Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Fun Years

This will start of with what seems a random thought, but hang in and it might come together at some point -
Brian was a very hands on papa from day one of having kids.  He changed the first diapers, and many after. He got up for many (most) of the night feedings. He rocked babies to sleep, sang silly songs, danced around the room to get laughs, you name it, he did it. More importantly, he really enjoyed it.  I really think that so far in the raising kids scheme of things, those early years, lets say birth to school age, were his favorite. He loves kids that age still, and is very ready for grand kids already. It's safe to say he (and for sure I) have zero interest in having a baby again, but grand kids sound pretty nice to him.  Why am I telling you this?? Well, turns out we have opposite, but complementary "kid" outlooks. I am that odd mom who did not enjoy the early baby years. I know moms aren't supposed to say that. But it's true. I didn't like diapers, crying babies, potty training, no sleep....especially those first 6 months when they are just a blob. Beautiful, chubby, little, perfect blobs....but blobs non the less, who can't even sit up by themselves. The constantly holding, or feeding, or changing, or getting pooped on or spit up on, days on end with no shower.....I was not a fan. Things got easier around 18 months when they'd get a bit more independent and personalities really popped out. Thank goodness for Brian because man did we balance each other out during those years!  Don't get me wrong, there were more good than bad times back then, I'm just saying if I'm being honest about this whole raising kids thing, the baby stage wasn't my favorite. I have always looked forward to the older years.

In the blink of an eye, we now have 11, 14, and 16 year olds. Boy have Brian and my roles flipped! These are the years I have been so looking forward to, and he's desperately pumping the brake, trying to slow time down. I'm jumping at the bit for all the first, and milestones, and he's getting dragged along next to me : ) I'm going to lump this section of raising kids into a time that started the first big "your growing up" milestones....and I'm not sure when I view it as ending. Maybe with high school graduation? I'm not sure, but I'll know it when it comes. So in my mind, that first tearing eyed graduation...yep, Emma's 5th grade graduation was when it started. She gave the graduation speech for her class, and there was a video starting from kindergarten and going through 5th grade. We sobbed and for the first time realized she'd be graduating high school in no time. Then Sophie had her 5th grade graduation, same thing. I was super excited both times that they were moving on to middle school, while Brian was not so enthusiastic. With middle school came the need for cell phones. (they walk home and I wanted to be able to communicate with them). Oh, and they walked home rather than needing picked up. Huge mom milestone. So exciting.

So I wont go through every milestone that has come along in these past few years, but it's so exciting for me to see them growing up! All the work of those early years was for these years. Watching them grow, giving them some independence and freedoms and seeing what they do with it, how they handle it, who they've grown into/are growing into. Seeing what their interests are and what adventures and choices they make. It's so exciting for me! This is the time I've been patiently waiting for. Things like surprising your oldest kid with her first car...man I looked forward to that since the day she was born, and now it's finally that time! Middle school talent shows. High school football games. Group projects. Internships. Peer mentors. Youth awards. Cute boys. Daughters who will talk to me about the cute boys. Taking my girls to the mall, while Brian and Myles see a movie.  Driving around in Emma's truck with her. All of it, I love it all.

With the oldest kid experiencing firsts for the first time, the youngest is doing firsts for the last time. (that sentence hurt my head a little) Meaning that we are doing firsts on the front end, and wrapping them up on the back end....so Myles just had his/my last elementary school play. He's 42 days away from our last 5th grade graduation, our last kid we well celebrate the start of middle school with.  The last kid we bought their "first cell phone" for.  Which makes me enjoy these years even more because man, it's going by so fast! It's so exciting, and fun....and fast. Sweet Emma, who just had that 5th grade graduation I talked about earlier, will soon be a Junior in high school.

So yeah. That's pretty much life right now.  It's crazy fast. It's fun. I'm right in the heart of the whole part I've been looking forward to forever, reassuring Brian it's all going to be ok. : ) I know I haven't been posting as much as previous years...but I'm still here. Just in a new season of mom-hood that I'm really, really enjoying.

Here's a peek -


 Personal study night in Monday night, above Myles is watching a video (I think about Noah) with his buddy Duke, on his new phone.


 Man I wish you could hit play on that video. Me and Emma bonding as Jimmy Kimmel and his side kick telling jokes.

 Above, Myles as the state of Pennsylvania in his school play.
 Above, I'm enjoying buying the random accessory for Emma's truck.
 Sweet Sophie's PE and principal nominated her for the Contra Costa County Youth Hall of Fame Award.  We went with them to a ceremony honoring the nominees in Martinez at the city council board members chambers.

 Emma took her truck down to the DMV and got her permit!!
 Myles got the flu and visited urgent care with a 103 fever...right at the start of spring break. He shared it with everyone but Brian.
 Miss Emma packed her bags last week and flew down to Anaheim with her high school's Hosa club. They met up with over 3000 kids from all the HOSA clubs in CA state and learned lots of medical stuff.
 CA HOSA at the Convention Center. Emma's  somewhere in that crowd.
 Below is her group.
And finally....these tickets arrived for Sophie and Brian's New York trip this summer!! Well, that's not the actual ticket, but the actual tickets have arrived. I'm so excited for her!!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Emma's school project

https://youtu.be/GrXs_9wOQBk

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Truck Hunt is Over!!

