Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekends Around Here

This past weekend was just one for the books.  It was the kind of weekend that you didn't do much but you were also never home.  Luke wasn't able to participate too much (more on that later) but it was still a great weekend and a lot of it was spent outside.

We are weeks from moving into the house and a month away from Griffin's 1st birthday party.  We are trying so hard to not only get in the house by his birthday but also have everything d.o.n.e.  We may be crazy but fingers crossed we can make everything work out.  If not, tents will be up in the yard and we will still party. Hard.

Speaking of the house, Luke has been working so hard on everything. He spent the entire weekend at the house planting trees.  We now have 60 gorgeous trees and they will serve as a great perimeter with the busy road we have out front.  We also had painters there all weekend, painting and staining.  Griffin also had a little ride with Papa.  I am sure this isn't his last time on a tractor with him.

Clearly, Dada and Mama will do anything to get his attention for a picture.
Saturday morning, Ma'amaw met up with Griffin and I and we headed out for an early breakfast.  We stopped by a town favorite, Eggs Up Grill, and stuffed ourselves till we rolled out.  I use to go to Eggs Up Grill every time we vacationed near the beach and it was wonderful.  Now that we have one in town, I'm sure it will become a regular Saturday breakfast hangout.

After breakfast Ma'amaw had the idea that we go and visit a "certain bunny" since Easter is just around the corner.  Griffin was a little unsure of floppy ears but at least we didn't get a screaming baby picture.

After talking with some of the workers at the Bunny Station, I was able to get some info on our favorite Rosey Cheeked guy and I am already looking forward to Christmas.  Needless to say, I am planning something!

We spent some time looking for some outfits for Griffin's 1 year pictures too.  Don't you just love those suspenders?

Later on Saturday, we went to a book signing of one of my parents' dear friends.  It is an amazing book about his life and how God provided a path for his business as well as life. 

The rest of the day was spent outside.  I don't think this kid loves anything more than a ball and being outside.  He is still getting use to how grass feels on his feet and hands.  Now that he is a walker we are enjoying before outside more and more. 

Sunday, Griffin and I headed to church with Ma'amaw since Dada was out working again.  We had a great lunch, spent some time outside and took a great Sunday nap.

Easter is less than a week away and I really am looking forward to spending all weekend with my whole family...Dada included.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Basket Ideas

Easter is fast approaching and I am looking forward to filling my little bunny's first basket this year.  This is Griffin's last first holiday and I plan on making it a good one. I will be throwing in some big Easter eggs filled with new socks and some bibs too.  Here are a few goodies and ideas for your Little's first Easter. 

First Easter basket ideas
These basket liners from Pottery Barn Kids are so cute.  I love the Little Peter Cottontail theme and it screams Spring.

I love the Jellycat line.  Griffin has the elephant and this adorable bunny is a great addition.  Throw in a little monogram on the ear and the bunny is ready to go.

I love lighter colors on Griffin and the bow tie is adorable.  This will be Griffin's outfit for Easter Sunday and his Dada has a collard shirt to match his bow tie.  Now all I need to do is fine a pink dress.

You can never go wrong with a children's board book.  Griffin loves to turn the pages and smack the book every time he spots the bunny. We love Pat the Bunny.

I love matching my little mini and these bunny shirts are so festive.  LittleBLove has the best shirts for each holiday.  Head on over to the LittleBLove etsy shop and get 10% off any shirt with code "southerngrace10".

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#ChobaniKids: National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and to celebrate I am sharing some ideas to encourage children to get the proper nutrition and live a healthy lifestyle.
“National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  The theme for 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” which encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.”- National Nutrition Month
Griffin is now 11 months and he has been a picky eater since around 9 months.   Feeding him was frustrating and it was difficult at time not to just give in and give him puffs when he didn’t want to eat anything.  Instead of getting frustrated I have been using some of these tips.

