A First Birthday Party, Almost a Year Later

first birthday party woodsy adventure invite(front of Forrest’s birthday invite, designed by myself)

As Forrest’s second birthday quickly approaches, I thought it might be nice to finally share some images and words about his first birthday. Clearly, having an almost two year old makes it far harder to keep up with this blog. Between running a successful photography business with my wife and trying to maintain a work/life balance, the blog has been put on the back burner a bit. Good news is that I am about to move into a new co-working space where I am hoping I will be more efficient with my work, thus giving mysef more time to put effort into this blog, because I really have grown attached to it and love what it is/was becoming.

mountain adventure fall first birthday(Teepee tent, pillows from Amazon. Bear from Target. Blanket from Modern Burlap)

I’ll admit, I was one of those people who thought it was ridiculous to throw a one year old a big party and go all out when they won’t even remember it. But I get it now. It’s not just for the child, but also, if not even more so, for the parents. It’s a celebration of making it through a year with this little human. And sure, he won’t remember exactly remember his first birthday party, but he’ll have photographs of it to look at later in life. He’ll be able to see just how much he was and still is loved by all of those friends and family.

Along with tons of help from our family and friends, I would say we pulled off a pretty great first birthday party, especially since it was right toward the end of our busiest part of the year. Oh, and when I say “we”, I really mean my wife, Jessica. She put in the brunt of the work. We held the party at one of the shelters that you can rent out at William B. Umstead State Park. Since Forrest’s birthday is late October and a lot of our life with him involves the mountains and the outdoors, we went for a fall/outdoor/mountain theme.

mountain adventure fall first birthday mountain adventure fall first birthday mountain adventure fall first birthday mountain adventure fall first birthday(Wooden mountain peaks made by friend, outdoor adventure hunt game designed by myself)

As tempting as it can be to put together a super cool party that has no childish vibes at all, we knew it was important to still remember that this party was in fact a one year olds party, so we really tried to make it enjoyable for both kids and adults. We had a good bit of food that would appeal to the adults and then some for the kids as well as the overall design and decorations. I think we succeeded there. Our style for gatherings has always been less pretentious and more laid back, which is how we hope to raise our son, so reflecting that in this party was also important.

mountain adventure fall first birthday mountain adventure fall first birthday mountain adventure fall first birthday mountain adventure fall first birthday(Wooden mountain made by friend, mountain peak milestone painting by our friend Sarah Faucette, WILD ONE balloons from Amazon)

 

Looking back, I am glad we did all we did for Forrest’s first birthday. It may have seemed like a lot to us in the moment, but the first year is a big year. And heck, we didn’t do nearly as much as a lot of parents do. We knew our limits and kept to them and still had an amazing, memorable time. This year, his birthday might not be as involved, but I guarantee it will be extremely special too.

mountain adventure fall first birthday 016-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday 020-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday 018-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday mountain adventure fall first birthday(Teepee tent, pillows from Amazon. Bear from Target. Blanket from Modern Burlap)

010-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday 022-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday 011-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday 023-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday 021-mountain-adventure-fall-first-birthday(Wooden mountain cake topper made by friend, cup stickers made by myself, birch straws from Amazon, Letterboard by Letterfolk)

Children’s Book You’ll Enjoy Reading Over and Over Again Too

best childrens books

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!best indie childrens books

1 We Found A Hat by Jon Klassen 2 Home by Carson Ellis 3 This Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers 4 Alphabetics by Patrick Concepcion 5 I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen 6 The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers 7 All Aboard! National Parks: A Wildlife Primer by Haily & Kevin Meyers 8 Dear Bunny… by Blanca Gomez 9 Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton 10 Wendell The Narwhal by Emily Dove 11 Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer 12 Little Blue Chair by Cary Fagan

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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!

Holiday Gift Guide for Fathers

Row One: Fleece Lined Slippers by Woolrich ($40) | The Nordic Cookbook by Mangus Nilsson ($37) | Chef Shirt from Huckberry ($90)
Row Two: Passport Wallet by Fjallraven ($60) | MH30 On Ear Headphones from Master & Dynamic ($329) | Pour Over Stagg Kettle by Fellow ($79)
Row Three: Beanie by Norse Projects ($75) | The Carry On from Away ($225) | Pour-Over Coffee Dripper by Osaka ($36)
Row Four: Project I-1 Analog Instant Camera from Impossible ($300) | Tinford Jacket from Barbour ($179) | Daypack by Filson ($120)

