||The latest - everything - is going to be mighty hard to cover.
Some highlights, before I delve too deeply in are: Simon turned an entire decade old a week ago. We got a new trampoline that is the entire purpose of existence for Simon and Gus since its arrival and assembly. 5th Grade and 2nd Grade are almost 2 entire weeks into session and we just planted our garden. It is September.
Now let's backtrack a bit. Our summer was incredible. The day after school ended we got on an airplane to Minneapolis. We stayed at Maynah and Steve's house for 10 days, met our newest cousin Maximus Oakley Voss - who was born 1 day before Mama's birthday. We played with cousins, snuggled Grandparents, visited old friends, and made new memories. This summer was the summer we did things "right." I was a bit disappointed in our adventures last summer, so this summer, we barely worked at Walking Stick (which is for sale) and made sure to make the very most of our 3 months. I think my kids would agree that we succeeded.
We saw Jonathon Richman! I hope my kids never forget. It was in the basement of the ZACC, very intimate, they met him before the show and have one really cool photo to remember it by.
The next big adventure was Family Camp, which was, and always will be, one of our favorite parts of summer vacation. The relationships that have come from the magical Camp Paxson are some of my favorites. The kids are so comfortable there, and they don't sleep for 5 days, swimming, catching fish, canoeing, paddle boarding, playing games, the campfire, the mosquitoes, the food, the activities - all of it - more memories to last a lifetime. We came home just in time for the epic East Missoula fireworks on the 4th.
We ran the 1/2 marathon again. But, this time we got to run it with Maynah and Uncle Steve. We beat our PR by 20 minutes and Uncle Steve's eye didn't pop out. Simon and Gus chilled with Grandma and Grandpa and cheered us across the finish line again. It was seriously one of my favorite days of summer. We were done by 8:30am and spent the rest of the day in our backyard in the kiddie pool, in the hot tub, eating delicious foods and of course indulging in too many mixed cocktails.
We had a lot of river dates, maybe not as many as last year, but I definitely feel like we did get our annual float and several dips in the Blackfoot and Clark Fork.
We camped at Lake Inez - actually between Alva and Inez at a pretty fun spot with Sarah, Edie and Simone - later to be joined by Leslie, Edgar, Alice and Otto. Lake Inez was full of gigantic rare larchballs. The kids were finding them left and right - some bigger than softballs. We brought a couple of those specials souvenirs home.
As usual there were many caterpillars, crawdads, and frogs in little boy hands this summer. Wouldn't be summer without them.
We rode our bikes A LOT! Gus has finally mastered the 4.5 mile ride to work. By mastered, I mean, he rides it as quickly as I can run it, but he whistles and hums all the way. We only drove to work a couple of times, which made me proud of us. We rode home in the rain on several occasions, but it was always with a smile.
We camped with Amy, Luci, Fynn and Myli in Glacier Park at Fish Creek and then spent the next chilly day on Lake McDonald's shore chatting, picnicking, the boys all dunked in the freezing cold water and we finished our short visit up on the Trail of the Cedars. Whenever we manage to make time to get back together with the Ridgeway kiddos they all warm up to one another immediately, as if we spent everyday of our lives together. Just like cousins.
Shane and I went back to WI for my sweet Katy's wedding and had the opportunity to visit both of my Grandparents that live in the Madison area and some family and Nicole and her babes. It was a short visit but full of everything I'd hoped it would be.
Then, we saw a Beatle! Yep a Beatle. Paul McCartney decided to play Missoula, at age 72. We are so lucky, it was in the Griz Stadium and I am pretty sure the boys will remember that forever. I know I will. Since this event, we've been nearly non-stop listening to Beatles records, putting our turntable to good use.
We made it to the Western Montana Fair. Good Job us. We missed it last year because we were at a wedding in WY. It was a legit excuse, but this year we didn't have one, so we had to take our kids or they probably would've murdered us in our sleep.
