Saturday, April 28, 2012

What I did today: Prom hair

Today is my littlest cousin, Christi's, birthday.  It is also prom for her high school.  So.... here's what we did!

Before (well... after I cured it)

I  thought it turned out nice!  Now if only the weather had been as nice... Hey, who doesn't love sleet on prom day?!?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Mother's Work is Never Done... So True!

I saw this on Facebook tonight and wanted to share it with you all!  Too funny...

A man came home from work and found his 5 children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn around garden, The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and no sign of the dog, walking in the door, he found even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, the throw rug was against one wall, In the front room the TV was on loudly with the cartoon channel, the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel... She looked up at him, smiled and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?' She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world do I do all day?...

''Yes," was his incredulous reply.  

She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it.'

This awesome photo is property of "Heath Robbins Photography"

Review of 'Fit Moms for Life' book by Dustin Maher

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to review a new book- 'Fit Moms for Life: How to Have Endless Energy and Outplay Your Kids' by Dustin Maher.  Let me start by saying, anyone who knows me knows that I am not, nor have I ever been, a big exerciser or careful eater.  I don't mind being active, but for me to want to do it, it needs to serve a purpose.  For example, a game of softball, dodgeball, capture the flag, etc. is something that I would enjoy.  Running on a treadmill or using a rowing machine are things that I would not enjoy.  And as far as healthy eating, I don't mind veggies and I enjoy fruits, but I love a good brownie or piece of cheesecake!  But even though I'm not the ultimate 'picture of health', far from it, I was interested in what the book had to say!

Dustin's fitness program is built around five pillars of health, as he refers to them- mindset, nutrition, strength training, burst training, and environment.  He believes that even working on one or two of these areas is likely  to improve your overall fitness, but to get the best results, you should work on all five.  Makes sense to me!

Here's some more of what you'll see in the book:
  • 31 women's transformation stories
  • How to burn 5-9 times more fat without cardio
  • An eating plan and recipes for balanced meals
  • One exercise that can shrink your waistline without diet changes
  • A training program that burns fat while you sleep
  • How to get your kids to eat healthy and move more
  • The ultimate form of accountability

I found that this book generally held my attention and I found it interesting, even though I'm normally a fiction reader.  I especially enjoyed reading the success stories of the 31 women that are featured in the book.  The before and after pictures make the stories even more impressive!  There are quite a few other pictures of exercises, etc., as well.  There are also several recipes included in the book.  I think that is a great idea.

The section I enjoyed the most was the one about fitness for new moms.  It's only been 3 weeks since I had my little baby, so I know that I cannot start a very strenuous work out routine.  Luckily for me, I don't have any baby weight left to work off, but my ab muscles feel so incredibly weak since delivery!  Dustin recommends several safe exercises that I can work on right now that will help to safely strengthen my core and hopefully get all of the muscles tightened back up.  Now I just need to get my mindset right and make time to do them!

If you are looking to get in better shape, this book is for you!  It cuts through a lot of exercise and dieting myths and gives you a simple plan to follow to have you looking and feeling better fast!  So, now that you're convinced, you can enter to win your own copy!  Just use the simple form below.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Congratulations to our winner!

It's official!  The winner of our latest giveaway, generously sponsored by 'The Pecking Order', is entry #144-  Heather P.!  Congratulations, Heather!  Now for those of you that didn't win, don't forget about the promo code that Erin's shop provided for my blog readers entitling you to 10% off of your purchase- FFM12.  Hurry over and use it today!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter!  Special thanks to 'The Pecking Order' for sponsoring this awesome giveaway!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The first day of my new life!

April 16th- It finally came.

I've been worrying about today for the past 10 months or so.  Now you're probably wondering- what is so scary about today? 

I'll tell you.  It is something that might not be scary for a supermom or a daycare provider, but is frightening for me.  Today was Ryan's first day back at work after his paternity leave!  That, of course, means that it was my first whole day on my own with TWO little ones.

It might sound easy, but as we all know, every kid is different and my oldest can prove awfully challenging at times and be a complete sweetheart at other times.  Our new baby has been an easy baby so far and I hope and pray she stays that way!  You never know when a switch will flip and they'll change from docile to a tiny terror!  Two weeks seems to be a common time for that to happen and she is 16 days old today...

Anyway, today went great!  We had a few meltdowns and time outs, but that is no different than before Bryleigh was born.  Bryleigh was pretty content and good natured.  We all even got a nice nap before lunch.  So, I guess all  the anxiety I experienced was for nothing.  I do know, though, that we're going to have good and bad days.  I'll just have to do my best to enjoy the good ones and get through the bad!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bryleigh's Baptism!

Happy baptism day, Sweet Bryleigh!

