Jed's First Day of First Grade

8.29.2016

Dear Jed,

You handsome stud, you.  It's here.  Your first day of first grade!  You were busting at the seams with excitement this morning as you dressed in the brand new outfit you helped pick out.  We parked and played on the playground for a few minutes while I held back the tears.  You see, Jed, you're growing up!  It's hard for me to let go, to give you the freedom you deserve to make your own choices and to spend more time away from me.  It's good and essential for you to become more independent, but gee whiz, does it pull at my heart strings.  It even makes me a little nervous!

I hope you're happy at school this year, Jed.  I hope you make some good friends and that you do well in your academics.  I hope you never ever feel lonely or stupid or bad because you're a good kid, Jed!  As your mom, I am your biggest fan.  I see many of your weaknesses but I also see all of your strengths.  You make me so proud, Jed.  I know you are smart and caring and capable of absolutely anything.

As the bell rang this morning, you anxiously ran to your classroom door.  But before you entered, you remembered to give me a sweet hug and a kiss.  It melted my heart.  I'm really going to miss you while you're at school all day long this year!

By the way, your teacher called before you got off the bus today.  I knew it couldn't be a good thing getting a call from your teacher on the very first day of school.  Apparently, you punched another boy and gave him a bloody nose!!!  Come to find out, you were playing superheroes with some friends at recess.  The play-fighting got a little too close and suddenly became real!  But that wasn't the only problem that occurred today...

So your first day of school got off to a rough start.  You're a creature of habit and this new routine and new teacher and new everything has you feeling like your life has just been turned upside-down!  Don't worry, Jed.  We'll get this all figured out.  It might take a few weeks for the dust to settle, but we'll adjust together.

Remember how much I love you!  No matter what.

Love,

Mom
     

Wrapping up Summer at Ross Falls

8.22.2016

For the entire past week Levi has been walking around {and going places!} wearing one green size 8 sandal and one yellow size 10 sandal.  I swear, that kid would lose his head if it wasn't attached.  I keep waiting for the other sandal matches to show up someplace, but they haven't.  It's kind of funny.  I have a feeling I'll find them sometime after school starts... which is in exactly one week!

For the first time in my entire life I think I am actually okay with saying goodbye to summer and welcoming a new school year.  Part of it is because I'm getting bigger and slower with each passing week.  The commencement of Fall just means I'm that much closer to meeting our newest family member!  Plus, a regular routine is sounding awesome.  Jed and Levi are frankly bored at home.  A few hours away from each other every day will do them some good.  They're cute and play well together most of the time, but gee whiz are they competitive and wow are they physically cruel when they fight!  On top of that, Levi seems to calculate whether the punishment is worth retaliating; it almost always is.

For instance, just earlier this week, I oversaw Jed scrub his toilet and sink after he severely scratched his brother.  Levi waited until Jed was done cleaning and then got his revenge with a mean scratch of his own!  I took him outside to weed the front courtyard.  I'm not sure what we're going to do with that kid.  We've tried taking away toys, time-out, spanking, chores... but revenge always trumps the consequence.  "But Mom, I get angry a lot," he said to me when I sat down and talked with him one day.  I laughed.  I know!  Hopefully we can channel that competitiveness and aggression into something productive one day.

Anyway, the shopping is all done and both boys are super excited to start school.  I can't help but be excited along with them. Jed will be going into first grade and Levi will start preschool.  We live in such a great community and school district.  I feel at ease knowing the boys have supportive teachers and a good group of kids from which to choose solid friends.

But until then, we're going to enjoy our last sunny and completely carefree summer days doing the things we love to do best.

These pictures are from an afternoon trip into the South Hills last week when the boys needed to get out of the house and burn some energy!  I packed my camel backpack with water, jerky, cheese, crackers, and apple slices to eat at the top of the short Ross Falls hike.  Clouds moved in over the sun and we got to explore the falls in balmy 70 degree weather.  It was nearly perfect.  I'm hoping our last week of summer has many more moments like these.  I love my boys.  And I love spending quality time with them.       

