Thursday, December 20, 2012

it's in his genes

At this time of year, I think about my paternal grandparents - they were really the rock that held our side of the family together, particularly at the holidays. It makes sense that now that so many of us have started families of our own, we tend to spend Christmas closer to home, wherever that may be, but when my Grammie and Grampa were alive, you could count on the whole brood to get together in a raucus group centered around food, laughter, love, and spirit.
There are many different personalities in my family, and I won't pretend that we always get along, but I love them all and wish we could all gather like that again. I want my son to know his family, to know where he comes from. My grandparents are gone, so it is my responsibility to make sure the qualities they exemplified live on in my son - honor, respect, love, compassion, faith, trust. I can only hope that someday, I will look into Finn's eyes and see the very best of all of us.


Friday, December 14, 2012

newtown

i feel like everything has been said and yet there's still so much to say.
i'm reminded of this quote:

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body".
-Elizabeth Stone

Every fiber of my being aches for those parents who lost their babies today, who will never, ever get over the senseless insanity.

Safety is an illusion. Every moment is precious.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

one of us

i've been a little obsessively concerned about finn's nutrition for a while now. mostly because my worst fear is a picky eater, but also because i loooove food so much and want finn to experience it in the way i do. it's such a part of me and i really want to share it with him - i love the idea of cooking together in the kitchen, taking him to get sushi for the first time, to having him introduce me to his favorite dishes or restaurants (you know, when he "grows up"). food enriches my life in a way that love and want to share.
i've had a hard time figuring out how to modify our regular menus to accommodate finn's abilities (with 8 teeth it's slightly hard to to chew, you know ;) i think i'm getting the hang of it now, though, but he's still not really eating all that well. i found myself running to the fridge in the midst of a hissy fit where forks and food is flying to grab the hummus and rice cakes on a regular basis.
finally, i came across a post somewhere suggesting a book called Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, by Ellyn Satter. this book is magic. it's straightforward and logical, but gives good guidelines and highlights the responsibilities of the parent (what she calls the "what" and "when" of feeding) and the child (what she calls the "whether" of feeding). it's completely transformed our eating experiences at the table and made them much more laid back and almost fun. finn is no longer the center of attention at every meal, he eats significantly more than he has been, and seems to be willing to experiment much more with what he's willing to put in his mouth.
so, phew. and thanks, ms. satter - your book has been a lifesaver!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

screen time

while we've been taking care of our little lead problem, we've been staying at a cottage that my family owns. we're very grateful to have this place to come to. even though i'm sure my dad and his wife would be happy having us stay with them for a few days, it's nice to have a two-bedroom space to ourselves where we can comfortably live for a few days while we get work done at home.

i must say, i really miss living in town. the cottage is right downtown, and it's so nice to be able to walk out the front door and be at the grocery store in two minutes.

the one thing i WON'T miss going home tomorrow, though, is the tv. we haven't had a tv since we came back to the states about two years ago, and it's been such a relief.

now, don't get me wrong. i'm not holier than though with the whole i-don't-watch-tv thing - i literally can't look away from it if it's on, even if there's NOTHING on. i've probably watched 10 hours of tv in the past three days and the only thing i can say was "worth" watching was about half an hour of harry potter (trumps anything, always) and pioneer woman's holiday special, and that's debatable (though i will definitely be trying her dutchess potato recipe!) i probably watched 6 solid episodes of "diners, drive-ins, and drives" (which i loathe) because nothing else was on.

WELL THEN TURN OFF THE FREAKING TV! WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING AT HOME? NOT MELTING YOUR BRAIN WITH THIS DRIVEL!

sorry. it had to be said.

honestly, if i were at home, i'd probably be surfing from facebook to my email account to pinterest, rather than working on the multitude of christmas crafts i should be working on.

i wonder what i would accomplish if i could drag myself away from these screens every once in a while.

rhymes with "bread"

ted.
tread.
bed.
dread.
lead.

about a month ago, i got a postcard in the mail asking if i wanted a free lead test kit.
well, sure. i'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. i knew it was possible that our house had lead in it but we'd tested a few surfaces and felt secure that we were ok, at least in the immediate areas that we live.

oh, how wrong we were.

the test arrived and i dutifully followed all the directions (which were numerous, involved gloves, a square to tape to cordon off the test area, and plastic test tube like thingeemagigees). I tested the kitchen floor, a stair, and the windowsill in finn's bedroom.

fast forward a couple of weeks later and there's a message on the machine from a woman in the testing office who likes to call people who have high results.

super.

my first instinct was the kitchen, but i was wrong. it was the stair. the seafoam green stairs that finn has been crawling up and down now for months came back with a level of 220 (in comparison, a "moderate" level would be 50). the suggested course of action was to paint the hell out of the stairs and get a runner.

