the ninth edition

 
You kids have always been one of my greatest adventures. Every camping trip we have gone on this summer, we plan as a family. We plan our meals together, plan our route together, you kids collect every piece of clothing you may or may not need in anticipation of our getaways. You get to select a favorite book to read, the one stuffed animal you won't be able to sleep without, and your baby blankies to keep you extra warm. I get fun snacks you don’t get to eat very often and any kind of soda your little hearts desire. It’s your escape just as much is it is mine. There is nothing that makes my heart happier than getting outdoors, hiking in mud, watching fish swim in streams, and feeling the warmth of the last of the summer sun on my face. It’s a time for us to unplug. It is more special to me with every trip we go on, because I know the time is coming when you wont be able to live without your friends and WIFI for a whole weekend. Just as much as you are taking in every experience around you, I am just sitting back and taking you all in. The photographs I take of you are some of my most treasured possessions. The memory of experiencing life together will forever be engraved in my heart. You see on our walls what my heart sees always. This moment was very sweet, it was the end of the 4 hour ride to our coveted camp site and you boys were starting to squirm. I said to you “take off your seat belts and look out at the mountains”. That is exactly what you did. And once again I was completely mesmerized by all the beauty there is in this world, especially the beauty right in front of me.

You kids have always been one of my greatest adventures. Every camping trip we have gone on this summer, we plan as a family. We plan our meals together, plan our route together, you kids collect every piece of clothing you may or may not need in anticipation of our getaways. You get to select a favorite book to read, the one stuffed animal you won't be able to sleep without, and your baby blankies to keep you extra warm. I get fun snacks you don’t get to eat very often and any kind of soda your little hearts desire. It’s your escape just as much is it is mine. There is nothing that makes my heart happier than getting outdoors, hiking in mud, watching fish swim in streams, and feeling the warmth of the last of the summer sun on my face. It’s a time for us to unplug. It is more special to me with every trip we go on, because I know the time is coming when you wont be able to live without your friends and WIFI for a whole weekend. Just as much as you are taking in every experience around you, I am just sitting back and taking you all in. The photographs I take of you are some of my most treasured possessions. The memory of experiencing life together will forever be engraved in my heart. You see on our walls what my heart sees always. This moment was very sweet, it was the end of the 4 hour ride to our coveted camp site and you boys were starting to squirm. I said to you “take off your seat belts and look out at the mountains”. That is exactly what you did. And once again I was completely mesmerized by all the beauty there is in this world, especially the beauty right in front of me.

Fall has finally arrived! We are well into soccer games, stinky cleats, reading school books, math homework, cool evenings, pumpkins and so much more. It is hard to find time to relax and enjoy our evenings between soccer practice and our new major renovation project. Your Daddy and I both hope that some day you will appreciate everything that you have learned from our “renovation/fixer upper" projects!!  

Fall has finally arrived! We are well into soccer games, stinky cleats, reading school books, math homework, cool evenings, pumpkins and so much more. It is hard to find time to relax and enjoy our evenings between soccer practice and our new major renovation project. Your Daddy and I both hope that some day you will appreciate everything that you have learned from our “renovation/fixer upper" projects!!  

You boys are so different yet so similar. You both enjoy each other’s company – Colton, you follow your brother everywhere, copying him, and always wanting to be in the middle of what he’s doing. Xander, you get frustrated by this sometimes, yet you are patient, and constantly ask to play with your brother. I’m not sure why you ask, but I love that you genuinely want to spend time with him, to play with him. One of you is sensitive, the other fiery. But you get along great, love each other fiercly, and it’s so wonderful to watch your relationship grow. 

You boys are so different yet so similar. You both enjoy each other’s company – Colton, you follow your brother everywhere, copying him, and always wanting to be in the middle of what he’s doing. Xander, you get frustrated by this sometimes, yet you are patient, and constantly ask to play with your brother. I’m not sure why you ask, but I love that you genuinely want to spend time with him, to play with him. One of you is sensitive, the other fiery. But you get along great, love each other fiercly, and it’s so wonderful to watch your relationship grow. 

I love watching you explore new things and new places together. Your excitement is contagious. You are so happy to share your new adventures and discoveries.

I love watching you explore new things and new places together. Your excitement is contagious. You are so happy to share your new adventures and discoveries.

I adore watching how your role as the older brother has evolved. Despite my love of thunder storms, you've always gotten a little nervous when dark clouds head our way. When your little brother heard the first rumbles in the distance this afternoon, he reacted in the same way. But you surprised me. You told him not to worry and pulled two chairs up to watch the show. You warned him that some rain would come and that it might get noisy but that the plants and animals would be so happy. You explained that the leaves would dance and the frogs would cheer. Exactly what I've been telling you for 4.5 years. He left my side and trusted you, climbing up in his assigned seat with a smile. 

