Friday, July 29


I just realized I never really blogged about the Fourth of July.  And I need to because I have lots of great pictures.  Here's my patriotic family.

We spent this Fourth in Wichita with my dear, dear high school pals.  James bought a zillion fireworks and the husbands had a great time setting them off.  The wives had a great time sitting and watching.  Sitting on the driveway of a culdesac, barbecuing, drinking wine and watching our kids play... it was one of the first times I've stopped and realized that I'm a grown up.

Finley warmed up to the fireworks and really loved to chase the parachutes that flew out of them.  He talked about Mr. James for a very long time after that night.  He also really enjoyed practicing his counting--he was getting pretty good at making it up into the teens.  No fourth of July is complete without a picture of sparklers.  After several botched attempts, I finally figured out what settings to put my camera on to capture this beaut.

Yep, don't be jealous.  After a long debate about uppercase vs. lowercase and sparkler-shortage-scare, this is what we came up with.  PROUD.  And here is a failed attempt.

I'm so lucky to still have such great friends from high school--and I'm grateful that my kiddos get to spend time with them, even if it's brief.

And me.  I just think this is a funny picture for some reason.

Here's the big group from the fireworks.

We really like to take silly pictures.  You can see more here, but this was my favorite.  We were pretending to be bored.  Except Jessi, she's silly.  And her bf Brad was just being normal.  And Amy's husband Daniel got tired of our silliness and ducked out.

Ah.  Good times, good friends.

Thursday, July 28

I, like, barely ever watch TV.

One of the great things about the world today is how much TV you can watch online.  It's great.  Another great thing is the iPad, which allows you to nurse a baby late at night and watch bits of TV shows when there is nothing else your brain can process.  Since having Braden, I've watched a lot of TV online... which means I've been awake a lot in the middle of the night.

Here's what I've been watching lately... and lots of embedded videos!

Arrested Development. I sprung for Hulu Plus so I could watch this gem--you can't watch regular Hulu on the iPad.  They're running a racket over there.  I've watched AD twice now in its entirety and I whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who loves things that are awesome.  And now, the chicken dance.

Grade: A+

Extras. This one I watched on the HBO ap, which is AWESOME.  My friend Tom told me to watch it and I'm glad I did.  It was really funny and only 12 episodes.  Or 14, I can't remember.  I watched it in the middle of the night.  This clip is of Daniel Radcliffe acting extremely un-Harry Potter-esque.  Please, don't watch it if you want innocent Harry to stay burned in your mind.  You've been warned.  It's a little inappropriate.

Grade: A+

Downton Abbey.  Well, this one is the opposite of the other two.  Except it has Minerva McGonagal as a very old lady, so it has that in common with Extras.  Because she was in Harry Potter.  And it's set in Britain like Extras.  Other than that, it's the opposite.  But it's really lovely and has a great story.  And it's only SEVEN episodes!  I watched this one on Netflix.  And I'm beginning to be embarrassed about how many avenues of TV viewing I have.

Grade: A+

Mildred Pierce.  This is an awesome HBO miniseries--seriously good.  Kate Winslet is so lovely and it's just very interesting to watch.  And the ending--watch out.

Grade: A+

Parks and Recreation.  I have never laughed out loud in the middle of the night more than I did watching this show.  For some reason I never saw Season 2, and it's funny.  First clip is actually just audio, but it's Andy singing "The Pit."  Hi-larious.

Second Clip: My fav Tommy Fresh momentt:

Third Clip:  One of my fav Ron Swanson moments.  He is a hoot.

Grad: A+++

Firefly.  Well, I've been told over and over to watch Firefly.  I think it's the quintessential nerd TV show, but I felt like leaving it out of my repertoire was just wrong.  Sadly, this show was cancelled with many questions left unanswered--we're watching the movie finale in September.  This was the only show I didn't watch in the middle of the night.  Sol, Vic and I watched it together as our last hurrah.  Tear.  This is kind of a funny clip.  Disclaimer: Firefly is a western/sci-fi show.  Yes, it's weird.  But good.

Grade: A+

Friday Night Lights. Let me just tell you--I'm pretty sure deep down I'm a Dillon Panther.  CLEAR EYES! FULL HEARTS! CAN'T LOSE!  I'm only half way through the first season but I'm SOLD.  I want to be Tami Taylor and I want to move to Texas.  Don't tell Sol I said that.  I don't have a clip for this because I haven't watched much of it and don't want to spoil it for myself.

