Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Week in the Life (v.2015.3)

For Finn's birthday, I bought some Frozen chocolate eggs (like KinderEggs) -- she watching videos about these things ALL THE TIME.  This is the video of her receiving her first one and how excited she was about it.  The rest of the weekend was looking for eggs and then getting disappointed because there wasn't an egg where she thought there would be one.

While Mimi & Papa were here, Mimi made her famous holiday sugar cookies and we decorated them.  Big hit.

Some Finn Valentine's cookies.

Who was eating more decorations than putting on the cookies?

All our Valentine's cookies.

LOTS and LOTS of decorations


Our LOUD life

Someone didn't feel well for most of the late part of last week -- probably due to a combination of virus, teeth and vaccinations.  Poor baby.

Wearing sister's Frozen crown

Someone is into ballerina moves.

Who says I can't do fancy...  Pork and beans in a cheap plastic container and a glass of wine for dinner.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life as we know it (formerly known as Streams of Consciousness)

I'm O-V-E-R this winter crap.  OVER!!!
  • The sky is a darker shade of blue, but you can still see orange on the horizon.  And I just got asked "Mommy, it's dark outside.  Can I have ice cream?"  It's 6:34pm and we already ate dinner.  Can't say that the girl doesn't have me there.
This is how we did Valentine's Day.  This is as fancy as we get.
  • Apologies for the lack of "good" photos (or Finn's 3 year update or her yearly video).  Life just seems to catch up with me.  I was running and running and running for both of their birthdays and the birthday party in-between and I've seem to fallen into a rut.  Maybe it's the cold weather and overcast days.  Maybe it's the comparing-yourselves-to-others (which I try desperately NOT to do).  Maybe it's just loneliness and the leaving of family (from Finn's birthday weekend).  Maybe it's the nostalgia that has crept in over the past couple of weeks (as I tear up typing this) over my two babies' birthdays and how life slips away as you are trying to keep your head afloat.  Whatever it is, it's difficult now.  I still love my life and am desperately trying to find the "pep" that is usually in my step.
  • Speaking of difficult, I've got one.  He's 12 months old and knows how to throw a mean tantrum.  We have had three in the past three days.  The first was at bedtime because I took away his water cup, the next four hours later in the middle of the night (not sure what caused that one) and another on Sunday evening because E tried to scoop his yogurt.  The kid will NOT stop screaming.  The head get thrown back, the back gets arched into a "u" shape, I swear.  And the screams... will... just... not... stop...  We have a long road to hoe for the next 15 years.  Maybe he will surprise me and just be difficult between 12 months and 2 years.  Yeah, not holding my breath on that one.
 This is how she dressed herself for her doctor's appointment last week.  She needed to have a scarf just like Mommy.
  • Speaking of difficult, I've got another one.  She is hitting her threes as if she is hitting her junior high years in an all girls school.  Girlfriend knows drama like it is her best friend.  We are getting back into the throwing, the hitting, and the tantrums.  I'm trying to take this one with grace, but reasoning with a three year old is like trying to speak Chinese with an English speaking frog.  It just doesn't make sense. 
  • Speaking of difficult, I am trying to learn Manual mode on my camera.  I started out great (in fact, the February "good" photos on the red couch were all taken in Manual in the snow, which isn't the most forgiving environment).  But it takes daily exercise and creativity, which require gumption, which is sorely lacking in the moment.  But I refuse to move that dial back to Automatic -- it's almost like it putting back on those size 8 pants after wearing 6's for a couple of months.  Just... can't... do... it...
  • Tomorrow morning, we have an "interview" for a preschool in the area for Finn.  Most days I feel like I'm a total failure at not providing enough structure or social interactions for her.  So a friend of mine found a wonderful preschool kind of in the area that is a very good price.  She has been deadset on NOT going to school every time I've brought it up to her.  But this morning, I told her that we were visiting a school and her response was "And if I like it there then I can go.  If I don't, then I don't have to."  Smart chick.  Fingers are crossed that she loves this place.
 Someone's thinking he is hot sh*t now.
  • And someone has developed his independence overnight.  Fish started to eat with a spoon.  He has eaten yogurt and beans with his spoon.  If you try to take away his spoon, heaven help you.  He is going to be my tough one.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Birthday Girl

So as I had said in an earlier post, I am a pretty terrible photograph-taker/mom combination at birthday parties this year.  I took about 10 photos at Fish's small party that we held and I took NO photos until after everyone but the last family left. Then I realized my blunder and shot a couple just to say that I did take photos.  Part of my issue is that I have switched over to manual mode on my camera and I really didn't want to mess with metering and exposure charts while all the little people were running around.  My friend asked why I wouldn't just switch it back into an automatic mode and when I thought about it, it just felt that I was taking too big of a step backwards.

