Joining The Motherhood

This time 5 weeks ago, we were being released from the hospital with our daughter. Those words -- "our daughter" --  are still so strange to type, let alone say out loud and I can't believe that I've settled into this new role of being someone's mother.

Having Avery is everything and nothing like what I expected. There are some things you can prepare for -- how to change her diaper, giving her a bath, installing the car seat -- but there are other day-to-day struggles, lessons, and emotional moments that are so unexpected. From the moment they put her on my chest in the hospital, there's been a tug on my heart -- a constant worry about whether I'm doing everything I can to make her feel safe and happy. 


As someone that thrives on control and orchestrating every situation, this whole motherhood thing put me on my back foot. I had a series of wins early on -- a smooth delivery, getting her to sleep in the hospital, introducing her to the dogs but my confidence fell flat when we struggled with breastfeeding. I physically couldn't catch up with the volume Avery needed and the pain from latching made me resent the moments she asked to be fed -- no amount of breastfeeding classes or books can prepare you for that emotional letdown. 

Three days after she was born, the doctor told us Avery had lost 14% of her bodyweight because she wasn't getting enough milk. Hearing this, my heart dropped. In that moment, I felt as those all of my diligent preparation was wasted, and in just the few short days since I'd been her mother, I'd already failed her.

We immediately started supplementing with formula (a hit to my ego), saw a lactation consultant and pumped after every feeding. While my ego was a bit bruised every time she took a bottle of formula, the real pain for me was loosing the precious bonding time with her. I felt isolated in my bedroom each time I had to pump and it felt more and more like a chore and less like a special time and gift to be shared with my daughter. 

Once my production increased, I slowly started putting Avery back on my breast and she latched right away. I remember watching her the first time we had a true feeding just in awe of the whole experience, and that my body finally caught up to where she needed me to be. Now, we're 5 weeks into breastfeeding and I'm honestly so proud of both of us for making it this far. There were so many times when I was pumping or pushing through the pain of breastfeeding that I just wanted to quit. But we powered through. I gave up what little control I've had so far and I let Avery guide the way -- telling me how much she needs, when she needs it and being okay if I need to offer her a bottle if I can't be what she needs in that moment.

Those days were the hardest so far. Giving up control. Putting her needs over mine to make sure she was getting the nutrition she needed from formula instead of me getting the validation and badge of motherhood in the breastfeeding category. One parenting hiccup down, a lifetime to go. 


The Waiting Game

Here we are in the last week of my pregnancy and we're playing the waiting game. As I'm writing this, I've been having irregular contractions for the last 9 hours. We could be in the final moments as a party of 2 or this could be a false alarm, teasing us and she won't make her arrival for another few weeks. 

The last few weeks and months have absolutely flown by. I've seen my belly grow beyond what I ever thought it could. I've felt her turn, flip, and flop into position. I've watched Dan prep to be a dad -- installing a fan in her room, buying books to read to her at night, and assembling all of her nursery necessities. 

While I've been impatiently waiting, her nursery has been ready for weeks. Every drawer is stuffed with folded clothes, diapers are put away and ready for her first changing, her bookshelves have been filled with bedtime stories, and her bassinet is prepped and ready to go in our bedroom. 

We're excited to meet little Avery Taylor Braun. Whether she joins us tonight or in a few weeks, we're certain that this little girl will be loved. But for now, we wait.  


Make Room for Baby

Lately, I've been busy prepping one of our upstairs bedrooms for our new arrival. We know we are having a girl but I wanted to keep the look-and-feel of the nursery fairly neutral. Instead of covering the room in pink and pastels, I decided to use mint, orange and shades of blue as the color palette. 

We also wanted practical furniture that would grow with the baby and wasn't necessarily just baby furniture. So instead of an expensive baby changer, we opted for the Ikea Hemnes dresser in a white stain which has roomy drawers and a top long enough for a changer and all the diaper accessories. I added World Market mint knobs to the dresser for a little extra pop. 

