Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

She’s growing like a weed!

Seriously!  I don’t know what’s going on with my kid but she is sprouting like crazy these days.  I’m having to go through her clothing twice as often as before and still there have been a few outfits (around 12 month size) that I pulled out too late.  My sister bought Grace this adorable black onesie that said, “this is my little black dress”.  It had pearls around the neckline and came with a super cute black tutu.  Well… I waited too long to break it out and now she’ll never be able to wear it because it’s too small. :( I guess I’m just in denial that my little gal is getting bigger and continue to be shocked by how quickly it’s happening.   

We finally had Gracie’s 12-month check-up yesterday and she did awesome.  Our previous pediatrician appointment was in early November so both G and I were very eager to see Gracie’s doc.  This brings up questions I’ve been meaning to ask all you parents out there.  How often do you get to see your kiddo’s pediatrician?  When your little one was a baby did your doc have you come in every 2-3 months or longer?  The reason I ask is that 60-90 days seems to be the typical cycle with most parents I talk to and yet I feel like we never see Gracie’s pediatrician.

Anyhow, we still LOVE doctor C.  She is so great with Gracie and baby girl adores her.  Grace showed her doc all her tricks during the appointment.  She pointed to all her little baby body parts as we named them off, she waved and said most of her words and she was super engaged and pointed at everything.  She even signed “more” for us for the first time!  “More” is a sign we’ve been working on for about a month now but she had yet to do it for us.  I managed to get it on video!

Dr. C had nothing but great things to say about Gracie’s development.  The thing that made our day was when, at the end of the appointment, Dr. C said that Gracie’s verbal development is that of a 15 month old!  I swear Grace was totally showing off and doing all the things we always try and get her to show friends and family.  I’m so glad she finally decided to perform for us – what great timing right?!

Here are Gracie’s one-year stats:

* Weight: 21lbs 4oz – 50th percentile
* Height: 29.5in – 55th percentile
* Head Circumference: 18.3in – 80th percentile      

The folded hands, those eyes, that hair!  LOVE!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gracie’s Birthday Crafts II ~ DIY Party Tutu

When celebrating a little girl’s FIRST birthday, a big and fluffy tutu is a must have!  In the months that Grace was a teenie tiny baby and even when Georgia was pregnant, I always envisioned our little gal rockin a tutu at her first birthday party.  I wanted her outfit to be colorful and fun but mostly comfortable.  In my quest for the perfect tutu, I quickly discovered that they may just be the most overpriced items on the market!  Seriously… how anyone rationalizes paying 40+ bucks for some tulle is beyond me, especially when you can buy an entire roll of it for less than 5 dollars (or cheaper with a coupon).  This is where my decision to take the DIY route was born.

At first, my plan was to craft a bright yellow and red tulle skirt, however once the supplies were purchased and held side by side, plans changed.  The colors together seemed to be just a little too busy for a 12 month old and anything that is so crazy colorful that it takes away from your little ones adorable face, must be reconsidered. ;)  The tutu itself took a few hours to construct but that’s really only because I wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible, so I took my time.  As mentioned earlier, there are a ton of coupons out there for craft stores and with the coupon I found, my tulle came out to less than 3 bucks!  Woot!

I didn’t follow any specific instructions when making Gracie’s skirt.  What I did rather, was watch several DIY tutu tutorials (say that 3 times fast)… on YouTube and took what I felt was the most crafter-friendly approach to making the skirt.  If you’re making a tutu for your little girl (or boy) for the first time, I hope you find my instructions easy to follow!

What you’ll need ~

* scissors
* 2 safety pins
* measuring tape
* a piece of cardboard
* 2 spools of 6in x 10yd colored tulle
* paper towel roll (you will use this to hold the shape of the waistband)
* a piece of ribbon that is about 20 inches longer than your child’s waist

Step one ~ Measure your little gals waistline.  Before cutting your piece of ribbon, add an additional 20 inches to your measurement.  This extra length will allow you to tie a bow once you’ve tied the tutu on your birthday girl.

Step two ~ Gracie’s waist measured 18 inches, so the ribbon I cut for the waistline was 38 inches.   Once you’ve cut your piece of ribbon, tie a knot on each side, 10 inches from each end.  These knots will allow you to tie your tulle pieces on without any falling off the end of your piece of ribbon, thus securing the tutu.

