"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mommy & Eleanor: Part 2

Like I said, it was SO hot in Hardesty.  So hot.  I've been to see Casey & Sasha three times since they moved out there 2+ years ago, but that was in January, April, and November.  I was not prepared for how hot June would be.  How can I even describe to you how hot it was?  (It's a dry heat?  Oh really?  Well guess what?  Dry heat is HOT.  Don't try to tell me it's not.) 
I'm so spoiled (surprise, surprise) and was extra happy to see that Casey & Sasha had put the window A/C unit in the living room a couple days before I arrived.  They are SO MUCH TOUGHER than I ever will be.  They're all like, "Oh, it's 95 degrees, but there's a breeze.  We'll just open a window and turn on a fan."  I'm all like, "Dear Lord, I think I'm dying!  Is my skin melting off?  Really, is it melting?  Where is the thermostat?  I need more ice in my drink!" 
I'm obviously being dramatic here, but it really was hot.  The A/C did a great job of keeping the house comfortable and Casey & Sasha humored me by not making me do any manual labor.  Secretly, they may have been happy for me & Eleanor to serve as an excuse to stay inside during the heat of the day.  Maybe. 
I asked Eleanor if she wanted to go outside that evening to see the animals.  She said, "Elephant?!" and used her arm as a trunk while making an elephant noise.  I've obviously failed her.  She thinks elephants live on farms in the Oklahoma panhandle.  Despite the fact that there were no actual elephants on Uncle Casey's farm, she had such fun seeing the horses, calves, sheep, goats, and dogs.  Much to my not-so-cat-loving personality, she LOVED the kittens.  Like, she was smitten over the kittens.  For real.  I had outside cats when I was little, but we never had inside cats because my mom was allergic.  I just never became a cat person and would surely classify myself as a dog person.  Still, even I had to admit that these kittens were cute. 
She put an awful lot of effort into riding this bike (that I never could convince her was actually a scooter to stand on).

For the most part we stayed inside on Tuesday because of the heat (and probably also because I'm a sissy).  We watched movies with Tessa & Payson.  Correction: we watched one movie with Tessa & Payson.  Sing.  Have y'all seen it?  It's pretty cute and I didn't mind watching it on repeat.  In fact, I'd watch it again if they wanted me to. 
Wednesday we made a trip to town. 
Back home... Eleanor fell asleep on Sasha, so they stayed in the A/C for a nap.  It turned out to be little more than 30 minutes, but a little bit is better than nothing and Aunt Sasha got some of those coveted baby snuggles. 
I blew up this little pool that Mom sent.  (please give me credit here.  I actually blew this thing up with my own hot air.)  Because Sasha was snuggling my sleeping baby and I didn't know where to find the kids' swim suits... I slathered them in sunscreen and let them play in their undies.  Crazy Aunt Mandy for the win. 
When the kids decided they were done, Sparkles the dog went for a dip.
Road trips, little-to-no naps, staying up late, waking up early, and playing hard with your cousins can really take a toll on a gal.  
Toddler emotions (and the Mommy emotions that follow) were running a little wild there for a while.  When Eleanor was a baby I apparently gave off this, "My baby is perfect, my house is spotless, and I have everything under control" vibe that made Casey & Sasha feel a bit less than perfect.  Now that I have a toddler with all the normal toddler attitudes and I have all the normal (and less than perfect) reactions to said attitudes, they are feeling way better about their own skills.  I was happy to help :) 
Exploring Wednesday evening.  
 She found a kitten!  In this picture she's saying, "Where go?"  because she could only find one kitten. 
 She kept saying, "Hold him?" so finally I picked one up and let her hold it.  She was bursting with excitement over it.  This black & white kitty was pretty gentle and happy to have her attention.  She was so tickled over getting to hold a kitten and was really quite gentle. 
 I sent Drew a picture of her with the kittens and his response was something along the lines of, "Why do they have cats?  We are not getting a cat."  I threatened Sasha's life if she even considers giving my child a living creature for her birthday.  No cats.  Please. 
The sheep were loud, Eleanor kept telling them, "Shh!"  

