August 29, 2012

Like a Boss

Miles took command of a company yesterday. (Which for anyone not familiar with the Army, that basically means he is in charge of about 120 Soldiers and it's something good (and necessary) to do in order to progress in your career.)

The good news - well aside from the fact that Company Command was the one job that Miles knew he wanted to do at some point in the Army, is that there is no deployment to Afghanistan on the horizon. He may go elsewhere, but it's still up in the air and I'm really liking the fact that my husband has been HOME for over a year now.

The bad news - it's super busy. Like, literally today he came home (at 6:30) for dinner and had to go back at 9pm for simulator training and won't get home until 1am or so. But such is life and we were expecting this, and at the end of the day I go back to being reminded of how awesome it is that he is even home (most of the time) and not in harms way. So lots to be grateful for (just please remind me of this when I start complaining again).

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the ceremony. Before you make fun of his silly hat - he has to gets to wear a stetson because he is in a Cavalry unit (although he is in command of an Infanty company) . . . translation - the Army really digs on heritage and Ft. Hood is all about the cavalry (there is even still a horse cavalry detachment here).  But no, this does not mean that he got assigned a horse to go along with the new job - although that would have been pretty sweet.

Miles' dad flew in from WI for the ceremony.

Taking the guidon. 

Passing the guidon to his new First Sergeant. Who happens to be a short Hispanic guy. How apropos egh?

Officially in charge

Miles and his buddies Kyle and Greg (who are going to teach History at West Point in a couple years!)

Very proud of this guy. I like him better without the silly hat.

It was kind of nice that he took command yesterday. August 28th just seems to be a good day. It's an especially good baby day. Yesterday my friend Heidi welcomed baby Annabelle, a girl I recently met here in Texas had a little boy, and it was my favorite little red head's first birthday! Happy birthday to all these sweet babies. 

August 27, 2012

Finn Man

Our sweet little Finn is just that . . . little. I mean it really shouldn't come as a surprise considering that Miles and I aren't exactly giants. But poor ole Finn has always been at the bottom of the growth chart. And really I shouldn't even say "poor ole Finn" because the kid is growing on a nice healthy curve for HIM - just maybe not for your average baby. He has always been teetering around the 5th percentile. I think around two months he was maybe in the 25th percentile, but that was the "biggest" he ever was in comparison.

And honestly, for a long time I loved the fact that he was little because he still felt like a baby and I felt like I could pretend he still was. But now . . . now I'm seeing more and more that my baby is gone and has been replaced with a high energy toddler.

Have you ever seen this? Umm, it's totally true.

Really it should just say "mother" because I am convinced that Finn gets all his energy from Miles. The little monster is all over the place. He loves climbing all over the couch (mostly to get the remote) and if there is something in his way he will figure a way around (or through) it. Here's a couple videos of him getting on and off the couch.

He seems to have the most energy before bed. I don't know if it's just a boy thing or what, but really he is on the go every waking moment. Take tonight for example - grandpa Hidalgo is in town visiting and Mr. Finn just hand walked DVDs over to him one at a time off the shelf. He brought him 32 DVDs! Fortunately he still naps and sleeps like a champ and I usually try desperately to sneak in a few snuggles post nap when he's still mellow, but it only takes maybe two minutes before he wants to just start running around again. Also, the kid really is smart. Granted, I'm biased, but really - I think my boy is brilliant. Just the other day I opened the washer and dryer and he walked right up to the washer, grabbed some clothes and put them in the dryer. Swoon - a man after my own heart right? When I say "Where is Mama's nose?" he will point to my nose. And if I say "tongue" he immediately sticks his out (which may not be as cute in a couple years with some attitude behind it).

14 months if a fun, but challenging age. He doesn't like being told no and not getting his way and there are lots of pitiful, fake cries in the house of late. But he is also becoming this adorable and independent little man and it's so fun to see him learn and figure things out.

You may be little kiddo, but you is smart. And Mama sure loves you.


