February 26, 2015

Tips For International Travel With Kids

*Apply for kids' passports well in advance, giving the agency time to deny your legitimate documentation

*Lose your mind with passport information line representatives. Repeat. Repeat again.

*Pay to expedite kids' passports and receive only five days before travel

*Limit items packed to only two suit cases, a diaper bag, two carry ones, two car seats, one pack n play, and one stroller

*Marry someone with big muscles

*Save money by taking longer flights which undoubtedly costs more in fuel and sanity

*Regret not spending more for shorter flight

*Let toddler binge watch Curious George

*Curse the WiFi Gods when you cannot download more Curious George

*Psychotically rock crying baby

*Drink a beer during layover or on airplane. Or both

*Definitely both

*Nurse crying baby every ten minutes for FIFTEEN HOURS

*Psychotically rock crying baby

*Pace airplane for half of flight

*Ignore crying baby

*Hope that everyone around you ignores crying baby

*Question why you even brought kids in the first place

*Question why you even had kids in the first place

*Ignore all above advice and just stay home

Girlfriend was ALL smiles the second we landed.
The rest of us were not.

February 20, 2015

Hidalgo Hero WOD

Four years ago today Miles' younger brother Daren was killed in Afghanistan. It's always hard to believe when another milestone comes and goes, another year without him. This morning to mark the anniversary of his passing I completed his Hero WOD, "Hidalgo," which was created by CrossFit headquarters as a way to pay tribute to the fallen. I've done this workout once before, and while both times I scaled back the weight (a lot), it still was a smoker of a workout!

Today's workout was done with the stroller group I exercise with, Stroller Strong Moms. I was really touched that they wanted to help us honor Daren and that so many participated despite the (literal) freezing temperatures we had this morning. I may have had snot frozen to my face during the run, but it felt good to do something for Daren.

Four years later and we miss him just the same. Four years later, we love him just the same.


February 17, 2015

"I aimed my penis down so pee wouldn't go EVERYWHERE" and other Finley quotes

The title of this post came after Finn went poop this morning and wanted to let me know that while doing so, pee did not go everywhere as it unfortunately did the other day! In the interest of TMI, he normally stands when he pees, but when he sits to take care of other business sometimes he forgets to aim down and then, well, we have a mess on our hands.

I've shared some of Finn's cute quotes in the past and try to write down when he says something funny/cute/insane as it's nearly impossible to remember if it isn't written down. Which is why I'm glad my friend Brandy told me about this Question and Answer book when it went on sale.

So almost every day (though I forget fairly often), I will ask Finn the questions in the book and record his answer. Some questions are a little hard for a three year old to understand so I'll skip them or try to reword it so he understands. Here are a few of my favorite so far:

Q: What are you excited about? (what makes you happy?)
A: Being a good listener makes me happy

Debatable, but he knows that when he's a good listener Mommy is happy!

Q: Which animal do you feel like today?
A: Giraffe because he's my favorite guy!

Q: Who helps you when you're sad
A: You do!

Q: Do you believe in aliens?
A: No. Spaceships. Just spaceships.

Q: I make a good friend because ____
A: I make a good friend because I don't hit people

Q: What have you done lately that you're proud of?
A: I'm proud of giving hugs to you

Q: What jobs look interesting to you?
A: I want to ride a digger

Q: What are you thankful for today?
A: I'm thankful for God

This one shocked me as most of the time when we pray at dinner he says he thanks God for diggers!

Q: Who is your hero?
A: My daddy

Some other  noteworthy quotes:

Sometimes I will tell Finn he can have/do something (when he's being good) and I'll say, "yes and you know why? Because I love you!" He's turned this to work in his favor. "Mommy I want lemonade because I love you!"

He had a gross poop the other day and proceeded to tell us his "butt is sick"

Upon finding a binkie after I put Mary to bed, "mom! I forgot to give this to Mary so she won't be sad!"


At three and a half this shark boot wearing, digger loving boy always has something entertaining to say and I just love getting to hear what it is.


February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

Obligatory Holiday picture overload (and outtakes):

 For stroller class I made S'Mores and for Finn's class at school I made the heart shaped crayons. Neither of which I can take credit for. Pinterest, man. It'll get ya.


