Friday, July 14, 2017

Finnegan: Three Months

What. A. Month. Our little guy is not so little and is a full blown infant.  He was such a trooper as we traveled around the Balkans and we were constantly remarking about how lucky we got with such an easy going guy (for the most part).  He was full of smiles and we love watching him discover the world around him.
Our smiley guy!

Eating: Breast feeding is still going, although this month brought some frustrating moments.  He is eating great about 75% of the time, but there have been more times where he doesn't want to latch on and then gets upset, which often leads to me being upset.  I think we've figured out that it's a combination of trying to feed before he's truly hungry and using the nursing cover (which I hate too, so I don't blame him).  He's gaining weight, so I'm not too concerned, but it's definitely frustrating at times. 

You know Finn is asleep when his hands are up like this and his legs are stretched out.  Dude is relaxed. 

Sleeping: We turned a corner this month and never looked back.  Finn is a sleeping champion at night and we have gotten into a night time routine.  We started putting him in pajamas this month when we were staying in the hotels because the air conditioning was so cold, but we realized it made for a good night time routine, so we kept it up once we got home and added in reading a book or two to solidify the routine.  Finn usually goes to bed between 8:00pm and 9:00pm and I can usually count on him sleeping his longest stretch at this point.  He will then wake up somewhere between 1:00am and 3:00am to feed and then again between 5:30am and 6:30am. He still comes in bed with us after that feeding and sleeps until around 8:00, but we're trying to figure out how to get him to go to sleep in his bed for this.  Overall though, we're thankful he's a good sleeper.  He's had a night here and there where he wakes up more frequently or decided that he doesn't want to sleep (Mike and I were not happy people), but the vast majority of the time, he's sticking to this schedule.  This coming month, his sleep world will be rocked as we deal with a 6 hour time change when we move home and I am veryyyy nervous to see how he does.  Say all the prayers and send all the good vibes our way!

 Noises: Still grunting occasionally after eating at night, but he's quieted down on that front. While he may not be grunting any more, he's started to find his voice, which is just so stinking cute.  He will make all sorts of noises when he's awake and it's so fun to have him "talk" to us.  They're all such happy sounds!  We're still waiting for that first laugh, but his smiles and baby talk have kept us entertained for sure!

Milestones:  Ladies and gentlemen, we have a thumb sucker! The biggest milestone this month was finding his thumb.   He hasn't given up the pacifier completely and doesn't use his thumb to sooth him when he's upset yet, but he definitely prefers his thumb to the pacifier. I'm guessing that once he learns how to self sooth, we'll be saying goodbye to the pacifier completely and he'll be sucking his thumb all the time.  While I'm sure this will be a pain to wean him of later, it's pretty cute right now.  Plus, the fact that I don't have to play the pacifier-falls-out-and-mom-puts-it-back-in-100-times game might make it completely worth it. The other big milestone that he "achieved" was rolling over from his stomach to his back! Achieved is a strong word since he did it and then hasn't done it since, but it's worth noting.  He also rolled over from his back to his stomach in his sleep, which didn't surprise either of us since we've been saying for a month or so that we think he wants to sleep on his stomach. Finn also got his first round of vaccines, which knocked him out completely.  He was crying so much that we ended up giving him a suppository, which brought back our happy baby almost instantaneously.  I'm not sure who had a harder time with that whole experience...Finn or Mike and I!  Round two is right before we head to the United States and let's just hope it goes a little better.   Last but not least, Finn celebrated his first 4th of July! He was a big help grilling burgers and hot dogs for our neighbors and Mike's classmates and I know he felt even more patriotic than normal :D

Likes and Dislikes:  We returned back home to a newfound interest in the playmat.  He always enjoyed playing on it, but now the toys that hang from the top are his favorite thing to grab, although he's never quite sure what to do with them when he gets them.  He still seems to calm down during bath time and we're excited for the day when he can play in the tub. He loves his mom and dad and his biggest smiles are when we talk to him, which just melts our hearts.  Riding in the car is a great way to get him to fall asleep, but watch out when he wakes up! He does not like being strapped in after sleeping. 

Nicknames: Finny, Finn, Big guy, Buddy Bear

Clothing Size: We're between sizes right now.  The 0-3 month clothes are a little tight, but the 3-6 month clothes are a little baggy. I'm hoping he can stay in the 3-6 month clothes for more than a month though, otherwise he'll be wearing toddler clothes by Christmas!

Diaper Size: Size Two

Height: No idea


Finn mustache you a question!

Travel: Finn also got some more stamps in his passport as he traveled to Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia and the United Kingdom this month, bringing his country list to eight. Such a little world traveler! 
We love you Finnegan Michael, from your head to your toes. 

