March 28, 2016

Easter 2016

Having multiple events leading up to Easter provided the kids plenty of opportunities to practice their refusal to take even one nice picture so when Easter rolled around they were pros at ruining all photo ops. Well done kids, well done. Your father has taught you well.

Last weekend our neighborhood had an Easter Egg hunt which was so cute and a reminder to me how much I love this neighborhood - such a kind and fun little community. The kids ran around and picked up eggs and then some eggs had prize tags in them and they got to go pick out toys (that they definitely did not need). They both went home with little wooden train sets that fit with the one we already have (plenty of). 

Literally the cutest picture of the 20 I took
Her double chin delight kills me
Why oh WHY do we ask them to say "cheeeeese"?!
Finn got to have an Easter Egg hunt at his school and the same day we did our hunt for Stroller Strong Moms so Mary got many more treats. Instead of running around collecting eggs and putting them in her basket, she would pick up one, open it to get to the treat, eat or attempt to eat said treat, and then go to the next egg.

Miles is away at a course right now and won't be back for a few weeks so yesterday I decided to be brave and take the kids to church by myself. We went to later mass (because bless their hearts they slept in until 8:30!) and it poured while driving around looking for a spot, but fortunately stopped when I parked a few blocks away. I brought an umbrella just in case and am glad I did because it started pouring again just as church ended. Super. Carrying Mary in one arm and the umbrella in the other while trying to keep Finn close and hop over puddle after puddle made for a miserable trek back to the car. I stopped at one point to just rest my arm (Meatball gets heavy after a little bit!) and hope that the rain would subside. It didn't and we just got soaked.

Perfect. Just what I was going for.
Again, nailed it. Thanks, kids.

We found baskets after church and had Easter dinner with some friends so it still ended up being an enjoyable day. And now that Lent is over I can be reunited with my holy place, Target, and go stock up on clearance Easter candy!

March 18, 2016

St. Patrick's Day 2016

This year for the St. Patrick's festivities Miles and I got to squeeze in a date the day prior (before downtown becomes a total zoo), we attended the parade with my dear friend Deborah and her kids who were visiting, and the weather was perfect for a parade - overcast, but very pleasant. As always the city goes a little crazy, but we managed to bring five kids (five and under) downtown and not lose any of them or lose our minds. Victory! It helped that Miles didn't have to march in this year's parade (though I was nostalgic for the tradition of getting to find your Soldier and go lay a big red smooch on him), but it was nice to have him with us as we watched the parade and corralled children. Other than Miles not marching, it was very similar to last year; we wore the same shirts, Finn included, Mary stuffed her face with food the whole time, and despite it being a good time, we were all tired and ready to go home before the parade even ended.

I know it's an Irish holiday and all, but there's something so very American about this.
Beer, Clydesdales, Baby, Parade. Merica.
Our good friend Craig marching his company in the parade.
Mary is sitting on the lap of our close friend Michelle who Mary basically prefers to anyone.


March 10, 2016

Camping 101

Miles took Finn camping this past weekend. And by "took" I mean took him to our backyard. We figured it would be a good way to test the waters - if Finn got scared or it didn't pan out, then the living room was nice and close for an alternate campsite.

Miles set up the tent in the morning and Finn was so excited as we had been talking about it a few days prior. Due to some ran and a lingering cough Finn had we postponed a couple more days, so when the timing finally worked out he couldn't wait. He literally was so excited he couldn't nap. The only other time he skipped a nap out of impending excitement was right after he turned three and we told him we would be seeing fireworks the night of the 4th of July. 

Miles went out to the store to get a few things for a camping themed dinner and also picked up a cheap sleeping bag for Finn.  

Worth the $12!
We borrowed a fire pit from a neighbor and had some friends over for campfire hotdogs (and a salad and some other side dishes) and then we roasted s'mores. 

Finn can be picky with desserts (read, he doesn't like many! I may need to do DNA testing)
but I was happy he at least ate half his s'more. And happy I got to eat the other half.

When night came they laid mats and a blanket down, then slept in sleeping backs with another blanket on top. It did get down into the mid 40's, but they stayed warm and lasted outside all night! Mary and I slept comfortably inside in our beds.

Digger, Snuggle Monkey, and Turtle Light all joined the boys in the tent.
A check mark on the list of broken dreams

March 4, 2016

Daren Should Be Turning 30 Today

I could have seen him having a wild and borderline crazy night tonight to celebrate his 30th. The kind full of lots of laughter and booze and stories for years to come. The types of stories we do get to remember from the almost 25 years we got with him. My sister made a comment that she "loves the memories she has of him" and I think everyone who knew he could agree with that. Daren was just fun. He was goofy and childish and thoughtful and wonderful and we just miss him.

Last night as I was snuggling with Finn we talked about how we would go out to eat for Uncle Daren's birthday. The conversation went like this:

Me: I wish you could have met Uncle Daren. I think you would have really liked him.
Finn: But I like Cale the most, I miss him.
Me: Yeah, I miss them both.
Finn: How did Uncle Daren die?
Me: Well, he was fighting bad guys and there was an explosion and he got hurt.
Finn: He got hurt and he died?
Me: That's right.
Finn: He was fighting bad guys? Is Uncle Daren a Superhero?
Me: Sort of sweetie, he's our hero.
Finn: But I should fight the bad guys because I have powers and he didn't have my powers so I should just fight the bad guys.

. . . . . . .

On the way to dinner tonight Finn said, "We should get balloons and send them up to the sky, way, way up to Uncle Daren." But lest you think he's nothing but sweet two nights ago he said, "we can make Uncle Daren a birthday pie and then eat it ALL because he died!" Miles and I couldn't stop laughing. He said it in a way to suggest that because Daren died we would all get more pie! It was so messed up, yet sorta sweet, but mostly just really, really funny.

Daren's favorite meal has been remembered to have been chicken fingers. I'm not sure if this was his favorite meal as a child, but wouldn't have been surprised if it was also a favorite into his adult years. Nonetheless, we all seem to eat chicken fingers on his birthday, drink a beer, and give him a toast. We had dinner with some good friends tonight who brought some delicious cupcakes for an after dinner birthday treat. Mary took it very seriously.

. . . . . .

Our good friend Kyle is currently teaching at West Point. Kyle, who also has a birthday today, took his four year old son out to visit Daren. He left him a beer and slice of cake (in the picture above) and sent us this video. 

Means a lot to have these friends who help remember and celebrate him. I hope he's feeling our love today on his 30th birthday.