A Letter To My Daughter, Before Becoming a Big Sister

To my baby cakes,

 

Soon, very soon, you are going to be a big sister! Your brother is due in exactly two weeks and we are all on pins and needles awaiting his arrival. Yet, I cannot help but feel so much bitter sweetness in knowing we are closing up our last days of you being the only child.

For nearly five years it has been just the three of us. Over the last five years I have grown right alongside of you. I am the Mom, and person, I am today- because of you. You’re the smartest, sweetest, sassiest, spunkiest, most independent girl I know and I cannot wait to watch you develop into an amazing big sister!

Your Daddy and I have done our best to prepare you for what is to come. We’ve shared and encouraged your excitement, while simultaneously being honest with you with what to expect. Like when you laugh at me when I tell you he will probably be pretty boring to you, at first.

From the moment we told you that I was pregnant you hoped for a baby brother, and since then you’ve been so excited. You take your big sister role very seriously. For that, I am so thankful! Over the last few months you have given my tummy countless hugs and kisses, covered my shirts in stickers to share with your brother, you’ve talked to him, felt endless baby kicks and have made a mental list of all the things you cannot wait to teach him. Then, every once in a while, you will scrunch your nose and make that really intense thinking face to ask a question and I can sense the uncertainty in your voice. I want you to know that I know you are anxious. I’ve told you- I am your Mom. I-know-everything. Even the feelings that you cannot quite express- I know. Just hang in there, my sweet girl. We will figure this out together.

I was just a little bit older than you are now when I became a big sister. You love that we both share that title. So from one big sister to another- I have no doubt that your Dad and I are giving you a gift that’ll enhance your life in so many ways.

I know your memories of life with just your Dad and I will fade with time. Even so, for the memories that do last, I hope you can look back and remember how special this time has been. Just as this new life of a family of four is going to be so special.

 

Love,

Your Mommy

Wedding Post- First Look

Here I am again with another wedding post. If you missed it- check out my first post where I shared some fun detail shots.

 I mentioned in my last post that this point was where all of the nerves finally started settling in. I wasn’t talking much and it felt like the whole room was buzzing around me. I was just doing my best to hold it together!

Then my sister handed me my gift from her- and I knew the tears would start pouring!

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Yep. Que Tears.

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Then it was dress time. I will never forget how it felt putting my dress on at that moment. I had put it on tons of times before- my Mom and bridesmaids had all seen me in it plenty of times but it felt like the first time.

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They had my Mom there to help me into my dress to start with and I love these photos with her and I.

I should mention now- the entire day Avery was completely MIA for pictures. We kept having to drag her into every photo opportunity because  she was too busy running around doing who knows what 😉

So once I got the dress on I wanted to call Avery to come in and see.

She came bouncing in- and again, even though she had seen me in my dress a few times before, for her too it was like the first time.

Funny story- Avery was so busy playing that she wasn’t able to make it on time to the restroom and even had an accident.. Yeah. Luckily we salvaged her dress from getting wet but her shoes were another story. Which explains why she is barefoot. I was totally irritated in the moment but now I can’t help but laugh about it.

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We took a few more pictures of my Sister helping me into my dress- and my shoes since I couldn’t move once I got buttoned up. But what are maid of honors for, right?

I was excited to see Garrett’s getting ready pictures, since obviously I missed that part! I was laughing because I told him I can totally tell how nervous he was in his face

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Now- if any engaged couples out there are debating whether or not to have a first look.. do it! Seriously. Besides being a huge help with getting a ton of pictures done it helped calm both of us so much!

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Our venue had a big wrap around porch and our photographers had Garrett and I stand at opposite ends with his back to me. I had to walk up to him, cover his eyes, walk back to the other end then tell him to turn around and we walked towards each other. In the moment it felt awkward and silly but we got the best shots out of it and it only built up the suspense.

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There’s that barefoot kid again 😉

After our first look- I was ready!

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I’ll be back next week to share our ceremony!

Rainy Weekend//Perfect Movie Snack

There has been a storm coming through California this week. Granted our version of “storm” doesn’t exactly match up to other states but never the less.. we are use to the California drought and going months on end without rain. Multiple days of constiant rain is pretty serious ’round here.

I took Avery to the park Thursday evening before the rain rolled it. It was 50 degrees and the sun was setting but it was nice to get all our jitters out. Plus- she swung on the swings for the first time in a long while so I consider it a win!

The rest of the weekend consisted of pajamas and movies. We only made our way out for a Target trip or two.

Speaking of movies. If you follow my Instagram you’d know I got a popcorn maker for Christmas and I’ve been slightly obsessed. Sweet popcorn, savory popcorn, classic popcorn- I’ve done it all in the last couple weeks.