August 23, 2012

Dog Shaming

Today Finn and I went to story time at the library. I always tell Roscoe to be a good dog when I leave and the first thing I say whenever I come back is "were you a good dog?". Well today, he was NOT a good dog. Not at all. As I walked in I first noticed Finn's sippy cup on the ground. I was a little annoyed because he's never taken any interest in Finn's bottles or cups before yet I knew he had to have knocked it over and the only way to do that would have been to jump on the counter.

Once I got closer I saw that the lid was nicely chewed up and also discolored. About two seconds later I look further into the family room and find a mess all over the carpet. A few weeks ago I ordered Finn some Wee Can Too art supplies. I ordered a kit that came with three different powders you mix with water so kids can finger paint, as well as a chalk stick and a crayon. All the products are made with all organic edible ingredients so when your kid sticks his hands in his mouth while making his masterpiece, you don't have to freak out.

But you are entitled to freak out when your dog decides to make artwork on your family room carpet. But I was calm and collected and cleaned up the mess. And by "calm and collected" I mean I took a deep breath before yelling at Roscoe and calling him mean names I probably shouldn't have said in front of Finn. I also may or may not have thrown a sippy cup at him. Not one of my better moments I'll admit, but it was a weak throw at least. Anyway, I was too angry to take a picture of his mess, but here is what's left of Finn's art pack:
 The third powder was coloring my carpet a nice shade of hunter green.

After cleaning up the mess and shampooing the carpet, I calmed down and let Roscoe in from the backyard. I told him I wasn't in any mood to talk to him yet, but he could at least come inside.

I was putzing around on the computer while Finn was napping and found this hilarious site called Dog shaming. I thought it was so fitting for the days' events and emailed the link to a few of my dog-lover friends. Plus it was nice to get a good laugh and remind myself that other people have love-hate relationships with their dogs too.

So mess cleaned up, you can't even see where it was on the carpet, silly website put me in a better mood . . . problem solved right?


After nap time and lunch I needed to go out and run a few errands. I had barricaded the area of the carpet that had just been shampooed and left the house for a bit, but not before pointing my finger sternly at Roscoe and saying "Be a good dog!" in a very serious and threatening tone.

Yet when I came home I find an empty and chewed up jar of puffs on the ground! Seriously Roscoe!? Did you NOT just remember me screaming at you a few hours ago?!

I had just gotten an email from my friend Brooke, who has had her fair share of dog stories, and she said it's not too late to submit Roscoe's picture to the Dog shaming site. And, thanks to his latest shenanigans, I now could capture an in-the-moment picture. I can't decide which one to submit though - thoughts?

"Hey, where did all my puffs go?" 
(you'll also notice the guilty party couldn't even look me in the eye)

or B:

Ugh. At least this wasn't messy to clean up. I really do love my dog and we will always be a dog owning family, but sometimes I just want to kill him.


August 20, 2012

Two Cute Videos

These have nothing to do with each other, but I felt were worthy of sharing.

Here's a cute little video from this morning. Finn and I were enjoying a delicious post workout smoothie:

And this other video I saw on facebook and thought it was also adorable. I've probably seen a half dozen videos with Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" song, and yet I love them all. I'm such a nerd. Ironically enough, I've never seen the actual music video. But who needs to with entertainment like this:

In case you aren't sick of that song yet, here are some others signing it:
US Olympic Swim Team (anyone else miss the Olympics??)
Jimmy Fallon
President Obama (Miles has watched ALL of these Baracksdubs- apparently I'm not the only nerd.)


August 16, 2012

When Friends Have Babies

 It's baby season among all my friends it appears. I literally know three people who were due within a few days of each other. One, my good friend Jodi, just had her baby in the wee hours of the morning this morning. I have another friend due in about a month and another a few weeks after that. All of my friends that were at my little shower for Finn are (or were in Jodi's case) pregnant.

