Tuesday, December 31, 2013

.miss m is one.

This past week as I reflected back on that cold December Thursday of last year, and all the unexpected things that happened (like the car breaking down), I'm filled with so much love for you little miss.  You came into this world so easily, and without much fuss, and you have maintained that persona  throughout pretty much your first year of life.
You go with the flow and seem to only to speak your unhappiness when you are tired.  Daddy likes to call you the "SP" (spoiled princess) when that happens.  We joke about this, because you are generally a most pleasant child.
This past month you have really become a full blown walker.  You can get yourself up from sitting to standing without any help, and can move quite quickly.  You have also discovered the stairs, and can climb them faster then anything I've seen.  You still have to figure out the whole coming down them, but it will come with a little more time.
You still only have two teeth, but that hasn't slowed you down at all.  You eat almost anything I make...including pork chops.  I have a love hate relationship with you being able to feed yourself.  On one hand it frees me up to eat or do dishes, but then I'm left with an even bigger mess to clean.   However, you are still far cleaner then your older brother.

Among your favorite things:
-Wrestling with daddy
-Playing peek-a-boo with mommy
-clapping objects together to make noise
-any and every sippy cup you can get your hands on
-teeth (you are so fascinated with what's in our mouths)
-doggies (your cuddle blankets)
-bringing your toys over to show mom and dad

We enjoy watching you grow and change, but wish time would slow down just a bit.  This is such a fun age, when the world is opening up more and more.  We love our miss Meg and can't believe you are already a whole year old.  You make our family more complete and happy, and we love you so much!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

.wrapping up Christmas.

The year is wrapping up, and we are gearing up for the coming of a brand new year and the adventures that await us in 2014.  This holiday season has been simple and wonderful.  Cutting back on a lot of the "extra" of the season, was just what I needed this year.  The things we did do, were family and Christ centered, which brought a special spirit into my heart.  Of course Christmas is just plain magical with children.  The morning of Christmas, Finn scampered up the stairs to find the tractors that Santa had left, and could hardly be pulled away to open anything else.

 dumping the contents of the stockings out
 completely mesmerized by the big big loaders...notice Meg soaking it all up with bottle in hand
 all Meg wanted to do was suck on Finn's camelback and hold onto a fruit snack package...Christmas with an almost one year old.
This is seriously how Finn spent 60% of the day

Despite my best efforts of only buying a few toys and books, it seems like the kids made quite a haul between family and friends.  Now I have to find somewhere to put it all.

Following close on the heels of Christmas was Miss M's first birthday.   It's just one big party over at the Hoffman's!
 The spread...as if we hadn't had enough sugar
 Meg's star cupcakes
 I couldn't get Meg to sit still for a picture...or get my phone back.  She's almost a full bi-ped now.
 I did however capture Finn's elusive smile.

 tentative first taste
 needing a mid-meal drink
 She's got some serious stink eyes when she's tired
 Grandma Sullivan and Aunt Kay had to show Meg how to get into the gifts
 She seemed especially interested in this toy from Grandma and Grandpa Hoffman
I still can't believe she's already one!

Amongst all the celebrations and festivities, I hit the half way mark on pregnancy #3.  Pregnancy with two young children is taking it's toll as my energy level is always hovering just above empty, so most days it's just mind over matter.  I haven't managed to maintain any kind of exercise regimen, and seem to be hungry all the time still, but at this point I'm just getting myself to May.  This past week I have totally taken advantage of Roy being home.  As I make my way up the stairs around 8 in the morning I just tell him, "I'm on vacation".  If any of you are still wondering what we are having...so are we...it's a surprise.  We have one of each and this will probably be our last one, so we thought we would go for it.  But here is a sneak peek of the little one just the same.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

.making our way through december.

