Tuesday, May 26, 2015

here's looking at two.

Dear Finola,
I could not have even dreamed up the delight that you have become at the age of two.  Back when you were a tiny one, my little dream newborn - good eater, reliable sleeper, rarely fussy.  Now you are still all of that - but with more hair, more words, and much, much more FUN.

You are feisty.  I kinda like that.  Your two-year-old tantrums are epic.  Instead of frustrating, they most of the time make me have to hide my laughter.  The other day when I tried to put you in a fancy floral dress for church, you threw a major hissy and were inconsolable.  So I left the room to give you a moment to calm down (and stifle my giggles) since you wouldn't let me near you even for hugs.  When I came back you had managed to take the dress completely off and were laying, smiling, naked on the floor.  Needless to say, we wore another outfit to church that day.

You are physically pretty strong.  You can hold your own in competitions of strength with your brother.  Speed-wise, you are getting pretty fast during your "races" with him.  You still always lose, and have taken to crumpling on the floor when he snottily cheers, "I win!" - but I keep telling you that someday you will win (sometimes.)

Socially, you are at first shy and cling to your mama, but when you know a person well you are generous with hugs and kisses and snuggles.  You say "See you later!" to everyone we know (and don't know) when out and about.

Your favorite foods are pickles, Pringles, bananas, strawberries and cottage cheese.

Ever since your birthday last week you have been greeting me in the morning with "Happy Bird-day, Mama!"

You are in a kissing phase, where every time I pick you up you will grab my face through peals of laughter and plant giant kisses on my cheeks and lips.  "MO! MO KISSES!" you shout.

To celebrate you turning two, we didn't have a party, but we went on an overnight family camping trip.  You did awesome.
"So...where can I drive ya?"
"Camping rocks!  Unless it starts raining...then I hate it." 
On the day of your birthday, a Tuesday, we didn't do anything too wild.  I blew up 36 balloons the night before and filled your room up with them while you slept.  We had donut holes and strawberries for breakfast, two of your favorites.  We opened presents as soon as possible (obviously.)  We saw some friends and you got to play outside quite a bit, since it was a gorgeous, sunny day.  We bought a birthday dinner and a cake from Kroger and I stuck more strawberries on it.  You blew out the candles like a pro!
Donies and strawberries.  A birthday breakfast.
surprised by balloons! (with morning hair!) she might kill me for this photo someday...
"Finola!  Look at all your balloons!"  This was as much fun for Cormac as the bday girl.
birthday hugs from brother!
balloons are fun to squish...and later pop
we couldn't wait til evening to open gifts...so we did it after breakfast!
It was a really sweet day.  
Happy 'two' to you, my crazy Blondie, my love.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

our first family camping trip.

I grew up camping.  

When each of us - myself and three siblings - turned three we had officially "come of age" to be ripped from my mother's arms and be carried off by my father to go on overnight camping trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota.  Here we would get nestled into the middle of canoes, amongst the gear and coolers, drag our tiny hands in the water, attempt to paddle with kid-sized oars, dip mini-fishing poles in, watch the big people set up camp, sip hot chocolate under tarps in the rain, watch my dad and his twin brother chase off black bears, listen to the loons sing, sing campfire songs, and praise God together under a million stars.

My dad taught me, from that tender age of three, the spirituality of the wilderness.

Finola is not three yet.  (She turns two today!)

I don't think I could let her be whisked away to the wild.

But I do want her to start young.

So instead of a birthday party this year, we went camping.

Just for one night.  Just a tiny taste.

It went by quickly and was a lot of fun!  Except the part where, at 10pm, waaaaay past their bedtime, the kids were expected to go to sleep in the tent.  Cormac only fought it a little, but lil miss Fin ran around the tent, chattering, giggling and poking me in the face.  Finally I heard a yawn, she asked for her blanket, which she had been tossing around, and she conked out.

Then Hubby and I had a beer by the fire and congratulated ourselves on a successful first attempt at tent camping with the kiddos.

We can't wait to go again!
fire-making with dada
checking out the sights
child with hot poker in the fire - this looks totally safe, right???
mama hovering around the fire, afraid of blond locks going ablaze.
contemplating nature and life
eyeing her mama's beer
while not super primitive, it was very peaceful
these two...the conversations they have!
I kept saying, "Run wild, my child!" which she did, while repeating that.
Colbie liked relaxing, too.
A lot.
going in and out of the tent was a favorite activity.  I'm surprised we didn't sleep with a million bugs.
campfires are magnets for kiddos. just sayin'.
face smush.
we did the whole "stick the bean can right in the fire" thing - turned out well...and less dishes!
Hubby makes a s'more.
We got a little wet from the morning rain!
"The humidity does wonders for my curls!"
birthday girl 
"Here Finola - have a marshmallow!  I have a whole bag!"

"Fine, I'll eat them all myself."
Breakfast of champions!
packing up...a little earlier than expected, due to rain!
While he wasn't too helpful packing up, he did build this contraption in the trunk.

I am pretty sure one night is all Finola could handle (while we were stuck in the tent during a morning rain shower she shouted repeatedly, "GO HOME NOW!") Cormac, however, was asking if we could stay "five more days."

Three, man.  I'm telling you.  My Dad was right - that is the "magic camping age."

Or simply when we were potty-trained and he could hold us over the side of the canoe to pee-pee.


Friday, May 15, 2015

to the moms...

To the moms with seemingly endless energy.  To the moms who are tired - nay exhausted.  To the moms who stay home with their kiddos full-time.  To the moms who work full-time or part-time outside the home.  To the moms who add on another job or project besides their full-time job and motherhood. To the moms who fight for a cause they are passionate about.  To the moms who feel like they are a lost cause, barely hanging on.   To the moms who keep beautiful homes for their babes.  To the moms who ignore their messy, disorganized house to spend quality times with their babes.   To the moms who work out every day for their mental and physical heath.  To the moms who model healthy eating habits, even when they want to inhale an entire carton of ice cream. To the moms who inhale an entire carton of ice cream...but forgive themselves and start fresh the next day.  To the moms who are unafraid to show their weaknesses.  To the moms who try desperately to appear strong.

To every mom.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself : I am enough.  As I am.  

Because your kids love you - as you are.

+ + + + + +

A few photos from Mother's Day weekend...

I am grateful to be a mom, to have a mom, and to be surrounded by so many inspiring mothers.