Wednesday, December 30


Is it possible we are already on the brink of 2010?

In a year, we've moved from the exciting anticipation of our little guy to chasing him around and keeping power cords out of his mouth... I can only imagine what 2010 has in store for us. What a delight and privilege it is to watch Finley grow and learn how to be good, Godly parents with Sol.

Here's our year in review:

When I asked Sol for his thoughts on 2009, he said, verbatim, "It was a quick fast... lots of learning. Built a brick pathway."

I think the holidays have melted his brain.

Monday, December 28

TV... Looking Back

I've been a bit remiss in sharing my coveted views on tv. While the shows are on hiatus, I thought I'd put my thoughts together.

Favorite New Show: Glee
Well, I could have guessed that I would love this show about singing and dancing an high school and a girl named Rachel, and I was right. Glee is funny, creative and has a fresh storyline. It really is great and you should make every effort to watch it. I'm pretty sure you'll thank me.

Shows I Started Watching, Regretfully, Mid-Season: Modern Family, Community
Um, can you say hilarious? I tried very hard to resist adding too many shows to my tv line-up, but these two really are funny. Really really funny. Every episode of Modern Family reminds me of something that has happened in my family and Community makes me wish I had an eclectic group of quirky friends. Wait, I do. Watch and enjoy.

Most Improved: Ugly Betty
Thank you, Betty, for getting better. You were about to get un-DVRed, but you saved yourself. I"m so happy that you and Matt are together and that you are not pregnant.

Most Anticipated for 2010: LOST
Runner-Up: American Idol
Runner-Runner-Up: Big Love
Has it been nine months already? I'm more than ready for the thrilling conclusion of what is easily the best tv show in the entire world (that's right, I said BEST). I'm pretty sure my world will crumble when it's finally over, so they better make it worth while. I can't wait to see all the twisty, loose ends tied up.

Honorable Mentions:
Gossip Girl, HIMYM, The Mentalist, The Office, 30 Rock, Grey's.

Curious about when all your favies come back? Lucky for you, I found a link for that.

Did I miss anything? I, for one, can't wait for January.

Saturday, December 26

Best Gifts Ever

Merry Christmas! I hope Santa treated you well. Here are our favorite gifts...

Rachel: I got... a KINDLE! I didn't even ask for it--Sol picked it out all by himself. I'm thrilled, I love it, it's awesome. (Can you tell I love it?) I read like crazy already and it certainly makes reading a little easier. One of best parts is that I can use it one-handed while feeding Finley. I love it. A lot. Did I mention that? My husband is so thoughtful and so very awesome. Thanks honey!

Sol: Along with everyone else in my family, Sol got a SNUGGIE! He loves it. He eats, sleeps and showers in it. I can't get him to take the darn thing off. The best part is that it is a blanket... with sleeves!

Finley: Like most babies, Finley's favorites are not the tons of toys he has here. He loves the Christmas tree and a plastic bat he found somewhere.

Hope you got everything you asked for and found time to reflect on our most perfect gift, a Savior. Unlike some presents, Jesus is always the right size and always in style. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23

8 Months

Often, when Sol and I are going to bed and we're missing Finley, one of us will say, "Let's talk about how much we love Finley." And the other will say, "I love him a lot." And then we'll spend a few minutes reviewing the sweet and cute things that have happened in the day and how much we love that little kid. The general consensus in our house is that he is very cute and that we love him very much.

Another month has gone by, and I'm not sure how we can keep up this pace. Time goes so quickly! I get anxious thinking how close we are to having a child who is ONE. What will we do when he starts running and telling us he loves us too?

And now for the update:

Finley is getting better and better at knowing what his body parts do--my favorite new development is that he will reach for us when he wants to be picked up. We gave him little puffs to try and he can sorta pick them up and sometimes get them in his mouth. He looks so big sitting in his high chair and eating mushed up versions of big people food.

He is happy and smiley almost all the time and loves to play with anything he can get his hands on. He babbles silly sounds and makes a terrible noise grinding his teeth. He's a speedy scooter and rocks on his hands and knees often, I expect him to start crawling any day.

We're so blessed to have him. Sometimes I wonder how we lived before him--he makes everything a little brighter.

Finley got his Christmas gift a little early: his two front teeth.

