Amelia Layne – 1 year old

How is it that our sweet little girl is no longer a baby anymore?! A toddler? What’s that?! She is an absolute joy. It amazes us every single day that God blessed us with the opportunity to be her Mommy & Daddy. At one year old, some of the things Amelia Layne loves include: 1. Reading books! This girl can NOT get enough of books. She would sit and read all day if we let her, which just warms this Mama’s book-loving heart. ๐Ÿ™‚ 2.ย Music & Dancing. she gets going as soon as she hears the first beat! 3. Smiling! (ALL THE TIME!) At one year old, Amelia weighs 17 lbs. 6 oz. and is 28 inches tall and has 4 teeth!

I had so much fun putting together a creative photo shoot of our little girl, including a reenactment of her 1st birthday cake smash!

Amelia Layne, you are special. You are so loved. And you are God’s best gift to us. We love you!

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Amelia 1 year old

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A Cupcake Themed 1st Birthday Party

So I started dreaming about Amelia’s 1st birthday party when she was just 6 months old. Like with every other big celebration, I began combing through countless ideas on Pinterest for inspiration. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Pinterest? It is everything great about the Internet. Anyway, I digress. It didn’t take long for me to be sold on the idea of a Cupcake themed party. I mean, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE cupcakes. So it was only fitting that a cupcake be the central idea of my daughter’s 1st birthday party.

DSC_0017 I had so much fun planning everything down to the last detail. Everything started with the perfect outfit. I knew finding Amelia’s birthday outfit would set the stage for the whole party. I was lucky enough to find a great Etsy shop owned by Julia Hayes. I told her my vision and she really delivered! After receiving Amelia’s outfit in the mail, everything else just kind of fell into place!

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DSC_0012I created a fun guest book for people to sign made out of pictures of Amelia throughout her first year. I found a picture to coordinate with every letter of the alphabet (Z and X were kind of hard!) to make it like an alphabet book! It was a huge hit! And now we will cherish the little notes people left for years to come.

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DSC_0056We had lots of yummy snacks at the party, including sausage balls, mac ‘n cheese bites, fruit skewers, empanadas, and of course cupcakes!!ย 

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DSC_0068I definitely knew from the beginning of the party planning process that I wanted a burlap banner. I first looked online to buy one and then realized that I wasn’t going to spend the $65 many of them were going for on Etsy. So I bough a huge bolt of burlap from Michael’s, printed out the font to make my own stencils, and painted the letters. It was that simple. And less than half the cost of buying one already made online.

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The white high chair was a must have for the party. I had been scouring Craigslist for the few months before the party to find a wooden high chair in good condition that wasn’t going to break the bank since I was going to paint it. One day when I really didn’t think I was going to find what I was looking for, I got lucky! I bought this one from a lady in Chapel Hill for $30. I couldn’t believe it! I’m really proud of how it turned out! And it just fit the party so perfectly.

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Thank you so much to everyone who came to make Amelia’s day so special! We can’t believe we have a one year old little girl! It has been the most incredible year, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

 

 

 

A Family Maternity Photo Shoot

I absolutely love taking pictures. Can you tell from all my Facebook posts of Amelia? Hehe. ๐Ÿ™‚ A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to take pictures of my sister and her sweet little family as they anticipate the arrival of their newest addition, Jackson Drew. We are so excited about baby Jackson’s upcoming birth! We had the most beautiful day and the gorgeous scenery of their front yard for this family photo shoot.ย I had so much fun capturing these sweet photos of Bethany, Drew and Emma Grace. Hope you enjoy!

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Someone’s so excited about becoming a big sister!

 

A Rustic Fall “Happy Hour” Baby Shower

For my inaugural post I thought what better thing to post about than a baby shower I threw this past weekend for our dear friends, Cathy & Keith. They are expecting their first baby, a girl, in December! ย We are so excited to watch them transition to this new phase of life with a little one. And we can’t help but be biased with excitement about the fact that they too will have a firstborn little girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cathy and Keith wanted their shower to feel like a big, happy celebration for their friends! Because it is early October, Cathy thought a “Fall” theme would be really fun.ย So I took the idea and ran with it! I had so much fun getting creative with all of the food items and decorations. My Mom was the biggest help in bringing all the visions to life.DSC_0127DSC_0091We wanted everything to have a sweet, yet rustic feel.DSC_0093We had so many yummy items on the menu.ย DSC_0153The Mac ‘N Cheese bites were a smash hit, and so easy! Just whip up your favorite recipe for mac ‘n cheese and fill a mini muffin tin with the mixture and throw it in the oven, that simple!ย DSC_0150DSC_0149The sweet parents-to-be.DSC_0163DSC_0144DSC_0147DSC_0139DSC_0113DSC_0117

Since it was a “Happy Hour” baby shower, we had to have drinks! The Blue Moon Seasonal Pumpkin Ale was our beer of choice. It fit the theme and the color scheme!ย DSC_0108The S’mores bar was a huge hit! It was so much fun to mix and match different toppings to make some fun combinations!DSC_0105DSC_0103DSC_0107DSC_0224DSC_0223One of my favorite decorations was the pumpkin that my Mom painted as our main centerpiece to hold the beautiful Fall flowers. We had two different punches for our guests. The first was a white wine sangria with a little seltzer water for some fizz, and we also had a “MOCKtail” version of the same drink for the Mommy-to-be.DSC_0098We went for a lot of little touches to make the shower feel very personal and cute.DSC_0097DSC_0096The cupcakes were a huge hit! Sticking with the theme, we made pumpkin chocolate mini cupcakes with brown butter icing. And OMG, they were delicious! ย DSC_0129The activity that we planned was an alphabet book for Baby Girl Gordon. I designed a “letter” page for every letter from the alphabet. Each person at the shower chose a letter, and wrote a corresponding word and drew the matching picture. Everyone did such a great job, and now thee Gordon’s will have a very practical keepsake from this special day.DSC_0118A great idea I saw at my sister’s shower a couple of weeks ago was to have guests address thank you cards so the parents-to-be wouldn’t have to find addresses when sending out thank you notes!ย DSC_0123DSC_0182DSC_0187DSC_0259ย ย DSC_0254Thanks to everyone who came and made the party a huge success!DSC_0270

Hello again…

So I’ve been wanting to resurrect my blog (with a new name!) for awhile now. After finding great comfort in writing out my thoughts while we waiting for Amelia’s arrival, it doesn’t just have to be for documenting my pregnancy! I want this to be a place for me to express myself creatively: share recipes, DIY projects or general musings about my life as a Mom and Wife. Thanks for reading!

She’s HERE! (Plus a recap of Weeks 38, 39 and 40!)

Week 38

So, today would have been my induction date, and I have a fifteen-day-old I fully expected to have Amelia in December past my due date since she is my first baby but she had other plans! I still can’t believe she is here! The past 2 weeks have been a blur since I went into labor. Let me tell you the whole story.

It all started Saturday, November 16th. I had finished teaching a couple of days before thinking I would use the last 2 weeks before Baby Miller’s due date to get the house in order and do some Christmas shopping. That Friday night, Cathy came over to help me decorate the house for Christmas. I was so tired that night, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. And looking back, I sure am glad we got the decorating done! My Mom also spent the night that night so we could go garage saling on Saturday morning. That’s another thing I’m thankful for that she was here that morning when I woke up. So about 3:40 in the morning I woke up having contractions. I knew that these feelings were different from the braxton hicks I’d been experiencing throughout the pregnancy. I continued to try to sleep on and off for the next few hours until I went in and woke Mom up and told her I thought I was having contractions. They were coming every 15-20 minutes at this point, so we knew we were not in a hurry. So guess what Mom suggested? We still go looking for garage sales! And that’s what we did. Of course she’s still not driving, so the 2 of us got in my Beetle and I drove us around the neighborhood while I was continuing to have contractions. We were a funny sight for sure. Of course people commented about Mom’s dedication going to garage sales on crutches, while they had no idea I was in labor! It’s pretty funny looking back that I would have to stop the car at a stop sign to breathe through the contractions. The rest of that day we just tried to take it easy and do things that would take my mind off the pain. The contractions started to come closer together and at times were less than 10 minutes apart. We watched Christmas movies and I changed positions frequently to work through the labor. My sister and Drew decided to go ahead and drive down so they could be here in case things started progressing quickly. About 24 hours into the labor, we decided it was time to go to the hospital. The contractions were extremely consistent and I was having to stop, concentrate and breathe through each one. So Bethany, Mom, Kent and I loaded up the card and headed to the hospital. I really thought this was it, we wouldn’t come back to our house as a family of 2. That’s also funny to think back on now. So early Sunday morning we arrived to the hospital and I got checked into Triage. We went through the normal motions of answering every question imaginable before they checked me to see how dilated I was. Then the moment of truth. When the nurse told me I was just 1/2 a cm I had a hard time keeping it together. I knew that what I was experiencing was real labor but there we were listening to her say something about this being the early stage of labor and once my body got some rest, the contractions could just stop. That’s something I didn’t want to think about. The entire time I just wanted the labor to progress so the contractions and pain were for something good! So it wasn’t long before she told me to get dressed and they were sending us home with a couple hydrocodone to get some rest. That day I slept for abotu 4-5 hours and felt a bit more rested but the contractions never stopped. At this point, Bethany was considering going back home because of what the doctors were telling me about how the labor might just stop. Ultimately she decided to stay and I’m so glad! So Sunday I just labored at home, again changing positions frequently to work through the pain. The contractions started coming more often and lasting longer but they were always very consistent. There was never a period of time where they just stopped. That’s why I knew this was different! During the night Sunday night we talked to the doctor on call and he suggested waiting it out until the morning if I could and come to my OB’s office to get checked instead of going back to the hospital. So first thing Monday morning, Kent and I went in to see if I’d progressed. At 7:30 Monday morning, I was a solid 1 cm. Though I was disappointed the labor was moving so slowly, that was progress and at that point everyone else around me realized that this was the real deal and it wasn’t going away. The nurse practitioner who checked me sent us home to rest and continue laboring and to come back in 3 hours. Well we ended up going back to the office 2 more times that day and each time we saw progress! By late afternoon on Monday they were saying I was a solid 3 cm. Our hospital won’t admit you until you’re 4 cm or your water broke, so with each passing hour I was getting closer and that’s what I had to hold onto. As we left the doctor’s office for the last time that afternoon, our nurse practitioner said to just go home one more time and wait it out until I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore and at that point to head to the hospital. So I mentally prepared myself for a few more hours of labor and we headed home again. Each time we left eh house, we geared up that this might be the last time we’re leaving the house without our baby girl. I would eat a nice protein-filled meal and we’d hit the road ย only to be told we had to come home again. The back and forth was exhausting, especially with contractions continuing to come every 5 minutes! So we came home and I tried to rest until I felt like I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. We headed to the hospital for the 2nd time (and what we thought was the last!) at about 7:30 Monday night. This time, Mom and Bethany stayed behind, waiting for Kent’s call that we were checked in and they should come up to the hospital. We arrived and got checked into triage. Again we had to answer all those questions that somehow seem like they should be saved in the system from the day before. After that it was time to get checked. We unfortunately got stuck with a nurse who didn’t have much personality which made the whole experience that much worse. Though our nurse practitioner had told us I was a solid 3 cm at my last checkup that day, this nurse didn’t hesitate when she informed us that she’d been “doing this for 26 years, and you’re just 2 cm.” I had to hold back the tears, mostly because the doctor then came in and said that this early stage of labor, though it was real still could just stop and the baby might not come for another week. At this point, we were desperate and din’t know what to do. The doctor decided to give me a morphine shot and sent us home. Because Kent and I were alone, we didn’t know what else to do other than trust that what the doctor was telling us was the best decision. But the morphoine shot proved to be very difficult for me to handle. We didn’t even make it home before the medicine took effect and my Dad, Bethany and Kent had to practically carry me into the house. I was so drowsy and drugged feeling, it was so hard! And the worst part is that the contractions didn’t slow down or the pain didn’t lessen. I still couldn’t sleep because the contractions were coming every couple of minutes. And the hard thing was I couldn’t concentrate to breathe through the pain because I was so loopy feeling. Bethany and Kent were making fun of me after the fact because I would start out my breathing with a “He, He,” and then I would just stop because I couldn’t remember the rest. It is funny now, but it definitely wasn’t funny at the time! That night we talked to the doctor on call and she encouraged us to just come back to the office first thing in the morning if I could stand to wait. That night was really hard but we made it through and we headed to the office the next morning to get checked. I don’t think neither Kent nor I anticipated much improvement and though we didn’t say so to each other I think we both expected to be sent home again. When the doctor came in the room I was having a contraction and he looked at me and said “Well I’d say that’s the real deal!” I thought to myself “Finally! They are not telling me these contractions could go away!” After the contraction was over the doctor checked me and I was 5 cm!!! I almost jumped off the table and gave him a hug! When he told us we could go to the hospital Kent and I were just so relieved that this was finally going to happen. As we were walking out of the office, all the nurses and office staff cheered and clapped for us! When we got in the car I looked at Kent and said “let’s do this thing!” ๐Ÿ˜‰ The hospital is across the street from our doctor’s office so we didn’t have far to go. We also decided very quickly that I was going to get an epidural because I really needed rest and if the 2nd half of my labor was even half as long as the 1st half I wouldn’t make it without some sleep. Plus by this point I had been having consistent contractions for 80 hours so I felt like I had experienced enough labor! ๐Ÿ˜‰ That was the best decision ever! Not long after we got to the hospital the anesthesiologist showed up and the relief was almost instantaneous. As soon as the epidural kicked in I fell to sleep and had a solid 4 hours of rest. It was so wonderful! After days of being awake sleep was a beautiful thing. After my nap, the rest of the day just flew by. Before I knew it I was 8 centimeters dilated and Kent and my family left to go grab dinner. While they were gone my contractions started coming even closer together and the nurse checked and I was ย 9 1/2 so I was a bit worried everyone might not make it back from dinner before Baby Girl arrived! Thankfully they showed up with just minutes to spare before I started pushing. The doctor told me because this was my first baby I might push for 2 hours so I was prepared for the long haul. Little did we all know that things were going to move a lot quicker! I remember about 15 minutes in Bethany asked the nurse if I could have a mirror and the nurse left the room to grab one and the minute she walked back in the door the baby came out like a cannon ball! The doctor had to catch her she came out so quickly! They put the baby on my chest and I said “Happy Birthday Amelia Layne!” and that’s how Kent and I announced her name. It was the most magical, beautiful moment of our lives. Kent and I both cried and just stared at Amelia in amazement at the gift from God that this baby is to us. Mom and Bethany were able to be witness to this very special moment which meant so much to me! Amelia Layne was 7 pounds and 20.5 inches long and just as perfect as she could be!

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Week 39

 

The past two weeks have been amazing though sleep deprived! We are loving being parents and feel so incredibly blessed by God to call Amelia Layne our daughter! Thank you to everyone for all your support and encouragement along the way. We love you all!

37 Weeks

Well we are now full-term, 37 weeks! It is so hard to believe! Baby Miller is the size of a winter melon. She likely measures around 18.9 to 20.9 inches and weighs between 6.2 and 9.2 pounds. I’m definitely hoping it’s on the smaller side of that range. ๐Ÿ™‚ She will continue to gain about 1/2 ounce each day until her arrival.

I am going to the doctor once a week at this point, and everything is looking great! I met the only doctor who I haven’t met to this point, and I absolutely loved her! She was so sweet, and I would be happy for her to deliver Baby Miller. I feel more prepared going into labor knowing I’ve met and had conversations with every doctor who might be the one to deliver our little girl.

This week has also been a special one because my Mom and sister treated me to a special day of celebration. It was so wonderful! My Mom, sister, Cathy and I started out the day going to breakfast (my favorite meal!) at The Weathervane restaurant in Chapel Hill. I decided I had to indulge because it was after all “Brynne Day” as they deemed it. So I got chicken and waffles, and boy was it amazing! We had such a lovely breakfast!

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Then it was onto the next event, which I had no idea what it was going to be. I was happily surprised to find out we were going to this really cool make-your-own-pottery called Glazed Expectations. It was so fun! We each selected a piece of pottery and then we got to paint it. We left the pieces there and they will finish them so they’re glazed and shiny. I painted a little bird figurine for Baby Miller’s nursery. It turned out so cute! Bethany made a “Birthday” plate for Emma Grace, Cathy painted a beautiful platter, and my Mom painted both a coffee cup with “Marmie” written on it and a little bucket for Baby Miller’s nursery with her nickname for our little girl written on it: “Sweet Pea.” Mom even brought yummy snacks and Izze soda drinks for us to enjoy while we were being crafty.

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After our trip to the pottery place, we headed to Sugarland which is a delectable cupcake place in Chapel Hill. We had so many delicious flavors along with coffee and hot chocolate. It was the perfect way to end such a special day of celebrating before our little girl comes!

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The fun continued through the weekend when we had our family Thanksgiving meal. ย I told Mom when I first got pregnant that I wanted to have an early Thanksgiving since our due date is the day before real Thanksgiving. I just wanted to make sure I had an opportunity to have a Thanksgiving since it’s one of my favorite holidays, especially when it comes to the food! So my Mom really outdid herself and made a remarkable meal with all the fixings. It was so awesome! We were all together and were so happy to have Cathy and Keith eat with us as well.

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We can’t believe we are so close to meeting our little girl. The anticipation is building about her name. We have decided on a first and a middle name and we can’t wait to be able to tell everyone once our firstborn makes her debut! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers and for keeping up with us on this incredible journey!

Week 37