Spreading Some Love

A couple of weeks ago, I had a mother daughter photo session with Dottie Beasley. A friend of mine told me about a “pay it forward” payment plan Dottie recently started offering, and after reading about it and Dottie’s bio on her site, I just had to reach out to her. I knew instantly that Dottie was someone I would want to be around, so I emailed her, asked her to be friends and booked a photo session.

Her “pay it forward” plan is simple. You book a session, do something nice for someone (anything!), take a picture of you and said person, send Dottie the pic with a few sentences describing your “pay it forward” experience and voila! Your photo session is paid in full! Isn’t that incredible? It’s Dottie’s way of spreading love around and making this crazy world we live in a happier place. It’s genius and beautiful.

For my “pay it forward” fee I decided to treat some new friends of mine. You can read about my story here, but to sum it up, I wanted to let my new “mom friends” in my life know I appreciate them. They have given me support, company, sanity and a lot of laughs over the last several months and I am oh so so thankful for them!!! New moms, trust me, you need a great group of Moms in your life.

And, NOW I can share the outcome of my photo session! I love them and I cannot thank Dottie enough for capturing such beautiful candid moments between me and Luna. We literally just danced, sang and played in one of Nashville’s coolest coffee shops, Atmalogy, while she snapped away. Here are some of my favs.

HZ-16
Romper from Rags to Raches

HZ-1 HZ-3-BW HZ-11 HZ-12 HZ-15 HZ-18-BW HZ-19-BW HZ-23 HZ-27

Dottie says she wants to take photos of us that hold up a mirror and say ‘Look! You’re awesome! You’re beautiful! And you are loved’. Well, Dottie, that is exactly how these photos make me feel. Thank you for doing what you do and spreading love around as you do it! People like you make this world a happier place.

For any of you locals looking for a photographer, I highly recommend Dottie and suggest you check out her work here and here and here!

Cheers!

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who have mothered, longed to mother or helped mother others. You are heroes!

15 Month Luna Update

It’s been a while since I had a Luna blog, and since she is 15 months old today I figure it’s a great day to write all about her! Luna is just growing and changing at such a fast pace I can barely keep up with her. Like, literally, I can barely keep up with her. The girl is fast! She’s got this hilarious rambunctious personality. She’s into absolutely everything, eats everything, climbs everything and then manages to destroy everything. She’s wild, but she’s our little ball of sunshine and we love her more than we ever thought possible!

coffee date

At 15 months, she is jumping (cutest thing ever BTW), blowing kisses, doing itsy bitsy and wheels on the bus, learning new words and body parts and is still a dancing machine! Her favorite song is by far still “Shake it Off, but she loves the “itsy bitsy spider” and “twinkle twinkle” too. Seeing her face light up and her body start moving when music is on is the best. I love that she’s into music and dancing. We have dance parties everyday.

leggings

Luna is also into books. Her favorite game is to pull every single book off the shelves, sit on top of the pile, pick one up and “read” it aloud. It’s precious. She has favorite books now that she picks and brings to me to read. At the moment her favorite book is Potty by Leslie Patricelli. (Which BTW is $3.81 on Amazon Prime right now!) She is OBSESSED with this book, and I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty cute. I sent one to my nephew and he also loves it. This, and the Llama Llama Red Pajama, series and is her fav at the moment.

mickey

Luna is so crazy and fearless. It is terrifying. She can climb ladders, go up and down stairs, throws balls, climb in and out of just about anything, she runs and looovvesss running up to any and every animal. If I take my eyes off of her for 2 seconds she is in the fire place, eating cat food, on top of the entertainment center or sorting through my cash that was in my wallet in the diaper bag on a chair. She’s a mischievous little ninja.

nikes

Luna is also talking. She’s says lots of little words, but right now her favorite is “bye”. She says it over and over, then attempts “buh-bye”, but it always comes out as “bobby”. So when we leave anywhere it sounds as if she is screaming “bye Bobby!” all the way out, into the car and even as I buckle her in her car seat. Either that, or she’s made a friend named Bobby who I’ve yet to meet.

shoes

Since turning one she has  been back to NYC, traveled to England and Scotland, “ran” three more races, finished weaning and had her first stomach virus. AND, tomorrow we leave for her first trip to Disney World! Can’t wait to tell you all about our magical adventures.

stars

Now can someone tell me how to slow time down? I

Cheers!

Luna and the Wolf

Middle Tennessee has become one big ice cube today. Our driveway has become a skating rink in the little bit of snow that covered the grass is now thick ice. Good thing we had a super busy weekend and I don’t mind being stuck in the house too much. Yesterday, I told you about the Hot Chocolate Run we ran early Valentin’s morning, but the day wasn’t over then. That afternoon. Luna’s Great Grandmother took me and Luna to see the Nashville Ballet perform Peter and the Wolf.  (Her first ballet!)

