Posts filed under "babies"

PARIS | Family Style

I can't believe our time in Paris is going by so quickly. We only have about a month left. I'd like to say it's flown by, because it feels like just yesterday we were in Hawaii...but the truth is, we have done so much! We've loved getting to know our little neighborhood here in the Marais...We've had such a great time exploring the city with my students...and finding our own special spots when it's just us out running errands alone. We've had friends come and go to make the weekends a bit sweeter...It's been so wonderful! We aren't finished yet...but it's weird when you realize you are over the halfway point of something. But that's where we are at now...and so it's time to savour every thing bit longer and be a bit more intentional with how we spend our days...I'm so glad to take these sweet photos back with us to help us remember this fun time of life. Thanks, Noah, for capturing our springtime in Paris. It's so us. Not perfectly groomed or dressed, but just here...wandering around a city that we love and enjoying the day for what it is. Anyway, here are a few of them to show you a quick glimpse of our little "la vie quotidienne."

*photography by Noah Darnell

Posted on March 28, 2014 and filed under "France", "Paris", "TK", "babies", "noah darnell", "photography", paris.

Momhghh

The title of this post

is a result of a baby crawling across my computer...

I decided to leave it as is,

in efforts of maintaining this post's theme.

*     *     *

Regardless of how easy Instagram and blogging 

may make it look

to travel, work and be a mom...

it's not always picture perfect.

It wouldn't even be possible

if Tyler wasn't working on a start-up

that gave him the flexibility to move his hours around

and work from home when needed.

In fact, can I pause for a moment to applaud the dad he is?

He takes care of Viola nearly every day before lunch

and is, 99%, the wind beneath my proverbial wings

when I have to scoot out to a museum tour or day trip

by hanging back with Viola when I need to be "on."

So, no, it's not easy.

It's take endless chatter trying to align our days

and figure out who needs to be where at what time...

and, at times, it results in one (or both) of us

jockeying for who's "turn" it is to do something...

and, at other time, it makes us want to chunk our day planners

at the other's head in frustration....

... and while we gain a lot from this life,

we also give up a lot to have it.

We don't have a lot of free time

to stay in touch with our friends & family

like we might wish.

We don't have a lot of disposable income.

We have a hard time thinking further out

than about 5 or 6 months ahead.

but do I feel lucky to get to spend my days

with the two people I love most

doing jobs that we love

and working with people we respect?

Oh, heck yeah.

It's not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination,

but I'm so thankful for this time that we have.

*photography by Noah Darnell for Aspiring Kennedy

In case this looks too easy...

People always ask me 

how we travel with a baby.

Well, we just do.

It's possible...

and it's not too painful

at this stage in our life.

In fact, it's actually pretty fun.

But don't be fooled...

it's not always easy.

No matter how serene

our pictures may seem...

well, she's still a baby.

Have a great weekend!

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

One Lost.

 

Over the past year,

in moments when I've felt emotions

that I can only express through writing out

or a brief flit of unashamed honesty...

I've typed out the story of my delivery

to share on here with you.

 

But, to be honest, it's just a lot for a blog post...

and I feel a bit weird 

putting the most painful moment of my life

out on the internet

for anyone to stare at.

 

If I thought it might help someone 

in any was possible, I would...

but our situation was so tragically unique

that I don't have to worry that it might happen 

to anyone else by me not raising awareness.

 

If I ever see you in person

and you want to talk about it,

I'll explain it to you then...

 

But because when I do meet blog readers

and I realize how little I have exactly shared,

I do want to share a few things with you

that can help you understand things a bit more...

 

First, our daughter was not miscarried, nor was she stillborn.

We didn't find out that anything was "wrong" with her before delivery, 

and we didn't expect anything other than two healthy daughters.

 

She was full-term. She was born, lived, and she died when she was two days old.

 

To our surprise, she was Viola's identical twin sister...

and she was prettier than we could have ever imagined our chid could be. 

 

Today, you would know her as Evelyn...

 

And the combination of our two daughters

would leave us exhausted, broke, homebound...

and stuck with the feeling that we were

 the luckiest people to have ever lived.

 

 

.  .  .

 

 

I'm not sure how you're supposed to write

about the first anniversary

of your daughter's death,

but here I find myself trying to do it justice.

 

I'm sure there are other people who have done it

that could offer an example to me,

but you can't replicate the words of anyone else

when you find yourself in a moment like this.

