Saturday, November 21, 2015

Halloween and Porter Photo Dump

Porter's face pretty much sums up how I feel about the lateness of this post. I really did try hard to post halloween pictures within a week of Halloween, and yet, here it is, a week from Thanksgviving. Fail. That's ok! I'm posting anyway, and I'm thrilled to be failing at something that really only effects me in the longterm. Phew.

So, without any excuses, I present Halloween of 2015:

And a bunch of darling Porter pictures:

This kid and food. Holy cow, it is hard to feed him. He loves breads and usually will eat applesauce and peaches. Sometimes a green bean or a cooked carrot. He can't eat anything with dairy, chili powder, cumin or tomatoes yet (diaper rashes), and has a disgust for most produce. This healthy mamma is sure having a hard time figuring out what to feed him! Porter and I are in mutual agreement that it is time to wean, but I don't trust almond milk is going to fill in all the gaps in his diet... I am seeking food recommendations for picky, almost-1-year-old little boys.

Good thing he is such a cutie in a high chair. Especially in plaid.

And stripes.

We're pretty sure he's really related to Sam and Cole (Mark's sister's kiddos). Where did we get this blonde, blue-eyed baby?!

Whatever gene pool he came out of, we feel lucky to witness him discover the world. Our curious, happy, funny, picky, mama loving boy is going to be discovering more and more soon. 2 weeks to his 1st birthday. What!? Look out world, a 1 year old Porter is coming soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Quick and Cold Camping

Our family tent has been used for 3 solid years now. It's well loved, and once or twice a year we pack it up and go stay overnight somewhere in the Virginian wilderness.

Camping in Virginia in the summer is a funny experience. There are bugs the size of small birds, you sweat for the majority of the day (negating any desire for a fire), and temperature may dip down into the high seventies in the middle of the night. Sounds delightful eh?

Hence why we really only camp in the fall and spring. We only risk the cold weather--but at least it's not sticky and humid right!?

We got to join our ward at the end of September, and this is what we were wearing:

It was the mid seventies during the day, with a low of 60 at night. We kept the fly off our tent and opened all the windows and had the most amazing view at 10:30 pm. Such a stunning scene of sky only 30 minutes from DC. The kids slept way better than at home, and we slept better than most camping trips.  Despite the amazing weather forecast, I was paranoid about us being cold. We don't own sleeping bags, so I brought lots of extra blankets--just in case 60 degrees was going to make any of us cold. Luckily, it was super pleasant, and we didn't use all the blankets.

 Our one hold up was wearing crocs and socks. Bad idea. Both kids should have been in tennis shoes, but we hadn't pulled out anything appropriate for camping--so alas, there were many stops along walks dumping out shoes. And those socks? Gross.

 We ventured in mid October back out into the wild with some camping buddies. We brought camping shoes for everyone, and every warm blanket we own. It was still gorgeous during the day, but suddenly the nights are now in the low 40s. Having experienced this temperature last year, and getting no sleep, I tried to be as prepared as possible. Mark and I had acquired new knowledge about the cold air that lurks under an air mattress. I tired very hard to fight that air.

The battle was hard fought, and we came out better than last year, but we were both still cold for most of the night. Jackson and Allie again, slept way better than they do at home.

Post this camping trip. I decided that we need to purchase sleeping bags, and Mark decided we could go for longer than one night. We stay for one night to avoid double sleeplessness, but if we get sleeping bags... Perhaps we're entering another new phase or perhaps we're responding to our children's pleas. Jackson asked at least 8x, "Are we just staying tonight? WHHyyy...??" Followed with "I WANT TO CAMP LONGER!" and Allie piping in, "I wanna cyamp a long long long lodda nights."

