Monday, September 28, 2015

Finn Ryan's Baptism

A little over a week ago, Finn was finally baptized.  For awhile we were undecided on where to do it... back home where all our family could attend, or a small private ceremony with just the godparents in Utah.  Well when you pick some of your closest friends to be the Godparents, an epic weekend together in Salt Lake City wins out!  
Our friends TJ & Erin live in San Diego; but, we try to get together about once a year.  They have the sweetest little girl (Madison) just a year younger than Liam & another one the way (exciting news we received that weekend!).  Our vacations together have changed drastically since our pre-children days; yet, they still seem to be filled with nearly endless cocktails & just as many laughs.  Perhaps bedtime just comes along a bit sooner.  Back when choosing Godparents for Liam, Conor & decided to give the honor to friends outside of the family.  Being an aunt or uncle already comes with it's own special relationship, so we love to create another bond with those that are close to us.  I have no doubt that TJ & Erin will be a wonderful influence and a great support throughout Finn's life!  

We scheduled his baptism for 10am on a Saturday which may have been a poor choice. We tried to sneak in a trip to the waffle truck beforehand and then assumed we would still have plenty of time to ready two toddlers and the little prince himself. Spoiler alert: we did not! Liam was refusing to put on a shirt while I attempted to squeeze Finn into his baptismal gown.  This gown was worn by my dad, myself, & now my boys.  It has become a family heirloom.  I cannot wait to keep passing it on down.  It's absolutely beautiful; Finn looked so regal in it!  Anywhoo, we were nearly 10 minutes, and I was so worried the Deacon wouldn't think we were taking the event seriously.  Luckily, our Deacon got caught up in a weekend project and was extremely late himself.  Phew!  We used our extra time to take pictures while everyone was happy & fit in one last nursing session to ensure a happy baby!

The ceremony was wonderful.  Finn was perfectly content and actually enjoyed the water.  I was slightly worried about not having another adult on hand that was not involved to help keep the toddlers in order, but there were no big issues.  Liam & Madison ran around & chatted constantly just as you would expect little toddlers to do, but our Deacon was very sweet about the whole thing.  He told us to let them be children.  I loved his relaxed approach and felt much at ease during the baptism. 

The rest of the weekend we celebrated our sweet little boy with some beers at Oktoberfest at Snowbird (round 1 of many, I am sure) & a trip the farmer's market the following morning.  The friendship between Liam & Madison is ever growing.  Those two were adorable to watch all weekend!  I look forward to many family vacations together in the future.  Cheers to such a wonderful weekend with friends & such a beautiful welcoming of Finn into the Catholic Church! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Utah State Fair

The state fair always brings the beginning of cooler evenings & the smells of the harvest season.  There is a new crispness in the air.  It's where memories from my childhood flood right back while I devour some fluffy, pink cotton candy!  Our annual trip to the fair is one of my favorite family traditions.  I loved visiting the fair as a child, but this may be one of those things that I enjoy even more as a parent!

We had an usual amount of storms roll through Utah last week, so I was overly worried that we would have to miss out on a fair visit this year.  I was stalking the weather like a crazy woman, waiting to see when our best chance for a dry evening would be.  I am such a planner, so the unpredictable weather was driving me batty.  On Tuesday evening, just as we were were about to make dinner, the skies looked clear!  We quickly (well as quickly as you can move a baby & toddler) dressed everyone in rain boots (surely the fair grounds would be muddy due to all the rain) and plaid (because fair attire...) and were on our way!

All the previous rain must have scared away any potential visitors, because we literally had the fairgrounds to ourselves!  Wristbands for endless rides all around!  We didn't wait in one line, and were often the only people on any given ride!  Liam wild smile never left his face!  He ran from one ride to the next, and somehow I managed to keep up.  I only became nauseous once (thank you teeny tiny helicopter ride) and Liam escaped with only a minor injury (thank you house of mirrors & an overly confident toddler).

While big brother fulfilled all of his fair dreams, Finn watched from the sling.  He was in awe of all the sights & sounds.  For hours he looked around wide eyed, barely making a peep.  I had forgotten what a fun age 4 months is!  Finn has woken up the world and is simply captivated by it all!  It's incredible to watch him see things for the first time!

