Friday, February 28

Braden is a Special Fella

One of the things you'd think I'd miss about not having girls is not playing dress up with their costumes. Luckily, my boys really like to dress up. Finley often wanders out of his room as a superhero, and Braden is pretty good at cobbling together his current favorite items for an all start costume. Here, he is "Pirate Conductor Football Braden." (And thanks to Aunt Maya for the BRADY jersey!)

 photo 140218-6854_zpsd4f9701d.jpg

My mom taught the boys this little song and he started singing it--so I had to record him. I was going to record it once, but he wouldn't stop singing, and then I didn't want to cut it down, so here's FOUR versions of the same song. #sorryimnotsorry

And then for nap time he settled on Pirate Braden. Of course NOW he's willing to wear the eye patch. (I love that he still sucks his thumb. Don't tell.)

 photo 140218-6996_zpsc7a0e7a5.jpg

Wednesday, February 26

I Need A Hobby

Basically, I need a hobby. I mean, not really, I have plenty of hobbies. I think what I mean is I need a new photography hobby. Because I seem to be a bit stuck in a rut regarding my photography subject.

 photo 140210-6409_zps34a909a3.jpg

Um, I just can't stop. He just makes that goofy open mouth grin and stares at me and I can't stop taking pictures of that face. THAT LITTLE SQUISHY FACE.

 photo 140210-6465_zps2a686fff.jpg

He's such a stinker. But seriously. I need a photography project so I don't turn into a one trick pony. That trick being "pictures of babies lying on their backs."

Monday, February 24

Finley Finally Got Some LEGOS

Pretty much since Finley discovered Legos, he's been obsessed with them. He found some in my brother's closet last year and realized they were the coolest things ever. We told him he couldn't have any until he was seven--that's how old his big pal Charlie was when he got them. (Which may or may not be true.) The thought of stepping on pieces all the time, trying to keep them out of Keaton's mouth and away from Brady Hulk made me tired. Not to mention trying to not lose and mix pieces...

 photo 140218-6905_zps5f792e11.jpg

But the obsession kept growing stronger and stronger. Sol took him to see the Lego movie and he talks about "when he's seven" all the time. Like he thinks it might be soon. He loves to build with his Duplos and other blocks--and on a fateful trip to Barnes and Noble, we caved. We found a little box for $5 that built three little construction vehicles. After making Finley swear to keep it in his room and make sure he always cleaned it up, we decided to buy it.

 photo 140218-6967_zpsf245a924.jpg

And oh how happy that made that sweet child. He played with it for about 6 hours after we got it--until I made him put it away for bed. We helped him follow the directions for the first two trucks--and then without realizing it he was able to build the third one on his own. I was shocked he could follow the directions--but kids tend to surprise you with what they can do. He likes to make up his own trucks and make them Transformers (obvi) and can switch between them pretty easily. The toughest part is getting the little bricks apart--any tips? I'm going to break a nail from all the prying.

 photo 140218-6935_zpsd3986307.jpg

Keaton liked watching the Lego action. #obligatorybabyshot So let me know if you have Lego tips! We're hoping to very slowly ease our way into this craziness. He really would like a Lego person, so that may be our next step. I just don't know if I'm ready for all the little pieces!

Thursday, February 20

A Baby Shower for Kat

Since Kat is itching to have a baby any day now, I thought I should probably blog about the shower! It was waaay back in December and may be my favorite party I've done to date.  It's being featured on HWTM in March, so I'll post more details after that--but here's a quick peek!

 photo 131221-23_zpsbeb097d6.jpg

I flew into Wichita with just Keaton for the weekend--and it was kind of magical. Magical because I got to see so many dear high school pals, and magical because it was kind of a frozen winter wonderland. So frozen that Christina and Katie couldn't make it in--which was not at all magical.

 photo 131221-40_zpsf028085a.jpg

Pretty much all parents are "the best parents ever" but Kat and Tim might be an inch ahead of everyone else. They are seriously going to be the best parents ever. I love how much they have loved all our children--that baby is going to be absolutely smothered in love. In a good way--like you'd smother pancakes with syrup.

 photo 131222-4796_zpse38c26fd.jpg

I feel like I'm a bit of a broken record about how much I love these girls, but how can you not? I mean, clearly they are an extra special bunch. Carrie and Courtney really helped make these pictures special.

 photo 131222-4770_zpsf858faf5.jpg

And for every nice, normal smiling picture, there are plenty where we look like fools. It's second nature to us.

 photo 131222-4820_zpsed15d06e.jpg

I was so blessed to get to travel down and see so many friends--thanks to Hillary to always being my hotel. I love that in addition to making weird faces, it's also second nature to end our days in Wichita at one of our houses, laying on couches and floors, laughing and talking. I hope it always is that way.

