Posts filed under "viola"

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

Is This Thing On?

No blog posts in a week? Ah, yes... I've slipped into the black hole of the chaos of my semester. Forgive me. I'm here. I'm just busy! (Who isn't?) So in the void of thought-provoking blogging, here are just some awesome things that I have seen, discovered or eaten since we touched down in France.

CHATEAUX | We had such a great day in the Loire Valley last week. It's such a quick trip from Paris, I think you should definitely make a day of it when you plan your trip to Paris. Hop a TGV from Gare Montparnasse and head to Tours. In about an hour and some change, you'll be there.

Plan to rent a car and hit the open road. Chambord, Ambroise & Chenonceau are the destinations awaiting you. You definitely won't regret this decision. (It'll be an all day event, if you plan to do it right.)

SANDRO OUTLET | If you come to Paris and you're in the Marais, take a quick jump up from the St. Paul metro stop to the Sandro outlet on Rue de Sevigne. I bought some awesome silk pants there (€20) and an amazing white cocktail drew (€40) there today. The sweet girls working there said they get new stock in about ever other day. (I have a feeling I'm about to become so much poorer.)

NOT-TOO-SWEET TREATS | I'm all about pastries, but for some reason I've been drawn to the simpler choices when wandering into the boulangerie lately. Spongey madelines, almond-tinged financiers... these are a few of my favorite things.

BOOT CAFE | While Paris is known for many lovely things...it isn't know for great coffee. Unless you're wanting a tiny espresso in a pretty cafe, "real" coffee is hard to come by. Lucky me for stumbling on a new shop, Boot Cafe, right next to my metro stop, San Sebastien Froissart. The new coffee shop sits where a cobbler used to be (hence the name)....Grab a cafe creme and a piece of the blood orange + pistachio cake to start off your morning in the Marais.

ON THE MARKET | I love Marche Aux Puces as much as the next American, but the trek out to Pore de Clignacourt is a bit of a haul and the prices can be a bit steep. (I can't get stay away from it though.) I was so excited to see the more-local market pop up on Boulevard Beaumarchais over the weekend. I'm hoping it's a weekly thing. (Any locals able to weigh in on this?) So many great "Paris" things...from old street signs to discarded china. I got two really cool books for 0.50 each.

GIVING ME THE LOOK | First, Viola has mastered "the look." She gives it on command and we think it's so funny. We are sadly having to reign it in now because she's taking it a little too far and using her new super power for evil.... But honestly... it makes me laugh.

Also, I'm getting the look. The Paris look. With being pregnant (and huge!) and then post-baby messiness and then nursing chubbiness (am I the only person who gained weight while nursing?) and then 2 year old wardrobe apathy, I had basically given up and given into a wardrobe cycle of about 4 items + 3 scarves. See below for documentation of said repeated items.

Being back here is awakening my old self and I'm actually freshening up my closet a bit. I'm working on the extra pudge I've slapped on, but no place like Paris to make you want to lose weight and wear some great new clothes.

* * *

That's all I've got for now. Keep following the fun on Instagram. Things are getting exciting. If you're looking to spruce up your closet, too, here are some pieces that make me say, "Oh la la!"

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on March 12, 2014 and filed under "France", "Paris", "shopping", "style watch", "viola", paris, travel.

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.

Notting Hill | Family Style

When you live in Notting Hill,

the increase in rent

requires a sacrifice of the size of home

you could get in other areas of London.

So for us, 

"home" expands beyond the four walls of our tiny flat

and into the picturesque neighborhood that surrounds us.

The bustling market

full of once-loved treasures,

the pretty cafes that tempt you as you pass by

with their windows piled with fresh goodies,

and the endless sea of the iconic colorful houses

all come with settling in Notting Hill...

... and we think that's worth more

than a second bathroom

or extra storage space.

So after our Houzz shoot the other week,

we jumped at the chance to have

Noah Darnell shoot some pictures of our family

wandering through the neighborhood.

I had every intention of sending these out

as our Christmas cards,

but it never happened.

Luckily, I still have an amazing selection

of really sweet pictures from that day.

Some that mirror the images

Liz took of us for

my bump shoot

around Notting Hill.

I love having our lives at this point in time captured.

I have no doubt that if or when we move on from our lives here,

I'll pour over these pictures

and long to relive these days again.

(Thank you, Noah!)

Started in the 0.4% and now... that face. 

*images by

Noah Darnell

FOURSALE: Chunky Knit Scarf (Mini)

Yesterday, Viola & I needed some fresh air

after two days in the house

per doctor's orders to stay home

and avoid risking another infection.

I was booooored.

