Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Pajama Time

Pajama time at the Meek house:
Mom starts putting Eva's PJ shorts on.
Eva, kicking her legs and screaming,"No...Bob, No... Bob,"
Mom, very confused and frustrated finally catches on, "Oh, do you want your Sponge Bob PJ's?"
Eva smiling sings, "Bob, Poop Pants; Bob, Poop Pants."
Oh, we all got quite the laugh out of that one.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Adventure Is Out There

Last year I planned a day trip to Crater's of the Moon that was derailed by a snowstorm.  This year's trip started out a little sketchy but turned out great in the end.  We adopted a family motto this summer, "Adventure is Out There" a line borrowed from the movie Up.  No matter the circumstances of our outings, we are treating them as adventures.  
The morning or our planned camping trip dawned a little cloudy and ominous but cleared off pretty early.  I even called Hayspur Fish Hatchery in Silver Creek, Idaho to check their weather report.  All was sunny and bright so after lunch we headed out.  Silver Creek is past Craters of the Moon and up the valley on the way to Sun Valley, just past Picabo.  The campground is a rough little field near the hatchery but it met my requirements, vault toilet and water.  We even had a fire pit and a tree to pitch our tent beneath.  The wind was picking up as we set up camp and we lost one of our camp chairs to the fire.  We gobbled our dinner with one hand holding our hot dogs and another grasping the plate.  By dinners end a full gale enveloped us and we jumped into the tent for shelter from the cold wind.  We passed the time playing cards and telling jokes.  After about an hour it blew itself out and we went fishing.
The evening was calm and a neighboring scout troop seemed to be having some luck but not us.  The kids all enjoyed casting and reeling though.  Even Leah and Eva joined in the fun.  Back at our campfire we roasted marshmallows and then got ready for bed.  Eva wanted nothing to do with the PortaCrib we brought for her, so once again she snuggled in between mom and dad.  Temps that night dipped below freezing and pressed up against the zipper of my sleeping bag, I spent a very rough and cold night.  Everyone else seemed to sleep well though.  Kris was up bright and early and fishing for our breakfast.  He caught three big fish, including this monster.

Yummy, roasted trout for breakfast.  After a little more fishing we broke camp and headed for Craters of the Moon.
It was a little windy as we headed up the Cinder Cone, but never fear, "Adventure is Out There."  

A nice group of Japanese tourists took our picture up on top after we took theirs.
In addition to the Cinder Cone we saw spatter cones, different types of lava, and many other curiosities of the park.  I loved seeing the miniature versions of syringa, monkey flower, and buckwheat that are dwarfed by the harsh conditions.
We hiked the Broken Top Loop, a longer hike which displayed many different features and flows found in the park.  We wish we could have gone into the caves but our shoes had been caving earlier that month and weren't allowed in for fear of contamination.  Oh well, maybe next time.
As we journeyed around the park Abi, Tal and Leah answered questions, completed tasks and learned many things about Craters of the Moon which assisted them in earning the Jr Ranger Badge.  It is a fun program and added one more layer of fun to our adventure.
June 21-22, 2013

Eva - Two and In Charge

It is so hard to believe that my little Eva turned 2.  She follows Leah's lead in everything and so Eva is also really into Hello Kitty.  I obliged the fandom with this fun cake.

The weather was beautiful so we had her party out on our deck.  Abi and Leah strung a festive balloon banner with candy prizes inside for everyone.  Eva loved opening gifts at her party.  The surprise at pulling out the tissue paper or unwrapping the box seemed better than any of the gifts inside.  But she did really enjoy her presents later.

Of course I think her favorite is this unicorn Pillow Pet that we bought her.  She loves it and hugs it, rides it and sleeps with it.  She also received a fun tea set from Uncle Eric, cute clothes from Aunt Sarah and Uncle Nate, a bubble set from Aunt Kalene and Uncle Brian, an animal carrying case with 3 animals from Nana Meek, and a new turtle night light from Nana and Papa Fife.

Look, the bubbles are sooo fun!  Leah and Eva take turns riding on eachother's pillow pets.

