Summer... and a little October too!

Well, I officially suck at keeping a blog. But I think ya’ll already knew that! There have been a LOT of ups and downs this summer and now autumn so there’s LOTs to tell you!

June

If you haven’t heard by now (you must not follow me on Instagram lol) Baby Kerr is a GIRL! And her name is Penelope Jane! We had the best time doing a sex reveal party and celebrating Penny Girl (though we didn’t decide her name until after…).

Nick and I did find out before we announced it because we couldn’t wait! The nurse called me while I was at work and I had to clarify 3 different times that she said baby was a girl because I was so excited I didn’t want to hear her wrong or forget it or something weird like that! We decided to do the classic popping a balloon with glitter and since I didn’t want our apartment complex to hate us we did it in Penny’s nursery… BIG MISTAKE. If you have to use glitter, DO IT OUTSIDE!! It’s OCTOBER and I’m STILL finding glitter all over our house!

You can tell from my face, I HATE popping balloons haha, so don’t know why I went with that option. To celebrate, Nick and I went to Hopdoddy’s (one of our FAVORITE burger places here in Dallas) and splurged on some truffle fries #drool.

June 14th was our 4th anniversary which we celebrated by going to Sushi with Nick’s manager. haha It was a good time AND we got a free meal. We did our own thing that actual weekend which consisted of dinner at Seasons 52 (sooo good) and then seeing the movie ‘Tag’ which was really fun! So nothing too crazy but this preggo has been short on energy the. WHOLE. time.

We also decided on Penelope’s name in June! Nick actually picked it out from our “Approved” list and stuck hard to it. I wasn’t in a rush to decide her name cause we had like forever till she will get here (how do I write in past and present tense in one sentence??). We were walking to a diner for Brunch with Nick’s Office peeps and Nick was trying to talk me into just deciding it. Right as he said, “If we name her Penelope, she can go by Penny which would be kind of like naming her after your grandpa” I saw 2 pennies, right side up on the sidewalk. My grandpa used to ALWAYS stop to pick up any loose change, especially pennies and since he passed away the whole family has taken a penny on the ground to be a sign from him saying hi from the beyond. So when I saw 2 pennies I knew that was her name! Both Grandpa and Penelope approved it!

Mary also started helping me get baby stuff! Haha I love Georgia’s face peeping in the background of the picture for the stroller/carseat adapter. It was fun and made things really feel real (as if the pregnancy symptoms weren’t enough haha) to start getting things ready for her.

July

July started with Mary and I hosting the biggest party yet for the 4th! Since few people have family here we’ve all kind of morphed into each other’s families and support system with no clear dividing lines so when you have a party, you invite EVERYONE. It was SOO much fun that like all of us forgot to take pics! Luckily, a few people (Laura, Mary, & Chelsea!!) saved me and actually took some pics (even got me in one for proof!). It was SOO hot that day AND Nick almost got arrested! …Almost. Lol He and a few other people staked out the pool starting at like 7am because we had a group of like 40+ people so we NEEDED the prime spot and apparently some of the residents that lived right by the pool didn’t like that so they called the cops. The cops talked to Nick and were like, “It’s first come, first serve, man. You good!” and THAT’s the story of how Nick almost got arrested on the 4th of July.

We also had an impromptu flight to Utah to see my lil bro Ethan give his farewell talk! He did such a good job and it was fun to see him one last time (for 2 years) before he took off to serve in the Iowa Des Moines Mission. He’s doing awesome with all the corn and pigs haha but he really is doing well!

I also worked a lot for this amazing lady, Kelsey, and her incredible jewelry company Little Sycamore! I still work for her and it’s the best ever! I get to work from home and make pretty things with pretty stones and interact with pretty people all the time! Occasionally we have work partys and they are a hoot!

And of course there was lots of growing involved for me and Penny! I finally had to start buying maternity clothes for that awkward stage between looking like you ate too much and having a full-fledged pregnant belly. August was better about not being such an awkward stage.