Right now my definite favorite is oreo popcorn!

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All you need is popcorn (if you don’t have a popcorn maker there’s lots of stovetop popcorn recipes all over Pinterest), oreos and white chocolate chips.

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Put about twelve oreos in a ziplock and crush them down into smaller pieces. (You want the cookie bits to be bite size- not completely crushed into dust.)

Melt down the white chocolate in the microwave. (Remember to stir to keep the chocolate from melting.)

In a large mixing bowl drizzle about half of the chocolate onto the popcorn and mix the bowl around to make sure the popcorn is coated evenly.

Finally, dump in the oreo crumbles and stir it around again to make sure everything is coated evenly.

For extra measure- I like to then pour the popcorn mixture onto a sheet pan and drizzle the remaining chocolate on top then throw on a few more oreo bits.

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Leave the mixture on the pan until the chocolate hardens.

Voila

An irresistibly tempting movie snack.

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I will definitely be digging into some of this to cure my Monday blues!
Is anyone else as in love with popcorn as I am? I’d love to hear other peoples popcorn recipes. If you decide to try this one, let me know how much you love it!

Happy Monday!

xoxo

 

Wedding Post- Detail Shots

We got an exciting Christmas present this year…
Our wedding photos! 
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My photographer sent me that magical text the day after Christmas and I couldn’t run to my laptop fast enough!
I had been checking my email like a mad woman, what feels like daily, since the wedding- but boy, oh boy were these photos worth the wait!!
Garrett and I spent a good amount of time just scrolling through them, laughing and “aww’ing”.. maybe even a few tears.
We got back so many amazing photos and I don’t want to bombard them all onto one post so I am going to break it down in a few posts over the next few weeks.
Get ready 😉
My Mom, bridesmaids and I got to the venue around 7AM the morning of the wedding. A few of my Aunts also came with us first thing in the morning to help get all the final decorations out and set up. Thankfully we got most of the setting up done the night before after the rehearsal.
The entire beginning of the day I felt fine. I was walking around eating leftover pizza, talking, laughing and drinking champagne.
Then the photographers showed up and all the nerves hit me so fast. I never said I was nervous but everyone knows me so well- they could tell. Luckily all of my girls kept everything fun and my photographers and makeup artist kept me sane and made sure everything was going smoothly.
As soon as the photographers got there they started working away taking detail shots of just about everything, and I am so glad they did. I love these photos because I never want to forget all the tiny details of the day!
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 I was in love with my dress. I never thought I’d care about the dress as much as I did once I found this dress.

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My something old- my great grandmothers wedding rings on my boquet
something new- our wedding rings
something borrowed- my Moms wedding veil
something blue- my shoes
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My Great Grandmothers wedding rings on my bouquet. I wish she could have been there but I am glad I was able to keep her close.
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 And then Avery’s sign she would have been holding.. if she had made it down the aisle 😉

 

We were mostly ready when the photographers got there. At this point they took some quick shots of the finishing touches before the dress went on.
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 That wraps up my first wedding re-cap post! Next post I will share putting on the dress and our first look photos.
I can hardly believe it has been nearly four months since we said i do. It seems like it was just yesterday, yet as if we’ve been married forever 😉
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New Year-New Blog

Happy 2017!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Years.. with maybe a little champagne.
If you’re coming over from raisingaverymae, welcome to the new blog 🙂 if you’re new- welcome to you, too!

I have been silently working on switching over to WordPress for a little while now and was really wanting a new name and feel for this blog and then came..

Happily Ever Watson

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Happily Ever Watson started as our wedding hashtag but I am giving it new life through the blog.

With the new year here I am feeling excited and inspired for new things to come and I want my blog to reflect that.

Cheers to another new year!

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Four DIY Christmas Gifts

We love making DIY gifts around here. It saves some money and it feels extra special to give a gift you’ve taken the time to make yourself- made with love.

I put together four of my favorite DIY’s for this year. Two of them are perfect gifts for a toddler/child to help with. Grandparents love homemade gifts from those grand-babies! 
First. DIY scarf. Has anyone else heard of arm knitting? I might be the last to know, since it’s all over Pinterest these days. I finally learned and I am obsessed! I watched SimplyMaggieblog Youtube channel and learned how to knit using my arms or fingers. Naturally I went out and bought a ton of yarn. So far I have made a few scarves, an ear warmer and am working on a blanket. It’s so fun and would be the perfect gifts for basically any girl in your life! 