10 Things I Love About Eva

1.  The bluest blue of her eyes.  It is so bright and deep that pictures never do it justice.
2.  Her happy smile.  When playing, running or laughing, Eva's smile is of pure joy.
3.  Her snuggles.  They are getting rarer as she gets older but I love snuggling her when she wakes up from naps or early in the morning.
4.  Her growly voice.  I think she learned it from me, but when she is being funny or serious she gets this little growly voice that is way too low for such a sweet bubby.
5.  How she adores her siblings.  Abi is her second mom and she always wants to play with Abi.  Tal is great for wrestling and rough housing.  Leah is her favorite to follow around and mimic.
6.  Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is her favorite show.  She can watch the entire season over and over.
7.  Eva loves to be outside jumping on the trampoline, scootering or riding her trike, coloring with chalk or playing the the pool.  She just loves the outdoors.
8.  Eva loves music and dancing.  When we bust out the music on Spotify while we do dishes, her favorite song is The Harlem Shake and boy, can she shake it.
9.  Eva loves Nursery.  To get ready for church I tell her it is Nursery Day and she will nearly jump into her dress.  As we enter the church she beelines for the Nursery Doors and is sad that we have to go to sacrament meeting first.  She adores her teacher Sister Miller.
10.  Reading her stories.  Eva enjoys board books, especially ones with pictures of babies, animals or that are Touch and Feel.  We read the same ones over and over.

The Meek Family Circus on Tour

Towards the beginning of the year Kris came home with red clown noses and a bright idea: Taking pictures as The Meek Family Circus throughout the year.  Unfortunately we kept forgetting to pull out our noses but then came the Ward Talent Show.  The Young Women in our ward organized a Talent Show and Silent Auction fundraiser to raise money for Girl's Camp.  Bei,ng such a musical family, of course we jumped right in.  Leah was the conductor, Abi played cello, Eva the maracas, Kris the mouth harp, Tal the recorder and I followed up on piano.  Each member played a little ditty for our warm up and then on Leah's 1-2-3 we all joined in on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."  We brought down the house.

June 11, 2013

Serendipity Weekend at Warm River

For our first camping adventure of the season we chose one of our favorite sites at Warm River Campground, outside of Ashton, Idaho.  We headed up early Friday afternoon and luckily our favorite tent site was open.  The last time we camped here, Leah who was 2 at the time, took an unexpected swim in the river.  This time was not so exciting.  After setting up our campsite and roasting our hot dogs we set out on a little hike to pass the time until marshmallow roasting.

Near the campground an old railroad track has been converted into an easy trail that follows along the river.  We spotted a curious tepee shaped structure a couple of miles up the trail and made that our goal.    Along the trail we discovered many large black beetles crawling along.  Kris picked up one of the beetles and the kids each enjoyed letting it crawl over their hand and arms.  Mom opted out.

Eva started out being carried in the back pack but soon wanted to hike along with the rest of us.  She has recently become quite the runner and I love the sheer joy with which her little legs pump and her arms swing as she runs with her little circling gait.  
As we approached our curious tepee destination we discovered it was just a couple of fallen trees leaning against each other with the evening light spotlighting them from the trail, interesting but not too magical.  Having arrived at our destination we took our snapshot to mark our arrival.
Back at camp we stoked our fire up and roasted our marshmallows.  Oh how I love a campfire roasted marshmallows.  My children have all inherited that love as well.  As the sky darkened we all climbed into our PJ's and prepared for bed.  Abi, Tal and Leah went to sleep pretty quickly, but this was a drastic change to Eva's routine.  Kris walked and rocked and sang her to sleep but it didn't last long.  Just as I was drifting off to sleep Eva having scooted up and out of her sleeping bag woke up crying and disoriented.  I scooped her up and into our sleeping bag where we spent the rest of a fitful night getting whacked in the face by flying arms and legs.
The next morning we woke bright and early if not fully refreshed.  Our blueberry waffles toasted in our new camp cookers delighted our taste buds.  This was a recipes we will repeat again for sure.  Saturday was also free fishing day so we packed camp quickly and set off for the Ashton Fish Hatchery.  The kids were delighted to pull a fish out of the pond.
Tal even kissed his, reminiscent of a fishing trip we took with neighbor Charlie back when Tal was about 4 or 5.  Then as we were driving back towards home we took a serendipitous detour.  We spotted a sign for a Mountain Man Rendezvous and on a whim, voted for adventure.  We wound back around the rolling hills finally ending up at a large field alongside a stream.  People in period dress mingled among the parked cars and 5th Wheels.  But once we crossed the stream, we were transported to another century.
The people were so kind and friendly, happily sharing their wares, trades and stories with us.  There were tepees and tents, buckskins and prairie dresses.  We enjoyed seeing the black powder guns, the beadwork, and replicas of life from frontier times.  One of our favorites was the cannon shoot.  Several teams blasted period cannons up and over the hill.  The booms were so loud we had to cover our ears, but they shook our chests.  We especially loved the one that shot a cannon ball over a mile.
Another favorite character was Coyote Capote.  He gave the kids a jaw harp and taught us all to play it.  Our kids were amazed at Kris's talent on the mouth harp.  Mom had a much harder time getting the hang of it, but in the end I did get it to sing. Our adventure with the Mountain Men and Women  was a wonderful start to what will hopefully be a great camping and adventurous summer.
June 7-8, 2013

