{2} Birth-Days

Austin turned the B-I-G 6 last week. A highly anticipated event. He is officially, according to him, the oldest kid in his kindergarten class, and he's sure he grew, at least, a couple inches on his birthday.

And today is my birthday. Aside, from my fab husband this picture says it all: I've got everything I need {plus a way-cute, wear all the time sweater from Gap and flowers - thank you Cameron! and a little spending cash - thank you Gary and Sharlene! and a little boat trip planned for this weekend - thank you Mom and Dad!}. It was a good day; spent driving the kids to school and scouts, hearing Isaac sing me "Happy Birthday" a dozen different ways, then back to school for open house night, and dinner at Wingers where the Mountain Home Highschool Cheerleaders sang Happy Birthday to me. Really, couldn't ask for more.
While my birthday was a normal day, punctuated with a few very happy-birthday moments, Austin's birthday was pretty much a week-long process.
He took cookies to school the Friday before his b.day. Not just any cookies, YODA cookies that he and I spent the morning making.

The day before his birthday a little box found it's way onto our porch and Isaac carried it around for a couple of hours until Austin got home from a friends house. The suspense was killing them so we let Austin open his Grandma & Grandpa Perigo presents early. Wish they could have seen him open them. He was so happy! Thank you again, Gary and Sharlene.

On the 24th, Austin's actual birthday, Landon had his first Cub Scout Pack meeting. an aside: He earned his Bobcat award. I wish I would have had my camera out when Landon got to hold the flag during the flag ceremony (is it disrespectful to take pictures when your supposed to have your hand on your heart? anyway...) He had a G.R.I.N. from ear to ear holding that flag... and his salute? He was trying so hard to do everything perfect.

We weren't expecting a two-hour event (BBQ and games after awards) but Austin didn't seem to mind putting off his family birthday party until later.

But, when it was time to go home for cake and presents he was ECSTATIC!

Landon took the credit for getting Austin a crystal-growing kit. I'm fine with it. Look how happy they both were!

My FAVORITE part of being with Austin is his energetic spark for life. He has this way of drawing you into whatever he's doing. If I could choose one word to describe him it would be excitement. He's just SO SO happy to do anything and he knows how to make the people around him happy too.
Case in Point: singing him the birthday song and watching him blow out the candles. Cameron teased him and re-lit the candles, saying they were trick candles. Austin just went with it and laughed and laughed.
A few days later we had a "friend party" for Austin. He wanted an army party so we had "birthday boot camp". The kids had target practice with nerf guns, a water balloon "gernade toss", search and rescue - they had to dig through shredded paper to find army guys and toys and candy, a parachute game and camoflauge cupcakes.
I also, accidently, created a new birthday tradition at our house. Since I bought window markers to draw targets on our windows at Austin's party I used them to write a b.day message to Austin on the bathroom mirror. The kids came running in my room in the morning so excited about the message. Landon begged me to write on the mirror to him on his birthday. So, a new tradition.
Now that we've celebrated for me and Austin we're all pumped up to do it again on Monday - for Isaac's "Toy Stoy" party. He'll be 3 and litterelly tells everyone that will listen that he is going to have a Toy Story Birthday. Sometimes, I really wish I could just freeze time and keep everyone the same. They're growing up WAY too fast (and I wouldn't mind not getting any older too!! :) ).


JULY: a recap

July went by like a flash.... but I couldn't leave it undocumented... if you want to know what we did for the bulk of our summer, here's the highlights...
{click pics to enlarge}
Cam and the boys spent the night in our backyard sleeping in a tent just before he left for TDY. The boys LOVED it! I joined them for indoor s'mores and a game of Uno. They were on their own after that! They still talk about the scary ghost story Cameron told them - he got 'em good with that one.
The first week of July the big boys were in summer Science Camp. I thought it would make the no-dad transition a little easier. It went 5 days from 8:30-5:00. They had so much fun and pretty much ate dinner and went to bed after they got home every night - they were so tired. They went to the sand dunes and made valcanoes and sand candles. They went to an Elk Refuge and then swimming in a little lake. They went to the Discovery Center in Boise. They did an egg drop (Landon has plans for a parachute on his next attempt!).

we spent a LOT of time swimming this summer

I got to experience my first set of stitches - okay, it was actually Isaac's first stitches but with three boys I'm surprised it took this long and I'm sure it won't be the first visit to the urgent care for stitches. We passed the time waiting for the doc with a sticker puppet, practicing writing I-S-A-A-C, and a phone call to Cameron. Luckily, I have a great neighbor who took the other kids to her house, gave them dinner and entertained them so I didn't have to drag all the kids with me.

We headed to Utah. Our first stop: Lagoon. Cameron's mom watched the little kids so I could focus on the big ones. It was so fun to do something with just them. I really enjoyed the time I spent with them, watching them have so fun. Austin took his first ride on a roller coaster and it was pure thrill. I love that I got to see it.

next on our Utah agenda was, of course, spending time with Cameron's family. As always, good food and good company.

