Monday, December 31, 2012

College Hot And Not Knocked Up in 2013

In the last thirty six months I have been pregnant twice, gained and lost over 100 pounds, carried two babies full term, underwent two major abdominal surgeries in the form of planned C-sections and spent the last six months mothering two children two and under.  

As we all know, that last part pretty much means that I've sprouted more gray hairs and forehead wrinkles than I would care to admit at the ripe old age of twenty-nine. 

2012 may as well have been named The Year Of The Kids. I spent the better half of the year pregnant, during which time I was spoiling, preparing and transitioning Carter before the arrival of Maclane in June. I was up two pants sizes with tatas that I could practically button up in the waistband of said pants. Since June my world has happily revolved around cultivating these two little boys, making it a personal goal of mine not to lose my shit before 2pm on any given day.

As much as I loathe the holiday that is New Year's Eve, as is customary around this time of year, I got to thinking about what I would like to accomplish in 2013. I could think of two things. 

1. Do not get pregnant. 
2. Make thirty look good. Like, really good. 

I would love a third baby. I really would. But I would also love to drink on my thirtieth birthday, preferably a stiff umbrella drink (or four) on one of my all-time favorite beaches. Fortunately, this also happens to be one of my husband's goals of 2013, to drink on the beach during my thirtieth birthday and we've begun planning our return trip to one of our favorite vacation spots. 

Do you know what else goes great with a stiff umbrella drink on the beaches of Turks and Caicos? Certainly not this mom-gut I'm rocking which brings me to the second item on my agenda, Make Thirty Look Good. Like, Really Good. 

To help with this I've eagerly jumped on the Join A Gym In The New Year Bandwagon but with a side of personal trainer to kick my admittedly-lazy ass in gear. I want to be a hot mom. I want my husband not to be able to keep his hands off of me. Not because the baby still sleeps in our bed and the frequency with which we do you know isn't near as frequent as it should could be but because I am so hot that he literally cannot keep his hands off of me.

We're talking college hot here, Loyals. College Hot. And I cannot be College Hot while growing a human being for the third time. Unless you're into that sort of thing

Therefore, I have aptly named 2013 "The Year of AP." 

It's time I get my shit together and actually put a little effort into me. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit excited but I'm writing this out because I need to hold myself accountable.

Happy New Year, Loyals. Here's to being College Hot and Not Knocked Up in 2013. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

It Can Wait :: Take The Pledge And Win A Samsung S III

It's no secret that texting and driving is a deadly combination. We've all seen the commercials. The ones with friends, sisters, brothers and parents each coming forward sharing the stories of how their lives changed the minute they either sent someone a text or received a text while driving.

I think about this each time I buckle my babies into their car seats. Do I really need to check Instagram while I'm driving? Is that stranger who just posted a picture of their breakfast really going to miss my "like?" How about that text I just received? Something about the new season of Vampire Diaries or a flash sale reminder about monogrammed baby clothes. Can't that wait until I've arrived at my destination before I read it or reply?

The answer is yes. The answer is always yes. 

That is why I've chosen to take the It Can Wait pledge to never text and drive. That is why I've chosen to place my phone in my diaper bag in the backseat of my car while driving. Out of reach. Out of temptation to tweet, text or "like."

No text is worth risking my life or the life of my two beautiful boys. No text is worth risking the life of the Grandfather in the car next to me. Or the high school valedictorian in the car behind me. 

According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, teens on average, text five times more a day than a typical adult and drivers that text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. 

It is because of these alarming statistics that AT&T has partnered with teens to get the word out about the serious effect texting and driving could have on their friends, their loved ones and their future.

No message, no text, no tweet nor status update is worth risking your life or the life of a loved one. 

It CAN wait. Take the pledge and make it your New Year's resolution to not text and drive. Let's make the roads a much safer place to be in 2013.

Want to help spread the word about the It Can Wait campaign? Start by entering for your chance to win this awesome It Can Wait gift pack from AT&T and IntoMobile. Entering is easy. Just use the Rafflecopter widget below. Be sure to read all terms and conditions. Contest will end Friday, January 4th. All opinions expressed above are true and my own. I received the above gift pack in exchange for my honest opinions and aid in spreading the word surrounding the It Can Wait campaign. I did not receive any monetary compensation.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Lights and Love Night Light Drive For Sandy Hook Elementary

When I was a little girl and would awake, frightened, in the middle of the night there were two things I found much comfort in. The first was an army of stuffed animals that surrounded me in my bed each night and the second was my night light. A tiny beacon of light in that big bedroom of mine often reminded me that everything would be OK. That I wasn't alone.

