He’s Here!

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Charles Everett DeBardelaben, our baby Charlie, joined us last Friday, October 10 at 12:23pm.  He weighed 7lbs 7oz and was 20in long at birth, but is growing bigger and stronger everyday.  We have spent the past week falling deeply in love with him and trying to figure out this whole parenting thing (spoiler alert: we love it!).


I can’t wait to share his birth story because it’s a good one.  Quick highlights: It was a beautiful, empowering, and transformative experience and everything I had hoped it would be.  I arrived at the hospital at 9.5 cm and caught him myself about 3 hours later in the  birthing tub!unnamed-1

For now though, I must go rest.  It’s exhausting caring for a newborn!  :)

Lots of love,


Baby Shower


How about a really happy post after my last, really sad one?  Yes, I think that’s a great idea.  :)

I had a baby shower a couple weeks ago and it was so awesome!  My friends Stephanie and Emily threw me a small gathering with my closest ladies, Minted sent some of their awesome party decor, and my friend Audra came to take pictures.  Life lesson: it’s good to have talented friends because they sure know how to make a special occasion even more special.

There are lots of pictures in this post, so let’s just get to it!


I offered to host the shower at my house because a few people hadn’t had a chance to see the progress we’ve made since buying a year ago, plus it was great motivation to finally get the projects done that I’ve been meaning to do before the baby comes.  There’s nothing like the threat of company to make you get your act together and finally tackle that to-do list.  It made me a little crazy, I have to admit, and I ran around like a (very pregnant) chicken with it’s head cut off for a couple weeks leading up to the shower, but I am so so glad I had that deadline to meet.  It was such a huge relief to check off so many tasks in a short period of time.  And it was fun to let everyone see the nursery! (Which, I don’t have pictures of yet, sorry..)
KDeBBabyShower_005 copySecret’s out: we’re planning on naming our little boy Charlie.  :)

Oh, and also: The FOOD.  You guys.  I didn’t lift a finger and this amazing spread just materialized on my table.  It was amazing.







Mimosas were served, but my friend Stephanie made sure to have a mocktail version for me and it was dang delicious.  I drank so many that, had they been the real thing, I would have been slizzard.


All of the party decor you see, including this sweet “Oh Baby” banner is part of the “Colorful Balloons” party decor set from Minted.  And one thing that I love about Minted is that  everything is completely customizable – so, this is actually listed as a kids birthday party set, but it was easily made baby shower-appropriate by some simple tweaks from the Minted designers.

Minted has done invitations and all sorts of stationary for a long time, but the party decor has only been out for a year or two I think.  This was my first time seeing it, and I thought it was awesome.  It makes a party come together really fast so the hostess isn’t fretting over the details last minute and can enjoy the day.  I will definitely be remembering that little fact when it comes time to throw Charlie a birthday party because, as much as I would like my kid’s birthday to be some awesome, everything-hand-made, completely custom and over-the-top shindig you’d find on Pinterest, I just don’t see myself putting that much effort toward a little kid’s birthday party.  Pre-made party decor for the win.

I laughed when I saw what Emily had picked out for the shower because she picked a color theme that already kind of coordinated with my house and that is so a detail that I appreciated.


Dude.  I’ve had so much fun gaining baby weight, can you tell?  ;)  #pizzaallthetime

Also: this shelf with the pegs in the photo below?  I built that the day before the shower while Parker was at work so he couldn’t yell at me for working too hard.  I TOLD YOU, I was a crazy person.



I baked these mini pumpkin spice bread loaves for everyone because every time I thought about how kind it was that people actually wanted to come and give presents to celebrate Charlie entering the world, I got a little sappy and emotional.  So when that happens, I bake.  KDeBBabyShower_010

It’s been so long since I did any house updates (sorry…) but this is how we have the living room arranged now.  It’s so much better.  We never used the room before because it was just awkward, but it’s much more homey and inviting now.




