Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Morning bath

If my kids are in the bath before noon, it is a pretty good sign that things are not going well.  I think Jude is teething.  Yesterday, he whined almost all day while cuddled in my arms.  Today, he seemed to be feeling better.  Better in that he didn't want to be cuddling, but not well enough to be happy.  It seemed like I went through most of the activities I could think of in only a couple of hours.  We made pancakes, colored, played with play-doh, and made peanut butter play-doh when the last bit of our regular play-doh landed in my coffee during a game of play-doh table hockey (Jude finds things much more fun when they are ball shaped).  When too much of the very sugary peanut butter play-doh ended up in Jude's mouth, we headed outside.  Unfortunately, it is cold and wet in Atlanta today.  I left their rain boots out in the rain last night and both of their shoes were quickly soaked through.  So when Jude started crying on the floor of the kitchen, saying "No" to everything I offered, I played the bath card.  And, like a charm, it worked.

Bath time was perfect for me as well.  Yesterday, I had started trying to learn the manual settings on my camera.  I am waiting on a book from the library, so right now all I have played with are the ISO setting and the 1/# setting.  Hopefully, I will soon learn the proper names for these things.  I have also started playing with the more technical digital adjustments on iPhoto- things like exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature, etc.  Our bathroom is very small and because of our addition has no natural light.  I feel like I have never gotten a good photograph of the kids in the bath, but I like some of the ones I took today using the manual settings.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The wedding

Finnan and Jude are incredibly lucky to have wonderful aunts and uncles.  Recently, we got to officially add another uncle as Aunt Cae-Cae married Uncle Frank.  Finnan and Jude both served as ring bearers for the occasion.  In the sermon, the priest spoke about the role of the flower girls and ring bearers.  To be honest, I never really thought about their purpose before and his focus on it made me even more proud and thankful that my children were included in the occasion.

First, they are to remind the parents of the bride and groom of their children at that age.  Specifically, to allow the parents to reflect on how their children became the adults standing at the altar.  If I wasn't so focused on keeping my precious ring bearers quiet, I probably would have become a little teary-eyed at this statement.  I think almost constantly about how to raise my children to become responsible and happy people.  At the same time, I am scared of them actually growing up.  I am sure I have said this before, but I love being home with them and being the most important person in their lives.  Obviously, there is a lot that is going to take place between now and one of my children marrying, but that is partly what I am working toward everyday- raising sons who will eventually become good, caring people, husbands and fathers.

Second, they are to remind the bride and groom of their calling to God, aka, to have children.  I have heard this part before in Catholic weddings and to be honest it never did quite sit right.  What if the couple does not want to have children?  (Unfortunately, I am somewhat of a literalist when it comes to religion, which is ultimately why I am not particularly religious.)  But this time, that statement seemed to make sense.  The bride and groom are becoming a family.  Whether or not the bride and groom have children, children will most likely be involved in their family in some way.  I also know that Caelyn and Frank will make truly wonderful parents.

Caelyn and Frank's wedding was not just a wedding and reception.  It was a weekend of events to celebrate their marriage.  There was the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner, the pre-wedding reception in an apartment off Jackson Square, the wedding, the reception, the day-after brunch and the day after lunch at Commander's Palace.  Amazingly, most people even managed to spend their late-nights at Pat O'Brien's.  Not surprisingly, I was not one of those people; and I was able to use my children as an excuse for a bit of an earlier bedtime (if midnight can be considered an early bedtime).  The events were all incredibly impressive and everything was a blast.  I loved seeing (there were too many to say I met) all the people who are important in Caelyn's and Frank's lives.            

I was also impressed by Finnan and Jude.  I'll admit, I was a bit worried about how they were going to handle everything.  They attended every event except for the rehearsal dinner.  Yes, that means Finnan and Jude enjoyed a three-course, three-hour lunch at Commander's Palace.  We were in town three nights, and each night they had different sleeping arrangements and late nights.  On the night of the rehearsal, two of Atticus' cousins, Jessie and Michael, watched them in a hotel room where they fell asleep together on a double bed.  Atticus and I then picked them up, walked them 20 minutes across the French Quarter and put them to bed again around midnight in our hotel room.

At the wedding, Finnan took his job as a ring bearer very seriously and was well prepared for his role.  Jude, on the other hand, had me worried.  I had to keep giving him crackers so that he wouldn't cry, and it didn't seem like he was going to let me go sit down.  Finally, I gave him to handful of crackers and rushed out so Atticus could lead me to my seat.  Apparently the church wedding planner had to take over and kept him busy blowing out the prayer candles (yikes!).  But all five of the kids did a great job walking down the aisle.  At the end, Jude did not want to come into the row and his cousin Mary Pat had to personally usher him in.  At the reception, Jude hit a wall at about 9, and basically couldn't stop crying (or screaming). We brought both boys back to Atticus' parents' suite where Wendy, Atticus' parents housekeeper, kept them for the rest of the night.  I was disappointed the boys did not get to dance at all at the reception, but the Commander's lunch made up for that.  A jazz band played intermittently throughout the lunch, and Finnan got to do some dancing, including a second line.  The boys loved the shrimp and grits served at the lunch, and I loved that right outside the private room there was a fountain with a lonely crawfish to keep the boys' attention.  I also thought it was hysterical that they poured a glass of wine for Finnan. . . only in New Orleans.  Our last night we got to relax at Atticus' parents' house and on Sunday we celebrated Lyle's 20th birthday with a cake and a BBQ.