So, I threw on her coat, bow and scarf

and headed out to get some sunshine.

We lasted about 4 minutes

until she started trying to eat leaves

and my neighbor came up to chat

telling me all about the terrible flu

her family is passing around to each other.

(Cue Lauren inching back up the steps towards the door.)

But before the leaves and the plague debacle,

I got to snap a few pics of Viola

showing off her new Christmas scarf

that Tyler's mom made her.

And promptly posted to Instagram.

(Naturally.)

. . . .

And then my inbox got flooded

with emails asking where it came from.

So, I called up my mother-in-law

and asked her to be the next foursale

for this little old blog.

And, since she loves us, she said yes.

So here you go:

The cutest baby scarves you ever saw.

They are no-fuss and super cute.

The wooden button is easy to fasten

anywhere you like on the scarf.

Go getcha one

and channel that

Baby-sitting-on-some-steps-in-Notting-Hill look.

And if you don't have a nino,

you can get one in adult size

to match the one she made me.

It has three wooden buttons and can button into tons of combos.

I'll be wearing the crap out of mine this spring

in the frigid Paris winter.

Size

Baby | Child £16.00 GBP

Adult £25.00 GBP

A few notes:

  • Since my mother-in-law will be making these by hand custom for Aspiring Kennedy, please allow 10-15 business days for your order to arrive!
  • US shipping only. If you live outside the US, just email me and we can get you sorted with one, too! lauren@aspiringkennedy.com
  • I love babies in scarves.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on January 3, 2014 and filed under "four sale", "viola", "wear".

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.

Christmas Card | 2013

To each one of my readers,

who I humbly consider my friends...

Thank you for all you have done

to make this year more than bearable...

but making it wonderful for us

in so many ways.

I hope that 2014 brings joy and light-heartedness

to your family...  and ours, too.

And if it doesn't...

well,

He is still good.

Our love,

Tyler,  Lauren & Viola

2013

Posted on December 24, 2013 and filed under "TK", "christmas", "holiday", "viola", holiday.

I Wanna Smooch Her Under Some Mistletoe.

The other week I got to pop into the Shop Up Event hosted by Babyccino Kids.

While we were there, Amsterdam photographer, Maud Fontein had set up a cute photo booth and snapped some pictures of Viola. Oh my goodness, this kid is happy to be in front of the camera. We were laughing so hard at her posing that we couldn't really focus on the task at hand.

Obviously, Maud got some winners through the laughs though...

*image 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.

Weekend Rambles

This week was a long, tiring week.

There was nothing bad about it,

 in fact, it was packed full a lot of good/fun things.

If you follow

my Instagram insanity,

you may have seen the non-stop line up

that happened this week

Tower of London, Dover Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Hampton Court, etc...

along with every tea room & bakery

in between here & there.

But this morning we woke up groggy

with the immediate need to recover.

So we pushed the alarm to snooze,

cuddled the baby between us

to convince her to sleep later,

and slept in till 11.

We walked around Portobello Road,

had lunch in one of our favorite pubs, The Pelican,

grocery shopped at the produce stalls & butcher,

queued up like lemmings for a cupcakes at Hummingbird,

and came home for an easy/early night back in the flat.

joining the masses all for a little bit of baked goodness. totally worth it, by the way.

Thanks for the hat, Caley!

A few hours out

with a day like that

and you'll be convinced

that the scales of life

are starting to tip back in your favor

and heavily on the side of awesome.

Except once we got home- 

the baby wouldn't nap,

the boeuf bourgnignon turned out to be more like boeuf soup...

and now, at 11:16, I'm sitting down

after cuddling a certain 7-month old

who was definitely not wanting to go to bed.

(I suppose this was her form of payback for us conning her to sleep in?)

And perhaps this was my payback for her not going to bed?

Now I'm sitting here

feeling too tired to take a much needed bath,

defeated by the endless visa renewal whisper -talk

Tyler & I had while I rocked Viola,

and severely regretting offering my red velvet cupcake to Tyler

as he chomps in to it over an episode of Arrested Development.

Thank goodness tomorrow is a new day...

And for a husband who saved me the last bite of cupcake

without me even asking.

*     *    *

Anyone have any special remedy

for being really tired

and/or adding a few extra hours to the day?

I'll pay you in digestive cookies & ginger beer.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

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.

A Few Of My Favorite (Blings): Viola Edition

My friend,

Meg, is Australian.

We met her & her husband at Oxford

while our boys studied in the same "programme,"

and we all eventually ended up working in London after graduation.

We both also had baby girls.

She

teaches me silly words that Aussies use

like

arvo (afternoon) & bub (baby).

