Monday, April 30

Braden Rocks

Well, it seems I am only capable of taking pictures of Braden standing these days.

These pictures are from a few weeks ago, in the backyard with the boys' sweet rocking chair. (Now my post title seems a lot more clever, huh?)

The chair was mine when I was a little girl and now it's Braden's favorite thing to stand with and Finley's favorite place to put his monkeys.

And his cute little romper is from my sweet friend Emily.  It's barely been warm enough to wear it, but it's just too cute to sit in the dresser.

And he's such a lanky fellow! Look at him, he's so big. (That's what he's saying in the first picture.)

And in these pictures, he's saying "Happy birthday, Grandma!"  My mom turns 37 today (isn't that right mom?) Happy birthday mom, here's a bunch of pictures of my cute kid.

The end.

Friday, April 27

Instagram: the last two weeks

Happy Friday! Here's a little look back at the last two weeks, as seen through Instagram.  I'm rachelgps, let's be pals!

1. Planting a garden without Vic.  Let's take bets on how long it lives...
2. One thing in the gardens favor--Finley's love of watering.
3. Braden picks his nose when he's angry.
4. And when he's sad his eyes turn crazy blue and he sucks his thumb.

1. I got my hair cut--and my girl put some pink in it. I don't know why I'm making a weird face.
2. Just going for a run with a golf club and a monkey.
3. Rare: a sleeping boy.
4. Annie's Bernie-o's.  FINLEY LOVES THEM.  Spaghettio's are in that boy's veins.

1. The boat Sol built for F's party!
2. Finley the artist, drawing me and Braden in the sweet book he got from Grandma P!
3. Giving himself a shot, also from Grandma P and Grandpa S.
4. One of many pictures of Braden standing.  I'm a little proud.

1. My little "helpers."
2. The kind of help I like--a very intense pedicure by Finley.

Thursday, April 26

Chalkboard slash Art Display

Since Victoria left, I have no way of gauging if my ideas are awesome or crazy.  Seriously, can someone invent a website that tells me if I'm going nuts?  Actually, that website is called the internet--I probably should have just emailed V to see if I was making good decisions.

Sol went to NYC for business for a week a while back, and I decided it was time to make a little chalkboard slash art display for Finley's artwork.  I really only needed Sol for the sawing part and somehow I managed to use all of the knowledge I've gained from Young House Love to make some cuts in this wood.  And listen to this part--I did it correctly.  The boards were all about the right size and the angles were in the right direction.  I know--shocking.

Gross cell phone picture.  Sorry.

Then I used little L brackets to screw them in together.  And somehow that went really well too.

I was sad because there were some gaps in the corners--apparently they weren't as perfect as I though.

I used some caulk I found lying around to seal the corners or something.  You are going to have to forgive my lack of using any technical words for this. But much better, right?

And then there was lots of spraypainting. And staple gunning.

I bought some chicken wire that I cut to size and stapled gunned to the back of the frame.  And I spray painted some board thing I got at Home Depot with chalkboard paint and staple gunned that on as well. I didn't photograph that part because it's kind of self explanatory and boring.  So we'll skip to it being ALL DONE!

diy chalkboard

Finley thinks the clothespins are too fun and he really likes coloring on it as well.  The board I used is actually terrible and doesn't really erase, so I would recommend using an actual chalkboard or some very smooth surface to spray paint if you need one for yourself.

And I haven't hung it up yet because the chicken wire on the back is extremely poky and I don't want it to gouge our walls.  So once I trick Sol into solving that problem for me, we'll hang it up for good.  Maybe.

Fun, right?  Not too crazy?

Monday, April 23

Finley is THREE

Ahhh, Finley is three.  Braden turning one was slightly traumatic--but I knew how to handle it because I've had a one year old before.  But three?  I don't know what to do with three.  Traumatized.

I'm still processing the photos from the sailboat party, so you'll have to wait on those, but suffice to say we had lots of fun.  Lots. We had four of Finley's little friends over and somehow survived.

At three years old, Finley is still a little peanut.  He wears somewhere between 18 and 24 months clothes--and is just a little guy. He's cute and scrawny. He loves to jump over things and when he goes down stairs and is really in to doing somersaults. Sil-ly.

Height: 35.5 inches (10%tile)
Weight: 26 pounds 6 ounces (5%tile)

I've posted quite a few videos of him lately, and to sum it up--he's just a doll.  He's more and more sweet to Braden--singing to him when he's sad and letting him tug on his hair. He's growing a wild imagination and often makes us laugh with the things he comes up with.

He has a lot of particular ways things have to happen. If you pick him up to carry him somewhere when he wants to walk--he'll run back to where you picked him up from so he can walk the ENTIRE way. If he wants to get his cup off the counter and you get it for him--he'll put it back so HE can get it off the counter.  He really likes to try to be independent--and often gives up when he realizes he needs help.

