Tuesday, July 30, 2013

These Two

I'm sitting in the shade with my feet up, laptop in my lap, enjoying a light breeze while dinner cooks. It's still a hundred freaking degrees in the shade ta 6:37 p.m., but every time the wind blows it feels almost comfortable.


The kids appear to be playing "swim class." It was assumed by both parties that Claire would be the coach, which both cracks me up and makes me nod because of course, and she is directing Landon's activities with great authority and a surprising amount of swim drill knowledge.


I vowed on Sunday that I would be a better mother this week- that I would have more patience and energy and less yelling and not-patience. But it appears the energy situation is not something I change through will alone, causing my patience levels to remain about the same, so instead, I've changed my approach to evenings. Now instead of going straight to the couch and leaving the kids to kids play and scream and hurt mommy's head, we have plans and activities! For example, yesterday we all went straight to the big table and colored in work book pages (well, they colored, I answered emails on my laptop in between bouts of "grading" their papers). Tonight I made dinner as fast as possible, threw it in the oven, and took them outside to swim without looking at the couch once. I'm still in my work clothes because going in my bedroom might make me lay down in my bed, but I'm sitting-- sitting and watching them tire themselves out while laughing and giggling and thinking mom is awesome instead of the meanest. I can only blame the exhaustion for why I didn't think of this sooner.


Not that free play is a bad thing- I'm all about kids entertaining themselves, it's just that at the end of the day, they pick constant fights with each other because they've missed each other so much that only the comfort of the others' screams will fill the holes in their hearts. It goes much better on the weekends.


Here they are playing doctor on Sunday. Again, it was assumed Claire would be the doctor.


JP and I were watching with soft smiles on our faces and then Claire whacked the hell out of Landon's knee with the wrong side of a toy hammer and our sweet smiles turned to belly laughs.


That girl- loving, sweet, EXUBERANTLY affectionate. Fierce, smart, funny, VERBAL, and extremely polite and well-behaved.

And Landon, so great with her. I still owe him a birthday post, but in case I don't get to it soon enough, I have to capture what I think is the most special thing about him right now (and really, for the past few years)- every time he gets something special, EVERY TIME, even if Claire is nowhere around and the thing he has is small, specially for him, and/or not something that lends itself easily to sharing, his first question is always, "can Claire have some?!" It's such a generous and sweet thing about him.


Yesterday JP had to run an early errand, so I dropped the kids off at their respective camps in the morning. Landon went first, to a new camp near our house, and when it came time to say goodbye he gave me a brief hug and started to turn away. Claire marched over, yelled, "Bye Bye my Yandon!", gave him a fierce hug, and then grabbed his face with her chubby little hands and pulled him down for a smacking kiss on the lips. Claire turned around, ready to march off to her own school, and Landon ran off to the ten new best friends he was about to meet. The two of them crack me up in the best, most heart-bursting kind of way.

Which is almost always true, but man, it is so much easier to remember after a long day at work when their screams are outdoors and accompanied by splashing.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Two Favorite Channels

It is fitting that I'm watching HGTV while I type this because I am ALL OVER the home decorating right now. Sadly, not so much with the renovating, but if I ever come across a few (ten) thousand dollars just lying around, that wall dividing our kitchen and living room will be GONE. But on the decorating front, the discount stores and I are on fire. I accidentally walked into TJ Maxx on Friday and next thing I knew, my cart was full. I found nearly every single thing we needed to finish the baby's room (curtains! a rug! picture frames! a ceramic bird! switching out all the queen guest bedding to compliment the crib bedding, which I pretended I wasn't going to do, but I'm borrowing the crib set from a friend so it's free and who can resist the perfect comforter for $30? and then the sheets, blanket, and towels in the attached bath need to match and then it all went downhill/uphill from there), dining room (curtains!), and add an accent or three (awesome clearance mirror! throw pillows! a cozy throw!) to the living room. Basically I'm adding all the finishing touches I would have added slowly over the past 15 months, but I couldn't because of our strict budget and now that I've given myself a teensy amount of spending latitude, the Ross, Marshall's, and TJ Maxx gods are all smiling and showing their gifts upon me. I have to stay away now though, I don't want to push their love too far.

coming together

Claire does a lot of my erranding with me. Today she voluntarily wore a dress for the first time in at least a year (one I've been begging her to wear for months; today she selected it in on her own and we were a very mismatched pair with me in my cropped yoga pants, ribbed tank, and frizzy hair) and then walked across the Ross parking lot with her glasses, purse, and tiny kitty like the papparazzi were after her.


