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A Lovely Little Nap…

“And on, I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive

And on, I can fly, I can fly, I can fly

And on, I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive

And I’m loving every second

Minute, hour, bigger, better, stronger, power”

 – That Power by Justin Bieber and Will.I.Am 

Any other toddler mommies find themselves counting down the minutes until naptime every now and then, especially on these famously hot summer days? 

Eloise has never been the best napper, but at 22 months, she’s settled into a routine of laying down for at least an hour of rest/quiet time post lunch (thank goodness 🙏🏻).  While I usually have a list of items to accomplish (emails to answer, chores to do, meals to prep) I try to take a few minutes to savor the quiet as well (perhaps watching a few minutes of a DVRd show, reading an article or scrolling my Insta feed). 


Here is a list of tips to maximize nap time from Today Show Parenting. How do you make the most of the magical, quiet hour?

That Power

Sweet dreams,

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A Lovely Little Summer Afternoon…

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” -Henry James

As the early afternoons of summer get underway, Little Lovely and I are settling into a new routine with a little less structure and a little more time for fun. At 21 months old, Eloise is a busy toddler with plenty of energy and curiosity, so I’m constantly on the lookout for outings and activities to keep us both happy.

Of course the pool is a popular destination (in fact, the first thing Eloise asks about when she wakes up lately is if we’re going to the pool). We’re lucky that our local pool has a designated baby pool that is the perfect size for Eloise to play with her toys and splash around with friends. She’s also quite fond of the snack bar.Our city is fortunate to be home to Riverbanks Zoo, considered one of the best zoos in the country, and last year we purchased a family membership making it a go-to for a #zooplaydate. Right now Eloise gets excited to feed the giraffes and visit some of the animals we read about in one of her favorite books, Pat the Zoo.On rainy days, a trip to the children’s section of our local library branch is a good spot to color, play and peruse books.

Another indoor option we are planning is to catch a family flick at Regal Cinemas as part of its #SummerMovieExpress. Starting this week, participating theaters will show popular kids’ movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for $1, and proceeds go towards the Will Rogers Institute. 

For something a little out of the box try family “happy hour” at River Rat Brewery. The outdoor space features a playhouse, toys and games for all ages. There is a relaxed vibe, and the summer menu now includes Prosecco and popsicles from King of Pops. 🍾


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A Lovely First School Year…

School’s out for summer! Last week, Eloise finished the 1’s class at her nursery school, Kilbourne Park, marking the end of a wonderful year. While this might not count as true school, she gained many new skills this year – from music to arts and crafts, Gymboree, playing on the playground and of course making new friends.

{First day of 1’s, August 2016, A Lovely First Day of School}

It’s remarkable to compare her first and last day of school pictures. Eloise could not yet walk or talk and was so nervous when we left her in the classroom on her first day, and now she’s a full fledged toddler asking to wear a bracelet with her  Prim & Proper dress and walk into the classroom on her own. I’m so thankful to her teachers for helping her develop this year and am so proud of the little girl she is growing into each day.

Happy summer!

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My Lovely Little Sunshine…

You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine,

You make me happy when skies are grey.

You never know dear how much I love you. 

Please don’t take my sunshine away. 

-“You are my Sunshine by Jimmie Davis, 1939

We can all agree that winter in South Carolina has been very mild (thank goodness). Even so, it’s nice to see the days becoming longer and the sunshine warming up these February afternoons. 

The changing of seasons is also a reminder that my Little Lovely is growing  – how is she 17 months old? This stage is so much fun as Eloise explores, runs, dances and shows more of her sweet and funny personality each day. I wanted to capture these moments and was delighted that photographer, Travis Dew, was in town last week and had an opening for a session. Eloise and I played in the yard and even stopped to “smell some flowers” as Travis snapped away, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the images. Sometimes it’s hard for mommies to see how much their little ones are changing since we are with them at all times. These beautiful photos are proof that my Eloise is becoming a lovely little girl.

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A Lovely Little Valentine…

“My funny valentine,

Sweet comic valentine,

You make me smile with my heart”

 –My Funny Valentine 

Hearts, pink, candy and romance…every girl loves Valentine’s Day! 