Tuesday, December 22

HDR Holly

I recently started playing around with HDR--High Dynamic Range. I am using a free software, Photomatix, to play with. Basically, if you have a DSLR camera, you can set it to take three pictures that are normal, light and dark. This way you get all the color ranges in your picture. Fancy software combines the three images to one real pretty, bright one.

I took these three of some holly by our house. The first is pretty good, but I though using HDR could make the blue and red stand out more.

Here is the result.

The leaves in the background are a little shaky because I didn't have a tripod, but I think it turned out pretty. All the colors are more vibrant. Here are some examples of some great HDR photos--they are gorgeous, surreal photos. You will soon realize that my picture isn't very cool at all. But I'm learning.

In case you want to take HDR pictures of your very own, I can help you with a Canon (I have the XT). Here's what you do: Menu-- 2-- AEB-- slide the green arrows all the way out. Hold down the shutter and be verrrrry still, and the camera will take 3 in a row. Then load the pictures into your software of choice. Happy HDRing!

Monday, December 21

Finally, Snow Day!

School was eventually canceled--for the WHOLE week. I thought Sol and Victoria were tricking me when they told me. But then I jumped around yelled so much that I hurt my knee, peed my pants a little and woke up Finley. I feel a little cheated out of Saturday and Sunday, because I really like saying, "It's Christmas Break!" And I would have got to say it a bunch more if I knew sooner. Thanks for nothing, Fairfax.

Late cancellation aside, it's been lovely. Piles of snow, Mustgo* for every meal and best of all, lots of time with my family. I'm so excited to spend every minute of the next two weeks with my two favorite boys... and Copper.

It was fun to introduce Finley to the snow. Here's the proof--a collage for your viewing pleasure. My name is Rachel, and I am obsessed with Photoshop. (Sorry, I can't stop. Too many pictures, too little time.)

*Because we had limited food selection, we were eating the last of the pantry and fridge. Everything must go.

This is my first ever entry for i heart faces! Go check out the other entries by clicking the button below.

Sunday, December 20


Boston 2007: The heavens opened up and dumped all its snow into the city, right as school got out. I spent EIGHT HOURS in the car, foodless, with a full bladder, a half-full gas tank and a half-charged cell phone. I commiserated with Marie and Nik and Dawn as we tried to make it home to our various parts of the city. Kids were on the bus for 10 hours. That was a Friday, and even though Boston quickly cleared all the snow, they still canceled school Monday out of pity. It would have been a crime to make us come to school after that drama.

Fairfax 2009: Record setting snow--about 20 inches at our house. There is more snow than in the entire month of December since 1870. (Right, Vic?) Just like my snow disaster of 2007, all the snow dumped Friday... too late to guarantee school canceling.

I need a snow day tomorrow. Fairfax, I know you freak out and cancel school when there's only an inch of snow, but I'm worried that you might try to have school since you've had a couple days to clear the mess (even though there is 20 inches of it). From my trek to the end of the street it doesn't look very good. Please, at least cancel Monday? And if you're really generous, Tuesday and Wednesday too? I'm okay delaying my test of Linear Equations until January. I'm ready to start Christmas break.

Here's my sweet husband freeing us from our icy prison. Sol learned a lot about shoveling snow in Boston. It actually kind of makes our unprecedented, record setting snowfall seem rather measly. At least he learned how to pose for the perfect shoveling photo.

More photos to come...

*UPDATE* School is cancelled for the WHOLE week! See you in 2010, school!

Saturday, December 19

Snowed In!

We are currently getting dumped on by snow. Lots and lots of snow. Northern Virginians tend to overreact about snow, so when I heard reports of the "big snowstorm" I dismissed them. But we have about 12 inches so far and it doesn't look like it's letting up.

My fingers are crossed for enough snow that I don't have to go back to school next week. We've been upgraded to a Blizzard warning--that should get us a day off of school, right? Not everyone likes to hop in the snow like these two crazies:

I'm kind of excited to be trapped in the house with Sol and Finley (and Victoria) for the next few days. Here's what's on the to do list:

  • play Blokus
  • scrapbook
  • laundry
  • clean floors
  • practice screenprinting
  • replace velcro on Finley's diapers
  • play the Wii
  • take a nap
  • play in the snow
  • watch Harry Potter 6
  • blog more than Victoria
Time for a nutritious lunch of grilled cheese, broccoli, chips and salsa... and spaghettios. BYE!

