Review: The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

Title: The Mistletoe Promiseimage
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Genre/Audience: Christmas fiction
Publication: 2014
Source: Library

Richard Paul Evans’ novels are generally formulaic and cheesy… but I absolutely love them and can’t get enough! This is my 6th RPE book and it was just as good as all his others. As usual, the characters endure some kind of hardship to find hope.

In this story, we meet Elise Dutton, a broken woman with a secret past that eats at her and causes her pain and guilt. She is approached in the cafeteria by a stranger who works in her building, Nicholas, who essentially asks her if she would like to pretend to be his girlfriend for the holidays so neither of them have to be lonely. She agrees to this “mistletoe promise” contract and finds herself falling for him for real, a man with a secret of his own.

This book was sweet, hopeful, and perfect for Christmas, as are all of his novels. I look forward to reading his books every Christmas. Unlike most of his other holiday books, this one did not seem to be based off a biblical story (though I could be mistaken). I liked the contemporary feel of this one, as well as the touching love story and messages of redemption. Another winner from RPE! I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next year. (less)

My Rating: 4.5/5

Befores and afters of my life.

I often view my life in terms of “befores and afters.” There have been a lot of big changes – and a lot of big moments – that have defined me and changed everything I knew.

Before I lost the weight, and after.

Before, I was unhappy. There was a lot of self-loathing. I always thought that my “real life” would finally begin after I lost the weight. I would be confident. I would find love. People would finally see me for who I was, not just what I looked like.

After, a lot of what I thought would happen did come true. However, I also came to realize that I was already living my real life, it just wasn’t what I wanted. I was always me, I was always living, but I did become happier, even if life didn’t magically change the way I thought that it would.

Before we bought our home, and after.

Before, Jerry and I felt like OUR “real life” would start as soon as we moved out of my parent’s home and into a place of our own. Yes, again with this “real life” stuff. I guess when you want something badly, you always imagine things will be so different when it finally happens.

After, we realized we were actual adults with actual responsibilities. We sometimes miss the “before,” when life was carefree and we were newly engaged kids with no major worries. But the after? It’s been so, so worth it. I’ve changed a lot as a person (read: grown up) and have become very interested in my finances, savings, debt payments, and all that jazz. Yeah, we feel broke now that we own a house, but we’ve grown up a lot and feel like real adults… sometimes (even if it often feels like we’re faking it).

Really though, when I look at the biggest before and after… if I had to pinpoint the ultimate life-changer, the two biggest before and after parts of my life, it would undoubtedly be before Jerry, and after.

Though we’ve known each other for less than three years, I look at my life before him as kind of a blur. Certainly, I was living. I was in grad school when we met. I had started on my weight loss journey a couple of months prior to our meeting (of course, since that’s how we met). But ultimately, before I met Jerry, I considered myself a girl in progress. No, really. My Twitter bio even said that back in the day. So yes, a girl in progress, unsettled, unsure, but trying, at least, to figure life out, even if I didn’t quite know where I was going after all was said and done.

Then I met Jerry, and everything changed in that after. If I hadn’t met him, I’m not sure where I would be. No, this is not me saying you need a relationship to be happy or fulfilled, just that I finally had a more concrete direction and a life ahead of me after we met that I often wondered if I’d ever get: marriage, a house, settling down, a family of my own. Before, I knew only that I would finish my degree, try to get a good job, try to move out, but really, I have no idea the direction my life would have gone in, regardless of where I wanted it to go.

So the family, the house, the baby on the way… maybe these things would have happened for me regardless of Jerry, or maybe they wouldn’t have. I’m glad I don’t have to wonder anymore. I’m glad I found my soulmate 3,000 miles away and that he came here to be with me and become my biggest before and after. Because while I LIKED my before, confusing as it was, the after has been so, so much better.

And now, together, the two of us will experience an even bigger before and after. Parenthood will become the biggest, greatest, scariest, most exciting before and after we will ever experience. As much as my life has changed, shifted, and been turned upside down by all the other afters in my life, Caleb will come into this world and change it all again. Just like all the other things, I’m scared about stepping into the “after” of a great, big life changer, but we’ll do this together and I think one day we will look back and say “remember before? Before we were parents? Things were simpler, but it’s all been worth it.” That’s how I feel when I look back at all my befores: it’s been worth it, each and every time. The after has always been much greater, much happier, and much more fulfilling. It has always been worth it.

My happily ever AFTER

My happily ever AFTER

Do you have any big before and after moments in your life? Things that you feel changed your whole life? I’d love to hear what yours are!

