I loved you even then

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Dear Liam,
You are exactly one year old today. And what a wonderful year it has been. You have brought such a wonderful, magical presence into our world. We love you so much. And you must be thinking “wow, a whole year! That’s a long time to love somebody.” But sweet boy, I have loved you so much longer than that. When you were still in my belly, Daddy and I would lay in bed and watch you kicking and moving. We were so in love already and dad even said how silly it was to love someone that we’d never even met. I told him this and I’ll tell you now:

When I was a little girl, I would always play house and day dream of having a little baby that I could cuddle and take care of. It with you that I was daydreaming about. I loved you even then. When I grew up, I decided on a career where I could work with children and help children learn and grow. I thought of how I would one day help my own child grow. I thought about you. You see, I loved you even then. When I met your father, it wasn’t soon before we were talking about our wishes of having a family. I pictured him holding hands with a sweet little boy. It was you that I saw. I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now. It was you and I loved you even then. As you know it took us a long time to find you. On the day we lost our first baby in my belly, we were so sad. But as I lay awake at night, I thought about you. I knew you were out there. I just had to be patient. I loved you so much even then. And then when the time was right, you arrived. The doctor placed you on my chest and you looked up into my eyes like we’d known each other for decades. The year that followed was filled with so much joy. And yes there were also sleepless nights, stuffy noses, blistered gums, toothaches, ear infections, and chapped nipples. There were hurricane evacuations, airplane rides, shopping trips, and cranky car rides. But through it all, I loved you even then.

And now, my darling, I am done sounding like a bad country song. So let me just tell you how honored I am to be your mother. What a beautiful adventure these past 365 days have been. Thank you for a wonderful trip around the sun.

Love, mommyimageIMG_3656imageIMG_3791IMG_1300 IMG_5618

do it yourself Smash Cake Photo Shoot

how-to-smash-cake-photo-shootI’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I HATE paying someone to do something that I can even slightly, half-ass do myself. Maybe I’m a perfectionist. Or untrusting. Call it what it is, it’s me and I am working on it. But in the mean time, my DIY flag will continue to soar high. After our holiday family photo shoot that resulted in zero photos of Liam smiling, I decided never again! The photographer was a very sweet lady. But she would make these cackling, turkey calls and high pitched squeals in an attempt to coax a smile out of Liam. And this child of mine, who seriously  smiles at every cashier and every old lady in line at the grocery store, would of rolled his eyes at her if he knew how. Not a single smile for her camera. So I decided that I would create our own photo session at home. And worse case scenario, if he didn’t smile for me, all I wasted was an afternoon. And it turned out to be a success! img_5530img_5544img_5537Here are some of my tips for how you can create your own smash cake photo session. 

1. If you have a room with a blank white wall, perfect! If not, get a white backdrop. I purchased this one from Amazon and have used it several times so I have definitely gotten my money’s worth. But a crisp ironed bedsheet would also work well.

2. It’s all about good lighting. This is crucial! More important than the camera itself! I know by now in my sunroom (where I’ve set up my white backdrop) what time of day the room gets good natural light. You want to aim for bright natural light vs light that is created from lamps or overhead lights. But you also want to avoid too much direct light on your subject (this will wash them out) and avoid shadows being casted onto the backdrop. Tip: set up your backdrop a day or so in advance and keep an eye on what time of day the lighting is best.img_55663. You don’t need a fancy camera! I used my Cannon Rebel DSLR for these, but I took some practice shoots with my iPhone and they also turned out amazing. I swear, the quality of the pictures on the iPhone these days is not too shabby.

4.  Use a tripod, if available. This helped me do continuous shooting and be hands free If I needed to quickly jump in and help/reposition/save a ballon. A husband or assistant also helps!

5. Create fun props! I simply blew up some balloons and made bunting using felt fabric, string, and a hot glue gun. You don’t need much. The cake and the baby will be the star!img_56106. Bake your own cake. Dude, did you know a box of cake mix is only $1.95? This is so cheap. Especially considering it’s just for photos. In fact, I didn’t evenly spread the icing on the back of the cake!  And side note, this cake stand came from the diaper cake from our baby shower. It’s from C. Wonder. img_55677. Once you are all set up, bring in your child and entice him to “smash” the cake! At first, Liam had no interest in eating, or even touching the cake. He just stared at it and crawled away. If you look closely in this photo, you may see some tangerine slices on the floor. Yep.  We had to entice him by adding his favorite food (which I guess obviously isn’t cake) and eventually, he went for the kill. Giving him a spatula at the end of the shoot helped us get some really messy pics too!

