Thursday, March 29

When Finley was Born, As Told by Finley

So, Finley tells this real cute story about when he was born.  I've been trying to get it on video for awhile because Vic told me I need to blog it.  I finally had him captive in the bathtub and he was willing to tell me the story.  The part about the dinosaurs is new... he's clearly a bit confused.  A transcript of his part is below, just in case you don't speak fluent Finley-ese.

Transcript of Finley's part:

I was in your belly, and I played with Brady and I have so much fun and a dinosaur came and I ran that way and Braden ran this way and I went, I went in the dinosaur elevator to go up and the dinosaur won't eat me.

Yeah... A dinosaur came to get out and he was big and he was... and he need to... I'm feeding myself!

Doctor said, "Come out little baby Finley!"

And I came out!

You gave me kisses.

You came and daddy came and he gave me kisses. And he said I love you I love you.

And grandpa came and he said, I love you I love you.

And I was growing up.  And grandpa said, "You're growing up!" Baby yogurt. And I said yeah.

Tuesday, March 27

Finley's Entourage

Finley was destined to love monkeys from the moment we brought him into his sock monkey nursery.  He got lots of monkey as gifts and always has them around to play with.  Brown monkey, as he calls him, quickly became his favorite and had to go everywhere with him.  We eventually bough a second brown monkey to rotate in when the other one was dirty.

(The monkeys are currently on the "airplane" because Finley is being the "captain" and buckled each one of them in.  Safety first!  Also you can see that the second monkey is wearing his "church jacket" that my mom made for him.  It's strange.  But Finley loves it.)

Eventually "red monkey" was added to the clan.  Both of them traveled around with us. I named them Giacomo (after my favorite Boston restaurant) and Pippin (his tag said Pippy and I didn't like it), but most of the time they are referred to by their color, not their given names.  Finley soon figured there were two brown monkeys (brown monkey and other brown monkey) and all three had to be out at all times.

(Just hanging out with his monkeys.)

And then Bongo got added to the group.  He's a (valuable!) Beanie Baby I stole from my parents house.  I think the brown monkeys might be his parents?  I have a difficult time figuring out their relationships.

And the final "monkey" to be included is a little blue and white dog that Finley named "Joggy."  He refers to the group as "my monkeys."  As in... "My monkeys are sad, they need me!" or "My monkeys are napping." or "My monkeys need their daddy." and also "My monkeys need to wear their seatbelts!"

The monkeys primary activities through out the day are taking naps in the "bed" Finley made for them, sitting on the couch and flying in the airplane that Finley of which is the captain, sitting beside Finley when he eats, and sometimes one brown monkey gets to ride in the car with us.

Finley set all these pillows up in the hall and said his monkeys were "skiing."  I think that's why he's wearing goggles?  Although he calls those goggles his "boat glasses"... so clearly we are a little mixed up about outdoor activities.

Oh monkeys.  Such a sweet life you lead.  And thanks to Barbara for this awesome pillowcase that also doubles as the monkeys' favorite blanket.

Thursday, March 22

Fun at the National Building Museum

Victoria arrived on a Tuesday and we headed straight into the city to the National Building Museum.  It has a great play area for kids and a few fun exhibits.  We breezed through the Lego exhibit--but most of our time was spent chatting with our friend Emily on the floor of the kids' area.

Both boys were battling sinus infections and were cranky.  Braden had taken four lengthy naps a few days earlier and two three hour naps the day before.  He would cry and cry whenever I set him down--until we got to the awesome museum. I think Finley and Braden would have played all day if I let them! Braden was totally thrilled to scoot around and explore and play. (Yes, he's still in his pajamas.  It's acceptable for babies to go out in sleepwear.)

I'm always grateful for Victoria being around--because I get to be IN the pictures.  And this little standing man?  He pulled himself to standing tonight while the boys were playing together in Finley's crib!  Such a big guy!  I think Finley was more excited than I was.

Since we're talking about how great it is to be in a picture with someone you love, you should go do it!  Or at the very least, follow Vic's directions and start a blog.  You'll never regret being in the picture with the ones you love or writing about the details of your life.  Because if you don't, you'll forget.  Then you'll be sad.  Choose blogging and choose joy. And choose being dramatic. 

Monday, March 19


I tend to take a lot of pictures when the boys are trapped--either at dinner time or in the bathtub.  The camera isn't far off and I have boys who can't run/scoot away from me.

Same messy faces.  Same sweet grins.

Same long eyelashes.  Same serious attention to bathing.  And same scrawny, chicken arms.

I can't even handle the sweetness of those boys.

Sunday, March 18

I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful

Saturday morning, I ran the inaugural Rock n Roll Half Marathon in DC.  I ran it two years ago in 1:43:16 and this year I ran it in 1:43:58.  That's what you call consistency, my friends.  Sidenote: one of my favorite movies is "What About Bob?" and not just because it is set on scenic Lake Winnipesaukee.  One of the little mantras I repeat to myself when I run is Bob's favorite saying (aside from "baby steps") "I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful."  And it works.  After saying it a few times I begin to believe it--try it sometime!

