August 31, 2011

15 months

Dear Emanuel,

You are 15 months old! You seemed to have grown up so much this last month, and are turning into a little toddler right before my eyes. Your personality is showing up in full force, and I absolutely love watching you grow and learn. So what's new this month?
-You had your 15 month check-up August 23. You weigh 24 pounds, which is the 44th percentile, and are 31 inches long, which is the 45th percentile. Your head measures 18.5 inches, which is 43rd percentile, so I guess you're pretty proportionate!
-The biggest news this past month would be the fact that you stopped nursing. On July 24th, I nursed you one last time before putting you to bed. I'm not gonna lie; it was very emotional for me. In my eyes, it officially sealed the deal that you are growing up...but that's what we want, right? You adjusted incredibly well and have become even more independent since then.
-Your daddy taught you to growl, and now you growl all the time! It's so cute, but you do sound a little scary.
-You LOVE to put things over your head. It started with playing peek-a-boo, but then it turned into you just wanting to leave something on your head. You like to get the dish towel from the kitchen and walk around with it on your head. You can't see where you're going, so occasionally will run into something and fall down, at which point you laugh hysterically. It's a fun little game you love to play.
-You have become a big copycat, and mimick everything we do. If I'm brushing my hair, you like to do the same. If we're eating something and dipping it in sauce, you also want to dip your food.  
-You have started having a strong preference of what you want. And when you want something, sometimes you'll come and get my hand and take me to show what you want.
-One of the sweetest things you love to do is blow kisses & say bye-bye! It's the cutest thing ever.

-You have turned into quite the little pack rat! You like to throw stuff in the hamper, bathtub, my laptop case, and I even found our home phone in the refrigerator drawer one day!
-The fits are out in full force. They involve a lot of rolling back and forth on the floor, and recently you have started walking backwards fast when you're mad, then will drop to the floor and break into your fit. It's definitely a sight to see!

I have seen your independent side come out more than ever this month. It makes me sad but also proud to see you learn and grow each month. This next month will be a big one as you start Mother's Day Out. I have a feeling that will show me a whole new side of your independence! Don't grow up too fast Bubbers. I love you baby boy! XOXO

Love, Mommy

August 30, 2011

Haircuts, Planners, & Moving Day!

--Manny had his first haircut on Friday! I decided it was time to get rid of the mullet. I don't know why, but this was something that I had put off doing. I guess maybe because it really signifies that he's growing up. Regardless, I couldn't ignore the craziness of his hair any longer. Another reason I was hesitant to have it cut was because I was scared of it getting butchered. However, after seeing how cute Julee always cuts Brody's hair, I knew she'd be the perfect person for the job. Patrick fed Manny snacks and he sat there and just took it all in. I love how it turned out! He looks like such a big boy and his hair is actually manageable now. :)

--In the excitement of sharing my Erin Condren planner, I forgot to show you my favorite part! This picture from Manny'2011/05/one-year-pictures-by-jessica-meinardus.html">1 year session with Jessica Meinardus went perfectly with the color scheme of my planner. I adore this picture of him! I am still in love with my planner and am so pleased with my purchase. I know a few of you had mentioned you wanted one but they're just too expensive, and I agree. While I do think it's worth every penny, I just know it'd be hard for me to justify dropping $50 on a planner. I was able to get mine at a great price through the Plum District deal I shared with you guys, and I know I've seen other coupon codes floating around out there too. So I would say if you're interested in getting one, definitely do some googling first.

--It's moving day! They started packing us yesterday, and should finish loading today, with plans to deliver to our rent house tomorrow. Things have been crazy getting ready to move, but I'm so excited. I am not so excited about unpacking. We still have LOTS of stuff we need to get rid of!

Happy Tuesday!

August 29, 2011

{Locks of Love} Yes, I Did It!

Last Friday I got a new look! I have been growing out my hair with intentions of donating it to Locks of Love. Locks of Love's mission is: to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. 

I was inspired to do this after Jess did this in honor of her daughter Cora. I'm sure many of you know Cora's Story, but if you don't, you should go read it. I remember when Cora passed away, and although I didn't know this family in real life, it had a deep impact on me. I cannot imagine losing a child to cancer, and my heart just broke for them. Jess is so inspirational and her faith in the Lord will encourage you greatly, no matter what you're going through. 

