Sunday, June 28, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Any of you who know Robby well will understand the significance of this picture.  That is Robby there under the water!

Robby just finished off two weeks of swimming lessons at the local pool.  It is amazing how far he has come in the last couple of years.  He has gone from my little guy who cried if a drop of water got on his face, to a lover of the water.  He isn't a great swimmer yet, but he can swim for at least a few feet.  The important thing to me though is that he is not scared anymore.  He still hates to get his face wet, but he does it anyway, and deals with it well.  He loves being in the water now and it won't be long until he is swimming all over the place.

I love those puffed out cheeks when he holds his breath.

I never thought I would see my son this happy with water dripping down into his eyes.  I am so proud of him.

In contrast to Robby, Zoe is a little fish.  She is fearless when it comes to the water.  She will dunk her whole head in the water, come up choking and gasping for air, and then dive right back in as soon as she stops coughing.  Watching swimming lessons was really hard on her because she wanted to get in the water so bad.  We did go swimming a couple of times last week though, and she had a blast.

Sumo Wrestler Hair

I decided to pull Zoe's hair into a quick pony tail the other day.   It reminds me of a sumo wrestler with the little bun/knot things they have in their hair.  It made me laugh.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

She is off and walking (sort of)

Zoe has been perfectly capable of walking for at least a couple of weeks now.  She spends the bulk of her day standing up now.  She bounces up and down while standing, claps her hands, plays with toys, bends over to pick things up, and then stands back up.  She actually has great balance, but she is having a hard time getting her feet to move.

She took her first steps a little over a week ago.  She was standing in front of me and wanted to get to Robby, so she took two little shuffle steps over to him.  We cheered and made a big deal out of it, which made her really happy.  She took a couple of steps a few more times throughout the day, but by the time evening came she was done, and we haven't been able to get her to do it again.

Yesterday, she took a few steps again at the Juneteenth Festival.  She really wanted to get to the drummers, so she tried to walk to them.  Then last night, I figured out the secret.  She just has to really want something, and not realize that she is walking.  I was able to trick her into walking across the floor and we got video of it.

I know that as soon as she realizes that she can do it, we will be in trouble.  She will be unstoppable.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our First Annual Family Juneteenth Celebration

Happy Juneteenth everyone!

A quick history lesson, or refresher:  Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, is celebrated on June 19.  It is a commemoration of June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas were informed that they were free.  It has spread to become a day of celebrating the end of slavery in this country.  Check out for more information.

I decided that it would be a fun tradition for us to celebrate Juneteenth each year.  I was a completely clueless as to how one celebrates this day, but I did a little research, and then pretty much made up my own traditions.

During the day, I took the kids to Salt Lake, where we attended the Utah Juneteeth Celebration Kick-off.  They have a big Juneteenth Festival in Ogden every year (which we will probably go to next year), but this was just a smaller kick-off party.  I had no idea what to expect, and to tell you the truth, it took me a little out of my comfort zone, but we had a really good time.  It was not at all what I expected.  I thought it would be a festival like thing where there would be a ton of people and I could roam around and blend into the crowds.  When I got there I discovered that there were only about 50 people.  It was such a joyful, fun group though.  There were African drummers and dancers that were absolutely amazing.  Zoe loved dancing to the drummers.  She wouldn't let me touch her while they were drumming, she just stood on the sidewalk and bopped up and down.  After the drummers, we went inside and listened to some very talented Gospel singers.  Robby was experiencing a little culture shock, so he didn't know what to think, but Zoe thought it was great.  She was yelling and singing and clapping right along with them.  Everyone kept commenting on how cute she was.  I think she really had a good time.

Here are some pictures from the party.

One of the dancers.  They wore the most beautiful, bright clothing and had the coolest dances.

One of the drummers.

I don't know how to explain this guy.  Basically, it was a man dancing inside of this fabric tube.  This is where I show my ignorance because there may be some significance or importance to this dance, but mainly, I just thought it was really cool.  It was amazing how he moved around inside this tube.  It was very fun to watch.

