July 29, 2013

Kisses and Crowns

[Kaiya gettin' her lipstick on :) - explanation to come!]

This past weekend we made one last trip to Cali while we're on the west coast. I was pretty excited all week because it was my stepmom Maryann's birthday and I was determined to make something for her that was personal and simple but elegant. Her signature is a crown - she has a crown shaped towel hook, crown wall decor in their home, and loves anything sparkly and elegant. I found a really cool crown on pinterest made out of lace so I played around with fabric stiffener and glitter spray to create one for her. My practice crown was small enough that it looked adorable on Kaiya so I just had to take a picture of her with Grandma Jackson!
We spent the day Saturday shopping and making delicious foods. MaryAnn and my new sisters Kass and Kim and I have a lot of fun together making ridiculous jokes, sharing amusing opinions, and being really girly. They taught me a few things about being a true girly girl and it's amazing how tom-boy I feel after spending time with them! But that's okay - Brandan and I have noticed that I've become less girly-girl since we've been married and I feel like I can blame it on being married to a very sporty, shorts and t-shirt with street soccer shoes wearing man ;). So it was really nice having girl time all day Saturday buying things with lace and frills and baking and cooking yummy food.
I have to tell a quick story about Kim and Kass. I love them to death - we were totally meant to be family! We were making MaryAnn's favorite carrot cake for her and a certain twin (you know who you are ;)) added in an entire can of pineapple chunks rather than just one cup. Well, after some laughter and major jokes, some extra flour was thrown in and it was baked. Though it was extra dense, extra moist (really only partly baked..), the flavor was actually quite delicious! Kim had made the comment of, "well, maybe we started something!" after the pineapple was thrown in and she was totally right! We've decided it was too thick and dense for a cake, but it would make a really delicious pineapple roll with some cream cheese frosting tinted with pineapple! I'm pretty sure after we eat ate a piece, we felt no need to eat for a week, haha!
It seems as though every week, Kaiya is doing so many new things and is a whole new person. She makes this adorable grandpa-missing-his-dentures face where she sucks her lower lip under her upper and smacks her lips and gums together while smiling. It's absolutely ridiculous looking and you can't help but laugh every time. She also continues increasing her lung capacity at inconvenient times (church, grocery store, while passing people at the park...) and everyone stops what they're doing and looks at us as if there's something wrong. I wish Kaiya's shrill scream sounded more playful as she is just playing rather than bloody-murder-like as it comes off. Oh well - it's cute to us! She also is only a hair away from crawling! She can pull herself up, hold herself up on things fairly well, and can roll all over and get up on all four limbs. She'll be mobile on all fours any day now!
With all her changes each week, it was refreshing to see her reaction to seeing the two Schnauzers at my Dad's house - she squealed for an extended amount of time with recognition and excitement. I think I assume she has a short-term memory and maybe she does, but it was sweet seeing her recognizing that she has a life and a family that she can remember!
[Kaiya's grandpa face]
[Trying on Dad's glasses - I LOVE that she smiles so easily as soon as a camera is pulled out!]
Just before we left on Sunday, we did a little project with Kaiya that was so fun and that might become a tradition with all my babies now since it turned out so cute! Brandan stripped Kaiya down into a diaper and Dad pulled out his camera to document us ladies smooching Kaiya all over with bright red lipstick. It was so fun! Kaiya did so well and just stared at us and smiled while her daddy held her hands and we just giggled and found empty skin to smooch on her belly, face, arms and legs. I tried to convince Brandan to trade places with me since he has fuller lips than me, but he politely declined, haha.
[Lipstick - check! Kim and I prepared for smooching!]
[Smooch time!]
["What the freak just happened??" haha]
[Playin' with her mama]
[The kisser and the kissed]


July 21, 2013

It's Really Hot Outside... Let's Go For a Hike!

