Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in 12 Photos

2016 was a good year. It wasn't perfect, but the good outweighed the bad. Here is a look at the highlights. 

In January, I gave up dairy, meat, and caffeine. I hoped to correct some painful inflammation I was experiencing. Within a few weeks, I felt better than I had in over a year. During the evenings I spent several hours knitting and listening to audiobooks. I finished three projects that I had started in 2015.

February was cold and gray, but we kept things upbeat by celebrating the birthdays of five extended family members. Of course, Valentine's day makes life a little sweeter, usually in the form of chocolate!

Early in March, we were happily surprised by a positive pregnancy test. Those early weeks of pregnancy were a little stressful, and I needed two ultrasounds to check the baby's growth and heartbeat, but by Easter, we felt a bit more confident about the months ahead.

April was a busy month! We visited the zoo in Washington D.C. and the aquarium in Baltimore. I turned 40, and Ralph celebrated his First Holy Communion.

In May we traveled to Scranton, Pennsylvania for my sister-in-law's graduation from college. I made it to 15 weeks and felt like a pregnancy rock star. I tried on my first piece of LuLaRoe and fell in love with the stretchy patterned comfortable fabrics. Seriously, I wrote about it here. Also, I got my results back from my AncestryDNA test. The results were interesting, and it was a fun experience. My results are here

June 1st marked the 25th anniversary of Chris and my relationship. June is also the birthday month for Holden and Thomas. We celebrated their birthdays with one big family party. Ralph and cousin Hannah spent a lot of time outside in the kiddie pool and on the trampoline. We found out we were having a girl.

During the month of July, we took several trips to the beach, and we celebrated Ralph's birthday. Unfortunately, I dog-sat for a friend, and fell down a short flight of stairs and injured my foot. It took months to heal and still occasionally causes me pain now. July was the only month the boys had off from school. 

In August we made it to the beach a couple more times, went to a pool party with our homeschool group, and toured the Herr's Snack Factory. 

I went to Virginia in early September for the CWBN Mid-Atlantic Conference and had a splendid time. Then I had the house to myself for three days while Chris and the boys went to Hershey Park, Gettysburg, and Washington D.C. during Chris' week off from work. Ralph finally took the time to learn how to ride his bike without training wheels. By the end of September, I was put on bed rest because I was having symptoms of preeclampsia. 

Friends and family had a baby shower for me on October 2nd. On October 11th Mary Rose Elizabeth was born a month early. After a week in the NICU, she came home. I wrote about that here. Ralph was the only one that went trick or treating this year. He dressed up as Captain Hook.

We tried to spend most of our days at home during the month of November, but we made sure we voted, went to all of our doctor appointments, and spent Thanksgiving with family in Maryland. 

Early in December, Mary Rose and I went on a girls' trip overnight to the beach to celebrate a couple of 40th birthdays while Chris and Thomas painted the family room. Now the room is a lovely shade of white. The boys and I baked cookies for our homeschool group's cookie exchange. On Christmas Eve we went to the Vigil Mass and then stopped by two family Christmas parties. Christmas day was spent happily at home. 

Now the new year is upon us. One thing that I know I am going try to be better at doing in 2017 is taking more pictures!

Please visit Bobbi at Revolution of Love for more end of the year recaps!  

Monday, December 12, 2016

My Sunday Best #8, a Milestone, and a Mistake

Yesterday we attended the evening Mass. Chris and the boys prefer to attend the Sunday evening Mass, but it is hard for me to concentrate that late in the day. I am tired, and it is dark outside, so my mind thinks I should be asleep or at least resting on my couch under a warm blanket! Oh well!

Here is what I wore to Mass. 

Last week, I wrote about how much I like LuLaRoe. Well, on Tuesday I purchased a new maxi skirt from Rosie's online pop-up. It arrived on Friday. As soon as I opened it I knew I would wear it to Mass on Sunday. I usually wear a maxi as a dress, but this time I decided to wear it as a skirt. I have always thought that I am too round up top and too short for a maxi to look nice on me, so I have always felt frumpy and self-conscious when I have worn them in the past. Well, not last night. I felt comfortable and happy with how I looked. 

