Friday, April 25, 2008

Freebies for Frugal Moms

As a Stay-At-Home-Mom, I find it important to contribute to our family's financial status in whatever little ways I can. I cut coupons and chase grocery ads as much as my sanity will allow, for example. I can save an average of $25-$40 per shopping trip just by spending half an hour clipping and perusing to formulate my plan of attack! I like to think of it as making that much an hour; seeing it in that light helps keep my motivation rolling. I know it's not a lot, and it's certainly not for everyone, but that's how I feel contributory to our finances. Heck, sometimes I "cash it in" for a dinner out, and who can argue with that?!

My latest in the penny-pinching department is thanks to my sister-in-law Angela, who introduced me to freebies4mom. She compiles all the free samples being offered from lots of different companies and genres into a nice blog. I love the updates on how and where I can suck up some free stuff. Obviously this is not interesting to everyone, but I love trial-sized lotions (perfect for diaper bags!) and shampoos (travelling!) and any free diaper is welcome in my house! On it's way to my mail box is a coupon for a free regular sized flavored coffee creamer of my choice from CoffeeMate!

This blog also has links to contests and hints for being a Frugal Mom. I added it to my RSS feed and love all the listings for more little free samples!
So the moral of the story is that I put a link-button on my side-bar (it's bright pink, you can't miss it... yeah, right over there -----> ) and encourage anyone else interested in free make-up, diapers, lotions, food, coupons to check it out! Oh, and to indulge my curiosity I'll invite anyone who does check it out to leave me a comment about what they found - just because I'm nosy, I guess, and want to make sure I didn't miss out on anything!

Oh, by the way, one of the biggest ways I help save us money is by exercising self-control when shopping among pretty dresses for my little one. That one is the hardest way yet! Happy Saving!!

Flower Child

Springtime is a wonderful opportunity to adorn little girls in simple dresses and surround them with the freshy blooming flora. And so, without further ado, here are some of my very favorite recent pictures of my darling Isabella.
In this first picture she is excitedly talking - of course. She has such stories to tell us, and one day we will understand them!Ok so she had something in her hand that was most likely on it's way to the mouth, but in the interim didn't this make for a sweet little pose?

Anytime we are outside we are happy! I am all-too-happy to oblige, as sunshine is always good my soul. The past week we have spent at least some of every day outside enjoying the beautiful, perfect weather. Warm, sunny, just enough breeze to keep those drat bugs away, and perfect for long walks around the neighborhood or trips to the park.

The Future Doctor Isabella? We were having fun playing dress-up. At least one of us was :)

Seeing His Holiness**

Last week I had an incredible opportunity - I was at Andrew's Air Force Base to wave "bye" to Pope Benedict! Yes, quite unexpectedly I was able to partake in the frenzy surrounding the Papal Visit. It was so incredible!

Thanks to my brother, we had front row seats (not that we were sitting in them when His Holiness showed up!) to watch him pull up, get out of the car, walk up the steps to the plane, and wave to us. Oh, and of course we cheered loudly to let him know just how much we love him! What a blessing to have an unobstructed close view of such a great and holy man!!!

Although it sounds so simple-minded, I was impressed just watching him walk up the stairs. I am too young to remember the late Pope John Paul II's younger and healthier years; to watch Pope Benedict take those steps at such a fast rate was impressive! I think I would have fallen flat on my face. Even after a few busy, exhausting days, he still had a lot of energy.

I got a few pictures and video footage of him walking up the steps, but I decided not to betray my lack of videography skills by actually posting the clip. Watch EWTN, their camera man is in fact better at such things, as one would hope. Speaking of EWTN, they had the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See on, who said that (I think 6) years ago he was speaking with Cardinal Ratzinger about a trip to America, to which the Cardinal replied, "I am getting to an age where I do not think transatlantic travel is for me anymore." One has to laugh at God's plan sometimes.