With only about a week left until we reach the zenith of December festivities, we have managed to fill our days with lots of winter fun that can only be enjoyed during this time of the year.
The first Saturday we made an impromptu visit down town to see the lights and enjoy a bit of the festivities.  It turned out to be a pretty good day to go since it seemed less crowded, and we even enjoyed the beginning of the snow storm as we were finishing up the lights.
 We of course had to take the train down, a special treat for mr. finn, Meg had a good time too.
After the lights, we made our way to the quickest and warmest place for food suitable for a toddler...the food court.  We warmed up with our pizza, grabbed a quick treat at the chocolate factory, and boarded our train back south.  I love seeing the lights, but I'm also glad it's a once a year thing.  Dragging young kids through the masses of people wears me down quick.

Since the last storm, it has been bitterly cold and the air is the pits with this inversion.  I figure all my babies (including #3) would do well to avoid breathing it, so we've had a lot of indoor time this past week.
 we've been discovering old "new" toys to enjoy
 constructing candy houses ( or praying, as it appears to be happening in this picture)
 eating the candy off the house
 Both kids were really excited about all the candy readily available.  Needless to say, the gingerbread house is slowly being whittled down piece by piece.
 Spending cozy mornings watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas
 Playing new apps on the I-pad (can you tell this boy likes to not wear clothes?)
Making and especially eating sugar cookies

We are hoping for a bit warmer weather and snow for sledding, but that seems more and more unlikely before Christmas.  Oh well, in the mean time we will make the most of our winter time together.

Friday, December 6, 2013

.simplifying Christmas.

It's seems that this time of year can become completely lost in all the hustling around to get the numerous tasks that inevitably come up in preparation for Christmas.  Although some of it is unavoidable, and in some cases, even enjoyable and fun, I wanted to cut down on a lot of the excess this year.  I suppose most of it started with decorating "low key" as to avoid any extra clutter that might hinder a house showing.  As I went through the box filled with Christmas fun, I selected only a few of our favorites to display.  Of course we had to have our tree...a real one...which we got for under $30 on black Friday.  I refuse to buy a tree over $40, and now understand why my mom always, despite our protests, found the cheaper trees and convinced us that the bare spots gave the tree character (you're awesome mom!).  Finn helped me pull out the ornaments and would give me long dialogs about each one.
The perfect set up if you have curious babies.

Next we set out our advent train.  This is probably Finn's favorite decoration as he gets to open a door everyday for a treat.  I also put in a scripture about Christ's birth for each day to keep us focused on what we are celebrating.  This has become a special thing for Finn and I to share every morning after Miss M has gone down for a nap.  We will sit and read the scripture, and I will explain what it means while he sucks on his candy.  It's my favorite time of day!

Besides a wreath on my door, the only other Christmas thing I have up is my nativity.  I used it for our family night to explain to Finn what was so important about Christmas.  I explained about how special the little baby was, and how he was born in a stable.  We showed him the angel and the star, and the shepherd and the wise men.  It was a simple lesson, as all lessons with a two year old have to be, but he knows the baby is Jesus and that all those people came to see him because he was important, and that is a good start.

So with our simple decorations, we are keeping it simple in pretty much every other way.  Gifts and activities are going to be on a small scale again this year.  We will go and see the lights some night (hopefully if it warms up a bit), get out and do some snow activities, and a few other get together with friends and family, but not much else...and I'm ok with it.  Santa is off the list for a few more years because I can just tell that Finn will not be into that.  He is so not a stranger person...even if it's Santa.
 can you tell this kid loves snow...especially eating it


With the gifts almost all purchased, Christmas cards all sent, and festivities underway, I can say we are ready for a simple and enjoyable Christmas season!

