Summer Solstice

Here’s a little window into Selah & I’s Solstice celebration!





Thanks for the great day, the apple juice, & holding me during the parade, Auntie Ginger!


From Bryce, we headed to Zion, where we intended to set up camp again. However, we underestimated the popularity of that park on a holiday week (yep – wasn’t even the weekend, and there were races to get to campsites that people were vacating). So, we headed into town to find a private camp ground, of which all were also full. Rather than head home, we finally landed at a really nice hotel right outside the park. It wasn’t quite camping prices, but it was really, really nice, so we’ll just remember that part of it.

Here’s some pictures and associated captions for the first evening and following day of hiking in Zion:

Benefits of staying in a hotel instead of camping? A pool!! A pool!
Our little pool baby bundle
Standing outside our hotel waiting for the shuttle. It’s not called the Majestic View Inn for nothing, that’s for sure!
Off on our hike! Walking along the river…
The baby is officially passed out!
Going through some mini-slot canyons
Still hiking…
Proof that Daddy hiked too.
Looking up from the pools
Nearing the upper pools
Look at those views!
Daddy taking a picture to demonstrate that Selah is as tan as Mommy 🙂
Looking up the hill to where we hiked from – the pic of Dad was taken all the way up against the edge at the top!
Looking back at our climb up from the river
Waking up from the slumber in the pack
Still hiking…can’t beat these views
Waving Hi to Daddy from the bridge
Running across the bridge to Dad
Lunch with my Daddy in Zion is extra-special
The lunch spot – great views even from here!
Happy girl with a “cookie reward” for being such a good hiker!

All in all, a great day. Mommy and Daddy were stoked on hiking, and Selah is just happy if she gets a cookie at the end of anything, so she was golden. Oh, and we might have had a little ice cream after the shuttle ride back as well ;). After a 4-miler carrying a toddler, we earned it!

Zion was beautiful. You can’t quite capture it on film (without a panoramic or fish eye lens that can really gather everything around you, at least), but the views are amazing. And it was a slightly better park that Bryce to go hiking with the little ones, and Selah did like the shuttle ride through the park OK. In fact, this is one place we’d like to return. Well, on a non-holiday weekend and maybe with camping reservations, that is…although…I can’t lie…the warm shower and bed after the hike was awfully nice. 😉

Bryce Canyon

Yep, still haven’t finished posting pictures from our trip. But, I’m starting up again because this is my “scrapbook” of sorts, and really want to document this. Bryce was another highlight of the trip because we met up with family, which was a semi-random surprise. By that, I mean, it was unplanned to be in the same area at the same time, but when we found out, we made sure to expedite our way out there to see GG (my Grandma, Selah’s Great-Grandma, my mom’s mom), Aunt Jeannie, Uncle Mike (my mom’s brother), Cousin Tera (my cousin), and Cousin Cael (her son, born the day before Selah).

I’d say the cons were the weather – really windy and pretty cold, and the amount of time we spent (just an evening and the next day). And the pros were of course seeing family, getting the kiddos together again, camping with Selah for the first time this year, and the views of Bryce – which Jesse hadn’t seen.

Since pictures tell a thousand words, here’s a few thousand…with my commentary…

In my “thinker” pose (unknowingly), while Selah clings to my leg:

Bouncing Cousins:

The Moms and the Kiddos:

Selah wouldn’t exactly humor me with a wave to Daddy, but I gave it my all:

Our blondies:

One of the view off the edge:

The kids putting us one step closer to heart failure by “swinging” right on the edge. Despite the chain link fence, the drop off was long enough (see views above) that it makes you nervous no matter what:

Think Selah is tired of walking to go see yet another viewpoint?

All done, Daddy. All done.

Walking on a little safer “edge”:

Sweet girl playing on the bench:

Not-as-sweet girl declaring it is “MY bench” when Cael & Tera join for a picture:

Very sleepy, stinky-pants on our way out of the park for the day:

Father’s Day

Daddy with his Father’s Day bundle:


Selah likes me to call her the “baby lion package” when she wears this at Grandma’s house. And it’s very specific, mind you…Grandma tried calling her the “baby lion bundle” and that apparently is not satisfactory! She’s either two, or just knows what she wants and has a stubborn streak…or both 😉

And that’s…The Rest of the Story!

