Sunday, December 28, 2008

John Williams Is The Man

This is pretty impressive. My boys can't watch it enough...

If I had HALF the talent this guy has in his pinky toe the Hotwheel Hacienda would have it made.

Friday, December 26, 2008

December 26th - the Laziest Day EVER.

So why don't you take a look at out photos from the holidaze? (Click here.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from the Hotwheel Hacienda!

Rub-A-Dub-Dub... Two Santas in a Tub! 
So this ended up being our Christmas card.. if you chose D) None of the above on the card post you were right. This was shot #18 that finally made the card.

A few items for the baby book: Four and two years old is a great year for Christmas. Santa has caught on & was a pretty effective discipline tool when we needed it. Big items this year for Eli was a play kitchen and a police helmet. Finn was excited about his Ben 10 watch and his space shuttle (complete with alien). Right now we're watching Wall-E and playing with the new toys. 

I was proud of the boys - they helped gather up some of their gently used toys and we took them to Christmas Charities for "the boys & girls that Santa forgot". (Don't worry, we gave new toys too!) Finn got a little upset because he thought we were going to actually give the toys to the children & he would get to play with them - the kids, not the toys. 

We've enjoyed spending time with friends and family this holiday season. Hope you're enjoying yours! 

Monday, December 22, 2008

In Which Finn is Four

Mother, Mother, Ocean
I can hear you call.
Wanted to sail upon your waters
Since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all,
You've seen it all.

It has been four years since Finn has made his debut into this world. His impression upon it has been significant, especially the impact on mine & Caleb's lives. I like to think we're more thoughtful & relaxed people. The phrase "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" comes to mind, and if there was one thing I was good at B.F. (before Finn) it was making mountains out of mole hills.

The Story of Finn's Birth
Recorded here for posterity...

I am incredibly fortunate - pregnancy has not been a complicated condition for me. The first time was especially textbook-easy, and I felt great most of the time... until the last few weeks when I was miserable and ready to get the show on the road. My doctor started to ask questions about my options as Christmas crept closer and closer, despite the fact that I had included everything in my birth plan and all he had to do was refer to it. No - I didn't want to be induced if I could help it. Yes - I knew there was a chance I could be in the hospital for Christmas. I didn't care as long as the baby was healthy and things went as smooth as possible.

3 months

Finn's due date of December 19 came and went. We were trying everything from spicy food to exercise, but there was no action, no dilation, no effacement. We trekked from holiday party to party with the "Not Yet" face on. It was maddening.

Finally, I relented. My doctor was concerned if we didn't schedule an inducement there would literally be "no room at the inn" because of all the women scheduling to avoid holiday hospitalization. So we picked the evening of December 22nd to do the deed - my grandmother's birthday & anniversary were on the 23rd. The plan was to go in that night at 7:00 PM, start the medicine, and have a baby in the early morning hours.

Finn had other plans. I started having contractions on my own very early on the 22nd. They were manageable and I piddled around the house while Caleb finished up at work. By the time he got home they were getting much stronger, but I still didn't want to jump the gun. We put our suitcase in the car and went to get some dinner before the check-in time for my inducement. I knew I wouldn't be able to eat for a while and I wanted to be sure to keep my strength up, so we went to Chick-Filet. By now I wasn't feeling so hungry and my composure was shaky. I could barely eat through the contractions.

1st swim at 8 months

We got checked in after dinner and got settled into our room. Since I was only 2 cm dilated and 30% effaced I just had to wait. I wanted to go a little while longer before asking for the epidural since progress was so slow. My parents came by and "The Blues Brothers" was on TV. The contractions were coming so hard and fast I could barely converse with my mom, and I would thrash through them and all but fall asleep as they eased. Around midnight mom & dad left, I finally took the nurse up on her fifth offer to get the drugs. I was an immediate convert into the Church of Epidural. It felt like I had taken several shots of heavenly whiskey laced with brown sugar and I fell into a blissful sleep instantly.

I slept until a nurse woke me up around 4:30 AM to let me know the baby's heart rate had dropped a bit so they were easing up on the epidural. At 6:00 AM I could feel about 40% of what was happening and wanted to start pushing. My doctor thought it would be a while and then he LEFT TO DELIVER ANOTHER BABY. I labored for a while longer, somewhere in there my mom & sister came in, and I started to worry my doctor wouldn't come back in time. I really really really had to push, like NOW. The nurses ran to get him. It was 7:30 AM.

4-month old Finn & the Mayor

This part is still sharp in my mind: from 7:20 until he was born at 8:26 I pushed until my face turned beet red. I pushed until I was soaked with sweat. I pushed until Caleb told me to close my eyes because he was worried they'd pop out of my head. I was so tires I could barely see, but was bound and determined to work as hard as I could to get that baby out and into my arms. I was tired of waiting, and ready for that part to be over. It was all very movie-esque.

I won't record the freaky part here, but Finn was finally born. His breathing was labored and he had a temperature so I only got to see him for a moment before he was whisked away to the NICU for monitoring. Caleb and I were anxious, so he went upstairs with Finn while my mom & sister stayed with me & got my room switched to postpartum. Caleb later reported wondering which baby was crying so loud when he entered the NICU only to find it was his baby, and how he was able to give him a bath. I didn't get to see that part.

Franken-Finn's 1st Halloween

An hour goes by, then two, and I still hadn't officially held my son. Finn was finally discharged from the NICU and delivered to our room after he checked out fine, but he returned with a sack full of NICU goodies! It seems he learned how to work the system at an early age... there were pajamas, a knit blanket & hat, and a book - all donated to NICU babies by little old women. Score!

