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August 26, 2015

Camping trips 2 and 3

We went on our second camping trip this summer at the end of June, to Aspen Campground near Woods Canyon Lake. This time, we went for 2 nights, and we were joined by our friends Pat and Pam. We also stayed for two nights, which was good because I think the first night is always just a little rough.
Woods Canyon Lake
Reading with Pam and Pat!
We went for a little hike at Woods Canyon Lake, played horseshoes, read books, and enjoyed the company of our friends! It's especially nice to have extra distraction for the boys as well - they love all the attention.

The boys slept in their own tent next to ours both nights. Elmer slept like a champ - he loves his tent and his sleeping bag. While it took him a long time for fall asleep because he wanted to know what was going on outside the tent, he slept all night until the morning. Arthur went to sleep pretty well, especially when Chris got out the guitar and sang some bedtime songs, but he woke up both nights pretty early. This time, I brought him into our tent with us. The first night, I laid him down on the bed, turned around to zip up the tent, and he was already dead asleep when I climbed into bed! So then we sort of got a little more sleep - he hogs the bed and is quite the wiggler in his sleep.

Arthur taking a break from my backpack
Elmer and Chris

It was a really great trip, with beautiful weather and great company. Best of all, we reignited Pat and Pam's love for camping, so we can look forward to more camping trips with them in the future!

Pat is the horseshoe champion
Chris's adoring fans
In July, on a whim, we went to Houston Mesa Campground, which is literally just 2 miles from downtown Payson. There had been an article in the newspaper the week before we had planned to go camping talking about all the things to do along Houston Mesa Road, so we thought we'd give it a try. At the last minute, our friends Suzy and Chris decided to join us, so we had company again on this trip!
Our campsite
East Verde River at the Water Wheel

Our first night was spoiled by a very large group of campers setting up camp starting at 10 PM and not finishing up until 2 AM - the cars just kept coming! And again, Arthur woke up about 3, but I just brought him in with us again and we all got a little more sleep.

The Water Wheel!
About to make a poor choice
The next day we had a great time - we went for a drive down the road, which allowed Arthur to take a much needed nap, and we enjoyed exploring. We went for a little hike along the East Verde River, where we unwisely scrambled down some boulders with the boys on our backs and had to scout out an easier climb back up. Elmer did a little hiking out of the backpack and scrambled up a hillside like a trooper. An old water wheel was one of Elmer's favorite sights!

East Verde River at Second Crossing
Arthur tossing in some pebbles

Chris & Suzy with the boys
That evening, we got a spectacular rainstorm right before dinner. We all huddled under our canopy, enjoying the rain for a while as the rain got heavier and heavier. Finally, though, we realized we couldn't cook dinner on the fire or the cookstove in that downpour, so we all loaded into the van and went into Payson for dinner. The town was just flooded - water was calf-deep in the parking lot! But the rain stopped before we finished eating, and after dinner we headed back to our campground. Suzy and Chris's tent was a little wet, so they decided to pack up and just drive home. Our tents, however, were dry, so we stayed. I'm so glad we did - the boys were exhausted from such an exciting day and went right off to sleep. The air was cool and fresh from the rain, and the campground was much less crowded from all the people leaving due to the storm. Chris and I sat by the fire and talked, and then had a quiet night. For the first time, Arthur didn't wake up at all! We all slept until sunrise, then packed up our very wet gear and went into Payson for breakfast at the Beeline Cafe. When we got home, we had to unpack all the tarps and tents, spray off all the mud, and lay them out to dry. Even with all that, though, we didn't mind the rainstorm - it was certainly an adventure!
Elmer liked standing in the river.
Arthur jumping!

Since August and September have other trips (posts coming soon), we'll probably squeeze in one last camping trip for the year in October. We love these trips!

Love all my boys so much!











August 23, 2015

Farewell to the crib

Back in the summer of 2011, we took our annual trip to Utah to visit my grandparents. We had borrowed the Perry Van (long before we even thought of owning our own van) because my parents were coming with us for our visit. I was about 4 months pregnant with Elmer, and we took great pleasure in being able to surprise my grandparents with the news in person. It was a nice visit, with lots of talking about babies, family stories and memories.

Then my mom said that she thought the crib I'd had as a baby might still be in my grandparents's shed. So we all trooped out there to see and, sure enough, there was the crib - a little dusty and cobwebby, but it seemed to be mostly intact. This was quite a surprise for me - my family moved around so much when I was young that I have very little of anything I owned before I went to high school. It never would have occurred to me that my grandparents would have kept my crib for 30 plus years! We loaded it up in the van to carry it home. Grandma was happy to clear one more thing out of that shed.
I was just barely starting to show!
Once we were ready to start setting up Elmer's room, Chris pulled out the crib and inspected it. Some of the hardware was missing and one of the wheels was broken. He put all the pieces in the baby's room and got to work - drilling, gluing, patching, pegging. It was a little creaky and scratched up, but there it was, ready to be used by a new generation. And then he realized that it was too wide to fit through the door! Good thing he'd put it together inside the baby's room!
First nap in the crib!
Nap buddies!