Monday, December 2, 2013


We are nearing the end of our entire first year of Meg...how can that be?  I still look at you and think you can only be 6 months, especially since you are still so short, but you are indeed an almost one year old.  The big development these past few weeks is that you have become a bi-ped.  I catch you walking to and fro between couches, tables, and chairs so much that I almost forget that you have just recently acquired this skill.  You seem so excited with yourself for performing such a feat, and are constantly grinning when you reach your destination without a fall.
With all your new found freedom, you have become even busier.  Church is especially challenging when you see other babies and their toys or sippy cups across the room.  It becomes a total obsession to get to the thing you want, and it takes a lot of distraction to keep you occupied.  Even with being so busy, you are still SO so SO good!  We put up our Christmas tree this week, and you have just sat watching the lights but never grabbing or climbing on or around it.  It has been wonderful to have all the new decorations up and not worry about you wanting to grab everything.
Something that your dad and I have totally loved about you recently is that you have become so snugly.  You give sweet hugs and love to be nuzzled and kissed.  Your brother was and still isn't much of a lover,  but you are, and it is WONDERFUL!  I love how different you two are, because it seems like I get the best of both worlds.
I think you will be a very easy going older sibling, and go with the flow so well.  I'm sure that is why we had you as our number two.  I can't imagine a more perfect baby to have if I'm going to be having another one so close.  God gave us a great blessing when he gave us you!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

.family pictures.

You may have remember that I briefly described our family picture experience as the "worst ever".  Not because the photographer was terrible...just our children.  Despite a very uncooperative 2 year old, and a very serious 9 month old, we still managed to get a few keepers.  I love Fall pictures with all the color!

 I love miss Meg's profile
 mr. squinty eyes
 there was a lot of this going on
 and a little of this
 I love this girl!!!
 the last good shot of Finn we could get
and then this is when we knew it was time to call it good.


Even with December a short few weeks away, we are still in full fall and Thanksgiving mode over here.  Sometimes with young kids I wonder what and if I should do anything extra or special to teach because I often feel like it doesn't really register yet, but I decided that for the month of November I would try doing "gratitude leafs".  The first Sunday, I taught a short (emphases on short) lesson on showing gratitude for all the things that God has given us, and introduced the leafs.  At first the leafs consisted of simple things like tractors, snow, pears, and the such, but slowly our chats about what we are thankful for have grown.  Today Finn expressed his gratitude for bagels and cream cheese (his current favorite snack), and other good food that helps him grow.  He then told me that Meg was grateful for flowers because they smelled good.  I like that he interprets what Meg is thinking.  It's been good to see the colorful leafs fill up our glass door and brighten our days with reminders of all the things we've been given.
As far as the kids go...
Meg is in the season of starting to get her legs under her and try walking.  She recently took a few steps all on her own, and has taken to standing long periods of time by herself.  She has also become very curious in the garbage can (I recall Finn did the same thing) and so we have had to get creative in keeping it out of reach.

Finn's season is the one of taking off his pajamas every night and sleeping in only a diaper.  I wonder every night if I'm just wasting my time putting them on him, but I figure if anything it gives him practice on dressing and undressing himself.  He's become both very helpful, and very frustrating all at the same time...how can that be.  I can usually ask him to do something (cleaning up, grabbing Meg's toy from across the room, or grabbing items that are just out of reach.  In the same breath, he will ignore my requests to leave his sister alone, or not to jump on the couch, and just plain whine.  He is pure toddler and I love him!

As far as our season of life, well it's become a bit more complicated, as things often do with more responsibility.  As previously mentioned, we've been feeling pushed in a direction to try and move.

We don't know if it's actually going to happen, but we have faith that God is directing our lives, and that things will happen if they need to.  At first I was really excited about all the prospects, but sometimes looking at the cost of moving, makes me depressed...like how do people actually make the next step.  I suppose that is where my faith will come more into play.  For right now it is out of our hands, and we will just have to see what will happen.
And finally, with all the nice weather we've been having, it seems my roses are confused as to which season it actually is.
 These happy yellow guys are welcomed to stay as long as there is no snow to make me happy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

.falling back & falling behind.

