May 31, 2012

Engagement Pictures

Five years ago, in May 2007, two days after my college graduation, Peter asked me to be his wife. Shortly after that, we arranged to have some engagement pictures taken. Being that we were still new to Memphis, we decided to have the session in Atlanta. At the time we didn't know any photographers so we just used the same company that was shooting our wedding. Since we were getting married in Baltimore, we were assigned a different photographer for the engagement session.  I mentioned a while ago that I wasn't fond of our engagement pictures and suggested that I may one day release them to the world. Well, while cleaning up the attic I came across the DVD with the pictures so its time to share.

The pictures are awful! We knew it at the time and we know it now. We asked for casual pictures and I specifically requested no tilted shots. The photographer did not take one thing we said about preferences into consideration. They are overly staged, markedly cheesy but fun to laugh about now. I have 140 of these gems but picked just a few [least] favorites to share. Enjoy.

Its hard to say what the photographer was going for here since you can clearly see a building and street light off to the left. For this lovely shot, we were asked to climb into the public fountain which was marked with signs that said, "Stay out of the water." The oldest child in me did not want to get in the water but I obliged. A concerned, if not disgusted, security guard came over and told us to get out.  Then let us know he'd seen people relieve themselves in the fountain. Foul.

In Centennial Park there are fountains that children run through. The photographer asked us to get into the fountains, paying no mind to the fact that hoards of children would be running circles around us. The pictures from in the fountain are all pretty odd. And let me tell you, at least one child was every upset that we created a roadblock... he pushed me out of the way.

Now, I'm no professional photographer but I can tell you this angle is about as unflattering as they come. 

Here we have the oh-so-casual-girl-on-guys-back-while-laying-on-a-concrete-wall pose. Peter and I consider this the worst of the bunch. And every time Peter sees it he cracks up. I'm considering getting it printed and framed for his desk at work.  Neither of us were comfortable and this certainly didn't fit our request for natural looking pictures. Oh well, c'est la vie

May 30, 2012

DIY Instagram

Step 1: Leave your office and head to the car with an increasingly hungry baby.

Step 2: Carry with you a diaper bag, garage ticket, phone, and child. Attempt to find your keys in the diaper bag.

Step 3: Drop phone, face-down, in parking garage. Go ahead and watch it bounce.

ViolĂ ! You too will now have artistic pictures.

May 29, 2012

May 28, 2012

Night on the River

Saturday night we attended Sunset Symphony which is easily one of my favorite Memphis events. Sunset Symphony is the final event of the Memphis in May festivities. Starting hours before sunset with musicians and an airshow, Sunset Symphony affords guests the opportunity to lounge on the banks of the Mississippi River while enjoying live entertainment and the company of friends. 

Sunset Symphony reminds me how long we have been in Memphis and what a great community we have here. The first year we attended, we only knew the couple that invited us. Slowly but surely we've become part of a greater community.  Friends from church, Teach for America, and the Clemson Club stopped by our blanket throughout the evening to say hello . 

We called it a night before the finale (one little lady was up way past her bedtime) so we missed the fireworks.  Just the same, we had a great time and I look forward to next year.

In order to cope with the Memphis heat and near cloudless sky, we created a make-shift tent for Cole using her playmat, clothes pins, and some light weight blankets. Some folks called us inventive, but the truth is we're just frugal.

For dinner, we had cod fish tacos. I seasoned the cod with chipotle chili powder, ancho chili powder, oregano, and cumin. I  made some mango salsa and guacamole to accompany the cod, along with some fresh green cabbage. We enjoyed a simple dessert of frozen red grapes — nature's popsicles. Sitting by the river, the setting and food made for an easy light, summer meal.

We were fortunate to be in the company of the Swens and Harpers, who sat with us. Everyone enjoyed the company of baby girl who was on her absolute best behavior. Girlfriend loves to be outside and Sunset Symphony was no exception.

May 25, 2012

Whoa! Technology

Do you know you can have a video chat with multiple people at the same time?

I imagined it was possible. And I'd seen it on TV.  But I figured it wasn't easy. Or free.

Turns out, I'm way behind the times.

Last night I got to visit with some of my favorite Clemson girls!  After our early adopter encouraged us to join Google+, we planned a ladies night.  Once we got over the initial thrill of being able to have a group video chat (which Google calls a Hangout), we caught up. We discussed budding romances, new-ish love, current crushes and wedding plans.  They met Cole, who would not be ignored. It's hard to believe it's been over five years since we all lived in the same tiny South Carolina town. And that we're now living in six different states.  

The wonder of the Hangout was enhanced by Google Effects where we were able to accessorize our virtual looks. I have no idea how the pirate hat found Cole's head or the eye patch her eye, but it was pretty stinkin' amazing.

May 23, 2012

New Design

Say hello to my new blog design! It's simple but not boring. Feminine but not girlie. Fresh. And clean. I find it to be so lovely. The new design was created by Tiffany at Beautiful Dawn Designs. If you have any questions about my experience with Beautiful Dawn Designs, feel free to send me email: parkerslaton at gmail dot com

Peter and I have talked about hiring a designer for years (literally!), but we always ended the conversation with "Well, lets see if I/you keep blogging." While my blogging may be sporadic, it appears I'm going to keep doing it. I recently found myself at the intersection of inspiration and encouragement which helped me get moving. First off, Sarah over at Moske Monkey Business was asking for blog designers for her own blog redesign. She inspired me to get thinking about my own design needs. Then came Mother's Day. Cole, with Peter's help and financing, got me a beautiful infinity necklace that I've had my eye on for ages. Unfortunately, it wasn't until I tried it on that I realized the chain was too short for my taste. With the exact gift I asked for on the way back to the jeweler, Peter asked if I'd like to hire a blog designer. After some nudging, I sought out a designer that suited my taste and fit our budget. When I looked through Beautiful Dawn Designs' portfolio, I knew I'd found my designer.

