life of charmings

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

so [black]berry delicious!

[from saturday's afternoon picking wild blackberries and sunday's afternoon trying new cobbler recipes!]

after picking, eating, and baking awaaaay this weekend, the little babes and i headed back out yesterday evening in search of more juicy deliciousness! and oh. my. gosh. a storm was pretty much coming right for us and still i was like ooooh, but look! MORE! there were so many that were perfect for pickin' and it's hard not to put them all right in your mouth! also, we were fine, don't worry. it was a tiny storm. and we had the golf cart. ;)

but i mean, it's a serious addiction once you get going, you know? you see all these juicy blackberries among the red ones that aren't quite ready, and no matter how many thorns you get in your arms or bug bites you get on your legs, you're like, I MUST PICK THEM ALL!!!! 

oh, and i had even forgotten that when madd and i went out last year [literally right before rocco was born], we even had a run-in with a baby skunk! so. you know. just out in wildlife. fulfilling my jungle dreams. [okay, i'm not quite ready for naked and afraid status - have you seen that show?? ha! - but i do have a secret life in my head where i'm just living on a jungle island in the wild and like, i'm really happy there.]

obviously, any and all cobbler baking went by the wayside last year, as the baby i'd been baking was fresh from the oven. so, this year i'm ALL over it. i'm so obsessed with blackberry cobbler!! anyway, the best, i swear, is the standard 1-cup style cobbler. it's unreal. un. real. however, i tried a few experiments this weekend with a coconut flour, maple syrup, healthy healthy, yada yada, cobbler and it was yummy!! it would be especially yummy with some vanilla gelato on top. still, it wasn't perfect. so i'm gonna take a few more stabs at it. probably make the good old fashioned batch at least once. and if i figure out the perfect healthy version i'll be sure to share! :)

ps. i had the hardest time finding a scalloped swim top that was both affordable and in stock. mine's from asos! now they have this one and i might like it better. // and! got these cutest berry baskets!!


Monday, June 27, 2016

these southern summers!

summer in the south! there is nothing quite so wonderful... or so hot. :) but truly, while so many people are planning out their summer vacations, this is actually my very favorite time of year to stay right here! and by right here, of course, i mostly mean in order to take advantage of life at the farm as often as i possibly can. farm sweet farmhome! but i really think nashville is just darn great all around in the summertime!!

soooo, as my summer lovin' dreams would have it, a few of my very favorite pasttimes took place on one simple saturday this past weekend! ...which looked a little something like this: quality pool floating. wild blackberry picking. and then post dinner sunset strolling! oooh, so good for the soul, these  long summer days!

to make it even better, my sis showed up to play that afternoon, even though i thought she had other plans... and that made me happy! plus, waaay too often when she's around i hand her my camera because her captures of our every day life are always some of my very favorites. and i knooow i'm a broken record, okay!! but give me a pretty day, the most simple attire, and my best people and i'm happy. top it with wild blackberries, and i'm ecstatic! ...ecstatic over berries, that's crazy, right? maybe i should have higher standards for my thrills! i'll go buy a new designer bag later or something. ;) [just kidding, BABE!]

i love picking berries with maddalena year after year after year. and this time mr. rocco man came along! as did steven!! yay! rocco didn't love them so much, but the golf cart ride is always a hit. :)

oh man, he is trouble, but i love him always! it seeeems he's made a little habit of somewhat aggressively tickling me for photos, and i am starting to suspect, actually, that the attack on my ribs makes him smile... ;)

that mini girl of mine! i melt over her a million times a day and i just can't help it. and that little dress i got for her for last summer has now been stained and had holes patched [thanks, mom!], but it remains her favorite play dress!

holding her little hand is forever the very best thing. also, my sister did her "elsa braid" that day and it was so absolutely perfect! can i have your hair please, maddo? ha, she is so tired of me saying that. ;)

wide open fields and little, tiny legs are just meant to be together! see also, open fields and summer beverages. :)

oh, and see aaalso, fields and yoga! christina [or chrissy, as m calls her!] and her flexibility are really boggling my mind these days! note to self: step it UP and get back to the yoga vids already. for the record... i can and i did do a backbend from standing... for the first time since dedicating my entire midsection to two small humans. my back might be feeling a little stiff this week!

