Thursday, February 23, 2012

Family Fiesta

We spent a terrific four days down in Virginia visiting my family and I'm not sure where to start...

Phase 1: Getting to be a grown up
Dan's parents were also in town so they babysat a sleeping Finley so the rest of the clan could go out to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday at a sports pub in Crystal City.
Phase 2: Toys, Toys and more Toys!
My parents sunroom has a spectacular array of toys and Finley is always thrilled to explore what's new and what's still there from his last visit.  This inflatable steamroller was an excellent new addition!
His cousin Natalie enjoyed giving him a "push."
This baseball table has been in the family for years and recently refurbished by my dad and I was amazed Finley was tall enough (and coordinated enough) to play on it.
Phase 3: Cousin-mania!
Owen (one month younger than Finley) and Natalie (1 year in May) came over on Sunday to help celebrate their Grammy's 60th birthday.
The fridge farm revisited (
Phase 4: Birthday!
It was Mixter mania as we celebrate my mom's birthday all together around the dining room table.  Here's our end of the table.
And the boys didn't need much prompting to help blow out the candles on Grammy's cake.
Phase 5: Mulch!
Yes, mulch.  Finley LOVED moving around the mulch in the bed near my parents' driveway...when in Rome! Thankfully Caitlin, Dan and others were willing to get in there with him.

He showed off his frisbee skills, too.

Phase 6: Pancakes...every morning
Yes, most mornings of our trip Finley requested and then helped make pancakes before shoveling record amounts into his mouth.
Phase 7: Guitar!
One of the neat toys that appeared was a new, bigger guitar for Finley to play.  He played it, dragged it around, danced with it, and sang with it.

But the best was when he got a turn to play Granddad's guitar with him.
All phases complete and awesome! Overall, Finley was a treat to be around during out entire visit.  The only tears I recall was when he was drumming so much to his own tune, be bonked himself in the head with the drumstick.  Can't really complain about that, right? He was very open to being with my parents, even when Dan and I were in the room--unheard of!! He also seemed very comfortable just moving around from room to room as if he owned the place.  Not to mention that his love of my parents' cats continued--he brought them toys, poured them their food, gave them treats, and loved to hunt around for them and then call out, "Kitty, I found you!"  The cats tolerated him well enough and while Finley didn't seem to mind that they never talked back to him, I wonder if next year he'll understand that cats don't ever talk...

Thanks to Grammy and Dan-dad for being super hosts, hope to see you all again soon!

Air and Space Museum

One of many highlights of our trip to Virginia last weekend was getting to take Finley to the National Air and Space Museum with my dad.  A giant hanger full of flying contraptions, what more could a little boy ask for?  
Wide open room to run and no real direction that you have to go, that worked just perfectly for the four of us.  Finley took a few breaks in the stroller, but in general loved wandering around looking at everything.
With all the running around, a snack break was needed and Finley found his own seat.
After walking around most of the main level (including views of the space shuttle!!), we took the elevator up to the control tower to see if any planes were coming to land at nearby Dulles airport.
After about ten minutes, the first plane finally came into view.
And then it was nonstop action, plane after plane after plane!
Here are Finley and my dad, waving at the landing plane's pilot.
Finley was so thrilled at seeing these planes, that he couldn't help but get his peers excited about them, too.  This little girl got quite an earful as Finley yelled, "Look, grill, a plane over there!"  (For those that don't know, Finley can't quite say girl so grill is a suitable replacement in his eyes.)  He basically shrieked this and the poor thing probably missed the airplane due to our son's distracting tone!

I think we were up there for quite a while, but in the essence of time headed back down.  We popped into the gift shop and walked out with a little model of the Discovery Shuttle (at one point, Finley had about 6 shuttles lined up in the "parking lot" of the "airport," so I was happy he was willing to leave with just one!).
It was a wonderful morning and I suspect this time next year, we could go back and have a totally different experience with our little aerospace engineer.

Finley Jumps...and Jumps Some More

The morning before we left for home, we took Finley to a nearby mall to run some of his energy out before getting on the plane.  While he did a little running and climbing, he ended up mostly jumping.  Looks like our nervous little chicken has officially flown the coop!

He pretended he was jumping into the pool just like he does in swim class. If you listen closely, that's what he's saying :)  After one jump, that I wasn't taping, he came over and asked for a pretend towel to dry off his face with--what an imagination, eh?
All that fun paid off, as Finley took a short nap on the way to the airport and another on the way home in the car to our house, but was otherwise awake, cheery and an excellent travel companion!  He loves everything about the airport and flying up in the sky.  When we arrived at Reagan and Dan told him that our plane was not there yet, Finley quickly said, "Our plane still up in the sky, Daddy."  He really gets things these days.  He had a great time at the terminal playing with his trucks and watching planes take off and land all around, but the highlight was seeing our plane pull into the gate.  Pilots! Cockpit! Gas truck! Suitcase cars! The pure joy is something to be seen!! Getting to watch a truck video on "his" laptop on the plane with his very own headphones was were the JetBlue animal crackers!

We won't be flying anywhere for a while, which greatly disappoints Finley but something tells me whenever that next flight is, he will be pumped!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day, Finley

Finley celebrated Valentine's Day in true two-year-old fashion.  We decorated and sent valentines to many of his local and out of state buddies late last week and the highlight by far was getting to drop them (one at a time) into the mail slot at the post office!  Then, we had to make 11 more over the weekend since I discovered he would be exchanging them with his daycare friends as I cut out some hearts and he stamped them by himself.  We decorated a picture frame for Dan's new office desk and put in a picture of Finley from the super bowl.  All the while calling them "clementines," Finley happily checked for mail in our mailbox each day and thankfully received a couple (Thank you, Great Aunt Annette/Great Uncle Bernie and Henry!).

