Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday

8 years ago this handsome young man was born and made me a mother for the first time.

 We took this picture right before Jacob headed off for his worthiness interview with the bishop, in preparation for his baptism.  Even though I live with him every day, and I took the picture, when I loaded it onto the computer and looked at it, it took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes.  He is becoming such a man!  The happiness and confidence that show in this picture, he carries every day.  There is an old soul that dwells in his body unlike any child his age I have known.  He has an amazing love for his family, a joyful heart and a pure testimony of the gospel, a strong work ethic, a great sense of humor, a sharp mind and loves to have fun. 

For his birthday this year, Jake chose laser tag with his dad at "Pirate Pizza", otherwise known as Pietro's.  It is my understanding that they had a fabulous time, however since I was not there, there of course are no pictures.  While the big boys were out on their man-date, the Littles and I stayed home and readied the party preparations. 
 Betty Crocker and Duncan Heinz - my cake makers.  I let them lick the beaters.  Leah thought it was a repeat process.
 Jacob and the birthday cup - I'm amazed at how popular this idea has become in our house!
 This is the year Jacob became self conscious about picture taking (notice the pseudo smile in this one), stopped holding my hand in public, and decided he didn't want a "character" backpack for the new school year - "they're kind of baby-ish".
 As usual around here, Jacob's birthday will span the better part of the week.  Saturday he will be baptized and confirmed a member of the church, followed by a family day at the zoo, and topped off with a birthday/baptism party at Aunt Kiki's.  Whew!  I'm tired already...

Happy birthday my Jacob - I love you more than words can say.  You make me proud to be your mother every day!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We're not lost we just don't know where we're going

Today was a spur of the moment day.  We woke up this morning not sure what we were going to do, but with a forecast of 95+ degree weather, we knew it was going to involve water.  We decided after some "I don't know, what do you think we should do" that we would head out to Little North Fork and spend the afternoon on the river.  
Little North Fork is only about a 30 minute drive out of town, and we got there about 12:30.  Unfortunately, everyone and their brother got there sometime before 12:30, and there was literally no where to park.  Not even illegally.  Not even the up the road and hike in kind of parking.  Nothing.  So we decided to run up the road a bit and see if we couldn't find another place to get down to the water.  We are a semi-adventuresome bunch, and if we could have parked somewhere and walked down an embankment, we were all for it.  But we couldn't even find that before we came to the big orange sign that said something like "end of paved road", and we had to turn around.  We swung through the parking lot for the swim area one more time on our way down, just for giggles to see if we could get lucky, and nearly got stuck in a logjam of vehicles.  There were so many people trying to get in and no where to turn around once you realized there was no parking and you needed to get out.  **Note to self, must get to North Fork a little earlier in the day**
We headed back towards town and I mentioned I had seen a sign for a day use park, hey why didn't we check that place out?  Silly Mommy......  Another 30 minutes later, we still hadn't found it, we were hot and tired and basically ready to call the day done.  We headed back towards town, and one more time, I said "Hey, I saw a sign..."  God bless my mostly patient husband, he humored me one more time, and we headed for Silver Falls.   This place we knew, knew how to get there,and knew it would have water.  So after what ended up being almost 2 hours in the car to get to a place 40 minutes from home, we finally piled out of the van in 98 degree heat and headed for the water.

 Dad a little grumpy from the "adventure".....(OK not really, he was only frustrated for a minute but he does look grumpy in this picture)

 this is Leah's pure joy to be anywhere near or in any kind of water

 this is what I get when I ask for a group picture
 freezing - the water was cold!
 I love this picture
 a rare moment when my husband actually picked up the camera.  I wasn't going to post this because frankly, I don't look that great in a swimsuit.  But then I thought, whatever, it is what it is.  And it's photographic proof my children have a mother.

 Jake spent half the time there pretending he was The Creature From The Black Lagoon - this was him coming out of the water after us
 and then freezing again
 love this face
and our usual cue that it's time to go home...  the Pre-Meltdown-Super-Pout

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Discovery and Rediscovery

Things we have discovered, or rediscovered this summer:

$.88 for a jumbo box at the corner AM/PM (along with $1 fountain drinks!).  My favorites are the grape flavor, Brian's are the lemon-lime.  The kids like anything with sugar.

Austin's favorite card game.  He got it as a gift last year and we played it almost every day.  This year, his hands are almost big enough to hold all the cards he invariably ends up with.

