Thursday, August 30, 2012

Picture Wednesdays and the trip back East!

Picture Wednesday
Here is Finny last week at 35 weeks old.
And here he is today at 36.  
Some weeks it seems like my boys stay the same.  I don't notice a lot of growth or change and we just enjoy each other in what feels like a sweet, frozen moment.  And then there are weeks where they seem to grow drastically and suddenly and in very apparent ways like they're saying to me, "You can't stop it!  I'm still growing!  You just forgot about it for a little while."  The past week was the latter for little Finny.  He mastered crawling and now has to be supervised much more closely whenever he is on the floor.  He's started trying to dive out of my arms sometimes when he decides he'd like to make his own way on the floor.  His two top front teeth peeked through this week and he was very sweet about the whole process.  And then he decided that he wanted to figure out how to pull himself up on his knees and occasionally to his feet as well.  What?  Are you kidding me Finn?  I swear you're still my not-so-tiny but still tiny to me newborn!  It's nuts to see his little body standing up.  Of course he falls over pretty quickly most of the time, but he keeps trying.  Nuts, I tell you.

The past week and a half were spent back East spending some great quality time with almost all of the Makechnie clan.  We were missing Seth and Vincent this time but we caught up with everyone else and had an amazing time.  They're all so wonderful when we come to visit.  They feed us incredible food (more on this to come!), are so accommodating in every way, and take a lot of time to play hard with us.  
Here are all the cousins together at the end of a hike.  Cope, Hailey, Nelson (the boy's one boy cousin so far!), Chloe, Brynne, Ella, Grace, Paige, and Tate.  Aren't they a darling bunch?  Even with Tate doing his new "smile" for the camera.
 Glenn and Gregor high on a mountain top.
 Nelson, the coolest boy cousin around.  He's quite a skilled duct tape artisan.  He made this hat, a wallet for Glenn's birthday (which he is still using, thank you very much), and an amazing peter pan hat for Tate, which I, like a dummy, never got a picture of!
 Tate just adores cousin Nelson.
 All the cousins, except Finn, who stayed home with Auntie Amy, went fishing at Elbow pond one morning.  Does it get any more idyllic?  I think not.
All the cousins were so kind to Tate.  Hailey helped him learn to cast and reel.
 And then caught the 2 fish of the day.  She may have been Tate's hero that day.
Glenn and Nelson tried hard to catch a fish and might have been a bit jealous that these noisy, squealing girls were the lucky ones.  I wish we had a film of Jill and I trying to get the hook out of its' mouth while it was flopping around and all the little girls screaming behind us.
We spent a few beautiful afternoons at Highland Lake.  It was perfect weather and the water was the perfect temperature.  Not too cold as long as it wasn't windy, which most of the time, it wasn't.  The ladies and I took an hour-long swim one day out to the island in the middle of the lake.  It was bliss.  I love my sisters-in-law.  I admire them both in so many ways and spending time with them and having time to have great conversations is like a really nice massage for my brain.  I love it.  I leave with so many new ideas and goals and things I want to try.  They're great ladies.
 Tate couldn't get enough of playing in the sand, and splashing around.  Little boy heaven.
 Finn would be happy anywhere.  I'm pretty sure.
This trip was unique because there were a few big festivities planned during our stay.  First was Gregor's surprise birthday party which was a huge hit.  He was completely surprised and it was a fun evening with good food and fun stories about Gregor.  Next was Gregor and Amy's anniversary.  Delicious fajitas were concocted for the occasion and Gregor surprised Amy with an amazing new camera.  And last, but not least, was the pig roast.  Yep, that's right.  Gregor had heard and researched and got excited about roasting a whole pig in the ground polynesian style when his brothers were in town.  So a good deal of brotherly bonding occurred in preparation for the big event.  Stones needed to be found to line the pit.  Firewood needed to be prepared to make the coals in the pit.  Then they had to dig the pit, season the pig, wrap it in burlap then tinfoil then chicken wire for easy extraction from the pit.  Then they had to light the fire, get up in the middle of the night to put more wood on the fire, then get up in the early morning to put the pig in the pit and bury it.  It roasted underground all day long and then, with a huge crowd present, they uncovered the pig,
dusted off all the dirt, unwrapped it, and proceeded to carve up the huge carcass.  As they were unwrapping it, the head fell right off...I guess that's a good sign that it's done?  It was all pretty gross in my opinion, but the guys could not have been any happier.  Tate was on my side.  A little hesitant about the whole thing.  It was hilarious.  So many memories made by roasting our dinner in the dirt.  Wow.
 Our last big hurrah with the Andover Makechnies was a trip to the ocean.  I'd only been to the ocean for a quick drive-by, "here's the ocean in New Hampshire, wave as we drive by" type of thing.  And having been to many a gorgeous, beach with enormous waves and not-too-cold water, I was a little hesitant and wondered if I'd even venture into the water.  But much to my surprise, it was a perfect day and the water was wonderful.  Glenn picked up a few beach toys for Tate and he played with this dump truck all day long.
The cousins played hard too in the water and on the beach.  
 Ian flew in the night before and came to the ocean with us.  It was so great to see him again and he was so much fun to be around, as always.  He was darling with Tate and Finn.  Just a great guy, that Ian.