 

So, in the name of nothing going as we had planned

and in the hope of everything ultimately working out for good,

I can only offer these words a year out:

 

I miss my daughter. 

 

I miss the year that has passed without her,

and I mourn the years ahead that will slip quietly by

without her in them.

 

But I cling to the hope that God's love is greater

and that this world is fleeting.

 

In a moment like this, I realize

that what other hope can we have?

 

 

.  .  .

 

 

I'd also like to say thank you.

 

Thank for you being there with us.

 

Not only did you buffer the awkwardness 

of sharing with the internet

that your delivery went terrible and you lost a child,

but you responded in the kindest of ways.

 

You poured out thoughtfulness through your words,

you eased the hurt with meals and gifts,

you connected with others behind the scenes

to relentlessly show us how much you cared.

 

You taught me how to love those who hurt,

and I hope to never forget it.

 

But most importantly,

thank you for celebrating our daughter's life

and grieving our daughter's death.

 

Your interest and compassion give significance to her life.

 

As her parents who endlessly grieve such a short end,

there's no greater gift that can be given 

than the one you have offered 

through acknowledging her life and it's value.

 

From the bottom of my heart,

thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 25, 2014 and filed under "babies", "life", "viola", babies kennedy, kids.

Here And There

Well, I was in London...

but now we're in Texas.

After a few days

of traveling, jet-lagging, binge eating, and hustling,

we are now

unwinding, getting back to working, and detoxing...

...oh yeah, and blogging.

Nothing too fancy,

but I thought I would brighten your Tuesday

(it is Tuesday right?)

with some things

that have been snagging my attention.

. . .

I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last night...

Tyler & I both agreed Ben Stiller is getting better looking with age,

however, we disagreed about liking the movie.

(Him = meh. | Me = yay.)

Anyone else love it as much as me?

*

I'm giving my site a facelift

with the help of the always fabulous,

Kelly.

She just does the best site design...

I'm such a big fan.

(Look for the updated, spiffy look soon.)

*

I may be the last girl on the planet

not to have a Kate Spade cell phone...

but I finally got one (from here)

after my long-standing $5 amazon find

busted.

*

I can't believe

our babymoon

was over a year ago.

Man, that trip was fun.

Enough fun for this pregnant girl

to forget she was the size of Italy

and waddle around the streets of Venice

 for hours on end

while her legs swelled to the size

of giant salamis...

What I would give

to be back in that moment...

I think I'd

freeze time and just stay there forever.

*

Baby GAP came out with a Paddington Bear collection.

Be still my beating (or was it bleeding?) wallet.

Also along the

I-need-to-stop-spending-our-clothing-budget-on-baby lines:

these baby moccassins are great.

I'll blog about them more later

when I host a giveaway for Minnetonka,

but in the meantime- $20 for a pair. 

They even got a "those are ridiculously cute" from Tyler...

who, if you know Tyler, doesn't say those kinds of things

just to make me feel good about my shopping haul.

*

Also, the

lady-sized pair

is pretty great

for loafing around the house in...

I already am dreaming of a rainbow of them in my closet.

*

Oh, and speaking of giveaways...

tomorrow, there's going to be one here

for one of my favorite travel bags by Ellington.

.

Be back later this week for your chance to win.

. . .

And now, 

me and my Costco-sized tub of JIF

are headed to the couch

with an apple, The Sound of Music

and absolutely no shame.

(Okay, fine... a little shame. Stupid detox.)

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on January 28, 2014 and filed under "babies", "life", "venice".

Home (Sweet Home) For the Holidays.

Well guys, thanks.

Your love & support

via emails,

instagram comments & facebook messages

was so encouraging over the past four days.

I'm writing this from a chair in my living room

with my cozy pajamas on (these)

after the first shower I've had in days.

My baby is sitting in an adorable shirt (this)

and playing with jingle bells

underneath our Christmas tree

that will probably stay in our home 

for the next couple of weeks to come.

Just for the sake of not sounding completely random

to anyone who hasn't been on various social media...

Saturday, I decided to take Viola to the A&E (read: ER)

since she had a nasty cough that had settled into her chest

and our doctor's wouldn't be open until Monday.

What I thought would be a couple of hours 

ended up being a four day stay at St. Mary's Hospital (this one).

moms who nebulize: i salute you. nothing worse than holding down your baby against their will.

