asked if we could leave before we got into the Doom Carriages (after the elevator) because you were so scared, yet somehow this was your favorite! You also really liked the roller coaster style rides, and rode them without fear. We also visited the beach and SeaWorld, but nothing topped the Haunted Mansion for you!

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In more recent events, I took you to your first every play this past weekend at the Hale Theatre in Downtown Gilbert. We saw Pinocchio, and you seemed to enjoy it. I’m not sure if you enjoyed is more than a movie. A few weeks back, your dad took you to see Cars 2, which I know you liked.

I have threatened in the past to ground you from your beloved video games or tv if you did not preform an action, but I had not yet grounded you as a punishment. There are many reasons for this, the first of which is that you are, in general, a GOOD kid. You don’t often need to be punished, and when you do, sixty seconds in the corner is usually all it really takes. Yesterday, after being a perfect angel all morning, we went to the store and you begged me for some Super Mario Fruit Snacks (which you still call bribes). When we got home, you wanted to eat a package. I agreed, but suggested you them in the kitchen where Ollie couldn’t see, so that he would not also want your fruit snacks.

I realized, after a bit, that you’d been in the kitchen for a while, and I looked over and you were still eating. I asked you then, how many bags you had eaten. You told me that you only had one. I told you to finish up and come sit and play then. Unfortunately for you, about 20 minutes later I went into the kitchen, and counted the remaining bags in the brand new box. Simple math proved you’d eaten 4 bags. I grounded you for lying to me, although I don’t think you understand that. Somehow I think you still think you were grounded for eating the extra bags. I’ve explained that I would have just put you in the corner for that, and it was the lying that got you grounded, but it just doesn’t click. You were so bored that you asked to go bed early last night and read extra books, since we were not going to play video games.

You love swim class. You understand now about levels (Thank You Video Games!) and that you are a level five swimmer. You want to be a level eight swimmer, and are working rather hard in swim class to move up. It amuses me that you swim awesome in swim class, then get in the pool with us at home and still have days where you act like you can’t swim at all! On the bright side, you love the water and tend to swim quite well most of the time now.

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You do not like to try new foods, and it’s a struggle to get you to eat things outside of your small comfort zone. I keep hoping exposing you to the flavors will help over time. I know I was a picky eater as a child too (and still am) but this is getting silly. You hate eating new foods, and will act like you are going to throw up when I make you take one little bite.

You still love cars. You talk about how you want to be a “tire man” when you grow up. You are a so smart, and you love to talk about video games and Super Mario. You get excited and wave your hands around in a spastic manner that makes me smile. You love to wrestle and play with others, but are okay playing by yourself too, especially on the computer or DS. Your favorite TV shows are Phineas and Ferb, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Pink Panther or Pokemon. You are an amazing little boy and I love you so much. Each day with you is better than the ones before.

Love always,

Ollie letter 1.8

Dear Ollie-
A few days ago you became a 20 month old. You have had an exciting month, because you took your very first extended family vacation last month. We went to California along with our wonderful friends Laura, Dirk, Damia, Elaira, and Darion. We stayed at the Disneyland hotel, where you found yourself exploring Disneyland.

You seemed to enjoy most of the rides. The very first ride that you found yourself on, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, freaked you out some. I had to hold on to you, but in the end I think you started to enjoy it. Your favorite ride of all time was “It’s a Small World.” You wanted to sing and dance during the boat ride, and were sad when the ride ended. You did manage to see most of World of Color on our first night. You had slept up until it started, but woke up for the show. You were fascinated by all the lights and colors. You did a great combination of riding in the stroller, being worn in your cinchworm, walking, being carried, or riding on your parent’s shoulders on vacation. You did not really like the characters walking around in their costumes, but by our last day at Disney, you were willing to tolerate them. You also went to the beach and Seaworld, both of which you seemed to enjoy, but you didn’t get down to the water at the beach.

While on vacation, we noticed that you snore, rather loudly. Your breathing pattern seemed odd to me, and overall, you mostly breathe through your mouth. I was worried, so I took you to the doctor when we got home. We’re trying some Flonase at night for 30 days to see if it helps. The thought is that if you have allergies, which could be causing the issue. I think it is helping some, but I’m not sure it’s enough. We’ve got a follow up with the doctor in a couple of weeks to check and see.

You really love it when we sing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or other songs. You will take my hands and help me do all the motions that go with the song. You and your big brother are starting to play together more, which is awesome. You like to chase him around and grab onto him. The two of you seem to be getting along pretty well overall.

You love to swim. Or perhaps I should say you love to attempt to drown yourself. You cannot swim as of yet, but getting in the pools thrills you. You’ll walk down the steps and then throw yourself into the water; your head quickly disappears below the surface. I grab you and bring you back above water, and you just look around confused, or smile really big, depending on if you were under for one second or three. You prefer the briefer dunking, but I keep hoping you’ll start to get the concept that you cannot breathe under water! But you are like a fish, you want to swim so badly. I think next summer we will start you with swim lessons for sure!

You are so independent and stubborn! You do not like to hold hands or be lead. You want to lead and seek and find things on your own. In the pool you’ve decided you don’t need floaties of any kind. You do not want to be in your raft, you want to be out there in the water! When we go to a store, you don’t want to ride in the cart, you want to push the cart or run down the aisle. When we cross the street, you do not want to hold hands, and will sometimes attempt to throw a temper tantrum in the middle of the street rather than hold hands. And if we pick you up? You struggle to get down!

I am looking forward to when you find your words, so you can tell us what it is you want. You understand much more than you say and can follow simple directions when it pleases you.
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You are loving and adorable. You like to give kisses and will high five just about anyone. You have cute hair that sticks up and big brown eyes. When you are mad or frustrated you will scowl at the source of your irritation, and then slowly close your eyes and scowl harder. It’s so cute.

We love you so much little man!