so, this weekend, when we were supposed to get our tree, we're staying at a cottage in town owned by my family while we wait for the three coats of paint to dry on the stairs (oh, AND the built in bookshelf that ALL of finn's toys have been sitting on for the past several months? same color, probably same rating. suuuuuuuuuuper - so that's getting a wicked paint job, too).

we've got an appointment for finn to have his blood tested, but not until the beginning of january. will let you know when i know.

gotta love life's little surprises, huh?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

woot.

ok, so we just got this AWESOME news, and i just have to share...

right now, we have health insurance that we pay a very significant amount of money per month for. it's decent coverage, but we have an extremely high deductible, it doesn't cover maternity/delivery, and would increase in price per month when baby #2 arrives, becoming an even more significant amount.

this was stressing me out. maternity coverage was going to cost way more per month until delivery, and i didn't know if we could afford it.

i've looked into alternatives over the past year, hoping that there would be something of decent quality that we could reasonably afford, but i was unsuccessful and had come to the conclusion that we would be paying big bucks - somehow - to have this baby.

then, i had a conversation with a friend, who had just signed up for dirigo choice - self employment insurance provided to maine residents. she said she was getting an extremely reasonable rate for her insurance, and she had a deductible that was less than 1/5 of ours.

long story short, i applied for the same insurance and we found out two days ago that we qualify and that it will kick in on january 1st. it's a family plan, meaning our rates won't go up after the babe is born AND it covers maternity. PLUS we pay less per month. win, win, win!

man, it's tricky being an adult sometimes, but things work out every once in a while.

HUGE sigh of relief!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

way!!!

This totally just happened.

Evidently, all I need to do is finally reach the end of my parental rope and freak out that Finn is deficient in some way and he'll pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

two

So were you surprised by my little annoucement at the end of the last post?
Yeah, so was I. Surprised, I mean.

Let's rewind several weeks. I'm lying on an exam table, feet in stirrups, making casual conversation with my health care provider when she says, "Oh, oh no!".

Not exactly the sentiment you want exclaimed in proximity to your nether regions, I can assure you.

The exclamation, I came to find out, was caused by the fact that my IUD, which was inserted about a year ago, was pretty much falling out of my cervix and therefore ineffective.

Super.

I had gone in with the intention of having the IUD removed anyway, so it wasn't the end of the world by any means, but I certainly wouldn't have - er - imbibed quite as much as I did at the wedding I went to back home a few weeks previous had I been trying to get a bun in the oven.

I waited a week to see if Aunt Flo was going to make an appearance. When it didn't look likely, I asked my sister to import me a test from the mainland (didn't need anyone on island talking any sooner than they needed to be). Sure enough, before I even finished peeing, there it was, the + sign. Woah.

If I'd waited another week or so, it would have been undeniable as the morning sickness has really kicked in now...for some strange reason, Thousand Island Dressing makes most things more palatable, but I basically feel like tossing my cookies at any given moment. Though I guess I should be grateful that I'm not Kate Middleton, poor thing. Look on the bright side is what I say. Of course, my husband has been a ROCK STAR, taking care of Finn, walking the dog, making dinner, doing dishes (and a partridge in a pear tree). ROCK STAR, I say.

Oh, and the funny part? If we've calculated correctly, we conceived this little bugger on Halloween. Two years ago, I got pregnant with Finn on either October 30 or November 1. Finn's due date was July 23rd. If we're right, this one will be due on July 24th. (Insert the Twilight Zone theme song here).  Of course, we won't know any of the answers to those questions for sure until I get in to see the midwives - but that's another blog post. For now, suffice it to say, Finn's going to be a big brother. We're going to have TWO KIDS. We're thrilled.

Terrified, but thrilled.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

times.

I posted these photos on this blog post weeks ago when I purged my camera of all the new, cute photos of Finn. 
So this isn't exactly the most timely of posts. Nor does it really have anything to do with these photographs. 
But, boy, he's cute, isn't he?
I
Well, I guess this would sort of be relevant - here Finn is pulling himself to stand while throwing the ball for Nugget. This boy has himself an arm. Look out major leagues!



But I digress...so back to the standing. He's pulling himself up on everything he can get his grubby little paws on, walking with his walker, holding on to one finger and walking around with me...but not on his own. 

I know, I know!
Sarah, remember three months ago when we went through this with the crawling? Remember when you were all crazy about the fact that he wasn't getting his act in gear then? Right, so he's on his own schedule, he's doing things his own way. He's...
But do you know how many babies are walking by 17 months?
90%.
Do you know when the "cut-off" is for babies learning to walk?
18 months.
We're kind of on a tight time line here...cutting it down to the very last second. Gonna be a procrastinator like your Mama, eh?

Oh, and also? I'm pregnant.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

gratitude


Here's hoping YOU have a big helper in the kitchen today, too!
Happy Thanksgiving to you!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

zzz.

