What a Hoot!

"Hip products for you and your family, as unique as your little ones." That's what Hoot Design Co. is all about. Kristen is the artist behind these one of a kind prints. She started Hoot Design after she received amazing feedback about the custom print she created for her nephew. Now anyone can have a piece of artwork, designed just for their bundle of joy.

The Simply Yours Print allows you to choose between three levels of customization... level one lets you customize four letters of the alphabet... level two, eight letters... and level three, all twenty-six letters. You can also choose between three different color pallets and two different sizes.

But that's not all... Hoot Design can create custom announcements, invitations, stationary and even gorgeous portrait watercolor prints, too. Kristen really pours her heart into these works of art and the highest of quality materials are used so you can be sure that you are getting something to pass on from generation to generation.

"I is for Itsy Bitsy Spider"... That's my favorite letter on the adorable, sophisticated Simply Baby Print that I received. What a special item to add to Lea's nursery. And guess what? I have an 18x26" Simply Baby Print in the gender neutral green color pallet to give away!

To enter, just head over to Hoot Design Co. and let me know your favorite item. Please also leave your email address so I can contact you in case you win! For extra entries, follow my blog and/or follow Hoot Design Co. on Twitter or Facebook. (be sure to leave a separate comment for each).

The winner will be chosen on September 12th. Good luck!



Before Lea was born, I was sure I would teach her sign language. I actually started signing for "milk" (when she was around 5 months old) every time I nursed her and it seemed as though she recognized what it meant, but she never signed it back to me. So, after a few months, I started to slack. I didn't sign as much anymore and pretty much gave up. Until recently... I started signing for "milk" again and I also added "more". However, after a month or so without seeing any "results" and without getting other adults around Lea to commit to signing, I started to give up, again. That is, until last night! Wouldn't you know it? When we were having dinner, I asked Lea if she wanted "more" and sure enough, she put her two little hands together and signed MORE! :) I couldn't believe it! My heart skipped a beat, I was so excited.

Was it just a coincidence? No! This morning she did it at breakfast, too!

So, I am a believer again. I will continue to sign "milk", "more" and "all done" a little while longer to see if she really gets the hang of it.


11 months old

My baby girl is 11 months old today. 11 months ago, on this very day, Kevin and I met Lea for the first time. It's hard to believe she's almost a year old. She's growing up way too fast!

She is walking better and better every day... and can walk all the way across the living room now. She says "ma ma" and "da da" (however I don't think she associates those words with us just yet). She claps her hands anytime she sees/hears someone else clap, if you say "Yaaaayy!" and when you sing "If you're happy and you know it..." She 'barks' when you ask her what a dog (or what Bailey) says. She says "la la la la" when you ask her to sing. She makes a squeeling sound (like a high-pitched "tweet") if you ask her what a bird says (or if she hears a bird). She's getting close to blowing kisses... we're working on it. She opens her mouth and leans in for a kiss when you ask her for a kiss. She bounces up and down if you ask her to dance. When you ask her if she's hungry, and she usually is, she'll make a 'smacking' sound with her mouth. If you ask her "How big are you, Lea?!"... she raises her arms above her head (and we say "Soooo Big!"). Last weekend she learned how to blow bubbles in the bathtub... she just leaned over, put her face in the water and blew bubbles!

It seems like she learnes something new every day. And I'm sure she is actually learning tons every day. It's so much fun to watch her. What ever did we do before she was in our lives??? I love being around her. I love playing with her. I love taking her along me when I go places. Recently, this was a conversation between Kevin and myself...

Kevin: "Do you want to go somewhere tonight, like out to eat or Target or something?"
Me: "I guess we can... but we don't really need to. Why do you want to go out?"
Kevin: "I just like taking Lea out with us and showing her off."
Me: "I know what you mean! Ok, let's go somewhere!"

And we did. We went out just to go out and show off our little angel. :)



Junk Food Bag Review

Who doesn't love junk food? Everyone has a little junk food every now and then... and, well, some of us have it more often than others! Some of my favorites include Fritos, Doritos, Oreos, Little Debbie anythings, Krispy Kreme donuts and any kind of candy.

I recently received a Junk Food Bag from Carla over at the etsy shop 'BeadLove2211'. She makes these really fun bags out of... you guessed it... junk food wrappers! How cool are these?

Carla hand makes these bags out of actual wrappers. They are lined with colorful fabric and have a zipper to keep your coins, make-up, crayons or whatever secure. I received the Root Beer bag because I can never turn down an ice-cold root beer. Apparently, Lea can't either!

Head on over to Carla's shop, BeadLove2211, to see all the goodies she has. And don't worry, if she doesn't have your favorite junk food, she can custom make it for you!

Life's a Beach!