Tip 1: Offer a variety of food and allow your child to eat the rainbow.
Sometimes Griffin has no desire to eat any food, so when this happens, I mix up a smoothie full of spinach, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, a small handful of dried oats, kale, Chobani Kids Yogurt, and a little water.  This insures that he is getting the nutrition he needs and also eating a variety of different foods.


Tip 2: Plan ahead and then have extra.
Feeding time can be super frustrating when you have a picky eater.  Planning ahead has allowed me to be less frustrated and frazzled and I strongly believe that Griffin can sense that I am calmer.  Having planned meals (with a variety) is awesome too for the family on the go.  We are constantly in and out during the day and having planned meals already prepared and in the fridge, allows me to grab and go. 

Tip 3: Eat outside.
My son is a true outdoors man.  He gets it from his Dada.  He is so happy being able to get outside and we bring our dinner outside a lot of nights.   Eating outside provides for a happy meal time, less mess to clean up, and a little Vitamin D.  It also allows for nightly walks around the house for a little exercise.

Tip 4: Get Moving.

Griffin started walking right at 10 months.  He is 100% mobile and is constantly on the go.  With him being so mobile, it has offered us several opportunities to get moving. If we are inside, his Daddy and I are constantly running after him.  We spend a lot of time outside now that the weather is warming up and we are taking more trips to the park.   The best thing about your child being able to walk is that it gets the whole family moving.


Tip 5: Offer healthy snacks.
Offering healthy snacks in between meals allows for your children to develop a “taste” for the good stuff.  We do offer Griffin some teething biscuits and puffs but his favorite is yogurt.  I love being able to give him something healthy as well as something he likes.  My favorite thing about yogurt is being able to give him some probiotics in his diet.  Win, win for this Mama. 

Tip 6: Kids do as you do.
Children learn early and have a tendency to mimic the parents.  Griffin really watches us and as parents, we have to be a role model for being active and eating healthy.

These are just a few tips on how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with your children.   The reality is that most toddlers are picky eaters.  They may love something one day and hate it the very next.  Food preferences are started early.    
We have really enjoyed the Chobani Kids Yogurt.  Griffin has oatmeal every morning and we have started topping it with the strawberry Chobani Greek Yogurt for kids.  He loves it!
Providing your child with a healthy diet also allows you to eat healthier as well.  I am more aware of what I am cooking and what I add to the meals.  Since Griffin is eating a lot of what we eat I am making healthier choices myself.  Griffin is also teaching me to love being outside more too!
Chobani Yogurt offers a conversion chart for cooking too.  A little bit of change in your cooking could lead to a bigger change in how healthy you are and feel.

A Chobani Yogurt representative asked me to participate in the #ChobaniKids National Nutrition Month. I was not compensated for this post nor was I issued free products.  All opinions are my own. 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Infertility Journey: Brandi's Story

Happy Monday Friends!
Today I have Brandi who is the owner over at LittleBLove.  You may remember that I mentioned her shop a few times last week.  I am so happy to have her sharing her journey today and I would love for y'all to go and visit her shop too!

Here is Brandi's story.

Hi all! I'm Brandi and I'm a wife, a mama(more on that below), a teacher, and the owner of Little B Love!

I wear many many hats but I will be the first to say that being a mama is my favorite, but it wasn't an easy ride.

My husband Stephen and I have known each other through most of my life, but we started dating while I was away at college and eventually we wed in 2010. He wanted kids like ASAP, however right after we got married we said we'd take some time to enjoy ourselves etc. A few months before our 1 year anniversary my doctor suggested I go off the pill for a few months before we really started trying in order to build up my lining. Not long after, we ditched the birth control. I was surprised when month 1 of no protection, we weren't pregnant! 

Like wait, what?!? I thought no protection equals baby? We didn't panic and tried for a few more months until I started worrying some and then we started the ovulation kits.  The first month we used an ovulation kit and I ended up still not being pregnant, a smidge of panic started to creep in. I was very into the show Guiliana and Bill at the time and watching all their fertility wasn't fun. I remember VERY vividly a couple months, having Aunt Flo arrive while I was at work on one of my breaks and literally bursting into tears and having to compose myself before going back to my classroom full of kids. 