Dan's parents bought us the babyletto Hudson crib and it'll be delivered any day now! The crib is reasonably priced and converts from a crib (4 mattress levels) to a toddler bed and daybed. I loved babyletto's style so much that I even chose them for our bedding - babyletto Fleeting Flora collection

My mom and I used the colors from the crib skirt to create a baby quilt pattern. We picked 8 different fabrics in bright, colorful patterns to make the quilt and we'll use leftover pieces for art, pillows, and curtains in the room.

Lastly, we are going to get a neutral glider for the corner of the room. Instead of an ottoman, we're going to pick a knitted pouf that can easily be a footstool or be moved around the room to make an extra seat. Once we have everything together, we'll share photos of the big reveal! 

Adding to Our Little Family

Back in November, Dan and I found out we were expecting our first little one. We'd been trying for a few months and I truly didn't believe the positive result on the test (not until 5 tests later!). I couldn't (and still can't) believe we are going to be parents! 

Once we finished all of our big tests and I was entering the second trimester, we felt comfortable telling the world our news. It was the toughest secret I've ever had to keep and when we announced it, it felt like a weight off our shoulders.  When everyone finally knew it was so wonderful to get the support from family and friends near and far. 

Dan and I don't have many friends with kids (or even married friends for that matter) so everything is all new to us. I had no idea the rules about cheeses (I miss Brie), everything you should put on a registry and even what they do at each of the doctor appointments. I've been able to connect with a few other pregnant ladies lately so it's been good to share our experiences. 

When we found out, we knew we wanted to detail every week -- my body's changes, my symptoms, and even our thoughts (and fears!) at the time. So I'll be writing here as much as I can to share everything that's going on. 

Starting with weeks 4 - 18...


Now that I'm in my second trimester, I've been feeling so much better. All the books said you get an energy boost, your appetite back and you start to feel a little more like yourself. The moment I hit 13 weeks, I started eating normal again and didn't get nauseous every time I smelled a meal, I could stay up past 7 p.m. and the bloat went away and was replaced by a bump. 

First Trimester Recap

  • I lost a total of 18 lbs. between week 4 and week 10. 
  • Weird dreams. I've been out in space chasing my dogs, attacked by killer seals in a beachfront obstacle course and I attended parties where I get to eat all the cheese I want. You name it, I've dreamt it. 
  • Bloat. All of the bloat. 
  • Exhaustion. If I was in the car for longer than 10 minutes, I was asleep and I would go to bed around 7:00 PM every night (it felt more like 2:00 AM). 
  • Craved blueberry pancakes. Dan made me a batch of blueberry pancakes every morning on the weekend. 

Second Trimester so far

  • Nosebleeds -- gross I know but apparently it's a side-effect of all the extra blood flow.
  • Hunger. I just need to remind myself to have a few snacks throughout the day so it doesn't take over.  
  • Dizzy spells when I stand up too quickly. 
  • Tight clothes. I'm down to my last pair of shorts and they won't last me through the hot Austin summer. I'll be taking a shopping trip this weekend to stock up on some pieces that can grow with me (maxi dresses anyone?!). 
  • We had the anatomy scan at 18 1/2 weeks and we got to see our little girl again. She was active and moving all over the place. From punching the tech to propping her head up on her arm and even crossing her legs at her ankles. This kid is gonna have some spunk. 
  • Sharp stomach pains from my fast growing belly. 
  • Craving chocolate milk every night at 8:30 PM. 
  • Only 1 lb. of weight gain so far. 

We're also debating baby names at the moment. We veto almost everything we hear so it's a pretty short list right now. We have Avery, Harper, Addelynn and Hadley. We'll see where we end up once we see her!

Our Home Tour: Kitchen and Dining Room

Our house took nearly 9 months to build and yesterday marked 7 months since we moved in. Since then I've gone shopping pretty much every weekend, looking for something new to add to the house. It has been a piece by piece project, making sure I find the right accents to complement both our styles. 

Designing the kitchen was one of my favorite projects during the home build process. It's hard to imagine how it's all going to come together, especially when you have hundreds of tiles and cabinets in front of you. 