People have asked me if it was hard to do, and I'll be honest - yes, it was. I know that sounds vain, but my hair is a huge part of my identity. I've almost always had long hair, and it's definitely the feature I'm known for. But every time I'd start to question cutting it? I'd just think of those who have no hair, along with all of the health issues they're facing. I'm fortunate to have lots and lots of hair that grows fairly fast, so in the grand scheme of things...this is no big deal. I am so glad I did this, and hope that in doing so, it brightens a sweet child's day. And on top of all that, I got a fun new haircut compliments of Julee! She did a great job and I am so happy with the results. :)

If you have long hair and are ready for a change, I encourage you to consider Locks of Love!

August 26, 2011

Project 365: Week 33

August 13 - Just another Saturday morning at our house...Manny watching a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Shirtless. That's his new thing, basically so he can play with his belly button - which he is obsessed with!
August 14 - Patrick and I at the airport before heading out on our first vacation sans Manny!
August 15 - The resort photographer took pictures of us on the beach today. I still can't look at this picture without laughing!
August 16 - My sister was awesome and sent me pictures of Manny throughout the week. He had SO much fun playing with his cousins! She took them to the park and said Manny loved it and was everywhere, of course.
August 17 - Today was our big adventure swimming with whale sharks!
August 18 - This is another picture my sister sent me. This smile...I mean, seriously.
August 19 - Home sweet home! I loved looking at the monitor and seeing my sweet baby sleeping on his belly with his rump in the air, just like he loves to do. :)

Have a great weekend friends! :)

August 25, 2011

Little Man Baby Shower {Bowtie Invitations}

My friend Ashley is expecting her first son, a sweet little boy named Judd Richard. Ashley has become a friend of mine after meeting through blogging, and now I forget that we actually "met online" - ha! Some friends and I wanted to throw her a shower, and it's going to be great to do this with this group of girls. I mentioned a Little Man theme to Ashley, and that's what she'd been thinking anyway, so we knew it was meant to be. I decided a bowtie shaped invitation would set the tone perfectly. :)

If you know Ashley at all, you know the invite had to have a monogram. :)

The color scheme is navy, kelly green, light blue, and yellow. I just love this theme and can't wait to get to work on some fun details for the shower!

I have received several emails inquiring about ordering these invitations, so I thought I would post the information here as well. 
I designed these invitations myself, and they are available to purchase. Because they are a special shape cut, they are $2 each (minimum quantity of 13). This includes full color front & back printing on your choice of traditional cardstock, linen texture stock (what I used), or pearlescent stock. Envelopes are included also, and shipping is $3.50 regardless of quantity ordered. These are printed using a professional printer and are excellent quantity. From the time the order is placed, they take about one week to arrive to you.

If you would like to place an order, please email me at sjg_ou at Thanks! :)

August 24, 2011

Riviera Maya Vacation {Part 2}

I want to start out by addressing something I meant to in my last post: safety in Mexico. The reason I didn't say where we were going until we got back was because some people kept telling me how dangerous Mexico was, and I didn't want to have to defend our decision...or start worrying we'd made a wrong choice - ha! Seriously though, when I talked to my travel agent about it, she said the areas we'd be in are perfectly safe. The majority of the problems going on seem to be in Mexico City, which is a 24 hour drive from where we were, and then the border towns, which is about a 4 day drive from where we were. The resort felt completely safe, and even when we went out we felt safe. So my advice is this: if you're uncomfortable at all, just don't go. But I did want to share our experience. On to the rest of our trip!
The resort we stayed at offered free 15 minute photo sessions, with no obligation to buy - plus one free image. We decided to take advantage of it, mostly because it'd be fun, and also we haven't had any real pictures done of just us since our wedding day. 

Some of the poses the photographer had us do were so funny...we couldn't stop laughing! It's just been awhile since we've posed for pictures I guess and just felt silly. But we're so glad we did this!

