12.05.2011

October

So, obviously, we are a little slow at posting. I really want to just back date this so it looks like I was more on top of things, but I won't. But, I am also not going to write a novel on this one. Basically, October happened. Jessica loved pumpkins and learned how to say pumpkin, although it sounds like puppy. She was a little worried about carving one and touching the guts on the inside, but she did it! And then, she ate a bit, and realized pumpkins might look good, but they are better baked in a pie.




We had a quick trip to Utah because Andrew's brother Grant got married to Jennifer! We are so excited for them and loved seeing the family! Jessica's favorite parts of the weekend were dancing at the reception (seriously, she wouldn't stop! We even tried to dance with her and pick her up, and she wouldn't let us!), seeing the neighbor's chickens, and driving the toy car.



She spent her Halloween as the cutest Dorothy ever...in the airport! Our flight was delayed, so she only went trick or treating at the airport ticket cuonters. She fell asleep on the way home and slept for 13 hours after a busy, long weekend. Oh, and by the way, I made that costume! I am so proud of myself!


8.30.2011

An Artist in the Family

Last Wednesday, I pulled out the crayons for Jessica to try coloring. I figured she was probably too young to really get it, and she'd probably try to eat the crayons, but hey, that is part of growing up right? And coloring is so fun! I'm excited for when she really likes it, because I actually love coloring. People would probably think I was a little weird if I went and bought a bunch of crayons and coloring books for myself, but now, I have someone to color with! But, anyway, back to the story.

Earlier in the week, at church, she had grabbed my notebook and opened it up, and was holding a pen in her hand, and I noticed it looked just like she was writing. So, I figured, hey, maybe she is a little ready. First I gave her the bag of crayons, and she was pretty impressed, as you can tell.



Then, I pulled out a few crayons, and showed her what to do. She only put them in her mouth twice, and as soon as I told her they were icky, she decided she agreed with me and took them out. At first, she was only slightly impressed, but she got into it a little more. Want to see the masterpieces?

This is the first one we did together...Jessica drew the lighter lines.


But this one, she did on her own.


Beautiful isn't it? I think we've got an artist in the family! Oh, and she's also a climber. She has mastered climbing onto the rocking chair and it is her favorite spot in the house to stand sit.


Greatest FHE Ever

Our Family Home Evenings are pretty fast these days. Jessica is okay with looking at a few pictures, but then she wants to go explore. But, earlier this month we had a great FHE. I'm sure it was her favorite one...and we liked it too. We had a water fight!

I bought a few squirt guns on clearance, grabbed a tub of water, our lone splash bomb, and we went to town. I wasn't sure how she would do and if she'd get scared that Andrew and I were yelling and chasing each other around the yard, but she didn't mind at all. Most of the time, she was intrigued by the tub of water. We have had some problems now...every time we get a cup of water (or juice, or milk) to drink, she thinks it is a great thing to stick her hand in and splash around. But, even with that, it was worth it.




8.14.2011

A Big Cow and a Big Dog

Yesterday, we headed to Denver to spend a day in the city. We were able to visit Jessica's birth parents and we also visited the new IKEA there. It was crazy...don't go yet. Fortunately, we like IKEA, so we'll be back, but if we had never been, we would never want to go back. There were about 40 people directing traffic just to get all the cars in the parking lot. Just to get our car parked and then to find our way into the store took over 30 minutes. Andrew says it is like the game RISK--it takes forever to set the thing up, and once you start playing it isn't even fun, and you realize it will take forever, so you just quit and put it back into the box. Kind of anti-climatic.

Anyway, we survived IKEA, and decided we were ready to head home. It was a pretty normal trip, until we got into Nebraska. We were on a dark country road, and well, you know how there are some places that have deer crossing signs? We needed a cow crossing sign.

We were just driving along a somewhat hilly road, talking about our day, when all of a sudden Andrew said, "Whoa!" and swerved. I looked up, expecting to see a deer...and instead saw the fattest cow in the world lumbering along the side of the road. I swear that cow was pregnant...it really was pretty big. We figured we better tell somebody because a cow that big could really do some damage. But, if you remember right, we were on a dark country road in Nebraska, so there were no houses and no lights for a few miles. We finally passed by one that looked pretty dark, so we drove by and then noticed one light was on in an upstairs window. But, just a little bit down the road, there was another house we could see, so we headed down their long driveway. The only light on there was in the garage, and everything else looked really dark. Then, two dogs came running out to greet us, and we weren't sure if they were nice or mean, so we figured we'd go to the other house. Little did we know that those two dogs looked like chihuahuas compared to the one we were about to come face to face with.

