December 29, 2013

Finn's Adjustment

While I was very apprehensive to talk to Finn too early on about the baby, I'm glad we did. He's definitely a child who does better when given warnings or a heads up as to what will happen next ("five more minutes and then we have to go bye-bye," "when we get home we will go potty," etc). He doesn't like to be caught off guard or to have his plans changed unexpectedly.

This also meant that in addition to talking about the new baby, I had to tell him it would be ok if mommy had a baby brother or a baby boy as he was so adamant I was having a girl and I didn't want him to be disappointed if there were no baby sister. I suspect he would have been ok with me having a boy, but his adjustment to life with baby sister has been wonderful . . . in regards to his relationship with, and views on, having a sister.

He loves to help with Mary (I swear he was being super gentle in the picture below though it looks as if he's pushing on her head). He loves to give her kisses, put her blanket on her, and frequently says, "wanna hold sister."

So we are very lucky and very happy that he has taken so well to having Mary around. But don't let these tender pictures fool you . . . Finn is adjusting (read acting out) in other ways. Today for example, Finn was in timeout before 9:00am. Twice. And then wet his pants on the way home from breakfast. His FOURTH accident since bringing Mary home. Our good little sleeper has been stalling as much as possible at bedtime, and as I type this is up chatting to snuggle monkey about God knows what. He doesn't listen well, throws fits over small things and normal things, like when he got his milk this morning, as he does every morning, but today he didn't get it fast enough or was offended that we made him say please first, whatever the case he lost it and threw his cup, thus resulting in one of his time outs.

I think he's gotten A LITTLE better (this morning aside), but we sure have gotten a taste for what they mean when they say "terrible twos." Hopefully this phase is short, and if he's going to have adjustment issues, I'd much prefer they be in the form of tantrums versus not liking his sister or acting aggressive or angry towards her. But man is it trying at times. It does make me savor the sweet moments. They may come in the form of a little boy who is asking to snuggle at bedtime (probably as a stalling tactic, but I'll take what I can get), or a brother who wants to read a book to his sister (never mind he can't read).

But seriously, I need to stare at this picture and take deep breaths when Finn is losing it. Or throwing his pillow out of his bed an hour and a half after his bed time (ahem, right now). Sigh. . .


December 23, 2013

Mary's Arrival

This will be a very long post - fair warning.

Last weekend was a very busy one for us which was good as it kept me busy, mostly out of my head, and made the time pass quickly before my Monday morning induction. The morning prior to the induction we spent the morning hanging out, playing with Finn, baking, giving Finn a bath, and just lounging about.

After Finn's nap we drove down near Austin to visit with Miles' family who was in town and to celebrate an early Christmas with them. We left Finn with his Aunt and Uncle and cousins for the night. I thought I was going to get really emotional putting him to bed, but I didn't. For one, Finn wanted Dadda to put him to bed (thanks, kid) and secondly, Finn was SO excited to get to stay the night with his Aunt Jenny who he adores. I think knowing he was so happy made it a lot easier on me.

What a stink face, Finn!

We drove back home and linked up with our friend and photographer Neely who came out to capture the delivery, and then got ready for the next morning. As we were driving back home I started to get that anxious/nervous feeling - like I was just about to run a race or had something big coming up - ya know, like giving birth. At any rate, the nerves made it hard to sleep. I had my alarm set for 4:30am which is when I could call the hospital to ensure there was a room available and if so, I could go in at 6am. Naturally, I woke up at 4am and couldn't go back to sleep so I showered, did kick counts, even blow dried my hair and got a little something to eat.

At an appointment at nearly 36 weeks, I was 1cm dilated. Hoping that I would progress more in the coming weeks, I was disappointed when the week prior to my induction, at over 37 weeks, I was still only at 1cm. But last weekend I really thought things were moving in the right direction and wouldn't have minded if I went into labor naturally. So when we showed up to the hospital a little after 6am, and by the time I got all hooked up to the monitors and my doctor came by to check me, I was even more disappointed to learn that at over 38 weeks, I was STILL just 1cm. I knew that meant it could be a long day. But at least we were finally admitted, hooked up to the monitors, listening to a healthy baby, and anxious to get things under way. The end was in sight. (Side note, all or most of these are pictures from our cell phones. Neely captured the quality, professional pictures and I look forward to sharing them later on.)

