olive june: December 2016
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new years eve ideas

i am so excited to share our christmas memories with you all but wanted to share some of my favorite new years eve decor ideas with you all first. i have so many plans for this little space in 2017 (lots and lots of ideas!) i have enjoyed this four year journey so much and am excited to continue in the year ahead. cheers!
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parks james | eleven months

well, it's one month until one. my sweet baby parks james is eleven months old (well he was on december 15th) i'll be honest, i'm a total wreck over my baby turning one. i feel like i was pregnant two weeks ago and i should have a tiny baby asleep in my arms right now. time has ticked away so quickly. i have loved every stage of this incredible year but i LOVE the baby phase and wish i could keep him tiny forever. i have held back tears with every milestone and every change and phase. i wish i could hand on to his babiness forever and ever. and ever and ever and everrrrrrrr.

but you know what? his personality at eleven months has been the single best part of my life so far. 
parks continues to just be the sweetest baby, so easy going and happy
he makes the cutest faces and the cutest sounds 
he loves his 'bobo nono'
looking back, some months didn't bring the biggest changes... however, this month brought tons. he is so much more interactive and playful. he is beginning to put things together now and loves to play on his own more. he is known to 'flirt' and engage with strangers when we are out and about. he also loves to clap, wave, pat his hand on his mouth when he jabbers, and is the best kiss giver (wide mouthed and usually a good five in a row) he still loves baths, stuffed animals, story time with his friends, and he moves a mile a minute. parks has eight teeth and is working on two more (the most challenging we have had before). 
we are officially at the age where i feel like i have a big boy
my heart has doubled in size this year

things i want to remember: 
+ your tiny, chubby feet and toes
+ how you love music and dancing (swaying back and forth) 
+ looking and smiling at strangers
+ your love for peanut butter, yogurt, and bananas
+ saying 'wow!!' - mama- dada- baba - bop
+ how you love to brush your teeth 
+ splashing in the tub
+ you continue to sleep like a dream with your two favorite stuffed animals (dino and bunny) and your love for your right, ring finger (so random!!) 
+ rocking you to sleep and singing 'rock me mama like a wagon wheel!' 
+ the christmas season with a baby - so magical 
+ your LOVE for other kids and pups 
+ playing your instruments
+ your first haircut - so fun! 
+ your first thanksgiving 
+ you love board books
+ you are a momma's boy - never forget that.

merry christmas wishes

i have tried this year, more than ever, to pause. to pause and celebrate slow living through the seasons. i have been trying to surround myself with people and things that echo the beauty of mother nature's pace. 
this year was a difficult one for the world, wasn't it? i have found myself lately feeling quite guilty because this year has been so special for us (welcoming parks and starting our family) while, at the same time, i can't stop thinking of the global sufferings affecting families and cultures across the world, loved ones who have lost a piece of their heart through the passing of a spouse, parent, child, etc. and the many local shelters filled with the hungry and the cold. this time of year seems to be when we yearn for peace more than ever. it always fills my heart with so much compassion, the month of december. i love the joy that the season usually brings ... people are usually friendlier, more generous, and more caring towards others. but i also know that so many innocent people are suffering. and so enter the guilt. do you ever feel this way? 

the light of a newborn King born in a humble stable reminds me that light in our often dark world is a simple hope. as a new mother, i keep thinking about how i want to raise my children; the possible lessons i want to pass on. i want them to always seek joy, to see good, and most of all, to be kind. i want to teach them within the walls of our home to practice compassion, understanding, empathy, and a deep love for one another. and that there are ways to be the light in this world. 

this christmas i am wishing you all light in this often dark world. 
i hope it's always there, somewhere in your heart. 
parks got a big boy haircut on thursday at kid kuts in oakley | cincinnati ... i ran over to the post office and his uncle alex set up his first 'real cut.' they were so wonderful there. 
ready for some christmas cocktails and food with loved ones
i had coffee at my aunt and uncle's this morning and this photo was presented
'vintage nelle' loved real christmas trees early in life
we always went to a farm, about an hour away, with my aunt and uncle every year 
this was before my brother and their two kids, now 24 and 20 years old 
such a great stay in cincy this past week ... we went to over ten places (not including the mall) with my brother on thursday. he was such a patient uncle and we made lots of memories ... we acted silly and enjoyed shopping together. my sister and brother-in-law's house is so beautiful and cozy. such a wonderful stay and how incredible is my sister's homemade wreath? 
off to mimi and grandpa's house yesterday morning
parks has been the best traveler... only about ten minutes of crying over a ten hour traveling span
so proud of him.
merry christmas to you and your family

what are your plans? 
... i would love to hear... 

our christmas card | 2016

i really, really enjoy christmas card season. i usually start to browse the holiday cards on minted towards the end of october; however, deciding on a design takes me usually up until the first week in december. minted is my very favorite way to send holiday cheer to loved ones. 

