Monday, December 31, 2012

Best Posts of 2012 + Link Up

This was a huge year for our family!  Jan. 1, 2012, Lucia was baptizedDavid graduated in May.  We moved back to Colorado (and in with my parents) in July.  I started my first teaching job in August.  
It's also been a big year for the blog.  Catholic Newlywed became Messy Wife, Blessed Life and I got a whole new blog design and domain to go along with it.  If you are a new reader (or just want a recap), below is a list of my favorite posts of this past year.  I did this last year too (if you want to reach deep into the archives).  At the bottom, link up your own favorite post of the year so I can check it out!

Most beautiful post: My Sister's Necklace

I wrote this post back in January but it's remained one of my favorites.  There are a few other posts I consider beautiful (Lucia's milestone posts, Prayer for a Working Mother) but those just don't hold a candle to this piece that is a beautiful example of my mother's love.

Most popular post: 25 Activities for Your Older Baby (6-23 Months)

This is the most popular post in my blog's history, largely due to Pinterest.  It has tens of thousands of pageviews more than the next most popular post (this one).  I can't take much credit for it since it is largely a compilation of ideas from other moms and bloggers but I'm glad that I've been able to give other moms suggestions of activities to do with their little ones.  I know the "research" I did for this post has made me a much better mother by challenging myself to find fun and educational (and cheap/free) activities to do with Lucia.

Most controversial post: Birth Control for Teens?

Need I say more?  Discussions of teenagers and sex are always controversial (heck, discussions of birth control are always controversial), but I had to put in my two-cents (and my personal experience) .

Most helpful post: My Two Favorite Homemade Products

In reality my most helpful post is probably the same of my most popular one, but for the sake of offering a variety of links to posts, I chose this one.  I've actually had quite a few "informational" and "DIY" posts this year that I could have chosen from, but I decided that this one was most helpful because I actually received a message from a reader who said she tried the shower cleaner and even her husband noticed how clean the tub was.  Maybe some of the runners-up (20 Coping Stategies for Working MomsBaby on a Budget: What You Really Need, and 21 Ways to Share the Faith with Your Toddler) were more helpful to readers, but since they haven't told me, I'll never know.

Most honest post(s):  On My Heart: The Post I Didn't Want to Write about Struggling Financially and Mommy Body

I couldn't decide, these two post cut to the core of some very difficult issues: finances and body image.   It's difficult for me to write about my imperfections, but I was very candid about the body changes (good and bad) that have come with being a mother.  Writing "Mommy Body" forced me to come to terms with the fact that I won't ever look like I did before Lucia but that my life is filled with so much joy now that it's more than worth it!

As for "On My Heart", writing about my fears, my frustrations, and the blatant truth of how we are struggling financially wasn't easy.  But I received such wonderful feedback from readers who offered encouragement (or said they were glad I shared) made it worth it.  Putting it down also helped me to see that despite not having much, we are able to get by and God has provided for us which has, in turn, allowed me to turn over my fears and trust Him more.  This is why I blog - to connect with other, to share stories, to give and gain encouragement, and to learn more about myself and my relationship with the Lord.

Post whose success surprised you most: Bridesmaid Style Board 1: Shoes

Although I've gotten more fashion-bloggy in the past few months due to What I Wore Sunday, this post about bridesmaid shoes probably my first every fashion-related post back when I was figuring out what to buy to be a bridesmaid in my brother-in-law's wedding.  Apparently it has some good search engine words in it, because it is the third most popular post to date.  Crazy. (My accompanying bridesmaid dresses post didn't fare as well.)

Post that didn't receive that attention you thought it deserved: Lulu's First Birthday Party

Probably because I worked so hard on this birthday party, I expected to get at least a few more pageviews.  I included some recipes/DIY for the decorations and food for an adorable teddy bear party and included some pictures of my little one, but no bites.  That's ok, I suppose it's really selfish to want some recognition anyway.  Lucia enjoyed herself and that's all that really matters!

Post(s) you are most proud of: Lucia's monthly updates
Of course, I'm a proud mama showing off my baby, but I'm also proud that I stuck with it and didn't miss a single monthly update during her first year (although some were weeks late!).  I'm planning to turn them into a photo book that I can share with her when she's older.  I think it will be neat for her to compare her development with her own little ones someday (if her vocation is marriage and motherhood).

Your turn! Link up the one best/most popular/favorite post on your blog this year.  I promise I will read and comment on each one.  The linky will be open for one week.


  1. Hi, Mandi! Great list. It's nice to get a re-cap of all the big events of the year this way :-) It's been a great year of growth over at my blog, and I shared our Marian Monday link-up (The Real JZ & Anima Kinsi) b/c this has been a dream of mine for a while now- hosting a link-up! Enjoy!

  2. Mandi, I love the way you broke down this list - congrats on a wonderful year =)

  3. Thank you for the invitation to link up! I hadn't thought to check and see which were my most popular blogs, and it was a great reminder to look back and see. Happy 2013!

  4. Love to look back at these :) I started reading your blog last winter when I read your post on another blog, about cloth diapering! When I click on the "birth control for teens" it brings me to "Mommy Body" post.

    1. Rochelle, Thanks for letting me know! I think I fixed it!

  5. I am new to your blog so it was fun to read through your top posts! And as I mentioned on twitter, your sister's necklace post brought me to tears. God bless and happy 2013!

  6. Your recap is so much more "flow-y" than mine. :) I like the way you did that. thanks for hosting the link-up.


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