While the Cam is Away, the Hallie Will Play

There was a precious handful of weeks between Camden starting school, and the birth of our third child.  A tiny space of time where Hallie, for the first time in her life, had my full attention every weekday.  We tried to make the most of it.

When her big brother wasn't around to fight with, she made a very cute, helpful shopping buddy.  Usually when we got to the checkout line I'd find out she'd been a little too helpful...

She liked to pick "flowers" for me.  And she'd instruct me to smell them, too.  Oh, and that fly swatter was always in one hand.  She was the fly assassin, saving us from all that was small and helpless.

We spent a lot of time in the backyard, enjoying the weather.  Every day she would ask me to jump on the trampoline with her, and every day I had to remind her that I couldn't jump with a baby in my tummy.  When Cam or Roy would come home she would say brightly, "You don't have tummy ache!  You can jump on trampoline with me!"

We played in the water table, swung in the hammock, and went "fishing" in the window wells.

It wasn't all butterflies and rainbows, though.  Hallie was a fully-fledged two-year-old with the temper to match.

She also knew I was getting slower on my feet, and started getting into more mischief than ever before.

Buuuut, how can you be mad at this face?

One of her favorite things to do was play with her extremely messy Barbie Makeup.  It was one of those purchases I almost regretted, but I have to admit we had a lot of fun with her makeovers.

And her favorite person to play with was Jax.  It has been so fun to live close to these cute cousins and built-in friends.

There was a brief moment when we thought about potty training, but Hallie was straight up terrified to sit on even her little plastic potty.  So we are just talking about how cool big girl underwear is and waiting for her to tell us she's ready.

I sure love this little wild thing.  She is determined, she is strong, and she often surprises me with how helpful and kind she can be.  When it was just the two of us, these things became ever more apparent.  I also realized how imaginative she's become, without me even noticing that growth!  She is so fun to play make-believe with.

Our one-on-one days were short but cherished.  It has me resolved to ensure I make more of that time with each of my children.  To get into their worlds with just them on a regular basis.  Because, really, there's no place I'd rather be.

Our First Day of Kindergarten

T'was the night before kindergarten, and all through the house, not a person was ready, not even the MOM!  Okay, okay, I'll try to keep the majority of drama out of this post but it won't be easy, people.  I was about to have my third baby {read overly emotional}, and somehow I felt I was about to lose my first baby to this big hairy monster called school.  

I mean, Camden's been at my side almost 24/7 for five and a half years.  Sure, a couple hours of preschool or soccer here and there, but seven hours a day, five days a week?  My sweet little buddy, thrown into a weird world of kinder social hierarchies and booger-picking bullies?  I spent months researching alternatives, and somehow we still felt like this was the right move to make for our boy.  

The actual night before kindergarten that feeling was reaffirmed when we went to visit Camden's new school.  His English-speaking and Spanish-speaking teachers were very sweet, patient people.  His English classroom was themed Chika-Chika-Boom-Boom - I mean, that would put almost any panicking mother at ease, right?  

We found his name at his table, explored the room a little bit, and left feeling hopeful.  Excited, even. His teacher sent us home with "magic sparkles" to sprinkle on his pillow to help him sleep well.


Then he lost his first baby tooth that night and almost all of that private progress went out the window, but I kept the brave face.

We woke up bright and early, got him ready early enough to snap a few pics, and then we were on our way.  {Hallie thought she was going to school too.  She even brought her rolling backpack.}

Cam quickly found one of his cute friends and they lined up together at the door of the classroom, waiting for the teacher to open it.  All the kinder moms were standing in little knots a few yards away, waving at their children like they were boarding a weeklong cruise liner.  I was surprised that I wasn't choking back tears like I'd been doing all week, but seeing Camden so excited, confident, and with a friend gave me so much peace.

The doors opened and he gave me the cutest wave before disappearing inside.  I felt that metaphorical umbilical chord strain, but it didn't break.  And I didn't break.  But it is true what they say; having a child is like letting your heart walk around outside of your body.  And a big piece of my heart walked into kindergarten, ready to grow and move into the early stages of true independence.

All day all I could think about was what he was doing or how he was feeling.  So when Hallie and I walked back to the school to pick him up, I was so relieved to see the huge smile on his face and hear about his awesome first day.

That boy is gonna do great things.

Losing Teeth

When Camden began to wiggle those bottom teeth I ordered him to stop immediately.  No!  You are not allowed to grow up!  You are not allowed to go to kindergarten, and you are certainly not allowed to grow ADULT teeth.  Stop THIS INSTANT!

Despite my pleas, that darn tooth was soon hanging by a thread.  It was the night before the first day kindergarten--the night before we would fly into a whole new stage of life.  I knew everything was about to change, and somehow this tooth began to symbolize the baby/toddler/preschool years we've known.  So when Roy offered to yank out that symbolic tooth I was like "Whyyyyyy?"

