Baby Shower for Paxton

Blogged after a false alarm that the baby might be on the way. It’s getting really real!! 7 days and counting until due date.

My mom, aunt and friends threw me the best baby shower I could have ever asked for! (As a full disclaimer, I was annoyingly specific I’m sure about what I wanted this baby shower to be – thanks to all for putting up with my particular point of view!)

The concept was cooking freezable meals for us to have after the baby arrives – and absolutely no baby shower games. It was held at Cook’s Warehouse in Ansley Mall. Here’s the invitation Jason designed:

All of the hostesses and close friends and family submitted recipes, and we picked the 10 of them to make during the shower. If you want a copy of what we cooked (and served) at the shower, just email me!

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Recipe books for every guest.

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Recipe book cover that Jason designed…SO CUTE!

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My wonderful baby shower hostesses: Tishie, Gena, Gayle, Me, Kelly 2, Sarah Barham-Cage, Sarah Young, Mom, Vann, Eliza

Here’s several photos of everyone in action cooking!

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Our (new) standalone freezer, stuffed to the gills with frozen meals!

I accidentally deleted the photo of the hostess gift bags, but I thought they turned out pretty cute. A sticker of the baby chef on the outside, a mini zucchini bread and locally made cheese straws on the inside.

SENTENCE REDACTED UPON REQUEST. More on that another time (or never).

Big, huge, thank you to my fabulous hostesses and guests who cooked in support of our new family. Love you all!

 

2017: It Begins!

Blogged in the nursery, it seems like we need more people energy in here. Minnie snuggled in the glider next to me.

I’m grateful that we’ve been busy in this last trimester of pregnancy. Otherwise, I bet it would feel like it drags on forever. Here are some highlights from January and February of 2017.

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Happy New Year! (At Tish & Clay’s)

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Anyone remember this guy? @ Nuevo Laredo

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Mom’s old kitchen, working it at Dillard Street.

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Jason’s first art show at Abernathy Arts Center! This print was my favorite.

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Everyone loves Jason’s art!

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Minnie scoping out the action from the outside.

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I love that the Abernathy Arts Center is dog-friendly. Of course, Minnie came along to support Jason!

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Another of Jason’s prints.

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We must have been at Atlanta Memorial Park here. Not sure why I took this photo…

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Chinese Lunar New Year Party!

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This scene warms my heart. Sweet Minnie.

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Surprise birthday for Erikaa at Argosy!

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I made Mom’s chocolate peanut butter mousse cake for Erikaa’s birthday. That mousse is to-die-for good.

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Water leaked from our guest bathroom, down to the powder room underneath, down the wall and to our hardwoods. Hardwoods and dry wall have to be replaced. Ffffffffff.

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Hanging with Minnie on the porch.

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Squishy face.

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Unkie Steve and JoAnn met Vince Dooley (!) and Steve got his kids book signed for Paxton! Such a sweet gift!

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Our Big Green Egg arrived!

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Looks perfect on our porch. More to come on this bad boy later on. 😉

Second Trimester

Blogged while (still) watching Top Chef reruns.

Whew. Everyone says the second trimester is the best you’ll feel while pregnant. I’m thankful for feeling more like myself and getting my energy back! (Kind of).

Weeks 14-15: Started taking a prenatal “Fit and Tone” exercise class with Oh Baby! Fitness. I’m learning that no one wants you to exert yourself with exercise while you are pregnant, which means all pregnancy exercises are…lame. I froze my OrangeTheory membership in the first trimester because I couldn’t even fathom surviving one of those classes (where I want to throw up most of the time, not being pregnant). Oh Baby! classes are good though – mainly for the chance to talk to other pregnant ladies.

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13 weeks old!

Week 16: Switched doctors/hospitals from Emory Midtown to Piedmont Hospital. I wasn’t comfortable with the online reviews of Emory Midtown, and Piedmont has more preparation classes, feels cleaner and is closer. Dr. Zertuche, my new OB-GYN, is exactly my age and is fantastic. She also was a resident under my former doctor at Emory Midtown (who I really liked). I think I made the right decision to switch.

Weeks 17: Feeling much better now! Trying to load up on protein (per Eliza’s game-changing suggestion in Trimester #1) via non-mercury-laden seafood, including a dinner at GUNSHOW and Beetlecat. Both were a bit much for my delicate sensibilities at this point, but I hope to go back when I can be a more adventurous eater again.

Week 18: Time to officially announce the baby! Jason and I designed these adorable printed announcements, after borrowing the concept from a talented Etsy artist.

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Week 19: Really starting to show now. Vainly, becoming concerned with the weight gain, but the doctor says I’m tracking just fine.

Week 20: Exactly halfway!!! Weird numbness in my right arm.

Week 21: I think I felt baby kick flutters on the drive home from work on 11/15/16!