Grade: A++

NEXT UP... The Wire, perhaps?  Now that I look back at alll the TV I've watched I understand why Braden is such a fat kid.  He's literally eaten about 90% of the time I was watching those.  Seriously.

Can you tell I'd make a great TV critic?  I like everything!  Promise that when I was a teacher so long ago, I didn't dole out the As quite as generously.  Any TV I'm missing?  Did I watch your favorite?

Tuesday, July 26

This Stinker

This little stinker has reached the age where he is no longer scared for me to be out of his sight.  He like to run around in stores and say "HIDING!" instead of clinging close to me.

He also likes to do everything "SELF!"  Which is not so fun.  But he also shocks me with what he knows--all of his uppercase letters, some numbers, the UPS truck (which I don't even remember teaching him.)  He always thinks it's "FUNNER" (that means thundering) and loves to tell me when he hears a "LOUD NOISE!"  His new favorite word is salsa and talks about it all the time.

He cracks me right up.

Monday, July 25

Braden is Cute/Drooly

I don't have a lot of words to go with these pictures.  I just think Braden has a sweet, cute face and that there are at least a few people who need to see it.  Now that Victoria is gone, you can expect a lot more pictures, because I know at least one person will appreciate them (I mean, one more than the people who are obligated to say that my kids are cute because they are related.)

So there aren't a lot of words to accompany these pictures.

Just some smiles.

And some tears.  And drool.

That is all.  For now.

(And thank you, Courtney, for the shirt!  I had to pay Braden $2 for all those pics!)

Thursday, July 21

So Pretty

We got some professional pictures taken this past weekend--and they are LOVELY.  This one is my favorite so far.

I'm going to do my best not to have 100 more children, but I'm not going to make any promises.  They are just too sweet.  You can see a few more pictures here.  Thanks Erica May!

Wednesday, July 20

Three Months

While I can't seem to get a picture of Finley kissing Braden or holding Braden or really doing anything sweet to Braden at all, I can get pictures of him poking Braden.  For some reason, he really likes to poke.  Luckily, he warns me about everything he does.  Before he pokes Braden he'll say, "Poke Braden, poke Braden?" a few times.  The other day I heard him saying something that I realized was "Clean Braden." just in time to take the vacuum attachments away from him as he rubbed them on Braden's face.  Awesome.

When Finley saw this picture he said, "Finley poke face. NOOOOO."  So at least he knows he isn't allowed to poke Braden's face.  But that doesn't actually stop him.

At three months, Braden is a joy.  He had a rough week or two where I couldn't get him to sleep more than an hour or two at night--but we've rectified that by letting him sleep on his belly.  GASP!  I know, I'm breaking a rule.  But he'll sleep for 5 or 6 hours on his belly... making everyone happy and healthy.  And the more people I talk to, the better I feel about letting him sleep on his belly.  Especially because it's helping with the flat spot too.  He's a lovely sleeper now and often he'll drift off to sleep just by me laying him in his crib--none of the bouncing and walking that we needed to finally lull Finley to sleep.  His nap schedule is still irregular, but he sleeps well during the day.  He's still nursing well--he eats quickly and will take a bottle when we need him too.  Really, he's a joy.  He's rolled over a few times and can get his feet under his booty to push himself forward--not on purpose, but it's cute.  And the boy has recently become a DROOLER.  My shoulder is wet all the time from his sweet drool.

Finley is a joy too--and also sometimes a terror.  He speaks in long sentences and is sometimes very funny. His memory shocks me.  He knows about 75% of his uppercase letters--thanks to Mickey Mouse, the iPad and some foam bath letters.  He really loves to "read" and learn and is always surprising me with what he knows.  Kids.  He's also reached the "SELF" stage where he wants to do everything himself.  Not.  Fun.  And the whining!  And the dramatics! Oh to be two.  But he's also a lot of fun because he lets me roll him up like a burrito in large quilts. (He looks like he's giggling here but he's actually screaming to be let out.  What?  I had to get my camera!)

I took the boys to the doctor today to get Finley's weight checked.  I've altered his diet slightly to combat his high cholesterol, so they wanted to make sure that my already little boy didn't get any littler.  And he did.  He's dropped a few ounces below 24 pounds.  So I'm continuing to try to feed him high calorie/fat foods that are low in fat and cholesterol.  Should be easy, right?  Braden is up to 16 pounds 5 ounces and his head is not quite as flat as last time, so that's excellent.  At 3 months, Braden has passed Finley's 4 month weight by 5 ounces.  Hopefully he doesn't drop off his curve like Finley!

