January 30, 2015

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday friends!

Many thanks to all of you who entered the Turbans for Tots giveaway this past week - it was such a fun endeavor (my first giveaway ever!) and I'm gearing up for some more exciting giveaways this spring :) Stay tuned!

In the mean time, I wanted to share (slash tease) you with this fun photo above. We enjoyed some time at Serenbe Farm this past week, and I can't wait to share some crazy adorable photos with you. All I can say is - NEWBORN BABY GOATS. K there. I'm sure your interest is piqued. Enjoy the Superbowl (if you're like me, you will enjoy the snacks, the half time show and then be ready to call it a NIGHT), and I will see you back here on Monday!

January 28, 2015

The Winner of the Turbans fot Tots Giveaway! (Drumroll Please)

And the Winner Is...
Congrats to Meagan Dickerson, the winner of our Turbans for Tots Sibling Set! You've won this bow tie for him and a matching hair bow for her! We will contact you for your mailing address :)

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway, it is officially CLOSED. And of course, many thanks to Jenna at Turbans for Tots for collaborating with Oy! - we're pretty obsessed with your gear.

For all who entered and didn't win, don't cry yourself a bow tie river. Right now, Turbans for Tots is offering FREE SHIPPING on all domestic orders with the code "50SHIP" and make sure to follow on @turbansfortots on Instagram for other exclusive discounts and giveaways :)

Check back here for info on giveaways in the future!

January 26, 2015

Remembering and Forgetting.

My little boy is 6 months old, and I'm starting to forget.

I close my eyes really tight and try to conjure up the moments leading up to his birth. That incredible pain. Fear. The anticipation of meeting him. The strange wonder if it really was a him or if the doctors had somehow detected the "It's a boy!"-fact wrong. The clinical taste in the room. The sweat slicking all too easily off my skin. The early afternoon light peering through the window, bending in prisms around the Atlanta skyline. My husband's face, spilling over with hope and confidence in me. I can see his mouth forming words, coaching, encouraging, but I can't hear anything. He's speaking to me, for me, cheering me on, but I can't hear. I want to hear it, but I can only feel. His words are pulsing me. My body metabolizes every morsel, each utter, energizing the next push, and the next, and the next. Crying? No, there's no time for that. All the energy, emotion, spirit, power, it's all channeled into these few final, steady, manic moments. Breathe and push. Push like you never knew you could. The intrinsic, most feminine forces of my existence knitting together for the final gasps. This heady, rich sensation. Like being close to death but also very close to life. Everything suddenly crisps and I am there, body stammering, squatting, peeling my way around, and then. Then.

I. Am. So. Glad. It is over.

He's here. He's mine. Wow, that's what he looks like. He looks so small and yet so so big. Rippled body, ruddy face, covered in a slimy something that I should find disgusting, except that I can't. Because he is so mine. And instantly I am his. And I know know know this is what I was created to do. I don't understand the journey until that very moment, the whole life journey that I've taken, but all of the sudden I know that he was part of the purpose all along.

Well, I guess I can remember it.

But I am forgetting a little bit day by day and I don't know if that's a good thing. Because I want to remember it as much as I want to forget it. And at the same time I find myself staring at him, this little boy who can already do so much, this beautiful specimen that I created, and I just wonder if it happened to me at all. I wonder if it was all unreal, if I'm remembering some scene from a movie, and not the most authentic moment of my being.

These are the feelings I haven't quite been able to process for 6 months. Six months to the day, actually. I'm starting to come out of a fog, though. Out of the fog, and I am grasping for this powerful memory that I may or may not be able to really remember. But as it unfolds itself to me, I am undone and overwhelmed at the gift. Staring in wonder and amazement at my dear-hearted, beautiful boy.

January 23, 2015

Happening Lately.

