Family friend and fellow photographer Rebekah with her newborn daughter, Penelope. Photo: Brett & Jessica
Since this time last year, I have witnessed my wife, Jessica, evolve as a mother and it’s a beautiful thing. As our son, Forrest, has grown, developed new skills and has really begun to show his more toddler personalities, the challenges have become different for Jessica, but I do know that she is feeling the reward of it as well. It’s truly non-stop around our home now and while I try my best to put in a good effort in helping out with Forrest, it’s Jessica who is truly doing the brunt of the work. Her natural motherly instinct kicks in and she just knows how to handle every situation, or at least it seems that way to me. Once we (usually Jessica) have put Forrest down for bed, she then begins to take care of the other tasks she has and by time we hit the pillows, I can sense her exhaustion, yet I hear no complaints from her while I may be laying in bed next to her complaining about some mundane, easily fixable issue I had with my day. She’s a trooper. A hard worker. A dedicated mother. An absolute blessing to both Forrest and myself. That’s why Mother’s Day means so much to us around here. She deserves, as all mothers out there do, a day to feel pampered and rewarded for her role as mom.
Beyond the spa day gift cards, flowers and nice dinner, I’ve put together a Mother’s Day gift guide that I think the mother in your life will certainly enjoy. Whether it’s the woman who birthed your child/children, your own mother or a friend who is a mom, these gifts should certainly make her feel special. Of course, don’t forget to grab a nice card too. I’ve recently been obsessed with everything Moglea has been putting out and they’ve got some amazing cards for mama’s.
If you already have a child, then you know well that whether you were once a reader or not before becoming a parent, that you certainly are now. We all know that reading to your child, even before they are born, is an incredible way to connect, educate and stimulate their rapidly growing minds.
Back when we found out we were having a child, one of the first things we did was buy books to read out loud so that our little guy could learn our voices right away. When he made his way into the world, we kept up with that. It’s paid off in so many ways already. Some of our fondest memories with Forrest so far are during story time. He’s been a book lover since forever and still is.
The thing with children and books is just like children and anything else; they get really attached to one thing or doing a certain thing. They like and need to hear things over and over. I am pretty sure that between my wife and I, we’ve read Little Owl Lost at least 1 million times. So, if you are going to be reading the same thing over and over, you mind as well get some enjoyment out of it too. There are ridiculous amount of books out there for little ones, so naturally, it’s hard to sift through all of them to find the good ones. The ones written well with interesting topics or amazing illustrations and that might even inspire us parents.
So, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books that Forrest loves and that Jessica and I don’t mind reading over and over. Feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments for others to check out as well!
If I am being honest, it sort of feels like Christmas was just yesterday. It might feel that way because I wanted it to last forever this year, which may have resulted in it actually moving along a lot quicker. Having a child that is now able to get excited and unwrap his own gifts (sorta) and light up when he saw Christmas lights and so on really makes that time of year that much more special.
With that said, it’s hard to believe that Valentines Day is right around the corner. And if there is anyone who deserves to be spoiled a little bit this year, it’s my wife. Her constant mothering is never ending. Last year at this time, I thought those first few months of motherhood were a lot of work for her, but that seriously does not compare to what all she has endured and done in the last year. So, this year, I know I am going to do something really special for her aside from just a gift. I can’t say here of course, since she’ll read it, but I will share this Valentines Day gift guide that includes most of my ideas for her.
This weekend I was able to get out of the house with Forrest, just the two of us, to do some shopping for momma. It was great. We loaded up in his Mountain Buggy Nano and hit some of my favorite shops around town. I love it when I get to spend some one on one time with Forrest out of the house. And one thing I love about living in the city is the easy access to loads of great shops that we can walk to. With the way things are going these days, I sometimes feel like my son and his generation might miss completely out on what it’s like to support local shops, which is why we try to shop at them as much as possible. And one thing that Raleigh has going for it, is it’s urban boom, including so many amazing shops popping up left and right. If you live in Raleigh or plan on being in the area sometime soon, you should make sure to check out:
If you’re anything like me, you are looking at the calendar and just now realizing there are only 16 shopping days left for Christmas. On top of that, you’ve got a huge workload to finish before the end of the year leaving you little to no time to actually go out and do your shopping. So, in the little bit of free time I have, I’ve been compiling these holiday gift guides full of great gifts for your lady, kids and even a list to give to your wife in case you are one of those “impossible” to shop for guys. Good news is that all of the products listed out below can be ordered online and I am 98% sure all of them will arrive before Christmas, if you get on it soon. Here’s to a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
It’s officially comfy sweater weather! Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year. It’s not because of all the pumpkin spice this and that either. I just wanted to go ahead and set the record straight. I think it’s because the summers here in North Carolina are not the most pleasant. As soon as the air finally gets the little chill in it, something in me just flips over to this warm and cozy feeling inside. It’s comforting. I also suppose it’s because I spent a lot of time outdoors either hiking, biking through the mountains or camping during this season when I was younger. So, I just have really good memories about it all.
As you could tell by the lack of posts recently, we’ve been extremely busy the last part of this summer and so far this fall. Like really crazy busy. I’ve got a lot of posts in the works. As soon as things begin to slow down a little, I’ll be putting more energy into getting those posts up.
As a result of being so busy, I’ve been traveling a ton. I’ve been back and forth to the mountains probably a good 15 times in the last 3 months. We also took an amazing trip up to Acadia National Park in Maine for a week, which I’ll share more about soon. But mostly, I’ve been visiting those mountains I grew up exploring and every time I get on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I always need perfect music to accompany me.
The last few trips, I began adding tracks to a playlist that gave me a good autumn feeling. Songs I plan on listening to as we are carving out our pumpkins, driving back up to the mountains as a family for Thanksgiving or teaching Forrest how to make leave angles in the racked leaves. I love to have the right music to listen to during those times, because it helps me built a soundtrack to all the little moments and big events that happen over time. Later, when I listen to one of those songs, it’ll spark those memories again.