Happy 1st Birthday Avalynn!

Baby Girl -

Well it's official - as of yesterday (yeah, I'm a day late on this post) you are officially a toddler, but always my baby that's for sure!  It's hard to believe this letter concludes your 1st year with us.  You are what made us from a family of 3 to a family of 4.  We have more love in our hearts for you and your sister than either of us thought possible to love.  *Corny* I know, but incredibly true!  I refer to you as my miracle.  You are such a blessing, especially after our previous losses, your birth renewed hope in me again and made me feel whole again.

I feel like not much has changed this past month with you.  You are still not standing by yourself or walking.  You can tell that you really want to and are a pro barely holding onto our fingers, but you just can't seem to take that leap by yourself.  I know it'll come when you are ready!  You still only have 4 teeth, this past weekend you slept horribly for 3 nights, thought for sure some teeth were popping through and 1 is right there, but still not completely through.  Nights like that are no fun for either of us.

I stopped nursing you completely at 11 1/2 months.  I'm so happy that I was able to give you that gift and nurse as long as I did.  When I decided to BF, I was just praying and hoping to make it through the first 2 weeks, the hardest ones "they" say - & yes, "they" are right.  You had your first sippy of milk last night for dinner and you don't seem sure about it.  Hopefully there's no problems switching you over to milk completely.  As for table food, you love most of what we give you - especially your veggies!

We had our first significant snowfalls in the past month and you've been out to play twice.  Mostly you just like to lay down in the snow and eat it off your mitten.  We had you sled down the hill in our backyard a couple times with your Sissy and once with Daddy - you barely cracked a smile, am sure you're going to love it more next year!

We had our own private celebration with you yesterday.  Emma got you a pounding shape block, Daddy & I got you the Lil' Zoomer's racetrack, pair of shoes, and some foam mats for in front of your toy area.  You love everything.  We sang Happy Birthday after dinner to you and you were clapping, smiling and swaying back and forth - it was the cutest thing!  No surprise you loved your cupcake.  Especially the whipped icing, we video taped you eating it and your face after the 1st taste is priceless and then you dive in for another taste.  We're looking forward to seeing you Saturday with your smash cake.

Speaking of - we're having a BIG party for you Saturday with our family and close friends.  We're holding it at the church and your theme is called a mod monkey.  A girly monkey with a bow on her head and lime green and pink as your colors.  I've been busy all week making decorations for the fellowship hall.  Tomorrow will be spent baking and prepping all of the meals and then we're going to decorate the hall in the evening with Gramma & PopPop's help.

As your sister and I say - Love you to the rocket, to the moon and back!

The Mama


Preparing for 1st Birthday - Phase 1

I'm not going to lie, somehow I feel like her birthday has totally snuck up on me.  It was like the Holidays came and then we were in the 1st week of January and I was like "Oh Crap, I better get some invites out!".  I searched around on the web for invite wordings and paired parts of different ones together, my friend Lisa took my vision and put together this adorable invite!  Have gotten so many great compliments from everyone who received these.  Thanks again Lisa! 

Then I turned to one of my favorites sites, Etsy.  A girl can get lost on that site!!! First I ordered some customized cupcake topper circles and miniature candy bar wrappers from finelinestationery.   Elizabeth was great to work with and after some email hiccups on my end was so happy when I received these in my inbox.  I'm in the process of working on the cupcake toppers and they are turning out so ca-ute - can't wait to show you the finished product!

Next up, on my list was - what was my little girl going to wear?  I kept seeing CafePress ads on websites showing this shirt below, it was official loved it.  Still to make, a tutu for her to wear with it. 

I decided I wanted her to have something to wear for the smash cake also.  Went back to Etsy and ordered this iron on transfer from Baby Fables.  Christine was great to work with customizing this for me.  It arrived very quickly her envelope/packaging is just so cute.  I highly suggest checking out her store.  

Much more to finish & share this week.


I'm in a daze of pink/green/& monkey's...

Wow, can't believe I haven't been able to post for almost a week.  Last week things that could go wrong just kept going wrong, things are finally looking up as of this afternoon.  Hate having bummer days consecutively - no fun!

Now, I'm running around crazily getting ready to celebrate my baby's 1st birthday, hard to believe Wednesday she will be 1.  We are celebrating with all of our loved ones.  Have tons of birthday party prepping posts to share this week.

Hope everyone's week has started out well!



Valentine's Decor

Every year I want to decorate for Valentine's Day, but always find I hardly have anything to decorate with and don't want to spend a lot of money.  This year I was determined to do do something in our dining room on the cheap, I went shopping at Dollar Tree, $1 spot at Target, and things around my home creating this below for the less than $12! 