Bumpdate: 35 Weeks

1418746283757

I am 35 weeks today! That means that Caleb should be here approximately five weeks from today… wow! He should be about 20 inches long this week, and won’t really grow much taller at this point. He should be about 5.5 pounds, and will continue to gain about a half a pound a week.

Not a whole lot of news, just a whole lot of waiting and panicking about what still needs to get done! Last week, I picked up my pump which was covered by insurance… yay! I also had my 34 week appointment and everything looked good. The doctor said he is measuring right on track. My next appointment is my 36 week appointment on Monday, then we switch to appointments every single week from here on out. I am getting the strep test on Monday so I hope it isn’t too bad. I am not excited about that!

While I was at work on Saturday, Jerry put together all of Caleb’s various seats that we received as gifts, so that’s one big thing checked off the old to-do list! I was so excited to see it all when I got home. He’s got a rock and play sleeper, a bouncy seat, a sit me up seat, and a walker. It will be pretty hilarious to see him walking around in that thing next year when he’s a little bit older. We had a really good, productive weekend with other things too! We rearranged our whole downstairs living room (we live in a split level) and it’s starting to look nice. Our regular living room upstairs has a lot of decor and is more formal, with wood floors. Since the downstairs one has carpeting, we’ll probably start spending time down there when the baby starts crawling. Jerry also made delicious homemade empanadas, and I made Oreo “lumps of coal.” Yum!

IMG_20141213_141833

I felt super huge movements last Wednesday night and when I looked at my belly, I could see really big, wavy movements. It was so cool. I wish Jerry had been here to see it!

We’ve got a few more things left to get. We received our Target registry completion coupon last week for 15% off the rest of the items on our registry. We need to get an extra carseat base, a baby monitor, a bookshelf, and then some smaller items. I’m hoping to get the rest of his stuff soon, just waiting until after Christmas when we may have a little extra money again! We need to do a little more work on his nursery, and some organizing, then we will finally be completely ready… or as ready as you can be when you have a tiny human to take care of! We really can’t wait to see him and keep trying to think of what he’ll look like. I seriously think he is going to have lots of dark hair but we may just be surprised! Speaking of Christmas… it’s been getting harder to think of things I want for myself these days, and my birthday is coming up too in January. Most of the things I want are generally things for the baby. I did manage to come up with a few things, though. ;) I already feel like a mom even though he isn’t here yet… this is definitely a good thing, though!

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for this week. I also had to drop this little video on here. It’s a Boba commercial, but oh my lawd, it makes me cry. There’s a dad version too. They are the cutest.

A bookish Secret Santa!

I’ve been participating in bookish Secret Santa gift exchanges for a few years now, probably since 2009 when I started blogging! This year, I participated in the Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa, one which I’ve done before and always enjoy. I love doing these swaps because I pretty much don’t get books as gifts! I get the occasional B&N gift card (which always thrills me!) but people generally don’t get me books because they don’t know what I have already or they think I have too many. No such thing, right?! Plus, it’s so much fun to buy books for other people and see what everyone got!

I received an amazing package this week from Kaylee! I haven’t been able to track down her blog URL or email address, so I really hope she sees this! Kaylee, thank you SO MUCH! This package made my week and I absolutely LOVE everything you picked out for me. My Secret Santa really took it to to heart when I mentioned how much I love chocolate and animals and I so appreciate it! I received:

  • Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran – a cozy mystery from my wishlist.
  • Unleashed by Rachel Lacey – a romance from my wishlist. It features a lot of animals, so I was all over this one!
  • Some adorable animal page clip bookmarks!
  • Peppermint hot chocolate… mmm! What a perfect time for it!
  • A vanilla chai dark chocolate Endangered Species candy bar… I can’t wait to dig in!

Kaylee, thank you again for this amazing package! I can’t wait to read the books, use my bookmarks, and try my delicious treats! :D

20141212_154901-1

20141212_161022-1

Bumpdate: 34 Weeks + a Shower!