Christmas Gift Guide for Mothers

Row One: Lori Colorblock Tote by Nisolo ($150) | Ellows Throw by Matteo ($165) | Creative Confidence by Tom Kelly ($18)
Row Two: Handbag Essentials from Grown Alchemist ($80) | Out & About Boots from Sorel ($110) | Stargazey Jumper by Finisterre ($127)
Row Three: 2017 Paradise Calendar by Rifle Paper Co. ($26) | Minuit Rose Gold Watch from Cluse ($99) | 3 Candle Gift Box by Norden ($85)
Row Four: Rivington Sweater-Coat from Madewell ($178) | Pouch from Delfonics ($22) | Model B Slippers from Glerups ($95)

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Row One: Work Bench from A Summer Afternoon ($49) | Plush Trousers from Zara ($16) | Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton ($6)
Row Two: Basic Knit Hat from Zara ($13) | Silver Metal Speedster by Schylling ($100) | Wooden Camera by Fanny & Alexander ($52)
Row Three: Mini Band Wooden Percussion Set from Hape ($29) | Ear Flap Hat With Pompom from Zara ($13) | Wooden Baby Puzzle from Manzanita Kids ($36)
Row Four: This Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers ($12) | Table & Chair by PlanToys ($135) | Long Sleeved Footed Romper by Milkbarn ($31)

Stocker Stuffer Ideas 2016

Row One: Cub 41 Solid Cologne from Clyde Oak ($26) | Missouri Socks from Chup ($35) | Wooden Yo-Yo by Son of A Sailor ($28)
Row Two: Key Fob from Madewell ($19.5) | Werewolf: A Party Game for Devious People by Timber & Bolt ($15) | Rubber-Dipped Wooden Pinch Bowl from Madewell x Food52 ($10)
Row Three: Flask from Stanley ($28) | Deer Socks from ANONYMOUS ISM ($28) | Infuse Bottle by Bobble ($15)
Row Four: Natural Wood Teether by Grimms ($14) | Tile Mate by Tile ($25) | The Carry On Cocktail Kit: Old Fashioned by The Carry On Cocktail Kit ($23)

 

Father’s Day Gift Guide

father's day gift guide

This Father’s Day is certainly going to be special. It’s my first Father’s Day as a father and it also happens to fall on my birthday. My birthday has fallen on Father’s Day in the past of course, but this year it’s a much bigger deal now I am a new father. Although, I’m definitely a lot more excited about it being my first Father’s Day than the part about turning another year older.

father's day gift guide father's day gift guide

As Father’s Day is quickly approaching and Jessica, my wife, has been asking what I’d like for Father’s Day/my birthday, I thought I’d share some ideas in case you haven’t figured out what to get the father in your life. And while Father’s Day isn’t about gifts, or at least it shouldn’t be, saying thank you with something nice, thoughtful and practical means a lot. Let’s be honest though, becoming a father has been the greatest gift in itself and no material possession can beat that, although a few of these might come close. I kid, I kid.

Below is the Father’s Day gift guide I curated to help sparks some ideas and find the perfect gift for this Father’s Day that practically any dad would love and appreciate.  So, no matter what kind of dad you’re celebrating, you’ll definitely find something here.

father's day gift guide

Row One: Camp Stool by Wood & Fault ($165) | The Detroit Arrow from Shinola ($1,100) | Pennants by Oxford Pennant ($20)
Row Two: Fjellkniven Knife by Helle ($114) | Post-Poo Drops from Aesop ($29) | The Homemade Gin Kit by W&P Design ($35)
Row Three: Great American Flask by Jacob Bromwell ($200) | Alarm Flip Clock from Twemco ($130) | Forager 5 Panel from Clyde Oak ($30)
Row Four: Montauk Cotton Rope Hammock from Yellow Leaf Hammocks ($115) | Mississippi Medicine Cologne by D.S. & Durga ($125) | 15″ Toolbox by Best Made Co. ($68)

father's day gift guide

Row One: This Land Tee from Clyde Oak ($28) | Winston Razor Set from Harry’s ($25) | NS2 Air Monitor Speakers by NOCS ($350)
Row Two: Italian Cowhide Wallet from Capsule ($70) | HERO4 Session from GoPro ($200) | Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury ($10)
Row Three: Soapstone Whiskey Glass from American Stoneware ($60) | Dry Day Backpack from Filson ($125) | Water Bottle by Swell ($45)
Row Four: Sphere Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker by Photive ($50) | Emilio Chukka Boot from Nisolo ($178) | Smart Air Quality Monitor by Awair ($197)

