Sunday, August 17, 2014

Splish Splash

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The kiddo LOVES baths.  We call it the baby hot-tub, because he just looks like the picture of relaxation when he's sitting in it.

Because of his horrific eczema we can't give him one as often as I'm sure he'd like.  If the water would stay warm, he'd probably live in it.

I love Calvin's little rolls and watching him be chill-laxed and happy.

Mico-Family Reunion

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Claudy's sister, Joline, was out in Utah for her in-law's family reunion.  We knew we'd have to steal them away since they live across the country and we just had to take advantage of being in the same state.
They were super busy, and so the only time we could squeeze in with them was at 8am.  We decided to meet at BYU for her kids to look around campus.  Only one kiddo made it up that early, but it was wonderful to see her and her beautiful daughter.  We also got together with Claudy's brother, wife and three kids that live in Utah as well.  We unfortunately don't get to see them too often either, so it was just fabulous for all of us to be together.

We ended up just standing around talking.  It sounds silly, but it was so fun to catch up and just chat that we didn't need to be doing anything else.  I think the kids were bored.  Thank goodness for our niece who took Carter under her wing.  She totally took care of him, entertained him and kept an eye on him so that we weren't stuck chasing him around and could chat with the other adults.

Hopefully it won't be another two years before we see them again.  I love family get-togethers, even if they're early in the morning.  It's always worth any effort to see family.  

Best Family Hike We've Done

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We wanted to take Carter on a hike that he could do himself.  Mostly because I'm too lazy to carry him, and of course so he could feel good about himself.  Yes, mostly the latter.

Besides, you can't have a true Utah summer, with all of the fabulous mountains around without going on at least one hike.

We heard of a great little hike and it was truly perfect!  Why?  Because it was short, easy, pretty and had a cute waterfall at the end as a reward.

It's called The Grotto trail, up Payson Canyon.  The directions to get there that I found online had us a bit confused.  So, I wanted to clarify for anyone who wants to try it.  Basically--keep going!  We figured we had passed it and turned around.  We ended up having to ask directions (thankfully, Claudy is not the typical guy and is fine to do that).  

Here's some clarified directions:  Take I-15 and get off at Payson Exit 254.  Turn left onto Payson Main Street (State Route 77).  Continue south until Main Street meets 100 North.  Turn left and travel east to 600 East.  Turn right at 600 East and be sure to turn on your pedometer.  The trail head is 7 miles from this last light.  You'll also be able to know if you've gone far enough if you pass Bennie Creek.  It's literally right after that.  Park on the wide shoulder to the right and you'll see the small sign for the beginning across the street.  

I'd say the entire hike was like 45 minutes, and that's because we were going toddler speed.  It couldn't have been more than a mile round trip.  Wear water shoes, in case you want to cross the creeks through the water instead of taking the branches to walk across the water portions.  

The highlight of the trip was that Carter had to go pee as soon as we started (of course!  It's times like these I wish he was still in diapers!).  Since he was recently potty trained we knew he wouldn't be able to hold it, and there was no restroom in sight.  We told him that he could just go in the bushes.  You'd think this would be fun for a boy!  However, we've only taught him how to go sitting down.  He was thoroughly confused and started crying because he wanted the normal and was afraid to go.  We finally coaxed him to do it, but not before he had pulled his pants down.  After wetting himself he decided he HAD to be carried and promptly started to cry.  Claudy was grossed out by the urine and didn't want to get it on him.  I pulled out my Idaho-ness and was like "Just pretend you're camping and do it so you can continue this hike."  I put up with a crying, urine soaked toddler for quite awhile until he was over it and finally wanted to get down and explore.

For me to say that the hike was worth getting urine on my shirt--you know it's a good hike.

Despite the bodily fluids, it was super fun and I think it's worth it to get out and do wholesome, outdoor activities as a family.

This was also Calvin's first hike.  He slept through most of it, but I'm sure he was a fan.

Micro-Mommyism: Doors

Well, once again we lucked out for making it longer than most--but I'm still crapping my pants slightly.  Carter figured out (of course, bright and early this morning while we're sleeping) how to open his door.  It took him about 20 tries, so it woke us up enough to know what he was up to.

Ought oh!  Headed to Wal-Mart in the morning to get the child-proof door knob thing-a-ma-giggers.

We knew that this was a possibility when we took the side off his crib a few weeks ago, but as always--it seems to come so fast.  Nap time never happened today.  He'd just open his door and yell orders like "cereal!".