i am SO LUCKY to have them as my own beautiful ladies! i wish my mom was in these, but she took the photos. so thanks, mom! for the photos. and the birth. and the siblings. all that, really.

and then! look who drove papa down for field hangs after waking from his nap! well, not papa's nap. the little man's nap. :)

...oh, summer, please say you'll never leave!!! and yes, i've definitely been killing some blackberry cobbler the past couple of days. although, i'm experimenting with healthy cobbler! so... totally necessary [delicious] r&d, if you will! ;)

ps. wearing!! me: linen high-low dress c/o garnet hill. this dress. ahhhh. it has *pockets* and apparently the linen came from handpicked flax in the fields of france. soooo, that's only slightly dreamy. i am so thankful to have a relationship with garnet hill as part of their "inner circle," because they are truly such a top-notch company! i wouldn't say that if i didn't really mean it. and while we're at it, they actually carry a few colors in my sandals, too! the ones i have are actually a little shimmery-er. obviously, i'm still obsessed. // maddalena: her well-worn play dress was [thankfully!] purchased via thredup! and saltwater sandals.

Friday, June 24, 2016

some days call for pink drinks and ruffles

...doesn't it seem like just yesterday we were practicing our walking skills with a tiny maddalena girl?! now, there she is! taking her baby brother's hand and helping him balance on those sweet little legs of his... and i just love how he adores her! oh, time, you're a real heartbreaker... <3

well, anyway! some days, you know, they just call for a pink drink and ruffles. they just do!

of course, to maddalena this day called for a dress worn backwards... which displayed her little ruffled collar in the back and actually looked quite adorable! how does she do it?!

to rocco, this day called for a pouch squirted aaaall over his arms, legs, and car seat. personally, i think he pulled off that look just as well as anything!!

[in hindsight, he and i were just both shooting for the pantsless look, i suppose! although, i'm not actually pantsless, just forever a wearer of short shorts.]

ahh yes, this afternoon escape from the house called for aaall the right things. ;)

ps. these two love bugs of mine both have birthdays coming up next month!! how how how?! gosh, i love them so much!! oh, babies. please, always know just how much you complete me!

pps. wearing! me: topgladiator sandals // maddalena: wal-mart find! got that little number in both colors! when it comes to cute play dresses, you just cannot beat those prices. and for the record, we also picked up this dress while we were there, and now i'm wishing we'd gotten more of those, too. the material is kind of a linen-like deal and it hangs really well? that brand has such an un-cute name, but their products are legit! i'm impressed. // rocco: fav shirt & shorts set on sale!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

on a laid back father's day...

...we gave our resident daddybear his gifts upon waking! then headed to church, where maddalena was excited to jump and dance and learn about creation in her little class. i hung out with rocco in the infant room where he was not thrilled. ;) we made it home in time for rocco to crash into a long afternoon nap! stevo watched some kind of sporting event on tv... golf maybe? then ran out on a manly man-errand of sorts with my dad and brother. so, when rocco was up from his nap, we reconvened at the farm, had a late afternoon splish splash in the pool!! followed that with homemade meatballs over penne [with a spaghetti squash alternative!], aaand then as both babies passed out in various places, we gave my own daddy some nifty gifties and called it a super day. i hope it was a good day, at least!

i'm always big on photo gifts, personally... so, hope no one is sick of them yet, ha!! but, especially for the smaller holidays... and especially for men who aren't going to do their own photo printing! it always seems personal and sentimental. i've done a number of photobooks, framed photos, homemade canvases, canvases printed by companies... and this year i couldn't believe how well our own convenient walgreens knocked it out of the park in the canvas department!! woo! we gave steven a photo on canvas of the babies with him at the office that he could take to work so they were always there with him. :) and for his dad, we did a favorite photo printed on wood, which also turned out nicely!

for my dad, along with the gifts everyone gave him, we all tried something new called awesome box, which was fun! it allowed each of my family members to easily log into the site and create pretty, personalized photo cards with their own messages on the back. then, all of the cards were beautifully printed and shipped to me as a neat little set [you can ship it directly to them, too] in its own box/envelope all ready for us to give to him! i think he enjoyed going through each one and reading each message!! and i loved seeing and hearing them, one after the next. we did some older photos and some newer photos... it was sooo hard to choose from nearly 30 years of happy captures!!

