Monday, July 25, 2016

Canada & Montana

This trip... sigh. It was amazing. I knew we needed a vacation, but I didn't know we'd end up feeling so refreshed and reconnected as a family after getting home. It was simply great.

Seven years ago, Jordy and I were planning a honeymoon in Banff, but ended up not going. Finally, an opportunity to head that way presented itself and we knew we had to take it. We decided we'd do a family road trip to Banff, Jasper, and Glacier National Park. Our boys are used to road-trips and love camping so we knew they wouldn't be an issue, but I was a little unsure about how our 6 week old would do. Let me tell you, planning ahead was key in the overall ease and success of a road trip and 13-days of camping with an infant. About a month before we left I started planning our itinerary (a loose itinerary as we wanted flexibility, but an overall idea of what to do and see in each place) and a meal plan. Almost every dinner was either pre-cooked and put in the freezer (to heat up on the camp stove) or ingredients prepared to throw together as needed. This was really helpful because if Rowen was fussy or needed to be fed around dinner-time, Jordan could easily put dinner together without having to do any prep work. If anyone wants a copy of our meal plan for ideas, let me know and I'll email it!

Another thing that saved us was making lego boxes for the boys! They are pretty obsessed with Lego Mixels these days, so I bought a lego base plate, cut it in half, and super glued it into the bottom of a pencil box. Then put a few handfuls of the legos into each box for the boys to have their own travel-size set. This was a life saver! It kept them busy the entire time we were in the car. For other ideas, I also got them each a new coloring book, some stickers, pipe cleaners (you'd be surprised how entertaining pipe cleaners can be..) markers, and colored pencils and put them into a container for each boy to use and take care of for the duration of the trip. It worked really well!

Our first stop in Canada was Banff, Alberta. We ended up getting there a day early and foolishly thought we'd be able to find a campsite for that night (we'd reserved the next three nights ahead of time). WE WERE WRONG! It was a huge drag because we'd been in the car ALL DAY and were so excited to get out and set up camp, but we ended up driving around an extra 2 1/2 hours looking for a place to stay. Every camp ground was full, and we knew that the hotels and lodges would be super expensive. Finally, we ended up getting a room at Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. Because we stopped in so late (it was about 10pm by the time we showed up looking for a room) they gave us a spectacular rate. They kind of down-played what our room would be like, explaining that we'd be in a twin-double so Jordan and I were expecting a tiny room with twin beds, which at that point was more than okay. We were sick of the car. It was so much more than that! The room was HUGE, had two queen beds, a large bathroom, and a living area with fire-place. If you want to visit Banff and camping isn't your thing, I definitely recommend this place.

We quickly learned that the town of Banff, and the National Park in general was a total zoo. Yes, we went during the busiest time of year, but we had no idea it would be so crazy. We felt like we had to race against the tour bus crowds at certain places, but other than that it was easy to get around and see the many sights.

And speaking of sights.. I thought I was going to write out a play-by-play of everything we saw and did, but it would take forever so instead.. enjoy our very amateur video. Also, if anyone needs ideas and wants a copy of our itinerary, let me know!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's Been Awhile...