That's my hope with these night lights. I want these night lights to serve as tiny beacons of hope and comfort for those children, families and friends affected by the tragic and devastating events of last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary. 

I can only imagine the terror and panic that the victims and their families will suffer through for days, weeks, months and even years to come. With each little light that shines for them in the darkness, I want them to be reminded that they are not alone. That everything will be OK. 

If you so wish to donate a night light please email me for the address. 

I will be collecting these night lights until January 11th and then I will be packaging them up and shipping them off to my contact in Newtown. Each night light will receive a sticker bearing the graphic you see above, stamped with an extra little note of love. 

Many thanks to everyone who has already expressed an interest in donating. Please feel free to share this post with friends and family!

Many thanks to Aliya of Aliya Rinaldi Designs for creating the incredible graphic that will adorn each night light sent to Newtown.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Maclane Allen :: Month Six

Dear Mac-Attack,

It feels like just yesterday I was writing your three month update and just the day before that, your birth story. Our days are so full that they are flying by at an alarmingly fast pace. You are growing, changing and learning new things right before our eyes. Literally, I could blink and miss something.

Weight: 21lbs.
Hair: Dark brown
Eyes: Green/Hazel
Diapers: Size 4
Clothes: 12 month sleepers
6-12 month GAP onesies and miniBoden

I would will time to slow if I could but at the same time, it's so exciting watching you discover new things.

You have no time nor tolerance to be idle, sweet boy. You love to be on the floor and on the move, rolling all over the place. You've mastered "sitting up" although with your chubby belly, it's more "resting your belly on your thighs" than actual sitting. But you love it and you'll play that way for a few minutes before rolling over onto your side and then all across the room. 

You are full of noises this month. In addition to your "Ma-ma-ma's" you've started with your "Ga-ga-ga's" and you'll chatter away to yourself and anyone else who will listen. You especially love talking to your brother. 

Speaking of your brother, you continue to be absolutely enamored by him. The minute he walks into the room it's all eyes on him and no matter what time of day, he can always get you to belly laugh. You think he is just the funniest little boy. You also love to pull his hair. He, however, is not so fond. 

You celebrated your first Family Christmas with Daddy's side of the family and as we gear up to celebrate your first Christmas in New Jersey, I can't help but get excited at the prospect of you and your brother joining in cahoots later on in life digging through our house searching for Santa's secret hiding spot. 

Everyone keeps saying how you're just the most mellow baby and it's true. You hardly cry and very rarely fuss. When you do, you shut your eyes real right and "complain" often refusing to look at us until you get what you want. 

After successfully trying oatmeal cereal a couple times last month, I thought it might be time to get to the good stuff and so I whipped up a batch of pears for you. You hated them. You pursed your little lips and staunchly refused to eat them. What baby doesn't like pears? Since then, we've been a little slow to introduce more solids but come 2013? Oh, little boy. Prepare yourself. Solid city. 

Your Daddy and I have given up on trying to get you to take both the pacifier and the bottle. Despite trying just about every brand and every nipple known to man, you just. won't. take. it. Perhaps that's the little overachiever in you. It looks like we'll be moving right to sippy cups!

No teeth have made their appearance yet although they've got to be right around the corner with the amount of drool you're producing. Your fingers, toes and toys are always in your mouth! Thankfully it hasn't affected your sleep just yet but I know those nights are coming. 

You're still sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed although with 2013 just around the corner, those nights are numbered. Part of me is hoping Daddy forgets this "rule" and we get to sneak in a few more weeks of co-sleeping. There's just something to be said for not having to wake up in the middle of the night and fumble my way down to the nursery to feed you! 

You're waking 1-2 times over night to eat and eating roughly every four hours during the day with a couple of quick little "snacks" thrown in for good measure. It's no secret that you love your food, sweet boy!

