Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Stars- Macy's Heart of Haiti




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Being a mom and a wife has really made me appreciate family on a whole new level. Growing up I knew family was important but I thought of it as a cut and dry kind of thing. I never really the thought about what it takes to form a family and make it last. Building and growing a strong family starts with two people falling in love and I could not be more happy with the man that I fell in love with.

Joe and I have known each we were eleven years old. The thing I really love about this is that there is no crazy secret past to worry about. He knows embarrassing things about me like that I never really kissed a boy until I was nearly fifteen and I know that he kissed pretty much every girl he met from the time he was twelve to fifteen. We also have a lot of shared memories of people and places. We’ve come a long way since roaming the halls of high school. We have had many highs and lows but in the end it has made us that much stronger. I know that after a long stressful day with the kids he will come home after working ten hours and help me with the dishes. He is also the only one who can rock Finley when she is super upset and get her to calm down within minutes. He is truly my shining star in life and the fact that I have had the pleasure of knowing him for more than half of my life makes it feel that much more special.

Having children took out relationship and our lives to a whole new level. I know that everyone says this but you don’t really know unconditional love until you have a child. I am still getting to know our newest addition but I know our toddler inside and out. They make my life that much more bright. When I’m down and out nothing can cheer me up like a smile and a giggle from my girls. Even when Aubrey is being bad she seems to know just how far she can push it before she turns it around with a hug and a song and makes me forget about all of the bad behavior.

My family is my light, the three of them are truly my stars. The beautiful star that I received from the Macy’s Heart of Haiti campaign helps me reflect on that when I’m having a hard time seeing it on a bad day. Once Christmas is over the star will hang on my wall as a constant reminded of how lucky I am. The star is not available for purchase but Macy’s offers more than 40 home d├ęcor items that are handcrafted by artisans in Haiti. To date the program has employed 780 artisans, which has improved the lives of over 6,200 individuals. The Heart of Haiti initiative provides artists with an opportunity to make a living, feed their families and pay their children’s school fees. When doing last minute Christmas shopping or really any shopping in the future please consider these products as they help improve the lives of people who are trying to provide for the stars in their lives.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #CleverHaiti


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Santa Fail

Aubs has been loving Santa this year
Or so we thought.....

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This one is slightly better but not much. I do love the cheeks on baby Fin though,
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Pictures from the last two years

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Have you posted your Santa pictures? Leave the link in the comments, I'd love to see them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread


I love traditions. We're a young family so we don't yet have any set in stone but it's fun to try some out. When I saw that gingerbread house kits were on sale at Target, I snatched one up. I'm no gingerbread pro unless you count the numerous milk carton graham cracker ones I made in elementary school. Do you remember those things? Sure they were fun but what a sorry excuse for a gingerbread house. I always did have a fondness for real gingerbread houses though because my Great Nana used to send fancy schmancy ones to me and my brother when we were little. We would put them on out mantel and then dive into them on Christmas morning.

Over all our family's first gingerbread house making adventure was successful. The house was a little lopsided and didn't look nearly as lovely as the one on the box but we had fun. Aubs got a kick out of sticking all the candy on the tiny house and "helping" pipe the frosting for the windows. Next year will be better though, I plan on making one from scratch instead of buying a kit. So for now gingerbread houses are a new Christmas tradition in our house, one that I hope will stick around for a long time.

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Linking up with The Paper Mama

Thursday, December 6, 2012

3 Months



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Dear Finley,

Well three months have come and gone. You are still quite fussy but seem to be getting better by the day. This weekend you were surprising content so hopefully you just needed these first few months of your life to warm up to the world. I can't really blame you, you went from a dark quiet and peaceful place to a bright loud and chaotic place. The chaos mainly coming from your big sis. She seemed to overwhelm you at first but now you seem in awe of her. You give her lots of smiles when she talks to you which she absolutely loves.

You rolled from your back to your belly at 11 weeks 6 days. More than a month sooner than your big sis. Since then you have been a rolling machine but most of the time you get mad that you haven't figured out how to get from your belly to your back and we have you flip you over. You have also sat straight up in your bouncer which is kind of crazy to us. You're just ready to go go go. I will not be surprised if you're an early crawler and/or walker.

Sleep is still iffy, you aren't very consistent. You'll give mama a really good night and then the next night you'll be up four times. I am happy to report that last night you slept nine hours and ten minutes, your longest stretch to date. I don't mind if you don't continue to sleep that long every night but please sleep at least six hours please! Your naps have also started to become 4-5 cat naps a day rather than long ones. It kind of stinks at the moment but I remember Aubrey doing this too right before she settled into two naps a day.

Although you scream more than I'd like, you are absolutely adorable. You have the chunkiest little legs and your cheeks are so chubby they hang lower than the rest of your face. You are full of lovely smiles and loud happy coos. We are so excited to have you as a part of our family, especially for the holiday season.

