Thursday, November 24, 2011

My 1st Whimsical Washday! Black Friday DEAL!

Welcome to my first Whimsical Washday! I have been wanting to post about cloth diapering for so long because it has become one of the passions that I have acquired along with motherhood. 

A passion for poopy diapers??? Yes. I have developed a passion for saving money, keeping my boys healthy and protecting the gift of this beautiful world that God has given us. And, yeah, I am obsessed with the utter cuteness of a baby in a fluffy diaper with an adorable print on it!

There are dozens of sites out there with great information about cloth diapers and the intracacies involved in using cloth. I am not an authority, but I have been using and loving cloth diapers since January of this year. It never fails to be a source of curiosity and questions to anyone who has seen my children wearing a precious print, a silky soft minky or watching me snap together the screaming, solid color one size diapers my babies are always sporting. I have promised many friends, family members and even little known acquaintances that I'd be happy to share the information I have gleaned from hours of pouring over blogs, reading articles, drilling experienced friends and my own humble experience. Its so much fun to share and my blog is the perfect platform for declaring my love of cloth diapers!

By the way, some members of my family think I've totally lost it! Even a brother, whose own family has just started using cloth, thinks I have gone crazy for enjoying my diapering experience with the excessive amount of enthusiasm that he believes me to have! I remain unashamed and rather proud of the fact that I can enjoy making my family's life a little better in such a colorful way.

So, what does this mean to you, my dear reader (that is if any of you are still left out there after my brief hiatus from the virtual realm!)?

It means that, from time to time, I will share with you about my family's cloth diapering journey, my sources for information, links that I love, ways that I have made an already economically smart move even more thrifty, where and how to get a great deal and photos of my babes sporting all sizes, shapes and colors of fluffy goodness. As this endeavor grows, I hope to add some giveaways to bless others out there.

Are you excited? I am totally pumped!

I promised you a deal in my title and a deal you shall have! I found this one via a facebook feed this evening and I've already purchased several for my self. Here it is: Diaper Junction has Thirsties Diaper covers that normally sell for 11.25 on sale for only 6 dollars! Buy 3 or more and you are only paying 5.75 per diaper cover! I bought several diaapers and the shipping to my area only cost me 1.44! This deal can't be beat! And you can check ebay and other sites to prove it. They also have more styles of Thirsties covers selling for 8 and 10 dollars a piece. Check out Diaper Junctions site at to find lots of great deal!

 Good luck with your bargain hunting and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Many Thanks!

I am so thankful to everyone who has been praying for my mom and her recovery! I apologize that my lack of a computer has kept me from allowing me to share the wonderful news that her surgery was a great success!

After a very long and scary surgery, Mom was taken to the ICU where my Dad and two sisters were able to go check on her (several hours later) and then begin taking bedside shifts. One of my sisters ended up fainting when she saw mom lying there ashen and cold with catheters draining the blood from her chest. The doctors had removed a tumor that was larger than a softball. It had been wrapped around her arteries cutting of her circulation and around muscles and the nerves of her vocal cords.

They had to cut open her sternum to remove all of it, but they did an incredible job and, by the grace of God, she is doing miraculously well! It was unsure if she would ever be able to speak again or if she would lose the muscles in her face and limbs. Thanks to all the prayers, she made it out with out any major side effects! The tumor wasn't even cancerous!!!

She is still in a lot of pain even though its been over a month since her surgery and the doctors suspect that it will take a few more months before the pain is gone (If only the hospital bills would disappear so soon! Anyone who has the ability to help can donate to mom's hospital fund at the website created by her friends ). She has sharp stabbing pains and every time she coughs she has to clutch a pillow to her chest. It has been rough, especially her inability to lift and care for her grandbabies, but she is just so grateful that God has given her more time with family and friends and that God allowed the tumor that had been growing for years to suddenly be discovered.

On behalf of all my family, thank you for your prayers and support. We are eternally grateful!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Emergency Prayers Please!

I am writing from the waiting room of the hospital in Tennessee.