Month Three was so much fun and we feel like Finn grew up a TON over the past month.  He got to meet his Aunt Kelly and his Hogan grandparents, all of which love him immensely. We have loved watching him try new things and learn new skills. His personality is starting to show and we're falling in love with him more and more each day. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Moving Update and 4th of July

I realized I've been kind of quiet about the big move back to the United States so here's the big moving update. We've been so busy adjusting to life with Finn and then traveling that the move has been on the back burner (kind of).

We've known all along that we will be heading to Groton, CT after Mike is done with the Olmsted because he must attend department head school (SOAC) for six months, which is located in Groton.  Once he is done with SOAC, he will be attached to a submarine at one of the seven submarine bases (Groton, Norfolk, Kings Bay, GA, San Diego, Bangor, WA, Pearl Harbor, and Guam).   A few months ago, we submitted our location preferences, as well as preferences for what job Mike would do and what type of submarine would be on.  Unfortunately, Mike got an email while we were on our road trip saying that they didn't have the job Mike wanted on the type of submarine he wanted and the detailer (person who chooses where we go) wanted to know if we cared more about where we were located or the job that Mike did.  We had preferenced Groton as our number one location because it meant that we wouldn't have to move again after SOAC (very appealing considering we've both moved every year since graduating college).  As much as we don't want to have to move again after SOAC, ultimately, Mike said he'd rather be doing a job he enjoys than to avoid another move, which makes sense to me.  For me, while another move would be a pain, I understand Mike's reasoning and I can find a job wherever we go. So, now we wait another month or so until we find out where we are going.  Groton isn't out of the picture completely, but we're mentally preparing for the possibility that we'll be moving again in March.

Did you get all of that?  If you did, props to you.  If you didn't, don't worry. Just know we're moving in August and we might have to move again in March.

While moving is not fun, we're really lucky because the Navy sends movers in, they pack us up and load everything into the truck(s) and we just have to supervise.  As one of Mike's classmates said, it's kind of like we're celebrities.  Ha! Even though we don't have to do a lot of physical labor during a move, there is A LOT of organization and preparation that gets done beforehand, especially since we're moving overseas.

We returned from our Balkan road trip and went right into moving mode. We came back on Sunday and had one week until we left for the UK for Mike's sister's wedding and some travel.  We get back on a Saturday and the movers come that Monday, so we basically have to be ready for the movers when we leave for the UK.  Stressful? Yup.  Impossible? Nahhhh.

The main thing to do was to figure out what is going in each shipment.  We will check bags with us when we fly back that will be filled with stuff we need in August.  We're going to be traveling around Virginia visiting friends and family, so we'll need things like clothes, diapers and laptops in this "shipment," but nothing we don't normally pack when we travel.

The next group of stuff that needed to be sorted was the express shipment.  Since we are moving overseas, we get an express shipment of stuff that we will want immediately when we move in to our house.  This shipment can include up to 1000lbs of stuff, but can't include furniture since it is being sent by air. We've kind of decided that we're going to live in a furnished apartment for the six months while Mike is at SOAC since our final shipment of stuff isn't going to arrive until at least November and there is the possibility that we'll be moving again at the end of the six months.  Therefore, we're sending things like our printer, Christmas decorations and a few kitchen appliances such as our KitchenAid Mixer and Keurig. Oh, and all of the baby stuff! I doubt we'll reach 1000 lbs, but we want to make sure we have everything we want in our temporary house.

The last shipment is everything else, including our furniture. Because we aren't planning on seeing this stuff until March, we are really trying to make sure nothing is going in it that we don't need.  It makes me wonder how much of that stuff we could get rid of...

Anyways, we had lots of stuff to do and not that much time to do it.  Finn also got his first round of vaccines on Wednesday morning which took a toll on him and meant we basically lost an afternoon to a (understandably) fussy guy.  Luckily, a little medicine helped bring back our happy baby and had him feeling back to normal by evening.
All of the things we had to do.  If you look closely, you'll see Mike had to get an HIV test.  Apparently the Navy requires them every 2 years and wouldn't buy our tickets home until he got the test done. Normally this wouldn't be a problem because he would just go to the clinic on base, but there isn't a base here.  On top of that, the only HIV testing locations we could find were for gay men, so we had lots of fun trying to get that one checked off.  Luckily, we figured it out.

So many lists, so little time. 
One of the things on our list of things to do was ship the car and that we did.  Friday afternoon, the tow truck came to pick up the car around 4:30 and by 4:45, the car was gone.  By far the easiest car shipment we've done thus far!  

Amid all of the moving chaos, we took some time to celebrate the 4th of July! We hosted a little cookout in our backyard and hosted about 15 people.  Mike grilled burgers and bratwursts and I made red, white and blue sangria and cupcakes.  We couldn't pass up an opportunity to share our patriotism with our neighbors and Mike's classmates. It was  a lot of fun and we had fun celebrating, even if we weren't in the United States. 

So many burgers!

