Monday, September 30, 2013

{a blogger date}

On Saturday I had a date.
With another blogger.  Armed with an awesome excuse to hop in the Jeep and escape reality for the majority of Saturday, I drove to Indianapolis (about a 1 1/2 hr drive) to meet up with my blogger friend Tanya.  She is a friend that I have never actually met in person, but we follow each other's blogs and "know" each other that way.

She just happened to be in Indy for a blogging conference (she lives in OR) so since she was going to be reasonably close I decided to make the trip and hang out with her a bit - for real.

No surprise, Tanya is just as sweet and cute in person as she is on her blog.
We walked around downtown, found a place to have lunch, and hung out for almost two hours.  It was so cool (and awkwardly awesome) to actually meet a blogger friend.  I hope someday we get to hang out "for real" again -- maybe at a blogging conference next year?  From what she shared it seemed like a pretty inspiring experience...and a fun reason to travel to another part of the country!

Have you ever met up with a "blog friend" in real life?

Anyway, hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  We have some major renovation projects happening in the 'dream home' this week -- I will share progress soon!

Monday, September 23, 2013

once they start talking...

Once your toddler starts talking life is never the same.  For two years Cormac barely said ten words total.  Everything was a guessing game.  Did he understand?  Is he hungry?  Where did it hurt?

Then they start talking and once they do...there is absolutely no shutting them up.  (Or maybe that is just my kid???)  He talks and talks whether or not anyone is listening or not.   He asks a million questions.  Anytime he doesn't know a word he asks, "What's that (insert whatever word you said that he doesn't know)?"  It is both awesome and annoying all at once.
I just want info!  I'm a future mr. know-it-all!
Here are some other things we are hearing lately...

"Get me some French fries, peeas!!" {while ordering at a drivethru window}

"What a mess!" {whenever we walk into his room, which always looks like a toy explosion.}

"Dada at work.  He works with a jackhammer!" {no, he doesn't.}

"That milk comes out of that boob!" and "That boob is empty!" {while I am feeding Finola.}

"Hullooooo!" {whenever he walks into a room}

"Talk to me!  Talk to me!"  {whenever I am trying to converse with Hubby.}

"Finola is crabby.  Just like mama."  {hmmm...}

"I'm hungry!" {when he is hungry.}

"What is that?"  Me: "What?"  "That."  {while pointing at nothing.}

"What are we making?"  (whenever I say, "It's time to eat!"}

"I make mama happy with kisses and hugs!" {when I am 'crabby'}

But of all the funny, irritating, sweet, repetitive, unknowingly insightful, and crazy things he says,
this one is my favorite:

"Good night, Mama.  I wuv you, Mama!"  {every night...and at nap time}

Once they start talking...
they never stop.

Thank goodness.

Friday, September 20, 2013

finola - 4 months!

Dear Baby Fin,
I feel like you changed so much this month!  All of a sudden you are sitting all the time - well, not by yourself, but propped up, or held in a sitting position, or in the Bumbo or the Jumperoo.  And then there is the flipping.  While you started rolling last month, this month you started doing it in your crib.  Which results in a lot of screaming, because you hate being on your back and cannot yet roll back onto your tummy.  Well, actually, you have done that twice...but it doesn't seem like you can remember how when you are in your crib and having a baby panic attack.

You started laughing and smiling completely unprompted this month.

You continue to just be a sweet and easy baby.

Let's keep that going, little lady.

Your personality:  As I said, super sweet and happy - as always.  Very go-with-the-flow.  I've seen a little determination in you, too...particularly when you are trying to roll to your tummy, or trying to get a toy that is just out of reach. You are calm and observant and giggle quietly about the most random things.
Your relationship with your big brother:  You adore him.  He makes you laugh so much without even trying to.  I just point you in his direction and you find anything he is doing to be hilarious.  I keep nervously watching for some sort of hint of resentment he might harbor towards you...but so far, despite wanting me to set you down a lot to do stuff for him, he seems to accept you and love you lots.  He gives you unprompted hugs and kisses, asks where you are any time you are not in sight.  He sings you "Baa Baa Black Sheep" or the ABCs whenever he thinks you are upset.  At night he says, "Good night Finola - I wuv you, Finola." 
two peas in a pod - er, a crib.
You love to eat:  whenever you get up from sleeping, for the most part...and sometimes I'll nurse you briefly to sleep.  If I had to time it I would say you eat every four hours.  Still haven't given you many bottles, but when we do now you'll drink twice as much as you used to.  Growing girl!  
You sleep:    still awesomely well...but you still haven't slept through the night!   Sigh. But this past week you have only been waking up once for a feeding! *knock on wood*  Let's keep this going, girl!  You get up for the day around 7am.  You take two long naps - a two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.   If one of those naps is short, we take a third nap in the late afternoon...but that rarely happens.  This makes mama happy!  You go to bed anywhere between 6 and 7pm if you don't take that third nap, but never later than eight.  Mama can't handle any 'night owl' stayin' up late business.   Now if we can just get you to sleep completely through then night...

