Friday, May 30

We're moving on. Literally.

Guess what?

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We're moving again! To Texas!

Yes, we did just move to Pennsylvania (it's been about one year and two weeks.)

Yes, we knew we'd only be here a little bit.

We listed our house yesterday and are hoping to sell it really quickly. Trying to show the house with the boys and dog here will be... tricky. Sol, Keaton and I went to Beaumont on my birthday (lamest present everrrr) and found lots of awesome houses--things are very cheap and new there (compared to here.) Everything was lovely and we're looking forward to making an offer soon.

Beaumont is little. It's also the setting for Footloose and the home of Jason's Deli. There's no J. Crew. There's no Wegman's or Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. But! There are several Sonics. I've miiiiiissed Sonic. Also, it's summer there 80% of the year, so that's something. Finley is excited--he periodically checks to see what we're bringing with us. Today he asked me if our TV was coming--like I could live with out our TV. HA!

I'm beginning to embrace Beaumont--since I don't have much choice, I might as well try to be sunny about it. I can hardly think about what it will actually be like to leave the East Coast. We've called Boston, DC and Philly home since we were married and we love it here. I have a heavy case of nostalgia--and have to constantly remind myself that as our family changes into being more kid focused and less "let's go to hip restaurants!" focused, places like Beaumont are more and more appealing. I'm sure we'll love it and be sad when we leave--just like we're sad to leave the places and people we've loved here for almost a decade.

Thursday, May 29

Tour de Virginia: Charlottesville

Our other big stop in Virginia was Charlottesville--home of two of my dearest high school pals and their families. Carrie's family lives at a boys' boarding school--so my big boys were able to be outdoors-y and fish and canoe and get kind of messy.

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We caught a few fish (that got quickly tossed back) and the boys got to hold Edmund's pet turtle--Boinkie. A good turtle name.

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Keaton loved Miss Carrie! He was pretty friendly about letting her hold him, which isn't always the case (see: getting kicked out of the church nursery every week.)

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Of course we tried to get a picture of all our kids--and that went about as well as you'd expect. They are all on the couch and you can see most of their faces... so that's something.

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I really really loves these pictures. Braden was super excited, as you can tell. Piper is pretty much a sweet baby girl and does what she's supposed to do. And Edmund and Finley are knuckleheads. They had so much fun together. Sweet sweet kids!

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Tuesday, May 27

Dulles Air and Space Museum

Whenever we talked about Virginia--Finley was quick to remind us that he wanted to go back to the Air and Space Museum. I'm not sure what he was so excited about... although I suspect it could be the small TV showing a clip of Transformers. I think he may have tricked us.

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Either way, we had a nice time spending a morning there when we were back in Virginia. We went on a Friday morning, so it was fairly empty. It's such a great museum to take kids to--there's tons of open space so they can run a bit freely and look at all the cool planes.

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These pictures are with the retired Space Shuttle--it's just amazing that it's been in space. It's massive and very very cool. We managed to get a decent family picture out of it too! Those are few and far between.

Friday, May 23

Finley's Future Bride

A few weeks ago Sol had a week of training back in Virginia--so the boys and I decided to come up for the second half of the week and see old friends. First stop--Margaret's house.

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Finley still maintains that he is going to marry Margaret. I've explained to him that he has to ask her when he's older and she has to say yes--but for the time being she's his number one pick. I wouldn't mind being grandmas with Kate, so I'm crossing my fingers it works out. They had to take a picture with their "Joggys"... we gave Margaret a pink puppy to match Finley's blue one when we moved and they both love them. (Pay no attention to the zebra ears he's rocking in most of the pictures.)

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It was crazy to reminisce with Kate about how different our lives are--we're about to have 6 kids between us and we were both pregnant with our first when we met! Finley and Braden owe much to that friendship--my mama friends in Virginia kept me sane as we learned how to mother alongside each other. They are such a clear example of God's goodness to us--the exact type of friends I needed during that season of my life. I'm so thankful for them and our time in Virginia!

