Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy 1st birthday to my sweet daughter!

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This year has been an absolute whirlwind and an absolute blast.

You have shown us what true happiness is and you bring joy into our lives every day.

You have 6 teeth, are walking laps around the house, and love animals.

You hug your doll everyday, scream with excitement all the time, and eat…a lot.

You are still nursing, love books, and always carry two or more toys at once.

You are full of personality, strong-willed, yet obedient, and smile 96.5% of the time.

You love all three of our pets, but Belle is your favorite and you tackle her daily, with a strong pat and a shrill of pure joy.

You love to love and cuddle, hug, and kiss, any chance you get (although right now, you only kiss the mirror, pages in your favorite books, and a few select stuffed animals)

You’re not a fan of the grass, can’t decide if you like eggs, and you still aren’t a fan of sleeping through the night (though you have done it a handful of times)

You make Mommy & Daddy smile, laugh, and constantly say to one another, “I love her so much”

Thank you for being the most perfect thing I’ve ever tangibly known.

Thank you for making me a mother.

Happy 1st birthday baby girl, I love you so, so much!

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One of my favorites!

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Her favorite doll

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And the pictures went downhill from here; bugs, heat, Mommy was done too!

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It’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to!😉


Here are the direct links for Adalynn’s sweet, little outfit…

Headband: Target

Onesie: Courtesy of Lily Pads and Lace

Skirt: Old Navy

Adalynn’s Birth Story

I was very active during my pregnancy so when I started getting a shooting back pain around 8:30 pm on August 21, 2015 (the day before my due date) I just thought I’d overdone it. I actually didn’t even tell my husband at first because he’d been telling me to slow down since I was approaching full term and quite frankly I didn’t want the lecture. I’d walk laps around our neighborhood. I’d spent an hour walking around Dollar Tree just perusing and then two hours buying every single item possible at Walmart. I wanted to make sure we weren’t out of anything, even down to dried basil and an extra bag of dogfood. I’m pretty sure looking back that I was in total nesting mode. That night at home I got to work making sure every single thing was checked off my to-do list. The back pain that had come at 8:30 came again around 9:30. I got excited when I noticed that it fell at an hour and thought, “what if this is labor??” I quickly reminded myself to not get excited and that this was my first baby and there was a good chance she’d be overdue. I just couldn’t shake the thought of it being labor though. (Although, when you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy you think any and everything might be labor starting…wishful thinking maybe?) Around 10:30 I got another shooting back pain. Hmmm Labor? Nah! I decided it was getting late, the to-do list would have to wait, and that laying down would probably feel pretty glorious at this point. WRONG! The second I laid down the back pain got even worse. I sat up and tried to lay on my side. Nope! Up I got and did some yoga. That made it feel a little better, but laying down was still so painful. At this point I was a bit irritated with myself for hurting my back. “Why did I have to overdo it today?” My husband had fallen asleep and there wasn’t much he could do for my back pain so I decided to get in our tub. It is a jetted tub and I just knew that would make my back feel better.

The jetted tub helped a little but the longer I was in the tub, the more my back hurt. I was also feeling tightening in my lower abdomen and at this point thought, “okay, this seriously might be labor.” I still didn’t think it could possibly be true. I was moving around in the tub trying to get comfortable when my hubby came in to check on me. He had gotten an app to keep track of contractions and suggested tracking my pains – totally inconsistent. We called my midwife for help, but she said it was up to us whether we wanted to come in or not. It seemed too soon to go in, I was handling everything well, so I decided we should stay home. We also called our doula, but with the inconsistency and my current feelings she decided to wait to come over.

The waves of labor continued but I still couldn’t 100% convince myself that I was in labor. I wasn’t past my due date. This was my first. There was no way she was coming into this world yet. I continued laboring at home, now out of the tub, using my husband for both physical and emotional support, and trying to breath through the waves. After laboring in my bathroom for about four and a half hours we decided that we should probably make our way to hospital (Side note, I thought it had been an hour or so. Labor makes you lose all concept of time. Well it makes you lose all concept of anything really). The drive is about 25 minutes and I realized once I was sitting in the car that I thought I may have her on the way there.

