motherhood

Woodland Themed Baby Shower Brunch

I do love a good baby shower, and I especially love hosting them for friends! Recently, my friend Holly and I hosted Kate’s woodland themed baby shower. We don’t know the baby’s gender yet, and the parents-to-be have a woodsy nursery, centrally decorated around bears. So, a woodland baby shower it is!

A few touches I especially loved:

What have been your favorite themes for baby showers, bridal showers, or birthday parties?

motherhood, Nashville Life

One Amazing Caretaker {Nashville Library}

I just have to give a shout out to the incredible woman who watches Charlotte Monday through Friday, week after week – she calls herself MIMI and her home is officially Mimi’s Crib. We recently had the opportunity to celebrate her after she completed the Preschool Literacy Program through the Nashville Library’s Bringing Books to Life program. Charlotte is still a little small for “curriculum,” but the older kids at Mimi’s Crib are already becoming prepared to go to kindergarten one day. We joined another home daycare for pizza, story time, and of course, lots of Mimi snuggles…

Thank you, Mimi! 🙂
Charlotte (left) would only sit still with Mimi…

Mimi, we had such a great time celebrating you at the library. Thanks to you for everything you do to love on these sweet babies every day!

motherhood, Picture Taking Time

Softbox Light for Pictures At Home

I need some advice, y’all! Last fall, I purchased this softbox light from Amazon, in hopes of taking more indoor photos of Charlotte. So far I’ve used it only once, for her one-year photos, and I am overall really happy with the results. It was easy to set up, inexpensive, and folds up neatly for closet storage. The only negative was that it was a bit more “harsh” than I expected. Those of you who do indoor photo shoots at home, what do you use to simulate natural light? Or are you just lucky enough to have a big window to take pictures next to?

motherhood, Thoughts in the Faith

When I Pray For You {Children’s Book}

You guys just have to check out this sweet new book When I Pray For You by Matthew Turner. It is the sweetest! And when I pre-ordered it on Amazon, I also got a free copy of one of his other books, When God Made Light. Charlotte and I are enjoying them each so much. If you’re in the season of friends-having-babies like I am, these would make incredible gifts as well.

A few fun facts about the author and his wife – they live here in Nashville, and Matthew’s wife, Jessica, is an author as well. Not only does she run the blog The Mom Creative, but she also has written the books The Fringe Hours and Stretched Too Thin. Both books help women (like me!) manage their roles as wives, moms, employees, and creative human beings. I’m deep into Stretched Too Thin right now, and let me just say, IT SPEAKS TO ME. Check them out!

motherhood, Picture Taking Time

Chatbooks

Raise your hand if you take one million pictures on your phone of your kids, your spouse, your food, or – and let’s be honest here – yourself. If you love Instagram, you’ll love Chatbooks.

After having a baby in October 2017, I knew I’d be taking so many pictures, but had no idea what to do with them – I didn’t just want them living on my phone forever, but I also didn’t want to make a hundred traditional photo albums by hand. Enter: CHATBOOKS.

You’re able to automatically link your Chatbook account to your Instagram, Facebook, Google photos, iPhone camera roll, or in my case, your camera roll FAVORITES. I chose favorites because as I took photos I loved, I would hit that pretty little heart on my favorites. Each month, I ordered a new hardcover book of my favorite baby pictures. I did this for her whole first year, and I love having this beautiful collections! When you subscribe to a series, each book is only $15 for hardcover, or $10 for softcover.

Click this link to get $10 off your first purchase!

For $15, the quality is awesome. I’d recommend you edit your photos to a fairly bright finish, just to keep the overall look of the books light, but other than that, you can add captions, locations, and dates to each picture if you’d like to. I have truly loved using this site for keeping up with memories. Try it out!

There are a few other photo projects I like to keep on my shelves, like my smashbooks (pictured below on the left, and deserving of their own post!) and a traditional scrapbook or two. More on that another day!

motherhood

Backyard Photo Shoots

Who doesn’t love taking one million photos of their new baby? But taking professional photos frequently can get pricey. I just wanted to share with you two photo shoots I did of my daughter when she was around six months old.

The first was her mirror session. A mirror makes a GREAT accessory in any photo shoot! In this case, I brought our full length mirror out to our backyard, and let her go to town. You could also lean a smaller mirror on the trunk of a tree, a fence, or even let her hold it. You’ll also see my childhood wooden handheld mirror in some of these pictures.

I did another session around Easter time, 2018, not long after mirror pictures. It was a bit too sunny, but they still turned out sweet. I love these so much, especially since this was one year after announcing our pregnancy on Easter!

Here is our pregnancy announcement from 2017 – so you can see, I just HAD to incorporate an orange egg into her Easter photos!

I repeat, this is from 2017 – THIS IS NOT A NEW ANNOUNCEMENT.

What else have you done to take great pictures at home?

motherhood

Work-Life BLEND

Two familiar phrases for you:

Work-life balance.

You can have it all.

Have you said these to yourself before? Do you believe them to be true?

As a mother who works outside of the home, I look for a healthy blend in my life. I hate the phrase “work-life balance” because it implies, to me, that these two should be equal: that my work should be 50% and my life should be 50%. And frankly, that is just not my goal.

Work-life-relationships-home-volunteering blend, a.k.a. LIFE, is simply finding the blend in your life that works for you. There are days I pour so much more into my work. And days I pour everything into my family. Days where I feel like all is well and I am achieving both the musts and the wants of life. And days where I feel like I’m drowning. The kind of blend I’m talking about ebbs and flows.

Recently, I’ve seen this images sweep social media:

I believe women have started to combat the “you can have it all” mentality. I have girlfriends with and without kids, working outside of the home and inside of the home, married and unmarried. And truly, I hope that the rise of women supporting women will be a hallmark of our generation. I have been privy to so many conversations that go like this:

I stay home with the kids.” “That’s awesome!”
I’m a lawyer downtown, my kids go to daycare.” “That’s awesome!” 
I’m pretty sure I don’t want kids.” “That’s awesome!”

All of this said, I don’t know any mom who doesn’t deal with finding the right work-life blend in their lives, regardless of their “work status.” Start by taking care of yourself – putting your own oxygen mask on first. If you want to explore this a bit, I recommend “The Fringe Hours” by Jessica Turner. Whenever I’m taking care of myself first, I feel better equipped to handle whatever life throws at me. Set priorities – what are the most important areas of your life? What can you say no to in order to free up your cluttered mind? Here are a few tricks that have been helping me stay centered:

Please share your own tips in the comments!

The morning I went back to work, when Charlotte was almost 9-weeks old. I was excited to be social and drink hot coffee, but I was truly in a fog for several more months.