Tuesday, July 19

Sleepy Boy

One of my faaavorite things about itty babies is their ability to just sleep.  To fall asleep in the middle of a messy room while their noisy brother plays.

I really was surprised Braden conked out in the middle of tummy time--he's not entirely fond of it!

One of my other favorite things about this itty bitty baby is that he decided he loves his fingers.  And he loves to suck on them--LOUDLY.

Isn't that so sweet?  Love him.

Monday, July 18

Let the Magic Begin

Almost ten years ago, Victoria and I went to see the first Harry Potter on our initiation weekend.  Can you see the tagline of the movie?  Let the magic begin.  If you can look past our cool hair you can see the beginnings of a very successful movie franchise and a equally successful friendship.  Harry was right--the magic began very close to that first HP viewing.

We went to see the very last Harry Potter at midnight on opening day.  Can you see the tagline of the finale?  It all ends. We thought it was fitting--today Victoria is driving back to Kansas after two years of living in our house.

These awesome silk screened t-shirts were made to commemorate the big day--they turned out about as well as our first attempt.  As I was cutting out the freezer paper I said to Vic, "I wish I could say this is the weirdest thing we've ever done."  Weirder things we've done include but are not limited to: fashion blogging, going to BlogHer, taking our dogs to the pool... lots of crafts, lots of blogs designed, and lots and lots of fun. 

We ended our time in Virginia the way most evenings go--a trip to Pinkberry, watching an episode of Firefly while playing on our laptops/iPads and staying up a little too late.  We've be so lucky to have Vic here, not just because she keeps us stocked with baked goods, offers free babysitting, loves all the exact same things I do or speaks the same special language as me.  It's because she's kind of slipped into our home and become part of our family--and it's a little bit hard to let a piece of your family go.  Even when they are leaving for grand things.

I'm already sort of a hot mess today--Finley has asked for Tori a few times already and I am not sure how to explain to him that she's not downstairs anymore.  But he deserves a mommy who isn't crying all the time, so I'll try to buck up.  Kansas girls, take care of her for us.  And Vic, you know where to find me.  Twitter, Gchat, WWF, Facebook, Pinterest, blog, Facetime, text, phone, email... actually, just WUPHF me if you need me.

Thursday, July 14

Pinkberry and Snuggles

Two pictures with my two boys.

My favorite thing to do with Finley?  Eat Pinkberry!  Finley requested chocolate with berries.  I had chocolate and pomegranate with lots of mochi and chocolate chips and pomegranate drizzle.  YUM.

My favorite thing to do with Braden?  Snuggle.  Hold him.  Smell his head.  Kiss his cheeks.  Stare at him while he sleeps.

Tuesday, July 12

Chevron Rainbow Baby Shower

Vic has already blogged about it, but I need to throw my two cents in too... we threw a rainbow baby shower for our good friend Vicki this weekend.  We had a blast picking out cute rainbow ideas on Pinterest... and nicely reining each other in when we started to go over the top.  Here's Vic and I with the mama-to-be.

I held myself back from designing eight zillion things for this party--I just made an invite, thank you cards and some favor tags.  I'll eventually make more to sell on Etsy but in the meantime you can buy the invitation here.  Did you know I love chevron-ny things?  I do.

Our most fun feat was baking rainbow colored treats.  They turned out MUCH better than I anticipated and were a lot of fun to make.  Although somehow we were convinced that we should take a shot of tequila in the middle of our baking.  The best part is that Sol and I bought the tequila at a Walmart in Mexico several years ago.  And even better is that our credit card was declined when we tried to buy it, so we had to take a cab back to our hotel, then back to Walmart to buy our Mexican loot.  Oh, Mexico.  Please don't judge me for any of that.  I think I only confessed that because I've had half a beer as I type this.  Please don't judge me for that either.  Anyways, a rainbow cake and some rainbow skewers.  Also the cute cookies in the picture above, painstakingly rolled and stacked by Vic.

Chevron Rainbow Shower!  It's a cute one, you know you want to buy all our stuff and throw one yourself...

Monday, July 11

Mondays with Mom – Letters from the Past and Zumba

Welcome to the return of Mondays with Mom, where I let my mom write some stuff on my blog.  Feel free to go back and read the first few posts... After a move from Tulsa to Little Rock and having their 3rd baby graduate from high school, Mama is back to write some though-provoking prose!  Here she is...

