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,, 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)