One last push!

This past weekend we finally got around to the last big kitchen project and I know what your thinking - finally! We've actually had the supplies in the basement for a few months now but the time restraints of tiling made us think it needed to be done in the evenings and evenings during the first 50% of my pregnancy are not my shining hour. 

What were the supplies? These gorgeous glass subway tiles. I wavered quite a bit initially. Everything else in the kitchen is so classic that while I thought a white subway tile would probably have longer staying/selling power, I also thought it would be a tad boring. And this is my dream kitchen people, I've worked hard for it so why not go with what I really want. Which brings us to teal - but mosaic or tile. Again, I pinned and pinned and searched and decided that a 3"x6" subway tiles would be perfect. But ordering "teal" on the internet is a bit tricky - teal can mean a lot of things to different people. So I order a "teal" sample from wholesalersusainc.com (which was recommended on several diy sites I visited) and several lush tiles from modwalls.com with cool names like "surf", "wasabi,""sea grass" and "pool."

The verdict - plain old teal (which I believe is the 5th from the left in the above picture), how anti-climactic! But luckily for us, it was the cheapest option (I didn't tell Craig which was which when we selected a color so he couldn't bias himself towards the cheap one :-)  Now onto the actual installation.

Since this whole thing has taken us about 9 months, it only seems fitting to throw in a birth analogy. This project was a bit like crowning - we really wanted to be done with the whole kitchen project and just enjoy our new room, but we had to muster up the energy for that final push :-) But Craig had Friday and Monday off and I knew my increasingly large stomach was only making time our enemy, so we got it done!

Friday was a bit rough. Not really because of the tiling itself, we just had one of those nights. Lucy was cranky and fought sleep (getting up every 30 minutes until I finally figured out her teeth were bothering her (because she bit my arm in her typical non-vindictive manner) and gave her some Tylenol. Then Craig and I had a bit of a miscommunication which lead to him coming home with the right wet saw but the wrong blade (glass tiles need a special diamond blade or they will chip). So back he went for the right blade. But when he got home again, he realized that Home Depot hadn't given him the wrench he needed to change the blade so back again. But finally, around 10:30 we started mixing up our mortar and finally getting some tiles on the wall. Craig was out in the garage cutting tiles while I placed them and marked new ones for him to cut. 

The first section is done! Because of the cuts, this ended up being the hardest section and it took a while so I was really worried it was going to take us 10 hours to tile, but things sped up from there. 

By the corner, it was about 1 am and we were both getting pretty tired. It was at this point that I was so glad I bought two bags of mortar. Each 10lb bag was supposed to cover 16-20 sq ft with our type of tile/spacers and we estimated our surface area to be 19 sq ft but I went ahead and bought two bags thinking I would hate to get 2 feet from the end and run out and they were only $20 so it wasn't a huge loss if we didn't need it. But what ended up happening was we got halfway done and I knew I couldn't keep going - but since we had that second back to start fresh with in the morning, I didn't have to!

First night's progress! (And yes, that is wrapping paper on the countertop. We looked at Walmart and Home Depot for a big roll of brown paper with no luck so we used what we had. 

Not so early the next morning, we set Lucy up in the living room with her new Winnie-the-Pooh movie and started up again. We had a slight technical difficulty here too because about 1 minute into the first morter stir (which is supposed to be 10 minutes), our drill died and we couldn't even find the charger. So I stirred it by hand with a random piece of wood we had while Craig ran up the hill to borrow one from Neighbor J's husband. It was really stressful for a few minutes but it turned out all right. And just a little over two hours later, we put the last tile into place. 

Then we had a nice 48 hours break while mortar set. Sunday night we took out all the little white spacers and cleaned out the little bit of morter that had come through. I had actually done a pretty good job keeping the mortar out of the spacers - except for the corner that we finished at 1am. I wonder why I got a bit lazy there :-) Then we could get a good idea of what the final result would look like. 

