My Baby Shower


I woke up the morning of my baby shower and thought, I’ve waited a long time for a baby shower. I don’t deserve a baby shower. It was truly a huge blessing. As soon as she found out I was pregnant, my sweet sister-in-law Ginger asked when she could throw me a baby shower. Four years prior I had organized hers and she has been wanting to return the favor ever since. When we started foster parenting, also about four years ago, some dear friends organized a quick foster-child shower. It was super helpful to us and we were able to collect some kid gear to cover the wide range we were preparing for: birth to age 5, boy or girl, one or two kids. I’m not devaluing that blessing in any way. But after four years of parenting six different little ones, this time it was a bonafide baby shower to celebrate the specific little guy we have the gift of 9 months advance notice to prepare for. Also, it’s the first time we’ve had a child coming that we know is staying so it actually makes sense to own some things rather than just borrow temporarily.

My sister-in-law organized a beautiful tea party with the help of my mom, who hosted at her house. My sister Jessica and niece Iris were able to come down from Pennsylvania and join us. Lots of friends came with kind, thoughtful gifts for our little Isaiah. I’ve so enjoyed opening, washing, folding, sorting, setting up all of his precious little things.

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All of the photos above were taken by my friend Beth Rose. Did you see how many adorable babies came to my baby shower? Isaiah already has a crew of baby friends waiting to meet him.

Alianna had lots of fun with Iris.



I’m so thankful Jessica and Iris could come to visit the weekend of the party. Here we are with my mama.


Speaking of mamas, both grandmothers spoiled our little guy with tons of presents but these handmade gifts deserve a special moment in the spotlight. My mom, “Grandma,” knitted this adorable gray sweater. She used the same pattern to make a purple sweater for Ali three years ago.


And Jason’s mom, “Nana,” is a crochet-machine! She made Isaiah a blanket, a little stuffed lamb, a bunch of washcloths and two adorable little pairs of booties. The loafers are so tiny!


I love, love, love handmade goodies. Those are the things I’ll keep forever. I also registered for gifts through Amazon with some links to—pretty much the only two places I shop for anything that’s not food or secondhand. A few items I was so thankful to be given that might be of interest to other new or expecting mamas:

Carter’s 2-pk. 44x44inch Cotton Muslin Swaddle Blankets, Blue
I love the Aden and Anais ones but let’s be honest; these are much cheaper! I love the feel of thin, flowy muslin blankets for swaddling, snuggling, spit-up wiping, etc.

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Bumkins Waterproof Starter Bib, Blue Crocs and Turtles, 2-Count
Bumkins brand are my favorite bibs for baby feeding because they’re machine washable or easily rinse/wipe-able and they pack super small in a diaper bag.

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Comfort & Harmony Peanut Air Swaddle
So I know I just said how much I love muslin swaddle blankets but for a good, long, nighttime sleep, I prefer a more secure swaddle wrap. I’ve borrowed velcro wrap style swaddlers from friends before and they’re nice. I inherited a couple of hand-me-downs of those. I’m really excited to try this one though, because it zips up the front with a split zipper (diaper changes without taking the baby all the way out) and snaps at the neck. No busting out of this one! Plus it’s pretty lightweight which will be good since it’ll be summer very soon after Isaiah is born.

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Itzy Ritzy Nursing Happens Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf, Grey Chevron
I fell in love with the idea of a jersey knit infinity scarf and ended up sewing myself a bunch (and soon I’ll have them for sale in my Etsy shop too…) but this one was my first love. I really love the gray and white chevron pattern. I’m not sure I can pull off a scarf in the summer in Nashville—even a lightweight one—but these are small tucked into a diaper bag and surely will be very useful in the fall and winter.

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Tommee Tippee Bottle, 9 Ounce, 3 Count
After using our Playtex VentAire bottles for 4 babies, I’m ready for something new. Our Playtex set, like the popular Dr. Browns have just too many parts to wash. These Tommee Tippee have the vent built into the nipple and the bottle itself is short and ergonomic for adult or child to hold. Most important (for the first time, for me) these are supposedly great for combining with breastfeeding because of the nipple design. I’m super thankful to have this new set.

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All product pics above are from

I already shared about our new bouncy seat and Moses basket in this post about Finishing Touches to the Nursery.



Gender Reveal Surprise Christmas Baby Shower


That’s lot of words, huh? We had a Christmas baby-gender-reveal surprise baby shower. It was an unforgettable blessing organized by my friend Steph with a part of our foster mom support community from across the country. I had passed Steph the sealed envelope from the ultrasound tech because she offered to give us something more special than a piece of paper to open on Christmas day. (And she’s one of the most creative people I know!) She rallied the troops behind my back and they sent gifts to Steph to wrap and organize into a really unique gender reveal surprise for us. I am still so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would bless our family like this. Most of these women I’ve never even met in person, although we connect daily through social media to encourage, pray for, commiserate with and entertain each other.