All in all, I was very glad that we went and we will definitely be going back again next year.  I think that is important that we show Zoe that we value her history and culture.  I also think that it is important for both of our kids to be exposed to different cultures and to learn to respect others.  I know that I learned a lot at the Juneteenth party and also had a blast, so I hope my kids did to.

This evening we continued the festivities at home by eating grilled steaks, mac and cheese, and strawberry soda, (I am not quite sure why strawberry soda, but it is a traditional drink of Juneteenth and it is kind of tasty) while listening to some old Gospel music.  It was a lot of fun and I am sure it will evolve into our own special Juneteenth tradition as the years go on.

Our yummy dinner.

Zoe really enjoyed the soda.  She probably would have downed a whole bottle if I had let her.

I really am excited to make the celebration of Juneteenth an annual tradition in our home.  It is a great opportunity to focus not only on the end of slavery in this country, but also on freedom in general.  I think we all take our freedom for granted sometimes and it was nice to have to a day to really think about what it means to be free and how blessed we truly are.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baseball, Pizza, and One Big Cat

We had a crazy evening tonight consisting of watching Robby's baseball game, going out for yummy pizza, and...

watching DWR remove a mountain lion from our next-door neighbor's garage.  Crazy!

Here is the story.  We drive home from having dinner and find a police car blocking the road into our neighborhood.  He tells us that since we live there, we can go through, but we need to close all of our doors because there is a mountain lion in one of the neighbor's garages.  As we drive up to our house, we see a bunch of our neighbors standing otuside our next door neighbor's (Jeff and Melissa's) house.  We tried to stay in the house and watch what was giong on, but by that time, there were quite a few people outside, so we just decided to go out and join them.

I guess we missed most of the excitement since we were at the game.  From what I understand, sometime between 7:30 and 8, the mountain lion had been spotted down the road a ways.  People (maybe including police, I'm not sure), were chasing it in cars, trying to get it out of the neighborhood.  We live on a horseshoe shaped road and they chased it in on both sides.  Our neighbor's garage door was open, so it ran inside.  Jeff was in the back yard, jumping on the trampoline with his two little girls when he heard people yelling.  They closed the garage door, and the cougar was trapped.

After we got home, DWR came and tranquilized the cougar.  It was crazy, when they shot him, you could hear him bang against the garage door.  He didn't go to sleep, so eventually, they had to go in and shoot him again.  Finally, about 9:45 or so, he fell asleep and they brought him out and took him away.  They said that they will let him wake up and then release him again in the wild.

Everyone was lucky that nothing bad happened.  There was no real damage done, except for a little cougar pee on the floor of my neighbor's garage and some claw marks on the inside of their garage door.  (Jeff is a huge BYU fan, so he thinks the claw marks are pretty cool.)

It did make for a crazy evening in the neighborhood.  By the time it was all done there was quite a crowd standing in our driveway watching the drama unfold.  It was on the news and everything.  I was even on the news for a brief second.  (They haven't posted the video footage online yet, but if they do, I will link to it here.)  It was definitely an exciting night for all of us.

Here are a few pictures of the cougar.  I did not take these pictures.  I went out with my Rebel, excited to get some good shots, but when Jeff saw that I had a good camera, he asked if he could borrow it to get some pictures.  Since it was his garage they actually let him go in to take the pictures, meaning he could get much better shots than I would ever get.  These pictures were all taken by him, with my camera.

The cougar was obviously terrified, and hung out mostly under their car.  He took this picture after they tranqued the cougar the first time.  He was still awake at this point.

Here he is once he finally fell asleep.  You can see the darts still in him.

After they pulled him out, they let my neighbors pose for a few pictures.

It really is a beautiful animal.   I think sometimes we foget how close we live to such amazing, wild animals.  Usually, we all keep to ourselves and life goes on quietly, but every once in a while, when our paths cross, things get a little crazy.  It is kind of sad that the poor cat had to go through such a traumatic experience, but I am glad that it all worked out well in the end, for him (or her), and for all of us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Kirk (yesterday)

OK, I am a day late with this, but I wanted to have pictures with my post.  So, happy late birthday Kirk.  I love you and appreciate you more than I can say.

