Sunday, October 31

Idina Menzel

Last night I went on a fancy date with my friend Vic.  We went out to eat a lovely dinner and then went to hear Idina Menzel perform with Marvin Hamlisch.  All the pictures we took are below.

Yep, we took zero pictures.

So let me paint you a little word picture instead.  Idina didn't wear shoes.  I told Vic she was probably 6 feet tall, but a little googling proved that she is only 5'4".  I'm bad at judging sizes.  Also, Joel McHale is NOT 7 feet tall as I thought, he's only 6'4". (PS.  Zombie Community is the funniest episode of TV I have EVER watched.)

She sang selections from Rent, Wicked, Glee and a few other Broadway tunes.  I feel like we really could be friends--not just because we have similar taste in music, or because she called Beyonce a bitch, or because she talked about breastfeeding her child who is a bit younger than Finley.  She sang "For Good"--and I thought of you, @courtneyho--with no microphone and without the orchestra.  She also sang three songs--with the orchestra--that she and her husband have composed for her little baby.  They were real funny and sweet.

Also, she is married to Taye Diggs.  And she has a dog and a baby and apparently likes Mickey Mouse.  Could we BE anymore similar?

Idina, I'll be the Galinda to your Elphaba any day.  Please be my BFF.

PS Marvin Hamlisch EGOTTED!  He is Tracy Jordan's hero.  Other fellow EGOTTERS: Whoopi Goldberg, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks and Barbra Streisand.

Thursday, October 28

Embrace the Camera

I decided a little late in the day to join Embrace the Camera.  I put Finley is his giraffe Halloween costume and he was too cute to not take a picture with him.  Also, these are the first pictures I've publicly claimed as all THREE of us!  (Forgive my hair.  Running=gross hair.)  (Also forgive the picture quality--I don't know how to use this lens--I'm addicted to my 50mm and can't shoot without it.)

The photo shoot was going really well--he was ENTHRALLED with the tripod and remote shutter on the camera and actually smiled!  Also he made weird pointing motions with his hands almost the whole time.  Then, mid-shoot, I gave him a big hug and he puked all over me.  Puked, not spit up.

So we changed and resumed the shoot.

I thought I was the one who was supposed to be throwing up, Finley.  Pregnancy puking: Rachel 0, Finley 1.

(I like this one because you can't see my gross post-run hair.)

Wednesday, October 27

Ferret Bites

I was talking to my little/tall brother Daniel the other day--he was in a loud restaurant.  He said, "So I hear you have a ferret bite!"

"A ferret bite?" I repeated.

"No, a FERRET BITE." he responded.

After going back and forth several times, I realized he was not saying ferret bite, he was saying PARASITE.  Which is true.  I do have a parasite.  A 16 week old parasite, that has made its home in my abdomen and has been sapping me of my energy, making me slightly ill and giving my hair and nails new life.

I've been told that the parasite is human.  A human baby.

It will make its debut April 13ish--shockingly close to Finley's original due date, April 15.

I've been suuuper slow about telling people, and especially you, blog.  For some reason I've been a little nervous/lazy.  I've wanted to go to just one more appointment to hear the heartbeat, wait one more week... little babies are a nervous thing.  I think having gone through pregnancy once, and now having so many friends having going through it as well, makes me more acutely aware of how many scary things there are, and how great a blessing this life is to us.

And here's your first weekly picture of my belly, 16 weeks.  (It is totally awkward taking pictures by yourself, so I picked the one with the awesomest face.)

After seeing this picture, I realized several things.  I now understand why some of my students thought I was pregnant before I told them... why my pants don't fit...  apparently I have reverse body image problems, where I thought I looked the same.  WHOOPS!!

Monday, October 25

What Finley Learned Recently

It's been an interesting past week.

Finley learned how to put on his shoes!

Well, they aren't actually his and they aren't on the right feet, but he did put them on and waddle around the kitchen.  Too sweet.

Finley also learned how to throw a tantrum!

Apparently, the dust pan is the best toy we have around these parts and when I took it away, with it went his will to live.  Luckily, his even tempered pal Margaret was here to learn the finer points of a tanrtum.

