Tuesday, July 31

15 months and 39 months

I'm terribly behind on this months update--and was tempted to skip it but that math lover in me was dying over having a gap in their little growing up history.  So Braden is 15 months which makes Finley... 39 months? I've come this far, I might as well keep updating for both of them. :)

Here are Braden's stats from his 15 month appointment.

Height: 31.75" 70%
Weight: 22 lbs* 20% (he was screaming and wiggling--I can't imagine this is right.)
Head: 18.75 in 65%

So he's definitely bigger than Finley was--and a little taller than average!  I think the weight is likely off--Braden is suffering from some extreme separation anxiety and as soon as I set him on the scale he was pretty sure I was going to abandon him.  He also REFUSES to walk alone--barely holding on to one finger is fine, but he won't take more than a step without us. Except once when we were on some very hot asphalt and he overcame his fear in order to not burn his hands and knees... any day now.

We're down to just nursing in the mornings and I think are finally down to one nap.  Boy likes his sleep.  He LOVES Lightning McQueen (I always think it's funny when parents say their babies love something, but I'm pretty sure he does.) He carries the little Lightning car around with him everywhere and SCREAMS when Finley has it.  He has a Cars book that he forces us to read over and over by shoving it in our hands.  Here's a video of one of his cute tricks--finishing one of the lines from our favorite "UP."

He loves to climb on the table and doesn't understand why it's not ok to be up there.  His vocabulary is getting better, although he's pretty stingy with saying "mama" and called me "daddy" for a week.  I think just to irk me. It's so fun to see him have more and more preferences--and it's clear that his preference is to be with us.  He finally made it through nursery for the entire church service--that hadn't happened in months.

Finley is so fun.  This month he figure out how to pedal a trike, is getting excellent at doing somersaults and gets braver and braver about jumping off stuff.  The Olympics is good for him.  He is a little rougher with Braden than I'd like to see--he REALLY doesn't like Braden messing with his stuff.  He often says, "Braden loves to break my toys."  Cutie.  He's still in his crib but I think we'll be converting it to a toddler bed pretty soon.  I'm not ready to give up the freedom that having him trapped in a bed gives me... but I think if he's wearing his special shoes at night at least he won't be getting up super early.  And naptime is kind of a disaster--he just really likes to be loud during naps and half the time ends up in the pack and play in the office.  A few sweet Finley stories...

When I was disassembling the stroller on the Jetway, Braden started crawling towards an open door.  Finley FREAKED out and was more panicky than I've ever seen him--he was terrified about Braden crawling away!  He grabbed Braden and held on to him so that he wouldn't move.  Normally, the only time I ever see him touch Braden is to smack/sit on/push him, so this was a move in the right direction.

We were out to dinner and Finley began to tell me a story about "Ice Age", a movie he had watched party of earlier in the day.  As he talked, he kept getting more and more upset--trying so hard to hold back his tears.  He was telling me about part of the movie where the baby elephant was looking for his dad.  He was so upset by it--and it was the first time I've ever seen him show empathy for something else.  It was precious.

He also is starting to say the funny things preschoolers say... telling me "I'm worried Braden is going to fall down the stairs." or "I wonder what that mail man is doing!" It's so funny to hear him use grown up phrases.  He also has some of that preschoolers stubborness--don't cut his food the wrong way or pick him up until he's ready.  He has an exact way for everything.

Look at these buddies.  I'm pretty sure Braden is going to catch up with Finley soon--if he ever learns to walk.

Friday, July 27


Time for some Instagram pictures!

1. Rare picture of sleeping Finley. He fights naps real hard.
2. Impromptu visit from Vic thanks to messed up flights home from Paris.
3. Boys at the Apple Store.
4. Finley and Vic playing a Vic board game original.

1. Little boy on a little tractor.
2. Finley ordering his food at the train restaurant.
3. I went to see Barenaked Ladies with my friend Amy. It was AWESOME.
4. Giacomo's. End of story.

1. Not all Dunkin's are equal--this one in NH was just about the best ever. 
2. Braden refuses to walk alone--that boy is stubborn.
3. Tasty ice cream in NH.
4. My little sailor.