Late Monday morning, we got to grouting. We used StarGlass urethane grout, the brand recommended by both of the companies I ordered samples from. Modwalls had lots of color options but it was hard to tell the difference online and I began to hyperventilate with all the choices so when I saw that wholesalersUSA only had the diamond color, I went with that and called it a day.

Grouting was actually fairly easy, although my arms were cramping by the end. Craig followed behind me and cleaned up. We had gone ahead and gotten the grout haze remover which I would recommend. Water should get it all off in theory but it was nice having the heavier duty stuff for reassurance.

And there it is after grouting. You can't see much of a difference in the pictures, but in real life you can. The grout really made the tile pop. Of course, that also meant it made all our mistakes pop too but for our first tiling job, I think we did pretty good. The main problem is after tiling and grouting and cleaning up all the haze, you've just spent hours staring at the tile from about 6 inches away so you know exactly where every tiny mistake is. But in reality, nobody is going to look that closely at our tile ever again - and the worse spot is behind our toaster oven :-)

For anyone contemplating a glass tile backsplash, here are a few things I learned:

- Do it! It really isn't that hard and looks awesome.

- Just don't do it while you're pregnant. Leaning over a counter and placing tiles is hard on your back to begin with, but when your center of gravity is already messed up, it's not a good idea. And if you do it anyway, make sure you schedule your chiropractic appointment for the week after the project, not the week before, or at least stock up on Tylenol.

- Knock down the mortar grooves. I read different things on whether you should or should not flatten the grooves/notches after making them but I went ahead and did it. The fear of not doing it is seeing shades through the glass (this isn't an issue with regular ceramic tile). I think the fear of doing it is that your hold isn't as good but I didn't have an issue with that.

- Keep a credit card handy. (Or if you are a no-credit family, use a grocery store card :-) The trowels that you buy are huge so if you have any tiny areas to cover (like the one-tile tall area between our sink and window or tight corners), it won't be much use. I used the credit card to guesstimate the thickness.

- Keep the grout lines clean of mortar. It seems like a pain to worry about that when you feel like you are under pressure to get the tiles up before it sets, but it is sooo much easier to get the wet mortar out than to have to go back and clean it up later. Trust me.

- Do it! Okay, I said this already but even with all our random troubles, it was a pretty easy project. I'm not eager to jump right into another tiling project, but I won't rule it out for our future either (unlike drywall, which I would rather sit through 2 days of constant Snuggle Puppy singing than ever have to do again).

And the end result? Overall, I love it! Of all the design decisions I made, this one was the one I was most worried about but the tile did just what I was hoping it would. It took a nice but boring kitchen and gave it some personality and added just a touch of the vintage look back in.

Wait, you want to see to see the whole finished kitchen now? Too bad! You'll have to wait and come back  tomorrow!


Celebrating Two!

Saturday was Lucy's birthday. Of course, she's been thinking it is her birthday for the past week. We had a little party for her with some friends last weekend. I was a horrible mom and took 4 pictures, none of them noteworthy. Sad.

It was super simply and almost theme-less. Technically the theme was bugs/picnic but all we did was meet up at a park and let the kids play while the dad's tried to keep them alive and the mom's chatted. Then we ate our picnic feasts. We have a lot of food allergies/intolerance/strict diets in our group so we did a bring your own dinner. It's kinda sad that there are health issues but it is also neat that none of the kids had to be the odd duck if they couldn't have something plus it made things really really easy on me :-)
This my attempt to take an "I'm 2!" picture - she was more interested in balloons. 