My dad spent an entire day with my boys. They helped him with yard work and then worked on some of Landon's scout requirements. He helped Landon build a bird house and took extra time at Home Depot to show him all the tools and what they do so he could pass that off in his book too.

After a day with a great friend from highschool - it was so fun to see Lara again and I wish I had a picture - we headed to Park City for a week. We stayed at the base of the alpine slide. The kids looked out the window of our condo every morning anticipating the "rides". They were so excited to be there. We spent a lot of time swimming, hiking, walking, and even a little time on the "rides" (if you can call a bungee trampoline and rock climbing rides.)

We spent a day on the Jordenelle with the boat. We spent a morning at the Farmer's Market at the Canyons. Landon went around asking for free samples. We went on the gondola at least three times. The kids thought it was, yet another, ride. My mom's cool like that and let them ride it as much as they wanted.
Our last night there we went to a disney concert that was so fun for me - music from Lion King, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast... you know the classic disney shows that we watched before Pixar and Hannah Montana took over. Seriously, when I told the kids what we were doing Landon asked if Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody were going to be there!

Also, while we were in Park City our Little Miss Ella learned to sit up on her own. At first it lasted just a few seconds but by the end of July she was a pro.
Last, but not least, we met up with some friends from our Iowa Days. Oh so fun. I'm wishing I had at least one picture. I saw a couple girls I hadn't seen in a year or two. It's as if no time's gone by. I love that.
Then back home to Idaho to wait for Daddy to get back from California. It really was a great summer... I can't believe it's over, but I'm excited to move on to my favorite time of year - Fall!


And So It Begins...

I was talking to Landon, yesterday, about school. He said, "Mom you don't know; you went to school in the 80's."

what I thought was *Well, yeah, the 80's were SO long ago and the kids were SO different then. I really don't know what it's like.*

what I wanted to do was shake him and MAKE it sink into his head.

what I said was "Cameron, what do you think?" (when in doubt ask Dad)

what I gotta do now - get a grip and let it go. he's gonna learn what life's gonna teach him no matter what. If he doesn't want to take my advice who cares? He'll figure it out. No lecturing. Say my peace, tell him I love him and send him to school, right? This is totally new parenting territory for me...

We all said something like that to our parents, didn't we? I knew I'd hear it sometime; just thought he'd be more like, I don't know, 13? Not 8. Geesh.


First Day

Here they are after their first day yesterday. So happy the day went well. So happy they made friends. So happy they have great teachers.And now today on the second day of school I take a break because ... the house is silent. The little kids are napping. The big kids are at school. Time to do something that makes me happy.... just for a minute... then back to the pile of laundry...oh yeah, gotta clean up the playdough that entertained the kids this morning while they waited for Kindergarten to start .... my computer break's only gonna last long enough to type this out. Oh well, there's always tomorrow's nap time...
During our school preperations Austin asked me how to make friends. Also, I've noticed for a long time that Landon likes to just have one best friend. I wanted to encourage him to try to be friends with everyone this year. So... the night before school, during our annual back to school night family night we had a little lesson on making friends.
Each balloon represents a kid in the class. We talked about how "rebecca" is always humming to herself. she's african american. she chases boys at recess. Then Austin popped the balloon to "get to know her on the inside". we found out she can tell hillarious jokes and will make you laugh when you talk to her.
Each of our balloon "friends" were different and a little scary to get to know but when we "got to know them" we found out we had things in common with all of them. Then I gave the kids 5 "silly bands" (depending on where you live they are the best thing to trade since pokemon cards) and told them *at recess* give one away to each kid they got to know and tell me something about them when they got home. Then I would give them a whole pack of silly bands. The kids were excited to have a way to break the ice with strangers. (Landon just keeps his in his pocket, cuz he's in 3rd grade now so it's not as cool I guess...)
Kindergarten. He's been waiting for a long time for this day. Oh I love him. He's got the best attitude. His excitement rubs off on all of us. He's going to have so fun in school. And he is READY. Just wish it was a full day instead of half. Although, I really do miss him!love the backpack picture - it's as big as him! It has all his school supplies in it but still - it's huge! and he loves it.

picked out everything from his shoes to his shirt to his silly band colors; layed them all out the night before; he was up and dressed by 7:00 (huge, since he hasn't been waking up until 8:30 during the summer)

... and my big 3rd grader! can't believe it. Really, where DOES the time go? I think Landon is going to get a bit of a reality shock this year when he learns some concepts he hasn't mastered already (can't wait for him to think, huh? I don't know everything...I'm also a little scared for him to realize that; might be a tough year) hopefully he'll rise to the challange and just do it without getting discouraged - My wish for him for this year.
Landon has grown up so much lately. We're on the brink of the "tweens" and we can all sense it. He's excited for the responsibility of picking up Austin from his class. Sometimes he says something and I think, "oh there you are - my sweet little boy!" other times I think, "wo! you are becoming such a cool little man." I'm feeling a sense of loss for my little guy right now. He's just growing up too fast! Love him!