[Brandan and Kaiya atop a Table Rock in Medford, OR]
Well, the heat has been awful the past few weeks here, over 100 degrees most days of the week! Luckily, we're not in Iowa humidity which we are very grateful for, since it means that shade is actually helpful in cooling you down, haha. This weekend was one of the few full weekends we've spent here in Medford so we decided to challenge the heat yesterday and go exploring on one of Medford's Table Rocks.
We got up early in the morning and drove a little ways out of town and began our hour-long hike up the steep trail. Brandan got quite the workout with an extra 20ish pounds on his belly (belly pudge we call Kaiya ;)), but it was better than trying to push a stroller up gravel and rock on an incline. With several stops along the way to glance out over the valley and admire some snakes, lizards and really cool vegetation (and chug water and trail mix bars!), we made it to the top and had a little picnic. We were happy to be in such an open environment with Kaiya too because lately she has really discovered her lungs and shrieks or screams out bloody murder randomly throughout the day when she's playing or excited. It's so loud and shrill that we actually cover our ears and try and keep food stuffed into her mouth to keep it busy! It was cute the first few times a week or so ago, but my goodness she can make a lot of heads turn our way in a second with those sounds! So anyway, we let her use her lungs to full capacity on our hike.
The top of the Table Rock was actually lava rock and was almost completely flat with straight-down drop offs on all sides. There were a few trees and trails and an awesome few of the Medford valley, which always makes us happy - there is nothing more inspiring than a sweet view of mother nature.
We made it back down the trail soon after lunch before the worst of the heat set in and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Costco, eating ice cream and playin' it lazy.
[One of the views from the top]
[This tree was awesome! Red bark peeling back to reveal green underneath]
[Another view from the top]
[Mommy and Kaiya after enjoying a yummy lunch]
[Kaiya fell asleep shortly after beginning our trek back town, so Brandan was goo to carefully walk and tilt back so she could nap as we went]

[We reached the bottom and took off Kaiya's hat to reveal some cute little sweat curls ;)]

July 18, 2013

Basically an Extended Vacation

[Kaiya's week long suck-on-the-bottom-lip face]
[Brandan's favorite thing to do when it's his turn for diaper duty - pilgrim baby]
Our little family of three have absolutely LOVED being here in Oregon. Brandan is about halfway through his internship here and we have taken advantage of every weekend and evening hours during the week to explore and keep ourselves busy learning how to be "Oregonians."
Once a week we have been attending a baby swimmers class at one of Brandan's clinics. There is a 90 degree pool and a few families that come with adorable little people who splash around, chase ducks and floaties, and slowly learn to kick, reach with their arms, and keep the water out of their mouths. Kaiya loves the water and the lessons have really just been for fun, but she's much more comfortable in it than she was several weeks ago. She doesn't mind when water gets in her eyes or mouth. She hasn't quite learned that the chlorinated water isn't especially yummy and prefers to have her tongue sticking out and draped over her little chin so she can lick it up as she's chasing a duck. It's pretty cute.
[Mommy and Kaiya all ready for their first swim in a pool!]
One thing we have been looking forward to most about being here in the great OR has been the chance to roam around in the redwoods and along the coastline. Those trees are definitely unique and never fail to make your jaw drop. I've been to them twice before and I always forget just how gigantic they are! We spent a Saturday a few weekends ago driving and hiking through some redwood forests and along the coastline of Northern California. We have a hilarious memory I doubt we'll ever forget of Kaiya being in the baby bjorn and making the sound of a ton-ton from Star Wars for the entire half hour long walk. She sounded like a baby alien and we got many funny looks from fellow hikers. They'd give us a "I want to tell you how adorable your baby girl is but she's kind of scaring me..." look and smile and walk past - pretty funny. I'll have to post a video of that noise on facebook later so you can see it!
[If you look closely, you can see Brandan and Kaiya down the path near the base of the center trees!]
["Trees of Mystery" tourism area with Paul Bunyon and Babe - I have a photo of my siblings and I standing right at this same spot probably 15ish years ago, so that was super fun finding it randomly along the road we took to the coast.]
[Sure there was sap on our roof afterward and it was terrifying trying not to take off the side mirrors, but WE DROVE THROUGH A REDWOOD TREE!!]