Meg is extremely creative

 and loves to bake & throw parties-

as you might have seen from

my instagrams

this weekend.

But most importantly to this blog post,

Meg makes Viola some of the cutest headbands.

 I begged her to put some on my site

so that anyone that had asked about them

could finally get some...

And, of course, like good friends do

I asked her to discount them. ;)

(And, like good friends do, she humored me & agreed!)

These are my three favorite styles that she makes.

The first two are made with fabrics from Liberty London-

only my favorite shop in the world.

For as busy as they are,

I think they somehow go with everything.

The third is probably my very favorite... 

with it's (handmade) over-the-top glittery gold bow.

You can also choose what color band you'd like from:

navy, pale pink, grey, white

& grey chevron

Suri Cruise only wishes she had worn one of these as a kid.

So, for this one time only, you can buy them directly

from Aspiring Kennedy

at a heck of a deal.

So here you go...

each style has a limited run,

so get 'em while they're hot.

Aspiring Kennedy Collection

One Headband £6.50 GBP

Two Headbands £12.00 GBP

Three Headbands £17.00 GBP

Indicate which headbands here:

Child Age (for correct sizing)

You can also check out

Meg's Etsy

shop for more styles & goodies.

***

In the meantime,

I hope your weekend was killer

and that the week ahead is even better.

*images via

MegMade

Posted on July 15, 2013 and filed under "blog world", "friends", "viola", "wear", kids, shopping.

Happy (7)th of July!

Blame it on the timezones...

but today, we had a street party

to celebrate the American Independence.

(Also known as the 4th of July,

but since we were a bit late

we can just call it the former.)

My friends, Lolly & Tyler,

hosted us in theird adorable tiny street

(or "mews" as it would be called here in England)

which is so cute

that Posh & Becks decided to make the house on the end

their London residence.

No, they didn't join the rest of the street...

but they were invited and David was apparently bummed to miss.

Can you even imagine what I would have done

if Harper & Viola were playdates at a BBQ?

I'll tell you exactly what I would have done:

 I would have peed my pants.

Even though the glam squad wasn't there to party with us,

we still had a pretty rocking time.

So I'll tell you what I want,

what I really, really want....

This gorgeous necklace!

During the party,

Viola & I tucked inside to play for a bit in the indoors.

While I was falling pretty hard

for their exceptionally cute flat,

Viola felt so inspired she leaned up on the couch

like a champ to observe the festivities below.

So while it may not be Cape Cod,

it sure was this Aspiring Kennedy's dream way

to celebrate the Fourth... 

or the Seventh.

Whatever.

I hope you all are having a great day

where ever it is you may be...

and that you have as much sunshine

as we are expecting this week in Blighty!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

The Hills Are Alive!

The hills are 

alive.

with the sound 

of an airplane landing at Heathrow...

Tyler lands this morning 

after being apart for 16 days.

That's a long time, guys.

She's so beary excited.

That's, like, 17% of Viola's life.

I'm already doing a happy dance

about him being back...

Special thanks for my mother-in-law

for being the wind beneath my wings for the past two weeks

helping with le bebe while I worked,

doing endless loads of laundry,

and never judging me for sleeping in

until 11:20 yesterday & today.

{Or 

at least, not letting on if you did!}

Today's going to be great for me.

I hope it's awesome for you, too!

How do you function on when you're on your own?

Better Off 

or Better Not?

*All images original to Aspiring Kennedy. Taken in Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye.

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.

I Pledge Allegiance...

My favorite things about coming back to the US

are, in no particular order:

 DONUTS

Unfortunately, these don't really exist in London.

I mean, there are donuts...

but they aren't the good kind.

They are the yucky, old, in a plastic box from the grocery store kind.

It's extremely upsetting.

Every Saturday morning,

I roll over to Tyler

and tell him that the only thing missing in our life

is a donut shop that we could go to for breakfast.

By the way,

I had 3 donuts this morning....

and 5 donut holes.

Disgusting, right?

But also great.

GOOD HAMBURGERS

I know there are getting to be

 some good places in London

that now serve a decent burger

{Meatliquor and Patty&Bun, I hear ya),

but they don't do it without a huge line

and this cheap.

And none of them have

ranch, American cheese, bacon, avocado & grilled onions...

and for that, it is all the lesser.

Friends & Family

Well, I have some pretty awesome friends in London,

but I still miss these sweet faces while I'm gone.

Oh, and do you know what is really fun?

Getting to introduce your baby to her cousins...

and aunts...

and great-grandparents....

Viola Wallace and her namesake, Jeanne Wallace Knight.

and so many other people that you love dearly.