My doctor started me on a low dose pitocin drip at 7:45am. This was not to jump start painful contractions, but rather help the umm, "ripening" process. Four hours later I was at 2cm. Three hours after that I was at 3cm. By 4:30, nearly ten hours in, I was still at only "a good three." By then the contractions were picking up and while still bearable, I knew they would become much more uncomfortable when my doctor broke my water. I opted to get an epidural prior to her breaking my water as she said they would need to push down on my stomach a little bit to help bring the baby down. That on top of the contractions I was feeling and the act itself of breaking my water just seemed miserable without the epidural. I was very torn though because I didn't want it to stall out labor since I wasn't even 4cm (With Finn, I didn't get an epidural until after 7cm and my water had been broken already). But my OB reassured me that I was unlikely to stall as not only would breaking my water help things progress, but she would be increasing the pitocin as well. I also had a really great nurse who said "in my experience, no one ever regrets getting an epidural." Valid point.

At 5pm my nurse walked in the room and said, "I brought Santa Claus" and I kid you not, Santa walked in to give me sweet, sweet pain relief for Christmas:

When he introduced himself as Jeff something or other, I said "no it's not, your name is Kris Kringle." I'm sure I was the first person to be so witty. Har har. But he was a great sport and even threw in some "Ho, Ho, Ho's" at some point.

After Santa left, it was less than thirty minutes before my OB was back to break my water. She broke it at 5:39pm and then told me I would not be having a baby that day and she didn't think I would deliver until 2 or 3 in the morning. She left the room and I cried. Because holy hell, I was not mentally prepared for that. My induction was scheduled for the 16th so I was going to have a baby on the 16th, damn it!

Sad and frustrated, I told Miles and Neely to go and get something to eat. Miles hadn't left all day and if I wasn't even 4cm when she broke my water, it could very well be a long night. I said I would try to rest while they were gone, and we would just have Finn come back in the morning so he could go to bed at his normal time. They left shortly after 6pm.

By 6:20 I realized that my contractions had picked up. A lot. I was kinda caught off guard by this because I had just gotten an epidural and shouldn't be feeling anything (though I could still wiggle my toes and move my legs - it wasn't like I was totally numb). My nurse came back in to check on me and said she wanted the Doctor to check me again as she didn't think I should be feeling the contractions as much as I was. Santa also came back to evaluate what was going on - he increased the epidural a little bit, but that only seemed to make my right leg more numb. He had warned me that sometimes they take differently and sometimes are more or less effective than one would think. I had just assumed it would be just like how it was with Finn (I also had an epidural with Cale, in addition to a crap ton of other pain meds they don't normally give you if your baby is alive but the timing of that is such a blur). I assumed that I'd get instant relief and that would be that. But this was definitely not the case and the intensity and frequency of the contractions were only getting stronger. So I sent a text to Miles and Neely and told them I was in some pain and my OB would be checking me soon. They, along with my sister-in-law Jenny, rushed back to the hospital after scarfing down some food and arrived around 6:30. As they walked back in my OB had finished checking and said that I had progressed nicely to 5cm and the baby was lower. She said maybe she was wrong and that I would in fact have this baby before midnight.

With the contractions not letting up any and the fact that I was needing to focus on breathing through them, I was still a little bummed to only be at 5cm. And by a little bummed, I mean I cried again which only made me lose focus on my breathing and then start to freak out that I was going to hyperventilate because it was really hard to breathe, contract, and not freak out all at once. I don't really know why I was having that reaction - maybe because of the pain, maybe because of all these emotions trying to escape, or maybe I just really didn't want to wait until midnight to meet this baby! Whatever the case, Miles and Jenny were on each side of me massaging my hands (which felt like they were cramping up - probably from me freaking out) and saying sweet things to help me concentrate and not lose it (again).