Friday, October 22

18 months

That's one and a half, people.

What a delight this kid is.  Lately, when we ask him questions he shrugs his shoulders, lifts up his little hands and says, "Ohh-ssshiiii" or something that sounds like it might be inappropriate.  I have no idea what he is trying to say. He'll mynabird just about any word we say, even though they all sound the same coming out of his mouth.  My favorite little phrase is "yes please", which really sounds nothing like it.  If I can ever get him to pay attention to me, maybe I'll try to shoot a video of all his little words.

He gives plenty of high fives and fist bumps--and likes to shake his finger and say "bo bo" to things.  That means "no no".  Finley enthusiastically responds "yeah!" to just about every question we ask him.  "Finley, do you want to go to the moon? Do you want to eat some rocks?" "Yeah!"  He makes it clear when he does not want something--he shakes his head emphatically and sticks out his tongue to make silly noises.

He loves to spin around, try to walk backwards, and play with spatulas.  Climbing on things is his new scary and awesome pasttime--any toy that is 6" or taller is a good thing to stand on.  He likes to sit in our laps, and will turn around and walk backwards to plop himself on our legs.  It's rather cuddly. He voluntarily gives us kisses and loves to hug and kiss his stuffed animals.  (Mostly the monkey.) He loves to read "Goodnight Moon" and always tells the old lady "hush--although instead of saying hush, he just sucks air in through his nose.  Totally normal.

The scale at the pumpkin patch had him right around 23 pounds--the doctor's office clearly has more sophisticated instruments.

Head: 47.63/2.54 in (50%) Someone else can do the math if you are interested.
Weight: 21lbs 10 oz (5%)
Height: 32" (45%)

I really felt like Finley had been eating and drinking more milk--and was optimistic he'd chunked up a little!  Looks like I was right.  I mean, the 5th percentile is nothing to brag about, but it is better than the -2% where we were before.  Keep growing, little man.  But please still stay a baby.  Just a healthy baby.

Happy Half-Birthday, Finley!

(And for the blog readers who come back, day after day, waiting for a picture of Copper... your day has come.)

Thursday, October 21

Embrace the Camera

Finley almost wanted to take pictures with me at the pumpkin patch.  Almost.

I anticipate there being a very narrow window where he will actually look at the camera and smile.  Soon after it will turn into "Moo-ooommm, you're embarrassing me!"

Tuesday, October 19

Pumpkin Patch

We pumpkin patched.  It was full of all the great pumpkin patch-y activities: goats, hay rides, and pumpkins.

Ironically, Sol had a heart to heart with me after we got gome about cutting Finley's hair.  As a few keen readers pointed out, his hair was looking a little mullet-y in the last post. In his defense, he kind of has a mullet.  But he also kind of has a mohawk, so I think that balances out.  He has an abundance of hair on the top and back of his head, it isn't his fault.  And I don't feel like I need to cut it.  Moms, help me out.  The curls in the back absolutely slay me.

Sol (obviously) wanted the biggest pumpkin he could find.  We picked out a doozy--you will get to see its carved glory next weekend.  When we checked out, I had them weigh Finley after the pumpkin, their scaled had him at 23 pounds.  Go Finn go!  We'll see what his real weight is at his 18 month appointment on Thursday.

The reason people go to pumpkin patches is to take pictures of their kids, right?  I mean, that's why I went.  The grocery store sells pumpkins.  I didn't need to drive 40 minutes and sit in a wagon of hay if all I needed was a pumpkin.  What I needed was sweet pictures of my sweet boy.

Sunday, October 17

Little Pumpkin

We went to the pumpkin patch (does that count as an Orchard?) and it was a blast--I'll probably blog about it in its entirety soon (since I missed last years!) but in the meantime, I love this picture too much not to share it.

Happy fall!  Go pick a pumpkin.

