Monday, July 28, 2014

New Do

I have been struggling with a love hate relationship with my hair since the baby was born. After a serious of short haircuts a few years ago, I had vowed to never cut my hair short for a loooong looong time, and I didn't. Not since my 25th birthday! Then I had a baby and the mom cut came a calling. Ultimately I do think long hair can be easier sometimes, for instance if you are running late, or sick or whatever, you can just throw it into a chic top knot and be on your way.

bangs with a top knot. wish i could do this...

I totally rocked the top every day. Also very popular... the messy chic look.

However, my hair was taking forever to try and by the end of the day sometimes it was still wet and news flash - I'm no model, so overtime I just kind of started to look more messy than chic.

After a few hours of obsessing on Pinterest I kept coming back to the long bob. I figured I could wear it curly and beachy or super sleek and look put together in no time. Especially if it air dried quickly. I could just run the hot iron over it and be on my way. I gave myself a few days to mull it over and it was still on my mind and I knew that I would by be satisfied unless I made the change. I just booked the appointment yesterday and dada manned the bedtime routine while I slipped away. So here's the inspiration... 

And the final result....

I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I'll have to play around with the styling a bit (tad flat at top), but it feels 10 times lighter and cooler! I'd love some balayage at the ends and around my face like in the first photo, so I'll have to save up for that over the next few months. 

Anyone else itching to try a new look? 

Precious Moments

From the moment I started blogging again, the first thing constantly in the front of my mind has been how you will grow up and learn that moments of your childhood are documented for all to see. I try to put myself in your shoes and wonder what it would feel like if my first moments had been shared so literally and digitally. My hope is that you will appreciate this documentation as a form of time capsule or baby book that you can look back on and not only read the words but see the dates and view the pictures that we have of these precious moments together when the world is all so new to you. I feel that if I write these moments down to you in a sort of letter, I'm not writing about you but talking to you, and always thinking about you and how you might feel when you read these words. I will not censor myself so to speak but will remember to always speak kindly to you and not share things that will particularly embarrass you, for this is my journey as your parent to share, but it is not my childhood to be free with. Children make mistakes, have hard days, short tempers, learn and grow and may not always want to be reminded of painful times and regretful memories, so I will strive to honor that. As far as a digital presence is concerned. I've agonised over sharing your image, name etc. online at all. While prohibiting their child's online presence does work for some of my friends, it doesn't seem to really suit our lives. We live so disconnected from some of our most dear family and friends that it is such an easy way to share our experiences across the pond with them and in turn feel a bit of a stronger sense of digital community. I know I've received great comfort in seeing the day to day struggles and joys of other blogging mothers, and rejoice in their children's joy and success and it feels cathartic to be able to share our own journey. I've decided for now; that this digital age may continue to be an ever growing presence in all our lives, that regardless of how I protect you online, your images may still exist and will be shared by family and friends, and that as soon as you are of an appropriate age, you may want an online presence yourself. I will do the best I can to make that image of you a positive one that you can look back on fondly, and at anytime if I feel it to be unwise or unsafe to be sharing about your life, the sharing will stop. I hope that as you grow you come to appreciate the story of our family  and that you too may share your experiences and joys as you travel on your own path.

With you always in mind xx


Love the place you live

One of my favorite blogs, Design Mom, has been running a series for the last few years called "Love the place you live." It's a wonderful concept. The owner of the blog, Gabrielle Blair is the mother of 6, designer, and overall crafty lady! She and her family love to travel (they lived in Normandy for a year which was fascinating to follow) but as she says, you don't need to go further than your own back yard to experience the joys of travelling.  Between settling in after our move and growing our family over the last few years, I'm sad to say we've hardly explored all the wonderful activities that living in Ireland has to offer. Still on our list are Giant's Causeway, Belfast, Cork, Kylemore Abbey, The Puck Fair, Newgrange and many more! Now that Milo is a little bit older, we feel a bit easier about heading out on adventures with the little guy in tow.

This weekend we had a little mini excursion to town, to experience a bit of the City Soul Picnic in Merrion Square Park. I have to admit I was a little reluctant to go as house work was on my mind (dumb!) and the thought of walking through a packed street fair felt daunting. I'm so glad we went and got out for a little while to experience something different. If I had know what the event was like, (loads of green space and picnic blankets, not a street fair) we could have made more of an effort, brought our own blankets, Milo's stroller and ear defenders and made an afternoon of it, but like I said, even just a few hours out was better than none at all! 

The real reason we went was to see the Dublin Gospel Choir, which Daryll will be performing with at the end of August at the Electric Picnic music festival! They were wonderful! The soloists were strong and the group had a very smooth and unified sound. We went around 12:30ish which was at the start of the event so it was actually lovely and relaxed, and there weren't too many people. There were loads of food stalls set up (Wok and Roll Thai looked/smelled especially amazing!)

 but we foolishly only had 6 euros to rub together so we ended up getting the smallest and driest hot dogs known to man. So sad! Ah well it filled us up at that moment anyway, just don't make the same mistake we did! After about an hour, Milo started rubbing his eyes and cuddling into us and we knew nap time was here. We only had our trusty Ergobaby carrier, so we packed up and headed back to the car. It was just as well because as we drove out of the city centre we looked back in the mirror and he was sound asleep. Success! We avoided the dreaded melt down that occurs when nap time is postponed and over tiredness takes over. We'll try for another day out next weekend.

