Thursday, July 10, 2014

Friday musings

I reeeeeally meant to get those Hey Ho Hiking posts I mentioned previously together this week, but, um, First-World-Vacation-Hangover-Problem-Alert: I kind of forgot what it's like to parent 2-under-3 all day by myself {that would be, in a word, exhausting}. 

Perhaps I'll bore you with more talk of mileage and day-pack checklists next week.  Until then, how's about some randoms that are currently floating around in the ol' noodle?


I usually save all my virtual book club chit chat until the end of the year, but I can't stop thinking about Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun. I devoured it in two days, and I keep going back to highlighted passages on my Kindle.  The concept is familiar -- a would-be "zombie" apocalypse -- except the zombies are insomniacs {which, HORRIFYINGLY, is kind of an actual thing}.  I tend to think the phrase "hauntingly beautiful" is overused and obnoxious as all get-out in book reviews, buuuuut... Calhoun's prose is hauntingly beautiful in many places.  I will warn you... I was underwhelmed by the ending. It just... kind of... ended?  But I give this one a really solid 3.5 out of 5 stars for the journey {screw the destination}, especially if you're a fan of the Walking Dead and the like. 

I wasn't going to buy any rompers for L this summer, because we are embarking on potty training very soon, but these pineapple print rompers from Old Navy were way too cute to pass up.  There are snaps in the seat for easier squatting access, but I'm sure they'll end up getting us into a pickle at some point.  Oh well, beauty is pain, and fashion is urine-soaked.  {That's how that adage goes, yes?}

Always life-long lover of horror flicks, I started in on the classics at a young age.  The Shining was my Gateway Drug, and I probably spent the better parts of my eleventh and twelfth years scared shitless from my latest Blockbuster rental.  As such, this NPR piece on Richard Dreyfus' kids' reactions to Jaws as adults had me chuckling into my coffee, as did the full transcript of their self-interview on Mother Jones. 

raspberry chia overnight oats

I started making these raspberry chia overnight oats for breakfast, and they are really quite tasty. Bonus Points: Healthy! Easy! More Bonus Points: Overnight oats seem to be all the Pinterest rage, so at least your breakfast can be trendy, even if your Mom Shorts aren't.  {And when I say "your" there, I really mean MY}. Subtraction of Bonus Points: I've been adding a dollop of Extra Crunchy Jif to mine, instead of the prescribed raw almond butter.  Addition of Subtracted Bonus Points: Jif makes me much less of a smug asshole.  Neutral, Real-Life Points: My breakfast bowl looks like this: 
Food Stylist I am not. 

No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

Speaking of Pinterest and food, I made these No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars as a dessert tag-a-long for a New-Mama-Meal this week, and they were ridonk-good.  I usually think "no-bake" recipes taste like butt {also? how hard is it really to turn on your oven and bake something? you've already mixed and assembled ingredients... baking is the no-brainer step}, but these got rave reviews {both from the recipient and from, um, me.  had to test those suckers out before I sent them off into the world alone}. 

Gratuitous Baby Photography:

And my all-time favorite, simply because every other minute of the day the situation is reversed...

I asked L yesterday what she thought Brady would say when he could talk. Her response? "Sister! Stop hittin' me!" 

I think she's clairvoyant. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Brady: 3 months

Butter Biscuit --

You've spent the past month becoming a teeny tiny actual person with such a sweet personality!  Even though we still call you The Concerned Citizen, you smile and coo and chuckle all the time; when you wake up, it's almost always with the biggest grin on your face, as if to say "HEY! I know you! I'm SO THRILLED you're here!" 

You really are such a content little guy -- you are still perfectly content to be carted around to all your sister's activities and our family adventures. I'd say you are happy and calm 85% of the time. The other 15% can feel a bit like a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde Moment -- you can pull a total 180 on us, and it can take a good while to calm you down {hopping in the shower with me is usually a highly successful last resort}. Most often, the source of your frantic exasperation is being tired + hungry + witching hour. You also really hate being hot {tough break being born in Texas, bud}. We really can't complain much, though! 