The kids and I drove to Austin and back yesterday to visit friends and pick up a car load (literally) of hand-me-down baby items from friends who are done. It's basically everything I gave away when I thought I was done.


The kids LOVE it. "Babies" has been their favorite game for months, and having actual props made their day today almost more awesome than they could stand. I've now tucked most of the stuff safely away in baby 3's closet, but I did leave the papasan chair and play gym out for a few more days. Claire had at least three animals carefully tucked in the former and Landon got a surprising amount of enjoyment out of the latter.


And now that I've flipped to the Food Network (my other favorite channel), it's time for this week's menu, because if I write it down I'll make it and not order takeout. Plus this week is all family favorites:

Sunday: Ina Garten's Greek Salad (j'adore that recipe; you can also double the dressing and add a pound of cold cooked pasta for a great Greek pasta salad dish), grilled chicken, warm pita bread, TJ's tzatziki sauce, oven fries, fresh fruit (one of my very favorite summer meals)
Monday: Verde chicken enchiladas, refried beans, rice (everyone's fave)
Tuesday: Tomato basil soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit (Claire's fave)
Wednesday: Meatball stroganoff, green beans, rolls (Landon's fave)
Thursday: Panko crusted fish (TJ's, frozen), rice/pasta mix, steamed veggies, rolls (JP/kids' fave)
Friday: Pasta with tomato cream sauce, bread, raw veggies (JP's fave)

Let the week of cooking (and not shopping) begin!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Intentions and Dining Room Balls

Every night I go to bed with the intention of writing a real blog post the next day. But then I go to work and try to function there for my full 9 hours (or at least the majority of them, there is a period of time in the mid-afternoon that I fear will be lost to me until I have this baby), and then I pick up the kids, closing my eyes to rest at every stoplight and trying not to instantly say "no" when they ask to play at the park on the way out, and then we come home and I have to sit on the couch before counting down to when I really absolutely HAVE to start dinner, and then we eat and I find myself back on the couch while JP does dishes, baths, and the brushing of teeth, and then we read our books on the couch because it is simply too much to ask that I walk to their bedroom 20 yards away, and then JP refills my water and I turn on the TV or read for an hour or three before going to bed. I do okay during the day when I'm busy and distracted, but I am DONE after about 6 p.m., which unfortunately is about 2 hours earlier than I can possibly be done with my day. I do genuinely think that having 2 kids is a million times easier than having 1, but there's no doubt that pregnancy is easier when you don't have little ones who look to you for food and answers to life's great questions while you're busy gestating. I hate feeling so drained and tired and DONE in the evening, and I really can't imagine every evening being like this for the next 16 weeks, so I'm choosing to believe this is a growth spurt for the baby and my belly (which has, incidentally, doubled in size in the last 14 days, it's unreal) and I will soon be able to function again after sundown.

Which all a way of saying that growing a human is hard and I'm over it. If someone could please just give me credit for previous time served and hand me my baby girl, that would be great. Her absurdly cute organic patterned diapers are stacked on her dresser and she has a trio of ceramic birds on her shelf, so I think we've got the essentials covered. And my blog is suffering, surely developmental biology doesn't want to get in the way of that.

In other news, another tree limb fell from the sky this week:


It landed on our garage roof sometime between our Sunday backyard cookout and Monday morning when I walked out to my car to head to work. I snapped a picture, texted it to JP (who was still in bed), and pulled out of the driveway to head downtown. JP's initial, probably half-asleep response: "is that our garage?". No honey, I sent you a picture of someone else's garage at 7 a.m. for fun. He and his muscles managed to pull it off our surprisingly undamaged roof (I wouldn't have given the garage that much credit) and now it awaits the chipper on Friday when the long-scheduled tree trimmers come to give our trees a haircut that costs as much as the beautiful sideboard I'm not buying for our living room. Not that I'm bitter- I love our trees. Our giant oak makes my heart happy every time I drive up to our house and our backyard is a shady and comfortable oasis on even the hottest of Texas summer days. Iloveourtrees Iloveourtrees Iloveourtrees. I will be chanting that on Friday as I sign the trimming bill.

On the kid front, L & C seem to be doing fine raising themselves in the face of my exhaustion and general evening neglect.