This garland is actually not a part of the Minted party decor set, but instead the creation of co-hostess, Emily. I told you – it pays to have talented friends!  I think she’s going to post a tutorial on how she did it over on the Eclectica Kiddo blog (she and my other friend, Laura are the founders of that crazy sweet company) so keep an eye out if you want to make one too.

I loved it so much that it’s hanging in the nursery now, which I have got to post about soon because it’s so stinkin‘ cute.

These invites were so cute, and backed with a pretty striped pattern.  I’m definitely saving mine to put in Charlie’s first baby book.

So that’s it!  The afternoon was a total blast and went by in a flash.  I felt so loved and spoiled and it’s always great to have a bunch of your favorite people in one place.  Thank you to my lovely friends and family who made me feel so special.  And thank you to Minted who sent over all of the gorgeous party decor.  I have been such a fan of their products since we ordered our wedding stationary from them a few years ago (you can that see in this post).

And a special thank you to Audra Starr who shot all of these lovely pictures.  Let me tell you a quick story about Audra: We first met in college when I was the teaching assistant for Photography 101 and she was a student.  Fast forward all these years and she has WAY more to teach me than I could ever teach her, which I’m hoping she will do one day :).  She has her own photography business, which you should check out here, AND she writes a blog with three of her close friends called You Can Sit With Us, which is just the sweetest and you should be following.  Also: she has two adorable little kids, but you would never know it by looking at her because she does Crossfit on the regular. The girl is hot.  Anyway.

In other baby news: our due date is in two and a half weeks (October 15), but I am betting this baby is here this week.  I just have a feeling.  And mother’s intuition is a real thing, right?  Guess I better pack my hospital bag and install the car seat (ah!).  Anyway, I’ll probably update Instagram or Facebook with the big news before this blog, so follow along there for an early glimpse of the cuteness if you’re interested.  :)

Full disclosure: I was gifted the party decor from Minted, but I really did love it and I always go there first for any kind of stationary I need.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Obviously.

On the Kindness of Strangers

Come On! KANPE on flickr

image via

Walking around town with a big belly gets a lot more attention than I ever anticipated.  And I have to say: I am loving it!  Strangers stop me nearly every day to inquire when I’m due (October 15!), what I’m having (A little boy!), if this is my first (Yep!  First one!) how I’m feeling (Great!), or sometimes even just to smile and say, “Congratulations” without stopping where they’re walking.  One woman even held the door open for me on the way into the restroom and let me go first, saying, “I’ve been there three times myself, mama.  You go right on ahead!”.  It really is just so sweet and every time someone goes out of their way to be nice to me simply because I’m pregnant, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with sappy gratitude and joy.

Sure, I’ve gotten some questions or comments directed my way that haven’t been as nice, like being called crazy for any number of reasons, including (but not limited to) wanting a natural birth, wanting to cloth diaper, or for being determined not to let my house get overrun by plastic baby things strewn everywhere.  (To be fair though, most of those comments haven’t come from strangers, but from closer acquaintances and family members, which brings to mind – why is it that strangers can be nicer than the people who actually know you?  I digress…)  But for the most part, people are so kind and so excited for me that it makes it easy to stay in a positive state of mind. 

At 31 weeks (I’m 33 weeks now), people started telling me I looked like I was literally about to “pop any day now” and I would just smile and say, “Oh, I still have two more months.  You ain’t seen nothin‘ yet.”  I know a lot of women get sensitive with comments regarding their size or how big they are, but even those don’t bother me because I know they don’t mean any harm.  People just like big pregnant ladies!

Every week I go to Whole Foods around lunchtime, grab something to eat from the salad or hot bar and eat in the cafe before starting my grocery shopping.  One day I grabbed the last seat left next to a man who struck up a conversation, congratulating me and asking the usual questions (see above) and we ended up talking the entire meal.  He, sharing stories and passing on important tidbits he had learned from fatherhood, and me taking note, trying to remember it all but knowing full well that exhaustion and a real live BABY will likely cause me to forget a lot.  Before he left, he congratulated me again and said, “Just trust your instincts.  You’ll be a great mom.” and I was left staring at my salad with big elephant tears threatening to drop any second.  The kindness of strangers.  It’s really something, isn’t it?

