Graham is Fifteen Months Old!

Thirteen months was probably your biggest month yet! You hit so many milestones and it was such a joy to see you learn so much so quickly. You started walking on your own. One day you were holding on to the couch cruising and the next day your were off. We had your first big snow, it was mostly ice but still. You really started talking this month, saying more, bye, hat, hot, nose (you also know where your nose is), night night, and ball (ball was your first word). You will also growl when we say lion now which is just the best. You had your first trip to the dentist, you got so many new teeth this month that I honestly lost count. We finally went back to swim lessons this month and you love it as much as ever! You’ve been making the most hilarious disapproving look at the dinner table, where you look down under your hair at us and we all crack up! Poppa Bob was with us most of the month; daycare closed twice for covid exposures so you were home with him so mom and dad could go to work. There were lots of afternoon couch naps with mommy this month, since you were home from school and I just love them! The silver lining for you being out of school so much this month was that we all got to spend extra time with you and see you bloom this month!

Fourteen months! You’ve continued to grow and learn so quickly. It took us a bit to settle back in to a routine after you were out of school so much, but you finally found your groove at school with your teachers and friends this month! We celebrated Valentine’s Day this month, the balloons were your favorite. Swimming is going great! You’re going under now, although you are a bit distracted by what all the other kids are doing so you’re not closing your mouth sometimes. Our afternoon naps have suddenly become a thing of the past, you’re far too busy! They sure were sweet while they lasted and I will miss them! We’ve had some nice days for playing outside and are loving our backyard! Hats are still your favorite! Mom and dad went away for a weekend at The Greenbrier this month and you stayed with Dadima and Poppa Bob at their house, your first time in a different place without us. We took our last trip just the three of us to the beach this month! It was a blast to see you on the beach, playing in the waves and the sand!

Now at fifteen, almost sixteen months old it’s hard to believe you will be a big brother in just a couple weeks. You are laughing and running and playing nonstop now. It seems like everyday brings a new word or a new skill. You have so many words now that I’ve lost count and you know quite a few of your body parts. You had your first haircut this month! We’re loving the warmer weather and being able to play outside. You’re developing your own opinions about things now. You’re in a phase where you only want to eat fruit and are throwing all your other food in the floor. You have brought so much joy to us over the past year! Your smile lights up the room and hearing you giggle makes our hearts sing!! Growing up as an only child I always dreamed of having a sibling. I hope that you and your sister will be a gift to each other. Being so close in age, I hope you’ll develop a lifelong friendship and many wonderful shared memories together. We look forward to seeing you grow into your new role as big brother. We love you so big little boy!

Maternity Photo Shoot

We had maternity photos taken on a gorgeous spring afternoon in March. As usual Amber took our photos and they turned out perfect! I was 36 weeks pregnant!! Graham is 15 months old and it’s hard to believe how close it is to him being a big brother! We can’t wait to meet our girl!

Here are the photos we took with Amber when I was pregnant with Graham!

Paris – Day 7

On our final day in Paris we tried to fit in a few last minute things, while also keeping it low key and enjoying our last bit of vacation. We went to the Museum de l’Orangerie to check out the Monet water lilies, but didn’t see much else here. We were honestly overwhelmed with all the museums we had seen. We had lunch at L’Imperial Rivoli, where I tried a Croque-Madame for the first time… When in France Right?!? We did some last minute walking around the Marais neighborhood, and checked out the Picasso Museum. I loved that we had the museum pass for this trip. We never had to wait in line for tickets, or for entry, and we didn’t have to feel bad about the museums we breezed in and out of since we had already paid for the pass. We had our last chocolate croissant, packed our bags and enjoyed one last view from our colorful balcony. It was a WONDERFUL trip!!

This wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t show us being the ONLY people in the Charles de Gaulle Airport. Always the timely traveler Sean had us at the airport hours before it even opened, which feels hard to do at an international airport the size of CDG but we managed…

The Perfect Baby Moon at The Greenbrier

Our Room

Ready for the Bunker Tour

Patterns for Days

Casino

Peach Cake

Carriage Rides

The Salt Cave and Spa

Most epic afternoon nap

Afternoon tea

Perfect place for a swim

Jerry West’s Prime 44 Steakhouse

The best décor

Sean’s favorite chandelier

My favorite chandelier

Sunday breakfast

The Greenbrier was the absolute perfect place for our babymoon weekend getaway! I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a place to get away for a short trip on the East Coast. It’s the perfect mix of things to do and nothing to do but relax! We arrived on a Friday afternoon just in time for the Bunker Tour. This is a little piece of history that you should not miss! It is absolutely unbelievable that a fallout shelter for Congress existed for 30 years with no one being the wiser.

