Friday, November 14, 2014

Juliet is One!

Little Newborn

I am having a hard time digesting the fact that my baby isn't really a baby anymore.  She walks, she eats real food, she even tries to talk!  We kept the celebrating small this year.  I am having some major mom-guilt over this, because we threw London a big party for her first birthday.  It was just too hard to do that this year because we don't really have many friends, let alone friends with kiddos around Juliet's age.  And honestly her birthday kind of snuck up on me with Halloween so close.  I started planning out themes and stuff in August and then the next time I thought about it, it was half way through October and it was simply too late! Maybe next year she will have the awesome tea party themed birthday I had been dreaming of. ;)

Anyways enough with the excuses, and on to this precious little one of mine!  Juliet's favorite thing to do is EAT.  In fact, she still has her little baby thunder thighs and chubby cheeks.  I am kind of in love with them and her squishy little self.  She will try anything, especially if someone else is eating it.  She has been known to try and grab things out of your hand mid-bite.  If she hears the rustle of a wrapper or the clanking of a utensil, she is THERE, man!!  I have yet to find a food she doesn't like.  The downside of this is she is still very messy (like most one-year olds).  I need to invest in a floor mat or something because I am tired of scraping solidified bananas and tomatoes off our floor.  (I got into the motherhood business because of the constant glamor.)

Birthday Pancakes.
She also idolizes her sister.  She always wants to be playing with her, hugging on her, following her lead into mischief.  They are the greatest.  I hope they get along this well when they're teenagers (but I kind of doubt it...)  Of course they have the occasional fight, and sometimes London pushes her around, but for the most part they love having each other.  Which makes my heart happy.  Juliet has even tried to say London's name once!  I had put London down for a nap and closed the door to her room.  Juliet crawled over to the door, pulled herself up and started crying something that sounded awfully close to her sister's name.  It made me teary-eyed!  But she hasn't tried again since then and it has been almost a month, so maybe it was a fluke or my own imagination.

Thanks for the chairs, Great-Grandma Vacc!!

Juliet is a snuggler.  When you pick her up, she burrows down in between your shoulder and neck.  She still needs to be snuggled to fall asleep (I have a love/hate relationship with this fact).  When she wakes up from her nap, she is perfectly happy to cuddle with me while we wait for her sister to wake up.

Her hair is thick, just like her sisters.  And it looks like it is going to have a bit of wave, just like her sisters.  She has (almost) six teeth.  It feels like they are taking forever to come in, considering London had a full set at this point.  I love her little smile with her two big front teeth sticking out.  Combine that with the baby pig tails and she is the poster child for cuteness.  (Although I am obviously very biased when it comes to this fact). 

She loves to dance.  Any time there is any kind of music you can count on both my girls to start rocking out.  So we tend to have lots of little impromptu dance parties.  It's the greatest thing ever.  I also have loved watching her learn to play; she has started pretending to talk on the phone, she hugs every doll and stuffed animal she can get a hold of, and as I was writing this, I watched her take a doll comb and run it through her own hair a few times.  I think it helps she has a big sister who shows her the way on a lot of these things.

Most of that cupcake ended up smeared on my table.
 I am worried her first word is going to be "no."  She loves to imitate that word.  (It gets said a lot around here by our resident two-year-old.)  I try not to laugh when she says it, but she looks and sounds exactly like London when she does! I need to film her saying it.  It seems so silly to see and hear that kind of negativity coming out of such a little person.  Especially since she usually bursts into her big, two-tooth grin right after she does it. Punk.

I just love this sweet little girl of mine.  Motherhood seemed like it became so much harder after number 2, but also so much sweeter.  "The days are long, but the years are short," rings truer to me when I look back and think it was only a year ago I was bringing this precious babe home.  It's hard to remember life without her, but she still seems so new.  I'm so grateful that I am lucky enough to be her mother; to nurture her and teach her as she grows into the wonderful, beautiful human being I know she is destined to become.  Hurray for one whole year, and here's to the many more to come!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Lost Days: More Yellowstone!

London takes after my side of the family in the fact that she LOVES to go shopping.  Every time we drove through the little town we were staying in and she would see all the souvenir shops she would say, "I want to go shopping!"  I don't know how I created this monster, but it's too late to turn back now...

London got her wish though--we went shopping our second morning in Yellowstone.  We had to kill time before our trail ride scheduled that afternoon, so we went out with Grammie and the girls.  I loved all the restaurants and stores in West Yellowstone!

This is my crazy face.  Really I took this pic to send to Dan to show him my new cowboy hat.

London takes a rest from all that shopping.
 After we finished exploring West Yellowstone, we headed off to our trail ride.  Here's a shot my mom got of me and London before we took off.  Poor London had been so excited to ride the "norsies," but it took so long to get everyone in our party saddled up that she fell asleep before we really even got started.  Let me tell you, trying to keep hold of the reins and keep a floppy, sleepy two-year old in the saddle is no easy feat! Lucky for her she woke up about halfway through, so she still got to enjoy part of the ride.

Montana, y'all.

After our ride, London found a little playground.

This little lass was too little to go horseback riding, but she enjoyed pretending she was a cowgirl with Papa.
The next day, most everyone went on a long hike.  Grammie and I stayed behind with the little girls (and a couple bigger cousins who didn't want to do the long hike...)  We still had fun at Bear World, which was just down the road from our cabins.  Bear World is a museum and a facility for bears who can no longer live in the wild (usually because they have become too comfortable around humans--like they rely on suburbia's garbage for food).  London had one of her most epic meltdowns at bear world, so I won't say it was the greatest time ever, but I always enjoy spending time with my Grammie.  (Excuse the horrible photos, I only had my phone with me...)

