September 16, 2015

Colorado-UT trip

August 1, we set off on our longest trip yet with the kids: first, The Petersen/Christensen Family Reunion at the YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado, then over to UT for our annual visit with family there. We traveled through 5 states in 9 days!


The first leg of our trip was to meet up with the other Perrys in Grand Junction, CO, a good 9-hour drive from Phoenix (according to Google maps, anyway). I suppose I should mention that poor Elmer has inherited his father's carsickness. He does pretty well, except when we go fast over bumpy or curvy roads. Well, we were doing great until we were on 89A north out of Flagstaff, just turning onto 160 towards Tuba City. I've driven that road so many times, I forget how bumpy and curvy it is - and I was speeding along, thinking about stopping for lunch at Tuba City. I have learned my lesson. There was an incident. But after stopping to clean up, and being grateful for our rooftop car carrier, the rest of the trip was uneventful. The boys did really well on such a long drive, which took us 12 hours. They were happy to see family at the motel.

The next day, Grampa decided to ride with us as we finished our journey to the YMCA. We got there in the early afternoon. We rented a cabin, and it was just great - the boys were thrilled to have a bunk bed in their room, and we had plenty of space to relax and run around. Elmer still talks about the Running Bear cabin.

We had a great time meeting and visiting family at the reunion events and exploring all that the YMCA has to offer - which is a LOT! We visited the library, went on some hikes, played mini-golf, petted goats and sheep (and an extremely friendly cat), saw horses, and generally had a great time!






On Wednesday, we headed off for a 9-hour drive to my grandmother's house in Utah, via Wyoming. We drove through some very lovely parts of Colorado, and some very unlovely parts of Wyoming on an uneventful drive. Again, our little road warriors are just getting used to these long drives. As long as we take breaks now and then and let them run around, they do pretty well.


We stayed with my Grandma until Saturday, just visiting her and other family we could fit in. My uncle Eric came by to visit one afternoon, and we all went over to see my cousin Erica and her family. We had a really enjoyable evening with them, playing outside and having a jam session inside after dinner. Elmer experienced his first bee sting, but he handled it really well. I think it helped that cousin Max was stung as well, so the two of them got special attention from both moms. We also enjoyed playing in Grandma's backyard and visiting the neighbor goats.







Saturday morning, we set off on our marathon drive back home. Last year it only took us 13 hours from Layton to Phoenix (via I-15 through Las Vegas), but having older kids slowed us down - it took 15 hours! But we all endured it, and we still think it's worth it to sleep in our own beds and wake up the next morning at home. For the first time, both boys fell asleep in the van and we were able to transport them directly to their beds as soon as we got home, then unload and settle in on our own.


All in all, it was a great vacation. We drove through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nevada. Saw lots of family. Discovered a quirky hot dog stand near Wikieup to remember for next year's trip. And best of all, Elmer decided he was potty trained and has been using the toilet like a big boy ever since!

Here's an album of all the pictures of the trip.

September 06, 2015

Arthur's 20 months!

Or, he will be in a few days. Since I haven't done an Arthur post since his first birthday, a couple of days won't matter.
From March - such a stinker!
Arthur's grown so much since January, it's hard to know where to begin. I'll start with his 18-month stats:

  • Height: 34 inches
  • Weight: 24 lbs 2 oz
(Here's Elmer's 18 month stats for comparison). 

 One of the biggest changes is Arthur's starting to talk! His first words were "again" and "go", but now he's added quite a few more to his repertoire:
  • "yith" for yes - the most important word!
  • "Amen"
  • "Mama" - usually means me, but sometimes means Father...or just saying "mamamama"
  • "Ebuh" - means Elmer
  • "Abah" - Father
  • Baba - his pacifier (we call it a boo-bo)
  • Ball - he loves to point to balls!
  • Hi
He also has approximations for Gramma and Grampa, and he tries to repeat words when we ask him to say something. He usually refuses to perform on command though, so if we're trying to demonstrate his linguistic prowess to a friend, they will be disappointed.

It's really nice to be able to communicate better with him - in addition to speaking, he'll shake his head no, and sign for please, so we can usually get a reliable answer to yes or no questions. That helps a lot!

Don't you dare interfere with this mess!
Arthur now has a mouthful of teeth, but seems to have a couple of molars coming in right now. He's been very drooly and wants to be chewing on his finger or his pacifier at all times. He's a very good eater, as long we let him feed himself and not try to help in any way. He loves to eat Father's pickled onions (so does Elmer!), roasted broccoli, hot dogs, pancakes, toast, cheerios, oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, and just about any meat - especially steak! He also has a bit of a taste for spicy sauces, and often wants a little drop of whatever hot sauce is on the table to try. So far, his tolerance for hot spices is greater than Elmer's.

Arthur's very independent and loves to play by himself - as long as someone's nearby to watch if he decides he wants attention. He likes to stack things, pay with his Legos or blocks, or his ball tower. He'll go over to the toy box, dump out a bunch of toys, and just sit there sorting through them for a while.

Trying to figure out this game...
He still loves to play with his brother, though, and wants to do whatever Elmer is doing, or have whatever Elmer has - which means there are often some shrieks from Elmer when Arthur grabs a toy away from him. We definitely have to break up sibling fights on a regular basis - but they are learning, oh so slowly, how to share. He loves to read, but has his own opinions about what books he wants to read, which may not match with what Elmer wants. So we're learning about taking turns as well.

I find I don't take as many day-to-day pictures of Arthur as I did with Elmer. If the boys see me get my phone out, they immediately stop what they're doing and want me to show them pictures or videos. It makes it difficult for me to capture a moment, unless I manage to sneak it out without them noticing. 
Selfie with Mama - sometimes the only way I can get a picture!
Arthur's still our little cuddle bug, especially when he first wakes up in the morning or from a nap. I usually cuddle with both boys and a book first thing in the morning, and Chris gets some Arthur cuddles after the afternoon nap. Arthur's definitely a sweetie - I think we'll keep him.

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!




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!


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.


There's never a dull moment around here!