Sunday, June 15, 2014

It's 110 Degrees Outside But...

Summer's here, summer's here!

I am loving our freedom right now.  No more rush of getting out the door in the morning.  No more interrupted naptimes for school pickup.  No more homework.  No more school projects.  Being home all day is still a new thing and they are usually very entertained with each other... June is glorious.

Last Day of School
This soft ball of awesomeness is learning things by the day and transforming out of new baby as quickly as he can manage.

 He has a few words that he now likes to shout at us.  When he wants a drink, he gives us a nice long run of babababababa.  When dad is around, or there is fun to be had, he loves to greet him with a dadadada.  And, whenever I try to leave the room and he catches me, I get a heartbroken maaaaama!
 He is a little over 20 pounds at our last check and healthy as can be.  He's also kissable.  Very very kissable.
As of this post, he is on the cusp of hitting 9 months old and he just barely proved to us this week that he does know how to crawl.  He still chooses not to do it 90% of the time, but if there are delicious treats at the end of the crawl, he is occasionally willing to perform.  

 And the teeth on this kid just keep on coming.  He got one top tooth and then the tooth next to it... I was really concerned he would have a long term asymmetrical smile, but the other front tooth and its partner showed up days later.  Six sharp little baby teeth.. they are his new pride and joy.  He uses them whenever the occasion permits.  His playful nips delight his siblings... until he catches them off guard and really sinks one to 'em.  

Scarlet has been using her free summer time to play with Jude as much as possible.  I admit it gets a little irritating whenever I am holding my baby that there are other big children trying to entertain them an inch from his face, usually while stepping on my toes.  But most of the time, Scarlet scoops him out of my arms, takes him to a fun play place and they amuse each other for a long time.  I don't get to enjoy watching this playtime, because if I'm around Jude has trouble enjoying anything else but my nearness.  But its sounds adorable from distance and I greatly appreciate the freedom.

Jude has always taken a bottle and formula just fine when I have needed him to, but about a month ago, he decided formula did not interest him anymore.  He also was hardly peeing at all and it made me nervous.  His pediatrician didn't seem concerned, but, after almost fully weaning him, I started nursing him a lot more.  Now he's peeing regularly, nursing happily, and sleeping well while I'm still a nursing mom trying not to eat everything in sight...  Oh well.

We have been enjoying our summer freedom to its fullest.  We have found a lot of fun adventure along the way.  We hit up free donut day at Krispy Kremes.

We have been to Town Square twice already to enjoy their splash park and a little shopping.

 We even played tourist and headed to the strip for a little bit.  This bear at the Coca Cola factory was hilarious and took some great pictures... with other people's kids.  This was my only child brave enough to go anywhere near him.  Asher, who frequently punches complete strangers as we pass, couldn't even be talked into going near him.  Wimps.
While at the CocaCola factory, we sampled the sodas from around the world.  They give you 24 different cups filled with different drinks and a chart to go with them.  The kids had a great time figuring out which soda was which and sampling them.  There is one from Italy that is absolutely unpalatable... unless your name is Rhode.  He claimed to love it.

Scarlet was sampling a bright red beverage and something went wrong.  I turned around to find her soaked in red soda, now covering about half of her white t-shirt.  We went to the bathroom to dry off as best as we could, but we had just started our outing so Scarlet had to spend it with a sticky soda dyed shirt.

Scarlet initiated a little photo shoot at the M&M factory while we waited in line for the 3D movie.  Love their dramatic off camera gazes.

We saw a lot of the characters that wander the strip, Hello Kitty, Dora, Spiderman, large man dressed as woman using $100 bills as pasties... you know typical stuff.  My kids won't go near them but a good old picture with the La Salsa bottle is just as nice.

We even got the chance to abandon the kids for the evening (with a babysitter of course) and enjoy a night on the town.  We ate at the Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock Cafe.  The weather was perfect so we sat on the patio, enjoyed a really good live acoustical set by a local singer, ate food, and commemorated the rare evening out with our first couples selfie. 
 It may be over 100 degrees but you won't see us down.  A great start to Nielsen Summer 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Adventure weekend in Zion

For people who only live 2-3 hour away, we have not spent nearly enough time in Zions.  But we are trying to rectify that, and we put together a weekend trip for the middle of May.  The trip included my family, Brad & Jules, Courtney & Curtis (who brought along a few cousins) and Jon's old mission companion, John Marsh and his girlfriend Ashley.  

Marsh only recently moved to Las Vegas, in fact we had planned the trip even before the Jons reunited.  But it was like it was meant to be, because Marsh's family happens to own an awesome house about 5 minutes from the Zion's entrance.  Now that's my kind of friends with benefits.

I am not sure what part of the conversation I had missed but I expected us to arrive at a 2 bedroom sparse woodsy cabin.  Instead we drive up to a beautiful four bedroom home right on a small creek.  All of the adventure with none of the uncomfortable sleeping on the ground.  It was awesome.  We had a room of bunkbeds for our family and it was perfect.  

All of the non pregnant/nursing/small children participants took off Friday morning to hike the Subway and had a glorious time.  They (and by they I mean Jon) even caught an extremely large rattlesnake, all captured for posterity by GoPro.  Curtis's comment on the event went like this.  
Ashley "Look a rattlesnake" 
Curtis (thinking) "Ooh, don't tell Jon"  
Ashley "Hey guys, look a rattle snake!"  
Jon, while running full speed to the location "I'm gonna catch that sucker!"  
Curtis and Brad (shaking their heads in resignation"

But they all came back alive and, aside from some sore muscles and sunburn, unscathed.

The rest of us went adventuring around the property.  We waded through the cold creek and threw some rocks, we played a little soccer in the backyard, and then we threw on our hiking clothes and headed into the canyon.  Courtney had to leave us a little early so we didn't have time for a very long hike.  After studying our maps, we chose the Weeping Rock which the guide described as a 30 minute jaunt.  

Well maybe it was counting the shuttle ride, because the jaunt was about 5 minutes.  But the rock was cool and the kids had a great time exploring.

Hard to see  but there is a deer just resting in the soft grass behind them.  Scarlet spotted it and was so proud of herself about it.

We got back in time to cook up some ribs and dogs with some oven smores (another benefit to house camping)

The next day the whole crew headed up to hike Angel's Landing.  The hike is only about 4 miles but it takes you pretty quickly up the mountain and it got hot pretty quickly.  We went at a really good time, only part of our hike was in full sun and it wasn't very crowded.  Scarlet and Rhode hiked like champs.  Their only complaints were which one of them would lead the pack.

These two pregnant ladies also were doing some serious trail blazing.

Jude and I made it up together and Asher and Jon went together as well.

We didn't climb up the cables at the top and stopped in the river to cool off when we hit the bottom.  Asher just tends to strip without warning whenever he needs to go to the bathroom but it definitely caught his aunts and uncles off guard when he was suddenly pantsless.

We got to head to Marsh's parents brand new home in St. George for swimming and pizza afterward.  It was one of those weekends of pure adventuring perfection.