Sunday, March 30, 2014

The pursuit of foxes

Some animals are magic to me. Some that seem hard to see, elusive, and secretive. My top two favorite animals to see in the wild (here in Utah) are owls and foxes. Lucky for me both animals are really popular with kids items right now, so James and Juliet have a little collection of fox and owl toys.

I've heard threw the grapevine that our favorite park had its own fox skulk (a group of foxes). I was obsessed. We've been going to this park for years and every single time I'm there I think "wouldn't it be AMAZING to see the foxes today?"

Well one day two weeks ago was my lucky day, and I didn't even see them! I was there with my lifelong friend Allison and her sweet baby boy when a friendly dog walker stopped and told us more, specifically where to look when looking for foxes.

That day, unfortunately, there wasn't a fox to be found. But oh, I had new hope!
I've know Allison since I was a baby. Younger than her baby. We've been close friends our entire lives. And, lucky for me, she was willing to go on lots of endless fox adventures the weekend she was in town from Colorado, because she even knew about more local foxes! (Didn't see them though).
The next weekend was lovely temperature wise so we invited E's parents to join us at "Secret Park". We wandered over to where we heard the foxes hang out and we spotted him!!! In the middle of the day! In full sun! I was always expecting to see them on days with little sun and near the end of the day.

We were thrilled. Mostly me. I felt like I finally had hit the jackpot. I felt like it was the best best day of my entire year. I am not exaggerating. I'm obsessed. We only saw him for a half a second run between some far off trees, but I was beyond stoked.

My little explorers. We brought our binoculars in hopes of seeing them (we did!) and Juliet wore her foxy dress for good luck, which of course seemed to work.
After walking another small loop with the kids and E's parents we came back to check on the foxes and what what what?! One was napping in the sun not far off. I was DYING that I didn't have anything other than my iPhone camera, this sweet napping guy was like a dream come true. We watched him for a minute or two before Juliet's crying scared him away. It was the best minutes of my month.

Twice over the next few days I went back. Once with my mom (we spotted him off in the trees for only a moment) and then again on a cloudy morning after dropping James off at preschool. I put Juliet in the carrier and hoped the morning would yield just as much luck as the afternoon.
I knew carrying Juliet on my back would be heavy so I didn't choose to bring the big camera and the zoom. Instead I chose my old point and shoot that has a decent zoom. The morning light was perfect and still.

After a week of rain things have started to green up nicely.
Since the Secret Park is also a dog park, the key is to look for the foxes behind the fence. I had a lot of time to enjoy and be quiet watching the sun and clouds shift.
These berries were being picked over quickly by a flock of robins. Juliet fussed a bit and I handed her my phone with a little show turned on. All I wanted to do was stand still, and watch.

Finally I saw him! Not close like the day he was napping, but I saw him. And then another, and then another! One really red and two blondies. Sorry for the photo quality, but it was AMAZING to witness.
Soon Juliet's show was over and wanted to get down and play at the playground. We walked back in that direction, and I just kept thinking how lucky I am. The luckiest.

Spring is really on it's way, and foxes live in my neighborhood. Things are good.

Want to see three of my favorite blog posts that also happened to take place at Secret Park? This one was the last outing before Juliet was born, this one was when Juliet was tiny, and this one which is one of my favorite blog posts of all time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