You love wearing:  PJ's.  You are my sleepy thing.  Although we have also been doing a lot of baby tunics and leggings for our outings.  Oh, and you have even rocked your jeggings once.  We are so excited for fall and baby sweaters!  Still you wear 3-6 month clothing or 6 month.  It's all fitting you a bit snugger, though.  Soon we will need 9 month duds.
I love my jegs!
We call you:   Finola, Baby Fin, DIN-o-la (Cormac), Sister, Girl, Sweet Love, Darling, etc, etc.
You love:  Toys!  I can now prop you up and keep you interested in a number of baby toys.  You try to push buttons and grab whatever you can.  Still not all that controlled, though.   Your jumperoo.  We have said bye-bye to the swing and graduated to this well as the 'johnny jumper.'  Ahhh! I feel like this means you are growing too fast!  
dolly and fin (thanks nana!)
Mama feels:  Still really tired, but, as I said, I am resigning myself to it.  I keep thinking, This could be my last baby!!! *sob!*  I need to enjoy all of this before it is gone!  So I am jealously holding onto the breastfeeding, the baby smiles and cuddles, the drooly kisses, the playing airplane, the soft downy hair that still curls on the top of your head, and all other lovely baby things that I may not get to experience as a mama again.  *tears!*

hasn't quite gotten the hang of the bumbo yet
she's got short legs - like mama!

"Are you serious?"
 Your health/measurements:  
Weight: 16 lbs (!!!) Height: 24 inches  Head: 41.5cm
16 pounds??? wha? weigh me again! 
You did really well at your 4 month check - barely a peep!  Even during shots.  You cried out for about 5 seconds after the second one, but that's it.  Another cold with an icky stuffy nose and congestion, which lasted about two weeks.  I do love rubbing baby rub on your tiny chest, though!  You also had a couple bouts of teething - which for you means a TON of drool, slight fever, chewing on your hands and fingers, and not wanting to fall asleep.
"I will get this in my mouth!"
This Months' Memories:
  • Your first roadtrip to Minnesota!  We had such a blast.  You got so much quality time with your Gram and Gramp.  They held you every opportunity possible.  You even got to meet your Uncles Josh and Spence and your Auntie Jen, who all gave you lots and lots of snuggles, too.  Oh, and let's not forget your cousins Ethan and Ella.  What a lucky girl!  I think they all adored you.  Oh, and you did AWESOME on both 12-hour car rides.  A couple cry-fests on the way home, but overall I can't complain about you, Angel.
hanging out on gramma and grampa's window seat 
    loving the fresh farm air!
  • You rolled from back to front!  At 3 1/2 months. Okay, I've only seen you do it twice...but it looked purposeful, so I'm counting it.
bunny staredown

  • Your first real laughs.  You have a wheezy little giggle that I adore.  Cormac is best at getting you to laugh...he doesn't even have to try.  But you love when I sing you Rock-a-Bye Baby (my special way!) or make you fly through the air like a bumblebee.
My sweet girl...I am forever grateful for you.  I thank God for you every night, that he entrusted me with your little self.  I pray I can be a good 'girl mama.'  I pray to raise a strong and confident young woman.  I pray you are as beautiful inside as you are outside.  I pray for God to use you for His will, and that you grow to know Him, love Him, trust in Him always.

Mama + Dada

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

six years

Recently Hubby and I celebrated six years of being married.
I would have to say that year number six was one of the harder ones (the hardest being the first year!)

Right after our 5th anniversary last September I found out that I was pregnant -- surprise!  This was right during our move into our "dream home" - a major fixer-upper that we had a million projects we wanted to get complete before we had another baby.  In fact, I had spent weeks lifting tons of heavy boxes and furniture, bringing it to the new house -- while unknowingly pregnant.   Whoops.

Moving and renovating a home is stressful on a marriage to begin with, and adding a pregnancy and having a toddler, makes it even rougher.  Thankfully Hubby took it all in stride and we changed up our renovation plans to get set for the baby.