Speaking of no complaints, you are my champion sleeper! We put you to bed around 9:30 or 10pm and you sleep straight trough the night until 6:30 or 7am. MAGIC.  Daytime naps are a bit trickier {and I realized at the beginning of this month you weren't getting near enough snoozing in during the day -- oops}, but if we can get you to sleep, you'll sleep long and well. You tend to be happiest when you have two long naps {3ish hours each} and then a little catnap in the evening. This isn't always feasible if we're in and out of the car with errands and such. You do love snoozing on me in the carrier as well as in the swing. You still sleep swaddled in the RNP at night. 

You are still an excellent and efficient eater. You've also found your hands this month and become a paci fan {after much prodding from me}. The Wubbanub is your jam, especially your Bevo Wub; we often find you cuddling him or sucking on his horn after you've had your fill of the actual paci. 

You are SO long! Your sister really chunked out at this age, and while you've got a few rolls working, I think the chub just keeps getting stretched! Almost all of your 6 month sleepers and rompers are too tight at the snaps. 

Your eyes brightened up this month. You also lost the vast majority of your dark hair. You still have the George Costanza / Friar Tuck stripe in the back, but everything growing up top is blond or maybe light brown...might you end up a tow-headed toddler like your mama was?

You have the funniest tickle spot on the side of your belly. If we catch it just right, you giggle excitedly and pull your legs up to your chest and kind of twist sideways. I can only compare the reaction to that of a puppy who's getting its tummy scratched just right. 

This month, you traveled again to Waco and spent 17 days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You were an excellent plane traveler, happily snoozing, eating, and observing throughout both flights. You loved hiking in the cool morning air {snoozed through nearly ever minute of our treks in the Beco} and kicking in the grass at the concerts, festivals, and parks we visited. 

You are simply the best, little nugget. I can't wait to see what next month brings! 

xo, Mama

3 Month Stats
- Diaper Size: 3
- Clothing: 6 to 12 months, depending on brand 

3 Month Likes
- snoozing in the Beco
- swing, with the birdies on
- piano playmat
- RNP for night sleep 
- looking at faces; "talking"
- belly tickles 
- Wubbanub, especially Bevo
- sitting and standing upright 
- white noise machine
- showers with Mama

Nicknames: Biscuit, Butter Biscuit, Brady Back Ribs, B Boy, Buddy, Concerned Citizen 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jackson Hole 2014 {Days 16 &17}

We've reached the end, folks! We're headed back to Texas on an early morning flight today, so JAZZ HANDS for the last of these posts! For those who have asked or who might be heading to the area and/or hiking with little ones soon, I'll do a post linking up our favorite hikes / restaurants / activities in Jackson Hole {including some longer mileage routes from last summer}, as well as one with some tips and packing lists for outdoor trekking with bambinos. 



Day 16

One our second to last full day, we finally made it out to Two Ocean Lake at the North end of the Park. We'd wanted to do this hike last summer but access was restricted due to Federal budget cuts {boo hiss}. 

Two Ocean Lake is accessible from either the Moose or Moran entrances, but going further up the highway to Moran is quicker than snaking through the Park from Moose. 

The full loop is 6ish miles; we started to the right of the lake from the trailhead {the sunnier, less forested side} and hiked for 2 miles before turning around, making for 4 miles of easy hiking {very little elevation}. We chose the right path because the mosquitoes were atrocious at the trailhead {PACK YOUR POISON}, and figured they'd abate some in the sunny fields. 

The wild flowers on this hike were nuts -- field upon field of pink, yellow, purple, and white blooms. This also apparently a very popular bear hangout; we saw two fresh piles of bear poo, and the ranger at the trailhead advised us to have our bear spray out and ready. No bears, though.

Leighton was still super high on patriotism - or, at least, the accessories of patriotism.

So, not my very favorite hike but worth the drive, especially in wildflower season. 

We had to have one more lunch on the patio of Snake River Brewery...even though L pretty much faded into Disco Nap Territory shortly after downing some sweet potato fries. 

