3/05/2016

What if you fly?

Tonight as I sat feeding Olivia in the big snuggle chair in her room, which was dimly lit by her twinkling star lights as Coldplay Radio softly played, I was admiring all of the pictures and special items on her bedroom wall. And there, alongside her teeny tiny 8 week premature not-even-4lbs-yet hand print ornament gifted by her NICU nurses on her first Christmas, is my favorite quote.  Framed proudly are the words:

"What I fall?" Oh, my darling but what if you fly?

I read it over and over tonight as I cuddled my baby. My baby who is now 20lbs bigger than when her hand was first pressed into that salt dough ornament hanging alongside it. She's growing. She's becoming more and more of my little sassy girl. I think I love it so much because I can picture myself saying it to her when she's 4 or 16 or 27 or even 40 years old.

My baby will fly. And when she falls, because we all do, I will be right there next to her to dust her off and watch her fly again. Just as my mom watched me. Just as Carl's mom watched him.

Becoming a mother is magnificent. It changes you and allows you to fill every ounce of your body and mind with undying love and hope and dreams for your child. And one of the hardest things as a mother is letting your baby go. You devote your life to loving them, nurturing them, helping them, teaching them to become an independent, compassionate and strong adult. Your goal is that they'll go out into that big scary world and thrive. But when they finally fly solo out into that big scary world, a piece of you flies away with them.

I know now how hard it must have been for you, Lynne, to watch your baby fly so far away with me. I truly understand that now. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart because if it weren't for you, for your love, your nurturing, your help and your guidance, I wouldn't have my Carl. Thank you for allowing him to fly, for us to fly. Because of that, you are not only a wonderful Mother, but the very best Nana to Olivia.

Happy English Mother's Day, Mama Lynne We love you xoxo

2/17/2016

Home Sweet Home: The Bedroom

Hi folks, I'm Amanda and I'm a DIY-aholic.

I've noticed a nerdy trend over the past couple of years. It seems whenever there's school vacation I tend to become completely immersed in home improvement projects. Whether it's sprucing up old dressers and desks or making a new marble chip walkway out front; I'm almost certainly covered in dirt or paint. I think it's my teacher mind seeking a creative and expressive outlet. Well, that and a sick obsession with Pinterest. So, of course, this school vacation was no different. I took to Pinterest on Sunday evening in hopes of some inspiration to spruce up our bedroom and then this happened.

Everyone, say hello to my February Break project! 

Isn't it amazing how much of an impact a cheap shelf from Lowe's, a few brackets and some happy smiley family pictures can make? 





Last Mother's Day Carl surprised my picture obsessed ass and got me a really nice Canon camera. Since then I've been snapping pictures left, right and center and over the last year I've accumulated a few really nice ones. Really nice ones that have been sitting in a neatly organized folder on our computer. Crying. Waiting to see the light of day. Waiting for an ornate picture frame. It was sad. But then I spotted the idea to add a shelf above the headboard and thought it would be a fantastic home for some of our favorite photos. It's an abundance of sweet Olivia of course, as well as our fur baby Treacle Kitty, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Waking up each morning to see my lovies smiling at me is special and rewarding. It makes me want to yell "LOOK WHAT I DID!" like a 3 year old who finally pooped on the potty. I think, deep down, my February break happy family shelf is making up for that nonexistent trophy shelf from high school. It's marvelous and I am in love.

Thanks again, Pinterest, for that DIY kick up the pants my sweet husband doesn't understand or appreciate.  

2/14/2016

Lately

Our lives have been a chaotic and exciting mess of fun over the past few months. For weeks I've been meaning to sit down and compose categorized and specific blog posts, but instead I've spent my evenings doing PiYo and binge watching Parenthood on Netflix. So here I am, lazily mushing it all into one big random post about any and everything that's happened since Olivia's 1st birthday. 

Christmas this year was by far the most magical, exhausting, hilarious and full of love yet. It's true when they say (whoever they are), that having a child amps up the warm tingly feels of the holidays tenfold. It's as if you see everything from their eyes and the magic and excitement is infectious. Olivia had a tiny glimpse of opening presents on her 1st birthday this past Thanksgiving and was officially a pro come Christmas. Girlfriend threw that wrapping paper behind her like she was digging in a gold mine of cheddar bunnies. We were lucky in that we were able to host my Dad's side of the families Christmas Eve get together in our new house. My Grandpa Cousino has been diagnosed with Alzheimers so we cherish memories made with him as we know there will be a time when he no longer remembers who we are. But for the time being we smile big toothy grins when he instantly walks in our front door and yells "where's pooper?!" searching for Olivia. We got some wonderful pictures of Grandpa and his wife Sandy with Livie. I plan to frame them and hang them next to an old picture my mother gave me for my 27th birthday of my Grandma Cousino and I when I was Olivia's age. I miss her all the time and it's important to me that Olivia grow up knowing who she was and how much she would have loved to see her. 





