Stop being so smart and figuring things out.  You're making life harder on mommy ;)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

We Hate Goodbyes!

We live in an apartment complex, and had neighbors above us.  Lucky for us, they had a little boy who was just a few months younger than Carter.  Throughout the last year the boys have enjoyed many play dates.  The parents were awesome people whom we totally trusted with Carter--they were great at only feeding him approved things, and I knew he was in good care.  The mom and I would switch off babysitting for each other, and it's the only way I swear I was able to do half of my doctor appointments and other necessary things during the day!  The best thing we devised was the monitor swapping.  We both had video monitors in our boys' bedrooms.  When one of us wanted to go on a date night, we'd just leave our video monitor with the other one.  That way--the ones doing the "watching" wouldn't even have to leave their house--just simply plug in the monitor!  And, the child would never even know that their parents left, since we'd do it after they went to bed.  It was HEAVEN.  Truly, babysitting swapping at it's finest.

They were great--had us over for dinner, helped us when our apartment flooded (both times!)...etc.  Carter grew to really love their son, Sean, and it was cute to see Carter get excited about having a friend over.  

They recently moved and it's been sad to have Carter experience his first friend loss.  He'll still sometimes question "Sean" or "Sean's daddy?" when he sees people coming in and out of the apartment and I feel bad he can't grasp that he's gone.  

That's what stinks about being one of the last to live in a transcient/college town.  We've said goodbye to just about all of our friends as they've moved on.  Hopefully it will be our turn soon.  The good thing, is that we now have acquaintances all over the country! 

Here is a picture of Sean and Carter's last play date.  As you can see, Carter is blubbering about Sean having a toy of his (he's not very good at sharing), and then seeing how much they love each other.  Maybe they'll reconnect someday at BYU.
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Hopefully someday we can be more permanent and Carter can have lots of friends that are stable.  I also hope someday we'll have some more awesome neighbors to babysit swap with, or even better--live by family so we can have free babysitters and cousins for Carter to enjoy. 

4th of July Festivities

I was quite excited for the 4th of July this year.  I really just love any holiday--because its' an excuse to spend the day together as a family and an excuse to eat!

I started out the holiday by making some red velvet cupcakes the night before.  Just because Carter has dairy/wheat/egg allergies, doesn't mean he can't be like every other American.  He has the right, nay, the priviledge to stuff himself silly on a holiday--it's the American way.  They turned out super good, thank you Cybele Pascal's recipe!

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The morning of, we loaded up the double stroller and headed to the Provo Parade. Thankfully it's pretty close to where we live, so we always leave right when it's starting.  Having a small family, we can squeeze in about anywhere.  I always get nervous though, until we find a seat thinking--will this be the year our luck runs out and we can't find anywhere to sit?  Praise the parade Gods because we actually found a good place AND with shade (at first)!  There were people sitting in the street, and we just sat behind them on the sidewalk.  I thought the rise from the street to the pavement would give us plenty of room for a view.  Unfortunately, the gracious people in front of us decided to stand most of the parade--even though they were in the front???  And, they happened to be of Amazonian heritage because they were all ridiculously tall.  I kept getting upset and wanting to say something.  Perhaps I should have.  But, I'm a big coward and you never know the other person's temperament and if it'd just ignite things--and I didn't want early fireworks, especially in front of my kids if you get my drift.  Thank goodness God invented necks that can sweep, because we'd see things as they approached, not while they were in front of us and then as they left.  I do love Provo's parade because it has a small town feel to it, but actually enjoys a lot of floats from nearby towns as well.  It also has the large high rise balloons, so that's fun to.  Having only ever seen one other 4th of July parade (Idaho Falls') I think this one is the better of the two. (Although less candy--but having a child with food allergies that is actually a plus.)  This was Calvin's first parade and he slept through it--even the loud sirens.
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Speaking of the sirens--they scared the dickens out of Carter.  He was literally trembling and screaming with huge tears rolling down his face.  They never bothered him before, but he still talks about how the 'firetwuck scary'.  Anyone else's toddler super sensitive to noises all the sudden??

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We then went to the local water park since we have season passes.  My sister and her husband joined us which makes it even better.  I didn't dare put sunscreen on Calvin's delicate skin, so I sat in the shade most of the time (thanks to a super-generous family who took pity on me and the babe and so let me sit in their cabana/private table area).  Molly and Travis were happy to take Carter down slides and in his favorite wave pool.  It was like free babysitters!  Love it when those two are around.  They're such a fabulous aunt and uncle for Carter.