Thursday, December 17

Entrepreneurship Attempt: Take 2

Now, I wouldn't say that Victoria and my first attempt at being entrepreneurs was a failure... I'd probably just say that we haven't become a success yet. There's a decent chance that someday we'll find someone who is willing to give us actual currency in exchange for our incredible skills. We love the payments so far (pie pops and recipe books!), but not many successful businesses barter.

But because we're go-getters, tonight we cooked up our next plan: RV Designs II.

Oh, get ready because we have a new killer idea.


Victoria and I are signed up to run a 5K on Saturday (which is really funny if you know Victoria) and we decided to screenprint t-shirts with a 30 Rock joke that was funny two months ago. Maybe not so funny now. Oh well.

We are beginners at screenprinting--these are crooked and unevenly printed. But we anticipate becoming awesome and probably becoming the next big etsy stars with our new ideas. Here's what we have so far:
  • onesies with bowties/necklaces/preppy things
  • argyle dog bandanas
  • tea towels and aprons
  • shower curtains (this actually is a different business idea that we could maybe start here)
I know, awesome right? How could this one not be a huge success? Any ideas for other things we could screenprint? Socks?

Wednesday, December 16

Christmas Card

Merry Christmas!

In light of my new obsession with designing blogs and photoshopping the heck out of stuff, I decided to design our Christmas card this year!

I used my favorite picture in the world, so if you poke around the blog often, you've already seen it twice. But this time, it's black and white!

My pal Kristin inspired me to join the Christmas Card Carousel featured on another blog. Basically, its an excuse to traipse through the internet and see other people's pretty designs.

Merry Christmas. I hope my baby's sweet little face reminds you that Christmas is about the sweetest baby of all.

Sunday, December 13

Christmas Cookies

This was the last time I decorated cookies. (Jess, Al and Stine: don't be mad. It took me awhile to find these gems.)

Yes, the year was 2001, and the theme of the evening was wearing pigtails and glasses and pajamas and making hideous and burnt cookies for our friends at Westminster Woods. Take a second and look at the cookies--they really make me laugh. We even made a cookie for Jesus.

It had been eight years, and it was time to try my hand at cookie decorating again.

Saturday, we drove out west to the Woods' for their 4th Annual Cookie Extravaganza. Let me tell you, it was intense. I was a intimidated by the skill of my fellow decorators, they took their cookies very seriously. My best cookie was the Santa that I decorated as Carrie, complete with a stick baby in her jolly belly. I can't wait for little Woods to be here! (Note: I have the same haircut as I did in 2001.)

On Sunday, our bible study came over to decorate cookies, and spend some QT together. The boys were a little distracted by football, but I think everybody managed to decorate at least one cookie. Kara's pretty, pretty tree snapped in half. The cookies were so tasty, Kate is quite the frosting/cookie maker! I think more cookies were eaten than actually made it home.

And here's the whole decorating crew, with the junior decorators. Maybe next year they can help!

And Dad, don't be mad at me for taking so many pictures with the 50 mm. I took it off and tried to shoot with my other lens, and I didn't like it. Sorry.

Friday, December 11

Little Baby Jesus

A couple weeks ago, my pal Kristin posted about this book her family was going through for Advent. Being the strange, mentally connected freaks that we are, Victoria and I ordered them (separately) on the same day using our Amazon Prime membership... I'm starting to think we are the same person. 11'4" of the same person.

So, Sol and I have enjoyed reading it together on the nights where I am still awake when he gets home (confession: we're about 5 days behind). So far, what has touched me the most has been thinking about Jesus as a baby.

Having a baby makes me think about so many things differently. When I want to punch the crazy 8th graders in my classroom, I stop and think about Finley being a crazy 8th grader, and I remember that they are somebody's little baby. And most of the time, I don't punch them. (Kidding! I never punch 8th graders. Only 7th graders. Ha! Another kidding! I'm hilarious.)

But seriously, when I think about God sending his Son into this world to save us, it makes me wonder if I could take my only son and send him somewhere foreign, knowing full well how much abuse he would have to endure. I don't think I could do it. It fills me with awe to think of how greatly God loves us and how much he was willing to sacrifice to redeem us. It's a good thing that God is more loving than me.

And now I will leave you with someone else who likes Baby Jesus, as well.

