Wednesday, January 30


A common theme of the emails Victoria and I have been sending each other lately is GRACE. Giving ourselves grace. And at this point in my life, I have to keep reminding myself that it's ok that my life isn't Pinterest Perfect.  I'm constantly feeling like I'm falling short.  I'm too tired to make awesome, fancy healthy meals so we eat out or have totally lame dinners.  I'm like 3 letters behind in our preschool curriculum. I can't make it to the gym as much as I want to and have guilt when I do make it because Braden doesn't love the nursery. The house is perpetually messy even though I really do try to keep it cleanish. And I'd really like to blog a few more life moments for the boys--but I have been a terrible photographer and have a hard time blogging without a photo. And I'm a little behind with some of my RV Parties goals. So the thing is, sometimes I expect a lot of myself. And it kills me a bit when I can't do what I want to do. I'm fairly sure I can blame it almost entirely on this new baby sucking the life from me--compounded with a cold that's knocked me out a bit too.  I told Sol the other day that it should be against the rules for pregnant ladies to get sick. They have enough to deal with already.

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Feel free to pin these images if you are looking for home office inspiration! Posting these will hopefully encourage me try to find a home for everything... I really need my very own office. Please Sol? Also, it's ok to laugh at the mess. And/or shake your head at me. 

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So last night, I watched TV while laying on the couch--something I never do.  Oh I watch plenty of TV--but only while I fold laundry/pick up the house/fill Etsy orders/write blog posts.  Laying on the couch while doing NOTHING makes me feel terrible guilt. But I was so tired, and real talk: Happy Endings was so funny. Every bit of it.

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Save me, Mickey Mouse!

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So here's my new reminder for myself: I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. This is not my whole life, it's just a season of it. To remind me (and Vic! Surprise! I'm a lousy secret keeper!) I bought us these matching prints for our offices. Also it will force us to go on an IKEA trip when she visits in March. It was also hard not to do what I always want to do--which is make it myself since I own both (pricey) fonts used.  But I certainly don't have a printer that prints gold foil, so the Emily Ley version won out.

So give yourself some grace and remember: your office is not as messy as mine.

Monday, January 28

Last Day at Disney

It's taken me long enough to blog all five days, that I'm totally ready to go back. What a fun place, for reals.  And two things. One, Braden's hair loved the humidity. It looks so weird back in cold, dry VA. Sad sad. And two, Finley almost smiled.

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Our last day was the day we took the pictures with the third set of mouse ears, but we also met some cool characters.

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I was really proud of the boys--but mostly Braden--for being so brave around the characters! Braden clings to me and cries whenever I leave him, so to see him willingly walk over to a giant duck and hold his hand just made me so proud.  Yes, him holding a giant duck hand made me proud, so what?

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For a month or so, I pretty much had Finley convinced that he needed a rocket ship birthday party, so I forced him to take a picture on this rocket. He SMILEEEEEDDDish!

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And now for some videos that only direct family members (and maybe not even them) will love.  They are long, and shot by Sol who doesn't necessarily know how to focus my camera. Or know when the video is getting boring. First up, these guys watching the show at the Castle.

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Do you see how thrilled they look? Believe it or not, they really liked the show and this is how they do WILDLY ENTHUSIASTIC. They both are funny in their own way in the video--Braden is completely stoic and then will yell MOUSE!!!! And Finley shows off some of his killer dance moves and his less than awesome skills at putting his mouse ears on.

And on our third day we met this Peter Pan:

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Who was adorable, charming and is the reason we are no longer having a rocket ship birthday party. We'll be having a Peter Pan party, apparently.  Seems fitting, since I really don't want Finley to grow up just yet.  Anyways, on the fifth day, we went back to meet Peter again, and met this slightly less cool Peter.  His interaction with Finley was not near as adorable--but my favorite part is that Finley has no idea how to react to him. It's so cute.  

So in the end, we love Disney.  I can't remember if I said this already, but it was so fun to watch the boys learn things and learn about how they react to things. Braden came back with an expanded vocabulary--he know can say OH TOODLES, Buzz, Woody, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and can only yell MICKEY MOOOOOOOUSE all the time. All the time, folks.

Tuesday, January 22

Back Up Baby Annoucement

So this was my other baby announcement idea that I thought was funny, but maybe only to me.

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Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Sol and Rachel are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is they are expecting a baby. The Queen Their parents, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall their siblings and Prince Harry Finley and Braden and members of both families their friends are delighted with the news.

I'm only a little miffed that I have to share a birth month with Will & Kate AND Kim & Kanye.  At least this baby will be in good/interesting company.

