Friday, November 30, 2012

Ready, Teddy!

Other than putting up a few more giveaways (yay!), I won't be blogging much until Monday.  I'm in the process of putting together my first ever children's birthday party.  I'm a little nervous but all signs point to the party being a huge success tomorrow.  Here's what I've been doing:

Teddy bears are ready to go!
(In crowns I made myself. 
The birthday princess has a larger matching version.) 

These cute little circles are all punched out and now
sit atop little sticks ready to go in the cupcakes!
(Printables courtesy of Daysigns by Day)

I also made put the banner together,
made some of the food and icing for the cake last night. 

I still have a lot to do:
Finish the food
Bake the cake
Decorate the cake
Make "teddy bear cars"
Buy punch ingredients
Get everything packed for tomorrow
And probably more that I'll think of later...

I always seem to forget something essential.  I need to start making a list.  Any of you veteran moms have advice for me?  In reality, I tried to keep everything simple.  The decorations consist of pictures of Lulu, a banner, the teddy bears, and a few balloons my mom is picking up.  I think I might have done myself in by wanting to make the food myself, but I'm committed at this point.  Lucia is entertained by an empty cereal box and won't remember this birthday anyway, so there is very low pressure on that end.  I am just looking forward to the opportunity to get together with friends and family and celebrate what a blessing our sweet girl is!  Hopefully, I can stop stressing about being a perfect hostess and enjoy myself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#Happy1stBdayBaby: Bugalug Giveaway

Every birthday girl needs a pretty bow!   Bugalug has adorable little girl hair accessories, including non-slip hair clips, as well as cinch clips, belts, cuffs, and soother savers for both boys and girls.  Read my review of their non-slip clips (and see the code for a 15% off discount) here.

As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event,
enter to win an $20 credit to Bugalug!
Giveaway runs Nov. 27-Dec. 4. Enter here.

Enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Contest runs Nov. 27-Dec. 4. Open to residents of the US and Canada.
Good luck!
Don't forget to check out the other giveaways in my Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Happy1stBdayBaby: Bugalug Review + Discount Code

Lucia has been wearing headbands since she was a newborn, but a few weeks ago, I put a hair clip in her hair for the first time.  Daddy's response when he saw her? "She looks like a toddler with her hair clip!  I don't like it!"  It's true, with her hair clips, she looks like such a big girl! 

Lucia's hair has been long enough to wear hair clips for a while now, but her hair is so fine that they we had just wouldn't stay in.  We finally found a brand of hair clips that won't slip out of her hair:  Bugalug non-slip clips.  They aren't any easier to put in my wiggleworm's hair, but once they're in, they stay in!  They have a silicone strip on the inside that keeps them from slipping.  Genius!  That's definitely one of those "Why didn't I think of it?" ideas that is so obvious once you think of it.

Bugalug has so many adorable clips.  When they offered to send me some to review, it was so difficult to pick which ones I wanted that I just mentioned my favorite styles (the buttons and the bows) and let the particular colors/ designs be a surprise.  When they arrived, I wasn't disappointed:

Aren't those darling?  Here are a few pictures of my little one wearing her big girl hair clips:

In addition to non-slip clips, Bugalug has headbands and oh-so-adorable pony loops too!  Not a girl mama?  Bugalug also has belts, cinch clips, and soother savers for boys and girls!  These would make great stocking stuffers for the little one in your life!

In order to help you fill your stockings, Bugalug is offering Catholic Newlywed readers a 15% discount with the code MANDI. 

As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event,
enter to win an $20 credit to Bugalug!
Giveaway runs Nov. 27-Dec. 4. Enter here.

I received two pairs of Bugalug non-slip clips to facilitate this post.  I was not required to write a positive review.  Opnions are 100% my own.  See Disclosure Policy.

On My Heart: The Post I Didn't Want to Write about Struggling Financially


I was raised in a middle class family.  I know my parents worried about money but their worries were on a large scale - how much money did they need to put away for retirement, were they saving enough for college - not on the day to day concerns of food, clothing, and shelter.  My mom clipped coupons and shopped sales to insure that we always had what we needed.  She also taught me about finances and priorities.  I was incredibly blessed to not only grow up in a financially stable household, but to leave my parent's home with a firm understanding of the value of money, the ability to budget, and the distinctions between true "needs", which are in reality quite few, and the many "wants".  When I got married I was prepared to take all that I had learned and create a successful financial future for my family.  It never occurred to me that it was possible that no matter how hard we worked, we wouldn't make enough to make ends meet.

