Accessory Dilemma

Brain says this one can be used year-round for work and travel: kate spade westbury bess $179

Heart says life is not worth living without this one. kate spade lincoln road $197

Decisions, decisions,
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6 years...

of wedded bliss. Okay, maybe not nonstop bliss, but really, this past year has been pretty spectacular for the Knight and me. For US. Perhaps the impending birth of our baby girl has drawn us even closer, but I also think it has to do with our current level of comfort - with ourselves, with each other, where we've been, where we are in life right now, and where we hope/plan/dream on going next. I like that when I think about "us," I don't just stop with the two people who fell in love 9+ years ago. I now think of "us" as our family - a unit including a momma, daddy, and two hysterical and maddening furbabies. Pretty soon, the humans will once again outnumber the furry family members, and then our "us" will grow again.

Our "us" has spontaneous jig-fests in the kitchen, devours fruit salad and oreos (often at the same time) at an Olympic pace, and trains for and runs marathons/half marathons together. The lines continue to blur between the titles "in-law," "family," and "real friend" for our "us." I love that our "us" tackles our problems together, can get through tough conversations without melting down, and still knows how to kick back and have fun with the best of 'em.

Whatever our "us" faces in the future, I'm pretty sure that "us" is gonna make it.

To the Knight and his Maiden,
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(38 weeks) We're all waiting...

Dear Coco,

Happy Friday. Hope all is well in Uterusville. I wanted to write to see if you could possible manage arriving a bit early. I know Mommy and Daddy are ready to meet you, and Auntie Aidan has to go to the beach and doesn't want to miss you. I am sure you are comfy in there, but it's fun out here too. You will get to play with Betty Rascal and wear fun clothes. You also have a really cool room waiting on you and some jammies that match your Mommy's. I promise to paint your toenails when you are bigger.

Auntie Aidan

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Pregnancy ain't always pretty...

But it is definitely the real deal. ;)

I remember being about, oh, 12 weeks a long, looking down at my (then) relatively flat tummy and thinking "Is there really a baby in there? Hellooo...who are you and what are you? Are you really going to be our baby?"

(ignorance is bliss - me and Coco at 12 weeks)

At 36 weeks, my tummy is no longer flat, I am 100% certain that the watermelon under my shirt is indeed a real deal baby, I am definitely ready to get her out. I think. Of course, then I think of the round-the-clock feedings, the incessant crying, and the fact that once she's out, she is an immovable and ever present life and responsibility for the Knight and me. When I think of those things, I am okay with the wiggleworm inside me staying right where she is. Forever. While we are very excited, I think it would be dishonest of me not to admit that we are also kind of dreading it. Is that normal?

(these are the faces of dread...and excitement)

I have to say that thus far, I have been blessed with the easiest, peasiest pregnancy. I have had tons of energy, slept just fine, had no complications, very few mood swings, and really have felt just like my old self. It is only this week that I truly feel pregnant. Basically, what I mean is that when I wake up in the morning, I feel like I have been hit by and then run over by a semi. The Knight has to literally push me out of bed (b/c we are "modern" and have our mattress and box springs on the floor). I then proceed to waddle everywhere. I find myself trying to reduce the waddle at work, but it is getting to the point that I can't hide it. I can't touch my toes anymore, my stomach rests on the tops of my thighs when I'm sitting (that is a weird feeling, for sure), and all of my contractions seem to come at night...when I'm trying to sleep, of course.

People have asked me if I'm carrying twins or triplets, have mentioned that its obvious I'm carrying a lot of water weight, and one lady even told me that I was "carrying the baby in my face" (whatever that means). I really wanted to reply that she appeared to be carrying about 60 years in her face, but I restrained myself. I get it...I am a whale. Leave me alone.

If there is anything I have learned about being pregnant, it is that pregnant women get all kinds of abuse from complete strangers. Something about that big round belly brings out all the comments (nasty and nice) from the entire communitiy. From now on, I will only say nice things to pregnant women, or say nothing at all. I mean, it is so weird when complete strangers want to talk to you about something so personal in the middle of the grocery store, anyway.

Just to be real, yo, here I am in my Shamu bathing suit. Note the swollen legs, arms, and face? Yep, that the unfortunate side of being PREGO.The fortunate side of being "with child" is that your loved ones just want you to relax...

And feed you incredible meals. Yum.

(celebrating the Knight's first Father's Day)

Although there have definitely been some blue days, having a baby has really drawn the Knight and me closer together. I think the fact that I have slowed down (out of sheer exhaustion), and stopped trying to cram so much stuff in our lives has given us the chance to have some really great conversations and just hang out. We are approaching our 6 year anniversary at the end of this month. Remember when we went to Chicago last year to celebrate our 5 year anniversary?We never would have dreamed that year 6 would bring a baby!

Oh yeah, the nursery! Well, I know I sound like a broken record, but it is almost done. Really. Coco's room is really coming along. We finally put the decal up, moved all the furniture around to where it is supposed to go, and I have washed everything (in our new frontloading, energy efficient washer and dryer - but that is another story, for another day!). It all smells so good and just like a baby (a clean one, that is). When I was done folding everything, I couldn't help but laugh because the entire laundry basket was just various shades of pink. So much and so very pink.