Leah's 5th Birthday

Happy birthday to my Leah Lulu.  Leah has been in love with Pandas for a while now, she even has an imaginary pet panda named CheeChoo who shows up occasionally.  She is also my little princess girl so she really wanted a Princess Panda cake. 
Hooray for my Carebear cake pan it once again saved the day.  Leah wanted a pink cake and strawberry ice cream for her birthday, go figure.
 Luckily it was a beautiful June day so that we could have her party outside.  Leah picked a guitar for her pinata this year and had so much fun strumming it in the store and at home that mom rescued it to survive until the party.  Leah was excited to have a family party as long as we could have balloons, games and a pinata.  Leah's Howell and Funk cousins came to join in the fun along with Nanas and Papa, aunts and uncles.
The festivities didn't end after the party though.  Leah had her Howell cousins: Gabby, Sage and Kirsten over for a giant sleepover.  The girls watched a Liken movie and then crashed in sleeping bags downstairs in the living room.  The next morning mom whipped up some yummy waffles at Leah's request.
Leah's present arrived a day late for her party but on time for her birthday.  She was thrilled with the Squinky Carousel just like the one she had been pining over at the Museum of Idaho gift shop during the Carousels exhibition.  She was also so excited to receive the movie Wall-E, "I love it" she exclaimed.
Leah requested to go to Leo's place for her family activity where she, Abi and Tal racked up a ton of tickets playing games in the arcade.  Leah fell in love with a ribbon dancer prize and Abi and Tal were kind enough to pool all of the tickets together so that she could get it for her birthday.  Afterwards we went and played at the playground.  As we were exiting the van Leah  excitedly told me, "I always wanted to be a ribbon dancer, and now I am.  I'm living the dream."  This girl cracks me up.

10 Things About Leah
1.  Leah remains my girly, girl..  She adores dressing up, wearing skirts, tutus, wings and crowns.  
2.  Her favorite color is still pink but "violet" not purple is making a run for it.  She loves violet because it is a color in the rainbow songs, while purple is not. 
3.  This girl loves her TV.  She has been running Netfix since she was about 2.  She is only allotted 2 hours of "screen time" a day but she will sneak downstairs to watch shows when I am not looking.  She loves CareBears and My Little Pony just as much as Fairly Odd Parents and Sponge Bob.  She just finds a new cartoon and watches all of the episodes.  Leah also loves playing games on the computer on the PBS kids website.
4.  When watching TV Leah loves doing art projects and crafts.  She loves to color, paint, cut, glue, and recently had become quite the little drawer.  She loves drawing princesses with poofy dresses and long hair as well as pictures of our family.
5.  When we go outside, Leah loves to ride her bike.  Her stamina isn't great though so we are challenging her to ride from our house to the bridge this summer, 0.5 miles, without stopping.  She also loves drawing with sidewalk chalk, jumping on the trampoline and playing with best friend Sam Hurley.
6.  Leah loves fried eggs, macaroni and cheese, ramen, strawberries, cheese sticks, yogurt and chicken nuggets.  She also has a sweet tooth and LOVES candy.  
7.  She is losing her baby teeth at an incredible clip.  The top four that came in with weak enamel that flaked off, we have been able to save from fillings or caps.  Hooray.  She is great at letting me brush and put on her paste.  
8.  She continues to have the cutest little lisp and difficulty saying R's and L's.  The lisp is accentuated by the loss of all of the baby teeth bu.t her Pediatrician says not to worry..
9.  Leah is our little entertainer.  She loves to sing and is one of the loudest in Primary.  She sings herself and Eva to sleep nearly every night.  She dances and twirls to Abi's piano practice.  And Leah can tell the funniest, most amazing stories.  
10.  Leah loves her babies.  The end of her bed is piled with stuffed animals, dolls, blankets and treasures.  Each night she takes a cadre of different babies and toys to bed along with her Ladybug Pillow Pet, Pink Fuzzy Pillow, and normal cupcake pillow.  It's almost hard to find our Leah in the bed.  

