Tuesday, May 31

Braden was born!

I think everyone knows that by now.  But I finally sent out announcements and I thought I'd share one here so it can be preserved for all time--since I'll probably lose the printed copy.


I designed the announcement and took the picture alllll by myself.  Impressed?  Then you should go to my Etsy shop and see the other things designed by Vic and me.  If you aren't impressed, then don't go.  I won't have hurt feelings.  Just kidding, I will.  Maybe.

Monday, May 30

Q: Does Finley like Braden?

A:  Probably?  That's a good question.

Often, I'm asked how Finley is adjusting to his new brother.  I'm happy to report that he seems to be doing pretty well.  I mean, it would be tough to find anything wrong with this little guy.


Finley's not too jealous.  When I'm nursing or holding Braden, sometimes Finley will say, "BRADEN DOWN." But he gets over it pretty quickly when I explain that I have to keep holding Braden.  He also has started saying, "MOMMY PLAY" or "DADDY SIT IN CHAIR," which is mostly cute.  I'm really proud at his ability to let things go when we can't pick him up or give him what he wants (knock on wood.)


I don't have to worry about Braden's safety around Finley.  I think if Finley was a girl he might try to "mommy" Braden a little more, but for the most part he leaves him alone.  He doesn't want to hold him or look at him much.  Every time I set Braden beside him to take this picture he would crawl away.  Which is kind of sad, but I'm very relieved that Finley doesn't want to try to feed him or touch his eyes or anything.


He very sweetly was telling Brade, "Shhh" when he was upset in the car yesterday. I think that means he likes Braden a little?  I eventually got Finley to somewhat give Braden a kiss.


I think he just wanted to listen to more Justin Bieber.  Seriously.


I edited this last somewhat artistic picture in Lightroom--I got the free 30 day trial.  Anyone out there prefer it to Photoshop for editing pictures?  I struggled with how to use it--Braden turned out a little orange.

Thursday, May 26

Family Pictures at Vic's Party

This weekend was my BFFFF's Victoria's graduation and party.  She had her party in a cute seafood restaurant in Georgetown, and we got some great pictures together.  This one of my favorite family pictures so far!


Braden was a trooper and slept most of the time--some in his carseat and and some in his daddy's arms.


He rested in my arms too at the pre-graduation brunch.  (There was lots of celebrating.)


Here's Finley with the graduate of honor and me.  I can't talk about Victoria (or TORI! as Finley calls her) leaving me in July or how much me and the boys are going to miss her--because I don't want to cry anymore today.  Glee, Oprah and the season finale of Cougar Town took all my tears. 


Happy graduation Vic!  Don't go!

Wednesday, May 25

Six Weeks

I birthed little squiggly Braden six weeks ago.  With Finley, I waited the whole six weeks to run again.  After consulting with my pal Megan, who is a OB resident, I went ahead and started running at 3 weeks.  Her position was that as long as I wasn't sore anymore, running was fine.  I felt great after 3 weeks so I was ready to go.  This quote from Modern Family sums up how I feel about running:

Phil: She has to run everyday or she goes crazy, she’s like a Border Collie.
Claire: Did you just compare me to a dog?!?
Phil: The smartest in the world!

Although it's not everyday, it's more like every other day.  And I am the smartest in the world.  So here is me with the double BOB jogging stroller, which is the size of a small car.  Even though I'm barely running 12 minute miles, I'm pretty sure it's actually 7 minute miles when I factor in the extra weight I'm pushing.


I was eager to get back to running for a few reasons...
  1. I registered for the Richmond Marathon in November.  While I don't anticipate any stellar times from this race (I ran the Marine Corps Marathon around the same time after having Finley), I still would like to do my best.  I think I'll probably be a little faster than two years ago because I'll have an extra 5 or 6 weeks of running before the race.  
  2. Being at home with boys all day... sometimes gets a little long.  It's easy to strap them both into the stroller and go out for a run.  That kills at least 45 minutes.  Also, if Braden has a hard time napping then the stroller will do the trick.
  3. I would like to fit in my old clothes again.  Running helps.  Nursing Braden helps.  The way I eat does not help.  But two out of three... that's something.
This is what Braden does in the stroller...