Here is the rest of the story in Andrew's words [and notes by Brianna]:

We pulled up to the house, and someone came to the window and looked out. I walked slowly to the door because there were no lights. It was a pretty eerie sight: a full moon, a dark night, and then a bat flew out from underneath their deck. [There really was a bat...I saw it.] Eventually, a lady turned on a small light, came to the door and let out the biggest dog I've ever seen. The dog was all black and its head came almost to mid chest. I kind of froze and hoped the dog was nice. I told the lady, "Sorry to bother you, but I just wanted to tell you that there is a cow out." She said she'd call the Sheriff or something, and I told her thanks and headed back to the car, but that dog was still trotting around out there and barking at the car.

[Brianna now: When Andrew got out of the car, he was walking slowly to the house and then, the car headlights turned off, which made it very dark. I felt bad for him, so I figured I'd look for a little flashlight to shine through the window for when he came back. I saw the door open and a big dog come out, but I didn't realize how big this dog was. And actually, I just kept looking for the flashlight, because I had a hard time finding it. At this point, I was looking in the glove box, and then, I gave up, lifted my head and looked out my side window...and was facing the biggest dog I've ever seen. It was level with my head and it was just staring at me. I was glad the window was closed...and I love dogs. It looked like a nice dog, even thought it was as tall as a small horse...and it probably would have looked even nicer during the day, at the house of someone we knew, but those were not the circumstances.]

I'm not the world's greatest dog lover, which kind of made things worse. I headed back to the car, and could see the dog looking at Brianna through her window, and I figured I better make a quick break for it to get inside before the dog joined us inside the car. So, I got in real quick and shut the door just in time to see his big head peering through my window. We were happy to pull out the driveway and head home once again knowing that we had done our good turn for the day knowing that we had at least told someone about that cow getting out and hoping they could take care of it.

Just in case you are curious, like we were, to find out what type of dog we met that night, it was Clifford, the big black dog. Don't you remember those books? With Emily Elizabeth? Anyway, it was actually a Great Dane, emphasis on Great. Did you that the world's tallest dog is a Great Dane? His name is Giant George and he is 43 inches tall from his paw to his shoulder. That height does not include his head in case you didn't catch that. So, in case you are ever driving through Nebraska on a country road, you might just see some big cows and Giant George's cousin lumbering together through the fields.

8.09.2011

Mt. Rushmore...Part 2

Part 2 means two months late I guess. Wow, time flies! We have had an amazing summer and well, that means this post will be wrapped up quickly so I can move on to posting about other things. But I did want to document some of it.


After we left Mt. Rushmore on Friday, we decided to walk around Keystone to see the sights. At first, we thought Jessica would be fine even though she had only had a short nap so far, because she was so excited to be in her stroller. Then, she started staring at the wheels of the stroller, and she fell asleep after we had walked about half a block. We leaned it back and kept walking, and she slept the whole time...even through a loud car alarm that went off just as we passed by.



There really isn't a lot to see when you are walking around Keystone, but we had fun. We stopped at this ice cream shop called Turtle Town, and ate some delicious ice cream (which she also slept through). This shop had a lot of fudge, and a lot of chocolate, but we only bought ice cream, so I can't tell you how everything else tasted...but it looked delicious.


They also had the World's Biggest Peanut Butter Cup, and it was huge! Andrew asked if they could take it out of the display case so he could get a picture of it. It cost over $70, and I swear they said it was over 7 pounds. They said you could order these online and that people actually do buy them, especially for Christmas gifts. I searched forever online to try to find any information on it, and I couldn't, except for the website which is above. It is not for sale right now...maybe because it would melt, but if you are ever in need of a lot of peanut butter and chocolate, you can go there and pay a lot of money for some.


Sorry...I forgot this was supposed to be a short and sweet post. That night, we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Rapid City and Jessica loved the paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Our waitress was great, and she kept hitting them so Jessica could watch them. She also brought her her very own fortune cookie, which she enjoyed. The fortune was a perfect one for Jessica; it said: "Now is a good time to expand your repertoire of skills and knowledge." Jessica really took that message to heart and she has been learning so many new skills lately.