A little after 7pm (about thirty minutes later) my OB came back in the room. She asked if I was pushing (I wasn't) and said that she was watching the monitor and it looked like my uterus was trying to push out a baby. So she checked me again and somewhat laughed and smiled when she said "well, you proved me wrong. You're complete."

She left to go get things ready and while I was so happy and excited for it to be "go time" I was also still having to breathe through the contractions and try to manage the pain. Just as I did for Finn's delivery, I had Miles put Cale's picture in my hospital gown pocket, but also put a picture of Finn in there. I had one intense contraction that made me feel like I really did need to push so Jenny rushed out to let them know. When they came back in and had me get in position, my OB immediately said "I can see a lot of hair" so we knew baby was close! She said "ok, hun - you're going to get this baby out in one push," and had me grab my legs and take a deep breath and push on my next contraction. Jenny held one leg, Miles the other, and with a couple deep breaths I started to push.

Next thing I know Miles is saying, "do you want me to tell you!? Do you want me to tell you?" And I realized he meant tell me the gender. I didn't realize the baby was out far enough for him to know so almost wasn't expecting it and just as we heard that wonderful cry, Miles said "I think it's a girl! Yeah, yeah - it's a girl!" (He said he had to double check as the doctor's hand was positioned just over the baby's bits and he didn't want to say the wrong thing). I couldn't stop crying and even laughing a little bit - a girl! A perfect and healthy baby girl was laid on my chest - born at 7:39pm, exactly two hours after my doctor had broken my water.

Mary wrapped in the same blanket her brother's were wrapped in at birth.

Having a girl was such a shock to us. It made waiting to find out the gender even more exciting, and while we both kind thought maybe the baby was a girl, a boy wouldn't have been nearly as much of a surprise. The nurse who works with the MFM I saw had referred to the baby as "he" a couple weeks prior to my delivery so that really threw me for a loop - wondering if she slipped up or not.

Miles gave Mary her first bath, something he also did with Finn:

And we spent the rest of the evening in a surreal sense of awe, getting to know the little lady who joined our family.



December 17, 2013

Welcome, Baby Sister

I will eventually write out a birth story, but wanted to share that Finn, who was adamant all along that I was having a baby sister, was right. With joy and love we welcomed Mary Adelaide Hidalgo into the family. Our third baby, our first girl, a total surprise. 

This video was taken several weeks ago but for the last few months when asked "baby sister or brother" or "baby girl or baby boy," (and regardless of order asked) Finn always said I was having a baby girl, a baby sister.

Maybe we should have him buy a lotto ticket tonight!

Welcome, sweet Mary - you're so loved.

Mary Adelaide Hidalgo
December 16, 2013
6lbs, 12oz  18.25in

December 14, 2013

Finn at 2.5

Yesterday our little Finn officially turned two and a half! I know people often say that whatever stage you are in, that is your favorite, but I that's a lie. I think it's hard to really pinpoint a favorite because they are all so different and all so wonderful and all so challenging at any given point. Two and a half year old Finn makes me miss baby Finn. I miss the little baby who slept on Mama's chest, who still had (some) cute baby pudge, who didn't know how to throw a temper tantrum or what the word "no" meant. But I also LOVE how fun Finn is right now. I love that he likes to help Mama, he wants to cook or clean, and is becoming independent enough that he wants to try things for himself instead of having us do it for him - like take off his clothes, put on his shoes, etc. I love how in love with Dada he is. He asks Miles things like "Dadda go play?" "Dadda build train track?" "Do it again!" (when Miles is throwing him up in the air), "Dadda read book" and it just is the sweetest thing to witness.