On our way home, Atticus and I admitted that we were both a little sad when the wedding was over.  Not only was it too good of a party to end, but we couldn't help but feeling sad that after their honeymoon, Caelyn and Frank will be heading to Marine bases on opposite coasts and due to deployment schedules will not be able to live together for about a year.  Of course, this is also part of what makes Caelyn and Frank incredible people.  I am so happy to be part of their lives and I wish them much happiness.

And for those of you who made it the end of this incredibly long post, here are some pictures from the weekend.

Finnan and Jude with flower girls Mary Pat and Rory at the rehearsal.   Eddie, Frank's nephew, also was a ring bearer but I never managed to get a picture of all of them together.

Asleep together before being moved to another hotel.

Finnan LOVED his tuxedo.  Immediately after putting it on he said, "I sure am handsome."  

Jude was not so fond of the tuxedo.  He cried for about 30 minutes after I put it on.

Oops!  The tuxedo was a little big.  Luckily this only happened twice- once while walking through the French Quarter (Ha!) and at the pre-wedding reception.

The wonderful bride and groom.
Goofing around by the fountain at Commander's.

Dancing with Aunt Steph at Commander's.

Jude found the perfect lap to collapse on at Commander's.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One lucky mama

Finnan: I love you, mommy.

Me: I love you, too, buddy.

Finnan: I love you all the time.

Me: I love you all the time, too.  I am one lucky mama.

Finnan: And I am one lucky Finnan!

Man, do I love what I do.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Me too!

Jude's new favorite phrase is "Me too!"  These two little words have made me so happy the last couple of days.  Even though I am constantly told it is unreasonable and out of my control, my biggest hope for my children is that they will be good friends.  Actually, I would love them to be best friends, but even I know not to set my goals that high.  Jude's "No!" and "Mine!" of the past couple of months did not do anything to encourage their friendship.  For a while it also seemed that they got along best only when playing "crib match" or other wrestling games around the house.  But, the past week it has been different.  They are playing together non-stop with very few spats.  Finnan has been volunteering to push Jude on the swing.  They have initiated games of soccer themselves.  When there is crying the perpetrator stops.  I realize this is too good to be true, but I will savor it all the same.  I hope they notice that when they cooperate, they can get away with anything.  I let them stay up an hour past their bedtime this weekend because they were cooperating while playing with blocks.  Throwing mud?  I'll turn the other way as long as everyone is laughing.  I have been hesitant to bring out the camera and disrupt their play recently, but here are a few pictures I took yesterday.

Two can swing!

Jude helping Finnan "surf" down the roller-coaster.  Finnan is becoming quite the daredevil and Jude is not too far behind.
Jude found Finnan's surfing hilarious, especially when he fell.  To amuse his brother, Finnan made sure he fell every time.

The daredevil taking a rare break.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Belated Valentines

I thought I would skip Valentines day this year.  Atticus and I acknowledge the holiday, but do not typically celebrate and I figured the boys would not notice.  Not so.  My mom got Finnan a Thomas the Train Valentine's Day book.  At the end of the book, the Island of Sodor has a Valentine's Day party during which all of the trains get Valentines.  He has been talking about making Valentines ever since.  We started with simple Valentines.  I had Finnan cut out hearts and we wrote the names of the trains on them.  As we got further from Valentine's Day, out "valentines" turned into just hearts on a page and I was trying to move on.  Well, this past Saturday, I got a valentine that made my heart stop.  

I was out for a couple of hours and when I returned the pink valentine above was on the piano waiting for me.  When I left, Finnan told Atticus he wanted to make a valentine for me.  They picked and cut out pictures from a catalogue that I would like.  Finnan also drew a picture of me (a circle with limbs coming out) and did a backwards "F" (he has started to become interested in writing some of his letters).  Later on Saturday each of the boys made a valentine for each other using stickers that they picked out.  

I have to say, between these belated valentines and the 6 gourmet cupcakes Atticus brought home for me, I no longer think Valentine's Day is a silly holiday.  


Thank goodness Finnan has unruly hair.  The missing chunks are hardly missed.  This is even more important because his first of two trips down the aisle this year is next week.  

Finnan has been doing a lot of cutting recently.  He will happily sit for over an hour making tiny confetti out of our junkmail.  With all of his practice, he has also started cutting out objects from the catalogues.  We have a growing stack of pictures of toys and boy-themed bedding and rugs that even now I am too attached to to throw away.  He is very focused in his work.  So focused that he did not even notice cutting his hair.  A few minutes after he had left his cutting station, he touched his head and a chunk of hair came out.  "What is this, mommy?" I ran my hands through his hair and came out with a few more curls.  

For the amount of hair that came out, I am surprised that you can not tell.  But, for good measure, I am going to take him for a pre-wedding hair cut at Miss Lisa's next week.