Family P: Halloween Happenings

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I guess, I get that from my Dad. He always made sure that Halloween was extra special for us growing up. We ALWAYS carved pumpkins together as a family in the garage, usually with Jimmy Buffet or George Straight tunes playing in the background. When our carved masterpieces were complete, we’d line up our pumpkins, have a grand lighting ceremony then admire our work from the street. Even through college, my siblings and I all continued to participate in this tradition – sometimes with friends or love interests in tow. When we were little(er), on Halloween night, my Dad would set up “Jack,” the giant (actually larger than life) stuffed gorilla, in the study window and playa creepy tunes through the intercom system to spook the trick-or-treaters. My family has definitely always been big on traditions so Dan and I are having a blast creating some new ones with Olivia’s firsts.

Needless to say… October is definitely my favorite month of the year. Maybe it’s the predictably beautiful weather (both here in Dallas and in SoCal)… or Pumpkin Spice Lattes, boots + sweaters… carving pumpkins, the texas state fair… Dan’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, halloween… it’s always a pretty eventful month in our house.

This year we celebrated our 2nd Anniversary (10/10/10) with a celebratory dinner at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen – followed by a night at the Texas State Fair. Even got to see Big Tex before tragedy struck. We’ve made several trips to the arboretum, a trip to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch, and enjoyed the gorgeous October weather – granted it’s been ALL over the place this year… 80s one day, 50s the next.

This past weekend, we had a bunch of friends over (for a VERY last-minute-non-party) to carve a few pumpkins, enjoy some festive food and watch a scary movie. I don’t know how it happens, but it seems that WAY too much time goes between getting our big(ger) group of friends together. (Thank You Brian Kress for pointing that out!) It got me thinking, I always blame our anti-social tendencies on the baby &/or tight budget – but in reality it’s just plain difficult to get everyone’s schedules and availability aligned. Dan and I debated for weeks on wether or not to throw a Halloween “party.” Then, just a few days prior – feeling slightly bummed that I STILL hadn’t organized anything… We decided, What the Heck! – NOBODY CARES if our yard is a mess, or our house isn’t totally spotless clean… What really matters is just getting together with good people… catching up, sharing a meal… and having a little fun!


Unfortunately, Daniel had to travel for work again this week and he won’t be home in time for trick-or-treating. Liv and I may make a spin around the block (Swiss Ave. is a pretty happenin’ place on Halloween) or we may call it an early night… just thankful that Halloween becomes a 2 week ordeal when you have kiddos… and we’ve already celebrated in lots of festive ways!

Ten MORE Things I love about October (And Fall in general)

1. Finally feeling legitimate about wearing sweaters + boots

2. Pumpkin Spiced Lattes + Pumpkin Bread

3. Wearing Daniel’s Flannels

4. Carving Pumpkins

5. Using the seat warmer in my car

6. Slippers, Sweatpants + Hoodies

7. Soup + Cornbread

8. Enjoying the crisp cool air outside.

9. Reminiscing while looking through our wedding “album”

10. Darker, earlier evenings… makes me feel like I’m staying up REALLY late.




Family P: Weekend REcap

Even as a stay-at-home Momma, I look forward to the weekends. Everything just seems better when Daddy is home; Liv and I are both happier. We’re really very lucky that Daniel + I enjoy our work as much as we do. Dan is finally enjoying the type of work he’s doing – most days his job is equally fulfilling as it is challenging. I obviously LOVE staying home and can’t imagine what life would be like if I’d returned to work after Olivia was born. Still, sometimes M-F seems like an eternity in comparison to the weekend blur.

This past weekend we actually got to sleep in a little bit. And by “both” I mean… He slept in on Saturday and I got up with the baby and on Sunday we swapped. Also – by “slept-in” I mean… 8:30AM. Mostly, I’m a morning person and my little 5AM alarm clock (A tiny kicking and giggling, co-sleeper) usually   doesn’t bother me at all… HOWEVER, lately, with the pitch black mornings… I’ve not been as happy to hop out of bed that early. On Saturday we started the day with Beer Biscuits + Bacon… always a good way to kick off the weekend. Olivia took a good long nap. Momma got an uninterrupted shower! We enjoyed a late lunch with Uncle Dallas at Stackhouse Burgers (Mentioned Here) If you live in the East Dallas area, I highly recommend giving it a try. Wonderful burgers (in my opinion, much better than Twisted Root), great salads, specials and sides. Definitely our go-to neighborhood joint. We enjoy the shaded patio, friendly staff and delicious food at least 2-3x a month. (Liv enjoyed the Avocado!)