The waves were coming closer and closer and since my husband was driving there was no way to track it. I changed my breathing, as I’d learned in class, and we arrived at the hospital, entering through the emergency room entrance as the main doors of the hospital were locked since it was so early in the morning. My doula was there waiting for us. (She had been on her way to our house, but before she arrived, John called to tell her to just meet us at the hospital). I had to sign some paperwork (noooo clue what it was about) while John parked the car and then I was whisked in a wheelchair up to the birthing center.

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They had a jetted tub waiting but since I’d already been in the tub at home I wanted to try something else. I ended up kneeling over a birthing ball in the shower. It was a great position and the warm water beating down on my back felt great. I was in the shower for about an hour and a half and then my midwife asked if I’d like to try the tub as the change may make me progress even more. It worked! Within 15 minutes of being in the tub my midwife said, “time to push!” It was literally one of the most surreal moments of my life. I remember thinking, “this is the moment we’ve been waiting for all this time.” I was about to meet this perfect little stranger and all I could do was smile from ear to ear.

I got in a comfortable position, with John behind me as support, and within about thirty minutes I laid eyes on the most beautiful baby girl I’d ever seen. The midwife said, “do you want to deliver her?” This wasn’t something we’d chatted about prior to that very moment but “absolutely” was the only thought that crossed my mind. I grabbed her on either side and lifted her to my chest. She was crying and although I thought I would be too, happy tears streaming, I wasn’t. I couldn’t stop staring at her in amazement. You love this little person that you’ve never met, you carry them for 40 weeks of your life, feeling their movements, watching and hearing their heartbeat at your appointments and here they are! You finally know what their cry sounds like, what color their hair is, the details of their perfect face and tiny body. I was totally awestruck and so in love. And as much as your heart grows in that very moment it somehow grows bigger every single day. I will never be able to thank God enough for choosing me to be a mom, to be her mom, watching her learn and discover, watching her grow taller, stronger, smarter, everyday. It is absolutely the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life.

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Completely awestruck

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Daddy’s first time holding her.

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A family of three

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Our perfect girl

Our GIRL

I think my husband and I both knew all along that I was carrying a little girl. For me it may have been because I think I wanted a girl just a little bit more. I was dreaming of nail painting, girlie chats, and pink bows.

The day of our 20 week appointment came and first and foremost I wanted to know that everything for the anatomical portion checked out alright. Secondly I was so excited to know the gender. I had previously been skeptical about even finding out but the hubby had done a lot of good convincing! When the time came for the ultrasound tech to tell us, I closed my eyes and asked her to type it on the screen so that John could tell me. It was such a special moment for us. I will never forget the look on his face when he told me it was a girl. I screamed from the excitement and the tears began to flow. It is something I will never forget.

And if you know me at all you know our next step was a photo shoot to announce! (You can never over-document life, amiright?)

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Our Special Valentine…

As the countdown gets smaller to our sweet babe’s 1st birthday my heart seems to be growing even more each day than it already was. I truly feel like the memories of my entire pregnancy and the days of our brand new babe are just swirling around in my head nonstop. They are bringing tears to my eyes and joy to my heart in a way I will never be able to describe. I have looked at more pictures recently than I can count and I’m almost positive I’ve given more kisses in the last few days than I have the past twelve months. I’ve decided since so many wonderful, beautiful memories have been flowing through my head I would put them into words so I won’t ever forget a thing.

Expect a post every day for the next few days! Beaming, sobbing, head over heels mama over here!!!

For now I am going to share the pregnancy announcement photos we shared with “the world.” (We announced to our immediate families over the Christmas holidays)

We were comfortable sharing the news when I was around 12 weeks pregnant which fell just in time for Valentine’s Day…themed photo shoot for the win! Hehe

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{Photo credit for all of the above photos goes to the lovely Cynthia Tenney}


When Adalynn was almost 6 months old we went back to this park and recreated some of the images, but with her in them! Click here to check them out!


XOXO

Must Have Mondays

Must Have Mondays – Issue 3

If this is your first time checking out Must Have Monday’s here’s how it works!

Every other Monday I feature an recipe, blogger, and product. Since I am a wife, mother, and blogger these will be quick and easy recipes,relateable bloggers, and helpful & trendy products – all “must have’s” in my life!