Wednesday, February 19

Valentine Decorations

Since I kind of got my act together for decorating for Christmas this year, I kept the ball rolling by making some Valentine decorations. I popped some new pictures and red paint on the frames from Christmas (their permanent home is the dining room) and Martha-ed up some felt. That's a real verb.

 photo 140213-6734_zps4e22a131.jpg

The boys loved the little mailboxes from Target--but after getting them I realized they were kind of pointless if we don't actually put Valentines in them. So the boys and I made some Valentines!

 photo 140213-6714_zpscc878231.jpg

I'm super proud of Finley's Valentines! Mostly because I was able to make it up based on random items we had in the house. He watercolored a page that we cut hearts out of, then we put the yarn hearts on top of it. Look at those fine motor skills! The most impressive part was that he didn't fight me on how to spell SEW. He knows it's SO and kind of got that we were making a pun.

 photo 140213-6682_zpsb82b65ea.jpg

Braden normally has NO interest in arts and crafts--but he was really into the dot markers so we went with it. Dot hearts glued on card stock. Easy.

 photo 140213-6703_zps527fa2ea.jpg

We got the boys some books and I refilled their Pez dispensers from Christmas as little Valentine treats--and I tried to make all their food heart shaped. Because I am nuts. Victoria will be here for St. Patrick's Day, so you can expect some crazy green business over here... maybe.

Monday, February 17


Well, we made it 4.8 years without being taken down by a family wide stomach bug. I think that's something to be proud of. Last week we got hit by a stomach sickness HARD. It started with Braden and trickled through the rest of us.

 photo 140203-6186_zps2e180621.jpg

The days are a bit of a blur--they mostly consisted of us letting the boys watch copious amounts of whatever they wanted and staying in our pajamas until they got puked on. We did so much laundry. So much. I guess we were lucky that the boys just wanted to lay around and watch TV, because Sol and I were pretty much dead. We took turns sleeping all day while the other tried to keep the troops hydrated and puke free.

 photo 140201-6165_zps98a261b1.jpg

 photo 140204-6251_zps3ee7cbd8.jpg

Eventually we started to make a turn and the boys started eating more and playing a bit more. (Braden wore that fleece jacket and pjs for probably three days. He didn't even take it off to sleep. I knew he was feeling better when he started running laps around the carpet cleaner we had to rent to clean pukey carpet. I'm not sure why he's being such a knuckle head in these pictures.

 photo 140204-6202_zpsd410f1f8.jpg

Poor Keaton may have had it the worst. He started puking the day before he got his cast off and on day 8 of antibiotics, so his tummy was extra sensitive. He had a few days where he was recovered and then got sick again--and the pediatrician was worried it was an intestinal blockage because it was a bit bile-y (TMI!!!) But apparently it resolved, and he's doing much better now. Which means... no cast, no ear infection, no stomach bug, tooth poked through: time to sleep train. Sorry pal.

 photo 140204-6192_zpsc271ba46.jpg

We were stuck in our house for five days due to the puke and some unfortunately timed snow days--and eventually I thought to myself: It's really hard to be the kind of mom I want to be with all these kids around. Luckily, I was immediately able to see the irony in that thought. But I was tired--from washing all the towels and sheets and clothes over and over, trying to keep everyone hydrated, comforting sick kids all day and all night. And then from trying to find some way to keep us entertained while we were snowed in and no longer had feeling sick as an excuse for watching TV all day.

