Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Finnegan: Eleven Months

Finn's eleventh month was a big one for travel!  He traveled to Virginia to hang out with Nana, Grandpa and his uncles and he continues to impress everyone with his airplane travel skills. HWe are in the middle of driving across country to our new home in Washington, so Finn has been checking off states as we travel.  He said goodbye to his friends and teachers at daycare, which made me even more sad than he was.  As far as travel goes, he has far exceed our (very low) expectations of riding in the car and traveling in general. 

Outside of travel, this guy is constantly on the move and keeps us on our toes.  There is never a dull moment with this guy and we couldn't love him more! His infectious smile melts our heart and his personality makes him my favorite person to spend my days with. Happy eleven months Finny! We love you!

Finn's first race!

It was clearly exhausting. 

Eating: Finn has given up on baby food and is all in on real people foods.  Over the course of our travels, he has implemented an all-carb diet with the occasional banana, but when at home he is a great eater.  He's still not a big fan of raw fruits, mainly due to the texture, with bananas being the exception.  He does still allow applesauce to be spoon fed to him, but he definitely prefers to grab things with his hands and feed himself.  Breast feeding is still going, although he is very easily distracted and not nearly as interested in it as he was.  I thought he might be weaning himself, but he still seems to want to nurse, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time. 

Sleeping: Guys, I don't think Finn is ever going to sleep through the night.  Ever.  Before we left Connecticut, he was waking up once during the night, usually around two.  That's not terrible, but still not great. That being said, I knew going into this month that it was going to be a rough one sleep wise.  He doesn't sleep well when traveling and has been known to wake up every hour when not at home.  He hasn't been that bad, but he still hasn't been great.  Add in illnesses and he's ended up in our bed every. single. night.  The good news is that he has become a solid napper. We can pretty much count on two naps a day.  His better nap is the morning and is usually around an hour and fifteen minutes and usually takes place around nine (when he wakes up around six).  His afternoon nap is usually around one and lasts about an hour, maybe a little bit less. His consistency with napping is a lifesaver and I'm always grateful for the peace and quiet. 

Finn's favorite sleeping position:my arms 

Hey Mom! Thanks for hanging out with me all night every night!

Noises: Finn is quite the talker.  In fact, he never stops talking.  We constantly hear him talking in the back seat of the car and when we are out and about.  We are waiting for his first word, but for now, all we hear is lots of babbling.  He also squeals a TON and has started laughing more which usually makes me laugh, as well.  He's a happy guy and makes it known!

Milestones: Finn is on the move! Well, with a little assistance.  He can walk across the room with his walker, but doesn't always rely on that to help him.  He's been known to push a table, his stroller and a luggage cart (empty) if he wants to get places.  He's still not steady enough to stand by himself or walk, though.  When he's not cruising around, he's waving at everyone and anyone.  In fact, I think he waves when he sees a new person, even if they aren't looking at him. It's the cutest thing and just confirms my belief that he's going to be a huge people person. 

Likes and Dislikes: His biggest dislike right now is food.  He'll eat carbs any time of the day, but otherwise it's hit or miss.  He does not like the little pouches of fruit puree that every other kid seems to be obsessed with and fruit in general is usually a no. My heart aches.  He loves beans and I can sometimes get a cooked vegetable in there if I'm lucky, but he definitely has opinions when it comes to food.  His dislike for the car is pretty much gone.  He discovered that he can see us in his mirror and that helps immensely, as does the infinite amount of toys and snacks that he gets in the car. One thing we discovered he doesn't like is grass.  Well, I just don't think he knows what it is, but he refuses to crawl in the grass and it's pretty funny to watch.  Generally though, he just likes to be on the move. He loves to play on the bed with us and will nose dive into a pillow or three if given the chance.  An

I caught you red handed, Finn! Thanks for taking all of my taco supplies!

Nicknames: Finn, Finny, Buddy Bear, Shaggy (he needs a haircut desperately!), Pooper (for obvious reasons), Bud, Buddy, Dude

Clothing Size: 9-12 months still, but once our stuff arrives in Washington, we'll break out the 12-18 month stuff.  It's time. 

