Monday, December 31, 2007

So. Over. It.

That's right. I am officially sick of all these holidays now. Down with the tree! Down with the lights that worked for about a week and then decided to malfunction for the actual Christmas Day! Down with yummy-but-nasty food I can't seem to stop eating no matter how mucch I throw out! Out with the music! Out with the wrapping paper I always buy too much of then have to shuffle around for approximately 340 days! BAH!!! and ACK!!!

I think this has something to do with how we are forced to spend at least a quarter of the year preparing for this holiday - it's everywhere, seriously, I saw Christmas trees up in September this year - and by the time its all over I've just had ENOUGH.

Resolutions? I have some. Part of me wants to share them here, but I'm afraid I won't do them and then everybody will ask me about them every time they see me. But if I do post them? I'll be more likely to actually DO them.
It's a Catch-22, people.

So instead, I'll list some things I'm hoping will happen in the near future. Am I resolved for them to happen? Sure.

1.) Getting rid of more of my fat clothes and surpassing that benchmark I'm THIS CLOSE to passing.

2.) THIS

3.) Have a Pants Man in the house!! And then Finn too... (heh heh)

4.) Joining the Community Supported Agriculture program through Doe Run Farms.

5.) Keeping a personal book log to better track the books I read in 2008. ("Have I read that?" "Didn't I read that already??" "Didn't I hate that one?")

6.) Mating these socks.

The male sock lurks patiently in the grasses of the African plains in wait for the elusive female...

7.) Going here in May!! (reward for #1)

8.) Letting things go more often and stop being so adversarial. Yeah, you heard me! What?! Don't think I can do it??!! HUH!!??
You know what? I can't single-handedly change my workplace, or the state of the world. What I CAN do is focus more on my personal life and my family. Start at home. Live greener. Garden more. Excercise. I think if I can do that the other things would come naturally. And the job? Backing off and re-prioritizing. Not everything I do there has to change the world.
chill out

9.) Painting the kitchen. OK... getting Caleb to paint the kitchen... again.

Seriously, who picks this blue for their kitchen? What was I thinking?? Apoligies if this is the color of your kitchen too.

So I guess I did end up posting some rezzies. Just don't mention them for a while...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Christmas at Hotwheel Hacienda was wonderful! This was the first year Finn got the Santa thing and Eli had so much fun opening presents and seeing all the family. Caleb and I had to really plan ahead to fit in all the visits and still have a stress-free holiday, but we did it pretty well. We also tried to focus more on spending time with family and friends than worshipping at the feet of the needless consumerism that is so easy to get caught up in. I think this will get harder as the boys get older and get the "I wannas", but hopefully we're setting a precedent.

Needless to say, I ate waaayyyy too much junk the past week and am now trying to asess the damage wrought by mass quantities of sausage balls, green rice casserole, homemade chex mix, and many units of festive drinks! Sorry we didn't send out cards this year - I couldn't manage to get a good photo and then I just ran out of time. Think of it as one less card you have to toss now that Christmas is over!

Steph & Caleb: Taken at Grandmother & Grandaddy's house after a huge dinner...

Eli and his puppy eyes
This is what he does every time he wants someone, usually a female, to pay attention to him. The boy is a FLIRT.

Santa brought Spiderman!
Aunt Sam got this last year and it was a bit big so I stashed it in the closet for later. When I was fumbling for the wrapping paper this year, it was re-discovered and has been the HIT of Christmas morning. Seriously... she got it for like 75% off after Halloween.

To see all our holiday photos, visit our Flickr albums by clicking here.

Finally, I know Christmas is over, but I saw this over at Major Bedhead and had to post it. It made me laugh.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Publix Rocks Part II

Remember the Publix story I told you about the pirate cake and Finn's birthday? (see "Birthday Boy" post below.)
I just got a Christmas card from that same manager with a $10 gift card.

I kid you not. Un.believable. I heart Publix!!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Got Elfed!

And so can you!

Santa's Village ROCKS!

The Walkers
Originally uploaded by BookMamma
Our very first family photo was at Santa's Village this past week. Finn & Eli meet Santa and make nails for his sleigh... see it all here at our Flickr photos.
Happy Holidays!