If you are interested in similar upcoming events around Dublin, head on over to the Dublin City website. There is a festival coming up next weekend that we might look at; An Urban Fleadh over in Wolfe Tone Park, that looks like it celebrates Irish traditional/fusion music. Also, night street fairs are ongoing for the months of July and August in Temple bar, which sounds like a great potential date night out, with dinner and browsing while meandering around the city. For a complete events and recommendations listing in the city, I love Time Out Dublin. The New York site always served us well for fun activities that you might not come up with on your own. If an adventure elsewhere in the country strikes your fancy, check out Discover Ireland. They have a great list with enough diversity to suit any one's interest! The Galway Races start this week and I'd love to go but we haven't really budgeted or planned for a big event like that. We will definitely have to make it a priority next year.

We wrapped up the weekend with a bit of grocery shopping and an early night. We all pretty much looked like this little guy here! Exhausted!

Family, Friends, etc. have any fun plans coming up?! Leave a comment and let me know. I'd be so interested to learn about fun events on the horizon! Also, if you have a blog or similar outlet and would like to do a "Love the place you live" post to share, get in touch. I'd love to check it out!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hazy Lazy Day

What a scorcher (for Ireland that is!) I think the temperature got up to about 23 degrees Celsius (that's 73ish in Fahrenheit for all you Americans) which is not really hot at all, but when you have been experiencing 40-60 degrees F for most of the year, with 73 you might as be in sunny Spain! It helped that there wasn't a cloud in the sky as well, making it a very bright day from start to finish. Even as I type here in bed it's still a perfect clear evening. 

Because of whatever jet stream Ireland is under/near/around, its rare to have a day where the clouds don't fly in by lunch time at least, which usually means by the time we've noticed a nice day, packed our things and have headed out, it's just starting to rain. Ah Irish life. 

As it was so lovely I needed to do something outside my four walls, so I rang my mother in law to see if they had any plans for the day. As it turned out, she was hoping to get to visit with her mother (Milo's great Nanny! He has a Great Nanny and a Great Grandma, what a lucky boy!) so I said I'd take her over. It was perfect as we had been hoping to take Milo for a visit with her for a while. 

He turned on the Milo charm which usually includes faces like this 

...And entertained himself and us by throwing a DVD case and a rattle book around the room with great force. He loves to practice shaking items, letting them fling mid shake and then act completely perplexed as to how they ended up on the floor. Magic Milo....Magic.

The drive back down from Howth was amazing. The mountains in the background almost looked painted on the horizon in periwinkles and grey blues, as a light haze washed over the bay. It really was as pretty as a postcard. 

The rest of the afternoon was nice and lazy. A quick stop at the shop, lunch at Nanny and Grandads, and then home for a long nap. We had been out so he was up much longer than his usual 2.5-3 hour wake time but was good as gold (I really won the baby lotto with this one!). Of course midway home I looked back in the mirror and saw this..

(Taken parked in our driveway. I don't advocate driving photo opps people!)

Sleepy baba! He recharged his batteries and I recharged mine with a good hour and a half of couch R and R (a few chores mixed in) and then it was back to the races 

More wakey wake smiles.

And then breezy baby playtime. It was just too warm for clothes. (Just a note. Irish houses don't have screens in the windows which = house being the equivelent of a tent when windows are open = lots of creepiest moving on in = me barely cracking windows to avoid my worst nightmare of bed share with spiders = warm house).

Finally we had dinner alfresco and a swift bedtime as he was exhausted! 

Just our little slice of the day to day. As the temperature starts to dip a little bit, I'm reminded it is Ireland after all and warm days are a precious few, so better get back to knitting that scarf... :) 

Standing on your own two feet

Tiny Milo toe toes 2 months old

Yesterday you were seven months and 22 days old. You had such energy all day and couldn't stop crawling, investigating and pulling up on things. We spent a bit of time in the afternoon just playing in your room and letting you crawl around to see what interested you. You kept switching between studying a few books on the floor and trying to pick them up, to pulling up strong on the books already in the racks trying with all your might to stand. This went on for a while and I wondered if you were starting to make connections to the books on the floor and the books on the rack. Did you know that they were meant to be put away with the rest? It's amazing to watch your brain work this week, starting to notice commonalities in your toys, how to shake shake your mouse, or anything that jingles, and waving at that baby in the mirror. 