Step three ~ Once you have your piece of ribbon knotted on each end, safety pin the two sides together.  This will allow you to create the shape of the waistline so that you can begin building your tutu.  This made it much easier for me to drape my ribbon around a roll of paper towels while I built Gracie’s tutu.

Step four ~ Determine how long you want your tutu to be.  Grace is average height for her age (12 months) so 7-8 inches was a good length.  This will bring the tutu to right above the knee.  The tulle pieces that you’re going to cut will need to be twice the length you want your tutu.  I used a 15 inch piece of cardboard as a measuring guide when I cut my tulle pieces.

Step five ~ Once you have your cardboard piece measured and cut out, use the cardboard as a ruler to measure and cut your tulle pieces.  In total I cut about 100 pieces of tulle.  This was by far the most time consuming step.

Step six ~ Taking one strip of tulle at a time, you will: 1. loop it  2. swoop it underneath the ribbon piece  3. fold the bottom ends up through the top of your loop  4. and pull tightly securing the slipknot in place.  These steps can be difficult to describe, hence I’ve included a picture of the steps above. :)

Step seven ~ As you tie each piece of tulle to your skirt, you will slide each piece to the end of your ribbon.  You will repeat step six until your skirt is full.  Feel free to adjust your tulle pieces once they are attached and make it as full and fluffy as you’d like!

Step eight ~ This should be your end result.  Cute right?!

Gracie’s tutu was totally worth the time it took to make!  The skirt also photographed beautifully in her one year professional pictures!  My little birthday cutie. ;)

Well, that about wraps up this mama’s posts on our little gals first birthday party!  And because I can’t get enough of the pictures our photographer took on Gracie’s big day, here’s a few last little memories of that special afternoon. :)

:: For Gracie’s birthday crafts, part I – click here ::

13/52: RED

Saturday, March 23, 2013

12 Months of Gracie

That’s right my little Gracie girl, you’re an entire year old and what a fast year it was!  The past 365 days have been the most amazing time in both your mommy and mama’s lives.  You have taught us so much and hopefully we’ve taught you a thing or two as well.  In one year’s time, our days of watching TV, sleeping in and coming and going as we chose, were traded with watching you sleep, feeding your body and mind and learning to see the world through your new and oh so curious eyes.  This was a long awaited trade and we were overjoyed to make it.  What a blessing you have been, our sweet baby girl.

Together we have shared so many giggles, smiles and some tears.  We have gone on adventures and relished in our many afternoon cuddles and family naps.  We’ve taken trips, flown in a plane together and even went to the movies!  We have snapped nearly 15 thousand pictures of your beautiful face… and it’s a wonder I haven’t started your baby scrapbook yet!  Where do I even begin? 

Every day that you have been here with us has been a gift and your mamas have tried our best to not take one single day for granted.  We were just talking about how it seems impossible that we’re on month twelve when I feel like I was just drafting the first of these monthly posts not so long ago?  It has taken me more than two weeks to write this post because each time I’ve tried, I have been just too emotional to finish. If you’re reading this letter years from now as a young lady, I’m sure you have come to learn that you have one emotional mama.  I just LOVE YOU so much that sometimes my heart overflows. 

You have grown into such a lovable, sweet baby girl.  You will spend long periods of time hugging mommy and then switching to hugging me and back and forth and back again!  You LOVE to give big, wet kisses to everyone even your stuffed animals and books.  If I say, “Grace, give mommy kisses”, you’ll wrap your hands around mommy’s neck and hum while kissing her cheek.  Your lovies make us both so blissfully happy.

This past month sure was a busy one.  Here’s a bit of what you’ve been up to.

In month twelve you learned to…

* Drink from a straw but you insist on holding your cup when doing it.  I think you would have probably started doing this earlier had we re-introduced the straw months ago.

* You sign “water” by tapping your little fingers on your chin anytime you’re thirsty and you get SUPER excited the minute you see your sippy cup.

* You ask for your bottle by shouting, “baba, baba” as you reach out your arms.  You no longer use the sign for “bottle” now that you can verbalize it.

* You can identify your nose, eyes, mouth and pansa (which is stomach in Spanish), by pointing at each body part when asked.

* You say “Hi” to everyone!  The sound of your little “hi” melts our hearts!

* You completely self-soothe now.  We no longer wait until you’re asleep before putting you to bed at night.  Aside from a minute of whimpering, you fall fast asleep.

* You wave “hello” and “goodbye” anytime we are coming or going.

