Sunday, December 31, 2017

Formal Introduction, Baby Elizabeth Mae

A couple months ago, we welcomed Miss Elizabeth Mae into the world. It's amazing how much you can love a tiny human after being in labor for 20+ hours! We were smitten from the start. She was a little lady weighing only 5 lbs 8 oz, but was decently long at 19 1/2 inches. I worked with my incredibly talented friend, Alison Moore, to capture her newborn photos.

I have to be honest, I was not a great pregnant woman. I was pretty sick for the first 20 weeks, and I'm not sure if it just finally wore off or my medicine finally started working (I was too scared to ever get off!). That was followed by terrible heartburn and restless nights. I was ready for my baby girl to show up (but also scared of how it would all go down haha!). My doctor felt I could go early the way she was positioned, and after my 39 week appointment, I started to feel cramping. I had been having the Braxton Hicks contractions quite a bit at night, so I figured I was getting more of those. I went back up to the store, talked with a mom friend and she assured me I would know when they were real. Well fast forward a couple hours, and I was having regular contractions. I knew we didn't need to hurry to the hospital because my doctor told me to wait until I was in major pain. Dustin came home from work and went into new dad panic mode the minute I told him. He kept bugging me that we should head over to the hospital. We checked in at the Birth Care Center and unfortunately, I wasn't progressing, so I was sent home to "relax" - yeah, okay. After a night of painful contractions every 5-6 minutes, I woke Dustin up (I had told he should get some rest, so he was ready when I'd be exhausted) and told him we should go back. The uncertainty was definitely the hardest part.

When the nurse told me I had progressed and we could stay, I wanted to kiss her! She said I could get the epidural now and let me tell you, it was so nice. After that, things were a breeze. I hung out with Dustin, and then my mom came over. We were able to chat and I finally could actually relax. Labor moved pretty quickly and after a couple hours, I was ready to start pushing. Of course, my doctor had just stepped into a C-section, so I had to wait another hour. Luckily, the epidural helped me stay calm and relaxed, so I was good. I pushed for about an hour and then our little lady appeared. My mom was in a room next to the room and was keeping Dustin's parents informed. She heard Elizabeth's first cries and said it was the best sound she had ever heard. She was so tiny! The nurses kept commenting on how cute she was, and I just remember being in amazement this little baby that was inside of me, was now out in the world. Our little Elizabeth Mae was finally here! ...and I was no longer pregnant (woohoo!). I knew she was going to be so sweet and immediately loved to snuggle. I couldn't believe she was ours to keep and I felt so lucky!

This girl captured her dad's heart immediately. He was (and still is) so smitten by her. He wanted all the snuggles. In the hospital he helped calm her down, learned how to change a diaper and talked about his new daughter to anyone that would listen. The second night, my mom and I told him to take his sister out to dinner to get out for a little bit - he rushed and was back in 30 minutes. He has been beyond helpful and loves spending time with his girl. I honestly don't know how I could do this parenting gig without him by my side. I can tell he loves being a dad (I knew he would), and I'm excited to see them play together in the future. I know deep down he'll love princess movies and tea parties (haha!).

Teddy definitely has had his world shaken up, but we can tell he loves her. The first time he reacted to her crying, it was so sweet. She was up in her bassinet and I had run downstairs to get something. Dustin let him back inside, and he heard her, immediately running upstairs to check the situation out. He then proceeded to run back down stare at us with a "What are you doing! She's crying!" look. He also is  usuallyvery stubborn about letting us take pictures of him, but not now when we are taking pictures of the baby. When Ali was taking our newborn photos, he tried to photo bomb them all. So much so, he ended up being in a majority. So happy he was! I am so excited for the two of them to play together - I think he's in for a surprise when Elizabeth starts moving.

I was so excited to show Elizabeth her new room. Putting it together was my favorite part of nesting and it had become my happy place. Even though she doesn't sleep in there quite yet, we spend time in there rocking in her chair, changing into cute outfits, and taking pictures. When Ali asked where we wanted to take her newborn photos, I knew I wanted a majority in that space. You can see more details on the nursery post from a few weeks ago.

