Thursday, October 31

Pumpkin Patch 2013

I hesitate to even give our pumpkin experience this October any sort of post at all, because it wasn't as near as awesome as Butler's Orchard, where we've gone the past three years in Virginia. Except it's actually in Maryland. We went to Linvilla--which is where we picked fruit and had a swim membership this summer. The boys had fun--they got pumpkins. And I think that's what matters.

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Let's pretend that was a picture of all three boys together, ok?

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Finley. Making the same face as the apple.

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Braden. Being king of the pumpkins.

Really, that's about it. Your blog gets shut down if you don't blog about pumpkins in October, so there. I did it.

Monday, October 28

It Doesn't Take Much

It doesn't take much to make this happen.

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I guess I'm really funny looking?

Friday, October 25

Keaton at Three Months

And now the more picture-y, exciting stuff. Keaton, that little punk, is three months old now. And just as sweet as last month.

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You can see it a bit on the onesie--but three months apparently marks the beginning of THE DROOL. Which is a baby stage I'd be happy to skip. I can do without my shoulders always being wet and neck rashes and bibs and wet onesies. But I'll take a little (or a pint) of drool in exchange for smiles.

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Keaton's starting to get a bit of a neck--when you compare these with the last months pictures it's remarkable how much better he holds his head up. Although it's kind of hard to tell with all the chin chub.

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No rolling over yet--which probably would have alarmed me with the first two, but I'm happy with my stationary guy. Keaton does not like the car--making our trip to and from Florida something I had a lot of anxiety about. I spent most of the drive next to him holding a pacifier in which is about all that made him happy. He did take a bottle like a champ though!

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His sleep has been a little less than awesome lately--he used to make it about 5 hours in the beginning of the night, and has been waking up every 2.5-3 hours to eat. Which makes mama sad. I'm guessing it's something that will pass soon and he'll be back to sleeping a little more and fussing a little less.

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We just can't get over how sweet this guy is. He loves being in the Moby (at least that's what he told me) and is generally just content with life. He has started enjoying his little playmat and can sometimes catch the toys. I'm grateful that he'll lay there and play for sometimes a very long time while I chase other brothers. He's pretty much happy all the time--unless of course we make him go in the car. Please stop hating the car, guy.

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Tuesday, October 22

Pictures with Disney Characters

We were fortunate to get to go to Disney twice this year--and the fact that I may have over documented our trip in January, combined with the fact that most of the time there was an infant strapped to my chest, made for less pictures at Disney. It was slightly liberating to feel like I already had pictures of most things I "needed" from last time.  As I scrolled through the pictures from this go round, I realized they were pretty much all pictures of the boys with characters. I'll try not to gush--but the sweet way the characters interact with the kids, like KILLS me. They just embody the ridiculous Disney experience of making your child feel so special. Even the ones who have heads and can't talk.

This one was a first--they took a picture with a PRINCESS.  Um, I love Finley's shy little smile. This was at the Magic Kingdom--Storytime with Belle. They got to act our a brief version of Beauty and the Beast for Belle, and then take a picture with her. It was kind of awesome. They also got a bookmark, which the boys were obsessed with until they lost them. Finley was supposed to be Chip in the play, but chickened out.

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As a rule, if a character has a big head on, they can't talk. EXCEPT THIS MICKEY COULD. I tend to cry when I meet Mickey and had held strong until I realized he could talk and listened to him interact with my boys. He has a few gimmicks he does with different groups--this Mickey got them to bounce like Tigger with him. Adorable.

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The moment we had waited and planned and prepared for (aside from Russell!) was meeting Peter Pan.  And unlike last time, Wendy was with him! I tried to let her take her choice of my children to be Lost Boys, and she declined. It was just as fun to watch the boys meet their favorite character as it was last time. And this time I made them all matching Peter Pan hats. I WIN!

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We hit the parks pretty hard this time--six days at the Parks, most days getting there before they opened and staying as late as we could make it. (One 11 and 12 hour day!) To try and not spend a fortune, we bring a meal into the park to eat everyday.  And to make sure we aren't too thrifty, we ate a few nice, sit down meals. If you plan well, you can get reservations for the restaurants that have buffets (which means you get slightly healthier food, unlimited fountain drinks and DESSERT) and also get to meet characters without waiting in line. This was at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom--my new fave. We got to meet Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. And we ate well and sat in the AC. My main complaint was the terrible terrible lighting on our side of the restaurant.