Here's a view of the whole dresser.  Made apothecary jars from DT candle stick holders and cylinder vases.  Subway art was a free printable from eighteen 25, found here. 

The milk jugs were found in the Target $1 spot.  Heart pics from dollar tree, they are soft and fuzzy.

The apothecary jars are filled with some red satin, glitter hearts, strand of white beads and some heart picks.

Close up of the book the Hubs book folded and some glittery love below.

Close-up of the love bunting I made out of burlap.  Frame was an old one that was brass, picked up for FREE, painted it a glossy black.  

I plan to link up to these parties and Beth's Linky party, here.



What I Learned This Weekend

We had a very filled weekend with friends and family = a great weekend overall.

1.  Friday was my mom's birthday and I can totally whip out an amazing cake in an hour.  Putting your cake outside to cool so you can icing it is totally ok when your short on time!
2.  Make sure to cover it, because you don't want any winter critters or birds snacking on it.  No this didn't happen to me.
3.  Friday night was the first time I've missed using my Cricut in months!  Completely ok to print off letters, cut them out with an exacto knife and make my own stencils that way.
4. Slicing burlap in triangles completely stinks.
5. First time to Monkey Joes for a birthday party and it was over capacity!  Poor Emma was scared when we got there and said she didn't want to try anything, thankfully she warmed up as it emptied out some and had a blast!
6. I really wish parents would pay attention/watch their kids when at a place like MJ's, instead of sitting in the parents area and completely ignoring them.  It's not the job of other parents to watch your kids, especially when some of them are mean and keep tackling my kid for NO REASON!
7. It's always good to confirm plans with friends - and even better to probably confirm with a date instead of just saying weekend, had a little confusion this weekend when expecting company.
8.  It all worked out well in the end.
9.  It's always great to reconnect with lost friends.
10. It's official Miss A is not allowed to play with our remote anymore!  I was watching Netflix/streaming through the playstation and when I clicked back to the tv, on the screen was please confirm to buy naughty nurses for $10.99.  One more right button and she totally would have bought that!
11.  Deep cleaning always makes me feel good about the house, I cleaned Saturday & Sunday = not much cleaning to do Monday, my cleaning day.
12.  My hubby is pretty awesome especially with helping get ready for company, cooking up the meat while we have company and running last minute errands when needed this weekend.
13.  I finally took the plunge and re-did some of the blog, still have some other things I need to finish like a new button and menu tabs, but was SO happy with what I got done.
14.  Even though I have two kids, I still feel like a first-time mom with Miss A a lot of the time.
15.  She's so incredibly different then her sister in every way and different things have come up that never did with Miss E.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!



Take a Moment Please

to watch this video. *Warning:  You might need a tissue*

About 8 months ago I stumbled across Kelle's blog, Enjoying the Small Things.  I couldn't stop reading it and instantly fell in love with her two daughter's Lainey and Nella.  Nella was born 4 days before my Avalynn.  I've enjoyed watching both of our babies grow, mine before my eyes and Nella through the pictures Kelle shares, which are beautiful!!!  Nella has down syndrome, reading what Kelle shares about the disease has educated and opened my eyes to the community of down syndrome, over 400,000 in the US.

To celebrate Nella turning 1, they set up a fund called Nella's ONEder Fund through the National Down Syndrome Society.  Donate here, every donation goes directly to NDSS. Even if you can donate $5, the cost of a magazine, every bit and person can make a difference!

Thank you!




Ashley over at The Domestic Wannabe shared this pretty amazing website called Pinterest.  I don't know about you, but I have oodles of bookmarks, at least when I remember to bookmark something I want to go back and re-create or use as inspiration, and more times than not I can't find it again.  Major bummers I'm telling you!!!

Here's a screen shot of some boards, which is a grouping of whatever you want to title it - books, home, diy, crafts, etc.

You can follow other people's boards and re-pin things that other people have pinned.  Am loving this option so much more than regular old bookmarks and having to weed through items to find what I'm searching for.  Best part - it's FREE!  I'm able to invite 6 people, just need your email address, otherwise you sign-up and have to wait a few days.  Either way - you'll definitely love this great little site.

**Added: Beth shares a pretty great tutorial, here.



Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday, this girl turned...


I feel like this is the year where things are going to change and happen.  I'm done looking back and only have blinders on for the future and the great things that I know have to be around the corner.  Last year, not sure why, blame it on me being 9 months pregnant at the time or what, but I had a very hard time with 25.  This year am happy to report I welcomed 26 with open arms.