I did have another friend take some shots of us singing "happy birthday" to the kids -- but being that Fish wasn't big enough to stand next to me and E didn't bring him closer to the cake, the first photo in the post is the only photo of him and the partially-his birthday cake -- which is why it is included (because Finn didn't make it in the photo -- well, she actually did, but she is the blonde head in the lower right corner with the pink shirt).

But the Frozen party went off without a hitch!  Finn had such a great time -- Fish couldn't care less unless he was put down.  At the beginning of the party, I had made E make the 10-minute rule with me -- "I hold him for 10 minutes, then you take him for 10 minutes" because the kid weighs a ton and my arms start to get sore after 10 minutes.  We invited entire families, so that E could have man support at the kids' party.  It worked really well and he got to meet the husbands of a few of my friends (as did I) and we all drank beer together.

I had spent the week leading up to the party, making myself crazy!  I made at least 10 pounds of homemade play-dough.  We had pink, purple, white, light blue, blue, and dark blue play-dough with lots of glitter in each.  All the kids got to go home with three small containers of play-dough as their favor bag for coming to the party.  I also make homemade slime (light blue and dark blue with glitter), which was the biggest hit of the party.  I threw the slime in there as I knew that there were going to be some boys coming and wanted to give them some "gross things" to play with that I thought the girls wouldn't like.  Apparently, all kids like slime.  There was coloring and puffy painting and lots of food and lots of fun!

Little models

We have been having some growing-pains with Finn lately.  She has sort-of reverted back a year or two and there has been lots of fit throwing and lots of hitting when she doesn't get her way lately.  To say that I was nervous about having 11 kids in my house with a kid who doesn't like to share her toys with her brother was an understatement.  In fact, the night before the party her behavior was at a peak level and we even told her that we were going to cancel her party the next day because I couldn't have her hitting and throwing toys other kids.  But my nerves were all for nothing and she was an angel at the party!  She even shared her brand-new play-dough ice-cream cone maker with all the other girls, taking turns pushing the play-dough through the machine to make ice cream cones.  She did great and we made sure to tell her how proud of her we were for her good-girl behavior and turn-taking attitude.

And the tear-jerking moment of the weekend?  On the morning of her birthday party, we were scurrying around the house cleaning up and Finn comes up to me and asks me "Mommy?  Is Bishop coming to my birthday party?"  I froze and instantly tears sprung to my eyes.  If you remember, Bishop was our old dog who passed away two weeks after Fish was born.  Well, we told Finn that she has went to Kelly's house, who was E's dog who passed away about 8 years ago but Finn had asked about her through photos that we had up in the house.  I didn't want to break her heart in telling her that Bishop wouldn't be coming, so I told her that Kelly's house was really far away and that Munk was going to take lots of memories and tell her all about the great time at the party later, that I'm sure that Bishop would have really wanted to be there but it was just too far away.  Ugh.  Hard moment for me as I still miss Bishop quite a bit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm a gal that likes tradition.  I like seeing similarities and differences.  Sometimes it means that something is working (like the diet that needs to happen in our house) or it means that life has continued on while you were busy cleaning floors and doing dishes and trying to be as much in the moment as you can at that moment.  Last year for Valentine's Day, I tried to take photos of my kids (plural for the first time in my life).  While my photography skills have grown since and I look back at these photos with a critical eye wishing that I would have changed some settings on my camera, they are still absolutely perfect to me.  As they served their purpose... They stopped time for a moment, so that I can forever look back and realize just how wonderful that time was.  Because while living that moment, I was struggling.

Fish was only two weeks old -- he hadn't learned how to hold a binky yet and as evidenced by those photos, he wasn't a happy camper unless I was holding him (probably due to the fact that he was only two weeks old).  And Finn wasn't exactly being a princess either -- she was refusing to do what I wanted of her, having in the end to be bribed with a sucker (ain't it always the way).  And I was also in a race against time -- I picked Finn up from daycare a little early, but the sun was going down and I had approximately 20 minutes to get my photos done.  It was too difficult to set everything up and I was determined to not have to do it again.