While the majority of the changes are aesthetic, I did take the opportunity to update some of my pages and add a few social media links. I hope you enjoy the new look as much as I do.

Sayonara boring, gray blog design!

May 22, 2012

All Night Long

 Cole slept! Cole slept through the night! Cole slept all night long!
Last night girlfriend channeled Lionel and had a sleep party in her crib.

May 21, 2012

Wedding Season

With longer days and warmer nights, it's safe to say wedding season is in full swing! While this often means making travel plans, buying gifts, and hunting for outfits, this year it just means lots of visitors passing through Memphis. In the last week we've been visited by three of our favorite couples on their way to or from weddings. I'm sure our friends would have popped in anyway, but Cole certainly helps draw people into the house. I mean, lets be real, no one wanted a picture with Peter or me but everyone wanted a picture with baby girl. 

Kristen and Kyle

May 18, 2012

Cole :: 3 months

One year ago today, I learned that I could transfer six credit hours from the University of Memphis to Vanderbilt.

So I did.

Which allowed me to move home after my summer classes. 

Prompting our attempt to grow our family.

Which we did

What a difference a year makes!

In the last month our little princess has started to reveal so much of her personality! She loves bath time and her play mat. She can't stand a dirty diaper. And she loves her freedom, Cole isn't content to be confined in a baby carrier or car seat (or swaddle, but we've known that since Week 2). She's not much of a daytime sleeper and she's very active. Rarely does baby girl stay still. Cole has established herself as a thumb-sucking paci-hater. She also has a whole lot of sticktoitiveness in her personality which I imagine, in time, will serve her well.

In the last month, Cole's firsts included her first plane ride, first day trip, and first time with a babysitter.  We traveled to Baltimore where she met tons of loving friends and family. And to Nashville to attended Vanderbilt graduation. I've started working part-time so Cole gets to hang out with sweet Miss Clare every week.

Last month we transitioned Cole into cloth diapers. I love them! Cole loves them! And not buying diapers all of the time is amazing.  Oh, and just last week I packed up two containers of clothes that Cole has out grown. Now we're slowly transitioning into her 3-6 month clothes. It's hard to believe.

May 16, 2012

Home Organization: Tackling the Attic

Ever have a project that demands a rainy day? Peter and I emptied our attic two weekends ago with the plan to sort and edit the items then reorganize the space.  Well, we managed to sort and edit the items but everything that needed to be put back in the attic remained in our dining room. Every time I was inspired to continue working on the project, it took only a minute in the attic to change my mind. It's been hot enough during the day that spending any time in the attic is unbearable. Since the contents of our attic were out of the way, the eyesore could have remained for month.
Fortunately, on Saturday it rained, breaking the heat of the last week and preventing us from any number of distractions a beautiful day can present.

Friday's day trip to Nashville wiped Cole out so while she recovered, we had a few hours dedicated solely to the task. The contents of our attic are now organized, labeled, and sorted into logical areas. We've also created lots more space, though we're hoping not to find ourselves in the same people-may-think-we-are-hoarders-if-they-see-our-attic situation again.

May 14, 2012


Vanderbilt graduation was last Friday so Peter, Cole, and I ventured to Nashville for the day. While I graduated in December, Vanderbilt only has a ceremony in the spring.  I was given the option to walk in the spring when I registered to graduate. Knowing we'd have an infant in tow, I opted out of walking, but committed myself to attending and celebrating with my cohort. Even though I finished a semester early, cohorts in graduate school are much more defined by start date than graduation date. 

It was a gorgeous, cloudless day so we sat a bit further down to the lawn to keep Cole in the shade.
Since we left the house at 5:40am, it was no surprise that Cole took a catnap during the ceremony.
My cohort gathered for a group picture with nearly everyone (four people were missing). As we posed for the picture, we noticed Josh bolting across the Peabody lawn determined to get in the shot.
 Which he did.
After the ceremony, Peabody hosted a luncheon reception on the lawn. Peter and I visited with my former coworkers, professors, and classmates. Before heading back to Memphis, we got dinner and Jeni's  in East Nashville with Leslie. Cole didn't want to miss a minute so she waited until we were headed home to sleep. It was a long day but it was absolutely worth it.

May 11, 2012

Names and Faces

I wanted to make Cole a book of "Names and Faces" since everyone in our family lives so far away.  When I received a code from Shutterfly for a free photo-book I was delighted! It didn't take more than a few hours to select the photos and customize the book. I filled the pages with pictures of our immediate family (including the pups), her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and great grandparents.  Right now, I show Cole the pages for simulation but surely it won't be long before she is aware of who's who.

May 10, 2012

May 2, 2012

Tuesday Fun

Yesterday, five of my friends from Vanderbilt headed West just to spend the day with me and Cole. It was glorious! We went to Central BBQ for lunch, Trolley Stop for dinner and YoLo for dessert somehow managing to squeeze trips to the Graceland Wall and the Might Mississippi in between. Cole even decided to show off her dance moves when I played her favorite song.
My dear friends are in the bizarre time of waiting that comes before ceremonious occasions. Classes for the semester are over, comprehensive exams have been passed, and all they have left to do is graduate (and maybe go to work).  With graduation just over a week away, my friends planned a Week of Fun where they will tackle items on the Nashville Bucket List. Brilliant, right? Luckily for me, they decided to spend a day in Memphis before getting down to the serious business that will be the Week of Fun.