We brought Bryleigh to be baptized today.  
It was so special for us all.
She is now a forgiven and redeemed child of God.
What a wonderful gift this forgiveness is for all sinners.
What a wonderful blessing it is to have our sweet Bryleigh.

My beautiful, wide-eyed girl!

Just after the actual rite of baptism.
Our new family of 4 after the service.
Bryleigh and her Godparents- Joe (my sister's boyfriend), Haley (my sister), Heather (Friend since high school).

The service was great!  Both kids did well during church, which is always extremely satisfying!  Brennan has a hard time sitting still, so the fact that he made it until very close to the end was awesome!  And Bryleigh was nice and quiet, too!  We had lots of family and some friends there, which made the day even more special.

Bryleigh's Grandma Mary (Ryan's mom) spent hours and hours making the beautiful heirloom baptismal gown.  My mom did the beading work and crocheted a special blanket.  How awesome to have two extremely talented Grandma's to spoil my kids!  Now each grandma has made one of my children a baptismal gown and blanket, as well as lots of other stuff.

After the service, we went to my parents' house for a pulled pork lunch, some delicious cake, and to open gifts.  It really was an awesome day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bryleigh's Birth Announcement

Here is Bryleigh's birth announcement that I just ordered!  Too cute, I think!

Licorice Dot Pink Baby Announcements
To see Shutterfly's birth announcement designs, click here.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's my Blogoversary!

I can't believe that I've been a blogger for a whole year!  And boy... life sure has changed a lot since then!  I thought it would be fun to look at one of the first posts I wrote about me and my life to compare what has changed.  I'll compare each blue paragraph (1 year ago) to what life is like now (green text)!

Here we go!
Hello everyone!
The freshly married couple on our sunny wedding day.
I’d like to introduce myself.  I’m Colleen, AKA Five Foot Mama.  I’m a stay-at-home mom and I live in Small-Town Minnesota with my husband Ryan, our one year old, Brennan, and our almost four year old black lab/shar pei mix, Emmy.  Ryan and I have been married for five years, but in a couple months, on June 17th, it will be six.  I can’t believe how the time flies.  We were married young I was 19 and he was 20- a true puppy love story.  Here we are on our wedding day!
Now Brennan is 2, Emmy is almost 5, and the newest little member of our family, Bryleigh, is 11 days old.  Our 7th anniversary is coming up soon, in June

Our puppy, Emmy, at 6 weeks.
A lot has changed since then!  In 2007, we welcomed the furriest member of our household into our family.  Emmy, our lab mix, was tiny at 6 weeks old, but now she weighs in at a slightly overweight 75 pounds!  She is so strong and pulls this five foot mama around like crazy on walks!  At least she is starting to calm down a little bit in her ‘old age’… until we see a squirrel, that is!

After discovering an amazing dog leash, the 'Gentle Leader', Emmy walks very politely!  Walks have become much more pleasant!
The day we signed our purchase agreement.

In 2008, we purchased an adorable little place 3 blocks away from Lake Pepin in Minnesota.  Ryan’s commute to work from our new place is 40 minutes and we have most of our family nearby, within an hour. We spend a lot of time with our families, so having them close is absolutely crucial!

Now that Ryan had a REAL job we decided that we could FINALLY start our family!  Within one month of trying for a baby we found out that we were already pregnant!  I was shocked that it had happened so easily and so quickly.  I figured that I’d be one of those people that wanted a baby so badly, but couldn’t get pregnant… apparently that just wasn’t the case with me.  We were so excited, but really scared, too.  After all, having a baby is a scary thing!

It all became even more real after having our first ultrasound and seeing our baby’s heart beating a mile a minute.  We were relieved to see this!  We felt like we were out of the woods as far as miscarriages were concerned.  Unfortunately, we were wrong.  I had a missed miscarriage at about 12 weeks.  This was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life.  Thanks to the support of our wonderful family and friends, we got through this hard stage of our lives and moved on.  The miscarriage anniversary is still hard and every year I dread April 18th, which is right around the corner.  This year will be 3 years.
This year will be four years...

Flowers from Ryan... the same as we had in our wedding.
Again, we started trying for a baby.  We’d wanted one for so long, so the wait was terrible.  It took a lot longer to become pregnant this time, a year…. a long, stressful year of worrying and hoping and letdowns.  Finally it happened.  I took a test on July 1st, 2009 and it finally came back positive!  How thrilled we were!  Now the waiting got even harder and the praying increased ten-fold!  Ryan brought me home Stargazer Lilies on the day we found out…

Waiting on our miracle...
We made it past the first trimester and things were still going perfectly.  I was growing a very healthy baby and the doctor assured me that everything was going to work out this time.  I had really horrible morning sickness throughout the pregnancy and the doctor ended up putting me on a regimen of vitamin B6 and unisom.  That was the only thing that stopped the constant puking!

