Monday, January 15, 2018

Spokane: So Hip, So Trendy

Utah has seriously been lacking in the snow department, so thank goodness we had a trip up to Washington just after Christmas!  It was a winter wonderland up there, with my parent's lake house accumulating somewhere between 2-3 feet of snow during our stay!  We always go visit my family just after the holidays, and stay through New Years.  My parents wait for my arrival to celebrate Christmas, so all the festivities really continue on for another week!

You all know how much I just adore Spokane.  How I miss it terribly.  Want to move back.  Visit every chance I get.  Want to grow old there.  I could go on & on about how amazing it is.  And then... oh then... Spokane decided to get super trendy and just start winning over more hearts.  They put a brand spanking new skating rink in the riverfront park downtown.  It's a "ribbon" with inclines, declines, a little skating pond.  Hot cocoa, beers, really everything you could ever want in skating rink.  Instagram loves it!  Watch our Central Park ice rink, Spokane is coming for ya!  So of course, our first night in town we checked out the city's newest feature with cousins.

After celebrating "Christmas" the next day, we were off the lake house for a week!  It's always one of my favorite places!  So cozy.  Perfect for relaxing.  Except I was getting over one helluva cold, and my cough was so severe that I bruised a rib.  Or cracked one.  Or just did something terribly awful to my rib.  So I was in quite a bit of pain for our visit.  That meant lots of couching laying, napping with the baby, and reading.  I finished January's book club book before January even started (The Memory of Us.... soooooo good!)!  Still it was a lovely time full of family, good eats, and always cocktails.  Eventually I left the house for some New Year's Eve drinks with just my mom.  We arrived at the bar (1 of 4 in the one stop light town) to a bottle of champagne ready of us thanks to my Conor & my dad.  It was wonderful having a little time with Nana to myself!  The rest of the evening was rather quiet, and I hit the sheets long before midnight.

Towards the end of our stay, I was finally feeling good enough to venture down to the lake with the boys.  It was frozen over (although barely, so we stayed close to shore).  The trees all perfectly coated with snow making for quite the breathtaking landscape.  Also breathtaking because it was damn cold.    Regardless, Kane snoozed away.  He seems to take his best naps outside, no matter the temperatures.  The older boys had their very first ice fishing experience (mine too!)!  We found a small hole left behind from previous fisherman, so it was easy to break in.  Conor grabbed a pole & power bait from the boat house upon the boys insistence, and in less than a minute we had a bite.  A KOKANEE!!!!!  He was huge!   Too huge to fit through our little hole.  Womp womp.  However, I see far more ice fishing during future lake house visits.  

Another truly lovely visit with my family. A week wasn't enough; I could have stayed far longer.  I love watching my boys with their grandparents.  The huge smiles all around.  The helping hands.  More & more I treasure the photos I take, knowing that my boys will have them to look back on.  What I really need to get better about it is video!  Not just 15 second clips, but full home videos.  Perhaps a goal for the new year!  A huge thanks to my parents for always welcoming our little circus. The lake house feels at its best when it's just bursting with family!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Kane: 4 Months Old

I did a little poll to see who people thought Kane looked more like, Liam or Finn, and it was 50/50.  I continue to see both boys in him, perhaps a tad more of Liam currently, with Finn's cheeks.  We've hit that stage (that all my kiddos have) where they have a brief run with red hair.  I imagine Kane's will eventually turn blond, just like his brothers'.  His eyes continue to amaze, so so large (quite similar to mine as a baby) and so dark!  I'm sticking with a blue/gray for now.  They make him appear to be surprised nearly all the time, which I kinda love about him.

His personality traits are staying true to the previous months.  He is still ever so ticklish!  Startles easily (a surprise pounce from one of our cats can send him into tears).  He doesn't like to hear Finn or Liam cry.  And he loves eye contact!  While in the sling, he desperately searches for any & all strangers to start smiling at.  He continues to be our worst sleeper, which is really just terrible now that the 4 months sleep regression is here.  He wakes all through the night.  Rarely ever doing more than a 2 hour stretch. We cosleep, snuggling all night long, and nursing constantly.  With this being my third baby it is merely the norm, albeit still makes for a very sleepy mama.