Lots of Love,
Mama

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Likes: being tightly swaddled, walks while riding in the Ergo, funny faces, evening dance parties before bed, sink baths

Dislikes: baths in the infant tub, being put in the car seat, being trapped on her belly for too long

Stats: 3 months, 0-3 & 3-6 month clothes, about to move into size 2 diapers and fits into clothes diapers better now. Unsure of height and weight but I'm assuming that she is between 13 & 14 pounds.

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Be sure to check out the One Grace Place giveaway! It is an amazing prize of a luxury full bed set for your child or baby. I am extending the giveaway through Monday.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

One Grace Place- Giveaways Galore


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One Grace Place is a new company that offers high quality children's bedding and accessories. They have everything you need to decorate your little one's space to make it truly unique. I especially love the Sophia Lolita collection which has a ton of bright girly colors in it that will easily blend with existing decor. Although I'm usually in a more feminine state of mind with my two girls, I can't help but love the Teyo's Tires collection. I'm a sucker for all things black and white and I think that any item from the collection would be great for a car themed room.

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Finley is loving her Sophia Lolita blanket

What is also great about One Grace Place is that they are having a huge promotion starting today and going until Christmas day. Each day they will be giving away one of they're beautiful products. Today they are giving away a binkie blanket from their Sassy Shaylee collection to two lucky winners. All you need to do is like their facebook page and then and sign up for the sweepstakes on One Grace Place's facebook fan page. Everyday there is a new task to win more. In addition to giving away great prizes everyday, they will also doing a weekly charity poll to find out your favorite charity and giving the winning charities one of their bedding sets.


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One Grace Place has also been generous enough to offer one of my readers their choice of bedding set. Check out the rafflecopter below to see how you can win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cry Baby



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What used to just be the title to my favorite movie as a teenager (mmmm 90's Johnny Depp)is now the two words that describe my everyday battle. Finley girl is quite the crier. It's not just a regular cry either, it's a wail that sounds like someone is trying to rip the limbs from her body. It is at it's worst during the afternoons and evenings but it also sometimes rears ugly head in the mornings. She will be 3 months on Thursday so I'm hoping that it will end soon but colic can last up to six months so I might have to double the time she's already been here and just hope that all of my hair falls out.

Having a baby who is pretty much never content is the most frustrating thing in the world. I know I have mentioned this before but Aubrey was the most chill baby in the entire ever. It was rare to hear her cry and when she did you knew something was wrong and she would stop as soon as you fixed it. Everyone would praise me on how good she was and that I must be doing something right. I loved the praise and would often pat myself on the back and think what a damn good mom I was.

There have been no pats on the back this time around, no praise. Just a baby that everyone is terrified to hold because she more often than not will start wailing uncontrollably and then take forever to be consoled. It's heartbreaking to have such a sad little baby. I do everything that I know how to do to show her that she is loved and cared for. I nurse her, I wear her for at least an hour everyday, I talk and sing to her but none of that seems to matter. She's still mad at the world day in and day out.

Pardon my absence until I get this situation under control. I miss blogging and all the wonderful things that come with it but as of right now any spare time I have usually goes into house work or spending a few precious quiet hours with my husband. I will make time when I can and try to pump out a blog post or two a week to keep the momentum going. Later this week I have a fabulous review and giveaway with a ton of chances to win so make sure you check back for that. Other than that, I hope all my ladies out in blog land are doing well and enjoying the holiday season.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Festival

These photos are a little late, I know
At least I got them up before Thanksgiving
There is a great farm about an hour south of us that holds a pumpkin festival every year
Living in Florida, it feels like our only authentic little bit of Fall fun

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chuck E...Chuck E...Chuck E


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Watching her fav videos on the iPad.


Kids are such little weirdos and mine is no exception. Her thing for quite some time now has been her obsession with a certain overgrown mouse who goes by the name Chuck E. Cheese. She loves to go see the big guy in person but mostly she likes to watch Chuck E. Cheese videos on YouTube. I have no one to blame but myself because I introduced her to the world of CEC on YouTube. My intention was to make her less scared of him because if you remember from awhile back, she used to be terrified. I had no idea that it would turn into a full on love and obsession.

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This was Aubrey's reaction to Chuck E. Cheese, way back in July. Obviously times have changed.


Some of Aubs Chuck E-isms:

-She thinks every Lady Gaga song is CEC related because of this video.
-Every thing she drinks must come from one of her two Chuck E. cups
-She knows every CEC character even though CEC has retired all of them except Chuck E
-She thinks that the guy on the pringles can is Pasqually. If you're curious to who that is here is a reference.
-Sings the verse, "Our mouse and his name is Chuck E Cheese," a lot.
-Also sings the CEC version of "Where in Thumbkin?" By asking where is Chuck E., Helen, Pasqually, Munch and Jasper.
-Thinks that all purple pom poms are Munch


***Since I began writing this post over a month ago her obsession has gotten better. She still asks for Chuck E. but it is no where near the level that it used to be. I decided to finished and post this entry anyway because I think it was really funny and definitely something I want her to know about when she is older.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Own Art- A Giveaway


It's no secret that using your own family photos in home decor is a big trend these days. Elin Tidbeck of My Own Art decided to take this trend a step further and create custom works of art from everyday photos and portraits. Elin, who has a background in architecture and illustration, found herself loving turning family and friend's pictures into custom pieces. She decided to take this love a little further and start My Own Art to help others have personal works of art in their homes. What is even more fantastic is that she can do it from any photo you have, it can even be a cell phone picture!