Fish Creek swimming and that sandy dreamy beach! A lost chicken. A found chicken! A wounded chicken. A healed chicken! A new chicken from our friends!
And then, Baby Max came to visit us. We rented a little cottage in Columbia Falls for several days, right on the Flathead River. It was another dreamy location. Uncle Mitch and Auntie Megan and Maximus and the Hickeys hiked around Glacier during the days and glamped in the evenings. The 3rd day of activity we decided to let Mitch and Megan venture back into the park and we headed up to Whitefish Mountain to take on some ziplines. Dad and Simon did the 5 zipline tour and Gus and Mama did the Aerial Park Adventure. All of which we will be back to do again. It was so much more friggin' fun than I'd ever imagined it would be. Gus and I were in the treetops (trying not to poop 'em) balancing on hanging logs, walking tightropes and doing short ziplines (for 3+ hours). Dad and Simon spent 2 hours zipping around the mountain. It was just what we needed. Oh, and the Alpine Slide was also pretty choice. We had a great day. We got up the next morning and headed to Coeur D'Alene to visit Aunt Jean and Uncle Bert, also so fun. Mitch and Megan left the next day.
Little did I know, I'd see them again about a week later. My Grandpa Merlin passed away on the day they left MT. So, after Simon and Gus started school, I headed back to the midwest and saw every.single.one. of my Aunts and Uncles (on my Dad's side) and so many of my cousins (almost all of them). I was happy to be surrounded by family. It was a celebration of his life and it was a big life. He was 94 years old and the number of people who he touched, influenced and mentored in those 94 years was a feat. It was a good life.
This is a good life.
||It has been so long I nearly forgot my password to login to this magical wonderland. March was FULL. I didn't have time breathe, let alone post any updates. February, well who knows what-ever happens to February, it is too damn short to even notice, most years. Groundhog brought us a giant blizzard, oooh we went to Mexico (just parents) and we had a slew of special visitors in January and March. Gus turned 7, which seems unfathomable to me. The kids learned to downhill ski this winter, and I think we may just squish one more ski day in before spring ends the season.
I've come to realize that Facebook is my new blog, but not nearly as intimate as this space has been for me over the years. I didn't ever want that to happen, I really wanted to catalog, dialog, photo-log and capture moments on this site until my kids were too big to let me do so, and they still comply when I ask them to hold still for me for a minute while I snap a shot. They still tell me their secrets (well most of them) and they still like me. I should probably be savoring those moments and sharing them here, with my future self, for the days when the moments seem to be few and far between. I tuck many of them away in my memory, but sometimes it is hard to remember what happened yesterday.
Like Weeds - that's literally how fast they are growing. Simon's chest right now is so big; he's a grown strong boy. He isn't quite 10 but he is not small anymore. He's tall, he's gaining on me, rapidly. His hair is long and we're in a great debate about cutting it. His new glasses are one of my favorite things about his cute little mug. He actually got his glasses at the end of January, but, remember all the aforementioned bull. The day we picked them up he cried on the way home, he was so excited to see the topography on the mountain side. And, ohmygosh, those glasses go swimmingly with his fantastic freckles.
Gus's pants are short, every pair, this is partially because he can't let go of favorites. We just spent an entire day getting rid of, cleaning out and filing through things in his room though. That particular day he was ready to let some things go, not his short pants, but I think I'd be a wee bit sad to see them go anyway. His sense of style is like no other. He rocks those short pants with a button up shirt, tie and sometimes a vest and toque. He's one of kind. Not exaggerating, he probably got 7 new neckties for his birthday. My favorite is when he wears his giant green and black Boggs with his short tuxedo pants (size 3) and all of the other fancy things I mentioned above, such a little hip fella.