Yes, the long awaited Part Three. Finally. The last of the Disney pics.

From the Pooh & Friends get-together, it was on to the Jungle Cruise. We decided ahead of time that if the sign noted it would be longer than 30 minutes, we were out. Luckily, I think it was 20. And seemed to go relatively fast. Must have been because Selah was on a “Pooh-high”.

Here’s the pics in chronological order:

Beautiful blue eyes in line for Jungle Cruise. Luckily a fast moving line, since we were nearing the end of our day.

Being silly with Mommy in line.

Mommy & Selah on Jungle Cruise

Oh look! Over there!

My beautiful baby in awe on the Jungle Cruise. Must be the “Moto-Moto’s” (aka Hippos – she uses the name of the Hippo from the “Madagascar” movie)

Wheeler Family on the Jungle Cruise

From Jungle Cruise, it was on our way out via Main Street – to pick up some sort of souvenir to go!

On Main Street USA with my Mommy and Grandma & Grandpa

It’s the simple things – like walkin’ on a curb down Main Street at Disneyland. Funny how things like this – holding Mommy’s hand and balancing on a curb – bring close to as much joy as the rides.

But…not nearly as much joy as a MINNIE MOUSE is! 😉 I think we fully redeemed our inability to stand in line to actually meet Minnie with this particular purchase.

Lovin’ my Daddy AND my new Minnie Mouse!

The Wheeler Family. Something more interesting was happening on the other side of the camera though! Cruella DeVille herself (Villian from 101 Dalmations) ran up and put her arm around Grandma (who was taking the picture) – to make Selah look at the camera! Selah sure looked (and so did Mommy – her makeup was CRAZY!)! 🙂

Selah with a proud and happy Grandma & Grandpa

Loving her new Minnie Mouse – bought with her own birthday money from GG (Great-grandma).

She continued to play with Minnie for probably a good 30 minutes in the car on our way to Vegas before giving in to a little tiny bit of sleep. She’s not a big car-sleeper, which would make it so much easier on everyone! But – we made it (and she survived too ;)).

Don’t worry, the rest of the trip doesn’t have near as many pictures, so I’ll try to label and summarize those over the week. It’s been fun to relive – and of course this blog is as much a “scrapbook” for us as it is to update everyone, so I hope you enjoy along the way! 🙂

Still A Favorite!

Well, if I thought that ketchup was in the past for favorite things, I was mistaken! (If you remember, Selah requested her birthday dinner to be “ketchup, please”).

I’ve been saying her prayers with her at night while I rock her before bed. It’s literally my favorite part of the day. I ask her what her favorite part of the day was, and then we thank Jesus for whatever that might be. Frequently it is “food” (literally, just “food”, not something specific like yogurt or ice cream – popular favorites – just “food!”), and sometimes her friends – Avery, Cooper, Emerson, Lucca, or Vienza. Tonight, she listed a few friends, and then I asked – what else are you thankful for today, little bug? And that was when the ol’ favorite slipped back in! She answered, in her very sober, typical ‘Selah’-way, “Ketchup, Mommy”.

Good to know, my little sleepy girl, good to know. 🙂

Serving Together

A few quick pics from yesterday. We participated in an event called “Looking Good, Santa Barbara”, serving the Eastside downtown area. Selah was a big “helper” as you can see, to daddy who installed storm drain labels. We probably walked about 2-3 miles as well, so bonus was exercising AND serving together! A fun day, despite the arrival of June gloom 😉




Meeting Pooh (or Happiest Place on Earth, Part Dos)

Emerging from the nap…

The next part of the Disney trip begins with Selah waking up. I have 20 more pictures left, so I think I’ll do the most “memorable” part of the day for Selah in this post, and save the remainder for Part Tres. We knew that we wanted her to meet some more characters (after skimping on the Minnie Mouse wait), and it turns out that Winnie the Pooh & his posse reside in Frontier Land. Which was handy, because Selah happens to be a big Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet fan. While she was napping, we scoped out the scene, and it seemed that relatively easily, we could finagle a visit with Tigger, Eeyore, and Pooh himself.