We had a great evening last night celebrating the big day.  We didn't do anything too exciting, but we did have a tasty dinner, opened presents, went for a walk, and ate yummy birthday cake (chosen and made by Chef Robby.)  It was low-key, just the way Kirk likes it, but still a lot of fun.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

11 Months

For eleven months now, I have been faithfully taking a picture of Zoe, as close to the 11th as possible.  In each picture, she has been properly sitting by or propped up by her stuffed dog.  At eleven months though, Zoe has a mind of her own.  The simple act of sitting for the second it takes to snap a picture, is almost impossible.  There is just far too much world to explore to waste our time on such trivial things as sitting still.

Our photo session ended up kind of like this...

"Hey what's this thing behind me.  I must turn around and see what it is."

"Oh mom, this is so stressful.  How could you put so much pressure on me."  (I think she was actually starting up a game of peek-a-boo with me, she just momentarily lost her eyes.)

"This is exhausting.  I think I will lay down and rest on this incredibly soft, fluffy thing behind me."

"Or, better yet, maybe I will wrestle with it."

"Hey mom, what is that toy you are playing with.  I want to see."

We did manage to get one normal picture.  It is a little blurry though.  I literally had to hold her down sitting, tickle her, and then pull back to take the picture.  I didn't have time to hold the camera still.

(As always, you can click on any picture to see it larger, or click on any of the pictures in the group below to be able to click through all of them.)

I can't believe that Zoe is now only one month away from her first birthday.  Time certainly does fly.

The last month has been a fun and crazy one.  Zoe now has 4 incredibly cute little teeth.  She is standing almost all the time now, and takes a couple of steps every once in a while.  She doesn't quite have the confidence to walk yet, but as soon as she decides she can do it, she will be off.  She is an amazing stander though.  She bounces and claps and bends over, all while standing.  She will be unstoppable soon.

Zoe never stops moving.  She is always on the go.  She is always exploring, discovering, and in motion.  She is developing quite the little personality.  She is kind of silly.  She loves to make people laugh.  Any time she does anything that makes someone laugh, she will repeat it over and over again.  She also bursts out laughing anytime she hears anyone else laugh, even though she has no idea what is funny.

Zoe gets into everything, and she is always so proud of herself when she gets into something new.  We will tell her "no," and she just looks at us with this cute little proud grin, like "but look at what I just found I can do."  It is a good thing she is so cute!

Even though she is always on the go, she is very much a momma's girl and is a little clingy.  In any new circumstance, she thinks I have to be holding her; and even in our house, she never wants to be more than a few feet away.  When I put her down on the ground, she will go off to explore, and almost always, as she gets to the doorway or just a little too far away, she will turn around to find me.  As soon as she sees me, she will crawl as fast as she can back to me, crawl up onto my lap, lay her head on me and say "Awww" (giving me a hug) and then hop down and go back to what she was doing.  It is so cute!  I love it.

Zoe is also starting to talk a lot.  Although she doesn't really say words, (except for da-da) she is always babbling, and she has certain sounds that she uses to communicate certain things.  We can recognize the sounds for hello, all done, hugs, and a few others.

This is a wonderful age.  I  love watching her learn and explore.  Sometimes it is a pain, as she is pulling all the movies off of the shelf, or insisting that I pick her up because I dared step out of the room for a second, but I am trying to just enjoy every minute.  She is growing up so fast and I don't want to take any of this for granted.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Disneyland Part 3 or Our Baby is an Angel

Scroll down to read parts 1 and 2.

