Friday, July 30

Two Great Sites for Moms

I have a couple friends who have started fantastic blogs recently. If you are a mom of a little one, I know you will benefit greatly from these two sites. One is about feeding your children, the other about teaching them. That's about all there is to parenting, right?

If you have a child, there's a good chance that you feed them. Lucky for you, Mommy and Me Meals is here to simplify your cooking and help you plan healthy meals for your whole family. Christa is a friend from waaay back, and I've loved reading her recipes and ideas for cooking. The vision behind her site is to prepare healthy meals for you family that can easily be adapted for a toddler and baby. It's much less work for mom to make 3 versions of the same meal!

This site is a GEM if you want to raise a little genius baby. My friend Jenae is an elementary school teacher turned stay at home mom. She has posted tons of fun, educational activities for little ones. Not only is Jenae super creative, her activities are sound educationally as well. And if you don't want to teach your kid anything, you should still go over to see her cute kids.

Every mom should add both sites to their Google Reader, you and your child will be glad you did!

Thursday, July 29

Happy Birthday Sol!

Today, we are in the Cayman Islands and my sweet husband turns 30!

Last year, I wrote 29 reason I love him.

In honor of his 30th birthday, here is the 30th reason I love him.

30. Finley clearly adores him.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 26

The first I never wanted to happen

Having a baby is full of firsts. Most firsts are joyous occasions.

First smile. First tooth. First steps.

This first was not. I've been dreading it since before Finley was born. Watch and see.

THE KID LOVES KETCHUP. I should have known this day would come. Did you see it? He dipped the fry in over and over. Like it was a special ketchup spoon.

(I edited both videos to shorter versions where I don't seem so whiny, but I guess I don't know what I am doing... so you get the UNCUT VERSION!!! YEAH!!! Sorry they are long and boring.)

If you know me well or have eaten with me often, you know that I can't handle ketchup. Or tomatoes. Or any tomato product (with the exception of Spaghettios--don't ask why, those are just the rules.) It all goes back to a Girl Scout overnight to the zoo involving bats, blood and a story about lax quality control at tomato processing plants... and rats. My poor third grade brain couldn't handle it. And now, older and wiser, I still equate ketchup with blood.

And now I have a kid who is going to have it all over his face and fingers and I'm going to have to clean it up.


Sunday, July 25

Cayman Bound

I'm currently on a plane, flying to the Cayman Islands for a week. Hopefully, my baby is sleeping sweetly, my husband is being helpful and no one is giving us the stink eye.

We're meeting my whole family for a week of fun in the sun! Scuba diving, beach, pirate cruises and my friend Stine... it's going to be a blast. I have a few things set to post this week in my absence. But I'm going to miss you, internet, so much. So so much.

See you in a week!

Saturday, July 24

Antsy Boy

Around 6 o'clock, Finley starts getting antsy. I start getting antsy. We're ready for Sol to be home. Luckily, by that time the backyard is cool enough we can go play on the deck. And even more luckily, the light is perfect for picture taking.

Finley loves the new gates Sol installed to keep babies and doggies in their place. He'll push them open and shut, over and over. That kind of defeats the purpose of the gates, but it keeps him occupied for a loooong time.

And then he'll see Sol--and I can finally capture some sweet smiles.

Thursday, July 22

15 months

Finley is 15 months old!

I'm so happy to get to spend the summer with him--and I feel like he is learning and changing so much lately!

Summer has thrown off our schedule a little, but he sleeps about 13 hours a night and takes a nap for just over an hour in afternoon. I'm grateful for how late he sleeps in.

I'm trying to introduce lots of new foods that he might like since he's not a great eater--last night he chowed down on peas, tofu and hummus. Now doesn't that sound great? He's a little guy--after dropping to the 0 percentile for weight last week, he's back around the 4th percentile. He's a very active guy and loses interest in eating pretty quickly. I started giving him Pediasure last week and the pediatrician recommended toddler formula as another option--anyone have experience with either of these? His height and head remain average--he's just skinny!

New Tricks
Finley loves to carry stuff around and put things away. I love it when I find the remote in our bed, the baby monitor in the guest room and his toy zebra in the tv cabinet. He's a little organizer.

He's getting better at walking all the time and can finally get to standing on his own. He loves to blow kisses and wave to people. And he definitely inherited his daddy's dance skills.

His vocabulary is pretty limited (mama, dada, banana, night-night) but he likes to mimic what we say and make up little tunes to sing (his favorite is going ah-mm ah-mm over and over.)

He's a doll. We're suffering from some stranger anxiety--he doesn't like anyone to hold him but us (and Victoria) and gets nervous that we are going to leave him if we go some place new. I think I've said it a million times--he's a joy and a blessing, everyday.

Here's his stats.

