December 30, 2014

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Birthday Party(ies)

When I was pregnant with Mary my sister in law threw a lovely surprise brunch and gave me a cute set of newborn rainbow legwarmers. When Mary was born I decided I would take her monthly pictures in those (as well as two other monthly pictures I'll share later) and then she could have a rainbow themed first birthday!

A Rainbow Baby is the name given to a child born after a loss - the beauty and hope of a rainbow doesn't negate the storm that ensued and still lingers. And while I will always think of Finley as our rainbow baby in that sense, I also find the term fitting for any child born post loss.

Mary's actual birthday fell on a Tuesday. Her birthday brunch would take place the following weekend, but I wanted to do something special on her actual birthday as well, so I made a sprinkle funfetti cake and had two friends over as we celebrated our one year old. We got a most special Skype call from Miles and he was able to join us as we sang happy birthday and watched Mary devour her (small slice of) cake.

Then for her "party" I hosted a small "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" themed brunch. My mom came in to town as well as my Aunt and Uncle and several local friends. I ordered a rainbow decorated cake and cupcake from Whole Foods, and wouldn't ya know it - the Meatball had NO interest in her cupcake. Truth be told, I didn't think the cake was that great either. So maybe I should stick to boxed cake mixes from now on! A local friend made Mary's shirt and I ordered the little rainbow hair clip off ETSY.

I'm really pleased with how it all came together as I did far less planning and prep than I did for Finn's first birthday, but birthdays, especially first birthdays, are just so special, and I didn't want Mary's to feel any less significant. She already will have to compete with Christmas and the busyness of the holidays, so I'm especially grateful for all those who helped us celebrate her - both near and afar.

Ok, I think that was rainbow picture overload. So in closing, I'll leave you with these. It's a good things those balloons finally deflated or I would have kept taking pictures of her.


December 25, 2014

Christmas Morning in (mostly) Pictures

Last night we baked cookies for Santa which kept us up a bit past our normal bed times, but that ended up being a blessing in disguise as Finn didn't wake up until 8:30 this morning and Mary slept until 9:00 - a Christmas miracle!

When Finn woke up, I went in snuggled in bed with him for a bit. He asked me if Santa was here and I told him he came last night. He asked if he was still here and if he was downstairs and I said, "No, honey - he came last night, and then had to go to all the other houses." I guess in our conversations about Santa coming, we failed to mentioned that he would not be staying. And I think sweet little Finn sort of expected to see Santa in his family room ready to play with him or something.

We then went downstairs and Finn was thrilled to see all the presents under the tree. My parents are in town visiting and kept commenting how impressed they were with Finn's patience, but warned me it would not be like this every year! We waited until Mary was up, I subjected them to a few obligatory Christmas pictures, and we all ate breakfast before we opened gifts, but then it certainly was game on for that little boy.

So without further ado, our Christmas morning in pictures . . .
This is why we try to stick to the four gift idea. Because grandparents CANNOT be reeled in.
These balloons have lasted since Mary's birthday brunch on SUNDAY.
So, Happy Birthday, Jesus!
I mean really, where does one even begin?
Why we begin with mandatory pajama pictures! 
Which is good as shortly after these were taken Finn went upstairs to change.
I, on the other hand, am still in my pajamas. It's 4pm.
Enough pictures, let's check out the loot!
This was our morning - Finn enthusiastically tearing in to every gift and
Mary enthusiastically playing with wrapping paper.
Finn got a digger from Grandma and Grandpa Hidalgo, and even though
I told him it was from Grandma and Grandpa he has said it's from Santa and
I'm just gonna roll with that. 
Truth be told I think Pop may be just as excited about the digger.

Cute little plate Finn made at school
It really was a mostly great morning. Miles couldn't be with us this Christmas though, so that certainly made it a little bittersweet. However, he still managed to do a great job in the gift giving department. He got Finn a Monster Truck (one of his requests to Santa), got Mary her first diamonds (a sweet little pair of earrings we will save until she gets her ears pierced), and got me a massage (and also a break from the kids - a twofer!). And while I'm thrilled to get to experience the holidays with these great kids, I catch myself looking at the candle flickering near Cale's stocking and can't help but think of the 4.5 year old not with us.

If you are reading this and missing someone, please know they are loved and missed and I hope today was as gentle and peaceful as it could be. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.


December 23, 2014

Conversation with The Claus

Last week my friend Michelle and I took the kids to see Santa. We went right after Finn got out of school, which worked out great as going at an off time during the week prevented us from standing in a long line (or any line for that matter) and enabled Finn to have a longer encounter with Santa than I suspect he would have otherwise. We went to Bass Pro Shop and I definitely will go back (this isn't a plug for them, we just had a good experience so I wanted to share - which I suppose is a plug, it's just that I'm not getting compensated for this - though that would be sweet if I was). I digress. . .

