olive june: February 2016

a grateful heart + weekend snapshots

this weekend was one for the books. i have been reflecting on it a lot and feel like the holy spirit has been wrapped around me lately. {he definitely was during my labor and delivery!} however, i have felt him a lot lately. one thing is certain, i have never been happier. becoming a mom has made me even more empathic and reflective than i already was {these are the two things that my supervisors usually bring up during conferences- along with family and friends}. so bring on lots of reflecting... which is usually a good thing but can be exhausting at the same time. i attended a 'mom's night out' on saturday night - hosted by the sweetest {natalie of at home with natalie} and i left so very inspired. i hope to share more about the event soon. 
here are some snapshots from the weekend: 
dear friends came over yesterday to meet parks
they brought mexican and this cute easter basket for us
{the reese's eggs are just.so.good}
we talked for about four hours- it was a great afternoon! 
his sweaty, fuzzy and somewhat curly hair in the morning
hello, baby bedhead 
i LOVE our kitchen and home
but this kitchen is maybe a favorite for all of time
gray cabinets, white subway tile, distressed floors, gold hardware, and open wood shelves
all of my loves in one space. 
i would probably put all white dishes on the shelves 
with maybe a pop of mint! 
see more of this beautiful san francisco home here
saturday morning i met my friend, amanda, and her beautiful twin girls 
and some members of the charlotte babywearing community
at a local donut shop called 'your mom's donuts' 
it was so nice to learn from some very experienced moms the proper way to wrap 
i feel much better now! 
parks just loves it and i have read so much about how great it is for the fourth trimester and how much more independent babies usually are by the time they are one! 
 my outfit for saturday's event
tote: target 
shoes: dsw
i met so many incredible people! 
it was very spiritual and full of creativeness
two of my favorite things! 
again, i plan to share more about #nataliesmomsnightout

her vision: 
I have always loved throwing parties and connecting people. I see the importance of events like this…..
We can often push through motherhood thinking
we don’t need breaks or a team of mom friends, but we so do!
This is going to be just what you need.
I know as moms we can often feel disconnected and overwhelmed
and push off the opportunities for “me time”…
But self growth and community are so important!
We have lots of locals but even far away moms making the trip to Rock Hill, SC on February 27th…
My goal is to create a fun and welcoming environment for all of us to connect and grow as moms.
so thankful for a supportive husband who is always up for watching parks, helping me without complaining, and allowing me to fuel my inner creativeness often 
 reflecting and reading sunday morning
pumpkin coffee {year round for this gal} a book and johnny cash 
 snuggling with this puppy babe during the oscars
red wine + popcorn not pictured 
finally, today we ventured to a local park {70 degrees! and gorgeous} and then stopped at starbuck's
i ordered my green tea frap and then brought parks' stroller over to a nearby table 
i glanced back and saw the cutest little girl {in her plaid school uniform} peering into his stroller
that alone was just the most touching thing. 
her face showed such a tender and genuine interest in him. 
i went over and sat down. 
her dad was in the restroom- they were on a little 'date'
she then said, 'i like your baby!' 
what's his name? 
my name is maria elise 
her dad returned and was also the most friendly man 
we chatted for a long time 
while talking, the dad asked her to say the greek alphabet for us {so interesting} 
and then she sang the english one, too 
{did you know that it's y AND z - not 'n' because there was already a 'n' - :)} 
and then she asked if she could sing him a lullaby. 
it was the most beautiful thing. 
i had tears in my eyes. 
she would also help me 'pat' / burp the baby with me
and when they left she said, 'i will always remember you.'
... it was the sweetest.  
 i am so grateful for this special encounter. 
... and i am positive that ... 
i will always remember her, too 

ps: happy leap year!
enjoy your week
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currently {2.26.16}

thinking | about how much my life has changed over the past few weeks {in a good way}. six weeks ago today i was embracing parks for the first time and now he's over eleven pounds and is smiling and giggling away. i had my postpartum appointment today and everything went well regarding my c-section recovery. however, i have another infection- which makes nursing painful and very uncomfortable- please send prayers up that this cures soon- thank you so much! it really means a lot to me. 

sending | hopefully parks' birth announcements soon! all of his newborn photos turned out so well- choosing a few has been difficult. some people have reached out to me regarding our photographer... i can't recommend her enough- she's so amazing. from the moment i met her, i felt like i had known her for years- plus, she's super talented. her website is: kinston photography 

eating | still lots of smoothies {strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, spinach, greek yogurt, and a scoop of peanut butter.} i am also loving cliff blueberry bars for a treat and fresh veggies. 