The jumping pictures were hilarious of course. The photographer said he's never seen anyone jump quite like me...not sure what to make of that comment! I look like I'm about to break into a herkie here....a little high school cheerleading stuck in my system I suppose.

We were definitely laughing so hard right here. Patrick was making jokes non-stop. All of these pictures of us were taken by and copyright Adventure Photography. Great memories for sure! Now on to one of the coolest things I've ever done...
We had the AMAZING experience of swimming with whale sharks! That is Patrick's hand you see at the top left of the picture. He got a lot closer to it than I would! I was taking the picture so I wasn't too far away though. :) They were HUGE but so beautiful and neat to watch. Whenever Patrick saw this excursion, he jumped at the opportunity to do it. I, on the other hand, was not so gung-ho to begin with. Yes, whale sharks are harmless, but they are HUGE and intimidating! I wanted to just go along for the ride and watch Patrick swim, but they were going to charge me the same either way, so I caved to peer pressure and went for it. 
The whale sharks swam pretty fast, so you could keep up with them for a few minutes but then it got exhausting for me and I'd fall behind. I like this picture because you can see the legs of a couple people floating by it, and it shows how huge these things really are. 
That is Patrick right there with it. He didn't touch it, because you're not supposed to, though he did come very close a few times when it would suddenly turn or something. Patrick took the camera at first, but he was so close to the whale sharks that he wasn't getting good pictures. Since I preferred to stay just a little further away, we decided it'd be best that I take the camera. :)

That's Patrick on the top left....again, he's not touching the whale shark, just very close. :) And that is our guide on the bottom right. He was my life saver! Though these are harmless, it was still a little scary for me just because they are SO huge. He held my hand and got me close to them. I didn't want to hold Patrick back so I was glad the guide did this for us until I got comfortable!

There were only 10 people on our boat, and they'd let us swim in groups of 2, along with the guide. There were probably another 30 or so boats out there of people swimming with the whale sharks, but the day we were there we saw at least 100 whale sharks so there were plenty to go around! In the top left picture you can see one if you look carefully. The captain of the boat would get us close to one, then yell, "go, go, go!" and you'd jump in and swim for your life. The way they did it really gave me no time to think about it because when they said go, you had to go right then! 

I'm so glad I did this though. After a few times, the nerves wore off and I was able to actually enjoy it. They said there are only 2 places in the world you can swim with whale sharks (without scuba diving), and they are where we went and Australia. The season is from May - September I believe. So our timing was perfect! 

Well that concludes our trip recap. We definitely will be going back, and staying a little longer next time hopefully! And a MILLION thanks to my sister Rachael for keeping Manny, along with her 3 kiddos, so she had 4 kids 4 and under...yikes! We appreciate it sooo much Rach! :)

August 23, 2011

Riviera Maya Vacation {Part 1}

Our vacation to the Riviera Maya was absolutely perfect. When we decided we wanted to go somewhere, we didn't really know where, we just knew we wanted a beach. I searched online for awhile, but it was just too overwhelming, even though I've always booked our trips that way. My sister-in-law told me about her travel agent friend, so I decided to contact her to see what kind of prices she could offer us. She got back to me with lots of options, and honestly the prices weren't any higher than what I'd seen it was so convenient to have someone taking care of the details. We ended up deciding on the Riviera Maya, and stayed at the NOW Sapphire, which was wonderful!
Our resort was AMAZING! The pools were great. They have a huge main pool, and my favorite part were the tile lounging chairs in the water. You can see them in the two pictures on the right. They also had an adults only pool with lots of cabanas. We seriously could have slept out there. The beachfront was also fabulous, but unfortunately my camera wouldn't cooperate with the moisture in the air, so I didn't get any good pictures. So sad about that!
The main parts of the resort were all open air with water and fountains in between spaces, with walkways connecting each area. The top right picture was a little place you could eat dinner. We had sushi there one night...but of course I didn't have my camera on me so no pictures unfortunately. The atmosphere was amazing though! The bottom right picture was where we usually ate breakfast. The view was great and it was the perfect way to start the day.
Here we are right before heading to eat sushi. I have to say that I love these headbands and always think they look so cute on people, but I've never had the guts to wear it out in public. Until vacation, that is. :)

On Tuesday, we went to an adventure park that had zip-lining and all sorts of fun stuff. There were cameras throughout the park that would take your picture so we made sure to cheese it up for them. And yes, we had to wear the dorky helmets all day - ha! :) The picture above was my first time going into the water. I still had a cover-up dress on at this point...didn't realize we'd be going into the water already! It was SO fun though.