Yes, so anyway Santa. I called to make sure this Santa had a real beard, non of that cheap fake beard nonsense for my kids - this made up person we lie to our kids about better be authentic, damn it! Finn was really excited about getting to see Santa old me all the things he would say - "I will tell Santa I've been a good listener" (debatable) and "I will tell Santa I want presents!" But I wasn't sure if he would get stage fright or be nervous when he actually met the big guy.

When the time came Finn walked in the store very excited and while he didn't shy away from walking up to Santa or being placed on his lap, he did get more quiet and you could tell he was a little starstruck. Mary, like any good baby, cried the second she sat on Santa's lap. They snapped a couple (for free!) pictures, and then I grabbed Mary and Finn proceeded to have a nice little conversation with The Claus:

Santa: What would you like for Christmas?
Finn: Presents
Santa: What kind of presents? Do you like cars or trucks?
Finn: Cars. And trucks. And a monster truck. And a digger.
Mom: Finn, have you been a good boy?
Finn (turning to Santa): I've been good. I've been a good listener
Santa: Oh that's good, I'm glad to hear that
Mom: Ok, Finn please tell Santa good luck as he has a very busy schedule coming up
Finn: Good luck, Santa
Santa: Thank you, I will need it! Can I get a high five?
(Finn gives high five and we leave)

We then walked back to the car where I recorded this. It cracks me up the way he says "Santa" like "no big deal, I just met a celebrity, whatevs."


December 19, 2014

Holiday Perfection

I sometimes think I'm guilty of posting and sharing pictures of only the cute and fun - like when Finn is comforting Mary when she cries (like he did today), instead of also sharing the not cute and not fun - like when Finn threw himself on the floor with big crocodile tears because I walked down the stairs before him (like he did today).

So, let me tell you about my day.

It started off as most days do in that we were running late. Finn's class was decorating gingerbread houses today and invited all the parents. So  I didn't even have to pack his lunch as it would be provided, and yet I still couldn't get out the door on time. Part of our delay was due to the sippy cup  I found stashed in the cabinet we keep the water bottles and as I opened it pleading, "please be water, please be water" I discovered that it was not water, but rather milk. Chunky, curdling, milk. I literally was gagging putting in the sink (to deal with later), and thinking I should have just thrown it away. Because we were already late, Mary left the house in her jammies and we headed to drop Finn off at school. Afterwards, I went to the park to workout (and change Mary in to some normal clothes) allowing just a smidge of time between my workout and when I would need to be back at school for Finn's party. That smidge of time did not allow for me to go home and shower, but hey, that's what deodorants for, right?

When I get to Finn's school (on time! with the juice boxes I signed up to bring!) I was the only parent who brought another child, and probably the only who who hadn't showered. I don't think the workout clothes gave off the "active" mom vibe, but more of a "hot mess" vibe. Whatever.

After a story they had lunch which was pizza and my child couldn't be bothered to eat all of his, so I ate the rest - again, probably the only one who ate their kids' leftovers, but in his defense it wasn't that great and I realized that it was from Whole Foods and therefore probably a gluten and dairy free pizza or something.

Then it was time to decorate gingerbread houses and here's what I've discovered - teachers wait to do this activity on the last day of school so they can invite the parents for some "holiday fun" but really, I think the teachers know that it's a total pain in the ass and we are just going to up the dollar amount on the Starbucks gift cards we gift them because they are the ones who have to do these crafts every week with the kids - and not just your kid, but all the other little messy, snotty, germ factory kids who are in the same class.

I only had to worry about helping Finn decorate his house, and it made me want to day drink. Mary was losing her mind in ergo, but also would not let me put her down. I tried nursing her, but she wasn't interested, so while Finn was making what was undoubtedly the ugliest gingerbread house, I was psychotically rocking Mary back and forth telling Finn, "sure" when he asked if he could eat his 80th gummy bear.  The little girl across from Finn had both mommy and daddy there to help - daddy even put shingles on the roof of her gingerbread house - shingles! And her mom made sure she didn't get frosting on her adorable smocked Christmas dress with matching bow. Finn had frosting on his pants, hands, cheeks, and hair. Then there were the families taking pictures that I'm sure will get hashtaged at least three times with something horribly obnoxious and borderline pretentious like  #soblessed or #ilovechristmas.