You have the best personality, Maclane and are an absolutely light to anyone and everyone who meets you. Within seconds you bring a smile to their face with your bubbly personality, bright green eyes and dashing little smile. Don't ever lose that, sweet boy of mine.

Happy Six Months, Mac Allen. We love you more than carrots. Love, Mommy, Daddy and Carterito.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Support, Sales + Donation Links For Sandy Hook

As a mother, I was so deeply affected by the massacre at Sandy Hook. My mother heart cannot fathom the heartache and grief that the parents of those innocent children are experiencing. 

I think of how a typical morning runs in our household and wonder if any of those mothers experienced similar mornings that day. The chaos of trying to get out the door in a timely fashion. The spilled juice. The mismatched clothes and battle of wills. I know I've said things out of frustration on these mornings. But to think that it could have been the last time I would have seen my baby? Hugged him? Kissed his warm cheeks and told him I loved him? 

It makes me ill just thinking about it.  

Having a child is to literally allow pieces of yourself to go walking around outside of your body, your control, your protection. Every day you hope against hope and pray that they will remain safe and then an unspeakable, terrifying tragedy occurs and all you can think is "why" and "what can I do?" 

I know that many are being silent this week and I continue to be in awe of how the blogging community rallies together in the face of tragedy. Personally, I do not feel called to be silent but rather I feel called to help. To give. And you can too. 

You can donate here to local non-profit organizations. 

The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut will provide support services to families and the community. All donations to this fund will go directly to those affected.

I cannot help but let my mind wander to the stockings hung on a mantel for those precious sweet souls who won't be home to unwrap their gifts from Santa underneath the tree. The empty seat at the dinner table. Those mommies and daddies who won't be tucking their babies into bed at night. 

My heart breaks over and over again.

Another group accepting donations is the Newtown Parent Connection, which accepts donations right on its website, Donations can be made via Paypal or any major credit card, and the organization says all donations will be donated directly to those affected by the shooting.

Taylor Johnston is an Atlanta-based jewelry designer who I happened to stumble across on Facebook due in part to a college-mate of mine liking her business page. She has created a special string bracelet whose proceeds will benefit Sandy Hook Elementary. She writes, "The "S.H.E.S." (Sandy Hook Elementary School) Bracelet: 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this piece will be given to the support funds that have been established in wake of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Please contact her at taylor (at) taylorjohnston (dot) com if you are interested in donating outside of your purchase.

Amanda, a Stella & Dot representative, is donating 30% of all profits earned between now and Christmas towards Sandy Hook Elementary and it's families. Any Stella & Dot purchase would make a great stocking stuffer and to know you would be giving back to so many families in crisis is that much sweeter.

Our Favorite Party Looks - Shop our Stylists' Top Picks

Kim, is using her Scentsy business to give back to the students at Sandy Hook Elementary. Her goal is to have a Scentsy buddy sitting on the desk of every student upon returning to school next month and hopefully more than that for siblings and friends also affected by the tragedy. A fellow Scentsy consultant who teaches at Sandy Hook is collecting donations since we are unable to send anything directly to the school during the investigation. 

Scentsy Buddies are currently BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE, so your donation would be going to two children at Sandy Hook Elementary ($26.91 buys two buddies). If you order, please order from the "Sandy Hook Students" party on her website. All hostess rewards will be used to donate additional Buddies to the students along with any commission she earns from this fundraiser. 

You can use her site to have buddies directly shipped to:

Heather Bishop
9 Goldmine Road
New Milford, CT 06776

Looking to make multiple purchases? Why not shop Amber's Scentsy site as well! She is working together with Scentsy and is hosting the same Buddy drive!

Lindsey, a BeautiControl representative, will be donating 25% of her commission to those affected.  Looking for a few stocking stuffers for the women in your family? From personalized skin care products to delicious spa elixirs, BeautiControl has a little something for everybody. Anyone who wants to place an order can do so directly through Lindsey (Payment processed via PayPal) and additional shipping costs will be avoided. You can email Lindsey with any questions.

Liz, another Stella & Dot representative, is sharing the details of her current trunk show that will donate 100% of funds earned towards the friends and families of Sandy Hook Elementary. She will be donating to the Newtown Memorial Fund and her trunk show will be available to shop Monday, December 17th at 11:30pm - Saturday, January 5th at 5pm. Looking to shop for yourself or a friend? The new Spring collection comes out mid-January so you may consider snagging a gift card to use towards a new piece in the New Year! 