I made a double wrap purple infinity scarf and then a little chunkier single wrap red scarf. So cute, warm and fun! 
Second. Sharpie mugs
Also all over Pinterest. We’ve made these before and they were a hit, so this year Avery made them again for her Great Grandparents “Ninny and Papa”. Just grab silicone mugs, sharpies, I wrote their names on the front and let Avery scribble away- then it was her idea to trace her hand on the back of each mug, pop them in the oven for half an hour and it’s good to go! 
If you didn’t want to gift a scribbled on mug you could also draw on a picture or even write in a quote or something funny 🙂
Third. DIY candles. The candles aren’t DIY but the pictures can be! All you need is permanent markers, wax paper, white tissue paper, candles and a lighter or blow dryer. This is fun because you can design the candles with whatever design you want or let your kid draw whatever they want! Again, Avery took it away with scribbles.

-All you do is use the permanent markers to draw whatever design you want onto the tissue paper
-put the tissue paper onto the candle, cut off the excess paper so it fits on the candle and wrap wax paper around it
-Use the lighter or blow dryer to melt the tissue paper
-Lift off the wax paper to reveal the picture transfer. 
Fourth. Christmas ornament memories. This is definitely the easiest. You buy a pack of Christmas ornaments and a permanent marker and they write in monumental things that happen within that year to hang on the tree, then carry it out for years to come. We are giving this gift to someone this year who purchased their first home this year so we started off the ornaments by writing “our first home” on one of the ornaments. We got this as a gift a few years ago and I loved the idea! The person who gifted it to us wrote in a few of our special memories for us and we have added new memories since then! 

Does anyone else love DIY gifts? Only nineteen more shopping days until Christmas! 

Christmas Traditions

It is officially December. Which means it is basically Christmas. Avery’s memory is amazing, she is already asking about things she remembers us doing last year that she is eager to do again.

I say this every year, but every year just seems to get better & better! Now that she’s old enough to truly participate and appreciate all of our traditions has me extra excited.

The presents are exciting, but it’s all of the fun leading up to Christmas that I look forward to the most!

I put together  list of our favorite must-do Christmas traditions.

-Decorating the tree is an obvious one.
-We made gingerbread houses and sugar cookies every year when I was a kid and I love carrying that tradition with Avery.
-Christmas movies all of December are a must! The cheesier the better.
-Homemade ornaments are the best and so much fun to make with Avery.
-When I was a kid, my whole family would get together and go to some popular local places to go look at Christmas lights. We have one particular street that is full of lights. So we would park the car and we would all just walk down the street admiring the lights. Another tradition we have carried on with Avery. In the same spots I used to go growing up. This is usually followed (or accompanied by) hot chocolate 😉
-Christmas parades are the…best.. 
-Wine/present wrapping night. Clearly this one is for the parents. I love taking a night and dedicating it to wrapping presents, usually with Netflix or a movie and drinking some wine (for me, beer for Garrett) and gushing over how excited we are to watch Avery open her gifts.
-Advent calendar and seeing Santa. Also a must.
-Christmas Eve is just as good as Christmas if you ask me. It’s the day my entire family gets together. We give Avery a box every night on Christmas Eve that usually has new pajamas, slippers, a Christmas movie and some type of treat. I have also taken a picture of Avery sleeping on Christmas Eve night every single year. I can’t believe this year will be the fifth!

We also do the Elf on the Shelf. Even though I fail miserably every year it’s another fun tradition. A wrote a post last year about my thoughts on our little month long house guest you can check out.

We already crossed off decorating the Christmas tree. I would’ve had the tree up after Halloween if I had any say in it but Garrett made me wait until after Thanksgiving. So it of course went up right after Thanksgiving. I couldn’t wait any longer!
Holding her “first Christmas” ornament from 2012

I’d love to hear what your favorite family traditions for Christmas are.
Happy December, let the Christmas count down begin!

Perfect Party Appetizer

Here we go. Thanksgiving is tomorrow. WHAT?! 

Then Christmas will be around the corner and New Years soon to follow.
Time for lots of time with friends and family, parties and food
I started making these sausage balls a few Thanksgivings back and have made them most family gatherings since. 

All you need is-
Sausage
Philsbury biscuits
Ranch 
Cheddar cheese
Melted butter and garlic


These are so simple to make, even I can do it 😉 Now I am definitely no food blogger, but here it goes!
-Start by cooking the sausage until browned. 
-Drain the grease (seriously. I skipped this step once and ended up with grease bombs).
-Mix in the ranch and cheese. More cheese the better. Basically my life motto. 
(I also like to add garlic salt)
-(Now, at this point you can either go straight to rolling into the biscuits or you can freeze the mix until you’re ready. It is easier to roll into balls when frozen.)
-Take the sausage, ranch and cheese mix- roll into little balls and then wrap in the biscuit dough. I cut each biscuit in half.
-Then I brush each with melted butter and garlic then sprinkle on some salt and pepper.
-Put on a pan, cook according to biscuit instructions. Then, boom. Done!   
These get swooped up so quick at any gathering and someone is always asking me how I made them. 
Since we have a few vegetarians in my family, including myself, I usually make a vegetarian appetizer for Thanksgiving but also like to accommodate to the meat eaters! I love that I can easily skip the sausage and just stuff some cheese in the biscuit and have a veggie friendly option! 
The Hubs is also obsessed with these and even asks for them for dinner, basically once a week. 
Now I will be going to whip these up for our family party tomorrow!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friends and family and delicious food.