I adore watching how your role as the older brother has evolved. Despite my love of thunder storms, you've always gotten a little nervous when dark clouds head our way. When your little brother heard the first rumbles in the distance this afternoon, he reacted in the same way. But you surprised me. You told him not to worry and pulled two chairs up to watch the show. You warned him that some rain would come and that it might get noisy but that the plants and animals would be so happy. You explained that the leaves would dance and the frogs would cheer. Exactly what I've been telling you for 4.5 years. He left my side and trusted you, climbing up in his assigned seat with a smile. 

Monkey see, monkey do….or something else? Sometimes I wonder if your behavioral similarities are a product of genetics or a long, drawn out game of copy cat.  I laugh to myself when I see your mannerisms mirror each other. It can be something as simple as what position you both default to when lazily watching a movie or how you hold a pencil.  There are things about both of you that are just so…us.  Sure, some things Sam has studied and copied, but some things seem to be inherent traits.  I don’t know.  I find you both fascinating.   

Monkey see, monkey do….or something else?

Sometimes I wonder if your behavioral similarities are a product of genetics or a long, drawn out game of copy cat.  I laugh to myself when I see your mannerisms mirror each other. It can be something as simple as what position you both default to when lazily watching a movie or how you hold a pencil.  There are things about both of you that are just so…us.  Sure, some things Sam has studied and copied, but some things seem to be inherent traits. 

I don’t know.  I find you both fascinating.   

It was Tyton's birthday this month and we celebrated down in Fort Collins.  Tyton invited his best friend Sam to come along.  Every day after school Tyton, Atlys and Sam come over, raid my cupboards and ride bikes outside.  I love their friendship, and their sense of brotherhood.  I hope as the boys get older they continue to have the same bond and be the best friends that they are now.

It was Tyton's birthday this month and we celebrated down in Fort Collins.  Tyton invited his best friend Sam to come along.  Every day after school Tyton, Atlys and Sam come over, raid my cupboards and ride bikes outside.  I love their friendship, and their sense of brotherhood.  I hope as the boys get older they continue to have the same bond and be the best friends that they are now.

I’m dreading it. I’m dreading the day the giggles turn into yells. I’m dreading the day you don’t want to spend every moment together.  I’m dreading the day you are too big to run on the couch. I’m dreading the day there is a broken bone or a tooth knocked out (I’m looking at you, Gryff).  But until that day I will stand by nervously as you run back and forth, collapsing on each other in fits of uncontrollable laughter, destroying the leather while you make sweet, sweet memories together. These days are fleeting, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be here to witness them.

I’m dreading it. I’m dreading the day the giggles turn into yells. I’m dreading the day you don’t want to spend every moment together.  I’m dreading the day you are too big to run on the couch. I’m dreading the day there is a broken bone or a tooth knocked out (I’m looking at you, Gryff). 

But until that day I will stand by nervously as you run back and forth, collapsing on each other in fits of uncontrollable laughter, destroying the leather while you make sweet, sweet memories together. These days are fleeting, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be here to witness them.

The first time we climbed here, you made it to the top multiple times over. You've repeated the process on every visit. The same can't be said about him, though. Each time we go, he makes it just a little bit higher before deciding it's simply too much. Today he made it four levels and then he froze. No longer willing to move up or down. You could have continued on climbing, paying no attention to his concerns. But you stopped, turned back, and encouragingly reached him. You asked if he wanted to follow you, but he told you he wanted down. So you altered your course to guide him safely down before you resumed your race to the top.

The first time we climbed here, you made it to the top multiple times over. You've repeated the process on every visit. The same can't be said about him, though. Each time we go, he makes it just a little bit higher before deciding it's simply too much. Today he made it four levels and then he froze. No longer willing to move up or down. You could have continued on climbing, paying no attention to his concerns. But you stopped, turned back, and encouragingly reached him. You asked if he wanted to follow you, but he told you he wanted down. So you altered your course to guide him safely down before you resumed your race to the top.

The tides are turning around here. After the last two years of the bigger of you boys being the one in charge, it’s not so much the case anymore. The littler of you has gotten feistier, and the bigger of you has learned a bit of self control. Because of this, Colter, you’re spending your days deflecting bites, scratches, and pinches, while Cannon’s battle wounds are getting less and less. I hate to say, but you’ve taught him all he knows! As the balance is changing, your newfound “teamwork” shows up sometimes too, and it’s the best thing yet. You’ve learned this at Pre-school Colter, and I love it! You’ve also learned to pick up your toys together, and this Mama couldn’t be happier about that!! 

The tides are turning around here. After the last two years of the bigger of you boys being the one in charge, it’s not so much the case anymore. The littler of you has gotten feistier, and the bigger of you has learned a bit of self control. Because of this, Colter, you’re spending your days deflecting bites, scratches, and pinches, while Cannon’s battle wounds are getting less and less. I hate to say, but you’ve taught him all he knows! As the balance is changing, your newfound “teamwork” shows up sometimes too, and it’s the best thing yet. You’ve learned this at Pre-school Colter, and I love it! You’ve also learned to pick up your toys together, and this Mama couldn’t be happier about that!! 

