Saturday, July 18, 2015


Last week Cormac turned four.  Wow.

I sit here reflecting on the last four years.  Four years being a mother. They have certainly changed me forever.
Sometimes I look at this kid and I am blown away.  Kind of like the first time I met his father. Something in me said, Wow - there is something about him.  I guess it is genetic.  His blue eyes crinkle up like his dad's hazel ones with each infectious grin and laugh.

Cormac is my sensitive soul, in-tune to all my emotions, and the first to try to put things in perspective for me.   If I am in a bad mood and grumbling around, he says quietly, "Be calm, mama.  It is okay." If I am sick he says, "You can have one of my stuffed animals to snuggle with."  He is a master at bringing me out of a funk.  But he himself is quite the emotional creature, too!  Joy, anger, sadness, and laughter burst out of him like firecrackers.
yes, he looks like his dada.  but yes, he also looks like his mama...
He is also a master manipulator, and says some crazy stuff that leaves you either speechless or shaking your head while stifling giggles, because it is so ridiculous.
He loves movies and singing.   I am hoping this is not just a four-year-old thing.  Recently we watched Labyrinth together and bonded over Bowie.  I used to watch old movies and musicals all the time with my own mama, so I hope he also looks back fondly on these moments with me.
does your child enjoy your wearing your accessories, too?  I think it is normal. :)

He also loves guns and "shooting."  This is not my favorite.  I don't like guns really - at all.  I try not to be a total spaz about it, knowing it is perfectly normal for a little boy to enjoy toy guns.  Secretly, though, I am hoping he grows out of it.
He loves babies.  Adores them.  Asks every day if God is going to put another baby in my belly.  I gently try to tell him that there is a strong possibility our family is complete, and he always responds optimistically with: "If God wants you to have another baby, you will, Mama!" Oy.
He says the most beautiful prayers.  And sometimes the most silly.  But I love that he always wants to "make one up."  I am hoping he continues to want to talk to God, every day, with such passion.
He is still pretty hypersensitive  - but to less of an extreme, it seems.  Automatic toilets and the sound of the blender are not his favorites.  He still hates having water on his head or in his eyes.  He swims really well in the pool, but still hates chaotic splash parks.  He is still my spirited child, sensitive to sounds and textures, and having various other idiosyncrasies, but that spirit makes him magical in so many ways.
We took our first family beach vacation this year, and it was a hit with Cormac!  He loved playing in the sand, and even enjoyed the calm ocean.  He declared he wanted to live at Nana and Pop Pop's condo, so I am assuming we will be making this an annual excursion.
my biggest fan
definitely a climber!
His favorite holiday is hands-down Halloween.  All things scary are exciting to him.  While I have never cared much for this holiday, I love to see his excitement for it, and how it rubs off on his little sis.
always a stick to find and claim as his own.
he is really easy to make laugh and get to participate in general silliness.  
his first pre-k christmas program went, um, okay.  this bing-crosby inspired look made his mama happy, anyway!
Cormac declared this year that he is going to be an engineer (and a pastor, and the Hulk) and he honestly does have a passion for anything that has parts and requires physical manipulation and "figuring it out."  He likes to assemble elaborate pulley systems using any kind of rope (string, ribbon) he finds.  I never know what I am going to find attached to a string or what toy will be hanging haphazardly around the house.
children's museum fun.
the kid loves puppets and puppet shows.
the boy version of doc mcstuffins
Has severe anxiety about water in his eyes, but he really likes jumping and climbing high!
He is still my most reluctant, yet peaceful sleeper.  His afternoon nap is legitimately starting to wane.  I don't think he "needs" it anymore, but I will try to have him take it for as long as possible!  After that, enforced "quiet play" which I am hoping he is capable of.
He loved his first camping trip this year.  I think it will be a lifelong passion.  Well, at least the fire-making and marshmallow-eating parts.
Holidays and birthdays get exponentially more fun every year, and with each kid.  This alone has me considering a third (when I am emotional and hormonal and not quite thinking clearly.) It is fun to shower them with special things and let them plan the day and bake them cakes and see them help each other open presents.  I adore it.
While they do bicker with each other incessantly, these two blondies also adore each other to the core.  My heart melts on a daily basis at their affection.  (You know, intermingled with kicking each other in the face and regular "take down moves.")
All siblings cuddle when watching TV, right? 
We don't do parties every year for both kids, but this year was Cormac's and we had a little pool party with family and friends.  Here is one of our whole fam that cloudy, humid day, and I think it is pretty typical of us.  Particularly Finola sticking her whole hand in the cake.
this seems like both forever ago, and just yesterday. 
Grateful for the last four years as a mama to this little guy.  
He never fails to challenge, astound and humble me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

sweet cousin (+ family) pics.

Father's Day this year was simple and sweet.
We travelled to my father-in-law's house for a family meal together with Hubby's sisters.  The whole fam was there, which happens very rarely!  Because my family lives pretty far from me, I have come to appreciate and treasure time with Hubby's fam more and more.

We ate a delicious meal, the kids got to play together, and we caught up a bit.  