 The brothers did a good deal of body surfing.  The waves were pretty nice that day.
 I spent some time snuggling this little squishy.
 I mean, really.  How delicious is that?
 Then Amy and I tried our hand at body surfing as well.  She was more successful than I, but we both just had a great time playing in the ocean.  Oh what a nice day.  On the way home we stopped at Johnson's dairy barn to get some amazing ice cream.
The next day we had planned to move on down to Boston to stay with the Needham Makechnies and Tate was feeling under the weather.  I don't think I can remember a time when we've been traveling when Tate has not gotten sick.  He had a pretty good fever, but I, mean mom that I am, made us stop and take some pictures on the way out of town.
 Oh, what cute boys I have.  Wish they weren't all sick or mad at me for the picture taking...
 
 And we had to get some pictures with Grandma Heather and Grandpa Arthur...even though little Tate looks like he's about to cry.
 
We drove the 2 hours down to Brendaen and Jill's house with Tate threatening vomit all the way.  No vomit that day, but he did spend most of the next day throwing up.  Poor kid.  
Jill and I took the girls to an amazing botanical gardens at Elm Bank that day while Glenn stayed home with the boys.  It was so fun to go there with Jill.  She knows the names of all the plants and was always touching them and smelling them.  Plus, she's just so fun to talk to.  I spent all weekend picking her brain about this or that.  There was a beautiful old mansion on the property that was closed and in sad disrepair.  We walked all the way around it peeking into every window just dying over the wood floors, the molding, the mantles, the book cases filled with old books.  I wanted to break in there and give myself a tour of the whole place.  It was so beautiful and so sad that it was in such disrepair.  Then we found an old carriage house that had been broken into and we wandered inside.  Not very safe, but we couldn't resist, and found huge piles of green shutters that had been taken off the mansion and a bunch of other really old treasures.  It was so fun.  It made me ache for Europe.  There's something terribly romantic about those big old houses and I just wanted to get my hands on it and fix it all up.  It was a fun way to spend the day with all the girls.  
The next day Tate was feeling all better and we packed up all the kiddos and went in to Boston for the day.  It was hot and we walked for hours, but I loved it.  I love Boston.  It's such a great mix of old and new.  It has tons of history and tons of style too.  I also love being with my little nieces and I love how sweet they are with my boys.  Here's little Ella loving on Finn.
 We picked up pizza and ate in Boston Commons.
 Tate finished quickly so he could chase the birds.  A whole huge park full of birds to chase.  Heaven.
 We walked by the old State house where the Boston Massacre occurred.  Here's Jill explaining it all to little Ella and Chloe.
 Hailey, Ella, Chloe, and Tate with a couple of Red Coats in front of the old state house.
 Me forcing a snuggle with my boys in front of faneuil hall.  Finn looks very concerned.
 We walked through the North End, bought some great pastries in Little Italy, and shared them while taking a little break at this park.  Ella and Tate got in a little wrestle.
 Here's Finny showing off his standing skills.
 And then we looped around through China town and back to the Boston Commons.  We had hoped to ride the swan boats, just like in Make Way For Ducklings.  We checked it out from the library a little while ago and got Tate all excited about going to that park and seeing Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and riding on those swan boats...but alas, we got there too late and the swan boat rides were closed.  He was upset for a minute or two, and then he decided to chase the ducks...that these girls were feeding.  They didn't like that very much.
 Then we found a few more ducks and squirrels to chase before heading to the Make Way For Ducklings statue for pictures.
That night we got all the exhausted kids ready for bed and then left Hailey and Chloe in charge while all the adults went out for dinner!  Such a treat.  Continuous adult conversation with people we love and don't get to see very often.  It was wonderful.
The next morning we woke up, had a great breakfast, and then left for the airport.  Tate was so upset.  He did not want to leave and he told us all about it all the way to the airport.  "I want to go back there!  Please, I don't want to go home.  I do not want to go to the airport!  Please, NO!"  It was about a thirty minute ride to the airport and he cried the entire time.  I don't think that's happened before.  It was sad and sweet at the same time.  I'm pretty sure Glenn was saying the same things in his head.  "Kim no!  I don't want to leave.  I want to go back there!  Please, NO!"  Sorry boys.  We have to go back to real life eventually, but it's pretty nice to have a trip where you feel that way when it's time to leave.  It was so wonderful to catch up with everyone and have to do so many fun things together.   Thank you Makechnies for being our hosts again!  We can't wait for next year.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The 1st First Day

