Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Throwback Post - My 2013 Baby Showers!

For those who've been around for a while, you may know that I took a bit of an unintentional blogging hiatus during my pregnancy back in 2013, and in hindsight I'm a little sad that I didn't document what a wild ride that nine months truly was. One special aspect of my pregnancy that this site hasn't seen before was my baby showers. Because I love what a scrapbook this blog has become, I want to rewind a couple years and share some pictures from those great parties.

My first shower was in my hometown in Alabama, and it was put together by my amazing sister Jennifer and two best childhood friends Amberlee and Ashley. They hosted it at my sister's MIL'S neighborhood clubhouse, and everything was beautiful. These girls completely blew me away with their creativity and effort! It was such a wonderful day.

Guests signed in on the inside cover of the children's book If I Could Keep You Little. Swoon. They also filled out "Wishes for Hadley" cards that they put inside that pink and gold notebook. I couldn't get enough of reading them after the shower. Some made me laugh while others (the majority) made me tear up big time!

My sister ordered this gorgeous "mommy to be" corsage from Etsy! Of course it has an elephant on it. #rolltide

I loved the headband station my sister set up. Each guest had the option to pick a headband base and then decorate it with flowers and designs that they picked from the basket. Afterwards each guest attached a tag saying that they'd made each specific one. Such a cute and super practical idea!

My next shower was in Birmingham and thrown by my three really good friends from college, Mary E, Brittany, and Bethy. Just like my shower in Madison, my mouth was on the floor when I walked in and saw all the decorations and food. Several of my sorority sisters came, and we had a really good time! They all made me feel very loved.

This sign made by Bethy has been hanging over Hadley's crib since before she was born.

So I actually ended up using these diapers, and they definitely brought some humor to an otherwise not so hilarious part of having a newborn (newborn digestion is a whole thing!). I can think of a couple times that Jamie and I died laughing reading the diapers while putting them on her.

I loved the decor! For the garland, Mary Elizabeth cut up disposable plastic table cloths into strips and tied them around a strand of Christmas lights! I also got to take home all the cute stuff hanging on the wall with clothes pins. I thought the idea of decorating with the gifts themselves was brilliant! Knocks out two birds with one stone.

One of the games involved me guessing the taste of various baby foods. A few months later I put up a video of Hadley on instagram of her gagging while eating "mixed greens", and Mary E (laughing in the orange dress) commented that that's the exact flavor that made me gag at the shower! Hilarious!

We also played a game where each guest cut a piece of yarn that they estimated was my belly circumference. That game definitely gave us some laughs. It's harder to guess than it looks!

The funniest gift I received was these socks from Bethy. Can you read what they say?! 1 2 3 Push! I absolutely died when I opened them! Two months later when my nurse said it was time to push, I asked Jamie to grab these socks and put them on my feet. They definitely offered some comedic relief every time someone new came in the room and saw my socks. ;)

My next shower was put together by several of the women in my English department at the high school I taught at, and I really appreciated the food everyone brought, the decor they set out, and the gifted we received. I worked with a great group!

Remember when I snuck up to New Hampshire last month for a baby shower? It was Jessica's who's pictured above! She helped with not one but two of my showers, and now she's due with her own little girl in just a few weeks! Ahh. :)

My last shower was in the town I lived in at the time, Clarksville, Tennessee (Fort Campbell). Four of my very best Army friends (Michele, Jessica, Hannah, and Noel) threw the shower, and several more of my wonderful friends there in Clarksville joined us and loved on Hadley and me. They threw it at Hannah's fabulous clubhouse one Saturday night when I was very pregnant (37 weeks!), and I loved every minute of it. They went all out with decor and food, and I remember feeling very overwhelmed when I left because of how special they made me feel

That little calendar was a due date guesser. Each guest used a stamp to mark their guess and signed their name to it. Also, I love that diaper cake! We used it as decoration in Hadley's nursery until it was time to break into it and use it.

I learned a big lesson after my showers, and that's that it really means a lot to the shower recipient when you show up. I'm sure many of the women who attended my showers didn't think twice about it, but I honestly still remember every single face that showed up. Every time I saw someone walk through the door I just wanted to hug them and thank them so much for just being there.