THIS little guy is having an interesting time.
Between his cold/fever, the time change, traveling for a long weekend, and finally arriving back home with a dry, hacking cough that only appears in the middle of the night, and, his little system is completely thrown off (and...hence...so are ours).
Am I a wicked broken record when it comes to sleep? I feel like there might be one or two (thousand) posts about it, but MAN it makes a difference.
So we've tried pretty much everything - elevating the mattress, the humidifier, honey, eucalyptus oil, a heater, a new down comforter, homeopathic meds, acetaminofen, ibuprofen - I think we might have finally figured out the beginning of the solution. So now to catch up on the sleep. I hope.
There have definitely been a few moments recently when I *might* save said, "Finn, stop crying. Go back to sleep" in a not-so-nice way to him at about 3am when we've been up for two hours with creaming unhappiness.
But then this happens the next morning - and all is forgiven.
Almost.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

taking a minute.

One beautiful windswept day.

One little family out for a stroll. Just for the heck of it.
One tired little pumpkin.

Just a little reminder to savor it. To soak it all up.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the lovers, the dreamers, and me....

Hey folks!
Been having some trouble uploading photos recently, so expect many, MANY posts in the coming days with lots of cutie pie photos - for now, though - Happy belated Halloween, and get out there and vote!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

a few long days

Oof.

I've been hanging out with a sick kiddo for the past couple of days...which means not much sleep and a whole lotta clinginess. I'm at work now, quite sure that I'm going to get a call from day care that he's not doing well and asking me to pick him up. Now that he's passed on whatever nastiness he has to me, I wish there was someone I could whine to and carry me around and take me for walks so my sinuses can drain with the help of gravity. I am quite glad that no one is sticking syringes up my nose to squeeze them out, though.

I do love my day care, though...the women who take care of him do such an awesome job and really care about him, and the cost is as nominal as is humanly possible to give an option to the lower income families on the island. In that respect, I can overlook the fact that I've been paying for Finn to be at daycare for the past two days, even though he's been home with me and I haven't been able to work. It's the price we pay for having quality day care at low cost.

Just got the call.
Off to pick up the kid.
Sigh.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

away we go!

T minus three days until we leave Finn overnight for the first time.

I'm taking Chad to the mainland to celebrate his 35th birthday. we're staying at our favorite b&b, and going to get "the best burger in maine" according to the Food Network. After weeks of inquiring what he'd like for his birthday meal (trying to get an idea of where to make reservations), he said "a really good burger", so a burger it is.
We're also going to pick up a wood stove I found on Craigslist and run a few errands (one day, we'll leave the island with no agenda and just while away the hours on the mainland.
Actually, that will probably never happen, but I'm hoping we can balance things a bit and just spend some time together this weekend. It's been a while. You know, like 15 months.

I am feeling a little trepidation about leaving Finn overnight with my Dad and stepmom since he's been a bit...difficult...during the overnights recently. It's so hard not to know what's going on - why he's crying, why he wakes up again and again (for going on two hours). Is it teething? Is he hungry? Thirsty? Cold? I think it was the latter last night as he finally settled down when I wrapped his bottom half up in a blanket, then covered him with two more and tucked him in within an inch of his life. It's been chilly here, and though he's got plenty of covers, he kicks them off quite aggressively sometimes. We've got two quilts on him, plus a softer sort of blanket, but I got a huge (no really, HUGE) bag of fleece from a friend last year and might try my hand at making him a quilt out of it. It's so very soft, and I'd just like to dive right into it, so maybe it's something he'd be more into snuggling down with. We'll see. I've never made a quilt, but it seems like it would be a pretty forgiving fabric to work with. Either way, I'm going to get a little electric heater to put in his room tonight to see if that fends off the 1am screaming.

I did start writing what I like to call "The Finn Manifesto" today, which I hope will have all answers to questions my parents might have while they're watching him.  They spend lots of time with him anyway, so it's not like they're novices or anything, but there are some finer points (routines, favoite foods, schedules, etc.) that they might find useful. I'm trying to make it very straightforward and streamlined, not overdo the info or be the totally neurotic mom I am just underneath the surface. Ah, neuroses...they're so easy to give into.

Oh, for those of you who might see Chad in the next few days, please keep the night away thing under wraps. He doesn't know about it (luckily, he also doesn't read my blog!).