As my friend Rhonda always says, Jesus is the reason for the season. Don't forget it.

Tuesday, December 8

My Budding Technophile

I'm not sure how he knows, but Finley's favorite things to hold/chew on are the things I really don't want him to have... power cords, keyboards and mouse, cameras and cell phones. He loves them. I'm not sure how he differentiates between his toys and the "grown-up" toys, but he definitely knows.

Yesterday he found BOTH of my lens caps... they were in different parts of the room, amongst his toys, so I'm not sure how he located both of them. He was determined to get them both in his mouth at the same time. He scooted around the floor carrying his booty. Silly kid.

And to tie up my diatribe on commenting... I've really loved hearing from more people and as a result, I am committing myself to replying to comments posted. Rather than the blog being simply a window to our lives, the comment discussion allows the blog to be a door that you can enter. It's so much more fun to feel like the blog gives me a relationship with the people who read it.

So, know that if you ever comment, I will respond. Because I love you like that. Unless we haven't met, in which case I'm sure you are a very lovely person, and if I met you I would like you very much.

Sunday, December 6

The Lighting of the Tree

Victoria won us tickets to go see the National Christmas Tree be lit (lighted???) and it was oodles of fun. The weather wasn't as cold as it could have been, which was good because Sol did not make it down there with a coat. As you can tell, he had to borrow Victoria's.

See that kid on the shoulders of some dude blocking our view of the tree? That kid is probably 6 and is perched on a normal sized man. For most of the time, DIRECTLY in front of us was a huge man with a 12 year old on his shoulders. So I did not see much of the show. Also because I am short.

Here are four of Finley's reactions to some of the special guests at the ceremony.

I was so excited hear the voice of one of my closest friends, Mr. Randy Jackson. We weren't sure if it was him for a long time because he didn't say, "For you, for me, that was kind of pitchy, dawg." Also, we have confirmed that our son is a Republican. He cried real tears when ole Obama came out. We are trying to make sure he understands that it is important to respect the President no matter what, but babies are hard to reason with. In summary, Finn was thrilled with Randy, scared of Obama, in awe of Santa and pretty much in love with Miss Sparks. The face of a child says so much... especially the mouth part.

Thanks to all of you who left me a comment on the last post. I responded to all the comments, so if you left a comment you can go back and feel the love very much returned. I read somewhere that 3-4% of readers leave comments... and that's true for here. According to Google Reader and Google Analytics, there are approximately 100 people stopping by everyday, and I normally get about 3 comments if I write something interesting. I'm trying not to beg, but I really love to get responses to what I write. Sometimes I feel like I am spewing my thoughts into thin air. So don't be afraid to tell the blog you love it. I promise, I won't let it get a big head.

Friday, December 4


This is my 100th post. I have thought long and hard all week about what I should post, since 100 is such a special number. These are the two things I came up with.

1. I have always though it was funny that we celebrate the 10th and 100th and 1000th occurrence of things. (Well, not always, just since my daddy taught me about bases.) In case you don't know why we celebrate those particular milestones, its because we live in a base 10 world, and those are pretty, round base 10 numbers. If we lived in a base 2 world, we would celebrate the 2nd and 4th and 8th and 16th... and in base 7, you get to celebrate the 7th and 49th and 343rd... Those number systems are much more fun because you get to celebrate more often! And that concludes your math lesson for the day. QED, friends. (Who loves math? EVERYBODY!)

2. I have really enjoyed blogging, and want to thank the people who have read the previous 99 things I felt like sharing. Blogging has been such a great way for me to chronicle Finley's life and share it with friends and family. It's helped me find my new hobby (designing blogs) and filled up massive amounts of space on my hard drive. I'm sure what I write about isn't always interesting to every person who reads, so thanks for coming back, even when I post things that are lame (hello, no comments on this post). Maybe I shouldn't, but I tend to measure a post's popularity by how many comments it receives... so please, comment if you ever have anything to say. My favorite part of blogging has been connecting with readers. I love to hear reactions and be able to interact with the people who drop by.

So, in honor of this 100th post, leave a comment to help the blog feel the love. I know there are sneaky, stalky, lurkers out there (because I am one of them on a BUNCH of other blogs) but if you are brave enough to say hi, please do so. Old bloggy would appreciate it.

Happy 100!
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