Category Archives: birthdays

1 Year & Family Photos

October 1, 2014

FV2_1295 FV2_1299 FV2_1306 FV2_1314 FV2_1321 FV2_1338 FV2_1342 FV2_1345 FV2_1360 FV2_1380 FV2_1422 FV2_1455 FV2_1465 FV2_1500 FV2_1518 FV2_1522FV2_1536 FV2_1575

Dear Ivy,

You turned 1 today. 1 and a bundle full of silliness, joy, curiosity, giggles, love, and adventure. You have filled our lives with so much happiness. Your smile is contagious and your giggle is the cutest thing I have ever heard. You’re on the brink of walking! You’re standing up all the time on your own now, and should take those first steps any day. You spent the day with Grandma Betsy! She took you to church this morning and said you grabbed her hand just like everyone else was during singing songs. So adorable and sweet! You loved the Jesus statue and all of the lights and candles! She fed you your favorite, mac and cheese, and Mommy even got to see you over her lunch break :) Later in the evening, your Daddy and I took you for a ride to the park in your new wagon. You ate probably a hundred Veggie Straws and talked and smiled the whole way! You loved the swing and climbing up the play set to go down the slide. For dinner, we had your favorite, baked beans (specifically from Look’s) and chicken. MMMM. I gave you a nice warm, bubbly bath to wash you up and got you ready for bedtime. We read your zoo book and touch-and-feel animal book, and I hugged you real tight one last time and told you how much I love you. I whispered goodnight and laid you in your crib, snuggled you up with your blankie, and shut off the lights. I hope you have sweet dreams baby, you’re the sweetest thing there is.

We love you, xoxo

Mommy and Daddy


(Photos by Marie at Finished Vision Photography – isn’t she amazing? Thank you Marie! They’re spectacular, I love them!!!)

A golden first birthday party for Ivy Rebecca!

September 29, 2014

Ivy 1st Birthday-151First Birthday. I just can’t believe I’m even writing this. It’s been so funny, remembering me last year at this time, so huge and awfully uncomfortable, anxiously waiting for the unpredictable arrival of Ivy. J u s t waiting. And then, October 1st at 9:11pm, she was here. All 7 lbs 9 oz of her cuteness all bundled up in my arms. And now, here she is, all 20 lbs of her sitting in her high chair, daintily picking at her vanilla bean buttercream cake, my little baby, my one year old little baby. It’s all just too much, but I’m full of smiles. Full of smiles watching her, just like I have been all year, in trance and awe of  how she has grown, what she’s capable of, and how different she is each and every day. It’s all incredible, this human life, how fast it really goes and how much a human changes. So here we are, surrounded by friends and family, watching her eat her vanilla cake, singing Happy Birthday, smiling and laughing. I loved this moment and took it all in!

Ivy 1st Birthday-100

Her adorable crown is from Little Blue Olive. And that gold glitter tassel garland is from Studio Mucci.

Ivy 1st Birthday-85

She kept clapping with us as we cheered her along and sang Happy Birthday. HUGE SMILES.

Ivy 1st Birthday-66

Why are all of these people just staring at me?

Ivy 1st Birthday-166

Ivy 1st Birthday-147

Ivy 1st Birthday B&W-4

Ivy 1st Birthday B&W-3

Ivy 1st Birthday-59


Ivy 1st Birthday-139

We got her this chair and she loved it. Sat there the whole time opening presents! She was so funny sitting in it. Her own big girl chair :)

Ivy 1st Birthday-31

Ivy 1st Birthday-44

So she can do construction like her Daddy! (Dump truck here) Girls can do boy things too! Thanks Natalie :)

Ivy 1st Birthday-37

Story Time with Ivy

Ivy 1st Birthday-35

Adelyn, Aiden, and Nora, just watching in to see her presents from Grandma and Grandpa Keating

With an infant, the days can be like a rollercoaster whiplash of unexpected behaviors. But some days, just some days, you get a day where it’s simply perfect. The naps work out, no crazy infant mood swings or temper tantrums, and no crying. Her birthday party was one of those days (squeal of excitement! EEEE!). She had a great night’s rest, got up and took some 1 year family photos with Finished Vision (full of smiles and funny behaviors! Can’t wait to see them!), took her 2 hour nap, and then the festivities were here. Perfect. Hallelujah. And she was the best little baby for all of her party!

