Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Introducing Squirrel...

Many of you saw this on Instagram a couple weeks ago, but for those who missed it...

We have a new kitten and her name is Squirrel!
Let me explain...


We used to have two cats, but sadly had to put one down shortly after Liam was born.  So we've been a two cat household before.   Numerous times we have talked about getting another, but we never found one that just had to be ours!  So this whole thing wasn't completely spontaneous, even though we weren't necessary out to get a new kitten on this particular day.  Really I just wanted some kombucha.  And right next to where I get my kombucha is a "kitty store" (animal shelter).  So I was able to get Conor & Liam on board with a kombucha stop with the promise of playing with kitties.  Well, we fell in love!  One particular kitten was so sweet & snuggly, not to mention beautiful.  She came home with us that day!


Part of me wanted a boy cat so we could name him Lancelot (our other cat Charlie's official name is Sir Charles), but this feminine beauty won out over many others!   Naming her was a tad tricky and took quite some time.  We tested out a few options, but Squirrel is what stuck.  As I've mentioned before, Liam is pretty into squirrels right now.  And it may just be the cutest word to come out of his mouth.  Plus, our new kitten was a just a bit squirelly.  So yes, we have a new kitten named Squirrel and we love her!


She puts up with a lot, but still loves everyone.  
Liam wants to carry her everywhere, & Finn only wants to grab her tail.
And I'm just pretty pleased to have another girl in the house!  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Christmas Card Planning

I know we're still in October (albeit the last week), and I definitely won't be decking the halls until after Thanksgiving.  But that doesn't mean I can't be doing some planning.  Now that I have two kids, everything takes infinitely longer to accomplish.  So yes, I have started Christmas shopping on the days Liam is at preschool.  Yes, I already have some Elf on the Shelf ideas (that I may just share sometime soon).  And yes, I'm starting to think about our family Christmas Card...

This will be our first year with Finn in the picture, so I am particularly ecstatic about it.  He is changing so much right now, that I am going to try and wait to take photos until a bit closer to December, but the planner in me may not be able to hold off much longer.  Our favorite family photographer Kali mentioned that she has some Christmas mini sessions in mind, so I may even go the professional photo route this year.  Eek, I'm giddy just thinking about it.

Of course I have already logged far too many hours perusing the Tiny Prints site.  Christmas card templates make me happy.  I tend to be drawn to simple designs with a more traditional "Merry Christmas" greeting.  I like one big family photo, as opposed to trying to cram lots of photos together.  So I have a very specific idea in mind, and still I have a ridiculous amount of favorites!  This year, I am particularly drawn to their foil stamped cards.  Here are few that I am eyeing....

Shining Merriment

Spirited Snowfall

Scintillating Snowfall

And if for some crazy reason, I decide to do a picture of just the boys, 
I am obsessed with this template!
Our Merry

Of course, I will have to wait until we have pictures to actually start designing our card.  I know this holiday season is going to fly by far too quickly now that I'm so busy with both boys.  I'm am going to try and live in the moment and enjoy each day as it comes for the rest of the year.  But let's be honest, I cannot wait for the Christmas cards to start arriving!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Baby Led Weaning: Round Two

Life is different for baby number two; it really really is.  I have a three year old on my hands, and that is a time consuming, full attention effort.  So the second child just has to roll with life a bit more.  Bath time is still only happening every few days, and Finn is lucky if he gets one good solid nap where he isn't woken up for one of various reasons.  Luckily, Finn is relaxed and happy to just join along on the ride that our family is on.

When Liam started approaching the six month mark, I stocked up on all the foods I wanted to introduce him too.  I picked the exact day that he would finally get his first taste.  I had my camera ready.  Conor & I watched with bated breath.  It was a big deal.  A huge milestone.  And I was also a big hot mess about the whole thing, nervous that introducing foods to Liam would somehow change our breastfeeding relationship.  Let's just say, Finn got none of this hoopla for his first food encounter or any thereafter....