Apple Picking. You know, you two are such different personalities and most days manage to rub each other the wrong way. Seeing you work cooperatively, helping each other, and enjoying spending time in nature, gives me the little boost of energy I need (until the next one 😊)

Apple Picking.

You know, you two are such different personalities and most days manage to rub each other the wrong way. Seeing you work cooperatively, helping each other, and enjoying spending time in nature, gives me the little boost of energy I need (until the next one 😊)

the eighth edition

 
The past few weeks have been an adjustment for all of us. With Archer starting school we are all finding a new routine, and you two are having to find new ways to cope with not being together all day, every day. Because our week days are now full of pick-ups and drop-offs, and it seems we are all always going in opposite directions, our slow weekend mornings are becoming sacred. The sun is starting to rise later, and that early morning glow lingers on you two a little longer. The sounds of you both giggling and arguing while you play in the mornings makes my pajamas feel cozier and my coffee feel warmer. 

The past few weeks have been an adjustment for all of us. With Archer starting school we are all finding a new routine, and you two are having to find new ways to cope with not being together all day, every day. Because our week days are now full of pick-ups and drop-offs, and it seems we are all always going in opposite directions, our slow weekend mornings are becoming sacred. The sun is starting to rise later, and that early morning glow lingers on you two a little longer. The sounds of you both giggling and arguing while you play in the mornings makes my pajamas feel cozier and my coffee feel warmer. 

Cameron, you feel all the feels, my love. Some of this is obviously due to your age but I'm quite certain we're soon to see that it's mostly just who you are as a person. A feeler. And man, nothing quite brings it out of you like your brother. Excitement, anger, comfort, and frustration. Your mood is often dictated by his willingness (or lack there of) to involve you in whatever he is doing. Today you snuggled up next to him on the couch. Inching closer and closer until you rested your head on his shoulder. He asked you for space but when it became clear that space was not a part of your plan, he scooted himself into the corner. So here you are, with your sweet little heart being broken for all of 30 seconds until it's on to the next emotion.

Cameron, you feel all the feels, my love. Some of this is obviously due to your age but I'm quite certain we're soon to see that it's mostly just who you are as a person. A feeler. And man, nothing quite brings it out of you like your brother. Excitement, anger, comfort, and frustration. Your mood is often dictated by his willingness (or lack there of) to involve you in whatever he is doing.

Today you snuggled up next to him on the couch. Inching closer and closer until you rested your head on his shoulder. He asked you for space but when it became clear that space was not a part of your plan, he scooted himself into the corner. So here you are, with your sweet little heart being broken for all of 30 seconds until it's on to the next emotion.

Biggest brother chatting with friends. Littlest brother waiting because big brother said he'd play with you 'in just a little bit'. Some days I really think he'd wait all day for you. (Not that it would be patiently waiting, or quietly waiting by any means, but he'd wait.) I hope you see it; how much they adore you, how much they watch you and are learning from you.

Biggest brother chatting with friends. Littlest brother waiting because big brother said he'd play with you 'in just a little bit'. Some days I really think he'd wait all day for you. (Not that it would be patiently waiting, or quietly waiting by any means, but he'd wait.) I hope you see it; how much they adore you, how much they watch you and are learning from you.

This was an adjustment month for the Walkup family. Our baby started his journey into Kindergarten. I wasn’t handling life well, it almost seemed I was an empty nester. If only I could hold onto the little one and not let him grow, I would always still have my baby. The problem with this thought was…he was more than ready to be independent from me. The first day of Kindergarten arrived quickly. We set his alarm, packed his lunch, complete with a love note from mommy, got dressed and headed for the bus stop. You heard me right…bus stop? They would have nothing to do with me driving them to school, although I offered more than a million times! I thought I was going to be sick parking the car at the school and waiting for my kids to be delivered by the bus. I wanted to make sure my little kindergartener was happy and could find his classes ok (and snap a few pics-lets not kid ourselves). They shuffled off the bus with crazy grins on their faces, and my world was a little better. My big boy took his little brother's hand, looked at me sternly and said “Mom, I got this”. I watched on as he showed him the way through the school and out to the playground of which he will play on for the next couple of years. They didn’t look back once to see if I was still there, in fact the opposite. It was full steam ahead, exactly the way I hope they always approach life, together, and always looking ahead!

This was an adjustment month for the Walkup family. Our baby started his journey into Kindergarten. I wasn’t handling life well, it almost seemed I was an empty nester. If only I could hold onto the little one and not let him grow, I would always still have my baby.

The problem with this thought was…he was more than ready to be independent from me. The first day of Kindergarten arrived quickly. We set his alarm, packed his lunch, complete with a love note from mommy, got dressed and headed for the bus stop. You heard me right…bus stop? They would have nothing to do with me driving them to school, although I offered more than a million times! I thought I was going to be sick parking the car at the school and waiting for my kids to be delivered by the bus. I wanted to make sure my little kindergartener was happy and could find his classes ok (and snap a few pics-lets not kid ourselves).

