Thursday, September 26, 2013

Take a Hike

Not to far from our house is a relatively easy hiking trail that leads to some pretty cool caves. Ryan actually hiked there with his dad and the boys way back in February, right after we moved to our new house. I didn't join them because Miss LJ was only three weeks old and I was not quite up to hiking yet. Anyway, the boys have been wanting to take me to the caves forever and recently, we finally hiked to the caves.

Apparently, the caves host some pretty crazy parties--there are a lot of empty bottles and graffiti. And it looks like someone may or may not have blown up a box full of nails because there are literally thousands of nails on the ground. I'm making this hike sound horrible, but really, it's a lot of fun.

At the top of the hill, you get a fantastic view of the city skyline. I was impressed, at least.

A few years ago, we were at a park near my parents' house when a little girl introduced Reed to the wonders of finding BBs on the ground and collecting them. Since then, finding BBs is on the top of the boys' priority list any time we were outside. This hike brought a veritable wealth of BBs. Everyone was excited. Asher calls BBs "babies"--and at one point he dropped the BBs all over the ground. Imagine the cuteness of him yelling, "Oh no! My babies fell!"

After our hike, we lined the BBs up on the back of the car to see if any would stay on during the drive. (Ryan's clever way to not have hundreds of BBs chillin' around our house.) Sadly (ha), none survived the trip.

We forgot to bring Lila's hat, but luckily had one of Asher's hats in the car. Little Miss fell asleep during the hike, which I had to document because it NEVER happens.

And even more miraculous? She stayed asleep even after we got into the car. Win.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Monthly Asher: 35

A is for...ASHER!
Both the boys are wary of ever missing a second of a TV show (I don't let them watch much, so TV time is precious, indeed), and always ask me to pause the show even if they are just walking across the room and will have a line of sight to the TV the entire time. Anyway, the other day, we were playing a board game and Asher asked, "Can you pause this so I can get a drink?"

Asher sadi, "Mom! We are reading books! Take a picture of our pigs!"
We've been working with Asher on saying, "You're welcome" when someone tells him thank you. He's a little confused, though, so if you tell him thank you he says, "I am welcome!" We've also been working on saying, "That's okay" or something similar when someone tells him sorry--usually he just says "sorry" right back to them!

This boy goes from 0-60 and back again.
The other day we were getting ready for nap time and Asher told me, "I am so not tired, Mom."

Almost every time we drive, Asher tells me, "Be careful so you don't crash into any cars!!!"
Blew up the air mattress and piled ALL his stuffed animals on top!
When we go into a store, Asher immediately asks me, "Is everything in this store really glass?" 

Ryan had to work late for a few weeks at tax extension time and missed bedtime a few nights. One night, Asher said, "It is happy when Daddy comes to our house for bed time. Does daddy have a house? Why is he at work is all the day?"

Showing off his dance moves.
Sometimes, when I'm really frustrated because I've stepped on a lego or another toy for the tenth time in a day, I tell the boys to put their "dang toys away." One day Asher asked me, "How come sometimes you call them our dang toys?" Oops.
We learned about letter Bb for school. Ashie loves playing with our magnetic pom poms!
Asher loves riding bikes with Reed and "racing" to the end of our cul-de-sac. One day, they raced, and I said, "Winner, winner chicken dinner!" when someone won. Asher thought that was hilarious and, now, anytime they race he says, "Let's have a winner winner chicken dinner race!!!!" 

More pom poms. It was his idea to make the really long line at the bottom of the 2 :)
Sometimes, Asher gets a little stuck on his bike and he'll turn around and say, "I need a little push here, mom!"

Helping out sister!
I try to use positive reinforcement when the boys ask for something nicely. Sometimes, though, I don't acknolwedge their awesomeness. If I don't, Asher will say, "I said please Mom!" (In a nice way.) Apparently he likes the recognition!

I just thought this one was funny :)
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Reed goes to school for 2.5 hours. Lila naps during those 2.5 hours. I spend about an hour cleaning, then devote an hour-ish to Asher time. I let him choose what he wants to do, and it's always school! He thinks he's just as big as Bubba and wants to do school just like Bubba does. Asher catches on really quickly and really enjoys the school activities we do together.

If Lila is ever fussy in her highchair, Asher says, "Oh! I will feed her a chee-ro!" And immediately runs to her aid.