// 1. Bedtime is equating to sleep time these days. HALLELUJAH HANDS. // 2. Sweet Auburn Barbeque in the Highlands. Rad spot, less rad parking. // 3. 4 hawks in the sky. Oh wait. Those are vultures. // 4. Our little family out and about this weekend. Happy 1st birthday to baby Ethan! Everett has friends yall. //
Happening Lately.
The new year is a little less new these days. There has been an attempt in our household for a bit of grounding, refreshing and re-focus. Probably like many of you, my little family is grasping for our center of gravity and licking our lips in anticipation of Spring. I know, we have a while to go. But we live in Georgia this year! Which means spring is coming sooner for us than it has in years! Our stints in Boston and New York really left a freezer-burn kind of scar on our hearts in terms of the monumentally blistery winters. I will gleefully accept a pass this year and prematurely skip on into the sunshine, if the groundhog allows such a frivolous delight. BRING IT, LITTLE HEDGEHOG.

Our life lately:

People. We have been sleeping. THERE HAS BEEN SLEEP IN THIS HOME. It's been a long road (almost 6 months) of gently nudging my child into the direction of a peaceful state of rest. I haven't been shy about it. I haven't modestly pretended like I have it all together, as if we have nailed this whole "having a baby"-thing. I have not had it together. I have not slept well in over a year (pregnancy can do a great job robbing you of that, too.) I've read the books and tried the methods. And I have been pretty vocal in asking, nay, begging for help. Some of your suggestions have worked. For like 3 days. And then things would change again. But I am happy to announce that for the month of January, my son has sifted into a much more manageable sleeping routine at night (still working on the daily naps situation, more about that below.) But these days, we are putting him down to bed between 7-7:30 pm, and he sleeps until about 3:30 am. Halle-LU-jah. I change him and feed him then, and then he's up again at 6:30 am. That's usually when I whisper to him about the wonders of dreaming and MORE sleep and I prod him into another mini-slumber, always attempting to inch him past the 7:30 am mark. Sometimes it works. But the point is, this routine. Is SO doable. I mean, we aren't in the sleeping-through-the-night phase, but we are close. Closer. We are ballparkin' it. Thanks to everyone who willingly shared their stories and encouraged me - you have no idea how valuable your kindness was during a time that can only be described as the dark night of my soul.

2. Getting Out. 
You know what happens when you get sleep? You feel normal again. I'm not saying that I feel normal yet (or that I expect I ever will! What is "normal" anyway?), but I'm starting to feel normal-ish again. I have the urge to leave my house. Do things. Eat meals in exotic places. Like Panera. You know, that kind of thing. I even ventured to Atlanta the other day and enjoyed a tasty birthday lunch celebrating my girl Tricia. That's right. Stella is getting her groove back.

3. My Goals.
My birdwatching is going very well, thank you for asking. I learned this week that all the hawks I've been thinking I've been seeing... well, a lot of them are turkey vultures. Womp womp. They walk like a hawk and talk like a hawk, but hawk they are not. They are a vulture. Yuck. The angle of the wingspan and finger-like feathers are a dead give away, so now I can spot the difference in the sky! And we still have our one close, personal hawk friend who frequents the back yard and sits on the brick fence. He'd rad. I've named him Moonhawk, for the gloriously Moonstone-colored feathers that warm his broad chest. He is most welcome here. Also, other than the bird watching, I've been *attempting* to meal prep a bit more so we eat healthier. This gal inspires me. And last week I worked out 5 times! This week... well, I'm currently sipping coffee and eating a breakfast cookie. Yes. Breakfast cookies are a thing. Moving on.

4. Normalizing Routine?
I'm going to say two normal words that equate to one valiantly mysterious phrase: baby + schedule. This has been my Everest as of late. What in the world. How in the heck. WHAT IS A BABY SCHEDULE. How to get a child to nap on a schedule? I've started to notice ebbs and flows in Everett's sleeping urges, but it's not consistent enough to follow on a daily basis. And the thing is... I want this schedule more for me. Yes, the selfish truth is just that. If he could stick to a plan, I could get a few things done around here! I mean, when am I supposed to clean? Shower? Blog?! MAKE BREAKFAST COOKIES. I've started asking moms about their schedule, but it all seems so cryptic. Share your secrets, women! There are people in the world (cough*me*cough) who need to glean from your treasured knowledge and experience!