Friday, October 5, 2012

hand me downs

i'll just go ahead and say it: i don't care about fashion. i DO love watching project runway (make it work!), and am pretty sure that one day my friends will nominate me for "what not to wear", but for goodness sakes, i just have better things to do with my time...like...you know...blog.

so you can imagine that i'm thrilled to say that i'm pretty sure we've purchased approximately three items of clothing for finnley james, and two of them are hats. i'm pretty psyched about this record so far considering he's still a pretty well-dressed dude (although my judgment is obviously skewed). we have been absolutely blessed with two sources for totally awesome hand-me-downs. the former owners are now 2 and 3 years of age, both families are done having kids, and we are the lucky recipients of trash bags full of goodies every time we go and visit. i kid you not: the last time we got a bag, there was a finn-sized linen suit in it. he's totally set for...basically...life.

one of the things i like most about our situation is that not only is finn the lucky recipient of two wardrobes worth of clothes, but THOSE kids were lucky recipients of hand-me-downs, too...and you'd never know to look at these clothes. it's really true - they go through them so fast that - particularly at this age - they don't have an opportunity to trash them. this kid's got TWO pairs of merrell shoes (ahem, i don't even have one!), l.l. bean puddle jumpers, about 85 footie pjs, an equal number of flannel-lined pants (did i mention that these moms are practical, too?)...i could go on.

i won't even go into the fact that we have also been the recipients of a changing table, baby gates, car seats, a pack-n-play, a radio flyer walker, and so much more.

but the VERY best part? i have a well-dressed kiddo without having to lift a finger to do it. i have total faith that the clothes my cousin and friend send our way are in the best taste - because those moms have it in spades.

all that beings said...don't you think he'd just look adorable in this??? i'm seriously thinking of purchasing this for the annual holiday card, but have no taste, so i'm coming to you, blog readers. yay or nay?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

right now...

I'm struggling with nursing.

Or rather, weaning.

Right now, I'm deciding what's best for me and Finn. My goal was always one year. Neither Chad nor I wants Finn nursing when he's old enough to ask for it. Maybe that's an arbitrary designation, but I really just don't want a toddler pulling down (or up!) my shirt in the middle of conversation, and I think we're approaching the cut off point. So it's time. Right?

At least, that's what my head says, but my heart is breaking a little. There are certainly times when Finn initiates the nursing (with vigor!), but sometimes, I'm the one. There's something about it that I love. Whether it's the closeness, the instant calm, the comfort I can provide without hesitation...I don't know. I just know I'm missing it already.

I'm also a bit scared. I know that I can soothe my kiddo without a doubt by pulling out a boob, but I've been so reliant on that for 15 months (wait...it can't have been 15 months already!) now that I'm not 100% sure I've got any other tricks up my sleeve. I guess it's all a learning curve, this kid thing. This parent thing. This life thing.

Today might be the day. I just dropped him off at daycare until five. I've got a meeting at 5:30 and one at 6:30, so it's quite likely that he'll go to sleep tonight without having nursed at all. I wonder if he'll notice. I wonder if my body will just adjust like it's nothing. I guess we'll see.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

dear finn,

Dear Finn,

Please tell me, what is it about the dog food, the cat litter box, and the toilet that are so freaking fascinating to you? What is it that draws you to these things more than any other, and devastates you so when you are taken away from them?
What, Finn, WHAT?

Love,
Mom.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

this parent stuff

Oh man.
I'm reading the Harry Potter series again (actually, I'm listening to them - what a magnificent narrator, and I LOVE being read to), and it appears that I've become a COMPLETE SAP since becoming a mom.
I was SO looking forward to starting listening to these books again - it's been years and years since I read the Sorcerer's Stone, and there are some I only read once. So this morning, I settled in and queued up Chapter 1. All of a sudden, as the story started unfolding, and I was listening to a story about a baby who was Finn's age losing both of his parents and growing up for ten years without anyone who cares about him.
And then I burst into tears.
Not just once, but several times throughout the course of the first four chapters.

I've noticed that there are some things that affect me in different ways now that I'm a mom, particularly when it comes to kiddos and I've realized that I've become almost fierce in my feeling toward my son, like some sort of animal protecting its young. I've also come to realize that I have this welling up inside me anytime I see or hear about a child being abused in any way.

My question: How the HECK am I supposed to function when my emotions are so volatile? How the heck am I supposed to keep my head and "keep calm and carry on"if Finn is being bullied at school? And most importantly, how am I supposed to read Harry Potter to my kids if I'm bursting into tears all the time?
Sheesh. This parent stuff.

Monday, September 24, 2012

up and at 'em.

We're gettin' there with this walking thing. Or rather, standing. We're very, very, very good at standing. Once we get there, though, we kind of run out of steam. Which is just fine because I can turn away and turn back, and lo and behold, he's still in the same place. Loving it :)


Finn got a super sweet gift from his aunt before he was born, but I've just started bringing it out now since some of the pieces are still a little small for him. It's a handmade arc called "S.S. Noah" and is filled with pairs of animals in various hilarious get-ups, as well as Noah and his wife (what was Noah's wife's name, anyway?). Finn's favorite game of late is the "taking things out, then putting them back in" game, so this is the perfect toy for his purposes. I even like playing with it, so I'm sure it will see a LOT of action in our house in the years to come.