It's been such a treat.

We are having a great time in the States.

Texas & Oklahoma down,

Charlotte & Arkansas up next!

***

While I'm elbow deep in donut-holes & chimichangas

during our trip around the States,

I'll be doing a few good giveaways here on the blog.

Don't worry- they're all awesome.

You wont be mad about them. ;)

Posted on May 10, 2013 and filed under "TK", "family", "friends", "life", "viola", tyler, life as an expat.

Memories for a Lifetime: Childhood Travel

Next week,

we are getting our baby girl

her wings to fly.

That's right.

This traveling circus

has added another member,

and is setting off on our first

international flight

& whirlwind trip.

With yesterday's arrival of her passport,

we are officially ready to spend three weeks

in the U.S. of A.

Even though this kid of ours

is a complete champ

in most every sense of the word,

I'm a little nervous

about the (six!) flights. 

Viola, on the otherhand,

is ready to go.

This kid pleases me in every possible way.

If she loves to travel like her parents

it will just be icing on the cake.

If not,

well, 

we'll still keep her.

While this kid is making it across the ocean at the ripe age of 9 weeks,

I was 9 years old when we had our first "big" trip.

My dad cashed in his AA miles and took us all around Europe

in a fashion that could make

 W. Clark Griswald

feel like an underachiever.

It was an epic time

full of metallic track suits....

fluffy scrunchies... 

colored jean shorts....

& the creation of family memories that have stuck around

for the twenty years since.

What are some memories of your first BIG trip?

***

Oh, and, as you all know, GFC is going to be extinct

in the not-so-distant future.

{Bummer, I know.}

Keep up with ye olde blog by subscribing

with your email address in the box in the left-hand column above

to have blog posts delivered directly to your inbox via email

or with the tried & true, 

BlogLovin

.

Posted on April 23, 2013 and filed under "Jet Setting", "travel", "viola", traveling with kids, kids.

The Name Game

{This is a post about our babies. So yeah, you've been warned.}

* * *

Picking out a name for a baby is hard work.

Picking out two is even harder.

 

Tyler & I had decided long ago

that we wanted to use our grandmother's names,

Viola (mine) & Wallace (his) for our children someday.

 

Having two little girls seemed like the perfect occasion to do so.

 

We wanted both of their names

to have one family name and one name we loved that made it up. 

We also wanted to keep them secret until they were born.

 

We knew that they only way we could keep our mouths shut

was to not have names finalized for as long as possible.

 

So, until then, we talked about them  -and to them-  as "Baby A" & "Baby B."

 

As we would lie in bed at night with my gigantic belly pressed against his back,

 

Tyler would ask who it was who had the hiccups (always Baby A)

and who was kicking him (always Baby B).

 

But the day before I was admitted to the hospital,

we decided it was officially time to decide on names.

 

They were perfect...  and they sounded so sweet together.

 

I won't go into the details here

of the delivery or the following 48 hours, but when we weren't sure 

if Baby B was going to make it- we didn't know what to do.

 

The hospital kept nudging us for names and we were in so much shock

{and I was drugged to maintain my blood pressure from causing a stroke}, 

it got shoved to the bottom of our priorities.

 

We could only hope for the two of us to recover.

 

The night that Baby B died, we had to officially name her

for the purpose of the NICU filing paperwork.

 

And while we had other plans for a "real" name,

it suddenly felt wrong to change that to something we'd never known her as.

 

She was our Baby B... that's all we ever knew her as

and that's how we wanted to remember her. 

So that's what we named her... officially.

 

It's what's written on her birth (and death) certificate(s).

 

{I want to puke typing that sentence.}

Once we decided on that,

 we were left with the original two names and only one baby to give them to.

 

 We decided to combine the two names into one

and let Viola carry on both of her grandmother's names

and a part of her sister. 

 

We are using the British pronunciation of  the name, Viola

-

like "violin," but with an "uh" at the end instead-

as it's said 

in my favorite of Shakespeare's works, 

Twelfth Night.

{Who, ironically, is separated from her twin by a tragic accident.}

So, there you have it.

 Both girls ended up with names

that we hadn't planned on.

Their names aren't cute twin names

that go well together.

Viola doesn't get to go through life

with an "&" attaching her to her sister.

...And sometimes those truths feel like a kick in the gut.

But in the midst of a situation that is miles away from perfect,

I'm thankful for this little bundle of

cuteness

that carries on the names of her great-gandmothers...

and the tiny life of her sister.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on April 15, 2013 and filed under "TK", "babies", "life", "viola", babies, babies kennedy.