Sitting in Our Tree

Charlottesville, VA | Pt. 1

travel, fallKelsey Bethune
 
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We decided when we moved to DC (read: when money got crazy tight) to spend money for birthday, anniversaries & holidays on experiences rather than gifts for each other. It's been one of my favorite decisions we've ever made & I think it will carry over even after the eventual someday arrives where we aren't pinching pennies on every budget line. Our dream of traveling for our anniversary every year is still alive, even if we don't go very far.

This year's anniversary would count as one of those "not very far" years, which seemed fair after last year's cross country travel to Vancouver & Seattle. We hadn't put much thought into what we were doing to celebrate 7 years of marriage (!), especially since we have a baby now & babysitters are scarce. I think it was maybe 4 days out that we decided to just get out of the city for the weekend & booked a cabin in the Shenandoah Mountains.

Our anniversary, through no coincidence, falls on what is typically the most autumnal of weekends. Right when the leaves are beginning to change color but are still on the trees, right before apple picking season ends, right when all the pumpkin everythings show up on menus & grocery store shelves. Some years it's cooler than others, though this year it was still pretty warm. 

After a bit of crazy Sunday DC traffic (hence baby-in-sunglasses entertainment), we kicked off our trip with a stop at an apple orchard that we had all to ourselves. Crew was 10% interested in apples, 90% interested in eating leaves that gave Jared 100% of a heart attack. It was a perfectly quiet afternoon in the orchard for our tiny little family.

Rounding out this first year of Crew's "firsts", I can't help but think that even though this was his first apple picking trip, or his first Christmas, it's going to see like firsts all over again next year & the year after that as he becomes more aware of the places we're going & the things we're doing. & thank goodness, because these little "first" moments make my mama heart explode as we introduce him to the things we love & the traditions we keep.

I mean, look how proud he is of the leaf he picked. He's trying to kill me with cuteness, I know it.

It was our first trip of just-the-three-of us, & honestly, it was a dream. No distractions of laundry or grocery shopping or apartment cleaning... Just pure, unadulterated family time. Lots of face staring. Lots of baby loving. Lots of good conversation & talks of the future for Jared & I. I'd say a trip to the mountains is just what we needed. 

Pictures from Day 2 are up next!

Christmas Photos with Love By Serena

Kelsey Bethune
 
 

Believe it or not, I'm really proud of how much I pared these down. It's just very hard to be objective about how your arms or Jared's hair looks when there's a cutie pie Crew smiling his little face off.

We really wanted to take this year's Christmas photos in our little corner of DC, & I think we'll forever cherish these pictures as snapshots into this season of our lives.

Forever grateful to Love By Serena for snapping these pictures & for our little feature about how I picked our holiday outfits on her new project, Style Refined Co. If you're looking for outfit inspiration for family photos & any sort of photo session you have coming up, head on over!

**& ps. There's still three more days to use our 20% off promo code on holiday cards at Artifact Uprising! KB20

The Bethune Christmas Movie List

christmasKelsey Bethune2 Comments
 
 

Time for another movie list!

I first referenced our Christmas Movie Stack back in this post from 2013, which was actually our third year of "the stack." I can't believe that makes this our 7th married Christmas together. Myyyyyy how time flies. The story goes that after Thanksgiving, we pull out our stack of Christmas movies (we even keep them in a separate drawer from our other movies, ha), shuffle them a bit, & just pull the top movie to watch whenever we have a quiet night in for a movie. It's become a really lovely little tradition, & I think it will only get more fun as we add babies & their favorite Christmas movies to our family. The physical stack becomes more obsolete every year as we add streaming services & they add more popular Christmas movies, so I'm really glad to have an excuse to put all these titles in writing somewhere.

That being said, I also like to imagine Jared & I pulling out the ol' blu-ray player as our kids groan because we can all just connect our minds to the Amazon Hive to watch a movie together or something in 2027, & we're like, "Noo no, we're doing this old school just like we always do! Dad will find that remote eventually, be patient!" Then we open the DVD case & the DVD is missing & they groan again as I dive into the attic to because I just know I saw it recently. I mean, that sounds like the holidays, right?