James says, Juliet says

Whenever my children say something adorable or funny or sweet and loving I try to pull out my phone and make a note of it. I'm only on top of my game about 30% of the time, but these are just too darling not to share.
James (4 years) says:
  • "I think those little birdies are cold little fellas." 
  • "Angry daddies come and kiss children!" 
  • "The moon is nocturnal"
  • "I was trying to be grumpy and Juliet laughed at me!" 
  • "My sweet little legs are all cold and it makes me funny!" 
  • "When I'm a daddy I'm going to have two kids, Peter Rabbit and Ariel." 
  • "When I'm thirty-teen you'll have to get me a new bed!" 
  • "You are a bad woman!" (This was his favorite insult for awhile when he was mad at me. Wish things could stay that simple.)
  • "My tummy is full of boogers!" 
  • "Will you be my part-a-ner?" (The way he says partner just melts me.)
  • "I love mommy, and you love me. And I love daddy and he loves me. And I love Juliet and she loves me!" 
  • When asked what his name was at the playground "My name is Juliet and James." 
  • "If I do say so myself!" (One of his favorite things to say a random times, it cracks me up.)  
  • Out of nowhere: "I love you Juliet. I really love you Juliet." 
  • "When I'm 31 Juliet will be 11!" 
  • "I'm a good engineer."
And we can't skip out on what the silly "gurla" says now that she's talking non-stop. (James still says "girl" in the most darling of ways, we call Juliet our "sweet gurla" or "silly gurla" all the time.)
Juliet (2 years) says:
  • "Wait wait! Hug! Wait wait! Kiss too!" (Every night telling James not to forget to hug and kiss her. She really couldn't care less about E and I kissing her, but James is a different story.)
  • "Want it, doggy! Want it!" 
  • "Mommy? Never-mind!" (She went through a major phase with this about two weeks ago. She'd say "Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! Never-mind!" over and over again. If it wasn't so adorable it'd make you go mad!)
  • Putting her to bed: "Ready! Naps! Bye! See ya soon!" 
  • "Digger Days (James)! Digger! Look Days!" (For a long long time she called James "Days", and just recently she figured out how to say "James". "Days" is a thing of the past. 
  • "Tickle me!!" "Catch me!" "Kiss me!" "Nuggle me!" (Depending on what mood she's in).
  • "Me doing it SELF!" (I hear this 100+ times a day. She wants help with nothing and would rather throw a huge fit if she can't do it than ever ask or accept help.)
  • Somehow opening my Pinterest on computer "oh cute! Ohh! This cute too!" 
  • "Ready debie!" (Ready for strawberries!)
  • "Ok!" She's been saying "k" now for a long time, but for some reason when she added that little "o" it just make it extra cute.  
  • Me: "How many more bites do you have left?" Her: "Forty-nine!" 
  • When putting her dollie to sleep: "Good sleeps Rosie! Nap time! No cries! Safe bed Rosie! Good sleeps!"
  • "James favorite kiddo" (They adore each other and it seriously it the best part of parenthood.)
  • "Daddy favorite. This daddy. This daddy head. This daddy poky hair favorite." 
  • Everything is named Nicholas. She loves that name. "James Nicholas, Mommy Nicholas, me Nicholas, shoes Nicolas, dress Nicholas" etc...
*Above, she is quite insistent on snuggling (nuggling) all her friends each and every time I lie her down. Today at nap time she kept railing she was missing one or two, so finally when she had them all, I asked if I could get a photo. She said yes and then proceeded to fall asleep in this mass. Weirdo. ;)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Backyard rainbow party

I had planned a little backyard playdate for St. Patrick's Day this year (just like last year!) but cold winds forced us to reschedule. We planned on today hoping for beautiful weather, but although there wasn't wind, there was still plenty of clouds and cold.

Luckily our little troupe of kids braved it out and we really had such a fun late St. Patrick's party Rainbow Party. Everyone wore green and/or rainbows and we did all sorts of rainbowy things.

Lucky my kids get to grow up beside these kids and I see their Mamas on a weekly basis. These are some of my best friends.
Rainbow umbrella with rainbow raindrops twisting and twirling in the wind.
Kids were greeted with a rainbow necklace making station.

Every kid loves a good rainbow necklace.
James has the cutest friends.
The first highlight of the party was the parachute!

And the main event was the leprechaun scavenger hunt just like last year's. Everyone loved it and followed eight simple clues to the hidden treats at the end.
Party girl.
Look how much this guy's grown since last year's party.
We loaded them up on rainbow colored sugar and played and played. Such a fun way to kick of spring in the backyard.
Have a rainbow filled weekend. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I still pinch myself

Being a mother, something I've always dreamed about, is more wonderful than I ever ever expected.

I still pinch myself.

For some, day to day monotony gets old and tiresome. Not to me. To me it feels magical.

Getting her up from nap is one of my favorites. Her checks are always so rosy and for a moment, before she really wakes, she is like a baby, wanting to be held and cuddled.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cabin fever

This year my brother did something genius. Genius I tell you. When asked what he wanted for his birthday his only request was "time with the family", so way back in November my Dad got hard at work reserving Wasatch State Park's only two cabins.

First we chose December so we could enjoy snow activities, but moved it to March hoping for more snow. But with an early spring and weeks of mild temperatures, there was little snow to be found, instead we had glorious sunshine.
One cabin was for my crazy bunch, the other for my sibs. My dad and his fiancee brought their trailer and spent the night in that.