When we married a little over two years ago, I had just graduated with my undergraduate degree and my husband was a graduate student.  I knew that money would be tight for a while and I was happy to contribute in whatever way I could, which at the time took the form of a minimum wage job.  We knew it wouldn't be forever; once David graduated with his Ph.D., he would get a good job.  In the meantime, we had an unexpected move that set us behind quite a bit financially.  I was five months pregnant when we moved, which made it impossible for me to find a new job.  But David's graduation was less than a year away, we could get along until then with our savings and being creative with our budget. 

But here we are, the long awaited graduation day came and went six months ago.  I work a part-time teaching job and David works part-time at a minimum wage job.  The only reason we are surviving financially is because we live with my parents.  As much as we'd love to, we can't afford to rent even the smallest two bedroom apartment.  I'm ashamed to admit that my parents insist of paying for much of our groceries as well, and we let them, hoping that someday we'll be able to repay them for their generosity.  I knew we were marrying young, and I knew that meant that we would have to put in some time "building our lives" to get to where we want to be, but I never imagined that we would be where we are now.  Without our parents, we couldn't provide the basic needs for ourselves and our daughter and that's scary.

But more than scared, I'm angry.  We did everything right.  I have two bachelor's degrees.  My husband has a Ph.D.  We've worked hard and in return only ask to be given to opportunity to continue to work hard to provide for our family.  We've spent countless hours searching for jobs.  We are extremely frugal with the money we do have.  And yet we still can't make it on our own.  

I'm ashamed to be angry.  While there are people in our own community starving, without shelter and clothing, without a place to bathe or someone to care for them, I am absolutely appalled at myself for being so selfish as to want more.  Although we can't provide for all our needs, they are being provided for. Perhaps I'm just another stereotypical child of my generation, who feels entitled to a good job and a decent salary because of my middle class upbringing.  Who doesn't know the true meaning of "need" and who has a lot to learn from true financial struggles.  Yeah, that's probably right on.

Why can't I be satisfied with what we do have?  We have so many blessings for which to be thankful.  While many others struggling financially have to go it alone, we both have parents who are able and willing to help.  We have a beautiful daughter.  We have our health.  We have jobs.  We have our education, the value of which is more than a paycheck.  Most of all, we have our faith in a just and loving God.  

So why can't I just trust Him?  Why can't I let these worries go, continue to work my hardest, and know that there is a bigger plan?  I feel selfish and faithless and alone.  

Why did I choose to write about this?  Hostess Becky made this link-up for women to connect and she wrote these instructions:
What do you do? You write. You write and you open up to us. Tell us who you are. Share a story with us. Tell us why you blog. Something that has been challenging for you in life? Something that has been a major blessing. Anything applies. The goal is that you take the time to actually write and the result would be that other women would find you and your blog and connect.
Well, this is my story right now.  I didn't want to write this post.  I wanted to write about being a mother to an almost one year old.  Or a wife to a hard-working man.  Or about the blessings of being a teacher.  But I couldn't help it, this is the story that I didn't want to write but that has wanted to be told.  It doesn't lend itself to a cute little packaged post, so it's be pushed aside, pushed aside, but this time it pushed back.  I try to stay positive on my blog, to talk about the beautiful life we live.  But beauty isn't the same as perfection and I struggle too.  And sometimes, that struggle needs to be shared, to be spread among others so it's not so much of a burden to carry and to let others

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Lilla Rose Independent Consultant Anjanette Barr

I'm excited to tell you a bit about myself and Lilla Rose hair jewelry! I'm wife to a librarian and mom to three littles living in the midwest. Our family loves simple pleasures, good food, time together, and Jesus. Lilla Rose has given me the opportunity to earn a little bit of income to help with expenses, while allowing me to stay home and pour myself into my three children (as well as soak up the beauty of motherhood).

Independent Lilla Rose Consultants sell unique and stylish hair accessories. The most popular accessory, the flexi clip, is available in 7 sizes and will work with any hair type! Lilla Rose is your hair style solution for everything from easy updos to comfortable and classy headbands. All of the products are beautiful and well crafted.

