October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween just slays me. I mean it just doesn't get any cuter than itty bitties dressed up and trick or treating. Finn has been asking for just about the entire month, "is it Halloween today?" and has been thrilled every time he saw a pumpkin or Halloween decor of any kind. I'm in Arizona visiting family and my sister and I got to take Finn trick or treating in the neighborhood we lived in (and trick or treated in) as kids. He was so darling and polite, and I think got hooked up with more candy as a result. As soon as we got home he said he wanted to go again and that he "made a lot of friends!"

I bought this puppy dog costume last year on a post Halloween clearance at Target as I figured a puppy would work for either a boy or girl and that Finn could be the puppy dog's firefighter. Fortunately, he was thrilled with that idea though I have a feeling this may be the last year I get to pick his costume for him.

Enough of the recap, here are the pictures that will just make your heart explode.

October 22, 2014

The Journey of Far Too Many Miles

As I write this I have about three more hours of what will be the longest flight of my life. I'm going visit my sister who lives alllll the way in California and I am vowing never to fly alone with the kids ever again. Ever. Except for next month when I fly to Texas. But then never again.

The thing is everything has gone remarkably in my favor on this flight, Mary's demeanor aside.

It started this morning when was running late because I'm genetically programmed to always be late and also maybe because I waited until the last minute to pack. It didn't help that Finn vomited during lunch yesterday causing me to debate even going on this trip, Mary slept horribly (and has been for the last week), and oh Roscoe joined in on the fun by puking at 4am. So needless to say I was frazzled and stressed from the get go. 

But we managed to pull it together (and Finn has been totally fine since - knock on wood). I had to drive from Savannah to Jacksonville (almost two hours away) for my flight today. My biggest concern was how I was going to get all the stuff IN the  airport as it's a lot to haul. Miles is away for work right now so it was on me to carry the kids, their suitcase, my suitcase and both their car seats.

I parked in the economy lot with only 45 minutes until my flight and the shuttle bus for the airport iterally drives up to me as I'm getting out of my car. The driver helps me load all the stuff on the shuttle and drives me to curbside checkin where another kind man tags all my bags and waives the overweight baggage fee because of Miles being active duty. They normally do it for just the service member but he was kind enough to let my 58lb suitcase slide. I had Mary in the ergo and was carrying my diaper bag and Finn's backpack and we took off running, 18 minutes until my flight was set for take off. The line for security was long, and while I hate to be that person, I asked a few people in front of me if they wouldn't mind me skipping ahead. Not only did they graciously allow me to bypass them, but they asked others upahead to do the same. After quickly going through security we raced off to our gate where we literally were the last people to board. Our flight is open seating but only single seats were open. Two older ladies moved seats so that Finn and I could sit together. I sat down, sweating, and had two minutes left until departure. Phew.

We had a connection in Atlanta and Mary lost her mind after we landed but before we got off the plane. I nursed her on take off and landing but maybe her ears are bothering her. The layover wasn't too bad - we just rode the plane train a few dozen times and now we are currently headed west to sunny California, free wifi being one of the many pluses of this trip. Finn has been a champ (Curious George on the kindle has helped), and while Mary SCREAMED for close to the first hour, she's now alseep in the Ergo for what I pray will be a long, long time. I'm sitting next to the nicest lady who has been so sweet to Finn and understanding with Mary. I learned after sitting down that it was her husband who gave up his seat for Finn and I to sit together. I mean really, faith in humanity is at an all time high right now.

But still - Never doing this again. California (and a beer) can't come soon enough!

Edited to add: it was not a long, long nap. Mary woke up screaming about five minutes after I wrote this. 

October 18, 2014

Crappy Pumpkin Patch Pictures

I took the kids to a pumpkin patch today that was about 40 minutes away. I got them dressed in coordinating and fall(ish) outfits and had envisioned taking the cutest pictures. I put the camera in the car and was patting myself on the back for getting out in the morning and doing something fun.

Then I get to the pumpkin patch and realized that while I managed to bring the nice camera, I forgot to put the memory card back in it leaving me with just my phone for taking pictures. First world problems I realize, but still a bummer. And the pants that I put the kids in would have been fine had it not been in the mid 80's. Again, woe is me - it's so nice it's still warm here, but in the end we were all hot and of the 38 pictures I took not a single one of them is much good.

Alas, I will share some of my favorite of the worst. As my friend Keleen would say, I was just trying to create a damn memory!

Sort of smiling, but not in the right direction.
A guy behind me was saying how cute they were while I was taking this picture.
Clearly he didn't see Finn's face.
Finn actually really enjoyed picking out a few pumpkins,
but you wouldn't know it looking at this picture.
Kind cute, except not really. She looks like an angry old man
who is just humoring me with this picture.
Gourd Diving
Over it.
We at least have some cute pumpkins on our porch, so there's that.

October 12, 2014

Walk to Remember

Last night we participated in a walk to remember for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. The event was put on by the Zoe Foundation which is the organization we raised money for in July as part of the Summer Sizzler 5K race. There was a really good turnout - they had music and tables set up to make quilt squares as well as tables with information about resources and support, and fundraising events. Next month I will be running for the Zoe Foundation during the rock 'n roll half marathon. Cale's name (and many others) will be on the back of my race shirt.