Height: 31 inches (50%)
Weight: 20 lbs 4 oz (4%)
Head: 18.5 inches (50%)

(These pictures were taken on three different cameras last week. Most pictures are courtesy of Katherine, Finley makes very silly faces for her camera.)

Tuesday, July 20

Giacomo's Ristorante

If you ever visited Sol and I in Boston, then you probably ate at Giacomo's. It is the best food in the world, so if you visited us and we didn't take you--that means we must not like you.

It's hard to accurately describe how lovely Giacomo's is. It's a tiny restaurant with a few very crowded tables that always has a line around the corner. They don't take reservations or credit cards. Giacomo's is in Boston's North End--the Italian area of town. There's lots of delicious pasta and seafood up and down Hanover Street, but Giacomo's is in a league of its own (in my opinion and in the opinion of every person we ever took there).

I made my school friends go with me on my last birthday in Boston. My pal Marie was a little snooty about going--she lived in the North End and thought is was silly to wait in line to eat when there were lots of great places to eat in the area. She has since changed her stance--because it is THAT good. (Finley didn't really like Giacomo's. He'll regret that one day.)

The menu is written on chalkboards on the wall; the specials on one board and the full menu on the other. I always get the "special"--homemade fusilli with lobster and shrimp in a scampi sauce. (I write special in quotes, because it has been the special for the past 5 years.) Sol always gets shrimp and scallops with fra diavolo and giacomo sauce mixed together. And he always asks for extra because he likes heartburn. We never finish our meals and always take the rest home for the next day.

I would seriously fly to Boston just to have it for dinner. It makes me so very happy and full.

The only not so great things? The bread is chewy and not so great, and they play Top 40 music. And in the winter, whenever the door opens the whole restaurant drops about 40 degrees. But these are things I can live with, for the love of pasta.

(Vic and I bought a new font and I am borderline obsessed with it. It's so pretty.)

Monday, July 19

A blog for Kat

My friend Katherine just yelled at me. She said, "You haven't blogged anything since Ducklings" as she sat beside me on the couch. So I said, "Fine, I'll blog something."

This is Finley on the airplane to Boston. Is that good enough? Because it is 2:30 AM and I am tired.

But--good news--Kat's camera is magic and Finley takes DARLING pictures with it. So, stay tuned, readers. There are sweet baby pictures on the way.

Friday, July 16

Make Way for Ducklings

Have you read the children's book "Make Way for Ducklings"? It's a story about some ducks that live in the Boston Public Garden. If you visit the Garden, there are cute little duck statues in there that kids love to sit on and grown-ups love to photograph. We lived in Boston for three years, and I never had any reason to go see the ducklings in the Public Garden. Finally, I have a kiddo who thinks little statues are interesting and fun to sit on.

Finley and I made a quick trip up to Boston to see friends (and have my favorite pasta.) We wandered around the gardens with Aunt Laura for awhile before we found the ducks. Finley even looked at the camera a couple times (sort of)!

It was so fun to get to introduce Finley to this little Boston landmark--even though I am sure they are germy from hoards of baby rumps sitting on them. I tried not to think about it.

And a special thanks to Alex y Heidi, our favorite Boston cods, for sending little #5 the book. He'll be reading it on his own in no time!

Tuesday, July 13

Google Analytics

Hi, readers.

If you are a blogger, I really hope you are using Google Analytics. Even if you aren't serious about blogging, it gives you cool information about who is coming to your site, where they are coming from and what they are doing. If you love data as much as I do, you'll love GA.

Lately, the data has been scaring me a bit. My traffic has gone way WAY up (like I normally have less than 200 visits, and yesterday I had more than 800--and sadly NOT because I am awesome) When I did some digging, I found that I have tons of visitors coming from two specific sites: Doc Cartoon and Kendi Everyday. I've been to both of these sites before, but I never commented and my blog is not linked to from there. So I am totally perplexed as to who is coming from there. And slightly freaked out.

So, I have a question for you. If you are here because you came from Doc Cartoon or from Kendi Everyday, can you post a comment and explain how you found me? Please help me solve this mystery because I am starting to have a fear of the internet. And I really think my blog is haunted.

Love, Rachel

Monday, July 12


My sweet, thoughtful husband whisked me off to Philadelphia for a little getaway to celebrate our fifth anniversary. It was mostly a surprise--he got nervous about making plans to leave Finley without telling me so he cleared the trip with me first. The rest of the trip was a well-planned out surprise.

The day started with free Chick-fil-a breakfast: our cow costumes were just brown stickers on us, but it did the trick.

We made it to Philly for lunch and each had a cheesesteak from the two rivals: Pat's and Geno's. They were both good, but Geno's served Diet Coke so they won in my book.