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Poor Keaton--he'll have more fun next time.  He spent about 90% of the time at the parks in the Moby Wrap. I was committed to wearing him in it from the day he was born. I watched YouTube videos, practiced at home and finally we got to a place where he loved it and I could get him in it easily. It was so awesome. It's so snuggly--he slept almost the whole time and just was the happiest guy.  I also figured out how to nurse him sneakily in it--so his hungry little schedule didn't slow us down too much.

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We made our first trek to Epcot with the boys this trip, and I'm so glad we did! A lot of the retro rides I remembered are gone, but there are quite a few new, great rides for kids.  And also, no line to see Mickey.  For some reason, Braden was being ridiculously shy. He stood with his head down with Mickey the whole time. SO silly.

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Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom were the two parks Finley wanted to go to for a second time. Good thing, because then we got a picture with Sorcerer Mickey. And a picture with Keaton out of the wrap!

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We also met the Incredibles because why not. And I cut Frozone's head off. They were funny--their shtick as doing push ups and being strong. Finley liked it.

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It was nice to have semi-competent photographers to hand my camera off to... one of these (or all of these?) may be our Christmas card this year. I mean, apparently all we have to do to have the boys smile and look at the camera is take them to Disney. Easy.

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And just because this post doesn't have enough pictures... here are all the ones with Mickey together from each park. Just because. And in case you didn't notice, Braden is wearing his Mickey ears in every picture. He was in heaven getting to wear his ears everywhere, all the time.

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(Unrelated: we have 1000 likes for RV Parties on Facebook! Head over to the giveaway--you can win a free plate!)

Wednesday, October 16

We finally met Russell.

If you are new around here, last year I hit my peak in being an awesome mom and made THESE costumes. Spoiler alert for this Halloween: if you are a boy and in my family you are going to be Peter Pan. Creativity out. The boys HAD to be Russell and Mr. Frederickson--they were both in love with UP. I had forgotten about this video--Finley used to make me act out scenes from UP with him. His sweet three year old voice is killing me. Go listen to a few seconds of the video. You'll die.

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Last Disney trip I was an inept planner and we missed meeting Russell. Oh, not this time. We were the second people in line dang it. And I brought Finley's costume so he got fussed over big time by his fellow Wilderness Explorers.

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Braden was excited to meet Dug the Dog for some reason--and only a little disappointed Kevin the Snipe wasn't there. Really--he kept asking for Kevin. Braden was hilarious around the characters--he treated them very reverently, waiting his turn and then being very cautious and shy around them. But not afraid, if we'd walk him over he was all about getting a hug from them. Our Christmas card this year will likely feature a picture of us with random Disney characters. That's classy right? Nothing says Christmas like Disney characters?

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The absolute best part of our Animal Kingdom day was the Wilderness Explorer Handbook.  This was new since our last trip and SO fun.  It has 30 locations around the park where you do an activity or learn something wilderness-y and then the "troop leader" there will give you a sticker for that page in your book. This particular activity was about flamingos or something. I wasn't paying attention. This was one of the things I appreciated about Disney--aside from being fun and exciting, they also sometimes trick you into learning stuff. (I'm looking at you, Epcot.)

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Truth be told, I enjoyed the day mostly because everyone was agape over Finley's outfit. Fun fact: Russell is not as popular as the Disney princesses. Just about everyone we crossed paths with asked where his outfit was from--and we didn't even have the super impressive backpack or bandana.  I was proud.

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Monday, October 14

My Baby Sis Got Married

Last weekend, we drove (yes, drove.) 17 hours to Ft. Lauderdale to my sister's wedding. It went surprisingly well  I didn't take many pictures--apparently being the matron of honor means your hands aren't quite as free to photograph. Also being a mother of three means you are one hand short to begin with. I did attempt to snap a few throughout the weekend--here are a few from the rehearsal...

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Evening beach light is just so pretty.  We had like ninety attempts at a decent family picture in the last week--and my standard for what makes a good family photo is now pretty low.  (After we left Laura's wedding, we spent six days at Disney and made quite a few attempts with characters, stay tuned.) It was SUCH a fun weekend! The little resort we stayed at was charming and perfect for her wedding. We got to swim and hang out lots. The boys were ring bearers and were about as successful as you might expect. I'll try to post pictures if I get my hands on any!