I had meant to take photos of the entire group, but, of course, I forgot my tripod and the baby's nap schedule through a wrench in my well-intended plans.  However, we did get some darling shots of 3 our of 4 that is something!

Aren't they precious?
fin (2) emmie (almost 3) mac(almost 4) (missing due to nap : sloane - 4 mos)
girl cousins sharing giggles

loooooove the hand-holding!
My SIL Jen even got a few of our little group...always hard to get everyone looking at the camera, but since never get pics of our fam I adore these, despite the kids totally not cooperating.
wow, just wow.
really, our kids like us, I swear.
being somewhat cooperative.
all looking moderately happy + facing the direction of camera - a win!
How often do you take family photos?  
Do you pay a professional?
Have a friend with a good camera take them?
We have yet to do anything professional, but every year I think we need to to just suck it up and  plunk down the cash for it.  

Anyway, in case I don't post before then, I hope everyone has an amazing Fourth of July weekend!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

stitch fix : a summer fix!

You know the best way to cure blah/rainy/crappy day blues?
Receive a shipment from Stitch Fix!

Yep, it was one of those kinda days, and then I got my Fix and it all of a sudden everything was lovely.   My kids were with me and they adore rifling through the five items and seeing how excited I get - and of, course, they have their opinions about it all.   What is Stitch Fix?  Well, I receive, on occasion, a box with five clothing items or accessories from the really fun personal styling service called Stitch Fix.  You get to schedule when you'd like a shipment sent (could be next week, or months from now) you decide what you like and what you don't, then you send whatever you don't love back in the provided envelope.  Incredibly convenient...and so fun!

This was my 7th Fix, and my second one styled by Hillary (who, if you'll remember, I loved how she "got" my style last time - read about that fix HERE!) 

She, again, sent me some really great items that were flattering and, for the most part, in touch with my personal style.

#1 Lissane Keyhole Halter Top (by Renee C) 
#2 Ruxin Distressed Boyfriend Jean (by Mavi)
someone call Yard Crashers...please...desperate.
I have been longing for the perfect cute and eye-catching halter tank in my last couple fixes.  Hillary got it right with this sweet, summery bandana print.  I love the keyhole front, and the fact that when you actually fasten the button in the back (which I almost didn't do) absolutely no side boob shows. Hurray!!!  Nothing ruins a perfectly good shirt for me than annoying visible side boob, whether it be bra or actual boob.  Definite KEEP.

Now, the jeans.  I love the jeans.  They have just the right amount of fading, distressing, and bleach spots to make me really happy.  Plus, they are really soft!  I did a wide cuff, which I prefer in the summer months, but I think they could also look unrolled with some ankle boots come fall.  They are not exactly what I envision when I think "boyfriend jeans."  Aren't they supposed to be super baggy/ill-fitting?  These hug my curves so either I need to update my size profile to a bigger size, or BF jeans have morphed since they became trendy into a more girlish fit.  Doesn't matter, 'cause KEPT!
#3 Corby Knit Tee (by Market and Spruce)
olive jogging pants from a previous comfy!
I had seen this 'merci' tee in another blogger's Stitch Fix post so I pinned something similar -- and - voila!  - my stylist sent me one.  I was psyched!  I love this trend, shirts with words, particularly something very simple.  The shirt is a soft, thin, sweater-like material and is a little longer in the back.  Hubby thought it looked great, and I was kind of on the fence.  Definitely goes with my style and the rest of my wardrobe...but the fit wasn't my favorite.  I am on the fence about this one -  should I KEEP or RETURN????

 #4 Scribe Ruffle Front Blouse (by Skies are Blue)
This tank is simply not my style.  The color is perfect, I love teal and was hoping for something bold; however, the style, the ruffles in particular, is not me at all.  I don't love ruffles unless they are on my 2-year-old daughter's bathing suit.  Besides the ruffle, it was also kind of boxy.  RETURN.

#5 Jazz Embroidery Detail Blouse (by 19 Cooper)
I personally had a lot fun with this tank, channeling my inner glamour girl.  I am really digging the black on black on black trend, and I went a little nuts with the accessories because I was picturing wearing this on a fun night out.  I feel so much sassier in pants than a dress or skirt, so I thought this could fit my "going out" wardrobe fine.  Hubby doesn't love it, but I sort of do.  What shall I do - KEEP or RETURN???

Have you tried Stitch Fix yet?  If you have been inspired at all by this post to give it a try, click HERE to check it out and get started on your personal style profile. If you use this referral link I will receive a $25 credit towards a future Fix...and if you refer friends, you will, too!  It is kind of amazing.

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

recipe love : lime-crusted tilapia

I've been itching to be blogging more - but honestly have had a lot on my mind and schedule lately. That, along with a chaotic/messy house due to our current renovation project (the powder room..oy!) has made it difficult for me to get anything on 'paper.'

So I'll start off easy...a recipe.

I had made this a couple times in the past, but Hubby claims he doesn't remember and that this was the most amazing thing he's eaten in ages! (Totally paraphrasing there.) This doesn't shock me because with two small children I have been making a lot of, well, "kid-friendly" dishes as of late.

