A Little Something for All Kinds of Moms
By Lori Hadacek Chaplin
Editor's note: We wish all of our mom readers a happy Mother's Day this Sunday. Here's a little something for every kind of mom: creative announcement ideas for expecting moms; some encouragement and healing resources for those who may find Mother's Day difficult....and a few last-minute gift ideas to pamper a mom you know.
There’s a recent and delightfully pro-life trend for designing creative birth announcements. Today’s moms want to announce the addition of a new family member in imaginative and unusual ways. We asked readers to share with us how they made the big reveal. In addition, we’ve included some awesome gift ideas for Mother’s Day to help you make Mom feel special.
A new chick on the way
When I saw my sister-in-law Marlena Hadacek’s birth announcement featuring little hands holding boxes that open up to reveal an egg and a message: “Coming September 2013” on my Facebook feed, it delighted and surprised me. I wish I had been so creative when I announced my last three children!
Pampers and Dreft Soap were also impressed with Marlena’s birth announcement; both companies featured it on their FB pages. Her eye-catching announcement is the inspiration for this article.
Creating it was a labor of love. “The children were very excited to have their pictures taken for the announcement,” Marlena, who resides in Forest City, Iowa, with her husband, Mike, and their five children, told Catholic Digest. Only her eldest daughter, seven-year-old Lucia, knew why they were taking the pictures. “We didn’t want the news of the pregnancy to be spilled.”
To create this announcement, she used Photoshop Lightroom to edit and PicMonkey.com to collage the four pictures.
On September 20, 2013, their fifth little chick arrived and they named her Elizabeth Mary.
Balloons revealed the big news
Last fall Scott and Kathryn Whitaker from Austin, Texas, found out they were expecting baby number six. “We’ve always chosen to tell our children first, but seeing as how they were older this time around, we decided to get a little creative,” Kathryn told Catholic Digest.
“We told them we had some fun news, sat them all on the couch, had them close their eyes and then handed each child a balloon. Every balloon had a word so when they opened their eyes, the kids read the words aloud: ‘We are having a baby!’“
After the screaming died down, the family went outside. There they said a family prayer before releasing the balloons. “It was all kinds of awesome. In that moment we experienced true joy (and slight panic over the ensuing chaos!). We can’t wait to welcome a sweet new life to love into our family.” The Whitaker baby is due April 30, 2014.
With some chalk, a brick wall, and a little math, Korey and Emma Tighe, a military family stationed at Fort Stewart, just outside of Savannah, Georgia, made a creative baby announcement. The couple wanted to incorporate their entire family in the announcement—including the new baby due to arrive in July 2014. In the family photo, Emma is holding an ultrasound picture of her baby.
What kind of response did they get? “All very positive. As a couple under 25 with almost three years of marriage and two babies under our belt, we don’t fit into today’s norms. But our family and friends have been nothing but supportive of our new addition to our little family,” Emma told Catholic Digest.
Coming to a theater near you
Colin and Jessica Brennan, from Rochester, New York, designed a movie poster for their big news. The couple framed the mini posters and wrapped them up along with other photos for Christmas presents for their family.
The family enjoyed the surprise, and baby number three, Seamus Patrick, arrived July 2, 2013, to fulfill the poster’s prophecy!
Newlyweds Gabriel and Christina Duda, from Manassas, Virginia, were surprised and thrilled when Christina discovered she was pregnant last fall. “The thought of being a dad was tremendously exciting. At the same time, however, the thought that I was soon to be responsible for the care and upbringing of a little human being was also very scary,” Gabriel told Catholic Digest.
Sadly their joy turned to sorrow when Christina miscarried in the first trimester. “We found consolation in the hope that our first child, whom we named Steven, is now with his heavenly mother. In a way of reversing my fear of watching over a child, God took our first child to watch over me,” Gabriel said.
Their zany pregnancy announcement celebrating their second baby due in September 2014 is a sign of their growing excitement and trust in God. “I don’t feel worried this time, as I know God will provide the means to overcome any crisis we might face,” he says.