Well, our trip was pretty much over, so the next morning, we headed for home. The drive was much better and without snow. And on the way home, we passed a buffalo out in this field. We were so impressed that I told Andrew we needed to stop to take a picture. We did and we were on the side of the road for awhile trying to get some good pictures of this buffalo way out in the field. Here is one of them:


Then, we kept driving, and a few minutes later, there were a lot more buffalo. And they were much closer. We took a lot more pictures, and then, we just kept seeing them. There was this area where you could pull off the side of the road to read something, and the buffalo were all around that. We pulled in and didn't get out, but we did get some pictures...and look at that buffalo. He was huge! Moral of the story...don't stop to document the first buffalo that you see.


On the way back, we also went through this town called Hot Springs and Andrew saw this military cemetery up on the hill and he had to get some pictures of it. After trying to find the right road to the cemetery, and failing many times, we finally made it. They also have this beautiful building so we had to go check it out as well. It is actually the Veterans Affairs Health offices and well everything else. I don't know what all it houses, but I would love to go inside to have a tour! There is a museum, but they were closed that day.



All in all, it was a great trip (and we are excited to go back) but we were ready to be home, and we made it there...after we waited for the cows to cross the road. Yeah, really.

6.15.2011

Mt. Rushmore or Bust

In May, we took our first real family vacation for the three of us. We've been to Washington, Utah, and to some other places, but this time, it was just the three of us and we were so excited! Living in the panhandle of Nebraska, we kind of feel like we are far away from everything, and we are...except for Mt. Rushmore! It was only a 3 1/2 hour drive, so we knew we needed to go! We planned up our trip for weeks, asked our friends about what we should do when we were there, booked a little cabin, and waited for the day to arrive. Around that time, spring decided that it needed a vacation too, and we kept checking the weather, hoping our vacation days would be filled with sun, not rain. It didn't change...but we were ready anyway, and left for our fun-filled trip.
We were a little surprised (and worried) when we drove through this on our way there...



Our plan for our first day was to go straight to Mt. Rushmore and see everything, walk around town, and then go back to the cabin around dinner time to roast hot dogs and smores. Well, things didn't go that way. The snow slowed us down and we made multiple stops along the drive to give Jessica a break and every time we did, we noticed her diapers weren't holding up like we want them to. She went through three outfits that first day, and we were a little worried we were going to run out of clean clothes! So, instead, we went straight to our cabin, and were thrilled to find that it was only raining and spent a lazy afternoon together. Andrew's birthday was the next day, but Jessica and I decided he should open one present then, so he did. 
Then, we realized the weather might be worse tomorrow, so we might as well go visit Mt. Rushmore, so we loaded up our rain gear and headed out. The people at the parking entrance said the cloud was just starting to part so we should be able to see the Presidents, and we could...through the haze of the clouds.

We wanted to make sure Jessica was warm and dry, so she stayed in her stroller and we wrapped a huge bag around her (her body, not her head...don't worry). She was thrilled!


We took a few pictures and headed back to cook our hot dogs inside the cabin instead. It was a great, wet day, and we were so glad we were staying in our warm cabin and not in a cold tent. The rain was pouring all night, but miraculously, the next morning, the sun came out for a little bit, so we thought we'd try it again. We drove through some more rain on the way there, but the clouds seemed to part just for us, and this was the view we got that morning. What a difference!



Even though the sun was out when we got there, we were still expecting the rain to begin, so we had all of our rain gear and cold gear on and bundled up Jessica in plenty of layers (leggings, pants, long sleeves, winter coat, hat, gloves, and a blanket wrapped around her). We were able to hike the trail, go to the Visitor's Center, and take lots of pictures. Throughout all of this, our extra layers slowly came off as we were roasting! Jessica rode in our backpack carrier and loved it. Andrew made a top for it so she would be shaded...and to keep out the rain just in case.


After we saw all we wanted to see, we had a picnic lunch and headed into town. We'll post more on that later. 

Oh, but in case you were wondering if Jessica likes family vacations, well, just look at that grin below. She loved it!!! 

4.30.2011

Mommy's Little Helper

Jessica is the greatest little helper in the world!

She loves to help me decorate...
 

She helps me make the bed...

She helps me fold all the laundry...

And throw it into the dryer (she is the perfect height for this job)...

And, she always picks up her books, toys, and spices when she is done playing with them...

I love my little helper! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!