The Monthly Lila: 8

I use the same bowls every time I feed Lila (IKEA, in case you're curious). When she sees me walking her way with a bowl--even if she's not in her highchair yet--she gets SO excited because she knows what's inside. If I don't immediately give her the contents of the bowl, though, she gets a little upset! This habit can be problematic when the bowl doesn't actually contain food for her, but, rather, a snack for the boys.

Lila has started scooting/army crawling (as of 8/30/13)! She has gotten very proficient at the army crawl and can get pretty much anywhere she wants to. She can even crawl over obstacles, such as my leg. She seems to be drawn to me--anytime I am sitting on the floor (and I spend a surprising amount of time on the floor, apparently), Lila feels the need to use me as a jungle gym. She has been getting up onto all fours for a few weeks now, too, and yesterday took one little crawl forward before going down to her belly.

Isn't interested in a pile of toys on the ground. Is interested in the same toys if they're inside a box.
Once Lila learned to scoot, she quickly learned to find the kitchen, which is where I usually am if I'm not in her line of vision. The other day I was making dinner and glanced toward the other room. I saw cute Lila's face peeking around the corner at me! Now I can count on her scooting in any time I'm in the kitchen.

LJ loves these little foam discs from one of the boys' toys.
She'll even carry it in her mouth while she finds other things to play with.
Another of Lila's favorite places to scoot are through the exersaucer and through the coffee table. Our coffee table has a small shelf-like thing that connects the four legs and sits about 6 inches off the ground. Lila can get up and over the shelf easily and does so often!

We set up an air mattress in the living room. Lila was pretty pleased with herself when she figured out how to crawl off the air mattress to the underside of the coffee table.
Lila has started making "kissing noises" and, if you respond with your own kissing noise, she'll make the noise back in forth in a little kissing conversation. When she started this trick, she had to initiate the conversation--if you made the noise to her first, she couldn't quite figure out how to make the noise back. But now, if you make a kissing noise to her, she'll almost always respond with a kiss of her own!

Never one to be left out...
I mentioned that Lila uses me as a crawling jungle gym. When she's not busy crawling all over me, she uses me as a climbing wall to help her to stand. If we are sitting facing each other and I offer her my hands, she'll immediately grab my hands and stand up. If I don't give her my hands, she'll grab my shirt, my arm, my face, or whatever is nearest to her and use that to stand up. She has also learned to go from her belly (crawling) to kneeling and from sitting to all fours!
Loved by her brothers. Loves her brothers.
Lila started hitting two objects together on 9/11/13. She finds herself pretty hilarious.

Pretty girl!
One night, we went to Red Rock for a family picnic. Asher had a sippy cup of water, which Lila decided to steal. At first, she just choked on the water (she doesn't take a bottle so she was pretty surprised when liquid came out of the cup). But she soon figured it out and was quite happy with her discovery.

Why she loves the camera--the strap.
Lila loves the tub and gets very excited when she knows it's bath time. One night, I took her in the bathroom, got her undressed, and put her in the tub--and she started squealing before I even added any water!

Crawling through the coffee table. Notice the socks? Asher always thinks Lila's feet are cold and insists on getting socks for her.
Lila's third nap was starting to get a little sketchy, and Reed's drop-off time for school was right during Lila's first nap--so, at the beginning of September, she dropped from three naps to two naps. The transition has been amazing. Luckily, Lila is not really a fussy baby (knock on wood), so even though she was tired the first few nights (she had a longer waketime before bed for the night), she was still in good spirits. Currently, our schedule goes something like this: 7:30 a.m. wake, nurse, solids. 9:30 a.m., take Reed to school (Tues/Thurs). 9:35 a.m. nap. 11:45 a.m. wake, nurse, solids. 2:00 p.m. Nap. 4:00 p.m., wake and nurse. 6:15 p.m. Solids, then bath, nurse, and in bed by 7 p.m.

Standing practice.
Crawling over Mommy's legs, trying to steal books.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


One day at the park, Reed fell and hurt his knee. I was already holding Lila, so he had the perfect solution: he'd ride in the stroller over to the splash pad. My great big boy climbed up in that stroller and oh my goodness, did he ever look old. So of course I made all three kids pose in the stroller (what other option did I have?)

And because I know you wanted to see the same three pictures side by side:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ethel M Chocolate Factory

We're back for another installment of our ward's summer activity awesomeness. This is actually the final post, if you can believe it. Looking back: We did a Whole Foods Tour, an Anderson Dairy Tour, a Krispy Kreme Tour, a California Pizza Kitchen pizza making activity and tour, a trip to Pump it Up!, and a visit to Shark Reef (which I don't actually have pictures of--Asher was too young for the educational tour they did, so Reed went with friends). Our final summer activity: a tour of Ethel M Chocolate Factory.