The first day, we were pretty traumatized

to be back, in residence, at the hospital where the girls were born.

The quick downshift from happy/normal

to sudden change of plans felt a little too familiar,

and a wheezing, crying baby doesn't help you feel better.

Luckily- our nurses & doctors made us feel really okay with being there.

Four days, three nights and endless poking & prodding later,

Viola is back to normal

and we are thankful that God took care of that nasty infection.

We are closing up shop for 2013

on a high note,

and optimistic that this is the start

of a great year ahead.

Thanks again for, yet again, being there for our family

over the past year.

You've celebrated with us,

you've mourned with us,

you told us our baby was cute

even through her weird-alien newborn days,

and you've just been... so, so nice.

Lots of love for the year to come.

We look forward to sharing life with you again!

xo-

T, L & v.

Posted on December 31, 2013 and filed under "TK", "babies", "life", "viola", babies kennedy, holiday.

Traveling with Babies | Here's What I Know.

I've been getting a lot of people asking me

for advice for traveling with kids.

First of all,

I feel the need to clarify:

traveling with a baby

is an entirely different ballgame

than traveling with a kid.

Kids seem easier than traveling with a baby

in a few ways

such as having their own seat,

carrying their own little animal-shaped suitcases,

and, generally, knowing to not poop themselves. 

Though the idea of going anywhere

(grocery store included)

with a toddler is completely terrifying.

None the less,

let me help offer what I know & have learned

traveling with Viola.

I'm not going to pretend to know all the answers,

but the kid did clock 8 countries by 8 months old…

If I'm not a professional,

I'm at least not intimidated by traveling with a baby.

*     *     *

First things first:

adjust your expectations.

Even traveling across the ocean,

I always think this phrase over & over 

during the day (and night) before we fly:

"Even if it's a completely awful day,

it's only one day

and then I'll be in (insert destination here)

and it will all be worth it."

I would exchange one crappy/miserable day

to spend a week pretty much anywhere, 

so that gets my eyes on the prize.

Second: Know your allies.

Airline employees = nice.

Fellow passengers = hate you.

I was pretty amazed at how sweet 

the airport staff & airlines treated us

and welcomed us on board.

They helped us board early,

snag empty seats,

and made our travel so much better.

I was equally amazed 

at how many mean looks

and snotty remarks we got

while traveling.

On our way home last month,

I walked to our row

and the man who was sitting by us

looked up, looked at me, and then snarled:

"Ugh, really?"

I gaped so loudly out of shock 

and then laughed in his face:

"Yup. Sorry dude."

Fortunately, all the people around us overhead

and went out of their way to compliment

what a sweet baby Viola was after her A+ performance,

but still.... wow.

Third: Manipulate the schedule.

I start planning the day before

how to make Viola's schedule line up

to need to feed as we take off.

I'm doing everything I can to make sure she is hungry

at the time our flight is scheduled to take off.

This not only helps her pressurize her ears

as we take off,

but it makes her sleep like a champ. 

If she starts trying to eat or sleep

in the gate, we play with her

and get her right near that edge of feeling crazy

so that she'll conk out once we start taxiing that runway.

Fourth: Get them to drink.

Babies can get crazy whenever they want on flights,

but they cry most often during the last thirty minutes of a flight

because the pilots start the descent

and their poor ears aren't able to pop.

They don't know all the tricks we grown ups know,

so you have to be the brain for them on this.

This can be a bit tricky, 

since it's a long period of time.

I'm not sure if this is fool proof, 

but it worked for me.

I think of the 20ish flights

we have been on, 

Viola has only cried once

and that was because it was such a short flight

and I couldn't time her feeds up for take off & landing.

Go ahead and nurse them

and then- once they are finished

and the world still looks a million miles away: 

pull out the secret weapon,

the bottle of goodness.

When Viola was really little,

I put a bit of sugar water in a bottle.

I would drop a bit in her mouth

every 30 seconds or so

and she would gulp it down and pop her ears.

As she got older, 

I've diluted juice with water and given her just little drinks

to help keep her curious until we touch down.

Sometimes I've used Smart Water, Apple Juice, whatever...

Heck, I'd even resort to Sprite, if I had to.

Anything to keep her from hurting.

The goal isn't for them to chug it down,

just something to intrigue them

into drinking a bit more

after they have already filled their bellies.

Fifth: Get to the airport two hours early.

Flights have bulk seating reserved

for the day-of travel.

The sooner you get there, the better options

the airlines can offer you 

for your seating.

Even if you don't get the bulkhead,

getting their early can help your family

make sure they are all seated together.

You can also hop to get an "infant block" seat, 

if there are a few unsold seats.

Five: Shop the unpopular flight times.

We try to skip peak travel times

in order to play the odds for a uncrowded flight.

Uncrowded flights means empty seats.

Empty seats mean that you + hubby

could score a row of three

and lay a baby down to sleep between you

while you do fancy things like read a magazine and drink coffee!

We look for midweek travel

at non-commuter travel times

like the early afternoon.

Six: Let the kid call the shots.

Airplanes are not the time to enforce schedules

and try to hem children into new things…

Don't fight the small stuff.

If they want to roll around and lick the tray table,

let them have at it.

Your baby wants to eat 365 puffs?

Great. What a time killer.

They want to squish the vomit bag into oblivion?

You go, Glen Coco.

Those things are not your battle today.

Your battle is getting to wherever you are going,

with your sanity in tact

and your baby happy.

The rest is, just… well, it's not important.

*    *    * 

Okay, those are my favorite tips.

Nothing mind-blowing,

but it works for us.

I hope that this can help you…

and please, if you have tricks that have

made your travels easier with kids,

share them with us.

What are some things that have helped you

when you've traveled with kids?

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

If I'm Being Honest...

I feel like I've been blogging a lot of random topics lately... and that, perhaps, a "check-in" on a more personal level is due. You know, just being honest with where we are, what life is like, how we feel... and other things that will, not only clue anyone interested in, but will be good for me to write down for posterity sake in the years to come.

So here they are... random blurbs & thoughts. {Editor's Note: Buckle up.}

*  *  *

Yesterday, I got really sad when I realized that November 2nd was the date that we had our 20 week sonogram and found out we were having two girls. I haven't been up for watching the video we made, but it is pretty cute if you haven't. 

Why is it that anniversaries are so much harder than other days? There's nothing particularly different about them, but I guess they just remind us that life is moving on and we are officially a bit further removed from that person. It doesn't help that Viola is so cute, either. The more we love her, the more we see what we lost. In a flit of boredom last night, I looked at our pictures from the hospital. They start the night I was induced... such light, carefree faces in the delivery room where Tyler is juggling heart rate monitor bands and then switch directly to the two of us sitting under the bright lights of the NICU holding our sweet babies with puffy eyes and the emptiest looks on our faces. 8 months later, and I still feel just as caught off guard. I had a dream just last night that I was pushing two little Violas in a stroller and then I look down and one has disappeared and, in the dream, I thought: Oh yeah, she was never actually here. I hate that part.

*  *  *

When I see other moms "mourn" their babies getting "so big" on social media, I have to remind myself not to get fussy. Having your baby grow and do "big kid" things is what every parent who has a child that won't hit those milestones dreams of. You'd be devastated if they didn't.

But behind my defensiveness and jaded perspective, I have the luxury of knowing where they are coming from by having a perfectly wonderful baby, too.

And so, I try to remind myself to savor Viola's smallness today, because I know one day this baby won't be exist anymore... she'll be a toddler/kid/teenager/adult so my time with "Baby Viola" is fleeting. And, safe to say, I'm not taking any time for granted.

I'm breathing in cute moments a little longer while they are here and enjoying them for what they are... The three of us cuddled up in bed on a rainy morning. How Viola looks curled up in my arm with her nose squished on my curled up arm... which is probably connected to my iPhone. #shameful Pushing the stroller through Portobello Road with her clutching on to my finger. Her toothless little mouth.

*  *  *

Wow, Lauren, stick to blog posts on donuts & France... this stuff is low. I know, sorry.

So with all of this sad talk, where does that leave us? Wistfully mourning? Yes. Hopeless? No. Scared to death of "what else" could happen? Trying not to be. Tyler & I would both say that we are at the point where we've just nestled into the bigness of God and his goodness.

We really do believe that, even if it's not right now, and despite our aching sadness- He is good.

Does it sound like crazy talk if I tell you that I have felt God's love more this year than ever before in my life? It probably does, because- in spite of my sadness, I am so thankful to Him. I feel like I'm the character in a really great happy movie in the low point where they hit their moment of crisis... but the writer will obviously write for everything to come together and happiness be restored. And until that happy ending arrives and I find myself smugly walking off in the sunset holding Tyler's hand, the end of Psalm 52 will be playing on a continuous loop in my mind

....

"... I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;

I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.

For what you have done I will always praise you

in the presence of your faithful people.

And I will hope in your name, for your name is good."

*  *  *

So there you have it... a quick look into my crazy brain. Kinda like walking through a spook house with scary things at every corner, eh? Perfect timing for Halloween. Don't worry though, you'll make it out okay in the end. (And, you know what? So will we.)

 

*image

via

Posted on October 31, 2013 and filed under "babies", "life", "viola", babies, babies kennedy, kids.

In Your Dreams, Baby Mama.

My good friend Beth Dotolo is kind of famous.

 

At least, you won't be able to convince me otherwise.

 

You've probably heard of her super cool totally unique design company,

PULP Design Studios

.{If not, now you have!}

 

She designed our little nursery which you may have seen

on the Apartment Therapy tour

of our tiny flat from earlier this year.

{If not, now you have!}

 

You've probably already seen that they are currently doing

a giveaway for a gorgeous nursery

worth $6000 together with Tottini.

{If not, now you have!}

The giveaway

 is open to US residents and you can sign up

for your chance to win!

 

So what do you think?

Have you put your name in the hat to win?

{If not, now you should!!}

*    *   *

*photography by

Kevin Dotolo

Style Me (Mini): Little Picks with Big Appeal.

 

While I was pregnant with two girls, I only ever bought one of anything. For some reason, the idea of matching wasn't my thing. I went more for "coordinated." With everything that happened, it ended up that Viola has a ton of clothes... and, fortunately, we didn't have a ton of duplicates to have to cry over or deal with. I like to think that Viola is honoring her sissy by wearing them well.

Tyler & I always say that we honestly don't know if our hearts could have taken looking at double this cuteness everyday. Can you even imagine? I do all the time...

Posted on September 13, 2013 and filed under "babies", "shopping", "style watch", "viola", babies kennedy.

On The Road Again | ICELAND (& some tears).

 

Today's the day.

We are off to Iceland!

Last year, 

we touched down

in a crazy place we had never visited,

with a group of 20 people

to lead around a place we'd never been...

...and with the new knowledge

that we had a belly full of babies.

 

To say we felt a

little uneasy is an understatement,

but it was also an incredibly exciting time for us.

 

We felt like we were on top of the world.

I thought I looked so pregnant here. Ha! 16 weeks pregnant.

 

This year, we're walking back to the same starting point,

-maybe limping a little, if I'm honest

.

It's really hard for Tyler & I to revisit the places and times

that we associate with the hopes & 

excitement we had

for having two babies.

 

I can't really explain it...

but in those moments when you remember what happened

-that you had a child that you loved and that she died-

 it feels like getting the wind knocked out of you.

 

It feels so terrible and so sad.

 

You just can't even believe that something so bad actually happened...

and after a few minutes, you somehow refocus to whatever was in front of you

recompose yourself, and wipe off the streams of mascara

that have dried to whatever is that you were holding- baby included.

 

I guess the good news is:

there could be worse places & jobs to do when you're feeling low.

 

We'll take a trip to Iceland as a win

in the midst of this season of heartache...

 

And I can guarantee that Viola

will be having the time of her life.

{Thank you, God, for giving her to us.}

 

So that's a rare, candid peek

at where we are and how we are coping.

 

We feel undeservingly fortunate

and hopeful of the joy in the life surrounding us

as we muddle through a period of heavy grief.

We'll be hitting the ground running

as soon as we touch down.

Make sure you follow along on instagram (username: aspiringkennedy)

and keep up with the crazy adventures.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 1, 2013 and filed under "babies", "iceland", babies kennedy.

Five Things On My Mind (Dallas Edition)

Here are five things sitting on my mind

now that I'm residing in the Lone Star State

for the glorious month of August.

Baby in "heat" in England: laughing. Baby in "heat" in Texas: passed out.

 I almost forgot what hot was. 

When you've just gone through a "heat wave" in England

where temperatures are sitting in the high 80's for weeks on end,

you aren't suffering.

You're spoiled.

Thank goodness for the invention of the pool

& drinks that are available in quantities over 50 ounces...

and for under $1.

I really shouldn't have eaten so much dessert

after every single meal

every single day

this spring & summer.

Now that I'm in a swimsuit or short dresses,

I slightly regret it.

(But let's be honest, I'll be hidden from the glare of chubby white skin in a matter of weeks. YOLO.)

 I love king sized beds.

I mean, I can wax poetic

on how snuggly we are

in our cozy double...

But there is something

that can only be described as wonderful

when you can spread out like a starfish

in your bed...

and still have your man in there with you.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

England, you need it.

Trust me.

I've been starting out every day with a big ole bowl of the stuff...

and I'm the better for it.

The Queen would be, too,

I can just feel it.

If not for me,

do it for the happiness of Prince George's childhood.

I'm in the last few days of 28.

My birthday is Sunday.

28 was too much of a bit of a roller coaster for me.

I'd like to recover from the emotional

whiplash

I experienced

during the last year

with a period of just regular days & goodness.

So upcoming year,

please be kind, boring

& slightly heavy on the trips to Italy.

As much as it stinks to get older....

I feel like 29

is going to be awesome.

Let's do this.

***

What's one thing on your mind today?

Posted on August 8, 2013 and filed under "babies", "life", everyday living.

England, meet Baby Shower. Baby Shower, meet England.

My friend, Grace, is pregnant.

So like all good, Southern American girls,

I offered to throw a baby shower for her...

because, duh, that's what friends do.

Except here in England,

they don't actually do that.

And they think it's a little weird

to have a baby shower, too.

Oh well.

By the time I learned this was a bit of an anomaly,

the invitations had been sent,

the cake had been designed,

and I had raided the Baby Gap sale

and robbed them of all newborn clothes.

We were committed.

It ended up being such a fun day.

It was hilarious explaining to our Brit friends

what types of parties we as Americans have

for the various occasions in life.

{Lingerie Party, Engagement Party, Wedding Shower, Couples Shower, Bachelorette Party, Gender Reveal Party, Baby Shower, Mega 1st Birthday Party, etc.}

One of our friends summed it by saying

"Sooo, basically, it's just really expensive to be an American?"

Yeah...

and it'd be a lot worse if it weren't for Costco & Target.

***

Grace is a book publisher

and cute children's books

have a pretty big place in her heart.

So, naturally, we had to include them as much as possible.

We also based the party off a pretty pattern

from

Laura Ashley's Hydrangea tea set

since we were using this pattern for the serving pieces.

The food matched the theme

with an sparkly orange & almond cake,

yellow ombre mini cakes (white chocolate mud!),

lemon meringue mini parfaits

& savoury egg cups (for something a little savory!)

And even Viola matched the party colors!

I loved the cake that was the centerpiece.

{It was so moist & so soft.}

The combo of orange & almond

was perfect for a hot summer day.

I loved the gorgeous bunting of mini classic books

that Meg handmade for the shower.

I loved the beautiful

cut glass cake stand

from Laura Ashley

that it sat so prettily on.

Not only was it delicious at the shower,

but I ate it for breakfast for the following two days...

because let's be honest, it's not any worse than a donut, cinnamon roll, danish, french toast.

And this little tower of edible goodness?

Well, what the Tower of Babble did to the people building it

so this tower of temptation did to my summer diet.

(Read: ruined everything.)

I really love the pretty grey & yellow hydrangea pattern of it.

{Laura Ashley is so perfectly English...

which is exactly what we needed for this day!}

It was such a fun day

and I hope my dear Grace felt loved...

because, after all the cake & presents, 

that's actually the point

of all of our crazy American parties.

Thank you, Laura Ashley, for the gorgeous serving pieces.

They made our day all the prettier.

***

If you want to recreate any pieces of this fun day,

I've done the dirty work & compiled it all for you here.

DECORATION 

Cut Glass Crystal Cake Stand (Laura Ashley)

Hydrangea 3 Tier Cake Stand (Laura Ashley)

Polka Dot Pitcher (Laura Ashley)

Glass Canister (Laura Ashley)

Lovely Little One Bunting (SALT Etsy)

Children's Classic Cake Bunting (Upon Request via Meg-Made Etsy)

Jane Austen Quote (Dancing & Press Calligraphy, Etsy)

Stuffed Rabbit (Laura Ashley)

FOOD

Orange & Almond Cake

Lemon Meringue Mini Parfaits

Salted Caramel ANZAC Blondies

*Special thanks to Laura Ashley for donating these gorgeous serving pieces for our special day! I love them!

Oh Boy, Oh Boy: The #royalbaby is here!

After spending today

trolling around St. Mary's Lindo Wing

in the (year's hottest) heat,

we are proud to report:

Viola's arranged marriage

is officially on track

and we are excited to start

our play dates at Kensington.

We are now just waiting for Royal approval

(or perhaps, recognition of our existance)

to start the path to the altar.

Cheers to the safe arrival of

HRH Prince Charming.

(Who, at the time of posting, has not yet had his name announced.)

Either way, I have a feeling

it will go swell with Viola.

Check out a few of the instagrams snapped

from our day at St. Mary's.

My partner-in-crime, Amber. :)

Someone finally gave up

and wanted to get the heck out of the heat...

But I won't name names. 

And at last-

the news breaks!

It's a Prince.

All around the world,

every little girl's heart just skipped a beat.

Okay, fine... maybe not,

but their mom's did

faster than Carol Middleton can say

"Married Up."

______________

Don't miss out on my next royal "encounter"

(like my time at the

Royal Wedding

or at the

King James Bible Anniversary Service)

follow me

on Instagram to keep up with all the fun live.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on July 22, 2013 and filed under "London", "babies", "famous faces".

Baby's First Swim... a la mode.

Did you know "a la mode" means "in the current style or fashion?" While I may actually prefer the Americanized version that involves a mound of ice cream being sat alongside- or on top- of something. I mean, how did that become the term for  adding ice cream to a hot dessert? In the current fashion of... childhood obesity? Not sure... but I'm thankful someone made it happen. I'm also thankful that my dear friend, Kyla, snapped these pictures of Viola having her first swim...

in an infiniti pool....

.... at a gorgeous chateau sat amongst a vineyard in Southern France.

That, my friend, is swimming in style. If we keep up these kind of moves, this baby's first words are going to be "Treat Yo'self."

Moving beyond the ridiculousness of this girl's short life, can I once again sing the praises of this gorgeous chateau? If you missed it, my full review is here. You can go check it out while I stare out the window at the grey skies of London bemoaning the pseudo-summer. {Yes, the fairy tale is over and we are back to living in reality!}

 

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy.

GiGi New York: Tote-ally Awesome.

Traveling a lot

offers you the ability to learn

how to travel smart.

You learn what things you can do without

and what things you absolutely can't live without.

Pretty much anything that weighs more than 

my makeup bag or a paperback book

isn't making the cut...

my shoulders are so worn down from years of schlepping

my laptop, notepad, camera, water bottles,

piles of books I wanted to read (but never did)

around as we traveled.

But I'm older & wiser now....

and I have a kid

that requires lots of other transported

junk

gear.

So how do you travel smart

when you need all the essentials,

need it to double as a diaper bag,

but want to look like a normal/non-mom person?

Well, I have no idea...

but I think this cute tote bag

by GiGi New York

gets me pretty close to it.

I like the idea 

of using a bag

that is cool enough to me to wear pre-baby 

... after you become post-baby.

Obviously, I realllly like that idea. Reason 1051 I'm not a fashion blogger. God bless those special people.

Plus, you can put your own initials

on the cute bag tag...

or have them stamped directly on the bag.

{Like my cross-body from last summer had,

remember

?}

Your choice.

Traveling is hectic enough...

so why complicate it with extra pieces

when you could just carry everything in one, pretty, chic bag?

Especially when you've already got your hands full.

GiGi New York Teddy Tote

in Taupe, $295.

Sounds like it's time for you to get packing, too.

Check out the entire line

here

.

***

PS. This bag comes in so many colors!!! One for everyone. ;)

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

**tote bag c/o GiGi New York.

Happy/Sad Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is this weekend. I can't believe how much has changed in a year. This time last year, we were just two kids having fun living between Paris & London. And then, I got pregnant.

{This was the video I took to record the moment- live from the bathroom of a Chinese massage parlor- ha!}

We began to dream of new our life with the three of us.Until we found out it would actually be the four of us. Our hearts swelled with anticipation of the two sweet girls headed our way. We felt like we had won the lottery. For those nine months, we both glowed.

Dreams of walking the streets of London each holding a little girl amused our every thought. We'd see little girls plodding along the sidewalk and give each other side glances and smiles. Life was never so sweet.

And then everything changed. Tyler became a father. I became a mother. But life looked different than we thought it would. Our world has changed from so much. Even thought we feel so much joy, we aren't those careless kids anymore. In the course of a year, we've gone from having zero kids to two girls to one. Even though it hurt -both emotionally & physically, I might add- I'd do it all again. In a heartbeat. It was worth it all to become a mother to both of my beautiful girls even if it was for so much shorter than we wanted.

And while our dreams of holding both of our sweet daughters throughout life's adventures are now gone,I'm so thankful for those months I was lucky enough to carry them both.

Happy Mother's Day to all of us...

Those of us who raise babies.

Those of us who once raised babies.

Those of us who still wait for their turn to hold their baby.

And those of us who will always miss our babies.

xoxo-

Lots of love from my {aching/joyful} heart to yours.

 

Posted on May 11, 2013 and filed under "TK", "babies", "life", "love", "viola", babies kennedy, babies, holiday.

When a Friend Grieves: Your Guide to Being a Super Hero

So the last two months have been great. They've also been tough.{Perhaps an understatement?} Fortunately, we have some amazing friends who have made our lives a bit brighter and have keep us incredibly taken care of. I hope that no one ever goes through what we did, but if/when you find a friend going through a tough time- here are some ways we have been (& continue to be) loved that have rocked our world. So skim this post today, but bookmark it for later when you need to put on your knight armor & trot off to rescue someone in need.

Who ever knows what to say in such circumstances? Probably not you, but the good news is that your friend that is hurting doesn't have the right words to say either. No one really knows what to say on either end. 

Are you doing okay? Well, no not really. 

I understand what you're going through. Great, but it still hurts.

Is there anything I can do? Yes, but I have no clue where to start. 

When you're in these moments, here are some ways to say that you care without actually saying it.

Groceries! Once a week, bring by essentials: bread, milk, coffee, jam, toilet paper, kleenex, magazines, cereal, fresh fruit, or whatever else they might often use. It's an easy, quick way to help keep life going on when it feels anything other than normal.

Perhaps the most common route, but not one to be overlooked! This is a tangible way for you to send your thoughts. We got flooded with cards that at the time, I couldn't really process... but these days, these letters and thoughts are so sweet to read over. And over time, it will be a nice reminder of who walked through this with us. {Emails are also pretty sweet, too.}

***

Another amazing thing: friends that have sent postcards & notes at random now weeks later sending sweet notes to uplift us, silly notes written from "Kate Middleton," & encouraging us with sweet sentiments.

The first thing I think is important to say is that the first response wave is crucial to helping someone through tragedy... These are the people that come and visit you in the hospital. They send flowers & baskets of muffins to warm up your home. Their presence helps make the suddent impact of everything better.

Then comes the second round.These are the meals that are brought to lighten the daily load. These are the letters & cards that arrive to offer love and mark the occasion.These are the gifts that try to ease the loss. But after the initial shock is over and people go about their daily routine, the hurting are still reeling.

And then, comes the (often forgotten,) third round. This is where small notes arrive in the mail after the others have stopped just reminding you that you are being thought of & prayed over. These are the flowers that arrive months later when the others have long been thrown out. This is the massage appointment that has been booked for you.

My advice is this: reach out initially with love and immediately call a florist/spa/food delivery service and do whatever it is that you can do to love them... but arrange that the gift is given several weeks later. It will remind them that someone is still thinking of them and offer a huge impact in the quieter days ahead.

****

We were lucky to have friends use the amazing site, Care Calendar to coordinate meals & drop-offs that were scheduled for 4 nights a week for eight weeks after our babies were born. It was so nice and gave us time to see everyone and visit with them individually.

We were spoiled with special gifts from friends & family that eased our grieving and commemorated our daughters. Beautiful jewelry with the girls initials to wear as a reminder, relaxing bath oil to use when I needed to hide out, & sweet handmade blankets knitted with love and prayers. When everything sucks in your life, it may seem shallow-  but it does feel great to be pampered.

You need to have some sort of win, and while things won't ever replace your loss,it does make you feel like you're ahead of the game in some small way.

________________

So there you have it. I hope you don't have to use any of this anytime soon... but if/when you do-just know that no matter how you reach out in love for someone, you probably can't go wrong. Doing anything is better than doing something that isn't perfect.