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I also nominated myself the assistant to the wedding photographer (not to be confused with the assistant photographer) so I did a lot of yelling at guests to get them in and out of pictures. I can't wait to see the professional ones--it was a gorgeous day and a lovely wedding. Here are a few I snapped when I was trying to stay out of the way of the real photographer--isn't Laura lovely?!?

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It was just amazing to see Laura get married--it's been a long time coming.  Sol and I have been the only ones married in both of our families for 8 years now, so it's about time someone else picks up the slack. I also gave a toast that was only slightly awkward--I forgot to bring up a drink to toast with and was reading from my phone screen... which was too small to see and turned off when I got off topic once. So in case you are interested, here's my toast--I don't think you can see my hands shaking in the video.  And it does flip to being the right direction about 20 seconds in. Sol's still learning about the iPhone.

Happy wedding Laura! Now go get some cousins for my boys, please.

Wednesday, October 9


In case you want to see a smattering of Instagram photos from the week, you can go here.

Well, I really wanted to get a photo of all of us--and it was kind of a special picture. This first one actually looks perfect--except the timer on the camera screwed up my focus... but I think everyone is looking, and most people are smiling!  The second one? Finley and Keaton were done. We listened to JT pretty much non-stop on the trip so we decided he needed to be in the picture too. He's just so cool.

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The beach house we stayed in was great--we had a few extra rooms that we were hoping we could trick other friends into using... but that didn't work out. Luckily we had an extra bed for when Finley puked up his pizza and needed a clean place to sleep while we washed his sheets. Also luckily, we brought eight million duplos. And a Mickey hat.

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Somewhat decent family picture!

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Don't forget Mama Monkey.

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We got a babysitter one night so we could have a nice dinner. It was delicious and so fun to be able to eat without feeding other people at the same time. We took a few pictures after dinner (in the dark) and it was... weird.

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Basically, we spent the whole week at the beach and only left the house a few times--mini golf was one of those times. Braden hated it. Finley liked it for nine holes. Sol took it really seriously. The end.

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Friday, October 4

Keaton, the Businessman

Keaton has very few things that are his own--this tie onesie is one of them. My sweet friend Kate made it for him. If he could have gotten up on his own, I think he would have grabbed his briefcase and been off to work.

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I love how expressive his little face is getting! The sweet smiles are so rewarding--and his big, wide eyes crack me up.

Wednesday, October 2

The Boys on the Beach

Ready? Picture time!!!

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I brought the big camera down to the beach twice--once in the evening and once during the day. I needed a few shots of everyone on the beach--and while they weren't necessarily cooperative or amazing, at least they exist. It's just so fun to scroll back and see how the boys have changed at the beach every year!

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We were grateful for dads to hold cute babies on the beach.

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The sand provided endless entertainment--Finley loved to make sand angels and write his name in it.  Once Braden realized what he was doing, he made up his own version of it. Laying in the sand and dragging a stick around.

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It's so fun to watch them start to be pals and figure things out together.

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The following day at the beach, Braden decided to be #bradyzilla.  For some reason he HAD TO HAVE this post it note, and was really sad I wouldn't let him take it into the ocean. Cue epic meltdown.

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Eventually, he got over it. He probably found something shiny. And he held still while I photographed his beachy curls and the sand in his eyelashes. I don't know how the sand all over his face wasn't driving him crazy!

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I don't have any great pictures of this, but Finley was REALLY in to making sandcastles--which was perfect because Braden was REALLY in to smashing them.  If he saw you even thining about making a sandcastle, he was there, ready to smash.  Finley was a good sport about it and only got a little frustrated.

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There's not a ton of proof that Sol and I were there together, but here's an attempt at a selfie! Sol had a hard time because the sun was blinding him.

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These two pictures are the proof Keaton was there too--top of his head and snuggled with me.  It was pretty crazy for us to bring a seven week old to the beach, but he was a trooper. He slept better there than he does at home! He didn't ever make it in the water, and I don't think he minded too much.

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I posted the video of Finley boogie boarding last week--and here's Braden playing in the surf. He really loved it. He loved letting the waves knock him down and push him in on his belly--which terrified me. Luckily he loves to wear his "froggie" floatie, so he was at less of a risk of going under.

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There you go! Some beach pictures. We loved it. The waves were awesome for boogie boarding and it was one of the nicest weeks of the summer according to the locals. Perfect weather, no rain, warm water and not too hot on the beach. We're already planning a trip for next year--and hopefully our persistent Instagramming encourages more people to join us!

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