Check out what Elin did with Finley's picture, I absolutely love it. You all know that I am one for taking photos but I don't usually take it the step further and create something truly unique like Elin has for me. The photo was great to begin with but Elin really made it pop. I plan on getting it printed onto canvas to display in Fin's nursery.

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Elin has been kind enough to offer her gorgeous design skills to one of my readers. It would make a perfect holiday present for that hard to buy for relative. The prize is for one custom portrait illustration (digital file not printed), style to be selected from My Own Art. Winner will email a photo they wish to have transformed and within a few days receive a high-resolution digital file of the custom portrait illustration.

Though the month of November you can also get $30 off by using the coupon code: 30offchristmas

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hair Scare


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If you've been reading for awhile then you know that we have had more medical scares with Finley then we would like. It started with my 20 week gender scan when they couldn't get a good read on her brain and sent me to a high risk doctor. Then the high risk doctor thought that she was too small and wanted to keep track of her growth. Thankfully by 28 weeks they decided that she was growing just fine and I was taken off high risk. The second scare was at her two week check-up when we were told that one of her hips was clicking and she would need to have an ultrasound to see if she would need to wear a harness to correct a shallow hip. Thankfully that time it was also just another false alarm. I thought that we were out of the woods for a little while but I was wrong.

I took Finley in for her two month appointment feeling confident that it would just be another well baby check-up. They would ask me all the questions, check her out, give her a couple of shots and we would be on our merry way. While the doctor was examining little Fin she spent a lot of time checking out her back, her lower back to be exact. When she was finished she asked me if I had noticed the hair on her back. I said yes and that Aubrey had the same hair when she was a newborn. She told me that most babies do but it falls out around six weeks. When it doesn't fall out it becomes a marker for spinal abnormalities such as tethered spine and spina bifida. We would have to take Finley back to All Children's for another ultrasound and an x-ray to make sure that her spine was okay.

At first I was a little panicky, I mean really her spine now!?! When I got home I jumped on Google which usually makes matters worse but this time it actually made me feel better. All of the cases I read about where a marker was found, the child had a ton of hair or a dimple. Finley had neither of these. Her check-up was on Tuesday and the appointment at the hospital was scheduled for Friday morning. I decided to just put it out of my mind until we found out if there was really anything wrong. This was pretty easy for me to do because I honestly felt in my heart that nothing was going to be wrong. My husband Joe was the complete opposite. He didn't confess it until the morning of the appointment but he was so worried that he had barely slept and spent hours at work researching possible outcomes. I absolutely hate that he was so panicked for the better part of a week and didn't tell me about it.

When Friday morning came, I dressed Finley in something that was easy to remove and we dropped Aubrey off at Joe's parents house. Then we made the all too familiar drive to All Children's hospital. The wait wasn't long and we were in the exam room within a half hour. You would think that a baby would scream through all of this but I guess it has become pretty familiar for Fin because she didn't make a peep throughout the whole ultrasound. The x-ray on the other hand she wasn't too happy about but she calmed easily. Once it was all over and I was dressing Finley, Joe asked the ultrasound tech if she could give us her opinion. She said that unofficially she thought that everything looked fine and that she has been doing it for twenty years. That put my mind almost completely at ease but not Joe, he wasn't convinced until he talked to our pediatrician. He called me around 1 pm to let me know that the scan and x-ray came back completely normally. Apparently he had called Finley's doctor 3 times asking for the results before they had actually received them from the hospital. So thankfully Finley is in the clear again but I'm definitely not looking forward to her four month check-up.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Halloween



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We all go through gaps in life where holidays aren't that fun. Sure holidays are always a little exciting because they're special but sometimes they don't hold that magic that they once did. I think that in my late teens and early twenties my enthusiasm about holidays took a but of a dive. I was no longer that kid whose parents were trying to create an amazing time for and I wasn't yet the parent who was trying to do that for my own child. So when Aubrey arrived and especially now that Aubs is getting older my "holiday magic" is back in full swing.

This Halloween was the best I've had since I was young. Aubs was excited about dressing up and had some sort of grasp that Halloween was a special and fun day. For me it was like going through all of that first time excitement that I must have felt at her age all over again. I can only see these times getting better as Aubrey gets a little older and I'm so happy that I get to experience it times two now that Finley is a part of our family.



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