Still in one place for now - savoring each moment. I know it won't last long and I'll be chasing this guy around before I know it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

tubby time

Hahahhahahaha

This is one of those posts that Finn will be talking about at therapy in a few years.

So we got Finn this new tub. In our new house, we have but one bathroom and in that bathroom, we have a super roomy shower, but no bathtub. Up until now, he's been bathing in the kitchen sink, which has been less-than-convenient, particularly when it's filled with dirty dishes.
So last week, I decided that was it, I'm buying and installing a proper tub in the bathroom.
Except that we don't really want one in that bathroom (we will when we put in the new one upstairs, but there's not really a point in putting one in what will eventually just be a glorified laundry room, now is there?).
And we have better things to spend $500 on (wood stove, anyone??).
Luckily, I ran it past my Facebook friends, and they convinced me that a tub is a silly idea, so I went searching for an alternative. After some searching, I was able to find a tub made in Sweden that doesn't use all those nasty plastics and that folds up to almost nothing. Win.
So last night, we had our maiden voyage with the tub. Chad and I were happily sipping our glasses of wine when Finn made "the face".
I guess it's a testament to how relaxed he felt in his new tub that he decided it was the opportune moment to poop in it, but for goodness sakes, is nothing sacred anymore? He hasn't pooped in his bath since he was about 5 months old.
So here we are - 2 posts about poop in the same week. Sorry Finn - hope you have good insurance when you grow up.

Love,
Mom

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a boy and his sheep.

In the process of weaning, Finn has become much more attached to his fluffy friend. Once an occupant solely of the crib, Sheep has started coming on outings with us and seems to be a sense of security for my boy. He absolutely beams whenever he sees his sheep and clutches it closely to him, giggling (before, often, chucking him to the floor, but still...).
As a child, I had "Blank", my ever-so-creative name for my soft pink blanket with satin lining, as my lovey, and it appears that Finn has chosen this sheep as his. Yes, I know it's something that he'll have to outgrow at some point in the future, but I do love seeing him with his arm around that grubby, fuzzy body.
This little one is growing up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

starting from scratch.

OK, so as of approximately January first, I expect to be completely unemployed.
This is a good thing. I made the decision to leave the jobs that I'm currently in - for a variety of reasons, they were the wrong fit for me, and I'm excited to take the next step. I want to have more free time and to spend it with Finn or otherwise doing things that make me happy - baking, knitting, and renovating this house of ours. So it's all good.
But it's also terrifying.

My plan is to start up my massage business again. I was trained before we left for the UK and really loved it, but was also working a full time job while the massage business took off, and by the time I was building a clientele, the summer was over and we were off to England.
I had always intended to start up again when we returned to Maine, but this happened, that happened, and I allowed myself to be swept along rather than dig in my heels and do what I really want to.
It's a little scary and intimidating to think about putting all my eggs in one basket since I've always had backup plans up the wazoo, but I really want to make this work and I love the idea of working for myself, helping others, and being able to help support my family doing both of those things.
So I'm excited, but there's also that little voice (YOU know the voice), who I try really hard not to listen to, but who is really, REALLY loud sometimes and I start thinking maybe I should do something safe and secure. I've been riding this line for a while now and I think it's finally time to jump. I want to do something that's good for me, good for my family, and good for the community. I hope that I can get enough of a client base established so that I can only work on islanders, which is why I'm starting my practice at a quiet time of year. It would be nice to live out here and not be beholden to the tourist population, to have security year round instead of just in the summer.

Plus, there might be one or two other things in the works...gotta keep busy, you know ;)

So, not exactly a Finn-centric post, but my life is pretty Finn-centric, so in the end it all comes back to him.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

poop

Over breakfast this morning, Chad and I negotiated which of us would clean up the poop fiascos in our house.
We lead such glamorous lives.

Before Finn was born, we decided to "go" with cloth diapers. For the most part, it's been a super decision that we're happy with. I feel like I have a pretty good idea of how Finn is digesting his food when I get to deal with it in such a personal way, and I think it's given us an "up" on the future, when (I've been told) we'll be catching vomit in our bare hands...maybe even with the added bonus of being in our own bed. Ooh, boy, looking forward to that (I'm looking at YOU, Angie)!

And then there are those other times...

Like the diaper that conceals its true contents until the very last minute and I'm confronted with avocado poop - or beet poop (both of which look very similar going in as coming out) in great profusion...these diapers are bad enough to change (oh no! It's a 6 wipe-r!), but I really have to psych myself up some days to clean them. The anticipation, for the record, is much worse than the actual reality. I am completely immune to poop now.

(Fun fact: Chad has a fork in our bathroom that he uses as a scraper for those particularly stubborn loads).

Then there was the time when I changed Finn's diaper just before a bath and the poop was squirreled away - not in the diaper, but between his cute little cheeks, so when I went to put my arm under his bum to carry him to the tub...well, you get the idea.