Finn loves learning about the world around him. He likes to narrate for you whatever you are doing, "Mama making da waffles," "Mama driving the car" and sometimes will call you out in the process, "Dadda fart. Dadds stinky. Dadda need to go potty?" (bahaha - that did just happen the other day. Anytime Finn farts he says "Finley fa-ted" and so we ask him if he's stinky and needs to go potty. I guess he felt he needed to do the same to Miles). He points out what he sees "see dat digger! see dat back hoe" and wants you to explain things he doesn't understand. I don't mind taking time to explain things to him and try to understand what he's asking or what he's pointing to when he is curious about things as it's pretty amazing to see him learning and processing things. Potty training, on the other hand, proved to be a true test on my patience. Once he established that he could tell you he needed to go potty and was good at going in the potty, it was (is) hard for me not to lose it when he has an accident. Fortunately they are fewer and further between, but I have to take deep breathes in the moment and remember that he is only two and a half. Accidents happen. But sweet Jesus kid, I just asked you if you needed to go and you said no, you little liar! He is waking up with more and more dry pull-ups during naptime - in fact he hasn't had a wet one yet this week (knock on wood), but I don't think we will switch to underwear during naptime just yet.

As far as his naps go, he's still (fortunately!) napping about two hours each day and sleeping about 12 each night. I do not at all take that for granted and will miss when that changes. We are still waiting on his two year molars to pop through (ugh), He's roughly 25 pounds (lil peanut), wears 2T shirts and 18 month pants/shorts. I even have to ensure his pants have the adjustable waist as he is just so dang skinny! His vocabulary, sentence structure and overall intelligence amaze me constantly. He loves any and all trucks/cars/planes/etc, would watch "choo choo bideos" all day if you let him, and loves to run wild at the gym and park. Finn is sweet and gives hugs upon request, big and wet open mouth kisses, and still (though sadly not as much) requests the occasional "nuggle."

He also knows what time out is and has many a moments where he whines for no legitimate reason or throws a fit simply to throw a fit. He will let you know when he's "all done cying" and ready to move on though. But the whining - oh the whining is another test of my patience.

But two and a half years with this boy? So amazing. We are lucky, lucky parents.

"Biss it" = kiss it, as in make the monkey's owie all better


December 11, 2013

{DIY} Maternity Pictures

When we were living in Georgia I had the same photographer who took my maternity pictures with Cale, also take maternity, delivery, and newborn pictures of Finn. She is an amazing photographer and has become a friend over the years. That same dear friend is coming to Texas to once again, capture images of our newest babe and our family. I cannot wait.

Because she will be here for (knock on wood!) the delivery and to get some newborn shots, we did not hire a photographer for any maternity pictures. But I still wanted some to document this important part of our life and my time with this baby, so I did a few DIY style where I just set the camera to a timer and snapped about a million in the hopes that I'd get a few decent ones. My two favorite were probably the ones I shared here. Then fortunately for me, my sister-in-law was willing to take some more pictures for us. With a little help of picMonkey I tweaked the colors, cropped the pictures, and voila! instant maternity pics on the cheap! 

 My SIL captured this picture, but my sweet friend Priscilla used her photoshop magic to clean it up.


December 9, 2013

By the Numbers

5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Over the span of five years I have been pregnant four times. I will give birth to three babies, two of them I hope we get to raise. And one who will always be missing. Always.

Numbers are really tricky when you've lost a child. I don't like referring to my kids in numbers because it gets complicated. As we draw closer to meeting this newest babe, I find I'm getting more and more sensitive to comments about numbers - and the incorrect usage of them. Finn will always be my second child, but he is my first living. But it's still hard when people say things along the lines of "getting ready for #2." I just wish we could refer to this baby as another baby. My third pregnancy, the third baby I carried for a brief couple months, doesn't feel to me like my third child. Maybe it's because that pregnancy was unfortunately too short. Or because I didn't give birth to that child or know anything about him/her. That will always be a could have been baby to me as opposed to a baby like Cale - a child I held and saw. Cale should have been. I don't know if that's right or wrong, but it is what it is and I've come to peace with how I view that pregnancy/baby. All that to say, when people (strangers) ask me if this is my first baby (when I'm not with Finn), I say no. Sometimes I smile and say "no, it's not" and leave it at that. Other times I say "no, it's my third."

In the weeks prior to Finn's arrival, I think people were good about ensuring Cale wasn't forgotten. Grated Cale's first birthday was also around the corner, but it was like everyone knew that I was about to have our second child, not our first. This time - it's a little different. Most people are still careful and sensitive to my own sensitivities, but I can't help but feel like there are a lot who think that, yet again, we are getting ready to have our second child. I get it - I hope this is our second living child, but that's why numbers are complicated and I'd rather just hear things about having another baby. I'd rather that despite the happy outcome that I HOPE we have soon, our first child never be forgotten.


