Friday, November 21, 2014

finola - 18 months!

Dear Finola, 

On Thursday you turned eighteen months.

I have struggled to write this post because everyone (including you) has been sick this week and it has been a blur of night wakings and coughing and rubbing Vick's on chests.  But I know if I don't get this down it will only get harder and harder to do.
So here goes...

Since your first birthday you have quickly leapt from crawling baby with a few little curls behind her ears  to walking, running, dancing, "hopping" crazy little girl with wildly bouncing blonde mane who has a daily increasing vocabulary.

You have quite a few more words than your brother did at this point, which has been super fun!  You say words like "bummer" "hop-hop" "juice" "up" "done" "dog" and are awesome at repeating things.

I still consider you a fairly "easy" baby (which, of course, is all relative.  My "hard" might be another person's "easy" or vice versa) but you have started to have some "pre-terrible twos meltdowns."  Girl, your meltdowns are a considerably more dramatic than your brother's ever were.  If you are told "no" (even in a quiet and patient tone) you shriek in the highest pitch I've ever heard,  crumble to the floor in a "child's pose" (we speak in yoga often in our house) and many times will try to bang your little blonde head into the floor (which I gently prevent while rubbing your back.)  You have also hit me in the face and pulled my hair when mad...which I am not a huge fan of.  

You do funny things like sit on Cormac's toilet (clothed) and yell "POT!" and then go through the motions of brother's bathroom routine.  I have to prevent you from flushing the toilet a million times.  Does this mean you will potty train early?  Boy, wouldn't that be lovely!

You are still a really, really good eater, favoring fruit over any other food.  You are in the 30th percentile for height, and 80th for weight.  The doc said at some point soon you will become a pickier eater and have a growth I am going to enjoy your chunk while I can.
please nola, always eat your cake with gusto!!!
Still a great sleeper.  So, so, so easy to put down for naps and bedtime.  Now you like to have a pillow and be tucked in with your blankie like a big girl.   You always ends up back on your tummy though, per usual, sprawled out and breathing noisily.   You sleep just like your Dada...while Cormac sleeps peacefully on his back, completely silent, like Mama.

You started walking just before turning 14 months old.  You are now my little dancer who twirls and moves happily to any music you like. There are even songs I will sing that you will hum and bob your head and try to sing along with.

You fold your hands to pray at mealtime prayers, and even say some of the words...which melts me, of course. 

You love to help me do all kinds of chores, especially cooking.  I am praying this continues and you and your brother will spend a lot of time with me in the kitchen, honing our skills.  I didn't start cooking until I was twenty-six years old and married,  so you will have an awesome head start, I hope!
mama's helper always!
You cling to me most times when upset, but your adore your Dada and whenever you hear my phone ring or the door open you yell, "Dada, dada, dada!" excitedly and run for the door.    You are pretty affectionate with people you know.  I am dreading your teenage years because you have a sweet, flirty smile and sparkle in your eyes that will capture any heart.

Of course, you also have a deadpan stare (and strong arm) that could deter any unwanted perhaps we are safe?

just started walking - still tentative!

loooooves to swing!
with great grandpa - she's a total cuddler 
sometimes a wide stance is necessary.
snuggles from her pop-pop
jumping on beds and wrestling with her brother are a couple of her favorite activities.
I promise she usually wears pants.
swingin' with grampa
getting dirty does not bother her.

mostly a mama's girl...but definitely loves her some dada, too!
that smile is how I'll always remember her at this age
piggy face.
"Hold hands with you?  Not so sure about that..."

white tights never a great idea with this one.  does not fit our lifestyle.
  I think perhaps you might have inherited my unintentionally expressive face.  You can't really hide your emotions.  The flip side of that is your joy and laughter is loud and boisterous and infectious.  Your serious, perplexed stare is kind of fun, too.  I relate to it well...
annoyed...probably due to the forced family photos.

"Fine mom. I'll wear this flower costume.  But I won't like it."
probably a sugar meltdown.  just sayin'.
my little poofy snow angel
you can't see it but she is carrying a walking stick.  a future outdoorswoman, I'm sure!
While I'm sad I never got to have the same one-on-one relationship I had with your brother at this age, I am overjoyed to get to watch you together.  There is fighting, there is irritation, there is laughter, there is love...
I love the two of you together, despite the chaos that always ensues.  However, I savor the "stolen" moments alone with you, as well.  Like while Cormac is at pre-school for a couple hours several days a week, or when you first wake up from your nap and I let brother watch a show just so we can hang out a little bit.
so we both look a little frazzled here -- but this is our mama/daughter reality.  
I pray for you every day and that I can always be the mother that you need - better than my natural abilities allow.

I love you, little girl!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

it's not that I could not, but that I had not.

I remember when I was eleven and I'd never run a mile.
I didn't even think I could.
Then I did.

I remember when I was nineteen and I'd never run a 5K.
I knew I probably could...
...but I didn't think I'd love it.
Then I did.

I remember when was twenty-five and I'd never run a 10K.
I knew I was reasonably fast.
I had trained - I knew I could do it.
So I did.

I remember last May, at thirty-two, when I'd never run a half marathon.
I was so nervous.
I trained religiously and prayed I would make it across the finish line alive.
I worried about my diet and sleep and music and whether or not my hair would bother me.
Then  race day came, at long last, and...
I did it.

Then last weekend I ran another.
A couple minutes slower - but with very little stress.
Almost like it was just another day.  Another run.
"Another one in the books," as I overheard another runner tell his friend afterward.

Now I wonder - come April - my first full marathon at age thirty-three...
can I do it?

I can only look back at what I never imagined I could do, and think -

Yes, I can.
post-race!  "Pick me up!  Pick me up!" 