Tate started preschool this morning.  He's already been there for an hour.  I can't believe it.  My first little baby is in preschool.  Without me.  For three hours.
The morning started very early.  Tate woke up at 5:30.  Which is 7:30 back east where we've been for over a week visiting Glenn's family.  We got home yesterday afternoon so the boys haven't quite adjusted yet.  Luckily, he woke up happy and we snuggled for a bit and talked about his big day.  Then we got up and had some pancakes and took our time getting everyone ready.
We decided a little over a month ago that we were going to try preschool this year.  It was a really hard decision for me to make.  He's just 3 and a half so that means he'll have two years of preschool if we start him this year.  There were so many questions in my mind: Can we afford the extra expense?  Is it worth the money?  Does he really "need" it?  What is my motive for putting him in preschool?  Is it more for me or for him?  But, in the end, after a really hard week of tantrums, I made the decision and it felt right and I never second-guessed again.  I know it will be really good for him to have some time away from me.  Learning how to get along with a bunch of classmates and how to listen and take instruction from someone other than mom.  He will be great and have so much fun.  We've been talking to him about it for a while.  Pointing out his preschool when we drive by.  Trying to figure out how to put on those pesky underpants all by himself (there are so many holes!) so he can be ready for preschool, etc.  I think he's excited and knows it means that he is a big boy, but didn't really know exactly what to expect.
This morning as we got closer to the time we wanted to leave he started to get a little worried.  "Mom, can you just stay with me in preschool?"  "Mom, I think I just want to stay home with you."  "Mom, will you come in to my preschool with me?" "Will my teacher help me put my backpack on?"
We drove to school and when I was getting him out of his carseat I held his cute little face for a second and told him that he was a very smart, sweet, and good boy, that he was going to have a lot of fun in preschool and that I loved him very very much.  Tate doesn't usually tell us he loves us back.   He's too busy.  But today he looked at me and said, in a sweet soft voice, "I very much love you too, Mom."  Aaaaand let the fighting back of the tears begin.  Oh, I love that boy.
We walked into the school and down the hall where we needed to wait in line to get into our classroom.    The rest of the kids started last week but we missed the class meet and greet and the first week of school because of our trip.  Tate was supposed to find his name velcroed on the board outside of the room and bring it in to his teacher.  I asked him which one said his name and he reached up and grabbed it right away.  He was really excited about his Lightning McQueen backpack so when he met his teacher, Ms. Sheri, for the first time she said hello, and he just turned around and put his back to her so she could see his backpack.  I just explained that he was very excited about his backpack and she was very sweet and tried to have a little chat with him but he was so distracted by all the fun things in the room, I don't think he even said anything to her.  We found his picture over his cubby, hung up his backpack, and then he was completely gone.  There were so many kids playing with all sorts of blocks and trucks while the teachers were checking everyone in.  It was all I could do to drag him across the room to show him where the bathroom was.  I gave him a hug and told him I loved him and left.  It would have been so much harder if he was clingy and worried, but I should have known he wouldn't be.  He takes after his dad that way.  He's usually not worried at all about new places and people.  He was excited to dive in and I was kind of in the way.
It's a fun new phase of life.  I thought I'd be more emotional about it, but I'm ok today.  I came home and took Finn for a jog.  I had forgotten how easy it is to push one kid in a single jogging stroller.  I felt like a total champ.  My pace was faster by a whole minute.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a dismal pace, but I felt awesome.
It's awful quiet with Finn down for a nap and no Tate in the house right now.  Big day.  The first of many first days with my little boys.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Glenn's birthday and Picture Wednesday