I'm a strong believer in the virgin gut, so holding off on foods until 6 months is pretty important to me.  I won't go into all the details here, but essentially a baby's gut is near sterile at birth and remains "open" until about 6 months of age.  So you do not want to be introducing bacteria until then.  Anyways, while I was hiking with the boys the other day, we made a quick stop for a snack.  Liam was happily eating & playing while I was chatting with some other moms.  A few minutes go by, and I all of sudden notice that Finn is gumming a big piece of fruit leather!!!  Apparently Liam had decided his didn't want his, so after discarding it Finn picked it right up and went to town.  So Finn's first food: an apple fruit leather.  With Liam, I would have freaked out.  With number 2, I gave a little sigh. Then decided I should offer him some beef jerky to gum as well since he seemed to be into it, ha!

Finn is only a couple weeks shy of 6 months, so it really wasn't a big deal.  But it also wasn't some big special moment either.  We're taking the baby led weaning approach again, so only offering whole foods to Finn.  No pureed baby food for us!  If you haven't heard of BLW, I highly recommend looking in to.  We used this method with Liam and loved not having to bring food with us everywhere; he simply ate what we ate.  So far Finn isn't really ingesting anything, pretty much just munching on various foods.  The only thing he hasn't liked is avocado, with strawberries, cucumber, & any kind of meat being favorites!


  I'm much more relaxed this time.  A certain amount of confidence definitely comes the second time around.  And now I know that the introduction of foods will not in any way affect our nursing relationship.  It is about much more than simply nourishment.  And so is BLW.  It's about mess making.  Its about joining the family for meals and being independent from the beginning.  It's about the experience.  This is a fun milestone that will only add an extra element of chaos to our kitchen table.  Cheers to that!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Station #5

A couple weeks ago, we were treated to a firehouse tour.  Practically a three year old boy's dream come true.  Except, he wasn't that pumped about it at first.  I told him the day before our visit of our upcoming plans, and in true unpredictable threenager fashion he informed he did not want to go.  What?!  I knew this was a "mom knows best" situation and planned on taking him regardless, but I was confused.  That night before he woke up screaming, telling me that he did not want to be in a fire!!!  Poor boy thought I was taking into a fire just so we could see the station.  Or perhaps he thought we would be going to a fire with the truck.  Regardless, it was the saddest & cutest thing ever!


So once I established that we would in fact not be in a fire, strictly just visiting the station, he was on board!  A friend of mine set up the tour for our local La Leche League, so most of his friends were there for the visit as well.  As soon as Liam walked in, his let out a huge gasp and then whispered "a ladder truck."  He was in awe.  


The firefighters were just the sweetest!  They let the kids have free reign with their trucks & gear.  Liam was a bit hesitant to climb in at first, but quickly settled into a seat and never wanted to leave.  Finn was being a bit fussy while I was trying to help Liam, so a firefighter offered to hold him.  No stranger danger from Finn.  He was perfectly content in the firefighters arms.  Not gonna lie....that firefighter became ten times sexier right at that moment.  Bless him.  And after all the truck exploration, they let all the kids use the fire hose to knock down a cone.  Pure joy!  It was so incredibly wonderful how hands on all the firefighters were.  Such a special morning.


We ended the visit watching the rookie slide down the fire pole a few times.  With all the mom's letting out a few "whoo"s, I almost thought we were on the set of Magic Mike... But nope, just your local fire house!  Needless to say, we plan on hitting up all the fire stations throughout Salt Lake City!    Let's hope they all live up to this first visit!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pumpkin Patch 2015

After last year's pumpkin patch fiasco where we picked pumpkins in the pitch black of night, we changed tactics this year.  Same pumpkin patch (because it's literally amazing), but we made the trek out there on a week night.  Best decision ever.  It was perfectly crips Fall evening, and we practically had the farm to ourselves.  Our annual trip to the pumpkin patch is one of those adventures that isn't just for the kids.  I love this stuff!!!  The highlight may have been this massive potato sack slide.  There was no line, so Liam insisted upon going over & over again.  It was intense; I felt like a child all over again.  Crazy laughter all around.  Liam kept telling me that I didn't need to yell "whooooooah" every single time.  But I did.  I could not help myself!