When I went to Pinterest for inspiration, I gravitated towards dual tone kitchens. Honestly, if I had my way, we'd have a bright blue island but we erred on the side of caution for our first kitchen design.

Instead, we picked white for the upper and lower cabinets around the walls and selected a darker wood for our nearly 9 foot island. The countertop is a grey-ish granite and the backsplash is a mix of blue glass and grey subway tiles. 

Aside from the furniture pieces we already had and the occasional accents I picked up during accidental Target shopping sprees, our barstools were our first purchase for the new house.

I ordered a set of 3 Allen Stools from Ballard Designs and they fit absolutely perfectly. My style is usually more vintage than industrial but I wanted something more masculine to complement the open floor plan and rich wood tiles.

So about those floors. Apparently in Texas hardwood floors are pretty rare and tile is preferred because it keeps the floor cool. We weren't a huge fan of the idea of tiled floors until we found tiles that look like hardwood and they came in a distressed barnwood grey. Once I saw them, I was in love and realized that having tile floors would be the right choice with two dogs running around.

Our dining room is right off of the kitchen and it's our first time having a true dining space. In Chicago, we had a dining area but because of the lofted ceilings and lack of light, it was pretty unusable after the sun went down. 

We bought the West Elm Boerum dining table and Porter chairs while we were still in Chicago and they fit perfectly in our new dining room.

Our first big purchase for the dining room was the chandelier. While we were finishing up at Round Top Antique Weekend this year, I spotted j. tedder designs and snagged one of his one-of-a-kind pieces to put in our dining room.

For the most part, our dining room and kitchen is pretty neutral. We didn't want too much color competing with each other in such a small space. The one exception to this rule is our ruby red Hemnes Ikea cabinet. It's my showstopper. 


We turned the sideboard into our liquor cabinet. From our nice glassware, to serving plates, to our collection of growlers, the cabinet is big enough to hold it all...and look good doing it. 

Off our dining room and kitchen is our downstairs living room. We've redone this room with all new furniture since we moved in and repainted our coffee table using Annie Sloan chalk paint. Stay tuned for a tour of our living room and bedroom!


Canvas Quote Mantra

While I was at Round Top’s Antique Weekend, I saw some pieces in a rustic frame with quotes painted on linen/canvas. While I loved the look, $250 for one frame was WAY out of my budget. After looking at the pieces a little closer, I thought I could get scrappy and make a few of my own. 

I found a few custom wood frames of different sizes in Warrenton and painted them with Annie Sloan Old White to match our style. 

Then I purchased the Sugar Plum font from Creative Market and designed three images within my Cricut Design Space. I wanted one quote to go across the three frames so I used this one from Magnolia Market. 

I attached linen fabric to the back of the frames with a stapler, and printed each of the quotes on Cricut vinyl to use as a stencil. Once I had the right placement on the fabric, I used Martha Stewart black acrylic paint and a dauber to paint the quote on the linen. 

And viola! I ended up with three custom prints for under $75! 


  • Wooden frames of various sizes 
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in a color of your choice. You can also choose to wax with Annie Sloan Clear Wax but I skipped this step. 

  • 1 1/2 yards of linen fabric

  • Vinyl Cricut 

  • Cricut Air and medium weight mat

  • Cricut Transfer Tape

  • Font of your choice

  • Martha Stewart acrylic paint in aa color of your choice

  • Heavy duty staple

Craft Room on Casters

In our old condo in Chicago, my “craft room” was the dining table and the kitchen counter. Supplies were spread across closets, storage boxes in the basement and baskets in the living room. When I felt inspired to pick up a project, it was more of a chore trying to gather everything together and when we moved into the temporary apartment in Austin for 9 months, crafting pretty much stopped altogether.

When our house was finally completed, it was just a matter of time before I caught the crafting bug again. After about 3 months, I claimed one of the rooms as my craft room and started working on my dream space.

I didn’t want to invest in new furniture when it might get dinged, painted, and scratched so I used our 4+ year old Expedit Ikea bookshelves to solve my storage problems. Stark black wasn’t really the look I wanted for the room so I pulled out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and got to work. I painted one shelf Duck Egg Blue (about 2 coats) and the other one Arles (1 ½ cans!) and used clear wax to finish it off.