Saturday afternoon Liv and I played on the floor of Daniel’s new office while he worked for a few hours then we spent a quiet night at home.

Sunday after church we made the trek out to Flower Mound to play at the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch – Definitely glad we checked it out but will probably stick to a quiet(er) day at the arboretum next year. Closer, less crowded and 100% FREE for us as pass holders.


As uneventful as they are, our weekends lately are pretty much perfect.


Two  years ago today, October 10th, 2010 (Yes… 10/10/10), Daniel and I tied the knot in front of our closest family and friends at the Pacific Edge Villa in Laguna Beach, CA.

Today we’re celebrating our second wedding anniversary… well actually he’s in Houston working and I’m home sick with a cranky teething baby… Today IS the day. And we ARE planning on celebrating. (We failed miserably last year.) Later this weekend…we’re dressing up, dinning out, getting a babysitter… the whole nine yards.

Just the other night, Daniel and I were snuggled up in bed watching a chick flick, enjoying some rare alone time (Olivia frequently co-sleeps) pigging out on some late-r night snackies… he looked over at me and just said, “Meg, You’re my best friend.” 

I feel incredibly blessed to be married to such an amazing man. Daniel truly is my better half. He is my best friend. My lover. (A few weeks ago the sermon at church touched on the stigma behind the word… fear of using it… etc. It stuck with me… more on that another time). He makes me laugh like nobody can- Loves me in ALL my nerdiness and crankiness. Oh! and he ALWAYS lets me have the last bite of dessert. Our love grows and changes every day – I can’t wait to see where it will take us in the years to come.

Dan + I fondly remember our wedding as “the best party OF ALL TIME.” Obviously we’re a tiny bit biased…  

Featured Images courtesy of Cameron Ingalls Photogrpahy – In case you’re in need of a wedding photographer… definitely check him out. We were beyond thrilled with his work 🙂

My Mom + Sisters stuffing me into my teeny tiny wedding dress

The Pacific Edge Villa, Laguna Beach, CA

Some fun was had

Dan + his Dudes

“Livin’ on a Prayer”

Air Guitar

Post Wedding Tacos



Oh! and one more…



Family P: Am I doing this right?

I must admit – I feel like I’m finally starting to get a hang of this whole MOM thing. Olivia has her first cough/cold this past week – going on 6 days of the snottiest and crankiest little Liv… No fever. Just snot. and LOTS of it. Standing in the hall bathroom (it’s much smaller than ours) with a steamy shower running and a tearful baby wrapped tightly to my chest – it hit me  – You’ve Arrived, Welcome to motherhood! Just as I started to feel completely hopeless, unable to do anything to soothe my miserable baby girl- she laid her head down on my chest, whimpered then closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Most rewarding are the moments when you just feel like, “I’m doing it right!” 

In the past 7 months I have become increasingly thankful for such an amazing support group of friends and family. They (Y’all – because lets just face it… y’all are likely the only ones following this blog) are my constant assurance that I am actually “doing it right;” that I am a good mother.  I want each of you to know how appreciated your words, advice, time, prayers, etc. are. Your support means so much to Daniel + I. We truly believe that it takes a village to raise a baby – Family and Friends alike – We feel incredibly blessed to have you and consider YOU part of our village. 

We are among the first in our circle(s) of friends to have a baby(ies). As much as we’ve made an effort to not let “having a baby” change who we are and what we love to do; there are some lifestyle changes that are inevitable. For the most part, our young married and single friends have been wonderfully accepting, understanding and accommodating as we navigate through this change. I’m reminded of this every time Olivia spits up on a girlfriend’s silk blouse and she pretends like it’s REALLY no big deal… or it’s overlooked when show up 15 min late but still have to leave promptly to catch bedtime… or when we bring a big embarrassing animal-print high chair cover in to a trendy upscale restaurant. I’m constantly juggling feelings of eagerness to have some of y’all join the club with understanding when dinner + drinks invitations taper and  still contentment with exactly the life we’d imagined (It’s unreal how insanely happy we are). Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to our amazing friends, who have not abandoned us because we had a baby, and became SIGNIFICANTLY more dorky than we were before.

Would also love to mention how grateful I am to have some good new-Momma friends, nearby and far away alike. I love knowing that y’all are out there for 2 am text messages or emails about diaper rash, spit-up and sweet potato puree. Ready and willing to answer the questions I’m too embarrassed to call my pediatrician about. It’s amazing how something a baby in common can bond you to someone instantly… Hope y’all feel the same.

Much Love,

Momma Meg

PS. I guess I get kind of sappy when Daniel is out of town. 