I did make cupcakes though - these to be precise (with freshly ground soft white wheat instead of spelt). They were really really good and you would not have known they were not made with white flour and refined sugar. I'm not sure if it was because of the soaking or the soft wheat flour but a big improvement over some other whole wheat cake recipes I've tried. Alas, the frosting recipe from that site was a disaster so I resorted to a tried and true basic chocolate buttercream. And I topped them with crumbled jo-jos (trader joes slightly not as bad for you version of oreos) and a couple Annie's fruit snack bunnies. I know bunnies, right? Well, they were supposed to be these organic gummy worms (no dyes or hfcs!) but I didn't realize my online order didn't go through so we made it work with the bunnies. They didn't fit the theme quite so much but everyone seemed to think they were tasty. Lucy's favorite part was probably the juice packs though. She has only had anything other than water or milk to drink a handful of times in her life so the concept of a juice pack was amazing.

She actually blew them out this year!

We also did the book exchange again this year instead of presents for her. I love the book exchange. I spent less on a nice book than I probable would on worthless favors, everyone goes home with a new book to read and Lucy doesn't get toys she doesn't really need - win, win, win! This year I had a cute idea to go with the theme - I got these bugs and put them one of every pair in a container of pinto beans.

Lucy playing with beans and bugs

 I was going to put the other one from the pair on each of the books that came and let a kid draw a bug then match it to find their book. Lucy and the first little boy to arrive had a lot of fun playing with the beans and bugs but when the time came to exchange the books, the kids were having too much fun playing on the playground so we just swapped the books between parents. Oh well, so much for cute ideas.

This weekend was her actually birthday but we didn't do much in the way of celebrating since most of the weekend was spent putting up a backsplash*. Lucy got a couple of cards in the mail and adored them. She carried them around and every once in a while would open them up and say "Happy Birthday You."

And this is why I don't feel bad for not taking a bunch of pictures, when I try - this is what we get. That kid!

And we did have some fun too - Lucy and I made cookies together then she had to paint outside in the garage 


because I mentioned that daddy was going to be painting their too (a different kind of painting, of course) and you may have noticed from the pictures above but I gave her a great birthday present - I didn't make her wear clothes at all! She wore pajamas and then underwear and that's it - that is what my birthday girl loves best! Monday night we had Neighbor J and family over to give Craig an excuse to break out the grill. All the kids ended up filthy and tired which is the sign of a good bbq I think.

Asked for Neighbor J's assistance to get a family photo of the birthday girl. This is the only one in which she looks remotely happy. But of course, as soon as the camera was down and we started back towards the house, she was nothing but giggles. 

In a couple days, Craig's parents are flying in and we've saved most of Lucy's presents (we did open up the Winnie-the-Pooh movie earlier to facilitate the backsplashing project) so we'll do another little celebration with them, perhaps I'll make those cupcakes so she can have the fun of blowing out the candles again. And this time, I'll try and take some pictures!

*If you are keeping track, that was our last big kitchen project and as soon as I recover enough to reassemble the kitchen, I'll be showing you guys the pretty much finished kitchen!


My Terrific Two Year Old

Dear Lucy,

You're two years old today! I guess this means you really aren't a baby anymore but a little kid. Of course, you'll always be my baby no matter how old you get but I love seeing you become a independent little girl. And you are becoming so independent. Just in the last month or so you have become so much more social and outgoing, you'll say hi and bye to people (sometimes you have to hide in my or daddy's legs first but eventually you get there) and last time we left your friend Ben's house, you even gave him a hug!

You'll play nicely all by yourself for good stretches at a time and are very good about doing your "responsibilities" (getting yourself dressed, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, unloading and putting away your dishes, picking up your toys).

You love to be a helper, especially with cleaning and cooking. If I look like I'm about to clean or cook, you'll run up and yell "You help me"  which translated means "I want to help you".  (You = yourself, me = the person you are talking too :-) Sometimes when we are cleaning, you'll even pick up baby and hold her hands so she can help too. The only trouble comes when you don't want to be just a helper though. "No Help You!" which means you don't want help can often be heard around the house.

Actually, you can be heard saying a lot of things. You are quite the little talker. Your up to 5-6 word phrases now. One of my favorite things is listening to you and catching all those new expressions you come up with - and sometimes I really have no idea where you come up with them. Here are a few of my favorite:

Oh my, oh dear. I can't remember either Craig or I ever saying this but you must have learned it from somewhere.