Since Christmas we've been busy working around the house. Our fixer upper is coming right along. The kitchen has gobbled up most of our attention as of late. My Dad owns his own carpentry business and since we've bought the house we have been incredibly blessed with his time, talent and kindness. Before we moved in he and Uncle Franky removed the wall from the kitchen to dining room, installed a new support beam, laid all of our hardwood floors, installed our new island (Dad got my beloved butchers block counter top from an old job he'd done last year), changed out the old back door for a newer one and put up my special open-pantry shelves to my exact pain in the ass measurements that specifically accommodate my giant glass jars. Since then Carl and I have painted, stained and installed new cabinet hardware. Last weekend Carl and I embarked on a new adventure that my Dad said "even a monkey could do" and installed a new chandelier light fixture over the island. I don't think we'll ever do that again. What a cluster of foul language, random useless old wires and dead falling-asleep arms. In fact, it was that craptastic that after it was finally done I shared on Facebook that I'd "rather eat a booger off of a sumo wrestlers sweaty ass cheek than install a chandelier ever again." That statement is still true a week later. Nevertheless, it's done and we are in love. I think my next DIY project will be a tin tile backsplash, although that won't happen anytime soon as the chandelier experience almost sent me to therapy. 
A couple of weeks ago we purchased a new (to us) car to replace our "Old Grey" Equinox that wouldn't pass inspection and was falling apart. Everyone, meet Marshmallow. My Dad says now that we have two white vehicles we're official 'lazy car people' who apparently opt for white cars because they require less cleaning. I always thought it was the other way around and white cars showed allllll the dirt? But either way my OCD brain isn't complaining about having matching cars. Holla!



Olivia is and always has been obsessed with tubby time. She would laugh and splash and suck on rubber ducks and wet wash clothes until the cows come home if we let her. It dawned on me the other night as we chucked at her in the bath that I haven't taken a single bath picture since she was 5 months old. This poor kid. When I was pregnant I'd planned in my mind this gorgeous baby book filled to the brim with stunning pictures and little notes written in different colored gel pens. It would have fancy stickers and tell all about her favorite foods each week, the exact date her first tooth popped through, even when she first farted. Everything. It was going to be marvelous. And then real life smacked me in the face and I'm lucky if I remember to leave the house with make up on in the morning (No, I'm serious. I drove all the way to work a few weeks ago and realized as I closed the sun visor that I hadn't done my hair or put any make up on. Can you imagine the fear those poor children at school would have felt had I not noticed at all?)

Here are few of my favs from Livie's recent tubby times.







So much fun. So much love.

Happy Valentine's Day!


1/18/2016

Olivia is a wild ONE!

Why is it the minute you have a child you're sucked into a space-time vortex which makes each hour feel like a second, each week feel like a day and each year feel like that Friday last month? 

Not only am I in shock that on Thanksgiving Day we celebrated Olivia's first birthday (um, how is this possible?) but I'm also in shock that it's now 2016 and I'm only just composing the post. I swear I haven't been blowing bubbles and twirling in circles for the last 2 months.

Time, please slow down.

Regardless of the tardiness, I felt motivated on this lazy Monday home from school with Olivia to bust out the dusty laptop during her morning nap and finally share the awesomeness that was her "Wild One" birthday party. 

Anyone who knows me knows how much of an obsession I have with children's books. And my husband, more than anyone, can attest to our ever growing library in and all around our house. I love books and it's important to me they're a massive part of Olivia's childhood, even her first birthday celebration. Where The Wild Things Are is a classic that I was first properly introduced to when I moved to England and began my teaching degree. A girlfriend in my dorm shared it with me as her childhood favorite, and since then I've read it to every single class I've ever taught and to Olivia almost as many times. Livie happily drums on the pages and screeches in excitement when the Wild Things first make their grand appearance. Go figure, my wild thing going wild about other wild things? It all just seemed to fit into place, and the celebration of our wild thing turning a wild ONE was born and was a huge success.


 I made her first cake to look like a pop up version of the book.

                         





































While I was in the hospital those 8 weeks on bed rest/recovering from Olivia's birth, I made friends with an unbelievable woman named Lindsay who had also been in the hospital on bed rest all of that time (plus a few more weeks) with her twin boys. We 'lived' next to each other and our rooms shared a bathroom. Throughout those weeks we became friends and I can honestly say there were days that I'd have sat alone in my room crying had I not been able to shuffle over to visit with her. We became prego craving besties and there's no one else on the planet I'd rather share a bacon pepperoni pizza or toasted bagel with. Her boys were born a few weeks after Olivia and I was blessed to be able to see them in the NICU while Olivia was there. Colton and Camden are tough cookies just like Olivia and it was a necessity we get a photo shoot with all 3 of them together. My goodness, what a difference year makes. From tiny babies in our bellies to healthy, rambunctious little people. I'm so thankful for our friendship with the Wilson family and having them there was very special.








We celebrated, we laughed, we made memories surrounded by all of our family and friends. Together we marveled over Olivia's health, strength and determination as we watched her unwrap presents, taste sweet crumbly cake and shiver at the cold of ice cream for the first time. It was a day I won't forget. Our little isn't quite so little. Every day she changes. Every day she grows. Every day, little by little, she is becoming more and more of the amazing human being I'd always envisioned. My very favorite person this whole entire earth.  

We love you sweet little Baba. We can't wait to watch you rock that 2nd year just as much as the first.