1418239530411

Today I am 34 weeks and 1 day! My post is a day late unfortunately because my work schedule was a little wonky this week. Anyway, Caleb should now weigh around 5 pounds! I am definitely feeling it too… his movements are fewer now, but they are HUGE! It feels like gigantic rumbles in my belly when he moves. Sorry to say, Jerry has been the only other person to feel his movements because 90% of them occur when I am lying down. Though I love my family and friends, oddly enough they do not spend time in bed with me when the little man is moving. :)

I am feeling a-okay. Still on and off with the good and bad days, but nothing else weird. I have felt Braxton Hicks contractions a couple of times after working out and they scare me a little bit. I’m not really on baby watch yet since I honestly don’t think he will be coming early, but it’s still always a scare! Speaking of working out, I went three times to the gym last week – woohoo! I went on Monday this week but skipped today because of a snowstorm that we’re having. My next planned trip is Friday. The last week has been super, super busy and I was definitely starting to feel some burn out so it might be best that I skipped today. I’m glad I had the day off today to get some things done like picking up my breast pump that finally came in. Now I need to figure out how to use that contraption! I’ll probably just bring it to the hospital.

Caleb’s nursery is looking pretty good albeit a bit cluttered and messy with all of the shower gifts we’ve received! I need to do some major organizing, but other than that, we are just waiting on getting a bookshelf in there and some more decorations. I sent in my hospital forms, and will try to start packing a hospital bag soon. Any suggestions for what to put in there? I know clothes for him, clothes for me, bathroom products, chargers, etc. Any other ideas of what I might need, please feel free to let me know!

I have to admit I am starting to get scared now that we are getting so close. It’s sinking in that my life is seriously about to change! I get nervous that I won’t know what to do or how to care for a baby. I get nervous about how much my life is going to change, and I am always wondering how I will ever have time to care for a baby and a house, work, spend time with my husband, family, and friends, make time for me, etc. I know it will all be worth it when I see him for the first time and that mother’s instinct will kick in and I’ll know what to do, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared! I am more excited than anything, and that feeling wins out most of the time, but sometimes I’m just struck with fear. I’ve been a worry-wart since I was a kid so I’m not surprised. Any insight, mamas?

My 34 week appointment is tomorrow so hopefully I will get some good info! We are having a snowstorm right now, so my fingers are crossed that it doesn’t get canceled. Other than that, those are my updates for the week.

Also, my grandma shared this video of Garth Brooks on Facebook with me, singing his new song called “Mom,” about a baby waiting to be born and meeting its mom. What a tearjerker. Check it out here if you want to cry. I love it. I’m a big Garth Brooks fan.

Now enough with the crying and onto the shower!

I had my family shower a few weeks ago, but this past Sunday, my coworkers threw me a beautiful shower! It was at a nice Italian restaurant. The decorations were beautiful, the food was delicious, and the gifts were beyond generous! Many of my coworkers pitched in to buy us the stroller/carseat combo we had registered for at Target! They also gave us a Target gift card. Several coworkers also got us some really sweet and thoughtful gifts: a 1st year frame, bathing supplies, diapers, a travel changing pad kit, books, a sock monkey outfit, and a sweet praying bear. One coworker also had her daughter make a hanging sign with his name and some illustrations… super cute. They also had some custom made cookies that look like little onesies, all with different cowboy designs. Some of you already know, I love Southern and country things. I even wore cowboy boots to my wedding, so they were perfect and SO DANG CUTE! I took tons of pictures of them. I brought some home for Jerry and he almost didn’t eat them because they were too cute and he wanted to freeze them for Caleb. I told him it would be fine and I had plenty of pictures to show him when he’s older. Haha! Anyway, we are really so, so lucky to have tons of amazing people in our lives who have given us so much love and and support! Thanks to all my coworkers… it means the world to me!

Centerpieces made with diapers and baby bath products by Maryann! So cute!

Centerpieces made with diapers and baby bath products by Maryann! So cute!

Cute cake with booties on them! Picture from my friend Claire.

Cute cake with booties on them! Picture from my friend Claire.

shower 3

Cutest cookies ever! There were tons of cowboy designs. Loved them. Picture by Claire.

Cutest cookies ever! There were tons of cowboy designs. Loved them. Picture by Claire.

shower 8

Tag on the cookies!

shower 4

Review: Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Title: Spell Bookedsb_final.indd
Author: Joyce and Jim Lavene
Genre/Audience: Cozy mystery, adult
Publication: Berkley, 2014
Source: For review

Spell Booked is the first in the brand new Retired Witches cozy mystery series by writing duo Joyce and Jim Lavene, who have written a number of cozy series. It centers around a trio of witches (Molly, Elsie, and Olivia) who run a magic shop in North Carolina. Now as they are getting older, their magic is beginning to fade and they are dreaming of retirement. To prepare, they must find and train three new witches to pass their spell book onto. Just as plans start to take off, Olivia is found murdered, with her house ransacked and the book stolen on a night to test their magic. Now Elsie and Molly are determined to find the killer, find the book, and find new witches to train before they lose all their magic.