The day itself was pretty relaxed, just how I like it!  I got lots of wonderful phone calls and messages for my family and friends.  I was spoiled with some wonderful goodies this year - some cash, clothes, flowers, lenses and filters for my camera and one of the things I'm most excited about below,

That's me holding my Amber Edition of Becky Higgins Project Life.  I look so forward to starting our Family albums.  As a previous paper scrapper unfortunately life gets busy and I found I hardly had time to do it and this is such a great option for me to preserve our family's life.  Haven't heard of Becky before, definitely go check out her blog that I've linked to her name above, am sure you'll fall in love as much as several other people have. 

Here's a picture of my girls' relaxing watching a show.  This is their new thing, normally Emma is laying down too, but she sat up as soon as she saw that camera come out. 

The Hubs & Emma made me my favorite cake, Party Cake anyone?  It was super yummy and loved hearing my little girl sing Happy Birthday to me. 


Mamarazzi's Pinktastic Swaptastic


Mamarazzi over at Dandelion Wishes is at it again with a great swap - everything you get for your swap partner must be pink of some variation.  How fun, girly, and exciting it's going to be to shop for my swap partner and see what they get me.  Can't wait!!!  Thanks Mamarazzi for thinking up this fun swap!  



*Opinions* Please!!!

I've been tossing around re-vamping the ole' blog.  I was hoping to have it done before the New Year, but between the holidays and everything inbetween - before I knew it 2011 happened, lols.    Decided today was the day to work on putting something together.  Now I've come up with two options and  I can't decide, so am asking for your input, please!  I thank you greatly!

Option A:

Option B:



Toy Organization

As much as I LOVE the Holidays part of me was dreading it some.  As we have a very large family with lots of grand & great-grand parents still around that I was not looking forward to everything the girls' would be getting.  Our house is old and has zilch-o storage! So, I am always trying to find space saving ideas.  My Gramma gave each person some money this year - I knew exactly what ours was going towards.  I'd been searching around and had decided in my mind on the Expedit from Ikea. Like this below, except I planned on laying it on it's side: 
EXPEDIT Bookcase  Width: 31 1/8 " Depth: 15 3/8 " Height: 58 5/8 " Max load/shelf: 29 lb  Width: 79 cm Depth: 39 cm Height: 149 cm Max load/shelf: 13 kg
I shared my plan with the Hubs and needless to say he wasn't too keen on the idea.  His first argument being that he could build it for much cheaper and his second being that between the two Ikea's around us, both are a little over an hour away - he didn't want to waste gas.  He argued that I just wanted to go to Ikea - well HELLO, why YES, of course I do!  It's been years since I've been to one.  

So, back to the drawing board so to speak and I started searching big chain stores that are local like Target and Walmart.  I came across this shelving unit on WM's site and fell in love! 

My awesome Hubby looked at it and told me that he could easily make that.  We pulled out the tape measure and figured out how long I'd want two shelves side by side to be in the space and headed to Lowe's.  He picked up some mdf to build these out of and within the week they were made and painted. Brought them up to the living room this morning and got the toys organized - needless to say, I'm in LOVE with them!

Just to get an idea - here's a before of the space these new beauties will be staying in.  Baskets with overflowing baby toys = a crazy mama!

Please ignore the surroundings, it's our overcrowded basement.  Here are the shelves after they were primed. 

Here's a close-up shot of them painted - glossy black.

Here's how they look from the other side of the room.


What I Learned This Weekend - 6th Edition

Better late than never right?  Hope everyone had a fantastic New Year's and long weekend!

1.  I've decided I really don't like when Holidays land on the weekend, makes me feel like my weekends are forever long.  For example, this weekend felt so long that I could have sworn today, Monday, was Wednesday.
2.  Definitely go to the grocery store any other day but the eve of a Holiday - it stinks!
3.  My parents are incredibly awesome and loaded us up on food for our pantry and meat for our freezer they got us for Christmas!
4.  I love finding deals, especially on clothes.  I used return money from Christmas presents, a shirt & a pair of slipper socks.  I was able to get two sweater cardigans *my new love in my wardrobe* and still have $4 leftover!!!
5.  The Hubs is amazing at taking any photo I show him and re-creating it for me at a much lower cost!
6.  There's nothing like having your house back in order after the holidays.
7.  I've decided there will be no more "resolutions" just goals for the year.  They are much more rewarding when met!
8.  There's nothing better then hearing my baby saying Mum-Mum-Mum.
9.  Normally, it's when she's tired and hungry.
10.  New Year's Eve was sort-of a bust this year, I was zonked out on the couch by 9pm.
11.  I blame it on A's cruddy sleep the night before, she was up whining most of the night and I felt like I never fully slept at all that night.
12.  The Other Guys is a funny movie - I highly suggest watching it if you haven't yet.
13.  Love weekends when I can relax and watch some movies on tv - this was my plan for Sunday and I achieved it for the most part!