Grady Turns One!

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It’s been quite some time since I last wrote a blog post, but I’ve been a bit busy between work, travel, and life in general with a growing little one in the house.  We have so many exciting things coming up over the next few weeks, so I will try my best to properly document any of those noteworthy things here.

The first of those exciting things is Grady’s first birthday.  I joke with all of my friends that it’s a National Holiday in our household, because it’s literally been something I have been thinking about and planning for a year!!  I know, I am crazy.  But my love for others manifests itself in these ways — planning and creating; organizing and plotting.  Considering the love I have for Grady is greater than any love I have ever had in my life, it makes sense that I have spent the most time EVER on this ‘event’ :).

The first part of G’s birthday celebration includes a photograph session with our AMAZING photographer, Aimee Nelson.  She is literally the most talented and thorough person around and we are so happy she captured Grady’s 1st year of life for us in such  special way.

I do admit that choosing the theme and outfits for a little boy’s cake smash photo session can be super tricky.  I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how I wanted the colors to come together — I clearly wanted it to be blue, but I also wanted it to be bold and dynamic.  My mom helped my vision come to life with the custom backdrop in his photos.  She also created the adorable little “One” cake topper you see in one of the images.  And I landed on the outfits you see from Janie & Jack, Zara Baby, and Polo Ralph Lauren– out of everything out there, they have the most ‘classic’ boy options.  I ended up being very happy with the results!

I have to say, I will forever cherish these images.  They perfectly capture Grady’s transition from a sweet baby boy to an inquisitive little toddler — I see so much of both of him in these images.  How bittersweet it is.

 

Fourth of July Camping

We had such a blast celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend!  We spent the weekend with my parents camping at their property in North Florida.  It was the perfect combination of rustic and civilized :). My mom and I may have gone a little overboard, but it sure was worth it!  We ate like kings, spent some quality time as a family, and celebrated with a beautiful backdrop.  We visited a local fresh water spring and Grady had his first 70-degree water experience.  He actually took it like a champ, after the initial shock.

Here are some pics of the weekend.  I’ll also include our menu from the weekend in case anyone is looking for some camping (glamping :)) inspiration!

This family loves our country and any reason to celebrate it!

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Menu:

Saturday Breakfast: Pan-fried patties of grits, cheese and bacon (yum!) + Biscuits + Bacon & Eggs

Saturday Lunch:  Pulled Pork Sandwiches on Grilled Buns + Cole Slaw + Watermelon + Chips

Saturday Dinner: Three Cheese Potato Packets  + Chicken Sandwiches + Burgers

Saturday Dinner: Mini Cherry and Peach Fried Pies (in the shapes of stars)

Sunday Breakfast: Pancakes + Bacon & Eggs + Fresh Fruit

Sunday Lunch: Picnic lunch at the Springs including Sandwiches + Fresh Fruit + Chips

Sunday Dinner: Chicken and Steak Shish kabobs + Grilled Corn + Watermelon + French Fries + Sweet Tea

Sunday Dessert: Brownie Skillets with homemade vanilla ice-cream

Monday Breakfast: American Donuts — I was dying to make these.  I ended up making these a semi-homemade item. We bought the classic cake donuts from Dunkin Donuts and decorated them.  They were fun and cute, but maybe not quite as cute as the original website I found.  But pretty darn good for a rustic semi-homemade 🙂

Handmade Decor:

Burlap fans (there is a DIY here, but my mom tweaked it for us)

Burlap Flag Table Runner (here is a DIY, my mom also made 1 giant flag, which Grady is sitting on in the photo and we hung up for additional decor)

Burlap Banner (here is the DIY)

Mason Jar flags (I have been dying for these for years, my mom did an awesome job making these…love them!  They are just painted, stamped, and sanded to make rustic)

My Perspective on Motherhood

With it being my first Mother’s Day and with Grady recently turning 6 months old, I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on what motherhood means to me.

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I have always known that perspective is one of the strongest forces in understanding and appreciating life in its truest form.  Perspective can change everything, and my new perspective most certainly has done that for me.  I used to think that my life had such purpose, that I lived a full life and could not be any happier.  And while that may be partially true, I now see that I was just living a life to prepare me for this. Every bit of happiness I have felt in my life prior to October 27, 2015 pales in comparison to what I feel now when I hold my son and I embrace my little family.