As we left (all the while Mary was screaming) another mom handed me a cute, Pinteresty, Christmas goody from her son -  making me want to shout, "oh, come on!" but instead I smiled and thanked her and hustled out as fast as I could. I have no clue when she had the time to make them, but I'm willing to bet she won't go home to a curdled milk sippy cup in her sink. When we got to the car I had to wrestle Mary in to her carseat - that little meatball is strong! And I told Finn he could have the candy cane he shoved into his pocket before leaving.

Now we are home and the kids are napping and I'm thinking I should address the sippy cup situation, or maybe even shower, but will probably just eat some ugly gingerbread house instead.

Nailed it.

December 16, 2014

To Mary, On Your First Birthday

Dear Mary,

  In the hours before I would be induced with you, I rubbed my belly and talked to you. I said that I thought you were a girl, though didn't care either way - I just needed you to arrive safely. You kicked in reassurance that you were ok, and later that night, you arrived safe and sound and perfectly healthy.

You were born on a Monday, just like both your brothers and weighed right in the middle of their weights at 6 pounds and 12 ounces. You were beautiful and pudgy and had the most hair of any of our babies. Your brother Finley met you the following day. He knew all along that mommy was going to have a baby sister for him. He was gentle and loving with you, and a year later he still is. You are so lucky to have him and we are so glad you two have one another.

We got to bring you home the following night. Tuesday December 17th. A friend stayed with Finn who was already asleep and Daddy put Jackson Browne's "She's Got to Be Somebody's Baby"  on in the car. I will always think of you when I hear that song.

And then we were home. And our family became more complete and special because of you. We started to navigate life with more than one child - something we had dreamed of for a very long time. We readjusted to life with a newborn, and let the (wonderful) surprise of having a baby girl sink in -though I'm not entirely it has sunk in fully for your dad :)

Before you were even a month old your daddy had to deploy. He's gone again and while he is sad not to be here as you celebrate your first birthday, I hope that one day you grow up to be as proud of him as I am.

I hope you realize early how much your whole family loves you. Your brother is starting to get a little protective of his toys now that you are on the move, and will warn me when "Mary's playing with dat!" but he offers you a different toy instead, though you much prefer whatever he is playing with, or at the very least being near him while he plays.

He helps take care of you and comfort you and last night as I tucked him in to bed, he said he would always protect you so you don't get scared of monsters.

The other day in the car, you started to fuss and he simply said, "it's ok Mary, we are almost home." He tickles you and likes to feed you and my sincere hope is that you two always love one another the way you do now.

You crawl fast and are pulling up on things, but showing now signs of walking just yet and I'm ok with that. You've helped remind me that we all, babies especially, do things in our our own time. You love to eat, and have the most delicious chub to prove it.

Your nicknames are Meatball (because again - your thighs are the best), Puppy (because you always stick out your tongue and pant when you're excited), and MA (just like your Nana). You literally squeal with delight when I vacuum and try your best to catch it while it's moving.

In your first year you have lived in two states and three different houses. If Daddy stays in the military, you may as well get used to that! You rip your socks off constantly - even if it's cold out, and your hair gets awesomely curly when it's humid.

 You wake up happy most of the time (I wish I could say the same for your brother - or myself, for that matter!). You smile with your whole face and love to play peek-a-boo, love baths, and love to splash in Roscoe's water bowl, much to my chagrin.

You can no longer be bothered with diaper changes - making them a challenge for both of us, though I always win (much to your chagrin).

You eat with one foot propped up, enthusiastically welcoming each bite.

And you have the cutest curls on the side of your head, that I joke make you look like a Hasidic Jew.

I sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to you each night before bed, and every night you rest your head and your body against mine - giving me a few precious moments to soak you in before I put you down.

It has been an honor and a joy watching you grow. We love you so much and I sometimes still can't believe our good fortune that you are our baby girl.

I wish you many, many, many more healthy and happy years.

Happy Birthday, Mary Adelaide - I love you.



(if you're really in the sentimental mood, as I am, you can re-watch Mary's birth video here)


December 12, 2014

Family Pictures {Fall 2014}

Now that our Christmas cards are out, I wanted to share the family pictures we took in October before Miles went on an "extended business trip." We had them taken in Forsyth Park which is the biggest park in downtown Savannah. I'm there several times a week with my stroller gang (mommy workout group), and just love it. It has great playgrounds, a beautiful fountain, splash pad in the summer, a stage for various events, the prettiest trees and plants, oh and a Starbucks! Our pictures were taken by a young woman just starting her photography career. She had a great rate and didn't take long and managed to get several pictures I really love.

Smile, Mary!
Now Smile, Finn!