I thought we'd focus a bit on the original focus of this blog from back in the early days- baby Landon!
Baby Landon who "graduated" Kindergarten on Thursday! I can't write that sentence without air quotes because the whole concept of a "graduation" program for the automatic progression across the hall to first grade is ridiculous, but WHOAH did JP and I find out that most parents seem think it is a VERY BIG DEAL. We walked into the auditorium 5 seconds before the start, thinking it was pretty impressive we were both even attending to find an explosion of balloons and flowers and stuffed animals. We took one picture and offered Landon a hearty handshake.
Not that we aren't proud of him, because we are- it's been an awesome year and he's an awesome kid, but I felt like all those bouquets of flowers the tiny "grads" were getting should really be going to the teachers. But speaking of school, we've had such a hard time tracking down Landon's friends in the summer for his July birthday parties- everyone scatters from daycare and many friends were moving on to new schools, and then last year he was going to different camps every week all summer, so I promised him that this year we'd do an early party with his school friends.
I'm so glad we did! I finally got to meet some of the parents of kids in his class and I got their contact info for future pool play dates. We kept things simple- a shark theme, blue gatorade, shark snack mix, assortment of gold fish, and a little bowl Swedish fish that was every kid's favorite stop at the snack table. We set up the inflatable slide, threw a bunch of toys in the pool, and turned on the Pandora "Tween Mix" ("No Frozen!" exclaimed Landon as I went to turn on the music).
For my put-some-effort into it treat, I did blue jello cups with gummy sharks grinning inside. Stuffing the gummy sharks inside the partially set jello messed up the smooth tops, so I added a bit of whipped cream and a fish on top to simulate the surf. So fancy.
I usually do the baking myself, but having just come off Claire's party and knowing that I could make something homemade for Landon's real birthday in July, I decided to outsource to the Kroger bakery. They usually do a good job and I just wanted a simple cake with a shark on it and "Happy Birthday Landon." OMG. There is no picture of the result, something I regret as I could have sent it in to cake wrecks, but it involved a gallon of blue gel, the worst hand-writing ever, uneven swirly edging, and fuzzy- FUZZY- non-edible fabric cut into lopsided shark fins standing up in the gel. I showed it to the manager as I was checking out and she immediately said, "Oh dear. Is half off okay?"
So yeah, no pictures of the cake. The kids didn't mind though! Everyone had fun and there was minimal splashing in the face and/or pool toy fights. Win!
After everyone left we cleaned up and opened presents. One of the moms works for radio shack and has the best toy closet. I love how Claire is applauding.
Cora got sprung from her pen and she immediately crawled over to sit by Landon. He is her favorite person.
And he's pretty fond of her too.
I took these on Saturday morning before the party. Little has captured the relationship between Landon and his sisters better:
He's like their mini dad- so patient and tolerant and pretty well wrapped around their fingers.
Oh, baby Landon. He gave us such a tough time as a baby- his prematurity, reflux, million ear infections, random eyebrow cyst, two surgeries, and a total of 25 days in hospitals, combined with our utter inexperience as parents (and JP in investment banking with an 1+ hour commute and me in law school and good god we barely survived that) made for a ROUGH first year. Even then his sweet personality shone through and oh how we've just gone up from there. From the mellowest and happiest of toddlers to an awesome big kid who couldn't be a better big brother. We used to think he had a lot of JP in him, and maybe he still does, but the older he gets the more we see that really he's just HIM- we may get a little credit on the nurture side, but the nature is pure Landon James.
He's a far more generous and patient big sibling than I was. He's a very fast runner (he won the 50-yard dash against 1st and 2nd graders at field day last week) and likes sports and games, but isn't the least bit competitive like his dad. He loves people and draws kids to him with a magnetism neither JP nor I ever had. We took him to a new camp every week last summer and just drove off knowing Landon wasn't the least bit concerned with the "I don't know a single person here" situation, something my parents could never ever have done with me! His teacher has told us about how other kids look to him in the classroom and he's always dictating the games of his gang at recess. He likes being right, but being wrong doesn't bother him for more than the second it takes him to absorb whatever the right answer was and move on (unlike his obsessive mother and stubborn father).
He's an artist and a reader. He loves his friends, but doesn't seem to mind that it's only family time on the weekends. He loves to be outside, ride his bike, swim, and climb in our trees. He's JP's wing man- on their weekend morning runs (Landon bikes the 5 miles) and all car rides and errands and, less enthusiastically, his second hand for all yard work. He throws fits and stomps his foot and cools off when left alone in his room. He does not want or need alone time and is never happier than when surrounded by people. He likes hugs but not kisses before bed. He's getting older, but he's still our little boy.
Almost-7. We've come a long way.
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