On Friday evening we went into the nearby town of Lewisburg. It has apparently become quite the local foodie spot. We tried out The Livery Tavern, which was honestly just OK. Our waitress was great and we enjoyed our dinner, but I think if we go back we would try somewhere different. There were quite a few spots we were considering trying out, like The French Goat and The Humble Tomato, so something to look forward to for next time! After dinner we went back to the hotel and checked out the casino. To me one of the fun things about the resort is that it still has a dress code, sport coats are required for men in the casino. It was fun to get dressed up and enjoy an evening out. Once we had run out of luck I decided it was time for late night cake! We had the funniest experience at the dessert shop. The nicest man was helping us grab a slice of peach cake to-go, and then he offered us the cake buy one get one free, so why not!? Two giant slices of peach cake, never heard of peach cake but sounds delicious! As he is packing it up in the to-go containers, another employee walks up to the counter and says “do you know what you’re having?” referencing my very pregnant belly, which I totally missed and responded with “CAKE!” After my moment of embarrassment we took the cake back to our room and it was SO GOOD!!

We started out Saturday with a trip to The Pomona Salt Cave and Spa. The Greenbrier has an amazing spa that I’m sure is worth every penny, but is v expensive. We were both able to do facials, and a trip to the salt cave, and lunch, and smoothies here for nearly the same cost as one facial at The Greenbrier. It’s about 15 minutes driving from the hotel. We loved our experience here! I’m sure it’s not as fancy as The Greenbrier, but it was a perfect relaxing morning. We also loved that there was a café and smoothie shop on site. The lunch and smoothies that we got were great! After our relaxing morning we went back to the resort to relax and I had an epic afternoon nap. We went for afternoon tea in the main lobby and followed that up with a swim in the pool. That evening we had dinner at Prime 44, Jerry West’s steakhouse onsite at the resort. The food was delicious, but the service was even better. Honestly, a perfect day!

One of the things we kept noticing all weekend was how wonderful the staff at the resort is! Our waitress told us that she was a third generation employee from her family. Everyone is so helpful and friendly and really wants you to feel taken care of!

On Sunday we closed out the weekend with the full breakfast buffet in the main dining room! All in all it was a perfect weekend away preparing for little girl!

Also happy to report that I finally checked this spot off my bucket list of places I want to visit in the south!

Paris – Day 6

I could say this about all the days of the trip, but Day 6 was one of the best. We took the train to Versailles early that morning. We got there almost as it was opening and it really was not crowded (with the exception of the crowd you see in the Hall of Mirrors photo, which I think may always be like that). I think visiting in November also helped with the crowds. One thing I will say about our trip to Versailles in low season was that much of the furniture and other things that the audio guide mentioned seemed to be missing, possibly it was being cleaned or restored, and the famous gardens were a little lackluster with nothing in season. However, we enjoyed there not being much of a crowd and still getting to experience this famous location. We stayed a few hours and then took the train back in to Paris. That afternoon we explored Montmarte. I loved this area and would love to spend more time here. There are so many amazing shops and streets that you could spend days wandering here. We watched the sun set over Paris from the Sacre-Coeur, which I highly recommended. The view at sunset was magical. We wandered from here to the Hotel Particulier for some fancy drinks in a cozy spot off the beaten path. (Also happy to report we are still making the drink the bartender here taught us.) We finished up with dinner at Buillon Pigalle. The restaurant was a mix of tourist and locals, and the food was fantastic. This was one of our best “authentic” French meals. We are still trying to recreate the beef bourguignon.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 7

Paris – Day 5

Our the 5th day of our trip we covered a lot of ground. We started with a tour of the catacombs. I cannot express how much I disliked this. Sean had booked this as something he wanted to do, and I had no clue what we were getting into. I do not like small spaces, I do not like being underground, I do not like dead bodies, I do not like there being no emergency exit. The catacombs are all of those things. That aside our tour guide was really knowledgeable and engaging. We were lucky enough to be in Paris when the Rembrandt collection was on display at the Louvre. We had reservations that afternoon to check it out. We hit the highlights of the exhibit and hit the road. The Louvre was overly crowded to the point of not being enjoyable, as it turned out our reservation was only to see the Rembrandt pieces not the rest of the museum and we weren’t sad about it because it was such a cluster. That night we had tickets to see a ballet at the Palais Garnier. I had mostly just wanted to see a show inside the famous opera house so we could see the inside. It is definitely worth seeing in my opinion. It’s gorgeous. We wound up loving the show we saw, we had amazing seats that I had purchased basically by accident, and it was great to drink champagne and feel fancy for a night.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 6

Paris – Day 4

Day 4 of the trip was a museum and shopping day. We started the day with breakfast at Brasserie Le Bourbon. There were lots of business people here having meetings and eating. We enjoyed eating here. We followed that up with walking to the Rodin museum, which allowed us to take in some sights around the area. The Rodin museum was probably my favorite that we visited. I loved that it is both inside and outside, it wasn’t crowded, and you could walk around the gardens right in the middle of the city. We then went to the Museum D’Orsay, which has lots of great highlights, but we were lost most of the time we were there. It was crowded and difficult to navigate but we did manage to see some beautiful art! From here we walked to Rue Saint Honore to do some shopping. We stopped in Laduree since no trip to Paris is complete without the famous macarons. After our shopping we hurried back to change and head to our dinner reservation at Frenchie. We made a huge mistake and tried to take an Uber since we were all dressed up, we ended up sitting in so much traffic that we were late for our reservation. The restaurant staff was so great about it, but they have a strict cancellation policy so Sean was freaking out the whole drive there. The food at Frenchie was AMAZING. It is one of the best meals I have ever eaten. We had the sommelier do the wine pairing for each course also. We were lucky enough to have seats at the bar looking into the kitchen, which was a great experience. After dinner we walked to get a drink at the Experimental Cocktail Club, which was a fantastic spot our server told us about. When we were ready to head home we tried Uber again, but had no luck as our driver drove away as we were walking toward the car. We opted for the metro back, and I was not please about being in the metro late at night in high heels, but what a cool looking metro stop.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 5, Day 6

Family Holidays 2021

Graham’s First Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! We started the day with a FREEZING cold Turkey Strut. It was good to get out of the house and get in some exercise. We ordered most of our meal from Salem Kitchen so all we had to do was heat it up. I made a green bean casserole and homemade dressing, but otherwise we kept it low key. Aunt Jody came in the afternoon to have Thanksgiving with us and brought 2 pies and some deviled eggs. Graham tried and liked all of the food we had for our meal, he even had a bite of pumpkin pie! It was a great first Thanksgiving for G!

Christmas in Old Salem. We spent the morning walking around, listening to the carolers, and eating fresh Moravian Sugar Cake. I love the bridge in Old Salem at Christmas.

Christmas at Graylyn. We had a nice lunch at Graylyn before going to meet Santa. This was Graham’s first time seeing Santa. As you can see he was intrigued at first but then like most kids he was not a fan of sitting in his lap. Sorry, but I love the picture of him in Santa’s lap. It is a classic.

Christmas visit from Grandpa Jack.

Christmas at Reynolda House on a warm December day. Playing in the water fountain and the fields.

School Christmas Party! I love this background the teachers set up for the photoshoot, the kids did a gift exchange and everything!

We spent several days in West Virginia at Sean’s parents house this year celebrating Christmas. It was so much fun to see Graham start to be interested in Christmas. He liked the lights and all the shiny things best of all. Sean’s brother and his wife were in town for the holiday’s as well, so it was fun for Graham to be able to spend more time with his aunt and uncle. It was unusually warm so we spent a lot of time outside on walks and on the porch which was nice.

Champagne wasn’t the only thing popping this New Year’s Eve. My belly officially popped. We had a nice dinner out with friends while Aunt Jody baby sat G, and that wrapped up our holiday season this year!

We’ve been keeping a secret…

Graham is going to be a BIG BROTHER! The Easter Bunny is bringing Graham a little sister. I am due on April 17th, Easter Sunday. I know that Graham is going to be a wonderful big brother and look forward to them being so close in age. It may be a bit chaotic for a while, but how lucky are we to have two little ones that can grow up together and hopefully become the best of friends. I have been feeling great other than being tired from chasing a one year old and being pregnant at the same time. We are soaking up the time with him as an only child, but we are so excited to meet our sweet girl.

Spend the Day in Reims

Paris – Day 3

On our third day of the trip we took the train to Reims to explore the champagne region. It took a little over an hour to get there and was well worth it. This was maybe my favorite day of vacation. Reims was a fun town to see and we found it very walkable. The Museum of the Surrender allows you to experience the location where the German’s surrendered World War II. The map room is still exactly as it was on the day of the surrender. We really enjoyed this museum. It is next to a local school and we accidentally went into the school looking for it. Ooops. From here we walked to the Reims Cathedral. It is absolutely beautiful, the stained glass is unbelievable! The history here is fascinating; It was built in the 13th century and was the location for all of the coronations of the French monarchs. After this we walked to Brasserie Le Gaulois for lunch. Our waitress was great and talked about how much she loved having a chance to practice speaking English, however the food was honestly not good. Kind of reminded me of the French version of Applebees. I should mention that we came to Reims on a Monday and many places are closed so we didn’t have as much to choose from. We knew that going in to the day and were fine with it, but I do wish we had been able to try some of the places we heard about. One cool thing about the restaurants in Reims was they have great champagne selections so we were able to try a few from places we weren’t able to visit. From lunch we walked to Tatinger where we had made a reservation for a tour and tasting. Most of the larger champagne houses require reservations for a tour. We enjoyed the tour and our guide was great. We did a tasting and ended up buying some to have shipped home. From Tatinger we walked to Pomery. We did a tasting here and bought a couple more bottles. After a full afternoon of champagne drinking we found l’edito brasserie to stop in for dinner. We enjoyed the food here and our server was great! It was the only restaurant of the entire trip we went to where the server spoke no English (our problem not his – for being in France and not speaking any French), but he kept apologizing to us and was just so nice! Our last stop before the train was the local grocery store. This was a great stop as we found many of the local champagnes we hadn’t been able to try for sale here.

More from our trip : Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6