Saturday, September 7, 2013


We leave on Thursday for an epic vacation that we've been planning for more than a year. I have a list of things I need to do before we leave and one of them is to catch up on the blog. So, let's finish documenting our time in the Jell-O Belt.

After our fantastic adventures at the Rockin' R, we headed north toward Logan. Originally, we had planned to stay with Mr. Frisby's brother in Logan through the weekend before returning home. Much of Mr. Frisby's family was going to stay there as well, so we would be able to see most of them. Those plans changed when Baby Frisby decided to make her debut a few weeks early. We had no cell service and limited internet while at the Ranch, so we could only get urgent news/messages. We knew Mr. Frisby's brother's wife had had the baby, but weren't able to make alternate plans without being able to talk to the rest of his family. So, we left the Ranch and headed north, making plans along the way. We ended up staying in a hotel in Logan that night so we could see his brother and meet the baby. As I mentioned in my last post, Stella is into babies right now. So this stop was right up her ally. She was super interested in one-day old Baby Frisby and loved meeting her. She loved pointing out all of her face-parts: nose, mouth, eyes. We made sure she was extra careful. And it was very cute.

The next morning, we headed up to Rexburg to stay with Mr. Frisby's parents. His sister also headed up there, so we were still able to see most of his family. On the way to Rexburg, we stopped to visit my cousin in Blackfoot. We checked out their farm and Stella, once again, loved the animals. We didn't get any pictures, but Stella got to see their baby chicks and was very excited. In Rexburg, the adventures continued. Mr. Frisby's dad took us for a ride in his airplane and Stella was enthralled!

As I have mentioned before, Stella loves airplanes and is a Frisby through and through. Another adventure right up her ally.

She also got to go for a ride in the "mustang" with her cousin. She had a great time until they drove a little too far away from me and then she had a little bit of a freak out.

We also headed over to an old ghost town near Rexburg to check it out. We had gone there on our last visit to Rexburg at Christmas. We decided then that it would probably be more fun to explore in the summertime when it wasn't bitterly cold outside and our toes weren't nearly frozen off. We were right.

Our adventures in Rexburg soon came to an end, but we still had more adventures planned for the drive home. We decided to go a different route that would take us to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Mr. Frisby informed me that the world's first nuclear power plant was along that same route and that it was no longer in use and had been turned into a museum. We decided to stop there as well.

Upon arriving at the power plant (20 minutes before closing time), we were informed that the plant would actually be closing in five minutes. It was a quick tour. The control room was pretty cool.

So were the other things that we saw but didn't have time to take pictures of. And probably the things we didn't even have time to see, either.

After our whirlwind stop at the nuclear power plant, it was off to Craters of the Moon. Craters of the moon is difficult to describe. It's an area of Idaho that has tons of lava flows. It is in the absolute middle of nowhere, but it's actually pretty cool. I will let my pictures tell the story. If you want a wordy background on Craters, click here. This was the first thing I saw as we pulled into the visitors' center parking lot and I thought it was pretty sweet that you could go camping on the lava flows:

We didn't have a ton of time to check it out since we didn't want to prolong the trip home that much. After consulting with the park rangers and buying Stella a couple of finger puppets (a bat and a fox) which she loves, we headed out to do a loop drive that went by some cones and out to some lava tubes.

Checking out the cones:

Hiking up one of the cones (it was actually more of a steep walk):

Hiking out to the lava tubes (I told you - middle of nowhere!):

And, finally, hiking through a lava tube, or tunnel as Stella calls it:

It was quite a detour (adding several hours onto our drive home), but worth it, I would say. We had some fun adventures and it was good for Stella to be able to get out of the car and move around. We stayed that night in Elko and then finished the drive home the next day. And thus ended our adventures in Utah and Idaho. It was a great trip and, looking back at these posts and what we did, seems almost like it was tailor-made for Stella. Too bad she won't remember any of it. I guess that means we'll just have to do it all again!

Friday, September 6, 2013

23 Months

This post is shamefully overdue. And it will probably be sub-par at best. Let's just say the past few weeks have been beyond crazy for us. Oh well. She'll be spending her 2nd birthday in Malta in a few weeks, so life can't be that bad.

Typically I jot down some notes during the month so I can remember all of the things Stella has been up to and how she's changed when it comes time for a blog post. That didn't happen this month. And, pictures usually help me to remember what's been going on as well, but we sure didn't take many of those once we returned from our trip. So, we'll have to see what my raw human memory can come up with.

Stella's communication skills continue to grow and it's pretty exciting. She repeats EVERYTHING we say. We have to watch our mouths now. One of my favorite expressions of hers is "sap' um" which, translated, means "have some". Like, if I'm eating a cookie and she sees me, she'll say, "Cookie. Sap' um!" because she wants to have some. She can actually say "have some" and, if you prompt her, she'll say it right. But when it just comes out of her mouth without any help, it always comes out "sap' um". She's also getting pretty good at counting. She consistently counts to ten now, always skipping eight. And she often adds "ah, ah, ah" at the end of her counting because Mr. Frisby and I do it, mimicking the count from Sesame Street.

When we got back from our trip, Stella immediately started a second round of swim lessons. This time around, she was the only kid in her age group, so she got Becca all to herself. The first week, she was not at all happy that I wasn't in the pool with her. But, during the second week, she got used to it and got more comfortable with Becca and, by the end, would voluntarily go over to Becca and get in the pool without any tears.

She continues to do her swimming lesson games and songs in the bathtub. Here she is doing, "fishy, fishy in the bay."

She's also gone to nursery at church the whole time all by herself now. She's not super excited about it, but she does okay and is happy when I go pick her up, so perhaps she's getting over her constant need to be at my side always. This is a welcome change, let me tell you!

Also after we got back from our vacation, Stella got sick. I don't know what she had and I never ended up taking her to the doctor, but she did not feel well at all. She's fine now.

Stella is pretty into babies right now. She gets excited whenever she sees a live one and likes to make her fake ones do all sorts of things like sit in her chair, have a bath, lay them down to sleep, give them high-fives:

It's pretty cute. She also loves animals and is getting much better at recognizing which animals make which sounds. For awhile, everything said "moo." But, after our time on the ranch, she has "neigh" down and from our time at the garden, she's gotten "baa". She most recently learned to say, "cock-a-doodle-doo." Or "cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo". Whatever. She's learning.

I took Stella to the beach with cousins that were visiting. I took her last year, but of course, she didn't remember. So, it was pretty much all new to her. She was really into the relaxing part, but was very wary of the sand.

Eventually she started playing in the sand, though, had lots of fun, and didn't want to leave.

We've spent a fair amount of time at Gilroy Gardens this summer and the girl really likes it. She sometimes asks about Gilroy Gardens and will name off all of the rides she likes. We'll definitely have to get a season pass again next year.

I don't have other kids to compare her to, but she seems pretty smart. I mean, she likes to read Time and stay up on her current events.

And she picks up on things fast. Usually you only have to show her something once or twice and she's got it. Her hair is getting long enough now that we can do full pigtails (not just the half piggies on top of her head) and she's definitely looking more like a little girl than a baby these days. She's starting to work on getting dressed and undressed, but still has a long way to go with that. She can put her flip-flops on and take them off herself, though, and she's pretty proud of it. I really can't believe where the last two years has gone. She keeps us on our toes and life would most definitely not be the same or as good without her!