I also had my 20 week appointment which is the big scan to check on Penelope’s development. She was soo active and such a diva! She made it really hard for the sonographer to check for cleft pallet and to make sure she has 2 eyes (which she does, no worries there) because she was sitting SO LOW and then moving every 2 seconds! We saw her cartwheel a few times and that made me realize that what I thought was gas pains was actually Penny Girl jumping on my intestines. Everything looked so perfect and by the end she was chillaxin with her arms behind her head, and her feet elevated and crossed at the ankles (there’s proof below).

I also had really good intentions of eating super clean and following the Clean Simple Eats program but after the first meal of chicken, spinach, sweet potato crackers, and grapefruit aka: Citrus Chicken Salad (pictured) I gave up on following the plan and started picking recipes that I thought I’d like. I found a LOT of really yummy recipes through that program so it was really good, just that ONE FIRST meal was a deal breaker. I also got to watch Moose (MY FAVORITE) so of course there’s a picture of him haha.

August

August is the best because it starts out with one of my favorite days of the year, Nick’s Birthday! I love spoiling him and he knows there’s nothing he can do about it. He used to complain and try to get me to calm down but I think he’s just finally accepted that it’s never gonna happen and it’s so much more fun to just give in to me and my requests.

We went to dinner for his birthday but that was all we had time for since we flew to Utah for family vacation with the Kerrs the next day! We got to spend almost 2 glorious weeks with our families! My mom threw the cutest tea party shower for me and of course I didn’t take any pictures… But I got one with Allison, Gabe, and their sweet new baby Titus! We got spoiled and felt so loved by all our family and friends that came and supported us!

For family vacation we stayed at a fun cabin up Big Cottonwood Canyon because Nick’s brother Chris had football practice and needed to be close enough to do double duty. It was the FUNNEST week! We hiked (almost killed me but was amazing to do with my baby girl and hubs supporting me), saw the new Mission Impossible movie in the super deluxe luxury seats that every theater of all time should have, went cheese tasting in Heber Valley (SOOOOO good), got family pictures done by my amazing friend Summer Soelberg, had our annual Nerf War, taste tested and Sweet 16’d different flavors of Oreos (Lemon won ya’ll), and went to eat at so many good places! We also attempted to do an escape room… probably not the best idea for us competitive Kerrs. We totally got the raw end of the deal but I can tell you about that another time. We always have the best time together and make so many memories and laugh a ton! It was so nice to get out of the heat of Texas and be in the beautiful mountains of Utah for a while. I missed it so much!

August also was full of buying more things for Penny, working for Little Sycamore, Work Parties, and the RASCAL FLATTS CONCERT!! We went with like a bajillion friends and it was SOO much fun even though it was BLOODY hot! (“Fun” fact about Texas: it doesn’t cool down when the sun goes down… it just marinates until the sun comes back up in the morning). And Nick and I unintentionally matching for church which brings me an odd amount of joy haha.

September

Ya’ll, if you’re still reading, I’m seriously impressed. This is one long blog post and let’s just say, YOU DA REAL MVP!

I started out the month working on Little Sycamore stuff like a CRAZY person! I got over 31 hours in a week (normally I get like 15) but I was crankin out beautiful littles and seriously got addicted to it. My mom and sister flew out to help me get my house ready for Penelope to come! They did all the things that are soo hard for me to do with this big ol belly (like bend over or reach up high or basically like anything). And the nursery is almost done! Just need to get a few more things and then I’ll do a photoshoot to show it off cause it’s seriously the cutest! (I’m actually writing from the amazingly comfy recliner/glider/rocking chair right now cause it’s the only place in my house I can sit for chunks of time and not have my back/butt hurt. Thanks for the best gift mama!)

While my mom and sister were here Mary threw me and Penny a shower with all my Texas friends (well, almost all of them)! We were SO spoiled and it was SO much fun and I’m SO INCREDIBLY grateful for the amazing women who are my friends and family out here!