I am so grateful to have friends like Alison Moore, who captured our new family perfectly. I love that we were able to take the photos in our home, where we are learning to be parents and incorporating our adorable daughter into our life. I highly recommend if you are looking for a family photographer. She was so easy to work with - patient (because of course Elizabeth decided to be awake for awhile when Ali came) and so good with the baby. I enjoyed spending the afternoon with her! I also recommend having your mom or a family friend around to help during pictures. My mother was there to help me get the baby ready, and ended up staying, which was so helpful. She was able to move things out of the way, feed the baby when she wasn't ready to sleep and help change her outfit.

I couldn't wait to share the adorable pictures with our friends and family, so I worked with Minted to create some gorgeous birth announcements. Last summer, I started carrying Minted in the shop, and I was excited to create something for us. Even though the holidays were coming up, I decided to go with this watercolor floral design because it seemed to fit her so well. There are so many beautiful and fun options, it's hard to choose! The scallop border was an extra, fancy touch and they currently have free recipient addressing with pretty designs. Reach out if you are interested in some of your own! They make me so happy and I'm going to frame one to hang.

Thank you to everyone that has helped us welcome baby Elizabeth Mae into the world. We have loved having you meet her, and would not have survived without all the encouragement and support. We are so lucky to be her parents and can't wait to see her grow (except I am definitely enjoying her being tiny!). Thank you to our parents that have been beyond helpful from the beginning and unconditionally love her to the moon. Thank you again to Ali for capturing these gorgeous photos! You can check out more of her work by following her on instagram:

Lots of Love & Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Nutcracker Ballet Parties

Photos via Sally Cavanaugh
Earlier this month, we hosted our annual Nutcracker Tea Party. We ended up doing a breakfast and a lunch to accommodate more party guests. The morning was filled dreams of sugar fairies, actual sugar and lots of dancing! We wanted to keep certain elements of our event from last year, but also change it up to keep things fresh. Our inspiration was based on the Nutcracker party supplies collection by Meri Meri for the year. They came out with so many fun things to work with and set beautiful tables!

Photos via Erin Kata Photography
We set kids' tables and large tables for our party guests. For the tableware, we had fun mixing the Nutcracker print, gold stars and mint grid plates with the Nutcracker star napkins. We topped off the napkins with our fancy style plastic forks and each place setting had a festive cup.

Photos via Erin Kata Photography
We set out fun head accessories for the littles to wear during the party: paper solider hats, floral tiaras, floral headbands and star headbands. Always fun to dress up for tea party/dance party morning! For their party favors, we worked with one of our favorites, Avery & Grey, and the girls received a snap clip. Her packaging was perfect for the event! For the boys, I found small, wooden nutcracker ornaments.

Photos via Erin Kata Photography

Photo via Sally Cavanaugh Photography
Each place setting also had an amazing cookie made by the talented Sweet Suglarlicious. I send her pictures of the supplies and she works her magic to bring them to life in cookie form! She does an incredible job. We also served cupcakes using the Nutcracker cupcake kit. They were made by another local favorite, Cara, owner of September Moon Cupcakery. For breakfast we served fresh fruit and bagel slices, and for lunch we had fruit, vegetables and kid favorite, Chick-fil-a nuggets. Drinks, we kept simple: lemonade, juice and water. I did have one little girl sad we didn't serve hot tea and it made me laugh a little. Maybe next year!

On the backdrop, we followed a Studio DIY demo (love them!) that caught our eye while scrolling through Instagram. We ordered a mix of Qulatex balloons and made it bigger tweaking a few of the instructions. The peppermint balloons added a fun Land of Sweets feel. I love how it all came together and added a fun pop of color behind the dancers.

Photos via Erin Kata Photography

Photos via Sally Cavanaugh Photography
The best part of the morning was working with Ballet Wichita's Nutcracker performers. They interacted with the children, performed for them and showed them a mini dance routine. It was adorable! The children "oooh"ed and "awww"ed over their gorgeous tutus and costumes. Some children were a little shy, some became best friends and some wanted to sit back and stare in wonder.

Photo via Sally Cavanaugh Photography
Photo via Erin Kata Photography
The morning was so whimsical and fun. The children seemed to have a wonderful time interacting with the dancers and enjoying their "tea" party. Thank you so much to Ballet Wichita for sending such lovely dancers to our event. Also, thank you to Erin Kata Photography and Sally Cavanaugh Photography for capturing the magical moments! Loved working with you both. Also, special shout out to our event coordinator, Rachel, for putting together the giant balloon wreath!

Merry Christmas Eve and I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!
Lots of Love,