1. Finley figured out how to pedal a trike!
2. Playdate trip into DC to the Postal Museum.
3. Cute Finley and his F.
4. Braden. Love him.

Happy Friday! I'm solandrachel on Instagram if you want to be pals!

Wednesday, July 25

New Hampshire?!?!

Well, we spent the week in New Hampshire.  And after I got over wanting to say New Hampshire like Bob Wiley, we had a great time.

We stayed at the boarding school Sol's sister Maya teaches at--and once it cooled down it was lovely.  The first few days were pretty steamy in a house with no AC!  I was a somewhat lousy picture taker, but I'll share what I have.  I didn't get a single picture of the boys with their aunts, which is a terrible crime.  I think we need to redo the whole trip.  

One of our first outings was to the "Castle in the Clouds"--an old mansion up in the mountains of New Hampshire with gorgeous views.  I didn't take any pictures of the actual house, because that would have made too much sense.  We really liked the drive up because it got us out of doing any hiking--we got to stop and take a short walk to a waterfall, which Finley obviously thought was Paradise Falls from Up.

Finley was strangely cooperative at taking pictures on this venture, so there's quite a few of him and Sol.  Um, look at that second face. What a ham.

Photography was a bit challenging because the sun was bright--we forgot Finley's sunglasses so he was hiding his face in Sol's head.  This is the view from the back of the house.  Seriously gorgeous!

And this family photo (sans Braden) isn't half bad if you ignore my hair!  We left Braden with the fam and he only hated it half the time.  Stinker.

We had a lobster feast one night--and it was delicious.  Lobster is always best when eaten out of the trunk of a car. :)  There was an apple tree on campus that the boys LOVED stealing apples from and chomping on.  We were well fed by Sol's family--they all love to cook!

Our other big outing was renting a boat for the day.  We had a blast tubing and exploring Lake Winnipesaukee--although I managed to skin both my elbows trying not to get thrown off the tube.

Finley and Braden both tolerated being out pretty well.  Finley insisted on being wrapped up in a towel for the first thirty minutes because it was windy and cold. If you follow me on Instagram you saw a picture of it--he wanted to be entirely covered with "no holes" and laid still in the boat for a long time.  It was cute. And Braden was happy as long as we were moving.  This was the best family picture we got all trip--I'm pretty thrilled with it!

And of course, I had to include another "What About Bob?" clip, since Sol was quoting it as he Captained the boat around. "I sail! I sailed on my first try!"

We also ate ice cream. Several times.  I wondered how I managed to gain a few pounds when I ran 51 miles over the course of the vacation (it was AWESOME), but as I look back, I had a LOT of chips and ice cream.  But it was worth it.

Also it was messy.

We had such a nice time--and we were so grateful for Maya's hospitality! Thanks Maya!

Friday, July 20

The Rest of Boston

Sol and I have a long standing love affair with Giacomo's.  We have spent hours and hours waiting in line outside the restaurant. Sol wanted to make sure we got to stand in line, he was going to feel shorted from the experience if we were able to walk in!

A good amount of our Giacomo's trips have been with Alex and Heidi.  These pictures were taken around 8:30 at night--which means that isn't coffee in our coffee cups.  One of our favorite tricks to make the line go faster and the night get warmer is to buy wine across the street and sip it in coffee cups.  The group of show choir high school kids in front of us really didn't think we were as funny as we did.

I always order the special--for the last 7 years it's always been the same special.  Homemade fusili with lobster and shrimp in a scampi sauce. I would eat it every day for the rest of my life and weigh 800 pounds and be a happy girl.  It's a fair trade. I accidentally forgot my leftovers at Alex and Heidi's and was furious.  FURIOUS.

Um, so we had enough wine that we thought it was a good idea to take a picture with the staff.  The same staff that fed us every time we went in during our Boston days. The same staff that may not let us in next time we go because we got a little obnoxious.  Whoops?

Next day!  We had a lovely lunch at our old Boston house with our upstairs friends.  Little Ruthie is a much better picture taker than my ornery boys, but looks how sweet they seem!  I love this.

Dear Braden, shoes aren't food! We have so many wonderful memories in this house with these good friends.  Matt and Cat got married one week after us and were some of our very first friends in Boston. We bought this house with them and loved to joke about the long commute when we'd go to each others' houses for bible study. We miss that whole crew so much!