In 2003, Daniel was in Mrs. Knickerbocker’s 4th grade class in Andover, KS. The class had an assignment to write a letter to the 12th grade version of themselves. The letter was to be delivered after they graduated from high school. Take a second to read Daniel's cute letter in his sweet cursive. (Answer to Question 3: yes, 4th grade Dan, you have a girlfriend.)

Since that day, our family moved from Kansas to Orlando to Owasso, OK to Little Rock.   What are the odds that a teacher (who had moved a couple times herself) would put forth the effort to contact Daniel (thank you, facebook!) and make sure that he received the letter?  Look how much 4th grade Dan has grown--he's now a very tall, bearded high school graduate!   

Besides my admiration for Mrs. Knickerbocker’s dedication, it got me thinking about what I would like to tell/ask future Cynthia or more importantly, what do I wish I could tell 40 yr old Cynthia. There are many things that I would warn her about, but today the top of mind is...  ZUMBA.

Dear 40 yr old Cynthia – 

In 2001, Zumba will find its beginnings in Miami, so get ready. Get some cute dance clothes, leave the kids with Dave and find a Zumba class. If you will keep up those sexy dance moves, then 50 yr old Cynthia won’t look like a disjointed giraffe when trying to remind her 50 year old body how to shake her booty. Thanks for your help!

Fondly, Future Cynthia

PS – dance like nobody is watching!

(My mother wanted me to note that my photography skills came from my dad and not her.)

And a shout out to the 20 – 30 year old super stars in my ZUMBA class – thanks for being so kind to me.   In my mind’s eye, I am just as sexy and coordinated as you are. As long as I avoid looking at the full wall mirrors that surround the dance studio, the version of reality is intact!

So, the new theme for Monday’s with Mom... the letters that I would write to future (or past) me. The theme seems perfect because Rachel’s blog is exactly that – each post is a love letter to future Rachel and we are following along for the ride!

Sunday, July 10

The Edge of Glory

Anyways, my friends from high school are a hoot.  We were coined "The BSC" a long time ago--mostly because we were apparently lame in high school and some boys thought all we did was babysat.  Which wasn't true.  We ate lots of queso, watched lots of Moulin Rouge, walked on frozen ponds and did some crafts.  And we made some fantastic movies.  We were very silly girls.  In fact, we still are.

I was the first of us to get married and at every wedding since, we've serenaded the bride with either "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips (which we started singong loooong before it was in the credits of Bridesmaids) or "Your Song" from Moulin Rouge.  Neither of them actually make sense as wedding songs, but we love them.

We... um... tend to get really into our performance.

This is the part of "Hold On" where we have to hold hands and run in a circle.  It's pretty sophisticated choreography.  85% of us were in show choir, you know.

One of my favorite quotes is from Moulin Rouge, and I feel like it embodies my relationship with these girls:  "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return."  They truly have taught me what it means to love each other and I'm beyond blessed for their friendship.

Photos courtesy of Sol

Thursday, July 7

Finley on the Fourth

While we were in Wichita, we had one of the most fun Fourth of Julys I can remember.  Lots and lots more pictures to follow, but today I wanted to share one of Finley and I.

In case you are curious, here is Finley and I from the Fourth last year, and the family from the year before--proof that babies get bigger.  (Yes, I'm wearing the same shirt as last year.)

Finley LOVED the fireworks and he loved sitting in this little pink adirondack chair.  He did not love looking at the camera for a picture--there were several people behind the camera yelling for him to look.

Wednesday, July 6

Rhonda's Bachelorette Party

My friends from high school are a special group.  We all convened on Wichita this weekend to celebrate our dear friend Rhonda's marriage.  And celebrate we did--all of us wearing black and white except the bride.  (I don't know why I look crazy here.)

Isn't she a pretty bride?

The mommies of the group gave Rhonda a precautionary gift:  some cute lingerie and a little equation warning about the outcome of wedding night shenanigans... babies!

In what was likely the highlight of the evening, we ran in to what may or may not have been Crazy Mike in Old Town... I'm fairly certain it was a Crazy Mike Impostor.  But who knows... you be the judge.

And this ones for you, Amy, who requested that her picture would make the blog.  Pretty Amy.

***If you try to comment and it won't let you, can you please email me at rachel.annette @ and let me know?  Several people have told me comments don't work and I really can't figure out why.***

Monday, July 4

The Reason I Love Wichita

So lucky to have friends like you.

(More pictures to follow.)
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