Switch to me, and I felt like the infant with my crazy-woman-setting-up-for-party-mood-swings and the stress of party planning (Pinterest, I curse you still, read more here). I spent her nap time setting up the decorations. I surrounded my party decor ideas with photos (and obvs gold glitter, for her golden birthday!). And tons of them. A YEAR worth of photos! I got this idea off of Pinterest, of course, and just loved it. With my obsession of Instagram, I printed these cute little squares from Prinstagram and up went my photo wall banner. 2 hours later (yep, seriously underestimated the time it would take me to put that together, ugh), I had a monthly display of her growth in pictures from birth to now. I’ll admit, it was a terror organizing the pictures by month (thank god I had my blog!) and assembling it with those damn little mini clothespins and twine that just would not stay put with my cute gold washi tape (insert ugly masking tape to save the day), but in the end it was all worth it because it was fascinating looking at how much she has changed since birth! I can’t wait (oh wait, yes I can) to see what she will look like at year 2!

Ivy 1st Birthday-123 Ivy 1st Birthday-5


DSC_0358-2 Ivy 1st Birthday-120

Obvs ordered too many, sooo these were the leftovers that didn’t make the cut. (They’re still cute though, Ivy, Mommy loves you! tehehe)

Ivy 1st Birthday-117

Got that Happy Birthday banner here that matched her party invitation

Ivy 1st Birthday-125

It was so much fun doing this chalkboard! It’s permanently there so it was an easy decor idea! I loved thinking of what she loves, says, and can do. And that’s as creative as I get with those squiggly lines : /

Ivy 1st Birthday-134

Birthday cake was sooooo delicious! It was from Sugar’s Baked Goods and Sweet Treats and Kari was so easy and nice to work with! I love that watercolor design! I got the idea for that design from the Dainty Obsessions magazine that she was featured in.

We went with a vanilla bean with vanilla bean buttercream, NOM NOM.

Ivy 1st Birthday-9

 The answer is YES. It was as good as it looks.

Now that the party is over, the big question that could alter future parties – was a big party worth it? On one hand, I would have loved to have a simple party like this one with about 1% of the struggles I had with this party, but on the other hand, I really value being surrounded with friends and family. It’s a very important part of my life and try to model that for Ivy. And to share this golden birthday party and Ivy’s big day with our loved ones was a day that I will hold dear to my heart. Watching her and the other kids interact with each other and run and play like wild in the back yard, made everything worth it. Seeing her smile and have fun with her friends made the day that much better. So, was it worth it? 5 minutes before her party I would have said NO, but reflecting on the fun we had and the special moments between everyone there to celebrate Ivy, I say (in my best Napoleon Dynamite voice…) heck yes it was :)

Ivy 1st Birthday-16

Ivy 1st Birthday-111

Cohen saving his damsel in distress! Hop on Rilynn! And Adelyn – THAT DRESS <3

Ivy 1st Birthday-23 Ivy 1st Birthday-22

Daddies. Babies. Smiling. SWOON.

Happy Golden Birthday our little Ivy Rebecca. We love you. XOXO Mommy and Daddy

Ok, Pinterest, lay off the pressure

August 26, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. On one side, it’s a lifesaver. I planned our entire wedding on there. Creating various boards about everything (literally, everything) wedding, from flowers, to stationary, to deserts, to dresses, to style, to hair, to beauty. There really IS everything on Pinterest. It made me feel this excitement and ambition that I could be a DIY bride. I could do this. The pins made it look so easy! DIY chalkboards, DIY burlap banners, DIY wedding signs, yada yada yada. Just type in DIY rustic wedding and you get about a million trillion pins. Ideas galore. I am not a DIY type person and I have about 1% creative ability, but Pinterest made me feel like I could do it.

I could DO IT.

And I did.

I created the rustic wedding of our dreams! We had a DIY rustic wedding. And it was fun. I felt creative, which I NEVER do. I copied peoples ideas and made them into my own. I LOVED Pinterest. It was my lifesaver and it became my obsession. All of a sudden, I was pinning EVERYTHING. There was an overwhelming amount of rustic wedding ideas out there. Each new pin I saw, I was like, “Oh, I want that at my wedding too, I want that, I want that.” (I know you’ve felt that too!!) Like, really. I had a million projects to do and every which one was something different. But I loved everything. And I had to have everything. I couldn’t stop. I basically married Pinterest. Basically.