December 3, 2013

Date Night in Style

Being nine months pregnant for the third time in three and a half years can make you a pretty crabby person. Sometimes when I'm up late with heartburn or I wake up because my pelvis pops while I'm trying to roll over, I will look over at Miles - sweet, peacefully sleeping, mouth breathing Miles, and I just want to smother him with a pillow. Technically, he's the reason I'm so uncomfortable right now, but I need to remember what a good guy he can be when the moments of rage and jealousy hit me and I hate him for being able to sleep/walk/function with no pain. He scored some brownie points this past weekend, so that will buy him a few days.

Listen to this while reading if you really want to set the stage right.

  (Though I realize the car in the song and the car depicted below are not the same thing, but whatever).

Over the weekend Miles surprised me by planning a date night. He had arranged for some friends to watch Finn for a few hours so we could go to a nice restaurant. But he also had asked around and found a friend with a convertible he could borrow for the evening as riding in a convertible is on my 30 before 30 bucket list. I'm 99.9% sure I never have before, I've been racking my brain and really can't ever think of when I would have - hence the reason for adding this "goal" to the list.

Anyway, Miles is friends with a guy who has a '71 Toreno that he got back in high school when he mowed the lawn of an elderly neighbor who basically gifted him the car before passing away. 

So we traded cars for the evening and hooked up Finn's carseat to drive him literally two minutes up the street to our friends' house, but he was equally excited about his first convertible ride. "Going SO fast! Red con-burt-able go so fast." I guess with the wind in your hair, 15mph does seem fast. We traded cars before picking him up, so he only got the one ride - but it was cute (and totally bizarre) seeing him in a convertible.

Miles had his ipod set to some Creedence Clearwater and off we went. The ride to the restaurant was about 25 minutes and fortunately it was still 64 degrees out when we left. My hair was a little crazy when we arrived and because it had cooled down during dinner and was dark on the drive back, we put the top up - but it was still a lovely date - especially since it very well may be our last before le bebe.

For the record, major heartburn after that meal. I didn't hold it against Miles though. Lucky bastard.

November 27, 2013

Finn's Big Boy Room

I have no before pictures of Finn's room. Imagine a messy guest room that had a couple pieces furniture, an air mattress and pack n' play for when my nephews sleep over and a whole bunch of sewing crap that still needs to find a home. That's definitely one downside to Finn moving in here from the nursery - we either need one more closet for storage space or I need to offload some stuff. I'm going to go with needing another closet. As for the new room, I didn't go with a theme. Because all the other furniture in the room is gray, I decided to just go with navy, gray and white as my main colors and just leave the decor very simple. Mostly because I don't want Finn to be getting out of bed instead of napping or sleeping and the fewer distractions the better.

Here's a few more shots of the bed as well as the rest of the room. I bought all the bedding at Target except for the transportation pillow which I sewed from cute fabric my sister-in-law discovered at Hobby Lobby. The rug is from Zulily. Oh, and we did attach a railing to the side of the bed, but that wouldn't have looked as cute in pictures now would it?

The dresser has a plate my friend sent me after Finn was born as well as a frame of the meaning of his name. This corner of the room seemed a little empty so at 9pm Saturday night I went to Target to get a bean bag chair because cartwheel had them 20% off but they were expiring that day, plus a trip to Target with no kiddo is just a little bit of Heaven on earth.

I'm tempted to make some curtains like these, but that will have to wait. I scored the shelves at Target for $5 each! I still am not really sure what to put on them, but for now I like it. I have Finn's framed birth announcement, his baby cup, a cute giraffe from the Dallas zoo, picture of huppy, one of Finn's newborn pictures, letter F, and a globe. A little random, but it works.