I wanted a large workspace that was flexible enough to go in any corner of the room so I added casters to both of the bookshelves to keep them mobile. I also added an Ikea Stenstorp kitchen island to serve as my main workspace. It’s the perfect height for sewing, working while standing and I can easily move from one side to the other.

I picked up a few storage wall caddies from Ikea to organize all my little odds and ends. Having them on the wall and at arm’s reach is perfect!

Holding on to Moments

Almost a week ago, I married my best friend and I keep replaying the entire weekend in my head over and over. I can’t believe it all really happened. I can’t believe I was surrounded by my amazing family and friends and they welcomed Dan and I into married life. There are so many things I want to remember, so many moments I wish we could have recorded. I keep making list of moments I don’t want to forget so I can continue to remind myself everyday how lucky I am. 

1) My brother entering the rehearsal to the Imperial March dressed in a full Darth Vader costume.
2) My father in law’s speech and the moment he hugged me afterwards and I felt like his daughter. 
3) The guestbook my cousin Dana created for Dan and I. A hand-drawn scooter with thumbprint balloons floating above us. 
4) My Aunt Suzanne’s memorable meeting of my new Uncle in law.
5) The way our families blended every night before the wedding. We were all meant to be joined together. 
6) Seeing my best friend from middle school the night before the wedding. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss our friendship. Her presence at the wedding was such surprise and delight. 
7) Writing letters to Dan and my parents at 1:00 AM on Sunday morning. The front of Dan’s letter read “Because you’re my lobster.”
8) Sneaking down to Dan’s room to try to see him one more time before the wedding. 
9) Walking down to the bar at 1:00 AM only to find my dad, my mom and my father in law chatting away. 
10) Having a sleepover with mom. 

11) Dance parties in my room while the girls got their hair and makeup done.
12) Reading Dan’s letter to me. 
13) Becoming beautiful and barely recognizing myself in the mirror. 
14) Hugging my brother because he brought me Starbucks. 
15) Getting into my dress and having a major panic attack about being in front of so many people.  
16) Eliza doing something I never thought I’d see to calm me down. 
17) Running down the hallway to get to the elevator to see Dan. 
18) Peeking over the grand staircase to get a catch a glimpse of Dan. 
19) The photographer telling me to walk down the staircase and stop at the landing so he could get in front of me for shots. I made it to the landing, spotted Dan and started running down the stairs. I heard the photographer yell after me to stop at the landing so I ran back up the stairs. Once he gave me the okay, I ran straight to Dan and tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and all my fears and anxiety faded away. 
20) Seeing my mother crying in the lobby after I saw Dan for the first time. I ran up to her and told her “Mom, I’m okay. I’ve found him now. We are going to be okay.” I just kept repeating “I found him” over and over to her because I needed her to know I was going to be alright as long as I was with him. 

21) Getting in the trolley to shoot amazing photos all over the city we love. 
22) Pausing the photoshoot to play tetherball (yes, in my wedding dress) with Dan. I won. 
23) Walking back into the hotel lobby and seeing my dad waiting for me. 
24) Eating french fries (with ranch) and drinking 312 (with a straw) at the hotel bar just an hour before the wedding. My family and friends all started to come downstairs to take the trolleys over and I got to greet each and every one. While it may have taken some of the awe away from seeing me in my dress, it put me at ease and it gave me a personal moment with my favorite people in the world. 
25) Seeing my good family friend Ray (basically my Uncle) tear up as he saw me for the first time. 
26) Turning down a car, cab, and trolley to walk the half mile to the ceremony alone with my dad. 
27) Having a final talk with my dad on our walk to the ceremony. We were stopped by random tourists for photos and we had to stop in an apartment building so I could cool down along the way :)
28) Seeing the reception décor for the first time. My cousins Diane and Dana did an amazing job setting everything up and adding their own touches. 
29) Waiting with my bridal party and father inside before we walked down the aisle. 
30) Being signaled to walk down the aisle, panicking about being in front of 100 people then immediately calming down as soon as I saw Dan. 

