Monday, January 17, 2011

Finnegan's FIVE!

Last week Finn had a birthday. A big one in my opinion. He's a hold hand now. Next year he has to start using both hands to show 6 years. Five just sounds so significant to me. It doesn't feel like we've been in Sacramento very long. I still tend to say to people, "we just moved here". And when we moved, I felt like I was moving with 2 toddlers. Finn was 3 1/2 and Selah 1. But now Finn's 5! When did he stop being a toddler?! He's a full blown kid now! What the heck! He's on a basketball team. (more about that in a minute.)  But anyway, I know it sounds cliché, but.....where has the time gone?
We had a little (well maybe not so little) party to celebrate Finn's big day. A bunch of families we love came over, and grandparents and cousins. It was basically the same party we had for him last year but this time I was more prepared and actually got to enjoy it a bit! Plus, the weather cooperated and it was a beautiful day, making a good jumping time on the trampoline and our little play structure. The piñata was a hit. It took a while for these little 5 and unders to make a dent in the old camo jeep but in the end, cousin Michael was the one who ultimately was responsible for the carnage. And the kids descended like vultures for the goodies that spewed out.

Michael "the destroyer" and a proud King Finn
My favorite part about throwing a birthday party is making the cake! When Finn was little, I didn't even ask what kind of cake he wanted. For the first 3 years, I make cupcakes...ones the parents would like, fancy ones that didn't look like much but had a fun filling inside or a really tasty icing. But as Finn has gotten older I let him pick what we wanted the cake to look like, and I put my efforts into decorating. (The cake was from a box.) Finn has been a little obsessed with bats for a while now, so I thought I was going to be making a bat cake. But I was pleasantly surprised when this year, Finn requested an owl. They're so much cuter!

This puppet show stage that hangs from the ceiling was a great birthday gift from friends Thomas, Ramona and Wendy.  Finn treated us to an awesome puppet show last night.

Finn at Five:
*Loves bats, as I mentioned before. And he's gotten Selah in on it too now. They pretend to be bats together. They fly around the house and pretend to hang up-side-down to sleep. Finn insists on being a vampire bat and talks about sucking blood all the time. When I play with him, I'm a cute and furry little fruit bat. Selah's always with me on that one.

*Still has his beads in his hands AT ALL TIMES! In March or April it will have been a whole year of the beads. He's gone through several strands, eventually throwing them away when they get too broken. The strand he is working with at the moment has been broken so many times that now it's a simple line of 10 or 12 beads. He has back-up sets he plays with sometimes.  He pretends with his magic beads just as enthusiastically as ever - reliving movie scenes about Jimmy Neutron or The Princess and the Frog. It is really hard to explain unless you've seen Finn in person handling them. He really is in his own world with them, and he's very vocal, retelling stories or singing songs, but if he senses that you are listening in , he'll call you out. It's a solo thing. No one else is invited, no offense. Secretly, I love the beads. The whole situation is so unique.

*Along with the beads, Finn has taken up with a new friend who is with him at all times. It's a snake puppet, Sammy. It's a rubber sort of scary looking anaconda or something. It used to scare the bajeebies out of him when he was younger. But lately he has been embracing all things spooky, so here we are. Beads in one hand, Sammy the scary snake in the other. He sleeps with them both.

*He started playing basketball! Two other girl friends were starting in this league and one's dad is the coach. It's pretty low key, just 1/2 hour a week and a game on Sat morning. It is hilarious! We've had one game already. I think it deserves it's own blog entry. :-)

*Finn is a really good big brother, especially lately. He plays with Selah now more than ever. He tries to teach her things. She likes to help herself to whole apples and mandorine oragnes off the counter all the time, and he follows her around the house making sure she doesn't eat the seeds. (she doesn't...he is just so paranoid about it for some reason.)  It's really endearing. They are becoming pretty good friends now. I am SO glad, especially with the huge change approaching with baby #3.

*We've been reading chapter books with Finn this year, and he is loving it. He asks questions all the time. He is so curious. He really liked The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. We are in the middle of The Phantom Tollbooth right now. It's full of play on words and stuff, so it is quite a bit over his head. But he still enjoys it.

*Deep thoughts by Finnegan Jack:  "Mom, I don't know which mom I'm going to marry?"  I burst out laughing on the inside. But on the outside, I tried to take this question as seriously as he had asked.  I told him he didn't have to make that decision for a very long time. Plus, all the moms he knows are already married to their husbands. After some thought, he decided that he would just marry Selah then.  I told him he couldn't marry his sister. But he could marry one of his friends some day. Then he went through the list of his girl friends and settled on Ashley. She's 7. And she only lives about 4 blocks away, so he thought that would be convenient since he can't drive yet.