Whoa! Courtney is blogging again! Okay okay, lets not get ahead of ourselves. Let's take this slow and call it a blog update. I love the idea of actively posting, but finding the time to sit down, write things out, and post pictures without interruption is not easy. Baby steps. Baby steps to the blog. Baby steps to the creative writing. Baby steps to the announcement that I'm blogging again... Baby steps. **Also I can't get this to separate my paragraphs.. if anyone knows how, please tell me!!** So where to start? It's really been close to three years since I've actually written anything on here so I wont bore you with the details of our brief separation, our house burning down, or my current pregnancy.. But I will tell you that the last two aren't true, (gotcha!) haha.. And I will tell you that Coke and Butter are currently living in Boise Idaho and very in love! And let me reiterate that I am NOT pregnant. If you received our Christmas card you already know that Jordan is finishing his last semester of college (cue the singing angels) at Boise State University, and works as an Ophthalmic Technician at Hollingshead Eye Center. I work right across the street from him at Gem State Dermatology. I have been there just over a year, starting as a medical assistant which has been a huge learning opportunity, but very stressful with long hours. Luckily, I was recently able to transition back into esthetics and am doing that almost full time. I have a lot time with my family and more time to get things done around the house so I am super happy! Axel is 4 1/2 and we just registered him for kindergarten! We've been debating whether or not to send him this fall because his birthday is right before the cut off, but this kid is so smart and really thrives with a structured routine so we're going for it. It was fun to see his future school and watch him do his little evaluation with one of the teachers, but it also made me a little sad. Now that he's starting school this is it.. he's officially growing up.
Axel has grown into a goofy, sensitive, and thoughtful little boy. He loves crunching numbers (like his Dad).. I remember a few months ago he completely blew me away when, during a negotiation over finishing his dinner I said, "Okay Ax.. you need to eat 3 more green beans and 2 more bites of potatoes and you can be done". Without any hesitation he said, "but Mom! That's 5 bites!". Maybe I'm just a typical proud mother, but I thought that was pretty cool. So now, he regularly quizzes me saying, "okay mom if you have 4 and you add 2, how many do you have?" I always say "I don't know", and he always gives me the answer. He is so much fun! Bentley just turned 3! THREE! How did he just turn three?! Bentley is our little brute, but so cuddly and sweet. He loves to snuggle, and he loves to run full force into us.. and furniture, and pillows. The other night in fact, he gave me a black eye when he jumped on me out of nowhere yelling, "to infinity and beyond"! It hurt. Bentley is also OBSESSED with Thomas & Friends. He can fit Thomas, James, Percy, or Gordon into just about any subject and when it's time to pick a movie or a show to watch, Thomas is his only request.
If we're friends on facebook you've probably seen pictures of our new chicks! We love the idea of eventually having a little hobby farm. People who knew me growing up are probably shaking their heads in shock and awe reading that. I've never been a huge lover of animals (not a hater either, just didn't really care either way), and farming was NOT in my mental picture of my future life. There's something gratifying though about the idea of being self sufficient and knowing what is in the food that you eat. Don't worry, no one here is going gluten-free or vegan.. we just really like the idea of living off the land a little bit. I'm still going to shave my legs and eat junk food. But yeah, anyway.. we're starting with chicks and a little vegetable garden. We rent our place so we can't go crazy, but our landlord is fantastic and we have a nice backyard with enough room for a garden, and a chicken coop with a run. We have 5 hens and 1 rooster. Bentley wanted to name our 4 original chicks Thomas, Percy, James and Gordon.. but we picked other names (two of them are actually female Thomas & Friends trains though so he still got his way..). Our girls are Millie (my pick), Sweetie (Axels pick), Rosie (Bentley's pick), Matilda (Axel's pick), Alice (my pick), and Buster - our boy.. (Axel's pick). I've come to learn that having backyard chickens is really common in Idaho and now I completely understand why... they are so fascinating! You know how when you hold a newborn baby and you just stare at it? And then you stop and realize that you've just been sitting there staring at it for like 10 minutes? That's what I do with these silly little chicks! They're just chicks.. but I walk by and take a peek and before I know it I've been staring into their little brooder for 10+ minutes. This was the night we got our first four babies. They had all hatched either earlier that day or the night before..
Because we're raising our chicks for eggs (except for Buster.. obviously) we wanted a few more hens so we went back to our friends house and got 3 more girls. In our original four, two of them were boys, so we brought one of them back and came home with three new girls. This is the bunch at about 1 week old. They grow so incredibly fast, and let me tell you.. 6 chicks poop A LOT more than 4 chicks. For now, we keep them in a big box in our kitchen. They need to stay warm under a heat lamp and although it has been really nice here, we're going to wait another week or so to put them in the garage. At 6 weeks old they'll be able to go into the coop so we'll start acclimating them to the outside in another week (in 15 minute increments or until they get too cold). Buster and Millie are already starting to flap and jump up to the side of the box when they get excited so if any of them get to the point jumping OUT.. they'll be expedited to garage living a little sooner.
Jordan has taken control of the (future) garden. For some reason I'm a little intimidated with the idea of successfully planting all the seeds and getting them to grow so we'll let him handle all of them (with the help from Axel and Bentley, see below..) and I'll handle the weeds and consumption of the bounty.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Impossible.