Saint Valentine’s Day first became associated with love in the 14th century and developed further in Europe during the 18th century when lovers began exchanging gifts with their valentine including flowers, sweets, and handwritten greetings. 

My family often spent Valentine’s Day in Disney World during our family vacation, so I have fond memories of opening Valentine cards and candy from friends on the long car trip. And a more recent memory that is hard to beat is a Valentine’s surprise from Jody ten years ago when he told me to pack my bags for a whirlwind trip to Paris where we became engaged.

It’s special creating Valentine traditions with Little Lovely, and I wanted to share some of the festive crafts and treats that we’re planning to make heart day even more memorable. {Teddy bears holding hearts are adorable for a snack or bagged as a gift // Valentine door hanger by Snappy Pea // Pink knit LOVE pjs by Cecil and Lou // Dot heart Aline dress by Cecil and Lou // Valentine tags by Love Lucy to put on appleasauce pouches for class treats // Valentine paper heart garland by Spritz for Target to decorate the mantle 

What are some of your family’s favorite Valentine’s Day traditions?

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A Lovely Little Santa…

“You better watch out, 

You better not cry,

You better not pout,

I’m telling you why.

Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Little Lovely had the chance to visit with Santa twice this week. Last year, Eloise was so little and didn’t mind being placed on his knee for a few pictures, but a one year old is much more observant and wary of strangers- especially jolly old Saint Nick.

There was a little pouting and some crying during the first meeting at our country club’s Santa Brunch. Even so, Santa assured us that Eloise is still on his nice list.   

 She finally warmed up and gave some smiles after grabbing a Santa lollipop. Did you know that our modern day image of Santa Claus with twinkling eyes, white beard and red suit comes from the 1823 poem “Visit from St. Nicholas”, more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”? We’ve enjoyed reading it to Eloise all season.

The big guy made a more personal appearance when he stopped by our house for a special cookie exchange with neighbors and friends. This is the second year we’ve hosted the party, and it’s amazing to see how much the babies have  grown- glad the mommies haven’t aged a bit;).

    Delicious treats to share 🍪
    
So many sweet mommies and babies!    

 Eloise was much happier today! We blew Santa some kisses before he had to head back to the North Pole to prepare for the big day.

And to all a good night!
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A Lovely Little Vote…

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”  -Franklin D. Roosevelt

Participating in the political process was a lesson I learned at a young age. Joining my parents to cast their ballots and later volunteering with campaigns, including those of my mother, who served in county and state government, taught me to make my voice heard because every vote counts. I was inspired to study political science in college and later worked in that arena, so it was very special to have Little Lovely accompany me to the polls yesterday. Thankfully, we were bundled up for the chilly weather as we had a 45 minute wait at our local precinct, but the time seemed to pass quickly as we chatted with neighbors in line and even took a swing on the playground. Eloise seemed like a little politician herself smiling and waving to everyone, and she was so excited to be presented with her very own “I Voted” sticker.Since my mother and I have traditionally spent Election Day together Eloise and I  met her for a girls’ breakfast at Eggs Up Grill. Catching up over a warm breakfast of Mickey Mouse pancakes was just what we needed. Since Eloise has become a connoisseur of Disney breakfasts she gave Eggs Up positive reviews, especially the pancakes and left a clean plate.   As a family, we watched election results last night and woke up to a new president today. 

Whatever your ideology it is a privilege to live in a place where we all get the opportunity to participate in the process and effect change. A proud member of the Junior League of Columbia and The Association of Junior Leagues, I was inspired this morning by a message by AJLI Executive Director Susan Danish:

…”Today, tough issues abound. And, I am proud of our efforts to have difficult conversations, to listen and to learn from those with different views and to join or create collaborations.

Today is Wednesday, November 9 and I am more committed than ever to help build communities where every citizen can reach his or her full potential and thrive. That is not political. That is The Junior League.”

In this season of Thanksgiving, I look forward to a return to positivity and unity for our country, hallmarks that truly make us great.

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