That Crazy Lady in the Bakery...

... is me.

You know, the one who is staring daggers into the eyes of the three year old clutching a cookie. I LOVE DaMamma's blog, and her post here, at The Parenting Post is right on.

I'm a manners freak, and I'll push the issue with Finn and Eli until the point is made and a "thank you" is heard. Thankfully, they both take to it well and reciprocate almost every time. But for every battle chosen there is one forfeited, and a few weeks ago I had to let a BIG one go. My friend Lauren gave me permission, and since then life has been 110% better here at Hotwheel Hacienda. We are no longer pushing the potty issue. Finn knows I can't force him to do it and it was a complete power struggle at that point. So, after much thought and guilt and lost sleep, I let it go. Dr. Rosemond would string me up, but its all I know to do for now.

So which battles do you choose when we can't choose them all?

Monday, December 17, 2007

'Tis the Season for Madness

Whew! Because I am crazy we thought it would be a good idea to host two back-to-back Christmas gatherings at our house this past weekend. We had the tile & grout cleaned by a pro, the carpets done, the sofa and loveseat cleaned AND the stairwell. I can't tell you how incredibly satisfying it was to have everything so GLEAMING clean! Now I have to figure out how to keep it this way... HA!
Friday found us with 11 of our friends and a full Christmas dinner complete with turducken. Saturday my family came over with all the kids and we did the Farrow Christmas. Much fun was had by all and now we have all this week to just chill out and enjoy our winter break.
The boys are feeling much better now, even though the antibiodics gave Eli a wicked rash. We're still doing the nebulizer for his asthma but I think even that will stop soon. This week we go visit Santa himself... should be interesting!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy
Originally uploaded by stepheniew9
Finn turned three last Saturday and we celebrated with friends and family at JumpZone. An awesome pirate cake was involved... click the photo to go to our Flickr albums.

The day started out pretty good despite the cough both boys had developed. Caleb went to pick up the pirate cake we'd been talking up for a whole month and Finn was SO excited about it. He went to the Publix bakery around 10am, picked it up, and drove home without incident - or so we thought. The cake is really big with two levels for the pirate ship. When we opened the box to take a look, the weight of the top deck had pulled away from the rest of the cake, resulting in a split right down the middle. I was distraught, but called Publix to see what we could do. The nice lady in the bakery said she knew we could bring it back and they could fix it, but... wait a minute... let her manager talk to me. I spoke with the manager who insisted they make a whole new cake in 2 hours and DELIVER IT PERSONALLY to our party site. And that's what they did. I couldn't believe they would do that! I always loved to shop at Publix becasue of the little things: the pretty petit fors they did for Finn's Christening, the friendly people, the butcher who always grinds my chicken for me, how they give the boys cookies in the bakery, and the pep talk their regional manager gave the library one year at Staff Development Day. But now I will sing the Publix praises to anyone who will listen.

When we arrived at JumpZone there was a fire truck outside and the building had been evacuated. "Just a fire drill" the staff told us so we piled all our party stuff on the sidewalk and waited it out. The kids enjoyed the fire truck so it wasn't a big deal. A few minutes later we all went back in, dropped our stuff off to be set up in the party room, and proceeded to jump our ittle hearts out. Until five minutes later, when they had another fire drill. Again, with the evacuating and the waiting. The fire truck wasn't so great this time, and it wass hard to explain to Finn why we had to put our shoes back on a go outside for no apparent reason. By now we were 30 minutes into our party time and had only been able to play for 5 minutes. The whole party was 1 hour, 45 minutes including cake and gift time. I felt bad for the staff becaause there had to be at least 5 birthday parties going on that day and there were some mad parents, but it actually worked out for us since some of our guest couldn't come until later anyway. Sliding and jumping commenced, pirate cake & ice cream were eaten, and friends were played with.
JumpZone was a bit pricey, but in the end totally worth it to not have to clean my house and have the party there. Plus you got a "party coordinator" that set up everything for you in a private room, sliced cake, cleaned up, and managed the crowd so you could enjoy your kid's birthday and talk with everybody. There were no giant rats or tokens to contend with and all the kids got to really play hard, hopefully to crash hard later when they got home. Finn really enjoyed it, especially the pirate cake!