I try to remember this now when I receive invitations to cook outs, birthday parties, showers, weddings, etc. Saying yes means a lot to the person receiving or throwing the party and that making an effort to RSVP yes and not cancel last minute means a tremendous amount to those hosting a party. Attending another party may be "just attending another party/shower", but to the host or recipient it probably means the world!

If you've ever received a shower or thrown a party, surely you understand what I mean. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jamie's Brigade Ball - May 2015

After five years in the "real" Army (Army life post West Point), we finally got to attend a military ball! Usually military members and their dates attend these types of things every year or every other, but because of Jamie's frequently rotating assignments we've somehow missed out on being able to attend one. When he told me a few months ago that we finally had one on the calendar I was pumped!

I know several people who could really give or take the whole traditional military ball thing, but I view it as one of the perks of Jamie's military career. I love a good excuse to get fancy with my husband and have a fun night out with friends, and fun was definitely had by all!

For the event I painted my own nails and toes, did my own makeup, and wore jewelry I already had in my jewelry box (I actually wore the earrings I wore in my wedding!).

I really lucked out with my dress! I ended up borrowing it from my friend Jessica (I talk about her a lot on this site!) who wore it to a ball a couple years ago. She offered it to me when I was visiting her in Tennessee back in March during a conversation about the upcoming ball, and I was just thrilled! I couldn't believe it fit both of us so well, length and all! Thanks again so much, Jess. Note: Jessica is interested in selling the dress, so if you're interested in purchasing it, please email me at for details. A similar dress can be found here.

I was torn about what to do with my hair because I needed a cut and color but also needed some help with a more formal look that would stay for hours. I really didn't want to pay for both a normal cut and color and an up-do, so I decided to just get a cut and color and ask my stylist to style it just a bit more than she usually does. She's also a military wife, so she totally got it. These pictures were taken about three hours after I got my hair done, and the curls and body were still holding up really well. 

I swear by Urban Decay's potion primer and Naked 3 palette for eye makeup!

Once we got to the ball we had a little over an hour to enjoy a cocktail hour with friends. We've definitely had our fair share of military events were I've felt kind of awkward because I didn't know anyone, so it was really nice to have so many good friends to share the night with!

Kelsey and I have a mutual Army wife friend who connected us on Facebook shortly before Kelsey moved here back in January. After a bunch of texting and Facebook messaging we had our first "girlfriend date" a couple months ago and totally hit it off! I love how finding friends in the military is so much like real life dating. ;) We quickly learned that our husbands work together, too! Thanks for connecting us, Angela!

After the cocktail hour we found our seats and enjoyed a three-course dinner. The highlight of the night was having the privilege to listen to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey speak. His son is one of Jamie's bosses, so it was really neat to have him speak at our event. He and his son both gave speeches that were engaging, funny, and meaningful. After he spoke he did a little bit of singing for us as well. The man has a great voice!

After their speeches were over, the DJ came on up and we got ready to hit the dance floor!

We danced for a little while before socializing a bit more and calling it a night. My in-laws were back at the house with Hadley, and we appreciated them driving over from Kansas City to watch her!

I'd say waiting five years to attend a military ball was totally worth it! ;)

On a serious/cheesy note, I had a moment of perspective at the ball that I really needed. As we were sitting there listening to Gen. Dempsey I looked around the room at 500+ exceptional men and women who are all in the exact same boat as Jamie and me. They understand the realities of deployment. They're all living away from their families and best friends. They're all trying to make their careers and family lives work around the military. And I felt immensely comforted and humbled by this thought. Sometimes the struggles of this lifestyle can feel very isolating, foreign, and "unfair", but then we have nights like the other night were I fall in love with our military lives all over again and really appreciate all it's given us. As with everything, it's all about perspective. I'm sure as long as Jamie's in the Army (however long that will be!), I'll be on an ever-changing emotional rollercoaster with how I feel about the military. ;)

Anyway! We were kind of all over the place the rest of the weekend. Jamie and his parents got up early Saturday morning to drive back to Kansas City because Jamie had a day date planned for his mom for Mother's Day. He purchased tickets for an afternoon food tour, and the two of them had so much fun!