My mom was rushed into the ER on Mother's Day with chest pain. They discovered that she had a substernal thyroid goiter that is wrapped around muscles and arteries. Its serious. They won't know if its cancerous until after the surgery.

They had to take a few weeks to find the three specialist that would be needed for her we are now.

She got to see all of her children and grandchildren in the past couple of weeks. She is at peace with what ever God wills to happen, but we are praying that God allows Mom to be with us for many more years (she's only 62).

The past several weeks have been very difficult. My parents don't have insurance and it has only added more stress to an already difficult situation.

We are doing a novena to Blessed John Paul II for a miracle. If you would like to join us in praying the prayers right now as she is in surgery, you can go to the website that one of her friends created

Thank you for your prayers!

Please keep my family in your prayers and especially pray that the surgery will be a success

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three Years of Wedded Bliss

Today was Paul and my anniversary. I thank God for giving me such loving, joyful and holy husband. I am so blessed!

Monday, May 23, 2011

One year ago today

 One year ago today, Paul and I were here in Wisconsin. We had just quit trucking and taken off on our motorcycle for a trip from Georgia to Wisconsin so that Paul could interview for his job here at camp. We had breakfast with the camp directors (now our good friends and neighbors) and then drove to Indiana Dunes State Park to camp for the night.

It was late when we made it to Indiana. We were cold and weren't sure were we were going to stay. We got to the park and they were filled, but the ranger told us about a few primitive sites that were further away from where we were and he thought they might still be available. We searched in the dark and found a spot that was open. Before you could say, "Sweet Sassy Molassy!" we had the tent up and were chowing down on s'mores that my dear hubby had been able to get get the supplies for at a little store while I was building the fire. It was lovely.

The next morning we packed up the tent (which Paul is very proud of because it was the perfect size for us and it fit on the motorcycle so well) and headed to Michigan for our best man's "going away to boot camp" party.

What a difference a year makes!

A year ago today we were footloose and fancy free. Riding a motorcycle, camping and visiting friends because we felt like it.

This morning I sat on our front stoop holding my not yet six week old watching my husband fill up the kiddie pool while playing with our two year old. The stereo was blaring a greatest hits mix of my favorite vocal memories- Garth Brook's Callin' Baton Rogue (memories of trucking), Jack Johnson songs (memories of good friends), Rascal Flatts' Bless the Broken Road (one of Paul and my songs), Josh Goban's So She Dances (listened to while trying to push Damian out!) and on and on...I began to cry as I sat there and recognized all the ways God has blessed my life in the past year.

This Tuesday, Paul and I will not be staying at a hotel in Paris Texas or going anywhere too terribly special to celebrate our third wedding anniversary as we have in the past. We would need a babysitter and money we don't have! Its okay. We have two little gifts that are so precious and valuable that words cannot even begin to explain how unimportant trips and all the other things we used to be able to do a year ago are. I am happy to sit on my step and watch my boys in our yard.

Or, even better, to snuggle up next to them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Damian's Pre- Birth Story

I have been asked to share Damian's birth story. I think it is important that I record my memories, because they are already slipping into a blur of diaper changes and late night feedings. It was incredible and emotional, but (Surprise, surprise!) not what I expected or planned.

Curious? Well, here's what happened while we waited for the Lil' Guy to arrive-

My mom drove up just before Damian's April 3rd due date. He seemed well on his way. Just after she got here, I had a long night of contractions (strong and different than ones I had previously had) leading into the next day, but they faded away and then there was nothing. His due date came and went. Days came and went. I felt like I would never get to meet my Jellybean.

I was HUGE!!!!

 Exhibit A

My Mom insisted that she babysit Lil' Man for a night so that Paul an I could take a "Babymoon". After all, we were becoming parents for the second time in 10 months!

We checked into a nice place 10 minutes from our house and went swimming. It felt great to be weightless! I dipped my feet into the hot tub just enough for Paul to massage my feet while he relaxed in the steamy bubbles. Bliss!

We kept busy as we awaited Damian's arrival.

My mom painted the nursery blue. We didn't know if we were having a he or a she, but we figured blue and chocolate would be perfect for a boy or a girl. It was wonderful having someone around who had the energy to tackle the projects that I could not.