You understand, of course, why there are no photos to use as visual aids today.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

home

Finn's getting quite spoiled this week.
His "Grammie Jan" (my mom) is up from her home in Connecticut and he's spending hours being completely spoiled by her and her partner while slowly luring them - as he does with everyone - into his web from which none can escape.
Not that we want to.

It's so nice to see them walking by together as I sit in the shop that's recently become so quiet after a busy summer crowd dispersed. Family has always been important to me, my mom in particular since she was a single mom for most of my life and I grew up with her. Having both of my birth parents, my step-mom, my mom's partner, my aunt, uncle, and cousin all on island with us feels similar to the island I remember when I was a kid, when five generations of my family lived on the island and I saw my great, great grandmother weekly for bean suppers. There's something to be said for predictability, for knowing virtually all the faces you encounter in a day. There's something to be said for knowing someone's story as you stand behind them in the checkout line at the grocery store. There's something to be said for the ease with which I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere.

There's something to be said for this place we have chosen to live. It may not offer some of the opportunities found elsewhere, but it more than makes up for it in those that it does.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

happy times

 Back with some happy times...Even though I've taken a dearth of photos this summer, Finn is so photogenic that OTHER people can't help but take a click here and a click there. 
For this, I am eternally grateful, particularly when they capture such a happy guy hanging out with his grandparents.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

being a mother

It's been two months since the events I'm about to describe and I'm just now feeling far enough away from it to write about it in a tone that won't sound like hysteria.

The week before we were to go away for a week long vacation with friends, Finn got sick. It started out with a low-grade fever and sniffles, so we thought it was teething. He'd had seven teeth for months and we were just waiting on that eighth one to pop through. The fever started on Tuesday night, and by Friday morning, it wasn't any better and we brought him to the medical center on the island.
Aside: We decided to wait the three days to see if it would work itself out and I've got faith in the human immune system, so I figured the longer his little one gets to work without antibiotics, the better it will be in the long run. I'm also trying not to be one of those hypochondriac moms who fly off the handle at the smallest sniffle.
At the medical center, we were told that Finn had an ear infection and were prescribed some antibiotics. I felt ever-so-proud of myself for having gotten it all sorted out before the weekend and looked forward to his fever going down within 24 hours.
But it didn't.
In fact, it got worse. Friday night was awful, Saturday night was worse, and by Sunday morning, he'd managed to get up to about 104. I had an itchy feeling in what I'm coming to recognize as my mother's intuition. We had already postponed our departure to the week long vacation we had planned and I was starting to think we'd be making an unrelated trip to the mainland when I realized that he wasn't moving his head. It's something I'll never forget looking down at Finn and realizing he couldn't look up at me. Instantly, I called the on-call doctor at the medical center fearing the worst - meningitis. We were in an examining room half an hour later and made the decision to go to the ER for blood tests and a possible spinal tap.
The next hour of my life is quite possibly the worst I've ever had. I left the medical center and had to drive to find Chad so we could get on the 1:00 ferry. Chad (of course) was working at the end of a dirt road  about half an hour away. The drive there, alone with Finn in the car, was absolutely terrifying as I watched him in the rear view mirror, realizing how fragile he still is, even though he's no newborn. Realizing how much he counts on me and wondering how the hell I could deal with seeing him in the hospital, hooked up to machines with tubes, unable to hold him in my arms. More than one sob escaped my lips while I was en route to find Chad. By the time I got there, I was so far gone that all I could manage was "Come home. We have to go to the ER" before I was down the driveway and headed home to pack.
All I wanted to do was huddle in a corner and cry, but I had to find people to watch the dog and cat, I had to find a place to stay on the mainland, and I had to get our stuff together and get on the boat. Luckily, I have a great support network and managed to get all of the above without completely losing it...until I got to the ferry line and the images of Finn lying on a hospital bed came flooding back. I lost it. I'm not going to lie.
After what seemed like an epically long boat ride, we finally arrived in Rockland along with my sister, who was a total rock the whole time we were at the hospital (which was a long, long time).
The staff in the ER was awesome, his doctor was phenomenal, and we were super happy with Finn's care, but it was trying, exhausting, and completely draining. It was decided that my 12 month old son would have to have a spinal tap to test for meningitis, along with tests on both his blood and urine. Two blood getting attempts in each arm proved impossible and left me with completely frayed nerves. After declining the offer of a catheter, a sticky bag was attached to collect Finn's urine, which proceeded to leak all over my skirt when he did finally pee. By this point, I was completely beyond usefulness and Chad took over for the big event -the spinal tap.
I'm sorry, but really? A spinal tap on a 12 month old? I'VE never even had one. How the hell am I supposed to make that call, to stand by while someone sticks a needle in my kid's SPINE?
But stick a needle in his spine, they did, and when all the tests finally came back, all we knew was that he probably didn't have meningitis. Some blood had wound up in the spinal fluid sample, and they weren't able to do the appropriate white/red blood cell comparison. We still, however, had no idea what was going on.
In the meantime, though, the nurse at the ER gave Finn some ibuprofen and within about 20 minutes, his neck stiffness was gone, his fever all but disappeared, and he was perky and smiley. Ibuprofen. 20 minutes. All better. If I hadn't been so stressed out, I could have laughed.
The final word on the matter was that we were to administer some antibiotics to Finn for the next week in case it was viral and after a double injection (into both thighs) as a final insult to injury, we were free to go at about 11pm, 8 hours after we had arrived.
Thankfully, a friend has an apartment we could stay in overnight and my sister, in quite possibly one of her awesomest moves ever, left us dinner and a bottle of wine on the kitchen table, in addition to setting up Finn's pack & play and making the bed for us.
We finally did get to our vacation house and had several awesome days with some good friends, so all's well that ends well, I guess. Finn's fit as a fiddle now, playing contentedly with his toys as I type up this epic entry. Understandable if you don't read this whole thing. I think it's more a purging for me than anything else.
What I can't comprehend after all of this is how parents of terminally ill kids do it - having only had a taste of a possibility of a scary diagnosis, I absolutely can not imagine the guilt, terror, anger, and second guessing they go through. There have been a few families I've known who have had to endure that agony, and I really don't think I'm strong enough for it. I've never ever known love this strong, this complete, and to have it threatened was all it took for me to completely crack.
Sorry. I know this isn't all light hearted and smiles today. I just had to get it out.
There's a quote that I keep thinking of that I think encompasses this perfectly:
Being a mother "is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." (Elizabeth Stone)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

