I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July! Ours was really great this year. Quinn was only two months old last July and we didn’t do anything festive at all, so this felt like Quinn’s first Fourth as he got to experience all the usual hoopla for the first time.

The weather was so unusually mild this year that I was champing at the bit to get outside and see some fireworks. We wound up going to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens on Wednesday night for the Fort Worth Symphony’s Concert in the Garden with Ben’s parents and one of Q’s cousins. We sat on blankets and ate a picnic dinner, and then enjoyed the symphony performance and fireworks afterwards. It was such a beautiful evening!

Quinn handled his first first fireworks show like a champ. He cried for the first minute or so because the noise caught him off guard, but after that he never even flinched.

On the Fourth itself, we spent the day at Ben’s parents’ house doing the classic American thing: swimming, eating, and trying to not lose any fingers while setting off our own fireworks.

It was Quinn’s first time seeing sparklers too:

Another beautiful night with family and friends. And America, of course. I’ll party with her any day!


A couple of people have asked me why I haven’t been blogging lately, so I thought I’d go ahead and share what’s been going on in my head. The thing is, I have very complicated feelings about this blog. I can’t seem to decide whether it’s something I should continue or not.

For one thing, blogging takes a lot of time. I spend hours on each and every post–planning, writing and revising, taking and editing photos, and then formatting everything for the website. And due to a certain very demanding toddler who shall remain nameless, I have precious little free time. So do I want to spend what meager few minutes I occasionally manage to carve out for myself working on my blog? It’s time that could otherwise be spent doing something else–playing with Quinn, hanging out with Ben, reading a book, taking a bath…

A corollary to my lack of time problem is my complete and utter lack of uninterrupted time. Even when I do get a few minutes to myself after Quinn goes to bed, I’m always interrupted at least once or twice by his waking up and needing me. These interludes can each last five or ten minutes, and I find them to be extremely frustrating. Writing, for me, requires complete and total concentration–no music, no background noise, no disruptions. I have to tune everything else out and focus all of my brain on my work, so when I’m forced to break concentration, it’s so disruptive that it’s almost physically uncomfortable for me. Certainly stressful, in any event. I probably sound like a ridiculous diva, but this is how writing has always been for me, both in school and in the workplace.

Then there are the deeper nagging philosophical questions: What exactly is my motivation for blogging? Is the time I spend decorating or throwing parties or whatever motivated by a dedication to myself and my family, or merely to creating blog content? Is blogging interfering with my ability to simply live my life in the moment? Does anyone out there even care what I have to say? Will I get sucked into the black hole of comparing myself unfavorably to every other lifestyle blogger out there? And do I even want to be a part of that particular community? Sometimes I feel like bloggers are boastful and self-indulgent and I don’t want to join their club, while other times I feel like I’m not creative or original or talented enough and they wouldn’t let me in anyway.

So on the one hand, blogging is a stressful time-suck that raises all sorts of what-is-the-point-of-this questions. But on the other hand, I just can’t seem to get it out of my system! For some reason I feel a compelling urge to share what’s going on in my life. And I really like writing. It’s actually one of the few things I miss about my lawyer life. And even when I’m not blogging, I can’t seem to stop content ideas from coming to me–I have about a dozen unfinished draft posts in the queue and a list a mile long of topics I’d still like to blog about. And there is something very satisfying about putting a blog post out there and knowing someone else will read and enjoy it–even if it’s only my husband!

So when I’m blogging, I feel stressed about it, and when I’m not, I feel vaguely dissatisfied and unfulfilled. What’s a girl to do?? Probably just more of what I’ve been doing, which is blogging until the stress gets to be too much, and then disappearing until the urge to share becomes overpowering once again. I’m not happy with that state of things–I wish I could blog regularly or give it up entirely–but I just can’t seem to come to a decision. Right now, however, I’m in sharing mode, and in the middle of putting together a post about some work we’re doing in our bathroom, so you’ll be hearing more from me pretty soon. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about my dilemma, I’d be grateful to hear them!

And now, please enjoy this gratuitous shot of a horse I saw on my walk this morning.


  • Stephanie Cleveland

    Emily — I hope you keep blogging. You are an amazing writer. No wonder Shawn misses you so much!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Stephanie! That’s so incredibly nice of you. And it’s so good to hear from you! I really miss seeing Shawn and hearing about y’all–we all need to get together sometime!ReplyCancel

After what has mysteriously managed to be both the longest and shortest year of my life, my baby boy turned one year old this week. I’m still not quite sure I can believe it! But we’ve been so busy with all the festivities, maybe it just hasn’t had a chance to sink in yet. Here’s how we celebrated…

First, we had a little photo shoot to commemorate his sweetness at this age:

He’s just too, too much! Then on the morning of his birthday, we surprised him with a crib full of balloons:

He loved it!

We had a quiet little celebration that evening with pizza and presents:

Even the rocking sheep got in on the fun:

Then we had to get ready for Quinn’s big “first birthday fiesta” on Saturday.

(Trying to get a good photo of Quinn in that sombrero for the invitation was no easy task, as these outtakes demonstrate. He could whip that hat off in less than a second!)

Anyway, the party was just a small one for our family, but I (predictably) went a bit overboard. Lots of crafting and lots of stockpiling Cinco de Mayo party supplies, but I was really happy with the way it turned out.

We had a fun taco bar. Ben made all the spectacular food, and I made the cake and cupcakes.

The party was primarily in the back yard, and it was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon.

And the margaritas were flowing!

The birthday dude had a pretty good time too.

His grandma, cousin, and aunt helped him open presents.

But Quinn wasn’t at all sure about the cake. What really sent him over the edge, though, was about a dozen people all standing around him and singing “Happy Birthday” at him:

He just couldn’t take it! Poor buddy. I did manage to get him to eat some cake a little later though and he liked it just fine.


Oh, my little man. I love him so much! I just can’t believe he’s a year old. But here he is, month by month:

Now I’m off to cuddle this little dude before he suddenly turns two!

  • Lindsey Moody

    Your little man is adorable and looks like he had a fabulous first birthday…good work mama!…so cute! I have fallen in love with a fiesta first birthday for my little girl. Would you be willing to share with me how you made the streamers that are hanging vertically behind the taco bar?…love it!…or maybe you bought them.
    Congrats on making it through the first year! What a cutie!
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • […] la fiesta de cumple de este precioso niño es una pasada y lo cuentan todo en esta entrada de su blog. Mi idea es esta pero un poco menos […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah

    Where did you get those fabulous invitations?ReplyCancel

  • Katie

    I loooove everything about this party! Where did you get his crown?ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Katie! The crown is from Paloma’s Nest (palomasnest.com).ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer

    Where did you get the onesie??ReplyCancel

    • It was a super-simple DIY. I just chose a font I liked, printed out the word “one,” and made a freezer paper stencil with it. I used Martha Stewart craft paint on the onesie.ReplyCancel

  • Nikki

    I love this and am using some of the ideas for my daughter’s college graduation fiesta! Where did you get the garland around the door and on the table? Also, where did you get the round orange and yellow placemats? Super cute!!!ReplyCancel

    • Hi, Nikki! The garland on the door was from Amols’ Party Supply, the garland on the front of the table was from an Etsy store called PaperAltar, and the yellow placemats were from World Market and I hot-glued the orange tassels on. Best of luck with your party!ReplyCancel

  • […] Cute!![More at the Source] […]ReplyCancel

  • Marielle

    Thus theme is sooo fun! Loved the idea of balloons in the crib! Where is the birthday bboy letters from? I love that font!ReplyCancel