Saturday, October 16

Young's Jersey Dairy

During our time in Ohio, we stopped in at an old family favorite, Young's Jersey Dairy.  We used to go often as kids--they have yummy burgers and ice cream and a small petting zoo!  Ten years later, they still have delicious food, but they also have a driving range, batting cages, "fast slides" and many other exciting things.  We were surprised at how large it had become!  My favorite treat?  Fried cheese curds.  They were disgustingly awesome.

One of the two sets of tears from the trip happened at the Dairy.  Finley tried to walk between this fake cow and the wall (cow pictured below--I was struggling with the white balance) and his little baby noggin got stuck.  Quite traumatic. Luckily, he recovered enough to give us a good male model face.

I don't think Finley was quite as impressed with the animals as I hoped he'd be.  We got him to "moo" a little at the cow, and he got to pet some pigs and goats.  And then we washed his hands.

Apparently they had pumpkins there, but I must have missed the "pumpkin patch" part of it.  We're headed for the annual pumpkin picking expedition tomorrow, so stay tuned for the blog post that is sure to follow.  Although I can't seem to find the blog post from last year (but here's Vic's!) and am VERY sad that that memory officially does not exist.  Friends of mine who have stopped blogging, you will forget if you don't write it down.  Blog it out, friends.

Tuesday, October 12

Get the BEEP Out of Here

Our house in NOVA is unique, to say the least.  I need to write a complete post on how it became what it is today--a two family house for my BFF to share with me--and what it was before--a hotel for day laborers.  But there's a story I need to tell, and I don't have time for the house background now.

If you've been following me or Victoria on Twitter, then you already know the ups and downs of this titillating story.  And if you aren't following me on Twitter, why?  It is awesome.  Here's how it went down.

Yesterday, during Finley's nap, the smoke alarm in his room started beeping its little warning beep.  This was impossible, because Sol already moved the smoke detector out when the battery died last week.  After the nap I investigated.  I couldn't find the smoke detector.  Not on the ceiling, not on the walls, not in the closet.  Every minute, it beeps.  I stood and listened and it seemed to come from a different corner of the room.

When Sol got home, we scoured Finley's room.  We looked through all the boxes and drawers.  No smoke alarm.  Finley slept in the guest room in his Pack and Play last night--I felt bad making him sleep with the beep.

We were at our wits end, so I did the only thing I could think of.  I called the Fairfax County Fire Department.  They did NOT want to hear the details of my situation--they brusquely asked me for my name, address and phone number, and had two kind firefighters at my front door in less that 10 minutes. I'll let you paint your own mental picture of said firefighters.)  Initially, I'm pretty sure they thought I was dumb.  Then, after pulling every box out of Finley's room and the three of us feeling like we were crazy, they came to their verdict.

It was what I feared.

The smoke alarm was IN the ceiling.  (Much like in Zoolander, when the files were IN the computer.)

Our ceiling in the kitchen and dining room looks like this:

And it used to look like that in the nursery and family room.  But it does not anymore.  It looks like a normal, slanty, dry-walled ceiling.  And whoever made that lovely ceiling failed to remove the smoke detector.  So now it is dying, slowly, and beeping out of my reach.

I mumbled to the firefighters, "I was hoping you would have some high-tech listening device that could find it." And they discussed something that was in the truck--and the cuter one ran out to get it.  "It" was a STETHOSCOPE.  The cuter firefighter stood on a chair with a stethoscope to the ceiling, trying to pinpoint the beep.  Eventually they figured out where they thought it probably was, drew an arrow on the ceiling, told me they were sorry and left.

I decided to go for a run to get out of the beepin' house.  But the stroller was in Sol's car.  (Also I got my flu shot today, to add to my whine-fest.)  So I went out for sushi to make myself feel better. Meanwhile, Joe from Firehouse #8 called me to tell me he was "upset" they couldn't figure it out, and they were going to send a team out with better listening something-or-other so that I don't have to tear out the whole ceiling.  I was like, "Whatevs."

So an hour later, four burly firemen showed up in a FIRETRUCK with full fireman regalia on.  The tromped up the stairs with ladders and cases full of things.  They were so kind and friendly (one of them wanted to talk about Kansas the whole time, another discussed Phoebe's renegade smoke alarm from Friends) but took the job totally seriously.  The four of them plotted and planned in Finley's sock monkey nursery.  They looked in the attic.  Then they poked a little hole for their camera so they could find the smoke alarm.