Did you have similar reactions when you were pregnant?  Did people stop you everywhere to congratulate and ask you the usual questions?  I wonder if it is cultural or if people everywhere are generally enthusiastic about seeing a (very obviously) pregnant woman out and about.  And I wonder if it’s because I don’t have any other children with me that makes them assume it’s my first and if that is somehow more exciting.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Hello, weekend


The last weekend of July is here.  August, the month when school starts back here in Georgia, is just around the corner.  I can’t even believe it, this summer is just flying by.

This weekend I am headed up to visit a dear old friend (and her adorable redheaded baby with big dimples that make me squeal with delight) in South Carolina before coming back for a neighborhood pool party on Sunday.  Parker and I made some good progress on the nursery this past week, but I have given him quite a lengthy Honey-Do list while I’m gone that I hope he works on.

Anyway, I better get on the road to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic headed up north out of town.  Hope you all have a great weekend.

PS – this morning, I finally googled “how to shoot a subject in front of a window” because I never can get the exposure just right – either the subject is right and the background is way blown out, or the background is right and the subject is a dark blob – and the simple answer BLEW MY MIND.  So, that’s the first picture I shot to test it out and I gasped when I saw that I actually did it.  And then I smacked my forehead that it took me that long to google that silly question.  Ask and you shall receive!  (Now, I must add “clean windows” to my To Do list ASAP.)

Ramblings at 28 Weeks

This is a long and totally rambling post of my current thoughts and whatnot to document this time in my life.  A journal-like post, if you will.  If you skip this one, or don’t make it to the very end, I won’t be mad atcha. :)
28 weeks

“Though still extremely premature, babies born during this week have the potential to survive with intensive care that could last weeks or even months.” (source)

On Sundays, I start a new week in gestation and I always check this site to see how big my baby is and what little milestones have just occurred and what is to come in the following week.  When I read that sentence above, about my baby being able to survive if he were born right this second, I felt really proud.  Kind of like when I ran marathons and passed the 20 mile marker (the farthest I ever trained before the race), and I would think, “Okay!  I made it this far and I still feel pretty good, I’m gonna be fine.”  Of course, marathons have a way of really stickin‘ it to ya in those last milesjust as I’ve heard pregnancy does. ;)  I feel so happy to be on this side of the pregnancy.  There’s a lot of unspoken worry deep down, especially in the beginning of “What if I lost it?” which could still happen of course, but the chances (and worry) are less and less the further along we get.  Grow, baby, grow!

I can confidently say that my body was made to be pregnant.  Pregnancy agrees with me.  This body feels completely comfortable growing a child and I absolutely love it.  I love it.  Sure, there are decidedly unpleasant side effects (like heartburn morning, noon, and night, gah!) - but I never expected my life to be the same once we got pregnant so I don’t resent anything that comes along with this journey.  I never sleep through the night anymore.  I can’t even remember the last time I did.  And it’s really not a big deal.  I get up 3-4 times (at least…) to waddle to the potty, then waddle back to bed.  And I wake up at least as many times to turn over which is not so much a simple maneuver, but more of a choreographed dance that requires moving the giant pillow I use to support my knees before heaving my belly over to the other side – all as silently as I can muster, so as not to disturb Sleeping Beauty on my left.  A couple of times I have woken up in agony from twisting wrong and wrenching my lower ab muscles that are already being stretched to an extreme.  It makes me wonder if I’ve done irreparable damage or if I should do like Jessica Alba did and wear a corset after giving birth to help those muscles find their way back home after the baby’s born.

Last night, as I slipped back into bed from yet another trip to the bathroom, I laid down with both my hands on my belly and for the first time felt the baby turn and flip over.  It was the first time I felt something other than a kick or quick flutters.  This was slow and undulating, rocking from side to side.  Almost like waves.  It made me smile a sleepy smile in the dark and drift back to sleep where I dreamed about giving birth… and telling my midwife to “shut up and let me focus” when she was cheering me on during pushing.  Haha! Sounds about right. ;)

Let’s see, what else is new?  I cut my hair!  Cut off a lot actually, but it wasn’t even a big deal, even though I’ve been keeping my hair long for about six years or so.  Ordinarily I would agonize over this kind of important life decision (eye roll) for weeks, gather lots of images to show my hairdresser, convince myself that right now really isn’t the right time to be cutting off so much hair since my face is rounder than usual and short hair would just accentuate that fact (another eye roll).   But this time I just called and got an appointment the next day, walked in and told my guy (John Robert at Dragonfly Salon, Atlanta peeps!  He’s the best!  And super hunky too.) to cut it short and trusted him to make me pretty.  I don’t even know how many inches were cut off (there was a lot of hair though).  I realized I‘ve reached a time in my life where that kind of thing just doesn’t make it on the priority list of things to obsess about anymore.  Another milestone in life.  The “I don’t give a $&*#!” milestone.  And that feels good!

I finally bought some maternity jeans a couple weeks ago and it’s ....AMAZING to be able to wear real pants instead of the same rotation of dresses and leggings that I’ve been wearing for months.  I don’t know why I waited so long.  I also got a few shirts and finally a couple of new bras (it was getting hilarious with my other ones..).  It was one of those trips to Target where you walk in to just buy milk and trash bags and $200 later you’re like, “Waitwhat just happened?”  Target has that power over everyone, I know you’ve been there before too.

Parker and I built a book shelf/book rack for the nursery this weekend and changed out the light fixture in there too.  It only took us all freaking day and two unplanned trips to the hardware store, but hey, we’re making progress!  In the middle of a very frustrating moment trying to get the light fixture up, I rubbed my belly and said, “Oh baby boy, you will have no idea how hard your mom and dad worked to make this room special for you.  You probably won’t even think it’s that special because you’ll never know otherwise.”  But isn’t that the way it is for parents?  Parents work so hard for their kids and the kids don’t even realize it?  Ah well, sign me up!

Also on the nesting front, I have been organizing and cleaning like mad!  Last week I went through our kitchen and took every single thing out of every single drawer and cabinet and vacuumed all crumbs, dust, whatevertheheckfallsinthere, and scrubbed them with a magic eraser until they were brand spankin‘ new again.  This never would have happened before because I wouldn’t have even noticed the job needed to be done, but these nesting hormones don’t miss a beat.  And then I took on the project of organizing my spices in matching jars from World Market, which I’m still giddy about.  Our label maker really got a workout that day.  Behold:

organized spice drawer

Is there anything more satisfying?!  With room to spare too.  I still have to empty the fridge, scrub it clean, and reorganize it (I’m writing this post to procrastinate doing that actually…) and I’ll be done having my way with that room.

Also, in case you saw on Instagram, our air conditioning went out last weekend, but thankfully we’re back to blasting it 24/7.  I’m not kidding - it is SO HOT.  So much hotter for a very pregnant girl than the rest of the population, I swear.  Just typing that gives me hot flashes.  I made myself comfortable in front of a vent once it was fixed.

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While it was broken, we had to retreat to my parent’s house over the weekend while we waited for a technician to come out the following Monday.   Oh and then!  As the tech was leaving, it was raining and somehow he tripped and fell into this brick column outside in front of our house (it doesn’t actually hold up the roof or anything, it’s a real head-scratcher)and the whole thing came crumbling down!  Evidence:


Parker walked outside to see what the noise was and found the poor guy just staring in shock at the mess he had just made and in no way could possibly fix.  The guy felt so bad and was SO embarrassed.  Poor thing!  What he didn’t realize was that he did us a huge favor!  We were planning on getting rid of that thing anyway when we build a porch over the concrete this fall and were dreading having to load up and haul all the brick to the dump.  He took it all away for us as an apology and we “called it even”.  I’m just glad it didn’t fall in to our cars or the windows (or the tech, obviously)!  Could have been bad, but ended up just a happy accident.

Okay, enough rambling.  This is the longest post about nothing in particular ever.  Over and out.