Saturday, August 23, 2014

Heritage Carousel

The suburb where we live, just outside of Des Moines is a nice place. Safe neighborhoods, good schools. But when it comes to things to do and places to go, Des Moines is the place. I don't know if this is true everywhere, but here it seems like the suburban towns like to place a play structure in an open field and call it a park. No trees, no shade. But there are some great Des Moines parks, like this one we went to today. There is a great wading pool, which Piper dives headfirst into, despite the posted "NO DIVING" signs. You'd think she couldn't read or something.

And then there's a new-but-feels-old-timey carousel that only costs 50 cents a ride. The kids love it! I should have caught Piper's squeals on camera when she first saw it.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Piper - 22 months (and pictures of Libby, too)




Just in the past few weeks, I've had a handful of strangers ask me if my girls are twins. Usually, they only have to take a second glance to realize, wait...no, one is bigger. But I have to admit, there have been a few times when I've quickly scanned the backyard trying to find where they ran off to and at first glance, I couldn't tell who was who. Piper is certainly catching up to Libby in size. They wear nearly the same shoe size and often share clothes.

They also sound quite a bit alike and now that Piper's speaking is becoming clearer, I can't always tell who is calling me (or, for that matter, who is screaming and/or crying). Piper is speaking a few complete sentences.

Look, Mom!

I did it, Mom!

C'mon, Libby!

I got it, Libby.

Libby hurt me.

Piper loves music. "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam" was by far her favorite for a few weeks, but she's willing to let a few others rotate in now.

When she claps her hands together and says "topcorn" it means she wants to sing "Popcorn popping on the apricot tree."

When she goes to the keyboard and says "tinkle star" it means she wants to listen to "Twinkle twinkle little star."

"Roni" (as in macaroni) means she wants to listen to "Yankee Doodle."

When she waves her arms back and forth and says "fast" it means she wants to sing "Do as I'm Doing." 

Piper is Libby's little copycat. Libby found this tree to climb in (outside the mall) last week and Piper had to get it on the action, too. 

Love those girls of mine!





The great road trip of 2014

Quick recap of our 40+ hour summer road trip:

First, we went to Utah to visit Jared's parents and sisters. Libby had so much fun playing with her cousins, especially Bethany. Libby and Piper jumped on Rachel's trampoline every chance they got. 

What else? 

It was hot. 

We missed the fireworks. 

We specifically left Iowa on July 3 so we could get to Utah by the afternoon of July 4 and make sure we could see the fireworks. But, as luck would have it, all the nearby cities decided to do their fireworks shows on July 3. Bummer.

After a few days in Utah, we headed up to Yellowstone with Rachel's family. It was just as awesome as I was hoping. The scenery was just unreal and we had a great time. Despite a couple rainy afternoons and cold nights in the tent, I enjoyed the relief from the heat we experienced in Utah! (Iowa is making me a sissy.)

Hayden Valley was my favorite part of the park. 

We camped at Grant Village, on the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. We could walk just a hundred yards or so to the lake; it was beautiful. 

We saw bison and elk, but no moose or bears...this time. We'll be back for sure!




After Yellowstone, we said goodbye to Rachel's family and headed back to Iowa by way of Thermopolis, WY (where we soaked in the world's largest mineral hot springs), Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills. Mt. Rushmore was pretty neat, but we got there as the sun was going down and it was cold! We bought Libby a sweatshirt at the gift shop because we knew we'd need it camping that night. We camped at Horsethief Lake, just a couple miles from Mt. Rushmore, in Black Hills National Forest. The next day, we drove on Iron Mountain Road for about an hour or so before getting on the highway. I'm so glad we took that road, even if it was a little out of the way. It was the most beautiful part of South Dakota I've seen! If we hadn't already been away from home almost 2 weeks, we would have spent more time in the Black Hills.  




Had to take a picture of the DuPont explosives, used to carve Mt. Rushmore (Jared works for DuPont)



Friday, June 27, 2014

Piper - 20 months

My 20-month-old Piper is growing up so fast. She started climbing out of her crib so regularly (as in, immediately after we put her in) that there was no point to keeping her in a crib. So I converted her crib to a daybed before the age of 2, which I never thought I would do. Libby was in a crib till the week she turned 3! Bedtime is a challenge every single night, keeping those girls in their room, but I think it's getting better.

It's amazing how much we can learn from kids. My sweet Piper reminds us to pray before every meal. Usually before I even sit down at the table, she is folding her arms and saying "prayer, prayer."

One thing she likes to do lately is put a blanket over her head and pretend to be a monster ("mon-her").  She also likes to hop like a frog and say "ribbet" and play Ring Around the Rosie ("ring round"). She cannot get enough of jumping off the couch, but she doesn't always wait for someone to catch her. Yesterday, she dove off and landed on her face.

Libby and I like to play a rhyming game where one of us says a word and the other names a word that rhymes. Libby is getting pretty good, but still uses a lot of made up words to come up with a rhyme, and usually those made-up words start with a b. For instance, if I say "what rhymes with table?" she might respond with "bable." Anyway, one day in the car, Libby said "what rhymes with water?" and Piper spoke up and said "bater." Libby and I cracked up. It was so awesome. I'm 95% sure she was actually trying to say "bottle" as in water bottle, which she was holding, but it was hilarious nonetheless. This morning Piper was saying "bater" over and over just to make us laugh.