No matter how long the days feel or how sleepless the nights can be, I truly try to stop and enjoy every minute. I now know that (for me) parenthood is the true meaning of life.  If I do nothing else in this world, I strive to equip this little man (and any of my future offspring) with the tools and capability to live a fulfilling, thoughtful, and happy life.  I know he has already done that for me in just a few short months.

I’m sharing some special photos from Grady’s 6 month photo shoot.  The amount of love that John and I both feel for this little boy is indescribable.  He steals a new piece of our hearts every single day and from these pictures it’s easy to see why :).

So far, this journey has been an epic one and I can’t wait to savor every second of what is to come.

Photography by Aimee Nelson Photography

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Mother’s Day Spa Day

Mother’s Day is seriously one of my favorite holidays ever. I have always loved it because it gives me the perfect reason to celebrate the beautiful women in my life who sacrifice so much of themselves on a daily basis.  I understand that sacrifice and love more than ever this year as a new mama.  I am beyond excited to be celebrating Mother’s Day for my first time and it makes me want to recognize the special moms in my life even more.

This year, my mom is treating my sister and me to a Spa Day at the Four Seasons.  So, I really wanted to give them both something that is fun and pairs well with the occasion.  After getting massages, we are planning to have lunch by the pool and then will spend the day at the beach. After chatting with some friends, I realized I should make a gift basket that has all the things they would need for a beach day at the resort.

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I came up with a fun tote bag that includes beach sandals, wide-brim hats, water bottles, magazines, books, journals, beach towels, kimono cover-ups, and chocolates.  Everything came from Target – they have such an amazing collection of things that I was lucky enough to find everything in the right style for what I wanted.  Super convenient! I should mention that another special mom in my life, my mother-in-law, isn’t here locally this weekend. So John and I sent her flowers since mailing things can be tricky.  While I love flowers and they are amazing, I was able to get all of these (useful) things for pretty much the same budget.  Pretty crazy! A little thoughtfulness and time spent really do go a long way.

I absolutely love the way they turned out!  I plan to bring these to the Four Seasons and have them waiting for them in the Locker Room when they arrive.  So excited!

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One tip to point out is that the tote bags from Target came with cardboard shapers on the inside.  I took the shaper and flipped it upside down so that the solid piece is at the top of the bag.  The idea was to provide stability so I could have the contents visible at the top.  I then covered the cardboard with pretty pink tissue paper so it acted as a base.  Here’s a look at it:

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And of course, here are a few more shots of the bags and their contents!

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Sunday Brunching

This past weekend I hosted some of my favorite friends for a Sunday Brunch.  It’s been awhile since I have posted so I thought I would share some pics of the table setting and maybe give some inspiration for Mother’s Day Brunch ideas :).

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Also, it’s my favorite flowers’ season–peonies!  Of course I had to make an arrangement showcasing the few peonies I could find in this market (this time of year makes me extremely jealous of the west-coasters who have plentiful access to beautiful buds!!).

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I went with a natural and gold color scheme with some pops of light pink.  These candleholders came from Target in the patio section and were a steal at $4 each.  It added a nice touch for the look I wanted:

IMG_0507We had so much fun eating, drinking, and laughing the day away. Not much better than good friends, bubbles and yummy food to cap off a weekend!

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The menu included:

Bacon — the trick here is baking it in the oven at 375 on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (make sure the cookie sheet has a lip to it to capture the cooked-off fat). Your bacon will come out perfectly flat and crisp (and you can season it if you wish too!)

Eggs — we did ours in muffin pans so that each individual serving was wasy to dish up. We offered both scrambled and over-medium options.

Caprese Salad — always a hit for brunch!

Jumbo shrimp — the best Jumpbo shrimp comes from Fresh Market.  A bit pricey but well worth if for the quality.

Bakery Basket with preserves

Charcuterie

Fresh mixed berries — strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries create a gorgeous rainbow of colors in a glass dish.

Waffle Bar

Mini Desserts — I wish I had time to make these from scratch, but with a 6 month old, that’s not really possible.  But the Whole Foods bakery did the trick :).

And of course, Champagne.  Lots of Champagne.  We had fresh juices, berries, and mint leaves to mix in as well.

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Grady’s Nursery

I am so excited to share Grady’s nursery with my friends and family!  We have spent weeks turning the space into a special and magical place for Grady’s first memories.  It has fast become our favorite room in the house and we couldn’t be more excited for the special times we will share as a family here.

I first started by surfing the net for inspiration — looking at lots of blogs and idea boards.  I knew I wanted something clean, fresh and sophisticated while still being whimsical, fun and baby-friendly. It was also very important to us to create an environment that inspires some of our most important values – travel and culture, reading and knowledge, and, of course, inspiration and history. We chose to focus on antiques, world maps, books, adorable animals, and lots of positive quotes (all in a very neutral and rustic setting).