Enjoy this week’s must have’s –


This week’s recipe is Slow Cooker Honey Pork Chops from Stockpiling Moms

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Photo courtesy of “Stockpiling Moms”

I initially clicked on this recipe because yum. I was sold just from reading the title – it sounded so tasty…and it was! It sounded easy (“slow cooker” always sells me)…and it was! The honey, apples, and cinnamon taste sooooo yummy soaked in the pork. It was a very easy dinner, can be paired with tons of things, and tasted just as good, if not better, the next day. I also went back and got seconds the night I made this, shhhhhhh.


This week’s blogger is Kristen of Balancing Pieces

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Photo courtesy of Kristen

It has been so awesome following Kristen’s blog since launching my own back in February. It has grown so much so quickly and shows just how good she is at this whole blogging thing! She blogs about beauty products (something I definitely need help with), motherhood (something I always love to read about/compare crazy lives of other mothers), and DIY (something I’m horrible at, but she does some simple ones that even my incapable self can do). She is also very open to helping and connecting with other bloggers something I will always have the utmost respect for.


This week’s product is the  O Key Ring

The second I saw this product I knew I HAD to have it! As a stay-at-home mom my hands are constantly full. One of the times my hands are the most full is leaving the store. I am trying to carry shopping bags, a diaper bag, a small person! And then fumbling in my bag to try to find my keys, get them in my hand to open the car, and do it without dropping anything is quite the task. In all honestly having your hands so full while carrying your youngster just doesn’t feel safe. Enter o-key ring! Aside from the safety factor this product is gorgeous. It is made of leather and comes in multiple colors. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly obsessed with this product. (They also sell card cases and money clips!)

I received the mentioned items in this post in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

 

Thank you my sweet daughter

To my sweet baby girl as our breastfeeding journey ends,
You have been nursing less and less lately and as we approach your first birthday I’m not sure just how much longer we’ll be on this journey. It has been a grueling one, scattered with physical, mental, and emotional difficulties, but I’m thankful we were in it together. You see, so many people focus on how strong the mother is when breastfeeding doesn’t come easy, but honestly, I owe it all to you! As natural and beautiful as breastfeeding is, it definitely didn’t come naturally to us and honestly, it wasn’t always beautiful. But through it all you tried and tried and tried again and again and again laying every bit of trust in me. Even when I had no idea what I was doing (heck, I still don’t) you stayed patient. I love you so very much for that….and for so many other things, but truly your unwavering trust bonded us so deeply.
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Those first days, weeks, and even months I had so much to learn. I fumbled. I cried. I often lost my patience. But you held it out for me and even when you fumbled, cried, and lost your patience we still leaned on one another to get us through.
We were both brand new at this and if I’m being honest, neither of us were very good. Thank you for always trying your hardest with me. I know you had your own struggles, and even physical barriers working against you. But we fought through!
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Parents are proud of their children for a number of reasons but having you successfully nurse for the first time on your own, something you’d been trying to master for weeks since leaving the hospital, made me beam with such pride. Daddy and I did a little high five, “yay!” session actually. It was a beautiful, wonderful moment!
I know in the beginning it was a struggle for me but your trust in me is the only thing that made nursing ever work out for us. Now many people will read this and think, “well of course she trusted you, she was a newborn and you her mama.” That’s not it though! You could have refused or fought it or just gave up, but you didn’t. We’d snuggle and pray and you’d trust the process time and time again, even when it didn’t always work. Thank you for that. Thank you so, so much my sweet girl.
Breastfeeding you this past 11 months (and how ever many months we have to go!) have been nothing short of amazing – they have brought us closer, even closer than the regular bonding that comes with it because we had to learn to completely rely on one another. These past 11 months have taught patience, love, and faith. These past 11 months I accomplished something that I never realized I would be so deeply proud of!
Thank you my sweet daughter, I owe it all to you.
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Must Have Mondays

Must Have Mondays – Issue 2

This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive compensation if a purchase is made using these links.

If this is your first time checking out Must Have Monday’s here’s the low down!

Every other Monday I will be featuring an awesome recipe, blogger, and product. Since I am a mommy, wifey, and blogger these will be quick and easy recipes, relateable bloggers, and helpful & trendy products – all “must have’s” in my life!

Here’s this week’s must have’s! Enjoy!