While mom painted, Paul and I took Lil' Man to a Maple Sugar festival where we learned about different methods of sugaring and enjoyed a beautiful day out and about as a family.

We were trying to keep busy and keep me distracted from the "joys" of  pregnancy. One of those joys was one of those unplanned/unexpected things that I previously refered to.

I hadn't had any stretch marks until those final weeks and then suddenly they popped out and I developed one of those special pregnancy induced conditions referred to as PUPPP. It's a rash that starts on your stretch marks and spreads. It feels like a cross between having poison ivy/oak and millions of mosquito and fire ant bites. Ugh! I was miserable. It was especially bad on my poor, swollen feet. Just thinking about it now makes me itch!

As per doctor's advice, I used cortizone cream, but it didn't help me. I had read that drinking V8 and showering 4 times a day with Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap would help. It may have a little. It was just one of those things you have to deal with, but I do think my mom was ready to stick socks on my hands to keep me from scratching!  I'm tempted to show the picture of the rash on my stomach, but I won't.

Finally, April10th rolled around. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday! We found out we were pregnant on a Sunday morning just before mass. I was born on a Sunday. It was bound to be a good day!

We picnicked down at the lake here at camp. It was so hot and I only had winter maternity clothes, so I had to make do. My feet were so swollen that I was wearing boots lined with shearling wool because they were the only shoes I owned that still fit! Luckily my friend, Lauren, loaned me her shoes.

Like the boots??? :-)

By evening a storm had come up complete with a lightening bolt display, gorgeous cloudy sunset and a torrential downpour. We took my mom and Lil' Man to walk around the Kalahari resort that is 5 minutes from our house. Its a great place to walk around when the weather is bad. Lil Man loves it, but he becomes quickly overstimulated by all there is to see, so we were all home and in bed by 9 or 9:30. By 10 o'clock  I knew that baby was on the way!!!

The last family picture before Damian's BIRTHday!
To be continued... ;-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Catholic Kiddies

Where to even begin??? So much has been happening that I've put anything and everything I can onto the back burner for now. 

My Lil' Snuggler was 4 weeks old yesterday. I don't know how it happened. It really feels like its been a week and a lifetime all at once. I do want to share Damian's birth story, but that will be another story for another day.

The week after Damian was born Lil' Man's Dad came to visit. He had always wanted Lil' Man to be baptized, but circumstances had made it impossible to allow him to arrange it. We had been trying to have him baptized for the past 10 months, but kept waiting for his dad to be there to present him. With his dad in town we finally had the chance, but it was problematic because it was Holy Week.

There was a huge snowstorm (yes, a snowstorm in April!) the night Lil' Man's dad arrived, so we weren't sure when he'd end up getting into town. The next morning Paul went to daily mass at our parish and asked our Pastor if it would be possible to have Lil' Man baptized that week (Father knew the situation already.). Father told us it would only be possible if we could do it that morning!

In less than two hours we had the Camp staff, my mom and our lil' family at the church. A miracle in its self!

Father explained to Lil Man that he was going to have a "church bath" that would make his soul clean. Lil' Man's response?

"I take baths in the big tub at home with bubbles!"

It was so beautiful! I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down as I watched my Little Angel become a member of the Church!

Damian's baptism wasn't far behind his big brother's.

Lil' Snuggler was born into life in the Church on May 1st- Divine Mercy Sunday, the day of Pope John Paul II's beatification and the feast of St. Joseph the Worker!!! Who could ask for a more perfect day???

He was a little angel and slept through almost the entire mass. It was beautiful and the priest who baptized him will be camp's chaplain for the summer. Fun!

Sadly, Damian's godparents, my brother Michael and his wife Ashley, weren't able to make it to the baptism, but several members of both Paul and my family were there. Paul's brother Matt stood in as proxy for Michael and my cousin Angela stood in for Ashley. I was so happy that some of the family was able to be there.

We've dreamed of this for so long!

God bless both of my Little Lambie-kins and keep them holy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Welcoming Damian Gabriel!