Megan is an Independent Consultant for Rodan+Fields who plans to donate a portion of all sales in December to Sandy Hook families. R+F has some amazing skin care products for every skin type! Click here to be taken to her website  for products and she has an additional website for anyone looking to grow their own business in very part time hours!

! If you sign up as a preferred customer, she can get you 10% off and free shipping! Spend $185, and get a free 30 day supply of our popular Night Renewing Serum!

Rodan and Fields

Cassidy of Cassidy's Crochet Creations will be offering 20% of proceeds of her ready to ship items to go towards Sandy Hook from 8am (central time) on Tuesday, 12/18/12 to 8am (central) Wednesday, 12/19/12. All items will ship Wednesday, so they *should* make it to people before Christmas. Be sure to check out her shop- she has some adorable babies and kids' hats, coffee cozies, infinity scarves and more! 

Crochet Puppy Hat RTS (FREE SHIPPING)

Newtown Alumni have begun selling Newtown Pride T-Shirts. You can find them here. They write, "We’re Newtown Alumni and want to give back. We made these shirts because we truly love, and will always love, Newtown. We have a deep sense of pride for our home. The original design was created by Newtown Alumni and all proceeds will go towards the Sandy Hook Elementary School student families and PTSA."

Product Image

{Taken from Mom Endeavors} In addition to thanking a teacher or making a donation to the Sandy Hook vic­tims’ fam­i­lies, why not make some snowflakes?! The Connecticut PTSA is spear­head­ing this won­der­ful way to craft for a cause on behalf of the Sandy Hook PTA. When school resumes for Sandy Hook, it will be in a new build­ing. Parent-volunteers want to ensure that the stu­dents are wel­comed back by a win­ter won­der­land with the entire school dec­o­rated with as many unique snowflakes as pos­si­ble. So, please help the stu­dents of Sandy Hook have a win­ter won­der­land at their new school! Get cre­ative as no two snowflakes are alike! Please send your snowflakes to the Con­necti­cut PTSA no later than Jan­u­ary 12, 2013:
Con­necti­cut PTSA
60 Con­nolly Park­way
Build­ing 12, Suite 103
Ham­den, CT 06514

If you know of any other fundraising opportunities for the victims of this terrible tragedy, I would love for you to leave them in the comments section and I will go ahead and highlight them and re-post them in the body of this post.

For Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Josephine, Madeline, Chase, Anne Marie, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin, Allison, Dawn, Olivia, Dylan, Catherine, James, Avielle, Grace, Jesse, Ana and their families. 

Continued prayers, love and support for Newtown, Connecticut.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Double Chocolate Junior Minties :: Hey, That's Pin-tastic!

Having just hosted my husband's family for our annual Christmas dinner on Saturday, I had a tough time choosing which recipe I would share for this week's installment of Hey, That's Pin-tastic! 

A baker and sweets-lover at heart, this recipe was too good not to share and with the countless Cookie Swaps often brought about during the Christmas season, I knew it would be the perfect recipe to whip up. 

I've made these cookies a few times now and at the request of my brother-in-law, mother-in-law and husband (yes, they're that good), I set to baking them again this year for our annual cookie swap. The ingredients are simple and the instructions, easy. Each year I tweak the recipe and cooking time just a bit and I think I've finally perfected it! 

Makes 3 dozen cookies

What You'll Need

2 boxes of Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 5oz boxes of Junior Mints
1 cup of oil
4 eggs

What You'll Do:

Preheat your oven to 350*

Mix cake mix, oil and eggs together in a large mixing bowl. Drop tablespoon-sized spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Place two Junior Mints onto the center of each, pressing down gently. 

Replace cookie sheet in oven and bake for an additional 2 minutes.  Once finished, remove cookies from oven and use a toothpick or small butter knife to spread or "swirl" the melted Junior Mint. Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool slightly.

These cookies are absolutely delicious when still warm but even once they've cooled and set they are still deliciously chewy and gooey. 

this recipe has been adapted from a similar one found here.

i love you more than carrots 

Welcome to week 14 of Hey, That's Pin-tastic, the weekly link-up posted every Monday where I encourage you to pick one pin you've pinned and either "make, bake, decorate or create" it! Most importantly, this link-up is to get you to DO the pins you've been pinning! 