31) Looking at Dan as I walked down the aisle because all I saw was him. 
32) The officiant referencing Star Wars in his greeting. 
33) Our vows to one another. I cried and lost my place many times. Listening to Dan read his made me feel so loved and special. 
34) The kiss. I tried to do it earlier than the officiant wanted but as soon as he pronounced us I believe I kissed him at least 3 times because one just wasn’t enough.
35) Walking back down the aisle and seeing all of our friends and family waving at us. 
36) Once Dan and I stopped at the end of the aisle he said “Well hello Mrs. Braun” — I completely lost it. 
37) Dan and I took 10 minutes for ourselves after the ceremony. We talked about the ceremony and sat in silence just taking it all in. 
38) Surprising my mom with Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest” as guests walked into dinner. Somehow a Disney transition song turned into a full-on dance routine with an audience all around us. 
39) My brother in law’s speech welcoming me as his new sister. 
40) My father’s speech about raising me as a little girl. 

41) My mother’s speech referencing the “Thank You” note she received from Dan. 
42) 112 people toasting “more than my luggage”
43) Joining my husband on the dance floor for our first dance. We remembered everything we learned in our dance classes and I twirled perfectly. Dan whispered in my ear “in four beats we’ll go crazy” — I counted down 4,3,2,1 then he and I separated and danced like crazy in the middle of the dance floor. 
44) Dancing to “Butterfly Kisses” with my dad. He talked the entire time telling me how much he loved me and how I’m still his little girl. I cried so hard that my mom came up with tissues and my dad pulled her into help finish the dance together. Holding my family close during that moment was so surreal and touching — I couldn’t have asked for a better father, mother, daughter dance. 
45) My brother giving me a Stella scooter as a wedding gift, only encouraging our obsession with motorbikes. 
46) Dancing all night to every song and ending the night with an “Ants Marching” routine and Dan’s wicked dance moves during “Gangnam Style.”
47) Walking back to the hotel at the end of the night in a complete state of euphoria. 
48) Waking up the next morning and every morning since next to my husband.

-Mrs. Suzanne Braun

Our Story: Dan's Side

It was the winter. It was the cold winter. Gosh. It would be great if I could start like that. Very classic. Very je ne sais quoi. Hmmm….Wait. I know….It was the summer. It was the warm summer.  Ah. That’s better. For your reading pleasure (drumroll please). Here’s the story of me and Suzanne. The girl who stole my heart—and taught me to tame sloths.

You know what it’s like when you meet someone special for the first time. Maybe you don’t know from the point of inception that you’re going to be best friends with this person. But you know there’s something there. Something magical. Something that makes your heart beat a few (not a couple) beats faster. Gives you butterflies in your stomach. Makes you not want to hold in your farts for at least a few hours (gross, I know). Forgive me for bringing emotions in. But that’s how I felt when I first met Suzanne.

But let’s back up a bit. It was a summer day. I was sitting in my apartment per the usual. And I’ll be honest with you. I had joined a couple (the real version of a couple) dating sites. OkCupid had just released a new phone app for local meetups. I gave it a shot. A posting from a girl looking to grab a good beer caught my eye. And hey, she was a COD player too! 

Much to my chagrin I suggested a chain bar for a good beer. And Suz knows her beer! But that was ok because we hit it off straight away. Never a dull moment the whole night. I couldn’t wait to see Suzanne again. I was, dare I say, completely smitten.  

I never expected to meet someone like Suzanne. Never expected that my life would change so much for the better. I was so excited during and after that first date. I just didn’t want it to end. I never would have gotten on a scooter with someone I had just met before that night. But I did. I didn’t want the night to be over.

Let’s skip forward a few beats shall we? Better yet. Let’s make it into a montage!!! Suzanne and I travelled the world together. In eight months we’ve been on two separate continents and on multiple coasts—yes, in this scenario Austin is somehow considered the south coast, don’t ask me why, ask the scientists. We went on a short trip to Bell’s Brewery in Michigan singing Baby Got Back and American Pie on the way home. Fast forward…We’re in LA. Did I mention the roving gangs of shopping carts? Yeah. There were those too! Fast forward again…LONDON!