Frito Chili boats - a childhood favorite of Brian's, and a pregnancy craving of our friend Jess.  She got us going on them again during one of our Girls Nite/Boys Nite dinners.  It is after all our responsibility as good friends to support her in her pregnancy.....

Newly discovered for the boys, and rediscovered for Brian and I (this usually happens for B and I every summer).  We spend equal time on our "court" at home and at the school hoops.  Some of us are bigger ball hogs than others.

Jake found my old roller blades in the garage,and despite them being about 5 sizes too big, he is a pretty decent blader.  Now I am on the hunt for a pair his size, which he reminds me about.  Every day.  Literally.

I discovered this blog on FB from my friend Chelsea.  HILARIOUS.  I love honest parenting stories, especially from imperfect parents with imperfect children.  And these stories come with "pictures".
These are the greatest flip flops.  Ever.  I. Love. Them.  They have made the difference in my feet not aching from walking around on the hardwood floors in our house.  I also started calling them flip flops this summer because it apparently shows my age when I called them "thongs".  Whatever.

The kids originally got hooked on The Empire Strikes Back, and the week Jake got stitches, we rented all 6 movies and watched them back to back, in an effort to keep him (and his stitches) mellow for a day or two.  It worked, mostly.

Now that we live in a neighborhood where the kids can ride somewhere besides our driveway, Jake has become crazy good on his bike, and  Austin learned to ride (check that out here).  Now it's all either of them want to do. 

I had kind of given up on gardening at the old house, but I love to work in my yard again!  I'm not terribly educated about gardening, but I love to weed and prune and water and clip and mow......
Okay, so we didn't discover Orange Julius, but I love a hot dog they made called The St. Louis Bacon.  It's a regular hot dog with mustard and bacon bits (or even better, real bacon, mmmmm) with melted American cheese over the top.  I used to make them all the time in high school.  My kids could eat hot dogs three meals a day, so this is my "adult" version of one of their favorite meals.

I have rediscovered my blog this summer, and probably written more posts in the last 3-4 months than in the whole last year combined.  I have always loved to write, but 15 years of working in HR have honed my professional writing skills, and diminished my personal ones.  I am re-learning how to put the emotion back into my writing (a major no-no in professional documents).  It feels pretty good, if I am a bit rusty.

Monday, August 1, 2011

5 years old!

This gorgeous child is now 5!  I can hardly believe it.  
His heart is as big as his smile, and his soul as happy as his eyes. 
 I love this child more than he can ever imagine.
He is my wild child, my free-spirit.
He can be unbelievably naughty.
He can melt your heart with his smile, even if you've just met him.
He is sarcastic and quick witted.
He is sweet and affectionate beyond measure.
He is brave.  
He has a testimony of Christ.
He loves his family.
He is mine.

As has become our family's tradition, we celebrated Austin's birthday all weekend long.  Friday night we kicked off the festivities with a surprise (for Austin) visit from his Aunt Kiki.
She came bearing gifts for all the kids, birthday gifts and cake for The Boy, dinner for the family, and lots of love for everyone.  We ate and talked and ate some more, and had a great time.

Saturday, as has also become our tradition, we went to the water park in Albany for Austin's birthday activity. (You can't beat the place for the price.  $16 for a family of 5 to "free swim" for 4 hours).   We couldn't have asked for better weather, and everyone came home worn out, sunburned and happy.

On Sunday, the boys got a surprise phone call from some good friends who had moved to Tennessee last spring.  They got to chat and catch up, and plan to become Skype buddies.  After Austin went to bed, Dad, Jacob and I decorated the house with balloons and Star Wars decor for the birthday boy to wake up to this morning.   

Tonight was family party.  After one of Austin's favorite meals for dinner (Dad's breakfast burritos,mmm, so good) came cupcakes and presents:
 Right after I took this picture, Austin declared that the best part of his birthday was spending it with his family
 This is a new tradition we started this year - The Birthday Cup.  It's a cool looking, fun cup with a crazy straw that I got at The Dollar Tree (of course).  The kids love the idea of being the only with a cool cup on their birthday
 He looked like this the whole time we sang to him.
5 cupcakes with candles for the 5 year old.

Then the present opening ensued.  Austin is one of the most appreciative gift openers you will find - the faces he makes are priceless!  

The evening was topped off with a Skype call to Grandma and Grandpa in Medford, and a rousing light saber battle between all 3 kids.  
Austin Daley Barnhart, I love you to the moon and back again, my crazy sweet boy!  Happy birthday!!