The corn box was another big hit.  Finn tried to shovel every piece into his mouth, while I made "corn angels" with Liam.  Surely the corn is perfectly clean; can't possibly be every shade of disgusting from the mass amounts of kids in it daily... Why not put my whole body in it?!  Here we attempted a family picture...we have yet to nail the shot with all four members looking & smiling.  Always room for improvement!

We waited until the sun was setting to take the tractor ride out to the pumpkin fields.  Liam thought each pumpkin was perfect and should be ours, so we had to teach him the art of choosing the very best one.  He put his growing muscles to work and even carried his own.  Small toddler arms wrapped around a pumpkin while waddling to the car may just be one of the cutest sights of Fall!  Finn had been enjoying our evening from the comfort of the sling, but then of course fell asleep right as we made it the pumpkins.  So no adorable baby in a field of pumpkins shot.  We picked (from the vine I may add!) a special little pumpkin just for him.  I'm sure he'll try to eat it when we have our annual carving session!


With the last bit of sun we ran through the corn maze.  Liam was adamant that we not get lost, so we let him lead the way.  Conor jumped out at him around various corners, which gave Liam that perfect amount of fright & delight.  His little squeals filled the air.  It was magical!  The whole evening.  It was hard to pull Liam away, and even I was sad to see it all come to an end.  More memories were made that I know I will fondly look back upon.  I cannot wait for Finn to be able to join in on more of the fun.  Being a party of four is even better than it ever was before!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

September in Washinton

When Conor has a business trip (especially a long one), I run home to my mom.  Absolutely no shame about it.  So when I found out that Conor had business trips for back to back weeks in September, I immediately booked the boys & I some flights to Spokane for an 11 day stay.  Conor's business travel ended up being canceled, but I had my heart set on a Spokane visit, so we kept our flights.  Conor was able to join us for the weekend, so really it turned into quite the little vacation!

I often humble brag about the awesomeness of my parents, and this post will be no exception.  I could never give enough thanks for their helping hands.  The food (the drink!), the diapers that are changed, the laundry washed & folded, the baby bouncing, the toddler tear wiping.  They do it all!  I already miss the latte and bagel delivery fresh every morning.  I find myself wishing that I was far more helpful to them, but I know that I will be able to return the favor in the years to come.

So the trip highlights...  Mini kegs full of hard cider (ginger with a splash of habanero).  Last boat ride of the season.  Cocktail hours in the treehouse.  Corn hole.  Maple bars.  Candy land.  Football.  Garden harvesting.  Cooking making.  Visits to Pops at work in the "big big building".  Late night chats.  Morning snuggles.




My favorite moments are always watching my boys with their grandparents.  I love being able to see Liam experience some of the exact same memories from my own childhood.  My parents still live in the house I grew up in, so those moments are even sweeter.  A simple fall evening in the backyard turned into a wild night of pine needle raking & jumping.  I vividly remember our yard being covered in pine needles.  We would endlessly rake them up, only to jump right on top.  Then I would beg my parents to bag them up in those bright orange pumpkin bags with the faces (do you remember those?!) and proudly display them in the front yard!  We have no pine trees near our house in Utah, so Liam was in complete awe of all the fun that raking can be!  It's these simple moments that make our trips to Washington so special!



While my entire trip was pretty spectacular, I was also home for the birth of new sweet nephew Thatcher!!!  We had assumed he would be born right before my visit, but instead he waited for Auntie Laura before making his arrival.  I love having babies so close in age with my brother.  I know that Liam & Finn will be close with their cousins; I cannot wait to watch them grow.  Thatcher was perfect and tiny and has just the softest most beautiful hair.  Having all this family time together was amazing, and as usual pulls my heart closer & closer to Washington.  I could make that move back there any day.  But for now, we continue the adventure in Utah.