The first present to open was this ornament that Steph made. It will be such a special keepsake on our Christmas tree every year.


(Please excuse my Christmas-morning-no-makeup-pajamas family.)


The first baby boy outfit we opened…

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Ali got some special gifts, too.


These little knee pads made me swoon.


A teething necklace in one of my favorite colors.


A fellow chicken mama sent this one!


At some point while I was opening gifts and Jason was documenting it, Ali started taking photos with my DSLR.


These are her photos…


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I am so thankful! What an amazing surprise for Christmas day, to find out we’re having a son and to be showered with so many thoughtful and adorable gifts for him.


Baby (Child) Shower for a New Foster Mom


A couple weeks ago some friends threw me a lovely “Baby” Shower. It’s kind of unusual circumstances; at least in my circle of friends it’s the first shower for a foster mom that I’ve ever heard of. There definitely have been a lot of things we’ve needed to purchase to prepare and we’re just like expectant parents in a lot of ways. It was very sweet and generous of these friends (and family) to bless us. My friend Jenna hosted the shower at her house with the help of my sister-in-law Ginger and another friend Katelyn. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the three of them (or me)! Boo.

Jenna took these pictures of the decor. The food table was decorated with books. Tons of books (for us)!

Foam letters were super cute as window decorations and will be fun bath toys for the littles:

Jenna also crafted this sweet mobile:

The food for the shower was make-your-own ice cream sundaes. Hello! All kind of yummy toppings and waffle cone bowls. Yummo!

Angela (and baby in the belly) and my mom:

My mother-in-law enjoying a sundae. (Sorry I didn’t get better pictures.)

Rachel, my niece Eliza and my mom. At least half the pictures I took were of my niece. What can I say, Aunt Martina is enamored!

Leila with Eliza. Leila is soon to become a new mom through infant adoption. I hope we’re throwing a shower for her soon!

Everyone brought a book signed with a special message instead of cards. Between these special books and the ones used as table decorations, we now have a great book collection for our kiddos. I love Dr. Seuss. Yay!

I got all kinds of thoughtful and generous gifts. My mom put together a medical kit from Nurse Memaw and paid for our first car seat. My mother-in-law gave us a gift card for (where I’m keeping a wish list of kids stuff!) and my sister- and brother-in-law paid for the crib I’ve been drooling over for a while now:

This shop & play cover from Angela was a very clever gift and one that hadn’t occurred to me. It’s a shopping cart cover and a restaurant high chair cover. It can also be used as a play mat. Plus it’s farm/fruit/vegetable theme since we love to garden.

I love the compact portability of this booster seat from Rachel. If we get an infant or young toddler we might also want to get a foldable high chair with a tray.

Leila got us finger paints and bath toys. Get covered in paint and go straight into the tub. I like the way she thinks!

Angela also gave us this sweet baby blanket. Animals on one side and blue, green and tan stripes on the other. Perfect match!

Jenna and Katelyn got us this awesome pack-n-play with a bassinet and mobile option. I love the pattern.

My favorite big sister, who is also a soon-to-be mama, sent me this fun stuff from my Amazon wish list. I am really excited about this puppy backpack. I can’t wait to see one of our little ones bopping around with it on his or her back. Also, magnetic cabinet locks, outlet covers, and a chalkboard eraser and dustless (!) chalk for our chalkboard door.

And my sister- and brother-in-law keep giving us random things like a set of Mrs. Potato Heads, play doh, baby wipes and a sound machine/night light for a crib. I can’t keep track of it all. Needless to say, we are very blessed! We’ve got the greatest friends and family. I’m so excited to welcome these special kids into our lives. They’re going to be surrounded with an instant community of love and support.

A Baby Shower for Eliza!


Two Saturdays ago I hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law and my little niece, Eliza (with lots of  help from Ginger’s friends and Eliza’s grandma and my mom.) Baby girl is due around Valentine’s Day so we decided to go for a love-hearts-valentine theme. I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have but thankfully our dear photographer friend, Beth Rose was there with camera in hand. Here are some pictures I did take.

One of the food tables, before guests arrived:

(Do you love IZZE as much as I do? Just fruit juice and carbonated water. And it’s pretty, too!)

Tables set up before guests arrived:

The favor and craft table. We had two crafty activities: a hair accessory making station and a bunch of handmade Valentines and a mailbox for welcome notes and prayers for baby Eliza.

My beautiful sis-in-law Ginger, the mom-to-be!


We played two games. The first one everyone had 5-10 minutes to sculpt a baby out of playdoh. That’s all the instructions I gave. Once everyone was done, I asked Ginger to select the most realistic, the funniest and the most hideous. The other game we played was baby shower bingo, where partiers mark off items on a pre-made bingo card as the mama is opening her gifts. I downloaded the bingo cards free from here.