In the last year we endured a full kitchen renovation that lasted over a month, several other major renovation projects including new flooring in the kids rooms and a new roof.

We had also already planned a romantic beach getaway - and while I thought the pregnancy might foil that, it still ended up being incredibly fun.

My point of all this is -- I clearly have been blessed with an exceptional husband.  He rolls with the punches with ease, even when I want to crumble to pieces.  We don't have a perfect marriage (how utterly dull would that be???) - we disagree and fight and struggle and make mistakes and have to forgive each other constantly.  But we do it.  Because that is what you do when you love someone deeply and have committed to them through marriage.  Even when it is hard.

I am so glad I chose to be married to this man.  Because whatever hard stuff we go through there far more beautiful moments.  This year has been no exception.

+ + + + + 

Dear Hubby, 

The past year has been a tough one in many ways , but each year we are married you show me even more how strong you are and what an amazing man you can be.

You are never afraid to act goofy and play along with whatever insane photo idea I come up with.  To that end, thank you for being my biggest fan, with all my hobbies and personal endeavors - blogging, cooking, writing, constant photo taking, running addiction, etc.  You always make me feel like I am incredibly talented and beautiful.   No matter what.

thank you for enduring all our "family photo shoots" -- just think of all the cash I save us???
Thank you for always being the best travel partner I could ask for -- we have so much fun, even when I am sixteen weeks preggo and want to go to bed each night at 9pm.  Our trip to St. Maarten this year was no exception...
sixteen weeks with our little girl!
Oh, and I still find you incredibly sexy in your aviators, inappropriate Brazil hat, and sipping a frou-frou drink:

Thank you for being my partner in parenting this little guy -

He went from a toddling little baby to a talking, rambunctious little boy in just one short year.  I am grateful to get to be on this parenting journey with you.  You are an awesome Dada!

This past year we survived a somewhat emotionally and physically uncomfortable pregnancy together, culminating in my giving birth, with you watching in awe as all the veins in my face neck and chest bulged out like the Hulk as I pushed our darling little girl out.  Without drugs.  It takes a brave man to watch his wife go through that.  Thank you for supporting all my beliefs and decisions.

most amazing moment - EVER.  thank you for making babies with me!
Now, here we are - with two tiny kiddos.  Taking the craziness day by day, figuring out how to be parents together...I don't know how I'd do it without you.
a less-than-2-year-old and a 3 week old - are we in over our heads?
Thankful for six years of marriage - and twelve (!!!) of knowing you.  I don't know if we'll have any more babies, or ever get this house finished...but I know whatever happens we will get through it together. And that makes me excited for many, many more years together.

Friday, September 13, 2013

{my little mini-me}

When you are pregnant it is pretty normal that you will daydream about who your sweet little babe will resemble.  While I totally envisioned having a little boy who looked like my Hubby, it was a little frustrating when I had Cormac and for the entire first year of his life EVERYONE said he looked like Paul.  NO ONE said he looked like me.  At all.   It wasn't that I wanted him to look like was more that I personally saw a LOT of me in his giant round baby face, his blue eyes, and turned up nose.

No one else saw it, though.  So I would just smile and nod when everyone referred to him as a "little Paul" - assuming I must be just seeing him with my "mama goggles" on.

Then I had my girl - darling little Fin.

This time around I have enjoyed plenty of "she looks just like you!" exclamations from everyone - particularly from my own mother.  "It is like I am holding you all over again!" she told me when she came to help me when Finola was only three weeks old.

I was skeptical.  I thought, Perhaps people just always think the baby looks like whichever child is their same gender?

Then, when visiting my parents recently my mom broke out her treasured box of photos of all her children - one taken each year of our life.

When she showed me my three month photograph I had to do a double-take.  I honestly thought for a millisecond that it was Finola:
me - three months!  what a mean mug!
Then here is Fin at three months.  Ah!  Same hair, same eyes, exact nose, eyebrows, lips and fat double chin.

Sure, our ears are definitely different - hers are more round and stick out just a bit.  No idea where that comes from.  We have different hairlines, and she actually has more hair on the top of her head - but same color.

My point is - I never thought I would have a daughter that looks SO much like me.  But here she is.  My mini-me.  

This makes it kind of fun to imagine if she will continue to look like her mama...

Will she look like this at age two? (and, um, if you don't see Cormac in this picture then one of us is crazy.)