dreaming | about all of the adventures that are to come! walks, reading books {there are so many cute ones/ones that make me tear up! i plan to share my favorites soon- the perfect thing to bring to a baby shower in lieu of a card- sometimes a book is even cheaper/you can write a cute note inside}, trips to the park, farmer's markets, the beach, mountains... looking forward to so much right now! 

smelling | our peony scented diffuser from k.hall studios {this was my absolute favorite boutique in st. louis when my sister lived there and is right up there with the paris market in savannah as my all-time favorite!} 

hearing | little tiny baby snores from my sweetie right now 
leaving our appointment today 
he was so, so good- despite it conflicting with his eating schedule 
he slept right through it
so i picked up a latte to celebrate 
it's one floor down from my ob
and i resisted my entire pregnancy. 
we took a family trip to the grocery store last night 
again, he slept right through it ;) 
i used our solly baby wrap again 
{it's so lightweight and easy to use- def. a favorite}
speaking of, don't forget that there are a few days left to enter my current giveaway 
so in love with astleigh and rachel's newest instagram series 
go check it out! 
they featured my photo last week for the theme, 'winter white'
i was so honored! 
parks enjoyed bath time for the first time ever this morning! 
he cried for one hot second and then looked over and saw his little face in the mirror 
and the rest was joyful! 
made my mom heart so, so happy 
i adore aprons!
 i started to collect them while i traveled throughout europe in 2006
vintage ones are my favorite but anthropologie definitely has beautiful ones as well 
rachel of little blue sailboat created the cutest ones for her kids out of dish towels 
go check it out here 
it's been very sunny in the carolinas 
i love this gorgeous state. 
all four seasons
 mild winters
{but rather harsh summers} 
however, that's ok- the year round blue skies make up for it! 
i adore our bassinet from a dear friend
{it was handmade by her mother-in-law in spain}
 and having baby boy right next to us at night
looking over at him brings me so much peace and joy
wishing you a fabulous weekend! 
any fun plans? 
... i am going to my first two 'mom's day/night out' tomorrow! 
parks and i are going to a charlotte babywearing + donuts event in the morning
and then tomorrow night i am going to an event for mom bloggers/local creatives 
which includes speakers, dinner, diy projects, swag bags, raffles, desserts
i can't even wait. 
a special thank you to natalie of at home with natalie for hosting  
i have loved following her prep for this event on social media
she has put so much into it and i look forward to it! 

again, you can enter my giveaway {click here} until febraury 29 at midnight! 

 linking up with:  
Karli at September Farm
 5 on Friday   
Astleigh at Hill Collection  
come say hi - instagram . facebook . twitter . bloglovin

remembering the first week of parks james

parks monaco was born a gentle soul. it was one of the first things i noticed about him when they put him on my chest for the first time. he felt so exquistedly tender; so very calm. when i look back at the first week with parks there are so many parts that i want to wrap up and store away safely and securely in my memory vault. his skin was so soft, his hair so fluffy, and his eyes were so dark. one look at his face and i was completely smitten. my lifelong dream of becoming a mother had come true. when he was placed on my chest and instantly stopped crying, he looked up at me and i suddenly hushed {i will never forget the quiet peacefulness of the recovery room in those early morning hours}. i hushed and i listened and i somberly nodded my head at him. it was in that moment that i knew what i wanted my children to remember about me above all else, was that i heard them. this would hopefully be my legacy.

i looked up at the moon and the stars and i thanked everyone up there {esp. my tender God} for helping me through my delivery. i hope to share it soon but it was long and difficult and absolutely beautiful at the same time.

the beginning of parks james felt like the most extraordinary dream you can imagine. think of all of your favorites things and wrap them up into one scene. when i was holding him, nothing else seemed to matter. my recovery pain was so intense- yet i felt numb at the same time. i would stare at his face and time would drip so slowly, yet so quickly. the days seemed to rush by and i wanted to take in every moment. i remember sweating {so much sweating} and shushing and swaying a lot. the first two nights were so hard {he was so hungry and upset- it breaks my heart every time i think about those initial nights} yet a patience that i didn't even know i had would come over my body. i craved fruit and water - oh my. i was so thirsty all the time. my mom and his daddy would hold him from time to time, but i would miss him. they were so good about allowing me to rest, recover, and cuddle my precious baby boy, my son. i wanted to take everything in that first week. i wanted to take a million photos and give a million kisses.  we enjoyed his first snow, sang country songs {george strait is still his favorite}, watched downton abbey, took naps together, dressed him up for the first time in his cute itty bitty outfits, and most of all, we took in lots of quiet moments- which i will remember always. 
every evening around ten the first week, a strange sadness would set in that another day with parks was coming to an end. i wanted to savor and remember and was well aware that this experience would never occur again. i hope to have more babies {God willing} but i knew that no matter how many babies were to come, there would never be a first one again. there was something so special about being a first time mom. so i tried so hard that week to bottle up every single feeding, diaper change, sponge bath, snuggle, and gaze. i gazed and gazed and gazed. for the first time, i wasn't just myself~ i was responsible for that thoughtful little face staring back at me. when i looked in the mirror, a mom looked back at me. the one title in life i had always yearned for...  so throughout that week, i would nod and be present when he was trying to tell me something and i would dream about our future life together.