This week’s recipe is Parmesan Herb Crusted Salmon from Add A Pinch.

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Photo courtesy of Add A Pinch

This is one of those meals that would be sure to impress others who saw and/or ate it, but in reality it is one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. We eat a lot of salmon in this house and this is a recipe I go back to time and time again. It is just so, so delicious. And I don’t know about you, but fish just tastes better on a summer night. We paired it with some white wine and roasted asparagus, yum!


This week’s blogger is Sarabeth McElhaney of The February Fox

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Photo courtesy of Sarabeth McElhaney

Sarabeth and I connected months ago and her blog and Instagram page are truly one of those that I love to follow. Her pictures are bright and beautiful. She’s just gorgeous. And her blog is absolutely fabulous. Personally, my favorite section is the travel section. Sarabeth and her family do lots of traveling, but not just typical vacations, I’m talking bucket list type stuff – Stonehenge, Warner Bros. Studios Harry Potter tour (yes, I just compared that to Stonehenge!), Loch Ness, and St. Andrews Golf Course, just a name a few of my favorites! If traveling isn’t your thing Sarabeth also blogs about motherhood, party planning, and life in general.


This week’s product is Crib Rail Covers.

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Photo courtesy of Trend Lab via Amazon.com

Before you roll your eyes at how absolutely boring this week’s product sounds, just read…especially if you’re an expectant mama (registry idea, yay!) or mama to a teething (or soon-to-be teething) little one.

My husband and I literally love this so much that he’s the one that suggested this product for this week’s Must Have Monday’s. There’s a few reasons why this is such a great product!  Our first and foremost reason for purchasing this was because our daughter had begun teething and was chewing on the crib railing. Call me a bad mom, but I didn’t think that it was that bad at first (it’s not like we let her do it for hours on end!) That was until one day I picked her and she had paint chips in her mouth!!!! Yikes! Secondly, and, just as important, when she was teething she was also becoming mobile, and quick! She would often bump her head trying to stand and look over the crib railing. The padding of the crib rail cover served as a cushion. Lastly, with those two things taken care of my husband and I were comfortable leaving her in the crib for a bit in the morning to play. We don’t want her to become used to getting picked up the second she wakes up in the morning. We were doing that, however, before we put the crib rail cover on solely because her crib wasn’t exactly safe anymore.

Our little one always come to the front railing so we only needed a cover for that part which you can buy here. If you also need the side railing crib cover you can buy that here.

10 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Top 10 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman:

Originally I planned on launching my blog while I was pregnant. That didn’t happen, but I couldn’t bear to get rid of this piece I’d written during that time. Even though, let’s be honest, any pregnant woman could have probably written it! What is it with strangers, or anyone for that matter, and the things that they feel compelled to ask and tell you while you’re rocking that baby bump??

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Photo credit: Cynthia Tenney Photography

Here is an actual list of things that people said to me while I was expecting. Literally. This list came directly from the notepad on my smart phone:
“Are you having twins?”

Why don’t you just say “you look so large that there’s no way there’s one baby in there,” you know, because it’s not like a woman gaining 20+ pounds isn’t already a bit self conscious.


“Can I guess your due date?”

I had a stranger in the post office ask me this. Really? NO, you can’t guess my due date, because I reallyyyyy don’t want to hear your response when you think I’m further along than I already am.


“Make sure you _______ before the baby is here.”

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said this to me. What’s ironic is that we’ve done pretty much every fill-in-the blank that people told me/us we wouldn’t do SINCE our daughter’s been born. Yes, it’s a little more difficult, but we had a child, we didn’t die.


“You look like you’re going to pop!”

I refuse to even comment on this one.


“You’re gaining weight.”

I’m aware of that. I am also reminded every week as I step on the scale at the doctor’s office, but thank you so much for informing me. Also, reminder, but I’m supposed to be gaining weight.


“You shouldn’t eat that.”

I’m growing a human. I’ll eat YOU if I want to!


(After an inspection of my belly) “You’re not going into labor anytime soon.”

I didn’t realize you were a medical professional, even though, ironically enough, I don’t think even they can tell me when I’m going into labor just based on a glance at my belly.


“What are you having?” (immediately followed by) “But that’s not how you’re carrying.”

