July was an incredibly busy month in which we spent only three days not around family, starting in Portland (ok, Vancouver, but not the Canadian one) and ending with Wes’ mom’s visit last Thursday. We did a lot of stuff and took a lot of pictures. I know I bitch a lot about Hawaii weather because it’s always the same but there’s something to be said for that, especially when dealing with children. I never have to worry about weather or not Stella is warm enough. I don’t have to pack multiple outfits or layers should the temperature take a sudden dive. You do have to worry about that on the mainland and it was a constant source of stress (for me, anyway) whether what we had packed for Stella would be appropriate to wear. We were lucky enough to visit when the weather was nice and since it’s light out until 9 pm, there was only one night that we had to worry about Stella being warm enough. Stella was a champ on the flight. She slept for the first hour or so, and off and on after that. No screaming, but lots of peek-a-boo with the people in front and behind us. We got to Wes’ parents house just in time for bed and tried to keep her on Hawaii time, which we were able to do. Unfortunately, we both got on Portland time pretty quickly so that made for some exhausting days. Thursday morning Stella got to meet one of my very best friends and her mom, who flew into town just to see us (and probably take advantage of no-sales-tax-shopping). We went bungee jumping Friday morning (video here). It was Wes’ birthday gift because he’s been talking about it for years, but a lot in the months leading up to the trip so what the hell. We jumped from the highest bridge you can jump off of and, yes, I thought I was going to die. I will never do it again. Thursday night we watched fireworks, starting at Wes’ district office and then we crashed another party where we actually knew people. You can see the progression of temperature in Stella’s outfit additions. It got cold and, as I mentioned before, we don’t know how to dress a baby in cold weather so it hardly matches and those shoes are canvas so her feet were a little cold but other than that I think she was pretty comfortable. I see a lot of shopping for our trip to New York in November, and probably for Boise in September. Mainland mamas, expect a flurry of phone calls from me asking what the heck I should pack! Friday morning we did some damage at the outlet malls in Woodburn (best ones I’ve been to) with Wes’ family. His Nana joined us and Wes even helped her pick out a few items. Wes and Stella got to see her again before we left, but this was my only time with her so I’m glad she was able to join us. In the afternoon Wes worked on repairing his parents’ shed and there was a moment where we couldn’t find Stella or Grandma Candee. I wasn’t too worried until Wes started to panic because we couldn’t find them anywhere. Turns out she snuck outside to watch some neighbors set off left over fireworks and then to visit the next door neighbors who wanted to see her, at which point she realized her parents were no where in sight and started crying. Once we found each other we went to yet another neighbor’s house to feed their koi fish and let Stella watch them swim around. Saturday we went to the zoo with many kids and had a blast. Except for the fact that it was freezing. It had been so nice early in the morning every other day that I just figured it would clear up and the sun would be out by the time we got to the zoo. It wasn’t. I was in flip flops and shorts and had the flimsiest pull-over I own. But it was still a good time. Stella waved to a parrot, who waved back. Saw elephants and lions and bears and monkeys.
Saturday afternoon we relaxed at home. We had been constantly going at that point, so Stella’s naps were car naps at best and she was certainly showing her dislike for being constantly strapped into the carseat and stroller. She wanted to play, so that’s what we did. The sun was out by the time we got home and because I was still freezing from our morning at the zoo, we brought some toys out there so that I could thaw out. We had people over for dinner and then headed back to the koi pond owning neighbors house where Stella got to practice her walking. It was so nice to be outside and not have to worry about cockroaches hiding in the grass. Less nice to have to worry about spiders, though. Sunday morning we met our friends for a hike and lunch and then drinks with Jess & her mom and one of Wes’ high school friends and his girlfriend before heading up to Wendy’s for a family dinner. Stella was obviously very tired by the time dinner rolled around. Wendy set the pool up for the girls to play in but that water is cold and we just can’t handle such temperatures. While her girls were running around in bikinis, we had to take Stella in and layer her just to get her warm. Moving back to the mainland is going to be hard. Monday we got to see Wes’ other grandmother. Stella was in a great mood so there were plenty of smiles and hugs for Grandma Betty. She crawled around the room and explored as much as we would allow her to! We met some friends for dinner that night and then took a walk in a park that Wes has never taken me to. It reminded me of the Green Belt in Boise and we talked about how nice it would be to live near something like that. Yes, I know, we have the beach. But a little variety would be nice, too. Tuesday we went out to see Wes’ aunt and uncle who have a beautiful house overlooking the river. I’ve only ever been out there in the winter when it’s snowing and cold so it was nice to see it in the summer time. Wednesday we went to SkiBowl to ride the alpine slides and various other rides that are there (though the slides are really the only thing worth doing). After that we all had dinner. Stella & Aspen shared the various food stuffs we brought for each of them and just watching them together was fun. They’re only 8 months apart but that’s a huge gap when you’re only 9 months old. After that it was just a lot of running around to see people before I headed to a bachelorette party in Hood River. We had a great time visiting with family and watching Stella and her cousins play is always a good time. I grew up around the corner from my cousins and I have a lot of memories of playing together (well, I was the only girl my age, so it was mostly watching the boys, but still good memories) and it makes me a little sad that Stella won’t get that with her cousins. But we’re all working hard to make sure that they know each other. And, who knows, maybe at some point we will end up close enough that they can spend more time together.