what i'm looking for.

on perhaps the most perfect day of spring, we had a small ceremony to bless finley's journey through life.  there was good music and pastries and champagne and good family and close friends and so many smiles my cheeks were sore the next day.  it was the best of the best.

it was on a day much like this one almost two years ago that we did the same thing for julian.  we chose two of the most fantastic people we know to be fin's godparents and help him on his path, and they were included in this ceremony.  the whole day was filled with so much love and warmth and just made me feel so incredibly lucky.

the song we chose for finley was U2's 'i still haven't found what i'm looking for,' which is one of our absolute favorites and really suited finley well.

finley felt so at ease he fell asleep during his ceremony.  typical easygoing fins. :)

look at this village, these people.  who have said they willl do this with us.  that they will support us and love us, and they will help to show my children their way.  these people are not just saying it with words.  i have learned, again and again since finley was born, that they are really here for us.  they come over with food, or call to check in when philip is traveling.  they come by for dinner and bedtime to give me a hand.  they are there when i call and say please come hold my baby so i can take a shower, and then they show up with cold beer.  they are there when i say i can't be alone with these kids any more, can we come over? and they open up their homes with a smile.  they plan trips out here to see me when they know i need it most.  they know julian's favorite colors and have learned some signs.

i couldn't do this whole parenting thing without them, and i'm so grateful i don't have to.

finley joe, we are all so happy you are in our lives.  you made us a family, and i could not be happier about that.  you are the cherry on top of my sundae, the extra bit of sweetness in my life i always needed.  i'll forever love you.

[all photos by corinna lander -- she totally captured our essence and light. love it.]

our first trip with two: boston and nyc.

i guess you could say i was feeling brave.  brave, or maybe too confident is more like it.  cocky, even.  it was almost too easy traveling with just julian.  so how hard could it really be to travel with two?  and it's only so long you can hear so when are you bringing the boys out? before you finally admit to yourself it's time. so when we had the chance for me and the boys to join philip on a week in boston, i figured what the hell?  otherwise we're just at home by ourselves, so what's the difference?  and so with minimal thought and minimal planning, we booked three seats out to logan and i readied my lap for fin's first flight.

the last time we traveled with julian was july of last summer, when we took an almost-two-week trip out to boston and new york, topped off with the U2 show.  we learned once we started flying with julian from denver to the east coast that it's easier to make a long trip and visit family in both boston and NYC than to make the long flight out twice.  what are we, masochists?  there will be no more flights with toddlers than is absolutely necessary, thankyouverymuch.  but in order for that to really work, we have to be gone around a week.  which, we have learned, is about the max amount of time that julian can really be out of his element for.

things started off pretty great in boston.  philip's corporate apartment [yes, he has his own apartment when he goes back and yes, it's pretty awkward] is a two bedroom and just about one block away from the common.  which is great news for traveling with the boys and our boredom during the day.  even more essential is that it's right upstairs from a coffeeshop with great coffee.  this is non-negotiable.  

fin, meeting his auntie lish for the first time
look at that, they have swings in boston! 
have i used the whole little boy big city thing too much yet? it's just so damn sweet.
julian says he remembers going to boston last summer, but since that was, you know, eight months ago and basically over a quarter of his lifetime thus far, i'm inclined to think he's fibbing.  but all the same he was very excited to go.  we read the hello, boston book uncle aj got him about 4 dozen times in the week before our trip and plotted out the places we were going to go.  julian decided he wanted to see boats, the aquarium, the common, and the state house [you think i am joking, but i'm not].  and so that's what we did.

uncle aj, bedtime buddy 
how about that boston aquarium?
penguin watch with pop pop
for me, one of the highlights of the boston portion of our trip was coffee with my lovely friend chelsea.  we chatted about life in denver and life in boston and she asked me at one point, if all things were equal, which would you pick?  i completely surprised myself by saying boston.  i miss it, a lot.  the food and the people and the water and the atmosphere and the walkability and so many things.  but the problem with life is that all things aren't equal, and my life in denver makes me so wonderfully happy.

and on that note, it was on to new york.  it was more of a vacation for us [not that traveling with two kids is ever a vacation] since philip didn't really have to do much work on friday. it got off to an incredibly rough start -- saving that lovely story for another day and another blog post -- but after the initial bumps it was just what we needed.