They shuffled off the bus with crazy grins on their faces, and my world was a little better. My big boy took his little brother's hand, looked at me sternly and said “Mom, I got this”. I watched on as he showed him the way through the school and out to the playground of which he will play on for the next couple of years. They didn’t look back once to see if I was still there, in fact the opposite. It was full steam ahead, exactly the way I hope they always approach life, together, and always looking ahead!

You laid down for a moment. He sat beside you as you fell asleep. As soon as you were out, he began a few light test bounces on the bed, You didn't move, It immediately escalated to him jumping back and forth between the beds. The words to stop him were on the tip of my tongue, but then I thought that if you can sleep through it, I'm not going to worry about it. This chaos feels like home. 

You laid down for a moment. He sat beside you as you fell asleep. As soon as you were out, he began a few light test bounces on the bed, You didn't move, It immediately escalated to him jumping back and forth between the beds. The words to stop him were on the tip of my tongue, but then I thought that if you can sleep through it, I'm not going to worry about it. This chaos feels like home. 

August is always a crazy month for us. We do a 2 week camping trip every year and sports and school are starting up.  It's so nice to take a break and just disconnect. We stayed for a week in the Tetons and bunked in a little cabin. We spent our days hiking and kayaking and our evenings were filled with smores, the goonies, and, uno tournaments. When I was growing up, these trips I took with my family were some of my best and most favorite memories. My hope for my boys is that they will look back and cherish these moments and experiences that we share together on these trips.  

August is always a crazy month for us. We do a 2 week camping trip every year and sports and school are starting up.  It's so nice to take a break and just disconnect. We stayed for a week in the Tetons and bunked in a little cabin. We spent our days hiking and kayaking and our evenings were filled with smores, the goonies, and, uno tournaments. When I was growing up, these trips I took with my family were some of my best and most favorite memories. My hope for my boys is that they will look back and cherish these moments and experiences that we share together on these trips.  

Same Genes. Different Personalities.

Same Genes. Different Personalities.

Jack got a new tent for his birthday. Sam:  “Can I come in your tent?” Jack:  “Nope.” Sam:  “Please?” Jack: “Nope.” Sam wants to come in.  Jack wants him to come in too, but says no, just to say no.  Such a big brother thing to do.  Sam wisely ran into the house and got a box of Hostess cupcakes.   Sam got into the tent afterall.

Jack got a new tent for his birthday.

Sam:  “Can I come in your tent?”

Jack:  “Nope.”

Sam:  “Please?”

Jack: “Nope.”

Sam wants to come in.  Jack wants him to come in too, but says no, just to say no.  Such a big brother thing to do. 

Sam wisely ran into the house and got a box of Hostess cupcakes.  

Sam got into the tent afterall.

the seventh edition

 
When we finally made the decision to sell our suburban home, and move out to the country, I was a little anxious how you kids would do. There would be few amenities, more acres between little friends, a lot of yard to take care of, more miles on our cars to and from work and activities. I was scared and nervous for our next family adventure. When we got out of the city, I was amazed at how aware of my surroundings I had become. The colors, the people, the weather, the smells. I was even more amazed at how aware you two boys were. You are the typical definition of boys…you love danger, reptiles, fast moving objects, and water, almost as much as you love each other. I remember the first frog we caught, the 4 foot long snake we found, that I was sure would eat our family pets. I remember the first tractor mowing you boys did with your daddy, and the giggles. Summer came along a few months after we moved in, and the corn fields blossomed their bright green symmetrical columns for all the neighborhood to admire. One night you boys were bored, I was trying to think of something fun to do and fast, before we all had a meltdown. “Lets play hide and seek in the cornfield” I quickly said. We all ran across the street and got lost in these beautiful, ever changing rows of corn. I thought you boys would outgrow it year after year, but somehow when we're in the quiet midst of our nighttime slow down, one of you will always ask if we can go play “hide and seek in the field”. Its always at these sweet times that I am convinced I made the BEST decision moving to the country because things are a bit slower out here, and I’ll settle for a slow down.

When we finally made the decision to sell our suburban home, and move out to the country, I was a little anxious how you kids would do. There would be few amenities, more acres between little friends, a lot of yard to take care of, more miles on our cars to and from work and activities. I was scared and nervous for our next family adventure. When we got out of the city, I was amazed at how aware of my surroundings I had become. The colors, the people, the weather, the smells. I was even more amazed at how aware you two boys were. You are the typical definition of boys…you love danger, reptiles, fast moving objects, and water, almost as much as you love each other. I remember the first frog we caught, the 4 foot long snake we found, that I was sure would eat our family pets. I remember the first tractor mowing you boys did with your daddy, and the giggles. Summer came along a few months after we moved in, and the corn fields blossomed their bright green symmetrical columns for all the neighborhood to admire. One night you boys were bored, I was trying to think of something fun to do and fast, before we all had a meltdown. “Lets play hide and seek in the cornfield” I quickly said. We all ran across the street and got lost in these beautiful, ever changing rows of corn.