In fact, the flexi clip is particularly unique in that it is made with music wire that is flexible and durable. The pin attached to the clip can’t be removed – so it can’t get lost! It’s cast with a set of three notches to prevent the pin from sliding out once it is securely in the hair. The pin is cast in Zinc which incredibly strong and in fact is used to make screws, nuts and bolts you commonly use in your home.

One thing I love about this company is that it began in someone’s garage and that the journey the company took to get where it is today involved selling at farmer’s markets and many other ventures. Founder John Dorsey discovered that the flexi clips sold really well when they were able to be demonstrated and tried in a customer’s hair before purchase, so direct sales was the way to go!
In addition to flexi clips, Lilla Rose makes hair sticks, head bands, bobby pins, and more! There are so many style choices that most of us consultants have an embarrassingly large personal collection! They make great gift for every lovely lady (and little girl) on your gift list.

Whether you are a stay at home mom who wants to look nice when your hubby comes home, a working woman that needs every extra second of the day she can get, or a young lady who loves watching You Tube style tutorials and learning new braided updos, Lilla Rose has an easy, beautiful, and unique hairstyle solution just for you! I hope you will take the time to browse our products at

You can also find me at my Lilla Rose Facebook page and my personal blog, Raising the Barrs.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

#Happy1stBdayBaby: Sweet Dreams Giveaway

The first year of a baby's life is often sleep centered: Is my baby getting enough sleep?  Should she be sleeping through the night?  Why isn't he sleeping through the night? Please, let her sleep through the night!!!  As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event, you'll have a chance to get all your baby sleep questions answered (and problems solved) by winning the book Sweet Dreams: How to establish and maintain good sleep habits for your baby by Arna Skula, R.N.  Read my review here to find out why this isn't the average "baby sleep" book!

One Catholic Newlywed reader will win a copy of Sweet Dreams: 
How to establish and maintain good sleep habits for your baby!

Enter below on the Rafflecopter.  Giveaway runs November 25-Dec. 2. and is open to residents of the U.S. Good Luck!
Don't forget to check out the other giveaways in my Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sweet Dreams Book Review

When I was pregnant I ordered a few "baby sleep" books that I found recommended by others moms and bloggers.  When they arrived, I joyfully opened them, but the joy didn't last long.  I found that each of these books left me with two main ideas:
  1. Getting babies to sleep was more of a sophisticated formula than a natural process.  There were just so many things that could interrupt sleep and a different solution for each one.  I was left with the feeling that I would have to keep the books at the ready and consult them each and every night to figure out what was wrong with my child's ability to sleep and find the appropriate fix. 
  2. I was never going to sleep again.
I quickly gave up on reading these thick books and put them away to be consulted once our baby was born and old enough for me to be able to figure out her particular sleep issues.  

Our daughter was born and I soon realized that she had no problems sleeping.  She began to sleep through the night at six weeks without us once consulting the sleep books.  They stayed tucked away until we moved to Colorado when Lucia was six months old.  Perhaps it was the move - the time change or unfamiliar surroundings - or maybe it was that she had just started teething, but all of a sudden our great sleeper was up all night.  I pulled out the sleep books but once again found them to be daunting.  They were all divided by age, yet each chapter was still very long and very dense.  It seemed there were vastly different solutions for each issue and not necessarily one cohesive "sleep philosophy".  Those books are once again collecting dust in a box.

In the midst of our sleep chaos, someone (a guardian angel?) sent me an email asking if I would review (and giveaway!) a copy of Sweet Dreams: How to establish and maintain good sleep habits for your baby by Arna Skula, R.N.  A little skeptical that any book would help us, I agreed.  