This may or may not have been the playground where the Fresh Prince spent most of his days, chillin', maxin' and relaxin' all cool.

We spent the day doing lots of fun touristy stuff. My favorite was touring the Eastern State Penitentiary. It's an old penitentiary that was really quite beautiful and also a little creepy. A very romantic thing to do on the anniversary, right? We also saw the liberty bell and the home of Betsy Ross.

Sol had planned an uber-romantic dinner for us at Bistro Romano. We had a private room that was under the street--it used to serve as part of an underground network of tunnels for smuggling slaves and liquor through the city. Candles, wine, rose petals, pasta and seafood... all our favorites. I wanted to reminisce and talk about our favorite thing that happened on every day since we got married, but we could only remember specifics until July 12, 2005. The restaurant didn't have the best lighting for pictures, so these individual shots taken in the mirror will have to suffice.

It is confirmed: we are still quite in love.

Thursday, July 8

Five Years Ago

Tomorrow is Sol and I's five year anniversary. FIVE YEARS! I'm posting early so Sol can see it since he's not working tomorrow. If you're interested in the big mushy story about how we met and how I weaved a web of trickery to get Sol to marry me, you can go read about it on my Valentine's Day post.

This is what we look like after five years of marriage has taken its toll on us.

I think we're holding up ok. Anyways, FIVE YEARS ago, we got married. It was the first happiest day of our lives, and we had no idea how blessed we would be in the coming years. In celebration of that momentous day in our lives, I put together this nifty video explaining our relationship.

Make your own cool video here.

I love you, Sol. I'm so glad I found the man I was searching for. (Get it? Searching? Like google?) Happy, happy anniversary.

Wednesday, July 7

Why won't my kid look at the camera?

A few weeks ago, Finley got to hang out with his little friend Kelsey. Kelsey is two weeks younger than Finley. Not only is Kelsey a skilled walker/runner, she has another characteristic that I'm quite jealous of.

She looks at the camera when you take her picture. AND sometimes she smiles.

I'm not sure if you can tell by looking at the blog, but Finley doesn't like to look at the camera. For every picture where he looks at the camera there are probably 60 sitting on my hard drive of the side of his head. The kid is just too busy to pay attention to me.

Any tips for getting kids to look at you and maybe even smile? Besides jumping around and making noises? Maybe I need to stop taking pictures for awhile so he's interested in looking at the camera. Maybe he's just used to the paparazzi. Or... maybe I need a new camera? I'm sure that's it actually. I'm going to start selling some stuff so I can afford it. (Well, I guess I already am.)

Tuesday, July 6

Summer Goals

Well, one week of summer down, many more to go. I decided that I need to set some goals and make a plan for the summer--otherwise I am going to sleep in (because Finley's been sleeping 'til TEN) and be lazy around the house all day. So here are my goals:
  • Change out of my pajamas everyday (bonus point for showering)
  • Make a Blurb book
  • Leave the house everyday
  • Eat some vegetables every day
  • Read
  • Work on developing RV Designs and the etsy business
  • Jillian Michaels 8 times a week or swim (my leg is still broke, but that's another post)
  • Paint the family room
  • Sew new Velcro on diapers
  • Go to Gymboree at least twice a week
  • Order some pictures to frame
  • Keep the house clean
  • Make dinner sometimes
  • Spend some time with Jesus everyday
  • Hang out with other people who aren't working
  • Teach Finley some stuff (primarily Ewan's part to "Elephant Love Medley")
Overly ambitious? Maybe just the pajama part... Let me know if there is anything important I left off the list!

Can you tell how excited he is to hang out with me? So excited.

Monday, July 5

One Reason Fireworks (and DSLRs) are Cool.

Impressive, right? Hope everyone had a patriotic fourth.

Friday, July 2

Bumps and Bruises

Finley is getting to be a very good walker--I no longer feel the need to follow behind him to spot him if he falls. He doesn't want to hold my hand and he toddles all over the place. And thank goodness for cloth diapers, they are some nice padding on the tush.

BUT. He is sometimes a little overzealous about his walking. The evidence is all over his face.


I promise I try to keep him safe. He's just real wild.

I have a hard time believing that he went from this at 5.5 months, to walking around. How was he so little? And how is he so big now?

I love that sweet, messy, bruised face.


PS: Go enter our contest. You will win a brand new free design to print--like a birthday invitation, or graduation announcement, or personalized stationery... whatever you want. We will design it for you. For free! Just think: what would our founding fathers do? Enter our contest and spread democracy, that's what. Now think about which one you can do, and do it.

Thursday, July 1

Sweet Dreams

I feel like I've been a little picture happy lately... I guess that's what happens when I am at home with Mr. Finley all day.

I get to see things like this.

That boy loves his stuffed monkey.
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