Monday, September 30, 2013

A Day at the Apple Orchard

Minnesota has some amazing apple and pumpkin orchards that are packed full of things to do every fall.  We have a few of our favorites that we try to visit each year.   I am not sure, however, that I would classify where we went recently as an apple orchard because it has so many other fun things to do.  Other than the yummy caramel apple we bought, I am not sure the boys will ever associate it as an apple orchard.  The weather cooperated recently on a non school day so we went with our best friends.  The boys enjoyed holding the baby chickens, playing in the corn, feeding the goats and cows, taking a tractor ride, playing in the pumpkins, and more.  It is truly one of our favorite things to do each fall.  It will be sad next year when the big boys (Luke, Liam, Jack, and Charlie) are in full day, every day school and we will miss our fun trips to the orchards during the week when it isn't crowded.  But, until next year, we are enjoying our freedom as much as we can!

Luke, Liam, and Aiden in the hay

It was nice outside, but super windy at the orchard.  Thankfully, however, Finn slept like a champ!

Although we honestly never planned it, all the boys had on their Life is Good shirts (even Andy, who is missing in this picture).  Finn actually wasn't wearing his Life is Good shirt passed down from Aiden because he has already outgrown it!  

Liam showing me the corn in his mouth

Luke is stuffed full of corn

All the pretty pumpkins

Luke picking out pumpkins

Playing in the old tires

Liam showed no fear in holding every animal possible

Charlie and Luke

Aiden driving the tractor

Luke holding a baby chick.  

Playing in the corn

All the boys (minus Finn)

Luke holding the kitty

Feeding the goats

O.k., this one wasn't taken at the orchard, but I thought it was cute.  Finn was really interested in the fake Halloween spider that we have in our decorations.  It goes up and down on the string when you make noise and he loved watching it.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy 2 months Finn!

Sleeping in the jogging stroller.  Mom is excited that he will soon be big enough to go on runs in the stroller.  

Liam is showing me his airplane from the movie Planes

Aiden just being Aiden

Luke loves to relax

Luke holding Finn

Liam and his new tie shoes!

Playing with their new airplanes.  They were, of course, battling with the planes and they had teams.  There is always always competition among these three.

The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler in Minnesota, but this past weekend it was still warm enough that it felt a bit like summer.  We will take as much of this as we can get.  Finn loves riding in the stroller and typically sleeps on and off.  We updated our family pictures over the weekend to include Finn and because the ones we had were about two years old.  This was quite an endeavor, but thankfully the timing, weather, and moods of everyone actually fell into place so I am optimistic we got some good pictures.  We will have a few to share pretty soon.

Finn will be two months old this week which is so hard for me to believe.  He has outgrown all newborn clothing and most of the 0-3 month clothing as well.  He is moving right into 3-6 month clothes and will soon be in #2 diapers.  He is getting a few chubby rolls on his chin and legs so we know he hasn't missed too many meals.  He continues to be very tolerant of small hands in his face, loud noises, sudden screaming, changes in his routine, car rides to and from school, and just about anything else we have thrown at him in the last two months.  He smiles and coos just like his brother Luke.  He has the same little grin and its just precious.

We are all still adapting to our new school schedule.  We can relax and do fun things on Mondays and Fridays, but on Tuesday to Thursday we are fairly scheduled and busy with school.  The boys got their first pair of tennis shoes with laces that you tie so we have been doing a lot of practicing on how to tie shoelaces.  Liam is pretty close if not already there.  Luke, on the other hand, is having a little more trouble but I feel like when he actually starts to listen to the instructions then we might make some progress!  Both have been excited about wearing shoes that tie which is good because our feet are getting too big for the velcro shoes.

Welcome Fall!  We hope to make a couple of our favorite apple orchards this fall so stay tuned.  Lastly, John and I celebrate 11 years of marriage on the 28th.  I am pretty sure neither of us envisioned our lives would be so blessed with four boys 11 years ago.  Its chaotic, loud, and busy most of the time, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Happy 11 Years, John!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Finn and other random pictures

Finn and his sweet grin

He is becoming a little more alert each week

Half smiling and half tired

Sitting with Daddy

AJ is getting around much better

Luke finished his lego batman while Liam and Aiden were playing and Finn was eating.  Always lots going on....

Finn at 7 weeks old

Goofballs.  I took this picture because quite often my brain is not working.  I switched the pajama shorts and gave Aiden's shorts to Luke and Luke's to Aiden.  

Finn LOVES to take baths!

He generally doesn't like to get out of the bath tub.  He's o.k. once he is wrapped up in the towel and all warm!

I don't have a lot of "newsworthy" things to report this week.  We are in our third week of school and its still pretty tricky to get everyone out the door on time, but we have somehow managed.  When possible, John will take the older boys to school on his way to work which also means he is here to help everyone eat breakfast and get dressed.  Some mornings are, of course, better than others depending on our moods.  I have had a few conversations about why we "have to get dressed," or "have to go to school," or my personal favorite "have to wear underwear."