This book had me hooked right from the get go with its unique and fun premise of witches who are no longer in their prime and ready to retire. Magic is treated uniquely in this story. The women lead pretty normal lives despite their magical powers, and are unable to tell their other family and friends about their magic. This includes Molly, a longtime wife and mother who has kept her secret hidden for many, many years. I liked that these women seemed like normal people who just so happened to be magic. I liked also that each witch had her own distinct personality and character traits. The witches find themselves in a lot of trouble while trying to solve the mystery on their own, and this, of course, lends to a lot of adventurous mishaps and fun for the reader. All in all, this was a nice start to a new cozy series. It didn’t blow my mind or anything like that, but the mystery was well written and exciting to try and solve. I really enjoyed it quite a bit and will definitely continue on with the series.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Please be sure to check out the tour page for this book to win an awesome prize pack including lots of magical goodies and a copy of the book!

Bumpdate: 33 Weeks

1417538278522

Today, I am 33 weeks! Caleb should be approximately 4.5 pounds now (OMG) and now that it’s December, I can officially say that he will be here NEXT MONTH! It’s really starting to fly by now. I can’t believe Jerry and I are going to be parents in around 7 weeks! I also can’t believe that belly!

Jerry and I hosted our second Thanksgiving last week and had a great time. We’ve started a new tradition with our family and we look forward to hosting it every year now. We had tons of desserts here (I made pecan pie and Jerry made chocolate pie and apple pie… not to mention the desserts that my sister-in-law brought). We also watched “Let’s Be Cops” (really funny). I can’t believe that next Thanksgiving, our son will be celebrating with us! I can’t wait.

I had my 32 week appointment last Wednesday and my doctor said the baby is measuring perfectly. I was very upset about my weight gain though, and when I mentioned it to him, he said “pshhh. I don’t care.” Before you think this was rude, don’t worry… it wasn’t. I love my doctor and this is so like him. With him, there is just no BS, and that’s why I like him so much and think he’s pretty hilarious. Even though I’ve gained more than recommended, he said he is not at all concerned because my blood pressure has been consistently great (low, even) and I have no protein in my urine. Those are the things he said he would worry about. He does understand my weight loss history, but encouraged me to try my hardest to stop stressing about my weight. He did make me feel better, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still obsessing about it.

All that said, I’ve been very motivated to get back to the gym again ever since my last appointment. Tomorrow will mark my fourth morning in a row there, then I have to take three days off from the gym because I’m working mornings the rest of the week. I got some braxton hicks contractions from today’s workout, so the rest days will be good! I’ve just been walking about 25-30 minutes on the treadmill, quite slowly, but I’m still feeling a lot more positive and better about myself and I’m finding myself with a bit more energy throughout the day too. I’m definitely NOT pushing it because I don’t want to harm the baby or make my heart rate go too high, but it’s a little something.

I had very good intentions at the start of my pregnancy. I ran for my first 7 weeks and even ran a 5K, but then we had the threatened miscarriage, and I bled for two weeks which caused me to stop exercising for at least a month. Then I walked outside a few days a week for a couple of months, and stopped again because of all my back pain. So, it’s probably been about about two months or so since I’ve regularly exercised, and I’m planning on keeping up my gym visits for the remainder of the pregnancy. I’m really trying to slow down some of the weight gain, and also hoping that this exercise will make my delivery and recovery easier, as well as make it easier to stay fit post-birth too. I even set a goal over the weekend to run my second half-marathon in September 2015. That will give me about eight months to prepare after he’s born. My number one priority will always be my son and husband, but my health is also very important to me too. I worked way too hard to lose over 100 pounds, and I refuse to go back to that. I’ve also been working on getting my eating more in check with smaller portions and healthier choices. Hopefully this will help too. Don’t worry, I am still eating plenty enough for baby Caleb! I was just eating way too much before.

Moving on… we are getting more and more ready by the day for our baby boy! My parents bought us a glider for his nursery which Jerry set up this weekend, and I have officially washed and sorted ALL of his clothes, right down to his tiny socks (eee!) and hooded towels. He has tons of clothes and I am hoping he gets to wear everything at least a time or two! I am also thinking about packing my hospital bag soon and am getting ready to send my pre-admission forms to the hospital. My 34 week appointment is next week, and my 36 week appointment is Christmas week. After that, it’s weekly appointments. It really is almost show time!

All in all, I’ve been feeling pretty good lately! No new or unusual symptoms here. Phew!