And this is what Finley looks like.  Finley is funny to run around with.  He likes to tell me the color of every car and talk about the leaves and sticks and other fun things we see.  And he likes to yell, "SLIDE PARK!" when we get close to the park. 


So fun.

Tuesday, May 24

Bond, Braden Bond

Braden is following in his big brother's shoes--auditioning for the next James Bond film.  This was Finley's onesie from when he was the same age--he was a big hit at Amy's wedding.


Such a sophisticated little man.


And this little guy... not so sophisticated.  He loves his new sand and water table.  And loves making a huge mess with it.

Monday, May 23

Snuggly

My favorite, favorite way to hold my boys was when they fell asleep on my chest, legs tucked under their tushes and hands under their face.  I loved their scent of their sweet baby heads and the warmth of their little bodies, and the way they would sometimes sweetly sigh as they slept.  And also their noggins are close enough for me to kiss whenever I need to.

Sol snapped this picture of Braden as he was about to fall asleep on my chest.


And it reminded me of this picture of Finley, taken in June of 2009 in Boston.  Finley is a two weeks older in this picture but I still think they look very similar.


I'm not sure how I have such chubby babies, but I like it.  I will leave you with this picture of the two boys... Finley is doing well with Braden.  He's not so interested in Braden that I fear for his safety.  He does really like to get down and lay with Braden on his play mat, which is quite cute.  Braden is oblivious.

Thursday, May 19

Embrace the Camera

Things have been slowly moving on here.  We're adjusting to having less help around and handling two kids on our own.  Sol had a business trip to Canada (on my birthday!) which was making me stressed and sad, until my sister decided to come to town because she bought our old car and was ready to drive it home.  It was so great to have her help!  Finley loves his Aunt Wi-ra.  That's kind of how he says Laura. She also taught him to say "Happy Birthday Mommy" which was a very sweet way to be greeted when I woke up on my birthday.

Family pictures are tough--but here is each parent with the child that is easier to photograph, Finley!



It's a little hard to get a picture of all of us because most of the time Braden is doing this...



Sweetly sleeping, swaddled up.  Except when he's not sleeping.  Sometimes he's a baby and he fusses.  But I prefer to focus on the sweetly sleeping moments.



Monday, May 16

One Month

Well, I guess I'm back at square one!  I've spent the past 25 months writing a bit about how Finley has been changing, and now it's Braden's turn.  It seems a little silly to do a "25 month update" on Finley, but I'll include any momentous events for him in this post as well.  (These pictures are random ones from the last month that I haven't posted.)



It's hard to believe that Braden has been here a whole month!  He is a VERY sweet baby.  He's generally more content and happy than Finley was--and Finley was still a pretty sweet baby.  Finley had four casts (for his clubfoot) by this point in his life and was rolling over occasionally (I think he was aided by the casts.)  Braden is very strong, he can hold his head up pretty well and pushes away from our chests to look around.  He arches his back to try and roll over, but hasn't actually made it yet.

Braden eats about every three hours and is a great eater.  He's pretty quick and has only spit up on me twice--both times where I put on non-t shirts.  Thanks buddy!  He sleeps well during the night--most of time making it about 3 hours before waking up to eat.  He's had a few nights where he thinks he needs to eat all the time, but based on his weight gain we are going to have to have some negotiations about the all-night buffet.

I'm occasionally using cloth diapers with him.  I bought some little newborn sized ones that we use in the daytime when I remember.  They are super cute and have snaps instead of velcro which is really nice.



He's very big.  VERY BIG.  He is about to outgrow his 3 month clothes--he hasn't even worn all of the stuff we have for him yet!