I just wanted to quickly post a picture of my beautiful son, Damian Gabriel.

He was born Tuesday, April 12th  and weighed 8 pounds 11ounces. I was in labor with out any pain medication for 36 hours, but his head was cocked in a bad position, so they tried to manually rotate him (still with out any meds) three times before rushing me in for an emergency c-section.  

He was well worth the effort!

May your Easter be filled with blessings! Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever! Alleluia!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Making Plans (or not)

I was laughed at today, in a good-natured manner, for mentioning that I had given my OB a copy of my "birth plan" at my last appointment. The person's response, besides laughter, was, "I plan on having a quick, easy and pain-free birth!"

Wouldn't it be nice to write it down and have it happen that way because that's "the plan"?

I was a little hurt feeling that someone thought I was being naive to make decisions about how I wanted my baby to be born and expecting things to go that way. I'm not saying that things will go the way I would like them to, but I would like to try to make it as beautiful an experience as it can be.

Paul and I have been taking our Bradley classes and, even if we don't have things happen the natural way we would like, I would like to: A) Prepare and hope for things to be the best they can and B) Feel as though people I care about are respecting my decisions and believing that I have the conviction to try my best.

No matter what, the classes have been a blessing for Paul to feel more involved in our pregnancy and to help him know how to handle me and all the craziness involved in pregnancy. They have helped me know better how to take care of myself and the baby (even if I don't do as well as I should), to feel Paul's support even stronger than I had and to have a chance to spend with him talking about our baby and the changes in our life as we made the weekly two hour drive to class.

People have also given me a hard time about cloth diapering and saying that I won't stick with it. Why don't people just say, "Hey, that's great! Good luck!" and then if it doesn't work out, so what? It doesn't hurt to try. [Side note: Yes, I know many think cloth diapering is expensive and could result in people wasting their money, so they feel they need to "warn you", but our whole point of cloth diapering was to save money. We've bought and had people give us good, inexpensive diapers that practically paid for themselves in two months of using them. If things weren't working for us, cloth diapers have an amazing resale value. Plus, they encouraged Lil' Man to start going potty! Now we hardly use any diapers!]

Yes, plans don't always go the way we would like, but we all need encouragement.

When my husband and I got married "the plan", in our eyes, was to let go and let God decide when He wanted us to start our family- us knowing, of course, that God's "plan" would be to give us a baby ASAP. Well, God either didn't get a copy of our ASAP version of "the plan" or He has a way different idea of "the plan" that was not what I wanted it to be!

Funny how plans go, isn't it? Praise God, I knew that so many friends and loved ones were praying for us.

Looking back now I can see why God had a longer, harder version of "the plan" than the one we had come up with. It was hard and I had some times when I just wanted to throw a tantrum (and did!) that God wasn't doing things the way I thought they should go. Especially when I lost my little treasure, Paul Joshua, and felt as if everyone else around me was being blessed with one baby after another.

We, as Catholics, can understand the beauty of Lent and redemptive suffering, but sometimes connecting the knowing and the accepting are two totally different things.

Now I can look back and see how my suffering was needed for my soul and to prepare me for where I am now and the joy I am able to experience if I accept it. I have a new plan that I pray God will give me the grace to stick to. I plan on doing all I can to make this baby's birth as safe and joyful as possible, but I am prepared to experience the pain, the long time of apprehension and waiting and the suffering that will strengthen my soul and perhaps help others. I will offer up my suffering for my baby and for those who are mourning the disappointment of "plans" that haven't gone the way we would have liked.

Again, that is "the plan", but I know that plan will only be stuck to by the grace of God and the love, support and encouragement of people who believe in me and will respect me no matter what. I have complained during my morning sickness, my long nights battling indigestion, back pain and almost every time I've had the opportunity despite the fact that just a little over 9 months ago I "coveted my neighbors wombs" as they bore children I only dreamed of! I am SO far from perfect! But, I am blessed that I do have a God who loves and  forgives me, Paul to support me, family who will be here for us and a baby who will be incredible no matter how he or she makes it into this world. I am blessed.