This month he started rolling from my tummy to back!  All the time for a good 2 week stretch, and now he's over it.  Instead he prefers to stay on his tummy, and attempt to wriggle around; he can make a full circle!  Constantly watching his big brothers and trying to see what they are doing.  Also searching for that eye contact.  He can monkey sit for short periods, so I expect legit sitting is not too far away!  This month also brought on the teething.  So.  Much.  Drool.  He soaks through bibs, always needing a dry one.  By far our drooliest baby.  And everything goes in his mouth.  He's ferocious with his teethers, which are in a constant rotation.  The boy loves variety.  I have never owned so many teethers for one child.  But they seem to keep him happy (and drooling).  Also included in this month was his first flight!  He was a champ just like his brothers, sleeping most of the time.  I cannot wait for all our travels & adventures together!

His smile is contagious & he brings so much joy to our family.  There has been something so special about number three!  I love seeing his relationship with every member of our family, and how he has changed (for the better) the group dynamic.  We're all so happy he's here!  I know big changes are ahead in the coming months once Kane is mobile, but we look forward to all those milestones.  He have his 4 month check up at the end of the week, and I cannot wait to see those stats.  I imagine he is going to be right between where Liam & Finn were at this age.  Definitely a big boy, who is already crazy heavy!  Now send me all the coffee as I endure the next 1.5 years of sleepless nights!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Christmas 2017

Whoa!  Blogging really got put on (an intentional) hold there.  The holidays brought a nasty cold/cough to our family, and then we spent a week traveling.  So I am just now getting back into a groove.  Sitting down with some to-do lists for the new year.  And falling back into routine just in time to pack up our house and move in a matter of two weeks, eek!  But first... Christmas!

We managed to fit in all of our traditions leading up to Christmas despite me traveling home to see my Grandpa and in between everyone being sick.  It was definitely a different holiday season of sorts, but still a wonderful one.  Having a 5 year old was the absolute best!  Liam was a joy.  His understanding greater, his belief in all the magic still so true.  And his willingness to embrace everything Christmas and help out was just a joy.  And then of course, having a two year brings a different level of belief, magic, & wonder.  And everyone loves a baby at Christmastime.  So really, just fun ages all around for one special Christmas!

Cookies were baked just two days before Christmas (cutting it close, I know!), and it was one of the few times that we have truly felt outnumbered.  We needed way more hands for baby holding, flour control, sprinkle control, frosting control, timer watching, oven mitt wearing, mimosa holding (and drinking).  It kinda felt like a blur of a hot mess, but I still loved it.  I use my grandma's recipe every year, and the delicious taste brings with it all the nostalgia!

On Christmas Eve, we hit the slopes (well just the older boys, but Kane & I watched).  I see this becoming a new tradition of ours.  We barely made it home in time to change for Mass, hoping to get their early to snag a seat.  It felt a bit like a whirlwind day, especially with all of the anticipation & excitement.  The boys were all exhausted, so after carefully selecting cookies for Santa, they went to bed early while Conor & I had our traditional feast of crab legs.  It was nice to slow down, enjoy some time with just us, and then start making Christmas magic.  Everything was wrapped & assembled, and we were far more organized than ever before.  After filling each stocking and laying them on the couch, I looked at them all lined up and thought to myself "surely we can have one more!"  Even after an exhausting couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, when I had been feeling a tad tapped out, the sight of my kids' stockings has me yearning for more.  Reminder to myself for next year:  Christmas is not the time of year to decide on whether or not to have more babies.  You will always want more babies!

Christmas Day was everything I wanted it to be.  Slow.  Intentional.  Full of love, surprises, good food (and drink!).  White.  Relaxing.  Fulfilling.  I am a gift giver at heart, and just love seeing the faces on everyone as they open their gifts.  I loved sharing in their excitement & joy.  Playing all the new things.  Boxes & paper everywhere.  A disaster, but a beautiful one.  And while we definitely miss being around family on such a special holiday, it was nice to be completely free of plans or commitments.  We took our time.  Nibbling homemade cinnamon rolls.  Staying in pajamas (all day!).  Naps late in the afternoon.  Slowly cooking a Christmas ham while all the boys played around our feet.  I could definitely have more of these types of Christmases.  I'm always in awe of the fact that I am now the one that gets to create these holidays for my kids.  I'm the mom!  The organizer!  And I can only imagine that each year will get better.  Sweeter.  And maybe just possibly, get started a tad later in the morning.  7:30 am wasn't bad, but maybe we can shoot for 9am next year!