When we moved into our house, there was always an extra room that we knew would one day be for our first baby.  Four years later, we have finally put this room to use other than a storage closet! The many hours John and I have spent prepping this room over the past several weeks have brought us so much joy and so many amazing memories.  It of course started with clearing all of the storage from the space and painting it to the right color.  We knew we wanted grey colors, but we never realized how difficult choosing a grey paint could be!  I highly recommend buying and ordering as many samples as possible to choose the right color palatte — from bedding to furniture to paint, it really does make a difference.  Once you have your color palatte and theme, it’s all gravy from there. John will be quick to tell you that he and his father painted the nursery not only once, but twice :).  Even though we did all of the swatches on the walls, the hue changed once the entire room was painted.  Thank God I have an amazing husband!

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RH Baby and Child was a huge resource for me.  Though they are pricey, I did purchase some key items to set the tempo of the decor and also used their ideas as resources for finding more affordable options (mainly the furniture itself).  The great thing about RH is you can order swatches and samples of virtually everything.  This really helps in pulling all of your colors and ideas into one place.

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Once the room was painted, colors were chosen, and furniture was purchased, the real fun began!  It took many weeks of searching for the right pieces and thinking of all the details that could work together. Luckily, I have amazingly talented parents who helped my vision come to life.  They helped to find some perfect antiques and even created and handcrafted much of the custom furniture in the room. Here’s a look at how it all came together!

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My mom created the custom wood palette “G” and my dad built the bookshelf and the wall shelves.  They are amazing to say the least!

And here’s a look at all of the details:

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Lastly, I did a lot of research on how best to organize baby clothes.  It is more difficult than it sounds!  But I found some good tips and decided to arrange by size and type by using drawer dividers from The Container Store:

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We cannot wait for Grady to arrive!  5 weeks and counting!

SOURCES:

White Table: http://www.ballarddesigns.com/bornova-side-table/15106

French White Furniture: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12585965

Elephant Skin Paint Color: http://www.homedepot.com/p/BEHR-Premium-Plus-Ultra-8-oz-UL260-5-Elephant-Skin-Interior-Exterior-Paint-Sample-UL260-5/202180495

Ice Blue Organizing Tray: http://shop.projectnursery.com/collections/childrens-room-decor/products/garbo-tray-in-ice-blue

Plush Area Rug (a favorite of the room!): http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Safavieh-Milan-Shag-Ivory-Rug-8-x-10/8402703/product.html

White Curtain Rods:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Martha-Stewart-Living-8-ft-Reeded-1-3-8-in-Wood-Pole-in-White-33-WP-81/203721215

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Martha-Stewart-Living-1-3-8-in-Wood-Ball-Finial-in-White-33-F1-1/203721161

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Martha-Stewart-Living-1-3-8-in-Wood-Single-Bracket-in-White-33-BS-1/203721233

Explore Wooden Map Sign: https://www.etsy.com/listing/235027363/explore-world-map-rustic-wooden-sign?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=wooden%20map%20wall%20decor&ref=sr_gallery_4

Wool felt Animal Heads: https://www.rhbabyandchild.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=rhbc_prod442278&categoryId=search

Wool Felt Animal Bookends: https://www.rhbabyandchild.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=rhbc_prod382639&categoryId=search

Large Wool Felt Giraffe: https://www.rhbabyandchild.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=rhbc_prod379451&categoryId=search

Sheets in Mist: https://www.rhbabyandchild.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=rhbc_prod397217&categoryId=search

Crib Skirt in Mist: https://www.rhbabyandchild.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=rhbc_prod507092&categoryId=search

Decorative Pillows in Ocean and Mist: https://www.rhbabyandchild.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=rhbc_prod419137&categoryId=search

Cotton Poufs:  https://www.rhbabyandchild.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=rhbc_prod398254&categoryId=search

Custom Chair in ‘Burlap’ (Item 5N125): http://www.bellini.com/

Hello There Handsome Pillow: https://www.etsy.com/listing/124174357/his-and-hers-cushion-covers-hello-there?ref=shop_home_active_1

Elephant Hamper: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SHL6792/

It’s a Boy! A Gender Reveal to Remember

Since this is our  first baby, John and I really wanted to have some fun with the gender reveal of Baby T.  I did a lot of research on Pinterest and some other fun blogs.  Since gender reveals are a fairly new practice, it was difficult to find something that felt timeless and classic without being cheesy or baby-ish.  Luckily, I came across this great post where the family did a beautiful event outdoors with a soft peach and mint theme.  My mom and I immediately decided to mirror our event after this.