We were talking with Grammy on facetime, like we do most afternoons this summer and you were so happy to see her and eager to get to her. I happened to have the phone at the edge of the bed, facing you, and you were looking up at her. You crawled over to the bed, got your feet under yourself carefully, and started to grab at the duvet. Slowly and methodically you started to pull and rearrange your feet until you were like a triangle with your bum in the air. Then bit by bit you grasped higher and higher until you were standing with a huge smile on your face for Grammy. I missed capturing the moment, picture and video wise, but your Grammy was able to witness this huge milestone in real time, even a world away, which was absolutely priceless. I'm so proud of you baby boy; of your determination, tenacity, and pride in your own success. It is wonderful to watch you love your family, and the happiness you get out of just seeing a familiar face or hearing a familiar voice. 

You haven't been sleeping well this week leading up to this point, which is what the books say can happen when trying to reach a milestone. Well that makes sense now, and reminds me to be patient with you as you experience minor setbacks in your development, because that just means strength, growth and success are just around the corner, even if it doesn't happen as quickly as I would like. Because before I know it those little feet that are so tiny now will be filling your first pair of shoes as you take your first steps to me, and then suddenly even bigger still, as you take your first steps away and out to the world. 

xx mama

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Afternoon in the Kitchen

Yesterday I spent the bulk of the day rattling around the kitchen, which is a rare occurrence. While I love the results that home cooking and baking produce, the thought of the clean up and step by step instructions usually stop me in my tracks (apart from the necessary daily meal making). Daryll is a more enthusiastic baker and can usually have something whipped up in no time. I had to make baby food, so I figured if I was making a mess, might as well go whole hog.

We recently returned from Vacation in Massachusetts earlier this month, where we spent days eating yummy summer vacation junk food and deviating from our mostly clean eating diet (more on that another time). Last week we were still on the sugar buzz and bought a few packs of biscuits (cookies) to have when guests come over, and mowed through them ourselves :) So this week we refused to buy any more, as they would just get eaten! Out of sight, out of mind right? Wrong! I've been craving cookies all week in a big way! I finally caved as I really wanted a biscuit to go with my afternoon coffee and started googling "vegan cookies coconut oil."

 I came across this site The Minimalist Baker and their recipe for Vegan Gluten Free Banana Pecan Shortbread (Butter-Free). I just happened to have everything on hand so decided to give it a whirl. (FYI there are tons and tons of healthy cookie, treat, ice cream etc. options online and on Pinterest these days which is making healthy eating so much easier!) Check out their link to get the full instructions. Their whole M.O. is to use 10 ingredients or less I think, and one bowl, which suits me perfectly. I actually made them while talking to my mom, and they turned out sooooo good! They are by no means a healthy cookie - see copious amounts of coconut oil. But they are definitely a clean and healthier option to the store bought variety loaded with preservatives and nasties. No production pictures but here is one of the final result.

Yum! (I did sub the flour mix for rice and spelt which is what I happened to have, and used walnuts instead of pecans and they turned out great. You can really get creative.)

Milo's baby food was a big hit as well. I just steamed 4 carrots, 3 parsnips and one apple until soft and then pureed it together with some of the steaming water and a little garlic powder (He loves garlic and cinnamon). I used the remainder of the water to cook up a little baby pasta and just packed it all in the baby food containers for quick and easy lunches. He devoured a portion for dinner! Happy baby. Here is the after shot of lunch today!

I'm starting to get him used to feeding himself. We've started with those little rice puff thingys/rings that he can hold real well and work on his pincer grasp and he also likes to feed himself bananas so we started working on spoon skills. He fed mama with the spoon (only make believe) and he fed himself (again no food, just practicing getting it into his mouth. He's getting there! It's amazing how much they learn and grow every day.

That's all from the kitchen for now! Ta ta!

Monday, July 21, 2014

2 years and 7 months

Two years and seven months! Has it really been that long since my last post?! It seems like only yesterday I was wondering what my next step would be after leaving my job, but still living in NYC, which I wasn't really sure I loved anymore. The possibilities were endless, but I actually felt really stuck. Then life took off, and I'm only now catching up! If I were really technically savvy, I would insert one of those "2.5 years in 60 seconds" videos that are constantly headlining on YouTube, or for the funniest version I just came across....

So true isn't it. A ton of experiences may happen in a year, but to those not so attune your life, it would appear that nothing much has happened at all. Listen, I may look the same but am sooo enlightened on the inside y'all, seriously (not seriously).

But really a lot has happened. It is all apparent as I sit typing this out, in my kitchen in Ireland, while my little man Milo has just woken up from his much needed nap. A baby, a move, a new job and 8 months of Mat. leave in 2.5 years, and like I'm sure many people can relate to, most of the time has seemed like mundane day to day moments,  with a few of the best times in my life mixed in. I figured if I didn't sit back down and start documenting, I wouldn't remember them at all, or I wouldn't notice and appreciate how many good things occur on a day to day basis. I have journals, I have baby books, but it seems like blogging really is the best way to capture the days, moments and occasions; or even a really nice cup of tea that I just had, that makes a rainy day not so bad.

I'll get there. As the last 3 months of my leave begin, I've made a pact to try and post most days and really soak up the rest of the Irish summer and precious moments with my baby boy. I've wasted a lot of time trying to make my blog "be something," instead of just letting it be what it needs to be - which is what's important and what's real. So I'll be back soon. But for now life is calling.

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