Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson

Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson
Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Moody Gardens Trip

This last week, Brett and I were lucky enough to both have 2 days off work together. That rarely happens since I now am working on many of his days off. We decided to take advantage of this for a little mini family vacation. Brett was given 4 free tickets to Moody Garden at Galveston Island near Houston. Its a neat discovery center with a lot of attractions. We were also excited to be able to attend the temple in Houston. So we booked a hotel and headed off on an adventure! We left very early Wednesday morning to start the 6 hour trip to Houston.  Kayla did really well in the car, sleeping most of the time. She's so funny to listen to when she was awake in the car because of her talking sounds. She was back there babbling and it was so precious!
Sunrise in South Texas. I couldn't help but think that it looked
like a scene out of Lion King in Africa. :)

 Whenever we head out of the valley, one of our biggest delights is eating at all the great places they don't have here. Its interesting because this is a very big area with a big population, but there are a lot of popular chains that haven't made their way to the deep south. We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen - yum! We packed some baby food for Kayla and my mommy brain forgot bibs. So we tucked her burp cloths into her dress and fed her while at the restaurant. It looked pretty ridiculous, but it worked. :) Kayla is getting better and better at eating baby food. 
Because we didn't have a baby sitter, we were unable to attend a temple session together. Brett went first, while Kayla and I hung out at a local mall. While I was in the session later, Brett took some great photos of our little lady outside the temple! They turned out so cute! It was wonderful, as always, to attend the temple, though not the same without Brett there with me. I love the Spirit that is always present and the reaffirmation of my Heavenly Father's great love for all of His children. I love how each time I attend the temple, I come away with something new. Line upon line, as Heavenly Father sees us ready to receive and understand, I suppose. 
Looking to the temple

She'll go inside someday!

Kayla LOVES the water and apparently, she was really wanting to
jump right in to the reflection pools. 

This looks like shes praying! Our pious little baby!

She's looking to Heaven! 
Houston LDS Temple

After I came out, I was so happy to see my husband and baby waiting there.
I'm so grateful that we are an eternal family!

That night we had Pei Wei for dinner and stayed at a Marriot Spring Hill Suites hotel. It was really nice! We got up the next day and met up with Brett's former co-worker from Local News 8 in Idaho Falls, Ido and her husband Blaine. They just moved to Houston for her new job. It was great to have friends there and they were able to use the extra 2 tickets and join us at Moody Gardens. 
Moody Gardens is a cool place with several different attractions. We had tickets to it all, and had a great time! First we went to the rainforest pyramid, where they had lots of plants and flowers native to the rainforests in different parts of the world. They also had a butterfly exhibit. Kayla seemed pretty interested in everything around her, but mostly other children sparked her interest. She loves other kids and would start laughing and kicking her legs whenever she saw other kids! I love my social little butterfly!
That bright orange bird behind Kayla was such a beautiful color! 
Here's the same bird up close.

I LOVE that blue color on this bird! 

Monarch butterfly 
Told you she was having a good time! :)

These plants were beautiful and huge!

We put Kayla up next to them for size comparison, but curious Kayla
wanted to reach out and pull the leaves off everything. In fact, after we left the
Rainforest section, I found a little piece of leaf she was chewing on! I have
no idea where she got it from! Luckily it wasn't poisonous!

She looks like a little goddess calling down the sun!

Kayla always got excited when we took her out of the stroller. :)

Kayla and Papi!

Our little family with the parrots
 After we finished up in the Rainforest and the butterfly exhibits, we watched a film about the reef. It was handy since I could nurse Kayla during the film. We then headed over to Aquarium Pyramid. It wasn't the biggest Aquarium I've ever been to, but it was pretty decent! Kayla LOVED watching all the different fish and otters and seals. When they would swim towards her, she would squeal with excitement!

I love Sea horses! They're so cute!

Kayla was asleep by the time we got to the penguin section, but
we adults stayed and watched these little guys for quite some time.
They're very entertaining!
 The third attraction we went to was the Music Discovery Center. We went to a 4-D ride about dinosaurs. Since I had Kayla, we sat in the back on a folding chair, but according to Brett, Ido, and Blaine, it was pretty lame. :) The musical portion of Moody Gardens was pretty cool for kids, but for me, it was just really loud and hectic! There were a lot of instruments that kids could play on, karaoke, and sound experiments, all of which was too young for us and too old for Kayla. They did have this adorable baby-sized piano though. We snapped some photos of our little prodigy. 
She looked at us to be sure we were ready for the performance to begin

And then she started tickling the ivories!