Monday, January 21

Family Pictures with the Castle

The Mickey hats are one of my favorite things about Disney--especially the curls sticking out the bottom of them. And the Russell/Mickey combo.

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I was desperate to get a good picture with the castle, but the kind Disney photographers just couldn't manage to focus on us.

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There was an exciting show going on at the Castle, so the boys couldn't be bothered to face the camera. Which is a shame, because we were trying to show off our newest set of ears!

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That's right, they'll be a third little guy (or gal... but let's be serious, probably a guy) joining us in July. Two of us are very excited, one of us is kind of confused and wants to name the new baby Braden, and one of us has no idea.

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So there you have it--an explanation why the blog has been a little lacking the last few months and a preview of things to come! I've finally embraced the fact that this baby is affecting the way my pants fit and am looking forward to the rebound in energy and appetite that the 2nd trimester brings. And of course, we're acutely aware of the blessing this little baby is and grateful that we get the chance to have another.

Friday, January 18

Disney Day Four: Hollywood Studios

I don't know when we stopped calling it MGM--but apparently everyone calls it Hollywood Studios now. It confused me.  Well, the most popular ride in ANY of the parks is at Hollywood Studios--a Toy Story arcade style game where you shoot a gun and play 5 or 6 different games from your little car. It really was amazing. I don't have any pictures of it.  But the main theme of our day was meeting characters.  We sprung for a fancy lunch where four different Disney Jr. characters come over to your table for pictures--and it was amazing and worth every penny (and not just because it's the only place with bottomless Diet Cokes).  I mean, Sol and I are HUGE fans of Handy Manny!

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JK.  Finley and Braden are huge fans.  Meeting these characters is funny because they don't talk--and they are all likely played by tiny women since they are all pretty much shorter than me with their giant heads on. But even though they don't talk, they were completely engaging with the kids--high fiving, hugging, kissing, and asking Finley about his badges.

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Oh the badges.  He got fussed over SO MUCH this day!  Because this is one of the two parks that Russell makes appearances, everyone was more familiar with him and fawned all over Finley. It was precious.

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And you know what? FINLEY ALMOST FIGURED OUT SMILING. He certainly made somewhat pleasant faces in the direction of the camera, which is unheard of in these parts.

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Braden really liked meeting the characters too.  He recognized Jake and thought that was pretty cool.  We don't really know who the girl in purple is--she's from Little Einsteins which we've only seen a few times. My favorite part was meeting Special Agent Oso.

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Why was that my favorite part? Because apparently Finley has an irrational fear of the big yellow bear, and hid under the table whenever he came remotely close.

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I have no idea why. Three years olds are irrational.

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Next was the parade, which was a failure on three different levels. One, we didn't know which way the parade went and got there a little late, therefore were not in the front row and missed any chance of getting Russell's attention.

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Two, each movie had it's own little float. Now, if you were making a float about UP, what would you make? A large box with painted on balloons? NO! You'd make a house with balloons coming out of the chimney, dummy! Huge fail.

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Third, this was as close as we got to Russell. And he wasn't even wearing his freaking backpack. Impostor.

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And then, waiting in line to see Buzz and Woody.

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One of the great things about the newer Disney attractions is that they are designed to keep you entertained in line.  The whole distance you walked to meet the characters had little stops for you to stop and take pictures.

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Granted, the lighting was terrible, but it was still cute.

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Look how scared Finley was to be strapped to the rocket!!! AHHH!

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And do you see who the one bozo not looking at the camera is? WOODY.  I was so proud of my boys--Braden for being brave enough to stand with someone who is not me, and Finley for holding still and looking kind of at the cameras with kind of a smile. Such big kids!

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And then we "met" Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater.  Braden was SO SO SO excited about them--until we got up close.

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When we got a little closer, you could hear them... which was pretty much loud engine noises. And he cried.

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So basically, day 4 was pictures with the boys' heroes.  It was a great day.  They also got to go to a Disney Jr. show with all their favorite characters that they LOVED.  Finley refused to go to the Little Mermaid show (too scary) and had to leave Indiana Jones half way through (also too scary.) But it was still a really great day. Because really, how could any day at Disney World NOT be a really great day?

Monday, January 14

Disney Day 3

We spent our third day of Disney back at the Magic Kingdom. Because it's magical.  I took many more pictures this day--it was overcast and made for better pictures.   It also was my WORST hair day.  I decided not to wash it before we went to the parks because I was sure it would rain, and then it didn't and I looked a little gross. BUT, it KIND OF went in a ponytail, which means I officially grew it out, which means I chopped off it off a few days ago.