Diaper Size: Four

Weight: 19.5 lbs

Height: 30 inches! A growing boy!

Travel: So much!! We kicked off the month with a trip to Virginia Beach and then began the trek across country.  He went to James Madison University (go Dukes!), Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. 

Hanging out with J Maddy

Taking a walk in Memphis

Helping unload luggage

Hiking in Zion

Oh Finny, 

You make me so happy.  There's no other way to put it.  Your infectious smile and your affection for people brings pure joy to those around you. You are constantly on the move and discovering everything around you, which keeps us busy, but it's so fun to watch you do your thing.  You have shown us how smart you are as you figure out how things work, which never ceases to amaze me.  I can't believe that you are almost one.  As much as I wish I could stop time and just savor these days, I'm so excited to watch you grow and learn. 

We love you big guy.  More than you know. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

President's Day Weekend

We decided to divide and conquer for President's Day weekend.  We knew that someone from our family should go to Washington and see the house in person, but bringing Finn to the West Coast for three days would border on insanity, so that meant one of us would be staying on the East Coast.  I took the East Coast duty and headed to Virginia with Finn while Mike headed west to check out our new crib!

Mike didn't take any pictures, but made sure to video chat me in while he was at the house.  He reported that it looks almost exactly like the pictures, which is a great thing! He was very impressed and we've spent the past week talking about how we're going to arrange our furniture and decorate.  He also was happy to report in that the beer scene is up and growing!

Meanwhile, Finn and I enjoyed the unseasonable warm weather.  Finn was a champ on the plane rides down and fell asleep both flights. Insert all the praise hand emojis!

Once we arrived, we shed our coats and sweaters and soaked up the warm weather.  Friday morning, I got breakfast with Rachel while my mom and Finn spent some quality time together at home. That afternoon, Finn, my mom and I went for a walk and Finn rediscovered the swings.  He was a big fan!  Andrew and Ben didn't make it home before Finn's bed time, but were happy to be home (I think!). Also, shoutout to Andrew who started a new job last week!!

Saturday morning, Finn, my parents and I were up early and ready to race (ha!). My brother's (and dad's) old high school always does a 5k to raise money for the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and since we have benefited from are big advocates for CHKD, some Russos always walk. While we definitely didn't come in first and weren't far from last, our spirit and dedication was high!  Finn was so worn out, he fell asleep halfway through!

Unfortunately, Finn wasn't feeling well that afternoon, so we just laid low and hung out.  We did video chat with Mike so that we could see the new house, which was exciting.  Luckily, between the Tylenol and a long nap, he seemed to rally for a bit that evening while the rest of the Russo/Tucker gang came over for dinner. 

The next morning, Finn seemed to be back to his normal self so we hopped in the car and headed to William and Mary for the afternoon.  We walked around campus, got lunch at one of the delis and saw my brother's fraternity house. It was a beautiful day and the perfect day to be spent walking around outside. 

Monday morning came too fast and we were back at the airport and heading back to Connecticut for one last time.  Leaving home is never fun, especially when your next trip isn't planned, but I'm grateful to have guys like this one waiting for me when I return.

Also, Finn thinks my dad is the funniest thing and it cracks me up every time I watch this video.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Day in the Life

I did one of these in the fall before I began substituting and I have been meaning to do the same for a work day so that we can document what that looks like. Our day is filled with daycare, work and bed time routines and while sometimes it feels a little chaotic, I love that we all get some time apart and get to do something we can call our own. 

3:00am Finn wakes up for a feeding and I groggily go feed him. I can't complain since it's the first time he's woken up. 
6:15 My alarm goes off.  Usually Finn is waking up around then, but today he was still asleep so I hopped in the shower and Mike slowly woke up
6:30 I get out of the shower as Finn is waking up.  Mike goes and gets him out of his crib and hangs out with him while I get dressed.
6:40 Finn and I head downstairs while Mike showers. I make some oatmeal for myself and Finn eats a banana.  Usually he has oatmeal too, but we needed to eat the bananas.  Sorry buddy!

