Sitting in Our Tree

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

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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

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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.

nursery-9.jpg

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.

Crew's Nursery

baby, homeKelsey Bethune1 Comment

Let me start by saying that I took these photos when Crew was three weeks old. THREE. WEEKS. OLD. In case you need a refresher, he is now seven months old. What year is it, where am I? What counts is that we're here, & the bonus is that I have some updates now that he's, you know, actually sleeping in his room. When I took these in May, it was more of, well, an art exhibit. It is very well loved & lived in now.

Anyways, let's get to it!

It's important to know that Crew's nursery is an 8 x 8' space, & yes, it has indoor windows in it. There are three windows looking into the nursery from the kitchen, in addition to a windowed door. As you can imagine, it's not technically what our building management would call a rooooom, persay. I think it's called a "sunroom" on the floorplan. It is gloriously sunshiney, so, perfect for plants & taking dreamy photos of a baby's nursery. Less awesome for an actual sleeping babe, but we'll come back to that.

There is ONE way that the furniture fits, regardless of how once every three months or so, I've convinced Jared to try a new configuration, without removing any of the current pieces of the puzzle. He is a good man, & he obliges,.. & then we sigh a breath of defeat & move everything back into the same spot. I'm learning to accept this.

I started designing our future nursery before we moved into this apartment, before we knew whether we were having a boy or girl, & maybe a little bit before I was pregnant. It started on Pinterest & blossomed into a fairly neutral look, featuring natural woods, whimsical lettering, peaches & greens, & botanic elements. 

I must have been subconsciously tuned into retail trends, because Spring came, & peaches & greens of every shade were everywhere I turned. Both Target & H&M got the memo, making my life a loooot easier. It also really helped that our registry was built around the same neutral color palette, so things like wraps & slings, swaddles & blankets toys & books, etc. all fit in perfectly once we had it all unwrapped.

Without further ado & presented with a slight design commentary, here it is!

We aren't planning on staying in this apartment too, too long, so I wanted to work with the wall color that came with the apartment. Fortunately, it's a rather pleasant greige, that more than a couple of people have asked me for the paint color for on Instagram (sadly, I don't know what it is). The wall color combined with the white trim actually worked really well with the natural woods & color pops that we had planned.

We bought these ball lights when we visited Paris in 2014, knowing that they'd most likely make their way to our nursery down the line. I still really love this color combination of olives, light peach & neutrals, & it happened to play really perfectly into the nursery design. Originally, I had pops of bright yellow incorporated (for a family room color scheme that doesn't need to see the light of day), but my business partner conveniently vacationed in Paris right before Crew arrived & grabbed some extra neutrals for me to replace them with.

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While reading Bringing Up Bébé, I really loved her passage on the French teaching their children the word "gently!" as an instruction. It reminded me of hearing my own mom tell my younger sisters & now my nieces & nephews to "be gentle" as babies, & I think that's such a wonderful concept to start so young. Jared & I prayed every day for our unborn babe to be kind & gentle, & still whisper that over him now that he's here. "Doucement" is French for "gently, slowly, softly" & I love that he is sleeping under this word whenever he's in his crib, thanks to a custom piece by Amanda Krovic Designs. (She did our blog logo too!)

The other pieces are: a Marcella Kriebel (local DC artist) grapefruit illustration, vintage French post card, "C" straight from my printer, vintage butterfly botanic print from Paris, "Hopalong Hollow" print by Jeri Landers (picked up our 1st Christmas for a future baby's room!), green abstract watercolor by me.

These "shelves" are actually two Ikea nightstands that you can grab for $15/each, in raw wood. We used them as bathroom storage in our last apartment & keep finding ways to repurpose them. I did a super light wash of white paint on the outside of it to blend in with Crew's crib, keeping the raw wood on the inside to tie in the light wood on the chair, crib & baskets.

It was super important to me to create a sort of nursing zone/midnight landing corner in the nursery. The salt rock lamp is the perfect amount of low light for a middle of the night diaper change, along with an iphone charger, a coaster for that nursing mom glass of water that never leaves my side, & a cozy rocker. To be honest, this didn't all come into play very much until we moved Crew into his nursery overnight at 6 months, but it's the best thing ever now!

At our baby shower, thrown by my wonderful friend & business partner Amelia, guests each decorated a wooden block for Crew in our nursery color scheme. The sweetest gift & cutest guestbook idea ever.

I couldn't believe how incredibly well everything pulled together as all my online purchases & baby shower gifts rolled in. From the crib sheet to Target's palette perfect pillow to ice cream cones to Jared's childhood stuffed bear, everything looked like it was made for our little greige nursery. 

To top it all off, my parents are the real rockstars of this nursery. They not only diligently hunted for an antique dresser for us to use as a changing table... & bought one that I thought had fine measurements but turns out I maybe shouldn't measure things?... Then graciously swapped their antique find with the dresser my babiest sister had her diaper changed on 20+ years ago... AND ALSO followed this design to a T, making my changing table/baby dresser dreams come true. They are seriously the best humans.

My mom & I are both obsessed with this subtle green color we found for the dresser.

I can't even tell you how thrilled a one Mr. Jared Bethune was when I explained that the Lorena Canals rug that we were receiving was washable. I could see it warming his clean freak soul from head to toe. It was an insanely tough choice to narrow down which rug we wanted from their expansive collection, but ultimately we chose the "Stripe Glacier" style in grey to add in a stripe pattern & use the oversized tassels to add an extra touch of whimsy. Strangely enough, once we got it in the room, it picked up a LOT of the green tones, & almost has a sage color tone to the grey. I love it.

Aside from being washable (& successfully washable in our apartment laundromat, which is no small feat) & a rug that we can use elsewhere in our home once Crew's room gets its eventual big-kid upgrade, we love that this is made from all natural dyes, handmade in India, eco-friendly & VOC's-free... What more could you want from a nursery rug? Even better is that Lorena Canals uses their proceeds to support their Sakûla project, which provides school for children in India. 

I was overjoyed to have a spot that so perfect fit this vintage milk glass lamp that I've been carrying with me from apartment to apartment since college, and to have found a plant that perfect showcased our peach & green color palette. 

Side note: How cute is that tiny Crew & proud Jared peeking through the doorway? Jared was showing off the baby to my younger sister. *tears*

These are our apartment's quirky indoor windows, which I imagine are lovely if you're using the sunroom as an office or greenroom. For the first few months, it was actually great to be able to spy on Crew during his daytime crib naps, or Jared & Crew reading books in the rocker on the weekend. It got a little less awesome once we moved Crew from our bedroom to his nursery at 6 months. We recently fixed all that drama when he officially moved in -- See the updates here!


SOURCES

Crib - Babyletto "Scoot" // Crib sheet - Kid Wild Organics // Pillow - Target // Sheepskin - Ikea // Ice Cream Rattle: Spearmint Love

Ball lights - Le Case de Cousin Paul (similar, US based) // Large Basket - Home Goods // “Doucement” Print - Amanda Krovic Designs // Metal Frames - Terrain, Home Goods // White Frames - Ikea // Diaper Pail - Dekor

Plants & pots - Terrain // Salt Rock Lamp - Home Goods // Shelves - Ikea // Storage Totes - The Container Store // Rocker - Ikea // Blanket - Target // Foot Stool - Vintage via Miss Pixie’s // Curtains - Ikea 

Dresser - Refurbished via this tutorial // Rug - Lorena Canals, Stripes Glacier - Grey* // Milk Glass Lamp - Antique // Giraffe - Anthropologie // Book Caddy - Home Goods

*Lorena Canals 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.