A Name for Little Brother.

His name will be Daxton Spencer Hale.

Daxton - Warrior who conquers great obstacles.
Spencer - Dispenser of provisions.
Hale - Healthy and hearty, free of disease.

I thought I would go ahead and share his name with you, since we are upon the heels of meeting him (I hope?) and we have been calling him by his name for months now.

Stevie and I wanted to find something in the same genre of Everett's name, with a bit of an English background, since we both have English heritage. We went through lists of names, rifled through books, and of course did tons of Google searches. When we were in London this summer we even looked at all the street names, and kept speaking them aloud, seeking to hear just the right fit for our little boy. We came across the name Daxton in an online search, and continuously said it out loud to ourselves. It sounded so different, so uncommon, but was it too different? We tossed the name around for about a month before deciding on the perfect combination. And Everett has everything to do with us finally settling on it because he refused every other name we tried out - he literally yelled "No! No! No!" to every name option, and when we asked him what his baby brother's name should be, he responded every single time with "DAXTON!!!!" It was one of our road trips games on the way home from our month in New York - how many times we could get him to plead with us what his brother's name should be.

Daxton Spencer Hale. He sounds like quite a Brit, eh? Spencer is my maiden name and I've always known I wanted to weave it into a family name somehow. I'm excited that Daxton will be the keeper of that bit of heritage.

We also like to choose a bible verse to declare over our boys, to hang in their room and remind them of who we see them as - like a seal upon their lives. It took me a while to find the perfect verse for Daxton, but when I did, Stevie and I read it over and over again like, yes.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best, and may be pure until the day of Christ; filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."
- Philippians 1:9-11

We are so excited and so ready to meet our baby boy. I am a few days shy of 39 weeks, so lets get on with it, mister Daxton! I can't wait to meet you!

P.S. - When we decided Everett's name.
P.P.S. - Custom name print by Jenny Highsmith - isn't she crazy talented? She's my go-to for hand-lettered prints.

Making the Most of Our Time.

Living outside the realm of time sounds alluring, I'll admit.

This pregnancy has felt long and yet, now at the end of it, I am scrambling to finish up projects on my to-do list before this babe evicts. I am doing my best to squeeze the pulp out of every moment, to hone in on what is really important and attempt to discard what just isn't. Spending time with my little boy, who seems to get the drift that everything is about to change because he is more sensitive, more apt to throw a fit, more curious about my burgeoning belly - spending time with him is nothing but an investment. So that means sometimes we go on a lunch date together instead of doing the laundry. That means sometimes I forgo the dishes to play trains instead. That means we read an extra story before bedtime. Because it's just fun and that matters. And because this idea of time being the most precious commodity is true; and as I'm getting older, it pulses truer and truer.

My best gift to give is my time. And I'm doing my best to give it where it matters, especially right now.

I've been thinking about this whole timing thing a lot more lately. JORD Wood Wristwatch sent me the most beautiful of all timepieces, this little emerald green and dark sandalwood number, and each time I wear it I am reminded to measure my moments carefully. It's making me think twice about how I'm spending my time - am I spending it where it really matters? Just yesterday, Stevie and I stole an hour away to have a lunch date because we don't know how many more of these opportunities we will get before a fourth Hale is added to our bunch! It was pouring rain outside and we sat by the window and laughed while we ate fish tacos (I know, weird winter food) and he poked at my puffy feet underneath the table in an attempt to play footsie. And it was wonderful. How many moments do I get like this? I'm enjoying them as much as possible right now. And this watch, let me tell you, it is something special - I am really taken with how exquisite the piece is without being too feminine. And also, I have this thing with emerald green. It's becoming my favorite color these days, to decorate with in my home, (remember this little DIY?) to wear, and apparently - in my wrist watch collection. I'm thinking that wooden watches are the new little black dress :) Especially for pregnant women who don't fit into anything little.

And now for a contest! JORD is giving away a $75 gift card to one lucky winner - and ALL those who enter will automatically be given a $25 gift card to use on their site. You can enter the giveaway here, and all you have to do is enter your name and email address. This is a sweet way to score a great gift for your sweetheart the holidays and also - everyone is a winner! Once you've entered the contest you will immediately be emailed a $25-off gift card. The men's watches are equally as unique - I've been eyeing this, this and this for Stevie for Christmas. Shhhh don't tell.

Merry Christmas shopping, friends. Remember to take stock in the moments you've been given this season - they are fleeting at best!

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. All opinions expressed are my own.

Trimming the Tree.

The memory is laced with the faintest scent of pine and cider and the melodies of the Amy Grant Home for Christmas album. I can see my sisters, the Santa hat atop Kara's head crushing her 80's bangs. Rachel is so little, wearing pink footie pajamas and mimicking everything I do. Because, you know, little sisters. We are decorating the tree and my mom is making popcorn in the kitchen and my dad is outside on a ladder, putting lights up higher on the house than my mom wanted. It's wonderful, it's warm, and we are happy.

Every time I go to decorate my own Christmas tree these adult years, I am overwhelmed with the rush of this memory, these glowing little moments. Me and my sisters, shimmying around the tree with the strange lava lights that mom insists were in style back then and draping our construction paper ornaments all willy-nilly. Mom, with her thick glasses and long fuzzy robe. Dad, fussing with the outdoor decor while his acoustic guitar awaits in the corner of the living room. Dad always came in and played some Larry Norman when he was done with his projects.

I am grateful.

Christmas is not always perfect. It can be stressful and fussy and can bring out some of the worst family dynamics. It can cost too much and somehow we eat too much and then in January we have to clean it all up and that is just sad. But the thing is - Christmas is memory. It's one of the strongest. And I don't really remember the difficult times as much as I remember the shocked look of joy of the faces of my family members, each as they unwrapped their dream gift. I remember my dad getting his big screen TV, my sister getting her sought-after leather Steve Madden boots, and my little Ray Ray, getting clothes. Nothing made her happier than just clothes. It's so funny.

Now I am in the phase of life where I am on the other side of the equation, planning and budgeting and baking and shopping. I am creating the framework for my own little family's memories. I am hanging the stockings, stuffing them with toothbrushes and chocolate (??) I am trimming the tree with my chosen ornaments - a mixture of glitter and gold and woodland themed aesthetics. I know that doesn't really go together but I'm the mom now, so I get to make that call. Just like my mom did with those strange lava lights. I love this phase of life more than I could have ever imagined. I can't believe how much I love being a mom and surprising my family with Christmas treats, all the while the Amy Grant Christmas album lilts in the background of my heart. I am happy. An emotional pregnant basket case about 1/3 of the time these days, but absolutely, decidedly, blissfully happy.

Stevie practically did everything to make Christmas happen this year, in terms of decorating. He put up the largest (and best!) tree we've ever had, smattered some extra branches on the mantle and draped the lights, but Everett helped me hang some of the ornaments lower on the tree and he was absolutely giddy. Just like he should be. I was so touched when Marked Moments Keepsakes reached out, wanting to send along a personalized ornament for us to hang on our tree this year. This wooded design is the perfect memory marker for what feels like another nostalgic year - this slice of life with my little family of three just moments before we balloon into a bustling crew of four. I am so smitten with these Christmas moments and I just want to simmer here for a while. And watch my little son hop like a frog in the glow of the lights while listening to Stevie strum the chords to a Johnnyswim song on his own acoustic.

This is it, you guys. These are the moments that make life the absolute "good old days", and I don't want to dismiss a single one.

What are your favorite Christmas memories from trimming the tree - the music? The lights? I'd love to hear about your own sweet holiday moments with your people. Merry Christmas to you, friends. xox.

P.S. - Our Christmas tree hunting experience this year and my NBD phone call with Jillian Michaels (enter the giveaway for her new book over on my instagram!)

Christmas Tree Hunting!

Oh, Christmas tree!

We had such a memorable time, hunting for our trees rather early this year. Since I am enormously pregnant at this point, I knew I wanted to have Christmas "ready" by Thanksgiving. So we went tree hunting the weekend before Thanksgiving, complete with a hearty Cracker Barrel breakfast prior to the mission. Those blueberry pancakes you guys.

We go to the farmer's market in Atlanta every year for our trees (yes, we get two - one tall beauty and one short kooky one), and this year we went with Stevie's parents and bro. Everett had such a blast, playing hide-and-seek with my brother-in-law Joshua amongst the trees while Stevie and I deliberated. I had my heart set on a super tall tree, while Stevie preferred to be less ostentatious. Story of our life, actually. But he agreed, the 13-footer was too much of a beauty to pass up, and because it was actually very cold and windy on this particular day (okay, cold for Georgia), we made quick decisions and were in and out of the market pretty fast.

Oh, a word on matching. When I found out I was having another boy, I decided to go ahead and attempt to match my kids for as long as they will let me. I have mayyyyybe another year of tricking Everett into thinking it's cool for us to wear matching gear. I might never have a girl, you guys! This could be my only chance! On this particular morning, I pulled out our matching Rocco+Norah beanie and mama turban and was like, "Everett, look! We can have matching hats today!" And he started laughing and smiling and then suddenly froze and was like, "Wait, what about Daddy? Where's Daddy's hat?", to which I responded stone-faced (and kind of evilly), "Daddy didn't want to match us."

Have I not mentioned that this last stretch of pregnancy has made me a terrible person? Just rotten.

How cute are these two??

How cute are these two??

I love this. Such a father-son moment.

I love this. Such a father-son moment.

I mean, how good looking are my in-laws? It's kind of ridiculous.

I mean, how good looking are my in-laws? It's kind of ridiculous.

I hope you are all getting into the Christmas spirit! We finally completed decorating the house and I'll share our trimmed trees here on Monday. Have a beautiful, jolly weekend, friends! xox