 photo 140204-6272_zps6b8c2c0e.jpg

All I wanted to do was making the stinking felt and burlap Valentine's bunting I saw on Pinterest. And dehydrate strawberries for the strawberry puppy chow mix the boys were giving out as Valentine's with the cute Valentine treat bags I designed. And I wanted to work out. And possibly NOT hold someone for like 10 minutes. And I wanted the house picked up and perhaps a shower? And a nap? And maybe eat something off a plate while sitting in a chair, rather that standing in the pantry? Granted--some of the things on that list weren't actually important at all. But they felt like they were. And as my Facebook and Instagram feeds filled up with pictures of moms doing cute snow day activities with their kids, I felt kind of defeated. Keaton was still clingy from broken leg/ear infection/puking/teething/LIFE and didn't really give me much freedom. Braden was upset about everything--literally everything. And Finley would not.stop.talking. And the kids were getting in the way of me being a good mom--the nerve.

I'm over it now. I was able to put some of that selfishness aside and decide that being a good mom was listening to ridiculous stories, holding sick kids, and cleaning gross stuff up. And that not having dehydrated strawberries in the puppy chow probably wasn't going to ruin their childhood too much. But I suppose we will find out from their therapists in a decade or so...

Friday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! You can't hide from it--it's everywhere. Tricking you into eating more sugar than any human needs and making you believe that you MUST make felt heart garland or Valentine's Day will cease to exist. But mainly it's an excuse to make your kids wear something red and take a picture together. (Last year!) These are a few test pictures while I was getting the settings right on my camera (the stupid light was behind them and making me sad) but can you notice what changed in the two pictures? I decided to repaper the L in LOVE because it was too light. NORMAL!!! Somehow both boys willingly parted with their sunglasses/train/stuffed animals for the real pictures.

 photo 140213-6588_zpsa6357b81.jpg

I told the boys they could have two Thin Mints if they took nice pictures and they took it SO SERIOUSLY. Look at Braden's face. He's not messing around about the cookies. He's normally above bribery, but he must have been extra hungry because he was riiiight on the edge of participating. I feel like he's saying, I'm here, but that doesn't mean I like it.

 photo 140213-6606_zps7d110cd8.jpg

And then I decided to shoot at a higher ISO. So much more light! And apparently that made them like each other a bit more. They are killing me a bit. Braden loved wearing his shirt because he was "handsome like daddy" and Finley wore his until he got the cookie. He hates button up shirts. But he LOVED the karate t-shirt under it!

 photo 140213-6668_zpsf5336699.jpg

Are you sitting down? Because the next one kills me. With a capital K. I told Braden to hug Keaton and this is what happened. Swoon. Is it too late to send out Valentine cards to everyone I ever met? My favorite part may be the way all three of them have their little feet together. (And speaking of feet, Braden's feet are bigger than Finley's. I don't even know how to deal with that.)

 photo 140213-6645_zpsa8d507c8.jpg

And because Keaton deserves a few pictures of his own with the sweetest onesie I ever did buy...

 photo 140212-6535_zps73063238.jpg

Consider my heart stolen--by all three. Plus Sol. I think he stole it first and they've been stealthily stealing pieces from him or something. Happy Valentine's Day--I hope it's filled with sugar and that you know how loved you are!

Thursday, February 13


We've gotten a lot of snow this year--our twelfth storm hit today! Snow days are a sweet gift when you are a teacher (or student!) but when you are a mom... it is not such a sweet gift. In fact, it's terrible. School is cancelled again today.  Please send spring soon!

 photo 140122-5388_zps7d258d7f.jpg

The golf course near our house has a pretty significant hill we took the boys sledding to on one of the VERY cold snow days--we're talking throwing boiling water in the air cold. We bundled the boys up (and in true preschooler fashion) spent more time dressing them than actually sledding. We kind of have rookie snow clothes for the boys. We made them wear fleece footie pajamas under several pairs of pants and shirts and put our ski goggles on them. They looked hilarious.

 photo 140122-5410_zps0600a28d.jpg

The actual getting to the top of the hill part was really hard. I had a very bundled up (AND MAD) Keaton strapped to me at the bottom, and Sol somehow managed to get both boys and the sled up through some thick powder. Sol took Finley down twice and Braden down once. That's about all we could bear.

 photo 140122-5442_zpsffce933d.jpg

But they LOVED it. I'm so glad we went out, even if it was a ridiculous amount of time to get ready compared to the actual snow part. I have such fond memories of sledding as a little girl in Ohio and am glad we got to sneak in a snow adventure while we are lucky to live in a frozen tundra. But please, no more snow.