After half a day in the redwoods we roamed the coastline checking out a lighthouse, walking along a pier watching people fish for crabs, drooling over an awesome 23 hole disc golf course we didn't have time to play at, and dipping our toes in the water. I think that "a nice long walk along the beach" is so cliché when people list it as a favorite pastime, but I TOTALLY get it! We thoroughly enjoyed walking on the muddy sand and watching the waves come rolling up over and over. Kaiya especially liked digging her little ballerina toes in the sand and feeling the waves splash against her legs. She was squealing so loud!
[Awaiting another wave - see how quickly her feet would get sucked down into the sand with her pointed toes!]
[You might say that seaweed was one of Kaiya's first non-baby-foods! Don't worry - we didn't let her actually eat it ;))
The following week after our coastline explorations was the fourth of July and we had Brandan's mom and little sister over for a visit most of the week to help us celebrate. We watched the parade, as non-exciting as they can be without little kids of your own chasing after thrown candy, checked out several cool food, jewelry, and crafting vendors at the park, and ended the day with a delicious BBQ dinner with as much red, white and blue foods as I could fit in! We had red and blue jello layered with cool whip, red/white/blue layered drinks, blueberry and raspberry fruit pizza, BBQ chicken and corn. Yum! I'm so glad Brandan is good at the grill :) The only thing we missed out on that way were the fireworks but with a baby who goes to bed at 7:30... it gets a little tricky so we just decided not to opt out of that one, sadly.
[Daddy and Kaiya watching the parade]
[Mommy and Kaiya]
[Aundrea, Kelly, Kaiya and Brandan at our little picnic]
[Our awesome ocean spray/sobe/Gatorade layered drinks!]
We are so grateful that we are close enough to California to make it to Brandan's brother's wedding. Shon and April Lym were married on July 13th in a town about 6 hours away from where we are and it was so awesome to be there for it! The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was so fun! Delicious food, fun pictures, dancing, roaming around in a vineyard, and being with family was a perfect scene to celebrate the new step in Shon and April's lives. Brandan and his siblings were part of the bridal party so they were off taking fun pictures together most of the day while Kaiya and I hung out and enjoyed watching. I'm so glad Kaiya is as flexible as she is nap-wise and eating-wise so that we didn't have to miss out on anything! She did have a rough night the first night in the hotel room since her pack n' play would only fit in the bathroom where it's darker and everything echos... but the next night we kept her on the bed and she slept solid through the night and even slept in a bit! But after a day or two of being back home she bounced back into her usual schedule. It makes me sad when so many young parents with only one or two kids don't ever go and do anything fun - they miss out on so much and it's totally worth it to let their babies have a more rough day or two and then catch up later on. It's healthy!
[Daddy and Kaiya at the dinner party]
[Kaiya's first time on a tractor! They had a few of these at the vineyard]
[Funny photo booth with Brandan's brother Nate - they had a plethora of sticks with facial hair and goofy glasses to add]
[Kaiya slept so well the night after the wedding festivities with Daddy snuggling her :) so cute!]
The week of the wedding, Kaiya and I were also able to drive a short ways to my Dad's house where we hung out with MaryAnn, Kassidy and Kimberly. It was fun to have multiple girl's days where we did girly things like shopping, pedicures and cooking delicious foods, then nice to catch up with Dad and let him and Maryann take care of Kaiya while I went running or went out for a while. Kaiya really doesn't have any stranger anxiety anymore since our trip out west when she met new family members every day for two weeks, so it's fun to watch her little personality come out now around everyone. She's getting pretty corky mimicking puppy yips (thanks to Dad and Maryann's schnauzers!), making her ton-ton sounds, giggling hysterically just for smiles, not sitting still for very long at a time, etc. She just gets more fun every day!
[Kaiya with Grandpa Jackson who can make her giggle easier than anyone I know!]
Well, a few updates on Kaiya are that she's now able to pull herself up onto things fairly well, can roll to the right (but not to the left... haha), booty bounce herself around to face whatever direction she wants to be in, babbles like crazy with da-da-da-da all the time, has learned how to squeal/scream incredibly loud and shrill when she wants something, particularly food, and she is finally difficult to take out to eat with us now that she eats regular food and can't stand not eating whatever she sees us eating! We also have to be much more careful with headbands on her - at the wedding she grabbed her headband and flicked it on her eye - yikes! I think though, at almost 8 months, that she's still a pretty mellow, easy baby, at least compared to many that I've been around, and for that I'm glad because Brandan and I are very social and adventuresome :). We love our little Kaiya baby!