Here we are at the end of one of the lines. That crocodile was fake, but we'd just gone over a group of real ones. They had a pit of those as well as a pit of jaguars, and you could see them when you were flying over. Very cool!

This place also had underground caves that were beautiful. The rafting was an adventure to say the least...pretty sure Patrick has never worked so hard because I kept crashing us! :)
We also got to go off-roading in an amphibious vehicle. I swear Patrick drove the majority of the time, so it's crazy that we have not one picture of him driving! Let me remind you again that we intentionally decided to be dorky cheesy. Yes, we're that cool. :)
Just a few more photos of us zip-lining. I only screamed the first few times. :) Their lines were great! Three of which went into the water...very cool, but exhausting, experience!

I will stop here and finish sharing the rest of the pictures in a separate post as this is getting pretty long.

Happy Tuesday! :)

P.S. I am suddenly very aware that I over-use amazing, awesome, great, cool, and fabulous. Time to bust out the ol' thesaurus.

August 22, 2011

Back Home & Mail Love

Hi friends! Well we are back home from a fabulous trip to Riviera Maya. It was so great to get away with just the hubs, but we were definitely ready to come home and see our little Manny-guy. :) I will post more details (and pictures, of course!) this week.
So call me crazy, but one of my favorite things about going on vacation is coming home to a stack of mail. Yes, weird...I know. But I love getting the mail everyday. And the only thing better than getting the mail everyday? Is getting a whole week's worth of mail in one day. And this time, it did not disappoint! Because I know you care, let me share some of the gems that were waiting for me upon my arrival home.
--Erin Condren Life Planner: It arrived, and ohhh was it worth the wait. I'm fairly certain a chorus of "Hallelujah!" was resonating when I opened this. Me and my Sharpie pens have been staying busy with this little jewel. Have I mentioned I love it?
--Rosie Posie Designs Sippy Cup: All of Manny's stuff for MDO needs to be labeled or personalized, so when I saw these cups I knew I wanted to get one for him. All of her designs are SO cute and she's great to work with. I wasn't sure how he'd do with it since he prefers sippy's with straws, but he really likes it.
--Waterproof Labels: As I just mentioned, I'm working on labeling Manny's things for MDO. I looked at waterproof labels on etsy and couldn't ever decide what I wanted, so I ended up just ordering some plain waterproof labels so I could design my own. I made a few the other night...I want to try them out to see how they hold up to being washed before I print a bunch...but if they work? I just might label everything, whether it needs it or not. You know how much I love my labels! :)
--And last, but certainly not blog book arrived! I've said on here several times that I'm using this blog as a scrapbook of our lives, so I really wanted to have it printed as a book. I bought a Groupon  to Blurb a couple of months ago, which is a great option to have your blog turned into a book. Unfortunately I forgot about it,  and with 2 days to spare I found out that it was about to expire. So I quickly tried to design it, which was a bit of a process because I'm OCD. The further I got into the book, the more I figured out the software. But since time was of the essence, I wasn't able to go back and fix the earlier pages. I still love the way it turned out though. It's excellent quality, and when I print my next book (which I should start working on NOW!) I think (hope?) I won't have as hard of a time designing it.
--Oh and I also have to share something fun I just ordered that will be arriving in the mail soon! I saw these menu boards on GroopDealz this morning, and decided to get one. They're only $8 ($9.95 with shipping) and are the perfect size. You can get one here...I think the deal is good for the next day or so. I'm hoping it will inspire me to start cooking on a regular basis...fingers crossed.

Happy Monday friends! :)

August 17, 2011

Teacher's Favorite Things {Free Printable}

For those of you that might not know, I used to teach 2nd grade when we lived in Waco. I talked about my classroom here, and shared some classroom resources I made here and here. I just thought I'd mention those links since it's back to school time, and hope that they might be helpful to some of you. Looking at those posts really makes me miss teaching!