Or maybe like this at age three (or is it four?)
again -- clearly I am Cormac's mama
One last look at the proof that at least some of my genetics will be passed along to my children...

A big thank you to mother who (very grudgingly!) let me borrow these photographs (which, by the way, are now considered vintage/antique since I am over thirty and all.)  Anyway, I promise to mail them back asap so that you can put them back in the correct order.

I love you dearly, Mama, for making sure we got yearly photographs taken...and for your OCD-ness.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

nursery decor : finola's gallery wall

I knew when I started decorating this nursery - before I knew whether I was having a boy or a girl - that I wanted a little gallery wall above the crib.
Something pretty simple.
So I gave this 11x14 inch framed chalkboard center stage (made simply by using chalkboard paint on plywood and a frame found at a thrift shop) and with hubby's help just arranged my other choices around it.
(Hubby hung them all - otherwise it would look a mess.)

Thought I would share some of the details here...

This frame I found at my parent's house, leftover from their garage sale.
It was silver so I painted it with turquoise spray paint.
The adorable 'You Are So Loved' print can be purchase here.

I painted this frame, found at a thrift shop, as well as the chalkboard frame, with the same paint we used for the trim throughout our house.  I love it because it is super bright!  The 'oh, hello dear' print is actually a greeting card purchased at this cute shop.  It didn't fit the frame so I simply put brown kraft paper behind it.  I find if you are trying to decorate inexpensively and want to fill a cute frame you can find creative ways to do it!

The photo of baby Fin was one I took when she was one month. (pardon the glare off the glass!!!)  I really like it and used it because she is wearing pink and I wanted to bring a little more girlish pink to the display.  The Jesus Loves Me plaque was given to us at Cormac's baby shower and I thought the color went well and that it added something different amongst all the frames.  Plus, we sing it every night before bed.

Here is another frame with some interesting detail to it that I found amongst the rejects of my parents' garage sale.  Again I spray-painted the heck out of that baby, added some picture hanging wire and baby clothespins (since it had no glass or backing) and voila!  A spot for a pic of me - super preggo with the little one.

The 'Keep Calm' print is a greeting card framed in a very inexpensive white ikea frame.  Then I put my favorite ultrasound picture of Finola inside another glassless frame I had for forever that I painted turquoise.  The turquoise owl print is (also in an Ikea frame) is from this Etsy shop and was purchased before I had Cormac.

So there you have it!  I have more projects going on in her nursery - which I think will always be a work in progress - and I will share more soon!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful week!

Monday, September 9, 2013

mamarazzi : mn edition

Well, I'm back.
Back from nearly two weeks in Minnesota visiting my parents.
It was, as always, such a lovely time with them, relaxing on the farm - or as much as you can relax with one really, really talkative and active toddler, and one tiny baby in your care.
Thankfully the grandparents gave me lots and lots of breaks!
They held Finola probably more than I did.
They let Cormac pull them around by the hand and ask a bazillion times while pointing to things:
"What's that???"

We did a lot together - 
went to the mn state fair
had a campfire
visited my hometown's brewery
went on a antiquing/lunch/birthday date with my mama
got coffee with a blogger friend in st. paul at one of my favorite old haunts
helped my older bro install a flagpole
had many heated political discussions {er, I mostly just listened}
ate lots of good meals {thanks mama - and SIL Jen!}
my brothers and niece and nephew finally got to meet baby fin!
went out to dinner with my good friend rach
got a dinner out with hubby!
watched a good movie with my mama {miss this!}

Lots of memories!  I am so thankful my kiddos, though we live far away, get this chance each summer to get to know my family.

Completely worth the hellish overnight drive there and the really long drive back (without Hubby!)

Here are some photographs from our little trip to the farm...

deep-fried oreo
all wiped out after a day at the state fair
"I put a frog in my hands like a cup!"

making "pizzas" in the playhouse
enjoying a 'boooger' on the playhouse front porch
how many men does it take to put up a flagpole??
my niece ella - the budding photographer
got to see this beautiful mama - twice!  one playdate and one dinner out sans babies.  miss my friend!

well hello gorgeous! 
uncle spence reading cormac's new favorite book - one dog canoe

the trail

our 'pasture'
one of my favorite views

I spy a little boy in the playhouse! my dad made this out of salvage wood from our old barn.
mastered the playhouse ladder immediately
sunset over gravel roads

campfire time
"Sing 'Blind Man!'"
Mom and Dad -
Thanks for a great trip.
My kiddos adore you and miss you already.
Already anxiously awaiting Christmas!