Third Baby Bump Date: 25 Weeks

8.09.2016
^^Wow, does five weeks make a difference!  Check out how I wore the same shirt just over a month ago.  Whoa.^^

It's time to document this growing bump that feels like a heavy soccer ball and the baby that we're all getting super excited about welcoming to the family!

How far along: 25 weeks plus some.  Closing in on the third trimester.  Whew!

Size of baby boy: According to the books, approximately 9 inches in length and 1.5 pounds in weight.  Or he can also be described as the size of a baseball glove or a Napa Cabbage.  However, when I went in for my last appointment over a week ago, I told the doctor I was hoping for a "light weight" 8 pound baby.  She shook her head as she measured my stomach and said, "Don't plan on it!  Baby is measuring big."  They'll most likely induce this baby a week early just as they did Levi.  I hope if it does come to that decision that labor will go just as smoothly and quickly!  So keep your fingers crossed with me. 

Stretch Marks: Who knows?  Probably.  Don't care anymore.

Weight Gain: About 22 pounds.  I'm ready to quit counting now.

Sleep:  Still sleeping well with a pillow between my knees.  Our mattress rocks!  However, I've turned into the ultimate night owl.  I sometimes don't go to sleep until 1AM or even 2AM.  There are just so many projects to do and so much to learn (I'm trying to master skin tones right now) about photography and it feels like life as I know it is about to end in approximately three months!  Time is running out!  I know that my fear isn't entirely true though.  All my projects and things will just be put on hold for approximately six months or a bit longer.  I'll come back to them eventually.

Symptoms: All this lack of sleep coupled with photo shoots, babysitting, and fun summer activities with my boys have apparently taken a toll on my immune system.  I've been completely wiped-out sick with a stomach bug twice in three weeks!  It's no fun.  I think I need to slow down?  Fortunately, being sick with a six year old and a four year old is pretty mellow.  They're happy about all the extra screen time and I'm happy about a long nap... even if Levi did decide to eat ALL the candy in the pantry for lunch yesterday.  :)

Still struggling with pelvic floor swelling and pain so I sit down and kick up my feet a lot.  Three and half more months, I chant!  But putting my feet up often is probably good as my ankles have begun swelling from time to time during the last two weeks as well.  Water!  I'm trying my best to chug plenty of water.

Favorite moments:  Levi comes up to my belly often to give his baby brother kisses.  "I love that big fat baby!" he exclaims.  Me too.  I can't wait for you to meet him.
   

Pierre's Hole Bike Race

8.08.2016
^^Biking buddies: Bron, Dan, and Bryce^^

This weekend Bron conquered Pierre's Hole, a 30 mile mountain bike race around Grand Targhee, for the third time. He got a PR coming in at under 4 hours. So proud (and slightly jealous) of my man!  One of the hardest parts of pregnancy for me this summer has been sitting out on adventures like this!  But there will be next year.  :)

Pierre's Hole is no joke.  It's a grueling race that takes preparation and mental fortitude.  My friend Shelly and I waited and cheered with our kids to see our men come over the finish line.  As Bron climbed off his bike, he was visibly shaking.  He had been cramping up and needed salt stat!  But friends and strangers came to the quick rescue with pistachios and salt pills.  And after a good meal and conversation, Bron was tired but as good as new.  Surprisingly, he felt better about that race than ever before!  As he should; his time is proof that he's improving.

Also of note is that Peter Sagan, Olympian and green jersey winner from this year's Tour de France, was there as well!  Such a cool opportunity to say that Bron and his friends raced with a world-known professional.  Peter Sagan schooled everyone when he came in at exactly two hours flat.  Whoa!  I think it's because his bike changes color in the heat.  Yeah, that's totally it.  :)  Haha.