Sorry for the rant. There is a lot going on around here right now and I am crazy hormonal, so I just need to get the minor stuff off my chest.

Did any of you have unique birth plans (or a birth plan at all?)??? Did you feel supported? How different did things work out from the way you wanted them to?

The sun is finally shining here! I hope it is where you are and that you have the chance to enjoy it.

God bless!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Annie had a little cow...

I came across this picture the other day and it brought back so many memories of growing up on our farm.

The calf was a little orphan that I bottle raised and kept in the house with me for a while after his mother died. I named him Juan Diego since our property is called "The Guadalupe Farm". He was the cutest thing when he would come into the kitchen to be fed with a bottle the size of my arm. He would slip around on the tiles like Bambi did in the cartoon when he tried to walk on ice.

Even when Juan Diego grew up he was as gentle and playful as a bottle-raised lamb. Sadly, he was half Texas long horn and his horns combined with his playful nature required us to sell him, but I will always remember how special it was raising him.

I want my kids to grow up discovering the wonders of nature here at camp, but also the experiences that I grew up with on our farm raising chickens, goats, rabbits, cows and horses.

One day I was reading Lil Man a book about a farm. He scanned over the picture of the barnyard filled with animals, pointed to the baby chicks and exclaimed with a big smile, "CHICKEN NUGGETS!!!" Ummm, yeah...what can I say???? 

I also found this picture of my youngest brother when one of our pet cats had her kittens:

My siblings picking vegetables from our summer garden:

The tree house and zipline that my brothers built in our woods- complete with an elevator and dumb waiter!

What an amazing and blessed childhood we had!

Thanks for taking a moment to meander down the country road of memories with me. :-) God bless!

The End Is In Sight!

Paul and my life since last May has been such a roller coaster! I have been reflecting on all God has done and the ways he has blessed our lives since last spring.

To recap:

May 2010- We finished trucking and celebrated our second wedding anniversary.

June- Lil' Man came in to our life and we accepted the job at Camp Gray.

This was taken days after Lil' Man came to live with us.
This was taken a few weeks ago. He's grown so quickly!!!

July- We spent with family in TN. I turned 30. We packed and moved.

Riding Sunset at home on our farm in Tennessee.
 August- We moved to camp and that weekend we discovered that I was pregnant-

 Pregnant with this Lil' Monkey!

Over the following months, baby and I both grew...

and grew...


Now the ticker on this blog says that I am 10 days from my due date! Baby is almost here!!!

It's crazy that I have been pregnant the entire time we've lived here at camp. And that the only people here that know what I'm like when I'm not a hormonal pregnant lady are my dear hubby and my wonderful cousin. Life is so wild!

My little angel could come any day now and I am so excited to know who he or she is, see if he/she has Paul's red hair or my blue eyes and to snuggle and smell the incredible new baby smell that we all love so much. I also feel unprepared in many ways and anxious, but I know God has everything in control.

I'm not going to lie, I am ready to feel "normal" again. Not to feel like I'm going to be sick if I eat one thing as opposed to another. Not to have to sleep on the couch while my husband sleeps below me on the floor because its the only way he can be near me and I can sleep (sort of). Not to worry that I am going to collapse if I am standing for 30 minutes cooking dinner. All the small crosses that I am willing to accept, but will be grateful to no longer have to bear.

I am such a baby, but I can't wait to have my mom here to take care of me. Doesn't that seem wrong? As I physically am about to become a mother (spiritually God has blessed me with my angels in heaven and with Lil' Man) all I want is my mommy!!! My mom is so wonderful and makes experiencing things so much more joyful. I know that my excitement will only be more fueled by hers. Plus, she will make sure I am eating well and staying away from things like the brownies that gave me the heartburn that has kept me up writing until this ungodly hour!

I am anxious for spring to truly be here, to get outside and enjoy my little ones in the sunshine! I've been in a slight funk after we had a enough warm weather to melt almost everything and to go outside with out a coat, but then we had two days of rain and we woke yesterday to a world of white. Again. At least mud is no longer being tracked in my house- only small puddles of melting snow! :)

Ahh, the roller coaster of emotional ups and downs! I will enjoy each day of anticipation. I love that our baby will be born so soon before Easter. I seems so fitting to feel pain and anxiousness about a certain loss and yet to know that it will all end with the greatest joy and celebrating. I just love Lent!