Sunday, February 9

Valentine Freebies

Happy Valentine's Week! That's a thing, right? I got kind of excited about Valentine's Day this year--probably because I have kids in preschool now and they needed little treats to take to school. So I altered some past designs a bit and made some cute freebies you can download! They are available over on the RV Parties blog.

First, some cute and bright decorations!

 photo 140208-6365copy_zps62cc8568.jpg

And a bunch of different treat bag toppers you can use to hand out treats to all your loves.

 photo 140207-6321copy_zps65139a73.jpg


Friday, February 7


We live in Pennsylvania--but super close to Delaware. And although we are a suburb of Philly, we're actually closer to Wilmington. Which is great because we get to take advantage of a lot of fun things Wilmington has to offer--like the Delaware Children's Theatre. We got season tickets and have been trading who takes Finley--Sol took him to the Wizard of Oz and I took him most recently to Aladdin.

 photo 140125-5888_zpsfba4cdd9.jpg

We got there fairly early, so we practiced smiling. As you can see, he's really improving. (He's not.)

 photo 140125-5906_zps7cb067bb.jpg

Finley LOVES the plays. And we love them because he sits and wiggles in our laps the whole time. It's precious. We were a bit disappointed in Aladdin because it wasn't the Disney-fied version, which meant no Abu, much to Finley's dismay. It was still really cute and he enjoyed it a lot.

 photo 140125-5947_zpsb7e7e9c1.jpg

We booked it to out to get some pictures with the cast--which apparently made him really shy? I love the way he's side-eyeing the genie and is not at all excited about Aladdin and the Princess. Oh well. Promise, he did have a good time! We're looking forward to Winnie the Pooh and Seussical next!


Tuesday, February 4

Finley Reading a Book

Finley can read(ish)! I've been trying various methods of teaching Finley to read for awhile now, and a month and a half ago it all clicked and now he is quite the eager reader. We have some BOB Books100 Lessons to Teach your Child to Read--but what really got him excited was this little set of Curious George books. Since then, we've accumulated a set of Berenstain Bears books, Batman and LEGO ones. He just LOVES reading the stories about the characters he's interested in. And he's so proud. It's darling.

 photo 140131-6073_zpsc447902b.jpg

He's has more and more sight words memorized every day (thanks to his favorite game POP!) and is pretty decent at sounding things out. Teaching a kid to read is a good reminder of how tricky the English language is--just as I have him remembering the "oo" sound in words like "pool"... "good" sneaks up on us and breaks all the rules.

 photo 140131-6101_zps5b3053d1.jpg

Lucky for you, I have a ten minute video of Finley reading a Berenstain Bears book. Highlights include: a shot of a very happy Keaton after almost every page and Finley displaying some excellent reading comprehension skills--making sure he understands each sentence after he reads it and asking questions. I'm a proud (math) teacher.

It was a bit challenging to help him sound out words with my hands on the camera (and it was taking forever) so I cheated and helped him out a few times.

 photo 140131-6121_zpsd16d5fc3.jpg

Also, have you read Green Eggs and Hams lately? It is LONG. But he can read the whole dang thing by himself and it's adorable. Sometimes he gets going too fast and switches his withs and woulds and wills--like all beginning readers he has a hard time slowing down and actually reading the words, rather than guessing. My favorite part is watching him crack up after he reads something he thinks is especially funny.

 photo 140131-6093_zps9059c6c5.jpg

It's a fun new stage we're in--he's constantly trying to read the words around him and asking me what different letters spell. He has a growing collection of words he can spell on his own and loves to write us notes with them. (Mainly, they said "I LOVE YOU MAMA, FROM FINLEY" but is there anything precious-er? I know that's not a word, Finley has a great vocabulary, not me.) I've started reading him chapter books as well--we've finished two of the Boxcar Children books and he loved them! I was surprised they held his attention, but I think the thing about kids is that they always exceed your expectations. If you have any great chapter books for young boy recommendations, I'd love to hear them!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...