the last couple of years i have done a christmas book countdown & it is one of my favorite parts of christmas. definitely one of my favorite traditions we have started with our little family. it was something austin's family did every year & we have carried it over with our kids.

before december i wrap 24 different christmas books & keep them in a basket. each night before bed i let the boys pick one book to unwrap & we read it that night. they can pick any book they want, but we always save the poler express for christmas eve. the books are a mixture of new & old, some are books that i grew up reading with my family during christmas, some are books my husband grew up with & some are new, so it's a good mixture. we have been given a lot of books in our lives, so we own all of the books we use, but it's also fun to get different books from the library if you don't have enough or just to switch it up.

the christmas book countdown is truly one of my favorite parts of christmas. i love seeing how much my boys love the stories & i like hearing cedar talking about the christmas books months later. it builds a lot of anticipation for christmas eve too, to read the last book. definitely one of the best traditions.


a holiday playlist for you to enjoy while you read through my gift guide & while you shop you heart away. 

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i know, i know. thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet & this is my second christmas post. but what can i say? i've just got christmas on my brain guys. i think it's something to do with being a mom. i've totally got to prep in advance otherwise it all of a sudden is christmas & i haven't done half the things i wanted to, or i don't have enough time to buy & wrap gifts because i keep thinking it's far away. but it's not! anyways... i don't know about you but buying gifts for my husband & sisters/brothers/in-laws is always a tricky thing for me. i'm not quite positive what to get them, so when i was shopping i made this gift guide of gifts anyone is sure to looooove. at least, i hope they do. let's do a quick run through.
1. convenient little folding knife, cause what man doesn't like a good pocket knife?
2. yeti tumbler. if you haven't tried one, you need to. they are the best. they keep your drinks cold or hot for hours & they don't sweat, which is the worst part of water bottles in my opinon.
3. handsome & cozy, what else does a guy need?
4. these vans are the best. they're all terrain & made specifically for cold, wet climates but still have the same great look of the beloved hightop. 
5.  the cutest little matchstick holder. or anything small holder.
6. crudes wash is by far the best bodywash. both my husband & i swear by it. it smells amazing, doesn't strip or dry out your skin & can double as a moisturizer. it is the best.
7.  cable knit sweaters are a must for winter no matter where you live.
8. the wanderlust book has so many dreamy photos. it definitely makes you want to get out & see the world. perfect coffee table book. 
9. star sign cuff, need i say more? anyone who resonates with their sign will love this.
10. barr-co moisturizer is so rich & creamy, it feels like a dream when you lather it on. plus the smell is heavenly.
11.  cozy, wool throw, it's exactly what everyone needs in their homes this time of year.
12. lined chelsea rain boot. i love chelsea rainboots, they are so easy to wear & not nearly as bulky as your regular rainboot. adding a lining to them make them perfect.


are you the kind of person that starts gearing up for christmas before thanksgiving? or do you wait it out? i am a total before-thanksgiving kinda person. i can't help myself. all the christmas-y treats & decorations in the stores, the music, the movies.. everything just gets me so excited! i swear every year i start celebrating christmas earlier & earlier & this year was no different. i couldn't wait to use our holiday cookie cutters from sugary charm when they came in the mail this week & cedar couldn't wait either.

one day during milos nap cedar & i spent some time, just the two of us, making sugarcookies & he was totally loving it. in our sugary charm package came a delicious sugar cookie recipe that was so easy to make & for cedar to help me with. he loved rolling it out & smashing the cookie cutter into the dough was is favorite part. every week while milo is in his swimming lesson & cedar waits for his turn, he gets books from the waiting area to me to read to him & he always brings me the gingerbread man. he loves the story of the gingerbread man so he was especially excited when he saw we got a gingerbread man cookie cutter.

i've never made cookies using a cookie cutter. i know, super weird of me. but i really loved doing it with cedar & love that we are starting these traditions & experiencing everything through their eyes. it is so much fun. if you don't have your own cookie cutters, check out sugary charm. they are so easy to use & they have so many different options, it was hard for me to pick just four!


i love halloween every year & this one was so good. we kicked it off by going to a trunk or treat for our church where they had games, costume contests & a spook alley. cedar requested to be a skeleton for the trunk or treat, which i was thrilled about, so we went as a family of skeletons. it's crazy how much can change in just one year, i remember last year when cedar was so scared of going in the spook alley, i had to bribe him with candy! but this year, he was sooo excited to go. it was so cute to see how brave he was!