summer times

So as I've been virtually absent all summer long, I thought I'd give you a taste of what Finnley James has been up to...


Finn is in high demand and has lots of social engagements with his contemporaries. M & D are twins born exactly a month before his birthday. Being born so close together, they have many similar interests - they like to eat sand, steal each other's water bottles, and generally give their parents heart attacks at any possible opportunity. They were fast friends and are already making plans to get into mischief for many summers to come.    
J is 6 months older than Finn, and he has been the standard upon which I measure Finn's development. He's the "cool guy" who Finn looks up to. I can almost see the wheels turning when he watches J splash at the quarry in his cool super hero suit.
O is the most precocious member of the class of 2029. She was practically running hurdles at 9 months old and is already bilingual. She's got lots of cool tricks up her sleeves.Here, she gives Finn lessons on how to pop seaweed like bubble wrap. 



B is just a few weeks older than Finn, but his verbal prowess is already legendary. On this occasion, Arts Night, he showed off his mad skills identifying the cold cubes in the cup as "ice". Finn, meanwhile, agreed with his customary, "da".
Luckily, the two go the "wear your awesome Go Fish t-shirt tonight" memo.

Man, these kids (and others not pictured) are all so awesome...they've all got their own little idiosyncrasies and are already their own people. I'm constantly amazed by watching them.
Somehow it didn't really occur to me that these guys are people from the get-go, but I am just beginning to understand how fully formed they already are and how we're the slow ones who need to catch up and get to know them. Cool beans, these little ones are. They're completely individual, working on their own timetables, and are going to be one heck of a gang in a few years.

I can't wait.




Monday, September 3, 2012

oh, hi.

My guys (the one on the right's got a(nother!) cold - he usually doesn't look so dazed. 
I think he may be in need of his first hair cut, but I'm going to ignore that for now.


My big (furry) kid and my little one. I think Nugget is less than impressed, but she's SUCH a good girl.

Now that the summer is over, life will get back on an even keel and I'll be around lots more.
Looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

f

So, like, we went to Finn's year "well child" appointment today and he's doing great overall - healthy, happy, sociable, etc.
But he sort of "failed" (like there was a red "X" on his chart). And it kind of stresses me out.

To summarize: Finn's not crawling, not walking, not "creeping", not pulling up to stand, and to be totally honest, hasn't even really ever rolled over from back to front.
We make excuses like he didn't get a lot of tummy time, he was swaddled, he's carried everywhere and gets all of his needs taken care of without having to move. It makes us feel better and sound like super doting parents (which we totally are).
When I tell people that he's not really moving around yet, they tell me, "Oh just wait - he'll be all over the place in no time" or "Thank your lucky stars", both of which make me feel better because
a) I don't really want him moving around yet. Our house is SO the opposite of toddler-proof (like glass bottles arranged all artful-like on top of free standing bookshelves).
and b) I've heard SO many stories from parents who say that their kids took their time, too and wound up being upstanding citizens and all that.

I like the idea of Finn marching to the beat of his own drum.

But I worry.

I guess that's what parenthood is all about.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

one!

 It's a birthday boy!