Family P: CALIFORNIA Adventures

Hard to believe we’ve already been home from vacationing in SoCal and visiting Family Gorham. Seems that we brought the <100 degree temps home with us – making the transition not quite as painful. After a productive week, readjusting to our “normal” routines, I’m finally taking the time to recap for our family records what a wonderful trip we had!  

I wondered, post-plane ride with baby, if I would have TONS of opinions, pointers, tips, regrets, etc. about traveling with Olivia… The truth is… I don’t really. I read quite a bit online, solicited advice from other mommas and spent over a week making lists and packing bags. A quickie top 10 I felt helpful during our 2-week adventure.

  1. Pack Light – bring only what you NEED on the plane – NOTHING more. (Diaper Backpacks are best – Our PPB converts)
  2. Babywearing is your friend – strollers are BULKY and not practical for traveling with a non-toddling baby
  3. Allow SOME extra time (get through security, to the gate, etc.) but not TOO much time that you’re just sitting around waiting longer than necessary.
  4. Nurse at take-off, Nurse at landing, Nurse the entire flight if your lil babe wants to. (Or Bottle, Sippy Cup, Pacifier, etc.)
  5. Bring some favorite + some new  toys, books, stuffed animals
  6. Make friends with the flight attendants – they’ll usually let you use their space in the back of the plane for diaper changes, etc.
  7. Rent, Buy resale, or borrow (if possible) as much as you can! (We Borrowed/Bought: Carseat, Stroller, Crib + Exersaucer)
  8. Your baby will likely have an easier time adjusting to a time-zone change than you will. Don’t Stress too much about adjusting!
  9. Buy disposables when you arrive – Diapers + Wipes (For our longer trip – we even bought lotion, sunscreen, soap, etc.) Do Laundry!
  10. Relax! Don’t stress too much about keeping on routine because before you know it, it’s time to go home!
Here’s the short and sweet edition –

TUESDAY – Tuesday morning we started the day early arriving just a little over an hour early for our flight DFW to SNA. Olivia – in true Olivia fashion – did wonderfully on the plane. Only mildly cranked and easily distracted on the 2.5 hour flight. Made a necessary first stop at Baja Fish Tacos then relaxed by the pool at Gramma + Poppa G’s house.

Getting on the Plane

WEDNESDAY –  Started the day at Mimi’s Cafe (Supporting my alma mater LHHS  by participating in Win Win Wednesdays) then took a nice long walk at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park

Walking at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park

THURSDAY – Enjoyed Olivia’s first unofficial trip to the beach (unofficial because there were no swim suits, towel, or actual salty and sandy adventures) at the Huntington Dog Beach. Got my annual (just kidding! Semi-Annual) haircut with my dear friend Kristina at Sweeter than Honey Hair Lounge.

Huntington Dog Beach

FRIDAY – Started the morning with a nature walk at Riley Wilderness Park in Trabuco Canyon – Safe to say that Liv LOVES nature. Afternoon naps and swimming in Grandma G’s pool finished with dinner on the patio… If there were a “typical” day – this was it. Walk/Hike, Nap, Swim, Nap, Eat

Nature Walk at Riley Wilderness Park

SATURDAY -Gramma G arranged for several of her closest OC pals to come over to Meet + Greet Miss Olivia. In true Gramma G fashion – this was a little bit MORE like a party – darling pink + yellow decorations (Emily made these – pinned Here and Here), brunchy appetizers and unnecessarily gracious gifties from the SoCal Aunties!  A bit overwhelmed by the stimulation, but overall did a wonderful job impressing the ladies – Especially Miss. Mav and her colorful dress.

Hand-me-down Rocking Chair from the Antone Family

SUNDAY – Went to St. Margaret’s to Church with Mom, followed by breakfast tacos at Las Golandrina’s then some quickie naps before heading South to San Diego. Safe to say, Olivia’s first trip to the San Diego Zoo was a huge hit. She LOVED watching the bigger animals – especially the giraffes (duh!), elephants, and hippos. We stayed just long enough to enjoy the cooler late afternoon/ evening weather before heading to the Westin Gaslamp district.

San Diego Zoo

MONDAY – After a better night than anticipated (Olivia actually slept 6+ hours IN THE HOTEL CRIB!) Gramma G and I ventured out in our PJs/Sweats in search of some Coffee and Breakfast Tacos while Auntie Em caught a few more ZZZs. Took the trolley over to Old Towne San Diego to explore a bit snagged a Chorizo + Egg Taco Here. After a quick stop in La Jolla for lunch + botox (Auntie Em’s migraine treatment) we headed back up to South County for an evening Harbor cruise complete with Dolphin sighting then teppan dinner at Ichibiri.

Exploring Old Town San Diego

TUESDAY – Sounds silly, but it’s a must hit spot when I’m in town –  I <3 Bagels. (Maggie – we MUST go here sometime. BEST BAGELS EVER) then a LONG overdue appointment at my old Eye Doctor for a new ‘scrip + contact lenses. Lunch at a hole-in-the-wall fav – Mongolian BBQ (Highly reccomended – Reviewed Here) follower by afternoon naps + Swimming. Picked up Daniel from the airport then home for Family Gorham dinner.

6 Months – Before Picking Up Dad from the Airport

WEDNESDAY – Lazy morning followed by Lunch + Boating in Dana Point Harbor. Olivia opted out this time to wander around the harbor with Dad. We had some family (+Christmas Card) photos done late afternoon then another fabulous Win Win Wednesday meal at Bru Grill in Lake Forest. Really awesome little Market + Upscale Grill.

Bru Grill

THURSDAY – Set off on a hike through Aliso Canyon to the dripping Caves with Chippy. Olivia happily rode on Daniel’s back for the first hour or so but lost interest when it started to get hot on the return. Cleaned up and made a Taco Loco run with Chippy. Then swimming… and dinner with Auntie Em’s new boyfriend Al (Fresco). (Clarification: this is an inside joke – Emily is not dating a man named Al – we just ate outside. Al Fresco.)

On top of the Dripping Caves

FRIDAY – Met up with Caitie + Mom for lunch at Wahoo’s at the Irvine Spectrum – Then kept the day low-key with more swimming and visits from family friends. Dan and I left the babe in the care of Family Gorham and snuck out for Dinner + Drinks with Friends at the Yard House.

Jen, Kristina + Me @ Yard House

SATURDAY – Brunch at home with the Iorio Family then headed down to wander around Laguna – made another necessary stop at Taco Loco, some thrifting, then more swimming and… you got it… Dinner al fresco. Finished the night with some “Jolly Games” – Cash Bingo courtesy of Bank of Dad.

Having a moment with Poppa G

SUNDAY – Early departure for the Airport. A quick – UNEVENTFUL – flight and we’re home. Worth mentioning that Olivia didn’t cry ONCE on the flight home – We’re VERY proud parents.

It’s always hard to come home from visiting California. Sometimes I feel torn, like Orange County is just as much home as Dallas is. Daniel and I talk all the time about moving back to sunny Southern California again in the distant future – if career paths and stars aligned. I mean… what’s not to like? I can’t even begin to describe how hard it hits me each time – how privileged I was to grow up in the environment I did. More on that another time.

Can’t wait for our next trip this Christmas! 

XO, Momma Meg (For Family P)


PS. – I’m noticing a complete failure to capture a complete (Family P 3) photo – We’re going to get better at that…

Momma Meg Loves: Warby Parker

Happy Friday!

As I mentioned here, I hadn’t had my vision checked in 4+ years… basically since I moved to TX. I haven’t worn contacts in at least that long – and lost my glasses a few years ago. While we were in CA, I scheduled a routine eye exam to see how much my prescription had changed. Surprisingly, not TOO much change… and only a tiny little slap on the wrist for procrastinating for as long as I did. I was relieved to find that our new cadillac insurance plan covers a routine exam (with only a $25 co-pay)! Gramma G pitched in for some contacts (I think it makes her nervous that I was driving her precious grandchild around) and I walked out with a written percription so I could order some Warby Parker glasses I’ve had my eye on! (No Pun Intended)


If you haven’t already heard of Warby Parker, definitely check them out. Like TOMS, they have a “Buy A Pair, Give A Pair” Project – for every pair sold, they give a pair to someone in need. The BEST part – they’re incredibly affordable! $95.00 includes Anti-reflection prescription lenses + free shipping. Since there are very few retailers that carry the line – they offer a Home Try-On Program by mail. You select 5 pair for at-home try-on, they ship them out (FREE) then once you receive them – you have 5 days to try them on, consider options, and return them (FREE Via UPS). No obligation to buy. Once you decide on a pair – you input your prescription online  and order. SO simple. Great Quality. Fun styles.


I think I’ve settled on these…

Sinclair in Greystone – Here

Pretty Nerdy… but I kind of LOVE them already.

Featured Image Here

Shout Out: Deena Riley Photography

A few months ago, we met up with Deena Riley to have some quick pictures done at sunset. She met us at The Filter Building at White Rock Lake – the perfect backdrop for this shoot. Deena photographed our sweet baby when she was just 12 days old in our home. We considered a few different options when we were looking for someone to take Olivia’s newborn portraits. Honestly, price was a huge consideration for us. I found packages ranging from $125 to $1500. Working with a tight budget – we wanted a package to include prints + digital negatives and didn’t want to compromise on talent! Overall, we were hugely satisfied with her friendliness and professionalism as well as the amazing quality of her work. She ran a contest earlier in the spring that allowed us to purchase a sunset shoot at an awesome discounted rate! We were thrilled to have the opportunity to take advantage of this package – Below are some of my favorite shots.

* Note: Olivia (at 4 months) was being a little stinker and WOULD NOT smile. Probably confused as to why she wasn’t in the bath at sunset.

Definitely check out Deena’s website next time you’re looking for a family photographer! 

Olivia: 5 Months

5 Months

15.2 Pounds

25 Inches

Size: “6 month”, Size 2 Diapers

Nicknames: Sneekle Freetzie (AKA Snickle Fritz), Liv, LiverDude, Peanut, OKP


The Skip Hop Tree Top Play Mat

The Baby Einstein Exersaucer (AKA “The Disc”)

Sophie the Giraffe and Sophie “Chewie”

The “Liv, Liv, Liv” Song

The Belly Button Song

Reading before bedtime, especially “Where’s Spot?”

Going to the Aquarium


“Longtime Sunshine” Song

Bath Time, Baby Massage, Bed Time

Putting fingers, hands, and feet in her mouth.

Interested in food and drinks, wants to put everything in her mouth

The flying baby game

any type of baby wearing: Bjorn, peanut sling (finally!)

Pulling mom’s hair


getting in the carseat

being in the stroller for long enough for mom to shop

watching mom blog

watching dad study

staying up past 9:00pm

watching mom + dad eat dinner


Almost sitting up alone

Meeting cousins Rylie + Remie for the first time

First trip to the Lake with Bilbo/McElyea/Darley fam

Sleeping 5+ hour stretch at night, occasionally 8+

First Fourth of July

First Bubble Bath

Swim Diapers Size S/P finally fit!

Wore Vans tennies for the first time

Stuck tongue out and made a funny face

Getting a little furrier! More blondish red hair coming in…

Went to the nursery at Church for the first time

Daily Routine:

7:30 Wake Up, Nurse

10:00 Nurse

11:00 Nap (30 min – 1hr)

1:00 Nurse

3:00 Nap (1hr-2hrs)

4:00 Nurse

7:00 Nurse

8:00 Read books in bed with Mom + Dad

8:30  Bathtime, Lotion and Massage, “Jammies”

9:00 Nurse, Songs, Prayers*

*In the process of pushing the whole night-time routine up to 7:00 pm… slowly shaving a few minutes off every night

Family P Celebrates the 4th: Fried Chicken NO Fireworks

We have failed miserably for the past 4 years at finding the perfect spot to watch Fireworks. Growing up in hill-y Southern California, we were always able to see Fireworks from the backyard deck. There were are few years that we made the trek to the park or beach, but most of my memories of Fourth of July were at home. Living downtown is great for a lot of things… not Fourth of July. Next year, I think we’ll make more of an effort to be lake-side or better yet… maybe plan a family trip to CALIFORNIA!

My mom “Gramma G” was in town with my youngest sister Emily  for the 4th (and to celebrate my… gulp… 26th birthday!). A whirlwind of a trip, we started with a quickie dinner at Tampopo Japanese Cafe on Greenville (delicious… and cheap! tempura and bento boxes!) before escorting my darling gandaddy and his date to a summer concert at the Dallas Arboretum.


Chihuly Nights Concert @ The Dallas Arboretum

Such a bummer when this holiday falls midweek.. at least for my sweet hardworking husband who has to go straight back to work the next day. We attended my mom’s childhood neighborhood parade first thing in the morning, followed by a wonderful afternoon by the pool. Post-swimming naps and snacks and a wonderful meal at our new favorite place Chicken Scratch (read more here). Great food (Free Range Fried Chicken + traditional southern sides) Good beer selection, and AMAZING outdoor atmosphere… very kid friendly!

Swimming with Gramma G

Swimming on the Fourth of July

Liv Loves Chicken Scratch

@ Chicken Scratch

Full of Fried Chicken our plans to go and see fireworks at Fair Park were quickly abandoned… instead we ate Peach Cobbler (Recipe Here) on the front porch, bathed the baby and called it a night. The rest of  Gramma G/Auntie Em’s trip included a trip to the Dallas World Aquarium, a weekend at Lake Cypress Springs, a birthday celebration and delicious brunch at Oddfellows  in the Bishop Arts District.

Swimming with Cousins @ The Bilbo Lake House

Gramma G @ Oddfellow’s with Liv

And in one short month… WE’RE GOING TO CALIFORNIA!