on actual halloween he got to wear his costume to school & they did a costume parade for all the parents & kids to see everyones costumes which was so fun. he was so excited to show everyone his pancake costume. yep, he was a pancake.back in september i asked cedar what he would want to be for halloween & the conversation went a little like this:

"cedar, what would you like to be for halloween this year?"
 "a superhero!"
"a super hero? but you don't really play superheroes..."
"oh, yeah, you're right. mmmm a pancake!"
"a pancake? are you sure? why a pancake?"
"yep. i'm sure. a pancake. they are my most favorite food."

& that was that. i asked him multiple times afterward & each time he said he wanted to be a pancake, haha. the kid loves his breakfast food. i really wanted to double check because i truly thought he would change his mind to a dinosaur, but he stuck to his guns & we got him a pancake costume & milo a egg & bacon costume. since i knew a month in advance what the boys we're going to be i had these big plans to make austin & i really great costumes to go along. austin was going to be a mug that said something cheesy like "number 1 dad" & i was going to syrup! buuuut time got the best of me, like always, & the night before i found myself making us a fork & knife costume instead & it turned out pretty good! cedar especially loved that we were a fork & a knife.

we went over to my brother & sister-in-laws for halloween night where we had pizza before going trick-or-treating with a group of family friends & then went back for the kids to play & have ice cream. i loved watching the boys trick-or-treating. cedar is a total kid these days & he & his little friends we're always running up ahead of us, trying to get to the next house as fast as they could & little milo was taking his sweet time & loving every minute of it.


in october i was able to do the florals for my sisters wedding & they turned out just as i hoped they would. the wedding was small, intimate & simple with the prettiest touches. it was exactly as my sister wanted & totally had her written all over it. it is so fulfilling when something turns out exactly as you had hoped. it was a total diy wedding. i did the florals, my husband built the centerpiece boxes, my sister & mom scoured craigslist for mix-match china & flatware. it was so whimsical & beautiful.

photography: jackie nell photography
sign: de lovely details
cake: gelsons
tables & chairs: party pleasers


I've written & rewritten this post numerous times & then I left it to sit, waiting for me to be brave enough to publish it for a solid 5 months. It's scary to post something so vulnerable. For a long time I just wasn't ready to share something so personal that had happened. If you follow me on instagram then you may have seen a few posts about how I have been going through a hard time, alluding to the idea that something had happened but I was never very deep or open in the posts. In April I experienced a miscarriage & spent months building myself back up from it. It's something I never could have seen coming or planned for & it shook me up pretty good.

Having a miscarriage is hard. There is no other way to describe it. Not only is your body going through something but your emotions totally get rocked. At least mine did. Thats not the only reason it's so hard but, the stigma that is around miscarriage. It feels almost taboo to talk about & for someone who is already bad at opening up about feelings, like me, then it is almost impossible to discuss. I felt such a strong sense of shame & humiliation when I shouldn't have. Miscarriages aren't something that most people talk about very openly but the truth is that the majority of us know someone that has gone through one. Austin & I were not planning to grow our family when it happened & I think I used that as shield to protect me when the miscarriage happened. We had both mentioned the future with a third little baby, but hadn't had any serious discussions about it when the miscarriage happened. For some reason this is a fact that I was clinging onto when the miscarriage happened, thinking that it made it better because we hadn't decided it was time for another baby, I used it as a shield to protect me, like it didn't matter as much because we weren't officially "trying" but, it didn't, if anything it just helped me push down what I was really feeling.

I never thought I would have a miscarriage. I don't think any women would think they would have one. In my mind, I had already had two healthy full-term pregnancies, so I just figured it wouldn't happen to me. Why would it? It was a stupid thought though, & it did happen.