February 10, 2015

DIY Woodworking Projects

Last year I casually mentioned to Miles that I wanted a sewing desk. I really liked this plan by Ana White and after the great job he did on little projects like Mary's shelves and big projects like Finn's bed, I knew he would be capable of building a desk. So he set out to do this as my anniversary gift last June and had it done within a week, if that. I stained the top, painted the bottom, and could not be happier with the result:

Only thing that would make the desk better is if it sewed for me

Then around the the time he built a ledge for our gallery wall, he decided he wanted to start a new project of his own design. So he built a cabinet from scratch and left the staining and/or painting up to me. I found this pin and really liked the look, so decided since I was happy with the TV stand I redid, I would attempt the same only with the more bold green color as shown in the pin. While painting the green was kinda scary with how intense it was and after I applied the stain, I wasn't super happy with the end result. I wanted it to look antiqued, but feel it's a little blotchier than I had hoped for. But it's growing on me and I added a cute little fabric liner for the drawer (which is mostly hidden under lots of clutter). Six months later, while I'm still not crazy about the color, I'm even less crazy about the idea of redoing it.
Cabinet looks better with pretty birthday flowers from my friends Julia and Jen

After we moved, I put the gallery ledge in the playroom and decided that I wanted three ledges in our family room. Only problem was my handyman had since deployed! So I gave myself a pep talk and decided to make them myself. I painted them white and had help hanging them on the studs in the wall. They are noticeably (in person at least) less impressive than the ones Miles made, but they do the job and I'm really happy with the display of pictures:

On display: Gallery ledges and cute fireman
And now the handyman is home and we have lots on the agenda past woodworking, although I do want a farmhouse style table and Miles wants to build a pergola out back. But we also are going to be putting a backsplash in the kitchen, ripping up some carpet in the family room and extending the wood floors. Welcome home, Miles - time to get to work!


February 3, 2015

Faces of Loss

A couple months after we lost Cale I heard about a website called Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. It was fairly new and created by a woman named Kristin who lost her first child, Stevie, at 26 weeks. She turned Stevie's loss in to something really remarkable by creating this space for other bereaved parents. I posted Cale's story in October of 2010, which can be seen here, and found comfort in the (far too large) community I never wanted to be a part of. Through Faces of Loss, I read Brandy's story about the loss of her son Andrew, I read about Julius and became friends with Tiffany, and through the site, and various blogs, I started to "meet" more and more baby loss moms. Some of whom I was lucky enough to meet in person and have since become good friends with. They became my tribe. The people I turned to (and still do) when I need to just talk, vent, cry, and have someone who can say I'm sorry, and also, I understand. I get it. Me too.

Cheryl Strayed says it best in that "The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you're talking about because she experienced the same thing too cannot be overestimated."

I cannot overestimate the importance of Faces of Loss in regards to my own grief and how grateful I am that Kristin created such a beautiful outlet for others to share their stories. I will never be fully healed, but there definitely is a great deal of healing power found within this community of bereaved families.

Over the years, Faces of Loss has published hundreds upon hundreds of stories of much wanted pregnancies and babies who are missed every single day, but sadly the site went dormant while the stories still poured in. Through the hard work of my friend Brandy (one of the very first friends I met through FOL), the website is out of its state of dormancy and active again. I'm working with the team who is editing and posting backlogged submissions and in the next few weeks we will be able to start posting new stories of loss which is absolutely the definition of brutiful. Because I wish we weren't posting so many stories and babies weren't dying and I wish pregnancies were thriving, but that's just not life, as much as I wish it were. Just last week I got a phone call about a local woman who was preparing to say goodbye to her first child. Life can be crazy beautiful, but it's also full of brutally heartbreaking stories, but as I said in Cale's Faces of Loss submission, these aren't just stories of loss, they are stories of love. I'm so glad there is a space where people can share their story and hopefully Faces of Loss can (once again) connect people who are searching for their tribe. 

If you are interested in sharing your baby(ies)'s story, please do so here. We would love to post it. You aren't alone.

Taken from my maternity pictures with Cale

The Faces of Loss Facebook Page can be found here.