Maternity photo taken 10 days before Brennan's birth.
Besides the sickness, aches, and pains, I just loved being pregnant.  I loved to feel my baby kick around inside my tummy and feel so unbelievably close to it.  I couldn’t get over (and still can’t) the fact that pregnancy and babies are such an amazing thing! How can something so wonderful and amazing be created from nothing?  It truly is a miracle and I thought about it everyday.  I still do.  This passage rings so true: Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Brennan Bradley- February 24th, 2010
We chose to keep the sex of our baby surprise.  It was so hard not to find out!  I really wanted a girl and most people thought that’s what I’d be having.  Most of the old wives’ tales pointed that way, too.  Well, they were all wrong!  On February 24th, 2010, nine days before his due date of March 5th, Brennan Bradley entered the world!  It really was an amazing day!  I had a very rough labor and delivery, which I will go into detail on during another blog post… it’s a whole post in itself!

Brennan was a teeny tiny little boy and I was instantly in love with him.  He really was/is a beautiful baby.  I’m not one who normally says beautiful- I say nice.  But Brennan really was beautiful.  He weighed in at a whopping 6 pounds 2 ounces and 19.5  inches long.  I guess he takes after his little Mama.

Brennan is almost 14 months old and not so tiny any more!  He has just started walking and I’m hoping he gets a lot steadier soon!  He is such a heavy guy to carry around!  Don’t get me wrong- he’s slim and trim, but he’s built sturdy!  He has a mind of his own and quite the stubborn attitude to go with it!  I love him like crazy and he can be ridiculously sweet sometimes, doling out kisses as fast as he can give them, but such a stinker at other times!  He is such a challenge and a reward all at the same time!  He’s so great, we’re thinking about adding another challenge/reward to the family sometime in the near future!
Now Brennan is 25 months old and is a strapping young man!  He can outrun me pretty easily and jumps well beyond his years.  I thought he was heavy a year ago... now he's 30 pounds!  We're no longer thinking about adding another member to the family in the near future- we just did that!
I have not posted Bryleigh's birth story yet, but will be as soon as I find time to write it all up.  But, I'll give you a really fast run down...  Bryleigh was born on March 31st at 11:02 pm.  She was 7 pounds 14 ounces- quite a bit bigger than her big brother was!  I went to Mayo for a Trial of Labor after C-Section.  Luckily, it went great and I had a successful VBAC!  It was such an awesome experience!  I loved being awake to see and hear her miraculous arrival.  Plus, my cousin took amazing picture to capture these unforgettable moments for us! Bryleigh has been such a good, happy baby so far.  I'm sure hoping she stays that way!  She has not displayed any of the dairy sensitivities that Brennan had, so I haven't had to change my diet to continue nursing.  I really hope I don't have to!  I like milk too much!  Bryleigh is truly a blessing and she rounds out our family wonderfully.  Does she complete it??? I'm not sure yet. :)

OK, that was a mouthful, but that’s pretty much my story!  Believe it or not, I occasionally have a few minutes to do other things when I’m not baby-wrangling.  I absolutely love to knit and crochet.  I make a lot of baby hats and other goodies.  Currently I’m finishing up a knitted hooded cardigan for Brennan, which really is too stinking cute.  I love to sell what I make, so if you are in the market for handmade knitted or crocheted items, let me know!

I finished the cardigan and it turned out great.  It won't fit Brennan until he's 3 or 4, though!  I am still planning on opening up a blog store to sell some of my crocheted stuff.  Hopefully I'll find the time to have it up and running soon!

Photography is a passion of mine, as well.  I think that a picture is worth 1000 words and captures memories that will last a life time!  I take a ton of pictures all the time!  Outside ones are great, but since I live in snowy Minnesota, a lot of times I end up throwing a sheet over the back of a couch to make an indoor studio. 
I just bought myself an portable photo studio for my birthday!  I've got a backdrop stand with black, white, and green muslins, as well as three light stands!  I can't wait to try these out on my little models.

I’ve decided to start this blog to share funny Mama stories and tell other Mom’s about ideas I’ve had, products I’ve used, and give them helpful tips I’ve discovered.  I might even use the blog to vent a little here and there.  Basically, I’m going to use this blog like you would use a friend- to have conversations about anything and everything with all of my readers!  I hope you will come back often to see what I’ve got to say!  I’d love for you to leave comments for me!  Let me know what you think of what I have to say, whether you agree or disagree!  If you’d like to contact me, please email me at!  Thank you so much!  Have a great day!!!
Over the last year, I also got interested in doing giveaways and hosted quite a few.  I plan to host more, so check back often!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sibling Shirt Set Review & Giveaway from Etsy Shop 'The Pecking Order' by Zoey's Attic!