And my oldest boy is a little older...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

And Then He Was Three

Yesterday we celebrated Finn's third birthday a few weeks early (his actual birthday is Dec.23 but who's going to come to a party two days before Christmas? Who wants to THROW a party two days before Christmas??). I'll post more about that later, but suffice to say it was wild.

Two was a manic year. Finn would bounce from being sweet and affectionate to unreasonable and a puddle of tears in 2.5 seconds. Some times we could predict the mood swings, but most times we just had to be content to ride the wave of manic-ness until he switched gears... what else could we do? Punish him? Threaten him? Talk him out of it? None of that ever worked - we tried it all. Sometimes being a good parent, or at least the best you can be, is knowing when to back away from your small battles in order to help your kid win the war with himself. I rely alot on the fabulous Parenting Center the public library has. Currently, books on my night stand include:

I Refuse to Raise a Brat: Straightforward Advice on Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence by Marilu Henner

Whining: 3 Steps to Stop it Before the Tears & Tantrums Start by Audrey Ricker

How to Make Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Kevin Lehman

Outwitting Toddlers: The Parents' Guide to Getting Your One-to-Four-Year-Old to Do What You Want without Bribes, Threats or Tears by Bill Adler

I highly recommend any of these. I actually read MANY more but they seemed to work for us the best.

I'm a little worried about what Three will bring and how we're going to handle it when the "unpleasantness" rears its head. So far its just been about timing and ungodly amounts of patience from Caleb and I, which is a weak point of mine that I need to work on anyway. If any of you have advice I'd love to hear it.

Until then, I'll just keep a close watch on the new books ccoming through and pray to the gods of Diego that we're doing the right things.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Signs We are Watching Too Many Christmas Specials

When I was little, my sisters and I lived for the Christmas Specials that began right after Thanksgiving. I can still see that spinning ABC logo accompanied by the tribal-like drum track - this signalled the start of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or "Frosty the Snowman" or "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer". My favorite was the Garfield Christmas cartoon, where Garfield eats lots of lasagna and spends the holidays with Jon's family.

I've been excited to share these with Finn this year so I was super-thrilled to see ABC's "25 Days of Christmas" on TV.

I think we overdid it.

Finn normally doesn't watch things with commercials (whenever possible) because he wants to play with all the toys the advertisers gratuitously plug in between Charlie Brown's nostalgic soundtrack and The Little Drummer Boy's quest for the perfect gift. We have Tifaux, so I can't edit out the ads. He wants it ALL. Not greed, just typical 3 year old mentality.

And last night, when I was tucking him into bed, he said, "Mamma?" all sweet and sleepy-like... "Mamma? Merry Chrissmass Mamma." That's where it would fade to black and the credits would roll.

My son, the drama king.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Conversation with Finn

A typical conversation with Finn in the car:

Him: Mama?

Me: Yes?

Him: Mama.

Me: Yes, Finn?

Him: Maammmmaaaa.

Me: FFffffiiiiinnnnn.

Him: (giggling) Mama.

Me: WHAT??

Him: You a ROCK.

Me: I'm not a rock, I'm Mama.

Him: You not Mama. You a.... PUNKIN.

Me: I'm not a punkin. YOU'RE a pumpkin.

Him: Mama?

Me: Yes, Finn?

Him: Mamma... Are you sad?

Me: No, I'm not sad. Are you sad?

Him: Yesh, I sad. I wanna watch a movie. I watch Wild Things. (Sendak, NOT that skanky movie with Denise Richards)

Me: Well, you see, we're in the car. We can't watch movies in the car.

Finn: Oh. Okay. insert 1 minute pause here. Mama?

Me: Finn?

Him: Maaaammmmaaaaa....

Me: Yes?

Him: I wanna look at Chrissmas lights. I waana walk.

Me: Well, the trouble with that is its daytime and the sun is shining. We can see Christmas lights when its dark and the moon comes out.

Him: Oh. Okay. insert 10 second pause here. Mama?

Me: For the love of Pete, Finn, WHAT?

Him: You a PIRATE!!! giggles like a maniac

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Turkey Day Photos

Originally uploaded by stepheniew9
The afore-mentioned Thanksgiving photos at Aunt Lynda's house. feel free to look around and comment on the ones you like!