London with my cousins Isabella, Amanda, and Lydia.
That night, we all went to the community theater to see their production of Beauty and the Beast. (Fun fact, the owner/director was actually one of my brother, Spicer's professors at BYU-I.)  It was so fun.  Before the performance, the cast was out interacting with the audience singing Disney songs--obviously I was way in to that. Probably a little too much. ;)  Then they had people come up who had celebrated a birthday recently.  My mom's had been a couple days before, so she went up.  The actor who played Cogsworth tried to get my dad to go up with her, but he refused.  I AM SO GLAD HE DID!!!  Because he wouldn't come up, Cogsworth flirted it up with my mom!! He introduced her as his girlfriend to the audience, kept hugging and caressing her  the entire time she was up there, and the grand finale was a huge smooch.  I think I about busted a gut from laughing so hard.

Our fourth day, we went white water rafting in Big Sky, Montana.  The drive out there was UN-BE-LIE-ABLE! Montana is probably one of the most beautiful states I have ever seen.  I would love to go back some day. Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me again, so all the pictures I took just aren't that great.  I will share this one that I instagrammed though. 

Rafting was so fun, but soooooo cold!! Our guide told us that the water had been snow 24 hours before.  Even though we had a lot of fun most of the time (including several intense splash battles between our rafts), the trip started out with a bit of a scary moment.  When we hit the first rapid, Grampie, my Uncle Eric, and my Aunt Renee all fell out of their raft.  They managed to pull everyone back in, but after they pulled my Grampie in, he wasn't moving.  We all pulled off to the bank to make sure he was ok.  We waited for what felt like an eternity.  I was positive he was having a heart attack.  Finally, they were able to sit him up, and as soon as they did he exhaled, "That's better."  Apparently his life jacket was so tight he was having trouble breathing in it while lying down.  Since he was alright and wanted to continue, we went on our merry way down the river, with no more scary moments.

When we got back to the cabins and told Grammie what had happened, she turned to Grampie and said, "Well, between you falling out of the raft and me falling off the mounting block horseback riding the other day, I think we may be getting too old for this!"  Sometimes it's hard to be young at heart!

Grammie and Autumn were kind enough to stay home with the little girls while we all went out and had fun.  When we got back, I went to go get London and Juliet, and this is what I found:

Sleeping Beauties! (That little pink lump is Lydia.)
 After we all got cleaned up, we headed out for dinner.  We decided on Bear Tooth BBQ!

On our walk home, London REALLY wanted a picture with the train.

And then we got one in front of the entrance to where we stayed.
Our last day in Yellowstone, we did a lot more sightseeing, including the painted pots, the midway geyser, excelsior crater, and the prismatic springs.

Some cool tree roots

The wasteland!

A glimpse at a geyser.

The colors progressively became more and more vibrant with each new spring and crater we saw.

The blue and the clarity of the water is just thrilling to me!

Some more "yucky water" for London.
A nice colorful bacterial mat. (All the colors along the water's edge are colonies of bacteria that thrive in the heat of these springs.)

Selfie with a baby.

My beautiful sister!

This one was LOUD!! It gave off a continual roar as you walked by.


I love the steam from the runoff of the springs as it goes down the hill to the river.

"The Tourist"

So the Excelscior crater used to be Excelscior geyser that was active in the late 19th century.  It was known for violent eruptions.  Most of the eruptions were between 100-300 ft (!), however, after 1901, it stopped erupting with frequency, and the last major eruption to occur happened in the 80's.  It is still considered an active geyser, and could blow again at any time.  When we visited, it was peaceful, but the steam coming off of it felt the same way as when you bend over a boiling pot of water.  Only magnified by about a million, because this thing is MASSIVE.  I can only imagine what the next eruption would be like.

There's that steam...

The water was an absolutely terrific shade of blue! (See the little bubbles?  The water is almost 200 degrees Fahrenheit!!)
 As we walked further along the boardwalk (you can't walk on the ground through most of these areas, it is too unstable), we approached my favorite sight in all of Yellowstone--The Grand Prismatic Spring! I think the pictures speak for themselves.

My mom and Jack.

View from the Spring.

Definitely in my top ten things I've ever seen!

Our final stop in Yellowstone was one last visit to Old Faithful.  We got much better seats this time--front row!  We even got sprayed a little because the wind blew the steam in our direction. 

These two were BFF's by the end of the reunion.

Little Jules hanging out at the lodge.

Walking back to our car.
 For our last night, we enjoyed dinner at the Three Bears Restaurant--where I tried bison!  It really just tastes like beef.  Although I had a bite of one piece about halfway through that wasn't cooked all the way and after than I kind of went off it.  After dinner, we walked around West Yellowstone and took some family pics.

The Original Chambers.
I really feel like I won the lottery to be able to go on so many amazing adventures this summer!  A cross-country road trip, a Caribbean cruise, and the family reunion in Yellowstone.  Traveling has always been one of my very favorite things.  I feel there is nothing that compares with the thrill of discovering a new place, especially when you're able to share those moments with those you love.  This world of ours is full of such diversity and so many wonders, and I have such a thirst to see as much of it as I can!  Here's to many more adventures!