Pray that God gives me the strength to carry my crosses better and with a joyful, willing heart.

A blessed Lent to you all!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Little Miracles

Have you ever heard of the Marian apparitions in Garabandal Spain? My mom had a devotion to Garabandal when I was growing up and passed that on to my siblings and I. When I was 20 I went to Spain on a pilgrimage and ended up staying there for a while discerning my vocation with a religious order that has a devotion to Garabandal and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

When the Blessed Mother appeared to the girls in Garabandal she made a point of expressing that God cares about everything in the girls and villagers lives- even their cows! That has always stood out in my mind as just how concerned God is with the details in our lives. As we read in Luke 12:7 (Douay-Rheims), "Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows."

I am always amazed at how God answers the silly request I hold in my heart. He gives me find a parking spot when the entire lot is full and I'm too tired to walk, He blesses me with a call from a friend when I need to hear a loved one's voice and He gives me gifts I know I don't really deserve.

Since before I was pregnant I've looked at pictures online of maternity photo shoots and thought that someday it would be special to have beautiful pictures as a reminder of how amazing it is that God has allowed me to be blessed with the gift of carrying a child- a child I wasn't even sure I'd ever have!

Professional pictures are far from necessary, but I love photography and couldn't help but want to have some nice pictures. I have a brother-in-law, cousin and two uncles who are all photographers, but they all live so far away that it is impossible to have any of them take pictures for us. There was also no way we could afford to have pictures done by a local photographer. But, as I said, God knows the desires of our heart and, sometimes, He allows us to be a little spoiled.

One night I was having really bad heartburn, so I tried to distract myself by looking up baby things on craigslist (I recently freaked out realizing that I'm much less prepared for this baby's arrival than I thought I was!) and I noticed a posting for FREE maternity and newborn packages!!! A young, local photographer was trying to build her portfolio and was offering the first three people to respond to her posting a free maternity photo shoot and, once baby arrived, a free newborn shoot with discs and copyrights (to be able to print at Wal-Mart) of the pictures! My late night heartburn payed off because she emailed me the next day to tell me I had been one of the first to respond!

Last Saturday she drove out to camp and took pictures of Paul, Lil' Man and I around camp. Yesterday we received a package with two discs of pictures. I was so excited to see that the pictures had turned out even better than I had hoped they would.

 Here are a few of my favorites:

Isn't God good??? No request is ever too small for Him! I didn't even pray for the pictures, but like a loving spouse God already knew. 

Enjoy a blessed Sunday, friends!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Anyone Want Some Free Money???

Last year I discovered that I could earn free amazon gift cards (and lots of other gift card brands) without spending a dime. Every time I get on amazon and get something awesome for free I get so excited! I hate to sound commercial, but this is just such a great thing that I have to share it with others.

Some of you may have already heard of Swagbucks, but for those of you who haven't I want to give you a very quick and brief explanation of what it is. Swagbucks is basically a search engine that gives you points- a.k.a. "swagbucks" for searches. I find that I usually earn swagbucks between 2 and 4 times a day by doing searches that I would normally use google for. It is free to join and this week they are celebrating their anniversary. If you sign up (please do it through my widget at the bottom of this page!) and use the code: BirthdayFun when you are signing up you'll earn extra swagbucks! When you get to 450 swagbucks you can cash them in for a $5 amazon gift card. $5 may not seem like much, but in just the past 2 months I've earned about $30 in amazon gift cards. I bought Christmas presents with the ones I earned last year and now I'm saving to possibly buy an Ergo baby carrier for free!!!

I have had heartburn a lot late at night recently, so after I say my prayers I hop on swagbucks go to the sidebar and click on games and then play Word Drop until I am ready for sleep. I earn 2 swagbucks for every 2 games I play!