8. Touch up the pictures in iPhoto/Photoshop. I always end up cropping my photos and using the blemish tool to remove anything unwanted that ended up in the shot. before
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I took a total of 120 photos and I ended up with about 30 great photos! And while I am a big fan of professional photography, it was nice to do these at home with daddy present and a warm bath waiting for us in the room next door!

xxoo Priscilla

 

11 months of night time snuggles

IMG_3954.JPGWatching your child grow up right before your eyes is so bittersweet. On the one hand you feel such a sense of pride and delight with every new milestone. But then there’s also a feeling of sadness when you realize your snuggly, newborn baby ceases to exist. As if overnight he was replaced by a very large toddler. And you love that toddler, don’t get me wrong.  But where did the baby go?

After 11 months of co-sleeping with us, Liam is now sleeping through the night in his crib. You’re probably thinking, great! Right? That’s “the goal,” isn’t it? Well yes, I’m no longer shoved in bed between two snoring dudes. I have regained feeling in my right arm that was once lost from being wedged all night under a 20 pound baby. And there is now a larger window of opportunity to start making baby number two. So there’s that.

But on the other hand, I actually miss having Liam in bed. I miss those mornings waking up to his sweet little hand on my cheek. And laying on my side nursing while all three of us fall back asleep. And although I cursed and whined many times at 3am while on an all night breast feeding session, there is something nice about knowing that in that moment, I was the key to his happiness. It gave me a sense of purpose.
But it’s been 11 months now and we no longer share one big family bed. Cosleeping was something that we said we’d “try” and I honestly had no idea it would last this long. Transitioning him to the crib happened when we realized he could climb out of our bed on his own. So he would wake up and see the freedom that lies beyond the mattress and he was off. Doing whatever destruction an 11 month old can do at 7am. So we decided to try the crib and he actually took it well. He no longer lies next to me in bed and touches my cheek. He no longer calls for me to come rock him back to sleep. My baby. My baby that needed me so much, and was so helpless for so long, is growing up. That’s life, my friends. Don’t blink.

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a DIY boyfriend/husband t-shirt refashion

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So I don’t know when athleisure began to hit the streets, but I am truly loving it. My only hope is that we, as a generation, can modify this fashion trend to be even more relaxed. I’m thinking lazy-leisure. You know, like when you want to go to Walmart in your pajamas but you don’t WANT to go to Walmart in your pajamas. Or for when you want to “Netflix and Chill” but you have been married for five years, so you actually just want to watch Netflix and chill. Do you feel me? When I was pregnant, I basically lived in my husband’s t-shirts and that didn’t really stop after the baby came. And as much as I’m sure he loves coming home to find his wife in one of his old stained tees and a pair of sweat pants [insert sarcasm], I can’t help it. It just happens. Sorry Will. This is what you get to come home to:img_5474But I decided to change it up a bit. I have had the Lane Raglan pattern in my mind for some time now, and I knew this was the perfect opportunity to spice up an old t-shirt. I used Will’s white shirt for the bodice and then some black jersey knit for the sleeves. Solid color knits are my go-to fabrics so I keep some in my stash at all times. So this was an easy evening project that took me roughly 2.5 episodes of Gilmore Girls to complete and cost next to nothing!picmonkey-imageimg_5417This pattern may look intimidating at first if you are new to sewing, but its only because there are so many options and ways to customize the pattern. But if you do a simple long sleeve raglan without the hood or pocket, you only have 5 pieces to cut out (front bodice, back bodice, neck band, and two sleeves). A men’s size XL tee was just enough fabric for me to cut out a front and back piece and then I used less than a yard for the black knit for the sleeves and neck band. img_5419I’m sure we could all find one or two baggy tees in our closets that could use this same refashion. Or if you have a short sleeve tee that you think would suit you better as a long sleeve. Or if you think hacking up your ex-husbands/boyfriend’s shirts would be therapeutic for you, then this could also be a good outlet for you. (Been there, done that). img_5424So now I feel good about leaving the house in an old tee shirt. I wore it already twice this weekend. Here we are out for a walk through the marsh. We discovered a new county park (Caw Caw, for you locals) and fell in love with Charleston all over again.
until next time, Priscillaimg_5457