The flip side of the happy announcement
There are no pretty and creative pregnancy announcements when an unmarried woman discovers that she is pregnant. Twenty years ago, I called my mom and told her that I was pregnant, and that I wasn’t getting married.
It was one of the most difficult things that I have ever done. My mom was hurt, and she felt betrayed by me. She had taught me Catholic values, and she had trusted that I would save sex for marriage, but I fell in love and good sense flew out the window.
We didn’t speak for a couple of weeks, and those were some of the most turbulent weeks in my life. My first Mother’s Day was filled with morning sickness and loneliness.
Although hearing of my pregnancy initially wasn’t good news, it turned out to be some of the best news of our lives—with Ella I discovered the meaning of true love.
For my mom, Ella was her first granddaughter and constant companion. Mom took care of Ella while I worked, and the two of them went everywhere together, including teaching art at a local Christian school. Two-year-old Ella would sit with the big girls while Mom taught, and my mom was proud that her granddaughter was so well-behaved.
Shortly before my mom died in 2011, we talked about how hard she had taken the news that I was going to be a single mother. She let me know how, in the scheme of things, that shock meant little. We agreed that sometimes bad news can turn out to be the best news of your life.
Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
For some women, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of a loss of a child though abortion. If you are suffering, please know that there is compassionate help available. Visit RachelsVineyard.org to find a retreat in your area.
Gift ideas for Mother’s Day
Vintage Mary Statue
Perfect for mom’s flower garden, this US-made Mary cast-stone statue is a copy of an antique. $59.95 (13" H x 10" W x 8" D) from WindandWeather.com or 877-255-3700.
A romantic spin on holy medals, these lovely, vintage-inspired, French-style necklaces from the studio of French Rabbit Cottage are handcrafted by a Catholic business out of Missouri. $29.50–$36 from FrenchRabbitCottage.com (coupon code: catholicdigest for free shipping within the US on orders of $25 or more.)
Soulful and Serene Rosary
Want to buy Mom a keepsake that she will cherish a lifetime? The Soulful and Serene Rosary from the Blessed Bead is strung with 8 mm porcelain beads and 10 mm striking azure-colored table-cut window beads and accented with 4 mm faceted-bronze crystals. Created by a Catholic rosary artist from North Carolina. $72 from etsy.com/shop/TheBlessedBead.
Giver of Life Holy Water Font
Pro-life Giver of Life Holy Water Font features and image of the Holy Spirit delivering a newborn baby. This solid oak holy water font has a removable acrylic bowl. Handcrafted in the USA. $29 (7.5" x 3.5") from PortraitsofSaints.com (10% discount on entire order with discount code MOM; offer valid until May 30, 2014).
Big Hearted (book)
Big Hearted by Patty Armstrong and Theresa Thomas is a poignant collection of stories about families that reveals the beauty, sorrow, and joy of being a parent. $12.95 from ScepterPublishers.org or 800-322-8773.
Just Baked gourmet cupcakes
Surprise and delight your mom or grandma with gourmet cupcakes delivered fresh from Just Baked. We highly recommend the Fat Elvis—their banana cake cupcake topped with peanut butter-buttercream pillows and hand-dipped in their homemade ganache. $28.95 for one dozen (plus $14 for overnight shipping) from JustBakedShop.com or 734-367-0729.
Sweet Jule’s caramels
Make your mom feel extra special with Sweet Jule’s Artisan Caramels. Made with pure ingredients, the caramels come in traditional flavors such as Classic Vanilla Bean and Fleur de Sel (Salted Caramel) as well as more exotic flavors—like their to-die-for Bananas Foster and Sicilian Orange, to name a few. Handcrafted in Minnesota by a family business. $39.95 (32–34 caramels; 1.25 lb.) from SweetJulesGifts.com or 320-282-8379.
Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi fruit and nut truffles
Help the Sisters of St. Francis by giving Mom and Grandma a gift of yummy liqueur-flavored chocolates. The box includes 24 chocolates with six different flavors. We were partial to the Tart Cherries with Brandy Liqueur and the Cranberries with Raspberry Liqueur. $19.95 (6.8 oz) from MonasteryGreetings.com.