Poor ___. This started out as Poor Eeyore when we read Winnie-the-Pooh but now can apply to anyone. Last night you asked for green dip (guacamole) and I said we didn't have any, then you asked for white dip (sour cream) and I said we didn't have any either. You looked at me for a second, hung your head and said "Poor Lucy." And sometimes you'll refuse to give me or daddy a hug, then laugh and say in a sad voice "Poor mommy" or "Poor daddy."

Deal. This is another one that seemingly came out of nowhere. You asked for something and I said no, but you could have this instead and you replied: Deal! Now you say it all the time.

Wait a minute! You don't use this one literally but as an expression when something is surprising. It never fails to crack me up.

Where Be? This one is slowly being replaced with "Where go?" which is good for your grammar but a little bit sad as well.

Too much. This could refer to food you no longer want, too many people for your comfort or more things than you can count.

Oh-tay mommy/daddy. You just like to say this for no reason. Then we reply "oh-tay Lucy" and we go back and forth and back and forth.

To see if we can curb the "no, my way" response that your two year old nature is starting to bring out in you, I've been teaching you to reply "yes, ma'am" or "yes, mama" and it is working but even if it wasn't, I'd still want you to say it because it has got to be the cutest phrase ever!

You've started to say mommy and daddy instead of mama and dada. You still call yourself juju and honestly, I'll be a little sad to see that go someday.

You're so smart. You can say your numbers up to 10 and can "really count" up to 6 easily. Your favorite number is 8 and if it looks like there is a lot of something or too many to count, you just say there is 8. Also, if you want a treat, like raisins, you'll often ask for 8 of it. (And if we say you've already had enough, you ask on behalf of a stuffed animal or baby doll but we've figured out that trick :-) And you know that bigger numbers are often better so if I say you have to eat 2 bites of something, you'll say "how about 4"

You know all your colors and your favorite is normally purple but sometimes blue.

Last week we were reading a book and I pointed to something and said "look it's a frog" to which you replied "No mommy, dirt, hop-toad". Of course, you were right, it was a toad! (You know that toads live on dirt and frogs live in the water. Of course, that is an oversimplification but for a 2 year old it is still pretty impressive!) That is not the only time you'v corrected me either, I'm gonna have to step up my game!

You love to play the opposite game with me where I say a word and you say it's opposite. You know a lot including but not limited to full/empty, hot/cold, up/down, big/little and happy/sad (although whenever you say sad, you have to add "mommy pick up" because if you are sad, that is what you want so you think the same applies to anyone who is sad) and many more.

You also love to play the smush game. I'll make two similar things from playdough but change the size then ask you to smush the tall/short/big/little/long one. You could play that for a long time if I didn't call an end to it.

You've finally learned to throw. You've been able to kick a ball for a long time but only recently have really gotten the concept of throwing. You love to walk on tiptoes and are pretty good at doing so for a long time, while running or even while spinning in circles or bouncing. You also love to walk on things. You'll settle for the edge of your sandbox or the bricks around the flower bed but you really love to walk on the big wall in the backyard. You're allowed to with help from daddy but you're fearless and will just climb up the wood pile and start walking there all by yourself if we aren't watching  carefully.

Things you love:

Winnie-the-Pooh. We read the stories to you a couple months ago and you fell in love. Now practically everything you do has to be related to Pooh somehow. You eat Pooh sandwhiches (originally pb&honey (which you pronounce h-h-h) but I've now convinced you any pb sandwhich can be a pooh sandwhich) and Pooh Milk. You have to hear a pooh story everytime you sit on the potty and when you need help falling asleep at night. You have a big Eeyore that I got back in highschool when I went to Disneyworld and he often naps with you. You also love to read to him.

Books of any kind: You still love books and can often be found in your room sitting in your bed or in your recliner "reading" to yourself.

Blocks: Another activity that you can do by yourself for quite a while.