You can print coupons through swagbuck to use at your local grocery store. For every coupon you print and redeem you get 10 swagbucks.

I get a point a day for just opening the page "Trusted Surveys" and for answering the Daily Poll. That's equal to 60 swagbucks a month in a 30 day month. It's really easy to earn swagbucks and earn some free money for your family.

There are lots of other ways to earn points and you can feel free to ask me. Or you can get on Swagbucks and search "Swagcodes", "How to earn swagbucks", "Swaggernaut", etc and see what tricks other bloggers have discovered while possibly earning yourself some points just for searching!

I know moms who save their swagbucks and use them to buy diapers and groceries on amazon. I saved up and bought several Christmas presents this year with my gift cards that I had earned from Swagbucks. I am trying to decide if I should use my gift cards that I have earned since the first of the year to buy a diaper sprayer or an Ergo baby carrier (because I think my hubby will be more likely to use an Ergo carrier than my awesome Moby wrap or Mei Tai carrier)- maybe I'll just get both. :-) Their are so many possibilities. See what I used the first gift card I ever earned from Swagbucks for: HERE Perfect for Easter, right?

Okay, so I know I sound like a commercial, but it is so much fun to get something for free with out having to worry about telemarketers and the like. Plus it can be a real blessing to your family to be able to purchase something that you might not have been able to otherwise.

I am not writing this for swagbucks, but rather to help other people get a little something that will be blessing to them and their families. Plus, if anyone does sign up through me, I will earn extra points because I will get the same amount of swagbucks as they do for their searches. Its win-win!

If you want to earn some free gift cards, just scroll to the bottom of my blog and click on the "Sign Up" part of my swagbucks widget. Don't forget to enter the code BirthdayFun (just as its written here) and earn yourself some extra swagbucks to start off right.

Just so this post isn't completely commercialized, I must share Lil' Man's newest cute saying. His favorite book is "Go, Dogs,Go!" and we have recently begun eating a lot of mangoes around here. What do these two things have in common, you ask? Lil' Man is calling a mango a"Goman" as in, "Go, Man, Go". Cute, right? :-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowy Sunday!

They are calling for 8 to 14'' of snow and freezing rain today. I'm actually kind of excited. We enjoyed a wonderful week of balmy 40 degree weather, but all of our snow was dissolving into mucky heaps that were far from lovely.

This morning we were blanketed in white again (with snowflakes the size of golf balls coming down!) and it reminded of St. Therese and how badly she had hoped it would snow on the day she took her vows- and it did!

She wrote this little poem:
The Flower

All the earth with snow is covered,
Everywhere the white frosts reign;
Winter and his gloomy courtiers
Hold their court on earth again.
But for you has bloomed the Flower
Of the fields, Who comes to earth
From the fatherland of heaven,
Where eternal spring has birth.
Near the Rose of Christmas, Sister!
In the lowly grasses hide,
And be like the humble flowerets, --
Of heaven’s King the lowly bride!
-St. Therese 

My Bradley class was canceled for today and, as much as I enjoy my class, I am enjoying a full day at home with Hubby and Lil' Man being absolutely lazy. 
We went to an early mass to make sure we could get through the snow and Lil' Man was so good. When we got home and had eaten breakfast we sat down to watch Don Bosco which we had gotten from Netflix. As wonderful as it was I passed out on the couch and slept a full two hours! When I woke up hubby had put Lil' Man down for a nap and made me chili and tea for a cozy winter lunch. Can I just say, I LOVE SUNDAYS!!!
As you can see from my ticker, I am 34 weeks today. My best friend had her baby yesterday and I'm becoming more anxious to meet my wiggly lil' monkey with each passing day!
Paul took this picture this morning after mass of my ever enlarging tummy.
Hope you have a peaceful and Christ-centered Sunday! God bless, friends! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

No, baby can't just wear anything!

I have been planning for baby's arrival since that pregnancy test showed up positive. I've thought about baby's birth. I've thought about baby's Baptism. It wasn't until about two weeks ago that it occurred to me that I hadn't thought about baby's baptismal gown!