Remember when I actually used to blog... I do.  I would like to blame it all on just being so incredibly busy that I haven't found a moment to sit down and compose a few lines, but mostly, I've just felt distinctly unmotivated.   It might have something to do with the fact that I've felt like crap, haven't exercised in weeks, and have absolutely no energy.  Whatever the reason, I've just decided I needed to  get the last few weeks out before we fall even further behind.  So onto the catch-up.

Family Halloween party/ pumpkin carving/ trick-or-treating
 Hay ride with cousins
 sweet owl Meg
 Finn refused to dance, but loved pulling the wagon around the yard
and then I got suckered into pulling the two of them around the yard
We had a lot of fun as usual with lots of good food, good company, and one of the last perfect fall days of the year.

Finn was so stoked about the pumpkins this year.  Everyday he would ask if we were going to carve the pumpkins yet.  A few days before Halloween he finally got the chance to dig in to the orange gourds.  He wasn't very effective at getting much of the guts out, but he sure had fun trying.  He wanted to do everything...including use the knife (such a boy).  I finally got the drill out so he could drill holes in one.  That kept him happy and busy.

The days leading up to Halloween, we discussed the business of trick-or-treating, and the proper etiquette.  Finn had masted his "trick-or-treat", and was ready to go when daddy got home from work.  We left early, and even though it still required a lot of prompting on what to say and when,  he had a lot of fun.  
 He made sure to give Katie hugs for her candy contribution
 Meg just enjoyed the packaging.
When Meg started fussing, and Finn started whining that his pumpkin was too heavy we knew we were done...easy enough.  We thought it was funny that for a kid who doesn't like chocolate he ended up picking out a lot of chocolate.  I switched most of it out with the candy we had at home so he still had plenty of sugar to consume for all his hard work.
After some pizza and green monster juice, we had a little wrestling match to burn off some of the sugar before bed.

The beginning of November had some pretty beautiful days that we knew were going to be the last of the year, so we had to of course we to do leaf raking and jumping.  That little boys sure loves to rake leaves!
 Roy and Finn hiding in the leaves
 covering daddy with leaves
 These two have a sweet bond of boyish mischief
 raking the leaves while daddy throws them
 I told him he had to smile...nice...
 I love looking up at the trees with all their color

And here is just a little bit more of what we've been up to the first week of November.
 Meg enjoys the thrills A LOT.  She lives off the adrenaline rush that she gets off of being thrown and tossed in the air.
 Making applesauce.  Looking at my meager canning efforts from this fall (I lost 7 jars of beautiful peaches because I left them on the counter without processing....prego brain), I knew we had to add a few jars of applesauce.  Thanks again to my wonderful mother who supplied the apples and kitchen.
 Our first snow hit at the beginning of this week, and even though it was nothing more then a skiff,  Finn was BEYOND excited to put on his new snow boots and get out to see what it was all about.
I can't wait to see what he will think about some actual snow accumulation.  
He's also suddenly (he's seen a few Christmas trees) got very excited for Christmas.  I keep telling him we have Thanksgiving first, and that we have turkey and all other sorts of yummy things, but he still keeps on insisting on getting a tree.  Soon enough my child, soon enough.

In other news...
Roy was released as Young Men's president.  He had served in that calling for almost 4 years, so it was time for a change.  In the meantime he is just enjoying his free time a little more, and it's been nice to have him home on Sundays.  It seems like it was good timing anyways since our ward was completely split in half last Sunday.  We were expecting some change, but it was quite a big change.  We are feeling like even more, that it is time for us to move and have a change, but we will have to see what happens in the next few months.
As far as baby and me, I've come to peace with this unexpected change, and have started feeling positive and happier about it all.  Feeling less sick and tired seems to have helped my emotional state a great deal, and feeling those babies move for the first time is always exciting no matter what.  I know I'll look back on this and see all the blessings that will come from this sweet addition, so I've gotten over my frustration, and yes even a little anger, and I'm building up anticipation for this little one.