Finn is 7 weeks old and changing all the time.  He is holding his head up a lot better and he even tries to "stand" when you hold him up on his legs.  This is something that Liam also did at an earlier than normal age as well.  He has been hitting some growth spurts recently so he has been hungrier than usual and a bit fussier.  He is also in a stage I remember vividly with Luke and Liam at this age where he gets pretty fussy in the late afternoon/early evening.  Knowing now what I did not know five years ago, this too shall pass!  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Routines and Finn at 6 weeks

Finn is really getting stronger and able to lift his head and even turn from side to side.  Unlike his brothers as infants, he doesn't complain about being on his stomach.

AJ is showing Finn the spinning top

More spinning top

Sweet Boy

Our attempt at a picture with everyone after church.  Finn was getting hungry and not all that excited about a picture.

We have even seen a few grins from Baby Finn.  

Last week was a week of transition for us as Luke and Liam began kindergarten and Aiden started back to preschool.  It was odd to have Luke and Liam gone for three days from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm for school.  I thought Aiden would miss them and he did, but I think he also enjoyed being an "only" child for a few hours (while Finn was asleep).  He talked non stop and he was so agreeable to just about anything I asked him to do.  It was a nice time for Aiden and I.  I am not sure John or I were prepared for how tired everyone would be after three full days at school.  Aiden was tired because we had to move up his nap earlier in the afternoon so we could pick up Luke and Liam and it took Aiden awhile to adapt to this so he missed a couple naps.  This week has been a little better, but we are still trying to get into a better routine.

Finn is growing quickly.  It is amazing how much he has changed in just six weeks.  He is more alert and awake during the day (even though he is still up a couple times at night).  He is smiling a little and responding to us.  He loves his brothers and is very entertained by them.  He has started lifting his head when he is on the floor and seems to follow the noises from his brothers in the room.  The daily schedule is still really busy with very little downtime, but I am hopeful it will get easier with time.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mimi's Visit and the start of school

First day of Kindergarten for Luke and Liam

You're off to great places, today is your day.  Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.  
Dr. Seuss
Hard to believe they are old enough for Kindergarten

All the boys!

Aiden started his second year at preschool

Big hugs from one of their teachers that they have had since they started preschool.

New lunch boxes and first time to eat lunch at school

Silly pose

Serious pose

We started back to school on the Tuesday after Labor Day.  The big news here was that Luke and Liam started Kindergarten!  We looked around a several schools and opted to leave them at the Montessori school where they attended preschool and where Aiden attends preschool.  The main reason for this was an attempt to make our lives somewhat more simplistic.  The pick up and drop off times are the same, everyone is at the same location, and there wouldn't be a huge adjustment since we are at staying at the same school.  Luke and Liam will attend three full days per week and Aiden attends two half days.  This will be the first time that Luke and Liam eat lunch at school which they were very excited about.
Bear with me for one moment...had to do a quick comparison with the puppy dog onesie that Finn wore last week and reminded me of when L, L, and AJ also wore it.....

Liam in puppy dog outfit around 1 month old

Luke (same age, same outfit)

Aiden (a little younger than one month, same onesie).  Aiden was so big that I am not sure he wore this more than once or twice and he wore it as a newborn.

And Finn wore the puppy dog outfit this week

Mimi holding Finn after she arrived

Mim and the boys cleaning the trash can.  Aiden was out there as well, but just left to do something with the hose.  The boys actually loved this and took turns spraying the water and the bleach.  It was a stinky trash can, but looks great now!!

Finn, Mimi, and the boys

Finn was giving us lots of cute faces


Having a snack at the park one morning

Musical chairs

The boys thought this was great!!
We enjoyed a visit from my mom (Mimi) over Labor Day weekend while John was in Amsterdam on a business trip.  She came to meet Finn for the first time, but I think the older boys may have benefitted the most from the extra attention.  We had a great time playing, running errands, eating out, and cleaning with the boys.  Yes, I said cleaning!  My mom is definitely the expert "cleaner."  She can make just about anything look brand new again.  Our trash can had a smelly odor all summer and we finally washed it out, bleached it, and now you could probably eat off of it because it is so clean.  We cleaned out the garage and then tackled a few indoor projects.  We took all the kitchen chairs outside and let Luke, Liam, and Aiden assist us in washing them.  Liam suggested we play musical chairs so we did that first and then broke out the hose, old rags, and brushes.  The chairs look so much better and the boys thought it was great.  Mimi was a big help and we appreciated her work very much.  Luke enjoyed her scrambled eggs every morning for breakfast, Liam enjoyed helping Mimi with all her "projects" around the house, and Aiden loved having someone else to talk to.  Thanks for such a great visit, Mimi!!