Wednesday, April 15, 2015


anyone who's still reading this space... i've moved the BLOG! opened the site! made a bunch of cool stuff that you can buy! and am now writing over there!

i'll no longer be using this space, so update those web addresses!

Monday, February 9, 2015


p.s. since bati (my mom) is here we will be working on getting the site up and running! i'm SO excited about this! perks of having a web developer as a mother. if you follow me on instagram (@cmac23) you know that i've been busy making headbands. and that's the next thing that will be stocked in the shop. stay tuned people!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


what to say about jacob at 8 months old. he's grown up since that two month picture. he's such a ray of sunshine in our lives. his smile is really something. so what's he been up to?

well... he's almost walking. right now, he's confidently standing alone, not holding on to anything for minutes at a time. he loves to walk holding only holding onto one hand. and he is consistently taking 2-3 steps at a time by himself. you can tell that all the attention we give him about it is only stoking his fire. rorie loves to grab his hands and help him walk. she really wants him to run it seems. because sometimes he's just being dragged around while they both giggle uncontrollably.

i believe that jacob will be a fish in the water. this kid has absolutely no fear when it comes to water. from the get-go for both kids i have dumped water over their heads without shielding their eyes during baths... so that they got used to it and don't throw fits about a little water. rorie will now spend all her time with her head under a shower if you let her. jacob willingly puts his face under the water and blows bubbles as well as jumps up from sister submersion whole face smiling. i'm excited to take him to lake swanzey this summer.

at 8 months jake is eating anything you put in front of him. sometimes i only give him half of his meal and then i put him under the table to pick up everything he dropped. it's mostly all on his chair so it's not totally disgusting. he ate a cat hairball as well as some cat food this past "disgusting" things don't really matter anymore.

right now, we are as-patiently-as-we-can waiting for the arrival of both bati and grandma d this month! and valentine's day! and my birthday! february is looking pretty good from the mcdowell perspective.

p.s. cago is a little sick... everyone who loves cats... send him get well thoughs :) and if you don't love cats... i don't even know what to say... go hug a dog.

Monday, January 26, 2015


today (actually- friday) i was a mean mama. i lost my temper. i fondly remember writing posts about my sweet one year old. well, that girl has been replaced by a limit-testing, up-and-down, repeating-everything-you-say-back-to-you-with-a-stink-eye, two year old. it's a sad time for me because i just miss the easy relationship we had. the easy one i'm experiencing with jacob. i probably miss it because i got my way all the time and she never really put up a fight. she hadn't memorized my stern face and finger point yet. she hadn't been able to decide on water or milk and then change her mind over and over in one sitting. she hadn't been experiencing such extreme feelings yet. now, i mention anything dying, anyone not wanting to be her friend after she takes their toys away, or how sad she makes me feel when she has an attitude--and cue the waterworks. it's the same floodgates that opened during the stampede scene in the lion king. try explaining that to a two year old.

anyways... i was a mean mama. i lost my temper. lost my cool. and forced my kids to take pictures after lunch and before nap. a really good idea on my part. especially considering none of us slept the night before. we were all in SUCH good moods (insert sarcastic face here). when they finally did go down for their nap (which, let's all give an "amen!" for the fact that they both take an afternoon nap together in the same room...and both fall asleep on their own. seriously) i looked through the pictures and felt the drop in my stomach when i hit the last photo and realized i didn't get one good shot. i got myself all worked up and mean for nothing. only one kid was looking at the camera. the whole picture is blurry. one kid is blurry and the other isn't. someone blinked...etc, etc, etc...

but then i looked at them again and realized that i HAD actually gotten all the money shots i desired. both kids we laughing each time the shutter opened and closed. both kids got a kick out of each other. i got great shots of both of them interacting. the emotion and movement is captured. and isn't that all i really want? to capture my two souls- alive and well and not caring that mama is pulling out her hair in frustration that they are not sitting still. their emotion, their movement, their age, their relationship, their faces looking at me and looking at each other. they're captured. i did it. it's just blurry.

and if i make it black and white. really look past the blur. and realize that 99% of my photos look like these... i'm no longer a mean mama... i'm looking at my blurry active two year old and blurry grinning seven month old. and i'm a happy mama once again.

but i'm still tired. 

but really- black and white can change a bad photo any day. and i still do love getting a clear shot. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2014 ROUNDUP + 2015

the start of 2015 was uneventful. as most of my new years have been. the most eventful one was the night of 2012 when we planned to tell our chicago friends that we were having a baby, but then at the stroke of midnight a champagne bottle was severed as well as a thumb, so i did what any sober pregnant girl would do... i took my friend to northwestern and spent the night watching the glories of nye injuries unravel before my eyes. as well as try to explain to all my friends that i was indeed pregnant and it was not a joke. now that was eventful. but this year was most definitely uneventful.

i was sleeping at mignight, made a bottle at one, and tended to two sick kids on and off throughout the start of 2015. and yet, with a completely-un-epic start, the beginning of 2015 has actually been very good to me.

last year, around this time, i thought about what i wanted to accomplish. you can find that post here. i thought it would be fun to look back and roundup the past year. so here we go...

1) Budget like it's my job. check. aaron and i have a pretty solid budget going on. it took a while to really find something that worked for us/me. cash does not work for me. writing everything down- not helpful. keeping receipts in a pile- nope. budgeting for lower-than-actual income on a pre-made spreadsheet- ding ding ding! aaron and i have worked it out so i can get out of the house and sit at the library and go through things a couple times a month so we stay on track. we've been able to stick with it and be in the green for the most part- and that feels really good.

2) Learn how to cook a whole chicken and use all it's parts. check. i follow this recipe and then make stock. i buy two small chickens every two months from bjs and it works out wonderfully.

