Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Plumas Eureka 2014

I always love being outdoors and observing nature when camping. This year I witnessed some beautiful things!

Here we see wild creatures foraging for food in their natural habitat:

 Their young scamper about, fighting to establish territory by collecting everything in sight and claiming it theirs with an intense death grip:

The members of the cub pack rub as much dirt on themselves as possible, hoping to blend in to their surroundings and throwing off predators:


The most awesome offspring learn these warrior skills from their parents:

Of course, in the end one cub always stands supreme and sends the other (weaker) cubs running:

they fear there is no hope left for humanity.

Like a true leader, the best of cubs ends up being very loyal to the pack and insists on helping, even without being asked.

The youngest of cubs is looked upon favorably:

He is protected by the most amazing circle of loving mama bears:

Sweet and talented, these ladies know how to party!!

(best old-school rendition of "Oh Susannah" I've ever heard!)

Although wild at heart, the pack shows strong family ties:

The bearded one doesn't like to be spooked ^^

Better to observe in his natural element:

My favorite moments were seeing the cubs together:

Although somewhat narcissistic,

 and oftentimes nudists,

they are loving,

and clean up pretty well!


The men of the pack* even had their own adventure exploring and being artistic:


I even really liked the selfie that they attempted to take of themselves at the top of the waterfall:

 *note: the 4th man of the pack was off being manly; hiking the nearby mountain peak and biking like, 50 miles. True story.

Although the sleeping arrangements weren't ideal...

yeah... that's the Weber's air mattress to the left, and OUR air mattress to the right. Fail.
 The views were spectacular.

This was our 3rd annual summer camping trip with the group, and it's so fun to see how we've grown!



Tristen, Kate, and Autumn

We're hoping for many more years of camping with this wild pack!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kate @ 22 Months

 Our dear baby Kate is nothing short of amazing.

She is sweet, and beautiful, and absolutely wonderful. Kate has naturally rosy cheeks, blondish-reddish-brown hair, and honey hazel eyes with a blue ring around the iris. She is serious and quiet at times, but just so thoughtful and observant. Of course she also majorly cracks us up with her goofy antics. Lately when we ask her to smile for pictures, she does this:

Bottom teeth jutted out, eyebrows raised, and squinty eyes for days!

 Kate is helpful and loving. She carries her "babies" (stuffed animals and robot toys) around wrapped in blankets, patting them on the back and saying, "shhhhhhh" very consistently. It makes me happy to see when she picks up good behavior.

She loves to help with Edwin, and it's very fun! Except when she pokes him in the eye...

not-so-good behavior

Kate is her dad's little buddy and is always concerned when he is not around.

messy camping face

After explaining it to her a few times, she now loves to tell me, "Mommy, Daddy potty!!" and isn't so worried when he doesn't come back from walking down the hallway immediately.

Just the other day Jon ran to the post office quickly and Kate jumped right on the couch to watch him out the window. "Daddy car!!" She said over and over. It reminded me of watching out the window for my dad to come home from work when I was little.

One of Kate's favorite things to do is playing with bubbles. "More bubboo?!!" Our awesome friend Nicolette took the kids to the park a couple weeks ago while I went for a post-baby massage. Kate threw bubble juice ALL over herself and Nicolette. Kate's face was covered in suds, but she absolutely loved it :)

Kate enjoys Edwin and likes to hold him and give him hugs. It's nice that she's been pretty unconcerned about his existence.

She insists on helping me carry him in his carseat carrier whenever possible.

Kate also loved pushing Autumn in her stroller when we went camping last weekend:

 I think she has the makings of being a great mom someday!

Last week, for instance, Kate came into the living room holding two plastic bottles up to her chest and said, "boobies!" Apparently I make a good impression on her when I'm pumping.

Kate certainly is a joy to have around! Last month we went to visit our friends, Bay and Shawn, who are living in Yerington, NV. Kate brought her red panda from the SF zoo with us and she really enjoyed snuggling in the boppy with it for naptime.

While in Virginia City, Kate got to see snow for the first time. We had her all bundled up as the snow reached blizzard conditions! (seriously. It was the most raging snowstorm I've ever seen.) and she didn't complain once.

On the way home to California, Kate blew constant raspberries in the car. We think it was her way of greeting all the sunshine.

Of course, there was also some toe sucking. We're not sure why, but she sure thinks those toesies taste good.

 Lately she's been into "buggas" (insects) and loves pointing them out in the grass. She also kept telling me all last week that there was a "bugga" in her ear. There wasn't. She just has quite the imagination already. She enjoys dirt and feeling the sand in between her fingers.

 Jon and I agree that she is growing up to be the perfect mix of tomboy and girly girl. A beautiful mess.

Kate enjoys reading ALL the time. If we just put her in a room of books all day, she would be perfectly content.

My favorite thing she does lately is singing and dancing to herself in her own toddler language. It doesn't make any sense, but it's lyrical and beautiful, and it makes me smile every time!

Katherine is not afraid of strangers. Although seemingly shy in a new situation, she quickly warms up and will go to ANYONE. We were at a baby shower on Saturday for the bestie and Kate walked up to everyone in turn to sit on their laps and chat with them. She will reach her arms out to anyone that so much as smiles at her.  I am sure that as Kate gets older she will be quite the comforting soul.

Notice how she is sitting across the room from me with the mama-to-be. She totally chose that seat all on her own.

Kate, Michelle & Baby O'Keefe II, mama Steph
 To kick off the start of Summer (whew, hot California in June!) we've been playing in the water outside.

Jon's parents were kind enough to get Kate an outdoor water splish splash play pad. You hook it up to the hose and water fills up and shoots out of just about everywhere! It's like ultra-fancy sprinklers with a blow up dolphin.

It's given us a chance to work on our base tans and break in our adorable new swimsuits for the summer :) True California girls!

I just love my little miss and am so thankful for her every day.

I love painting her toes and dressing her up. I love reading with her and learning shapes. (She has circles down and we're working on triangles and squares!) I love how she shakes her booty whenever a song with a good beat comes on. I love how she adores her sunglasses and takes them off quickly saying, "AHAHAHA!" at us with a huge grin when she knows she is just too cool for school.

hiking is awesome, yo.

I love watching her enjoy nature, and I love that she will LITERALLY stop and smell the flowers:

I love snuggling her at bedtime and that she leans her head on my shoulder immediately and says, "more song?!" when I finish singing to her before prayers. I am grateful to this sweet girl for making me a mama first. She is such a central part of our family.
We love you, baby Kate!