Hadley and I stayed back in Manhattan because we had plans to see one of my good friends from Tennessee who was in town for her brother's graduation from Kansas State. It was so great to see Amanda, her husband, and her gorgeous kiddos! It's always kind of a tease seeing Amanda though because it reminds us how sweet it would have been to have our girls grow up together. We love the Gulsbys!

Hadley and I also hit up the local splash park for its opening day. Army friends, if you have young children you should definitely consider getting stationed here at Fort Riley. Manhattan has so many fun things to do with kids, and this free splash park is only one of them. I know we're going to spend a lot of time here this summer! 

A big storm rolled in last night, so Hadley and I decided to rock outside on the covered porch after bath time and watch the rain while waiting for Jamie to get home.

Today we went to church, played at the park a little bit afterwards, and then came home to do some yard work. I'm taking a break to type up this post, and then we're going to head back out and clean up a bit before dinner. 

Overall, great weekend! Hope you've had a good one too and have a wonderful week! xoxo 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


This week marks seven years since I first visited and typed up my first blog post. It was the summer after my sophomore year of college at The University of Alabama, and I'd just subleased a one-bedroom apartment for the summer so that I could catch up with credits after changing my major.

I remember sitting on my bed feeling completely out of sorts because I'd never lived alone before and needed something to do that I'd enjoy. Most of my friends left town for the summer, so I decided to dive in to writing a little bit. I had no idea that I was writing my first post of what would be hundreds and that this site would tell the detailed story of my 20s.

I love this little site so much for so many reasons and am excited to keep watching it evolve. I love the record book it's keeping for my family, I love the community of people I've gotten to know through it, and I love the outlet it gives me to create, learn, and write write write!

I love my readers so much and really am so thankful to have y'all sticking around to see what I yak about next. Thank you for continuing to come back and keep up with our adventures. I hope you enjoy the entertainment. ;)

You can find my very first post here

Questions (if you have time): 
  • Do you remember when you first started reading my blog? 
  • How did you find me? 
  • Is there a specific topic you'd love to see me write more about? I'd love your thoughts!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hadley's Nursery/Toddler Room Reveal

Do you remember my little home dream book I mentioned a few months ago? Well I finally have a page in the book with zero tasks left to accomplish, and that page is Hadley's bedroom. With (lots of) help from my mother-in-law, we finally have Hadley's third (!) bedroom exactly as we envisioned. Take a look!

Because I love before and after pictures, here are a couple pictures of what her room looked like a few days after we moved in back in September.

We had our work cut out for us!

We painted her room "Silver Peony" by Sherwin Williams in a cashmere satin finish. One gallon did the trick! Like the rest of the house, I also painted and caulked her trim and window. We replaced the old brown doors and brass hardware with white doors and silver hardware last October.

Her balloon shade window treatment was ordered from Etsy.

"Sunshine" wall decor: Marshalls
Chevron/Flower hanger: Hobby Lobby

Owl pillow: Marshalls

Light fixure: Pottery Barn Kids 

The "Hadley" sign was made by my friend Bethy, and we hung it on two curtain tie backs.

I picked up this neutral rug from Marshalls. It's so soft!

I loved my mother-in-law's idea to get a piece of wood and put wallpaper on the back of it. We then attached that piece of wood with finishing nails to the back of this little bookcase.

I love walking into her bedroom and spending time in there. It's bright and colorful and perfect for our little girl. I'm so happy with the way it turned out! 

Big thanks (again) to my MIL for all of your help. Your creative eye never ceases to amaze me!

Here's a look at her previous two nurseries because I never blogged about either of them. :(

Clarksville, TN (Fort Campbell) - We put a lot of work into this nursery because we thought we'd be in this house until Hadley was at least 18 months old, but the Army had different plans. We moved away just four months after she was born. 

Sierra Vista, Arizona (Fort Huachuca) - Her room in our rental townhouse in Arizona was small but so sweet. My time in Arizona (just five months) as a new mom was unexpectedly tougher on me more often than not, so I have lots of memories in this room rocking my baby just trying my best to do my best.

Thanks for the link up, Abby!

Dolen Diaries

Linking up with My FabuLess Life. :)