Lug Dodger mini backpack
For the mom who likes to travel light, the Lug Dodger Mini Backpack is just the ticket. This small, sporty-looking bag has a number of pockets and pouches, a water bottle holder, and a compartment for her cell phone. $66.00 from LugLife.com or 855-LUG-LIFE.
Origami Wrap by Lilla P
We loved versatility of this all-season Origami Long Sleeve Wrap in pima cotton. It can be made into numerous looks depending on how it is tied, and it’s available in 24 different colors. 20% discount for Catholic Digest readers available from 4/24–5/30 with promo code MD20.
$98.00 from Lillap.com or 212-242-7490.
Organic Facial Serums
For the woman who likes to baby her skin is Organic Facial Serums by Aura Cacia. Choose from Daytime Argan, Nighttime Baobab, Soothing Tamanu, and Deep Rosehip. We liked the heavenly smell of Deep Rosehip, with geranium and clary sage essential oils.
$19.99 for each 1 fl oz bottle from AuraCacia.com.
Chromaluxe your memories
A classy way to showcase pictures is transferring digital photos to metal or hardboard with ChromaLuxe Creative Borders Photo Panels, which come in a variety of shapes and styles. $21.99 and up from PremioGift.com or 800-234-5678.
Downton Abbey Season 4 UK Edition on DVD and Blueray
Despite the hard blow of Mathew’s (Dan Stevens) death in Season 3, Downton Abbey fans were treated to another excellent season filled with drama and moral dilemmas. In Season 4, Edith’s storyline is the most memorable and touching. Perhaps for the first time, her character is captivating the hearts of fans, and many can’t wait to see what Season 5 brings for her. Mom will be excited by this gift! $21.96 (DVD); $24.96 (Blueray) from Amazon.com.
Mom’s Night Out showing in theaters
Looking for a fun Mother’s Day outing for the whole family? Mom’s Night Out (in theaters May 9, 2014) is a sweet movie that celebrates all the joys and challenges of being a mom. The lovely Sarah Drew plays Allyson, a young mom who feels burned-out. Being a mother was the job of her dreams, so why does she feel unhappy, she wonders out loud to her husband, Sean (Sean Astin, who played Sam Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings). As a remedy, Allyson plans a mom’s night out with her girlfriends, but the anticipated relaxing evening turns into a hilarious hunt to find her missing baby nephew. A biker named Bones (country singer Trace Adkins) joins the search—and he is so charming and funny in this movie that he steals the show. Catholic actress Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) also has some memorable moments. Mom’s Night Out is a Christian film, but it didn’t come off heavy-handed or low budget. Let Hollywood know by ticket sales that you want to see more films with Christian values.
Set in eighteenth-century Germany, Crescendo is an award-winning short film about a mother who makes a life-changing decision that impacts future generations. This inspiring short is beautifully made and acted. Made by the creators of the film Bella and Pattie Mallette, mother of Justin Bieber. $13.45 from Ignatius.com or 800-651-1531.
Epicurean cutting boards
For the practical mama who likes to cook, consider quirky-looking Hipster Cutting Boards (22" x 8"; non-porous wood fiber). Made in Duluth, Minnesota. $34.99 each from Epicureancs.com.
RSVP Fish Lemon Squeezer
Funky fish lemon-wedge squeezer made of acrylic and stainless steel. $8.00 from EverythingKitchens.com or 866-852-4268.
Make your own bacon
Paleo-moms will love making their own bacon with the easy-to-use “baconkit” —made in Seattle, Washington. Takes just seven days to make five pounds. $22.00 from Baconkit.com.
Black & Decker Gyro rechargeable screwdriver
Moms like tools, too! The Gyro is small and lightweight. This electric screwdriver uses gyroscopic technology, which is motion-activated to control speed and direction—twist right to tighten and twist left to loosen. $29.99 from Amazon.com.