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We then went back and started grilling up some bbq, corn on the cob, homemade steak fries...etc.  I kept thinking how grateful I was that Carter has so much more freedom to eat this summer than last.  We were able to have the red velvet cupcakes, corn--both things he couldn't have the year before.  I was so very grateful.

Travis bought some fireworks and tried setting a few off in our driveway.  It TERRIFIED Carter.  He ran inside yelling "fire, scary!".  We tried one more, with us holding him and explaining what was going to happen and he wasn't having it, so poor Travis couldn't light off anymore.  

We were boring parents and kept Carter's bedtime and didn't go to the fireworks.  He can be such a grump if he's tired, and with a newborn we just thought we'd take it slow.  Plus, the way Carter was acting around loud noises, we weren't sure it'd be worth braving the crowds.  Claudy and I enjoyed a movie on the couch and called it a night.  

It was a wonderful holiday.  The parade, swimming, grillin' and family made it a very picturesque 4th of July.  Can't wait for next year's when Calvin will be more into it.  

Gone Fishin'

Carter has been super into fish.  In fact, he can identify between a fishy, shark or octopus.  He'll frequently ask me to look up YouTube videos on octopuses as he finds them quite intriguing.

I was trying to think how we could incorporate his fun new focus into an activity when his speech therapist gave us a genius idea.

She told us about a trout farm/pond in Payson (technically Spring Lake--but when you're not familiar with the area it's all the same to me!).  After that, we knew what we were doing that Saturday!

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It was a bit run down/country--but it was honestly the best fishing I've ever done.  Why?  Because I didn't have to do a THING.  No fishing licenses were required (because I wouldn't even know where to get one, and wouldn't want to waste getting them in case Carter hated it), they had the gear, they had ample shade with chairs to sit in, and the worker would put the worm on the hook AND take the fish off the hook.  I basically just sat and held the rod.  My kind of fishing!!!

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 Claudy and I had never gone fishing together, and it'd been so long since either of us went.  Our skills were pretty comical and it took us quite a few tries to get the line to go more than a few feet in front of us.  Once we got the line actually in the lake, Carter would ask that "Carter do it".  He'd hold the fishing pole up limply and wait.  I thought I'd just check it and sure enough I thought I felt a little pull.  I had him help me reel it in, sure we had caught a tire or some garbage.  But, what do you know??  A real fish was on the end of it.  Carter seemed excited but then it turned to some fear as the fish thrashed closer and closer.  Once we had it in a bucket he seemed fascinated to go look at it, but wouldn't get too close.

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We ended up not being able to catch anything else (surprise with our skills) but we were content having caught something and Carter was ready for a nap.  The good employee gutted and fillet-ed (sp?) our fish for us.  Talk about easy!  And, the best part is that you just pay per pound--so the entire trip/family outing was $2.50.

I was nervous to feed it to Carter because I wasn't sure if he'd like it since he had seen it had a face, but as soon as he woke up from his nap he asked to eat it.  I let him help me put some salt and lemon juice on it and we cooked it right up.  I was a bit nervous, since he's never been tested to trout--but he eats tilapia and tuna constantly, so I readied the epi-pen and let him try it.  I can't believe I did that, and other allergy parents would probably abhor that I did, but I am getting lazy with #2 here, and I didn't want to drive 45 minutes each way to test the trout.  He gobbled up every single bite and loved it. Afterwards he would probably state to both Claudy and I that "mmm, fish good".

Ever since then he'll take sticks or any type of long pole and pretend to fish.  It's adorable to see him pretend play--one of the first times I've seen him use his imagination to conjure up something we've done.  We'll definitely have to take him back.  I hope to also take him to the new aquarium sometime.  Let me know if you know of a deal to get there since I can't stomach the regular admission.

Also, for FHE we took him to Cabella's outdoor/sports store.  They have a large fish aquarium so he could enjoy his little hobby some more.  He was surprisingly somewhat afraid of it (possibly because it was much taller than he was?).  He wouldn't touch the glass like I thought he would, and didn't like it if the fish looked like they were approaching, but you could also tell his was wildly fascinated and loved pointing out each fish's colors.

It will be fun to see if he keeps up his love of fishing or not.  We'll have to take him one more time before fall gets here.

It's so fun being a parent and seeing your child's desires and hobbies take shape.  It's super fun to think of ways to nurture that and foster ways that they can learn and grow in that area.  Parenting sure can be awesome.