Sunday is my work baby shower and I am so excited! The ladies from work threw me the most beautiful bridal shower last year and I am feeling so honored that they are doing it all over again, this time for baby Caleb.

That’s all for now!

Thankful.

image^^The entirety of my Thanksgiving decor… not even sure if “Harvest” counts but we’re going with it…

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday tomorrow.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if I didn’t say what I’m most thankful for this year, so here goes:

Jerry, who has loved me unconditionally from the start. When I was fat, when I was skinny, while I’m pregnant and crazy with hormones and just not the best or nicest version of myself… he has loved me just the same. I am thankful I get to spend my life with him and that he will be the father of my children.

Our son, Caleb. We have both already learned about the unconditional and selfless love of parents, even though he isn’t yet here.

My family and friends who make life better, sweeter, and more fun. I was blessed with the most amazing parents, the kind of parents who would do anything for their children when needed, and we hope to be at least half as good as they are as parents. Caleb is lucky to have them as grandparents. I am surrounded by so many other supportive friends and family too and I am thankful for all the love they have always shown me and are now extending to my son.

I am also grateful this year for my house, our jobs, Dakota dog who always makes me laugh, books, and blogging. I have found my love and passion for blogging again this year when I evolved my blog into a more personal space. Even though I keep receiving “unsubscribed” notices, I feel excited to write here and have met a ton of new friends. Despite some people unsubscribing, the blog is filled with a a lot more discussion and comments than ever before. Funny how that works.

I will officially be kicking off my Christmas season come Friday. I, like most everyone else, love Christmas… but I never want to rush it. It loses its magic if you celebrate it for too long. Even though I’ve started shopping, the Christmas decorations, books, movies, and music always wait until the day after Thanksgiving… then it’s on! My iPod is ready, I’ve got stacks of Christmas books, and plenty of cheesy Christmas movies waiting for me on the DVR! Happy holidays!

Bumpdate: 32 Weeks

1416933572927

I’m 32 weeks today and little man should now be about 4 pounds and 19 inches! Less than two months to go until he’s here!

Caleb finally has more furniture in his room besides just his dresser / changing table. We are now with crib! Jerry and my mom put it together and it looks great. We also put up a few of the homemade decorations and it is starting to really come together. Now we just have to get the gliding chair and bookshelf, and all of the furniture will finally be in there. I’ve been washing more clothes and have gotten small drawers for inside his closet where I’ve been putting his onesies and socks. We are making progress and I’m very happy with it! I keep looking at it and smiling because it’s just so stinking cute and my vision is coming to life! I even caught Jerry going in there the other night to look at it again. Isn’t that sweet?! I’ll give you a sneak peek of his crib area. I plan on doing a full nursery tour once it’s all complete, which will probably be after Christmas sometime since we’ll finally be able to buy the rest of the things we need after Christmas shopping is done.

nursery

Sorry to complain, but I want to remember everything about the pregnancy, including symptoms. I’m totally dragging lately. Walking around and standing sometimes feels like a cardio workout – ha! I’m pretty sure I’ve had a baby butt or foot in my ribs a few times too over the last week because when I’m sitting in my office chair at work, I can’t get comfortable most days and my ribs are sometimes sore. Slump forward, slump backwards, lean towards the right (always the right… not sure what this means about his positioning)…. but nothing works. Breathing is definitely becoming heavier too. I’ve read that once he drops, breathing becomes better again, it’s just that my lungs are being crowded at the moment. I wound up taking a bubble bath over the weekend because I was sore and I wanted to relax. I felt like a baby but it was nice!

Perhaps the worst symptom at the moment though would be my hormones. Oh my goodness, my poor hubby. I am on a rollercoaster of emotions lately, and everything either upsets me, ticks me off, or stresses me out. Let’s not get into when he accidentally spilled coffee in my Jeep this weekend… oy!

His movements are becoming more sporadic, which I’ve heard happens as they become bigger and start to run out of room. Pretty sure that’s the case now since I’m only 5’2 and don’t have much of a torso… short people problems. His movements feel different now and are not as frequent (I read that they are also sleeping more at this stage). Instead of a jab or kick, a lot of times it just feels like a rolling or shifting sensation. I see my tummy tremble and move a bit when he’s doing this and it’s really cool. Jerry even saw a few movements over the weekend. He remains most active at night though when he goes crazy and throws himself a little dance party for at least 10 minutes. Wild man!