Art: I've succeeded in turning you into a little artist. You love playdough and painting and your drawings are actually starting to look like things - especially the people ones. You also like to draw characters from Winnie-the-Pooh but those are a little harder to decipher, except the bees. If you draw something small that could be a bug, it's probably a bee.

Sharing: You really love to share and often insist upon it even if daddy or I don't really want any of your frozen peas or slightly smashed crackers.

Berries: Your love of sharing stops with berries. You love to go outside with me or daddy and pick berries. You'll often eat all but one or two and say you are saving them for whichever one of us is not there but then eat them on the way back inside. I'm not sure if a single raspberry has made it inside the house yet :-)

Dressing up (yourself and baby). You don't like wearing clothes but you do like wearing your playsilks and wrapping up baby in them.

Things you don't like:

Whipped cream makes you cry. Still not sure why.

Clothing. You get dressed every morning but the next time you go potty, your pants don't normally make it back on. Normally by lunch time, you've lost your shirt too and unless we go outside and I make you put it back on, it stays off. And often by the time daddy comes home, even your undies are gone. You just love be to "nata"

Lots of people - If a place is too crowded, you'll ask for "pick up, too much". Last week at a playdate at church, you climbed into a playpen so you could get away from the other kids and play by yourself!

That's about it. You're a really happy kid and love life. And I love you and can't wait to see what changes the next year brings!


The "rules" of cleaning with a toddler

1) You might think it is a good idea to put on fun music but chances are your toddler will a) either insist on "the horse song" even though you have no idea what she is talking about. When you ask her how it goes, all she can say is "neigh neigh neigh" so you will spend 20 minutes of your "cleaning time" selecting songs that might somehow be related to horses without luck or b) listen happily until a song from Winnie-the-Pooh or Tangled comes on and then throws a fit because she can hear it but can't watch it (apparently toddlers don't understand the concept of soundtracks)

2) When sweeping, it doesn't matter if you choose the most out of the way spot in the living room or kitchen to make your dirt pile, that will suddenly become the very spot where your toddler needs to dance.

3) If you clean and oil your stainless steel fridge then turn your back for one second, your toddler will choose that moment to test her "lunch meat will stick to a fridge" hypothesis.

4) If you are doing a task which is easy for a toddler to do and for which you have all the appropriately scaled down cleaning gear, she will be content playing with blocks next to you. If you are doing a messy or tricky task, she will insist on helping.

5) When you are finished, you can sit down and say "All done" then wait and watch as your toddler copies you, complete with sigh. If asked, "Whose mama's great helper?" she will enthusiastically respond "ME," give you a hug and cause you to remember that she is, indeed, a really great helper and you can't imagine how you ever would have done it all without her.

Do you have any "rules" to add when it comes to cleaning with a little one along as a helper?


Does God do take-backs?

Have you ever found yourself regretting a prayer request?

Say you (hypothetically speaking) have been asking God to really use the next few months to draw you close to Him. You might know that with a newborn comes a season of decreasing bible reading/study so you really want to glean a lot from the pre-baby time. You also may have asked for an increase in patience and endurance.

Then you find yourself facing:
  • a very unreasonable toddler (is there any other kind though?)
  • a big change in your husband's job - that brings about a plethora of changes for you, his not-such-a-fan-of-change wife
  • a hail storm that comes with the unexpected blessing of a new roof and a host of other home repairs. In theory, this is great, especially for the budget that was anticipating many of those repairs anyway, but in reality it is leaving you in a bit of a time/budget crunch since you want to get it all done before baby/winter arrives and now have to make lots and lots of decisions while still suffering from decision burnout from the kitchen remodel
First you might try clarifying your prayer to indicate that you really just meant that you would like a friend to pass along a great book or bible study suggestion. When that doesn't work, you just want to take back the whole request altogether. Patience - I've got plenty. Perseverance? No more of that needed down here God!

No, never done that? Me neither. 