When I received Sweet Dreams in the mail, I noticed a few things right away:  I was shorter than other baby sleep books I had read.  I wasn't nearly as dense, containing pictures of adorable sleeping babies, information boxes and lists in the margins, and large quotes throughout to sum up the most important points.  Clearly this book was different and these differences make it a book that I love and consider a true parenting resource.  Here are a few of its unique features and why I love them:
click on the image to enlarge it
  • Sleep and wake cycle charts: These charts are circles that represent a 24 hour period that is divided into various-sized white and blue wedges.  The white wedges represent sleep and the blue signifies waking time.  These charts are scattered throughout the different sections to show what a "typical" sleep pattern is at each age.  While the times of day might change a bit from those is the chart, the main focus is not when, but how long, sleep and wake periods are.  It's so helpful to see a visual illustration of how long your child should be sleeping, the length of naps, the amount of wakeful time between naps, etc.  Although I saw tables in other books that tried to present this information, the circular chart make visualization of sleep patterns much easier to grasp.  The last page of the book has several blank sleep and wake cycle charts that you can photocopy to record your child's own sleep pattern.
  • Only half the book is "Your baby's sleep at different ages."  That means that the first half of the book addresses the bigger issues: an overview of how babies sleep and sleep problems.  The first half of the book is filled with succinct information on important topics and much of the information is presented in easy-to-digest forms, especially lists and tables.
  • Each section is short.  You can get the information you need without being bogged down by it.  Instead of long, dense chapters of paragraph after paragraph, this book is divided into many short sections with appropriate headings to help you find the topic you need.  This makes it a true resource instead of a book you need to read cover to cover in order to find the appropriate info.
  • Letters from real parents.  Each section devoted to a specific age includes several letters from real parents whose babies are experiencing sleep problems., as well at the author's responses.  When I received the book, I turned to the chapter for babies 9-14 months and found a letter that could have been written by me!  Apparently the issue we're having with Lucia waking in the middle of the night and nursing non-stop until morning is not that uncommon.  I was happy to not only have advice for our specific situation, but to also know we're not alone.  In case you are wondering, the advice has helped tremendously as well!
I would suggest Sweet Dreams to any parents needing for advice to help their little one to sleep well.  You can purchase the book from Amazon or enter to win a copy:

As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event,
enter to win a copy of Sweet Dreams: 
How to establish and maintain good sleep habits for your baby!
Giveaway runs November 25-Dec. 2. Enter here.

I received a copy of the book to facilitate this review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  Opinions are 100% mine.  See Disclosure Policy.

What I Wore Sunday: Quick & Easy

Shirt: Wrapper| Skirt: MNG Jeans | Necklace: Premier Designs
Leggings: Old Navy (Maternity) | Boots: Big Buddha

Remember the sweater I wore on ThanksgivingThis skirt is another new-to-me piece thanks to my sister-in-law.  I finally found all my leggings, including these super comfy maternity ones.  (No you didn't miss a pregnancy announcement, these leggings are just that awesome that they get used out of "season", so to speak.)  Oh yeah, and this necklace is new courtesy of a Premier Designs party.  I generally don't buy accessories because I usually don't wear them, but I have a similar gold-toned necklace (I wore it here) that gets more use than all my other necklaces combined, so I thought I might actually wear a similar silver-toned one.  I was proud of myself for remembering to throw it on this morning.

This outfit should be titled, "What I Wore When My Baby Was Sick and I Had Five Minutes to Get Ready."  Wonderful mother that I am, I gave Lucia the nasty cold I had last week.  (It undoubtedly was gifted it from one of my lovely students.)  She stayed home with my mom while David and I enjoyed Mass without a little one crawling all over us.  I got to listen to the entire homily, but I would have much rather had my sweet pea with us.  Mass just isn't the same if we can't enjoy it as a family.

I feel like I also experienced my first "I HATE working outside the home" moment this morning.  I enjoy teaching, and working only three days a week generally gives me much of the flexibility of a stay-at-home mom.  But with Lucia being sick, she can't go to the babysitter's and both David and I work tomorrow.  It's not easy for either of us to find someone to cover for us, much less on such short notice, and all I could think was, "My baby's sick and I have to work instead of care for her."  Thank goodness, my sister-in-law saved the day (as she often does) and is coming to watch her niece tomorrow.  I don't know how moms (including stay-at-home moms) survive without family nearby.

I'm linking up to Fine Linen and Purple's What I Wore Sunday linkup.  Check it out for more church attire inspiration.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Two Favorite Homemade Products: One Beauty, One Cleaning

Homemade Deodorant

Like most women, when I became pregnant with my first child, I suddenly became conscious of all the chemicals in my life.  It's one thing to willingly subject myself to nasty chemicals, but the thought of introducing them to my developing baby was unbearable!  I had been wary of the ingredients in deodorant for a while, but pregnancy made me finally seek out alternatives.  I've tried a few recipes, but this one is my favorite: three easy-to-obtain ingredients, a nice consistancy, and works great:
1 part (organic) coconut oil
1 part baking soda
1 part cornstarch

Melt the coconut oil.  It melts at slightly over room tempertature so this doesn't take much time or heat.  I usually just put it in the microwave in a bowl for a minute or two, but you could do it on the stove as well.  Mix in baking soda and cornstarch.  Pour into the container of your choice.  Let it cool overnight into a solid consistancy.  That's it!  I've heard to can pour it into an old deodorant container so that you can roll it on, but I've never done it.  I like to just scoop it with my fingertips and rub it under my arms.  It melts with skin contact so it take a bit of time to get used to this difference, but it works great!  (Note: It's not an antipersperant, but that's fine by me because it's healthy to sweat, I just don't want to smell it!)  I love the coconut smell, but if that's not your thing, you can add a few drops of essential oils of your choice.