finley joseph meets his namesake, my uncle joseph
right at home in the village with his aunt michele
never seen him looking more hipster
going to the city is always a balancing act.  family, friends, and then the things we want to do [usually none of these things actually happen].  it's a little harder these days since we can't stay with family -- asking for four of us to crash on some relative's couch for a couple nights is just too much of an imposition, no? -- but we found the perfect hotel for us where we can stay in one room quite comfortably, in the right neighborhood, with everything we need.

thanks in large part to my amazing godmother/aunt michele, we did some fantastic stuff with julian around the city.  an entire afternoon was spent at the museum of natural history [mostly in the ocean life hall].  we also spent a post-nap hour at the children's museum of art, which was a huge hit.  julian's going through a major art phase [but please god don't let it be a phase!].

when you get to stay in a posh west village apartment and a parade passes by on 8th avenue
it was a pretty typical long weekend in the city for us.  pour overs at 1668 [this time with new city residents ana & her husband! hooray!].  brunch at westville with our friend anthony.   many trips to the bleecker street playground, julian's favorite.  dinner at my godmother's apartment with family and friends that have turned into family. hours spent walking the city.

and then we play this game, this could-we-live-here? game.  people do it.  children are routinely raised in big cities.  i'd have to count on two hands the number of double strollers we saw in tribeca alone.

we aren't those parents.  we don’t make our lives revolve around the fact that we have kids.  maybe it’s living in a state of denial, that we are no longer hip and young and childless.  we still go out.  take the toddler to the coffee shop on weekend mornings and bribe him with a pastry as we wait for our pour overs.  my diaper bag looks like a regular purse and it will never be any other way.  i do not take an ipad to restaurants.  we still eat at the trendy places we used to.  julian has run around and played at breweries.  and so maybe it is these things that make the city seem possible.

that, and the fact that we are clearly not afraid to pick up our lives and move them.  

on our last night in the city, we laid in our big, overfluffed hotel bed.  the americans was on.  and so was the glow of philip's cell phone screen.  i pretended not to notice.  but after two episodes, i had to ask.  so how long are you going to look at apartments in NYC for?  he laughed.  it's just something we do.

so if we could only find $2 million for that perfect three bedroom he spotted in tribeca. 

to my village.

they say it take a village to raise children.

and that has never proven to be so true for me as it has this week.

it was pretty much like this the entire time.
let me start off by saying my first week solo with the boys [philip is traveling monday - thursday for the next 6 weeks or so -- hopefully less] wasn't as bad as i thought it would be.   monday morning started our a little rough, but by monday afternoon i was cooking dinner by myself and giving both the boys baths.  it was a little ambitious.

it was a week filled with highs and lows.  getting both boys to bed by myself.  staying up late, dipping pineapple into chocolate and sipping wine after they were sleeping, forgoing sleep myself for some much-needed girlfriend time.  sharing secrets and laughing too loudly.  and the lows.  waking up four times in one night, three with one baby and one with the toddler.  bedtime negotiations for one more story.  nap time protests and a short-tempered, low-on-sleep mama.

and the real.  the day i woke up, and said, fuck it, and just surrendered to the exhaustion and chaos.  i may be tired, but that's ok.  making pot after pot of coffee, turning the music up and opening the windows to let the light and air in, and taking the day outside.  reminding myself they won't be this little forever.  i can sleep tomorrow.  they won't remember how tired i was, i won't remember how tired i was, they won't care about growing up in a clean house, but they will remember the mama that painted with them outside.  that went down the slide in the back yard and drew with sidewalk chalk on our porch.  that ticked them until there were more leaves than hair on our heads and we were breathless from laughter.  choosing to not get angry when the big one stood in his doorway and called for mama until i came in with the baby,  and laid with him in his bed as i nursed the little one and the bigger one cuddled up next to me.  just owning it all.

but the thing i learned this week more than anything else was that i have a village here.  it was something i knew before, of course.  but there wasn't one single day that i didn't have help.  my sister came over nearly every day -- so i didn't have to take julian to the pediatrician for fin's two month visit, so i didn't have to go to target alone, or just so i didn't have to drink coffee alone.  girlfriends came over at bedtime with wine.  my mom came over so i could caucus, and so i could nap, and so there would be four loving hands and one cool head at bedtime.  and other friends called or texted to check in and see what i needed.

it was amazing.  i could not have done it without the people here, reminding me that even if philip is gone, we are not alone.  ok, that sounded a little dramatic.  he's not dead or deployed.  but it's good to know there's a safety net here, for a sleep-deprived mom of two running on fumes and postpartum hormones.  there is no drowning this time around.

we are surviving.

one week down, five to go.