While typically we spend plenty of time with all the fair animals as well, it was difficult to pull Liam away from the rides.  During a short period of rain, we escaped for a bit to check out the cows, goats, & pigs, but we were quickly dragged back outside to see the rainbow and all the rides we had yet to try.  I believe the fair is best experienced at Sunset, and this year was no exception.  As the sun went down, that golden glow covered the fairgrounds, and I found even myself in awe of our family evening.  Another memorable night.  Liam will surely remember these times for many years to come!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Albion Basin

Well that was a bit of an unintentional blogging break.  I came down with a fast & furious illness on Sunday night, and then have simply been busy every since.  Life feels incredibly fast paced right now!  We have only one free weekend between now & the end of October.  Lots of company visiting over the next month or so, and I'm taking an 11 day trip home soon.  It all kicks off on Friday when Finn's Godparents fly in for his baptism.  I'm a bit exhausted just thinking about it all!  So this space of mine may be a bit quieter for awhile.

Even with a packed schedule ahead of us, we decided to go camping one last time this year.  It was a somewhat last minute decision; so instead of planning some big backpacking adventure, we simply car camped.  This less intense version of camping isn't typically our thing, but I loved being able to just throw a bunch of stuff in the car (including the fixin's for s'mores & some beers) and just go.  We drove to Albion Basin up Little Cottonwood Canyon, which is a mere 30 minutes from our house.  The leaves are already starting to change up in the mountains, so it was an absolutely beautiful time to be up there!  Due to it being relatively late in the season, the campgrounds were practically empty.  I of course had Conor drive the entire grounds no more than three times to make sure we had found the perfect spot!  And that we did, beautiful sunset view and all!

Liam was utterly confused as to why we weren't hiking; to him, you have to hike before you set up camp!  I'm not sure he loved our lazier approach to camping, but he rolled with it.  Finn was surrounded by trees, so he was in his happy place.  My boys sure love the outdoors!  And just as we were getting settled into our site, a moose walked no more than 10 yards from us.  A big bull moose with quite the rack; he was beautiful!  We are two for two on moose sightings while camping this year!  It was quite the way to kick off our adventure.

The evening flew by far too quickly.  We always seem to be scrambling to get our tent set up and dinner eaten before it's completely dark out.  And I must do a bit of bragging on Conor here, because he is the one who makes these trips happen.  He packs up all the gear.  He sets up on the tent (I don't even know how...).  He takes care of dinner & the fire.  He pretty much takes care of every detail.  I simply watch the boys & relax.  It's a wonderful partnership that we have!

I was hopeful that our sleep would be just as amazing as it was a short couple of months ago, but unfortunately it was the opposite.  While Liam was a champion sleeper, Finn gave an awful awful performance.  He likes his space while sleeping, and doesn't so much like to be bothered.  Well, our four person tent was feeling very very small.  Plus, I had him in this crazy restrictive bear suit since the temps were a bit chilly.  He was so angry about not being able to get his hands to his mouth.  So Finn woke up every couple of hours.  At midnight he thought it was time to play.  Liam finally woke up to all the tent shenanigans at this point.  We yawned, we laughed, & we tried to convince Finn that it was in fact the middle of the night and time to sleep.  He went back & forth between Conor & I.  Then Liam decided he might like to be in my sleeping bag too.  So there was plenty of sleeping bag swapping & not so much sleeping.  But we were under the stars & listening to the howl of a coyote while all nestled up together.  And I loved it.

I want more nights like that one, but perhaps with less restlessness and much more sleep.  I need to remember how close our little family feels on this trips.  Next summer I want to make camping more of a priority, because two times wasn't nearly enough.  I can't even imagine what our trips will be like next year when Finn is surely walking!!!  So much more adventure to come!

Thursday, September 10, 2015


This week flew by!  The short work week along with preschool made for a fast track to the weekend.  We may go backpacking one last time this summer, so I'm pumped for that.  I'm also a little nervous, because Finn is much heavier than he was 2 months ago.  It was tough carrying him & my pack then... hopefully I'm up to the challenge!  We'll just have to see how adventurous we are feeling come tomorrow.  Here's my (sometimes) weekly five...

I went into Target for 5 things yesterday.  Five!... $100 later, damn you target!  My favorite purchase: this arrow lounge pants.  Completely gender neutral and only $5!!!  Now if only they came in my size too!