we did the 10-card set for just our fam to participate in, but you can do sets of 25, 50, or 100!! how sweet would that be? if you want to give it a try for somebody you love, you can use the code AWESOMESUMMER for $15 off until august 31!

anyway, all this to really say... i am so absolutely, endlessly grateful for the fathers in our lives!! my babies and i, we are ridiculously blessed. and it's funny how it works, too... i truly have the best dad in the world... and i totally believe that's why i fell in love with someone that i knew would be an amazing dad to my one-day babies. which are here now! and that is crazy!

so... we love you, dads!!! we love you so much! father's day and every day. <3

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

a few health goals for our home and family!

oh, we've come suuuch a long way in the realm of detoxification around here since we wed! and even then we were already riding along on the natural health train, thankfully... but gosh, it takes a lot of thought and effort, doesn't it? a lot more than it should, anyway. so, we've definitely learned a ton about how to live a healthier lifestyle... and there's always more to conquer!!

better health is totally exciting to me... and being a goal-oriented person, i just never can stop looking for the next step! but i also think that you have to just do what you can, when you can do it, and not make yourself too crazy. so, at this point, i cook mostly organic foods, nearly every beauty product i use is about as pure as i can reasonably get it, and a lot of the household cleaning that i do is water, vinegar, baking soda and essential oil based. now, not everything i use is always completely pure, i will admit! i still spray my trash cans with lysol and my toilets with scrub n bubbles because those are two things that gross me to the point that i just want to destroy them completely every time. haha. but on a daily basis we are pretty darn non-toxic!

that being said, i have many more health goals and dreams for our family! and even though, in our society, it can feel like we're constantly swimming upstream just trying to detoxify our lives... well. baby steps, right? they get you somewhere!

some goals that i'm working on for both the near and distant future!

-replace all of our teflon cookware and plastics. i'm finally getting places with this!!! i recently picked up some wearever pots and pans that are ceramic-coated non-stick, PFOA-free and all that... plus... get this! ahhh, iiii can't even... they're gold and white! the gold, though, is more of a champagne... and they're GORGEOUS!! so. i'm obsessed. and functionality wise, so far so good!! but we shall see. either way, i feel much better about using them.  no dead birds here! ;) and as for plastics... aside from our coffee mugs, we drink mostly from glass and stainless steel now! however, i have a lot of plastic utensils i need to replace. recommendations  are welcome!

-find some good recipes to add gelatin into our diet. i purchased pasture raised beef gelatin last year for the health benefits, as i'm not quiiiite to making/ingesting bone broth yet... but didn't at all love the gummy recipes i half-heartedly tried. i'm gonna get back to that soon and there's a marshmallow recipe i'm dying to test out!

-grow more of my own organic, non-GMO foods! i've grown a few herbs for a while now... mostly rosemary because that's the easiest thing on earth and it's my fav. :) so i feel like that's been a great place to start! and it just makes me sooo happy to go out and pick fresh stuff to throw in with dinner. i also just snagged the cutest ever potted organic blueberry and strawberry plants from the farmers market... but we would love to maybe do a raised bed garden! growing up, my grandmom had this huge garden where she grew so much of her own stuff... whenever we visited as kids, it was the coolest to be allowed to go in with her and see it all! i would so love for my babes to grow up experiencing where food - good food! actually comes from!

-find a new source for raw milk. i don't buy cow's milk for our house anymore since pasteurization removes anything beneficial, leaving only stuff we just don't need... but i miss it with my cereal! raw milk, however, is delicious and has a lot more to offer health-wise. of course, given the laws, you can't just get it anywhere... but i'd love to find a new local source! and for fresh eggs, too! although... in my dreams i'll have chickie chicks one day, but this is proooobably not the time or place that that's gonna go down. probably not.