* You try to say “uh, oh” when you drop something.  It sounds more like “oh, ohhh”. ;)

You also…

* Decided that you were not ready to walk in month twelve.  You did it for a few days back in early February but must have realized that you got around much faster crawling.  The exciting news is that you have since decided to start walking again!!

* You are the best eater!  There is nothing you won’t try.  You don’t seem to be a big fan of meat, probably because we rarely feed you meat of any kind but you do like grilled chicken.

* You talk all the time!  Some words we hear you say most often are, mama, dog (dou), mom (mum), brush (rush), hot, bottle (baba), yum, water (wawawa…) and hi!  Right now we’re working on please and thank you.

* You are developing a little bit of a sassy side.  If you want something and don’t get it… well, let’s just say that we’re starting to see the makings of a tantrum… These days you want most things you see and will point until we pay attention.

* You can turn the volume up and down using the remote and you’ve learned how to turn the cable box off.  You love to do this when we finish dinner and finally sit to relax in the living room.  It usually happens the minute we get comfy and you get quite the kick out of it. ;)

* You are making associations like crazy! As mama posted a few weeks ago, you can follow more complex instructions and show us everyday that you know what many things around the house are called. 

* You are now down to one nap and 2 bottles a day and you sleep 11-12 hours every single night.  Such a good sleeper!

* You’re still at 8 chompers.  No new teeth this month.


* Birthday Bear who sings and dances as well as your Cozy Coupe.  If we put your Coupe in the living room it will occupy your time for more than an hour!  You climb in and out, you open and close the door and you load it up with toys only to unload it, over and over and over again. ;)

* Your crib, night-light and sound machine are such a comfort to you.  You are completely at ease when you’re in your room playing or sleeping.

* Mickey Mouse Playhouse, Doc McStuffins and Dora the Explorer are your absolute favorite cartoons!  You enjoy watching these shows during our morning cuddles on Saturday and Sundays.

* You climb everything!  So far you’ve managed to climb on to both couches and the coffee table.  We have to keep a close eye on our little monkey.

* Any kind of music gets you movin!  You can dance with the beat to most songs.

* Peas & carrots, fruit (especially apples), sautéed mushrooms, eggs, yogurt bites, avocado and black olives are your favorite foods.

Your one year check-up is this Wednesday and your mama and mommy can’t wait to see how much you’ve grown.  Happy birthday my precious girl!  Thank you for making this past year the best year of our lives.

Love, mama 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

6 weeks later... and she's walking again!

Gracie’s Birthday Crafts ~ DIY Picture Banners

Well, it’s been 2 weeks since Gracie’s birthday party and the dust in the Roybal household is finally starting to settle.  Now that I have a little more “free time” (whatever that means, hehe), I’m excited to share some do-it-yourself crafting tips on the projects we completed for baby girl’s first birthday party.  I’ve received some “how to” questions about the décor on FB and Instagram, so my apologies for the delayed response. :)

Aside from Grace’s Wish Box, one DIY element of our little gal’s party and the most exciting project for me, was her birthday banners!  For months, I searched for ideas on cute and colorful ways that we could display pictures of Grace that would somehow fit in with our circus theme.  Most of what I found involved creating a large poster board displaying family/baby photos and while I found these ideas to be very cute, my sister-in-law did that same thing for our niece Mia’s 1st birthday just months before, so that option was already taken. 

As luck would have it, I ordered two plastic circus banners to hang on the walls at the party and when they arrived the idea of incorporating photos on similar looking banners was born!  I have to give kudos to my good friend Katy for suggesting a simpler way of hanging the banners that worked out great!  I was going to use fabric and sew each piece to a long strip of ribbon but after going to a baby shower Katy hosted and seeing how easily she strung her paper banners on to string, I simplified my process.  Katy, you saved me a ton of work!

This is seriously one of the easiest and least expensive DIY projects I’ve ever done, so if you use this idea, I know you won’t be disappointed. :)

Here is what you’ll need:  

Elmer’s adhesive squares or glue (I used both), white string, scissors, a paper cutter (if you can’t cut a straight line like me), tape, multi-colored cardstock, a hole punch and photos of your adorable baby!  Not all of the items I used are pictured above.  I was kinda figuring it out as I went!
*Helpful tip: you can purchase pre-cut triangles at most craft stores.

