Sometimes you see two people interact with one another and the world just kind of stops and then starts back up again revolving around them. Kiersten and Jesse are two of those people. Them being together just makes sense. That perfect mix of playful and serious – they truly bring out the best in each other. This weekend, I had the privilege of shooting their engagement photos.
When Kiersten invited me to her family’s farm, I had no idea what to expect and when I arrived, I was floored. The land was lush and green, goats greeted me, and there were beautiful horses in the distance. It was a phenomenal setting to capture the love these two share and I hope you can feel the same happiness I did.
Fun fact: When Kiersten was young she spent hours filling a bucket with yellow petals from these Forsythia bushes and then threw them around like confetti all around the yard.
Gorgeous couple, right? I wish them both a beautiful wedding and the most incredible life together!
This past weekend I had the honor of attending my beautiful cousin Daneda’s baby shower for her TWIN BOYS! The thought of her being a mother brings happy tears to my eyes, and I know that she will not only have her hands full, but her heart will be even more full. Daneda’s mother (my Aunt) planned the most beautiful baby shower *side note: the nicest I have ever attended* for her daughter and her soon-to-be arriving grandsons, and I had to share some of the exquisite details with you. The venue was a log cabin out in the woods which she completely transformed with such care for every detail. In addition to the decorating, she cooked a delicious five course meal for the guests. Being surrounded by Daneda’s guests (much of it my own family) brought such joy to my heart. These two babies are going to be surrounded by LOVE!
During the dinner, a very pregnant Daneda and I ventured off into the woods for a quick mini session. Even though I was a bit nervous that I might put her into labor with all of the walking, I wanted to make sure I captured my stunning cousin in all of her soon-to-be motherhood beauty.
She is absolutely glowing ❤
I cannot wait to meet those two very lucky baby boys!
Lucy provided her adorable self (along with a super cute Big Sister shirt from Target) and made the announcement to our family and friends. Baby number two is due late January and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Just when having one child starting getting easier and easier, we are now hitting the reset button! I really never thought we would be those parents with two under two, but ready or not, here we go!!
After we announced back in August, it was time to play the waiting game until we could find out our sweet little one’s gender. The entire time I thought it was a girl and Bryan thought it was a boy.
The time has come and the results are in! To announce our sweet little bundle, we tried something new this time. With Lucy, we found out right during the ultrasound from our technician what the gender was. This time we wanted to surprise ourselves a bit – no no we are not waiting until birth, I don’t have enough patience in the world for that – instead we had the technician place the gender in an envelope and seal it and about two hours later we did the reveal. Please watch our video below to find out the gender!
Golf Gender Reveal
Will baby number two be pink or blue?
Find out with us:
We couldn’t be more happy to welcome little one in just a few short months. Now I will leave you with a behind the scenes photos of how little miss Lucy REALLY feels about this…
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! As 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.
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.
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 🙂
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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…
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!
Everyone always told me when I was pregnant that it goes by so fast, and I was always skeptical (especially during that first month of non-stop crying). I now realize everyone is absolutely right, it really does fly by. My once itty bitty newborn has almost doubled in weight and her non-stop crying has turned into non-stop irresistible smiles and happy squeals. I wanted to use this post to showcase Lucy’s first 3 months of life and also try to provide some insight as to what products were most useful during this time for any expecting mom-to-be’s out there!
0-1 Month: Small Victories
For me, the labor, delivery, and recovery process was extremely overwhelming in every aspect of the word (good and bad). Bryan coined the phrase “small victories” to help get us through. The idea behind the phrase was to be acknowledge the progress we made along the way and I can proudly say now that all of those small victories combined helped lead me to my greatest victory of all, motherhood.
Now that the labor and delivery process is behind us, I feel like I can share the condensed version of Lucy’s birth story. Lucy was super comfortable in the womb and didn’t want to come out on her own so 3 days past her due date, we scheduled to have her induced because she was measuring large and that increased the chance of complications. I spent 38.5 hours being induced with no sleep and only ice chips to eat. During those two days of induction there was a full moon and the labor and delivery wing was packed with women who had gone into labor! This was an exciting thing to hear, but because of the amount of people having babies none of the nurses were able to answer my calls for the most painful 5 hours I had ever endured before they could finally come in and give me an epidural. In order to pass the time, there happened to be an “I Love Lucy” marathon on television, so I tried to just focus on that instead of the pain. Unfortunately, the induction failed overall and it lead me to get a C-section. Even though I was physically exhausted, I was so happy to hear that I would soon get to see my baby girl and I was overcome with a new wave of energy and positivity. Bryan and I put on our surgery outfits and I was wheeled into the surgery room.