This morning, he let me put a heart tattoo on his forearm and proudly showed it off at daycare I was told.  Then, he asked for another tattoo when we got home (thank goodness for the beach party since we have plenty of ocean-themed temporary skin art to go around).  The three of us exchanged cards and small gifts before dinner, Finley's "Happy Valentine's Day" greeting was much more articulate since we had been practicing the past few days (no more "have a clementine day").  Finley poured over all the valentines he brought home from daycare, the hello kitty one getting the most attention. Finally, we made some quick heart cookies and shared them for dessert.

What more could a kid ask for? Hopefully not much, but I know for sure there's nothing more I could have asked for since today, by wonderful coincidence, Finley put his arms around me while I was kneeling down writing a note and said for the first time, unprompted, "I love you, Mommy."

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Beach Party!

Yes, you read the title correctly, we went to a Beach Party today!  The AFC (Arlington Family Connection) hosted an indoor beach party at a local school's gym.  We haven't been to any other functions hosted by the group, but not for lack of interest so I was excited to take Finley today.  Dan's been down in NC since Friday coaching frisbee, so this event was timed perfectly!

We nearly froze walking from the parking lot into the gym, but once inside it was sunny and warm with music blaring and balloons flying.  Finley tried to take it all in, but there was a lot so we dropped off our beach tote along the wall before diving into the activities.  We kicked beach balls around, went fishing using magnet polls in a kiddie pool, and dug for ocean tattoos.  Finley did well managing all the people and kids rushing by and since he was in his crocs and shark sweatshirt, he almost looked like he was at the beach.  When we were close to the DJ's table, he busted out dancing and it was adorable.  He even asked me join him so we danced together and I thought, where is Dan with the video camera now??  Then, we did a couple of art projects using stamps (just like we had used this morning to make valentines of his friends at Beth's).  He even said to me, "put in ink and then stamp, mommy"--what an excellent student!

I tried to get him to touch the shells of the hermit crabs in the touch tank that came from the New England Aquarium, but no dice.  He was happy enough to push my hand into the frigid water and laugh.  We blew up some balloons to toss around and then it was pizza time.  We got our slices and spread out our beach towel to picnic on.  Finley requested that I cut his kid slice (already 1/2 as big as regular slice), but I explained there were no knives or forks and he would have to pick it up and bite it.  He seemed unsure, but watched me and then went to town.

Soon after, a little girl sat near us and had the same conversation with her father about cutting her pizza but he pointed out how "that little boy"  was eating it like a big kid.  She watched and then devoured her slice.  What a role model!  Some girls from the town dance studio did some hula dancing and Finley loved the Hawaiian tunes and started swaying his head back and forth to the music.
(is that picture priceless or what???)
We took a brief Hokey Pokey break (he watched more than danced, but in his defense it was a crowded dance circle) and then returned to our blanket for some ice cream hoodsies!  I could tell the chocolate side wasn't up his alley, so I helped him scoop around it for the vanilla.  Hm, all three of us don't like chocolate ice cream...hoodsies probably won't be in our family's future since there will be no one to be the chocolate yin to our vanilla yangs :)
The music pumped up again and Finley grabbed his balloon and got to dancing. These are blurry for obvious reasons, but worth seeing :)
Then, he asked me to hold his balloon so he could dance while eating his pizza crust.
Looks like our little guy is quite the dancer!  Even after I convinced him to put on his coat and hat so we could go, he continued to dance and got lots of enthusiastic compliments from other beach-goers.  I have to admit, I was quite proud!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Champs!

Finley's been gearing up for the "big game" all week and after a quick run to Wilson Farms, we were ready to watch the Giants take on the Patriots.  I had a few tricks up my sleeve to keep Finley happy and busy during the game, the first being an inflatable football that Finley wanted to inflate himself.
He didn't make much progress, so I finished it and he was thrilled!
He enjoyed the opening "ceremony" with all the drummers and had to quickly find his drumsticks to play along and march around.

 He was certainly in his element throughout the first half, alternating between throwing, drumming, and trying to sit on his new football.
He was excited when he saw Eli on the television and since we've been playing catch all week where Finley says, "I'm Eli" and tells me that "Mommy's (Victor) Cruz," it was only fitting that at one point Finley ran up to the TV and said "Come on, Eli, throw the ball to Cruz!"  Probably one of his longest sentences to date and right on target for offensive play calling.  Thankfully, he took a game break for dinner at his playoff-lucky dining table position.  

Asking for seconds on carrots while standing up on his stool and dancing around his table, it was quite a site.
 Dan was pretty focused throughout the game while we played around, but I think Finley sensed his dad's intensity and wanted to get in on it so he crawled up onto the couch for support.
Finley's big game ended with a special animal crackers/cookies dessert (while being read some favorite books and occasionally checking in on the television).  He was bummed that it was bedtime, but willingly said goodnight to his dad and went off to dreamland.
Dan wanted to wake him up to tell him Eli won the game, but I was against that--there will be plenty of celebrating tomorrow morning in the Forseter house I'm sure :) Go Giants!