Avery Is Turning FOUR!

At this time, four years ago I was doing everything I could to get ready for Miss Avery Mae’s arrival. I had an induction scheduled for early the next morning, on October 12th and I was preparing myself (as much as I possibly could) for what was ahead. The fear subsided and I thought I was ready. Really, nothing could have prepared me for the crazy amazing experience of becoming a Mother, and the roller coaster of events and emotions of raising a baby into the little girl she is becoming. Avery has taught her Dad and I so much in such a short amount of time and continues to keep us in check anytime we think we are prepared for the next step (haha). I cannot wait to watch her grow even more and watch all the ways we grow along with her.

To Avery, I realize your childhood years are going to creep by for you. You remind me that daily when you annoyingly ask me how much longer you have to wait until you can drive a car. Or get your own cell phone. Or even when you tell me you are going to gobble down all your vegetables because you just want to be big. I want to tell you to slow down. Or to enjoy being a kid while you can. Hell, who am I kidding.. I do tell you that. But I understand. You finally grasp the fact that you are your own person, who every day gets a little bigger as you are making your way into adulthood. And you can’t wait. The next fourteen years will crawl by you as you wait to finally be a “grown up”.

However, for your Dad and I, it’s going to fly by. Just as it already has.  It’s tough yet exciting watching my baby become this amazing little person. Since logically I know I can’t deprive you of your veggies in hopes that you’ll stop growing (I hear that doesn’t work, anyways.) I am enjoying every moment watching you grow.

I hope to continue to make your childhood nothing but joyful. From now all the way through adulthood, where I will continue to be there for you- always.

Happy almost Birthday, baby cakes.

We Are Married! Honey Moon Post

WE ARE MARRIED!

We have officially been married almost three weeks!

Our wedding was beautiful and perfect and SO much fun.

I will definitely be posting more about the wedding, but not until I have more wedding pics to share 🙂
Until then, I will talk about our honey moon.

We went to San Diego for five days and it was perfect. We weren’t sure if we were going to take a honeymoon- for multiple reasons. One it came though, we were SO thankful we did.

We left the Monday morning after the wedding and luckily hit zero traffic. Which was a miracle. Garrett drove the entire seven hours there (and back haha) but since we got there a lot faster then we thought we would, our hotel wasn’t ready yet when we arrived.

We drove around San Diego a bit then went back to the hotel to explore and have a complimentary drink at their bar. We started to get frustrated because our room was taking much longer to be ready then they originally told us. Later, we felt bad- because it turned out it took a little longer because they upgraded our room for free, since it was our honeymoon AND set up some honeymoon gifts.

We stayed at the LaFayette hotel and it was amazing. It’s an older historic hotel that is sort of old hollywood themed. Totally beautiful with unique touches- oh and a full service restaurant, bar and pool.

We loved the life sized chess game the hotel had. We played every night when we got back to the hotel, before going to our room.

I was beyond obsessed with these umbrella lights!

It was a perfectly relaxing week of just kind of “going with the flow”. Our whole trip we explored all sorts of parts of San Diego. We took some suggestions from friends and family for places to go but mostly we just wandered around seeing what we could find.

I am slightly bummed because I didn’t get many pictures from our trip. My phone was away most of the time. I was kind of just enjoying the moment.

I would like this picture a lot more if my shoe didn’t still have the Ross price tag on it. HAH! 

We had lots of beach trips, lots of exploring bars and restaurants and even a baseball game. Garrett is a huge Giants fan so we had to take advantage of the Giants being in San Diego playing while we were there. It was fate.

Admiring our new rings 😉

We did spend quite a bit of time paddle boarding which was a blast. I love the beach but I really dislike being in open water. But I loved being out on the paddle board. I just stayed a bit closer then Garrett did. He laughed because every time I got to far past my comfort zone I just sat on the board and paddled myself back canoe style.

And a few random selfies. Because I have a ton of those.

Once we got home Avery was extremely excited to see us and we got right back into the normal life, but as an official married couple!

Cannot wait to share wedding pictures and post about our special day.

Happy Friday!