parks with bonnet: kinston photography

three date ideas

yesterday i mentioned that we went on our first post baby date last friday. we went to a super fun, delicious and chic restaurant in uptown charlotte for cocktails and dinner. we enjoyed one another's company so much and really took in the night {i mentioned how much more appreciative i was of a night out on the town! i have heard this from friends but it's so incredibly true.} sometimes determining the place to go is the easy part and the more pressing issue is the attire. you want to look cute and you want to match your personality... without trying too hard. in light of this, i created three different date night attire ideas. here are my three looks- which do you prefer? 
date night two
date night three

yay! dating 

so tell me... which do you prefer and what do you love to wear on a date?
{to purchase pieces, click on the link below each collage} 
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little glimpses

betsy of heavens to betsy and natalie jean of a tiny traveler have one of my favorite instagram series called #itsabeautiful {which changes with each season}. as a community, we celebrate bright adventures in the summer, rich tones in the fall, the pretty soft pastels of spring, and the crisp and clean slowness of winter. right now the hashtag is #itsabeautifulwinter and it's so inspiring. this week they featured baby parks' little feet and i was so honored. go check out these fabulous instagram friends of mine: 
sweet boy snoozing on a spring like day in the carolinas- loving the blue skies and the birds singing
parks' knit hat is from karenfudge on etsy
still so grateful for my mom and everything she did for us- i miss her. 
we have the sweetest neighbors- i adore them. i knew this from the moment i met them. one couple has done so much for us since the babe was born that i brought them fresh flowers over the weekend. they left for jamaica today and because they are so sweet, they brought them back over for us to enjoy. 
mr. monaco and his brother lost a dear childhood friend last week- so very sad.
however, baby parks got to meet his godfather, jeff, who flew in from philly 
embracing every moment right now
remembering to live today 
without thinking about tomorrow or yesterday 
hey mama
friday night date night
our first one out together since parks was born. i appreciated it so much more than i used to. the place was perfect and we enjoyed one another's company so much. it's all about balance. i missed him so much but putting my husband first is so important to me. 
{and secretly, i wish an artist upon my baby boy}
dreaming of kitty cats and mud puddles 
yesterday, i enjoyed a mani/pedi + champagne with my soul sister, anna
she makes charlotte so much better than it already was. 
when i think about possibly leaving here someday, leaving her hurts so much. 
she has the most loving spirit, is always so supportive of me, and doesn't take life too seriously
plus, she loves me a lot and makes me laugh all.the.time.
i am so blessed to have her in my life. 
{the color 'funny bunny' is my absolute favorite polish}
ps: the second time i went to get it... i asked them for the color, funky rabbit ;) close?!
a grateful heart: 
- a close-knit family
- peanut butter
- smoothies
- baby wearing
- when parks smiles or makes tiny baby noises 
{right now he is snoring on me while in the ring sling}
- book stores
- a spicy glass of red wine 
- the softness of little bitty baby toes
- florals
- quiet moments with parks 
- a grateful teacher's heart: the notes and messages i have received from my current students {they are so good and wonderful this year!!!} during my maternity leave and from previous students- last night i received this instagram tag from a previous student and it warmed my heart so much! so sweet. 
she wrote: reading this incredible book again in honor of harper lee's passing. | thank you @nellemonaco for making me fall in love with this book during 8th grade and now i get to do it all over again 
thank you again, christinanealy
{so proud of you!}

what is a book that you fell in love with early on in life? 

hope you had a lovely weekend!