I thought you boys would outgrow it year after year, but somehow when we're in the quiet midst of our nighttime slow down, one of you will always ask if we can go play “hide and seek in the field”. Its always at these sweet times that I am convinced I made the BEST decision moving to the country because things are a bit slower out here, and I’ll settle for a slow down.

Your little brother isn't so little anymore. I can see your excitement as he becomes more and more of a friend. Someone you want to spend your days playing along side. Tonight you wanted to carry him down the slide on your lap. Just like when he was a baby. About half way down the slide, the two of you got stuck. Although he didn't find it to be very amusing, you couldn't stop laughing. It brought you absolute joy. And I can't help but wonder if there will be a day when he wants you to sit on his lap. I can hear the laughter now.

Your little brother isn't so little anymore. I can see your excitement as he becomes more and more of a friend. Someone you want to spend your days playing along side. Tonight you wanted to carry him down the slide on your lap. Just like when he was a baby. About half way down the slide, the two of you got stuck. Although he didn't find it to be very amusing, you couldn't stop laughing. It brought you absolute joy. And I can't help but wonder if there will be a day when he wants you to sit on his lap. I can hear the laughter now.

This image makes me laugh, because it’s so you. Two brothers, walking life side by side, each with his own personality. One of you walking in peace, one of you walking with all of the exuberance in the world, but together nonetheless. We took this trip to the Oregon coast last month, and stopped to visit my aunt and uncle along the way. You took over their home with your own personalities (and the sickness you decided to share with each other). Here we explored the cherry orchard next door, and were covered in cherry juice for the walk home. You both loved it! You did however, hold very different feelings about their dogs, and approached them with your own levels of caution (or lack there of). Watching the two of you navigate life side by side is such a blessing!

This image makes me laugh, because it’s so you. Two brothers, walking life side by side, each with his own personality. One of you walking in peace, one of you walking with all of the exuberance in the world, but together nonetheless. We took this trip to the Oregon coast last month, and stopped to visit my aunt and uncle along the way. You took over their home with your own personalities (and the sickness you decided to share with each other). Here we explored the cherry orchard next door, and were covered in cherry juice for the walk home. You both loved it! You did however, hold very different feelings about their dogs, and approached them with your own levels of caution (or lack there of). Watching the two of you navigate life side by side is such a blessing!

Your little brother watches everything you do.  He wants to be just like you.  We tell you all the time how special you are because God choose you to be the big brother to help him and look after him.  You are doing a great job being a role model at such a young age for your little brother to look up to.  From being the big brother right after turning one you don't know it any other way.

Your little brother watches everything you do.  He wants to be just like you.  We tell you all the time how special you are because God choose you to be the big brother to help him and look after him.  You are doing a great job being a role model at such a young age for your little brother to look up to.  From being the big brother right after turning one you don't know it any other way.

It was the first time your little brother was trying to swim in deep water without his life jacket. You have barely just learned to swim yourself. Yet I watched your first instinct be to reach out for him and make sure he made it to the ladder too. It's not always like this but I'm glad I get to witness moments between you two when it is. My hope is you will always be there for each other wherever life may lead each of you.

It was the first time your little brother was trying to swim in deep water without his life jacket. You have barely just learned to swim yourself. Yet I watched your first instinct be to reach out for him and make sure he made it to the ladder too. It's not always like this but I'm glad I get to witness moments between you two when it is. My hope is you will always be there for each other wherever life may lead each of you.

Both of you have a healthy curiosity about the world we live in.  You know that there is more out there than what you see every day in our little corner of the world.  Much more.  I have made it a point to travel with you, and have you experience as much of the world as possible.  We are fortunate to have been able to see other countries and many states in the US. I want you to know that how we live, isn’t how everyone lives.  Not everyone lives in a house.  Not everyone lives in the suburbs and has a big green lawn to play on, a car, access to medical care, good schools, choices of food at big grocery stores…the list goes on. Last week, I took you to visit New York City.  I wanted you to see where your dad and I lived before we had you. Your faces were priceless as our taxi pulled into Times Square.  You’ve seen it on television, but seeing it in person is entirely different.  Watching you take in the sights, sounds, and smells was a lot of fun for me.  You quickly adjusted to city life. Riding the subway, navigating the crowds, and walking everywhere.  You both really enjoyed the energy of the city.  You were curious about the people and the history of the different neighborhoods.  It was a very memorable trip, and I am so glad I got to share it with you. You were surprised to learn that some people pack up their cats, dog, birds, rabbits, and guniea pigs and go sit on a corner in midtown Manhattan and collect money from people passing by. New York City, you never know what is around the next corner.

Both of you have a healthy curiosity about the world we live in.  You know that there is more out there than what you see every day in our little corner of the world.  Much more.  I have made it a point to travel with you, and have you experience as much of the world as possible.  We are fortunate to have been able to see other countries and many states in the US. I want you to know that how we live, isn’t how everyone lives.  Not everyone lives in a house.  Not everyone lives in the suburbs and has a big green lawn to play on, a car, access to medical care, good schools, choices of food at big grocery stores…the list goes on.