To my complete dismay, Camden gave Roy permission to pull it out.  Suddenly it was gone.  No tears, just excitement.  He couldn't wait to show his friends the empty socket where his tooth had once been.  He couldn't wait for the tooth fairy to bring him some shiny coins to add to his piggy bank--his Pokémon card fund.  He couldn't stop smiling.

That made it easier on me.  His happiness.  The gap-toothed smile was really adorable, after all, and he pointed out that it was even easier to drink through a straw.  Maybe it will all be okay.  Maybe leaving behind the tiny tot days will be as exciting as losing that first tooth.

Spoiler alert: it was just as exciting!  Maybe more!  The second tooth came out the night before picture day, and we were all smiles.

Turning the Big Three O!

Thirty!  A year ago we began saving up to go back to my beloved London to celebrate the big three o.  I knew I wanted to celebrate this birthday in a big way, but it turned out I was kinda big all on my own.  Eight months pregnant is not exactly international-traveling condition.  

Still, I was happy to be expecting, and there will be other birthdays {or Wednesdays, I mean--any excuse to go to London will work for me!}

Roy was super sweet and organized a fun birthday night doing an escape room.  We split our group into guys and girls.  The girls got the "hoarder's attic".  Kinda creepy, but we had the best time.  I don't think I'd laughed that hard in a long, long time.

We started off slow, kind of confused about how to proceed, but when we got the hang of it we were solving puzzles left and right.  With seconds left on the clock, Alexa found a fishing pole with a magnet on the end of it, dropped it into the small opening of a large vase, and pulled out the key to escape the room!

What a rush!  Haha!

Oh, and I don't want to forget about Mr. Green.  Solving one of the puzzles caused this closet door to spring open and rats to fall from the ceiling.  Eek!

The room the boys chose was called "Pandora's Box" which also had a creepy theme involving monsters.  Sounds like they had fun buuut we totally beat them.  *victory dance*

A few days later we celebrated my birthday and Mason's birthday with the kiddos at my parents house.  We used to combine like that when we were little.  I remember having a Power Rangers/Lion King party once.  All these years later, Mom still definitely knows how to make people feel special on their birthdays.

I am so grateful for these thirty years filled with love and adventure.  Trails, of course, but I've been surrounded by some pretty crazy great people to bear me up.

Weird Friends Are the Best Friends

Camden recently asked me whether Cade, Colette, Story, and Ainsley are his cousins.

Nope- but we sure act related, aka like a bunch of weirdos.

Summer of Swim

By the end of summer I was starting to look and feel absolutely gigantic.  All I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep, but I figured if I did that my kids would, you know, set the house on fire.  So I tried to take advantage of all the fun outdoor things there are to do around us that would allow me to still pretty much sit around.  

Swimming was the answer.

We rotated between the indoor aquatic center, Jaxon's outdoor apartment pool, and three different surrounding lakes.  But at least twice a week, we were in the water.  Mostly I was on the sidelines, praying I wouldn't have to jump in fully clothed to rescue anyone.  I never invested in a maternity swim suit.  Stupid.

But due to my being out of arms reach, both kids got really good at swimming this year--Hallie with her floaty and Camden without!

My sister gave me this flamingo for my birthday, and it was a much coveted toy in the water.

One weekend we joined some friends at Strawberry Reservoir and learned the art of crawdad catching.  You tie a piece of meet {like a chicken leg} to the end of a string and put it in the water.  The crawdads come creeping out of the rock crevasses, get the meat between their pincers, and refuse to let go even when they're being dragged through the water or flung in a bucket.  Camden especially liked crawdad catching.

 The next day we all got together to eat them, but I couldn't bring myself to try one.

There were still days where I couldn't quite get us out of the house.  Luckily Camden has reached an age where he can finally entertain himself for longer stretches of time.  Pokémon cards were his main source of said entertainment.  As is his nature, he would line them up in patterns, or group them according to colors or symbols.  Sometimes he roped me into his "games" but the rules were ever-changing and I had a hard time keeping up.

Oh, and there were times I got us out the door, but we still didn't quite make it to the water...  Roy to the rescue!  {And Hallie is such a good little helper.}

But I'd say we still got plenty wet.

{Fake sleeping}

Hallie is like, "What IS THIS?  WHY hasn't anyone given me this nectar from the gods before???"

As the summer wrapped up, I knew I needed to soak up the time we had left with Camden being home with us.  I experienced such a strange mixture of dread and excitement at the prospect of kindergarten for my boy, but I knew for sure Hallie and I would miss him like crazy.

{New cousin, baby Emma = so smitten}

I love our little family so much.