So why didn’t you just tell me what you apparently know I’m having….


”You’ll be pregnant all summer.”(While making an equally sympathetic and disgusted look)

Yes, that is correct, my due date is in August which yes is, in fact, in the summer.


A reminder of when my due date is

One of my friends reminded me regularly, sometimes days in a row, how many days it was until my due date. The thing is, I was very patient about being pregnant, but also anxious because I didn’t know the exact time it would happen. Those reminders were not cute or helpful…they were nerve racking.


“It’s going to be a long time before you see a two-piece again.”

Ummmm rude and can we say, INAPPROPRIATE??!? Not to mention it was a man that told me that!


…And just to cover the rest of the bases, no I don’t care about your horrific labor & delivery story, how far overdue you were, what horrible things you’ve heard about the birthing center/hospital we’ve chosen, and/or your opinions about medicated versus natural childbirth.

If you’re pregnant and reading this – shake it off! I like to think that people genuinely mean well even if they have a reallyyyyyyy bad way at showing it.

And if you’re a mama and reading this – got anything to add to the list??

Must Have Mondays

Woo hoo! This is a quite a few weeks coming, but I am so excited to be launching Must Have Mondays! Every other Monday I will be featuring an awesome recipe, blogger, and product. Since I am a mommy, wifey, and blogger these will be quick and easy recipes, relateable bloggers, and helpful & trendy products – all “must have’s” in my life!

So without further ado here is the first installment of Must Have Monday’s! Enjoy!


This week’s recipe is Zesty Mini Bell Pepper Salad from Natasha’s Kitchen

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Photo courtesy of Natasha’s Kitchen

I love a good salad, especially in the summer, and this one was particularly refreshing since it is served cool. Just seeing the picture of this bell pepper salad made me salivate! We saved it for a night we grilled out and ate it along with some barely marinated grilled chicken. It was perfect. It is also an easy dish to throw in the refrigerator and eat the next day since it is served cold. It actually tasted even better the next day!


This week’s blogger is Audrey Uhler of Louies and Lemons.

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Photo courtesy of Audrey Uhler

Audrey is one of the first people who popped in my mind for this as she is one of the first people I genuinely connected with when I launched my blog back in February. She is such a positive person and her love for the Lord is admirable! I always love to find other women that are not shy to express their faith and she is definitely one of them. Upon connecting via Instagram I immediately visited her blog and boy was I impressed. Her picture taking skills, her topics, and honestly just the way she writes is so easy to read and so easy to relate to.


This week’s product is LuLaRoe leggings.

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Okay so I’m going to be painstakingly honest for a second. These took over the world so fast that I kinda got sick of hearing about them. Well now that I have a pair of my own I know exactly why they took over the world! They literally are the softest article of clothing I own. They are made with the perfect amount of elastic to be one size fits all 0-12. How much easier could shopping be? They also have so, so many cute patterns! This is particularly tempting for someone like me who is as far from fashionable because it makes life so simple! And let’s be honest, as a stay-at-home mom I’m perfectly okay with living in leggings. Check out Becca’s Facebook page here and you can also use the code ANDTHENLIFE15 for 15% your order through the month of July.

Going Out With a Bang!

And just like that, my sweet, teeny Adalynn celebrated her last “first holiday” yesterday.

For anyone that knows me, even if only for five minutes, they know that I am a holiday fanatic. I love dressing up, celebrating for days, eating festive food, and spending time with family & friends. Every single holiday lasts much more than a day ’round here!

The 4th of July has been a favorite holiday of mine for years – warm weather, fun times, and it just seems to get everyone in such FESTIVE moods! I totally love it! Last year, while I was pregnant with Adalynn, I was already talking about how 4th of July would be her last “first holiday,” with my due date being in August. I started joking then that she’d end her first year of celebrations with a BANG! (Fireworks pun, get it??)

Anyway, I just wanted to hop on real quick and post a recap of each of the big holidays we celebrated this past 10+ months with some of my favorite photos and memories from that particular holiday. Hope you enjoy! Xo


October 2015 – Halloween

Back in 2012, my husband, John, and I hung out at our friends’ house to hand out candy when our goddaughter was only 2 months old, never thinking we were starting a tradition. Now here we are 4 years and 3 babies later and it is better than ever! We hand out candy, take the little ones for a short stroll to get some candy of their own, drink a craft beer or two, and normally make some sort of yummy soup.