-find doctors that better align with a natural lifestyle. i have full appreciation for today's medical advancements... absolutely, i do! however, when doctors are condescending and dismissive of a whole-body, non-toxic, natural approach to health just because it wasn't in their med school text books [and it doesn't make the pharmaceutical companies any money!], it is really upsetting. it's been hard for me to find anyone reasonably close that i can take the kiddos to and actually find the guidance that i need... and i have spent day. and. night. stressing over it. for months! but i'm figuring out a new plan there, just praying i make decisions that allow our family to come out on top. :)

-install a water filtration system. i have looked into this very minimally, but a whole house filtration system and a reverse-osmosis system for drinking water is my ultimate dream!! i'd prioritize the drinking water, because, for example, the standard carbon filters do not remove fluoride... which we are subject to without our consent. and it is harmful! okay, okay... i don't want to get on another rant [whatever, i love rants! haha!]... but... there's some bad junk in our water and i'm sad about it! anyway, i'm hearing lately that birkeys are all the rage!

-purchase emf absorbers. this is one area i need to spend like, a solid week researching! i know there are stones and shields and doohickies of all shapes and sizes that are supposed to help absorb some of the invisible waves that we don't even think about because we can't see them! but i mean. duh. that's how we're so constantly connected! so. our next steps there are gonna take some more investigation, i guess! but i'd love to figure a little something out in that department!!, that's what i've got for now!! anything i am totally missing?! anyone else with little health goal lists?! what can i say... i love a good list!! :) 

Monday, June 20, 2016


it's officially summer!!!

summertime to me is just theee very best that life has to offer. a daily slice of heaven on earth! i mean, i honestly feel like i wait all year for it to come back around. and of course, i love to enjoy some level of all the seasons... i do! i've always been glad that we experience all four here. but, especially in the colder days... gosh, i often just feel like i'm surviving them.

but in the summer!!!

oh, in the summer... i feel the hot sun on my face... wake up to bright, warm mornings... hear the chirping little birdies... find peace on a pool float, in the dust of a horse's slick summer coat... romp through the grass on barefoot explorations... sit back and admire the earth as it turns gold in the evenings... watch the light 'til it fades late right into nighttime, dotted with firefly magic... absorb the oneness of nature... quietly relive the 29 summers behind me... and feel a whole lot more like i'm living. :)

i'm sure part of the sentiment for me is rooted in those childhood summers spent running, riding, swimming, and spending days in the sun, free of educational imprisonment! but even now, everything just falls into place for me in the summer, and i'll frequently find myself swept up with that whole i love my life feeling. [and truthfully, i sometimes then have to quiet the voice behind it that reminds me of just how much i have that deep down i'm pretty terrified to lose... but hey, i guess that keeps you grateful.]

and need we even mention all the great summer-themed kenny chesney hits to choose from? ;)

hooow i love you, summertime!

happy summer solstice!!

ps. my swan's name is giulietta and i love her and i feel like she's real.

Friday, June 17, 2016

convos with maddalena rose [just shy of 4 years old!]

[blowing the bubbles we picked up yesterday at "the dog treat" aka... the dollar tree! ♡]

oooh, this girl of mine! she keeps me going and she keeps me laughing for sure! i am straight up in love with her day in and day out... and i can never ever resist writing down so many of the little things she says, if i can get to my notes before i forget... even though i miss 90% of the terrific things she says at almost 4 years old! so, we shall pick up where we last left off... :)

[she was the mom and i was the little girl asking for a hug but she wouldn't give me one...]
"i have to go check on my unicorn."

[leaving her pretend baby while she goes to the potty...]
"are you gonna keep an eye on her? because she's really special to me."

"have you ever seen a ballerina dance without her clothes on?"

"did you know t-shirts sometimes come with TEA??"

"mommy look! he's got my finger!" *whispers* "will you take a picture of it?"  [OF COURSE!]

[our first weekend in the new house, coming down the stairs holding a pretend iphone...]
"coggin just sent me a snapchat! wanna see?"
"oh, now olivia sent me a snapchat! it's a funny one. she's going like..." *does a funny face*

[adding onto our bedtime prayers]
"...and thank you for the chandelier and our neeew house. in Jesus name, amen!"

[playing with a toy nativity baby Jesus...]
"what about baby rocco and Jesus be cousins? baby cousins."

"snow globes white on the mountain tonight" [slightly adjusted frozen lyrics ;)]

"mommy mommy mommy, i have a surprise for you in my hair! i have a birds nest just like you!" [she, along with her father, is both intrigued and disturbed by the size of my topbun. haha.]