I also made Nick some “Reese’s Crack Bars” (as our friend Zach has dubbed them) and laughed at how he cut into them… he couldn’t wait for me to do it and apparently the circular shape threw him off haha #loveyouboo. We celebrated Bridget’s birthday with our friends from Nick’s work, and enjoyed the first day of Autumn (even though it’s still 80+ here… pardon me while I go cry).

But the first real curveball came while my mom and sister were still in town. We got a call from my dad that my brother Dallin has testicular cancer. They weren’t 100% sure because they’d have to do surgery before they could test it but from all the symptoms it looked just like it. He went to the doctor on Wednesday, Thursday he had a CT which thankfully came back clear, and Friday he had surgery. We tried so hard to get my mom back for his surgery but it just didn’t work out. Luckily, my dad was able to take the week off of work, my aunt was able to cancel her appointments to be with him and my dad at the surgery, and my grandma was there to help him recover all until my mom and sister could get back home on Saturday.

It was scary, but we were all surrounded by loving people who prayed for us and especially for Dallin. He’s doing well now and still isn’t “cured” but things are looking good and like they caught it in time. He’ll do a treatment later this month and then we’ll see where he’s at. We’re really hoping it is just a one-time treatment to make sure all of the cancer is gone.

…and a little October too!

I know it’s only the 2nd day of this month but yesterday was a pretty scary day.

Nick was working from home until his flight at 6pm which was really nice because he had had a looooong work week in Denver/Provo the week before. I had a doctor’s appointment where I was tested for gestational diabetes (still waiting on results but not too worried about it) and the doctor said Penny was looking perfect. But we were talking about my symptoms and she mentioned something about discharge that just wasn’t settling well with me. It was one of those things where you have to go home, observe your body and think about how things have been before you can really do anything because I didn’t have an answer for her when I was in the office.

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I was STARVING after taking the test (and a bit nauseous from all the sugar) so Nick and I got a mini lunch date together which was a lot of fun. We came home and went about our day. Nick got packed up and headed to the airport right when I had realized I needed to talk to the doctor because I was having the unusual symptoms she had mentioned to watch out for.

Nick had to go before I was able to talk to a nurse, and shortly after things got crazy. I had told the nurse what was going on and that I was worried I was leaking Amniotic Fluid. After she had talked to my doctor she told me to go to the hospital to Labor & Delivery right away. Nick was gone, I was shocked and slightly panicking (definitely didn’t see that coming), and most of all I was alone. Nick called me right after the nurse told me to go to the hospital and luckily he hadn’t gotten on his flight yet and was able to leave the airport and come to the hospital. I called Mary and she was able to literally drop everything and take me to the airport. Chelsea even watched JoJo so she didn’t have to worry about her.

I had never been to the hospital in an emergency situation and ya’ll, it’s scary. They do their best to make you calm and feel ok, but there’s only so much you can do when so much is unknown. They performed 3 tests to make sure I wasn’t leaking fluid. 1/3 came back positive (the Ph test) so they did a sonogram to measure how much fluid is in my bag and that came back with flying colors. The doctors on call determined it MAY just be a slight bacterial infection, but it also could be me actually leaking fluid slowly. So I’m on antibiotics to rule out the infection. I pray it is just an infection because if it’s a leak that could mean bedrest and/or Penelope making her debut early.

I have the best family and friends and support system! I am in awe that everyone was able and willing to come running when I needed it! THANK YOU to everyone reading this because YOU are part of that support system whether you’re here with me or not. And don’t worry, I will keep you updated on all things Penny!