3) Spend more time reading than watching tv. i'm going to say that i failed at this one. i think i did read a lot more than i have in the past few years, but i've also watched a lot of tv. more tv than books that's for sure. oh well.

4) Make homemade meals and snacks. check. i've made a big change in our house (much to aaron's chagrin). i've almost 100% stopped buying premade snacks, processed food, and milk products. we've really been eating very well and being very creative in the kitchen. my whole way of food shopping and meal planning is different than it's ever been. and it's different because i've finally figured out what works for me. yay! i'll probably post about this later.

5) Buy less. Buy used. Save more. Live with less. check. check. check. check. the past few months i've overhauled our house. purged of almost everything we don't need. i went through books, closets, kitchenwares, the bathroom- and it feels good. not that i couldn't breathe before, but i feel really light. happy even. we have a place for everything- almost. i'm wondering if it's always a constant dance with the things you own...probably.

overall- i kicked butt in 2014. so, now that it's 2015 i've been trying to think of my five things. here's what i came up with:

1) a fitness challenge every month. it's the easiest way for me to get a quick workout in. and it starts out easy and gradually gets harder. i've been doing a challenge for the past few months and it's fun. and i try to keep up but i'm not going to beat myself up about missing days. january is straight up squats. february is squat and push-ups. that's all i have officially planned and written down.

2) learn to knit. i'm already signed up for a 101 class at joann fabrics at the end of the month. i'm really excited about this. i can't remember the last time i learned a new art. hopefully i'll get the hang of it quickly. i'm not a very spatial person, so i can't really imagine myself making something by knitting! we'll see how it goes.

3) read more. i'm intentionally making this one vague. i just want to read more. i don't want to read certain books. i don't want a number challenge. i just want to try to remember to stay in the "oh, yeah... i do love reading" mindset. currently reading: wild by cheryl strayed. on deck: love does by bob goff

4) be creative. i'm really enjoying having a shop. i love the creative mess it leaves me in. i love all the ideas floating in my head becoming realities. i love making things. i just love it. it leaves me the best kind of tired at the end of the day. i don't know where the shop will go in 2015, but i just want to keep doing what i love.

5) take a break. i think an accurate description of myself would be a chicken with it's head cut off. i'm amazing at getting things done. at time management. at doing. but what i'm the absolute worst at is relaxing and being and sitting and not doing. i'm not sure what this last one means completely. because i do think i'm very good at being in the moment and appreciating the little things and stuff like that. but my mind thinks it has to be continuously busy and it's just silly. i need to slow down every once in a while. more than that. i need to rest. rest more and rest often.

so there's 2015 for me. what do you want to do differently this year?

Thursday, January 15, 2015



"get your sleep now... you'll never sleep again"

i have probably said this and a million other negative things to a mom-to-be. i'm sure a lot of us "seasoned" mothers can say the same thing. i'm talking about the negativity in preparing a new mother for what is about to come. so let's talk about it.

an old friend of mine is completely fed up with the negative remarks about what's to come. she's nine months pregnant and fed up with being pregnant. (been there!) who needs more things to be fed up about?!? yet she keeps getting reminded of "things to get ready for".  something along the lines of, "you might not even love him at first," is the straw that broke the camel's back today.

and she has a right to be frustrated. she loves her baby already. why would anyone tell her that?! there's already so many reasons to be nervous. too much time to imagine the worst. i agree. but i also feel like the negatives are needed almost more than the positives. hear me out...

you are unable to control the child you bear from the get go. sperm meet egg. parents- you've now lost all control... you've made an individual. you can't control when they kick, when they decide to be born, if they like to be held, when bedtime really is, if they will pee when you open that diaper... and it's tough. the majority of us love to be in control. i looooooove to be in control. i can't decide if my babies will gain weight, or if they need to be held to stay asleep, or if they have an aversion to any and every brand of pacifier. no, you can't control this stuff. 

but, what you can control is your education of the possible things that you might have to deal with. and that's where those unsolicited negative comments about your life post birth might actually come in handy. although, they may seem just horrible and unimaginable at the time...and you may think... "this will never be me" or "i would never do that" or "it can't be that bad"... maybe there's a reason they're telling you all the horrible, terribly things before you pop. 

i can't help but think of it this way when i think about the statement that shocked my friend and all other seemingly negative comments given to new mothers: mothers might be saying these things because their baby shocked their preconceived views on motherhood. theses mothers are trying to prepare you from the hurt, the embarrassment, the pain, the stress, the heartache they experienced. things that they wished someone had told them. they wished they weren't blind-sighted by. they are telling you, "this might happen...and it's ok. it's normal. be prepared- unlike me."

it's ok if you don't have an instant love connection with your baby. i didn't tell rorie or realized i loved rorie until she was almost two weeks old. i cried at old orchard mall when i realized that i had never told her that outside of the womb. life had been turned upside after she was born. i couldn't catch up with anything. i didn't know that this could happen. i didn't know it would be THAT hard. no one told me this could happen. had they... i might have breathed a little easier. and realized it wasn't a big deal. 

so... to all the soon-to-be mothers out there. don't be put down by negative comments. the "just wait until..." stories. the "you'll see" remarks. the "don't expect.... bla bla bla". just don't. you're being educated on the spectrum of normalcy when it comes to infants, toddlers, children, teenagers, etc. your are being saved from the unknown! you've been given great knowledge and an opportunity to ask how that particular mother handled their situation. soak it all in like a sponge. stick it in your holster for back-up. you need all the information you can get.

and you've got this. 

you've got this. 

you've got this.

[photos: jakey, jakey, roro]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015