Oh, and in case anyone is interested, I wanted to put a huge plug in for (D.C.) Channel 9 News. Their coverage of the Papal Mass was BEAUTIFULLY done! Instead of the vigilant anti-Catholic rhetoric we see and hear far too often in the news media, they were amazingly reverent. The main reporter was polite and respectful, and the priest they had commenting and explaining the Mass was clear and informative. In other words, they showed the honor and respect that I would have expected for any historic, cultural, and religious event. (May I dare to suggest that I enjoyed their coverage better that EWTN's?)

Te Amo, Papa.

**You will have to excuse my once again delayed blogging. The Papal visit was April 15-20, and my experience was when he left DC on April 19th. **

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I have really been slacking in the photography department lately, but today I believe I redeemed myself with these photos.

Aren't they adorable? Sometimes I can not believe the funny positions in which she falls asleep. Snuggled up with her little lamb was just too much to pass-up.

It is my plan to resume "Bella Stalker" status.

Selfish Revelation

Well this little respiratory infection has taken a lot out of me the past week, while Bella continues to act like her normal self. Hence the light blogging. Both of us are on meds now, and I'm anticipating any day now that I will feel better. In the meantime, my little girl has been learning what she sees, and now "blows" her nose into a tissue. Really she just leans into it and waits, sometimes even blowing through her mouth to try to make the same animal noises that happen when mama uses a tissue. What this accomplished is that when she does have a runny nose I can wipe her face without a total melt-down. I'll consider this a blessing!

Last night we went out to dinner thanks to Christmas gift cards, a real treat for us. When we sat down to wait for a table I had a revelation. There were these 2 women sitting there talking as we squeezed by them, and they did not even smile at my baby. Who do they think they are? She was not screaming, she was not throwing a fit, she was not a snotty-nosed germ habitat. She was even happy! I will not go so far to say as I took it personally; I was simply appalled that her new bicycle (named "Baby Blue", we heard) was more exciting then the cutest little baby around. I have gotten so accustomed to smiling at babies and my daughter being on the receiving end that when it did not happen, I was confused. Who doesn't smile at a baby? She even got a grin from the young teenage boy who sat down a few minutes later! Even before I had a child I loved looking at the kids around me, and now I am happy to smile and talk to any mom I see. I guess I must assume that they either do not have any children, or live under a rock and are anti-social, because there is no other explanation for ignoring my adorable infant. Just kidding.

Moving on to today, I am so excited that it is sunny and warm! YAY! We say outside this morning while I fed, or attempted to feed, her breakfast. My little epicure loves her some Cheerios, while applesauce is slightly less appealing. In fact, she made her first sign today! I was trying to get a few bites of fruit in her when she signed "more" and kept signing until I gave her a Cheerio. She signed "more" every time she was out of O's, actually. Sneaky little devil knows how to get Mama's attention; who could refuse such a well-said request?

While Isabella taker her nap I'm going to read some more of the fascinating book by which I've been captivated for the past few days. "Stolen Lives: 20 years in a Desert Jail", which I started a while ago but then just found again, is amazing and so far I highly recommend it. Afterwards we're taking a nice walk in the sunshine!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nothin' but Trouble


'cuz the world ain't ready for nothin like Y-O-U
(kudos to anyone who knows that reference)
She recently discovered the "stash" of Mardi Gras beads

Heading up the stairs - WITH the phone! Mama's girl must have her phone!

The Discovery of Plastics... and the kitchen was never safe again...

Shameless Bragging Zone Ahead

You have been warned - the intent of this post is simply to boast of my amazing daughter.

We went to the doc today for her 9-month appointment, so the growth stats are in, and she is even smaller than I would have guessed!
weight - 15lbs, 11.2 ozs - 5th %
length - 26 1/2 inches - 15th %
head circum - 25th %

So she's a short chubby lightweight with a fat head. :) I will add that the doc is not at all concerned about her, as she is acting and developing FINE, and is very, very active. If my ratio of food to activity were the same as hers, I'll bet I would be a lightweight, too! (note to self - kick legs and grab toes while eating, flip over and wiggle while getting dressed, don't sit still for longer than 30 seconds...)

So the doc was also very impressed with all that she says and does, and said that she seems to be "across the board at 11 months developmentally." She obviously takes after her father.

Unfortunately the head cold we've been battling for almost a week seems to be getting worse and turning into an upper respiratory infection (URI), so we also have a script for an antibiotic.

