Our little week in Paradise

I’m a little late with this post, as our tans have long faded and the last bits of sand have finally dusted off the bottoms of our flip flop’s and sun-stained beach hats, but started flipping through a few pictures from our trip and wanted to take a moment to remember our little beach excursion last month.

Our first family vacation in Destin couldn’t have been better.  It was one of the most relaxing weeks we’ve had as a family in a very long time.  The water was absolutely pristine: crystal clear, glass-like, and the color of turquoise.  We woke up and made our way down to the water’s edge every day, with our little one grasping our fingers pulling us to the shore to explore.

We laid in the sun, read pages of books, swam for hours, fell asleep in our beach chairs, stayed up late and enjoyed long talks, took morning walks, and laughed til our cheeks hurt.  Before we knew it, it was time to go, and I found myself wiping tears away as I packed up our family to head back to reality.

“We’ll come back soon,” I told Ev as she glanced over my shoulder at the sparkling ocean one last time.   What a magnificent week and perfect first vacation for our little girl.  We’re secretly counting the days til we go back next year.

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Can’t Seem to Get Enough

I’m at work missing my princess terribly today and can’t seem to get enough of her cuteness.  Can’t wait for our girls’ night tonight (Daddy’s going to a wine tasting).  Here’s  another peek from her First Year Photo shoot, compliments of the amazing Lora.  Enjoy!


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12.Months.Old… Everly is ONE!

Wow, I’m still in total shock that I have a one-year-old these days!  This post is a little late, as Everly turned one a few weeks ago, however better late than never, right?  I’m also so excited to share some of Everly’s one year photos, shot by one of my best friends & cousin, Lora.  Besides having quite the talent behind the camera lens, Lora is super crafty and one of my all time favorite people on this Earth.  Please check out Lora’s blog, Maplewood Inn, if you haven’t already.
Everly is walking now!  She started at about 11.5 months and has been going ever since.  She loves to push her little shopping cart or ladybug scooter around our house.

Everly weighs 25 lbs. and is 32.5 inches long.  She’s in the 93rd percentile for weight and 100th percentile for height!  We can’t wait to see those little legs in ballet or gymnastics!

Her vocabulary is growing rapidly.  She says “Hi”, “Bye,” “Mama,” “Dada,” “Pup,” “Baa” (it means bird, trust us) and a few other things we’re still in the process of translating.

Everly loves blueberries, bananas, whole milk in a sippy cup (with a straw!), sugar cookies (only from Grandma & Grandma), hot dogs! (Marty’s so happy about this), bubble baths, lady bugs, and sharing bites of Mama’s Frosted Mini Wheats on Saturday mornings.

She loves to give kisses (wet open mouth ones), hugs, and will fall asleep in a second if you lightly rub the back of her hair and whisper songs in her ear (“Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and “99 Bottles of Beer” are faves). She is the spitting image of her father, only much, much prettier.  She has a heart of gold and is sweet as pie.  We can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for us.


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Everly’s First Birthday Party

On Saturday, the 6th day of August, our house awoke with much excitement since we knew the day was sure to be accompanied with lots of fun and plenty of memories – it was Everly’s first birthday party! Everly had a certain special twinkle in her eye that morning and I’m pretty sure she knew that she was going to be spoiled that day.  Despite being up late making cupcakes and putting the finishing touches on a few things, we arrived at my parents house early enough to set up shop and get some tunes playing on the jukebox.

The Dress

Since the day Everly was born, I’ve always sang her “You are My Sunshine,” so this bright, lemony party dress was definitely fit for the birthday girl.

The Details
Friends and family got to experience Marty’s “hot dog jamboree”, which included Chicago-style dogs amid an expansive spread of toppingsMost went for the classic catsup-mustard-relish-onions-dill pickle-celery salt combo, but I saw a few chili cheese-frito dogs and some other interesting concoctions on some party plates.  Drinks included Bud Light & Miller Lite (a nostalgic nod to last year’s coed baby party), and Mexican Coca-Cola Classic (the kind with real sugar!) in glass bottles, and treats were vanilla cupcakes with raspberry frosting (the best birthday cupcakes ever).
Everly was a good sport all day.  When she wasn’t chasing her cousins Kenzie and Matty around, she was ooohing and ahhing at her balloons, snacking on tiny toddler hot dog bites, getting passed back and forth between her Grandparents, and impressing the crowd with her walking and talking.

She even sat still long enough for us to sing Happy Birthday and took a few playful bites of her birthday cupcake, however once we snapped the picture, she was officially ready for a bottle and a nap.
Before we knew it, the day was long over and we were carrying our sweet little 1-year old princess to bed and wondering how this past year has gone by so quickly.  We are so blessed to have such an incredible group of family and friends that will surround this little girl for the rest of her life. These are the people who will inspire her, who will lead by great example, and who will shape her into the wonderful person that we know she will be.

It was truly a perfect dayWe’re so thankful for everyone who came out to celebrate with us and we are so excited about seeing what this next year of toddlerhood brings!


The Best Year Ever

In just one year, we’ve gone from this…And this…To this…

And this…We’ve had lots of giggles…Goofy faces….Sweet smiles…And plenty of fun with food…Since she came into this world, we’ve gone to work with tired eyes more times than we can count, got pooped on and peed like it’s nobody’s business, learned crazy things that happen to the body after having a baby and exclusively breastfeeding, learned that slobber and spit up is not a big deal at all, got our fingers bit, learned to appreciate the value of a shower, realized the importance of the Binky (thank you Jesus!), and yet, we’ve never laughed harder in our lives and our hearts continue to swell with the love this little girl has brought into our happy home.  This year has truly been the best ever, and we can’t wait for what the future holds.  Happy 1st Birthday to our sweet our baby girl – we love you more than you will ever know.
Your Mama & Papa

11. Months. Old.

Everly Grace is just one month away from her one year birthday and I could not be more smitten with this sweet baby girl.  It’s amazing to have been able to watch her transition from a tiny, sleeping newborn to the inquisitive free spirit that she is now.  Seeing the world through Ev’s eyes has made me a better person and reminded me how much I love the little things in life.  With her by my side, I am truly living life to its fullest.

Marty and I are just loving this age, here are a few reasons why:

Kisses and snuggles:
Ev reaches for us when she wants us close, which melts our hearts and is the best thing EVER.  She hugs and rubs her face on our neck, and is starting to give us kisses, softly opening her little mouth when we lean in to smooch her face.  It’s adorable!

Baby Language:
When we ask Everly a question or comment on something, she will look us square in the eye and put her two cents in.  We have no idea what she’s saying, but she definitely says it with conviction.  I think I’ve heard her trying to say “Pup-Pup” a few times, which is how we refer to our dogs around here, so stay tuned for more on that.  Other things we’ve heard: “Mama,” “Ba-ba,” “Tee-tee,” and a few other things we’re still trying to translate.

Smiles & Giggles:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Everly has the best baby laugh I’ve ever heard in my life – it’s absolutely infectious and I’m pretty sure there is some type of switch it activates in my brain that makes me utterly happy every time I hear it.  No joke.  (Bonus: When I’m having a stressful day at work, I close my eyes and channel that sound to bring me back and keep me sane.  Works like a charm every time.)  Also, smiles these days are out of control cute – with a mouth full of pearly whites (four teeth and, bottom molar, a top molar, and another bottom molar coming in), it wins us over every time.

Almost Walking, But Not Quite:
Everly has taken THREE steps on her own and is so close to walking.  She loves cruising on things that move these days (walking toys or even our giant cooler that she can push around).  We’re just days or weeks away from having a walker, so I’m just cherishing every moment I get to see Ev’s little hiney shuffling around as she crawls about our house exploring.

Everly Also…

  • Loves her binky.
  • Will never turn down a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Loves to chew on a wash cloth during bath time.
  • Has to play with my hair and put her foot in my face when I nurse her.
  • Still takes a few naps a day.
  • Gets extra happy when she gets to snuggle in bed with us in the morning.
  • Likes her toes painted orange.
  • Always laughs when she sees herself in the mirror.

We’ve been talking to her about her upcoming first birthday and can’t wait to plan her party!  It’s right around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited!


4th of July

We had high hopes of spending Sunday, July 3rd, on the lake with plenty of sunshine, but about mid-day a little storm cloud turned into a heavy downpour.  We were able to pull the boat in just as things were getting started but definitely didn’t let a little bit of rain spoil our fun.  We still ate a ton of BBQ (yum!), laughed our butts off, and Marty and a few friends even hopped in the lake to swim  during the rain.

After the rain cleared and the sun set over the lake, we even got to partake in a little fireworks show on the dock.  Everly did surprising well with all of the fireworks and wasn’t at all fazed by the loud crackles and explosions.  She bounced on our laps and squealed with delight as we watched them ignite and spread into colorful fragments in the air, each one’s reflection dancing across the water.  By the time we pulled into our driveway at 11 o’ clock at night, we were all beat and ready to sleep.  We love the Fourth of July and can’t wait for next year.  Hope you all had a Happy 4th!


Dear Everly

Dear Everly,

I thought that Fall, Winter and Spring were so enjoyable to experience with you for the first time, however I must say that so far, Summer is the best.  Your eyes sparkle when sunshine creeps through our morning windows and into your crib, and that familiar birdsong that manages to drawl its way through the hundred-year-old brick of our home is always sure to make you smile in your sleep.  It is such a magical season.

Just last year around this time, your father and I were so excited to greet the first lightning bugs of the season, secretly knowing that their arrival meant meeting you was right around the corner.  And now here we are together, sitting on our back deck and watching these same glowing creatures dance around our backyard at dusk; your soft voice telling me stories about them in your secret baby language.

Soon these little legs of yours will walk about, and these lazy  Summer nights will transform into evenings of exploration and playtime in the backyard, around the neighborhood, and anywhere your bike can pedal to.  You’ll return home with muddy fingers and stars in your eyes, with plenty of stories of your discoveries.  These days may seem far off but i know they are truly right around the corner.  For now though, I’m holding you tight on my lap, soaking in every precious moment of your infancy, and trying my best to freeze these memories in my heart forever.


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lightning bug image source

Thank you, Honey

For making me laugh, for lifting me up when I am weak, for having such an adventurous spirit, for always being ready to tackle anything that comes our way – good or bad.  You are an amazing father to our little Everly.

Happy Father’s Day,

A Lovely June Weekend

As soon as the warmer weather gets here, it’s always “Go, go, go” for Marty and I, and that was definitely the case this weekend.  As soon as we walked in our doors from work on Friday evening, we had changed into our weekend clothes and were heading out – pups, baby, diaper bag, beer & all – to have dinner with a couple of our dearest friends.

The food was delicious – Tilapia, green beans, cauliflower mash – and we even got to enjoy some Ted Drewes for dessert.  Everly enjoyed her first bites of the famous St. Louis custard, and it definitely got her seal of approval.

Saturday was busy-busy as usual.  After breakfast & a morning bath for Ev, I headed out for a much needed haircut/color while Marty got to clean out the gutters (fun, fun, fun!) Evy got spoiled at Grandpa’s, then we got to ring in a very special birthday for another of our best friends that night.

Sunday was more on the relaxing side.  I got to sleep in a bit (7:30 is sleeping in for this Mama), then have morning coffee & playtime with Everly before heading out to a pool party!  I made this amazing Cabbage Apple Slaw with Glazed pecans and got to enjoy some pool time with the husband and good friend.

Yes, it was a lovely weekend indeed.  It’s only June, but I know these summer weekends won’t last forever, so I’ll be braving the rest of this week with a smile, and secretly counting down the days until Friday.  It just can’t come soon enough.  Hope you had a lovely weekend too!


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P.S. Isn’t the above image beautiful?  I hope to take pictures like that someday.  Image source.