Mary Rose turned two months old yesterday. She is getting big, but she still isn't smiling a lot. She has smiled a couple of times, but most of the time she has a serious expression. She is cooing at us, which is fun and cute. 

Last Thursday I ordered Christmas cards. At first, after placing the order, I felt very accomplished. But by evening, I had started to worry that I had made a mistake while creating the card on the computer. When my oldest son brought them home with him that night, my worry was confirmed. I had made a huge mistake! I signed the card, "Merry Christmas! Love Chris, Erica, Holden, Thomas, and Mary Rose. I had forgotten Ralph! I felt terrible, but Ralph didn't seem bothered by it! Luckily, I was able to cut the bottom of the card off and still send them out. 

For more My Sunday Best, please visit Rosie

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How I Wear LuLaRoe {My Sunday Best #7}

I know it is Tuesday and not Sunday, but it was my goal to have this written and published on Sunday, but today is the first day that I had a few minutes plus enough sleep and coffee to finish all of my thoughts in a way that (I hope) makes sense.

Since the birth of Mary Rose, all of my Sunday outfits have included at least one piece of LuLaRoe. 

I first became aware of LuLaRoe about a year ago. Originally, I was not interested in the clothing. It all seemed to be made of stretchy cotton and included items that I thought would not be flattering on my middle aged chubby body. In March, a friend hosted a Pop-up in her home and invited me to stop by her place to touch and try on different styles. Being newly pregnant, I decided to try on a Nicole dress. I loved it. I bought it, and it was my first and only piece of LuLaRoe for months. As I got closer to my due date, I worried about having nice, comfortable clothes to wear postpartum, and my thoughts turned to LuLaRoe once more. Currently, I own many pairs of leggings, three Maxi skirts, one Azure skirt, two Perfect Tees, one Carly, and two Nicole dresses. I love all of them!

I am 5'4", overweight, apple shaped, and I am exclusively nursing Mary Rose. Deciding which pieces would work best for me in my current state of life took a little time, but I have finally figured out what works for me and what size I need in each style. Thankfully, I have been able to attend a couple of pop-ups to try things on before buying. Plus, I have a wonderful friend who allowed me to try on several pieces from her wardrobe. 

Below is a picture of the outfits I wore the mass the last two Sundays.

I wear a Maxi as a dress in size Large. With a cardigan over it, I think it looks cute, feels comfortable, and is nursing friendly. I wear a Carly in a size Small. It is nursing friendly as long as I wear leggings under it, like it is a large top instead of a dress with a slip underneath of it. 

Now, let's discuss wearing LuLaRoe every day for stylish comfort.

I wear LuLaRoe Leggings in One Size. I tried the Tall and Curvy, at first, but they were too baggy and bunched in my legs. I wear them with long tunics and cardigans that cover everything that needs to be covered. Originally, I didn't think that leggings were appropriate for someone of my age and situation, but honestly, I love wearing LuLaRoe leggings with the right top. The outfit is comfy enough to wear around my house but decent enough to answer the door in and to make a quick run to the grocery store. Don't worry friends; leggings can be modest!

I also wear leggings under nursing-friendly dresses that were part of my wardrobe already. It is fun to combine a bold pattern legging with a solid dress and tall boot for a pop of color! LuLaRoe sells several tops, but the only one that I like is the Perfect Tee. I can wear it in size Small or Medium. I think the Perfect Tee goes well with a cardigan and jeans.  

My Nicole dresses are not currently in my wardrobe rotation because I can not nurse in them.

You probably already know how to purchase LuLaRoe, but in case you don't I will tell you! I think it is best to find a consultant that is local (find here), but if you can't find someone local Facebook is full of LuLaRoe groups. All you need to do is request to join and start asking questions. A few questions that are helpful to ask are about tax and shipping cost, return policy, and about the fabric of the specific pieces that interest you. There are several different fabric types that LuLaRoe uses, and some are softer and stretchier than others. 

One more thing, LuLaRoe is a tad bit more expensive than I like to spend on my clothes, but some consultants do offer coupon codes from time to time, some offer a buy ten items get one item free special, and many consultants host giveaways. Half of the items I have purchased were discounted when I bought them. 

For more My Sunday Best visit Rosie. She just had a sweet baby girl, and she is hosting an online LuLaRoe pop-up tonight! 
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