Be sure to grab the official "Hey, That's Pin-tastic" button and embed it in your post. You'll need to highlight the grab code and use your keyboard shortcut keys (Control + C) to copy it to your clipboard. Paste the code into your post and be sure to come back here and link-up! All posts bearing the button or a link back to ILYMTC will be pinned to the "Hey, That's Pin-tastic" pin board with over 2,800 followers!

I cannot wait to see what you all have been pinning and doing this holiday season! Thanks so much for reading and for linking up! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hallmark Holiday Card Pack :: Review & Giveaway!

Each and every year I try to be on the ball when it comes to sending out our Christmas cards on time. By "on time" I mean I typically like to have them postmarked and into the mail on December 1st, no later. 

I know, I'm one of those people but I just can't help myself! Not only do I love sending friends and family both near and far pretty little cards full of tidings and good cheer but I also love receiving them! Checking the mailbox each day is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season!

Every year, without fail, I always seem to run out of cards. At the very last minute I find myself at the nearest Hallmark card store scouring the shelves for the perfect card to send. 

With a variety of card collections and sentiments, Hallmark can help share the spirit of the holidays as you tell your friends and family what they need to hear – what's on your Christmas list, how much you miss them or how much you cannot wait to see them this holiday season.

With Hallmark's Interactive Recordable Greetings you can record a personal message and tell loved ones near and far something special this Christmas. Not sure what to record, how about your child’s wish list? Children can record their wish lists directly into this card to let Santa, grandma or someone else special know what they’d like to receive for Christmas. Fun for all ages, the Recordable Wish List card is especially perfect for little ones who aren't yet able to write a wish list for Santa.  

Or if you're like Carter, you prefer to record yourself singing Jingle Bells. Whatever floats your boat, no?

Interactive Countdown Greetings: Build the anticipation for Christmas Day with Hallmark’s new Interactive Countdown Greetings Hallmark. With the help of Mickey Mouse, or one of Santa’s friendly elves, these cards double as a holiday greeting and a functioning countdown clock. Display the card and watch the days and hours tick away, bringing you closer to the excitement of Christmas Day. 

Spread holiday cheer with Hallmark Interactive Greetings as the most wonderful time of the year draws near! 

I'm so happy to be working with Hallmark this season to give away to one lucky reader their very own Hallmark Holiday Greeting Card Pack. This pack will include:
An Interactive Recordable Greeting
An Interactive Countdown Greeting
An assortment of additional boxed and Signature Collection greetings

Be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! To ensure you receive your cards before it's too late, this giveaway will close Monday morning! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Peanut Butter Buckeyes :: The Perfect Holiday Treat

{edited: this post was initially shared here!}

If your family is anything like my family, Christmas is synonymous with sweet, delectable treats. Between holiday gatherings, cookie swaps, company parties and the piece de resistance, the Big Christmas Dinner, our Christmas season is chock full of little slices of confectioners' heaven. 

A baker at heart, each year I try my hand at whipping up something new to share with family and friends. This recipe brings together two of my most favorite desserts, chocolate and peanut butter. You may recognize this recipe as one for a dessert known as "Buckeyes" and with just a little bit of alteration, a lollipop stick and a pretty red bow, this tasty treat will be ready to share with family and friends in no time. 

Makes 25 "cookies"
Hands on time - 30 minutes
Total time - 1 hour 30 minutes


3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2lb. semi sweet chocolate chunks (for melting)

What You'll Do

(Prep your lollipop sticks by tying the bows on them prior to inserting them in the peanut butter balls)

1. With an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter and butter and mix on medium until creamy. Reduce mixer speed to low and mix together the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. (Combination will be crumbly)

2. Roll heaping tablespoon-fulls of dough into balls and place on a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Insert lollipop sticks. Freeze until firm, about 20-30 minutes.

3. In the meantime, in a microwave safe bowl, melt your chocolate according to instructions on package. Typically 10-15 seconds at a time until desired consistency. Stir as indicated.

4. Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate until about 2/3rd's covered. Place them back onto the lined baking sheet and put them back in the freezer until chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.

