The 12 Doors of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a fun photo project in Waterford, Virginia.

One of the (only) highlights of having a long commute, is passing through the quaint Natural Historic Landmark town of Waterford, Virginia on my way home. After paying tolls and battling traffic, the last stretch of the commute is actually SO beautiful. As I am driving through, its hard not to admire the craftsmanship of the beautiful old homes from the 18th and 19th century that have been so carefully preserved over the years. It almost feels like you are venturing back in time while traveling through.

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It is obvious that the owners of these homes put so much love and care into them. As the holiday season approached, I started to notice all of the beautiful doors being decorated with stunning wreaths and it sparked an idea! One day after work, I decided to take a stroll through the town and capture as many of the festively decorated doors as possible. For a very pregnant me, this was only about 30 minutes of walking before I had to call it a quits, so I apologize to the houses further down the road that I didn’t capture! I hope you enjoy looking at these “12 Doors of Christmas” as much as I do!

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Door.love. ❤ Swooooon.

Of course, since I had to narrow it down to 12 for this post, I had to omit a few but I can’t bear to not include those ones too so please see the rest in this collage.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why…Lucy’s 2017 Christmas Photoshoot is sure to put a smile on your face!

This holiday season compared to last year is a whole new experience for Lucy and our family. She is slowly catching onto what Christmas is all about, well in toddler terms that is. She lights up looking at her Christmas tree, can identify Santa in an instant, and helped me set up the nativity scene complete with the tradition of kissing baby Jesus before laying him down. She surprises me every day with all that she learns and can pick up on. Her latest talent is singing jingle bells and deck the halls at the top of her little lungs!

Last year, I stumbled across a photographers Christmas paradise while visiting the Old Lucketts Store in Lucketts, VA, which I pass everyday on my way to work. They strategically set up all sorts of Christmas displays and allow photographers to utilize their beautiful grounds. Here are a few of the highlights from last year (which I strangely never posted!) when Lucy was 9 months old:

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This year 20 month old Lucy and I ventured back, but with photographer BACKUP! If you have a toddler, you know how unpredictable they can be. Last year was so simple since Lucy was not mobile, but this year the idea of going alone with Lucy and a camera scared me to death! My friend and fellow photographer, Tammy of Berks Nest, came with me and ended up taking most of these photos of Lucy while I was on get Lucy to look at the camera and smile duty (LOTS of elephant impressions)! There are a few mixed in that I was able to snap, but being on toddler duty proved to be full time job. A couple key hints when photographing toddlers: 1. Bring distractions – you will see a little present and a bell in Lucy’s hands in most of these photos – without these props it would have been harder to keep her attention. 2. Allow them plenty of time to venture around themselves in between posed/planned photos. This is also KEY to a great nap afterwards!

Please enjoy these photos of my fiery little Christmas Lucy. A huge thank you to Tammy for capturing her with these beautiful photos!

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love & lots of whit – jen xo

baby bison | newborn photos

When a dear friend has a baby, you can’t help but celebrate it with as much excitement as if it were your own baby!

There are some people in this world that change your life for the better. Shaina and Jason are two of those people. They radiate happiness, adventure, love, and kindness and their virtues and values are stronger than anything.  I have been blessed to call them my friends for many years now. Last year, I cried happy tears when Shaina told me they were expecting as I couldn’t imagine two people who were more ready to become parents. As you will see below, I had the joy of capturing their baby announcement photos last fall. They have a wild sense of humor and I couldn’t think of a better announcement concept than these clever mugs that Shaina created! Hill Annoucement-5586Hill Annoucement-5538Hill Annoucement-5531-2Hill Annoucement-5325Hill Annoucement-5444-2Hill Annoucement-5380-2As fall ended we fell into the long winter and we all waited and prayed for the safe arrival of sweet Baby Bison in the spring. Baby Bison is the adorable nickname Shaina and Jason referred to their baby as during pregnancy and you will see why when you see the amazing nursery they created for him. I counted down the day’s until my dear friend’s due date like a small child waiting for Christmas and then finally in the middle of April, baby Silas was born! As you scroll through these dreamy pictures of the new perfectly complete family, please note the INCREDIBLE Bison mural featured in Sila’s nursery which was handpainted by Shaina’s talented brother, Zak Parsons.