My new all-time favorite photo

But this is the amazing thing about photos.  Photos tell you how amazing your life is when you sometimes don't realize it.  I would give anything to go back to that day and relive the last year, the good times and the pitfalls as well.  In a way, photos show you what is important -- the people.  In this case, the little people.  It doesn't matter what is made for dinner or how much of a disaster your house is as long as you got "your people".  And photos also tell you that no matter how much you soak in the moment, try to breath in their smells, remember their tiny hands in yours -- they are going to grow and you are going to forget.

So this year, I had been wanting to take annual Valentine's photos.  When I saw that it was going to be snowing on his birthday, which happened to fall on a weekend, I knew what I wanted to do.  I was inspired by my 33-week pregnancy update with Fish.  And while the flakes weren't as large as they were in my update photos, they turned out pretty wonderful!  E brought the couch outside into our yard and we spent about 10 minutes taking them.  Also speaking of tradition, this couch has definitely made it's rounds.  It was used in the Valentine's photos mentioned above, as well as Finorah's first week photos as well as being our go-to couch for our Christmas card when I was pregnant with Finn.  It is soaked in our traditions -- not back for a vintage $90 couch off eBay.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Week in the Life (v.2015.3)

She decided that she needed to wear her princess crown to the store.

Rough day

Mimi and Auntie Anita send lots of music cards.  We saved them all and they all love going through them and playing with them.

Sweet sweet Munk

We have a very tolerant cat.

Apparently, Finn thought Lucy was a princess that day

Sitting at the table and catching up on the news

Fish is getting big enough to sit at our toddler table!

Birthday morning was filled with music -- LOUD music

Birthday afternoon was filled with bedhead

Lots of bedhead

Birthday cake!

Sharing his cake with his sister and the dog

This was about as messy as he got

First time in driving in the grocery store. Big hit!


Just a little glimpse into our everyday

The three cats snuggling together

Getting prepped for our Frozen birthday party

We now have to move the chairs away from the table, because more often than not, he will climb up onto the table.  I even caught him standing on the table reaching for the light switch one night while I was cooking dinner!

We had some wonderful icicles on our house for our Frozen party.

Finn had a great time at her and Fish's birthday party.  Here she is explaining how she gave directions to her bedroom to one of her friends.

VERY tolerant cat.

So this happened yesterday -- Iowa won!

And then this happened -- our Iowa victory dance!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Birthday Boy

I'm not sure how moms do it...  How they photograph their kid's birthday parties...  I have had two parties in the last week.  I didn't photograph either of them.  I completely forgot -- until it was all over.  Last week, we had a Superbowl party on Fish's birthday.  It wasn't big.  Our neighbors came over.  We didn't do games or presents.  We had football food and a little smash cake for him.  It wasn't high-stress or crazy-chaos.  And I still didn't get any photos of him playing with everyone.  I did get some photos of him eating his cake.

Surprisingly, the ravenous eater didn't want to dig into his cake.  He messed with the top of the frosting, but wouldn't dig in and eat any cake.  He became quite meticulous.  And he ended with some cake on his face and some on his hands.  His clothes were surprisingly spared even without a bib.  I think that Finn ate more of his cake than he did. 

There was quite the snow storm on his birthday.  I think that we ended up with about 12 inches of snow.  The storm came in in the late morning and continued through the next morning.  I had made the comment that if he would have been born exactly a year later, he probably would have been born in the car.  I got very nostalgic on Finn's first birthday and Fish's first was no different.   As the game ended around 10:10pm, the talk turned to Fish's arrival a year prior and our neighbor's role in it.  We were just getting ready to leave for the hospital at that moment, waiting in the garage for one of the neighbor's guest to move his car which was blocking our garage.  Our neighbors give him grief, telling him that I didn't get my epidural because he blocked us in, which really isn't true.  If the nurses didn't believe me as I was telling them that "I go quickly" (which was repeated over and over during the triage process of Fish's delivery) -- I don't think an extra five minutes of me saying "I go quickly" is going to change their minds.  We were in triage for 45 minutes and I was in the delivery room for 15 minutes before he was born (and most of those 15 minutes were me requesting drugs and the doctor telling me it was too late and he was right there -- "I break your water, he is going to come right now").  His arrival definitely spoke of his personality.  "I want it now!  And I want it MY WAY, not your way, Mama!"

The birthday festivities ended with a sip of Guinness -- or just Guinness foam in this case.   Not too sure it went over well.  Ending the post with the same old cliche...  I'm not sure where the year went -- it seems like yesterday we were heading to the hospital to meet him for the very first time.  But now I can't imagine my life without him.