Friday, August 1, 2014

cormac - three!

 Dear Cormac,
You are three!  
I love watching you contort your little fingers on your left hand (yes, you're a leftie) to show us just exactly how old you are. 
Seems like just a blink ago you were two.
Three is a little different than two.
You talk WAY more - full, complete sentences.
I can correct your grammar and not feel bad.
You use huge words that no one expects to come out of your mouth.
(aka you are good at repeating things.)
You now will play {sometimes} by yourself,
talking to yourself about what is going on with your toys, 
and not really wanting your "pretend play" to be interrupted.
(Mama loves this.)
You now sleep in a big boy bed - even at your grandparents' houses.
You no longer wear diapers - and rarely even pull-ups!
I hope you know how amazing I think you are.
Sometimes I feel like I spend so much of the day redirecting, disciplining, and reminding you to be 'gentle' to your sister that maybe I am scrimping on the the smiles, hugs, and compliments.
I am pretty sure I sneak a lot of those in there...
but you know, as your mama, I will worry.

As I've mentioned, you are "spirited." 
I hope this doesn't come across as an insult.
Sometimes I say it with an exasperated sigh,  but that is only because it can be kind of tiring.

Always know - your spiritedness makes you incredible.

You have soooooo much energy!

You express your feelings and to me that makes you honest and interesting.

You are dramatic!  You can "act" sick and love getting into character, whether you are a "monster" or a "monster hunter" or a  "daddy" or a "baby" -- you are pretty good at playing whatever part you feel like.
You are relentless.
When you want something you rarely take "no" for an answer. At least not at first.  Sure, this can be completely maddening for us as parents, but it often makes me glad.  I want you to challenge.  I want you to ask "why?'  I want you to be tenacious.  
And sometimes, yes sometimes, you get my "no" to change to "yes." 

You are extremely particular
about many, many things.
You must wear socks and a full set of pajamas when sleeping - always.  No exceptions, even in 90 degree heat with no a/c (like at gramma and grampas.)   To that end, you will run all over the house like a crazy man, be extremely sweaty, and still cuddle up in my lap to snuggly even though we are both really hot. 
Not having the correct condiments for a meal could inspire a meltdown.
You hate sandals...stuff getting between your toes is the worst.
You still can't stand water getting in your eyes.  This means splash parks are usually not your favorite spot.  You might never take a shower.
You are an extrovert.
You rarely stop talking and enjoy constantly being with someone - which most of the time, by default, is me.  You have started to be conscious of "friendships" and declare anyone you spend time playing with your "best friend."  I am so excited for you to start pre-school soon (eek!) and perhaps find some little friends your age you have lots in common with that live near us!  Perhaps some other spirited kiddos?

You weigh 32 pounds.  
Pretty sure you've weighed that for the past year.
You never stop moving and are a picky eater - enough said.

You are a great sleeper - consistently.  But not without a struggle.  You almost always announce you are "not tired" and sometimes declare you will "not go to sleep!"  Yet, somehow, within twenty minutes of being confined to your bed, you do.  Still take a 1 1/2 to 2 hour nap in the afternoon and sleep 8pm - 6:30am, in your own bed, with usually no night wakings, save for the occasional bad dream.  

Meals are often a challenge.  
You take forever to start eating, always declare there to be something that makes the food uneatable, are distracted by anything and everything, and then finally, finally, you start eating and usually eat nearly everything on your plate (especially if you want dessert after dinner.) 
you have gotten much more proficient at dressing yourself.  it is always a struggle to get you to stand still enough to do it, though.
you love popsicles...just like your dad.
you love to cheese for the camera - what a grin!
you have endless energy!
sitting "normally" is not in your skill set.
you are alternately a loving, protective older brother...
...and an older brother who is completely bugged by his little sister!

you are dramatic - with many 'voices' and interesting facial expressions.

whipped cream is one of your favorite treats.
you have beautiful ultra long lashes like you dad
your hair is always messy...even minutes after I carefully style it.  but I kinda like that.
wrestling and goofing around with your sis is sometimes your favorite thing. and colbie occasionally rock the same crazy hair.

handsome boys!
You are so much like your dad.  Everyone seems amazed at how much you resemble him...but you are alike in other ways, too.  You love tools and analyzing how things work.  You are a total work-horse like he is, and thrive when you have a project to focus on...yet also love just snuggling in on the couch and watching movies with the family.  
we have the same face shape, nose, and eye color...the rest is totally your dada. and I like that you enjoy wearing my accessories.  tee hee.
You are my joy.  We are connected.  I totally get you -- so many aspects of your spiritedness - not that it makes it easier to watch you struggle.  I delight in your lovely, spirited nature...even though sometimes my spiritedness clashes with yours.  You understand me, too.  You know exactly what to say to make my sadness melt away.  You bring me back to reality.  Just one sweet,  matter-of-fact sentence from you can turn my whole mood around.  You also challenge me - all day, every day.  You force me out of my comfort zone.   You make me want to speak more quietly, be more patient, appear more calm and more loving -- even when I don't feel like being any of these things.  I don't always succeed, but I succeed much more often because of you.