Important things to know! I have never watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, we're not huge fans of the old school claymation Christmas movies (they terrify me, if I'm being honest), we'll watch pretty much anything they show on Turner Classic Movies, & I hated The Family Stone. Let that be your disclaimer as you decide whether this is a good fit for your movie preferences.

OUR CHRISTMAS MOVIE LIST

 

Dan in Real Life
This isn't a Christmas movie, but it is our tradition to watch this movie on Thanksgiving Eve with as many of my sisters as we can gather into the same room. I love this movie so, SO much, & even though it isn't *technically* about Thanksgiving, it feels like it & is such a perfect picture of family togetherness. It just gets ya in the mood for the big day.

Elf
This is our annual Christmas kickoff movie, which we usually watch after pie has been served on Thanksgiving night. It's a perfect way to ring in the Christmas season with the entire family gathered round.

Jim Carrey's How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I know this is a highly debated movie, but I love it so much, ha. I have at least three very important people in my life that can catch whatever Grinch quote I manage to throw into a conversation, & I think that's very important. Neither Jared nor I are huge fans of the traditional Grinch movie, but I think I may have forced this one on him at some point in our relationship. (Though I gotta tell ya, Benedict Cumberbatch's Grinch due out next year may unseat them all...)

Love Actually
*sigh* Listen, don't even with the articles about how this is actually a depressing, terrible move. I love it & will always cry at the airport scenes, & Liam Neeson deserves all the hugs because HE LIVED THIS MOVIE. The Prime Minister storyline is my favorite. The... uhhh... Martin Freeman storyline is Jared's.

While You Were Sleeping
This movie holds a super special place in our hearts, & it's just so sweet. Sandra Bullock & Bill Pullman are essentially the America's Sweetheart pairing of the century, so this is just a good one to curl up to with a cup of (almond milk) hot chocolate after the baby's in bed.

The Holiday
Just another solid, swoon-worthy chick flick. Did it ruin Mr. Brightside for me a little? Yeahhhh. But it's just the sweetest, happy-ending movie, with darling British babies & Jude Law in his prime. *meowwwww*

White Christmas
TO ME, this is the ultimate tree decorating movie. Hot chocolate #1, pick up tree, hot chocolate #2, decorate tree while watching White Christmas. Perfection.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
We've had a lot of Kelsey favorites on this list, so this one is a Jared movie. I don't actually like this movie. (I'm more of a Muppet Treasure Island kinda gal.) I don't think I've listened to the Scrooge/Rose duet since 1993 when I wasn't old enough to know how to fast forward on my own. But, it's fiiiine & Jared loves it, so we watch it... Because lord knows I make him watch all sorts of *my* movies.

Die Hard
Then we bring it back up with Die Hard. I know, I know. But I think it's just that halfway through December, we need a little break from the snow & eskimo kisses & syrupy sweetness. This is one that Jared brought into my life & I'm not mad about it.

Home Alone
A classic. This is usually one we watch pretty early on, even though now that we have our own kid, the brattiness of the characters in this movie is borderline overwhelming. But you know, it's worth it just for the final scene of Marc & Harry trying to break into the house. (Made better by this video.)

Serendipity
This is right up there with me calling You've Got Mail a fall movie. There's a couple Christmas scenes in this that forever made it a Christmas movie in young, impressionable Kelsey's head, but I love it enough not to care. It's a good one.

Just Friends
When you need a little dose of silly comedy, Ryan Reynolds, & okayfine some raunchy humor, look no further. It was on Netflix last year (not this year, sadly), & we probably watched it five times. I'm just saying, if you're tempted to watch like, Christmas with the the Cranks, don't. Watch this instead.

The Christmas Episodes of Frasier
Or any of your favorite shows, really. We've done this with Frasier, How I Met Your Mother, Doctor Who, The West Wing, & The Office. Hulu does a really great job of highlighting seasonal episodes if you scroll down far enough (What is Thanksgiving without a Slapsgiving marathon, amiright?) but save yourself some time & click HERE for the ultimate list of Christmas episodes of pretty much every show ever.