We all went home on Christmas Day, and it officially became the strangest Christmas EVER. One thing I wasn't prepared for was the mass exodus of hormones from my body the next few days. The car ride home stressed me out so much that all I could was break down and cry my eyes out for a few hours immediately afterward. I wasn't sad, I was just overwhelmed, and all that emotion had to get out of me ASAP.

So that was the beginning.

And now... POOF! Four years have flown by and I have a little man.

He's funny,

And has an appetite for life.

He's a great brother...

Nog Scogging

... and always on the lookout for an adventure or a good story.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the Official Birthday over popcorn and Madagascar 2 with good friends that Finn has had his whole life. And I will be a little bit sad.

But mainly I'll be wondering what the next few years have in store for my Jimmy-Buffett-loving, joke-and-story-telling, sugar-sensitive, independent, elephant-memoried, affectionate, Guitar-Hero-obsessed little boy.

And looking forward to them.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Girl Can Accessorize - Updated!

I was able to watch my two-month-old niece some this week & we've had fun. I like to put stuff on her head...

Santa Stevey

... and take pictures.

Stevey Models the Oven Mitt

And then I get to send her home! It's nice being an Aunt.


I actually won SuperMommy's awesome contest - I am now the proud recipient of an Envirosax set. (Merry Christmas to me!) I can't wait to hit Publix with these tucked underneath my arm. Oh, and I'll bet they'll come in handy toting presents to and from the Fam's holiday gatherings. And at the beach in the summertime. And double as a diaper bag / purse! And work tote! And library bag! The possibilities are endless. 
Thanks SuperMommy! You are my personal Santa Claus!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Being Held Hostage By Indiana Jones

Finn's small birthday party went well & the Indiana Jones cake was a hit. His actual day of birth is next week and we are planning on having a special day at the movies with these guys, so more birthday references to come. I finally uploaded the party photos here on Flickr, but this just about sums it up:

The Whip has been a coveted item for a while so he was happy to see it. The trouble is, Eli & Finn have been fighting like crazy over it, so much that Aunt Laura had to promise to get Eli one for Christmas. Because that's what we need... TWO WHIPS. (But seriously, thanks LB!)

Between The Whip, the Indiana Jones Mr. Potato Head, and the actual movie we just received from Netflix, I am pretty weary of hearing THIS SONG because they all three play it over and over and over:

As is stab-me-in-the-ear-just-so-I-don't-have-to-listen-to-it-again weary.

So I'm taking some time off over the next few weeks; I have tons of comp time & vacation that I need to use or my HR director will string me up. I've decided to focus on Eli's potty training skillz & see what progress we make. 

(Don't worry... I know you're intrigued & I'll be sure to post Potty Chronicle updates. So you can rest easy now.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday Countdown

He Made It!
Originally uploaded by BookMamma
T minus 19 hours and counting...

Finn's birthday is on the 23rd, but we have been celebrating it a week or so early - for obvious reasons. When he was born we toyed with the idea of celebrating Half Birthdays in July so he could enjoy it away from the shadow of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, New Years, and the other various winter celebrations. But then Eli was born in July so we couldn't do that.

Tomorrow we will have a small, family-only gathering to mark the occasion, and then do something special with just us on the 23rd.

Hence... the CAKE OF AWESOMENESS. It has snakes, and lava, and tribal natives with spears, and a swinging bridge over a volcano, and candles for torches. We got him the Indiana Jones whip to go with it as his gift. (I will probably be posting later on what a bad idea that was.)

More later...

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

And now... Storytime Theater by Finn:

"Once upon a time I was goin for a walk in the forest an it was dark an spooky an I hear the wind blowin through the forest like this: WHOOOOOOOO-WHOOOOOOOOOO. An then I hear a noise! An I say "What's that?" An a huge big DRAGON jump out from the trees an he had chompy teeth! An I took my sword out and I cut off his foot! An then I cut off his other foot. An then I cut off his body. An then he was dead like this: (He lays back with his eyes shut & tongue hanging out.) THE END."


The boys' school Christmas program was last night. Papa & Nana came out to watch and hear Eli sing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and Finn sing "Three Wise Men". It was a packed house & getting photos was difficult, but here's a short video of Finn's performance...

(He's the second from the right in the red sweater.)

Part 2: Where it Gets Real

I got some of the whole school singing "Mary Did You Know" - Eli was farther away from me, but I got a little of him singing too. He did a great job with the hand motions. The CD starts skipping halfway through and Ms. Margie bravely plowed on, leading the kids in song.

Finn, on the other hand, has his back turned from the audience and is scratching his behind.

I'm just glad he didn't take his pants off & moon the crowd this time.

(Eli is third from the left sitting down on the front row.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Card Conundrum

Last night we headed to Santa's Village to drop in on the Jolly Old Elf himself, as well as a few of his friends.

Frosty was a big hit:

And so was the Gingerbread Man.
(Except Eli kept calling him "Cookie"... cracked. me. up!)

There was much dancing in the snow...

And a general sense of wonder.

So, I can't decide and need YOUR help. Which one should I use for our holiday photo card? Vote for your favorite (or top two) in the comments. Click here to go to our Flickr page and see the rest of the photos from Santa's Village.

The small print: I won't lie and promise to use the one the majority picks for our card. I really can't decide, and am hoping you might help push me in one direction or the other.
Or... D) None of the Above.

BookMamma & Finn get all festive.
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