In the hallway we set up a photo “booth” with silly props to encourage ladies to pose in front of the camera. It turned out to be a lot of fun. These photos were taken by Beth Rose Goin:

Ginger and me:

Ginger and her sister Crystal (Eliza is the one with the glasses and mustache):

I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos BR took. But not as much as I’m looking forward to meeting my baby niece in a couple months! It was a really fun time and most importantly I think Ginger felt the love for her, Eliza and dad-to-be Daniel from their friends, family and co-workers.

Guitar-Shaped Cake


A rockin’ baby party needs a rockin’ guitar cake, right? I drove home from Michaels with this guitar shaped cake pan wondering how in the world I was going to do this – bake the cake, get it out of the pan and onto a plate in one piece, and decorate it. I was afraid it would stick in the pan and be a crumbly mess. I wished I could have called Granny. She used to make all sorts of fancy cakes after taking cake decorating classes back in the 70’s.

Thankfully it came with detailed instructions to grease the pan with shortening and sprinkle with flour to make sure no shiny spots show through. It took some retouching on the tuning pegs but I eventually had it thoroughly greased and floured.

Granny used to always gently drop the cake pan onto the oven rack a few times. I’m not sure why … maybe to get rid of air pockets? I do it sometimes just because she did.

One regular cake mix completely filled the pan. I made funfetti cake.

After it cooled a few minutes, I cut off the rounded top … and ate most of it. Because why waste perfectly good cake?

The instructions said to flip the cake onto a wire rack, then, once cooled, flip it onto the serving plate. I had no interest in flipping the cake twice so it went straight onto the serving plate. It didn’t come right out. I ended up sliding a knife along the edges to make sure everything was loose and then tried again.

Success!!! Thank you Jesus! Look at that bridge and sound hole and those frets. How funny! Do you really think they’ll be visible after I frost it?

Nope. But I suppose maybe the purpose is just a template for decorating. Considering I’m an ill-equiped*, inexperienced cake decorator, I think it turned out OK. Colored sugars certainly help.

*I used a butter knife and a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

I used Martha Stewart’s vanilla frosting recipe. (By the way, I recently discovered the wonder of homemade frosting. Why have I been buying it out of a can all these years?!) It was very sugary sweet but thankfully the cake was not so it was a nice balance.

I’m looking forward to many more guitar cakes in the future!

Rockin’ Baby Party


The theme of the baby shower my sister-in-law and I threw on Sunday was a Rockin’ Baby Party. BR, the mama we were showering, used to play bass in Jason’s band and her hubby is a musician too. (How rare in Nashville, I know …) I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Excited parents.

Soon to be big brother (on the right) got some presents, too.

Adorable little girl helped BR open some presents.

I’d really like to get a better camera. I blame my bad photographs mostly on my camera.

A Weekend Recap


“Some weekends are so busy, I can’t wait for the week to start.” – Jason

We kicked of the weekend by having some friends over for a late dinner. Jason grilled some chicken (I love being able to grill year-round!) and I made PW’s baked lemon pasta. It was a delicious hit. Late dinner led to late night chattin it up with good friends.

Saturday morning I kissed Jason goodbye and headed off to a PJ breakfast baby shower. Brilliant! (Was that your idea, Jenna?) So fun to sit around with a bunch of my favorite ladies in our comfies eating waffles and quiches and watching our friend unwrap lots of adorable little girly outfits.

I spent Saturday afternoon preparing for baby shower #2. Making a bunting banner. Baking a guitar-shaped cake. Cleaning the house. Arranging the table and furniture.

Saturday I had a girls night with my sister-in-law and our good friend while our husbands were all out on the road.  It was fun to watch a chick flick – He’s Just Not That into You. I have to say, it’s kind of a depressing picture of marriage and dating these days, though. Definitely makes me appreciate my marriage!

Jason got home sometime in the middle of the night Saturday and was up and gone to set up at church before I woke up Sunday morning. I was a couple minutes late but the service was great. Something is about to explode. It’s so exciting! People are so hungry for more of God’s presence that no one wants to leave.

I did eventually scurry out so I could get back home to finished prepping for the Rockin’ Baby Party. Bake artichoke dip. Tie balloons to the mail box. Give directions over the phone. Set out chips, salsa, guacamole, hummus, crackers, pita, sushi, guitar cake, punch. The party was a hit and I hope our friends were blessed. I didn’t think to count but I’m pretty sure that’s the most people we’ve ever had in our house; definitely the most kids we’ve had running around at one time. Lucy was a great vacuum gobbling up all of the cake and crunched chips that the kiddos left behind.

Fun weekend but we were pooped! We were both asleep by 10pm on Sunday night which is extremely rare in this house. Phew!