The Santa Clause
So, here's the thing about this movie. I always THINK I don't like it. But then we watch it, & it's pretty great. Not a must watch, annually, but a good one maybe every other year. (& hey, 1-3 are Netflix this year!)

A Charlie Brown Christmas
While we certainly don't watch this every year, I can already tell that it's going to become more of a staple now that there's a Crew Bear around. I hope he loves it so much... He already reminds me of Linus.

Meet Me in St. Louis
I have this random memory of my mom having this movie on while she was getting ready for the Christmas Eve service at church maybe only 8 or 9 years ago, & I just remember having to clean my face up before we left because of Judy singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I've watched this movie my whole life (both my parents are from St. Louis) but it's just been an extra sweet movie to me since that year. I just sort of have to be in the mood to cry. The misty screen, & the snow, & her LIPS, & John... Ugh. Too much.

A Christmas Story
It cracks me up that this is aired for 24 hours on Christmas Eve, like the greatest American Rickroll that no one even talks about. Not Jared's favorite, but I like catching even 20-30 minutes of it at some point.

It's a Wonderful Life
Ohhhhh, Jimmy. While this is certainly not my favorite, it is Jared's, which makes for an interesting night whenever we decide to watch it. I like watching this on the days leading up to NYE, just as I start reminiscing the past year & dreaming of the new one. If nothing else, it's good perspective. Jared just adores Jimmy, & I can't blame him. Another cry-fest at the end, though. Phew.

 

I think that's about it! She said, as if she didn't just name practically every Christmas movie ever, We started off this month with Elf, The Grinch, Home Alone, & the Holiday... & of course watched White Christmas while decorating the tree tonight, so we're off to a good start. But we'll see; We have lots of travel ahead of us this month that may throw us off.

As a ps. I linked most of these to IMDB, only because it shows you where to watch/rent OR if any of these movies are going to be broadcast on TV any time soon... Which is nice, if you don't have $3.99 to blow on 15 movies in 31 days. Happy marathoning!

Merry! with Artifact Uprising

christmasKelsey BethuneComment

It's that time of year! If you've been following along with us for the past ummmm, 6 years, you're aware that we take our Christmas cards pretty darn seriously. I will never tire of this tradition, & hopefully none of our recipients do either... It's just my favorite thing to once a year -- Slow down long enough to track down everyone's current addresses, buy postage, & lick envelopes. We've had some extra opportunities to send snail mail this year with a bazillion thank you cards going out for all the help & gifts we received upon baby's arrival, but Christmas cards still take the cake.

This year's cards were extra important, as we have been anticipating the year that we finally add a baby to our cards since maybe before we were married. The stakes were high. We were in good hands, though, as it is seriously an honor to be partnering with Artifact Uprising for this year's cards. (& hey! Use our code "KB20" for 20% off your holiday card order through this Friday, 12/8!)

The hard part? Picking a design. Holy moley. With artist collaborations from some of my favorite Instagram hand letterers (like Eva Black & Chelsea Peteja), their selection of 80+ cards is only hard to choose from because you really can't go wrong. We mostly just love that it's aaaall clean, minimal designs, recycled paper, & classy foil options without having to filter a hundred other styles out. While their Christmas collection is divine, they've also got you covered with their holiday assortment if post-Christmas is more your speed. Ultimately, we decided to go with their Merry! Handlettered Holiday Card as an appropriate follow up to last year's card. (That I designed, thank you very much -- Happy to hand over the reigns to AU this year. Phew!)

The best part? That envelope addressing service. Artifact Uprising debuted this service this year & once you partake. you'll never look back. Collecting addresses from our friends & family members that, like us, seem to move every other year or so is enough of a task. Popping those addresses into a spreadsheet & hitting upload is one of my new favorite holiday traditions. 