After some much needed naps, we walked along Flat Creek to a little piece of land near the condo we rented last summer. Locals bring their dogs to exercise, and there are a few good wading spots. L loved tossing rocks into the creek and watching all the "puppy dogs" swim. 

Lazy frozen pizza dinner back at the condo. 

Day 17 

For our last full day, we enjoyed our final round of OSM pancakes at The Bunnery, and then decided to head back to the Jenny Lake area and take the Lakeshore Trail / Jenny Lake Trail around the lake. This is a much less popular trail than the two miler that snakes around the Southwest portion of the lake {ie: the short route in between the two boat docks}. 

From dock to dock via Lakeshore, it's a little over 7 miles. We figured we'd do 2 or 3, and then turn around. L wanted to hike a bit, so we let her out of the pack right as we started. About 6/10 of a mile in, we heard what sounded like a large animal down at the shoreline {maybe 25 meters from the trail}. Sure enough, we saw a cinnamon black bear scratching around below us. We watched him for a while until it appeared he might be on the move up towards the trail, and then skedaddled on our way. This was a cool experience -- just the right amount of not-actually-dangerous-"danger" so long as you try not to imagine the bear suddenly bounding full speed up the hill and down the path behind us {which, thankfully, didn't happen}.

Maybe 2/10 of a mile later, E and L came around a curve and spotted another bear standing smack dab in the middle of the trail. He turned around and calmly said "there's another bear right up there; turn around and start walking back." He picked L up {who was hollering "come here, bear! I wanna see the bear! I wanna touch him!"}, and we started walking calmly back the way we came. And when I say "calmly," I mean outwardly, because inside I was shitting my proverbial pants. E said he really needed to put L in the pack, but as we stopped to do so, we could see the bear following us at a not-so-slow pace.  We kept going as we had been -- briskly, but not running, bringing our arms up and down slowly, while loudly saying "RUH RUH RUH." We had bear spray, but had read to only use it when a bear attacks or is right up on you. Making stern but controlled noises and large arm movements is a better deterrent if you've yet to be attacked. This fuzzy guy followed us closely for a good 3 minutes {Longest. Minutes. Ever.} and came pretty damn close {maybe 15-20 feet from E and L; close enough to see him in great detail and realize the situation was serious}, but he backed off and turned around after a bit of our crazy arm movements and sounds. Of course the whole time, I'm thinking {a} what if L had run ahead of E -- she probably would have run right up to that bear and become a little cheese-it snack, and {b} WHERE THE FUCK IS THAT OTHER BEAR WE ARE ABOUT TO BE TRAPPED IN BETWEEN TWO MONSTER KILLERS LIKE TASTY RATS. Thankfully, the first bear was nowhere to be seen. 

Then I cried like a Human-Flavored Handi-Snack Who Leads Her Baby Human-Flavored Handi-Snacks into a Bear Pit.

Dramatics: They worsen in nature. 

We made it back to the boat dock in one piece, and E took L to the Ranger Station to report the sighting. It seemed like they were taking a while, so B and I set off in their direction...only to find a crowd of people taking photos of another bear {pretty sure it was the first one we saw on the trail, but who knows}. This guy was totally unbothered by hoards of tourists and was strolling right through the most heavily populated location in the entire Park. This did not make him any less fearsome to me; it just made me think that most tourists are huge idiots.

Having seen quite enough bears for one day, we set out on the very populated short side of the lake, catching the shuttle boat back. This is a lovely two-miler -- a great extender if you're doing Cascade Canyon and Inspiration Point. Total daily mileage: 5 easy/moderate miles. 

After driving out of the Park for the last time in 2014 {SOB}, we...napped. Shocker, I know. 

Loads and loads of laundry, with a Calico break in between. L wasn't on her best behavior, but she saved her major meltdown for the car ride home. We'll be sad to fly away tomorrow, but I know one toddler who will benefit from sleep in her own bed and her normal routine! 

Oh, vacation! You've been good to us!