The Best Ever Two Ingredient Shower Cleaner

I just used this for the first time the other day and I'm a believer.  We were planning to give Lucia a bath when I realized just how dirty the tub was.  I mean filthy, disgusting, nasty!  No way my baby was taking a bath in there.  So I looked up some homemade shower cleaner recipes, found one that I had all the ingredients for and was AMAZED.  Here it is:
1 part white vinegar
1 part dish soap
Warm up the vinegar (in the microwave for a minute or two).  Put in a spray bottle, add the dish soap, and shake, shake, shake.  Spray in your shower.  Wait a while (at least 30 minutes).  Then wipe off all the nasties.  Because our bath tub was so gross, I had to do a little scrubbing in the dirtiest spots, but otherwise it wouldn't have needed any scrubbing at all.  It cleaned everything: the tile, the grout, the tub, the stainless steel fixtures, the glass door (it's usually a beast to get the soap scum off the door)!  I think this is the cleanest that tub has been since my parents moved in here 12 years ago.  I almost wish I got before and after shots, but those before shots would have been embarrassing! 

These both are amazing homemade products, free of harsh chemicals, so quick & easy to make, and way cheaper than the store-bought varieties!  I'm still working on slowly making my beauty & cleaning routines more healthy and green; leave me a comment with the recipes of your favorite homemade products that I just HAVE TO try.

Friday, November 23, 2012

(What I Wore to) Thanksgiving Dinner

The past two years, we've been out of state for Thanksgiving.  Two years ago, we were newlyweds living in Indiana.  I worked at Starbucks so we couldn't fly back for the holidays.  We made a small dinner with another couple and it ended up being quite nice.  Last year, we were living in North Carolina and I was nine months pregnant.  Coincidentally, we lived in the same apartment complex as the couple we'd eaten dinner with the year before, but they went out of town for the holiday so we went to dinner at the home of David's advisor.  It was, once again, unexpectedly lovely.  This year, David had to work (now he's working at Starbucks), but he was off by three, swung by my grandparents' house and brought them over.  

This year wasn't just spent with my family, we also had family friends over.  My mom made friends with the wife before I was born.  I've been friends with the daughter since I was born (she was nine days old at the time).  They moved to Colorado a few years before us and we've done Thanksgiving with them almost every year since we moved out here.  My friend is getting married in the spring, so this may be the last year she comes to our family Thanksgiving which made this one even more poignant.  This is also the first time her brother has come in maybe five years (he's been at girlfriends' or working in the past) and it was nice to have both our families all here, plus the few tag-alongs I acquired (my husband and daughter).  Overall, it was a great meal.

The ever-stylish Grace of Camp Patton is hosting a link-up of Thankgiving Dinner fashions.  Here's what I wore:

 Sweater: Forever 21 | Leggings: Kohl's (Lauren Conrad)
Shirt : Faded Glory | Heels: Maurices

Last weekend, my sister-in-law brought me a bag of clothes she was getting rid of in case I wanted anything.  I ended up taking it all, including this cute sweater.  I had to raid my mom's closet to find a shirt to go under it, but ended up finding one that matched my new leggings exactly.  

Remember when I said all my leggings got lost in the move?  Well, my mom found them yesterday, mere days after I went out and bought more to replace them.  Luckily, in my wisdom, I only bought colors I didn't already have in case I found them. 

And now for a picture of what I'm thankful for:

my sweet family
This is the last of Lucia's "first" holidays. SO bittersweet.  Her first birthday is in less than two weeks.  (No, that is not an ankle monitor on my sweet girl, that is a watch that my ever-goofy father put on her ankle.  Don't ask why.  I'm sure there is no explanation, reasonable or not.)