why I let my baby watch tv

img_0637I’ve read all the baby books. All of them. When I was pregnant, I obsessed over these books and wanted to make sure I knew “all the facts” before the baby came, to the point that I started referring to Dr. Sears as if he and I were old chums. And although there are some big differences in what you read in these different baby books, they pretty much all agree that too much television is not good for a baby’s growth and development. So before Liam came along, I invested in tons of handmade naturally organic wooden toys, non battery operated learning tools, and a collection of children’s books that would make even Barnes & Nobles jealous. I thought I knew it all. 
img_0633Then came reality.  Now, at 11 months old, our morning routine is usually the same: wake up, change diaper, eat breakfast, and then play in the sunroom until it’s time to leave for Story Time or a play date. He explores his toys and flips through his books independently, giving me the chance to check emails, order the groceries, feed the dogs, and try to create something that resembles a decent hair-do. But then there are some days like last week. The days Liam is “mama, mama, mama” all morning, clinging to my leg, and protesting all the toys that I have set out for him. And don’t get me wrong, I will soak up all the baby snuggles that I can get! But sometimes there are things that just have to be done.  So that’s when the TV comes on, my friends. My saving grace is that this kid of mine loves music. He dances to songs on the car radio, my off pitch jingles, and even the sound of the phone ringing. So when I put YouTube music videos on the TV it changes his whole demeanor and he is suddenly in his happy place once again, giving me just a few minutes of hands free time to get some of the chores done.img_0634I know I have said it before but I will say it again. When it comes to parenting, we are all just surviving. I do agree that we should be following doctors’ recommendations, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And just like people who are dieting should be allowed to eat cake once in a while (or 3 krispie kreme donuts, but who’s counting), the same applies for raising a child. Every once and a while you need to eat cake. Metaphorical cake. Do I let him binge watch hours and hours of SpongeBob? No. But sometimes we sit on the floor and watch YouTube music videos and singalongs.  I have no idea what it’s doing for his brain but like I said, we are in survival mode people. So for all of you mom’s out there who may be wondering if you are doing the right things, the answer is probably yes. So put on some tunes on the television, let your baby zone out for a few minutes, and go face plant onto the shag carpet next to him and breath. You got this! And I’ll be over here doing the same!  xxoo Priscilla

Liam’s onsie: Etsy.com

a DIY quilt for the non-quilter

When I started learning how to sew almost 5 years ago, I gazed at photos of beautiful quilts that, for me, resembled pieces of art. And I thought, “I’ll make those someday! You just wait and see.” Then reality kicked in and I realized I’m all about the instant gratification that comes with garment sewing, and thus a month long project filled with hundreds of little pieces was never going to be my forte. That being said, I do still love the idea of making a quilt for a new baby. A special something that is just for him or her. A handmade gift they can treasure for years to come. A nice blankie where they can throw up and have poop explosions and their mom and dad will think of me each time.So when my dear friends Jason and Laura announced they were having a baby girl, I got right to it. Their baby had been given the nickname “bebe” early on in the pregnancy, so when I saw this fabric from The Little Ivie Cloth Co at Spoonflower. com, I had to have it! Rather than actually quilting together different fabrics, I decided to order a large panel size of the “Hello Bebe” print and let that fabric do the talking. Literally. Like, hey bebe, how YOU doing? Oh you know, just learning how to hold my head up and digest breast milk. Ain’t no thing. Anyways, like I was saying, I never quilt. In fact, this is only my second time making a baby blanket, following the quilt I made Liam when he was born. So I am by no means a quilter and if you are on the hunt for true tips on quilting, I would advice you go here, here, or here. But if you want a keeping-it-real quilt story, you’ve come to the right place. All you need for this project is a sewing machine, two large pieces of fabric (I used a quilting cotton and a minky fabric), double fold bias tape, coordinating thread, basting spray/glue (optional), and a whole lot of love. How to make your quilt:

Step 1: Iron your fabric pieces and line them up WRONG sides together. This is where you have the option of using basting spray to hold the pieces together, which can really come in handy.

Step 2: Trim the salvage edges (thats the piece on the side that has the manufacturer label) and any excess fabric, for example if you have one piece of fabric that is larger than the other.

Step 3: “quilt” your fabric. This is where you can go crazy and do whatever you want. I am a simple gal who does not have a fancy quilting arm on my machine, so I just sewed lines going vertically and horizontally across the fabrics, equal in size, which created medium size rectangles. You could make your lines closer together or further apart. Or use a fancy stitch on your machine to add some flare. Tips: Use a nice top stitching thread and increase the stitch length a little.

Step 4: Using pins to hold in place, add your bias taping to the edges of the fabric, sandwiching in both the front and back pieces of fabric in between the bias tape.

Step 5: Sew the bias tape in place. I like to use a fun curvy stitch just to add a little bit of design and also ensure that the stitch picks up both the bias tape and the fabric. Give it another good run on the old ironing board and you are done! I threw in some coordinating burp cloths with the extra fabric and bought some cute leggings to go along with the theme of “cute bebe girl who I hope likes floral print.” 🙂 xxoo Priscilla

Remembering 2016

​​2016, you didn’t alway keep it classy. And in a hundred years from now, I’m afraid history books won’t speak so highly of you. But I’ll always remember you, 2016, as this was the year I became a mother. Last night, in between nursing Liam to sleep and watching Mariah Carey’s lip sync train wreck, I managed to quickly make this little video montage of my year in review. A bit of home renovation, some traveling, and lots and lots of baby snuggles! Enjoy. And may your 2017 be full love and happiness.