father's day gift guide

“It is a wise father that knows his own child” – William Shakespeare

A Guide To: Your Baby’s First Beach Trip

baby's first beach trip

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer, or at least I think it does. At least when I was growing up it was the day all the pools opened up, so that was my indication that summer had started. This year, we got a little ambitious and tried to make our summer start at the beginning of May, which in North Carolina, can be hit or miss. This year, we missed the summer part of it. It was pretty chilly and rainy the entire time. To top it off, the rest of the house all got the stomach bug. Somehow Jessica, Forrest and I dodged that one. We still had a ton of fun with our friends when during our early beach trip out on the Outer Banks in Duck, NC, which if you’ve never visited (any of the Outer Banks), you are missing out.

duck, nc beach rental houseRental house we shared with friends in Duck, NC

outer banks nc stormWhat the ocean looked like the majority of the time. No bueno. 

With this trip being our first trip to the beach with Forrest made me think about how much extra stuff we had to think about bringing with us. There was way more than I initially thought. So, in case you’re getting ready to hit the road for your baby’s first beach trip, I’ve compiled a list of things we brought (or wish we had brought) with us on our first beach trip with Forrest and will absolutely be bringing with us next week when we go on Jessica’s family beach trip, also on the NC coast.

baby's first beach trip

Row One: Baby Floatie by Otteroo ($35) | Matisse Swimming Shorts by Bobo Choses ($54) | Ferris Sunglasses from Sons + Daughters ($75)
Row Two: Reversible Grid Blanket by Modern Burlap ($75) | Double Buckle Sandal from Old Navy ($13) | Wet Suit Bag by Flight 001 ($18)
Row Three: Swim Diapers by The Honest Co. ($14) | Carabiner Misting Fan by O2COOL ($8) | Sand Play Set from Green Toys ($19)
Row Four: Travel Crib Light by BabyBjorn ($250) | Brimmed Bonnet by Briar Handmade ($42) | City Market Tote by Apolis ($68)
Row Five: Pop & Tot Fleece Set by Tosan ($75) | Mineral-Based Sunscreen from Babyganics ($17) | Taches Baby Swim Pants by Mini Rodini ($38)

We used our BabyBjorn Travel Crib a ton. We debated bringing it because we had a room with two beds and thought that we might just want to put up “pillow bumpers” and let him sleep in the other bed, but in the end, we felt a lot better about having him in his travel crib. Although we didn’t get use a lot of the others during this first trip, we know we’ll being using them a lot next week, if the weather is nice, which is should be. However, we did wear our Tosan Pop + Tot sweatshirts since it was chilly and we’ll be packing them again this time around for those chilly nights, especially if I end up sun burnt. Oh, and PS, got tons of compliments on those, although Forrest is still working on filling into his.

tosan pop totTosan Pop + Tot sweatshirts

baby's first beach trip

baby's first beach trip

Row One: Beach Towel by Marimekko for Target ($18) | Tundra Cooler by Yeti ($270) | Taches Sun Hat from Mini Rodini ($46)
Row Two: Rash Guard by City Threads ($22) | Mini-Sun Chaise Beach Chair by Telescope Casual ($155) | Baby Carrier One by BabyBjorn ($150)
Row Three: Nest Cam by Nest ($195) | Dusting Powder from Burt’s Bees ($15) | Lilypad Playmat from Nook ($120)
Row Four: Chambray Bucket Hat from Old Navy ($10) | Travel Baby Beach Tent by Kilofly ($30) | Floor Seat by Bumbo ($40)

A few things we initially didn’t think we’d need/want to take and were either glad we did bring or will definitely be bringing this time were our Nest CamLilyPad and Bumbo Floor Seat. Nest Cam came in handy a lot when we’d put Forrest down for a nap or to sleep and didn’t want to have to keep running up and down like four flights of stairs to check on him. We could just check on him from our phones and setting up the Next Cam away from home was super easy. We’ll definitely be bringing it again next week too. The LilyPad was also a lifesaver. Any play mat is essential, especially if your beach house is all hardwoods. There were plenty of times we wanted to put Forrest down on the floor to play, but didn’t want him doing tummy time on the hardwoods. And the Bumbo seat was also a great idea instead of packing up a whole highchair since we could easily move it around all over the house to have Forres hang out in and also feed in him his solids in.

baby's first beach tripModern Burlap Blanket, Briar Handmade Brimmed Bonnet and Bobo Choses swim shorts

Any other good suggestions for first beach trip or summer vacations? Would love to hear about them!