I'm starting to find my photography style, at least via Instagram, and am finally starting to use my VSCO cam app.  However, there are only about two filters (A6 & HB1) that I'm loving of the free options available.  So tell me your favorite collections before I simply purchase them ALL!

I'm finally ready to jump on the ankle bootie trend!  A fashion blogger I am not.  I take a ridiculously long time to warm up to new trends.  So booties are on my birthday wishlist!  Deciding on the exact pair I want will be tough.  So many amazing options.  I'm currently eyeing this beauty in the wild mushroom leather.  But I think the heel may be a bit too high.  The search continues!

If you aren't already following Socialty Barbie on IG, you need to now!  She's so hipster, so authentic, and will make you feel ridiculous about the stuff on Instagram.  Probably some of your own photos even.  I love to hate her!  So many cliches, irony, & sarcasm!  A fun follow to add to your feed!

My new binge worthy show: Big Love!  It's especially fun to watch since I currently live in Utah.  I'm completely wrapped up in it and may or may not drive extra slow past the polygamous house just a few blocks away from mine (no joke!).  Plus 5 whole seasons means I'll be busy for awhile.  Added bonus: a young Aaron Paul is in the show.  Oh how I have missed him since I said goodbye to Breaking Bad.

TGIF friends!
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Labor Day Getaway

We had our first taste of the crisp & cool weather of Fall this past weekend!  We flew up to my parent's lake house in Idaho, for some much needed family time.  I am always particularly homesick right after having a baby.  While initially I was imagining our last weekend of summer to be filled with lots of boat rides & swimming, a cool cozy weekend was just as relaxing & fun.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves...  It was no easy task actually getting to the lake.  Our flight was delayed 1.5 hours, which felt so painstakingly long with a toddler & baby in tow.  I am absolutely terrified of this exact scenario happening when I travel alone with the boys in two weeks.  This is the stuff of nightmares.  Fortunately Finn slept for most of the flight, so he gets a big ol' gold star for that performance.  However, the gold star vanished when he screamed the entire drive (about an hour) to the lake house.  If he's in the car, he's screaming.  It's a real fun stage we're in.  Real fun.

Somehow we all managed to survive that terrible awful drive (with Liam even dozing off, what?!).  Liam ran right into the arms of both Nana & Pops, and even Finn didn't show any stranger danger.  My hope is that we see family often enough, that they will always be familiar.  As Liam gets older, he enjoys his time with Pops more & more (while Nana has always been a favorite).  He was able to help harvest the garden, practice some football (his game is seeing some serious improvement), & kinda, sorta learned how to play corn hole.  There was also plenty of time spent in the tree house which now has a beautifully landscaped sandboxpit underneath it.  I loved watching the changing leaves fall around him as he played.  The sweater weather was welcomed with open arms!

And even though the weather was on the cooler side, we still snuck in one last boat ride of the season!  The sun was shining & the party boat just happens to be loaded with soft, cozy blankets.  Liam insisted that he still wanted to swim, but we managed to convince him otherwise.  We had hoped to do some fishing as well, but there was far too much rain over the weekend for that!  The fish will have to wait!

I particularly love weekends at the lake, because everyone is on vacation!  Nobody is rushing off to do this or that.  Liam & Finn had so much family time... aunts, uncles, & cousins included.  And any day now we will be welcoming another cousin to the bunch!  As is typical for the lake house, the meals were exquisite, the cocktails plentiful, & the company simply the best!  I indulged in some extra treats in the way of huckleberry cheesecake pie & some black currant cider from a local brewery.  I always seem to leave our visits will a full belly and a few extra pounds!

I love every moment that I'm back in the northwest!  Lucky for me, I'm making another visit back up there in only two short weeks!  I can't wait for apple picking & cookie baking.  Having my mom on hand to help at all times makes it much easier to get things accomplished.  All the extra hands do!  I love that going "home" is always such a vacation for us.  We need many more weekends like these!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Finn: 4 Months Old

tractor romper (on sale!)

Finn's eyes are staying dark & looking to be more brown these days.  He still seems to prefer Conor over me, and a bit of stranger danger is setting in.  He's a fairly laid back baby, although he's a bit fussier than Liam ever was.  It's those darn teeth, which there are none of yet, but that hasn't stopped the massive amounts of drool & hand chewing!  His voice is deep just like Liam's, and his giggle may just be my favorite sound!