It was a very interesting day--starting with our train breaking down 6 stops from the race, me making friends with two pregnant girls and trying to get a cab to the race with them, then giving up and taking an extremely full Metro train to the finish.  I started 16 minutes late with thousands of other people stuck on the Metro.  This made the race a little different because I passed people the entire way--I never caught up to my pace group. (My favorite sign from the race said: You run better than the Metro! Amen, sign maker, amen.)

The other thing that made it interesting was that I forgot my Garmin. GASP! I obsessively monitor my pace and check to see how I'm doing and I really had no idea how I was doing the whole run.  Since I didn't know when I started, it was tough to find out if I was on pace.  I felt like I was keeping it under 8:00 min/miles and I barely did--I averaged 7:56.  It was a little liberating to not have my watch--I just ran as fast as I could.

Sol, Vic, Kat and the boys did their best to make it in to DC to watch me run, but in the end DC transportation failed us all.  I met up with them after the race in Eastern Market and we all enjoyed the warm spring day together.

It was as sad as it always is to say goodbye to Vic today, and it's going to be sad to say goodbye to Kat tomorrow.  It's been a whirlwind week--we've had 5 different house guests since last Thursday.  I'm going to be loooonely Monday when I'm back to an empty house. Lonely and exhausted.  Friendship wears me out in the very best way.

Next Race: Potomac River Run Marathon.

Wednesday, March 14

11 Months

Braden is 11 months old.  The frightening countdown is underway to the first birthday.  I can't get over how much more like a lanky little boy he looks in these pictures.  He's surrendered most of his baby fat and is just a long, wiggly little fellow.

My favorite change in the little guy is all his new tricks he's learning.  He's really into waving at people when you ask him too--he's so determined!  Still scooting, still no pulling up or getting into sitting alone, but he really loves to practice walking and stand.  Most of the time if you try to set him down he stiffens up so that you can't get him into sitting.  Tricky little fellow. He's down to nursing about four times a day and may be on the brink of dropping to three.

Both boys have been a little sick and are going to the doctor this morning.  Braden's 11 month present to me was puking all over me at 5 in the morning.  No really, you shouldn't have.  He's a poor wimpy baby--unfortunately he's wanted me to hold him almost all the time--which makes it a little less fun when trying to entertain our house full of guests!  He took FOUR naps Saturday because he was so zonked and has sometimes been sleeping for up to three hours twice a day.  Definitely not the norm!

Finley is gearing up for his big birthday--he'll very excitedly tell you what kind of party he and Braden are having and how old they are now and how old they will be.  He's stopped telling people he's going to be thirty two and just says he'll be three now.  THREE!?!  I'm starting to panic.

These two rascals crack me up a little more every day.  Finley has taken to calling his brother "Brady" instead of Braden, which is really cute.  They are going to be quite a pair.

Lucky for me, the house photographer is back for Spring Break.  We're so excited to have TORI! back to play with the boys, sit on the couch with me and take some pictures with me in them.  I love this sleepy little pose--how is thumb sucking so sweet?

I'm not sure I can handle having a one year old and a three year old.  Is there some sort of daylight savings time to delay aging?  Anyone?

Most importantly... Happy Pi Day!  What what! (Said a la Laurie from Cougar Town. If you aren't watching it, then we aren't friends.)

Monday, March 12

Friends in DC: Part 1

The stars aligned and a solid group of friends from high school were able to convene in DC this weekend.  Megan is spending a month doing part of her residency at the hospital across the street, Carrie lives a few hours away, Katherine was in town lobbying for farms or something and Courtney was peer pressured into coming from St. Louis.  We peer pressure with the best of them.

We spent our time a lot like you may have guessed--playing Rock Band, keeping score of who "zinged" who the most, eating lotsa queso, walking around DC and taking a lot of pictures.

Strangely, we decided that the theme of our pictures was going to be "pictures that would be appropriate for a calendar celebrating our band."  It was really funny at the time.  And it's still pretty funny.  This one is the cover of our hit album.  Can you tell who was photoshopped in?

I don't think we quite made it to 12, but here are a few favorites.

Even serious rock bands like cupcakes. (I think someone zinged me prior to this picture and I was saaaad.)

The band by the Potomac.

The band by the Capitol, signing a bill on Courtney the table.

The band putting their dominant foot forward.

I feel like this is a great serious artistic band shot, am I right?

Although this one might capture our spirit a little more accurately.

We had such a lovely time.  It's never enough.  Like I say every time, I'm beyond blessed to have such lovely friends and have had them for so long.  Like I said to Courtney and Megan, who would of thought 15 years ago when we began our crazy friendships that three of us would have Droids?  Just kidding.  I meant to say, that we would still be dear friends and would spend weekends together in fun cities.