Memorial Day - Remembering our Loved Ones

We love spending Memorial Day each year with our family and remembering those who have passed on.  Abi created this festive hairdo for Leah before we went out.
We visited the Field of Honor Memorial at Freeman Park this year.  There were over 1000 flags posted to remember and honor those fallen in battle.  It is a solemn site to see.
I hope that my kids will someday grasp the significance of this... I think I am still trying to.
We also spend the day visiting the graves of my and Kris's grandparents who have passed.  I enjoy making bouquets from the flowers out of my yard to decorate each grave with.  It may seem a little silly, but I find it a little extra special that my flowers come from my yard where I baby and love them into bloom every year.  It's like I am putting a little piece of me out there to show my love for our grandparents.  I hope that my kids will "get this" someday too.
May 27, 2013

Look Out World, Eva is almost 2!

After 3 other kids, I knew this day would come.  Luckily I am getting smart enough to just grab the camera and take a picture rather than getting mad.  Eva loves getting lip gloss and powder when I get ready so I should have been prepared for an independent make-up session.  My little Eva is turning into quite the handful.  She thinks she is soooo Big.  Her body thinks she is big too as she spurted up and has been wearing 3T clothes since March.  Eva skipped right over the box of cute little 2T summer outfits into these 3T's.
One of her favorite activities is to "ride bikes."  Big sister Abi is a good sport and accompanies Eva on some of these rides.  Eva hasn't quite figured out the pedals but rather pushes herself along on her "bike.  She loves to race up and down the sidewalk between our house and the neighbor's.  Ever since the weather warmed up she wants to go out and ride every morning.
Eva also loves going on bike rides in the trailer behind my bike.  Her favorite songs are Popcorn Popping and Springtime is Coming which I sing every nap and bedtime.  Eva loves following big sister Leah around and doing whatever she is doing including blowing bubbles, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and jumping on the trampoline.  Eva mastered the trampoline ladder this spring and is happy to be independent now.  Eva also loves flying kites and wrestling with Tal.  She continues to be a snuggle bug when waking up or going to bed and loves to look at board books with mom and dad.  Her vocabulary has been exploding this spring and she went from little phrases to full on sentences in what seemed the blink of an eye.
May 2013, 23 months

Leah's Preschool Graduation

Leah's Preschool Program was a day for her to show off all that she had learned with Mrs. Dance and wow us with her smarts.  The class sang several songs, skits, and dances.  Leah's favorites were "The Mean Old Witch with the Cat", "Poison Ivy" and "The Chicken Dance."  She has enjoyed her year at preschool working on numbers and letters, sign language, and science and social studies packets.  Every Friday Leah would race to the van with her Hello Kitty bag in tow excited to show me her books and papers and tell me all about what she learned.  I  hope that she continues to love learning.
Mrs. Dance and Leah

May 22, 2013

Sixth Grade Graduation

Just knowing that this day was coming was enough to make me cry for the week prior to 6th Grade Graduation.  I had been working with the whole 6th grade on their graduation songs for about 6 weeks and I knew that I would get so emotional.  When Abi walked in, my heart jumped up into my throat but mostly I was proud of her, her hard work and all of her accomplishments.  Papa Fife came to see Abi in this big day too.

During the program the 6th Grade sang two songs, Unwritten by Natasha Bettingfield and The Climb by Miley Cyrus.  After all of our hard work with enunciation, notes and rhythm especially on the clapping, I was thrilled to hear them sing so well.  They really represented themselves well.  It is a tradition for the students to sing Unwritten so I was proud when several parents told me that this year's performance was the best they had heard.  One of Abi's good friends, Matt Miller, was one of the student speakers.
Abi shaking hands with her counselor Mrs. White and receiving her diploma from Mr Gauchay.
Our family is so proud and excited for Abi and this next step in her life.
Friends: Elizabeth Whitley, Taylor Lords, MaKenzie Welch, Abi, Aubrey Hatch, and Elle Russon.
May 21, 2013

Field Trip to the Zoo

Leah's Preschool teacher, Mrs Dance, takes her classes on a field trip to the Zoo every year.  Eva and I were excited to go along too.  I love going in the spring when it is cooler because more of the animals are out and active.  We caught up with my friend Michelle Riley and her two girls Emma and Evie and had a fun time tooling around.
The girls all loved feeding and petting the goats.  Good thing I remembered to grab a few quarters on our way out the door that morning.
The male lion was out and strutting his stuff in the enclosure.  We were excited to see him awake and active versus the snoozing lion we normally see later in the summer.  I tried to get us with the lion, but alas, it was not to be.  
Eva and Evie ( too confusing sometimes) just loved brushing the goats.  This mama goat was kind and patient enough to hold still for them.  Eva loved the baby goats but they kept running away from her and the brush.

After our fun day at the zoo we enjoyed a picnic lunch near one of the playgrounds.  Yeah for preschool.
May 20, 2013