Figuring that she’d be very excited about this, but probably not as agreeable immediately upon waking (smart parenting there, people, look closely! It might not happen that often, but when it does – it’s brilliant ;)). So, we got her “ready” by standing in line to ride the new Pooh ride in cute little honey pots. Seldom do our “plans” work out when it involves our toddler and predicting what will be a success around nap-time (this includes both before and after said nap), but in this case the Lord showed us favor and it worked! After the ride, we headed to stand in line for Pooh.

This particular line happened to have a constant view of the action, so we got to witness all the other kiddos meeting the famous bouncing Tigger. Which was very helpful for Selah. Daddy and I talked it up the entire time – prepping Selah to be ready to meet her idols. Tigger is by far her favorite via books, presumably because of the bouncing and of course our own little hopping bunny admires other great jumpers, I’m sure. So, we talked about the big hug that Tigger could receive from her, and how excited he would be to meet her, and how he was soft and cuddly and certainly not scary at all (following the previous day’s Mickey experience – and all other large character meetings with toddlers in history – we clearly knew this needed clarification prior).

Unfortunately for all parties involved, Tigger was first in the line of characters. My hunch is that she would have warmed up to him a little more had he been further down in the line-up. Nevertheless, it was certainly a highlight of Selah’s day, and she got much braver down the line as we went to meet-and-greet Tigger, Eeyore, then finally, Pooh.

Here’s the sequence of events unfolding:

So, it turns out that Tigger is, in fact, very scary, contrary to Mommy & Daddy’s descriptions:

This is as close as Tigger got to a hug. I’d call it hug-ish (OK, or attempting to bury my head in Mommy, but who’s getting all technical here):

Eeyore is much less scary than a bouncing Tigger, Mommy:

But blowing kisses to Eeyore still seems safer than a hug:

Tentatively approaching Pooh…but on her own – a real feat! Brave girl:

Lucky Pooh! He gets a real hug!:

Sprinting to safety in the arms of Mommy:

(Mommy sidenote: from body language alone on film, one would not know this was her favorite part of the day. However, in line she was SO EXCITED to meet them – chatting it up the whole time with Daddy & I. Then as we finally got our turn, I was holding her and got to firsthand experience that fluttering, racing little heartbeat of telltale excitement. And for days afterward – perhaps even weeks since every once in awhile she still recalls the events to us – she loved to chat about how she met Tigger and Eeyore and Pooh. I’d say, for a just barely two-year-old, that was a big highlight, despite the retreat to Mommy’s safe arms!)

Don’t worry, only one more post on this day. I’m not trying to milk it for all it’s worth – I’m just trying to avoid a four-page-long post (in which case, I should probably shorten my commentary!! ;))

Changing our Plan of Attack

A short commercial interruption of the picture barage for a quick story about learning our *always learning* parenting techniques:

Grandma Smith is coming today to visit Selah while Daddy gets work done on the house. We have been “prepping” Selah for the visit by talking up how “Gramma” is coming, etc. And apparently, we are all done with our need to ‘prep for Grandma to come and take her’ stage, and moving onto the ‘we need to hide that she is coming so that we don’t have to hear about it for days on end’ stage!

Literally, anytime a phone rings or a neighbor is at the door, Selah runs screaming and excited to the door, only to have a huge letdown not only for her, but also for the person who is there ;). Even her favorite neighbor girls yesterday were greeted with dissapointment. This morning after my AM workout, I was met with, “Oh, Daddy, it’s just Mommy”, and a quick sulk, despite the fact that she hadn’t even seen me this morning yet. (I eventually warranted a hug, but I foresee the ‘welcome to chopped liver’ status fast approaching 😉 Payback, I know, Mom, thanks! ;)).

We have attempted to explain that Grandma will be coming “tomorrow” to play, and then this morning “later today”, and now as I work, I hear Daddy saying, “I think Grandma will be here in 10 minutes…or maybe 7?” So, apparently our next lesson is going to be time management – as in, how long a week, a day, an hour, and a minute actually are. Poor Selah, I know the theory of relativity is at work here, because 5 minutes is very clearly a long time in her limited 1,078,560 minute life-thus-far (and yes, I did the math). 😉