If possible, I think Claire is even more impatient than me regarding her baby sister's arrival. Every day when I pick her up from school she asks when "Hawoween" will be here (because she knows the answer to the question, "Mommy when is the baby coming out?" is "After Halloween"). She lets me know multiple times a day that "I just really wish our baby was here Mommy" and "I just really wish I could hold our baby Mommy." She is full of plans for caring for the baby, and is pretty sure the baby is going to sleep in her bed (with her) when she is bigger.

Landon still thinks we should have a 4th baby, but only if we get another grown-up along with it. He says it like that's how he expects it would happen, but when asked, he wasn't clear on whether we'd be getting a sister-wife or a sister-husband. He was also appalled when I casually mentioned that he might one day have his own room, so now I'm thinking I can throw all three kids in the big room (just like camp!) and still keep my beautiful guest room after the baby graduates from her crib. I can dream anyway.

On Monday, I was sitting on the couch (of course) pretending to read through documents in preparation for the testimony I took on Tuesday (which I suppose could be another reason why I'm tired; even though testimony doesn't make me nervous anymore, it's still incredibly draining to ask someone questions about complex financial and accounting issues for 8 hours), Claire walked up to me, put her little hands on my cheeks, and said, with a great sigh and much wistfulness, Mommy, I just really wish I could have a baby elephant.

All throughout my testimony on Tuesday I would think of her voice and that moment and have to hold back a smile. That girl, she kills me.

And finally, my new dining room is nearly complete! JP hung my $10 Garden Ridge finds and hand-me-down 100 lb. mirror we got from my mom and I love it all so much!


I also love my bowl of balls and couldn't be more pleased with their $7 addition to a very expensive wedding gift we've never had a home for.


I've picked out curtains, but I'm having to stagger that purchase with the items we still need for the baby. I can be patient when waiting to start a project, but once I'm in, it's very hard not to go from 0-100% complete immediately, so not pressing checkout on that internet shopping cart is killing me. But, every time we sit down to eat at our big table just steps from the kitchen, with its empty chair just waiting for baby 3 to join us, I'm so very happy with our dining space. Even if dinner is tonight's masterpiece of mac and cheese for the kids and thai takeout for the adults. Last time around I don't think I stooped that low on the family dinner front until I was about 39 weeks pregnant, so it will be interesting to see where I can take it from here.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekending, briefly

I must go to bed. I have to be up and at work early to finish prepping for the testimony I'm taking Tuesday morning, but I'm in such a good mood and I have these pictures I just pulled off my phone and the baby is kicking me and I've promised myself (and JP) I can share my little iPhone snaps and trivial stories in 5 minutes or less. He already knows that really means at least 15 minutes and he appears to have settled back in with his own laptop, probably to do important things like update his books and respond to client emails, so I'm going to type quickly and look serious because I'm doing important business too.

We had a lovely weekend. It didn't start out that way. I was in a terrible mood on Saturday. Terrible. JP was gone for his 7 hours of coaching crying children under the hot sun, and for some insane reason my brain decided I was deeply jealous of this because he wasn't here, he wasn't home doing laundry and dishes and organizing (all things I don't actually mind doing) with our children (who are awesome and whom I love deeply). No, I was doing All The Things and he had it better and I was crabby and yelly and when he got home with a sunburnt smile for his family, prepared to immediately jump into yard work (something I have never, ever done) in 100+ degree heat, I promptly bit his head off and decided I needed to leave the house to run errands for a while. I literally drove away wondering what on earth was wrong with me while also feeling entirely justified with whatever I'd just said. I'll go ahead and blame the baby here because she can't defend herself and I can't really believe that I could possibly have been in such a foul mood all on my own, but thank goodness JP is used to shrugging of moments of temporary insanity after growing up with his mother (not something I'm thankful for often), so all was well when I got back home a couple hours later.

Even if what I came home to was proof that JP is often the better parent than me. After 7 hours in an outdoor pool with screaming and crying children, he came home to jump in our pool with our own screaming crying children. Because they asked him too and he loves them and misses them so much all the hours he's away coaching, something he'd just been regretfully pillow talking to me about the night before (making my yelling at him on Saturday even more awesome, but let's not dwell on the past).


He gave Claire a swim lesson. Through her tears, she went through all the objectives and even managed to swim freestyle a good 10 yards by herself! JP is a genuinely incredible coach, and gives directions calmly and firmly over the sobbing, even on lesson #15 for the day.


I contributed by not yelling at anyone and sitting with my feet up on the chairs by the pool, even managing to sit so still for so long that a butterfly made its home on my running shoe (or really, "running" shoe).