Have you guys ever seen that meme, the one that says "those who say trying to get pregnant is fun, have obviously never tried to get pregnant"? And it's soooo true! I, like many, think oh when we're ready we will just try and use no protection and boom, prego! Nope! 

Anyways, we had been trying for about a year when FINALLY my doctor said to come in and see her. The day I went in to see her, my period was actually late and I said Doc do you think? And I can remember her saying, "mmm nope I don't think so, you're cycles are so over the place that I doubt you are. So go ahead and come back on day 3 of your period for bloodwork and then we're going to go ahead and start you on Clomid." Before this appointment I was testing like crazy and negative, negative, negative. Seriously, the number of pregnancy tests you go through when trying, it's pretty crazy! Anyways, a couple days after this appointment, it was day 33 of my cycle, and the FAINTEST positive came up. I think I screeched with joy. I immediately emailed my doctor's office asking for a blood test to confirm. Hours later, I got the positive, I had been waiting for. I rushed home to tell my husband the news. He was so excited and kept asking, are you sure, is this for real, how do you know?

Overwhelming joy!!! My OB likes to joke that she scared my body into getting pregnant since I was supposed to start fertility treatments in just a few days. My doctor believed that the problem was that each month your ovaries technically have the potential to produce about 8 eggs but instead they fight each other off so that the strongest, best egg wins (she always told me, think of the show Survivor), but in some people the eggs like to get together and play nice and try to "split the prize at the end". She thought my eggs were just playing nice, so the Clomid would turn them into nasty fighting things so that the strongest egg would win. Luckily I didn't need it and on October 2, 2012 after 20 hours of labor, I gave birth to the sweetest little boy.

We have been trying for number 2 for quite a while now and it's been even more of a roller coaster than the first go around but we're trying to hold out hope. Some days hope is harder to have than others and it certainly hard when it seems like it's pregnancy announcement after announcement! But trying to have hope and enjoy the one blessing that God did give us and that we are so thankful for each day!

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.-Ecclesiastes 11:5

For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it.-Habakkak 1:5

And so it was that having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained what God has promised.-Hebrews 6:15

Thanks for letting me share my journey and I hope that it can help to encourage some of you.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Y'all ready for the weekend?  What better way to start off a Friday then some of my Friday Favorites.  Lets hop right in.

Be sure to go back to this post to get a discount code for LittleBLove Etsy Shop.  She has several designs to choose from and she also does fun Holiday shirts that you can dress up yourself with your little mini.
We celebrated Griffin's first St. Patrick's Day this week.  I have loved celebrating all of his first holidays and it is sad to think that he only has Easter left to celebrate. 
The weather here has been out of this world.  We have had some great 70+ degree days and our afternoons are spent outside.  Outside is Griff's happy place and we have been enjoying it after dinner.  He is an outdoor boy just like his Dada and he is turning his Mama into one too!

House update. We have started priming the walls and it has really transformed the house.  I can only imagine what it will look like once the paint is up.  Our custom cabinets are to be installed on Monday and the granite guy should be in right after him. We made a trip to Elberton, GA this week to pick out the granite and I love this Colonial White for the kitchen, mudroom, and master bath.
In other house news, we have picked out lighting!!  I will do a full post on our lighting, but for now here is a sneak peek at the one that will go in my master closet.  We wanted a larger/longer light since our ceilings are so tall to make it look like it fit the room. I love this collection from Kichler and can't wait to see it hanging

Be sure to link up with the ladies below.
Linking up with the Five on Friday ladies:
Lauren Elizabeth for High Five Friday
Jennie for Friday Favorites
Rebecca for That Friday Blog Hop
Leslie for Confessional Friday
Amy for Oh hey Friday
Amanda for Friday Favorites