 

November 2015 – Thanksgiving

Unlike most families, we don’t have a Thanksgiving tradition. We just plan accordingly each year. This past Thanksgiving day was spent at John’s parents’ house. It was such a great day with delicious food (duh) and awesome family time. Not only did Adalynn get to hang out with her cousin who was born less than a month before her (only the 3rd time they’d done that), but Adalynn also got to meet her great grandfather!

 

December 2015 – Christmas

Christmas was a particularly special holiday to celebrate as a family of three since it was on Christmas Day the previous year that we announced to our families that we were expecting. We spent Christmas Eve with John’s parents, woke up Christmas morning at our own home, and then hosted my family for dinner.

 

December 2015/January 2016 – New Year’s Eve

We contemplated getting a sitter and going out, but decided we wanted to stay home for Adalynn’s first NYE! We were then going to just sit in our PJs and eat some finger food junk, but instead got all gussied up (Adalynn included, of course!) and made a spread of food like we were feeding a herd. It ended up being so much fun!

 

February 2016 – Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has never been a holiday my husband and I celebrate. We normally go out to eat somewhere around that day (not on the day, craziness!), but it’s really not a huge deal in our family. This particular Valentine’s Day also fell on a Sunday so most of our day we were busy at church and then with Monday being the next day we just settled for a dinner at home and a few mediocre pictures!

 

March 2016 – St. Patrick’s Day

Biggest holiday in our family as my paternal grandfather was Irish! I normally have a zillion and five pictures but with a baby and a rain storm it made things quite difficult. Every year our family goes down to the Shamrock 8k celebration at the Oceanfront. I have ran it in past years, but this year we just went to support my mom who participated in it. Afterwards we always enjoy some brews, music, and quality time together!

 

March 2016 – Easter

Easter has always been a special holiday to me because of its reason, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have so much fun with it because not only did I get to introduce my new babe to the meaning of Easter, but I also got to get her all dressed up and make an Easter basket. So fun and she looked so sweet once she was all dressed up that it brought tears to my eyes.

 

May 2016 – Mother’s Day

The most special of all holidays, for a mama at least! I so vividly remember dreaming of this day as I held my pregnant belly the previous year. My husband had made it so special then and so special again this year. I came downstairs to Adalynn sitting in the jogging stroller I’d been wanting with a handmade (melt my heart; extra brownie points) card. We then went to church and although we had big plans for a picnic we ended up just spending hours on our back patio talking and eating and laughing and talking and eating and laughing.

 

June 2016 – Father’s Day

Adalynn and I woke her daddy (my hubby) up with his favorite breakfast in bed and she was wearing the cutest onesie I’d bought that said “I’m Glad You’re My Dad.” His coffee was served in a mug that we’d DIYed with her handprint on one side and “#1 Dad” on the other side. After that we gave John the rest of his gifts and relaxed for the day, until later that evening when we grilled out.

 

July 2016 – 4th of July 

As usual, we drug this holiday out for daysssssss. We grilled out June 30th, spent time with family on July 1st, went to the beach in my hometown on the 2nd, and grilled out and played cornhole on the 3rd. On the actual 4th of July it was really rainy. We checked the weather in the Outer Banks and it was supposed to be sunny for the most part. We had back-up plans to go to the Aquarium if it wasn’t. We used the back-up plans. Haha The Aquarium was really fun though so that was fine and Adalynn seemed to have a great time. After we left the aquarium we went out to eat as a family of three and then drove the two hours home.

I could not have scripted life any better that night because as I rocked Adalynn to sleep and thought back to all the holidays and how we celebrated the past 10 months I could hear fireworks going off in the distance.

Like I promised everyone when she was just a teeny thing in my belly, her last “first holiday” ended with a bang!

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Although I’m sure you won’t remember any of the celebrating we’ve done these past 10 months I hope you treasure these photos. While I have taken the time to do photo shoots for most of them, with cute props, adorable outfits, and makeshift backdrops, these pictures, in the moment, mean so much more to me. Making memories and celebrating these holidays with you for the first time have been something I will never forget. Next stop, your first birthday!