I also volunteered for the indoor post-lesson cuddling while JP did yard work.


I did make dinner, but only because I did a countdown in my head and forced myself off the couch to do it. And then I made big fat chewy chocolate chip cookies because I wanted to eat the dough. And so the day ended on a much higher note than it started.

Today, JP and Landed headed out to Landon's new Sunday reading camp at TCU. JP said it was so weird to be back in a college classroom, and even weird to be there with his 6-year-old son, but Landon sat proudly in his seat with a big grin on his face. As JP said, it was like a flash forward of Kindergarten, and though he didn't love school nearly as much as I did, even he felt a little wave of nostalgia for himself and excitement for Landon. The camp went very well- we have some homework to do each night until the next class and I am just as excited about it as Landon. Assignments! On ruled paper! I love it.

Claire and I headed out on important business of our own. First to the Starbucks drive-through for some foffee (tall nonfat nofoam chai for me; tall water for her, but she calls it her "foffee" and sips it while wearing her heart glasses in the most awesome way), and then on to the depressing Garden Ridge store that is grungy and always eerily devoid of shoppers but also oddly filled with perfect things for my house. I hadn't been in months, but today, armed with $100 in leftover monthly budgeting dollars we came away with a trunk full of treasures. Most excitedly, these two canvas prints for our new dining room. They are PERFECT and they were $10/each, as pulled from the bargain-priced, but generally overwhelming "damaged" item aisle.


I can't see the damage, but they are going to look great in the space, as are my fun decorating balls that will go in the beautiful Tiffany & Co. glass bowl we got from my very best childhood friend and his family at our wedding and have never showcased properly. Now they sit proudly in the middle of my appropriately sized table in my new official dining room and I couldn't be happier. We also snagged a long thin canvas to fill the wall above the bookcase in the new play room, the perfect four big frames for the art in baby 3's nursery, the even-more-perfect wicker bins to turn my former romance novel bookcases into baby bookcases with liners that match the weird pinky peachy color of baby 3's art, a tall brown wickerish bin for the duplos sitting in the corner of our TV room (which Landon pointed out on Friday "don't look good like that mom, they need to be in something." Yes, child, YES! May All The Things always be in bins!).


Claire and I were so thrilled with our finds, we immediately retired as shoppers for the day and returned home. Our work in the Fort Worth area strip malls was done.

I made lunches, the boys came home and ate them with us. JP and Landon finished the outside chores while I did a workout video and Claire watched/participated. We all swam in the pool and then we all watched The Lion King. We assembled Landon's basketball goal (bday gift from Papa and Gigi) and JP tried to teach Landon to dribble.


As Landon very seriously informed me on our drive home from his first day of outdoor YMCA camp, "Mommy, in basketball, we throw the ball in the holes with the nets, we do NOT throw the balls at our friends." Clearly, someone had mixed up dodgeball and basketball and Landon was passing the wisdom of his camp troupe on to his family.


After a dinner of hamburgers, corn on the cob, and pasta salad (and cookies), we took Landon's new birthday bike out for a spin. He was delighted with how well it matched his helmet. I'm delighted at how my most important teachings seem to be rubbing off on him.


Claire rode her birthday bike too.


Filled with the joys of 10 hours of sleep on Saturday night, a relaxed family day spent together (I am a 1,000% better parent when JP is there to parent with me, I also have way more fun and patience and get way more kisses, it's an everyone wins situation), and the happiness I always feel when I walk around my beautiful old neighborhood, I was close to bursting with love when I took this picture.


I can't wait to see a third little bike riding between them in a few years.


So then we can take up even more of the road than we already do.


And now, not exactly 15 minutes later, it's off to bed to rest up and maybe not yell tomorrow. Happy weekending everyone.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Things, Pictured

I spent all of last week exhausted. I think it started as holdover from the holiday weekend when Claire decided firework sounds = thunder (she decided a few months ago that the sound of thunder at night is the single most terrifying thing in the WORLD and she literally dissolves into hysterical tears and sobbing when she hears it in her room, because, as she's tried to tearfully explain to JP and I many times, the thunder is IN HER ROOM and, though she doesn't get to this last part in words, I think her subconscious is telling her that she will die if she stays in there, never mind that the thunder sounds even louder in our glass-covered room and her brother sleeps safely and peacefully through every storm in her room, certain death awaits if she is not attached to one of us for the rest of the thundery night), and woke up sobbing every 30 minutes all night, but after a few days of post-firework recovery I ran out of excuses for my exhaustion and just got annoyed at how often I was saying "I'm so tired" to myself and everyone around me. But I was. I was SO tired. I was so tired ALL THE TIME. I hate being tired, I really hate talking about being tired, and that is mostly why I went a whole week without blogging.