Stats:  Height: 26.77 inches (almost the exact same as big brother) 96%, Weight: 17.64 lbs (2 lbs more than big brother) 93%.  He's big.  This we know.

Eating: Eats like a boss!  He is an extremely efficient nurser, and still doesn't do much comfort nursing.  This is tough for me when I know he is so uncomfortable with the teething pain, but he won't just let me nurse away the pain.  We will not be starting any solids until 6 months old.  I feel pretty strongly about a baby's virgin gut staying intact 'til then.  Once 6 months comes along, we will slowly dive into baby led weaning.  We did this with Liam & loved the process!

Sleeping:  The amazing sleep continues!  He almost always sleeps 8-12 hours straight.  This has been the most wonderful gift, especially since big brother still wakes during the night.  The 4 month sleep regression is a very real thing however...  It hit Liam the day he turned 4 months old.  Each night I put Finn to bed now, I wonder when the amazing sleep will end.  I'm so skeptical.  I have heard that bigger babies tend to be better sleepers, so here's to hoping that we'll keep having a snoozer.

Health: Practically perfect!  Growing like crazy!

Likes: Trees are still his favorite!  He loves being outside & on the go.  Tickles (especially on his knees & arm pits).  Kisses all over his cheeks & neck.  And big brother!  Their love is so so strong!

Mama update:  Still hanging onto about 7 lbs.  I'm not really doing anything at this point to work them off; I'm simply hoping that the breastfeeding weight loss will really kick in around the 6 month mark.  My baby blues have finally disappeared, which I am oh so thankful for!  That's not to say that I don't still have a rough day now or then, but the postpartum crazy is gone.

Time seems to be flying by much faster than it ever did with Liam!  
With my first I couldn't wait for the next milestone, where as now I am holding onto each day and hoping Finn doesn't grow up too quickly!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Our Unofficial Start to Fall

In our family, Fall starts on September 1st!  It's the day I pull out our decor, and plan a few fun things for Liam (and now Finn too).  Liam was most excited about all the Halloween & Thanksgiving books making their yearly appearance.  Keeping them hidden when they aren't in season makes them nearly brand new again.  He was also into the decorations; this was the first year he really wanted to help.  We killed a good chunk of time while he ever so carefully, one by one, placed pinecones, acorns, pumpkins, & cinnamon sticks into candle holders and vases.  I love how much of a helper he is! Sharing in my holiday excitement is simply the best! 
That afternoon I had planned to take Liam out for a hot chocolate date.  The temperatures weren't particularly cool, but Liam is always on board for some cocoa.  Conor was home from work early, so I decided to leave Finn behind with him, so I could have a little solo time with Liam.  But mostly because one is always easier than two!  We had quite the fun time together, with Liam just cracking me up left & right.  He told me that we could just "go the window" (the drive thru), but I insisted we make it special and sit outside at the table & chairs.  After placing our order, he exclaimed that "waiting is hard"...yes, yes it is!

Once we had our drinks & our table was chosen, it occurred to me that this was the first time I had done something with just Liam since Finn has born!  A whole 4 months had passed!  At first, I felt a bit guilty about this.  Conor has had plenty of one-on-one time with Liam, but I really haven't outside of Finn just taking a nap.  But then I realized that Liam hasn't needed it!  He truly loves Finn so much, that his baby brother has just become a part of our lives.  He doesn't seem to even remember how it was before Finn's arrival.  I told Liam I was enjoying spending time with just him, to which he replied "Where are Daddy & Finn?"  He really didn't seem to care much about our special time, ha!  I asked him what he wanted to talk about... "I don't know.  School?"  Such a threenager!  He pounded his hot chocolate and then insisted we head straight home to play with Finn.  While I expected our little outing to mean a bit more to him, it warms my heart that he doesn't seem to miss the days of just us!

At home the new fall candles were lit (Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin from B&BW is the hot scent this season), and we all enjoyed some pumpkin soup, 1st batch of the season!  I had a huge pumpkin aversion last year when I was pregnant, so I really didn't indulge in many of my favorite Fall foods at all.  This year I plan on enjoying it all!  To finish off our festive little day, Liam opened his first day of fall gift which was a new book (Only a Witch Can Fly) & matching Halloween pajamas.  Liam is all about matching with Finn, & I can't get enough of it either!

Cheers to a wonderful harvest season.
May your cups be full of cider & your house filled with pumpkin goodness!

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