She got so passionate in her playing that her arms were too quick for the camera!

And here was the final chord! 
 After we went to the Music Discover Center, we took a boat tour around the bay. It was nice to be out on the water and get a good view of the Island. One of the cruises I've been on was out of Galveston, so it was fun to reminisce a bit as well. We'd been on our feet most of the day, so it also felt great to sit awhile.
This is the line that the water reached after Hurrican Ike came through!
It did a lot of damage to Galveston a few years ago.

The Pyramids behind us are the Moody Garden buildings

A view of Moody Gardens

Our group on the back of the boat.
Blaine, Ido, Heather, Brett and Kayla
 After we finished up at Moody Gardens, we all drove back into the Houston area (Houston is HUGE) and had dinner at Panera. We love Panera or St. Louis Bread Co., and stocked up on bagels. Panera is always a meal destination when we head to either San Antonio or Houston. We said goodbye to Blaine and Ido and hit the road. We've had a mirror on our back window to see Kayla with since she was born, but after our vacation to Idaho, which we took the mirror with us, we hadn't put it back up until this trip. Kayla is now big enough that she can see herself in the mirror and she can see us looking back at her. I absolutely loved playing peek a boo with her in the mirror. It makes my heart burst that every time she'd see my face, the biggest smile would break onto hers. She also loved seeing her "best friend" in the mirror. She gets so excited to see herself in the mirror. We've put her in front of mirrors quite a bit and maybe that is why she loves other kids so much. Either way, its pretty funny to hear her laughing with herself in the mirror. She's such a fun, happy baby!
Here's a shot of Kayla laughing at me in the mirror.

She got fussy awhile into the drive so I climbed in back to entertain her a bit.
I snapped this picture as she was making lots of babbling sounds.
Her new favorite sounds to make are the B and D sounds.
She says DaDaDa all the time! Its so cute! She's so expressive!
 We had a beautiful sunset driving home! Here are a few unedited photos I shot from the backseat while we were driving! Breathtaking views that aren't really common in the here in the valley because of the lack of cloudy days/evenings. It reminded me of the sunsets back in Idaho. 

It was a great little trip and we loved being able to spend our days off together!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kayla 7 Months

My happy, smiley baby girl!
Kayla has successfully made it through the first half of her first year and is charging forward into the 2nd half. Kayla is such a joy in our lives. I can't imagine life without her. She makes us laugh everyday and watching her explore and discover the world around her is magical. Kayla is growing and changing every day. This month was a great one for our little Kayla Rae!

Kayla is eating solid foods like a pro now, although still very messy. She has had carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce, avocado, peaches and both rice and oatmeal cereal. Though she is a bit fickle some days, she has eaten all of the above without too much protest.
She cut her two bottom teeth a few weeks ago. They are both through the skin but haven't come all the way up yet.
Kayla started going to daycare at the gym for about an hour at a time a few days a week. She has loved being with other kids. She never fusses at all while there.
Kayla caught her first bug this week. She has a runny nose and mild fever off and on. Its sad to see her not as her normal happy self.
Kayla is working on crawling. She gets up on her hands and feet and sort of launches herself forward. She hasn't mastered the concept of moving her hands along with her feet.
She loves standing and walking with help. She pulls herself up on things that are short enough for her to reach. Anytime she has the chance, she plants her feet and loves standing. She will hang out standing next to the couch for quite awhile. 
She's getting more and more excited about all of her toys. 
Kayla loves loves loves seeing herself in the mirror. If she's ever grumpy, we can put her in front of the mirror and a big smile pops up on her face! 
She is starting to wave at people. She always waves at herself in the mirror. 
Kayla's sleep habits are slowly improving from the vacation, although I think teething is throwing her off a bit. She occasionally still wakes up once at night. Sometimes she's hungry but usually she just needs to be rocked before she can go back to sleep.
Her babbles are sounding more and more like words as she's learning to make more consonant sounds. 
Kayla loves her daddy and always lights up when he comes home from work. 

Each day I wake up excited to see what Kayla will smile at or discover. She really is a wonderful baby and we are very blessed to have her in our family. 
Kayla playing with her house from Grandma Betsy, Grandpa Corey and Aunt Haley

My beautiful little lady!

Her crawling stance!

She has a better push-up stance than I do! :)

Kayla's new exersaucer! Thankfully it keeps her entertained for awhile so I can get things done around the house.

She's just so beautiful!

We tried to take a few more pictures, but she wasn't in a smiley mood since she's not feeling well.

This face just makes me laugh! 

Our big girl prefers to stand! :)