XOXO meli

Keep on MARCHin

And just like all months, March went by in the blink of an eye (wow, I’m an amazing poet ;] ) 

We started March off strong with VIP tickets to our favorite band’s concert, The Classic Crime! They seriously have the BEST shows! I’m not a fan of concerts unless it includes an orchestra and padded seats but I will go to a TCC concert EVERY. TIME. This time we got VIP tickets which meant we got to meet them and have a bit of a Q&A with them. So, Robbie, the guitarist, is basically my new bff. He’s also a wedding photographer (He’s got MAD s-kills!) and I had chatted with him on good ol’ FB about it once last year. Well, in the Q&A I asked what everyone else’s day jobs and mentioned that Robbie had helped me out with something because he’s such an amazing photog and HE REMEMBERED IT. **FANGIRL MOMENT** And then AFTER the Q&A he talked to us for 15 mins (while everyone else went backstage) and gave me more adviced and then showed us pics and vids of his adorbs corgi. COOLEST. GUY. EVER. 

One of the things I learned about Nick’s family early on is that there is an unspoken competition to find the next coolest/next family favorite musical artist. I still haven’t brought one to the table yet (it’s incredibly difficult) but Nick brought them TCC and we discovered them at the EXACT same concert back in high school so I like to think that if I had been apart of the family back then that I would’ve gotten credit for them. haha - The story goes that we both went to this Reliant K concert our Jr. year of high school-not together, but with the people we were dating at the time (and my BFF Lacy). We joke that we fell in love that night the second we saw each other but truth be told we don’t remember meeting until Freshman year of College. Anyway, TCC opened for Reliant K along with OWL CITY (remember him??) and we both liked TCC better than RK (but don’t tell them that lol). 

‘Back to March... Actually, the next day we got to spend our first day this year in the sun with a bunch of our friends from Nick’s work to celebrate birthdays!! They’re seriously the coolest people! We went downtown to Klyde Warren Park which is a park that they built on top of a freeway (how cool is that?!) and enjoyed the food trucks and frisbee as much as we could, it was REALLY crowded (I think everyone has the same idea). Oh, and that delicious cookie thing in Nick’s hand is the most amazing ice cream sandwich ever! It’s a double decker cookie-wich (cookie-ice cream-cookie-ice cream-cookie). Drool. 

A week or so after that Wayne and Susan (the best in-laws EVER) came to visit! We are so lucky that Wayne travels to Dallas for work and brings Susan with him sometimes! We ate SO much amazing food! We showed them this place called Maple Leaf Diner that has the craziest, most intensely LARGE, and delicious food you’ve ever had (see photo of “Carnival Burger”)!!! We also took them to see the Bloom Festival at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens which was STUNNING. I think it was particularly stunning in contrast to the rest of Dallas that was just barely starting to green up. The Farmer’s Market was really fun and we found a delicious and quite amazing hot sauce made out of THE CAROLINA REAPER PEPPER (aka: the HOTTEST PEPPER IN THE WORLD). Not too hot, but VERY delicious. Oh. I just said that. Lol. 

TWO DAYS after Wayne and Susan left we went to UTAH for a jam-packed weekend! It started off with a recruiting event for Nick’s work that was for interested recruits and their spouses to learn about the lifestyle and what life really looks like day-to-day with such an intense job. It was really fun talking to a ton of people and seeing some amazing friends that we hadn’t seen since we moved!! The next day started with me, Ethan, and dad going to the Salt Lake Library to do his senior pictures (coming soon!) while Nick was at another recruiting event in Provo. Right after that we headed to the Bountiful Temple to go through with Alissa for the first time! It was great to have the whole family together for the first time since Christmas! The next day we got to spend a little time with my family before flying back to Dallas! 

March was really a great month which was VERY needed! 

 

 

XOXO meli

There's Something Magical About December

Well... that was fast!! I absolutely cannot believe that it's ALREADY time for my monthly update! (as evidenced by the fact that I'm writing this 3 days later than I wanted to... off to a great start in 2018). 

I kicked December off with the first styled shoot I've ever put together! I definitely had a LOT of help from the fabulous Jessica Scott at J.Scott Events! (Seriously, if you need an event planner, she's amazing!) And if you follow me on any social media (bless you and thank you!) you've seen that I made a BIG stink about it and then didn't really post anything about it...... well, as far as excuses go, I think it's pretty legit, but I couldn't post about it because I was trying to get it published in a wedding magazine/blog... I still am! But I'm going the non-exclusive route so that I can FINALLY SHARE THEM!! (Post is coming MÁS RAPIDO) buuuuuuuuut who wants to wait for the next post, I definitely don't! So here's more of a sneak peak than I've showed ANYWHERE else! 