After deciding on the theme, the next step was to find the perfect location that could host a casual gathering with a beautiful scenery.  I decided to research locations by looking into photo-shoot spots used by local photographers (this was extremely useful and I highly recommend doing it if you are unsure about event locations in different areas).  John and I wanted something that would highlight the beautiful Florida sunset in a natural setting.  When we stumbled upon the Riverbend Park in Jupiter, FL, we knew we had found a gem, and the perfect location for our photo shoot and gender reveal.

Now, the real fun began!  My mom and I hand-made these fun invitations:

Invitation

We used small circular glitter confetti and punched small circles into colored craft paper to create the confetti effect (this ties to the method of our reveal used at the event).

I have to give credit to my mom for creating all of the beautiful details for this event.  She took my vision and really made it come to life!

Here is a peak at the gorgeous park and setting:View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

The event started with guests arriving to Peach Lemonade and Mint Iced Tea refreshments.  All guests ‘chose a side’ and wore either a peach or a mint-colored fray pin to show their wish for Baby T’s gender. View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

And of course, there was the PERFECT dessert table with the very important party ‘props.’ We made poppers filled with confetti that guests would eventually pop to reveal Baby T’s gender. I mean, check out how beautiful this set-up is!

View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

Baby Turner Edited-0033-v2 View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

Our guests enjoyed some catered Chipotle for dinner while our photographer snapped some shots of John and I.  Then the time finally came to find out Baby T’s gender!  John and I were both literally DYING to find out.  He was expecting a girl, but I had a very strong feeling it would be a boy.  All of our guests grabbed poppers and surrounded us as we anticipated the POP!  We were so excited to see mint green confetti flying at us confirming my beliefs of a little boy on the way.  We did actually have an early popper (but it happened behind us so we didn’t see it until the rest of the group showered us at once).  At the end of the day, the early popper really just made it that more fun, memorable, and spontaneous!

View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turnerView More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

After all was said and done, having an intimate gender reveal party with our closest family and friends was such an amazing blessing. We had such a blast and have these memories that will last a lifetime.  Our little boy is already so loved and blessed beyond belief…we are absolutely floored by the outpouring of genuine love and support from our friends and family. We cannot wait to welcome Grady into this world, but are so excited for the coming months to enjoy the rest of this journey.  I am already onto the next project…..Grady’s nursery :).

Here are some of my favorite pics from our photographer from this magical day:

View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turnerView More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turnerView More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turnerView More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner View More: http://thompsonphotographygroup.pass.us/baby-turner

SOURCES / TIPS:

Photographyhttp://www.thompsonphotographygroup.com/ 

Pink Maxi Dress (BCBG) : http://www.bcbgeneration.com/Color-Blocked-Cross-Back-Dress/VDW66D30-675,default,pd.html?dwvar_VDW66D30-675_color=675&cgid=shop-dresses-maxi#start=17

White Lace Dress (Bebe)http://www.bebe.com/Sale/Dresses/Lace-Long-Sleeve-Dress/90376.pro?keyword=white%20lace%20dress 

Pink Glitter Napkinshttp://www.swoozies.com/product/292772

Aqua Blue Napkinshttp://www.swoozies.com/product/292983

Glitter Mason Jars: Quart Ball Jars from Walmart; Spray adhesive paint from Home Depot; Gold glitter from Michaels; Gold Metallic paint from Walmart

Gold Lettering Signs: Here’s a how-to on the process: http://jennycollier.com/diy-gold-foil-print/ we bought a laminator here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0010JEJPC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0010JEJPC&linkCode=as2&tag=httpjennycoco-20&linkId=YTYHTRHSE3CMEBXJ; and Gold Foil can be purchased here: http://lauramurraydesigns.com/foil/foil-by-the-yard/

Floating Frames: “At Home” design store 11 x 14 & 8 x 10 black frames, painted white

Poppers:  Push-pops: http://shop.pushpopcontainers.com/ ; Special Tissue colors cut into small squares: http://www.nashvillewraps.com/ ; + ribbon, gold sequins and clear white crinkle paper from the craft store

Team Boy/Girl Pins: Crepe paper sewn to safety pins: http://www.papermart.com/premium-colored-crepe-paper/id=36547