"i just need Jesus for a minute."
[and then i realized she was talking about the baby Jesus that goes with the nativity. haha.]

[in the big bed talking on her cinderella phone, she turns to her father and whispers...]
"steven, it's for you..."

[playing school and i told her she had too many books in her backpack...]
"but i need to read! how will i read without no books?"
[best be learnin' her how to read real good!]

"let's pretend like you are not tired."
[umm that's what i'm always doing.]

"why am i growing so big?! i like being little! i don't want to be a grown up!"
[don't do it!!!]

[after we were all saying how much we loved her...]
papa: "maddalena, why are you everyone's favorite little girl?"
m: "well... i'm cute...!"
b: "aww you are cute! and sweet!"
m: "well, everyone likes me... is the truth." she just says casually.

"it's okay if you giggle, just a lonely tickle a little..." [slightly adjusted doc mcstuffins lyrics!]

[watching the bachelor]
b: "jojo has the cutest hair."
m: "jojo? but she's a girl?" [referring to her name. and then moving on...] "nobody has the cutest hair. but i do. just not on tv. just me. and doc mcstuffins a little. but nooooo one else."

[i was out of the room and she was calling for me...]
"mamaaa?! it showed italy on tv and that's where you goed when i was in your tummy!!"
[so proud!!! and i love the way she says italy. ih-TOL-ly.]

"where's rocco?"
"he's in the kitchen. he's like... literally in the kitchen."

"do you love being a big sister? because rocco is crazy about you!!"
[she confirms and says with a smile...]
"if he didn't have a big sister his life would be empty and sad."

"open your mouth so i can see your tumors."
[she thinks my fillings are called tumors. haha.]

"what if i prayed for another baby? because i want another baby. so, mom? tonight i'm going to pray for a baby!" [she says confidently... uh oh! haha!]

[asking sadly why she and rocco have to be little... she waffles a lot on this topic!]
"i wanna be a grownup like you"
"aw why baby?!"
"because i like matching you, anything you are!"
[waaa, i just love you!!!]

"i like the way God made the earth! i don't ever want him to change it!" [ME TOO!!]

"i hope it's still five to say five!"
[a couple of weeks after she watched fuller house with me when they said "i hope it's still fleek to say fleek!"]

[just one of her pretend scenarios...]
"well one of my brothers died. it was really scary. but then he went to heaven so now i just miss him."
"oh gosh. how did he die?"
"well... the pollen got him!"
[apparently he sneezed to death!]

[trying to draw with chalk on the deck...]
"ooh! hot! it's hot on my lil cheekies!"
"i love you and your lil cheekies. you're the best human."
"why do you love my lil booty cheekies?"
"because you're my baby girl! i love everything about you!"
"so you just love my bottom? like inside my bottom?"

[playing kitchen…]
“i haven’t had my afternoon coffee, yet… i LOVE tuna fish in my coffee.”

"when i grow up... i wanna be a farmer. like gaga. and i want to live on a farm."
[haha. farmer gaga.]
[also, according to her latest update she wants to be a farmer, artist, teacher, detective, and an astronaut. ? and a mom. :)]

[she’s being mom and i’m being the little girl, as usual, and i'm asking about when i was born...]
b: “how did i get in your tummy?”
m: “well… my grandmother used to say… you just growed there!”

[playing outside, hands me her toy shovel...]
"hold this. i'm gonna do ironicer stuff."

“i’m hungrier than a TARANADON!”
[waiting for breakfast and watching dinosaur train, naturally!]

[in the car...]
m: "are you really gonna drive with that bun on your head??"
b: "haha, my bun?! yes, why?!"
m: "it's just... touching the ceiling. i think people are gonna say, 'why does she have that bun on her head while she's driving?'"

“dad... do people become grocery buyers when they end up living at the grocery store?”
[don’t even know! i think she thought the cashiers lived there. ]

and just to be extra heart breaking, she routinely asks us if we can still hold her when she's 6 or 16 or 24. i can't even handle it, i love her so much. just bottling my tears in mason jars over here!

[aaand the aformentioned birds nest! from a time when we traded hair-dos. ;)]

OH, maddalena girl!! you are the true princess of my heart and soul and i love you. i will love you forever. and we will always hold you.