Tuesday, December 31, 2013

5 Ways to Help a Pregnant Friend

photo by Doriana

When I was pregnant, everyone wanted to buy the baby things or help with the baby once he arrived. But there are better ways you can help a pregnant friend:
  1. Clean her house, particularly the bathroom and kitchen. Pregnant women are highly sensitive to smell, so these areas may be hard for your pregnant friend to clean if she has morning sickness. Also, she shouldn't be handling or inhaling cleaning products.
  2. Cook for her. You can either help her make healthy freezer meals or bring a nutritious meal over once a week. If she works, bring dinner over after a long shift.
  3. Be her exercise buddy by walking or taking a yoga class together.
  4. Give her rides to doctor appointments or birthing classes, if needed.
  5. If she has other kids, offer to watch them so she can nap, exercise, attend an appointment or class, or pamper herself.
What are other good ways to help a pregnant friend? Did someone do something really thoughtful for you?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"It's Christmas!"

Every morning the week leading to Christmas, Caden would wake up saying, "It's Christmas!" and run to the presents under the tree. This was the first year he really knew what Christmas meant.

On Christmas Eve we had breakfast at McDonald's. We originally were going to go to IHOP because Caden wanted pancakes and my kitchen was still dirty and I was tired from all the cooking I had been doing the past few days. But it was already late morning, so we changed venues. It was a great decision: it was cheaper, faster, not crowded, and just as good (well, I didn't like the pancakes, but Caden sure did!).

In the evening, we went to our friend's house for dinner, where the missionaries were also invited. We exchanged gifts and played the game Kesha bought us (Trouble). Once the elders left, Kesha and I chatted while Justin and Marquez played his new basketball video game.

Justin's family got this Bears fan a cheesehead.

Puzzles from Kesha. The elder on the left completed his in just over 4 minutes. The elder on the right had some difficulty, haha!
That night, something greatly troubled Gabe. He was inconsolable. He kept crying in his sleep every hour as if having a nightmare. I think it was a combination of vaccines on Monday, over-stimulation on Christmas Eve, and teething. He finally slept for a few hours at nearly 2 in the morning. He was fussy and sensitive all Christmas morning. Gabe woke us up first, before Caden, surprisingly. But barely. He was up 15 minutes later and ready to open presents. We sorted the gifts; the boys had the most of course.

First, Caden checked his stocking, where he found 2 kiwis, his new favorite fruit. Then he opened his gifts. He got new pjs, a handmade beaded bolo tie, a LeapPad (tablet) with a case and game, and cars from Justin's family; books, ornaments, and a magnetic Noah's ark from mine; a doctor's kit and binoculars from us; and some other things from friends. He loved them all!

Caden's gifts

Giving himself a shot.
Gabe went next, with Daddy's help. He too got pjs, a stroller blanket, and tons of baby toys and board books.

Trying to eat his pjs. He also tried eating the wrapping paper!

Justin followed, and then me. It was a delightful Christmas. We had breakfast, Skyped with family, and watched A Muppet Christmas Carol.

Gabe was still impossible to please and didn't fall asleep until almost 4 p.m. Our friend Chaille came over and chilled with the boys while I made dinner. Kesha and Marquez arrived just as I was setting the table. I served lasagna, which everyone liked.

Justin and Marquez continued their basketball game, while the ladies talked and Caden played with his new toys. We had dessert and ended the night at 9 p.m. It was a fun but very exhausting day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Growing Up

Gabriel is 4 months old! He is no longer a newborn. At his appointment he weighed in at 15 lbs. and measured 25 inches long. He is at the 50th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference.

First time wearing shoes.
He discovered his voice after Thanksgiving and loves to talk. He likes when you imitate his sounds, and if you laugh he laughs back. He's very ticklish too and enjoys being eaten and kissed. He discovered his hands and feet. I think he looks so cute when he grabs his toes!

Gabe is teething. He slobbers and gnaws like crazy. On the 17th he rolled from his tummy to his back during tummy time and is really close to doing the vice versa. He also has great neck control and can sit up by himself for a few seconds.He still is not really interested in toys (except for trying to eat them and then being disappointed that he can't). He prefers face-to-face conversations. He hates being in his bouncer, Bumbo, exersaucer, or on the floor, and only tolerates the crib when he wants to sleep. My favorite is the way his face lights up when he sees me or Justin once he wakes up.

Great head control!

Caden shared his teddy bear with Gabe

First time in the exersaucer.

Gabe finally enjoys singing too. His favorite song is "If You're Happy and You Know It." He is a huge kicker: he kicks when he is excited, needs to poop, or is in the tub (his favorite). EC is going very well. His night sleeping hasn't changed, unfortunately. We're going to have to move the crib into our bedroom because he is too big for the bassinet and when he wakes up, Caden wakes up too.

Both boys sleep/slept like that

Still a thumb sucker

Speaking of Caden, he has had some developments as well. He was out of Pull-ups for a while, but these past few days he's been having issues again. He had a bad accident yesterday and didn't even tell me; that is very unusual for him.On the bright side, he has been sleeping in his own bed all night again.

Kissing Gabe during reading time

Caden figured out paper clips are magnetic.

Caden has learned how to give proper kisses. He kisses everything, even the bottoms of his shoes, so we had to set some boundaries. He is talking even more and remembering words he has only heard once. He loves to dance and has rhythm; we just need to work on his moves! His latest movie favorites have been The Sword in the Stone, Wreck-It Ralph, and The Lorax, all of which I enjoy too.

I can't believe how fast my children are growing up!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Meant4More Apparel Review

I am a firm believer that what you wear says something about you and influences your behavior. That is why I'm happy to share with you a company that makes inspired clothing: Meant4More Apparel. Their shirts and bags are printed with positive, uplifting statements that remind you of your self-worth:
  • Meant4more / I am meant for more
  • Love
  • Meant for something greater
  • I am purpose driven
  • Everyone matters

Their story:
In 2009, a group of friends of all faiths, and no faith, formed Meant4More Apparel, confident that such a message could reach beyond religion and secularism to empower those who have lost their way. Meant4More is a message that all of us are meant for something greater. Whether if it be in academics, athletics, spirituality, or our personal lives, it is a message that rings true in all facets of our lives. Meant4More is a reminder, and a promise to our customers, that every life has impact. Everyone, no matter the obstacle, can aspire for greatness and reach for their goals.
How can you not love this brand? I normally don't like to wear apparel with logos, but this is one exception because the message is so important.

I won a giveaway by them and got to choose any shirt.

I also received a cute tote bag with their logo (I am a huge fan of tote bags!) and an extra shirt just out of generosity.

*The t-shirts are soft, comfortable, and stylishly cut.
*There are shirts for men too.
*As stated on their site, "Ten percent of [gross] profits are donated to organizations that make an impact in the lives of others" and "100 percent of the profits from the Everyone Matters line will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention."

* None.

Check out Meant4More for more colors and styles with words that will make you smile every day!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Celebrations

Dec. 2 we went to Justin's work party. Everyone wanted to see Gabe. Caden went to a friend's house, because there was no way I was bringing a 3-year-old! We won a Nutribullet in the raffle. Justin danced a couple songs with me and then we went home.

Dec. 6 was our Stake Choir Christmas Performance. It was enjoyable but a little different. This is the second one I've been to (different stakes though) where they made the audience sing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. I'm musical yet I have a hard time following along, especially since I try singing alto because the soprano goes freakishly high!

Dec. 8 we watched the Church's Christmas Devotional as a family. Caden lined up all his cars to watch it too. I really liked when it showed the children singing during Elder Nelson's talk. I also like that the speakers now are from all auxiliaries, although I love the First Presidency dearly.

Dec 10. was our ward's Relief Society party. We started with dinner and then had a musical program with scriptural narration. I sang "Away in a Manger" with 3 other ladies. Our ward has a lot of talent!

Dec. 12 we finally put up the Christmas tree, much to Caden's delight. Caden put most of the ornaments in one spot. Every day he asks me to turn the tree lights on.

Dec. 14 was our ward party. The first hour was dedicated to fun: sugar cookie decorating, candy cane bead ornaments, a photo booth with props, hot chocolate station, and peppermint candy candles. Some children also did a short nativity play. After an hour, we had dinner. Gabe slept that first hour, and then was fought over the rest of the evening, though my friend had him most of the time. Caden loved making the candy cane ornament; in fact, he made 2 and kept another one his nursery teacher made. But later while we were waiting in line to see Santa, the clean-up crew threw his ornaments away. We were both very sad. I wish I had put them in my bag right away. This year Caden sat in Santa's lap after I told him Gabe and I would come with him. He was more excited by the treat bag he received afterward.

Dec. 17 we went to a dinner party for the Primary teachers and leaders. Like last year, they served pies: chicken pot pie for dinner and various pies for dessert. The kids made foam ornaments and the secretary's teenage son played Christmas music on the piano. I think he should play at weddings to raise money for his mission, he's that good!

Dec. 20 Kirsten and Adam came over for dinner and exchanging presents before they went out of town. I got Wreck-It Ralph, Justin got a video game, Caden got books, and Gabriel got a cute outfit. Then we all and our old neighbors went to the Mesa temple to see the Christmas lights and international nativity sets (my favorite). They had a new nativity scene on the waterfront that I thought was gorgeous.

Dec. 22 the Primary children sang "Picture a Christmas" in sacrament meeting. That was the extent of our Christmas program. Kinda disappointing; previous wards have done better. I've been thinking of going to another Christian church for a Christmas Day service since we don't have one (not this year though since we have the day booked).

Friday, December 20, 2013

Featured Seller: Ashley from Ershware

This week's featured seller is Ashley from Ershware.

My background is in art and design. I have an MFA in Art and an MLA in Landscape Architecture, and a love for fashion, eco-friendly materials and processes, and dressing my son in the coolest clothes I can find or make! I basically started my shop after making hats, accessories, and screen-prints for my son and seeing the reaction of people out and about. Pretty soon, my son (and main model) began to become recognized around town in the oddest of places!

My nickname is Ersh and I have an art/landscape design business called Ershworks, so Ershware seemed to be a natural extension and fit for my Etsy shop featuring kids 'wares'. I love the creative process, and especially love the thrill of the hunt to find just the right t-shirt to upcycle. This branched out into screen-printing, other hat forms, and lately experimentation with other clothing items that I hope to start production on soon.

All the hats are double lined in super soft t-shirt material that is either upcycled from well-loved t-shirts or made in soft jersey cotton. It’s important to have soft, comfortable, stretchy material, a point my son makes every time I try to put on a different kind of hat.

Currently, other than the upcycled graphic hats, the hats are made to order, in sizes that fit infants to pre-schoolers (and beyond - my 11-year-old niece loves her bunny hat). All the items are handmade by me in my home studio, squeezed in between preschool pick-up/drop-off and nap times. I like the one-of-a-kind quality that guarantees no two will turn out exactly the same.  

Check out Ershware for more cute designs. If you see something you like, use the coupon code France15 for 15% off! You can also find Ershware on Facebook and Pinterest.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


The winner of the Eternal Girl $10 shop credit is comment #10 by Alessandra Lalla. Have fun choosing your prize! I hope everyone has a great Christmas. I will resume doing giveaways at the start of the new year.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bad Parenting Advice

I saw this thread about unsolicited bad advice on the Facebook page Breast is Best. Most of the responses were shocking, while others were downright crazy! What's the worst parenting advice you've ever received?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Featured Seller: Erica from P&E Collectibles

This week's featured seller is Erica from P&E Collectibles.

My name is Erica and I sell vintage items from many different time periods with a focus on jewelry. I live in the suburbs and taught special education for seven years. Right now I am a full-time stay-at-home mom. I’ve always enjoyed collecting vintage items with a focus on Lucille Ball and Grace Kelly memorabilia. The items in my shop are found at garage sales, estate sales, flea markets, and rummage sales.

After having little to no financial success at flea markets and sales, a friend suggested selling on Etsy. I was inspired! I knew I had the ability to make this into a nice little part-time business. My other hobbies include card making, seeing musicals, and writing.

I think my shop is unique because you’ll never know what you will find in it. I have everything from beautiful vintage jewelry to old books to kitchenware.

Check out P&E Collectibles for more unique finds. If you see something you like, use the coupon code PECOLLECTIBLES10 for 10% off any item. You can also like the shop on Facebook.
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