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

LittleBLove + Discount Code

Morning friends.  I have a special shop to share with you on this Hump Day. 
I found the Etsy store, LittleBLove on Instagram a awhile back and I really wanted to try out her products.
Brandi, from LittleBLove on Etsy runs an amazing shop of screen print shirts.  She is a wife, mama, and teacher, and she is always cooking up something festive for her son. 
This shop specializes in seasonal styles as well as other graphic T's that anyone will love.  Brandi hand screen prints each shirt to make sure you are getting the bang for you buck.
When I saw these Easter bunny shirts I knew I needed them for my little bunny and myself.  I will use any excuse to have something to match my little mini.


The baseball T-shirts are from American Apparel and are high quality made and super soft.  I love that the sleeves are 3/4 length as well and they are perfect to wear during Spring. 

Like I said before, they also have matching shirts for the Mama's.  LittleBLove offers pink bunnies for moms and girls and blue bunnies for boys. They are also included with bows and bow ties.

Griffin was so happy with these shirts.  He kept picking at the eyes of the bunny and would say "BaBaBa".

LittleBLove has a ton of shirts to choose from. I love the "elemeno" shirt and the "royals" one is great too.  Since I do the Infertility Journey Series on my blog is especially love the "Infertility Sucks" shirt.  If you are going through an infertility journey or even if you have beaten infertility, that shirt is for you!

Brandi is generously giving Raising Southern Grace readers 10% off their order with coupon code "southerngrace10". 

If you are wanting a Bunny shirt for yourself and/or your mini, they need to be ordered by March 21st in order for them to get to you on time.

Be sure to stop by her Etsy store and pick up one of her awesome designs.

Please check out Little B Love's Facebook page at:

Also check them out on Instagram using #LittleBLove and also at:

They are also on Pinterest at:

Following along with the on Facebook and Instagram they will ensure you stay in the loop on giveaways, promo codes, new items, and sneak peeks!

Disclaimer: Raising Southern Grace did not receive any compensation for this post.  However, as part of the review, RSG received items to sample.  All opinions that are expressed are my own.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Infertility Journey: Summer Ann's Story

Morning friends.  I hope the Monday Blue's aren't hitting you too hard.  We had beautiful weather this past weekend and much of it was spent outside.  We are ready for Spring and some warmer temps!
Today I have Summer sharing her infertility journey.  She has been one of my favorite Mama blogs to read and she honestly has the cutest little boy.  It doesn't hurt that he was born within days of Griffin.
Here is Summer's story.

Hello ladies! My name is Summer Ann and I blog over at 

I am such a huge fan of Sydney's series on infertility. Not because I love reading about other people struggling, but because a huge part of my suffering with my own infertility was due to me holding everything in and feeling like I was alone in the journey. So I feel like these stories have helped me to feel more "normal". And I hope this one will help one of you to feel like you have company and possibly give you the hope you may have lost.

I always knew eventually Dustin and I would want to have babies but before we got married we made the decision that we would wait a few years so we could travel, go out with friends, and just enjoy each other. Since we didn't want to start trying for a while I went to the doctor and requested the Mirena IUD. Throughout the procedure my doctor talked to me, explained things on the sonogram, and tried to keep my mind off the procedure. It was quick, a little painful, but overall a very easy deal.

After he was done he told me that from what he saw on the sonogram he could tell that I had very irregular cycles, if he had to guess I probably only ovulated once a year, and it would probably be hard for me to get pregnant. He must have saw the panic on my face because he tried his hardest to reassure me and said "But don't you worry about that because when the time comes, I am a fertility specialist and can help with that". Dang! I went in to that appointment not wanting babies anytime soon and came out with the biggest case of baby fever you could imagine. I think it was because I was kinda in a panic that it may take forever to get pregnant so if we didn't start trying soon we might totally miss our window all together.