*in case you missed my post friday- i have a current giveaway going on!*
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newborn favorites for baby + mom

my baby bear, parks james, turned one month on monday, february 15. in honor of the newborn stage, i am sharing my favorites for baby + mom today. there are so many baby items and everyone has their own preferences; however, i thought i would share the ones that we loved most. 
ryan and rose pacifier clips: i found this brand on instagram and love their beautiful options! i feel like we could not live without a clip at this point {we have and it's constant picking up the bink off the floor!} these are perfect.  
blankets & beyond swaddles: parks fell in love with these almost immediately. they are warm, soft, and keep his little hands in so well. we received one as a gift and then i purchased two {they are very reasonable - around $12.99 at marshall's/home goods/amazon} 
the lawn: this drying rack is a must for bottles, nipples, and pacifiers! 
mama roo by 4moms: the mama roo is fantastic! it moves, sways, makes sounds and doesn't take up a lot of space in a room. there are a lot of options for baby and they can all be controlled through an app on your phone! {gone are the days of running over to the swing to crank it!} 
solly baby wrap: it's no secret this week that i am in love with our solly baby wrap! i can't recommend it enough. it is so easy to put on and baby boy loves it so much. i have worn him every day since sunday. i feel like i can get so much done around the house and it was a life-saver at the doctor's office. {the carseat is so heavy- esp. with my incision}
natursutten pacifier: we tried a few different pacifiers but this is by far his favorite! it's designed to be as natural as possible/good for breastfed babies 

bear suit: there are a lot of shops that sell these. my mom and i found parks' over thanksgiving at kohl's and he loves it! it's the perfect warm/cozy suit for a winter babe. plus, people can't get enough of it when we go out- it's just so cute. 

rock n' play: parks loves to take naps in the rock n' play {our pediatrician does not recommend that babies sleep in it overnight- i am so glad i asked because i had no idea!} he loves how it is contoured {again super comforting and cozy for him} and it plays music/rocks at different levels. 

boudreaux's butt paste: this paste is wonderful! it seemed to clear things up so much faster than other brands

milk snob carseat cover: my sister gave us this cover and we love it! it's super adorable and he loves having it over him. the black and white is designed to help with eye coordination and helps to stimulate brain function. we are so grateful that he loves his carseat and traveling so far.

zutano booties: we received these from rachel of little blue sailboat and they are fabulous! they are super cute, warm, and don't fall off! the perfect bootie for a winter baby 

bathtub by 4moms: this tub rocks!! i researched so many and am so glad that we chose this one! it allows clean water in/dirty water out and has a sensor for the temperature {green is good and red is too hot} ideal for first time parents like us! 

aden + anais swaddle blankets: you can't have enough of these! they are light-weight, super adorable, and perfect for skin to skin time 

our moses basket is another favorite!! 
milkmaid goods: their nursing ponchos come in gorgeous patterns and can be used as a nursing cover, carseat cover, cart cover, and scarf. they also sell cute swaddle sets- so reasonable and again, love the prints! 

mustela stretch mark recovery serum: i love this serum for stretch marks - it's already working so well. plus, the light floral smell is lovely 

medela pump in style advanced pump: your insurance should cover a pump and this one has been wonderful... it's super easy to use and to clean!

lululemon backpack: we have a diaper bag/some totes i love to use for baby items, but found pretty early on that a backpack is the way to go! i found one on sale at lululemon and it's been amazing. {esp. for places like the mall where you are walking around and not in one place} the one i found has so many awesome compartments and even a wet bag for diapers 

camelbak water bottle: like i have mentioned before, i loved having this in the hospital and have loved it after as well. i am trying to get in as much water as possible and this has been the best way! {esp. when both hands are full}

ugg slippers: i received these for christmas and have literally lived in them! definitely my favorite slippers ever- ideal for these chilly months at home with baby boy 

trader joe's coconut oil: i was a big believer before and am now more than ever! it works for almost anything- esp. for nursing. i have tried a few other products and this has been the best! 

my brest friend pillow: if you plan to breastfeed, buy this!!! you will thank me later- i promise. 

healthy sleep habits, happy child: several friends recommended this book and i think it's my favorite so far! i will hopefully do a post soon with more detail but am loving it so far. 
nursing tanks: old navy and gap both have some great ones {for reasonable prices} but you are going to want to purchase several before baby comes 
fresh flowers: mr. monaco has brought home a few bouquets {along with some generous friends} and they have helped cheer up the rooms in our home - along with burning candles. so soothing

lavender: speaking of soothing, lavender oil is my go-to! i used it during labor and have used it almost every night since. my parents also bought me some l'occitane lavender shower gel, bath salts, lotion, and a candle-which have all been so wonderful as well {such a great gift to send to a new mom!}
 linking up with:  
Karli at September Farm
 5 on Friday   
Astleigh at Hill Collection  
 come say hi - instagram . facebook . twitter . bloglovin 
disclaimer: this post was not sponsored