Week 22: (Thanksgiving Eve) WHOA I definitely felt Paxton in there! It felt like an alien doing somersaults. Crazy, wild feeling. It happened in bed, after Jason fell asleep (of course).The next day, on Thanksgiving, I didn’t feel anything. I think it’s because I ate so much that he couldn’t move. 🙂 The next day, and every day since, I’ve felt a little something. It’s getting very real!

Week 23: Heartburn? Already? Alright. Bumpie update:

Week 24: 180 pounds. YIKES.

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Bumpie at 24 weeks.

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Jason and Steve assembling the changing table. It took them, like 2 hours?

Week 25: Y’all. Pregnancy is the most un-glamorous process you can possibly imagine. I just typed out a couple of details to support this statement but decided now that it’s TMI. But trust me. It’s gross.

Week 26: Christmas!! And a little bit of wine. Just a little.

Week 27: Took a Breastfeeding Basics class, offered by Piedmont Hospital (where I am delivering) with Jason. Apparently, breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if baby/mom are doing it correctly – which is a relief to hear. I hope I can remember what to do when the time comes!

On to the third trimester!

Christmas 2016

Blogged while 9 months pregnant and eating popcorn for dinner. Please keep your judgments to yourself.

I really enjoyed the holiday season in 2016. I had lots of vacation days to burn (no big trips for us and vacation time doesn’t roll over) so I took a week off around Thanksgiving and another week or so around Christmas and New Year’s. It was so relaxing to putter around the house, go shopping, get ready for baby, etc.

One home improvement we ended up making was upgrading the master closet. Believe it or not, it was Jason that really pushed for the upgrade – but I’m definitely enjoying it now. Here’s a “before” of the closet:

And here’s the “after”:

It would probably be more helpful to show you an after that includes all of our clothes, but I don’t feel like doing that right now…so you’ll just have to come over and see for yourself! We worked with Jason’s friend Sharon at Creative Closets and she was great.

Back to Christmas! King of Pops (local Popsicle company) has a seasonal side business called Tree Elves, where they install and remove your Christmas tree – and it’s delivered by real elves!

Girl (elf) power! Love it. We had a couple of friends over for the install and watched Scrooged that night. The tree ended up being a little shorter than we expected, so it’s perched on top of an old hard drive and covered with the tree skirt. I think I like the elevated small tree better than a tall one!

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I loved our little tree! Tasteful white lights, of course.

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I swear, I didn’t like our house until it was decorated for Christmas. It felt so festive and snuggly in the living room with the lights, tree, stockings and garland!

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That poinsettia is still alive as of today (March 7). Costco, for the win!

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“Frag-eel-lay! It must be Italian!”

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Of course Minnie has a stocking!

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Beautiful table garland, made by Mom’s friend at the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market.

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Fun gift wrapping this year.

Lots of get-togethers with the usuals over the holiday season. Like I said above, I really enjoyed myself this Christmas!

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At Miracle on Monroe. The usual restaurant is completely converted to a Christmas wonderland, dripping in holiday decor, playing Christmas music and serving only Christmas-themed food and drinks. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

We spent Christmas Eve in Athens with Jason’s family and Christmas morning and day in Atlanta.

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We found this artist, Fabio Napoleoni, at a gallery in Laguna Beach and I was immediately obsessed with his prints. But we didn’t see anything that really fit when in CA. Jason found a local art gallery in Roswell that carries his work – and Jason picked out the most perfect print for my Christmas present!! I love it more than words can express. I started bawling the moment I unwrapped Jason’s gift. So thoughtful and special!!! Love you, honey.

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Another Fabio Napoleoni print! He made these art and characters for his daughter who was in the hospital with heart problems, so everything has a heart in it. This print hangs in our bedroom.

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Speaking of amazing gifts, look at what my mom gave us for Christmas!!! A Big Green Egg, a case of chicken AND a chef demo at our house, where they will show us how to cook on it!!!! Incredible gift. Love you so much, Mom!!!

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Minnie loved her gifts too!

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For Christmas dinner, we went over to Mom’s friend’s house – Mike and Dana. They have a beautiful home! Also in attendance at their house was a WWII bombardier – he was adorable and very entertaining. Jason, in particular, was enthralled with his stories!

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Putting Gena’s turkey-carving lessons to use already!

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Creme brulee cheesecake

After Mike and Dana’s, Jason and I went over to the Cages’ for dessert and drinks.

Although our Christmas celebrations weren’t as family-focused as in years past, I really enjoyed spending time with good friends this year. I loved every minute of the Christmas season!

First Time Hosting Thanksgiving!

Blogged on a rainy Tuesday night.

We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time in 2016, now that we have a house big enough to accommodate. But before I get to that, here’s a recap of a pretty rough week prior – it’s like we were cursed!

First, a terrible driver swerved into Jason’s lane and they had a head-on collusion. The damage in the photos doesn’t look that bad, but because of the XJ’s aluminium frame, it was very expensive to fix. Plus, because the car was so unique, there was a struggle to even find a comparable vehicle for insurance comparison purposes.