7:05 Head upstairs to get Finn dressed, blow dry my hair and do my makeup

7:25 Head back downstairs to pack up and load the car.  This is when I do things like fill bottles, fill my water bottle and put everything in the car.  Usually Finn is content playing with some sort of pot or tupperware, but every so often, he insists on being held, which was this morning. So, it takes a few more trips to the car than I would like, but that's life. 

7:30 Nurse Finn.  I like to do this as close to when we leave as possible so that our bottles last him throughout the day.  When he has oatmeal, he's usually too full to really nurse, but today he was a little more hungry.

7:45 Playtime!  We don't always have time for this depending on how the morning goes, but I like to have a few minutes before we rush out the door.  

7:50 Playtime gets interrupted by a poopy diaper, so upstairs we went for a diaper change. You didn't want to wait 15 minutes to go at daycare, bud?  Guess not. 

7:55 Continue playing

8:05 Head out for school and daycare

8:10 Drop Finn off at daycare.  I always end up spending 10ish minutes in there chatting with the teachers about Finn and about random other stuff.  The preschoolers had been learning about the Olympics and had done some makeshift curling the day before with brooms, so we chatted all about that. 

8:20 Leave daycare and head to school.  The school changes every day, but I pretty much rotate between three schools.  My favorite, Claude Chester, is the farthest, but is still only about ten minutes away.  Part of me wishes it was a little bit farther because I really enjoy listening to the news and having some peace and quiet.  It's the calm before the storm :)

8:30 Arrive at school and check in.  When I signed up for the job, it said the math specialist, but I had a feeling that would change.  Sure enough, I was going to be rotating between kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade, starting with 1st grade. I headed to the classroom, read over the sub plans and made sure I had everything figured out.  

8:55 Pick the kids up outside and get them situated.  We had morning meeting, watched the school news and got situated for reading.

9:30 Fire drill!!  How exciting for the kiddos and how chaotic for a substitute.  Luckily, I knew to grab the fire drill attendance list by the door and we headed out.  

9:45 Head back inside, get the kids calmed down and realize that we aren't going to have time for reading since we were already running behind even before the fire drill. Instead, we move on to SRBI (Scientific Research-Based Intervention). This is basically a time where students work on different activities to reinforce what they are learning in reading or math.  Today, they were working on a worksheet on differentiating between words that use OR vs. AR. For example, "horn" vs. "yarn."  A lot of students also get pulled by specialists to work on different needs.

10:45 The teacher returns and I head to second grade. The teacher gives me the run down on what they are going to to be doing.  It's a pretty easy couple of hours since they go to lunch at 12:00 and then go to art almost immediately afterwards, so I really just have an hour where they are with me. 

12:00 Drop the kids off at lunch. I go back to the classroom, lock the door and pump before heading to the teacher's lounge to eat lunch.  Usually I stay in the classroom and eat my lunch.  I am not trying to be anti social, but it's literally the only peace and quiet I get from the time I wake up until Finn goes to sleep, so I take it. Today, though, I knew the teacher might be coming back at some point, so I wanted to get out so she could have her classroom back.  Sure enough, I was right.  The teacher came back around 12:30.

12:50 Even though the teacher came back from her meeting, I was still in charge of picking the kids up from recess so that she could take her lunch.   We come back into the classroom to drop coats off.  They also do this thing called "calming breaths" where they breathe in and out and repeat some sayings about being in control of their actions and feelings.  It's really cute and actually does seem to calm them down after the chaos of recess.  

1:00 Drop the kids off at art, grab my stuff from the classroom and go to the teacher's lounge until it's time to head to kindergarten.

1:30 Head to Kindergarten. I've been in this class a bunch and was happy to be welcomed with lots of "Mrs. Hogan!!"  Once again, I got the plan for the rest of the afternoon.  It was going to be an easy afternoon since they go to special and then have one activity before they have "free choice" where they get to play with things like trains, legos, a kitchen, etc. 