I Made This Furniture

MacKenzie gave me a schematic drawing of a piece of furniture she wanted me to build. It was a wardrobe for Lucy with a clothes-hanging area and three cubbyholes for fabric boxes that hold other clothing. I said "Can't we buy that somewhere?" but she said no, we had to build it. So I bought some 1" x 12" pine boards and gradually got to work. While trying to do this, I had kitchen stuff and garden stuff and around-the-house stuff to do, so it was slow going.

I cut the wood into the proper size pieces using a circular saw. Then, using a pocket hole jig (I previously didn't know this existed. Note also that I bought the cheap version, not the Kreg version, even though it is like my name, and it seems to work well), I drilled holes in order to attach the four frame pieces, and then to attach the vertical center piece and the shelves. The pocket hole jig allows the screw heads to be on the inside of the item so they are less visible. A problem I had here is that some of my screws protruded ever so slightly through the wood pieces they were screwed into, so watch closely when you are putting in screws this way.

For the hanging rod, I bought a piece of rod (I forget what thickness) and cut it to length. I also bought the two pieces that you attach to the side walls to hold the rod.

After all that, I sanded, stained, and sealed the wood. I applied wood conditioner an hour before staining, and I used two coats of Minwax polyurethane. When staining and sealing, I did every accessible surface that was not facing downward, waited for it to dry, then flipped the whole item over and stained/sealed the remaining surfaces.

Here is the result.

Side note: Because I was staining this in the middle of the garage, I was parking the car outside for 3-4 nights. I was able to finish the project and put the vehicle back in the garage only hours before a hail storm came through. The storm caused my neighbor's pickup to acquire a few dents and a cracked windshield.



Phoenix - Day 3

Sunday was brunch. Steph had some friends over to meet us Lucy. Now Lucy has become a lot more friendly/outgoing these last few months but I was still a bit worried how she was going to handle the whole thing since it was getting close to naptime, there would be a lot of strangers and as I have mentioned, she wasn't in the best mood on this trip. Turns out, she had a blast! Craig's theory is that she doesn't mind people being around as long as they bring food. Basically, she ate lots of fruit and "cupcakes" (really muffins but I wasn't going to tell her that after she insisted on calling them cupcakes) and totally enjoyed being the center of attention.

After brunch and a nice nap, we headed off to the park. First we fed some ducks. Okay, we tried to feed the ducks, they just weren't very hungry - or maybe they prefer white bread over wheat. Either way, Lucy didn't really seem to notice.

Then we took a little train around the park.

Lucy was a bit nervous about going through the tunnel - but she didn't really turn white because of it. That's just the natural sunscreen that refuses to be rubbed in.

The train ride ended by circling the playground so of course we had to check it out. Lucy was really excited about the splash park - just not about getting wet. She did eventually touch the water with a few fingers though.

 We dug for dinosaur bones, played on the slides, climbed all over the place and wore her out really really well. Actually, the whole trip wore her out, she ended up sleeping through the night all but the first night! (Compared to a total of 3 times in the previous 23 months of her life. Apparently my life would have been easier this past year and a half if I had just done more sightseeing.)

The next day we were scheduled to go to the Children's Museum. But for some reason, we had a planning fail moment and didn't realize it was closed on Mondays. So we went to the aquarium instead. This aquarium was pretty small and a bit disappointing for the adults although Lucy still seemed to have fun. It was also really dark so these are the best pictures I have. I should have gotten a picture of her touching the starfish but somehow I missed that moment but at least I can convince myself it wouldn't have turned out anyway.

After that, we went out to lunch. I had mentioned how I hadn't had any good Korean food since well, Korea so Steph found a local Korean place. Lucy slept on Craig's shoulder for most of the meal but woke up at the very end. She wanted to try the chopsticks and shockingly, was actually able to pick up and eat a piece of meat on her first try. After that, she decided her fingers were easier though. Now I'm even more determined than ever to improve my Korean cooking skills. That afternoon, we swam a bit more and Lucy and I headed to bed early while Craig and Steph went to a Diamondbacks baseball game. One of Craig's goals is to see how many different baseball parks he can visit so he wasn't about to miss a chance here. The next day we got up early to head back home, full of fun memories but completely exhausted.