Piper is now interested in helping in the kitchen. She sometimes helps me put away the dishes that go in the lower cupboards. She likes to press the button on the blender and push the plunger on the salad spinner and add ingredients to the bowl when I'm baking. Of course, she also likes to take dirty dishes out of the dishwasher, rearrange my pots and pans, climb onto the counter and steal chocolate chips, and leave stuffed animals in the pantry.

I'm so glad Piper is still an adventurous eater. This morning, she was munching on frozen kale while "helping" me make a smoothie. She will eat nearly anything and regularly packs away more than Libby. I'm having a hard time thinking of her favorite foods, because she eats everything with the same gusto.  




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kids' first camping trip + Texas

For this year's trip to see my family in Texas, we decided to go through Arkansas and meet my parents there to do some camping. Our way through Arkansas took us right past the small town where my cousin Ken and his wife Danielle live. We spent the night with them, had some great pizza, took a tour of the college they attend, and had a great time catching up.


Then, we met my parents at Mt. Magazine State Park. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. The kids played with glow sticks and bug-catching kits. For their first time camping in a tent, they did pretty well! They went to bed way too late (after 10 PM), but that's pretty typical when they're in a new place. They were too excited to settle down.








After hiking around the park the next day, it started to rain and was forecast to have severe thunderstorms, so we packed up the tent and stayed in the lodge the next night. The storm was pretty intense, so that was a good call. We swam in the indoor pool and ate dinner at the restaurant, so it was a pretty cushy second day of "camping."

After that, we headed south to Crater of Diamonds State Park to dig for diamonds. It had just rained the day before, so the field was crazy muddy, but apparently that's the best time to find diamonds, so we went for it! We didn't find anything more than some cool looking rocks, but it was fun. Libby and Piper really got into it and were covered head to toe in mud. They were jumping in puddles, laying on their stomachs, squishing mud in their hands. It was awesome. (Those pictures are on Jared's computer, so I'll have to add them later.)

They were freezing after we hosed them down, so we had to bundle them up in blankets.


Finally, we spent a few days in Dallas, making the rounds to see my siblings and my grandparents. I love this picture of my sister, my mom, and me. I feel so tall next to them!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

May picture dump

Libby loves to draw and is getting so creative. Today she drew a bee, complete with wings and antennae. It was quite impressive. Here is a carrot she drew with sidewalk chalk.



We had a Cinco de Mayo party, so we could have an excuse to have people over, eat Mexican food, and make a pinata.

 The kids loved the pinata!


This is classic Piper: sneaking her toes up on the table and saying "cheese" for the camera. 

Libby playing make believe...not sure what her intention was here, but it was adorable.

Piper loves the swing and insists on buckling herself in.


This is the face Libby makes for the camera, if she acknowledges it at all. :)

One hot day, the slide got too hot to touch, so I let the kids put their swimsuits on and I made a "water slide" by spraying it with the hose while they slid down. It's a fast slide to begin with, and the water made it crazy fast. They were both done after one turn - it was too scary.


Libby loves her playset.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Piper - 18 months

At 18 months, Piper is definitely her sister's best friend. I'd say it was around 15-16 months that they really started playing well together and I didn't have to worry (as much) about Libby sitting on or strangling Piper. Just last week, I decided to move Piper into Libby's room at night, hoping it would help quell Libby's "I don't want to be alone!" protests at night. So far, so good. The first night was adorable...I could hear them giggling and talking for nearly an hour before they went to sleep.

They climbed onto the counter and finished off a package of sprinkles while I was taking a shower!
A few things I want to remember about Piper at this age:

She is so obedient when we tell her it's time to pray. She will stop what she is doing and clasp her hands together. She sometimes even bows her head, but usually she looks around at us to make sure she is copying us just right. If we fold our hands, she folds her hands. If we fold our arms, she folds her arms.

She knows so many words now I can't even keep track anymore. She will attempt to copy nearly any word. Some of the most repeated words we hear from her: no, stop, mine (those are usually directed toward Libby), snack, eat, milk, bike, bath, back (when she wants to ride on our backs), drive-drive (whenever she sees a car), Bibby (Libby), and of course Mommy and Daddy. She can also name body parts (eye, ear, nose, mouth, hair, cheek, chin, hand, foot, toes).

She is still crazy obsessed with animals, particularly dogs. I'm pretty sure we are the only ones on our street that do not have a dog, but we get plenty of use out of the neighbors' dogs. If we are in the backyard, Piper is usually sticking her hand through the fence and calling "Lily! Lily" to the dog next door.

She likes the Old McDonald song and the Slippery Fish song. She knows sounds for duck, cat, dog, cow, horse, owl, rabbit, alligator (snap!).

She plays tag with Libby and can say "got you!"


She LOVES riding her tricycle, which is why we hear the word "bike" so often. (For a while, I started parking outside of the garage and going in through the front door, because if she saw her bike in the garage and I did not immediately let her ride it, it resulted in a major temper tantrum.) She is so fearless on her bike. Our driveway has a bit of a slope and she will push off, lift up her feet and fly down with hesitation. Problem is, her trike is not all that stable, so I try to run along beside her in case she tips. She wears a helmet and it's already come in handy a few times.

She is happiest playing outside, on her bike, in the swing, petting the dog, or rolling around in the grass with Libby.