Needless to say, it was a busy week in the Hogan household. When we return from the UK, it'll be even crazier, but we'll just cross our fingers and say a little prayer that everything makes it to the US in time!  Happy moving season!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Balkan Road Trip: Bosnia and Montenegro

We left Serbia feeling happy, yet ready for a more relaxing itinerary and Montenegro fit that bill. The coastline of Montenegro rivals Croatia (which we LOVE) in beauty, so we knew we wanted to end our three weeks along the coast relaxing.  Unfortunately, it was about an 8 hour drive to the coast from Serbia and, since the smallest Hogan doesn't do well in cars, we knew we had to break it up.  

Luckily, Visegrad in Bosnia is about halfway, so we decided to stop there for the night and it ended up being the perfect stopover.  We didn't leave Belgrade until after lunch time, so we arrived in Visegrad a little before dinner.  We unloaded the car, let Finn have some time outside of the car seat and stretched our legs before heading to dinner. 

The town of Visegrad was tiny and really the only attraction there is the bridge, which is a UNESCO site. That being said, the country of Bosnia and Hertzegovina is STUNNING, so we spent a few hours just gawking at the views.  We found a restaurant that had outdoor seating overlooking the bridge and took in the scenery over some pizza before heading back to our hotel for the night.  Unfortunately, it wasn't the most exciting birthday for Mike, but he reassured me that it was okay.  The scenery makes up for the lack of excitement.

The next morning, we were up and out the door and headed to the Montenegran coast!  We wanted to stop in Kotor before checking into our hotel in Sveti Stefan.   Kotor had an old town surrounded by walls that reminded me of Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia, yet smaller.  We filled our bellies with delicious seafood for a late lunch and walked through the small alley ways and streets of the old town of Kotor before hopping in the car to our hotel.

Maybe the most impressive attraction of Kotor was the castle atop the mountain and the very long path that led to it.

As we left the old town, I couldn't help but pausing to admire the geography of this beautiful country.  The history is tumultuous, but the geography is stunning.

We took one look at that path up the mountain to the castle, looked at the stroller, and then looked at each other and both agreed it was a big fat NO.

After our day in Kotor, we headed to Sveti Stefan where we checked in to our hotel.  We spent the next two days hanging by the pool and at the beach, which was the perfect way to end our trip.  The beach is pretty rocky and the water was rough, so we didn't spend a ton of time there, but hanging by the pool was a great way to end our trip. We ventured into Budva for dinner one night which was a lot of fun and there were tons of restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from, which was nice since Sveti Stefan was a small town.

When you have a baby but not an umbrella, you use your sling as a shade.  #parentingwin 

GUYS! I know I'm obsessed with my child, but who wouldn't be obsessed with this smile?

Beach day

On Saturday, we checked out of our hotel and headed to Podgorica, the capital.  We knew we were going to have to stay the night there since our flight was the next morning, but we hadn't heard great things about the city itself.  The scholars who lived there said it's a great city to live in, but not a great city to visit and, after walking around for a bit, we agreed.  There were lots of restaurants, bars and cafes, but not a lot of sights to see. We kept seeing signs for concerts and events, so there would be tons of things to do if you lived there, but I wouldn't rank it high on my favorite cities we've visited.

The next morning, after three weeks of travel, we returned our rental car and boarded the plane and headed home.  Finn slept through take off and woke up about halfway through the flight.  He spent the rest of the time looking around and distracting Mike and I from reading :)

These three weeks were a big feat for Mike, Finn and I.  We planned and booked this trip before we knew how Finn would do traveling, mainly so we couldn't back out.  Luckily, we lucked out and Finn is a great baby.  He sleeps as well as any three month does, loves to be in his stroller and is just a pretty laid back guy, which made traveling with him not that difficult. We definitely weren't as aggressive as  we normally are, but that was partially because Mike needed to work on his thesis at night, so it worked out well for Finn.   As far as the actual places we visited, I think we were constantly surprised at how much we really enjoyed different cities and sights.  Eastern Europe has had a rough history and that shows through the development and infrastructure of their cities and towns, but the geography and the people make up for it.

Three week road trip with a two month old? Success!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Balkan Road Trip: Kosovo

Guys! I'm so sad because I thought this got published, but instead was just sitting as a draft, so now it's out of order.  This should have been published before my Serbia post because we went Macedonia -> Prizren -> Serbia. 

Our next stop brought us to Kosovo, a tiny little country with a lot of history.  We had two nights in Prizren, which was more than enough time, but it gave us a chance to really explore the town, as well as for Finn to spend some time outside of his stroller and Mike to get some thesis work done.  

Although Prizren was small, we both fell in love with how quaint and picturesque it was tucked away in the mountains of Kosovo.
There seemed to be a disproportionately large amount of Turks in Prizren!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a thumb sucker!

 We grabbed lunch and walked around for a bit before Mike headed to a cafe to work and Finn and I went back to the hotel so he could stretch out on the bed and play for a bit before napping.  I think most people would have just stopped in Prizren for lunch or a break while driving because it's so small, but we both loved it and are so glad we got to spend some quality time there.