Click the photo to head to our online albums.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Santa's Local Connection

Ok Hunstvegas Parents -

I'm passing along a great way to get a letter from Santa to your rugrats... I do this every year and it is fabulous. For a mere $5 per letter Santa will write to your kid AND send him/her magic reindeer food. He'll reference an accomplishment your child did that year and tal about a toy that is guaranteed to make it under their tree.

The best part? It's all for a good cause and you can get warm fuzzies about that.

Go to:
United Cerebral Palsy's Letters from Santa

Thanksgiving was great. I'll post photos and stuff after I renew my Flickr account.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blessed Be We

Things I give thanks for:

- that the first thing Finn does when he wakes up now is look for his little brother.

- for DVR and its ablity to hold all my episodes of Heroes & The Office, as well as a thousand hours of Little Bill, Batman, Blue's Clues, and The Corpse Bride (a favorite of Finn's we just can't erase).

- for Eli's healthy (ahem...) appetite.

- for Boys who actually have a bedtime, and usually stick to it.

- for Spanx.OK... let's be realistic. Assets.

- for curbside recycling & clotheslines!!

- for a great CDC we love.

- for Library cards with no limits and stoytimes seven times a week.

- for a compatible and exciting marriage.

- for small would-be victories in Iowa.

- that Finn will agree to just about anything if I say it in an excitable, sing-song tone.
Me: "Who wants to go home and take a long three hour nap?"

- for boots of all sorts. Here there be cowboy, pirate, Mommy's glamourous-but-comfy high heeled brown leather boots, and her witchy patent leather black ones.

- that we live in a free country, have a full pantry, a nice home, a huge & wonderful family, a good (gas-efficient!) car, amazing friends, good jobs - and the ability to know it could vanish so fast we have to enjoy every second of it all.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Escape Artist

Since he was 18 months old we had those doorknob covers on the inside of Finn's door to his room. We could get in, but he couldn't get out without our help. To some this may sound harsh, but it was much better than the alternative: Finn locking us out of his room while playing with the lock (not on purpose mind you) or having him roaming the house at 3:00 AM in the morning. And the stairwell is right by his door - I had terrible visions of him stumbling around all sleepy and falling down a whole flight of stairs tring to get to us. He always sleeps with the door to his room closed and we have never had any trouble with him opening the door right after he goes to bed.

So we took the knob covers off several months ago because he was getting old enough and is more skillfull getting around (he can walk that bannister like a gymnast and do perfect back-tuck dismount now). Until quite recently Finn has never tried to even open the door; conditioning had engrained that the door simply doesn't open without Mom or Dad on the other side...

No more.

The last few mornings we have been awakened to little boy morning breath in our faces and whispers of "I wake up - let's play!" at 6:00AM. Luckily we can buy a few extra minutes by sending him into Eli's room to climb into the crib and play with his brother. Eli thinks that's really cool and they wallow around in his bed for a while.

Until he learns how to get our of there too.
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Slow Transition

I know, I know. This transition from one page to another is taking me f-o-r-e-v-e-r.
The trouble is there are photos I really want to post but I need to update my Flickr account to get them all in and I just haven't done it yet. So I guess I'm just going to have to go ahead and make some entires in the meantime because the boys aren't getting any younger.

If you are a new friend to us, please know I'm using this venue as a baby book of sorts. This is where I'm keeping track of all the firsts and noteworthy items as Finn & Eli grow. So some of this will probably be VERY boring to you, but I'll try to keep it entertaining when possible.

To help me catch up, I'm going to do a few "Boy Briefs" (not the kind Michael Jackson likes...) and jump from one update to another as I think of them. Sooner or later I'll be able to do more cohesive posts, and hopefully they'll have pictures to go with them.