Fast forward 3 years and I was finally able to help Dustin feel comfortable with the idea of trying to start a family. He's a typical guy in the sense that he needed to have certain things crossed off his list to feel like he was "ready" to be a dad. And I was pumped he finally felt ready! I went to the doctor, had the IUD removed, then headed straight to the store and bought prenatals, fish oil, and the best ovulation kits my Google-ing could find. I chilled out on the wine drinking, made sure I was eating well and basically tried to be as healthy as possible to hopefully create a great environment in my body for a baby.

I used the kits for about 6 months and each month I noticed that I wouldn't get the little smiley face until late in my cycle (like day 25) and would start my next cycle a few days later. Anyone that knows the time-line of a normal woman's cycle would know that is not good. I knew this time-line wasn't going to allow our future baby to get comfy and implanted before my next cycle would start. I know they say to try a year before calling a specialist but I didn't want to waste any time, especially if the doctor had already seen issues before, so I called him and setup an appointment.

We met with him a few weeks later and he agreed to go ahead and start the infertility testing to figure out what the problem was. I went in a few times for blood draws and sonograms and they tested Dustin to rule him out. A week or so after we finished the testing, the doctor called with my results and told me that the tests showed what we suspected… I wasn't ovulating. He suggested we start with a round of Femara and to come in mid-cycle for a sonogram to make sure the meds were doing what they were supposed to. I felt broken and so angry with my body but I started the Femara and we prayed it would work.

On the 12th day (a Friday) I went in for the sonogram and possibly a trigger shot. During the sono they only found one follicle that was developing but it wasn't quite mature enough to do the trigger so they wanted me to come back Monday to check again. Well that sucked for a few reasons: Normally more follicles mature which gives you a better chance of getting pregnant. Secondly, I was scheduled to go to San Francisco for work Monday afternoon. Thirdly, the doctor was only willing to do three rounds of the medicine because of side effects. I had to make a choice... Do I buy Dustin a last minute flight or just forget about this cycle and try again next month? So I did what anyone would do and texted my sister in-law. Ya I know it's kind of a weird choice but she's very level headed and I knew she'd give me great advice. She basically told me to book him a flight and have fun. And that's what I did.

That Monday at our next appointment the doctor said the follicle was still immature and that I would probably ovulate on my own on Tuesday. Good thing I booked him a flight. So off we went to San Francisco. 

I worked during the day and when I was done we went out for a couple nice dinners and enjoyed the city. I figured that if we didn't get pregnant this time, we tried and we at least had a good time in one of our favorite cities.

A week and a half later, we had my family over for some time at the pool. We were laying out in the water, having a good time, when my wonderful sister pointed out that I looked pregnant (so sweet ;P). And my mom said she had been noticing how huge my boobs looked. Awesome. They both said I needed to take a pregnancy test but I knew it was a few days too soon and I explained to both of them that there was no way they'd be noticing pregnancy signs already.

That night, after they left, I got up the nerve to take one of the First Response tests. Figuring it would be negative like all the times before, I secretly went to the bathroom, did my thing, and waited for the result. Not even a minute later the test showed a faint positive (But hey a positive is a positive)! I was in shock! I had waited for this moment for what felt like forever and now I didn't know what to do. I just stood in the bathroom and tried to compose myself so I could tell Dustin in the way I had planned.

Almost a year before, I had purchased a bandanna for Bennington that was two layers. The top bandanna said "Guess What?" and the bottom layer said "I'm going to be a big brother!". I went to the closet, got the bandanna and with very shaky hands tied it on Bennington. I told him to go see his daddy and he ran right to Dustin. Dustin didn't get what was going on at first because I promised him I would wait a few more days to take the test so that I wouldn't get upset prematurely. I kept saying "Dustin lift the bandanna, lift the bandanna!" He finally realized what was going on and said "Are you serious??" I started crying and he hugged me while one of my legs continued to shake uncontrollably. It was such a special moment. We joked that if it was a boy we should name him Francisco. But luckily for Boston we decided against it.