Along the lines of school, Manny will be starting Mother's Day Out in September! I am so excited for him to get the chance to have regular interaction with kids his own age. This will also give me the opportunity to have some time to work on getting my business up and running. We have found a great program for him to attend, and we're getting all geared up for his first day of school.
My sisters have always made a point to find out their kid's teachers favorite things at the beginning of the year. As a former teacher, I love this idea! I can't tell you how many candles and bottles of lotions I still have from being in the classroom....well over 3 years ago. While of course it's the thought that counts, I think taking the time to find out what the teacher likes is so thoughtful and shows the teacher you really want to show your appreciation in a way that would mean the most to her. To me, even a $5 gift card to Hobby Lobby would be better than another candle. :)

So I made this printable to give to Manny's teacher, and wanted to share it with all of you too. You can download it by going here. (Update: I know the link wasn't working for awhile, but I have updated it recently so hopefully will work now!)

Here's to a great school year! :)

UPDATE: Click here for a link to an editable Word version of this file. 

August 16, 2011

Project 365: Week 32

August 6 - My parents met us in Oklahoma City while we were there for the weekend, and we did some shopping. They rode with us, so I let my dad sit up front and I got in the back with Manny. He kept putting his flip-flop on his head and laughing...he thought it was so funny.
August 7 - Manny LOVES to (pretend) drive cars. He climbed into the driver's seat of my mom's car all by himself and was so pleased.
August 8 - We were checking out of the hotel, and Patrick and I were in the other room getting stuff together. When we walked out to the living room Manny was standing on the luggage cart smiling gleefully. So of course Patrick obliged and (carefully) wheeled the cart downstairs with Manny standing on it. I'm pretty sure Manny thought he was king of the world.
August 9 - We met Sarah and Kristy for a quick lunch at the mall. I always love meeting up with blogging buddies! Manny had so much fun playing with Kristy's sweet girls Keira and Kinley, and we had a great time chatting. Don't you just love the way Kinley is looking at Manny?! Precious!
August 10 - And this would be Mr. Independent. He is officially done with letting us feed him anything...including his morning yogurt. Any tips on how to make this less messy?!
August 11 - A nurse Patrick works with has these miniature donkeys that are so cute. We stopped by their house one afternoon to pick something up, and while we were there they took Manny to check out the animals. He was NOT a fan. :)
August 12 - Remember how I said he likes to try to pick up everything? Yeah, this would be him trying to pick up his ball pit. Silly boy.

August 15, 2011

Vacay & Manny-Vision!

Well it's official - Patrick and I are on our first trip sans Manny! We made a last minute decision a couple of weeks ago to go on a little vacation before Patrick starts his new job. My awesome sister Rachael volunteered to keep Manny, and the rest is history! We are loving some down time on the beach and just relaxing is SO nice. But I'm not gonna lie - we've been missing Manny like crazy. We have been watching videos of him on my phone and just laughing at what a mess he is. I had planned on sharing these anyway, so here you go - some Manny-vision! :) I won't be posting the rest of the time we're here, but I did finish up a few posts while we were on the plane and scheduled them for later this week, so you'll see a few things from me after all. I know, huge relief, right? Ha! :)

The other day I was drinking a bottle of water, and Manny kept pointing to the lid. So I gave it to him, and he would put it back on the bottle. I was so clue where that came from. I love this video because you can see his little independent side wanting to come out and do it all...he's just not great at expressing that yet. Actually he expresses it quite well, just not in a way I prefer. And don't those chubby little cheeks and hands just make you wanna scream?! :)