Wednesday, March 7

My New Favorite Picture

I'm considering changing all of my profile pictures everywhere to this gem.

Reston 10 Miler-8372.jpg

I call this, "The Face of Pain." I'm not sure my face has ever looked more like an angry 80 year old man.

Anyways, I ran the Reston 10-miler on Sunday and felt terrible.  I was really sick, it was really hilly and I was grouchy. (Can you tell?)  I complained to Sol about how slow I was and how badly I wanted to quit... and then I realized I ran 8:25 min/mile, which is pretty good for a sick girl on a hard course.  Sol asked me what I wanted to run, and we both had a good laugh when I told him I wanted to run 7:30s.  Silly Rachel.

I'm running the Rock and Roll Half Marathon next weekend (I ran it two years ago) and I'm hoping to improve on the 7:44 min/mile time I ran then... we'll see!

And thanks for all the comments on the Baby Led Weaning post--it never ceases to surprise me how different styles and ways of parenting go in and out of vogue!  It certainly feels like the lazy, second child way to feed your kid... sorry you don't get homemade purees!  You get little bits of your brother's food.  Eat up. 

Tuesday, March 6

Baby Led Weaning

So I've been meaning to write about baby led weaning for several months now, so I guess I should just do it.  When Finley was starting solid foods, I very proudly mashed and pureed all sorts of delicious fruits, veggies, and eventually meats and legumes for him.  I froze them into little cubes and spoon fed him my tasty meals.  It was certainly cheaper than buying little jars all the time, but it was a lot of work.

This time around, it didn't sound so fun to spend my evenings chopping, steaming, pureeing, and freezing. I'd much rather be Pinteresting, Etsying, blogging and TVing. And Scrambling!  My friends over at Young House Love first introduced me to baby led weaning and I was sold. I used this booka little bit as a reference as well. It's been so much easier on me.  When he was about seven months old I started giving him large soft chunks of stuff--potato, broccoli, cauliflower, banana... all the same foods you start them off with as a puree.

Let me tell you. It was MESS-Y.  For a long time.  I feel like we're just getting to the point where Braden isn't disgusting following every meal.  The point of BLW is that the baby is controlling their intake instead of the parent.  Apparently babies get all their nutritional needs met from breastmilk until they are one (at least that's what I'm told) so their eating adventure before their first birthday is mainly for practice.  It's good to get them used to eating a variety of flavors and textures and make eating fun for them--hopefully so they'll continue to be good eaters in the future!

It's just worked so well for us--often Braden eats a bigger variety and more than Finley!  For the most part, I'm just making one meal for dinner and giving the boys a variety of what we eat.  Braden had the chicken from some enchiladas tonight along with some peas and carrots.  I spoon feed him cereal for breakfast and yogurt for dinner every day--so he still gets some practice with utensils.  We did check with our pediatrician before we started and she didn't know what it was, but said it sounded fine.  Funny.

But seriously, I can't even begin to say how nice it's been for us.  It seems like such an intuitive way to feed your kids--we just give him little pieces of what we are eating. It makes eating out much simpler as well--he's happy to munch on little nuggets of our meal.  You should see the number he does on a meal from Chipotle. I occasionally feel like we should bring our own broom when we eat out because we are SUCH a mess. And he's a mess.  I also don't think I'd recommend baby led weaning unless you have a dog.  Copper is a BIG fan.

And tonight I taught him to sign "more!"  He didn't actually do it at the appropriate time, but he did it when I asked him too!  Sweet sweet boy.

Friday, March 2

The Problem with Pictures

It's been a little painful for me to find things to blog about here and I think I figured out why.  Most of the posts I write are about (surprise!) the boys.  And I don't like to write a post unless it has a nice picture to go with it.  And we spend a lot of time in our family room and I really dislike the way the pictures come out in there.  It's a combo of the wall color and lighting--everything looks yellow and pukey.  Example below...

I took these pictures seconds apart with almost identical settings--the only difference was that the lovely one was taken just using the window light, and the yucky one was taken with all the lights on.  I didn't do any processing or tweaking--that's what they looked like straight out of the camera.  Then I tried to save the yucky one and tweaked a few things on the nice one and got this:

I still don't love the first one, but it's better.  I like the second one even more.  Thank you, Lightroom.  The moral of the story is: try to take good pictures the first time instead of hoping you can save them in Lightroom or Photoshop.  And here's a few more I took with all the lights off in the room that I loved.

Well hello, handsome snowman pajama-ed baby.

I'd also like to give a shout out to the 50mm lens and it's slightly cheaper but totally functional brother.It will change your life in a lovely, blurry backgrounded way.

And now two pictures of Finley that were taken in the kind of yucky light, but redeemed in Lightroom.

So, that's all I have to say about that.  I think I'll be turning out the lights a little more often and shooting in natural light so I'll like the way they turn out more.  And with that, I'm off to start my weekend the right way.  At Chick-fil-a.
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