(Photo by Kandice Ray)

I had a really easy pregnancy, and Boston has been such a joy, which I think made D and I feel very ready to try again for our second. So after maybe a month on birth control we decided to ditch it. Actually I am not even sure I made it through the entire pack. Ha! 

We initially hoped that maybe I would be one of those girls who is a Fertile Myrtle after pregnancy. Well no such luck so at one of my checkups with my doctor I mentioned to him that I was ready to get serious about having another baby. He did a sono to make sure everything looked alright. And everything was ok except my lining was pretty thick for my cycle day so he agreed to start me on Femara after a 10 day dose of Progesterone.

The cycle seemed pretty normal except for some mild cramping on my left side and some major bloating. But I figured my body was just gearing up to ovulate and I went in for my day 12 sono very hopeful. Unfortunately when the doctor did the exam he discovered that I had developed OHSS and one of my ovaries had grown to the size of a baseball. Yikes. I was put on Pelvic Rest for the next 4-6 weeks and was instructed to take it easy until our next checkup which will be today. Please send prayers and some positive baby vibes our way. :)

We happened to get extremely lucky that it only required one treatment to become pregnant the first time. And hopefully we will get good news at our doctor today. I know so many friends that are struggling and going through so much more than what we went through but when the time comes and your baby is placed in your arms (whether it be through your own pregnancy, surrogacy or adoption) you will finally understand what God was preparing you for. His plan is always perfect.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday, I've been waiting for you since Monday.

Another Friday, another Friday post.  Lets not waste another minute and hope right into things.


Time change.  Ugh, has anyone else been dealing with this all week?  I honestly cant remember the time change bothering me as much as it has this time.  I need sleep and energy and I have had none this week.  I have already planned a lovely Saturday nap with a possible Sunday nap too.  Priorities you know?

The Bachelor.  This is the first season in years that I have watched it from start to finish.  I usually watch the first few weeks of a new season and then the finale, but this season was one of the best!  I loved a good many of the girls and Britt was a runner for me from night one.  Whitney was a stand out to me as well because, hello fertility nurse.  Yes!  Chris was a great bachelor.  Way better than Juan Pablo, thank goodness.  As I'm sure you all know, Chris let Becca go and chose Whitney for his forever.  Becca handled it with such class and dignity and I applaud her for staying true to herself and not just saying that she loved him for the show. 


White noise.  I have been using the White Noise App for a little over a year and I honestly have never slept so good in my life with it.  When Luke and I first got married he would have a box fan running in the bedroom for the noise factor.  I hated it.  I could never sleep with it on and wanted it gone ASAP.  Then I got used to it...then he decided he didn't want to have it running because it was making him wake up with a sore throat. Now I had to relearn how to sleep in quiet.  Nope, not for me anymore.  Some family told me about the White Noise app and I could not sleep without it.  Griffin even sleeps with it running in his room too.  Try it out if you have never used it before. Our favorite noise is the "box fan" noise. Ha!


My boy.  He seriously changes everyday and he has been doing some of the funniest things.  Sine he was born he has always crossed his ankles.  He can be reading a book, drinking his milk, eating his dinner, or even playing, those ankles are always crossed.  We have had some nice days and we have tried to spend them outside after dinner.  We were letting him walk around the property and he would fall and automatically do this pose.  He hated the way the grass felt on his hands and legs.  He was a quick reactor to the grass too.  Funny little guy.


Speaking of my little guy, his 1st birthday is quickly approaching.  I saw this pin on Pinterest and love it.  There is something about it just being a mother/son photo and I love it!

Happy weekend friends!

Linking up with the Five on Friday ladies:
Lauren Elizabeth for High Five Friday
Jennie for Friday Favorites
Rebecca for That Friday Blog Hop
Leslie for Confessional Friday
Amy for Oh hey Friday
Amanda for Friday Favorites