This week I am still more tired than normal, but not so tired that it's notably abnormal, and thus, I have things to share! Largely unconnected, but almost entirely illustrated, things!

(1) We spent the most glorious rainy Sunday lazing about the house. JP and I woke up at 8:52 to pouring rain and an eerily quiet house. JP ventured out to check on the kids and found them reading books in their room, so he turned on the TV to PBS and came back to bed. We officially got up around 10, fed the children closer to 11 (oops, but I swear they never said they were hungry, I think Wild Kratts overrides their normal biological needs), and at 1 p.m. we were all still in pj's playing in the family room.


Everyone but me took a nap at 2 and at 4 we realized we couldn't live on leftover birthday cake forever, so we got dressed and went to the grocery store. Around 6 I finally pulled myself back off the couch to make my mom's spaghetti sauce and we ended up eating an inexcusably late dinner at 7:30. But oh it was great- we played games, watched a movie, cuddled, read books, and just generally enjoyed being in the same room all day.

(2) When we put the kids to bed that night, Claire was very concerned about the storms already brewing, so I casually mentioned that she could just sleep in her Yandon's bed instead of waking up mommy and daddy (whose bed she will never be allowed to sleep in at night, so one of us goes with her to the guest room until the storm stops and the poor thing still whimpers at every thunder, even when asleep and plastered to your side). On Monday morning I woke up to the pleasant realization that she hadn't woken us up once! And then JP went to get the kids up and found Claire happily hogging Landon's bed with her pillow, two blankies, two babies, kitty, and teddy.


They did the same thing last night, and while I haven't checked, there's an excellent chance they're in the same bed tonight too (it's still raining- 3 days and counting, something everyone in Fort Worth is thrilled about except JP, but running a swim school out of an outdoor pool will do that). I love many things about this: (1) how much they genuinely love each other; (2) the fact that the idea of crawling into the other sibling's bed had never occurred to them and how delighted they were at the idea; and (3) the fact that no one in our house has to dread thunderstorms anymore! JP and I get to sleep, and Landon and Claire get to have a sleepover. Everyone wins.

(3) I spent all day last Friday cleaning and organizing the baby's room and closet- a job that required me to empty out most of our other closets and storage furniture to find room for things previously stored in the guest room. It was the typical "organization project creates giant mess then bigger mess which culminates in great order and beauty many hours later" type of thing. And in addition to an empty closet with a few adorable sleepers hanging inside, our baby now owns many things:

Ex. A: this tiny pumpkin hat. An extra 20% off the $4.46 with free shipping basically meant I had to order it. She'll be about 2 weeks old at her first Thanksgiving and I think such an occasion requires a hat.


Ex. B: this bird bank. Also an extra 20% off with free shipping, it came to a whopping $11 and again, had to be ordered. It will sit on a shelf in the now cleared out bookcase in her room and its whimsy will make me happy, even though it'll be many months before baby girl will have any idea it's there.


Ex. C: this crib. Baby girl now has a place to sleep! Or she will when we take the crib out of the box and assemble it, something Claire has asked us about Every Day since it was delivered. She's very concerned about the baby having a place to nap. We had to get a new crib because the one L&C slept in was literally the cheapest one you could buy in July of 2007 and it was pretty beat up after 6 years, 3 moves, and 2 kids. I was settled on a cheap $99 one from Ikea, but then I saw this pretty one on wayfair for $160 and I talked myself into and then out of it, resolved to be practical, and then noted a little superscript 1 next to the price. I clicked on it and found a secret clearance "returns" section of the website and this exact crib had been shipped back to the company, unopened, in the exact color I wanted and was now being sold for $76. I applied $12 of credit I apparently accumulated after ordering the living room rugs from there and suddenly I had this lovely crib for $64 with free shipping and no tax!


And so with the $100 I saved (because even though I wasn't actually going to buy the expensive crib, I still just saved $100) baby girl is getting a rug for her floor. A rug that is likely to cost more than $100 but, by my math, will still be free. After all, I did save a LOT on that bird bank and pumpkin hat.

(4) Landon's actual birthday was Monday.