I hope all of your holidays were all full as ours!
One last time, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Grandpa: 98 Years Young

Today would have been my grandpa's 98th birthday.  Sadly, he passed on last Friday, just a few days before.  So tonight I raise a glass of champagne (one of his favorites) in his memory.  

I've been missing him & my entire family terribly over the past week!  Many of you may have seen on Instagram, that I flew home to Spokane to see him two weekends ago.  He was quite ill and only seemed to be getting worse.  I was worried that if he didn't make it until Christmas, I would never have the chance to introduce him to Kane or to say goodbye.  I decided to make a last minute trip home, and I'm so happy that I did.  Initially I made the trip just for me.  To have some sort of closure.  I wanted to see his smile, remember his voice.  Hold his hand.  Give him hugs.  Say one last "I love you."

What I didn't quite foresee, is how important my visits would be for my grandpa.  He has just the sweetest smile; he's known for it!  And baby Kane brought out that smile again & again.  Babies can be so healing.  You cannot look at them and not smile!  Thankfully Kane was super calm & relaxed for nearly all of our visits.  And the best part was how sweetly he would nestle in with my grandpa.  It was the most heart warming thing.  And there was something so poignant about the moment.  About seeing someone in their final days in this world with someone so brand new to it.  It brought joy to all of us.  And having 4 generations together one last time was something pretty special too.

My grandpa commented on what a good baby Kane was.  How soft his little hands were.  How happy he was.  My grandpa has such a tender soul, especially in his older years, and it was so apparent during his time with Kane.  We became closest during my college years.  He was so quiet when my grandmother was around, but after she passed, he opened up more.  Our relationship blossomed & flourished over the past 10 years.  He loved taking me out to dinner when I was in town and often had a bottle of my favorite champagne chilled.  He always sent one of my favorite candies with my mom when she came to visit, and he never forgot birthdays.  He was thoughtful & intentional.  Never one for many words, especially not on the phone.  When I said my goodbyes after the last visit at the hospital, I told him that I would see him again at Christmas.  And I so hoped it would be true.  But a big part of me knew it was our final goodbye.  He teared up, as did I.  And that moment will forever be with me.

I miss him.  Lately he sneaks into my thoughts more often than he had before.  Over the last month, I was used to daily updates from my brother & mom.  I always knew how he was doing.  I definitely feel that absence now that he's gone.  And not being with the rest of my family during this time of mourning is so tough.  I really struggle with living away from family.  Thankfully we are going back for a visit just two days after Christmas, and I cannot wait.  This Christmas will be a little somber without his presence, but I'm sure it will be filled with many memories.  Stories will be told.  Memories will be shared.  Home videos will be watched.

A huge thank you to all for the sweet messages.  They truly have brightened my days over the past week.  Thank you thank you thank you.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Little Winter Shoot

Finally I get to share with you all our recent family photos.  I love seeing all five of us together!  Are we complete?  Perhaps.  However, we're not quite sure.  For now, I'm pretty obsessed with all these boys of mine.  Once again, the ever so sweet Kali took our photos.  She was an absolute sweetheart for switching the dates for me about a gazillion times.  I really wanted a snowy winter scene, and snow has been hard to come by this year.  So we waited.  And waited.  Rescheduled and then moved the date again.  And then finally, in early November, after a long drive waaaaay up the canyon, the snow gods shined down on us!

Kali brought a few treats (as always), and Finn was not content until they were all in his pockets.  All of them.  And the urge to playing the snow was strong.  So the boys were covered and cold quite early on, but the shoot was still perfection.  Kane stayed true to his non-smiley self, but he makes up for it with his gorgeous eyes!

Now everyone do a little snow dance, because our mountains are still hurting for snow!  
And I really want a white Christmas!  And the slopes to be a tad more covered!  
So pray pray pray.  And then pray harder.

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