Glenn turned 30 on Monday.  We celebrated all weekend.  I've been asking him for weeks what he wanted to do for his birthday.  He vetoed the birthday party and several other ideas I had...and then Friday night decided that what he really wanted to do was to go to a water park on Saturday.  So we did.  Luckily for us, Stephen Cluff was willing to come with us.  The ladies in his family were busy but they let him come hang out with us for Glenn's last minute birthday party at Water World.  It was awesome.  It was the biggest water park I've been to and there was so much to do.  My plan was to hang out with the little boys all day and let Glenn and Stephen hang out and ride tons of water slides.  That's basically how it worked out, but they did check in often and gave me a couple of good breaks.  Glenn, Tate, and I even got to ride a big tube ride together while Stephen watched Finny.  The guys had tons of fun and I think we'll definitely go back there next year.  
Unfortunately the only pictures I got of the day's festivities were of Glenn and Stephen on this body surfing ride.  
 On Sunday we were invited to the Garvin's for dinner.  My cousin Lindsey and her new husband were there and we all had a lot of fun teasing, laughing, and chatting for hours and then ended the night with a little birthday cake.  Tate helped blow out the candles.  
 On Glenn's actual birthday the boys and I brought another cake to his work to share with work friends.  And this year we decided to throw in a good old fashioned candy bar poster.  Why not?  Tate was pretty confused/frustrated, that we taped all the candy to the poster.  What a waste.  Finn couldn't take his eyes off all the bright crackly things that probably held something delicious.
Some of the guys eating cake.
 I think the most special part of this birthday for Glenn was the notes he received from friends and family.  I had asked 30 people to send me a little note with something they liked about Glenn and every one of them responded.  We gave him the notes throughout the day in batches of 10 so we could spread them out a little.  Some of them were really sweet, some were really silly, but they were all so appreciated.  He loved reading what people had to say about him and he thought it was pretty amazing that so many people wrote to him for his birthday.  So a special thanks to everyone who wrote!  He really loved hearing from you.
When Glenn got home we got a sitter and went out to dinner.  He wanted sushi, so we got sushi.  All in all, I think it was a pretty fun day for Glenn, which, of course, is the point.  I'm so glad that he's mine.  He's such an amazing dad and husband.  He works so hard to take care of us and he certainly deserves to have a special, all about him day!

Here's little Finn's picture Wednesday this week.  He's 34 weeks old now.
 He's all over the place this week.  This morning while we were eating breakfast he was crawling under the table and under every chair.  He's getting a little faster every day.  Sometimes he gets frustrated and just stays in one place and yells, and sometimes he'll get in gear and crawls all the way across the room to get what he wants.
 He gets in his crawling position a lot, but most of the actual movement is still in his little scootch.
We sure love this little boy.  His sweet smile lights up his whole face, just like the other men in the family.     I sure wish he'd slow down the growing a little bit.  It seems like these sweet little baby phases are going even faster than they did with Tate, and that was quite fast enough for me, thank you very much!