Now to the moment we have all been waiting for, photos of the sweetest new arrival, Silas.Baby Silas-1613

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Swooooooooon. That little FACE!

Welcome dear friends to the most incredible journey of all time, parenthood – and welcome baby Silas to life with your fantastic mommy and daddy.

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Rubber Ducky You’re the ONE

Highlights from sweet Lucy’s first birthday party, quack quack!

Lucy is ONE! How is this even possible!!?!

When deciding on her first birthday theme and after months of trying to rack my brain for something super creative and unique, it all just hit me one day – this party is for HER not me, and what does Lucy like? Ducks of course! Besides mama and dada, the only other REAL words in her vocabulary are duck and quack quack. She literally can’t get enough! From her ducky bathtub, to her ducky books, to her ducky toys – her face immediately brightens up when she see’s a cute yellow duck! With help from my amazing sister the theme was set in stone, “Rubber Ducky You’re the ONE.”

To start, I knew an invitation had to be created. I found an adorable ducky costume and put my little Lucy duck in the bathtub and viola – her invitation was made 🙂

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With help from my family and friends, this party came together and Lucy had such a blast! Bryan’s amazing friend, Amanda, made us the most perfect ducky cupcakes and smash cake. It was as delicious as it was adorable, and Lucy LOVED getting her little hands into that cake. We had wonderful food catered by JB Seafood, and my sister created amazing signs to play off the theme and name all of the foods (my favorite, the Quack-N-Cheese)! We had ducky beach ball party favors for all of the kids and set up a bubble machine outside in the park for them to play in! Please enjoy some pictures from Lucy’s big day!

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A huge thank you to all of my family and friends that helped make this party so fun for sweet Lucy! She is growing into such a loving, silly, beautiful little lady!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

How are there only 4 more days until Christmas?!

It is hard to believe that at this time last year I was 6 months pregnant and now (fast-forwarding to this year) I have a 9 month old baby! Bryan and I are so excited for Lucy’s first Christmas! We are looking forward to spending time with our family, all of the delicious holiday meals, and even though Lucy doesn’t understand much this year – she is just the perfect age to be showing interest in toys. It also doesn’t hurt that we will be off work through the new year, which will mean so much more time with our sweet girl.

I must admit, the past two years I have been a slacker on decorating for Christmas. Last year we set up only the tree (no decorations), and two years ago we didn’t even put up the tree. It’s not even that I was a Grinch about it all, per se, I just ran out of the time and energy. I know, I know, no excuses! This year and hopefully every year going forward, I knew the slacking had to stop and I finally decorated the house for Christmas again. It’s a Wonderful Life is not JUST my favorite Christmas movie, but my favorite movie movie, and it played as inspiration for part of my Christmas decorating this year. I also had the cutest little photo subjects to snap some photos of in front of our tree, enjoy!

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Wishing you all a VERY Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

 

Happy Halloween from the Ricardo’s

“He’s baba’d his last lu!”– Lucy Ricardo

Dressing up for halloween has ALWAYS been a highlight in our family. When my brother, sister, and I were young, our Dad made us our costumes by hand and he would take us out trick-or-treating till the last porch light in the neighborhood went off. Over the years, i’ve tried to think up fun and creative costumes for myself (i’ll admit there were definitely some dud years: last minute cowgirl anyone?). Ever since our frenchie, Rooney, joined our family, it has been customary that he and I have costumes that go together and this year was no exception:

Now this year someone else joined the family – and let me tell you, the thoughts and anxiety of: “WHAT WILL LUCY BE FOR HER FIRST HALLOWEEN???!” hit me as far back as mid-June. It turned out her costume came naturally to her…from her name, to her red hair, baby Lucy was the inspiration behind our family costume! This year I am proud to say that I will carry out my dad’s halloween spirit in my own family – check out the adorable mini Lucy and Rooney Ricardo!

Rooney’s adorable suit and tie was from Petoga Couture and his Ricky Ricardo style hat was found on amazon. I made his little bongo drum out of a cardboard flower pot and a canvas bag. Lucy’s sweet “I Love Lucy” dress and my matching apron (below) was purchased from LoverDoversClothing.