The kids were thrilled to play on their first ever bunk bed. They thought the cabin was the neatest thing ever and couldn't wait to explore everywhere. (When we were checking out the next day James got teary, asking why we couldn't just live in the cabin.)
They were being so silly and happy on the top bunk I thought I'd try for a photo. Anyone with more than one kid knows, getting them both looking at you and smiling is a rare rare gem. 
James wasn't grumpy, he just really didn't want to stop playing for a photo.
This one cracks me up. He has the worst forced smile ever and she looks like Chris Farley.
This one may be the best I got.
After a rough week with this girl she seemed to be cheered up.
Our hosts, who live only minutes from our home, but we don't see them nearly enough. An overnight trip was just the ticket to finally get us all together.
Wasatch State Park's Visitor's Center is right near this beautiful pond and playground. We spent so much time there. We took a long walk and explored the visitor's center from top to bottom. James kept going to see the taxidermy animals saying "I want to visit those beautiful animals one more time."
Both of my brothers were loving seeing these two kiddos in action. They don't see them hardly enough and they couldn't get over how much each had grown.

The views up there are stunning wherever you look, and when I found a pocket of golden light and my boy stood still for a moment, I snapped my favorite shot from our trip.

After far too long in the sun and cold air everyone agreed we must go get Mexican food. Looking at this photo makes me hungry. But also sad because I seem to get plenty of photos of my kids, but none of my brothers. Must fix that. 
After dinner we discovered the most amazing bakery located at the same restaurant. I swear we paid for something, found something else that looked good and paid for that, over and over like 6 times in a row. It was hilarious. I choose a huge sprinkled sugar cookie for the kids and James's half was gone in record time. Juliet, however, didn't think to bite the cookie. She was more interested in licking off the sprinkles.
Earlier in the afternoon we had found the most perfect little stream. Nice and shallow in areas and nice and deep in others. What made it the most perfect was its abundance of big round rocks. Earlier James and his uncles had dammed the river with rocks to make a big deep pool. He was so excited to take Daddy back to throw rocks. As you can see, we got some spectacular splashes. (Side note: I love the time change. Light at seven pm?!! LOVE!)
Goofy and all smiles.
Forty five minutes later she's still licking her cookie...
The sunset was beautiful, clear and cold.

As we relaxed with my brothers (my sis was unavailable), my Dad and Tracie, E spotted some wild turkeys off in the distance.
E and I are sticklers with bedtime, but since it was a special occasion, we let the kids stay up laughing and playing with their uncles and Grandpa until eight o'clock. I know, big deal. ;)
Finally we bid farewell and made it back to our cabin with two very excited not-at-all-tired kids.
Only moments later my dad came knocking. "The full moon is on the rise! Come out and see!" So out we went to watch the perfect circle of a moon inch slowly into the sky. Since my not-at-all-tired kiddos were not-at-all-tired they decided to make the picnic table a stage and sing to the rising moon. And dance. And act completely and utterly heart melting. As I stood there watching the moon I realized, this, this is my life. I am raising these two. I get to experience things like this with them. I will treasure that memory forever.
And in action. In the above photo I edited out the houses on the hillside, but you'll notice them here. These kids of mine are goofs!
Back inside we changed into jams and they still were not exactly acting tired.
Soon lights were off and somewhat soon both kids were asleep. Success! The both slept all night and quietly peeped at seven am, saying "is it morning?"
And the sunrise was just as beautiful as the sunset. Cold. Oh so cold. But so beautiful.

James was beyond thrilled to find a "perfect strong hikin' stick."
After using the stick to break apart what little of the snow remained we wandered over to the river to find it covered in the most beautiful intricate ice I've ever seen.

James was entranced. He expertly climbed on every rock and every log so he could use his big stick to crack the ice.
Juliet was clearly not too happy about the cold. So she and Daddy went back to the cabin while I got to spend an hour exploring the frozen river with my sweet boy.

Sometimes when your focus isn't just right you still add the photo anyway because it is too darling to pass up.
Better, but not as sweet as above.
He was as happy as I've ever seen him. This boy is in his happy place out in nature.
Mostly I just obsessed over the ice before James could break it up.

Up the river we went, walking, stopping, taking it all it.
Never did he slip or fall, which frankly surprised me.
Tongue to the side for ultimate concentration.
Back near the cabins I finally got a shot of James with his uncles. These three are thick as thieves and laugh and laugh when they see each other.
After bags were packed and cabins were cleaned we headed to downtown Heber for breakfast. Chicks is a famous diner style breakfast joint.
Although classic diner food is far from my favorite, there really is something so charming about small town diners. And the breakfast burrito was quite yummy!
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to some of our favorite people in the world. Happy birthday Brandon. You are a genius. Let's do this every year, ok? Love you.
We are wiped.

Related Posts with Thumbnails