Tomorrow is my 32 week appointment and I’m hoping the doctor will be able to tell me how Caleb is positioned! Hoping the little guy is head down. We are hosting Thanksgiving for the second time (we moved in right before Thanksgiving last year… my mind is blown right about now), and are really looking forward to it. This is our last holiday season without our baby. Next Thanksgiving and Christmas will be so much different and so much more magical with a little one! I can’t wait!

A shower for Caleb!

Caleb’s baby shower was last Sunday, November 16th. I had an amazing time with family and friends and it made me feel awesome to know that Caleb has A LOT of people who already love him, like his daddy and I do! We had it at a local Italian restaurant in a nice little party room. The food was great and the company was better! Caleb’s nursery theme is light gray and light yellow elephants, so even though the decor was minimal, we tried to throw that in there a bit, including my outfit! I bought the cardigan for his shower.

shower shower 2

My awesome friend, Angela, is incredibly crafty and was kind enough to offer to make the shower invitations. Another friend, Christine, helped her out. They turned out beautifully and were even three dimensional! They are so personalized and way more lovely and meaningful than anything we could have bought. I was thrilled with them! Here is the front of the invitations. Even the envelopes were cute too!

20141122_103035

I was debating on the cake for awhile and was thinking of going with something fancy with tiers but ultimately decided I’d rather have something that was delicious, even if it wasn’t as fancy. A local bakery makes an amazing cannoli cake so we ordered that. It was super cute too, and everyone loved it. Funny story that wasn’t so funny at the time… when we got to the restaurant and looked better at the cake, we realized his middle name was spelled wrong. She spelled it “Manual,” instead of “Manuel.” I had a flipping meltdown, my friends. I wanted to go back and get it fixed, but my mom ended up asking the cook at the restaurant if he could do anything, and he magically turned that “a” into an “e.” PHEW! Crisis averted, even if it looked a little imperfect. We also had some adorable elephant cookies made as favors. They were cute and delicious.

cakecake table

elephants

We got SO MANY amazing gifts and I am still feeling overwhelmed with love and gratitude. We also did a diaper raffle where anyone who brought in diapers and or wipes could get raffle tickets to win a gift basket… and we got more than I can even tell you! His closet is bursting with diapers and wipes and I am so thankful. I know how expensive these items can get and now we won’t have to buy any for a long while.

Some of our gifts included adorable clothes, frames and albums, items for his nursery, a rock and play, a bouncy seat, a sit me up seat, a walker, a Boppy, bathing accessories, blankies, tiny socks… just so many things we were in need of that I can’t even list them all! It looked like baby central in our house after we unloaded the cars and I am so beyond grateful for every single thing Caleb received. We also received a beautiful antique cradle that my parents found for him since they know how much I love antiques and primitives. They even made a mattress for it, and my grandma made a tiny quilt for inside. I’ll love using this for him in our living room!

20141122_110518

Caleb also received so many beautiful handmade gifts that are so meaningful to us and will be meaningful to him too. My grandma made him a bunch of beautiful things including hats, a sweater, a football outfit, and little pods for him to lay in and use for his newborn photos.

gma

gma3

20141122_113136

In addition, my grandma also made him a beautiful double sided yellow and gray quilt and a quilted pennant banner with his name because I absolutely love them and made him a paper one for his gender and name reveal. I can’t wait to hang it in his nursery!

quilt

pennant

My friend Angela knitted an absolutely stunning blanket that has hearts and his name stitched into it! If you look in the center, you can see where it says “Caleb Manuel.” It was hard to capture in a photo but I cannot believe how beautiful it is. It is truly incredible. She also made me an adorable ornament with the shower invite inside… too cute!

20141122_110715

ornament

My friend Katie painted the most amazing sign for his nursery that makes me want to cry whenever I see it. I am obsessed with it! I have wall hangings all over my house with various quotes (what can I say? I love words) and this is an extra special one to add to his nursery. I love it SO MUCH! She also made a super soft fleece blankets in his colors! It’s so warm and fluffy!

20141122_11054720141122_110819

We love every single gift we got and are extremely appreciative. I would post pictures of everything but there was so much! I at least wanted to showcase the handmade items on here because they are all so unique and meaningful. I have some very talented people in my life!

I had a wonderful time and will always remember this special day in honor of my little boy. Thank you to everyone who shared it with us and for all of the generous and thoughtful gifts. Special thanks to my mom for throwing the party, Angela and Christine for the amazing invitations, my grandma for sending all her handmade goodies, and Taylor, Katie, Sheena, and Mama G for all your extra help the day of. My heart is so full and I cannot wait until everyone can meet our little man!

cake cutting