+ + + + + + + 

What have you done in your life that you never expected you could do?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

stitch fix : pre-holiday fix! I might actually be addicted to Stitch Fix.
I only say that because  I literally checked our front porch about fifty times on the day my Fix was scheduled to arrive, hoping I would see the brown box with aqua Stitch Fix packing tape on it.  It is not like I never go shopping in actual stores.  I do.  
However...there is nothing like surprise clothing in the mail!

Come on, ya' is fun.

But hey - I'll be honest : I know ladies who have tried this personal styling by mail service and didn't love their Fixes.  In fact, they used the word "hate" and "ugly" when telling me about their experiences. 
So...clearly this is not for everyone.  I understand that some women know their style already and have very specific taste and expectations about clothing.  For some women, even busy mamas, it makes more sense to just go out when they get the chance and pick out items from stores they love and not risk hating every single item (if you don't keep any of the items you lose your $20 styling fee...but if you do it is applied back toward your purchase if you keep even one item.) 

I can only say that, while I have not loved/kept every single item sent to me, I have loved at least one and have always had a ton of fun with this personal styling service!  I enjoy giving honest feedback on my fixes, pinning clothes to my Pinterest style board and wondering how my stylist will interpret it.  I also love that I get to try on the clothing with my own wardrobe, seeing what works on my figure and what doesn't, and getting to decide in a leisurely manner if the piece actually is needed in my wardrobe.  I don't know about you, but sometimes when I am in a store I get a little "try-on crazy" and end up buying a bunch of cute stuff I really don't need.  With Stitch Fix, I am limited to the five items the stylist chooses for me and I can actually look at my closet and justify whether or not to keep it.  

So - I actually have been making more mindful clothing purchases since starting Stitch Fix.

Prior to Stitch Fix I was buying a LOT of cheap clothing from Target.
I justified it because each item cost $15-$ I really didn't have to LOVE it.
Nor did it have to last very long.

Now, because I'd like to perhaps purchase a few more expensive pieces that I really LOVE, I have cut way back on Target impulse buys (because that adds up!)

Now I ask myself...

What do I need?
(meaning : what key pieces is my closet lacking?)
Does this flatter me 100% - or is it just "okay"?
Will I wear this on a regular basis?
Does it go with items I already have?
Can I wear it different ways?
Do I LOVE it x$$$ worth?

Okay, let's get down to it.
What did I get in this pre-holiday fix?
My note to my stylist included requests for:  a bold top to wear to holiday gatherings long enough to wear with skinny jeans or leggings/boots,  an army green military jacketsweater top with a lacy bottom layer.  I also mentioned wanting a chunky, bright Aztec cardigan.  I know that trend is overplayed and I do have one already in a thin material...but I just adore the look and wanted one a bit heavier in weight.  I also basically said "no pants" as I am just hard to fit when it comes to my bottom half and I already have what I need for winter in that department.  

Below are the items my stylist (Jill) picked out for me.
You be the judge as to whether she did a fabulous job (or not!)
I'll give my opinion at the end.

#1 Benzer Mixed Material Sweater (Market and Spruce)
#2 Dorrian Graphic Knit Draped Cardigan
#3 Shasta Striped Infinity Scarf (Look by M)
#4 Candice Embellished Tie Waist Tunic (41 Hawthorn)
#5 Hebah Sherpa Lined Faux Fur Hood Anorak Coat (Tulle)

So - what do you think?
What items do you think I should keep?

The Aztec cardigan is my favorite - it is a definite keep!  It is actually exactly like one that I pinned!!!  The bright, almost neon colors make me happy and really make a statement.
The burgundy sweater is flattering and classy.  Burgundy has always been one of my favorite colors to wear. I really like the simple layered style of this - especially with my pleather pants, as it definitely tones down the "biker" look. :)
The scarf, for me, is simply "eh." It is cute but I have a lot of scarves and this one doesn't give me any thrills.
The navy embellished tunic...yeah...not my style at all.  I don't like the beading or the material.  Unless I am on the beach - and this could definitely pass as a beach cover-up.  But it doesn't work for me as a bold, dressy top for the holidays, which is what I need right now.
The olive anorak coat - ah!  I am a total sucker for coats and this was so cozy and warm and I wanna keep it sooooo bad!  But, it was a little more wintry than what I was envisioning.  I really would like a lighter weight and more fitted canvas coat in the same color/style,  as I already have a brown puffy coat with a fur-lined hood (albeit nine-years-old) and I just bought a cute ($30) tweed vest from Target with a fur-lined hood.  One can only have so many fur-lined hoods.  Riiiiight?

Well, there is my Fix!
I am so excited to wear a couple of these pieces for various holiday get-togethers coming up!  As always, I had a blast with the whole process.  (Thank you for humoring my lame attempts at fashion photos.)

Been wanting to try Stitch Fix?
Helpful to read the FAQ's here before you get started.
If you do decide to do it, click HERE - and let me know how it goes!!!!
I love talking clothes and seeing what other friends/readers receive.

****TIP: Even if you are not a blogger take photos of yourself in the pieces.  Mirror selfies with your phone work fine.  It actually gives you a different perspective of the fit.  Don't dismiss them right out of the packaging.  Wear them with your own stuff and get a sense of how it all fits together.****


{PS : I receive nothing from Stitch Fix for blogging about my experience...I just love writing about it and sharing with you what I get!  :)  However, if you want to try it...use me as your referral by clicking on this link and getting started.  If you do decide to try I get a $25 Stitch Fix credit whenever you receive your first shipment of lovely clothes! I would adore you for this! Plus, if you refer others you will get the same awesome incentive! :D}