After months of back-and-forth (poor Jason, I don’t know how he handled the continual frustration), the insurance company ended up totaling the car. In more bad news, the other driver was under-insured and didn’t have enough coverage to pay Jason for the full value of the Jag. If you’ve talked to Jason for more than 5 minutes, then you know already how special this car was to him. It was one bad development after the other. Basically, poor Jason got totally screwed by this accident.

Then, a few days later, Mom ended up badly spraining her ankle and had to go to the emergency room!

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Minnie (aka Florence Nightingale) taking care of mom. 

But the show must go on…so Thanksgiving! We served turkey (used the turkey brine from Beautiful Briny Sea – you must try it!), gratin of four onions, paprika sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy (by Tishie), cranberry sauce (by Gena), a casserole, brussels sprouts (by Tishie), rolls – and for dessert, apple pie and cheesecake (by Mom).

There is absolutely NO WAY we could have pulled off Thanksgiving dinner without my mom’s help. As you know, she’s a whiz in the kitchen. I was basically a sous chef/decorator. Everyone agreed that the turkey my mom made was the best, most juicy turkey we remember. Way to go, Mom!

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Jason dressed up as my uncle Clay (cut-off white tee, with pull-on shorts) as a joke – we expected more laughs than we got. 

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I folded napkin turkeys! It took a lot of starch.

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Gena teaching Jason how to carve a turkey. Invaluable life skill!

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Our bountiful table! Excuse the folding chairs. One day we’ll have more than four dining room table chairs…

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Jason sampling the goods on Thanksgiving Eve.

Our dinner guests included: me, Jason, Minnie, my mom, Tish, Clay and Gena. Kelly 2 and Matt came over for dessert and drinks afterwards. It was fun to host (but a LOT of work) and again, it would have been a disaster without Mom in charge.

Clearly, we have a lot to be thankful for: family, friends and family and friends that cook good food. Love y’all!

 

Laguna Beach

Blogged while watching Real Housewives of New Jersey re-runs…I should have been watching Orange County!

For our fifth wedding anniversary, we knew we needed to do something special, because it’s the last anniversary before baby! Zika prevented us from going to any beach in the Southeast, and it would be too cold to go up the Eastern coast. We ended up flying across the country to Laguna Beach, CA.

Jason found the beautiful Montage Laguna Beach Resort for us to stay. He also sweet-talked the reservations lady into upgrading our room and throwing in a complimentary night. The hotel, knowing it was our anniversary, stocked our room’s fridge with Champagne.

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That awkward time of pregnancy when you don’t look obviously pregnant, just kind of chubby.

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View from the pool, overlooking the ocean

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Jason enjoying a boat drink

Our first night in Laguna, we went to Nick’s for dinner, and walked around downtown Laguna for awhile. There are tons of art galleries and I ended up seeing and falling in love with the work of one artist, Fabio Napoleoni. More to come on that.

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View from our room at sunset…

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…and the view from our room in the morning.

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View from the hotel, walking down to the private beach.

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Private beach with service…ahhhh….so decadent.

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You’ll probably recognize this photo from our Christmas card – on our actual anniversary! Dinner at Maro Wood Grill was yummy, with desserts and drinks at Mozambique afterwards.

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On a whale watching trip!

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But sadly, not a whale to be seen…

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Lots of free time for selfies!

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Have you ever heard of vignette? It’s non-alcoholic wine, apparently. I didn’t try any.

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However, the mocktails and snacks at the Montage resort bar were excellent! Sadly, we waited until the last night to try ’em out.

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Our last morning in Laguna Beach. 

Jason was taking a javascript class at General Assembly every Tuesday and Thursday in October, so we could only do a long weekend trip, but it was the perfect amount of time. The resort was very preggo and family-friendly, in addition to having beautiful views. Plus, Laguna Beach is the cutest town, everyone is friendly, attractive and most places are dog-friendly! I want to go back!

Fall Fun

Blogged after a visit to Lake Keowee

Seasonal photo dump of Fall 2016!

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A family photo! I remember feeling pretty crappy that day, and was feeling guilty that I wasn’t up for taking Minnie for a walk.

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At the Tennessee game…tough loss, but beautiful day for football!

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Gameday accessories

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Girls brunch at K2’s! I loved this lil guy, so cute.

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Delicious mocktail at Bettlecat.

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Happy belated birthday, SEY! (at Beetlecat)

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My Minnie pumpkin! Jason refused to carve his pumpkin this year, grr.

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However, Jason did draw and cut out this scary monster sign for the trick-or-treaters! (All 3 of them.)

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Classic mouse and honey snuggle pose.

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Afternoon in the Country, at the new Foxhall location.

The Dames at Afternoon in the Country:

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Walking the PATH with my favorite Minnie.

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At the Auburn game, celebrating our veterans.

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Maxwell Zember McGraw was born on October 14 – here he is with his mommy, Jenn!

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Max and auntie Cheryl

Next up…the holidays!