What are you thankful for?
 Link up your list now.
(Open until the end of the month.)
30days thanks-200pix

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#Happy1stBdayBaby: Avon Kids Bath Time Prize Pack

The next giveaway in the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! event is a very fun prize pack from Avon representative Shanna Bishop.  She has put together a bath time prize pack for your little one.  Although Avon is known for its makeup and fragrances, it has very fun kids products as well!  My favorite thing about companies with independent representatives is that you buy from a "real person" with a real life story.  Here's a little bit about Shanna:
Shanna is the mom of two children, Shaela and Trenton and has been married to her husband, Kyle, for 5 years. She has been a stay-at-home mom since Shaela was born almost 4 years ago and decided to sell Avon because she loves the variety in the company.  In addition to helping with the financing, she loves all the products that Avon offers.
You and me both, Shanna!  I could spend hours looking though an Avon catalog.  Some favorite Avon products that I've bought over the years include a set of mixing/storage bowls and a pair of sandals that I wore for years (and still have never found another pair that I've loved quite as much). 

In addition to the giveaway, Shanna has also offered a 10% off discount to all Catholic Newlywed readers.  This time of year is the perfect time to get stocking stuffers and Christmas presents!  Growing up, my Christmas stocking was always filled with Avon products.  All you need to do to get the discount is visit Shanna's Avon site, register and place your order.  The 10% discount will be taken off all orders starting tonight at midnight until the end of the giveaway, Nov. 28th.  Feel free to share this offer with your friends! 

Shanna is giving away a kid's bath time prize pack valued at $25 which includes:

2 each (12 total) of the following fragrances 
- Bubble gum
- Cherry Cherry
- Groovy Grape
- Bonkers Banana
- Cotton Candy
- Amazing Apple

Enter below on the Rafflecopter. Contest runs Nov. 21-Nov. 28. Good luck!
Don't forget to check out the other giveaways in my Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Eleven Month Old

Can I say that I feel like a terrible mother for dropping the ball on Lucia's eleven month post?  I mean, it's obviously not as bad as forgetting to change her diaper or something, but I do feel a bit negligent.  We've been busy lately, but today is the first day of my Thanksgiving break (6 days of unadulterated Lucia time!) so there are no more excuses!  I have, however, been diligent to write down the cute/new/exciting/adventurous things she did during her eleventh month so I wouldn't forget anything.

Last month was so exciting for both "developmental" milestones and "cuteness" milestones.  As far as developmental goes, Lucia could stand for about 5 or 6 seconds at a time.  She didn't (still doesn't) do it often and the trick to getting her to is to distract her.  Daddy will put her on her feet and give her a toy.  As long as she's interested in the toy in her hands, she stands.  As soon as she loses interest, she loses her balance also.  It's all mental!

She's been really into opening & closing this month, especially cabinets and drawers.  We finally had to start baby-proofing the "important cabinets".  Anytime David or I have a dresser drawer open, she crawls toward us and opens/closes it.  She's gotten her fingers stuck in it a few times, but only fussed until I freed them.  A few of her other favorite "play things": her puzzles, her books, and her new glow worm, Zoey Glowy.

At eleven months, she just started going to a non-family babysitter.  The sitter is wonderful, a stay-at-home mom with two preschool-aged kids that just adore Lulu.  (And Lucia's the only one she watches.)  Lucia has been great in her new environment, hasn't cried when dropped off and fusses only at nap time.  I've noticed for a while now that she's not too interested in other babies but she's crazy about "older" kids - not too much older - that are still close to her size but can do all the fun things she can't do yet (like walk!).  I was very nervous leaving her at the sitter's but she seems to be blossoming with her little friends.

Lucia eats SO MUCH now.  She's still nursing/drinking breastmilk from a bottle about every 4 hours, but she eats with us at meals (whatever we are eating).  It seemed like this month she went from having a few small bites to eating half my dinner!  I feel like we are soon going to have to make an extra portion for her.

A few not-so-fun developments: crazy, crazy sleep and tantrums.  If you take away a toy she's playing with or won't let her have something she wants, you better cover your ears!  She's still really good at "sharing" - playing with something then holding it out to whoever is playing with her (or holding out her food for me to eat) but if she doesn't offer it, she'll let you know that she does not want you to have it!  As for sleep, we've never gotten her back to sleeping through the night since we moved to Colorado in mid-July, but this last most, it's gotten even worse.  Instead of getting up once or twice a night, she's getting up four, five, even six times!  We've been trying it all: co-sleeping again, patting her until she falls back asleep, even crying it out, but nothing has really been seeming to work. 