3:30 The last kids head for their buses and I head to the office to check out before heading home. On my drive home, I call the appointment hotline for Finn because I'm pretty sure he has an ear infection.  Sadly, they have no appointments for tomorrow, but said to call back at 6:30 because they open up appointments day of.  Good thing my little alarm clock will make sure I'm awake then :) 

3:45 Stop at Stop and Shop on the way home to pick up a snack for tomorrow.  We are hosting Circle Time at our house and are in charge of snack.  Blueberries are buy one get one free!! Hooray!

4:00 Pick Finn up and head home

4:05 Come home, change clothes, and play with Finn.  I usually unpack the diaper bag, my lunch box, etc, but I think it goes smoother and there is less whining and wanting to be held if I just play with Finn and worry about unpacking after he goes to bed. 

4:30 Mike comes home!!  He needs to order new uniforms so he does that quickly before he hangs out with us.

.5:15 Start cooking dinner.  We are just having tacos, so it's a pretty quick prep, but this is the hardest part of the whole day.  Finn wants to be held by me and only me and of course I'm trying to cook dinner.  Mike can cook dinner, but I always feel bad that Finn doesn't want to be held by him.  

5:35 Nurse Finn with little luck.  I think he's beginning to wean himself because his interest in nursing these days is very small. 

6:00 Eat dinner 

6:15 Clean up dinner and do the dishes.  Our general rule is whoever cooks dinner doesn't have to do dishes, so 90% of the time Mike ends up doing dishes, but I always end up doing something like wiping down counters, bringing everything into the kitchen from the table, etc.  If it is later and closer to 6:30, we will leave the dishes until after Finn goes to bed. 

6:25 Mike and Finn head up for bath time while I put the last dishes away, wipe down the counters, and do some final cleaning.  

6:40 Bath time is over since Finn has now tried to climb out three times.  Sorry, dude, we have one rule for bath time and it's no standing in the tub. Therefore, we put on pajamas and crawl around for a few minutes. 

6:50 Read a story.  This usually just means Mike or I read a story while Finn fusses about being held and not being able to crawl around, but tonight's book had flaps he could grab, so we were set. 

6:55  Bed time for Finny!

7:00 Jeopardy!! We are obsessed. Mike is pretty good and I can usually get a few answers.  

7:30 We read, watch the Olympics, and just hang out.  I make my lunch for the next day if I'm working.  By this time in the day, I'm exhausted. I'd go to bed at like 9:00 if it were up to me, but usually we stay up until around 10:00

10:30 Adult bed time. What a day!

A few notes about today.  We don't always get to play in the morning.  In fact, it's a rare occasion that we do.  Today was a good day!
I definitely prefer to sub in one classroom all day, but lots of times, days look like today.  When I am in the same classroom all day, I get a 50 minute lunch break and then most days a 30 minute break while the kids are at special.  Today, I got an extra break since I was bouncing around, but it's not always that way.  Also, if I was the teacher, I would be doing a million things like lesson planning, calling/emailing parents, and making copies, so they definitely don't get a break. 

Working days are nonstop and I honestly don't feel like I get to sit down until after Finn goes to bed.  Sometimes I think about how I could have spent my time with Finn more wisely or more meaningfully and have a little bit of regret that we don't get more time together, but then I remember how bored and lonely I was when I wasn't working.  I just felt like I needed something of my own and something that forced me to use my brain for something other than mom stuff. Plus, the smile I get when I walk through the door at daycare makes it all worth it.  Someone once told me not to feel bad about not being around with Finn all day every day. They reminded me that Finn knew I loved him and that sending him to daycare just meant he was loved by more people (which is so true! The teachers were upset when he missed two days last week!) and what parent wouldn't want more love for their child?  When I heard that, I couldn't have agreed more and felt infinitely better about sending Finn to daycare. 

Anyways, that's a day in the life of the Hogans when everyone is heading to work and school.  Generally, this happens Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but every so often, we will change our days depending on holidays and travel.  Hope you enjoyed getting a peak into our lives!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Finnegan: Ten Months

Happy Valentine's Day to one of my favorite valentines! He may not understand what Valentine's Day is all about, but I hope he knows how loved he is.  Mike and I are pretty crazy about this little guy and I am so lucky to call him mine.