* Next year he starts kindergarten! This blows my mind. Nate and I are in conversations almost daily about where to send him and I'm visiting classrooms checking them all out. We've got a good local school just blocks away, and many of his preschool buddies will go there. We have the awesome charter school where Nate is the principal. And we are looking into a Montessorri charter school pretty close by too. There is so much to consider in making this decision. I think he'll do great wherever he goes though. It's just another reminder of how my baby is growing up! Yikes!

Finn is such a kind person, polite, sensitive, funny, talkative, honest, happy, curious and playful. He is such a special soul. I thank God for him daily.  We love our Finnegan Jack.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas 2010

I'm really getting used to this whole not-traveling thing for all the holidays. This year was really nice. Nate had two weeks off, which he spent mostly with us and partly with our yard.  He built a fence. Yay! Now the passers by on their way to the river trail can't just glance over and peer into our whole back yard. And it's a really pretty fence too!  We had house guests for three days, which was so much fun. Our friends from Eugene OR moved in with their 8 month old, Anderson (cutest baby ever!) and they didn't mind at all when our family became a petri dish of germs! Between the stomach flu and colds, the Monleys were pretty pathetic for a few days. We still had a good time, but usually one of us was fighting something nasty.

Needless to say, Christmas morning was a little bit of a bust. (We didn't let this get us down though....Baby Jesus was born after all!) Our amazing Christmas morning breakfast was oatmeal. The kids were a little too under the weather to truly appreciate all their gifts, stockings were left half full for hours. (I think Santa will fill them a little less next year.) Nate and Selah stayed home from church to rest and since I sang in the choir, Finn was left all by himself to be a shepherd in the live nativity scene at Mass, something the kids had been asked to take part in a week prior. Selah was supposed to be an angel. (All three angels were no-shows. due to sickness......fallen angels ....) Finn did fantastic though. He was the youngest one among the group and they all looked so cute in their costumes. Our priest even sort of interviewed each child during his sermon. Trying to draw the comparison of all of us as "sheep" and Jesus as our "shepherd", Fr. Bill asked Finn what he would do if one of his sheep ran away. Finn answered (into the microphone) that he would go and find the sheep and then he would probably lock him up with a gate next time so he couldn't get out. Honest answer, but hilarious.

Never too sick to scoot!

I'm glad we tried these costumes on Christmas Even because the next morning was sort of crazy and a camera was the last thing I was thinking about.
 Sickness aside, Christmas was quite nice. The kids really soaked in the story of the birth of Jesus. They played with our little nativity scenes all month. And we got some great quality time with all of Nate's siblings (and spouses) who were in town visiting for the week. The annual caroling party was awesome as usual, with tons of folks over at the grandparents house and a whole lot of music. My parents came and my dad brought his banjo, my brother in law brought his cello, and uncle josh had his drum, aunt Mary with her mandolin, and Nate with his guitar, everyone was great. It's fun to be part of a musical family around Christmas time.

We joined my side of the family the day after Christmas, at my aunt and uncle's house/farm out in Hilmar. There were horses and 4 wheelers and the guys went out and shot clay pigeons. The kids had a blast. I love it out there.The only thing we didn't do this time is go up in my uncle's little airplane. (Nate won't get near it) But I've always thought it was the coolest thing.....a little 2-seater plane in the barn out back. Roll it out along side the orchard and up we go, flying over cows and alfalfa fields. Maybe next year.
I think we were all very alarmed when Finn declared that he did indeed want to get up on the horse. I thought for sure he would just want to sit this one out. But he got right on up there and asked for more!
I love my uncle Lloyd. He's such a cowboy.

He's already doing better than his daddy, who was on one of my uncle's mules last year (Hilary...and yes they named her after Mrs. Clinton) and she got spooked and ran into the orchard and scraped Nate all up in the face. It was funny.....but it would have freaked me out if it happened to me.

I feel the need.....the need for SPEED!

My mom, getting back to her country roots!

The thing about a farm is......sometimes there's some dirt.

Who needs a pool stick?

Selah and my cousin's daughter Trileah had fun hanging out. I wish we saw them more. I spent several summers at my cousins house out on this farm, working in the orchard. Maybe these two rag-a-muffins will do the same some day!