He loves to help Sol with whatever he's doing--pulling weeds in the garden, shopping at BJs, grilling in the rain--he just likes to be with him. Whenever Sol is with us Finley doesn't let anyone else buckle him in or out of the car. He only will let daddy take him to the bathroom... it's cute and sometimes a pain.  It's so sweet to watch Finley--and Braden!--when Sol comes home every day.  They're just so excited.

Other funny things--he's a little safety obsessed.  He insists on everyone holding the rail on elevators and being buckled in right away in the car.  He's pretty good at hitting a ball off a tee and draws little people with eyes and hair and arms and legs... oh dear it's cute.   He has a special voice he talks to the monkeys in and is just sweet to them.  He has a crazy laugh/cackle he does when he's being extra silly.

Goodness.  I just can't believe.  I guess April is just going to be a painful month for the rest of my life.  Those boys are just going to keep growing.

Saturday, April 21

Happy Birthday Finley!

Our 8 pound 9 ounce bundle of joy turned THREE today.

Happy happy birthday little boy!  You are growing up to be such a fun little dude. (One million more pictures to come.)

Friday, April 20

Playing Pretend

Finley used to be very particular about us calling him Finley, and nothing else.  When I said, "I love you, sweetie." Or, "Thank you, little buddy!" He would--without missing a beat--exclaim, "NOT SWEETIE! FINLEY!"

And we're still doing that--to an extent.  Now when I say, "Thank you, Finley!" He says, "NOT FINLEY! MICKEY!"  Because that's who he is now.  Mickey Mouse.  Copper is Pluto.  I'm either Daisy or Minnie.  Braden is Goofy Baby (obviously) and Sol is Donald Duck.  Without fail, he refers to Copper as Pluto. Sometimes he slips up on the other ones, but Copper is always Pluto.  He also calls our house "the Clubhouse" and when he picks things up with his hands, he calls them the "handy cranes."  It's actually hilarious to watch.  Here's a short video of him describing his new friends...

And then he created another layer--fueled by our frequent trip to Pinkberry.  He was playing at his kitchen and making things for the monkeys (again, obviously) and exclaimed to me, "I'm Pinkberry man!"  My normal response to him is to kind of repeat back what he said to me to clarify so I said, "Finley, you're the Pinkberry man?"

And of course he replied, "NO! Mickey is the Pinkberry man." Of course.

This is the monkeys at "Pinkberry."

When people ask him what his name is when we are out he always responds with Mickey Mouse instead of Finley.  Silly guy.

His other alter ego is being a trash man. (I'm seriously laughing just typing this out because he's really just so funny about it.)  He likes to stand on the edge of things and hold on--just like the trash man does when he rides on the back of the trash truck.  And he likes to collect "trash" from around the house to put places.  Sol humors him (and Braden) by playing trash man with him on his red car...

They are serious about it.  Sol runs up and down the cul de sac and the boys ride around collecting trash.

It's really cute.

Needless to say, it's sometimes a little confusing around here. Either way, that little guys is turning three tomorrow.  He'll be my sweet baby Finley no matter who he says he is.

Wednesday, April 18

Sweet Singing Finley

Finley has been really funny about singing lately.  It's so fun to watch him be creative and come up with his own unique ideas.  A few weeks ago he wrote this song about a Steamshovel.  It's kind of silly.

And I'm actually kind of sure that I may have made up this next song, although I don't really remember singing it.  It sure sounds like something I'd come up with.

When I tried to get Finley to perform the song for Sol it morphed into very strange versions about everyone in the family.  It really doesn't make any sense.

I'm pretty sure a good portion of this is gibberish and doesn't make any sense to any of us. I mean, he's silly.

Monday, April 16

Little Man Mustache Bash Food and Menu

Well, this party was a lot of fun to cook for!  I tried to keep the foods "little" and "manly" to go with our theme.

(Love the backdrop? Tutorial HERE.)

The main food was "little man burgers." Unfortunately they didn't get photographed (although we did something similar at Finley's first birthday party) but they were little sliders on Hawaiian rolls.  We had Buffalo (chicken, buffalo sauce and blue cheese), Hawaiian (BBQ sauce and pineapple on chicken), Cheeseburgers and Burgers with lettuce and tomato.  Totally cute.  We also had cute little pigs in a blanket which I did remember to photograph.  These went quick--I should have made more!

I kept seeing this idea float around Pinterest--little crudites in individual cups!  They were bright, easy to eat and little.  And the little bow tie on the cup made me smile. Sol sweetly cut up red pepper, carrots, celery, zucchini and added a snap pea.  I saw lots of recipes for fancy dips--but I used a fun Parmesan Ranch Peppercorn from Wegman's.

This was one of the times I thought I was real clever--pretzel walking sticks! Let me tell you--they were a HUGE hit with the under three crowd. Finley and his pal Margaret kept begging us for more.