Phoenix - Day 1 and 2

Before I get started on the trip details, I have to take a minute to brag on my girl. It only seems fair since I "tattled" on her tantrum throwing. The one part of the trip that I was quite worried about was not really much of an issue - potty time. This was our first trip completely in undies during the day and she did great, even staying dry and clean on our two three hour flights! I put her in covered undies and was just planning on her getting wet - she really really prefers me to help her in the bathroom and there was no way a toddler and a pregnant women would be able to function in an airplane bathroom so I was super proud of her. She only had 4 accidents the whole trip and two of those she told us but we were on the highway/stuck in line on the airplane waiting to get off and it just took too long to get to a bathroom which considered how using all sorts of unfamiliar potties is really good. So she can throw a tantrum to rival the best (or should that be worst) little pageant girl around but I still think she's pretty awesome.

Anyway, back to the trip. We got to Phoenix fairly early on Friday and Lucy napped almost the whole second flight so even though we had been up since 5am (or 3 am Phoenix time) she was actually pretty energetic. We spent a little time at Steph's place letting her relax then headed off to the pool.

They had both a baby pool and a big pool and Lucy couldn't decide which was better so we spent half our time going back and forth between the two. The big pool was fun but a little more work - little Ms. Independent was pretty much convinced she knew how to swim all by herself. She loved jumping off the edge but it took all three of us watching her to make sure she only jumped when someone was there to catch her. Which made it even funnier when we noticed that she was the only little kid that didn't have some sort of floating device. One little girl had a life vest and floaty wings - and she was in the baby pool! Apparently we are negligent parents that attempt to keep our child safe by holding on to her :-) We somehow managed to keep her alive during the pool visit then called it a day and went to bed early.

So we could get up bright and early the next day and head to the botanical garden before it got too hot. We had heard good things about it but I was still a bit skeptical. A botanical garden...in a desert? But it was really neat. I love succulents but didn't realize how big a variety there is out there. When we got there we were informed that some fancy cactus had bloomed the night before. Of course, we had no idea what they were talking about and probably would have missed it except when we walked past a section there were a bunch of people with huge cameras taking pictures of the same flowering cactus.

It was pretty but Lucy really wanted to see a purple flower and luckily we found one pretty quickly. 

This was pretty much the end of the stroller time. She insisted on walking most of it with a few moments of being carried or held so this 

turned into this. But she did let us push baby. 

Luckily she listened when we told her that the cactus were "No Touch!" I was a little worried that she would trip while running and fly head first into a cactus because they were quite close to the trails but no worries. 

Cactus belly shot at 21 weeks. 

And for those of you who actually want to read the sign:

After the hiking, it was time for some butterflies. 

We told Lucy that she wasn't allowed to touch the butterflies but if she was still, maybe one would land on her. She was so good about not reaching for them but would just hold her arm out and say "maybe, maybe." I was wishing and wishing for her sake but alas, none landed on her. She still seemed to enjoy it though. 

We headed home about 10am just as the weather was beginning to really get hot and Lucy was beginning to get really cranky. She fell asleep on the way home which gave us time to do check off one of Craig's trip to dos - try and In-N-Out burger (Verdict = Burger was good but not as good as 5 Guys, fries are bad). The rest of the day was slept relaxing. We watched the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and painted Lucy's toenails for the first time. She had noticed that Steph's were purple and decided that hers needed to be as well. She only sat still for a few toes at at time so by the time all 10 were done, all three of us adults had done at least a toe or two. But we did get them all finished before we carried her off to bed. I think she only made it to around 6pm, there is only so much fun a girl can have before she runs out of energy.

to be continued...