My last afternoon was spent taking Liam to the ginormous Radio Flyer wagon, a downtown Spokane staple.  Taking him all over my beloved hometown is one of my favorite things.  I still have so much to show him and let him explore.  He kept insisting that he did not want to leave "Nana & Pops big house", but I assured him that we would not stay away too long.  The holidays are near & we will definitely be back soon!


A huge thanks to my wonderful parents.  I have always loved them, but that love is only deeper now that I see them in their role as grandparents.  I am lucky; my boys are lucky.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Apple Picking

While everyone is all "pumpkin everything!!!", I'm all about apples this fall.  Applesauce, apple crisp, apple pie, hard apple cider, spiced apple cider, caramel apples.  So when in Washington (the Evergreen State, not the Apple State...but still...lots of apples), I knew I had to take Liam picking.  This adventure was about Nana & Liam.  I love watching the two of them together; there is a real special bond between them.  So while Finn sat in a box and tried to get an entire apple in his mouth, I captured these two very special people.  Sometimes it's nice to be able to sit back & take in the moment, without being completely hands on.  



Liam could have picked apples all day, but at some point we had to cut him off because 20 lbs of apples was plenty!  Climbing the ladder was the highlight, which we ever so patiently waited to use.  Some older women were just monopolizing it and did not seem to care about the anxious little boy just staring them down wondering when they would be finished.  There was not much thought put into apple choice, mostly just whatever was in reach of little hands.  It was much more about the experience than the outcome.

The morning after our picking date, Nana & Liam made a fresh batch of applesauce.  We used the Pioneer Woman's recipe, and it was amazing!!!  I will be making another batch here soon, because I didn't get nearly enough during our visit.  We used mostly golden delicious apples with a few honey crisp in the mix!  Nana also threw together some homemade apple crisp during a nap time; she's pretty amazing like that.  Apples all around!  And of course, we didn't let this fun event go by without  bringing home a few bottles of hard cider.  I picked up a lemon basil summer cider that made my taste buds smile.

I think we need to visit Spokane every Fall from now on!
This is a tradition that must continue!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fri-Yay

The sweet sweet weekend is nearly here!  While I was hoping to relax a bit this week & catch up on a few things, that most definitely didn't happen.  Life is still busier than ever.  I'm fairly certain that I will be feeling this way until the new year.  This weekend brings no grand plan, but plenty of items on the to-do list.  I'm hoping to get our gardens ready for winter (a bigger task than one would expect) & perhaps finally starting the process of some home brew cider.  Maybe throw in a few house projects if we are feeling particularly productive!  Here's my typical bit of randomness on a Friday:

-ONE-
I'm slightly obsessed with Crate & Barrel, and they always pull me in with their festive items.  Most recent unnecessary purchase... this pumpkin spoon rest!  It's absolutely adorable!  And again, a simple yet perfect hostess gift for this time of year!
-TWO-
I have a serious kombucha addiction right now!  The Whole Foods in downtown SLC has it on tap, so I expect many many visits to keep filling my growlers.  Perhaps I will get adventurous enough to brew my own one day, but I'm not ready for that level of hippy yet!


-THREE-
So Liam was supposed to be a fox for Halloween.  We had settled on this idea well more than a month ago.  And then just days before I was about to buy all the materials and get started on it, he decides he wants to be a frog.  No idea where this came from, but it doesn't sound nearly as cute.  But it's not about me...so a frog costume I will make.  I've scoured Pinterest, and there aren't many cute options, so I'm going to take my own spin off of this frog costume.  I'm hopeful that my version will still be adorable!


- FOUR-
I'm loving this rug!!!  Only I don't really have room for a kitchen rug, and this would be a bit loud.  If only it were a door mat, then I would be sold!
-FIVE-
I really want to get Liam some flannel sheets for the winter season, so naturally they need to come in a Christmas-y pattern.  So many options, I can never decide.  I'm liking the deer or the snowflakes, but I can't commit yet.  What if there is better out there?!

TGIF friends! 
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