Step 1: Select the pictures you wish to display on your banner.  You will need to select vertical pictures only as this is the only size that fits on the triangle pieces.  Once you’ve picked your photos, pair each picture with a colored cardstock cutout.  I tried to color coordinate the picture with the paper but I think it would look good either way.

Step 2: Decide how big you want the pictures to be that you are going to attach to your banner.  Once you have a size in mind, cut a piece of cardstock in the shape and size you want.  This is what you will use to trace a triangle on the back of each photo.

Step 3: Once you have all of your photos cut out, you’re going to glue each picture to its designated piece of cardstock.  If using a glue stick, you will have a few second to reposition/straighten your picture if needed.  If using adhesive squares, be sure you have it positioned exactly right before attaching.

Step 4: Once all of your photos are attached securely to the cardstock, you will need to punch two holes at the top of each banner piece.  This is how you will string each picture together.

 Step 5: Lay your banner pieces out in the order in which you would like them to appear on your banner.  I made three banners of various lengths.  Feel free to make yours as long or short as you’d like.  Once your pieces are laid out, measure your string to see how long each corresponding piece needs to be.

Step 6: thread your string through the front of your banner piece, around the back and back out the second hole.  You will thread one piece at a time sliding it to the end of your banner.  Once you have your piece where you want it, tape the string to the card stock on the backside.  You will do this for every piece until your banner is full.  And that's it!  

You now have party decorations and picture displays of your beautiful birthday baby!    

Grace LOVED seeing her pictures all over the party.  Anytime she would pass a banner she would reach and shout with excitement until we would let her touch it, ha!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

12/52: A photo collage in the making…

And by making, I mean procrastinating!  These frames, prints and wall art have been sitting on the floor of our guestroom since early November – that’s nearly 5 months people!  I know I want the collage to be in the entryway… I know what I want it to look like and I have everything I need.  So what’s the holdup you ask?  It’s called work + Grace + Season 2 of Girls + The Walking Dead + my pile of never ending laundry.  What’s a DIY diva to do?

Does anyone want to do it for me?  Please, please ;)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Green & Bean Shamrock Quesadilla

When little “holidays” like St. Patrick’s Day come around, the dork in me can’t help but do something fun and different with baby girl.  The day usually involves a themed outfit of some sort (complete with accessories) and if there is time to make a holiday type recipe, I’m all over it!

Gracie’s first St. Patty’s day was very low-key because she was only 10 days old. We spent around an hour at the park but hurried back to our nest as soon as we could out of pure nervousness, hehe.  What a difference a year makes because this St. Patrick’s Day was way more action packed for all of us than the one before!  The day began with some green eggs and ham courtesy of a very awesome mommy, followed by a birthday party for Grace’s cousin, Jace who turned one.  The boys (our nephews) were able to join us for the party, which just made Gracie’s day.  She LOVES all of her cousins but is especially fascinated with her cousin Devin.  They have this adorable little bond and Devin gets smiles and giggles out of Grace that are unlike any others.  I’m so glad that they were able to join us!

I rolled up my sleeves and got creative with Gracie’s St. Patty’s lunch too!  I wanted to make her something green that wouldn’t keep me in the kitchen all afternoon and a quesadilla was the first thing that came to mind.  What gives this 5 minute meal its charm is the green tortilla.  If you’ve never tasted spinach tortillas you are missing out.  They’re delish!  A couple tortillas, a few ingredients and a little food coloring and TADA… Grace had her very own Green & Bean Shamrock quesadilla.  How do you like the name?  I just made it up, lol. ;)

If you want to make this 5 minute meal, here’s what you’ll need:

And here is the quick and easy how-to:

~ Cook 1 cup of Minute Brown Rice
~ While the rice is cooking heat the black beans and added a little garlic powder to taste

~ Fold a tortilla in half and punch out 4 hearts using a heart cookie cutter

~ Once the beans and rice are finished, stuff your mini heart tortillas and don’t forget to add some cheese!

~ Use the leftover tortilla scraps to make your shamrock stem

~ Add 2 drops of green food coloring to the sour cream and spoon a dollop in the center of the shamrock and that’s it, you’re done!

All in all, it was such a fun day.  Here are a few more pictures of our afternoon.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. :)

Me and my little gal :)

Getting all 3 of them to look at me at the same time was impossible, ha!

Shooting hoops with mommy.

I love her little face in this one.  She can’t seem to decide if she likes the ride or not…

Happy Sunday friends!
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