Finn spent the whole month pulling himself up into standing position.  We moved the coffee table out of our family room area because he kept pulling himself up on it and grabbing anything and everything that was on it.  He had a visit from his Aunt Kelly which was fun, as well as a visit from the stomach flu and RSV, which was not. His laid back and happy demeanor made these illnesses bearable and we couldn't love our Finny more!

Eating: Watching Finn eat is one of my favorite things to do (you know you're a mom when watching your kid eat is something you enjoy).  He puts his whole fist in his mouth and only manages to get food in there about half the time.  It's actually impressive. He has completely transitioned to table food and is eating everything and anything we eat.  In fact, he gets kind of mad when you don't give him a taste and doesn't understand that he can't have things like sushi or nachos. Sorry, bud.  They started calling him Mr. Bougie at daycare because he refuses to eat baby food now and it cracks me up.  He definitely prefers table food over baby food, which is fine by me!

Sleeping: Ohhhh sleeping.  Finn spent most of the month waking up around 5:00am, which was not good for anyone.  Mike and I were not happy and Finn was exhausted. I think part of the problem is that he is kind of transitioning to waking up once to feed during the night (finally!), but that means that he is hungry and ready to eat again around five and won't go back to sleep.  He does seem to do better if he eats a big dinner, so we feed him a ton at dinner and just hope and pray it will hold him over.  I think the day that he sleeps through the night, I'll cry tears of joy.   He has started taking longer naps which is a reason for celebration!! His morning nap is almost always his better nap and is usually at least an hour long, but usually closer to an hour and a half. His afternoon nap is still between 45 minutes to an hour, but it's still longer than his naps used to be. 

Noises: Adadadadada is all we hear around here these days.  Finn loves to babble and everything is adadada.  Occasionally, we will get a "buh buh buh" but there's no sign of "mamamama"  yet.  He still loves to squeal when he gets excited which is so cute and is just one of the many ways his personality shines through.  

Milestones:  The biggest milestone is definitely pulling himself up to standing, which he is a pro at now.  He hasn't quite figured out how to move once he's up, but he likes being up.  He's definitely become more attached to me, which is endearing, but also a little frustrating at times.  He understands the word "No" which is used quite frequently now since he seems to get into everything and anything, including our electrical cords, cleaning supplies and the toilet.  He also is crawling on all fours and is moving everywhere quickly.   We also introduced the sippy cup this month, which is a huge hit, although I'm not sure how much actually makes it in his mouth and stays in there. We mainly use it for water, but he takes milk in it at daycare.  He can only get about half of it out, though, so we've got a ways to go, but he likes it!

Notice how he has the P for Patriots in his mouth.  He's definitely his father's son!

Likes and Dislikes: Like I said before, he loves real people food.  He'll tolerate the fruit purees from me every once and a while, but definitely prefers to feed himself. He loves to be held by me and is a little needy at times.  He has started whining, which is not so fun, but it's usually when he's pulled himself up onto something and then can't get down.  He loves to play in the bathroom and will come crawling from across the room if he sees the dishwasher or the refrigerator open.  Diaper changing has become a wrestling match, which is especially frustrating/disgusting when there is more to the diaper than just pee.  He still isn't a huge fan of the car, either, which makes me dread our cross-country trip, but he does pretty well around town or when there is someone sitting next to him, so there's hope!

Nicknames: Finn, Finny, Bud, Buddy Bear, Mr. Little Boy, Mr. Bougie

Clothing Size:  9-12 months, although his little belly sticks out of some of his sweaters so it might be time to upgrade 

Diaper Size: Size four

Weight: 19.5 lbs! He's put on a little winter weight 😀

Height: 27.5 inches

Travel: None!

Oh Finnegan, I look at you sometimes and see a budding little boy.  I love seeing your personality shine through and learning who you are becoming.  I miss the days of babyhood, but watching you grow is my greatest joy and there is nothing more that I could want than to be your mom.  I love you, sweet valentine!