Bins on the bookshelf are from Target, free name printable from here, vintage airplane printed in powerpoint, and I typed up the cute Christopher Robin quote in matching colors, because I love it. The nightlight turtle, while adorable, proved to be too much of a distraction so is no longer on the nightstand :)

I'm really pleased with his room, but it's definitely bittersweet not to have him in the nursery anymore. Just one more sign that he's growing up far too fast.


November 25, 2013

The Making of a Big Boy Bed

Finn slept in his bed last night for the first time. We've been talking about the bed for a while now and he's been very excited about it which I think helped the transition. As I type this, it's almost 8:00am and he is still sound asleep so if nothing else, at least night one was a success. Here's hoping the same can be said for naptime later today.

After soliciting feedback on beds, I was very much leaning towards just purchasing one. Problem was I could not find one for the life of me! I schlepped Finn to new furniture stores, used furniture stores, Goodwill, garage sales, checked Craigslist, E-bay, online stores, you name it - I looked. I did find several good options that were way out of my price range (ahem, Pottery Barn) and found some cute ones that were similar to the look I was going for, but the quality of them (particle board) would not be conducive to military moves, and even those were the same price or more expensive than if we just built it ourselves. I wanted solid wood but wasn't willing to pay $400+ for it. Besides, I kept coming back to the style of the Ana White Farmhouse bed and knew we could make it for a fraction of the cost for a new one in store or online. So, I gave up the hunt and while Miles was away at a course last month, I purchased all the lumber so that there would be no going back! Here's a little rundown of the making of the bed.

1. Pick out wood
2. Have nice man (named Miles!) cut it while you nuggle
3. Have another nice man load it in car
4. Unload in garage and patiently wait for Dadda to return to begin building bed

Because we went to Wisconsin not long after Miles returned from his course, we waited a bit longer to start building the bed. Miles and his buddy started working on it last Saturday and were done by Sunday. So the actual construction of the bed didn't take very long. The original plans call for it all to be built as one piece - but because we know we will be moving in the near future (and probably several more times after that) we adjusted the plans slightly so that the rails can be removed from the headboard and footboard. I also wanted the headboard a little bit lower than what the design calls for, especially since we won't be putting a box spring on the bed anytime soon.

5. Build Bed

6. Fill in nail holes, sand bed
7. Apply Conditioner
8. Apply Stain (times three, plus sanding)
9. Apply Protective coat (times three, plus sanding)

 All those steps were completed over the course of several days. I would use nap time and bedtime to put on coats and gave them adequate time to dry in between. So from start to finish, the bed was constructed, stained, and assembled within one week. It certainly could go even quicker if you don't have to work around a toddler's schedule or if you were painting it and not staining and don't have to wait as long between coats. Once the bed was good and dry, Miles applied the hardware to the rails. This turned out to be the biggest pain (probably since we didn't have thorough directions guiding us like the rest of the project) and I was worried a few times Miles would let his rage get the best of him and all our hard work would become fire wood. But he figured it out and got it assembled just fine. We purchased a bed slate like this (twin size) for under the mattress since we don't have a box spring.

10. Apply rails in a fit of rage

11. Assemble bed
12. Have toddler test out durability
13. Make bed look cute for pictures and blog post
14. Put baby big boy to sleep in his new bed

So there ya have it - Finn's homemade big boy bed. In case you're curious here is the cost breakdown:

Lumber . . . . . $176.88
Slatted Bed Base . . . . .$20
Supplies (stain, poly, etc) . . . . . $36.64
Hardware for rails . . . . . . .$23.47
TOTAL . . . . . .$256.99

Basically, what I'm trying to say is suck it, Pottery Barn.


November 21, 2013

A Little Pumpkin is on the way: Surprise Baby Shower

There is a great little breakfast place about 20 minutes from our house. We hadn't been since April, so when Miles suggested we go this weekend, I thought it was a great idea.  When Miles came home from hunting, he showered and we left. As we headed out there he mentioned that the last time we were there it took awhile and maybe there was somewhere else we should go. Knowing that if he doesn't get food, particularly breakfast, he gets really hangry (read, totally annoying to be around), I threw out the suggestion that we just go to Cracker Barrel instead, but we decided that we may as well see what the wait is like first. So we walked into this restaurant and I knew there was no way Miles (and probably Finn as well, who takes after his dad with his passion for breakfast) would be patient while we waited. Miles said something about "let me just check and see what it looks like" and I was about to tell him he was an idiot because clearly all these people in front of us were waiting for a table, but he walked further into the restaurant, so I followed. As I walk in, he turns and says "well, you could sit here" and points to a table where I first look at my friend Julia who was sitting there. My brain was starting to think "oh, Julia is here" but then I looked around the table and saw several other friendly faces and then saw my sister-in-law Jenny smiling with this totally cute, mischievous smile and I knew they had all pulled a fast one on me.