It all started out fine, I couldn’t feel a thing and Bryan and I were laughing and talking about golf as they started the process. All of a sudden I felt a painful pulling feeling and I could hear the doctor saying that she was stuck. Lucy was already so far down in my pelvis after being induced for so long that they couldn’t pull her out of the standard cut. It was then that I felt the most excruciating pain I had ever felt as they made a second cut upwards. I learned afterwards that the reason I felt so much pain was because the numbing stopped at my bellybutton so when they cut past that point there was no longer any sort of numbing medication. The last thing I remember hearing was that she was out and that it was 10:50 PM, and then it was a complete blur until a few hours later I woke up completely out of it and I remember thinking that I was dead. I then realized I was being handed my baby girl. What should have been an amazing moment of holding my baby for the first time, was full of anxiety as I couldn’t open my eyes and I felt terrified as I thought “why are they handing me her I don’t even know what is happening!” All I could do was ask Bryan if everything went okay and I heard his reassuring voice saying that she was perfect and in that moment that is all I focused on to get me through. Finally, after my blood pressure and temperature stabilized, we were taken to our hospital room where I was finally able to process what was going on and I saw my sweet baby Lucy finally and breathed a sigh of relief.
A few days later when we finally left the hospital it felt so great to be home and out of the hospital room without all of the nurses coming in every hour to check on mine and Lucy’s vitals. Unfortunately, the recovery process was no walk in the park. I was swollen from the waist down due to water retention from the surgery which made it difficult to walk. My cuts were healing and still caused me a lot of pain. I was limited to only taking stairs once per day and holding nothing heavier than Lucy. On top of that, I had a very hard time with breastfeeding. Those first few weeks I felt completely defeated. I felt like the worst mother ever because it was hard for me to care for Lucy since I could hardly even care for myself. Thankfully, Bryan handled most everything those first few weeks. All of Lucy’s diaper changes, all of the household chores, and he took care of Rooney. My mom also came the first week we were home during the day while Bryan was at work and she took care of Lucy and I and I couldn’t be more appreciative. We ended up camping out in the living room for 2.5 weeks while I recovered. Let me tell you, finally sleeping in our own bed again was one of our greatest small victories.
The remainder of that first month home continued to improve with each passing day. What once was a feeling of exhaustion, depression, and defeat was now turning into feelings of comfort, healing, and confidence.
About Lucy this month:
Lucy LOVES eating, sticks her tongue out on cue, smiles at mommy and daddy, wears size 3-6 month clothing since 1 week, is very alert & attentive, lifts her head, has RED hair and blue eyes, loves bathtime, loves being held and rocked, sleeps 4-5 hours at a time at night!
2 Months: Hey this is E.A.S.Y.
Around the 2-month mark, Lucy and I began to figure it out. I never thought a baby was like a puzzle, but for me I had to literally try to figure out what to do piece by piece! Our days consisted of snuggling and lounging around the house with many feedings, diaper changes, and naps in between. After reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg, I realized the importance of schedule and routine and began following the E.A.S.Y. method. What this stands for is Eat – Activity – Sleep – You. I found a great description of the process here (credit Noob Mommy). Some common activities Lucy and I did were playing on play mats, practicing tummy time, playing peek-a-boo, taking Rooney to the basement to let him out to pee, and watching Calliou. You’d be surprised at just how entertaining these things could be for a 2 month old! Some common me time activities included watching movies on Netflix, doing the dishes, doing endless loads of laundry, and attempting to blog but then getting distracted by Amazon.com. It really is insane how little you can get done for yourself while you are caring for a newborn baby!
About Lucy this month:
Lucy sleeps in her own bedroom, is SUPER chatty and happy when she wakes up in the morning, squeals when she is happy, can roll from her tummy to her back, likes kicking her feet when music is playing, is SUPER gassy, notices her brother Rooney and smiles at him, loves playing on her play mats and swatting at the toys, holds onto her hippo pacifier tight, likes to see herself in the mirror, sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at a time at night!
3 Months: Work/Life Balance
This past month, Lucy has really developed her own personality! She is constantly smiling and she “talks” to us non-stop. Staying at home with Lucy turned from something that was overwhelming at first into something I could see myself doing forever (if only I was able to). I returned back to work 2 weeks ago and the day we left Lucy with her daycare provider was one of the hardest days of my life. The second we dropped her off and walked out of the door I cried my eyes out. The rest of my commute was spent crying as well. Each day that passes gets a little bit easier, but I still spend a majority of my day thinking about how she is doing. Bryan and I are so lucky to have found such an amazing daycare provider for Lucy, so that has made this transition easier on us. Still, the absolute best part of the day is picking her up and being able to spend the evening with her. The second best part of the day is when I receive photo updates through texts from her provider (I’m a wee bit obsessed with my little one if you can’t tell)!
About Lucy this month:
Lucy started going to daycare with Mrs. Lucy and loves all of her new friends (especially Gus), tries to stick both of her hands in her mouth at the same time, drools, is chatty, talkative, and sqeals all of the time, likes to yell for no reason and then smile, splashes in the bathtub, likes to lay on her back and put her feet as high in the air as possible, stares at her toes and wonders how to get them into her mouth, grabs at Rooney’s fur and tries to grab his face, smiles at herself in the mirror when she sees the “pretty baby”, grabs toys that are hanging down, can grab her pacifier and take it out of her mouth, likes watching soccer and golf with daddy and Calliou with mommy, sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at a time at night!
12 Items We Couldn’t Have Lived Without: Months 0-3
Little Remedies – Gas Drops: These drops as well as the next two items were lifesavers for our VERY GASSY baby. From day one Lucy has had really bad gas pains and she would cry and cry until she was able to get the gas out! The gas drops contain the same active ingredient as Gas-X and give Lucy that extra push when trying to get that pain out of her tummy!
Dr. Brown’s Bottles: I originally registered for completely different bottles but once Lucy’s gas issues popped up I knew I needed to try to find a bottle that kept the air out while she drank. These bottles have a vent system that helps create a paced flow which in turn helps reduce any problems while feeding. Since we have switched to these bottles Lucy rarely spits up.
Fisher-Price Rock and Play (auto-rocking): This is what Lucy has been sleeping in since we brought her home. We will be transitioning her to the crib within the next month or two, but for those first few months this was the ideal sleeping solution. The Rock and Play craddles baby more and the auto-rocking feature helps soothe her to sleep. We also have two other non-rocking versions of this, one of which we keep in the car to bring with us when we go out to family/friends homes, and the other stays down on the main level of the home for a safe place to place Lucy.
Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddles: Any Muslin cotton swaddling blankets will do! Muslin cotton is a breathable and comfortable fabric. These blankets made it easy to use to swaddle baby safetly, plus the designs are all super adorable!
Activity Mats (for different spots in the house): Around the 1 1/2 month mark Lucy started to enjoy activity mats. On these mats she practices tummy time and likes to swat at the different toys that hang down. Her two favorite mats here and here, have toys that hang down, lights, and music. All of those features really keep her stimulated and entertained.
Graco Pack n’ Play with changing station: We keep this on our main level and it proved to be one of the most useful items during my recovery process. Since I was unable to take stairs during the day I pretty much lived on the main level. Having a changing table on this floor made it easy to change all of those newborn diapers! Also, this particular version has really convenient shelves at the base which we store clothes and extra diapers in. I highly recommend setting up one of these BEFORE you go into labor so that it is all ready to go when you come home from the hospital!
Diaper Champ: This bad boy sits right next to our changing table! It keeps the odors out of the house and unlike the Diaper Genie, this diaper holder uses any type of trash bag instead of special cartriges. It is a much more cost effective diaper pail and does just as good a job if not better at masking the odor.
Soothie Pacifiers and Booginhead Pacigrip: When you are pregnant, one thing you seem to acquire a ton of are pacifiers. I must have had 10 different brands of pacifiers when Lucy was born but it turned out that the Soothie pacifier the hospital provided to us is the one that Lucy likes best. After we found that the pacifier was sometimes the only thing to stop Lucy from crying, we bought a ton of them just to make sure that we were never without this magic little mute button! Also, for some reason out of all of Lucy’s things, our dog Rooney is drawn to the pacifier the most and this has resulted in many a chewed up pacifier being found around the house. After about 2 months I found the Booginhead pacifier holders that can hold this brand of pacifier Since we bought one of these clips Lucy pretty much lives with a pacifier clipped on her outfit at all times.
Lil’ Critters Soothing Starlight Hippo by Vtech: My sister gifted us this hippo for Lucy because she knows that hippo’s are my favorite animal and couldn’t resist. It turns out, that this is not only adorable sitting in the nursey, it is also extremely useful in our bedtime routine! During Lucy’s last bottle of the night we turn off the lights, sit on the glider, and turn on the hippo and it plays music and shines stars around the ceiling. Then once she is finished we can set her into her Rock and Play to go to sleep and she just stares up at the ceiling and watches the stares until she falls asleep. It has different time settings and also has a great setting that turns the hippo on automatically when baby starts crying in the night which helps to calm her down.
Nose Frida: Who thought sucking boogies could be so much fun?! Around the one month mark, Lucy got her first runny nose. Of course as first time parents we were nervous and didn’t know how to help her so we called the pediatrician. They let us know that it was safe to suction out her nose to help clear her up so we finally were able to put the Nose Frida we received from our baby shower to use (thanks Jennie)! This thing makes getting the mucus out so easy and honestly, kinda fun! You take one end and place it in babies nose and the other end you put your mouth on and literally suck out the boogies. I was so grossed out by this at first because I thought they would get in my mouth – but this little tool uses a tube and filter to ensure that doesn’t happen. Best of all, Lucy LOVES it and always smiles after we use it!
Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat: This seat has been incredibly useful during her third month! As Lucy grows, she wants to see more of the world around her and not always be laying on an activity mat. This seat is perfect for small babies to be able to sit up and observe. We used this seat in place of the Bumbo Floor Seat as we found Lucy hated sitting in the Bumbo.
Again, let me re-state just how fast time is flying! I cannot believe Lucy is already three months old. It is crazy to think about all that is to come and what I will be able to talk about in just three more months when recap again!