There are a lot of foods I regret eating, because they make me feel kind of icky afterward.  But you know what I NEVER regret eating?  Fish.  Fish and veggies and a big glass of red wine.  To me, that is the perfect meal.  Absolutely no guilt, yet fully satisfied.

This dish is perfect for summer because of the lime kick added to the fish.  Lime and summer go together perfectly, don't they?  (Can I get an "Amen" from Corona drinkers???)

Lime Crusted Tilapia
(adapted from this recipe)
(for the fish)
4 tilapia filets
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
juice from two limes
1/2 cup olive oil
(for the dressing)
1/2 cup mayo
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB honey

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray a glass baking dish with oil. 
3. Whisk together ingredients for dressing in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Put the Panko in a shallow bowl and whisk the olive oil and lime juice together in another.
5. Coat one filet in the oil and juice mixture, dredge in the Panko crumbs until covered, then place in dish.  Repeat with other filets.  Make sure you use all the Panko.  Just sprinkle whatever doesn't adhere to the filets evenly over the tops before baking.  For an added kick - sprinkle with more lime juice, also!!!!  Go wild, it's summer.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
7. Serve over a bed of spinach and halved cherry tomatoes.  Drizzle liberally with the creamy vinaigrette. 
Enjoy! So, so good!
spinach from my teeny tiny veggie garden -- and can you tell which one tomato is, too? :D
Hope to be back soon with some renovation updates, a lil Stitch Fix action, and, (grandparents, I didn't forget you!!!!) sweet kiddo pics/updates!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

mama confessions : parenting through anxiety

climbers gonna climb.
While I've never considered myself a "laid back" kinda gal - I definitely never had anxiety before becoming a parent.  I climbed mountains,  jumped off rocky cliffs and precarious tree limbs into rivers and lakes,  and drove solo across the country never once fearing for my life, or the lives of those around me.
My dad never seemed anxious or worried when taking us on many adventures.  If he ever feared for our lives, he hid it well.  He wanted us to have experiences that would shape us in a positive way.  He was/is passionate about God's creation and desired for his kids to know that passion.
I want my kids to as spite of my first inclination to keep them safely by my side at all times.

Since they are too tiny for mountains and whitewater rafting, we have started small.  Last summer I started taking them both to different parks around our city, for them (and me!) to see all that our area has to offer as far as nature... and let them run wild.  We live in an urban neighborhood, adjacent to a downtown metropolitan area, we'll drive anywhere from five to forty minutes to get to a park where they can roam free.

I have tried to steer them away from the playgrounds to the trails.  To hike and hear the birds and find cool rocks and sticks and bugs.

I realized through these outings that while I have a taste for adventure and love taking my kids places every day, I also have major anxiety issues surrounding these very activities.
I have irrational fear they will fall off imaginary cliffs.

I break out into a sweat when we are near a busy street - and we live on a busy street, so imagine my constant state of anxiousness! Eek!

I panic if I cannot see them every moment we are at a playground.  In the two seconds I do not see one of them I am positive they have been kidnapped.

I imagine crazy scenarios and nearly lose my mind with unease.
If you haven't guessed I am clearly a control freak, and now that my kids are both runners and high-energy, who prefer to be climbing and moving and checking out EVERYTHING than standing calmly by my side, I no longer have the control I had when they were infants.

It drives me bananas.

Yes, this is real anxiety, and yes, I realize they make pills and therapists for this.

Let's just say I pray a lot.  No, seriously.

I believe my anxiety is there for a reason : as a constant reminder I need to trust God.  

I am not a supermom.  I need help every single day.   God knows I am horrible at asking for help,  I believe that in "praying through" the anxiety I am forced to acknowledge that He is in control. For me there is peace in knowing that.

Anyway, I don't want my anxiety to negatively affect my kids and our activities, so I try to go with the flow, appear calm, being cautious, yet not limiting them if there is no real reason. I want them to experience the world with abandon, never being afraid to climb a tree or swing from a rope or explore new places.  Or get in touch with nature.  Like birds, which they seem to love.
counting ducks.  there were sixteen, btw.
finola has a deep infatuation with all birds.  after she ran off all the ducks she moved on to the geese... and got hissed at a few times.
found the perfect climbing tree. 
she plopped down here on her own, to eat her "bo-bish" (Goldfish)
Cormac always finds a hiking stick and tries to climb as high as he can.  Finola always follows Cormac.
"Lean into the hill!  Put down your stick!  Test each rock! Why is your butt so dirty, Finola????" 
By the end of our outing I felt I had lost years of my life due to anxiety.  We climbed up some scary steps to a lookout over the city, and I only told Cormac about thirty times to stay on the safe side of the wall.  (Even though the other side had about five feet of grass before a semi-gradual decline.  In my mind it was the Grand Canyon, or certain death.)
The edge of the cliff.  Have I mentioned I am afraid of heights?
After this little excursion I was more than ready to get home for naps.  But I still felt happy we had gone out, gotten fresh air, climbed up to a beautiful view of the river, where Cormac was able to excitedly point out landmarks while I took deep, cleansing breaths.

+ + + + + + + 

Any other mamas experience this?  How do you work through your anxiety?