Lucia only said one new word this month, but it's an important one: "Nana".  That's what we're calling my mom and needless to say, my mom's been in heaven!  It seems that she already knows the old "if mama won't give it to you, ask grandma" trick because if any of us tell her "no" or won't lett her have what she wants, she screams, "Nana nana nana nana!"

Ok, now onto the cuteness milestones: Lucia is a kissy monster.  She now blows kisses, she will (often, if she's in the right mood) give you a kiss if you ask for one, and she gives many unrequested kisses, seemingly out of nowhere.  She'll kiss your lips, your shoulder, your hands, even your feet.  Speaking of feet, she loves kissing her own feet.  She could keep herself entertained kissing her feet for five minutes.  It's adorable and hilarious.

I left the absolute cutest new development for last: Lucia tickles anyone (and anything) in her path.  David is always tickling her and will say, "tickle, tickle, tickle" as he does it.  So when she "tickles", she tries her hardest to imitate Daddy but it comes out, "dawdle, dawdle, dawdle".  Too cute!  She tickles people, dogs, and objects, including the walls.  If you laugh as she does it, you'll get peals of laughter from her in return.  I can't express how much I love my giggly girl!

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Sponsor Spotlight: Meet Emily

Hello to all of you lovely Catholic Newlywed readers! I’m Emily and I blog over at Day in the Life about my conversion to Catholicism, planning my wedding for May, and losing weight! My life is very busy sometimes as I work full time and go to graduate school full time, and I share the craziness of my life in blog-form!

 As you can guess, lots of my posts are about my faith! My first conversion piece, Why Catholic? explains why I’m planning on converting and I have many other various posts about the progress. I’ll be fully confirmed tentatively on May 5, 2013 and I am very excited for that day to come! 

You’ll also read lots of posts about our wedding planning and preparation for our marriage. I have several posts about wedding planning and I’m going to start having more about marriage preparation as we get more into it! I also like to update the world on my Twitter of everything that’s going on with that! 

The other part of my blog, weight loss, is definitely a huge part of my life right now! You can read the full story of my journey here! I’m doing Weight Watchers and have had great success so far! I’m hoping to have the opportunity to share more recipes of things I have been making. My favorite post about losing weight was how to lose weight without dieting. I never once ate a salad! 

In losing weight, I’ve also documented my training for a half-marathon that I ran last September. My fiance and I are signed up to run another one in May (just 2 weeks after our wedding!) and I cannot wait to talk more about our training for that. Going from not being able to run a mile to a half marathon was quite the journey, and I hope to someday train for a full marathon! My fiance and I are shooting for January 2014 to run the Disney marathon in Orlando, so stay tuned for that! :) 

That’s just the short rundown of my blog, but please come over to my little corner of the Internet at Day in the Life and say hi! 

Thanks for reading and especially thanks to Mandi for allowing me to share a little bit about myself! I hope to “meet” you soon!

Monday, November 19, 2012

#Happy1stBdayBaby: Printcopia Canvas Giveaway


You can't have a birthday party without some awesome pictures!  As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway bash in honor of my sweet pea's first birthday, Printcopia is giving away an 8 x 10 canvas print to one winner.  Read my review of a Printcopia photo canvas here.

Printcopia is giving away an 8 x 10
canvas print to one lucky winner!

Enter below on the Rafflecopter. Contest runs Nov. 19-Nov. 26. Good luck!
Don't forget to check out the other giveaways in my Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 18, 2012

#Happy1stBdayBaby: Printcopia Photo Canvas Review


When I dream of our future home, I imagine a wall devoted to a "family gallery" of pictures.  I envision pictures of many sizes, pictures of our children, family pictures, and pictures of our parents.  Wedding pictures, candid photos, and professional portraits mixed together.  We don't yet have a home of our own, but I've already started collecting the photos that will someday make up our gallery.  One of my favorite new additions is this 8 x 10 photo canvas of our family of three:

Isn't it gorgeous?  It was taken at Lucia's six month photo shoot while we were living back in North Carolina.  This is the first photo canvas I've ever had made and I was a bit nervous.  Photo canvases can be pricey and there are so many different companies to use that I had put off ordering one because I worried that I would spend the money and the quality wouldn't be what I wanted.  When Printcopia gave me the opportunity to get one of their 8 x 10 canvas prints for free, I was so excited to be able to try it without the financial risk. 