So... sleeping bags it is! And maybe not a lodda nights, but we could venture for two. Especially if we can bring these awesome friends along with us.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


That first day of Kindergarten was a while ago, but since we're still in the honeymoon period of this amazing thing called school, it definitely deserves a post. I think every family member appreciates that a large portion of Jackson's energy and stamina is getting a new outlet. I'm sure it will get hard, and that walk to the bus stop is going to get colder and colder, but we love seeing how excited Jackson is and hearing about all the neat things in his day. He loves Kindergarten!

Allie is taking the whole kindergarten thing in great stride, floating through her day as the new first in command. Her temperament is so different without Jackson, it has been incredibly fun to see her stretch in her new space. She flits from various activities throughout the day, with a bit of a song and a lot of self talk. It is beyond adorable. She still checks in nearly daily to confirm that she will go to Kindergarten when she gets bigger, and mentions what she is planning to wear--which does illustrate that she misses her brother a little.

The little P man? He's really working hard at trying to catch up with his older brother.

 This kid is on the move, and always practicing for his next big developmental leap. He just started pulling himself up to a stand at the beginning of last week, and today he was trying it out one handed. His eyebrows are nearly always up, with a look that says, "hmm...what's that!?" Everything on the floor goes into his mouth, and the pieces of loose carpet beat the legos for number of times being swiped out of his chompers. We sure adore this squealing, wrist pumping, little tornado of a kid.

And my new firsty came in a box 3 weeks ago, right after my trusty basic phone snapped in half. SIx years late, with no regrets, I took on a smart phone (when they finally became budget friendly enough for this frugal gal). It's super nice to be even lazier than I used to be--as long as I remember to charge it.

We're all excited for fall here, and the prospect of our first tree! Bring on the firsties!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A garden of growth

This 8 1/2 month little boy, just about melts our hearts every time we see him. 

His melting capabilities are directly correlated to his recent growing capabilities. Porter has sprouted 2 teeth (end of July), is nearly crawling (started scooting on vacation) and to help with it, he sometimes eats solid food. But mostly flashes those big blue eyes and cheeses the biggest grin and gleans energy from the rest of us.

Though this video is from a month ago, his scooting still looks very similar. He has started utilizing both legs, and accassionally rocks back and forth on his knees. This boy is growin' up!

Porter has definitely kept himself on a [mommy] milk based diet, and supplements with cheerios, pretzles and mum mums. Produce--especially cooked--is not welcomed. Whatever the food ends being, he enjoys making extensive noises right to accompany the chewing. Though it's cute (and confusing, since it doesn't really sound pleasant) the first couple of times, it's super inconvenient to listen to--especially at church!

On other growing fronts, our garden miraculously produced this:

We're so grateful for all the growing we get to do in our family, but especially when it's so cute or delicious!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Transportation Fam-Vacation

We love transportation. Especially when it helps us see and enjoy our families back west. We made the two week trek to see both sides of our family, visiting 3 states, sleeping in 5 different homes, and driving 2 different cars. We were sure glad to have all various things that move to help us get there.

Our suitcases were the first crucial vehicle we employed. Packing for 2 kids and a baby [and oneself] is a bit ridiculous, but pushing and pulling everything with wheels is sure a lot easier than carrying it all around. [On the way home we added a box and one more bag. Somehow, Allie and I managed to get all the checked luggage and the carseat to the bathroom and then to the curb without paying for the 5 dollar airport cart, while the boys went to retrieve the van. Not sure how much longer we can pull that off. Yay for cheap creativity!]

Porter loved flying and did an excellent job sitting, eating and sleeping (our first kid to fall asleep easily on a plane!) That same baby however, was not thrilled about all the time we spent in cars. The hours spent shuttling to and from the airports, to family cabins and to entertainment were either mostly peaceful (b/c Porter was asleep) or terribly painful as he cried inconsolably. Thankfully, as soon as he was freed, he would flash those big blue eyes and be our happy little guy again. Oh those eyes!