Us waiting in line to ride Peter Pan--Finley's new favorite obsession.  We also rode the new Dumbo ride a few times, the best part being the play area you can let your kids run amok in while you wait. Genius, Disney.


While Finley is now obsessed with Peter Pan, Braden is now obsessed with Mickey Mouse. He liked Mickey before, but now he LOOOOOOVES him.  Or more accurately, I think he loves Minnie.  He now requests to watch Mickey Mouse and fusses if anything else is on TV. And he carries around our dancing Mickey and kisses him and gives him high fives. It's so cute.



There was a band.


This trip helped Finley A LOT with his facial awareness (I think I just made that up.) In addition to learning about funny faces, he also kind of smiled and looked at the camera several times.  Not completely, but we are getting close.


The People Mover around the top of Tomorrowland was a big hit because it literally was a train.  So Sol and I both had to take pictures with the train lover himself.



One of everyone's favorties is Mickey's Philharmagic!  We had prepped Finley by making him watch classic Disney movies (many of which he deemed too scary).  Both boys willingly wore their 3D glasses and watched excitedly. The part I do not like is when Flounder from the Little Mermaid comes on the screen and all the little kids yell "NEMO!!!" Kids these days.


We tried and tried to get a great picture with the castle. I love this one of the boys.



I have three or four pictures of us in front of the castle where the castle is in focus and we are out of focus.  No matter how I set up my camera before I handed it off, somehow we still ended up out of focus. I switched it to Manual and shot at like f/11, but no dice.


The boys loved watching the Dreams Come True show in front of the castle--Finley still walks around the house singing parts of it!


And the castle. We told Finley it was Mickey's castle instead of Cinderella's and he was SO SAD we couldn't go up to the top. I love the castle--one of my favorite stories is from when my sister worked at Disney--they are always supposed to direct peoples attention to the Castle. If someone gets their heel caught in the trolley track and is about to be run over you are always supposed to have them look at the castle so they don't forget the magic. It's MAGIC.

Friday, January 11

Disney World: Days 1 and 2

As you may have expected, we had a BLAST at Disney World. Our first day was spent at the Magic Kingdom. It was the worst day of weather, it drizzled the whole day!  We started the day with two very enthusiastic boys dancing in a little street parade with some of their favorite Disney characters.


Finley was getting DOWN, man.  Taking the boys was such a cool experience.  It was so neat to see them recognize characters they knew and interact with them!  Finley loved just about everything--except things he deemed "SCARY."  Little Mermaid? Too scary.  Beauty and the Beast? Too scary.  Apparently because we showed him the movies and he DID NOT LIKE Ursula.  Also too scary? The Monsters Inc. comedy show.  We literally carried him in kicking and screaming because we KNEW he would like it once he was in there (it's one of our favorites!) and sure enough, he did.  We couldn't get him to do it a second time, but he admitted he liked it.  Not too scary? Pirates of the Caribbean.  He wanted to do that one often. A pirate after me own heart! ARGH!


Braden. Poor little Braden. As Christina correctly guessed in the comments of the previous post, Braden could NOT HANDLE the fact that we kept taking him off trains.  Tram through the parking lot. TEARS. Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. TEARS. After every.single.ride. TEARS.  Because he was sure that every ride was a train, and we, the most evil parents on the planet, took him off at least a dozen trains that day. We also put him ON as many trains, but he had a hard time remembering that.  There literally was a little tear on his cheek all day long.  It was easily the saddest day of his life.  We brought Finley to Disney World when he was the same age and he coped a lot better.  We think it has a little to do with Finley trusting us more and with him thinking everything was just ok, rather than Braden who loves trains more than he loves anything in the whole world.  Good news though, he figured it out on the rest of the days and had much more fun.


Our second (and least fun day) was at the Animal Kingdom.  The picture above is from the boys' favorite place--a dinosaur themed play area.  I think they were just happy we weren't holding them or strapping them into the stroller... they just ran free.  Much like this longhorn cattley thing we saw on our Safari through Africa/central Florida. In the background you can see giraffes (Braden yelled TUCKEY! everytime he saw one) and an antelopey thing.


Those are rhinos. The safari really was very cool and we saw a lot of animals really close!


The major disappointment of the day was not meeting Russell. We found this obviously UP themed area, but the Disney dude told us that wasn't where Russell was.  We posed for pictures anyways.  Turns out, Russell was just a few feet away (by the big tree in the next picture), but I wasn't savvy enough to ask more questions to figure out where he was.  Apparently each character is only available for meeting kids at one park--so this was our big chance and we missed up.  Finley was unfazed--I felt like the biggest disappointment ever.


Big tree with Russell and no Finley. The end!

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