I got to work with SO many INCREDIBLE vendors! So if you just got engaged or are planning your wedding and need some referrals (along with an awesome photographer *wink*) I got you! 

Also in the month of December I started planning SEVERAL other styled shoots along with a MASSIVE GUIDED STYLED SHOOT with my amazing friend Mary of Mary Jessica Photography! I'm seriously SOO excited about all of that and CANNOT wait to share them! (not all of them will have insane build up and then a long-overdue follow up I promise!) And if you're a photographer and want to join me on those shoots (I LOVE PHOTO FRIENDS) send me your email and I'll let you know the second tickets are available! (one of these days I'll get a subscription box on my site (just realized I'm REEEAAALLY lovin parentheses today)) 

Baby JoJo came early and I got to do my first hospital shoot and will be sharing those shortly as well! Lots of blogging to do! I also got to work with an ad agency to help with a shoot for Coca-Cola and Mission Tortillas which was a blast!! Hopefully, I'll be able to work with them again soon. 

The BIG event(s) of the month started on the 16th and didn't end until New Year's Day when we got to fly home for the holidays! It was well anticipated because Nick has been SOO busy and a bit stressed with work that we hadn't spent a ton of time together since he started his new job and so 2 weeks of him not having to work (basically at all) and being together 24/7 was amazing! We got to meet up with a bunch of friends (no pictures because although I am a photographer, I SUCK at remembering to take photos in the moment), do a mini Christmas with MY family (we had Thanksgiving with them so it was a Kerr Christmas this year!), go to a Barker AND a Kerr Christmas party and see our fellow relations and eat amazing food! (And there's literally not a single picture of all of that *facepalm*). 

Susan (my amazing Mother-In-Law) and Maddy (my awesome Sister-in-Law) took me and Nick to Gardner Village! It's an old polygamist compound turned shopping center that's actually quite charming! They even have delicious treats and a salt water taffy pulling machine that I could watch for HOURS. We also visited Temple Square with the whole family which was REALLY fun but very cold and stopped by the Grand America Hotel to see the Christmas windows (seriously so amazing! I want to be the one to do it someday!) and the GIANT gingerbread house that was entirely edible (some people tested it...sick) and smelled SOO good! I smelled it before I could see it! 

Christmas was the best! We slept in until 8am (I don't think I've done that on Christmas... ever) opened presents, and had THE MOST amazing breakfast featuring a FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE that was absolutely to DIE for! (Susan, I'm still waiting for that! ;) ) When she send's that I'll post it at the bottom so you all can try it... It's incredible! Since we had our big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner! It was great because we didn't have to cook OR clean up! We were so stinkin spoilt by all our family and friends! So here's a GIANT WHOPPING THANK YOU to you all!! LOVE YOU!!

The Kerrs are BIG movie goers. It's kind of our thing! And since Nick & I hadn't gone to a movie in almost 6 months (longest movie draught of our lives) we definitely tried to make up for lost time. We started with Thor: Ragnarok which was definitely our favorite superhero movie yet, followed it with Jumanji (SOOO funny!) which we were PLEASANTLY surprised by, then the new Star Wars which was washed down with The Darkest Hour (10/10 would recommend). For all you history buffs out there who want to nerd out with me... watch The Darkest Hour, followed by Dunkirk (the most beautifully filmed movie of ALL time), followed by The Crown (thank you Netflix!). If anyone else has a more complete and/or better movie/show list of WWII/Winston Churchill's life PLEASE share!! The Kerrs also have the tradition of making gingerbread houses! Before I joined the family, Nick turned the tradition into ginger-massacre-houses (which Ben graciously continued this year). Since I joined the family, the houses have become more designer and Maddy now gives them to her cute nursery kids from church.

NYE we got to go up and visit with my family again for a little while which was a blast! We watched the Chargers kick butt (even through their kicker can't) and attempted to play Rook (a 100 yr old Stoker fam. tradition). Unfortunately, we had to leave before we could REALLY play because Nick & I had to get back in time to pack and have Ben's birthday dinner! One of the Kerr traditions is that you can't have your cake & ice cream until AFTER you say something you like/admire/positive about the person whose birthday it is. So we followed tradition and celebrated in style! And this year, the boys decided to do a Madden tournament because Chris got it for Christmas and the boys just HAD to be competitive.... (as always). The seeds were as follows: 4. Wayne 3. Nick 2. Ben 1. Chris. I'll let you decide who won. 

We left for Dallas on New Year's Day which was REALLY hard. We had so much fun with family & friends (and seeing our pup Jack for a second!) and there were SO many people we didn't get to see that we really had wanted to which contributed to the hard factor. Luckily, our original flight was cancelled so we got to leave a few hours later and I got to fly FIRST CLASS!! WHOO BABY! Poor Nick got downgraded from First Class on the original flight to Economy on the one we took and had to sit in the VERY last row... at least it was an isle seat, right babe?? (I honestly don't know how we got First Class to begin with! I know we didn't pay for it!). 

2017 was absolutely amazing! In April we got to graduate together from BYU, hung out at the beach in San Diego while celebrating our amazing country (USA! USA! USA!), moved to Dallas which was only made bearable by my amazing family who helped drive us and our crap out here!, I started doing photography full-time, Nick started work for McKinsey & Co. (definitely more than full-time), we found an amazing support system here in Dallas, and now visiting Utah is FUN!! 

I'm seriously soo grateful to each of you for the love, support, and motivation you give me! This has been a wild ride and I cannot WAIT to see what 2018 has for us! "2.0.1.8. is gonna be GREAT!" -Edie (our Uber driver)

XOXO meli 

 

P.S. Our beloved Prophet passed away last night at the age of 90. He is an incredible example of Christlike love and of leaving the flock to rescue the one. His life is something I wish to mirror of building relationships and growing together to come unto Christ. 

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."             -President Thomas S. Monson     1927-2018

P.P.S I know I promised a longer explanation on how I do my goals for the year on Instagram and I haven't forgotten! That will come soon! Promise!

 

SOOO AMAZING!!!! 

 

 

Cat & Kyle Nordhagen - American Fork, UT

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 

Meet Cat & Kyle Nordhagen! They are absolutely amazing! I met Kyle my senior year of college at BYU while I was serving at the Executive Director of Marketing for the Marriott School Student Council. Kyle was part of the most amazing group I've been a part of to date! My committee was so awesome that we would have game nights and that's how I met Cat! Annnnddd that's how I found out the Nordhagen's secret: GAME CONNOISSEURS.  

No joke. Nick and I have been introduced to SOOOO many incredible games like Monopoly Deal, Quiplash, Fibbage, and Drawful (to name a few). Now we know where to go to fund the best games! And I'm sure if you asked them, they'd be happy to share their wisdom with you too!!!

Games aside, this session was a DREAM! We went up American Fork Canyon in Utah for the greenery and dramatic scenery but we were blessed with THE FIRST SNOW OF THE YEAR!! It was sooo magical! I had flown out from Dallas the day before and I was ready for the cold! If you've read my last couple of personal updates, you know how much I've been craving sweater + boot weather so when I got here and not only got my beautiful mountains and sweater weather AND I got beautiful, magical, SNOW I was in HEAVEN!! (Also freezing my bahootie off but that's another story) 

I hope your Christmas is amazing and filled with magic, games, fun, and amazing food!! (Of course!) I'd LOVE to hear what your family traditions are, gifts you got, funny stories, etc. in the comments below!!! PLEAAAASSSEEE SHARE WITH ME YOUR LIFE!! I love it. Seriously.

 

XOXO meli