5. Enjoy! These pair exceptionally well with both an ice cold glass of milk or a piping hot cup of coffee with a hint of Bailey's. (Not like I would know or anything...)

Storage: Keep refrigerated between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Isn't that red bow just the sweetest? I think it adds the perfect festive touch to this scrumptious treat! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from my family to yours! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Best Of Me and ILYMTC :: A Look Back at 2012 And Happy 4 Years ILYMTC!

At the close of each year, I like to take a few minutes and go back through some of my favorite posts. And some of your favorites, too. For all of the new "loyals" out there, this is a great way to get to know me just a little bit better. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy!

2012 started out with a bang. 

In January, we found out "M2" was a boy and I opened up about how different it was being pregnant while chasing aroundThe Crazy Toddler Wildebeest. Second pregnancies are no joke and I longed for the 3-hour midday naps I had grown accustomed to while pregnant with my first.

In February I wrote a little bit about how I hardly everhave it all together  and shared with you some of the most insane dreams I’d been having thanks to pregnancy hormones. I mean, dreaming your husband and your brother in abattle to the death a la Hunger Games-style? Only in my dreams, of course. 

At 22 weeks pregnant, I talked a little bit about dressing the bump and shortly thereafter, hopped on a plane and left my Toddler overnight for the very first time. I flew down to Nashville where I attended my very first blog conference, Blissdom, and got to squeeze the necks of some of my favorite Internet friends

Upon arriving home I wrote all about my goal to find balancebetween family and this blog. This is something I continue to struggle with on an almost daily basis but it serves as a constant reminder that my children won't be this little forever.

In March I came to the realization that I couldn't convinceThe Husband to go along with the name that I had fallen in love with for “M2” despite doing the ugly cry on multiple occasions. Little did I know just a couple of months later he would come to his senses and we would end up choosing “Maclane.” We couldn't have chosen a more perfect name for the littlest M boy although I did jump the gun and order a pottery barn chair cover with the original spelling I had chosen around Week 20. Anyone have a "McLane" out there? Anyone?

In April I had my first official pre-M2 freakout over getting everything accomplished on the “Before Baby To-Do list” and wrote about that strange feeling of tinybaby hands in my hoo-ha. We closed out the month transitioning Carter to a Big Boy Bed and we couldn't have been more proud of him. Oh and I also read the Fifty Shades trilogy. You can read my review here. Thankfully I was already pregnant at the time because if I wasn't? I surely would have had a "Fifty Shades Baby."

In May I wrote a post about the “10 Things I Wanted forMother’s Day” and received a few of the meanest comments in the history of ILYMTC. I responded to them gracefully here in one of my most popular posts this year, “ItDoes Not Make Me Less of A Mother.” 

At the persistent prodding of a few of you, I finally put my thoughts down on “paper” regarding sex while pregnant and  the infamous Six Week Wait. I compared sex to being a National Geographic Expose and I was so happy to know that I wasn't alone in my feelings on the subject. 

June was just the best month ever as we welcomed Maclane on the 18th. Prior to that day, I shared with you all his name and a post I had written dedicated to New Moms. With an impending repeat C-section scheduled, I shared my Birth Plan which so many of you found helpful.

On the night before he was born, I published the letter wehad written to Maclane. In that post you’ll also find the letter we wrote to Carter the night before he was born. Be sure to have your tissues close by as it outlines the hopes, prayers and wishes that we, as their parents, have for each of them.

In this post, I share Maclane’s birth story and talked a bit about how I felt putting Carter to bed for the last night as an only child. Without missing a beat I quickly jumped into my new role as a Mom to two sweet boys and I swear my heart grew ten sizes in those first few days as I watchedCarter embrace his new role as big brother, starting with lessons on gentle hands. 

In between mothering and trying not to lose my New Mom of Two shit, I jumped on my high horse and wrote a bit about The Nature Of Blogging. Someone had to do it and as one of the "older" bloggers out there, I kind of felt all "Mom" about it.

In July I shared some of my Newborn Necessities and OtherMust-Haves, a post that has been pinned hundreds of times and continues to be one of the most popular posts shared.  In my constant effort to always Keep It Real I wrote this post, "I Do Not Have It All Together" and this post "Longest Day Of My Life." 