It was a simple affair that started with mini donettes, a bagel, strawberries, and the tiny dinosaur candle, and ended with the chosen cheese pizza, watermelon, and ice cream sundaes (and another lighting of the dinosaur candle), but it was sweet and happy and I got a little choked up when we tucked our 6-year-old in Monday night and JP told him how special he is and lucky and proud we are to be his parents. Because he is and we are and we need to say that out loud more often.


(5) I'm 22 weeks pregnant today and apparently incapable of keeping my hand off my belly any time my hand isn't otherwise occupied. I really tried to pull it away for this pic, and was a little surprised to see it there when I uploaded the picture later. 


I also wish I could take pictures somewhere away from my laundry, robe, clothing, and racks of shoes. Basically, somewhere not inside my closet. But I feel good and I'm equally impatient and pleasantly resigned to waiting to meet baby girl 2.0 in 17 weeks. I'm sure impatience will be the dominate emotion soon though. 

(6) I won this gym bag in a raffle at our SEC Family Fun Day last week. I have never won anything in a raffle in my whole life, and I'm inordinately proud of the random selection of my name from a glass bowl. Never mind that I haven't been to a gym in seven years and that we don't even belong to one in the DFW area- when I do go to the gym, I will look very intimidating with my blue bag and pretty yellow seal with an eagle in the middle. Because eagles mean Business. Even if I, in the gym, do not.


And this is why I shouldn't go too long without stream of conscious blogging. All the inanities really add up. Now it's time for bed, so I will leave you with this terrible fuzzy picture of my first baby girl all snuggled on my pillow Sunday morning when she realized I might never get out of my bed and she broke free of the Wild Kratts mind meld to join me in it.


Oh it's going to be fun to snuggle with her AND baby girl number two in a few months!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


This ever-bigger little man celebrated his sixth birthday yesterday (official bday is tomorrow).


The morning involved many an excitement-induced tantrum, so in order to avoid a situation where mommy threatened and then had to follow through on canceling the party, the birthday boy was banished to his room until the festivities were set to begin.


Luckily he emerged from exile a new man (or, really, his normal self), well-behaved and, like his snacks, ready to party:


Once they were allowed out of jail their room, L&C immediately tested out the sticker and temporary tattoo station that had been set up during their banishment.


And soon, many children arrived, all ready to party.


JP's slide was a big hit.


This age is so great for a pool party. Pretty much everyone can swim, parents don't have to get in the pool (which is good, since I had no intention of actually baring the bikini I was wearing under my dress), the slide kept them entertained for a solid hour, and the impromptu prize-less "biggest splash contest" at the end was received with great cheers and excitement.


Side note: when did this


become this?


I mean seriously.


(Sorry, I'm just indulging myself now, but who can resist a baby Santa?)


Okay, on to cake!


No one loves having friends over more than Landon. He is such a sociable creature and invites pretty much everyone he meets to come play with him and then wants to send them home with toys when they leave. We have never been to a park without his finding a new best friend or two within minutes, meeting their family, learning the names of all their siblings, organizing a game, and otherwise acting like he's known them all his life, while the new kid's parents look amused and JP and I are still getting Claire out of her stroller. It is a phenomenon that happens over and over again and is perhaps the thing that I find most special about him right now. I always had lots of friends, and JP always had plenty of playmates for his favorite class at school (recess), but neither of us were anything like Landon. He simultaneously draws in and seeks out the kids around him and often I think the new friends running around with him are secretly as bemused as we are.


6 candles!


All in all it was a great party. We had about a dozen kids of varying ages play in the pool for more than 2.5 hours (they were having so much fun, the party ran way over), and no one cried or got upset for any reason! It was easy on our end too- I bought some beach balls for the kids to play with and take home, put out some snacks (gold fish, pretzels, teddy grahams, watermelon, etc.), filled a cooler with waters, juice, and a few sodas, and bought a cake. Oh, and tied up some balloons and a Happy Birthday sign. The big piece of prep was really just taking off the pool cover.


We finished the day with a trip to our favorite pizza place with friends of ours who'd driven over from Dallas for the party, and woke up this morning to thunderstorms and pouring rain, making me very glad we went with the Saturday party date. So far this morning we've cobbled together breakfast, helped Landon assemble toys involving cars, balls that turn into cars, and legos, and watched at least four showings of his beloved Wild Kratts. At some point we'll have to leave the house for food (the birthday boy has requested pizza for his dinner tomorrow, and a donut and blueberry bagel for breakfast) and we'll probably pile on the couch and watch a movie while I go through pictures and video and marvel at how far this little guy has come- and how far he has yet to go!