What's that, you say? It's been almost a month since his birthday and I'm just NOW getting around to writing the post about it?
Details, details...

Finn's first was celebrated surrounded by family at our new home (man, we really need new siding).



 His birthday cake was one I adapted from a diabetic recipe and contained only 1/4 cup of sugar. Add a little maple whipped cream and organic raspberries, and I'd say that's a pretty tasty cake (even the other kiddos didn't seem to mind the lack of toothachy sweet cake).


I've been saving Finn's placenta to plant with a lilac, but wasn't sure at the time where I'd plant it or how long the thing would be taking up space in our freezer. 
Well, as luck would have it, we now have a yard to plant it in (yup, that's the placenta in the hole in the first photo), and have now started a new garden bed that we'll add to every July 3rd. The rocks in the photo were placed around the lilac (which is one of those new-fangled ones that blooms several times a season...yes...), and family members wrote little messages to him during his party.

We also started the tradition of setting off fireworks on his birthday, but as his bedtime is 7:00, it was a bit of a non-event in full daylight.

The birthday was all I wanted it to be - small, simple, and meaningful.  Oh! And I did manage to whip up his birthday crown, and he kept it on the WHOLE TIME. That was present enough for me.

...
plus, there was this...  :)

video

Sunday, July 1, 2012

mission accomplished.

so for months now i've been planning to make finn a crown for his first birthday, not knowing if i'd actually get it done. once we bought the house and i wasn't even sure where my sewing machine was (much less where it would fit in my eventual "craft room", i had kind of let it go.
but over the past couple of days, all the stars aligned long enough to make it. using felt, elastic, and a piece of leftover fabric from his closet curtain, the crown is ready and waiting for the price to wear...
only two more days!

thinking back over the last year, i don't really wonder where the time has gone. i feel like i've been in it, you know what i mean? IN. IT. i feel like i've spent most of my waking moments with this little guy and that i've really taken it in - maybe more than i've necessarily wanted to sometimes. those first few months were a challenge, that's for sure.

but now that we're here, i really, truly, honestly can't remember life without this little guy. he's the first thing i think about when i wake up and the last thing i think about before i fall asleep. he's got a smile that can brighten the darkest day and a sense of humor with perfect timing (not to mention those dashing good looks!). no one day is the same as any other, and i feel myself stretching and growing to be the mom i want him to have.

it hasn't always been perfect, and i doubt it ever will be, but there are glimpses of perfection every once in a while and that's enough for me.

thank you, finn, for being everything i never knew i was missing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

a little visit

Just a quick stop in to prove we're still around and that the light in the new house is AWESOME!





Wednesday, June 13, 2012

a neglectful parent

not to finn, but to my blog...
i'll be back, little blog. we hope to be moved into our new house on friday and there's much to do before then!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

finding room to grow

Today, we bought a house.
Our first house guest is coming next Friday, so we've got a lot of work to do between now and then.
It's so strange to think that Finn won't remember this little house that we've spent the last (almost) year (though I'm sure many of you will be glad to see something other than the same old rug and couch in the background of photos).
We've all learned so much together in this space - more, more, more than I ever could have imagined... I know we've got a way to go, but now we've got some space to grow...stay tuned for photos!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

11

At 11 months, Finn's favorite things to do include drumming on our djembe (especially with the animals from his jungle puzzle), putting things into his bucket, and taking things out of his bucket.

He loooooooooves pear and smoothies in the morning, and takes great pride in making huge messes at the table.

He is still obsessed with cats and will lunge gracelessly at any cat that wanders by.

He is still unapologetic about his lack of interest in crawling, walking, or any of the other things he's "supposed" to be doing. He's way too busy being awesome to worry about milestones.

One more month, buddy - sometimes I wonder what the heck we did without you. We certainly slept more. And wasted more time. And spent more money on inane things.

And we thought we knew what love was.

But we were wrong.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a tradition begins.

WHAT a glorious weekend.

For those of us who live in a vacation spot, it's sometimes easy to forget - to focus more on the differences between ourselves and the people who come seasonally "from away". But there are similarities, too...there's something about this spot that draws people from afar to the rocky beaches, the foggy harbor, the isolation, the serenity.

Lucky for me, I have a friend who reminds me every once in a while to enjoy this place I live instead of working myself into the ground every summer.

We had one of those days on Memorial Day, when we spent an early evening at the beach with friends, barbeque-ing, sitting still (as much as one can with an *almost* 11-month old!), and appreciating our surroundings and each other. 

There was talk of this becoming a weekly tradition. That would be okay with me.
Finn's first experience in the ocean - definitely not sure about it at first, but who can suppress a smile when when Mommy and Daddy sing "The Wheels on the Bus?"



Chad's got a bit of a warped sense of humor. We call this one "Sacrificial Baby".
We need more moments like this in our lives.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend, friends.