Last week, I took you to visit New York City.  I wanted you to see where your dad and I lived before we had you. Your faces were priceless as our taxi pulled into Times Square.  You’ve seen it on television, but seeing it in person is entirely different.  Watching you take in the sights, sounds, and smells was a lot of fun for me.  You quickly adjusted to city life. Riding the subway, navigating the crowds, and walking everywhere.  You both really enjoyed the energy of the city.  You were curious about the people and the history of the different neighborhoods.  It was a very memorable trip, and I am so glad I got to share it with you.

You were surprised to learn that some people pack up their cats, dog, birds, rabbits, and guniea pigs and go sit on a corner in midtown Manhattan and collect money from people passing by.

New York City, you never know what is around the next corner.

Touch the Hoan Bridge. It’s been a running joke for the last bit of time - can’t remember when it started, but when driving on the freeway, you all chant “Touch. Touch. Touch. Touch the Hoan Bridge” for every overpass we go under. Well when we went boating, you all really tried to touch the Hoan Bridge. Moms are magical and can make (almost) anything come true! 

Touch the Hoan Bridge.

It’s been a running joke for the last bit of time - can’t remember when it started, but when driving on the freeway, you all chant “Touch. Touch. Touch. Touch the Hoan Bridge” for every overpass we go under. Well when we went boating, you all really tried to touch the Hoan Bridge. Moms are magical and can make (almost) anything come true! 

It happened!! Our first big vacation to Fort Walton Beach, Florida!!  This was the first time for you both to visit the ocean and to fly on an airplane. We went deep sea fishing, visited the Gulf Aquarium, attended a magic show and swam in the ocean. We also walked a lot, took several Uber cars for the first time, ate yummy seafood and had pizza delivered more than I would have preferred. Lessons learned include: skin rash from sandy wet bathing suits sucks, you two really do not like to walk, dude the humidity is is yucky but the whole experience was priceless. I will never forget this special trip for our little family! 

It happened!! Our first big vacation to Fort Walton Beach, Florida!!  This was the first time for you both to visit the ocean and to fly on an airplane. We went deep sea fishing, visited the Gulf Aquarium, attended a magic show and swam in the ocean. We also walked a lot, took several Uber cars for the first time, ate yummy seafood and had pizza delivered more than I would have preferred. Lessons learned include: skin rash from sandy wet bathing suits sucks, you two really do not like to walk, dude the humidity is is yucky but the whole experience was priceless. I will never forget this special trip for our little family! 

What was once a quiet activity buying me a half hour of productivity is now 10 minutes of pure chaos. I cannot count the number of times Archer said “Gryyyyyyyff”, but I know you just want to do whatever he is doing. 

What was once a quiet activity buying me a half hour of productivity is now 10 minutes of pure chaos. I cannot count the number of times Archer said “Gryyyyyyyff”, but I know you just want to do whatever he is doing. 

I remember baking with you when you were the same age as the littlest. I would walk you through each step and you would make more mess than not. Now I am watching the same story unfold, but you have taken my spot. You read through and meticulously follow each step of the recipe. You encourage the littlest to help. You remain patient when he makes more mess than not. I stand off to the side, watching quietly and full of pride because of the amazing person you are.

I remember baking with you when you were the same age as the littlest. I would walk you through each step and you would make more mess than not. Now I am watching the same story unfold, but you have taken my spot. You read through and meticulously follow each step of the recipe. You encourage the littlest to help. You remain patient when he makes more mess than not. I stand off to the side, watching quietly and full of pride because of the amazing person you are.

Tyton has been gone this summer visiting his dad. He leaves every year for 8 looonnnggg weeks.  During that time, Atlys and I go out exploring and spend quality time together. Whenever Tyton is gone, Atlys is always lonely and misses him terribly. It's funny though, because they can never seem to start bickering when they're together, funny how that works. We are gearing up for a 2 week long camping trip in Yellowstone, and I can't wait. I love the moments they share together on our trips. The little things they discover together, but mainly the intimate bonding that we all get to share. It's an amazing 2 weeks of bonding that the boys get before the hustle and bustle of school starts up. 

Tyton has been gone this summer visiting his dad. He leaves every year for 8 looonnnggg weeks.  During that time, Atlys and I go out exploring and spend quality time together. Whenever Tyton is gone, Atlys is always lonely and misses him terribly. It's funny though, because they can never seem to start bickering when they're together, funny how that works. We are gearing up for a 2 week long camping trip in Yellowstone, and I can't wait. I love the moments they share together on our trips. The little things they discover together, but mainly the intimate bonding that we all get to share. It's an amazing 2 weeks of bonding that the boys get before the hustle and bustle of school starts up. 

the sixth edition

 
It's happening. You are seeing the awesome benefits of having a built-in playmate. Sure, you still butt heads (you always will) and there are many moments that highlight the struggle that still exists from being almost three years apart. But it's happening. I'm seeing the change. I often find the two of you busy in an activity together or giggling like wild, engaged in your own world. A world just for two brothers. And I can't wait to see where this goes next. I pray the two of you will always find such comfort and joy in each others presence. 

