Monday, April 23, 2012


we had the best birthday celebration ever. for real. when fin was about 6 months old i saw a bunch of pictures of rainbow birthday parties and decided way back then that that is what i wanted to do. i collected ideas for a long time and then a few months ago i started working on making decorations and such. yes, a few months ago. look, i'm not a procrastinator. i don't like feeling rushed and i had a vision in my head that i wanted to execute. i'm proud to say all the food was homemade (with some help from erin!) and a lot of the decorations were homemade also. i made weekly trips to the dollar store and hobby lobby (luckily they're right next to each other) looking for sales and cheaper alternatives. i wanted her big day to be special, but definitely didn't want to break the bank. hence the homemade decorations. anyways, it turned out perfectly, not just because of the food and decor, but because we had all our family and good friends to celebrate with us.


over spring break mom, erin, grace and andrew visited for a few days! normally they only end up staying one night b/c andrew doesn't sleep so well here, but this time it wasn't a problem at all...thank goodness. we were extra prepared. we had the pack n' play and an air mattress set up in the extra room just in case erin had to sleep in there with him, but it never got used. so erin slept on the air mattress in the guest room and mom and grace slept in the real bed in the guest room. everyone slept well (at night) so we could be houston tourists during the day. we went to the children's museum one day and it. was. CROWDED. since it was spring break, going to the museum was not a unique a idea. i thought i was just going to have to wait outside with fin until we finally found the tot room for the babies. it was so nice up there and not nearly as crowded as downstairs. i think even grace had enough of all the people. sadly she wasn't allowed to play with the babies in the tot room b/c the cut off age is 3. she was pretty upset about it. in fact, when brandon got home from work that night the first thing grace told him was "i had a disaster at the museum. i was bawling." it was so sad. :(

the next day we went to the rodeo. brandon took the day off to come to fin's first rodeo. i was very thankful to have the help. it's a little different doing things with a baby than by yourself. we packed up like we were going to be gone for days and headed out. we've actually never been to the rodeo so we weren't sure what to expect, but it too was extremely crowded. besides that, it was a lot of fun. it'll be easier to take fin to these kinds of things when she can walk. hmmmm... as i'm typing that i'm thinking that might not be true. it's just hard with her now b/c she wants to get out and crawl around, but that wasn't exactly going to happen. we had some lunch there, but brought an avocado for fin to have since rodeo food isn't exactly the most healthy. good thing too since we tried giving her some turkey leg, but she wanted none of it. i'm not sure fin was all too impressed with the rodeo. i'm definitely looking forward to taking her again in the future!

we always have a great time when the shuley clan is here. it's especially fun now because the babies are getting older and actually interacting now.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


my sweet, sweet finley,

where has the time gone?? last year on the morning of the 16th i was telling our family not to drive all the way to houston. "i don't know if they're contractions, mom. they don't hurt THAT bad. i'm not like pulling my hair out like you see in the movies." i told coco. daddy was putting in your carseat just in case it was really go time. i didn't want to get everyone's hope up, including my own. we were so ready to meet you, but terrified at the same time. what the heck do you do with a baby?? i mean we had the swing set up, your room was perfection, the pack n' play all ready for you to sleep peacefully in. bags were packed, we'd read books and on paper we were "ready" but were we really?

i guess that's the beauty of this whole thing. you didn't have any expectations and neither did we. sure we expected you to cry all the time and never sleep, but you were the opposite. of course you cried and we had no idea why, but we learned how to calm you down. and sleep? we couldn't have asked for a better sleeper. now when you first get a baby home they sleep a lot. then after a couple weeks of sleeping a lot (and you, fin, were a champion sleeper), babies are up a bit more during the day. little by little there's more awake time. like you were breaking us in slowly. you gave us time to figure out what the heck to do with you. there were days when you wouldn't want to sleep, but luckily those were few and far between. at least i think. i don't think my mind is sugar coating it. don't get me wrong. there were days that i would call your daddy to make sure he was coming home at a decent time. i needed back up. and being the awesome daddy/husband he is, he would be home at a good time and step in. those first few weeks (heck, even months, ok, even now) we had no idea what we were doing. but at the end of the day if we were all alive and mostly happy, we called it a success. small steps for sure at the beginning.

it's weird how things just fell into place naturally. we all figured each other out, fell into a routine and the first year has gone amazingly smoothly. you got pink eye (twice, thanks dad!), a cold around 7 months and who knows what close to a year old. i think that's a pretty good track record for the first year. you hit every milestone you were "supposed" to and are certainly not so much a baby anymore. when i took you out i'd get comments about how calm i was. well what else are you supposed to do? i think part of the reason you're so easy going is b/c we are. it was a conscious decision when you were screaming you're head off that we would be calm/ i certainly think babies pick up on nerves and tension. no need to add to all that business. i figured we'd eventually get you calmed down. we still get comments about how "great" you are in public. this is all i know so i'm not sure how other babies are in stores, but i thank my lucky stars we got an easy going baby. not to say you don't have your moments, but we were definitely blessed with a laid back baby.