In some circles of friends I bet times like these are exciting and thrilling. But for me, while there certainly is excitement, there is also a lot of fear, worry, and sadly even some jealousy.

Losing a child changes your views on pregnancy and child birth (and child raising for that matter). Even when my closet friends, the ones who have stuck by my side (like I talked about in my last post) and the ones who have been so loving and supportive, even when they have kids, I can't help but have pangs of jealously. It must be nice not to lose your first child. Or It must be nice to only give birth to living babies. And the sad thing is I just can't help it. No matter how wonderful of a friend, no matter how truly happy I am that everything DID work out for them, no matter how excited I am - I still am just a little sad. Sad that I didn't get what they did. Sad that my family picture is always a little incomplete. And sad that I have these feelings when all I should do is celebrate their good fortune and happiness.

As Jodi texted me that she was on her way the the hospital, I had one of those jealous moments. I was saying it must be nice to go into labor and eagerly head to the hospital. And while I wish I could have that, I have to remind myself that I did. I started having contractions with Cale the night before he was born. Nothing seriously painful, but certainly noticeable. The next morning at work I realized they were more regular. I started timing them. It was Jodi who sat by me as I was marking how many I was having and how far a part they were. It was Jodi who drove me to the hospital. I said that I hoped they would tell me that I was in fact in labor, but I had time to run home and pick up a few things. She laughed and said, "if you are, I don't think they will tell you that." I sent Miles a text and told him I was headed to the hospital. He had just finished a workout and put on his Wisconsin Badgers Cheerleader shirt because he thought it would be funny since he was going to be my cheerleader. He met us at the hospital and a few minutes later our world came crashing down.

So I did have part of that exciting experience of labor. . . just not the happy ending for delivery. And I want them both. Yes, Finley's labor was wonderful - don't get me wrong. And he came out screaming and perfect and ALIVE! But, it still was far from what you dream up these moments to be. I never thought that I'd be up late the night before a planned induction because I was too scared to sleep worrying that my baby would die. I never thought that I would get to pick my child's birthday and that I literally would worry about him being ok even after I was hooked up to the monitors. I never thought my experiences with pregnancy and child birth would end up the way the did because I just never thought my first baby would die.

The funny thing is that while I have these feeling of jealousy or sadness, woe-is-me-ness, whatever you want to call it - it doesn't change how happy I am for my friends. I can be happy and sad. I can be jealous and thrilled. Because you never, ever want someone to join this club. I never want my friends to truly understand what I've been through. And I do ultimately want the very best for them and their babies. It's just that I wanted that for mine too.

The other thing that I have noticed a big difference in when my friends have babies is the fear and panic that I have for them. Yes, I worry that something might happen during their pregnancy and I just want the nine months to pass by quickly and uneventfully, but when it comes time to labor and it's actually "Go time". . .I just sit and worry. Jodi texted me on her way to the hospital. And then about an hour later or so, I realized I hadn't heard from her. My mind started to wander and I became that obnoxious friend who sent her probably too many texts while she was in labor. And her husband. It's pretty silly, really - what do I expect . . .that after every contraction she is going to pick up the phone and let me know how things are going?  . . .well, yeah! I mean, it's all about me here, right?! Thankfully her husband let me know that things were going well and I tried to just chill out.. . .although I just laid in bed, randomly picking up my phone every few minutes in case I missed anything . . until close to 1am my time when I got the wonderful news that she was here.

Welcome to the world Emilee Marie - I love you already!


August 13, 2012

And We're the Three Best Friends. . .

...that anyone could have, we're the three best friends that anyone could have. We're the three best friends that anyone could ever have and we'll never ever, ever, ever leave each other.  

So I went on another road trip. Shocking, I know. But last week Finn and I drove out to Oxford, Mississippi to spend some time with my three besties.

{rewind a little bit}

High school Caroline was not very good at test taking. Not doing too hot on the SATs and ACTs, she did not get accepted to a service academy during her senior year. (ok, enough of the third person) Anyway, I ended up going to Northwestern Preparatory School out on southern California after high school to help me increase my test scores and hopefully gain entrance to a service academy.