Click above for a video of Emma getting her truck!


We've been looking for about 3 months now for Emma's "first" vehicle.  She had some things she wanted - older, big, 4x4.  It didn't need to be fancy, or even pretty, just able to go anywhere and big enough that she would feel safe in it as a young first time driver.
She for sure wanted either a truck, bronco, or older Jeep. Other than that, she just wanted us to pick it out.  Making decisions totally freaks her out, especially big ones, and spending money causes her to break down in tears, so she really just wanted us to surprise her.  That said, we both spent time on line with her looking at rigs so we would have a good idea of what she was wanting, and what her expectations, combined with our budget, could come up with.
There was a common theme that developed that is my pet peeve.  The first truck she looked at, the guy said it's really not a "girls first vehicle" truck.  Later, the owner of a 89 Bronco with a 4inch lift responded to our inquiry by saying "this isn't for your daughter, you realize it has a 4 inch lift, right?"
Grrr. Don't even get me started.
Yesterday, Saturday, on my second Craigslist check of the morning (I had been checking it a few times a day), I caught a fresh listing and we jumped on it. Emma was with friends and had no idea we had taken off to check out a truck.
Super nice guy, super nice truck, very well taken care of. He listed off all the work he'd done on it, how he had taken care of it, all the stuff it had.....it's just pretty awesome.  We followed him over to a shop and had it smogged, which it passed no problem. 
And just like that, we had bought Emma her first truck!
She was totally shocked, and totally grateful. 


 Above is my view following Brian home in the truck.



 Below, her truck makes my truck look a tad small, lol.



It's a beauty! She's a 98 Chevy Silverado, 4x4, power everything, towing package, kc lights, running boards, 6 inch lift (take that, bronco guy), lots of other extra stuff.  The interior, which for some reason i don't have pictures of....but it's super clean, no tears or anything. The owner took really good care of it. Oh, it also had dual exhaust and is super loud!  Like sets off car alarms loud. I totally love it and will drive it as much as I can in the next 2 weeks before she gets her permit!
I found an interior picture. That's her friend Kyle, who actually sat in it before Emma knew she even had a truck.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Exciting Times!

 Man you guys, so many of my pictures now have a dog in them! Hopefully that's not annoying. They sure have become part of the family. Duke adores his mom, and we recently discovered he will protect her at any cost. Scary, but ultimately a good thing I guess.

Sophie and Sam are quite the pair. He just wants to be loved and cuddled...or rough house with Duke.

 ....or sleep. We aren't sure how old he is. He moans a lot when he gets up or down, and in his sleep. He looks like a wise old man...but he plays like a pup.

 Above is a super exciting project I'm about to undertake. I can't wait to fill you guys in as it takes shape! I know it says Shed Base, so that takes away some mystery, but it's not really a shed at all.
 I predict they will be of no help.
 Myles has uncovered an obsession with puzzles.
 Sophie is going into an exciting time of High School prep. She's all registered for her classes next year. A year when her sister will be driving her to school!!



 Mama got a new sign and table. Exciting for her. Me.

 He hates seeing her leave in the morning, and can't wait for her to walk down the school sidewalk after school. He keeps his eyes peeled for her and gets a bad case of the wiggles when he sees her coming.
 This guys just sleeps all day.
 Teenage girls sleep over.
 Truck shopping is in full swing still and getting really serious.
 Sophie has taken on a new  thing at school.

 That's a pretty thick binder she has to memorize to go into classes and teach it.
Handsome boy.

So exciting times indeed around here. Brian and Sophie are planning a New York trip.  I'm about to start a building project. Emma is going to her HOSA conference next month and will fly for the first time....and will also be getting her truck next month. So much excitement!!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Latham Life

 My girls
 My boys
 Our furry boys
 Duke hugging his boy
 Duke is unsure of creek crossings, he's sure he doesn't like them, though.



 Super green ferns
 Super pretty sunset on the mountain
 Super proud of this boy
 Super fruity counter top. The eaten one was one Duke grabbed off the counter.
 Super pillow making glittery walls
 Handsome Sam
 Silly Duke
 When you wait 6 years to trim back your Mulberry Tree and it takes 4 weekends in a row.
 Super us
 Super long Duke and Sophie
 Homemade bread
 Emma and mama, braids for days
 Seriously, 4 weekends. 5 truck loads to the dump.
 Duke is growing in to one handsome dog. He's 8 months old.
Emma had to give us an assist from the roof for a branch. She couldn't figure out how to get down, so she pencil dived into a bush. It has a permanent hole through the middle now.

Big news this month - Sophie got into the same high school as Emma. We are super excited about that. Emma's been backing out of the driveway and driving around the block. I'm super excited for her to be driving, her papa...not so much.  Brian and Sophie are planning a New York trip.  They plan on visiting Patterson and Wallkill, as well as famous Hamilton sites from history, Monticello, and seeing a Broadway show. Possibly Hamilton. Probably Hamilton. On Broadway. We are still truck shopping for Emma. She has a school trip down to Anaheim over Spring Break and we hope to find something while she's away and have it here when she gets back.

That's about it!!