When we were expecting Arthur, we talked about getting a new crib - but decided to just keep the old one and move it into the closet when we set up the bunk bed. So the crib was Arthur's too - all cozy in the closet.
Arthur - I'd forgotten he used to sleep like that!
 In June, we moved Arthur to the bottom bunk of the bed because he was just climbing out of the crib anyway. We kept it set up in case he had any trouble adjusting to sleeping in a bed, but he was just fine - as long as he had the toddler rail. So yesterday, we finally took out the crib. We had to saw through the joints in order to take it apart to get it out of the room, which pretty much finished it off. It wasn't a fancy or a high quality crib, but it was mine - and I'm happy it served through 2 generations.
Elmer saying goodbye

June 05, 2015

Short updates

Both the boys are taking swim classes over these two weeks. Arthur's in an assisted swim class, where he's joined by either Chris or Grampa. Elmer is taking his first independent class, where he's learning to float, kick his legs, and some water safety. They seem to be enjoying their classes!

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We're so lucky to have Grammie and Grampa Perry help out for the swim classes - I don't know what we'd do without them!

Arthur's getting so good at communicating with us. He shakes his head no and usually means no, he signs "more", "please" and "thank you" and is starting to learn "up." He's also starting to say some words: his first word was "again" (from "How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten", one of his favorite books). He also says "go", especially if we say "Ready, set..." first. (That's really fun for me driving, when Elmer's telling me to "Put both hands on the steering wheel, Mama." and Arthur saying "go!" - I guess I'd better get used to all my backseat drivers!) Arthur tries to repeat what we say all time, and will sit down with a book by himself, point at the pictures, and babble, so I know he'll be talking in no time.

Whatcha doing?

Arthur 19May15

Elmer's becoming more imaginative. He'll announce at breakfast that he's a backhoe loader and that his spoon is his scoop. Whatever, as long as he eats! He loves to pretend, and he is enthralled when we pretend with him. We have some hand puppets that Chris will use to liven up a meal time, and Elmer is just entranced talking to Henrietta Pussycat and Moo-Cow. It's always interesting to see what he'll come up with next!

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He also loves to help me bake - we usually make a loaf of banana bread each week for breakfast, so he's getting pretty good at helping with that.

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There's never a dull moment around here!

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Camping practice: Rock Crossing Campgroung

Last summer we started planning little one-night camping trips to help motivate us to go out camping with the boys. We're calling it camping practice because, while we are both experienced campers, throwing two toddlers in the mix is a completely different experience. We went twice last summer and learned a lot and started adding to our camping gear. Last weekend, we went on our first practice run for this year to Rock Crossing Campground, near Pine.

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This was our first time putting up our new canopy and a new (to us, anyway) tent, so that was a good experience. The campground was beautiful, not too crowded, and we had just lovely weather. After setting up camp, we ate lunch and relaxed around the campsite for a bit.

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Then we wandered around the campground looking for squirrels. They were too smart to stick around for us, but we did see some interesting beetles and ants. Arthur just loved watching all the bugs - he'd squat down and point at them and scoot around to see where they were going.
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Both boys liked climbing on trees.
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And, of course, everyone had fun putting pine cones in the fire.

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Arthur had a bit of a rough time - he fell down a few times and scraped his face up. Combined with the dirt, he looked quite disreputable.

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We tried having the boys sleep in their own tent. Elmer liked it just fine, but Arthur got scared, so we ended up moving in with them about 2 in the morning. Needless to say, we were all a little tired next morning.

There were tons of these little caterpillars around the campsite - Elmer really enjoyed having this one crawl around on his sleeve.

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After packing up camp, we drove down to see Blue Ridge Reservoir. Arthur passed out in the car immediately, but Elmer was game to get out and look at the water for a few minutes before heading home.
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We were welcomed home home to 102 degree weather. Hello, June! Hello Summer! We'll definitely be looking forward to more camping later this month as an escape from the heat!

California trip

So way back at the beginning of April, we all went to California for a wedding. It was a big family trip, with all the Perrys and Graves going. It was our first good road trip with Arthur for over a year, so it was a good trial run for some longer trips coming up this summer. Both the boys were great in the car, and you can see that we've turned Arthur facing forward now - such a big boy!
CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

We were staying in Oceanside, but the first event was the rehearsal dinner at a winery about 40 miles northeast from our hotel. It was a lovely chance to visit with lots of family, with good food in a beautiful location.
CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

The next day was the wedding itself, but we had all morning to explore, so we went to the beach, of course! Several of us, including Elmer and Arthur, rolled up our pant legs to splash in the surf.

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

After lunch, we took some quick naps and then got all dressed up for the wedding.
CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

It was a lovely ceremony, though the boys were too tired to stay for long at the reception, so we headed back to our hotel early. Elmer loved our hotel room - we'd splurged for the presidential suite, so we had 2 rooms: Elmer slept on a hide-a-bed with Arthur in his pack-n-play in the main room, while Chris and I had our own bed with a jacuzzi bath in the master room. Totally worth it! Elmer still talks about wanting to go to the hotel with the hot tub.

Anyway, the next day was a family beach day at Laguna Beach, organized by our cousin Gail (mother of the bride). This was my first real full day at the beach! We all had a great time digging in the sand, enjoying the sun and watching the waves! Chris even went swimming, but the boys and I contented ourselves with getting our feet wet.
CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

Elmer didn't like the way his clothes felt when they were wet, so he was sitting with his arms held out so they would dry.

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

CA trip! April 9-12, 2016

And the next day we headed home. We all had a great time, and it was a fun beginning to our summer plans!