& so another year, another batch of made-with-love cards in the mail to all of our favorite people. 2017's is definitely, without a doubt, our favorite card, & we are so filled with joy that this year, that sweet baby boy is front & center. It is truly an absolute dream come true.

(Psst! Don't forget to place your holiday card order from Artifact Uprising using our code "KB20" for 20% off by this Friday, 12/8!)

(An extra ps. You can read some of my styling tips for family photos over on Style Refined!)

The Cards of Christmas Past
2016
2015
2014

2013
2012
2011

Crew's Nursery - 6 Month Update

baby, homeKelsey BethuneComment

We successfully kept Crew in our room until he was 6 months old, which was our goal. Yay us! This did involve some final touches that we'd managed to put off for those 6 months & minor adjustments as we figured out what we needed to do to make his nursery conducive to his baby sleep needs. Alongside this book, we pretty seamlessly made the jump, so I thought I'd share some of the things we learned & added along the way! (See the original nursery post here!)

First things first... Was getting that very bright room dark. We added the cheapest blackout curtains I could find since we needed four panels ($$$$$) & added bamboo blinds to the indoor windows, including the windowed door. The adjustment to the lighting also required moving some of the plants, SPECIFICALLY the fiddle fig, who I'm happy to report, is still alive & très happy in our bedroom.

Also peeking out there by the chair is the humidifier we added. Our apartment has radiator heat, so it's pretty constantly dry dry dry all winter. Gotta keep that baby's lungs & skin happy!

Now that we're getting back into cold weather, after a summer of newborn snuggles in DC's disgusting heat & humidity, it quickly became apparent that I did not have enough room in my closet to share with Crew's growing cold weather wardrobe. Knowing that I needed his third layer pieces to be easily accessible as we get out the door & that I typically change him right before we leave, I wanted his clothes as close to the changing table as possible. We didn't have great options for a spot to put a hanging rod or free-standing clothing rack, so we went with a more retail look.

We picked up the hooks & hangers from Ikea, & spray painted the hooks gold & the hanger metal white. Probably $15 total, since we already had the spray paint. I actually really love this concept more now that it's up - It keeps me shopping for clothes within his capsule wardrobe's aesthetic while also keeping me from shopping too much without getting rid of something else, since space is limited. Win win!

Crew would probably be sleeping in our bedroom until he was 10 if it weren't for our video monitor giving us the peace of mind we needed to move him out. The Lollipop Baby Cam was everything we were looking for in a baby monitor - Pristine imaging (including the night vision), video monitoring via our phones, multi-user/invite only access, a secure monitoring network, baby crying notifications, background audio (for when you want to have another app open), white noise/classical music capabilities, built-in microphone, event playback... I could go on & on.

Their customer service has been wonderful & the only glitches we've run into have been due to our wifi/apartment walls, not the camera itself. I guess the downfall being not having a monitor that doesn't rely on wifi but the other wifi driven capabilities far outweigh that. We'll be mounting the Lollipop to the wall with the very cute white branch mount that comes with the camera once Crew can grab it, but so far, he hasn't figured out that he can sit OR stand up in his crib. Fine by meeee.

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Our only other additions have been adding a blue tooth speaker that syncs to our ipad for white noise at night, classical music during daytime naps (again, our wifi isn't reliable enough to have consistent white noise run on the video camera), & our mesh crib liner. (I know this is a topic of debate, so just know that this was the right decision for us & we only advocate doing your own research. YOU DO YOU.) Obviously, we've also removed all the pretty in-crib decor now that he's in there for something like 16 hours a day. 

Lastly, you'll be glad to know that my little nursing corner is getting all sorts of use these days! 

I think that about wraps things up! Sources for our updates below.


SOURCES

Blinds: Ikea // Blackout curtains: Ikea // Humidifier: Amazon // Video Monitor: Lollipop Baby Cam* // Clothing Hooks: Ikea // Baby Hangers: Ikea

Lollipop Baby Cam is a company that we’ve had the honor to partner with in exchange for a product review. Thoughts & opinions on this product are ours. We 100% stand behind the quality & use of this product, unless otherwise noted in blog post review.