I was blown away by the quality of my print!  It came out perfect, the colors are true to life and it's not one bit grainy. I love how the canvas is wrapped so that I don't have to worry about framing it and I think it will look really lovely on my future gallery wall mixed in with framed photos (and perhaps some framed canvases as well).  If you are like me and not sure which company to use to make your canvas prints, I can tell you from first-hand experience that you will get great quality products from Printcopia.

As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event,
enter to win an 8 x 10 canvas print from Printcopia!
Giveaway runs November 19-26. Enter here.

I received a canvas print to facilitate this review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  Opinions are 100% mine.  See Disclosure Policy.

What I Wore Sunday: Baby Edition

Jumper: Gymboree| Shirt: unknown
Boots: Baby Gap

We are at my in-laws' this weekend.  I brought really cute "matching" outfits for Lucia and me to wear to Mass today but, alas, I am sick in bed with a nasty cold. Lucia looks adorable so I thought I would go ahead and share her sweet baby style. I'll probably wear the outfit I had intended for today for Thanksgiving, so maybe I'll share it then.

For those of you who think adorable baby clothes are pricey, this is an example of a $5 or less outfit.  Jumper: hand-me-down. Shirt: part of an outfit bought at a consignment sale for $2.50 or so. Tights: garage sale (50 cents or less). Boots: $2.50 (bought at this amazing consignment sale).

Did you notice Lucia's fancy new accessories? Earrings! My sister-in-law, Lulu's auntie and Godmother, got her ears pierced yesterday for her upcoming first birthday. Brave girl didn't cry, barely let out a whimper!

I'm linking up to Fine Linen and Purple's What I Wore Sunday linkup.  Check it out for more church attire inspiration.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

#Happy1stBdayBaby: Blueberry Deluxe Cloth Diaper Giveaway

I couldn't have a birthday bash for my Lulu without include at least one cloth diaper.  Cloth diapers have been a huge part of our lives over the past year and we LOVE them.  One of our very favorite diapers (and hands-down our favorite pocket diaper) is the Blueberry Deluxe diaper.  Read my review of it here.

Blueberry Diapers is giving away a
Bluberry Deluxe to one lucky winner!

Enter below on the Rafflecopter. Contest runs Nov. 17-Nov. 24. Good luck!
Don't forget to check out the other giveaways in my Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Husband as Father

It's time for another Wedded Bliss Wednesday hosted by Table for More and Life After...   I missed last week's and this one is late, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk about my husband as a father!

What is your husband's best trait as a father?
David has two and they are also his best traits as a husband: his faithfulness and his patience.  I know I don't have to explain why patience is so important in raising children.  If he can hold a screaming baby unfazed (for hours), he can take on any parenting task, even parenting a teenager!  As for faithfulness, I know a day doesn't pass by without David praying for his family.

What is your husband's favorite thing to do with the kids?
 Lucia's still pretty young, so there aren't a lot of outings or formal activities yet.  He really loved to just play with her.  He spends hours with her in her room, which is her "safe zone" to go where she wants and play with whatever is in sight.  I often come home and her room is a mess - books and puzzle pieces and stuffed animals everywhere.  He adores watching her do her own thing and explore.  Tickling her is probably his second favorite activity.

How does your husband help out with the kids?
He does it all.  He's changed more diapers than I have, probably double or triple.  He does the laundry, the dishes, gets Lulu ready in the morning and often puts her to bed at night.  He plays with her.  A lot.  For a while he was a full-time stay-at-home dad, but now we both work part-time and pretty evenly share the household and child-rearing workload.  It's awesome.  I'm blessed.
What do you hope your children learn from their dad?
I hope Lucia (and any other future daughters) learn how a man is supposed to treat a woman by watching my husband's interactions with me.  I want them to compare every man they date to their father and quickly dump those that don't stack up to daddy.  On the same note, I want my sons to learn how to be a gentleman from their dad; he's a great role model in that arena.  I think it's also so important that boys have examples of very faithful men and I love that our (hopefully someday) sons will see a strong man who is not afraid to humble himself before God.  I would also love if our kids got his curiosity, love of science, and musical talent.  But if I could choose only one trait of my husband to pass on to our children, it would be his kind and patient personality.