Length: 23.75" >95th%
Weight: 12 lbs >95th%
Head: 14.75" 50th%

So he's big.  Finley (although currently sitting pretty around the 10th%) started off really big, he was 11 lbs 2 oz at 1 month--but not this big.  I can barely believe he fit in my belly a month ago!

Here are the boys with their letters... Finley just wanted to hold the B.  Somehow he has learned the letter B and loves to point it out when he sees it.  He is quite disappointed that his letter is F.





We really love having a baby who can't run away from us and is stuck with us when we hold him.  Newborns--even though Braden barely feels like a newborn--are the best.

And a little Finley update:  he talks like crazy, repeating everything we say and surprising us with what he knows.  He's getting very climby and can almost make it on the couch.  He likes to sing and can sort of sing his ABCs.  Kind of.  He is a terrible counter--he normally says "2, 6, 9!" when he pretends to count, which makes this former math teacher a little nervous.  (Sol says it is mean to call our son a terrible counter, but I'm used to evaluating math skills, and let's just say his are actually probably appropriate for a 2 year old.  But I have high standards for math.)  His foot is doing great. If I'm not paying enough attention to him, he'll say, "Mommy PLAY!" until I come sit with him.  He's getting better at being patient when he can't have what he wants--whether it is being held or playing with the iPad.  He is getting better at catching and throwing balls (but NOT in the house...) and loves to play outside.  He's a lot of fun too.

Saturday, May 14

Apple



Finley has recently decided he really likes apples.  He nibbles at them like a squirrel and doesn't realize that he shouldn't eat the stem.  And he drops it in the dirt or leaves it on the carpet and his fingers get sticky.  But, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so I guess it's ok.


(And Maya, the shirt is from the Children's Place, I don't think they make them in your size. Sorry.)  

Braden is looking forward to the day when he has sharp enough munchers to enjoy an apple with his brother.



And thanks for the suggestions for things to keep me occupied in the middle of the night--I'm currently watching Party Down because I have a crush on Adam Scott/Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec and because my love for anyone who was on Veronica Mars knows no end.  I also watched Easy A which was really funny.  And I'm thinking about Friday Night Lights... because there is no good reason that I haven't watched it.  That should keep me busy for another week.

Friday, May 13

Mess

One of Finley's favorite words is "MESS."  When he sees trash, or his hands get dirty, or he finds something out of place, he likes to tell me, "Mess, mess."  And then he wants to put it, "Away."


Not yesterday.  Yesterday he just wanted to make a mess.  He cleared out his entire drawer of utensils.



And dumped out just about everything he could find.



I LITERALLY could not clean up as fast as he made a mess.  He's lucky he's so cute.

Tuesday, May 10

In the Still of the Night

One of things about infants is that they have to eat.  All the time.  Including in the middle of the night.  Feeding a baby in the middle of the night is boring and it's kind of hard to stay awake, luckily my buddy the iPad has been my trusty companion and kept me company.  To date, I have:



  • Watched all three seasons of Arrested Development (if you haven't watched it, I'm not sure we can still be friends, VICTORIA)
  • Lost a lot of games of Words with Friends... and won a few
  • Read Tina Fey's Bossypants (not recommended to do while your husband is trying to sleep beside you--it's laugh out loud funny)
  • Read The Summer I Turned Pretty and its two sequels (a quick teen lit read that I loved aside from the last 5 pages of the last book)
  • Read most of the internet
So now I'm looking for suggestions--I have Hulu Plus so there are lots of shows I can watch.  I'm tempted to start rewatching LOST... or Veronica Mars.  Or just watch Arrested Development again.  I love me some Bluths. Any awesome TV shows that I may have somehow missed?

Suggestions?  As I recall, I still have quite a few more weeks/months of feeding sweet Braden in the still of the night.