And then, dinner at the Barking Crab. The boys were pretty good for being carted around town. Braden ate an entire crayon prior to this picture. Knucklehead. I clearly never feed him.

And look! I'm a food blogger!  Second best lobster roll I've ever had--just claw meat and some butter.  DELICIOUS.

Pregnant Christina and her husband met us for dinner too--it was great to catch up with her before baby P arrives!

And here's my goofy family in front of the harbor.  Seriously, this is all Finley wants to do. Somersaults. Gymnastics. We can't wait for the Olympics.  And all Braden wants do is not walk.  It's ok, never leave me baby Braden.

Tuesday, July 17

Make Way for Ducklings Again

We spent the weekend in Boston--and I was planning on writing one big post about all of it.  But then I took too many pictures of the boys on the ducks and they got their own post.  I visited the ducks almost exactly two years ago with Finley!  (It's cute to compare the boys at the same age--Finley's hair is so straight and Braden's is UNruly.)

These little duckling statues are in the Public Garden and are from the story "Make Way for Ducklings."  Finley and I read the book quite a few times in preparation for this trip and he was excited to see all the parts of the story--the river, the bridge, the ducks, the swan boats and their little island.

Braden was pretty much ecstatic to sit on the ducks--he clapped his hands the whole time.  Silly guy. Finley really liked trying to recite all the ducklings names... Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Oack, Pack and Quack. I think.

And Finley is possibly picking the Mrs. Mallard's nose and strangling her?  I don't think that's part of the book.

A sweet stranger took this almost perfect family picture.  He was so excited he caught us at a moment with no other kids playing in the background! I was just happy one of my kids was smiling.

And this is Finley with the real ducks by the pond they live at.  You can see their island in the second picture.  We rode the swan boats and fed the ducks peanuts, but I didn't get a picture of that. Whoops!

We had so much fun on our storybook outing--and we're so grateful for our friends Alex and Heidi who gave Finley the book for his first Christmas and put up with us all weekend.

Friday, July 13

Backyard Water Slide

Hello blog.

I know it's been quiet here--I've been recovering from an awesome trip to Kansas, a quick trip to Charlottesville and a gross head cold.  I've been tired and too grouchy to blog anything nice.  But instead of packing for our ten day trip to the northeast, I decided the best thing to do would be to blog.  Soo that's what I'm doing.  (Other activities I did to procrastinate... bake sugar cookies, clean out our junk drawers, download Spotify, email and tweet Vic at least 30 times... it was bad.)

Look at these two silly boys.  Braden would sit in that stinking swing all day long.  And Finley's hair is awesome, no?

I posted one of these pictures before, but I just crack up at Sol taking the boys down the slide.  Finley will go down over and over and over on his own, but Braden is really too little because it is FAST. You end up pretty much completely under at the end.  It's super safe... kind of.

As you can see Braden REALLY liked going down.  Um, kind of. But I do love that picture of the little guy.  He's so sweet. The curls. The round little belly. Pretty much I can't stop kissing his sweet little head.

Also--happy Friday the 13th and free Chick fil a day! Celebrate! Posting will likely be weird for the next week or so as we live it up in Boston and New Hampshire (imagine me saying New Hampshire like Bob in What About Bob?)  In the meantime, if you need something to read, go check out my pal Rhonda's blog.  She's an all around lovely gal and gives out great daily advice and perspective on life.  Also I designed it, if Rhonda's wisdom isn't enough reason to go over.  Happy Friday!

Monday, July 9

Seven Years

Today, Sol and I have been married seven years.

Picture taken by either Court or Meg on a film Rebel--and my favorite wedding pic.

We were babies when we got married.  I mean, at least we looked like them. We really had no idea what we were doing when we got married--I was the first of my friends to get married so I really had no idea how to plan one.  I knew I wanted custom made invitations (obviously, right?) and ironically Victoria's little sis designed them for us.  Thanks, Lu!  I still love them. Although, now Pinterest has filled my head with all sorts of crazy ideas about weddings so I always am coming up with ways I'd do it differently.  Creative, personal touches that I had no idea about when I was 22.