Yes. That brings me to a big development. Suzanne moved to London. Crazy right? She’s working for a Shell Corporation. We made it work though. Distance can really make the heart grow fonder. And I’ve only grown more in love with Suzanne. Oh. Did I mention. There’s pictures too! CLICK ME!

I’m in love I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it ™. I’ve never been so excited. Never been so in love. Never felt this way before. If I hadn’t gotten on the back of that scooter, who knows what would have happened. I’m so glad I did.  So glad I met a person who makes me laugh with the silliest of jokes. Who makes me so amazingly happy.

Oh. You didn’t think I forgot about the sloths did you. There were sloths. Lots and lots of sloths. Hanging out on the furniture. Hanging from trees. Cuddling. In the future sloths become hyper-intelligent — but slow — beings.  And they make people react like this.

Yeah. That last paragraph was pandering.  That’s ok though.  I love Suzanne.

Our Story: Suzanne's Side

Pardon me while I gush a bit. This is the story of Dan (AKA Good Lawyer) and I.

On a summer Saturday last year, I was hanging out with my best friend Brandon. We spent a few hours eating and drinking, laughing and talking. Somehow we ended up on the topic of dating and my prospects. I recounted each terrible date I’d been on and also each fantastic date. I’d been on a lot of bad dates recently (your friends weird film goth party?! really?!) and some fantastic dates but no matter what the date, I felt like it wasn’t the place for me. Some other girls might have been swept off their feet by those dates but I just didn’t ever feel a spark. After some joking around, Brandon and I decided to try OKC Local, a blind date app.

My entry was something along the lines of “Let’s go grab a GOOD beer tonight.” Within minutes I had several replies and one guy caught my eye. Less than two hours later, I was scooting downtown to meet Dan for the first time. I’m not going to say it was love at first sight. I’m not going to say, “I knew from that moment,” but there was something different about him. He made me laugh, we had inside jokes from the get-go and I couldn’t wait to spend more time with him. We spent the whole evening together and there wasn’t an awkward or silent moment the entire time. I knew I wanted to see this guy again. That’s how it has always been with Dan. Easy, simple, fun and I find myself always waiting for our next moment together.

Over the next few months Dan and I had adventure after adventure together, we went to Chicago festivals, experienced new things together, took a weekend trip to LA (where we first said I love you), made our way around Michigan and Indiana to visit some of the best breweries, took a trip to Austin to meet my family and each day was fun, each day I was left wanting more.

We aren’t perfect, no one is. We fight just like anyone else, and we’ve had our ups and downs and struggles. In the beginning of 2012, I had to make a very difficult decision about my career and our relationship. I was offered the opportunity to work in London for 3 months. Dan was excited that I had this opportunity but in all honestly, we weren’t thrilled about the idea of spending 3 months apart. On my last day in Chicago, Dan drove me to the airport and I completely lost it. I couldn’t believe I was leaving. Couldn’t believe I wouldn’t see him everyday. He walked me into the airport and I broke down as we said our goodbyes. The first few days were rough but Dan and I found ways of making the 4,000 mile difference work for us. Being apart has made us realize even more how much we love one another. Distance does really make the heart grow fonder.

While I was living in London, Dan and I were talking about the big M word. We had tossed around the idea before but the conversation had never been this serious. We knew we wanted to be with one another. I figured he’d propose within the next few months but I didn’t think it would be like this. Before I even knew it, he was calling my parents and asking for permission and word spread pretty quickly about our conversations. Next thing I knew, Dan and I are on Facetime with my mom in the background on Skype and Dan was proposing to me. This definitely wasn’t a typical proposal but it is very us. I laughed my way completely through it and I’ve had a smile on my face for the last week straight. 

I’m so happy to have found someone that makes me laugh, a deep down belly laugh. And someone that I know I will have endless new experiences and adventures with. Here’s to our next great adventure. I can’t wait to spend it with Dan, all I ask is that you don’t take up too much room in my closet.