Simon is a ball of energy waiting to explode at any moment. He has a hard time sitting still, he isn't very delicate/cautious with his motions. This is something that I love about him, his uncontainable happy energy, but also something hard to deal with when we play board games and he spreads the pieces across the table. He is almost always happy, it is a pretty rare morning when Simon wakes up in a foul mood. He's always into the idea of trying new things and such an adventurous soul, brave, and confident. I'm coming to realize, it only took me 10 years, that this is him, this will never change, so I better learn to embrace it. The constant reminders to flush the toilet, clean pee up, wash hands, wash hair while in the shower, brush and floss, and then when he returns from brushing and flossing to go back in and actually floss are exhausting. Finding the balance between not being a nag and being a mom is hard. I honestly think these are things he doesn't think about, because he has all sorts of other happy magic happening in his brain. He has so many ideas to process, so many thoughts to work through - leaving less time for caution and careful decision making (sometimes). He has had a rough go of relationships with people at school lately too, it is just hard to think before you act sometimes. On the other hand, I think he's at the receiving end of a lot of difficult things at school and he doesn't usually ask for help, he figures it out in his own way, which sometimes isn't the best way for everyone else involved. I feel pretty confident he will get things sorted out as he grows up, but I can't help but worry about him, he needs some gentle leaders in his life, and he's been really fortunate to have them most of the way, so far. I just never want his sweet soul to get squashed. His Mama is probably the hardest on him out of anyone he has had as a role model. Hopefully I'm not royally effing him up. Man, this parenting shit is hard. I just hope my love overrides.
It is so bizarre that children that come from the same womb and are made by the same two people - same DNA - are such different humans in nearly every way. Gus helps me to smooth over the edges with Simon often. Gus is Simon's biggest fan, which is one of my favorite things about him. The love these boys have for one another, in spite of the disputes that take place in our casa, is the most gigantic love I have witnessed. Their relationship is so special and unique that it makes me wholehearted believe that EVERY person on earth that has a sibling is the luckiest person. Gus's little tender heart shone through the other morning when Simon slammed his fingers in the door. Gus discreetly cried while Simon cried and then when he was reliving the event later he told me he remember when his fingers got slammed in the car door and how much it hurt, so he knew that Simon was hurting so much. That right there is brother magic.
Gus comes with his own set of personality trials. The boy has got some wicked hulk rage (that's what we call it) so we're really working on breathing for 10 seconds - with everyone (including me) - before reacting to a crummy situation. Simon can really trigger the hulk rage, and often laughs while Bruce Banner exits the scene and Hulk enters. Honestly though I think this hulk rage has eased up quite a bit lately, but it has been 3 months since I've been here. Breathe.
Everything is awesome! (sniped right from our favorite movie, ever!) Frozen is a tight second these days, good golly those songs are catchy.
We're soaking up the longer days, enjoying our spring break at home this year. We needed a break, we needed some peaceful nights, we needed a peaceful week of just normalcy and we are celebrating it right now.
Ooh I almost forgot, we're delving into the realm of organized sports, and I'm not just talking about Saturday morning hockey, this is the real deal. Simon is starting Little League Baseball and Gus starts Soccer this month. Holy cram, our lives are about to get a whole lot busier than we've ever known them to be. I hope it isn't too much for us, it very well could be too much for Mama.
||Christmas was magical. We rang in the New Year surrounded by lovely friends and I got to be at the birth of the New Year Baby of Montana.
I have been meaning to write about our Month of Thanks - that'd be November. This year the kids and I decided to pull one special thing from each day that we were especially grateful for. It wasn't very hard. I tried to take a photo a day that represented one thing I was happy my day contained. Gus and Simon made a big long paper chain that I'm having a hard time saying good-bye to. I pulled it down yesterday, but I'm not sure what I want to do with it just yet.
Day 1: Simon - I'm thankful for my family coming over. Gus - Family.
Day 2: Simon - I'm thankful for the Day of the Dead Parade. Gus - Watch Free Birds (with a backwards 's').
Day 3: Simon - My friend Sialas came over and we had dounots (aka Silas/donuts). Gus - Sialas donuts.
Day 4: S - I'm thankful for my pet bird. G - My Lunch.