I was a little nervous about taking Zoe to Disneyland.  We took Robby for the first time when he was 19 months old, which was just about perfect.  At 10 months, Zoe is still a little young and I wasn't quite sure how she would do.  She doesn't usually sleep very well away from her crib, which had me really nervous.  When we are at home, she usually takes two, sometimes three, pretty good naps a day, but when we aren't home, getting her to nap is nearly impossible.  All of my fears were completely unfounded though.  I can't imagine that there could be a better baby than Zoe was on this trip.  She did great on the airplane and wonderful at Disneyland.  I think she just loved being outside and watching all the people.  She was a bit of a mama's girl and thought I needed to hold her everytime she saw me, but I didn't mind that too much.  It was actually really fun taking her and I am glad we didn't wait.

This is where Zoe spent most of her Disneyland time.  She seemed to really enjoy sitting in her stroller, sucking on her pacifier, watching all the people go by.  When she would get tired, she would just take a little cat nap either in her stroller or on a ride.  Fifteen minutes later, she would be ready to go again.

Zoe did great on all the rides.  She seemed to really enjoy some of them and the other's she just didn't seem to care about either way.

Her absolute favorite ride was "Small World".  She was facinated by it.  The moment our boat entered the ride, her eyes got huge and she just stared at everything, trying to take it all in.  By the end of the ride, she was clapping, dancing, and singing.  Then when it was over, she would turn around, watching it until she couldn't see it anymore.  We rode this ride quite a few times, since she loved it so much.  She would get excited as soon as she saw the little boats.  A couple of times she even cried when it ended.  It was so fun to ride it, just so we could watch her enjoy it.

I would have loved to get her picture with Mickey, but the lines were way too long, so it will have to wait until next time.  We did manage to get her to see Brair Bear though, outside of Splash Mountain.  She was mostly just interested in his fur.

I had fun playing dress up with her.  Here she is with a cowboy hat from Toy Story.

Cute mini mouse ears.

We were going to buy her ears, but you can see how well that went.  We decided a picture was just fine.

Here she is outside the Toy Story Ride with the cool 3d glasses on.

I am so glad we decided to go to Disneyland now with Zoe.  It was so fun to watch her have a lot of fun and just take it all in.  It will be fun to see how her reactions and her experiences change as she gets a little older.

Disneyland Part 2 or What Happened to My Baby Boy

Scroll down to see part 1.

Robby had a great trip.  It was so obvious to me throughout this trip how much he is growing up.  He is definitely not the little boy, who was so excited at meeting Rollie Pollie Ollie in real life, anymore.  He now loves any ride that is roller coaster like and said that he thinks Disneyland is way more fun at night.  We probably don't have much longer before Disneyland loses its excitement for him a little.  We will have to start spending a day at some of the more exciting amusement parks when we take a Disneyland trip to keep him satisfied (which isn't a bad thing.)  For now, though, he thinks the big rides at Disneyland are just perfect.

His favorite rides at Disneyland were:

1. California Screaming.  His first upside down roller coaster.  He was so excited that he was finally tall enough to ride this.  I was worried it would terrify him once he actually rode it, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  He loved it!!  He rode it a ton of times, and got really good at going through the single rider line so that he didn't have to wait in line.

2. Space Mountain.  Roller coaster in the dark, what's not to love.

3. Toy Story Midway Mania.  The only non-rollercoastery ride on the list.

4. Mulholland Madness

5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

6. Splash Mountain.  This one was higher on the list until the last time we rode it and he got completely soaked.  He did not find that funny, and demoted Splash Mountain a little.

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I always hate it when people take pictures of their picture on the preview screen, but I just couldn't pass this one up (and couldn't bring myself to pay $15 for it).  This was Robby's first ride on California Screaming.  Look at that smile.   And the rest of us weren't having too bad of a time either.

Robby and Grandma on the Matterhorn.  I don't know which one of them was having more fun.

Even though he loves the big rides, he still has a lot of fun on the not so exciting rides, like the Bugs Life Bumper Cars.

In front of Small World.

Rob and Kirk on the train.

Robby also got into pin trading during this trip.  He loved going up to cast members and trading pins with them.  It left him with a fun souvenir that means something to him and that he can add to and change every time we go.  Hopefully, this will give him something to look forward to at Disneyland, even as he gets older.

That smile is why I love Disneyland.