God made me to be your mama.  I trust Him that I am fully equipped for the job.

Three is going to be a great year.  You start school!  3-year-old pre-K, a few hours a day, 3 days/week.  I think you are going to do great and am beyond thrilled for this new journey, but of course I am super nervous about everything!   (Like how in the world I will get us all ready and out of the house by 8:10am???)

Who knows what else this year will bring?   I am excited to watch you grow "bigger and bigger!" - as you would exclaim.

Love you so much, kiddo - Mama

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

my first stitch fix : a review!

Now that it has been over a year since I had Finola, and my body is (for the most part) in the shape I'd like it to be, I have started to re-focus on my 'personal style.' 

Long ago, pre-Finola, I posted about this same issue (read here.)  Then, of course, I got preggo again, and I muddled through it fashion-wise, trying to look as cute as I could while waddling around with a seriously giant tummy.

Truth is, I love fashion.  I have scoured fashion magazines since I was old enough to read.  Starting with the classics : Seventeen, Teen, and YM.  (Luckily I have an older sister who had subscriptions to all of these!)

While we didn't have tons of cash to spend on clothing ("If you want extra clothes you must get a job!") my mama liked to takes us shopping in the fall and spring for new pieces, and sometimes a little in between.  We were mostly limited to our small-town mall, which had only a handful of options in the 80's and 90's : Deb, Maurices, KMart and JC Penney.  Sigh.

As soon as I turned sixteen I got a part-time job and yessir I spent way too much of my hard-earned paychecks on clothing.  Finally I could go to "real" malls and shop at "cool" stores like American Eagle and Express!   I shopped for clothing every chance/dollar I got.  I tried to follow the trends - sometimes looking cute, sometimes not-so-much.  But I loved to try.

During college I hit the jackpot and got a job at a shoe store in the Mall of America.  I still get a feeling of euphoria, completely intoxicating, when entering any mall - especially MOA, which I try to visit once each time I travel to Minnesota.  This job only increased my clothing addiction (and slowly growing credit card debt) because I justified my purchases by wanting to dress as stylishly and professionally as possible - and I had to have great clothes to go with my great shoes!

Now, I am married and on a budget.  There are no credit cards or reasons to dress professionally.  Most of my clothing I buy at Target or F21 or H&M...because it is the only way I can remain somewhat stylish and stay within my $20(ish)/week clothing budget.

I find, though, you can still be stylish and stick to a budget.  Even as a stay-at-home mama who dresses mostly casually!  (um, can you say "yoga pants"?)

But because I love clothes and want to sometimes get something out of the ordinary -- I decided to finally try Stitch Fix, a personal styling website that I have seen so many other bloggers use and post about.  I shied away from it for quite a while, thinking I would have to spend too much money to participate in such a thing...

but I was very wrong!

You set up your personal style profile and are matched with a stylist, who will send you items based on your profile, any fashion board you might have on Pinterest, and whatever else you communicate to her.

The whole thing is completely personalized - you choose price ranges, when your "Fix" is shipped to you, how often, and what you ultimately want to keep.  Anything included in your Fix that you don't love you can send back, free of charge, in the shipping bag they provide.

SO EASY...and so fun!

Now let's get to the good stuff...what I got in my very first Fix.

I actually really liked all five items I was sent.  I thought my stylist Emma did a lovely job sending clothes that could be items I would really like.

{disclaimer: I neither styled my hair or put on makeup for these photos...hence the frequent hidden face and appearance of fedora!}

Item #1 : Corinna Striped Heathered Dolman Top (by Market and Spruce)
I love the comfy, yet casual/sexy fit of this dolman sweater.  Plus, I am a sucker for anything in a heather gray.  This is an item I could wear a lot, and mix up with a lot of other pants/accessories I already have.  The price was a bit high for what I typically pay for a top...and I think maybe I could find the same thing at Target for much cheaper.  Super cute, but...sending back!
 Item #2 : Joshua Colored Ankle Jean (by Pink Martini)
If you know me you know this is pretty much my favorite color EVER.  Love me some aqua.  These pants were soft and definitely different than any other pair I own.  I have yet to buy any brightly colored denim, despite it being a popular trend.  I am more of a dark indigo-hued jeans kinda girl.  Why?  I have very short legs, with some curve and some runner's muscle...and they are not usually the part of my body I try to call a ton of attention to.  I actually like the shape of my legs, and I don't mind at all being petite...but I prefer to highlight other areas.  However,  I would have really considered these pants, except they don't fit me well in the butt and waist!  I definitely have some junk in the trunk, at least in comparison to my waist.  So it is simply hard to find pants that fit just right!  Other than that these might have been a keep...but I sadly have to send them back!