  Wednesday wasn't quite as hot as Tuesday, but it was still hot.  Her little face was so read and she wasn't happy when I made her go inside to cool down and have something to drink. 
 In the barn with Casey, working on taming this rocking horse.  (This was Alex's rocking horse that we passed down to Tessa & Payson, so it was fun for me to see her enjoying something that Alex & Emma could never safely enjoy because of their balance issues.)  I thought about bringing it home with me and then decided there was really no better place for it than right there. 
 Tessa is the official animal namer.  The kittens are named Meowers and Cowers.  I don't know which is which, but she certainly does! 

Eleanor continues to be a bit skeptical of Uncle Casey.  She wants him around, but doesn't want him to get too close.  They eventually made buddies with the help of a toy guitar and Casey's creative lyrics. 

 Enjoying the A/C and reading the book Granny B sent for Payson. 
 I wasn't sure how the trip home would go, given that we were driving the entire 7 hours in one day, but she did fantastic. We made a few stops when we needed to, but she looked at books, watched Elmo on the DVD player, and we sang to Beauty & the Beast.  She didn't lose her cool when she'd ask, "Hold you?" and I had to explain (again) that we have to sit in our car seats when we're driving.  She even took a 50 minute car nap, which is a big deal for her!  We had such a wonderful time together.  I definitely would like some time at home now, but I'm so glad to know that fun filled road trips with my little girl are possible!  Mommy & Eleanor Road Trip 1.0 was a success! 

Mommy & Eleanor: Part 1

For months I've been trying to pump myself up enough to take a road trip with Eleanor.  She's not been the best car rider in the past, so that had scared me into delaying such an adventure.  Some of my fondest memories with Alex & Emma were the road trips we took together... just us girls.  We drove to Fort Hood, TX and Fort Sill, OK multiple times to see Drew during his lengthy deployment.  I especially love our grand adventure to Arizona to see Casey when he was working on the Babbitt Ranch just south of the Grand Canyon.  I know Eleanor is little, but I was really craving such an adventure with her and finally got the nerve to make it happen.  I'm so glad I did. 
My grandma B suffered from a detached retina in her right eye several months ago and has had several surgeries and lots of not-so-fun recovery going on.  She still has no sight in that right eye, but she's feeling better and I really wanted to go see her... so that was the first stop on our girl trip.  We packed up and headed out Monday morning.  All smiles to start:
 The trip to OKC takes about 3 1/2 hours from my house, so we broke it up and stopped in Chouteau at the Amish bakery.  We stretched our legs, had a potty/diaper changing break, and bought an unnecessary amount of baked goods.  Eleanor did so great and we made it to OKC in little more than 4 hours.  Eleanor never slept, so we were running on no nap, but she did so good and I was so proud of her.  She was happy to see Granny Browers and we spent the afternoon & evening visiting with Granny, Aunt Linda, and cousin Elizabeth.   I waited until too late to try and take any good photos (once E was overly sleepy, the moment for cooperation had passed), but I have these snap shots of her playing. 
Linda found a bag of kid toys for E to play with. 
 She liked Granny's eye patch, especially when Granny would be silly and say "Rrrrr" like a pirate!  She spent lots of time "helping" Granny to organize her table of things. 
 Elizabeth was the flower girl in my wedding.  Now she's in college and entertaining my toddler.  Ah, time.
 Eleanor showed Granny a few new tricks on her iPhone.  Ha! 
 The next morning we had breakfast with Granny and then packed up for the next leg of our Mommy & Eleanor adventure.  Can you see the look on her face in the background?  "Really, Mom?  More car time?" 
 We made a quick stop at the outlet mall in OKC before hitting the open road.  Eleanor wasn't necessarily thrilled over the time in the car seat, but she never had a real meltdown and was such a trooper.  She took a 30 minute nap and then popped her head up and started talking like she hadn't dozed off at all!  A 30 minute nap is not a great nap, but it's better than the 0 minute nap she took the day before.  In case you're wondering... highways in the Oklahoma panhandle still look like this. 
We stopped at Walmart in Woodward (because there's not much of anything between there and Casey's house in Hardesty), picked up a few things I had forgotten to pack, and I let Eleanor walk all over the store to burn some energy.  The last 1 1/2 of the trip went really well and we listened to the Beauty & the Beast soundtrack on repeat.  Eleanor would squeal, "Princess Belle!" and we sang along.  She did fantastic and I was so proud of how she handled the trip.  It was only 4 trillion degrees with a slight panhandle breeze at Casey & Sasha's.  Translation: it was 102 degrees and approximately this windy:
Quick!  Somebody tie a rock to her leg so she doesn't blow away! 