Fun Around the Web.
Just a few fun things I had to share because they made me smile this week.

This cop jamming out with his sassy bad self to "Shake it Off". I can't stop giggling.

I am still infatuated with Designlovefest's Dress Your Tech posts. It's like a free present every month! I won't stop sharing these with you because they are just so indulgent.

I feel like a lady again because I bought this organic lip glaze and it's super, ultra pink. I feel like I should smack my bubble gum and twirl my hair. Girl alert.

Also, have you entered my giveaway in partnership with Turbans for Tots? We are giving away this adorable Sibling Set, which is for a boy and girl, consisting of a bow tie (for him) and a hair bow headband (for her) - this Turbans for Tots stuff is so cute! You can enter the giveaway here up to three times and the winner will be announced and contacted next week. Share with your friends and deck out the littles of your life!

Love to you all.

January 21, 2015

The Boy's Bow Tie + a Giveaway with Turbans for Tots! (Closed)

Turbans for Tots. FOR BOYS
Yesterday I shared about my son's baby dedication and how meaningful it was. But I'm gonna be honest with you... a significant part about what makes baby dedications so frivolously fun are the outfits. FOR SURE. And I wanted my little baby doll to look like a dream boat, so fresh threads were a must. Enter Turbans for Tots. And this rad bow tie situation.

When I was thinking about what Everett should wear for his big day, I knew the centerpiece of his OOTD would have to be a swanky new Turbans for Tots bow tie. If you aren't familiar with Turbans for Tots, you should be! My friend Jenna makes the most adorable baby & toddler accessories, and when I was pregnant I would find myself pining away as I flipped through her Etsy shop of little girl hair accessories. When I found out I was pregnant with a boy, I knew I would have to put my Turbans for Tots obsession on hold, since her shop didn't offer any boy items. Sigh. But oh, the world has come into alignment, and recently they launched BOW TIES FOR BOYS. (Insert hallelujah hands emoji here).

// His big day outfit: Turbans for Tots Bow Tie, Baby Gap Oxford, Freshly Picked Moccasins, Baby Gap Socks (similar) (Not pictured: Polo Baby Blazer (a few seasons old, a gift!), Baby Gap Jeans (similar)) //

I am excited to partner with Turbans for Tots to gift this Sibling Set, which includes a bow tie and a turban, for those adorable (and necessary!) matchy-matchy moments in your kiddos' lives. Easter Sunday ain't too far off folks, just sayin'. Everett will most definitely be sporting another bow tie for that occasion :) Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter below. 1 winner will be chosen at random within 1 week. The winner will be announced here and contacted by email. Good luck to you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 20, 2015

Everett's Baby Dedication.

Everett's Baby Dedication.
Hi Friends! Last weekend we celebrated our sweet Everett boy by dedicating him to the Lord in front of our church family and friends. It was such a sweet service, and I'm actually surprised at how very much it meant to me. I guess I am a sappy person. Surprise. Stevie & I took a bit of time to discuss what a baby dedication meant to us, and we felt compelled to really celebrate this occasion. And by celebrate, I mean buy Everett a rad new outfit to wear (more on this later!) and host a party after the service. Too much? What is too much? I tend to go overboard, so I probably need some more accountability in my life.

We were excited to stand in front of our loved ones and vow to raise Everett in a home that honors the love and life exemplified by Christ Jesus. Ultimately, it's Everett's choice in his life to select and follow his compass of faith, but it is our responsibility to follow our convictions and "raise a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). To me, it is much like a vow you make on your wedding day, in front of all your friends and family. Making a commitment to another person, seeking the support and accountability from your loved ones to hold you to your word; heavy stuff. But also extraordinary and exciting and suuuuuuper special.