It's happening. You are seeing the awesome benefits of having a built-in playmate. Sure, you still butt heads (you always will) and there are many moments that highlight the struggle that still exists from being almost three years apart. But it's happening. I'm seeing the change. I often find the two of you busy in an activity together or giggling like wild, engaged in your own world. A world just for two brothers. And I can't wait to see where this goes next. I pray the two of you will always find such comfort and joy in each others presence. 

The summer heat is making you both crazy! You argue over how to let the goats in the pen, how to pick tomatoes from the garden, where the towels go, which show to watch, how to put swim goggles on, how to swat a fly...I could go on for hours on this lol!!  It’s not actually the heat making you crazy, I think you are just naturally crazy. You probably get it from your Dad’s side of the family!  I hope as you get older you grow to enjoy each other’s company, friendship and can depend on each other when needed. I have a deep bond and friendship with my siblings and I want the same for the both of you.   

The summer heat is making you both crazy! You argue over how to let the goats in the pen, how to pick tomatoes from the garden, where the towels go, which show to watch, how to put swim goggles on, how to swat a fly...I could go on for hours on this lol!!  It’s not actually the heat making you crazy, I think you are just naturally crazy. You probably get it from your Dad’s side of the family!  I hope as you get older you grow to enjoy each other’s company, friendship and can depend on each other when needed. I have a deep bond and friendship with my siblings and I want the same for the both of you.   

While being total opposites, I can always count on one of you to be the brave one and lead the other where he needs to go. Sometimes this might not be such a good thing, but at others it works perfectly. There’s no doubt the older of you is usually the brave one, but when I need to leave you somewhere and that brave one clings to my leg and refuses to go, the littler of you seems to sense this and marches right in. You call your big brother after you, and he usually obliges. You’re definitely your own personalities, but more connected than I realize sometimes. Less than 2 years apart, and the last two years have been filled with more joy, love, and exhaustion than I would have believed possible. 

While being total opposites, I can always count on one of you to be the brave one and lead the other where he needs to go. Sometimes this might not be such a good thing, but at others it works perfectly. There’s no doubt the older of you is usually the brave one, but when I need to leave you somewhere and that brave one clings to my leg and refuses to go, the littler of you seems to sense this and marches right in. You call your big brother after you, and he usually obliges. You’re definitely your own personalities, but more connected than I realize sometimes. Less than 2 years apart, and the last two years have been filled with more joy, love, and exhaustion than I would have believed possible. 

The month of June brought as much fun as the hot summer months I always dreamt about when I was a child. We have been watching a lot of race car movies, which seem to be a hit with you boys lately. You both got the wild idea to start your own street wars, I laughed as you pretended to check your engines before starting the races. Your daddy looked at me sideways and I knew he was thinking, “too much Fast and Furious”. I couldn't have cared less. I saw that competitive, fun loving, twinkle in both your eyes. The looks on your faces made me run for my camera once again. I knew you were about to get wild! You both looked so tough, but I knew exactly what was going to happen…your big brother would give you a head start and then make sure he went slow enough so that his little sidekick could keep up with him. I just looked on adoringly because I can’t imagine loving you two anymore than I already do.

The month of June brought as much fun as the hot summer months I always dreamt about when I was a child. We have been watching a lot of race car movies, which seem to be a hit with you boys lately. You both got the wild idea to start your own street wars, I laughed as you pretended to check your engines before starting the races. Your daddy looked at me sideways and I knew he was thinking, “too much Fast and Furious”. I couldn't have cared less. I saw that competitive, fun loving, twinkle in both your eyes. The looks on your faces made me run for my camera once again. I knew you were about to get wild! You both looked so tough, but I knew exactly what was going to happen…your big brother would give you a head start and then make sure he went slow enough so that his little sidekick could keep up with him. I just looked on adoringly because I can’t imagine loving you two anymore than I already do.

You would yell after him, “Wait for me! Wait for me!” and he would wait for you to catch up so you could jump in together.

You would yell after him, “Wait for me! Wait for me!” and he would wait for you to catch up so you could jump in together.

This image pretty accurately summarizes your personalities. One of you is a rule-follower, perfectly happy to play within the lines, feeling no need to create your own rules. The other one of you is always taking things to the next level, never satisfied with normal, and constantly looking for the next challenge to conquer. Although your personalities are night and day, you are always working together. You have found a way to be content and happy together, and like the gears in your favourite bath toy, you are filling each others gaps to move forward as a team. 

This image pretty accurately summarizes your personalities. One of you is a rule-follower, perfectly happy to play within the lines, feeling no need to create your own rules. The other one of you is always taking things to the next level, never satisfied with normal, and constantly looking for the next challenge to conquer. Although your personalities are night and day, you are always working together. You have found a way to be content and happy together, and like the gears in your favourite bath toy, you are filling each others gaps to move forward as a team. 