I'm overwhelmed. It is impossible to pack a house with a 21-month-old and a 2.5-month-old....and a 24-year-old. Impossible I tell you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Long Post Coming

Give me maybe 2 weeks and I promise I'll write a nice long post. Okay, I can't guarantee that it will be long, but it will be detailed enough to catch up on our lives the past month or so. Things are really good, just crazy busy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Axel

Those of you who have been around Axel, even briefly know that he is wild and rambunctious. He's almost always on the go and nothing get's past him. Some days, he can be really hard to keep up with and definitely makes me work hard. Then there are the moments where I realize he's been a little too quiet in his bedroom unsupervised and when I go in expecting to see chaos, I find him quietly "reading" books, completely content in his own little book world. I love when this happens. I try not to boast too much about him, but I have to say that his passion for and love of books makes me very proud. Or there's moments like the one I captured today. He recently figured out how to climb up into the window ledge without using my body as a step-stool. This seems to be his new favorite place to sit. He climbs up to his perch to watch Sesame Street, eat a snack, read a book, scare his mother and sometimes he climbs up to quietly look out the window and think little Axel thoughts. He stayed up here for about 10 minutes just staring, thinking, and watching. These moments make me want to freeze time and keep him like this forever. It is too precious and tugs so hard on my heart! I love you Axel!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring!

Yes, we are alive. Alive and doing well. I promised myself a million and one times that I would update my blog and never got around to it. I had it all planned out, down to the witty remarks, but.. sigh.. I am only just now getting to it!

It's been about a month since I posted about our newest little bundle, Bentley. On Saturday, the 14th of April he was officially a month old. A MONTH! Already! Crazy how time flies, although it already seems like he's been a part of our family forever. How lucky I feel to have such an easy going baby. He may look like his big bro, but his temperament is completely different! He only really cries when he needs something (which is usually to pass gas, oh boy... this kid..) and he is a great eater, which is going to save us lots of money on the formula we ended up needing for Axel. Now I'll get to savor the sweet smell of breastmilk breath even longer! Axel, you deprived me of this cheap thrill. Don't act grossed out, you know you love it.

Speaking of Axel, now that we've had some time to get used to Bentley being here I have to be honest. He did have a tough couple of days. Not right at the beginning, but around two weeks in, he struggled a little. There were two long days of him acting like he absolutely hated me and Jordan. It was really hard, sad, and heart-breaking. I tried everything I could to make him feel loved, needed, appreciated, and accepted but it wasn't enough. The change was taking it's toll on him. I knew what would help, and that was one-on-one attention with no babies around. So I called in the big-guns. I realized how much he loved having Grandma Ripp around and decided the answer would lie in the power of Grandma's. So it was off to Grandma Stanley's for little Ax. At first I wondered if I was like, shipping him off. But he spent an entire Tuesday and an entire Thursday with her and it made all the difference. He was showered with fun and attention and was happy to come home and be with Jordan, Bentley and me. It really did the trick. We're so lucky to have so many people around who love our boys so much! Since then, Axel has been his usual self, and seems to be growing up so much! He is such a great helper with Bentley and is always giving him hugs and kisses. He is obsessed with Bentley's feet and loves to take his socks off and (try to) put them back on.

Our Easter was really relaxed and nice. We went to Church (Bentley's big debut!) came home for naps, and then we went to the Stanley's for Easter dinner. Jordan's sister Kelly and her new hubby Steve were in town visiting so it was nice to see them. I hadn't met Steve yet so that was cool too. They are a very sweet and loving couple.

Headed to Church..

Sorry for the freakish close-up.

The weather hasn't been fantastic like it was when I left the hospital but it is warming up a little and we've had a blast going on walks and going to the park.

One day last week the three of us went for ice cream and then to the park. We hadn't been out of the house in so long so it was really nice to get out and be out! We were gone for a few hours and pretty tuckered out by the time we got home. Axel was such a big boy eating his ice cream by himself. Down the street the middle schoolers had just been released and a few of them came for ice cream. In this picture, Axel was charming the girls. It was really funny.



He also enjoyed running around in the sand at the park.



The other day we went to a park we haven't been to in awhile and we were the only ones there. Five minutes later a big group of pre-schoolers just a little older than Ax showed up. My oh my was he in heaven! He made some friends and had a fun time playing with all the kids. One girl was cracking him up as she'd chase him around the structure and when she'd "catch" him she would say "ding-dong!". Belly laughter ensued. It was adorable. I can't wait for Bentley to be old enough to play with him like that. Not that I'm rushing things, but it will be fun when the time comes.

Off we go!



"Ding Dong!"






Bentley had his one-month well-baby check-up (I like words with dashes. Call me over-zealous). Our eyes do not deceive us, he is growing like a weed! At 4 weeks old he weighed in the 98th percentile at 12.5lbs and has grown an inch! I guess these major babaloos I've acquired are doing some good in the world.

Milk drunk baby..



Sweet Handsome Boy..