this year we went with the 'winter botanicals' theme cards with a photo of parks in his knitted reindeer hat while picking out our christmas tree... one of my favorite traditions of all. 
(i don't know why there are lines over our names... but minted is so wonderful that i am looking over it) 
under the photo of parks we wrote 

so this is love.
their free address assistant might just be my favorite part
they know the way to this momma's heart - they are printed so beautifully and save so much time
the greatest gift of all 
a few from thanksgiving day 
because we are most thankful for this boy in 2016
before we were off to meet the big guy

meeting santa + holiday link love

i had been telling myself... 'i would be SO surprised if parks cries when he meets santa!!' ... 
we took parks to the daniel stowe botanical garden, right outside of charlotte in belmont, north carolina. we arrived a little before 4pm... only to find out that there was an event that was pretty costly and was more directed towards older kids. (major rookie parenting mistake) so we got back in the car and took parks to the toy store for a few hours and headed back. by this time, he was beyond tired and currently has two stubborn teeth coming in... so we got this. totally not like him (at all- he never cries) but my poor baby... maybe he scared him? the santa was super sweet and authentic... but he just wasn't having it at all. however, the event and gardens were stunning- so amazing. we enjoyed live music, a stroll through the lit up gardens with a craft beer for him and a red wine for her, food trucks, and lots of friendly people. 
link love for you this holiday week: 

these magic bars
+ i have been loving this holiday mix
+ this beautiful calendar
+ 26 diy gifts to make (lots of pom pom love) 
+ these paintings are incredible  
stop in tomorrow to see our christmas cards this year 

also, wish us luck as we drive to cincinnati today for a few days to see my sister and her husband
they live in hyde park... i absolutely love it there. 
any fun, festive things you love to do around there? 
my brother flew in yesterday from dayton to help drive parks and i back today - so sweet. 
mr. monaco will be joining us late friday evening in my hometown 

have a wonderful wednesday

a gift guide | shop small

as you know, by shopping small and/or local, you are doing a blessed thing for your community and for those who work so hard behind the scenes. my parents like to give us each three gifts, in honor of the three wisemen. 'something you need', 'something you want', and 'something to read'. today i thought i would share some ideas for all three of these, specifically for a family with a new baby. i also love clothes and love the idea of adding a 'to wear' category for our family. stop in soon to see what we decided to get parks regarding these categories. we played santa yesterday for the first time and it was lots of fun! his 'to wear' is a new coat and his dapper little christmas outfit. 

need:
baby | outerwear, baby gate, safety locks, happy teether by bella tunno 
for her | pink coat, fawn design diaper bag, lunch bag

want: 

read: 
  what about you? 
what are your 'shop small' favorites

disclaimer: this post was not sponsored 

our holiday home

hello there. thank you for coming into our home and visiting today. it's quite cold outside for the carolinas today and the three of us are keeping warm by wearing our warmest jammies and drinking peppermint tea and + hot cocoa... and watching christmas movies. marshmallows and cold weather go together like watermelon and popsicles in the summertime. 

on another note, i was thinking about my gift wrapping for christmas this year... i love the wrapping part of the holidays. i usually go to micheael's the week before and get fun touches (more than likely around 70% off). wouldn't it be cute to include a movie quote on the tag? what are some of your favorite quotes from movies... please help me with which ones i should put on our gifts? 

here are some detail photos of our home at the moment... come on in.  
some of the things i love to decorate our home with during the holidays: 

+  i love some glitter, lots of glitter 
+ colors: gold, green, gray, pink, or white
+ lots of vintage, sentimental pieces are my true love 
+ knitted and wool items
+ trees... lots of trees 
+ wood 
+ touches of fake snow everywhere
+ brush trees
+ garland + pine
+ trader joe's has little cinnamon brooms that i place around our home (.99 cents a piece) 
+ deer + antlers
+ metallic 
+ candles 
+ poms
+ pinecones
i love to put artificial flowers on our tree + pinecones + gold 
baby boy's room 
he has a little tree in his room 
the morning st. nick came 
a scene from my shop
p for parks 
but his real name is 'boo bear' around here
so this is his 'first christmas ornament' 
a $3 target bear... that will always mean so much to me
a few scenes with my favorite sidekick this week 
storytime + a seasonal latte at 'not just coffee' | 7th street market uptown
i feel like their service and the lattes are always just the best
and kisses from momma at a brewery in asheville this past tuesday 
we went up to the mountains for the day 
i didn't grow up around mountains... but they have my heart. 

parks' outfit was sent to us from izzy and isla 
the cutest dapper onesies ever
thank you so much, shannon
we love it
{more on the details soon but too excited not to share her shop) 
...
how do you like to decorate your home for the holidays?