Monday, May 19

Finley's Fifth Batman Party

Holy Birthday, Batman! Five year old Finley loves a lot of things--and one of his very favorite things is BATMAN. We were planning on having a rocket ship party and he was ok with it--but as soon as he realized he could have a Batman party there was no turning back... and after settling on a look for Braden's party, I realized I could make Finley's party practically the same--saving me a ton on decorations and treats. We didn't do a great job of getting pictures of us with the birthday boy--my fave photographer Jenn was absent and there were many five year old boys running around. Just a liiiittle bit of chaos!

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I love the way the party came together! This is a small amount of the details and pictures--if you want to see more, head over to the RV blog! I wrapped random boxes on black plastic tablecloths to make a skyline. A cheap project that I absolutely loved! If you click back to Braden's party you will definitely see the obvious similarities. I tried to differentiate them in a few ways, but I just loved the table cloth in tassels too much to take them down.  I opted for a vinyl backdrop this time because I felt like it really needed the yellow spotlight!

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To save time and money, I made double batches or reused treats from Braden's party.  It's only a little extra effort to make a double batch of dipped marshmallows/pretzels. We saved a lot of the decorative candy in ziploc bags to put back out. Victoria made ADORABLE sugar cookies again--this is my third year to convince her to make them for me! The cupcakes and whoopie pies were from Trader Joes and looked too cute. 

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I made each of the boys little capes that hung on the back of their chairs--they seemed to enjoy running around in them! This was a bit of a different party--the parents dropped off the boys and they had a LOT of energy. Sol entertained them by telling jokes at lunch. Surprisingly, only about half of them ate the pizza I was sure they'd love!

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How cute are those little crimefighters?? We invited all the boys from his preschool class and only one couldn't make it. They really were pretty adorable--and most of them came in a superhero shirt!

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It was a lovely day, so we spent a lot of time running around in the front yard. One of the boys went in to the bathroom and came back with a bunch of swords from the Peter Pan party last year--so they sword fought. And chased Sol. A lot. There was some crying and arguing over who got which sword, but I think it was mostly fun.

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The cupcakes were a hit--and it was so fun to have all Finley's friends sing to him. It felt much more like a real big kid party than his other ones have!

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This was the first time we've opened presents at a party and it was preeeetty adorable. The boys were all so excited, they were practically sitting on top of each other. Finley got a lot of Legos and Batman stuff--his friends know him well! They also enjoyed coloring on the coloring wall. They drew a lot of cute superheroes!

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We had so much fun celebrating with our little guy. It brings us so much joy to see him growing into a cool little dude--enough joy that it covers the pangs of sadness of him not being my teeny baby anymore!

Wednesday, May 14

Mom + Three Boys

I really wanted a picture with the boys for Mother's Day--luckily, we celebrated the day with someone who happens to be a fabulous photographer and is patient with my kids who photograph... in a special way.  Luckily Keaton is still in the stage where he loooooves me and naturally makes precious faces. I have a hard time not kissing him constantly. He's so soft. And smiley. Oh man I love him. photo 140511-9710_zps730118e0.jpg

And this is what my boys do in pictures. Braden: hand in mouth. All the time. Keaton: grins or is confused. Finley: rapidly changing emotions. Smiling. Silly. Itchy. I'm just happy they all sat still with me!

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And Henry--he's clearly well trained by his photographer mama and rubbed off a bit on Finley in this picture! Those two had such a fun time playing Legos and Superheroes. It was adorable to listen to them play together and make up games--they are getting so big!

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Monday, May 12

Annie Sloan-ing a Dresser

I meant to hare about this a long time ago, but I didn't. When we moved here (11 months ago) I kind of went crazy on painting furniture. You saw a few things in the tour of Finley's room--and the only piece I took pictures of was the dresser. It's somewhat interesting, so here we go!