While there I met lots of great people, to include Deborah and Anna. My Dad says he remembers picking me up from school and saying that he figured I would stay in touch with some of my friends for a little bit, but as we went our separate ways, our friendships would fade. Well, Au contraire, mon Père. . . not only did we stay in touch, but we have become closer over the years. And now, ten years later, I am blessed with some of the most wonderful and supportive friends who I probably don't deserve.

Anna and Deb have never (thankfully) experienced the loss of a child. Anna doesn't even have kids yet, but somehow these two have been two of my biggest sources of support over the last two years. Anna was one of the few people I called when we were in the hospital getting ready to deliver Cale. I needed her to be the strong one and call Deb and tell her what happened. Deb was about 32 weeks pregnant at the time, yet she wanted to get in the car and drive seven hours to be there. And a couple months later, when she gave birth to her first child, she called soon after and told me I was the first person she called. We cried on the phone together - tears of joy for the safe arrival of her baby, tears of sadness for Cale and what should have been. I have shed a lot of tears over the years with these two gals and even more laughs. They have been patient and loving and understanding every step of the way. When I made my New Year's Resolutions this year - one of them was to be a better friend. I had Deborah and Anna in mind specifically for that one. Because in the haze of grief I haven't been as good as a friend - I haven't been as involved in their lives as I should have been and for awhile it was always them calling, texting, and checking in on me. They didn't give up on me and have been understanding of my grief even when I'm not. 

But really, I shouldn't be surprised. Because we have shared in each other's heartache, sharing our joy has been that much sweeter. Be it college dissappointments or breakups, bar crawls or club dancing, job opportunities and promotions, weddings and babies - you name it, we have been there for each other. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

This past weekend Anna was planning to fly in to see Deb. I decided that I needed to be there too. I owe it to them to be more involved and make more effort. Anna knew I was coming, but we didn't tell Deb.  Her reaction when she walked in and saw me in her living room was priceless:

We just had the best weekend (as we always do), and I am so glad I not only have such great friends, but that we got to spend some time together. As I was driving Anna back to the airport she was on the phone with Deb and said something very sweet - "whenever we are all three together, it will always be a real treat."

And it really was.  Love you girls.

 Finn: If you don't hurry up with these pics, I'm gonna shake my fist some more
Little Vinnie: If you don't hurry up, I'm going to use my fist.
Bryars: I'm just going to continue to have a meltdown. Your move mom.

 Someday this will be inappropriate and not-so-cute. Today is not that day.


August 5, 2012

Weekend Recap

(changed the blog layout a bit - just wanted to simplify things) 

 Anywhoo . . .earlier in the week (before my parents left) we worked out in the yard. We worked on the area that is slowly but surely becoming Cale's Garden. I will share pictures later once it's closer to completion, but we got a lot of work down last week and I'm looking forward to enjoying the yard a little more once it's not so dang hot (so maybe four months from now!)

This weekend we went back down to Austin to do some more exploring. That city has a lot to offer and I'm glad we live so close. We took Roscoe with us - first to a dog friendly restaurant and then to the Austin Ice Cream Festival where Roscoe got his very own doggie-ice cream.

 Soy based peanut butter ice cream?!? My favorite!

 We also went to the Whole Foods flagship store. It is massive. You can eat in many different parts of the store, partake in beer tasting, wine tasting, buy pretty much any type of nut you can think of, they have their own parking garage . . .it was like the IKEA of Whole Foods.