Did you know you can send your invites to Loveville MD to be hand cancelled? And that they can wait to send you one ON your wedding date?  

But for sure there's one thing about my wedding I'd keep the same--the groom.  I love that man.  When you are young and getting married you aren't really thinking too long term about what you are looking for in a husband, but I did a pretty good job of picking out a solid dude, if I can pat myself on the back for a moment.

We took a honeymoon to Hawaii and were the skinniest we've ever been.  We flew from our Kansas wedding to Hawaii with about 90% of my worldly possessions--because after Hawaii we were flying home to Boston.  That's how most of my stuff got moved to Boston, by way of Hawaii.

We lived in a crooked, small apartment for a year. I love this picture for many reasons.  We're both randomly wearing shirts from the places we worked, we're posing with the flowers we decided we should try to keep alive (we failed), we're sitting on the floor because we didn't have a table and the picture is taken on black and white film--a few months before we forked over the big bucks for a DSLR. And also I have unfortunate bangs and have already plumped up my man, even though I had no idea how to cook.

The years in Boston were special--full of learning lots about what it meant to be married and a grown up and full of many great memories with friends.  This was my first Red Sox game--where I drank my first beer.  (Weird, I know.  How did I escape college without ever drinking beer?  Ask Victoria, who could not guess what my picture of a keg was on Draw Something.)  I love that we don't even own Red Sox shirts yet and that I'm wearing the necklace Sol gave me before we got married, the necklace Braden broke last week.

By the time we made it to our second anniversary, we had bought a level, taller house.  We had a table.  I made steak, mashed potatoes and asparagus.  My hair went in a ponytail and I had a red dining room I loved.  I apparently learned how to open a bottle of wine somewhere along the way too.  And now, after seven years...

I have this.  A really really great husband who is a really really great dad.  A dad who takes his boys down a homemade water slide in the backyard hundreds of times. And searches obsessively on Craigslist for weeks to find the perfect swingset. Who plays with his boys endlessly.  Who puts up with a sometimes grouchy and irrational lady for a wife who spends too much time running and blogging.  There's been nothing greater than watching my wonderful husband turn into a spectacular father--and I'm just so happy about where we are.  Seven years.  It seems so long and still so short.  Here's to many more my dear.  And at least two more babies, please.  Thanks for putting up with me, Solbert, and I love you very very much. MWAH.

Friday, July 6

28mm and Our Fourth

Did you know you can rent lenses?  Well you can. I've been itching to try out a 28mm lens for my Canon for quite awhile now and decided that visiting Vic in KC was a good enough reason to rent one.

Who is making the crazier face?

Do not try to get in between Braden and his food.

It was a little difficult getting the lens--the company was very serious about making sure I was a legit person because I was shipping it to KS but lived in VA.  After trying to give them my Etsy business and school email, I eventually had to talk to my new BFF Jon on the phone before they were able to verify me.

And then we missed the delivery on Friday and had to wait until Monday to get it.  But believe me, we LOVED it.

Perplexed about the fireworks.

We've been strong advocates of the 50mm lens for quite awhile.  I've convinced many a Canon Rebel owner to buy it and they've all been thrilled.  The benefit of the 50mm lens is that it has a lower f-stop, which lets in more light.  It's great for shooting indoors without a flash and gives you the pretty blurry backgrounds that are so popular these days.  This is the original 50mm I bought and then broke--then I replaced it with this sturdier one.  Which I also broke, but Canon kindly fixed it.

However, it's pretty zoomed in.  It's a fixed lens, so it doesn't zoom in and out.  So if you want a bigger shot, you have to WALK backwards to get more in the shot.  The 28mm does all the stuff I talked about with the 50mm but is a little wider.

It's perfect for a lot of stuff.  Vic and I loved it.  I mean I love LOVE it.  If you have a 50mm then you realize how nice it would be to just be a little more zoomed out.  I think if I had the 28mm forever I would still probably use the 50mm a little more, but there are plenty of situations where the 28 would be the best option.  I'm so glad I rented it because now I know I want it for sure--and have a good reason to save my Etsy money.

So that's what I think about the lens.  And those are our pictures from the fourth.  Hope yours was as patriotic and perfect as possible.
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