Item #3 : Elizabet Striped Maxi Dress (Renee C)
I honestly thought I would not keep this - since I have so many maxi dresses already.  But...I adore it. Fits perfectly, and is comfy and flattering.  I could honestly wear it so many different ways, dressed up or down, in any season, that I cannot even consider sending it back.  Versatility means I am keeping it! :D
 Item #4 : Camden Tiered Stone Pendant Necklace (by Bay to Baubles)
Such a pretty necklace!  I love the aqua and gold combo, and it is definitely different than anything I already own.  What holds me back on this one is the price...I never spend more than $20 on any piece of jewelry and this is twice that.  I would have to be completely in love to spend $48 on a necklace...and I only like this one.  Plus, I am scared Finola will rip it off my neck and break it.  I cannot risk that for the price.  Sending it back!

Item #5 : Alejandro Printed Double Spaghetti Strap Tank (by Ezra)
I wanted to love this cute boho top...I really did.  I love the print and the straps are unique/sexy for hot weather.  And it would be perfect with skinny jeans and in the fall under a cardi.  (or with shorts...but I don't wear shorts...unless I am running.)  The only issue I had was that I can't wear a bra with it -- even a strapless bra shows.  I usually LOVE an excuse not to have to wear a bra...but this top showed too much side-boob.  Dang it.  Sending back!

* * * * * * *
Okay, so even though I only could justify keeping one out of five of the items...I still had a fabulous experience with this -- and plan to do it again!   Get this mama another fix!

If anyone reading this has not tried Stitch Fix - get started by clicking here and using me as your referral (pretty please!) Get your FIX!

 Have so much fun with this!!!!

Linking up with other sweet mamas at A Whimsicle Life!

Monday, July 21, 2014

she's a walker!

Finola decided she would "finally" start walking at just shy of fourteen months old.  

I use quotes around the word 'finally' because I think sometimes as mothers we think things are supposed to happen at a certain time with our babes.  For example, like the crazy mama I am,  I felt that because Cormac walked at ten and a half months that she would be the same.  Or at least at one year.  Wrong.  I even took her to an orthopedic specialist (this was actually recommended by her pediatrician so I am not completely bananas) to have her feet looked at.  Complete waste of money.

Little Fin just had her own ideas about when she would abandon her super-fast crawl (which she actually still does quite a bit) for the adorable, wobbly toddler walk.

Right now we are visiting my parents in Minnesota and she has been practicing her walk quite a bit.  Oh, and jumping on beds.  Even running some!  (And falling.  A lot.)

 I honestly could watch her walk all day.  


That is all I have for now -- we are enjoying the 'farm' and fresh air and seeing friends and just doing a lot of relaxing.  It is perfect.

Oh, and we are covered in gnat bites.  We love you, Minnesota.

Monday, July 14, 2014

dino cake + bounce houses + zip lines = cormac's third birthday party!

It's official.  My baby has turned three.
There is no trace of baby anymore.
He is potty-trained.
He sleeps in a regular bed.
He starts pre-school in the fall (eek!)

He will correct you if you even mention the word 'baby' in reference to him.
"I'm a big boy," he will tell you matter-of-factly.

We had an really great time on Saturday for Cormac's 3rd birthday celebration.
While the past two years we hosted actual parties on our turf, with both friends + fam invited, this year we decided to trek to Hubby's hometown of Louisville to spend the day with family. 

For the first part of the day we went to a beautiful park and let Cormac and Finola run + play  on the playground. 
Well, Finola walked --- yes WALKED!  (more on that soon!)
There was also a cute little splash pad there that Cormac took a mild interest in before heading straight back over to the playground.  Finola enjoyed the fountains, though.  Her MO is trying to plug up all the holes in the ground that are squirting water.  

ahhh!  it is OFFICIAL! after almost 14 months!
skipped her nap, so she rested on her great grampa Bubba for a while
okay...perhaps she should be a 2T in swimwear?  
this girl is unfazed by most anything
cormac was more interested in the "shooter" than the actual water
great gramma BB and auntie Blanche
blowing out the candles on his dinosaur cake.  we added the TRex, since it is his favorite.

After the kids took naps at Mimi's house, it was time to head over to this huge place full of bounce houses, zip lines, and just general kiddo awesomeness.  We met up with Nana and Pop Pop as well as Hubby's sisters Molly and Jen, Jen's husband Ben and their 2-year-old Emmie.  It was so great to catch up with them and let the cousins play (aka wear themselves out thoroughly!)
Finola loves her Pop Pop!
that is tiny Cormac on the zipline!  he had no fear!  "That was really fun!" was his decision at the end, with a huge grin.
Finola loved the big slide!
finola and her auntie mollie - blondies!
cuteness overload!
the girls with the curls
the cousins.  this is literally my best shot.  it is like herding sheep getting them together, and looking at the camera is an impossibility.  but aren't they SWEET?

By the end of the day I believe the kids were beyond exhausted!  (I know I personally was over-stimulated.)  But it was worth it to get that quality time with the family and make some memories for Cormac's birthday.  Loved it.  

Love that boy.

An official "three year" post to come...