I'm excited to announce that I've had the pleasure of working with another awesome Etsy shop, 'The Pecking Order by Zoey's Attic' to bring you a review and great giveaway that you'll definitely love! 

Erin, the shop owner of 'The Pecking Order by Zoey's Attic', is good at what she does, and she's got the numbers to prove it!  Since opening her shop on October 9th, 2008, she's amassed over 18,400 sales and kept her feedback rating at 100%.  That is a truly impressive accomplishment!  What impresses me even more is that these sales numbers don't include any sales that she's made on the other two websites she owns and operates- and!  She sells the same types of items at each site, it is just helpful to have several places for potential customers to find you while you are building up a large following of loyal buyers.  I can only imagine the time and energy that Erin puts into her business, especially considering that she is a one-woman show, except for when she recruits a little help from the hubby and her mom!

Erin helps all of her customers stay up-to-date with her Facebook page: The Pecking Order and her Twitter page: Zoey's Attic.  Besides having her ever-growing business to keep her busy, Erin also has two daughters and 2 labs.  She does it all!

Here's where this review gets hard... I always like to show you several different items the Etsy shop I'm reviewing carries.  Well, Erin carries such a huge assortment of items that I'm going to have a ridiculous time choosing my favorites to feature!  I'll do my best and you can all go straight to her shop to look at the rest of the items.

First, let me show you a couple of the holiday or seasonal items that are available for purchase.  If you know me, you know that I am a huge fan of all things Irish (even though I'm only a small percentage Irish), so these cute St. Patrick's Day inspired shirts immediately grabbed my attention.  The personalized "Little Shamrock' shirt would have been so cute with Brennan's Irish name on it and my Grandpa would have LOVED this Irish Grandpa shirt.  He was a huge fan of everything Irish, even claiming that our last name (my maiden name)- Cushing, used to be O'cushing and we dropped the 'O' when our family first came to the United States... He liked to dream and tell us all sorts of stories.

If you are looking for a fun and creative way to announce a new pregnancy, you can put one of these announcement shirts on yourself, your older child... or older dog.  My oldest sister is currently expecting her first baby and has 3 schnauzer 'babies'.  I'm half surprised that Bailey, Rascal, and Stitch don't have their own big brother shirts yet!

I love the idea of making a super cute and unique birth announcement with one of these onesies!

Here are some cute personalized non-clothing items!

 And here's a funny shirt that is just perfect for Brennan!

Everybody loves personalized birthday shirts and 'The Pecking Order' carries some adorable designs.

And finally, here are a couple of examples of the type of product I am personally reviewing- custom sibling shirt sets.

'The Pecking Order' also carries shirts and other items for Mom & Dad, Grandma & Grandpa, and Aunts & Uncles, too!  Their inventory is really impressive and oh so cute!

As I mentioned before, I was given the opportunity to review one of the sibling sets by 'The Pecking Order'.  Choosing which style I wanted was so hard!  They are all so adorable.  After a lot of thought and getting my husband's opinion, I settled on a cute giraffe set.  I chose to have Erin leave the colors on the giraffes as they were in the listing photo, but to add a little bow to the small giraffe since we knew that our new little one was a girl.  Brennan's shirt would have his name on it, but baby's shirt wouldn't since we hadn't chosen a name for her.  (And the funny thing is that we actually stayed at the hospital a few hours longer than needed JUST to decide upon a name and complete the birth certificate before leaving!  We finally decided on Bryleigh, by the way).

I received the shirts in the mail and was so excited to open them up!  They look so adorable- exactly what I wanted and requested.  The colors are crisp and rich, even after washing.  These shirts are not screen printed or created using iron-ons.  Instead, the design is actually dyed onto the material completing a long lasting, soft, beautiful shirt.  The shirt and onesie materials are soft and both fit very true to size.  I love them so much!

Here's the new big brother bringing his baby sister a present.
And here they are- the big brother and little sister!

As you can see, the shirts look great!  I can't come up with even one piece of criticism about them, my communication with Erin, or her shop!  The products and service were both fantastic!  Here's something else that is fantastic- Erin is offering a coupon code for 10% off your purchase!  Here it is: FFM12.

Now, you have a chance to win your own $35 gift certificate to the 'The Pecking Order by Zoey's Attic'!  You can use it towards a sibling set of your own, or anything else you like.  Just use the form below to enter! Let me know if you have any questions!  Thanks for entering and thanks to our sponsor, 'The Pecking Order'!