In other, equally boring news, I hung some pictures on the wall last night. I want a "gallery wall" - you know the adorable ones you see on Pinterest with lots of cute mismatching frames and wall "things". But I think my idea of what I want will have to wait. . .  mostly because I can't bring myself to buy another  picture frame just yet. And also, I don't think I want it to be just pictures. I want to make one of those heart maps and a few other non-picture type things, but am not sure what. Any ideas? My friend Rhiannon has 'J' on her wall for her last name, and I like the look, but I already have an 'H' on our mantel and I love the look of our mantel. And then I don't know how, but I'd want to include Cale in the gallery wall (his sketch is already on the mantel). I put his name on the wait list for a Carly Marie sunset picture, although I do have this beautiful one that she recently did:

I could always frame this one, but think I'd rather frame the sunset one. And while it will be hard choosing a few pictures of Finn - I can't help but think "at least I have so many to pick from." When I hung the pictures last night I got sad thinking that Cale wasn't in any of them. And while I know it's ok - it doesn't mean anything about his importance in our lives, I can't help but think that if you just looked at these particular clump of pictures, you wouldn't know there is a brother in the mix which just makes it that much more important to me that he's included in my gallery wall. But, until I really know what I want to put on the wall, I suppose it will just have to wait

Ok, well this is yet another all over the place blog, but it's time for bed. We have a date at the library in the morning!


August 1, 2012

40 Years

So after moving to Texas from Georgia and driving out to California and back, I figured why stop there - I may as well put another 2,000+ miles on my car. So about a week ago my parents flew in to Texas and drove up with me, Finn, and Roscoe to Colorado (unfortunately Miles had to work). My whole family (sister, brother, brother's girlfriend) was there as we celebrated my parents' 40th wedding anniversary!

We rented a cabin near Breckenridge, Colorado. The weather was beautiful, the high was in the low 70's the scenery was amazing - it was perfect. I really wish Miles would have been able to come. Maybe he would have fallen in love with Colorado, wanted to ditch this Army gig and search for a forever home in the Rockies. . . .sigh. . . a girl can dream.
 Our rental for the weekend.

Anyway, it was just a wonderful time. Great to be with my family and celebrate my parents 40 years of marriage. We haven't all been together since Finley was born and even then it wasn't only for a day or two. Roscoe loved running around up in the mountains. His new best friend is his cousin Bisbee (my sister's Boxer):

 See that Deer? I bet we can get him. Wanna get him? 
Nah, you're right - we should just watch him. We'll get the next one.

While there we went on a nice long hike. The elevation at the cabin was 10,700 feet so it was pretty easy to get winded. I snapped this cute picture of my dad helping my mom during our hike:

 And we saw this when we got to the top:

This made me dread going back to Texas - Colorado is gorgeous.

 Finley is too big for that Bjorn, but it was the only carrier I brought. 
So I made my brother carry him up hill. Good practice I figure.

Oh, you didn't want us to go in that nasty pond? I thought you said to go ahead and get muddy. So we got muddy.

 The below picture was taken just after we gave my parents a book comprised of 40 stories/messages/well wishes from my parents' friends and family to help them celebrate their 40 years together:

And one of their friends requested they listen to a song "Grow Old Along With Me" as it is "so us older folks" so I pulled it up on my phone for them to listen to . . .What this picture doesn't catch are the tears in my dad's eyes. The big softy.

And more pictures from the weekend:

 Lots of Pat-A-Cake with Nana

 Just need to check my stocks real quick. Don't touch my beer.

Walking around in Breckenridge. Being all snooty like with our coffees.

Bisbee had a little encounter with a porcupine.  

Sibling Love

The Nichols Clan

One quick fact about my parents. . . they met when they were working in Lake Tahoe, NV at a Harrah's Casino - my mom was a Blackjack dealer and my dad a Craps dealer. And they were engaged only two months later. Another fun fact - my dad proposed to my mom on an airplane (flown by their friend) on February 5th which also happens to be my birthday (12 years later).

And in closing, here are a couple of pictures from their wedding - July 29, 1972. Looking forward to helping them celebrate many more wonderful years!

On the sole of my dad's left shoe was "HELP" and on his right, "ME" which could be seen as he was kneeling at the altar.

God Bless the 70's egh? I wonder what I will think when I look at my wedding pictures in 40 years. . .