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Now on to some more fun! Since Bryan and I’s halloween celebrations consist of changing diapers, putting a baby to bed by 7:30, and diving into the bags of halloween candy that are supposed to be for trick-or-treaters, I was able to really admire what creative friends/family I have! I want to highlight my favorite halloween costumes that I saw over the weekend and today from some of my favorite people! Enjoy!

Groups/Couples

Sesame Street Martians: Aka the Yip-Yips

SO lets just start out strong. This is by far my FAV group costume ever. My friend Ashley (the blue yip-yip in case you couldnt tell ha!) goes all out with her costume on halloween, so much in fact that I look forward to her costume every single year. This year was definitely not a let down, I present the Martians…BONUS: watch them in action in the video below!

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Hey Arnold and Helga G. Pataki

Our friends Danielle & Dillon are the first of the awesome couple costumes I want to highlight. The cardboard head, locket, pigtails, and that unibrow of perfection makes this such an amazing costume!

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Marv & Harry from Home Alone: Aka The Wet Bandits

Next on the awesome duo costume, my friend Jess and her friend Chantal knock their Marv and Harry from home alone costume out of the park! The details are spot on, from the feathers to the awesome iron imprint on Harry’s face!

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Wayne and Garth: Waynes World

Another couple whose costume I always look forward to our are friends Tim & Chelsea. This year’s Wayne’s World get-up was totallyyy tubular! Party on, Garth! Party on, Wayne!

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Kids/Family

Baby Bee

Little Jasmine is making the cutie-pie meter go off through the roof in her sweet bumble bee costume. Jasmine is celebrating her very FIRST halloween and couldn’t be more beeeee-autiful in her costume!

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Paul Revere, Hollywood Starlet, and a member of the Rockford Peaches

Hello there adorable neices and nephew of mine! These three cutie’s always go all out with their costumes! From the adorable lantern and tri-cornered hat, the satin gloves and sparkly dress, and the amazing League of their Own uniform, these kids (and their super crafty/creative mom) always have the perfect accessories and costumes!

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The Cast of Little Red Riding Hood

Remember how I said my sister, brother, and I always went all out on Halloween when our dad took us out trick-or-treating? Well, my sister has been carrying on the tradition with her family for years now and this year her whole family looked as if they came straight out of a fairytale with their adorable Little Red Riding Hood costumes. Is that not the most fierce Big Bad Wolf you have ever seen and the sweetest Little Red Riding Hood? Melting.

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Raggedy Ann

Can you spot the real baby? Another first halloween for this sweet little rag-doll, Cora. Cora’s mommy and daddy are OBSESSED with halloween and always do-it-up with their own costumes and house decorations. Baby Cora is in for a lifetime full of great costumes, that is for sure!

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The WINNER of Halloween

Girl with the Pearl Earring

Remember my post about having some amazingly talented classmates in art school? Audrey has won halloween. When I was scrolling through my feed I almost skipped past this photo thinking it was an actual painting! Audrey, who is an incredible fine artist and graphic artist, was able to so perfectly transform herself into Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting of the Girl with the Pearl Earring. Prepare to be amazed…

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And with that, I bid you all a Happy Halloween! Tonight we plan on passing out candy to the neighborhood kids and/or eating all of the rest of the candy we bought for them. Hope you all have a spooktacular and safe halloween night!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

Our Little Pumpkin

‘Tis the season, fa la la la, FALL!

Bring on the perfect weather, pumpkin spice everything, and autumnal decor. As you can see below, the house is slowly but surely making its way to the orange spectrum. Even Rooney is getting into the spirit with his pumpkin sweater!

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It’s hard to believe that this time last year, I was sporting a little pumpkin growing in my belly, and this year that little pumpkin is sitting up all on her own and calling me Mama! Another perk of fall is the constant reminder to stop and think about what you are thankful for, and this year my thankful meter is going off through the roof! Lucy is our absolute JOY and I hope these sweet little pumpkin pictures below bring you some joy as well! Happy fall, ya’ll!

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love & lots of whit – jen xo