I used my Silhouette to cut out the mustaches for these cups as well as the bow ties above.  And the cute stripey straws are from DKDelektables--if you are looking for party stuff, they were SO great to work with!

This cake was loads of fun to make and even more fun to eat.  I used this mustache cake mold from Amazon--good news, you can also make Jello in it!  Sol would not let me make Jello.

The cake and cupcakes are my FAVORITE cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  It's a lot of work to make, but so so good.

Victoria sweetly made and shipped us these sugar cookies.  Aside from being the cutest things in the ENTIRE world, they made me take back every mean thing I've ever said about sugar cookies.  Even without chocolate, I loved them.  Thanks Vic!

And the favors were these silly lollipops.

Such a fun party!  That officially concludes the posts about mustaches.  And just in time--Finley's third birthday party is Saturday!  Get ready for some sailboat pictures.

In case you missed it... here are the Mustache Bash Decorations and a party overview. All decorations can be bought on Etsy.

Friday, April 13


Well, obviously Instagram had a big last few weeks.  It came to Droid and got bought by Facebook for a BILL-ION dollars.  Who knows what the future holds for this app... but for now I'm following the internet blog trend of dumping all the Insta-photos on Friday.

1. First photo ever! Braden is excited.
2. Finley loves the new glider board attachment for the stroller.
3. Braden loves to stand in the tub.
4. And Finley loves to do somersaults.

1. Sol infiltrated the CFA playplace.
2. I ran 22 miles.  It mad me tired.
3. Sweet Finley cleaning the car windows.
4. Two cute boys at Pinkberry.

1. Copper knows where to stand to get table scraps.
2. Finley masters chopsticks and sushi.
3. This picture caused a stir.  IT'S A NETI POT. FOR MY RAMPANT ALLERGIES.
4. New trail shoes!  For the marathon I'm running on the 6th.

INSTAGRAMMED! I'm rachelgps.  Look me up.

Thursday, April 12

Braden is ONE!

My goodness.  I just don't know how we went from this...

to this.

I guess I don't have any babies romping around this house anymore.  Because baby Braden--he's officially ONE.  (Although part of me thinks he may have actually turned one yesterday because of leap year.)  I love looking through the photo progression below!  It's so fun to see how he slowly morphed from a pudgy lump to a skinny little boy. And to see that he's grown about a quarter inch of hair in the last year.

The older Braden gets, the more obvious the differences between he and Finley become.  He's a little more cautious about his gross motor skills.  He loves to stand and practice walking--but only holding our hands.  He's not crazy about pushing the lion and has only pulled to standing on furniture a few times.  Finley loved to crawl through the coffee table, and Braden gets nervous once he gets up there. Finley never wanted to cuddle with us--I feel like he was always fighting to keep his head up and arching his back to escape.  But not Braden, sometimes he'll lay his head on my shoulder and relax.  And he'll let me hold him like a baby, cradled up against me.

He's a very sweet boy.  When he's tired or upset, like clockwork, he'll suck his thumb and put his other arm across his face and cuddle into my chest when I pick him up.  After a minute he'll be ready to play again, but sometimes he just needs to check in with mama.  I need to figure out how to get a photo of it, because it's far and away the sweetest thing he does.  As soon as he realizes I'm going to pick him up, he sticks that thumb right in.  It melts me.  He is a pretty easygoing kid--only fussy if he needs to nap or eat.  He lets out one little cry when you lay him down and then is out.  And I think he might sit in his high chair indefinitely because he likes to eat so much.  And drink water.  Boy, he thinks that is a TREAT.

(The B has met its match.  It's officially been gnawed on.)

He likes to scoot around and explore--and knows what is off limits even if he doesn't follow through.  He was scooting around the Chick fil a play place the other day and would scoot over to a wipe on the floor, look at us and shake his head NO before he picked it up.  He did that quite a few times.  And when he decides to go after Copper's dog food, every couple scoots he'll look back to see if we're watching... and then go for the dog food.  Gross.

He has a couple sounds he loves to make--da da, tuck-a-tuck-a, ba-ba and and l sound, and will only say mama when he's in extreme distress.  When I ask him to say mama he responds with dada.  Turd.  He loves to crawl around on the deck and really likes to go outside.

Braden hasn't fallen asleep nursing for a long time.  These days, he typically nurses for less than five minutes and then is ready to play.  He was so tired after BSF yesterday that he totally crashed while he was nursing--and I let him sleep in my arms for fifteen minutes before I took him to his crib. As he was laying there I thought to myself, this is probably the last time he'll fall asleep in my arms, how blessed am I to get one more chance to snuggle him and watch him sleep.  And then I cried. And resolved to have more babies--but not quite yet.  What a nice, cuddly way to welcome his second year of life.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of kissing his curly head, tickling his ribs or holding him tight while he sucks his thumb.  He's just a doll.  And Finley is pretty fond of him too. Even if his love is sometimes a little tough.

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