i learned a lot about myself too. NOTHING can compare to being a mom. nothing. no seriously, nothing. who knew you could love someone so much? who knew you could function and put on a happy face with such little sleep? who knew you could be so hard on yourself? i'm still mad at myself for not breastfeeding longer. that's probably my biggest/only regret thus far. clearly i need to let it go. you're happy, smart, healthy and beautiful. we must be doing something right! sometimes i still can't believe you're all ours. sometimes i miss being pregnant and having you all to myself. i miss being able to protect you from just about everything. but then i see you walking around, talking to your toys and i can't wait to see what you do next. you surprise us everyday.

so finley, thank you. thank you for teaching me so much. thank you for loving me just as i am. and thank you for picking me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


ahhhhhh! these last 12 months have literally flown by. never has a year gone by so quickly. while the first few months didn't exactly go so fast, now looking back they did. our little smarty pants is super fun. she:

*says "mik" for milk, "nanan" for banana, "hi", "bye", "baby", "bu-bu" for bubble, and "ba" for ball, calls llamas "mama", "nigh-nigh", calls her bow a "no no no" b/c that's what i tell her when she's trying to take it off
*calls brandon "da-da" and me "mom" or "mom-mom"
*knows the sounds for monkey, elephant, dog, opens and closes her mouth when she sees a fish, sticks her tongue out for lizard and frog
*brushes her hair if you give her her brush, therefore she also tries to brush her hair with a tooth brush
*loves playing music
*plays with ruby, we tell her to get mickey and she gets him and shoves it in ruby's face
*knows where her nose, eyes, hair, ears and belly are
*moved up to the bird class at little gym (10-19 month olds)
*is on whole milk in a sippy (no bottles at all for a few weeks now!)
*wakes up around 7 and goes to bed around 7:30 (asleep by 8)
*sleeps with baby and a blanket
*takes 2 naps a day (around 9 and 1:30)
*eats 3 meals and 2 snacks a day
*looooves fruits and veggies, not so much meat
*is still obsessed with books
*loves the look at pictures of herself
*has 6 teeth, 4 on top and 2 on bottom
*does laps around the house. grabs a toy when she's walking through the living room and says "bye!"

dr. eddings said she's perfect and more like a 15-18 month old! we're so proud of our girl. :)
weight: 20 lbs 6 oz  (42%)
height: 29 in. (59%)

waiting for the dr.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


well this was a big weekend for our "baby." last week i noticed we were just about out of formula so i would either need to buy another can or dive into a bottle-less world. i decided it was time to move on from bottle and formula so i called dr. eddings and talked with the nurse about it. i remembered at fin's 9 month appt she said we could start whole milk anytime after 11 months, but i wanted to double check. the nurse said she was ready and to go cold turkey, which is what i wanted to do anyways so i'm glad we were on the same page. so friday night i gave fin her last bottle. i gave my baby her last bottle. i had to "fight" brandon for it, but i think he knew what a big deal it was for me so he caved pretty easily. it's bittersweet b/c i'm super glad to not be washing bottles and spending big bucks on formula, but that was a huge part of her first year. that was really the only time she'd let us snuggle her. that was when she was the calmest, getting ready for bed. that was calmest part of the night for everyone (usually). that was when i could just stare at her b/c she was completely still. so now i'll have to find another time to snuggle with her and stare at her.

saturday was the first day with no bottles and while it was a little rough, it certainly wasn't horrible. once again i'm amazed at what an easy going baby we have. she did pretty well throughout the day, but i was DREADING nighttime. while she stopped falling asleep with her nighttime bottle, it was certainly part of the bedtime routine. a huge part she came to expect. so after her bath and jammies i read "goodnight gorilla" (one of her favorites) and put her down. i didn't sit in the rocker to read to her b/c that's where she gets a bottle and i didn't want to tease her. it took her an hour to fall asleep, which is a long time for her. there was crying involved (only on her part. i sat outside), but she finally fell asleep. it made me so sad b/c i knew what she wanted and could fix it easily, but we had done such a good job all day and i certainly didn't want to backtrack. i just didn't want her thinking we forgot to give her bottle. of course b kept telling me she was ok, i KNEW that, i just didn't like hearing her so upset. once the first night was over with and she still slept till 7 i felt much better. she's been doing great since! she gets milk in her sippy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. if she didn't drink very much during her meals i offer it to her at snack times too to make sure she's still getting what she needs.

in case that wasn't enough she decided to say "baby." i was changing her diaper and b brought her baby to her and she grabbed it and said "baby." i guess we kinda thought it was a fluke, but it was so clear and then she just kept saying it all day and hasn't stopped since.

plus she's been a walking fool. i'd say she walk 40% of the time, which i think is a great start. when she falls she gets right back up (most of the time) and keeps trying. b and i get frustrated for her! she doesn't seem to mind though.

she's also quite the smarty pants. she handed me a book today to read and was pointing to her nose. i looked at the book and sure enough it was the nose book. she's so funny, and not such a baby anymore.