Our church does a really great job of honoring the families by making a fun little film about each babe. Try to tune out the annoying fact that I practically beat Stevie over the head every time he tries to speak. Ugh sometimes I can just be the worst. I need discipline. But many thanks to Daniel Turner and Bethel Atlanta for making this clip!

Hale Baby Dedication from Kristen Hale on Vimeo

Check back tomorrow for more details on Everett's dedication threads and a sweet giveaway!

January 16, 2015

Resolutions. Lists. Mindgames. Whatnot.

Resolutions. Lists. Whatnot.
Resolutions are silly.

And yet I am SO typical. I want to do all the ones that are just completely run-of-the-mill and obvious. Exercise more. Read more. Watch less TV. Learn something new. Blah blah blah. This post is much more for my own sake but sometimes it's fun to share the loopy journey our minds take during the month of January. I don't think you have to be super Type-A to feel the resolution energy. It's another thing entirely to actually do something with that mind energy. Here's my scrawling list of resolution-esque things to play around with over the next few months.

Work It.
Obviously, exercise and get back in shape. Like for REAL shape. It's been a long time since I've had a waist, due to this. And I've been rocking this lingering double chin a bit longer than I had anticipated. I got a gym membership a while ago. I've been twice.

A note about this: I can differentiate this goal from previous years because I don't want to exercise to achieve some kind of bikini body (omgaaaah is that season coming soon? Curses.) I really, really want to be strong. And able. To chase my child around and keep up with him and be healthy for him. It's amazing how growing your family really showcases your own personal weaknesses. And I don't just mean emotionally and sleep deprived and all that. I mean physically, too. That child just wears me out. And I'm young! I want more children! I am realizing that I have to strengthen my core, my back, my legs and arms - just to keep up with the daily lifting and moving and playing that we do. I shouldn't be feeling tired at 11am and have sore knees and headaches all the time. Clearly, some things are out of balance. I'm still mulling over some serious changes in diet, vitamins and supplements (that are all breastfeeding-friendly!), but in the meantime, figuring out how to incorporate more exercise into my daily routine would be a really rad start.

Paint Stuff.
I want to get back into painting with watercolors. Once upon a time I DID THIS. Just for funsies. I just think it would be really lovely to spend my afternoons watercoloring. Don't laugh. And don't remind me that I have a newborn and I can barely keep our doctors appointments straight, let alone HAVE A HOBBY. I already know all of this. But I'd like to defy the odds. I'd like to watercolor paint again. So there. Although, it does sort of seem like the kind of thing you see some French babe do in a movie and nowhere else.

"Is that a Ferruginous or a Red-Tail?"
And birdwatching. I really want to get into birdwatching. And maybe have a bird passport. You know. For marking off all the exotic birds I want to see in my lifetime. The non-exotic ones should count, too. We've got some hawks in our neighborhood that I've started naming :) I really like this particular "goal", because I can bird watch in my back yard. I can bird watch today. I can look out the window and see birds. NAILED IT. Moving on.

Write "Me".
I've been assessing this little blog of mine. I love it. It's not perfect, it's not exactly what I envision, and there are things I've love to change/do more of/do less of. But mostly I'd like to continue to make strides to grow it in a way that is organic, fun and "me". I am grateful for this forum as a way to document our family's journey and celebrate life's sublime moments. I'm so grateful for how it's connected me to such wonderful friends and the broader online community. Yes, there is a lot of hate on the Internet. But not everywhere.

I hesitate to really expand beyond these goals because having a lengthy to-do list of resolutions is the most surefire way to accomplish nothing. I mean, I bought a planner this year, so I might actually show up somewhere on time in the very near future. That would be PROGRESS. I'm ready to reel my life back in and focus a little bit more on my personal wellness and development. I share these little goals with you because I know many of you are sifting through your own goals, both personal and career-oriented, and sometimes it helps to share in the journey together. To keep accountable. To encourage. To watch birds.

What are your goals? Have any tips on how to follow through? I would love to hear!