Let me take you back to when I knew I was pregnant. I had started showing early signs of pregnancy  but I'm a little funny & when I am not ready to face reality, I just don't. So, in typical Kerry fashion, I didn't take pregnancy test, I didn't need to, I knew I was pregnant. I told Austin I thought I was pregnant & he told me to take a test just to be sure & I told him I would after my second missed period. The next month I still hadn't had my period & I knew I was pregnant, but I was planning to take a pregnancy test but, life got ahead of me & it got pushed off when a few weeks later I miscarried. Right away I knew what was happening but I was in complete shock/denial. It was terribly difficult to go through both emotionally & physically. I had migraines, was dizzy to the point of blacking out when I would go from sitting to standing, I couldn't go too far from the house or pick up my boys because I was in such pain. I hadn't taken the pregnancy test though & part of my mind wanted to believe it was just a late period, but I knew that wasn't true. My body had never done anything like this before, I knew it was a miscarriage.

I went through this twice, once in April & again in May. I was still recovering from the initial miscarriage in April, physically & emotionally when the following month I had the same thing happen, but it was much more painful & lasted a lot longer. At the time we were out of town for a month & I wasn't sure what to do so I called my doctor & described to him what had happened & he was able to confirm that I was experiencing a miscarriage. Even though I knew that was what had happened, hearing him confirm it & say those words made my heart sink. He told me that it is completely normal to have the affects from a miscarriage last a long time & that the first period after a miscarriage is often just as bad as the initial miscarriage. He also told me that from what I explained, I had passed the baby completely naturally & that my body was healing & there would be no need for a D&C, so I didn't need to worry about going home from our trip.

After all was said & done it took me a long time to fully feel the weight of the miscarriage off my shoulders. Austin & I didn't tell anyone what we were going through until July when I told my sister. It was something looming over me, I thought about it constantly & was in a complete funk over it. Even then, we didn't tell our parents until August. It felt like something so personal that I wanted it just to be ours, I didn't want to hear all of the apologies, I didn't want people to look at me with sorrow or pity & I didn't want anyone to ask when we would try again. Everyone experiences & deals with things differently but I am a brooder, I need to be able to brood in order to move on & I did't feel as though I could do that if I opened the flood gates to everyone. Once I felt that Austin & I had been able to come to terms with it, I felt open to telling those close to us & after I did that I felt the weight almost immediately be lifted.

With the miscarriage came grief & anger & fear. I was constantly going through a whirlwind of thoughts like,  what if I can't have another baby? What did I do to make this happen? Should we have another baby or should we wait? I was constantly going over these & others in my mind, it took up a lot of my day & a lot of my emotions. I was exhausted from it all to be honest. It's been almost six months since the miscarriage & I feel as though I have finally come to terms with it. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about it, like the fact that If I hadn't had a miscarriage I wouldn't be too far off from my due date, then I think about my life right now with an added baby & whoosh! It would be crazy. Since it happened, I have thought a lot about how difficult it would be to go through a miscarriage with your first pregnancy. The miscarriage brought me so much uncertainty & fear & I can only imagine how much harder & scarier it would be with a first pregnancy. My heart aches on a whole new level for anyone that has had a miscarriage, especially in their first pregnancy.

I now know that the miscarriage happened for a reason & I no longer question what I did to cause it. It's not something I can pin on myself because it was out of my control. I think once I truly believed that, I was able to feel ok about all of it. It has taken me a while but, I feel more comfortable talking about it & I think it doing that I have been able to move on. I know that it wasn't the right time for me or my family to have another human enter this world & I'm ok with that. Going through this has made me even more grateful for the two littles that I do have in my life. Getting up & playing with them every single day really helped me be able to continue forward. I think without their influence of my life I could have easily stayed in a deep hole for longer than I already did after the miscarriage, but luckily for me they were constantly there to push me forward.


The next day we got an early start & stopped along in Capitola & Santa Cruz which was so cool. Capitola is this tiny town with a strip of really colorful buildings right on the beach, which is the whole reason we stopped there, haha. It was a really cute little stop though. After we drove a few minutes north & went to Santa Cruz where we ate lunch at the Picnic Basket & got ice cream at Mariannes, which is famous in Santa Cruz. Sadly for us (& Cedar) most of the rides were closed at the pier, so we didn't stop by, but we did go to the Mystery Spot.


The day of the wedding we drove into Napa & wine country with my sisters family & I was in awe the entire time. The drive was gorgeous with the roads lines with vineyards on both sides & my dream up running through the vineyards was fulfilled. Even if you aren't a wine drinker, it is completely worth driving through the vineyards just to see all of the pretty vines. I was in heaven.