Miles took Finn to get breakfast elsewhere and I joined the ladies for a really lovely brunch/surprise baby shower. Jenny had contacted some friends and family a while ago and had absolutely surprised me which was not only incredibly thoughtful and sweet, but it took out any anxiety about having a baby shower. We didn't play typical shower games - in fact the game Jenny had for us was a cute pumpkin trivia game to go along with the "little pumpkin" theme (fact: the largest pumpkin ever grown weighted 1,140 pounds) and the whole thing was just relaxed and comfortable which is all I could ever ask for as we celebrate this little baby.

One of my favorite things Jenny did was collect "wishes for baby" that she mailed to my friends and family. They filled them out, and sent them back to her so that I would have them the day of the shower. I didn't open them until I got home knowing that they would make me cry, but some of them were also cute/funny so I should have read them out loud.

Some of my favorites:

I hope you never forget: to put some $ in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas (Nana)
I hope you love: oreos and Target! (Anna)
I hope you love: like Finn - he is so sweet (Jen)
I hope you ignore: gossip, pettiness & infomercials (Aunt Kate)
I hope you learn: all about your Uncle Daren (Amy)
I hope you aren't afraid: of snakes (grandma)
I hope you become: the person your dog thinks you are (Nana)
I hope you never forget: your brother Cale (Aunt Jenny)
I hope you grow: to be taller than me (Miles)
I hope you become: A Navy Pilot (Pop)
I hope you laugh: at the little things (Aunt Carmen)
I hope you learn: how fun life can be - and how to juggle, please master juggling (Aunt Kate)
I hope you get: to marry your best friend (Luciana)
I hope you grow: up happy (Aunt Jenny)

As I was going through those I realized I really wanted to type them all out - they are just so cute and it's such a great idea - to write down all the hopes and dreams and little wishes that people have for this baby. We have so many ourselves and while these last few weeks are scary and filled with anxiety, they are also so exciting because hopefully in just a few more weeks, one of our biggest wishes will come true.


November 16, 2013

Wisconsin, Don'tcha Know

Over the long holiday weekend we flew to visit Miles' family in Wisconsin, eat cheese curds, attend a wedding, and go to a Packers game at Lambeau Field. But the most exciting aspect of the trip for Finn was by far the travel to and from.

This was our first flight with him where we had to buy his own seat (sigh), but honestly it makes traveling a LOT easier when you don't have a babe climbing all over you and struggling to get comfortable. We brought his carseat on the plane which I absolutely recommend to anyone travelling with a little one. I know there are safety benefits to it, but the biggest benefit for us was that Finn was strapped down the entire flight! Hallelujah! He could see out the window because he was sitting up higher and was able to fall asleep both times which I think would have been harder for him had he just been sitting in the airplane seat. He really was a great little traveler, but when the plan was making its descent Finn got excited and loudly exclaimed, "Airplane going down!" which isn't exactly what you want to hear on a plane.

We had a layover in Dallas, but were able to find a smartecarte which made schlepping all the bags much easier. I actually had planed to buy something like this for the carseat, but ran out of time. Finn loved walking through the terminals because it meant a ride on the tram, and the escalators and we found a play area where he enjoyed "flying airplane so high."

While in Wisconsin we attended the wedding of a high school classmate of Miles. It was held at the same church Miles and I were married in and the church Daren's funeral was held in - in fact, the Priest who preformed the service was the same one who did Daren's funeral. It was bittersweet, but mostly sweet, to hear him speak again - I found it more comforting that anything. This was the first time Miles had been back to Wisconsin since Daren was killed.