BOY BRIEFS for October/November

- Jesus & Bweakfast Part II
Last Sunday Finn wasn't going to let it rest. He wanted to try the wine at communion and nothing I could say or do would put him off. Joan, the sweet little lady who was serving that day, was fabulous. She went in to put the cup to Finn's lips and saw that bread-coated tongue wagging toward the wine. She pulled back. Went in for a second attempt. Pulled back. Finally she knew what had to be done, and quick-as-a-bunny gave Finn a pretty good sized gulp.
Finn looked shocked! He actually did very well... no sputtering or yelling "Eww Yuck!" or anything like that. Just some gasping on his part and he was satisfied. Needless to say I don't think he will be wanting more next time.

- Eli the Flirt
I have never seen a flirt like Eli. The boy goes out of his way to makes goo-goo eyes at any woman in close proximity. He plays peek-a-boo and pretends to be all shy just to look extra cute.
Where did he learn this trick??

- A Few of their Favorite Things
Likes and dislikes in this house change faster than you can say "What would you like for dinner?" This is my attempt to record the moment's preferences for posterity's sake...

Eli -
LIKES: raisin bread, cheese, bananas, applesauce, pizza, black olives, mandarin oranges, pancakes... just about any and all food!! Johnny Cash, bluegrass, OCMS, Jack Johnson, CCR; he will cut a rug to anything with a good beat and a guitar. Climbing the stairs, chasing Finn, wrestling with Daddy, bubble baths, blowing kisses, dancing, reading books.
DISLIKES: late sleepers, MIA pacifyers, mosquito bites

Finn -
LIKES: grilled cheese sandwiches, goldfish soup, apples (he eats at least one every day), Smarties & Butterfingers were his favorite Halloween candy, chocolate milk, Happy Meals on occasion, pancakes, cheese, the smell of coffee, Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness, all things Halloween, pirates, Batman, going to visit grandparents, boots; both the cowboy type and the pirate type, crazy hats, identifying shapes, and finding things to "show Ms. Margie". Singing Sweetly Sings the Donkey, getting his back tickled (or his arm or his face), potty treats, watching Little Bill.
DISLIKES: all the above things on any given day.

- A Man of Few Words
Eli is 16 momths old, and, like his brother before him, only has a few words in his bag of tricks.
"I did it"
"Yesh" (yes)
"Dat?" (What's that?)
... and the newly-founded "Stop dat!" when Mommy was singing in the car on the way home. (sigh)

- Halloween? Rocked.
Thanks to Aunt Teresa, Eli had a fabulous costume. He was the Parrot to Finn's Pirate ("aaarrrrggg matey!") and actually looked just like a giant mutant parrot on people's porches during trick-or-treating. Finn had a blast and really got into this year, practicing on us at home saying "T.O.T." and "thank you". He did the whole thing in character, and loved his costume. Eli was asleep on Caleb 30 minutes into the process and made it an early night. Finn could have went on for hours. He still hasn't figured out Halloween is over and keeps taling about pumpkins, and witches, and ghosts. He is already thinking about what to be next time... so far he will be going as somne sort of crazy schizophrenic ghost/skeleton/Batman/pumpkin/scarecrow/tinman (he saw the Wizard of Oz last week).
Can you do that Teresa??

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Eli's a Rock Star

Eli's a Rock Star
Originally uploaded by stepheniew9
More photos coming soon, but in the meantime... Eli wants YOU to bookmark this page!

So Let's Try this Again...

Hey there! It's been a while and some of you have wondered what's going on with our site. Ready for a little background story? Here goes...

Two and a half years ago when our first son was born we received a subscription to a babysite that allowed us to keep an online baby book of sorts. We've enjoyed sharing photos and journal entries of both our boys, Finn & Eliot, especially those of you who aren't as close geographically as we'd like you to be. I'm trying to phase out that babysite and transition everything to this site (don't worry - we saved everything from the old site!) and I hope you will still check in from time to time to see what we're up to.

I'm keeping this site public - hopefully there won't be any problems with that - but you won't be getting the email updates like you once were receiving everytime we added things to the site. It will be up to you to check back often so bookmark us! And don't forget to leave your comments!

It will be a bit different, so please hang with me as I learn the ins and outs of Blogger and flickr. Of course, I can only do this when the boys are sleeping peacefully like the angels you all know they are (ha!).

So, welcome. Have some coffee (it's plentiful around here). Scoot that load of laundry off the couch. And for pete's sake, mind those hordes of Hotwheels lurking around every corner...
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