I mentioned this to my dear husband  responded, "Do we really need one???" !!! ( Good man was just trying to be practical and thrifty. You can't blame a guy for not understand the importance of clothes.)

Does a bride need a wedding gown? No. But, this is a SACRAMENT people! Its an outward sign of an inward truth. It must be celebrated! We want people to recognize through the symbolism the powerful truth of what is taking place!!!

And, heck yeah, I want my baby to look cute!!!

My siblings and I were baptized in the same baptismal gown that my mom and her siblings were baptized in. A thin white gown that was cut from my Grandmother's wedding dress. Beautiful, huh??? I called my mom to ask about using it and she told me that it is so old and delicate that it really is no longer wearable.

I was heartbroken, but decided that we would just have to start a new tradition for our new little family. I wanted something lovely, so I did a quick google search to see what is out there. OH MY GOODNESS! Sweet and lovely is available, but it comes with a serious price tag (some 3x more costly than my wedding dress!)! There were a few less expensive options, but none that seemed right. And I really don't care for buying clothing online. I need to feel the fabric. That's just the way I am. Sadly, there aren't any shops around (that I could find) carrying what I needed. I was told that the closest religious gift shop that might have any was in Minnesota!!!

I was feeling desperate.

One of the moms in my mom's group at church has a children's consignment shop here in town. I messaged here asking if she had any baptismal gowns. She did not, but yesterday she told me she had gotten some in that were brand new and from Ireland! Paul and I love our Irish heritage and I just swoon over anything Irish (especially my husband!)!!!

I raced over this afternoon and found the perfect gown to start a new family tradition with. It is Irish linen, so it has that antique/family heirloom quality that I really wanted. It is beautiful, but is traditional enough that we can have both our boys and our girls wear it.

Isn't it lovely and old fashioned?
 The Collar


The Sleeve
 The Hem

And (drum roll, please) the beautiful Celtic cross on the skirt that is spotted with shamrocks!

Friends of mine have embroidered the initials and dates, on the inside hem, of each child in their family who has been baptized in their family gown. I think it is a wonderful idea and I hope to do the same.

I'm so happy that I found a gown I love, purchased it at a great price from a friend and have one more thing checked off of my list of things to do before baby arrives! I'm just so excited and happy that the new tradition of wearing this gown in our family will have special meaning because of its Irish beauty!

Did (or will) your children use a family gown? One you purchased? What do you love about it? Does your family have any special baptism traditions?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Little Hands, Little Fingers

Last night I could not sleep, so I decided to take advantage of the peace and quiet.

I have been pregnant ever since we moved to camp and have moved through phases of morning sickness, indigestion, achiness, heartburn and dizzy spells. It's been well worth it, but I have yet to make our little apartment "homey". I keep wanting to paint and fix up Lil' Man's nursery, but I really can't with the cold weather and my current intolerance of paint. I decided I needed some wall art to brighten things up.

I went by the store and picked up 3 cheap canvases and three tubes of that cheap acrylic paint that almost every where seems to carry. I bought a bottle each of chocolate, aqua and pink.

Step 1: Paint a base coat on each canvas, allow to dry and then apply a second coat.

Note the beautiful roses my incredibly sweet husband gave me for St. Valentine's Day.
Ignore the Christmas tablecloth that I have yet to pack away with the Christmas tree that went back into storage LAST WEEK! Yes, I like Christmas to literally last the whole year 'round!

Step 2: After everything has dried completely, I took an assortment of cups and baby bottles and applied paint to the rims to use them as circular stamps.

Step 3: After the circles had dried, I painted my hand and stamped it on the middle of the canvas and repeated the process this morning with Paul and Lil' Man just after breakfast.

Aren't my boys adorable??? 

Step 4: Step back and enjoy getting something other than laundry done! :)

Our plan is to do one for each of our children and create a line of them in the nursery. Cute, huh?
 Have any cute and frugal ways of decorating a nursery/kids room that you could share? We'd love any inspirations. I'm also trying to come up with cute ideas for homemade baby stuff (I'll be posting a few projects that my family has helped me with). Any and all ideas are welcome and appreciated!
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