They found the alarm and cut it out of the ceiling.  FINALLY.  Quiet.  It was neatly wrapped in plastic--the people remodeling didn't want it to get dusty.  Thanks for thinking of me!

Then one of the guys said, "Do you have any tape?"  I told him not to worry, my husband can patch the hole, he's handy.  "Just some scotch tape?  And a wet rag for the dust?"  I got him tape and a rag and he patched up the ceiling.  Then he wiped up all the dust on the floor.

"Do you have a nine-volt for this dead detector?"  I didn't, I keep forgetting to buy a replacement, I had to tell the fireman.  He sent one of his guys out to the "rig" to get me one.  The changed the battery and reinstalled it for me.


They packed up, chatted with me, posed for a picture and went on their way.  (I'm not wearing a toupee in this picture.)

On the way down the stairs, one of them said, "This step is a little loose. Do you have any nails?"  (Reminding me INSTANTLY of Phil Dunphy and the loose step in Modern Family!)  The four guys stood in my stairwell, while one of them crouched down and nailed the loose board back in my step.

I'm calling the Fire Department for the rest of my needs, ever.  I love them.  And the one in the lower right looks like Jack Shepard.  When I told Sol I thought he was cute he said, "He has a nice smile."

The End.

Monday, October 11


I spent first through seventh grade living outside of Dayton, OH--and while I was there I was lucky to have two families.  The B's had two girls almost the same age as Laura and I and we were blessed to have such great pals to grow up with.  Fond memories include Shelli making us star and environmental club in the bushes and having her own cooking show in the garden, ice skating on their back patio, climbing trees, Erica reading me thrilling excerpts from her middle school diary and playing "Lexi-land" with their Legos.  Ah, the 90s.  Here is Erica and I--I tried to snap a few pictures of her son Ty, but he was a quick little almost-three year old!

Shelli was the third of us to get married--Erica and I got married within a week of each other and managed to attend each other's wedding (sans husbands.)  Shelli's wedding was far and away the most unique wedding I've been to--she got married in a field, my mother was the officiant and my sister was a bridesmaid.  It was a lovely, touching ceremony and the couple's love for each other was evident.

Shelli's goal was for the wedding to be carbon-neutral--they had a shuttle to take guests to the reception to save gas and reused items as decorations.  Two pumpkins came home with us!  The reception was more traditional and was a hoot.  It was in a lovely country club--but still bore the unique mark of Shelli.  The couple's first dance was to "Faithfully" by Journey, and it is one of very few first dances I'll never forget.  Bride and groom singing into bouquets, bridesmaids waving their arms in the background... it was a sight.  Additionally, Shelli had the DJ play "Let's Go to the Mall" by teen pop start Robin Sparkles.  Best. Song. Ever.

The groom's cake was a tent with their two little pairs of feet sticking out!  So sweet!

When I met Joey at the wedding (for the first time), he said "Sol and Rachel do a Blog!" and I thought, "Finally!  My blogging renown has spread near and far!"  And then I realized Shelli shows him the blog.  Eh.  Here's our family photo--and me in the J. Crew dress of my dreams.  I accidentally now own two of them.  But that's another story.

And by the way, Finley was a delight.  Twenty hours in the car--and the only tears were when Grandpa surprised him and he got his head stuck between a wall and a cow.  That, also, is another story.

Thursday, October 7

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Out of fear of what would happen if we ever lost Finley's favorite stuffed monkey (thanks Vicki!), we sprung for a replacement.  My plan was to keep one hidden so he only ever knew there was one--that plan ended when he saw me opening the Amazon box.  I'm sneaky.

He was so excited--he carried them both around, danced with them and kissed them.

Can you tell which one is new?

We took this video of his antics.

And then I realized it bore striking resemblence to this video:

Saturday, October 2

He looks like a young Jonathan Papelbon.


Finley is ready to go to a Red Sox game.  Fenway is calling him home.

Love, Rachel
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