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

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

 

 

What’s in a Name?

Ever since I was young I knew that If I was having a daughter, I was naming her…

Lucy /lucy/ [2 sylls.] as a girls’ name is pronounced LOO-see. It is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Lucy is “light”.

Baby Lucy Landscape

Baby Lucy Portrait
Adorable burlap banner from: The Glittered Barn

Ever since I was young I knew that If I was having a daughter, I was naming her Lucy . Bryan and I were blessed with the news that we were having a little girl and baby Lucy became a reality. There is just something so pure and sweet with the name and luckily Bryan was on board too. We are going to hold off on sharing her middle name until she is born to have at least one surprise left!

The name is playing a big role in our upcoming baby shower. Once the invites were sent out, I knew that the name would no longer be a secret – so now I can finally share it with everyone else! As you can see below in the invitations I designed, the name Lucy is inspired by one of my favorite actresses, Lucille Ball. The location and RSVP information has been changed for privacy purposes, but if you are an “I Love Lucy” buff you will notice the location is Lucy & Ricky’s street address in the television show and the phone number includes the NY area code followed by our little one’s due date. The front artwork on the separate card that accompanied the shower invite was purchased from CozyReverie‘s Etsy shop and I incorporated the colors and design elements throughout the rest of the invitation.

Baby Shower Invite

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Sunday Birthday Brunch

If there is one guilty pleasure that I have and obsess over, it is place-setting and small scale entertaining/planning. Kitchen Decor stores are tortuous for me because in my dream world I would have a different pattern/color dish set for each and every time I entertained. Lucky for Bryan and I’s wallet, I have settled on two sets of dishes (for now). A plain white set is a must (we have the Martha Stewart Kensington Collection), as it is versatile and can be made to fit any theme when added with table linens and decor. My other set (which I will highlight the next time I use it) is the Maribeth collection from Pier One. One day I dream of a big kitchen with a big dining table to host dinner parties (don’t we all?), but for now I make use of what we have!

Last weekend I played hostess as we celebrated my mom’s birthday! My mom, my step-dad, and my brother were in attendance for Sunday brunch. If you know my mom, you know how much effort and love she puts into her family and holiday meals. So much so that she hardly even sits at the table because she always puts everyone else first making sure we all have what we need. This time, it was my turn to pamper her! I wanted her to be able to relax while Bryan and I did all of the cooking and cleaning. Brunch is big in our family, so that is how we chose to center the meal around the daytime theme. First and foremost I thought of my color scheme for the brunch. I know, I know, most people probably plan the actual meal first…I just can’t help but think backwards when there are dishes and linens involved! I knew I wanted to incorporate tulips so that was where I started. I found the perfect yellow tulips that were bright/sunny and knew they would be perfect with the mimosas we would be serving! I used a water pitcher to display the tulips. I already had green placemats that would work perfectly with the yellow so that was an easy decision. I ordered some last minute yellow napkins (thank you Amazon Prime!) and used this video tutorial to fold them into a fun pinwheel shape. Here is the final table setting for Mom’s birthday brunch:

Yellow Tulip Centerpiece
Yellow Tulip Centerpiece
Sunny Pinwheel Fold Napkins on Green Placemats
Sunny Pinwheel Fold Napkins on Green Placemats
Bring on the Mimosas!
Bring on the Mimosas!

After figuring out how to stylize the brunch I had to come up with the perfect menu that would accommodate everyone’s meal restrictions! My brother is a vegetarian, and my step-dad is gluten free. After much food blog perusing, I came up with the perfect list! The main entree was this amazing gluten and dairy free Blueberry Lemon Overnight French Toast that I found on Whipperberry. This french toast was the perfect combination of sweet and sour and unlike the usual heavy french toast recipes I’ve tried, this felt more healthy. The lemon blueberry sauce drizzled over it was just divine! The variations I made to that recipe were instead of normal gluten free bread I used cinnamon raisin, and instead of vanilla soy milk I used vanilla almond milk.

Overnight Blueberry Lemon French Toast
Overnight Blueberry Lemon French Toast

To accompany the french toast, we also made Buns In My Oven‘s Baked Scrambled Eggs. I usually find every way to ruin scrambled eggs when cooking them stove top, but surprisingly this baking method was fool proof! In my family, everything is better with cheese, so after the first 8 minutes of baking I stirred in about a cup of shredded Velveeta Cheese before baking for the final 8 minutes.

Baked Scrambled Eggs
Baked Scrambled Eggs

We also made Homemade Home Fries by following No Ordinary Homestead‘s recipe. This was our second time using this recipe because it is just that good. This time however; we omitted the bacon so that my brother could eat it and substituted the bacon grease for canola oil as recommended by the recipe. Finally, we made some maple sausage on the side, used the french press to make coffee, and served up delicious mimosas!

Homemade Home Fries
Homemade Home Fries

Food and family go hand in and, and we had a wonderful morning spending quality time together. I want to wish my Mom a wonderful year ahead and I am so glad that we were able to spend time with her on birthday weekend! To finish the post a few family photos from the morning:

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mom!
Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mom!

love & lots of whit – jen xo