After showing off her amazing vocal chords after her shot (polio vaccine) and whining as we tried to get out of there, she grinned and played peek-a-boo for a good part of the ride home. Funny funny girl of mine. A nine-month-old-disguised-as-a-seven-month-old-acting-like-an-eleven-month-old Isabella Marie.

End of bragging. For now.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Funniest Blog Ever

Take a moment, put your drink down for safety, and read this post from the funniest blogger ever.

She writes about me, and doesn't even know it!

I laughed so hard, never realizing just how humorous a traumatizing situation can be. She deserved every vote she received in the "Funniest Catholic Blog" category.

Seriously, she *might* be funnier than Dear Old Erma. Or at least close.

BUSY 9 month-old

Oh Isabella, where has the time gone? How have you grown SO fast, and the days of you sleeping on my chest, and bouncing and swaddling you to get that way, seem so far behind us! Wow, you have changed so much; then again, as you become more and more of you own little person I can see what traits have been there since the beginning and will likely continue to grow with you! The height/weight stats are outstanding since we do not go to the doctor until later this week; however, I have time to write now.

The things we say: She has SO many stories to tell us! Bella babbles a lot, especially while playing. When happily occupied there is a string of "ba, ga, da, ma, na, fff, aya, iiii, ooo" going on! When she's unhappy it's the same sounds, but add a loud whine. Also, I am now confident about a distinct, deliberate "MAMA" that happens when she wants me! She crawls over to me, pulls herself up on my legs whining "Mama" until I acknowledge her. Talk about melting my heart! Also, she carries on great conversations, full of lively hand gestures and excited inflection. She's so funny. She waves "hi" with a noise that occasionally actually sounds like "hi." It's happening more often now, though!
The games we play: Peek-a-Boo is her favorite, and she's just learning "how big is baby?" and "how much do I love you?" She loves a good chase around the floor, filled with excited squeals and fast crawling! She likes to do all the different activities on her play table, and enjoys anything that makes noise like rattles or cousin Rachael. Oh, my Isabella also loves that baby in the mirror! Anytime we pass one she gets so excited and waves and babbles. She has a book that has a little mirror on every other page and she loves to look at it and then give herself big kisses! So darn cute!!!

On the MOVE: I do not find my Bella sitting still very often. In fact, she wiggles while she sleeps and she kicks and grabs at things while she nurses. *whew* In her preparation to take over the world, she is crawling like a champ, walking along furniture/boxes/legs/tables/cousin Rachael/anything and everything she can reach! On Easter she also discovered that the stairs were no longer too tall for her, and she has been unstoppable since! The other day she crawled over with toys in her hand and crawled upstairs with said toys as if saying, "Mama I'm going to go play with these in my room, okay?" She's crazy I tell ya! Every time I turn around she is doing something that makes my jaw drop. Yesterday she walked across the room with Aunt Angela, about 15 steps, only holding on with ONE HAND. Where does she get ideas like this?! Certainly NOT from her motorcycle-riding, cliff-jumping parents. Nope.

The walker is another favorite activity, especially at Mame and Papa-Tom's house, where there is a whole circle of hardwood floors on which to "walk." The impressive thing about this is that she does not get frustrated when she bumps into something; rather, she simple backs up and turns herself until she is able to get around it! How cool is that?
Another favorite is being outside. Isabella loves to be outside, loves the water, and loves to be naked. I see a summer of a very happy baby! I can only imagine how much busier we are going to get in the coming months! I have known for a while that she was going to keep me busy. I think that might be the grossest understatement ever.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

She Makes Me Proud

Last week I had the stones for our retaining wall delivered, and the truck arrived during Bella's morning nap. Big flatbed trucks with hydraulic manual cranes are not quiet. They back into my driveway and unload right where I asked them to, which also happens to be right in front of Isabella's bedroom window.

20 minutes of loud banging and scraping followed.

I had been listening for her, but there was NOT A PEEP until the truck pulled away! This means that either a) she slept right through the whole thing, or b) she was watching and mesmerized by the truck and crane.

Either way makes Mama SO proud!