All that is left is hanging stuff: curtains, mirror, pictures, a little light over the rocker and mobiles. A guy is coming on Thursday to professionally paint the doors and the bookcase, and then I think we'll be done! I can't wait to show you guys the final result. So far, I really like it. It is cheerful, but still serene. I think we will all enjoy spending time in there - which is a good thing, since I hear that we'll be in there a ton.

I have about 2.5 more weeks at work, and then I start my maternity leave. Can you believe only 25 days till my due date? Whoa. I guess I need to pack that hospital bag!

Hoping and waiting,
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I totally forgot to share with y'all the details of our backyard blockbuster! This was our 2nd year to have the party at our house, and I was reluctant to put it all together because of how exhausting it was last year. At 32 weeks preggo, I just wasn't sure if I was up to the task! Thankfully, my amazing friends stepped in, and together we threw a pared down, but still perfect sophomore event!

We decorated the back yard, put out lots of tiki torches and bug spray, and bought Elvis' silly and fun movie, "Blue Hawaii."

I made this centerpiece using a foam topiary and silver bucket from Hobby Lobby, a few cocktail umbrellas, a piece of white ribbon, and a strand of faux hibiscus from the Dollar Tree. The Knight tacked a sheet to the front of our cream shed, and other friends brought the following before the party:

(the machinery that made all the magic happen!)
Speakers and amp
(loud enough to hear, but not too loud to bother the neighbors)
2 awesome HUGE fans
(crucial for keeping cool in Memphis heat and keeping the bugs away)
Old-fashioned popcorn machine
(made the whole backyard smell like a delicious movie theatre!)

We used Evite to send the invitation, and encouraged people to bring their favorite popcorn and candy combos (just in the case the old-fashioned popcorn machine fizzled out). My favorite combo of the evening was a caramel, Reese's Pieces and popcorn mix that was a dentist's dream and so delish! About 1/3 of the guests actually watched the movie, and the rest chatted in the house or by the food. Surprisingly, Coco's room was one of the more popular hang-out spots...I'm hoping that means she'll like playing in there, too!

We were even able to re-purpose some of the decor from Coco's Memphis baby shower. Remember these awesome cocktail umbrella tabletop decorations?
Well, I turned them into tabletop tiki "torches"!
At the Dollar Tree, I found a ton of fabulously tacky luau supplies so that everyone could get lei-d and hop right into the Hawaiian theme. Never ignore the Dollar Tree...it is amazing what kinds of cheap party stuff they have there!Strangely, the Knight was not a fan of the pretty coordinating outfit I picked out for him. He managed to "lose" his top about 2.5 seconds after snapping this picture. Ha!

Even Coco got into the action and donned a grass skirt for the occasion! All in all, the evening was a hit. I'm so glad that our friends talked us into having our 2nd annual Backyard Blockbuster. With two successful events in a row, I cannot wait for next year's!

Bug bites and bikinis,
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AFS' Custom LILL Diaper Bag!

Are you gearing up for the holiday weekend? I love the 4th of July and cannot wait for the festivities to begin!

Although we seem to turn to red, white and blue for fashion, home, and food design only in July, these colors shouldn't be ignored as a group the rest of the year. Deviations of this color scheme regularly grace high fashion and interior design catalogs alike. Who doesn't love aqua and tomato or navy and cayenne together?
Recently, a dear friend (Daisy) gave me the coolest baby gift ever...a "design it yourself" diaper bag! (Daisy, AFS, and Benton - friendships that will last a lifetime!)
The package includes a sample bag, a huge envelope with tons of swatches and a very easy to follow order form for picking the fabrics for each party.
The company is 1154 LILL Studio, and the concept allows shoppers to design their own purses, messenger bag, diaper bags, and hobo totes! An interactive website lets you sort through their generous and lovely fabric collections and "try" the fabrics on the bag.

A couple of nights ago, I designed my "Susan" diaper bag, and I must have had the 4th on the brain. Isn't she pretty? I sent the sample bag, swatches and my completed order form back via fedex (with the provided shipping label), and in 3-4 weeks, I should get my Susan in all her glory!

I love this bag because it doesn't "scream" diaper bag. I can see me and/or Coco using this bag for many years to come as an overnight bag, carry-on, or even a heavy-duty beach bag!

Thanks so much, Daisy!

For a fantastic (and fast) 4th appetizer, hop on over to Create My Event for a tasty hot feta, artichoke and roasted red pepper dip recipe. Just add blue corn tortilla chips and everyone will ooh and ooh over your festive creativity! Hope you all have a happy 4th!

Couture customization and cuteness,
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Diaper Cake Gallery (newest additions!)

Just in case you are needing diaper cake inspiration, I have updated the diaper cake gallery to include my two most recent diaper cakes for other expectant parents, as well as a shot of the diaper cake Ayoden made for me!
(Dear sweet Ayoden)

Go here to check them out here. Also, if you look closely, you might see a couple new pics of the nursery. :) It is still a TOTAL work in progress, but I have a feeling that this long holiday weekend will bring about some developments in that department. :)

Firecrackers and friendship,
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