Deep meaningful conversations atop some red rock at Red Rock Canyon Open Space (Colorado Springs, CO). I loved watching your excitement for adventure while exploring the beauty in Colorado. And coming from the good old cornfields and dairyland of Wisconsin, being at an elevation of 5,000-7,000 was a whole new experience and outlook for us all!

Deep meaningful conversations atop some red rock at Red Rock Canyon Open Space (Colorado Springs, CO). I loved watching your excitement for adventure while exploring the beauty in Colorado. And coming from the good old cornfields and dairyland of Wisconsin, being at an elevation of 5,000-7,000 was a whole new experience and outlook for us all!

You two.  You really amuse yourselves. You can make a game out of anything.  In this case, Chinese food in the food court at the mall became your plaything. One would flick grains of rice at the other while the other tried to deflect the incoming rice with a food tray.  These games always start small and quiet.  By the end of this particular game, you had the attention of all of the patrons of the food court with your wails of joy and laughter (I’m sure the flying rice didn’t help). I know most, if not all, of the people did not approve of your behavior.  I should have been horrified by your undignified public behavior…but I wasn’t.  I was laughing too. I love hearing the two of you laugh so hard that you lose your breath.  That point when your laugh goes silent because you are out of air…I live for that. Were you obnoxious?  Yes.  Were you having more fun than anyone else in the room?  Yes.

You two.  You really amuse yourselves. You can make a game out of anything.  In this case, Chinese food in the food court at the mall became your plaything. One would flick grains of rice at the other while the other tried to deflect the incoming rice with a food tray.  These games always start small and quiet.  By the end of this particular game, you had the attention of all of the patrons of the food court with your wails of joy and laughter (I’m sure the flying rice didn’t help). I know most, if not all, of the people did not approve of your behavior.  I should have been horrified by your undignified public behavior…but I wasn’t.  I was laughing too. I love hearing the two of you laugh so hard that you lose your breath.  That point when your laugh goes silent because you are out of air…I live for that. Were you obnoxious?  Yes.  Were you having more fun than anyone else in the room?  Yes.

the fifth edition

 
When your big brother fills in as your first base coach. Sam’s baseball team was down a coach.  Jack happened to have a free night.  Being the problem solver that he is, he volunteered his services, because “someone has to teach these kids about the sport of baseball, otherwise they will just sit there are make sand castles in the infield and watch airplanes go over in the outfield.”    All Sam wanted was a base hit. He didn’t want a double or a triple.  He wanted to stop at first base.  He wanted to be there with his big brother and get advice. He wanted the fist bump and to hear his big brother say, “nice hit.” Jack enjoyed being the guy who told the kids when to hold up and when “to run to second base like the boogey man was chasing you.” Luckily, the short stop on the other team was busy making sand castles and watching airplanes go by, and Sam got his base hit. He would have stayed on first base all night.  

When your big brother fills in as your first base coach.

Sam’s baseball team was down a coach.  Jack happened to have a free night.  Being the problem solver that he is, he volunteered his services, because “someone has to teach these kids about the sport of baseball, otherwise they will just sit there are make sand castles in the infield and watch airplanes go over in the outfield.”   

All Sam wanted was a base hit. He didn’t want a double or a triple.  He wanted to stop at first base.  He wanted to be there with his big brother and get advice. He wanted the fist bump and to hear his big brother say, “nice hit.” Jack enjoyed being the guy who told the kids when to hold up and when “to run to second base like the boogey man was chasing you.” Luckily, the short stop on the other team was busy making sand castles and watching airplanes go by, and Sam got his base hit.

He would have stayed on first base all night.  

"Mommy, come push us so we can all swing together."

"Mommy, come push us so we can all swing together."

I realized that I had been constantly laying you down, Grant, so you wouldn't topple over while I tended to the rest of the household.  I felt a bit guilty, but it only took you about a week of practice to become a very solid sitter.  Now, just a few weeks later, you're reaching far over one knee and rocking while trying to get at your big brother's toys.  He holds things just outside your grasp to tease and encourage you while he giggles uncontrollably.  I don't think he realizes you're so incredibly close to crawling, and that it will soon be you who has the last laugh. I've been waiting for these skills, knowing they would bring your friendship to a new level.  Now I wish it would all just slow down a bit.

I realized that I had been constantly laying you down, Grant, so you wouldn't topple over while I tended to the rest of the household.  I felt a bit guilty, but it only took you about a week of practice to become a very solid sitter.  Now, just a few weeks later, you're reaching far over one knee and rocking while trying to get at your big brother's toys.  He holds things just outside your grasp to tease and encourage you while he giggles uncontrollably.  I don't think he realizes you're so incredibly close to crawling, and that it will soon be you who has the last laugh.

I've been waiting for these skills, knowing they would bring your friendship to a new level.  Now I wish it would all just slow down a bit.