They also had jars at each table with the names of each child being remembered, and read the names out loud of all children who were being honored:

And after a few speakers, we were invited to light a floating lantern and push it out on to the nearby lake. I found this very peaceful and beautiful.

This is the first event we have attended specifically for loss awareness since Finn was an infant. It was important to me to attend first and foremost because of Cale, but also because Finn is at the age where he's starting to understand and process things more and I want him (and Mary) to grow up knowing about Cale and the importance of still celebrating and remembering him. When I told him we were going to the lake to light a candle for baby Cale, he asked me if it was Cale's birthday. I said, "no, it's just a special day to remember him and other babies."

When we left the park Finn asked, "where baby Cale at?" and we told him that Cale died. I've told him this before (I think it's important to be honest and not try to make a confusing subject more confusing), but he did say, "when me was a baby, I died" to which we quickly corrected him. He then said, "Mary didn't die, Daddy didn't die" to which we reminded him that yes, Daddy and Mary and you and Mommy are all alive, but Cale did die. We explained that when you die, you go bye bye and don't come back. He told us that baby Cale is with Uncle Daren, but a few days prior had asked if Cale was Daren's brother. We tell him who Daren is and try our best to explain it all to him and I do think he's understanding it a little better. Today we drove past a cemetery and he said, "is baby Cale der?" which is kinda sad, but mostly I think it's intuitive of him to ask as we have never told him that Cale was in a cemetery, but he does know that a cemetery is a place you go when you die. Honestly, the drive home from the walk was almost kind of comical. Yes honey, Cale is your brother and he died. No he's not Uncle Daren's brother, that's your daddy's brother who also died. I mean it's obviously not at all funny, but funny in the I'm going to laugh so I don't cry sort of way.

Finn's tag reads, "Walking in Honor of my brother Cale" and when we got home he was adamant about wearing it, so Miles put it on his pajamas and he slept with it on. Then when he woke up he asked me to put it on the shirt he wore today. I know he doesn't get the significance of it, but it tugged at my heart nonetheless.

I'm grateful this event took place and we were able to attend. We will also participate in the Wave of Light on October 15th. I invite you all to light a candle with us at 7pm that day (or anytime) in honor of all babies who are gone, but never ever forgotten.


October 7, 2014

We've Moved. Again.

When we moved to Savannah five months ago we moved into a rental house knowing that we would be keeping an eye out for a home to buy. Even though we will only be here a couple more years, it's a good rental market (knock on wood), so we decided we would buy a home if we found one we liked enough. And we did and we were all set to close, and the night before closing we found mold around the vents in one of the rooms. This was understandably frustrating for the sellers, but for us as well as Miles' had some time off work that was coming to an end, our rental lease was soon to expire, utilities transfers had already been set up, oh and our home looked like this:

But mold is scary and we weren't going to mess around with it so we delayed closing for a week pending the results of a mold test. The AC guy had come out and said he was confident it was a problem with poor insulation around the vents. They cleaned and fixed it and we waited for the results of the mold inspection to come in. In the meantime, the rate we had locked in for the home loan expired on the original date of closing, so to extend it a week, we had to suck down $75 a day. In the long run, that's the end of the world and well worth it to ensure we get the lower rate (as they have since gone up) but was still another frustrating factor in an already frustrating situation.

Fortunately the results of the inspection were good and no mold was found anywhere else in the house, so this past Friday morning we closed on the home and promptly proceeded to pick up a UHaul and begin moving in to our new home:

My in laws were in town for a bit which was a huge help, but Miles had to return to work today so the productively level has dropped significantly. I love the new neighborhood and while I'm very, very happy with the home, the interior does need some work. Nothing significant, but it needs paint pretty much everywhere and after spending two days to paint the family room we now are searching for reasonably priced painters to just come in and do it for us. I seriously thought that I would just paint it all myself room by room, but after doing one room I was singing a different tune. It went from, "oh it won't be that bad - I'll just take my time" to "OH MY GAWD my hand is cramping and I still have one more coat to go, I will pay someone a MILLION DOLLARS to do this!" I still will do a few (smaller) rooms, but am happy to hire out the bulk of the work!

Sneak Peek of my new Sea Salt walls
(with the sun coming in through the windows - I swear they don't look blotchy in person -
 they look pretty and happy and most importantly done!)

 We also have plans to rip up the carpet in the family room and stairs and extend the hard wood floors, add a pergola to the back and brick in a larger patio, and maybe create a faux wainscoting look in the dinning room. We shall see, but I'm excited to go all Young House Love on this home. Which reminds me - I also want to paint the front door. Miles vetoed red, but I also like mustard yellow, a fun blue/aqua, or maybe salmon? Miles thinks it's fine as is and I think it's cute when he thinks his opinion on such things matter.

So that's what we've been up to of late. It's total chaos and has made for some really long days (I went grocery shopping at midnight the other night!), but we are gradually working out way out of the mess: