Archive of ‘Firsts’ category

Willkommen Zoe!

By Natalie

Zoe’s here! Thanks to everyone who has reached out in the past week to ask how things are going with our new exchange student. Our little family was so excited to finally welcome Zoe to the US.

We had a couple of days to get Zoe settled, registered for school and get her school supplies before school started.

Zoe brought us the sweetest gifts, German candy and chocolate, German children’s books for Felicity and the most beautiful German cookbook. We sat down to look through the cookbook together and decided that Zoe would help make a recipe out of it once a week since she enjoys cooking and baking. On labor day she made us Frikadellen served with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. Zoe was so excited to share a childhood favorite meal of hers. The meal was so good I told her I was going to have to step up my cooking game! That evening was dreary and rainy. I slid the window open to enjoy the crisp rainy air while we ate our hearty meal together under the soft light in our dining room. Our cookbook will hold so many special memories like that one and I will cherish it forever ♥

I love foreign language and learning about different cultures. Brandon and I have already been fascinated by the similarities and differences between our cultures. When we signed Zoe up for classes at her high school we were able to meet the English as a second language teacher who spoke German and the German teacher! They both spoke to her in her native tongue so fluently. I could have sat back and listened all day. It was in that moment that I realized the connection I had felt in Puerto Rico when I was immersed in the Spanish language spanned across languages. It wasn’t simply Spanish that did something for my soul, but foreign languages in general. It brings this intense feeling of home for me. Even though they were speaking German, watching them communicate made me so happy! Her German teacher thanked us for hosting Zoe this year. She said that she loved having exchange students in her class because it gets the students more excited to learn.

Zoe has been teaching us a little German as well. We say Gute Nacht to eachother at night. Sometimes I say Buenos Noches. Danke for thank you and Bitte for your welcome and please, Gesundheit always when we sneeze. Felicity has mastered that one. Zoe asked if we had a saying that we say before a meal like Bon appetite and I shared that I wanted to start saying Buen Provecho before meals ever since I heard my cousin say it in Puerto Rico. So.. we have quite the mix of languages in our home right now and I love it!

“I like your morning playlist.” Zoe said this past week. Her backpack was resting on her lap. La Vie En Rose played softly in the car. I smiled.

Brandon and I love creating comfort. A surprising amount of times we’ve had friends nearly fall asleep in our home because they say it feels so cozy. I wrote about hospitality some time ago. I believe hospitality is more about an attitude and creation of comfort in every space that you welcome people into, not just in your home. So in the mornings when I come downstairs to find a groggy teenager sitting on the bench by the window I greet her with a soft Good Morning. I turn on the wax melt plug in under the stove hood. Warm light and cinnamon scent wafts through the kitchen. I make coffee and try not to talk her ear off.
I grab my keys, we hop in the car and I play my easy listening morning playlist. A little Louis Armstrong, a little Miles Davis, a little Otis Redding.

I drop her off at school before the sun is quite up. Wish her a good day and head home, savoring my hot cup of coffee alone in the car. When I get home I hear the pitter patter of little feet running towards me. “Mama!” Felicity yells and hugs my leg. My husband is on the couch, the man that I love more everyday. The man who cares for me so well and cares for these 2 little women in our home. I’m grateful for the sweet little life we’re creating and truly living.

From the time that we chose Zoe to be our student we felt this overwhelming feeling that it was the right decision. She couldn’t fit in with us more, it’s almost quite eerie that there was this girl half a world away who seemed so similar to us. She’s a reader like me. Like minded in personality to Brandon. She can puzzle with us, do yoga with Lici, adores our pets. She’s one of the quickest learners I’ve ever seen and don’t tell Brandon that I told you but she has totally been crushing him in a video game he showed her.

I’m loving getting to see our world through Zoe’s eyes. Her excitement over the cereal aisle in Target, letting her try her first milkshake and her first street tacos. We’ve taken Zoe to some of our favorite spots around Charlotte and we can’t wait for all of the fun things we have planned for her this year. She’s a beautiful addition to our family.


By Natalie

Walking into the airport after 9 beautiful days in Puerto Rico was nothing short of heartbreaking. This was so much more than a vacation, it was a homecoming.

Brandon and I had hoped this trip would happen at least 5 years ago, but for one reason and then another it never worked out. As I approached 30 I recognized that something in me longed to connect more with my heritage. I wanted to see where my family and ancestors were from, to experience Puerto Rico for myself. (more…)

Lux Sensory Right Now

By Natalie

This has been a wild year. At the beginning of March I started my shop Lux Sensory with a love for children and a passion for creating. Brandon and I have always believed that we were born to create. He’s always said that creating brings us closer to our creator. Building things, forming things, making things, putting something out into the world that had not existed before is at the core of our being. I love to create all sorts of things. I’m a seasonal knitter, occasional embroiderer, Christmastime sugar scrub maker and all around as my bio states lover of all things crafty. (more…)

Open for Business!

By Natalie


I’m giddy to share this exciting news! Many of you dear readers already know about this new venture. On February 28th I opened an Etsy shop! It’s been a dream of mine for years! I have so many hobbies and such a love for multiple crafts, that I was never quite able to hone in on one. Last year when I was discussing this dream with Brandon he said, “Why don’t you put together sensory bins?” The only trouble I had with his question was, why didn’t I think of it first!? As you may have seen here, and here, I love putting sensory bins together for Felicity. Once during a playdate, a friend’s kiddo asked, “Where is that box with all of the Easter eggs and stuff?” I was surprised that he remembered Felicity’s Easter sensory bin. It was mid summer and I had since put it away. (more…)

Camping with a Toddler

By Natalie

On our way home from our first camping trip with Felicity Brandon said, “Well it was worth a try. If we’d never tried it we would have never known.”

Alot of friends said that we were brave for taking a toddler camping. I’m not sure it was brave per say. Maybe spontaneous is a better word. Going into it I thought that the worst case would be we didn’t sleep well and it’d be a disaster. It wasn’t a disaster, but we also didn’t sleep well which will always put a damper on things. With a brand new family tent and new camping chairs including a chair sized for Lici we had big hopes that our little outdoorsy girl would have the time of her life and we’d be camping all the time. I’ve come to realize that the more activities we’ve done this year the higher my expectations have become. After half a year of blah cabin fever I’ve expected so much joy and refreshment from these new adventures and that’s maybe too much to ask of a camping trip and a pumpkin patch hayride. (more…)

A Valentine’s Day Confession

By Natalie

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone ♥

Valentine’s day is a day for us two girls to flaunt our puff sleeves and fill the house with pink.

We don’t usually do anything extra special on Valentine’s day. Brandon makes us dinner. Sometimes I make us dessert. I say I don’t need to have flowers but I secretly always do want them. Sometimes I feel sheepish when people say they don’t really give gifts to eachother for Christmas or don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. Confession! I really love holidays. I like Valentine’s day. I love all of the balloons and heart shaped things in the stores. I like seeing flowers on Valentine’s day. (more…)

10 Things to Say to Your New Mom Friend

By Natalie

As a new mom I received both positive and negative comments as per usual during a time like this. Even as a former nanny I simply had no idea just how involved motherhood and postpartum was until I was living it out for the very first time. I wanted to compile a list of positive things to say to your new mom friend for all those who are at a loss of how to help.  (more…)

Motherhood Right Now

By Natalie

This morning I watched the pink morning light peeking through our window fade to orange. Felicity lay in her cradle arms up bent at the elbows.  She’s sound asleep.

I can’t stop looking at her. I can’t put her down even though I know I need rest too. And for the life of me I can not stop this bucket of tears from pouring down my cheeks.


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