As you can see, she had a blast! (and, yes... that's what the bird says in Lea's world.) :)


Beauty and the Beach

We just returned from a fabulous beach trip with Kevin's family. It was Lea's second time to the beach and she loved it! Every morning we headed down to the beach and spent a couple hours playing in the sand & water. By that time, Lea was ready for a nap so she'd go down while we had lunch. The afternoons were spent hanging out at the beach house and getting ready for dinner. Every night we had delicious seafood... crabs, clams, fish, shrimp and hushpuppies, of course. Lea really enjoyed playing with her cousins (or just watching them play). They were great entertainment for her (as she was for them, too)! Our last night there, we headed out to the beach at low tide... Lea had a blast crawling around in the shallow water. Here are some pics from our trip...



We're packing to go to the beach for four nights... and I hate packing. Seriously, now that Lea has joined our family, I get so overwhelmed trying to pack everything... even for the shortest of trips. We travel a lot, so this is a problem. I never had trouble packing pre-Lea. What's my deal? I am a very organized person and plan everything. My husband is as well. We are both list-makers, too. But still, I get anxious just thinking about packing for a trip. So anxious, actually, that I almost shut down completely.

Perhaps I just need to let go a little. Stop over-analyzing everything. While I don't consider myself uptight, I know I can get carried away with my planning and organizing. You know when you get asked "What's one of your weaknesses?" during an interview? My answer is always something regarding my extreme organization and planning because, seriously, it can be a weakness. Case in point.


Walking and a Tooth!

A week ago, on August 1st, Lea took her 'real' first steps! Just over 10 1/2 months old. I sat on the floor and after standing her up, held out one of her toys in order to entice her to come towards me. Wouldn't you know it? She took two, slow and wobbly steps before sitting down. She was just as excited as I was, laughing and squealing as she did it again and again. Since then she has gained a lot more confidance. She often takes 4, 5 and 6 steps in a row all on her own. It's awesome to watch her as she gets better and better every day. She is just so pleased with herself, she laughs and yells in excitement each time she walks. She must know she is doing something amazing!

Another new 'trick' of hers is climbing the stairs... all the way to the top. More than once (twice, to be exact), I have lost sight of her and as I frantically searched the house, I have found her upstairs looking down at me! AHH! Time to figure out how to install the baby gate. I am also trying to teach her how to come down the stairs as she tries to come down head first. I actually let her start head first (while I was right there beside her) and she quickly realized that wasn't going to work. Poor thing was shaking and scared to death once she got 'stuck' midway through going head first.

Finally, we've just discovered a teeny, tiny white bump on her lower, front gum line. Yup... my baby girl is starting to sprout her first tooth! Actually, it almost looks like two bottom ones are going to come at once. Wouldn't that be nice? I'd love them all to come at the same time to get it over with. Other than a little bit of drool and a little more chewing on things, she hasn't been acting any differently. Hopefully these baby teeth will make a fast and easy appearance.

Needless to say, we've been busy around here. Tomorrow we'll begin packing for a beach trip with Kevin's family. I am so looking forward to a relaxing few days in the sun. We got a big canopy to put down on the beach for some shade... and, we got Lea her own little chair, too.

She likes it!

Bailey likes it, too!


Happy World Breastfeeding Week

Congrats to all the mamas out there who are or were able to provide their little ones with naturally and perfectly created nutrients to help them grow and thrive. Often times breastfeeding is not the easiest thing to do, but if you are able to overcome the obstacles it is one of the most rewarding things you can do for your child... physically and emotionally. The benefits of breastfeeding are substantial. From protection against ear infections and respiratory illnesses to higher IQ's and a reduced risk of heart disease later in life (and many, many more).

This is World Breastfeeding Week. It is vitally important for mothers and fathers to be well educated on the benefits of breastfeeding. Without support from family, friends and health care providers a mother is not very likely to be successful in breastfeeding. I am so fortunate to have such a supportive husband. I am also lucky enough to have a fabulous pediatrician that actually has a lactation consultant on staff. I can't even count how many times I called her during those first few months of nursing my baby girl. My personal goal in nursing Lea was 6 months. She is now almost 11 months old and still nursing.

Breastfeeding is not easy... especially in the beginning. It is so much more demanding and time consuming than I thought it would be. Until Lea was about three months old, she nursed every 2 hours. That's right. Every TWO HOURS for three months. And in those early months, nursing was pretty uncomfortable. Once we got through that, though, it became much easier and less frequent. Lea quickly got on her own schedule which made it easier to plan my days. Three months became five, five months became eight and now it's almost been a year!

I wouldn't say I am lucky. This took a lot of determination and work on my part. It is a commitment. It is something that I feel very strongly about. When I start to think about how nice it would be to not have to wear nursing bras (that are so unflattering!) and not have to give my time & myself (literally) four times a day, I get so mad and feel so selfish. It's not about me anymore. It hasn't been about me since the day I found out I was pregnant... and that's ok. Because now it's all about the beautiful angel that's just now waking upstairs in her crib. Someones calling mommy! I gotta run. :)