Levi's 4th Birthday Party

8.05.2016
^^My favorite 4 year old!^^

Summer has got to be the best time of year to celebrate a birthday!  There are just so many fun things to do and the party doesn't end until the sun goes down--well after 9:00PM.  It's like a dream!  I know I spoil my kids from time to time, but I just can't help it; they are my whole world.  And so a party at Bass Lake to celebrate Levi's 4th birthday was planned!  Levi picked three of his little friends and we invited them and their families down to our favorite summer paradise for pizza, swimming, paddle boarding, fishing, cake, and a pinata stuffed full of candy.  The weather was warm, the sun was shining, and I'm pretty sure it was a party riot success for everyone!

Here are a couple dozen colorful pictures to prove it.  

Happy Fourth Birthday, Levi!

8.03.2016
 ^^I took Levi to Sips for a special birthday treat: soda and a cookie with a lime on top!^^

Dear Levi,

Happy 4th Birthday!  I want you to know what a spot of sunshine you are in my life.  Happy, energetic, and charismatic, you are a whole lot of personality bottled up inside one short body!  You often make me laugh out loud and then want to pull my hair out in frustration all in the same ten minutes.  But still, I am irrevocably smitten with you.  I can't help admiring your blonde curls, the smooth shapes of your cheeks, or that contagious grin.

You know exactly what to say and do to work me over, Levi.  "I love you, Mama," you sweetly mention.  Or sometimes you place both little hands on my cheeks and give me a quick kiss on the lips!  (It's to tease your dad too!  Haha.)  Other times, if you need my attention, you gently say, "Excuse me, Mama."  I have to stop what I'm doing to look at you then!  Little boy, have you got me figured out, and many other folks figured out too.  In fact, there's been times when I truly cannot tell if you are faking a cry or if it's real!  The whining through, especially when I say 'no', well, that's real.  :)  At least I know that!

Levi, you are one smart and independent little boy.  It's awesome because I don't feel like I need to dote on you hand and foot; you grab yourself your own drink of water.  I don't worry about you much.  You can hold your own and generally obey the rules like not leaving the yard.  You know what you want and go get it!  But that's the flip side to your independence.  You may be perfectly capable but you're not responsible... yet.  For instance, I've gotten out of the shower on multiple occasions this summer to find Otter Pop wrappers scattered throughout the house.  On the kitchen floor are six plastic tops which you have snipped off with scissors all by yourself, each oozing with melting sticky popsicle juice.  My floors are so dirty.  Come to think of it, everything is covered in crumbs or hand-prints.  This independent streak keeps me picking up mess after mess all day long!  I hope this lets up soon as you learn and grow because my energy to keep up is bottoming out.

We Beat the Heat Camping

8.01.2016

We escaped the 100 degree heat this weekend and headed into the South Hills for a little camping adventure!  The boys had been looking forward to this trip all week and they were busting at the seams with excitement.  (Full disclosure: I drove home to sleep and drove back first thing in the morning because camping while pregnant sounded like self-torture.)

When we arrived at our spot, it was twenty-five degrees cooler and it actually started to rain.  What a pleasant relief from the heat!  Fortunately, the rain didn't last long.  Our evening was full of fire starting, roasting hot dogs, exploring trails, s'mores, and all sorts of silly shenanigans.  At one point, I sat with Levi in what's left of my lap in front of the fire.  He and Jed traded off telling long and intricate stories about Green Ninja and Blue Ninja and Red Ninja.  It was a hoot just to listen to!

I helped Bron tuck the boys into bed around 10:30PM and headed down the mountain in the truck.  Except for a lousy night's sleep, I didn't miss a thing!  Jed and Levi did surprisingly well sleeping though.  I arrived back first thing in the morning as the boys were clamoring out of the tent.  We ate muffins and Donald Duck orange juice (Levi's favorite) and packed up.  Because Bron has everything organized into bins that we can just throw into the back of the truck, camping was a virtually painless chore!  I was impressed.  We can totally do this over and over again.

I hope the boys will remember this little one night adventure for a while because it's a sweet family memory I'm going to hold on to.