Peter+and+the+Wolf

The ballet was at TPAC, our favorite place in Nashville, and the Polk theater was jam packed with kids of all ages. Luna was definitely one of the youngest (and cutest) little future ballerinas in attendance. Before the show started she spent every moment climbing up and down the stairs and trying desperately to roam the aisles. I was dreading the start of the show because I just knew Luna would be too wiggly and restless to sit still. However, when the lights dimmed and the story began, my little wiggle worm leaned back into my chest and focused her attention directly to the stage.

ballet2

The ballet was adorable. It was all geared towards the kids. The props and costumes were super colorful, the music was not too loud or complicated, the dancing was entertaining and graceful and, best of all, it was educational. Luna stared at the dancers for a good 35 minutes before getting bored. I was well prepared though, I quickly handed her some baby crackers and she was content for the next ten minutes, which is when the show ended.

ballet

Afterwards they had a special activity for the kids to stay in chat with the dancers, but Luna is a too young to enjoy that. We all had a great time at the ballet. It’s been YEARS since I’ve seen Peter and the Wolf  and I’d completely forgotten how great it is. Hopefully, Luna will continue to enjoy it and I’ll get to take her many more times as she grows up!

Cheers!

My Must Have’s When Baby Gets Sick

This winter has brought on colds for all of us. Luckily, none of us have come down with anything serious. Although, a baby with a runny nose and a hacking cough is absolutely no fun. After a few colds, some fever, the must disgusting dried green boogery nose and a cough so loud it made me want to cry, I think I’ve finally got this sick baby thing down pat.

must have

 

Yup, Zarbee’s natural cough syrup, Boogie Wipes, Vick’s BabyRub, Safety 1st Thermometer and the Roolen humidifier. (I almost added the Nosefrida Snotsucker, but honestly, I haven’t used it much. Luna’s nose is more drippy than stuffy.)

intelligent

These little tools have been crucial this season, but the coolest of all has been the Roolen. It’s a “smart” humidifier and it’s changing my life. It actually has a detector that adjusts to the best humidity level for its environment. AND, it has 3 different settings. One is “high”, which is obviously high humidity for a dry room. Another is “low”, which will last for 24 hours and the best one is “auto”. Auto mode decides the best level for you.

bedroom

The Roolen holds a lot of water (3.15 Liters), and because I always use auto mode, it lasts a few nights before I have to refill it. I love anything that saves me time and an extra chore. It’s also energy efficient. When on auto, it goes into sleep mode when it reaches the right humidity level it goes into sleep mode, saving water and energy. Plus, it’s pretty, sleek and simple.

roolen

I highly recommend the Roolen, and stocking up on some of these “must haves” before baby gets sick. Trust me, it’s nice to have them on hand.

What are some of you “must haves”?

Cheers!

 

12 Months = 1 Year

12 months

Now, that Luna is one year and eleven days old, I guess I can finally post Luna’s final “month by month” photos. Insert sad-face emoticon here. Why does it all go by so fast? It’s weird how some moments seem to drag on and on forever (hello, 2am crying wake-ups!), and yet the entire year seemed to go by in a blink of an eye. Sigh…

blue eyes

Even though, it’s sad to know that babies grow up so fast, I have to say that it just keeps getting better. Every milestone, every month, ever new personality trait makes my life better. Luna is so much fun! Just when I think she couldn’t possibly get any cuter or I couldn’t possibly love her more, another day passes and she’s cuter and more lovable. Even, after she spits her food out, pulls the cat’s fur out, plays in the toilet and spills the dog’s water bowl for the thousandth time, I still go to bed thinking I’m the luckiest Mom alive. (And, also praying that she sleeps through the night… yeah, we still struggle with that!)

clapping

As always, Luna had an adventurous month. She went to a wedding, a few parties, had tons of people visit her for her Birthday, “ran” the Zoo run, joined Gymboree and learned lots of new skills.

so big

Happy 12 Months baby girl. Here’s to the next 12!

teddy bear

Cheers!

Luna’s First Birthday Party (On a Budget)

one

Before having Luna, I swore I would not be one of those parents that goes stupidly nuts for a kid’s birthday parties. Don’t get me wrong, a love a good themed party, but I do not want to spend a silly amount of money on something she will never remember. Now, that I am a parent, and just planned the big first birthday party, I’ve got to be honest, it is hard not to go a little crazy. Planning an extravagant party is as fun as shopping for baby clothes and accessories, which is another problem I have. I am happy to say I managed to save A LOT of money and still have an amazing shindig for my baby girl.

The birthday girl wearing the outfit that her Aunt Zoey MADE her!
The birthday girl wearing the outfit that her Aunt Zoey MADE her!

I was slightly stressed out before the party. We had seven people staying at our house (not counting us), and lots of other people from out of town staying at other houses. The entire weekend was jam packed with plans and I did not know how I was going to get everything done for the party. I don’t know why I ever worried though… every person at our house pitched in, offered to help and basically did all the decorating for me without me ever even asking them to help. Our family and friends are the best and now I realize I couldn’t have gotten it all done if they had not all been staying at my house driving me nuts. Thanks guys.

birthday girl

Luna’s party was “Winter Onederland” themed. Of course, I got the idea from Pinterest. Where else? I wanted an inexpensive way to transform our house into a white glittery winter landscape and I figured out the perfect way to pull it off. Here’s what I did:

big eyes

1. I emailed everyone I live near and asked if I could have any [insert needed craft supplies] they no longer wanted. I figured everyone has random bits of construction paper, glitter, felt, ribbon, etc they want rid of and I was right.

2. I borrowed, borrowed, borrowed. I’d love to eventually own all white matching pretty serving trays and platters, but right now that’s just not possible. So, I borrowed them. I also borrowed lights and decorations. Luckily, several people decorate their house like winter wonderland for Christmas.

3. I shopped at Costco. We had brunchy type food (bagels, hummus, veggies, fruit, coffee, hot chocolate, biscotti, nuts and juice). It was easy to pick up almost all of this and disposable dishes in bulk at Costco.

4. I got crafty (and made all of our guests get crafty). We used all of those donated art supplies to create our own decorations. I just wish I had more pictures of the decor… We were so busy celebrating!

5. We had a relative make the cakes. Our Aunt Amy is an AMAZING baker. She made the most delicious tye dye cake for us and a healthy smashcake for Luna.

cakes

Clearly, Luna loved it... I did too!
Clearly, Luna loved it… I did too!
"Want a bite, Mommy?"
“Want a bite, Mommy?”

We ended up spending very little on the party. I may make all of Luna’s birthday parties winter themed…

The best part of the party planning was asking that no one brings gifts for Luna. We asked instead that our friends and family (who want to bring a gift), bring a toy to donate to the Renewal House (a residential recovery program for addicted women and their children) instead. We ended up with a nice collection of gifts for the Renewal House and are so excited to bring them their gifts! Luna is a lucky little girl, she needs nothing and we are so happy to give these toys to kids who really need them.

singing

Thank you all SO much for the many Birthday wishes and comments on the birthday blog and birthday video posted last week. Husband and I could not feel any luckier and our little girl couldn’t feel more loved.

our family

Oh, and if you’d like to make a donation to Renewal House, just click here!

ball pit

Cheers!

My Baby is ONE

Exactly one year ago at 12:11 pm, after a not-so-magical delivery, Luna was born. That little red bundle with blonde hair and a huge lump on her head from the vacuum was placed in my arms. That’s the moment that will forever change me. That’s when I became “Mom”. As I type my eyes are welling up with tears, so bear with me as I try to get through this without a ridiculous amount of sentimental cheesiness. My baby is one. ONE. How does this happen so all of a sudden?

I swear she is still this small!
I swear she is still this small!

There are several memories and moments over the last year that I could gush about, but I just want to write about two very special memories. At this big one-year milestone, these two memories seem the most significant.

baby luna

Luna was born about 3 weeks early. She was forced out because of my blood pressure, and I couldn’t help but wonder Is she ready? When I held her for the first time I looked at all her toes, fingers and features and everything seemed right and ready, except her eyelashes. Luna had no eyelashes. I thought, that’s it, that’s all she was waiting for…eyelashes. They seem so insignificant, but to me they were the one thing reminding me that she wasn’t fully ready to arrive. She needed a little more time.

Each morning, the first thing I did was check her lashes. Every single day,  they grew substantially. As we bonded in the hospital those first ten days I couldn’t help but stare at her lashes. I tried hard to memorize every little curve of her tiny red face, but her eyelashes will always be what I remember most. The rate at which they grew amazed me and comforted me. She was growing. I was sustaining her, and her eyelashes proved it. I still stare at them in awe, like, “I did that… I grew that baby, and those long lashes”.

sleep baby

The next memory is about a week later. We were home from the hospital, and like every new Mom I was exhausted and overwhelmed. One night, I was trying to lull her to sleep by singing and for some reason only “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” would come to mind. Desperate for song ideas, I grabbed my phone, opened Pandora and searched for a “lullaby” station. (BTW, this is a great station!) I walked her around the room gently patting her back and singing along with the music. Then, a popular current ballad began playing that caught me by surprise.

bath baby

The song A Thousand Years by Christian Perri played and though I’ve heard this sound a thousand times, the lyrics spoke to me for the first time. The song began…

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

Without thinking, I began singing along, but after the first few lines, I stopped in my tracks. My eyes filled with tears. I looked at that beautiful baby girl in my arms and thought, I have loved you for a thousand years. This song suddenly made so much sense. It didn’t sound like a mushy romantic love song from Twilight anymore. It was describing exactly how I felt at that very moment, holding my crying baby, exhausted, scared but so in love with that tiny little human in my arms.

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

Right there, in Luna’s nursery, I completely fell apart. I cried and cried, not because I was sad or scared, but because the lyrics were a reflection of those first couple of weeks. I have loved this beautiful baby my entire life, and always will.  (Also, I was incredibly hormonal…) Anyways I still can’t hear this song without getting teary eyed.

Recently, I was trying to think of what to do with the dozens of videos we have taken with Luna with our phones over the last year, and when this song came on the radio, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

ny baby

So, hear it is, a year with Luna…

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! We love you more than you can ever imagine.

Cheers!

Scabib, The Scarf + Bib Review and Giveaway

scabib

That’s right, two giveaways in a row! I’m still playing catch up and I have been excited for far too long to share the Scabib with you. If you’ve been on Zulily or Instagram (#instababy) lately, you are likely to be familiar with this baby trend. It’s cute, it’s stylish and it’s functional! It’s a scarf and a bib, and it’s very absorbent.

bright houndstooth

Scabib was created by Trish, a mom to a precious little boy. When he began teething, she wanted to sew him something to soak up all the drool, but still be cute. After a few tries, the Scabib was born, and it’s become very quickly popular. Sounds like a Shark Tank story, right? Trish sent me one to review and one to giveaway (yay!), but I also bought a couple more because I LOVE them!

pink dots

Every Scabib has a terry cloth back (so it’s more absorbent), a velcro attachment, and an adorable pattern. They fit comfortably around baby’s neck and fit for a long time. Luna wears them often and rarely pulls them off. They are way cuter than most bibs and at the end of the day, I just throw them in the washer and they come out good as new! We also get compliments on them all the time.

blackwhite stripes

ANNNDDDDD Trish from Scabib has given me a black and white houndstooth Scabib ($16 value) to giveaway to one of you! It’s so so simple to win one. Just follow the three steps below:

giveaway

 

houndstooth

1. Follow me. You can follow the blog, like me on Facebook, tweet me or stalk me onInstagram. You can follow one or follow all!

2. Follow Scabib on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on Etsy! (So many ways to keep up with her.)

3. Comment below. Tell me who your Scabib is for…boy, girl, niece, nephew, grandchild?

blue eyes

 

Good luck people! I’ll announce the winner in a week, Sunday January 25th.

sleeping

Cheers!

11 Months, Nope Not Possible

I’m a few days late, but on the 29th Luna turned 11 months old. How is it possible that my newborn baby is almost one!? Didn’t I just have her? I’m still recovering for goodness sake, how have 11 months come and gone?? It’s not until I see an actual newborn while out and about that I realize how grown Luna actually is. In my eyes, she is a teeny tiny little wrinkly ball of fresh baby. From my point of view, I just became a Mother. I’m still learning. I’m still exhausted. I’m still trying to get the hang of this. Yet, I’m not a new Mom, and Luna is definitely not a newborn.

11 months

During her 11 month Luna learned to do so much! She walks! I mean she can walk. She took her first step and has gradually walked more and more each day. Over the last couple of days she has chosen to walk just about everywhere. She now copies so much of what we do, and it is adorable. We spend hours clapping, playing peek-a-boo, making funny noises and putting our hands in the air. She loves attention and making us laugh.

standing

She also shown an affinity for Taylor Swift, especially Shake it Off. It has proven to be one of the 3 things that stops a meltdown in a matter of seconds. (The other two being boobies and cheerios.) Not only does it make her happy, but she literally “shakes” it off. She twists and shakes and shimmies her shoulders! It is hysterical and definitely the cutest thing ever in the history of cute. Well, that and when she attempts to throw the ball for Belle…or when we say “yay” how she claps for herself and then throws her hands in the air. What can I say? She’s just one cute kid.

This is how she walks...like a drunk Godzilla
This is how she walks…like a drunk Godzilla

This month has been another exciting month of adventures too. She volunteered with me at the Children’s Hospital and helped pack food boxes for two different organizations. She “ran” a holiday  5k, made Christmas ornaments, met Santa, saw a Christmas musical,  celebrated Hanukkah, saw the lights and ICE! at Opryland, and her had first Christmas! We got her a little trampoline for her first Christmas, but her favorite thing to play with was a box of animal crackers that she carried around all morning like a purse, go figure.

silly

I cannot believe that I will be describing her first birthday to you in less than a month. Be prepared for lots of sentimental posts around the 29th! Thank you all for stopping by and keeping up with me and this little ham!

Princess Luna
Princess Luna

Cheers!