Finn was very well behaved during the mass (thanks to a back hoe on loan from his cousin). At one point a baby cried when it was very quiet and Finn felt the need to point out "baby sad. baby crying," but it just made for some laughter around us.

The next day we pawned Finn off on his Aunt and went up to Green Bay for a Packers game. Thanks to some tickets my father-in-law got through work we were able to enjoy the game from the comforts of a suite, which made the painful outcome of the game, and the fact that our third string Quarterback was put in, a lot more bearable. The last time we went to a game at Lambeau was in December of 2008 so I know how cold and uncomfortable it can get in the stadium - not something I would have enjoyed as much eight months pregnant.

Finn also saw snow for the first time. He's hit or miss with wearing hats, but I think he enjoyed how warm this hat kept him because he wouldn't even let me take it off in the car. Oh and he got to take a picture by a dump truck. Because of course.

We left Wisconsin when it was NINETEEN degrees out. As I type this it is currently EIGHTY degrees in Texas. So no big shocker that Finn got sick promptly upon return and has been fighting a nasty little cold the past few days. But he seems to be on the mend and I if given the chance, he'd hop on an airplane again in a heartbeat. This trip concludes our travelling for 2013. Time to incubate, catch up on projects around the house, and hopefully get ready for a very exciting December.

November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

This picture was taken in 2008 when Miles and I were in Afghanistan on our first (my only) deployment. We were lucky enough to see each other two or three times throughout the year. 

My service on active duty ended in 2012 when this little guy became my new boss:

He can be a really demanding boss at times, but it was a great career move. 

We found out a few weeks ago that our next move will be back to Georgia, but this time we are headed to Savannah. Miles, mostly likely, will be making the military a career though that's certainly not set in stone yet. But if so, at least he pulls off a uniform well. Why hello, handsome:

This Veterans Day I think of all those I was lucky enough to meet during my time in the Army, I think of Miles' brother Daren who gave the ultimate sacrifice and is missed every day, of all those from my family who have served, and I especially think of all those still deployed in harms way and wish them a safe return home. May they come home to as much love and excitement as shown here: 

For the record, I wish I recorded it, but when Miles returned from his two more recent deployments, Roscoe's reaction was similar to these - Enjoy, and Happy Veterans Day.

November 6, 2013

Cale and Finn's Nursery

The plan is to move Finn to a big boy bed in the next couple weeks. It's strange to picture him in a new room, but also exciting. I also plan on re-decorating the nursery and when I get around to finishing both rooms, I will share how they turned out, but first I wanted to share what the nursery looked like originally.


Miles deployed when I was six months pregnant with Cale. Before he left, we ordered the nursery furniture and he put it all together so that I wouldn't have to tackle it later on:

My sister came out to visit when I was about eight months pregnant and helped me with some more decorating, to include hanging this cross stitch my grandmother made when I was born:

The bedding that I had ordered worked nicely with the cream furniture and cross stitch:

I made a bulletin board to match the bedding, hung a few more things on the wall, and got the room all ready for the little boy we so hoped would live there:

Before we even left the hospital, Miles had Daren remove all baby things from the common areas of the house, put them in the nursery, and shut the door. And so for nearly a year, the room sat like this - a total mess of things somewhat packed and stored away:

With a couple weeks remaining in my pregnancy with Finn I summoned the courage to get the room ready once again. My reasoning was simply that I had prepared for Cale, and felt Finn deserved the same, but it was really hard. I remember crying when we hung new curtains because I thought it may be a waste of time. I remember how slowly I unpacked the tupperware, reminiscing about each thoughtful and loving gift Cale received, and how everything still smelled like Dreft.

We made a few changes to the room, but not many. I framed and hung the sketch of Cale, purchased a glider, and added a more touches, like the small frame below Cale's sketch that reads "Wherever you go, Whatever you do, May your guardian Angel watch over you," and the frame with Cale's maternity picture and one with Finn's ultrasound.

And then we waited, and hoped, and by the most amazing stroke of luck, we got to add one final touch to the room: