16 January 2017
Tired of seeing photos of my family yet? :) I hope not, because I’ve got a few more to share from our session with Nancy!! After our photos at the house, we drove to the North Carolina Museum of Art to take some outdoor options, mainly for our Christmas card. We love going for walks at the NCMA, and it’s also where we took our engagement photos, so it was fun to come full-circle with this location!
I always see people posting these beautiful photos while holding their babies up in the air (ahem, Victoria Strader :))… and then I tried it and was like, yep, this is as high as I can lift her! Oh dear. Mine’s kind of a halfway hold :)
I’ll end with perhaps my favorite photo from all of the ones we took that day…
That’s my heart right there. Love those two.
Thank you again to our dear friend Nancy Ray for these photos. They are a gift our family will treasure forever!
Back soon to share June’s nursery!
11 January 2017
I’m so happy to share the first part of our family photo session with Nancy Ray today! You may recall that Nancy gifted me the session of my choice at my baby shower. I thought long and hard about how to use it, and eventually decided to save it until June was a little bit older. I am SO glad I did, because these photos, with all of June’s grandparents, could not be more precious. (They were visiting for her baptism!)
I’ve broken the session into three posts; today, I’m sharing a few favorites from the ones we took at home, day-in-the-life style. (This was our inspiration.) Enjoy!!
Please enjoy that John is wearing his crocs in almost every photo… he considers them the equivalent of slippers :)
And now let’s mix in some grandparents! I mean, how much are we all going to treasure these for the next 50 years???
June’s main goal in life is to get the cats to let her pet them, so this was a very exciting moment that Nancy captured.
This particular photo is very special to me… reading with my Dad is pretty much my number one memory from childhood, so seeing him do the same with June almost makes my heart explode. I am SO, so, so grateful our baby gets to have all four of these wonderful people in her life, as I know not all kiddos are so lucky.
Best Dada I know :)
I hope you love these photos as much as we do! I know I’m biased, but I think Nancy’s work here is just magical. Next up: more family photos outside!
P.S. In case you are wondering, my sweater and June’s dress are from Old Navy (I ordered it in a size large so it would be oversized!), and her headband is from Simple June. I did my own makeup (what?) and conveniently scheduled my regular hair appointment for the morning of our shoot so it looked better than usual :)
9 January 2017
This last year has felt slow, in the most wonderful way. From 4:15 to 8 every week day (and more on weekends, of course!), I was just with her. We were together. Sometimes we cooked, sometimes we folded laundry, sometimes I just sat on the floor and watched her explore. For the most part, I didn’t try to direct her activities. I didn’t share our moments on Snapchat or a Story. We smiled at each other and made each other laugh (and of course, sometimes there were tears!). We read books and stacked blocks. We hinged and unhinged the guitar case a million times. We listened to music and sang. We rolled around. We took lots of walks. We sat on the porch, quiet, and watched the tree in our front yard wave in the breeze. We tried to pet the cats. We took baths and ate dinner. Later, we climbed the stairs a million times, played with puzzles, danced, shook the tambourine.
Photo by Nancy Ray
Since my most important job was to be present, it was easy to succeed and to feel accomplished. I am her mama, and in that role I felt like exactly enough. I had everything I needed to give her exactly what she needed. I didn’t feel guilty, distracted, or frenzied. I left my phone in the kitchen, so I wasn’t tempted to look at it. I didn’t do everything right, but I felt purposeful and content BECAUSE I very specifically narrowed my focus to only this one thing while I was with her.
Did that mean I took and shared fewer pictures?
Did that mean I had to stay up later some nights to finish Etsy orders?
Did that mean I wrote fewer blog posts?
Did that mean I read fewer books?
Did that mean our house was often messy, and, let’s be real, a little bit dirty?
Did that mean it took weeks for me to get back to some emails?
Was it worth it?
Throughout this year, I constantly heard my grandmother in my head: “I just tried to enjoy them.” Well, I enjoyed every – and I do mean every – moment with my little Junebug. It was the best year of what has been a beautiful life, and I know John would say the same.
I didn’t spend too much time mourning how fast she was growing, and I firmly stopped myself from thinking too much about the future. I just sat in the present, with her, with John, and it was good. I am doing the same now.
Whenever I feel a wave of sadness about how she’s no longer a little baby, I remember something else a wise woman in my life recently told me: we are not called to keep our babies little, but to raise them well and help them grow. Yes, yes, yes, amen!
So to our sweet, cheerful, funny, smart, patient one-year-old June Chen Thomas: We love you. We are so grateful you are ours. And we are so excited to see what your next year holds!
P.S. Thank YOU for your encouragement, enthusiasm, ideas, and wisdom this past year! You made my first year as a mama even sweeter. Very thankful for this community and the ability to share! So much love to you all!!
21 November 2016
After doing them for five years in a row, last year I took a break from sharing gift guides. It takes a good amount of time to prep and post them, and if I wasn’t all-in, I wasn’t interested in throwing up a few J. Crew links and calling it a day. (Though let’s be real, most people I know would love a gift from J. Crew! :))
That means I have an overflow of ideas stored up, and I’m excited to share a few this week! One of my favorite parts of gifting is getting to support independent brands, and to share them with my loved ones. Today, I’ve rounded up 14 gift ideas from Etsy shops and small businesses, all perfect for the sweet, stylish kiddos and parents in my (and your!) life. Several of them we already own, several of them I’m planning to gift this year, and several June and I would love to receive! All the details are below…
Tiny Dancer tee | Soft, snuggly, and perfect for the baby of this former-ballerina.
Poppy bow set | These are our favorite mini bow headbands! My June has the two solid pinks shown here.
Teepee | NOT CHEAP. However, the detailing is incredible (pom poms! swiss dot!), and I think this is a plaything the whole family could love for a long time.
Great Day plate | I love gifts that are experiences, and these plates by my friend Emily Ley are a perfect compromise – they offer something fun to wrap, as well as the promise of lots of sweet “great day” memories for years to come!
Pearl the Mermaid | With the sale of each Cuddle + Kind doll, 10 meals are provided to kiddos around the world. Plus, they’re adorable!
Soft bib set | A comfy and stylish solution for teething drool. Yes, I just used the word drool in a gift guide :)
Buffalo check bow | The bows from this line come in the best patterns (including Rifle Paper Co!!), and the oversized scale is aww-inducing.
Knot headbands | One more bow favorite! We loved these thick, soft headbands when June didn’t have much hair, and I know they’ll be back in the rotation once she has enough for a ponytail! :)
Patterned crib sheets | It was nearly impossible to stop at just three patterns (peach, flamingo, floral) – this shop has dozens of them, and they’re all gorgeous! I’m partial to the crib sheets, but they also sell swaddles and pillow covers.
Buffalo check bell sleeve dress | This is way more than I usually spend on baby clothes, but for photos or a special occasion, I love this stylish shop! Give me all the buffalo check, please.
Bunny-print bin | Again, so hard to choose just one Pehr pattern to share. These soft bins are perfect for nursery storage!
Felt pennant | I love the old-school styling and Southern flair of these pennants.
Classic silhouette | We had June’s silhouette made locally this year, and I think it would make such a sweet gift! Try A Family Print Shop, Heart Paper Scissors, or an artist in your community.
Simple pushwagon | This is a toy that would have totally captivated me as a kiddo. I hope my girl feels the same way, because I’m pretty sure it’s in her future! :)
I’m sure it goes without saying, but if you’re thinking of purchasing from any of these shops, hold tight until Black Friday! I’m almost certain they will all be running sales.
Any other favorite kid brands I should know about? I have lots of nieces and nephews to shop for this year!