This black beauty of a car was our rental in UT. Although we prefer our van, it was definitely much cozier :) The rental company told us it was not designed for off-roading. We didn't think much of it until we got to Idaho and laughed at how many sand and gravel "roads" we ended up taking it on. It held steady and served us well, and so far we haven't heard from the rental company :)

We stayed a number of nights at my Dad's family's property in southern ID, near Bear Lake. I was stunned by the beauty of the lake as we came in from Logan Canyon. It is enormous and bluer than Porter's eyes. It was so fun to enjoy the company of aunts, uncles, cousins and my Grandparents, and all the fun toys they brought! We got to enjoy a boat (and try our hand at surfing!), sea doos, paddle boards and inflatable water toys. None of which we brought. Thanks everyone for letting us free load!

Jackson and Mark ready for a ride on one of the Sea Doos

Mark and I were fortunate to see all of our living Grandparents on this trip. I love this picture of "G'pa Po" (as Allie calls him), out trying to fix this old transporting beauty.

Porter, Allie and Lily took turns in the beach front pack n' play, after the constant transportation barrage got to them. 

Jackson was transported into pure bliss with these boys as company. He and kissn' cousin (once removed) Reed, were the best of little buddies, and had so much fun tagging along with the older boys.

Following UT and ID, we flew to AZ to see Mark's family and attend a large family reunion. Ranch life requires a diversity of transportation. Tractors, horses, 4 wheelers and lots of trucks are utilized weekly, if not daily on the ranch. 

Jackson didn't much care what vehicle he was taking, all were desirable--especially with Aunt Rebecca!

 (He was definitely her little groupie)

Even without Rebecca, he totally soaked up the various ways to get around.

Not everyone loved to be transported around by large moving creatures and machines. Allie is much more the Ferdinand. How nice to have a Grandma to sit with!

She did finally get brave and try out her horse riding skills (after the 2nd day of attempting), and following one round, demanded going on a ride with G'pa!

At the reunion, we got to haul ourselves around on foot most of the time, and all that practice came in handy during the annual family race. Mark Jackson and I all placed 3rd in our "divisions"--Jackson did the whole 1.7 miles in his trusty cowboy boots that transported him throughout the whole vacation.

The reunion was for 5 generations of Mark's family--(Norman's cousins). I missed the big family picture, but our feet got us to the more immediate family pic. It's sometimes overwhelming to look at a picture with so many amazing people. It's only funny to suddenly realize that within this picture, over half of the cousins (who are also amazing) aren't even there! Oh family.

Mostly, the whole thing was a blast, and we were so glad for all the transportation that made it possible.

We came back to a little Porter who can now transport himself as he scoots across the floor. WHAT?! Video soon.

2 Bonus pictures:

 Lewis who transported us all back into multiple time genres, as he sported this look for most of the time he was at the homestead. We all felt very protected and assured of our safety with this Ausie, cowboy, Arabian sword wielder protecting us.

And here's one of G'pa Paul riding [in jeans] down a steep gravel dirt road. Luckily it was Brant who crashed on the 2 wheeled transporters, and not this snazzy guy. Goodness-what a crazy great-g'pa--who we totally love!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Popsicle Frenzie

 I'm working hard on my vacation post, as we just returned from quite the familial extravaganza. But in the meantime, here are some shots of our popsicle lovin' kiddos.

I suppose we've gotten a little too accustomed to popsicles, as Jackson threw four or five fits today demanding one. I told him he could have one if he picked up some of the toys in the playroom. To which he responded, "NO! WE don't EARN POPSICLES!!!"

Today, unfortunately wasn't a popsicle day. :)

But this lovely, post-bath, evening in June made for a delightful popsicle day.


I wanted a popsicle, so Porter and I shared. His list of tried foods went from 3 to 10 that evening. (Organic blueberry popsicles have a lot more than blueberries in them!)

Allie almost made it through the whole thing, but lost it at the very end. I'm sure the ants were grateful. 

Note to self: Don't give the kids a bath and then pass out sticky berry juice. Let's do that before hand next time.