Snickers and Candy Apples. Yummmmmm.
On the day we visited, they were making Snickers bars. BY HAND. I don't know if they actually make 100% of their Snickers bars by hand (I forgot to ask the guide), but at least some are. I know, right? In the picture above, the workers are using a huge spreader to spread the nougat down the entire length of that table. Yes, that giant table will all eventually be Snickers bars. *Yum*

The cool cooling tunnel.
In the next room, we saw the machine at the back slicing the Snickers bars (cool!) The machine at the front was making filed chocolates (like you buy in a box of chocolates). The filling machine was pretty awesome, and Reed was super impressed. He also thought the white tunnel was cool--literally. It's a cooling tunnel.

My favorite machine.
My favorite machine (if one can have a favorite machine) was the machine pictured above. It took the mold with the chocolates, flipped it, and kind of gently shook the chocolates out. You'll have to trust me when I tell you it was awesome to watch. After the chocolates were flipped out, workers hand packaged the chocolates into boxes. Seriously. And then came the best part of all: tasting. The lady at the tasting counter was so sweet and let us all have two instead of one! Nice.

The tour didn't take long, so after the tour we walked around the Botanical Cactus Gardens (that's a thing). And, of course, took a picture with every color of M&M. ("Ethel M" is stands for "Ethel Mars"--or Mars, Inc. the company that produces M&Ms.) Reed already misses the activities--he keeps asking, "But when will we go to more activities???" Next summer, Buddy.

Probably our most successful M&M picture.
A little bright maybe? Poor little eyes.
Can't forget green. 
The picture thing really was their idea, not mine. If it were my idea, they wouldn't even be attempting to smile.

Friday, September 20, 2013

That time we bought baby turtles in Chinatown.

Did I forget to mention that we own two baby turtles?
Dalmatian and Squidgee.
Dalmatian and Squidgee came home with us from Chinatown, during our Fourth of July trip to California. And, honestly, I was a little worried they weren't going to survive. They were totally an impulse purchase and I later found out that it's not exactly legal to sell red-eared slider turtles smaller than 4 inches across unless you're selling them for research or medicinal (?????) purposes. Our turtles are about 1.5 inches across (they fit easily in the boys' palms) and definitely have no intended research or medicinal use. But I am confident that they are much happier in the big tank we got for them than they were in their tiny tank in Chinatown. 

Anyway, it turns out that baby turtles are much more carnivorous than adult turtles. Who knew? (Not me.)

Squidgee's favorite spot is this corner of the tank. Dalmatian prefers the rocks.
Oh, and another side note? It took us forever to come up with names. I was pushing for Gru/Minion or George/Turtle with the Yellow Hat. But in the end, Reed choose Dalmatian (his turtle has black spots) and Asher chose Squidgee (who is a flying lump of play-dough on a show the boys like, of course).

Dalmatian giving us the eye.
Anyway. Back to the topic at hand: carnivorous turtles. We ventured to the pet store to buy crickets. And everyone with kids knows that the pet store is essentially a free amusement park for kids. It is THAT awesome. If you've never taken your kids to the pet store to "browse," you should definitely try it.

The boys had the best time looking at all the different animals. Their favorites were...everything, really. And I came home with a bag full of crickets. Yum.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pump it Up!

Can you tell that I'm catching up? Yet another activity planned by our Relief Society was a trip to Pump it Up!, a local bounce house place. We had a bounce house like this in St. George that Reed LOVED, so he was super excited to try Pump it Up! (Exclamation point necessary!) And Pump it Up! didn't disappoint.

At first, Ashie was too nervous to even go down the smallest slide (which was pretty small). He climbed up the stairs, then froze at the top and started crying. I thought I was going to have to go save him, but luckily Reed came to the rescue. Together, we coaxed Asher down--and after that, Asher was completely fine on every slide, even the tallest slides!

Reed and Asher were so cute and played SO well together. It was amazing. Reed was also excited because his friend Reed (same name=best friends) came, too!

Blurry, yes. Awesome, yes.
I actually got to sit on the sidelines and have a conversation with other adults. Yes, that was amazing.
Conquered his fear!
A few videos of the action:

In this one, Ashie is the last kid to come sliding down:

Here the boys go down together:

And a giant group of kids go down together. The next time they tried this, I think everyone got hurt--so the moms quickly outlawed the ten-people-at-a-time idea: