Thursday, June 4, 2015

2015 Summer Bucket List

Two years ago, I made a summer bucket list with a ton of fun activities to do with the kids.  I felt bad because the summer before that (2012), I was very pregnant and miserable and didn't do ANYTHING fun with the kids.  Little did I know that less than a month after putting together our 2013 summer bucket list, I would be in my first trimester with Little Dude which meant that I spent the whole summer nauseous and sleeping.  The next summer (2014), Little Dude was...um, difficult to care for, to say the least, and survival, not fun, was on the top of my list.

This summer, I'm not pregnant, not going to get pregnant (No, really, I mean it this time!), and Little Dude is SOOO much easier to care for than last year. 

I decided to take the plunge and put together a 2015 Summer Bucket List for our family.  Without further ado, here it is....


1. Have fun.

2. Have fun.

3. Have fun.


And that's it.  No big aspirations.  No big plans.  No guilt when things don't go as planned.  No expectations other than to have fun.  I just want to enjoy time with my kids.  With all of Little Dude's needs and medical appointments, the three older kids have been somewhat on the back burner for the last year, and I want to make up for that simply by spending time with them as much as I can. 


This summer we will go on walks, play at the park, get out the bubble machine, splash around in our plastic wading pool, and have fun.  If we are able to, we might go to the zoo or a museum or we might not.  This year, the emphasis is on the quality, not quantity of experiences.


What plans do you have this summer?   



Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!
 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Little Dude - 14 Months

Age: 14 months


Weight and height: 19 pounds and 29.5" tall.


Wearing size: Size 3 diapers and 12 month clothes. 

Likes: Baths!  He learned how to splash in the bath right before his surgery in March and gets excited when I start getting the bathtub ready for him now.  He loves playing with the big kids and tries to follow them around.  He LOVES being outside and cries when the other kids go outside without him.  If they leave the door open, he'll hightail it over there to try to get outside.   

Dislikes: He begs for food now and hates it when we don't share what we're eating with him.  Because he still chokes easily and can't have dairy yet, we can't always share, but I try to find something on my plate that he can eat.  

Eating habits: His feeding skills have doubled in the last month!  Things he choked on a few weeks ago, he's able to handle just fine now.  He eats EVERYTHING by mouth, and the last time I tube fed him was March 28th!  He passed a swallow study with four different textures and thicknesses with flying colors last week so we have no concerns.  He hardly throws up anymore, and I think his reflux has improved.  He eats three meals and one snack a day and is even using a straw sippy cup!  He usually only drinks 1-2 ounces from it, but the other day, he drank all 5 ounces with no problem so we're on our way to phasing out the bottles.  He loves baby food pouches and I use them to supplement his diet after offering him table foods as he's not always able to eat enough of those in one sitting.
   
Last month, his GI and allergy specialists okayed him to eat gluten which has been great.  He loves crackers, bread, and pasta and the gluten free versions of those foods had a texture that he often choked on so being able to eat gluten has really opened up a lot of things for him.  We'll be introducing dairy to his diet too soon. 

Sleeping habits: He's been starting to phase out morning naps.  He still needs them about half the time, but I learned quickly that if he fights the morning nap at all, he won't take an afternoon nap so I've been watching his cues more closely to determine if he should lay down in the morning or not.  He hasn't been waking up quite as often at night and is down to 1-2 times.  That's not a big deal because all I have to do is give him back his pacifier. and he goes right back to sleep. 

Milestones: He learned how to army crawl up and over things such as the shelf on our end tables and is able to get up on his knees or into a sitting position when he's propped up a little bit.  Still not crawling on his hands and knees, but thanks to his protective belt and cloth G Tube pads, we've been able to avoid irriation on his tube site lately.  He's able to lean on something and stand for a few seconds at a time if I put him in that position.  He even was able to get himself in a partial standing position (leaning onto the seat of the chair with his legs straight) when he tried to climb up on our fisher price toddler rocker.  He's also turned into a little chatterbox which is adorable even though he doesn't say any actual words yet.  He says "mamama" when he's upset so I think maybe he's referring to me, but I haven't seen conclusive proof of that yet.
 
    
Miscellaneous: Around 7-8 months, Little Dude got 6 teeth in all at once and then didn't get any more for a long time.  Last month though, he finally started teething again-10 teeth all at once!  He now has a full mouth of teeth.  It was a little rough for a couple of weeks when he had so many teeth popping through the gums at the same time, but we survived and he's back to his happy self now :)  He has turned into a drool factory though!

Developmentally, Little Dude is still 4-5 months behind, but he's making amazing progress and his fine motor skills are right on track.  His therapists, his doctors, and I are all blown away by how fast he's progressing on some things.  I just have to keep reminding myself that although he's still not even close to walking, he'll get there in his own time.




Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Introducing the New Annalie's Baby Boutique Product Line!

I had so much fun coming up with my new product line and am looking forward to adding new prints to it soon!  I will be posting these to Etsy and Instagram tonight and they're already available for ordering on my Facebook page.  There will be some special deals and a giveaway on Instagram and Facebook so be sure to join us over there!

This post is going to be a little picture heavy so without further ado...here it is!

Organic knit personalized receiving blankets with your choice of a matching knit hat or headwrap (not shown.)
Can be personalized with any name, colors, font, and choice of graphics
$45





Organic knit personalized heart leggings with your choice of matching hat or headwrap (not shown)
Available in sizes 0-3 Months through 6 years
Can be personalized with any name, colors, font, and choice of graphics Leggings with matching hat or headwrap: $45
Leggings: $40
Set of two headwraps, hats, or mix and match: $24 




Organic knit personalized butterfly circle skirt with your choice of matching hat or headwrap.
Available in sizes 0-3 Months through 6 years
Can be personalized with any name, colors, font, and choice of graphics
Circle skirt with hat or headwrap: $45
Circle skirt: $40
Set of two headwraps, hats, or mix and match: $24 
 









 

Sunflowers receiving blanket and matching headwrap or hat (not shown)
Made from a soft stretchy knit so it's perfect for swaddling.
$36 for both
$28 for the blanket
$9 for the headwrap or hat




Arrows knit leggings with your choice of matching hat or headwrap.
Available in sizes 0-3 Months through 6 years
$36 for both
$28 for the leggings
$9 for the headwrap or hat










Colorful birds knit circle skirt with your choice of matching hat or headwrap.
Available in sizes 0-3 Months through 6 years
$36 for both
$28 for the skirt
$9 for the headwrap or hat




So My Sister Got Married...

My baby sister got married yesterday. 

I wasn't invited.

Yes, we're getting along just fine (we went shopping for a dress for her wedding the day before she got married.)  She and her fiance had a very small ceremony at the park with a justice of the peace.  They each had a witness to stand up for them, and both sets of parents were there.  They plan to have a simple reception at a later date to celebrate their marriage with friends and family. 


When she married her husband, my sister followed in the steps of my older sister and me by marrying her first boyfriend. 

They kept their wedding a secret until the last minute from everyone except for a few close friends and family.  The reactions they've received since letting the cat out of the bag have been good overall, but there were a few people who were horrified at the way the wedding was done. 

I'm proud of my sister for doing things the way she wanted to do them and not giving into society's pressure to spend a ton of money on a big wedding.  She and her fiance decided that the most important thing was the marriage, not the wedding, and that's something that gets confused quite a bit nowadays.

Congratulations to my baby sister...I'm still having a hard time believing that she's married now...maybe it's because I didn't get to actually see the wedding?

Anyways, I'm thrilled for her and her new husband and can't wait to see them when they get back from their weekend honeymoon.              



Friday, April 24, 2015

10 Must Have Baby Items

This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing something from one of the links does not cost you any extra, but it helps support this blog.  All products in this post are highly recommended by me and, I did not receive compensation for promoting them.

I've tried many different baby products over the last 7 years and 4 babies.  This is a list of 10 items that I would definitely buy again if I had the chance.


Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair

We didn't have any room for a high chair at our old house so I had to get a space saver instead of a traditional high chair.  I'm SOOO glad I did!  It reclines back for young infants, has a 5 point harness, straps onto a chair easily, and the tray slides close enough to the baby that they can't climb out.  The cover wipes clean and can easily be removed to throw in the washing machine.  It also converts to a booster seat although with 4 kids in 7 years, I haven't had the chance to try out that feature yet.  Traditional high chairs with the same features are often twice as expensive as the space saver high chair.



Mam Pacifiers

These are hands-down my favorite pacifiers.  I tried quite a few different ones with Princess, but these were the best.  They come in tons of cute designs and were the only pacifiers that didn't cause irritation around the mouth due to the drool factor.  They have dimples on the underside and holes for airflow.  Little Man's skin was super-sensitive as a baby so the Mam Air Pacifiers were perfect for him with their open design. 



Avent Bottles

The wide mouths on Avent bottles make it easy to mix up a bottle with one hand without dumping formula all over the counter.  The wide design also make the bottles much easier to clean than standard size bottles.  I like that the nipples have numbers right on them to indicate the flow of the nipple so there's no guesswork.  The measurements on the side are also easy to read. 



Baby Einstein Jumper

We started out with an exersaucer, but were able to use my sister's jumperoo for the last two babies (Little Dude is still using it!).  I liked the jumperoo MUCH better than the exersaucer.  It folds up when not in use, has four different height adjustments, and the hanging toys can easily be switched out for different ones.  My kids seemed to like the motion of the jumperoo better than the exersaucer plus the jumperoo isn't as noisy when a baby is jumping in it. 




Bumbo Seat and Tray

I love how lightweight and supportive the Bumbo seat is.  My kids were able to use this from a few months of age.  When we were going somewhere that I knew didn't have a high chair or place to put the baby, I'd throw this in the car to take along.  The tray is small and lightweight as well so it was easy to bring that too. 



Munchkin Traveling Flash Cards


I got these when Princess was little and have used them with all four of my kids.  Babies love flipping the durable pages and chewing on the handle.  Little Man learned all of his letters, colors, shapes, and numbers from this just by looking at it everyday with me, and Star is on her way to learning them too.  I love that the pages can be written on with a dry-erase marker and then wiped clean.  My kids loved tracing the objects on the pages which helped them learn better.  This set of flash cards is great for when you're out and about, and you can easily use baby links through the handle to make sure it doesn't get lost. 



Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes

This is a super cute toy and all of my kids, my nieces and nephews, and everyone else I've ever seen with it has loved it.  It plays classical music so it's not annoying to have to listen to it for long periods of time.  Of course, my favorite feature is the volume control :)



Swaddle Blankets

My all-time favorite swaddle blankets are the large flannel ones my aunt has made for each of my kids, but muslin blankets come in second.  They're lightweight so baby won't get too warm and have just enough stretch in them to easily get a tight swaddle.  I also used them all last summer to throw over the carseat when we were out in the sunshine.     



Lingerie Bag

Baby socks are tiny.  They can easily get lost in the wash so to keep from having to buy new socks every few weeks or so, throw the dirty socks in a lingerie bag and wash them in that. 



Baby Food Grinder

I keep one of these in the car and one at home because they make it so easy to feed the baby whatever we're eating.  Just grind it up, add some liquids if it's thick and you have homemade baby food in just a few minutes. 



What are some of your must-haves for babies?



Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Grace of God" Dvd Review and Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to the Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

 
 
 
About the movie:
Having lost his faith many years ago, Detective Bill Broadly is called to investigate the disappearance of the local church's collection plate. As he questions its various church members, rumors swirl as more congregants learn about the theft. When one unexpected church-goer confesses to stealing the funds, the confession resurrects Broadly's views on God, and helps him see that through faith and belief there really is rebirth and redemption.
99 Minutes // Genre: Family, Inspirational // Rating:  NR 
Stars:
•       John Ratzenberger 
                (“Cheers,” WALL-E, Toy Story)
•       Erin Bethea 
                (Fireproof, Letters to God)
•       Lorenzo Lamas
                (“The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Falcon Crest”)

Right from the start of the movie, I had a character pegged as the suspect.  The movie's description said that the thief was an "unexpected church-goer" so I had a few people I thought it also might be, but when the thief finally came clean, I was surprised.  The movie kept me guessing the whole time and had a storyline that was easy to follow, yet interesting with lots of twists and turns.  I enjoyed this movie and can't wait to watch it again with Hubby.  

I wasn't really sure how the tagline "a story of Easter redemption" fit the movie, but the message was still really good.  The perception of Christianity in the movie was spot on.  I also enjoyed the humor in the story line. 

If you're not the winner of the giveaway, you can still buy your own copy of the dvd at Walmart.     

How would you like your own copy of Grace of God?  Enter to win on the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.  If you've already won this dvd in a different giveaway, you are not eligible to win it again.  All entries will be verified so play nice!  The winner will be emailed and their name will be displayed on the Rafflecopter widget.
 
 
 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"The Adventures of Pajama Girl" Review and Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to the Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



About the book:
A cute, illustrated story about a girl's imagination and her magical pajamas. In this adventure, Ellie's cupcake pajamas pave the way for she and her Sis to take a journey to a land filled with all kinds of sweet treats. Their journey quickly turns into an adventure to help the Cupcake Queen find the missing sprinkles needed for her coronation ceremony. In searching for the missing sprinkles, Ellie and Sis uncover a life lesson that is important for every child to learn.


My girls were super excited when we received The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen in the mail...anything that involves princesses is pretty high on their list.  :)

The book teaches that stealing is wrong and also about forgiveness.  The lessons were taught in a way that was fun and entertaining.  I also love that the lead character, Elli, prayed for a sweet dream before she went to bed and ended up having such a fun one.  Princess is sometimes upset about having bad dreams and this gave her the idea to pray about it every night.  My girls loved the artwork in the book, and Princess enjoyed reading it to her little sister.

I do wish the book was written in prose instead of in poem form since it doesn't flow very well sometimes, but other than that, the book was perfect.


About the author: 
Sandra Hagee Parker lives in San Antonio with her husband, Ryan, and their daughters, Olivia and Elliana - the original pajama girls. A practicing attorney, Sandy is also a part of the music ministry at Cornerstone Church where she and her husband are leaders. When not working or writing, Sandy enjoys traveling with her family and mastering the art of making Pancakes a la Pajama Girl with her two girls.
How would you like your own hardcover copy of The Adventures of Pajama Girl?  Enter to win on the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.  If you've already won this book in a different giveaway, you are not eligible to win it again.  All entries will be verified so play nice!  The winner will be emailed and their name will be displayed on the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Whatever Wanda" Review and Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to the Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


About the book:
Wanda is in serious need of an attitude adjustment!  She doesn't want to accompany her family to the Rubber Duck Days Festival, and once there, she won't participate in any of the events or join in with her friends.  Soon Wanda receives some helpful advice and learns that "sometimes you have to believe something will be great before it actually is.  Being positive is a choice that makes everything better, not to mention, a whole lot more fun!"


Sometimes, my kids have attitude problems.  And, as dear Hubby pointed out one day, there's a pretty good chance they inherited them from me. 

Ouch.

When I sat down to read Whatever Wanda with the kids, I really appreciated the message.  It was easy for my kids to understand what the book was saying about bad attitudes and how to fix them plus, I got a good reminder of how to work on my own attitude problem. 

Whatever Wanda has a great story line and adorable artwork.  It's definitely a must have for our bookshelf!  I also plan to look for the other books in the Shine Bright series (Can't Wait Willow and Must-Have Marvin) and will be utilizing the many resources available for kids and adults on the Shine Bright Kids website such as posters, coloring sheets, reward charts, and more!



About the author: 
Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins, and niece of legendary motivator and the world's original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her Shine Bright Kids picture book series.



How would you like your own copy of Whatever Wanda?  Enter to win on the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.  If you've already won this book in a different giveaway, you are not eligible to win it again.  All entries will be verified so play nice!  The winner will be emailed and their name will be displayed on the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  



Monday, March 30, 2015

Random Monday - March 30, 2015

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I've finally figured out a way to make the bedtime routine go smoother.  Bedtime has been an issue since Little Dude was born because he's so needy.  Granted, he has gotten much easier to care for, but he still requires a lot of attention.  I've always had the three older kids get ready for bed at the same time which involves going to the bathroom, getting a drink, and brushing their teeth.  As you can guess, sending three kids into the bathroom at the same time to brush their teeth is chaotic to say the least.  Last night, I had each of the kids pick out a book to look at while they sat on the floor next to me as I fed Little Dude.  Then, I had them take turns going into the bathroom to do their bedtime routine before returning to finish looking at their books.  When they were all done, I set Little Dude down for a minute to tuck them all into their beds and rub their backs.  SOOOOOO much easier!!  Now, if I can just figure out a way to keep Star from getting out of bed 874 times before she finally falls asleep... 

Have you heard of Target's subscription service?  I use my Target redcard to get free shipping and 5% off on all my orders from Target which means that I shop online there a lot.  I recently discovered that Target has subscriptions to just about any household item that gets used up (toilet paper, paper towels, feminine products, office supplies, etc), and that the subscription service covers diapers and wipes!  Plus, I save an additional 5% on all subscription items I order.  So now, I have diapers and wipes shipped to my house every month and even save money on them!  Disclaimer: This rave review was not sponsored in any way, shape, or form.  I just wanted to share something really cool with my readers :)

When people ask me what's wrong with Little Dude, I usually say that he's medically complex or special needs because it's too hard to explain his issues any other way since we don't have an actual diagnosis.  My sister, however, called him special edition the other day.  I like that way better than special needs :)

I recently opened an Instagram account for my boutique (@annaliesbabyboutique) and will be posting special deals, flash sales, Instagram-exclusive products, and giveaways over there!  My first giveaway is actually running now so make sure you head over there to enter.

Follow me on Instagram at @annaliesbabyboutique to enter my giveaway!
   
Due to being pregnant or having a small baby for the past 3 years straight, I kind of dropped out of the craft show circuit for a while.  This past Saturday, I was able to set up a table as a vendor at a craft show again!  Princess and my younger sister came along to help out.  My mother-in-law babysat Little Man and Star at her house, but couldn't watch Little Dude because they're remodeling their house, and his lungs can't handle the dust and paint smells, so I got to take him along as well.  It was a lot of fun, and I realized how much I'd missed doing craft shows.  Princess was very courteous and informative to everyone who stopped at our table.  She also took it upon herself to make sure that everyone had my business cards "because it's free."  She was adorable and definitely an entrepreneur in training!

Me and my two kiddos at the craft show

Princess manning the table

Yes, we even tube feed at craft shows!

Monday, March 23, 2015

If Only Someone Had Told Me...

Being a parent is hard.  When I got pregnant with my first child, I read all the pregnancy books and a ton of parenting books.  None of them even remotely prepared me for the reality of being a mom.  Sure, friends and family try to warn you what it's going to be like to have a baby, but until you are there in the trenches, there's no way you can actually know.   



No one told me just how much poop, vomit, and other body fluids I would deal with as a parent, a lot of it with my bare hands and a few baby wipes.

No one told me that I would learn to survive on 3 hours of interrupted sleep and still get up and keep the kids alive the next day.  And no one warned me that I would live like that for 6 months straight after my youngest child was born. 

No one told me that the constant demands from four kids all needing something from me at the same time would be enough to make me want to hide, rocking, in a corner somewhere while my blood pressure skyrocketed.


No one told me that I would cry when my babies got shots or how much my heart would ache when my kindergartner tearfully told me that kids on the playground were making fun of her because of her hair.

No one told me that there would be days when I would sit down to eat supper with Hubby after the kids went to bed and realize that it was the first time I'd eaten or sat down all day.

And seriously...if someone had told me that I would have a baby with a feeding tube, a list of 12 diagnoses, and a possible genetic syndrome who screamed for his first 6 months of life, I would've run crying from the room.

When you read all of that, being a mom sounds awful.


But here's the secret...no one tells you how your heart nearly explodes with love when that tiny baby is placed in your arms.  No one tells you that one ounce of the good stuff in parenting is so amazing that it cancels out 2 tons of the bad stuff.  No one tells you that no matter how hard it gets, you'll just keep on going and know in your soul that it's worth it. 

Honestly, no one could have told me because until I became a mom, there's no way I could've understood. 



Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!

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