And I'll leave you with this... I'm hoping eventually Finley and Braden incorporate this phrase into their vernacular:

Sunday, May 8

Happy Mommy's Day

We coached Finley for awhile tonight--trying to get him to say "Happy Mommy's Day, I love you."  We were fairly successful.



What a lovely privilege it is to be a mommy.  To have a little person who needs you to hold them when they are hurt and play with them and teach them--and then to watch that little person grow into a big person.  Being a mother makes you that much more grateful for your mother (and for all you put them through.)  Thanks, mom, for teaching me how to be a mom.  Mwah!

Speaking of sentimental, sappy videos, I think Google says it best:

Wednesday, May 4

I am having a hard time thinking of good titles for my blog posts.

I've been pretending I'm a photographer lately.  I'm trying really hard to get a sweet picture of Braden for a birth announcement and am somewhat succeeding.  I don't actually know anything technical about photography--I understand how ISO and the aperture and shutter all work together... but I feel like I should read a book or take a class or something because I feel like an impostor some of the time since I've never actually taken a class on photography.  I just google stuff all the time and stalk blogs of people who take pretty pictures.  I like the pictures I take--I just feel like I could have less blurriness and weird things happening if I was slightly more educated.  There are quite a few buttons on my camera that are a mystery to me.

But Braden is still cute even if I don't know much about proper lighting and if I insist on shooting with my f-stop at 1.4.



I stole this idea from the photographer who took our pictures two weeks ago--and mine is kind of terrible compared to hers.  Finley doesn't hold still, so it's really tricky to make his eyelashes the part of the picture that is focused.  I'm going to keep trying.



That's all.  Pretty much I just wanted to post some pictures and had to come up with some words to go with it.  This is what you get when I decide to blog in the middle of the night.  I should sleep more...

Monday, May 2

How to Make Crayon Party Favors (A Cautionary Tale)

Sometimes I have really great ideas.  Sometimes I have terrible ideas.  And sometimes I have really great ideas that end up being terrible.  Making crayon party favors falls in the latter category.

When I was planning Finley's circus party, I decided the best thing to do for party favors were to find themed crayons. Being the crafty person I think I am, I decided I would make my own.  So I ordered a circus lollipop mold, bulk crayons and googled "how to make crayon party favors."  Armed with my supplies and internetted knowledge, I thought I was in good shape.

Here's what I did.



1.  Slice the wrappers off the crayons.  Perfect, easy.  No problem.  I'm feeling good.



2.  Melt crayons.  This is not as easy as I thought it would be.  After they have melted you have to pour them into the mold, so what you melt them in needs to be pourable.  At first, I put crayons in a ziploc bag and then microwaved it in a cup of water.  DISASTER.  Don't try that.



 Then I put them in a muffin tin and used the muffin liner to pour.  Less of a disaster.



3.  Pour the extremely hot wax into the little plastic mold you paid too much for on Ebay.  Don't burn yourself.  Don't spill it.



4.  Let molds cool in freezer, then pop out.

5.  Repeat 8 million times.  No seriously, it took forever.  This was partially because my candy mold had four clowns on it and I really didn't want to use clowns.  So every round of melting and cooling only produced four crayons, rather than seven.

I got about 14 molds from 24 crayons.  I also learned that if you fill them too much then the wax runs out the lollipop stick hole and makes a mess.  Each shape took a little less than 2 crayons to fill.  And you can fill them a lot lower than you think you need to--it makes your crayons go further.

The BIGGEST lesson I learned: the lollipop molds are not as heat resistant as you would think.  My first crayons came out darling... after being filled with HOT wax 3 times, the molds started to lose their shape and look like barely identifiable blobs.



The verdict?  I would maybe make these again... but after the money spent on the mold, crayons and my burning anger towards the finished product, it might be best just to leave it up to the pros on Etsy.  Keep this lesson in mind next time you throw a party and need invitations and decorations... leave it to the pros.  (Or the amateurs masquerading as pros.)
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