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A Lovely Fall Break…

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” -L.M. Montgomery

The weather this fall has been unseasonably warm even for South Carolina, so we took advantage of the continued summer to plan a beach trip over the long weekend.

Nothing on the schedule except for beach walks and watching some football (for Jody) which meant plenty of time to play and relax.

Dinner on the patio at Bistro 217 was the perfect way to end the day (Eloise is a big fan of their homemade banana ice cream).

We took one more beach walk before heading home. Until next time!

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A Lovely, “Tea for Two” Enchanted Birthday…

Sequined tiaras, wands, crowns, teapots, fairies and lots of sweet treats! Eloise’s enchanted tea party birthday celebration was a magical morning spent with family and friends.

I enjoyed watching Eloise’s delight playing with friends, and I had fun planning the party details and decor featuring a custom balloon arch by One Stylish Party, flower “2” from Begonia Rose, “Happy Birthday, Eloise” banner from Banner Bakery, custom invitations and favor labels by Love Lucy Design, chalkboard welcome sign by Swirled Patina, teacup cookie favors from Sugar Columbia and whimsical teapot cake designed by The Southern Gourmet.

Some very special fairy guests from Once Upon a Princess enchanted our little guests, helped us decorate yummy cake pops, sang songs, gave out butterfly tattoos and helped us blow out birthday candles before flying back to the forest.

We still can’t believe that our Eloise is two and wish that her year ahead is full of love, happiness and magic!

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A Lovely Second Year…

"I wake to find your hand in mine
We must have fell asleep last night,
just right
The sunlights dancin'
through the blinds
The day is waiting on the line
just outside

Will you always be
my love?

Will you always be
my love?

Now cars are passing and
birds are laughing as
trees are holding up the sky
in the window
do they feel it,

have they seen it grow
have they been watching us
do they know?

Will you always be
my love?

Will you always be
my love?" – "Will You Always Be My Love?" By Holly Maher

As I give goodnight kisses and tuck in my one year old baby this week for the last time before she turns two, I think about how quickly time has passed this year, how many milestones we've reached- tip toe steps turned to walking and running, first words turned into sentences and conversations, family trips and memories made. I also wonder how long this magical stage will continue for my Little Lovely where the world is full of wonder; where new friends are greeted with smiles and hugs; where sweet giggles and nursery rhymes fill the air and where playing with mommy and daddy are her favorite pastimes.

Eloise is certainly the sunshine of our lives providing a consistent source of joy when we have needed it most. She gently reminds us to be kind, patient, live in the moment and laugh each day. As she grows up, so does our little family, and we can't wait to celebrate!

Here is a quick glimpse of highlights from Eloise's second year.

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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.