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Annie Sloan was my paint of choice. It's a type of chalk paint--which means if you don't finish it with the wax, you can use it as a chalkboard. Chalk paint is amazing--it goes on almost any surface with almost no prep. Just wipe with a damp rag to get all the dust off!

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It's kind of a pricey paint, but a little goes a long way and its cheaper than buying new furniture. We'd had this dresser since we got married and it's fine--but Finley insisted on having red walls when we moved here... so painting his furniture red was a great compromise! After removing the hardware I painted the whole thing red (or Emperor's Silk). They say you only need one coat, but I definitely needed two to get it the color I wanted. I put two coats of yellow (Arles) on the faces of the drawers then lightly sanded to distress it and let some of the red poke through. I actually sanded the whole thing, but went heavier on the yellow. After sanding, I did the "wax on, wax off" process to seal the paint... and it was done!

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I'm still not entirely sold on the drawer pulls--but it was a cheap, cute solution until I find something I like better! I really love the dresser--and Finley tolerates the fact that there's some yellow on it. You can see Finley's whole room here. I haven't painted anything in months and still really want to paint everything in the house. Braden scribbled on my desk, so it needs to be touched up. I'm really trying to hold myself back. It's just so fun to slap a fresh coat of paint on something and turn it into a piece you love!

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Friday, May 9

Quick Trip to Boston

Thanks to my sister-in-law Maya, Keaton and I took a quick trip up to Boston for her wedding shower. Her actual wedding is in a month, and we're looking forward to spending a few more days in Boston and getting to catch up with some old friends.

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It was kind of an accidental surprise that I was there--I realized the week before Maya might not know I was coming, and then I decided it would be more fun to surprise her. And I did! Keaton was a bit nervous about all the people at the shower but held it together to let Maya cuddle him for a few minutes.

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I put together a few printables for the party--we used watercolor rainboots and umbrellas and they turned out really cute! It's always fun to see how other people use our stuff.

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I stayed with my ole pal Christina and her fam for the weekend. We had a fantastic time--even though both our boys were a bit under the weather. Keaton capped Saturday off with puking all over me, ruining our plans to sneak out to Giacomo's while the boy slept. Huge stinker. He had a really good time playing with Cedric's toys--and Cedric seemed to really love him. Unless Christina was holding Keaton, of course.

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We explored Newton a bit--they got a Wegman's the week before so I spent a lot of time making sure that Christina was 100% aware of the magic that is Wegman's. Even though we techincally didn't even go in to Boston, we still had a fantastic time. I loved catching up and finally getting to meet her baby boy!

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Wednesday, May 7

Keaton at Nine Months

Nine months! 75% of a year! I feel like it was a huge month for us--its like something clicked in his little brain and he decided he was going to have his own opinions and do his own thing!

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He's definitely a little guy--he weighs 17 lbs 9 oz (15%) and is 28 inches long (34%). His head is average at 45 cm (50%). He's built like Finley--lean and scrawny. It's cute. He has more hair then either boy did and its starting to have some serious curl in the back... I still can't tell if its going to be like Finley or Braden's! Sol is always saying that it has a bit of red in it, and I think he might be right.

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Sleeping has improved a bit. Yay! I started being a bit more strict on putting him down for naps awake rather than nursing him first and it helped a ton. Sometimes it takes some time to get him to sleep, but he normally sleeps longer--and it seemed to help with his night time sleep. He generally takes two hour long naps and sometimes a third if the day started early. He's going to be around 8 and gets up between 6 and 8--it's really unpredictable. He's started having more nights where he only wakes up once which is AMAZING. Hopefully we can just keep continuing on that track!

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His gross motor skills have really taken off. He finally decided that he was ok with sitting and doesn't actively resist us getting him to sit. He doesn't topple over anymore and can almost get him self to sitting from his belly.

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He still scoots around on his belly--just like his brothers. They've all been really late crawlers even though they clearly have the crawling skills! He gets up on his hands and knees and will crawl a few steps--and then flop on his belly and scoot like crazy. I think he just knows he's faster at scooting!