This next video is of Manny throwing just a bit of a fit. He has discovered that we keep our lightbulbs under the counter in the laundry room, and for whatever reason he is obsessed with them! So we just keep the door to the laundry room closed so he can't get to them. Occassionally he'll sneak in there when I'm doing laundry and take out of there with a lightbulb, which was the case this particular day. I had just taken a basket of clothes to our room when he rounded the corner holding the lightbulb over his head in victory, grinning from ear to ear. Apparently I had forgotten to close the door behind me, so his first order of business was to get his grimy little paws on a lightbulb. So I took it from him, and the following meltdown ensued. It actually started out a little worse, and after a few minutes was when I decided to video it to send to Patrick. He had yet to see one of these fits firsthand. And for the record, I normally don't sit and laugh at him when he's throwing a fit...I walk away and don't pay attention to it...but I just had to get a little bit of this recorded.  The rolling around makes me laugh! :)

And one more for good measure...a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse dancing. :)

Happy Monday friends! :)

August 12, 2011

Project 365: Week 31

July 30 - This was actually a HUGE day in the history of my life. Why is that? Well, I went to Tulsa for a bachelorette party for a friend's wedding I am in this September. It was a great girls night, but also? The first time I left Manny over night. :( Patrick and him had a great time and became even better buddies than before. I definitely cried when I left...but it was good for me to get away for the weekend! This picture is of me and my friend Daysha while we were waiting to eat dinner. Daysha is not the one getting married, but has been a good friend of mine since high school when we cheered together. Fun times! :)
July 31 - Sunday I got to come home to this sweet face!! I was unpacking when Manny walked into the bathroom carrying a 24 pack of toilet paper. His eyes seriously looked like they were about to pop out of his head, but he was proud to be carrying it around.
August 1 - Apparently one of the things Patrick & Manny did to pass the time while I was gone was spin in the office chair. Manny LOVES to do this, and when he gets up of course he's too dizzy to walk and falls down...and then laughs hysterically. It is SO cute.
August 2 - I have been working on cleaning stuff out to prepare for our move. We just have SO much stuff that we need to get rid of and I don't want to move it with us. Manny has actually been a good little helper and will sometimes sit in my lap while I go through stuff. He rarely does that, so I love it!
August 3 - Today was Patrick's birthday, and unfortunately Manny was in bed by the time we had his little celebration. Manny & Patrick wrestled around as usual when he got home from work though and had a grand ol' time.
August 4 - Our sweet little family...I posted about this picture here.
August 5 - I had to mail some packages, and Manny was all too excited to be in the post office. I had to set him down to address some stuff, and he kept running around. At one point he took the keys out of my pocket, which I didn't realize. I looked over and he was trying to stick them in mailbox. THAT would have been an issue...luckily I caught him before he dropped them in. Such a menace!

Happy Friday friends! :)

August 10, 2011

14 months

Dear Emanuel,

You turned 14 months old on July 17! We've had so much fun this past are some of my favorite things I want to remember.
  • Hands down, my favorite thing you started doing this month is giving hugs. I will be crouched down on the floor picking something up (perhaps something you previously flung across the room) and you will come up behind me and hug on my back and rest your head on me. It is the sweetest thing ever!!

  • Along those same lines, when we are holding you or giving you a hug, you pat us on the back. Seriously precious! 

  • You are ridiculously obsessed with blueberries. You will eat a whole container in a sitting if I let you!

  • You love to swing your feet. I don't know why but I think this makes you look like such a big kid.
  • You have discovered your strength and decided you should be He-man, and hoist everything over your head. Some things are still a little too heavy, but it sure doesn't stop you from trying!
  • You are a dancing machine. When any kind of music comes on, you get your bounce on.

  • You took swimming lessons this month, and totally scared and impressed me with what you were able to accomplish! It's not that I don't have faith in you, it's just that in my head you're still a teeny tiny baby, and it blows my mind that you can "learn" stuff already.

  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is still your favorite thing to watch, and when I turn it on you walk right over to your chair and plop down. It's so cute to see you sit and watch it for a little bit.
  • All you want to do these days is CLIMB!! You are very resourceful in your efforts to climb, and have been known to stack things to help you reach. I would really appreciate if you'd chill out on the're a mess!

  • You are now regularly waving & telling people bye. It always makes people's day when you do that!
You are such a fun little guy. Seeing you explore everything and try to communicate is such an adventure! I know I'll say it next month, but I think this is my favorite age so far. :) I love you baby boy. XOXO.

Love, Mommy

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