The Way I'll Remember

I'm sure this is the way I will always remember Ella's {baby-hood}

At six months Ella's prized possesion is her blankie. She has four soft super-thin blankets {reminiscent of Austin's beloved piece of fabric, he slept with for years}. Her blankets entertain her when she's happy. They calm her down when she's sad. They keep her company in the car. They soothe her into sleep. Her blankets might just be one of my prized possesions too!

she ROCKS her double chin and chubby rolls. Everywhere I go people comment on how rolly-polly she is. When else in life do you get complimented on your chub? Six month weigh in: 18.5 {adorable} pounds

This is her favorite doll. Remember when all Landon wanted was ANYTHING with wheels (he went through a tractor stage, a hotwheels stage, a train stage, etc)? Ella's much the same with dolls. Just born that way. She loves them.

I wish I could just freeze her like this forever!
Things to know about Ella at 6 months:
*18.5 pounds
*kicks her thunder thighs ALL THE TIME. The only time she is not kicking her legs is when she's asleep or sitting - even when she's sitting she kind of shuffles her weight from leg to leg in a sort of sitting kick
*sitting is her prefered position. She will do sit ups to try to get into sitting position from laying down. (she also does sit ups to watch me leave the room when I lay her down in her crib) she can roll but hasn't figured out that in order to sit up she has to roll over and push herself up.
*she rarely cries.
*she has discovered her voice, though and just learned to squeal. she squeals when she's hungry and when she's happy or excited
*she makes this "mmmm" sound just before she starts nursing. she loves the bottle too - she reaches for it and can hold herself, which comes in quite handy in the car (which is where she learned to hold her own bottle - when we were driving to Yellowstone)
*she will smile when she sees you
*she loves books - not to read, to open and chew on
*she definitely loves to put things in her mouth - *icky incidnent* she sat in a grocery cart for the first time yesterday. first thing she did was put the end of the buckle strap in her mouth - NAST... I might just have to buy one those shopping cart covers that seem like such a hassle and waste of money, but with winter germs coming, may be a good idea
*she loves teensy bits of meat from the grown up's food. She also loves rice and oat cereal. Won't even open her mouth for orange veggies (like corn and sweet potatoes).


Oh WHAT a Summer!

We have had so much fun the past six weeks; The stuff lasting memories are made of! School starts on Monday so it's back to the real world. I'm trying to frantically get caught up on everything from housework, to email, to haircuts (no kidding, Landon hasn't had a hair cut since June!), to all the errands and responsibilities I've been putting off the past month and a half.

Most recently, we gave ourselves our first ever real family vacation. The first time we weren't traveling to visit family (although, you know we love to do that! And there are plenty of pictures of us doing that this last month too - we had a great time with our families this summer). Just the six of us; we went to Big Sky Montana. Montana, you ask? Yes. Montana. A resort town 40 miles from West Yellowstone. The perfect combination for a family of {mostly} boys all different ages. It was a great great week.

click on images to enlarge (it REALLY bugs me the way this all downloaded - sorry about the spacing and jumbled sentences. I might try to fix it later, or not. Gotta get going on dinner and then Young Womens... no rest for the weary, I tell ya!)

We spent an afternoon eating at a motorcycle-theme resteraunt and watching the kids do "rides".

We took the kids to Toy Story 3 one day, after a hike, exploring Bozeman, lunch at a great mexican place, and play time at a park. Isaac loved the 3D glasses and called them his Popcorn Glasses from the Popcorn Place. {I think that's the only reason he cares about movies - popcorn}

We stayed in a 3 story town home in the middle of the woods at the top of a huge peak. It was so beautiful there. In the winter you can just and ski down to the lifts from your front door. (200 acres of lifts) We were at 8,000 ft and surrounded by trees and mountains. We saw a bears just outside our "little house" twice.

We spent a day at Yellowstone Park, of course. The kids LOVED it. So did I, actually. They kept saying how awesome it was. Isaac kept telling us it was
"goy-geous". Perfect place for three little boys to run around. How do you know they had fun? They were covered in dirt by the time we were done.

One morning Cameron took the older boys on a white-water raft tour (I wanted to go but the hotel daycare was closed for the summer - next time!!). They all had a blast, and came back exhausted. While they were doing that I walked around "down town" with the little kids, and explored. Isaac found a tee-pee and a playground so we were quite entertained.

More pictures of Yellowstone. It is beautiful there.

The wildlife was unbelievable. I've never seen so many buffalo! We probably saw over 200 - including one up close and personal in the parking lot where our car was. We saw every animal listed on the map of animals in Yellowstone. Seriously, we were in wild-life heaven.

Ella was an angel-baby, as usual. She was so so good. Didn't mind the stroller, car, or strange bed. Little champ. I love her!
To be honest all the kids were so well-behaved. We had little fighting and lots and lots of family bonding.

I love how he is so excited about little things like this tree trunk.
Good kids, I have. I just love 'em!