Holy crap. Ivy turns 1 on October 1st. I haven’t even barely thought about the party! (Or her turning 1, because let’s be honest, that isn’t REALLY happening, is it?) Of course, I turn to Pinterest to plan, typing in, “girl 1st birthday.” OH MY GOSH. The ideas. The millions of ideas! And the millions of amazing and perfect parties that I envy. So, on the other side of my love/hate relationship, I have problems with Pinterest. I immediately felt an overwhelming amount of pressure. Pressure to be the Mom with a totally amazing and perfect birthday party. Pressure to be the Mom that did everything DIY for the party. Pressure to be creative. Pressure to plan. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. WHHHHHY, Pinterest, must you do this to us?! I’m pleaing! For all of us DIY wannabes and no-creative-ability mommas, can’t I like uncheck a box that says, “omit DIY stuff.” Am I right, or am I right?! I just don’t have time for this! I only want Pinterest to show me where on Etsy can I buy the decorations I need and then bada-bing. That’s it.

And that’s what I did.

I pinned some party ideas that sparked my interest (NO DIY) and went straight to Etsy to search. In about 30 minutes, I found and bought what I needed and moved on. Party done. So in a way, I thank you Pinterest, for giving me ideas and leads to the decorations and first birthday party glamour I was looking for. But on the other hand, shame on you Pinterest (now I really sound like a Mom), for making us Mommas with no time on our hands and no creative ability to feel this pressure. Feel like we aren’t as good as the other DIY mommas. Feel like we have to channel our 1% creative ability and have a DIY party or some super decorated party and make those fooffy tissue paper pom poms (like, how?). Feel like we just really aren’t that good.

But we are. Damnit.

We are just as good. Even though I purchased every single item for her birthday and didn’t put an ounce of love or sweat into it myself, it will be a spectacular 1st birthday party indeed. And perhaps people might ask, “Did you make this? How did you do that?!” And I will chuckle at the idea that they actually thought I created this and proudly say,”Nope, I bought it.” And really, does that matter? Does that make me less of a Mom?

Hell no.

My baby girl is getting a pink and gold (golden birthday, whoop whoop!) party and I can’t wait for her to wear her Little Blue Olive crown (that I bought) and shove that Sugar’s Baked Goods and Sweet Treats vanilla bean cake (that I bought) in her face and take pictures with the Studio Mucci and Pelemele decorations (that I bought) and post them all over the place. Because, for goodness sakes, buying is just as good as doing! So lay off the pressure next time Pinterest. And make a damn “Omit DIY” button, just to make me feel better.

Thank you.


30 ain’t so bad

June 8, 2014

So, today is my birthday. I’m 30. 3 decades old. That sounds WAY too old for my mind. The question I got a million times, “how does it feel to be 30?!” Well, not much different, so far. Today, John, Ivy, and I were soaking in the hottub, and I looked out at my husband and baby girl as they were playing and smiling at each other and couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. If this is what 3o is, it ain’t so bad at all. A husband that is caring, kind, loving, and so damn funny, and a baby girl that is curious, smart, cute, and also so damn funny, well, it just all makes me smile. I’d say my life isn’t so bad for 30. It’s sort of the age that you are just finally stable in your life. Stable with my family, friends, career, and mind. Like John and I were saying, the 30’s are where you just hit cruise control. All the mess and irresponsibility and passion and change and growth of my 20’s, is what led me to today. My 30’s. Pretty good, man, pretty good.

We celebrated my birthday yesterday with a big birthday bash! We always try to have a summer backyard shenanigan, so paired with my birthday was perfect. This party just made me laugh!!! We borrowed a friend’s bounce house and the kids just LOVED it. Looking out in the yard and seeing all these kids run around like crazy and babies playing on the blanket in the grass, just made me chuckle. Oh how the parties have changed :) But, I was glad I had my own little baby Ivy out there in the mix, playing with the other babies and watching the chaos around her. I love being able to get her in to social settings. All of our friends came and celebrated and we enjoyed good food, good beer, and good company. So, I just sat back as the sun peaked through the clouds, watched the party around me, cracked my refreshing Summer Shandy, and enjoyed being 30 :) Cheers…


Smoking 2 10 pound pork butts for the party! Rub is on, hickory chips are in, git it!


 Corona cooler is packed with plenty of beer! Glad people showed up or John and I would have been quite intoxicated.

Kaylee30-27 Kaylee30-28 Kaylee30-13 Kaylee30-17

MMMM, red velvet cake from Queen City Bakery. Hubby nailed that order!

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset Kaylee30-10 Kaylee30-14 Kaylee30-22 Kaylee30-29 Kaylee30-21

Ivy and Ben acting really interested in each other :)


The girls! Jenna is the next 30 year old weasel!


Ivy’s BFF Natalie and her daddy Andrew


Mom’s 30! She liked the balloons. I just noticed they match her Bison Booties!

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Clapping Happy Birthday Momma!


This girl knows how to R E L A X


This was my view this morning… 30 ain’t so bad, ain’t so bad at all…. xo