Devils Den

My goodness, it's been 10 days since my last post.  I don't usually go so long, but we've been busy!  I have TONS of photos to share, so I'll break it all up into several posts.  Here we go. 
Last weekend we camped at Devils Den and the weather couldn't have been any more perfect.  Our first trip to Devils Den this year was oh so cold & rainy and that prevented us from doing much while we were there.  Drew camped there a lot as a kid, but my family didn't (we always camped at the lake), so it's all new to me and I had a lot of fun exploring some new trails and enjoying the weekend with my people.  Nature is beautiful, my people are awesome, I have an great camera, and I want to remember every moment... so I take photos.  So many photos. 
Friday night.  I wore contacts on Friday, which I never do, but I wanted to wear sunglasses.  Eleanor was really concerned over my eyes and where my glasses were.  I'm with her.  I feel more like me when I'm wearing my glasses.  Even so, I love this picture.  Geez, I love this guy. 
 We finally remembered to take the tailgating tent and having it over the picnic table made the whole camp set up feel more comfortable and complete.  Also, the camper is still awesome. 
 Saturday's hike was about 3 miles and included the Lake trail that led us from our campsite to the Devils Den trail head, the DD trail loop, and then back to the campsite.  This hike wasn't quite as intense as our hike at Buffalo Point last month, but I would also say that we're getting better at this.  I can't even believe how much we are enjoying this.   
Because it was Saturday and the trail was quite busy, we stopped to help someone take a picture of their entire group and they returned the favor.  Happy, happy. 
 Drew's awesome.  Eleanor LOVES being in the hiking backpack and Drew stops periodically to let her touch things and investigate.  This time she was especially interested in the moss that grows on the rocks. 

 Eleanor spotted a bench in the woods.  You know she HAS to stop and sit on every bench.  "Daddy, sit!" 
 She adores him. 
 We were here. 

We took a slightly different route back to the campsite so we that we could stop at the food truck for popsicles. 

 She's a Daddy's girl lately and he's eating it up. 

 Later that day... playing in the creek. 
 These Keen shoes we got her have been fantastic and they were worth every penny.  She especially loves getting them wet. 

 "Daddy, sit!"  He stacked two big rocks so he could sit by her in the water.  (Note my toes in the picture... proof that I was there!) 
 Skipping rocks is fun, but it can get tricky.  Poor kid, aside from putting straight ice on her head, the only ice pack I could come up with with a Daly's frozen mixed drink (that I didn't freeze well enough beforehand and was just a pouch of really cold liquid).  It worked great, there was no knot or bruise and nobody is any worse for the wear. 
Did you know that campground squirrels are daring little fellas?  They are so used to people and swiping a snack whenever they can, that you really have to be careful.  Well, guess what happened Saturday night?  I accidentally left Eleanor's sippy cup on the picnic table when we went to bed.  When I came out of the camper Sunday morning I was greeted by Mr. Squirrel, who quickly scampered away, leaving poop on our table.  Then I spotted something purple laying at the base of a tree about 15 feet away.  Seriously, that squirrel had dragged her cup all the way over there and ate the top out of it!  Lesson learned. 
Know what other lesson was learned?  Eleanor's skin REALLY doesn't like bug spray.  It's the first weekend that we've had to use it and her skin broke out in a bumpy red rash everywhere we sprayed it.  It's been nearly a week and she still has the remnants of the rash.  I'm not sure what we're going to do for  bug protection from now on.  Anyone have any recommendations for bug protection that doesn't include deet?