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He pulls up on everything. Everything. We've unfortunately reached the part of life where his head is always bruised and battered. It's so hard to figure out how to get down from standing without just toppling. He loves to play at the kitchen drawer with all the kids cups and bowls and will stand there until he can't anymore.

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He loves LOVES his brothers and really wants to be doing whatever they are doing. Braden has a tough time dealing with Keaton's admiration of him and has to be monitored pretty closely. Finley is pretty protective of him--he'll make little pillow landings at the bottom of the step down to the family room so Keaton won't get hurt coming over and will lay in front of doorways to prevent Keaton from escaping. It's very sweet!

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His eating is still iffy--he seems to be pretty sensitive and will throw up if he gets hurt badly and is upset or if he doesn't like what's going on. I try to get him to eat cereal and applesauce for breakfast and yogurt for lunch and dinner--supplemented with a variety of finger foods at every meal. He seems to prefer puff type things, so I've bought a bunch of freeze dried food that he kind of likes. I have to remind myself that he'll eat someday--I just really wish he loved eating like Braden did! While he won't take a bottle--he does enjoy drinking from the new sippy cup I got him.

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He still doesn't mind hanging out in the Moby and is doing a bit better in the car. It's so crazy that all these boys keep growing up. I can't believe one day he's going to be running around playing Batman and trains and telling me everything that's on his mind. I kind of can't wait!

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Monday, May 5

Finley is FIVE

My teeny tiny baby is five. FIVE. That's completely not a baby. He's big. He has all sorts of crazy ideas and is his own little person.

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Finley is 40.25" tall (8th%) and weighs 34 pounds (7th%). So he's not the smallest kid ever, but he's close. We're just grateful he's still bigger than Braden... we'll see how long it holds out. He's a pretty good eater--he is willing to try almost anything and is good about eating vegetables. He loves pizza--and most kid foods. He goes to bed around 8 and has taken to waking up fairly early--normally between 6 and 7. He's pretty good about leaving us alone and playing nicely with his Legos in his room. He spends about an hour and a half in his room for rest time every day. He used to play pretty faithfully with the boxes I made him, but he's kind of moved on to obsessively building with his Legos.

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Finley will talk to ANYONE with a face about pretty much anything. He sits in his room and will say "HELLO!" to every vehicle that drives by. It's adorable. We're working on him being a more balanced conversationalist. After telling random strangers about his random facts of the day, he's supposed to ask them something and wait for them to ask him a question, rather than spouting off endless tidbits about his life--because he will. He will talk endlessly.

He loves Legos and Superheroes and Doctor Who. He loves to build with whatever he can find--Duplos, Legos or his Magnatiles. He's frequently making up very complicated games that we're expected to understand and follow. He also really loves reading the Bible, which melts my heart. He talks a lot about what he reads at school or what we're reading at home and has a somewhat decent grasp of some important stuff.

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He's a decent bike rider and reader these days. We spent a lot of time learning both skills and we're so proud of him. We need to upgrade to a slightly bigger bike--his has pretty tiny tires and he struggles to make it up hills. The reading blows us away--even when we're lousy about practicing with him, he improves anyways. He's a sponge. A very chatty sponge.

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He's about as good of a big brother as you can expect a five year old to be--he looks out for Keaton and is always kind to him... even if he really doesn't like being anywhere near his drool. He loves to entertain Keaton and make him laugh.  He and Braden get along pretty well too. He's willing to help Braden when he needs it and only pounds on him a few times a week. He loves to help us and know exactly what we're doing and exactly what we're talking about.

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He LOVES school and his friends at school--it's been so good for him to go! I still have some denial about him going to full day kindergarten next year, but he's going to love it so much that I can't be too sad.

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We love this kid so much. It's nothing short of a miracle that we made such a good one on our first try. He's bounced back from every little mistake we've made. Happy birthday, Finley. We totally adore you and are so blessed to have you. Thanks for turning us into parents and for keeping us on our toes. Please never stop letting me kiss you.
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