August came and I wrote about how motherhood often felt like one long celebration of life’s littlest victories and dug a little bit deeper into what it felt like to be a mom of two

In quite possibly one of my most honest and enlightening posts this year, I wrote about how, while sitting on the floor of Maclane’s nursery folding tiny little onesies, I broke down in tears and realized I wasn't donehaving babies

September? Well, that month started out rough. In one of the first posts written, I talked about how being a parent, for lack of betterwording, is fucking hard. Shortly after that post was written, I wrote another one about the time Iwanted to crawl into a hole and die. I can’t help but laugh out loud each time I read that post.

I wrote this post about a dream I had that was much more a nightmare than anything else. To this day I still have vivid recollections of it and it continues to rock me to my core. I guess it ended a bit rough too, considering that was one of the last posts I wrote that month. Worry only intensifies as a mother. Noted.

October began much better and held some of the most read, most loved and most vulnerable posts I've ever written. It was this month that I linked up with The Nester for her 31 Days series. I chose to write about Motherhood. You can read most of my posts here but it’s worth noting that my favorites that month were this post where I wroteabout having to be reminded that this life was exactly what I've prayed for  and this post about the things I wish someone had told me before becoming a mother.

Oh and I also wrote about Mothering Boys. You can read that one here.

I closed out the month blogging about blogging and judgment. I really hate blogging about... well... blogging but there were a few things Ineeded to get off my chest.

In November I shared a few of the things I learned from myboys which kicked off a week of guest posts as The M Family boarded our very first flight together, clear across the country, I might add. You got to sneak a peek into my Type-A personality with this post as I shared my  love for organization and packed the boys’ clothes in individual ziplock baggies by outfit. 

Upon arriving home I quickly made sure to jot down the lessons I had learned from traveling with my children. Lessons like “Traveling with kids isn't a "vacation." It is merely taking your children somewhere other than your house for a predetermined amount of time, doing the exact same things you do at home, but with much less arsenal and more than likely, much less sleep than normal.

And December. Oh, December. It is this month that I celebrate my 4th anniversary writing behind I Love You More Than Carrots. The exact anniversary, if you're so curious, is tomorrow December 13th. I'm hoping to surprise you all with a little video and a lot of thanks but as I'm sure you know, plans here don't always go as, well, planned. 

I can't believe I've been consistently writing here without taking hardly a breath for four years. I can't believe you're still reading. This month has been a good one so far- despite the death of the toddler nap and my sudden realization that I'm going to die tired. What a year it has been.

Thank you for reading. For following along. For your emails, your comments, your status updates. Thank you for laughing with me and crying with me. For telling me I’m not alone and I’m not royally screwing up my kids for the rest of their adult lives.

What a year. I cannot wait to see what 2013 brings. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Ladies Behind The $1000 Cash Giveaway.

One of the most incredible aspects of blogging is how it so often brings together like-minded individuals. In the four years that I have been writing behind I Love You More Than Carrots I have met and become friends with so many wonderful women who have both inspired and encouraged me. It takes a lot to sit down and share your heart, your home and your families with complete strangers day in and day out but I am constantly reminded of what a blessing this community can truly be. 

Yes, it's really great that myself and 9 other bloggers have come together to give away$1000. I mean, who wouldn't want to win one thousand dollars? I know I certainly would. But have you thought for a moment about getting to know each of these women? Learning their stories? Perhaps taking a step inside their beautiful homes and meeting their families? 

Maybe you share their passion for design or their whimsy for creating. Perhaps you can connect with their oft hilarious {mis} adventures in mothering.  

While you're sitting down with your coffee this morning, sneaking a peek on your phone during a lunch break or maybe finally finding a few minutes to yourself while the baby sleeps, check out these beautiful, inspiring and encouraging women. 

I promise you won't be disappointed. 

Design, Dining + Diapers: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, Twitter, Instagram

Love of Family and Home: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +

Liz Marie: Blog, Facebook, Pinterst, Twitter

Our Fifth House: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter

Crafty Scrappy Happy: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, Instagram

House of Rose: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter

Blissfully Ever After: Blog, Facebook, Pinterst, Twitter

Its Overflowing: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +

The Francis Family: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter

I Love You More Than Carrots: BlogFacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram

If you haven't yet entered to win $1000 CASH, head here to do so!
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