Day 5: S - I'm thankful for chicken pot pie. G - Salon and Romin (Sloane and Roman)
Day 6: S - I'm thankful for my friend coming over. G - Feilix (Felix)
Day 7: S - I'm thankful for my piano lessons. G - Paino
Day 8: S - Simone and Edie sleepover. G - Simone and Eide
Day 9: S - Playing at the Zootown Arts Community Center (Silas). G - ZACC (with a backwards 'z').
Day 10: S - Edgar and Alice hangout. G - Edgar and Alias.
Day 11: S - I'm thankful for my P.E. Class. G - Lidrary (the b/d dilemma)
Day 12: S - I'm thankful for my school day. G - Makeing a bdand. (the little d was crossed out)
Day 13: S - I'm thankful for my music class at school. G - Mrs. Ellosin
Day 14: S - I'm thankful for Simone, Edie and Kilian coming over. G - Orogomy (origami)
Day 15: S - Inga hungout (movie and legos). G - Inga
Day 16: S - I'm thankful for my Walking Sticks class. G - video games
Day 17: S - I'm thankful for the movie we saw. G - staying up late
Day 18: S - Noah and Brandon. G - noah and brandin
Day 19: S - School art project. G - School
Day 20: S - hot tub. G - hot tud.
Day 21: S - Books. G - competer lad (computer lab).
Day 22: S - Drake's bday party. G - slaon meeya and shose (Sloane, Mia and Shoes)
Day 23: S - The movie Clue. G - trubo (Turbo)
Day 24: S - Bowling at West Side Lanes. G - bowling (west side)
Day 25: S - My House. G - My mom and dad.
Day 26: S - Ben sleeping over. G - ben coming over
Day 27: S - Kilian and Porter at distillery. G - 3 sevings (He told me later this meant he was thankful for 3 servings of food, because he was really hungry.)
This was as far as we got because the next day was Thanksgiving. I'm tempted to make this happen year round, but maybe I'll come up with some sort of alternative method of sharing. Maybe a book we pass around at dinner and each add something from the day that we are thankful for...hmmm...
The newest year is off to a great start and we've had a really cozy winter break full of family, friends, love, too many video games, time together that we look forward to each year and much needed down time. Happy 2014!
||We nutcracked yesterday, we set our tree up a couple of weeks ago, it smells delightful. We hung a few lights outside for the hood to enjoy, and I can't stop pining for that week when we get to hunker away in our cozy house and watch too many movies and eat too much food and play too many video games and spend all of our time together. I've been finding myself reflecting on the things I'm thankful for lately. I suppose I probably do it all of the time, but I'm not very good at making sure I write it down, or type it out, or say it aloud. Christmas transforms me into a super dork. My business, in theory, should come out of the hole this time of year. My kids seem more magical than normal, and they are pretty friggin' magical. I love Christmas lights. I love the smell of our tree, it makes my heart sing a joyous little song each time I catch a wiff. I love Christmas music. I love snow. I love that I can walk out my front door and go on a hike if I want to, a snowy hike today. We need some Christmas snow, it all melted. The lack of snow doesn't stop my kids from sledding on the grass, into the road. I love that about them.
Tonight, cookies, making the rest of our gifts, homework and piano are on our short list. Piano recital on Friday, Willy Wonka date with Great Grandma and Simon on Friday, there is always something to look forward to. Life is bliss. Right now, it is Christmas bliss.
||Gus lost his very first tooth this morning! It was barely hangin' on by a thread last night. I actually had concerns he might just swallow it in his sleep, which could have been a real heartbreak situation. Instead, when I finally broke away from my cozy bed this morning, and stumbled in to say good morning to my boys (reading in their cozy beds) Gus showed me his tiny tooth nub. "I lost my tooth, Mama." Phew, no fishing through stool.
The tooth fairy comes tonight, (with Saint Nick) although since we read 'Throw Your Tooth on the Roof', Gus has some other ideas about what he might do with that tooth. Hopefully he fills me in before he turns in tonight.
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