Category Archives: Family

Nursery Sneak Peak

This past weekend Christopher and I took a few photos in the nursery. I absolutely love how they turned out so I thought I’d share a couple with you guys! Plus this gets you a sneak peak at the nursery for everyone who has been asking! 🙂

Maternity Pics in Nursery 1

“Ciao Bella” means “Hello Beautiful” in Italian (or also “Goodbye Beautiful” since “Ciao” can be used for both). Our talented friend, Mandy, offered to make any sign for the nursery that we wanted so after looking at lots of options, we decided on this. Initially I was leaning toward long phrases or scriptures, but when Christopher saw the “Ciao Bella” idea, he was sold. Knowing he loved it so much made it easy for me to go with it as well! 🙂

Maternity Pics in Nursery 3

That dresser was my grandparents’ first dresser after they got married. And the crib is the one that I was in as a baby (as well as my sisters and niece and nephew). It was originally a drop-side crib so Christopher and a master woodworker from church converted it. A few coats of paint and they perfectly fit the vision we had for this nursery. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love how these pieces of furniture turned out! Also that pink blanket on the side of the crib is was made for Baby Vendetti by my Aunt Denise. She literally knitted the hearts into the blanket which just amazes me!

Maternity Pics in Nursery 2

The rocking chair I’m sitting in belonged to my sister, Holly (it was a gift from our mom). She used it with both of her babies. And the crochet blanket draped over the chair is one that Holly made for Baby Vendetti at my request. It turned out exactly as I imagined so I loved that! This book is one we had on our registry, but I love that it was my mother-in-law who ended up gifting it to us. Lots of prayers have been prayed for this sweet baby.

floating shelves

These are the floating shelves that Christopher built and installed above the rocking chair in the nursery. My mom got us that “Congrats” Willow Tree figurine. Kelsi (who I mentored when she was in high school, but is now more like a sister to us) made the “For this Child I have Prayed” sign for us. “La Dolce Vita” means “The Sweet Life” in Italian and the pink frame it sits in came from Thailand via one of my sister, Abby’s best friends. Speaking of Abby, she drew the Memphis skyline on that canvas and had friends and family add stars above it for our baby shower. And the little owl was a handmade gift from our niece, Makenzie. So much love on these shelves!

36 weeks

And finally, this shot was actually taken in our kitchen, not the nursery. But I love, love, love how it turned out so I wanted to share it with you guys as well. Christopher really does take the sweetest pictures of this bump!

There are so many other sweet elements to the nursery, but some of them include her name which we are waiting until she is born to announce. So the rest of the reveal will have to wait until then. There is so much love in this room. Everywhere we look in there, we see handmade gifts and treasured hand-me-downs from friends and family and we are reminded of how many people love this little girl already.

Love Rach

Family Weekend Highlights

We spent this past weekend with Christopher’s parents and had just a really wonderful visit. The last time we saw his dad, it was a pretty rough weekend because it involved a lot of time in the hospital. And really most of our previous visits for the past couple of years have been difficult as we’ve helped as much as we can with caring for his dad’s failing health. But thankfully his dad is in a great place now where he is getting the care he needs and really seems to be doing well there. Considering everything we’ve been through with helping his parents over the past couple of years, this is such a huge blessing. So like I mentioned before, this weekend was a really good one. 🙂 Here are a few highlights!

vendetti fam

All four of us! Well… technically FIVE! 😉 We told his dad about the baby this weekend (now that I’m showing enough for him to notice a difference) and we are excited for him to meet her!

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We hit up this huge flea market called Thackerland and found so many random things! The best find was a beautiful piece of furniture that Christopher took photos of and plans to build as a coffee bar in our dining room. I’m so excited for that!

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We also did lots of thrift store shopping as per normal when we visit my mother-in-law since it’s her favorite thing to do. I’ve had a hard time finding maternity clothes second hand, but was shocked to find that nearly every place we went had at least a few items. And the Goodwill had a great selection! I’ve been to thrift stores and consignment shops all over Memphis and have found so few maternity items so this was awesome! And we found a couple of treasures for the nursery that I’m looking forward to sharing with you guys as we continue working in there!

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We went to Little Rock for a day to walk along the Riverwalk area and check out their downtown. It was all super cute, but oh my gracious was it hot! It wasn’t until we were there that we realized just how HOT it was in the full sun. And let me tell you, since getting pregnant, I (who normally am cold natured) start sweating when it gets over 75 degrees. So I think this literally might be the hottest I’ve ever felt in my life (even though I’ve been in places where it was hotter than a heat index of 109). I have a feeling the next two months are going to find me hanging out in the pool a LOT. 😉

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Perhaps the best part of the weekend, though, was uncovering these old home videos. I know the photo above is hard to see, but that’s a snapshot of the video of Christopher’s birthday party when he was 2-years-old. Just absolutely precious. Seeing a grandfather who had passed away along with his dad who was still in full health in those days was just such a gift.

The rest of the weekend passed in a blur of helping my mother-in-law with projects around the house, trying delicious new foods (we found a great burger place!), walking around parks, and visiting with all her church friends. It was definitely a good sort of weekend. 🙂

Love Rach

Our First Baby Shower

What an amazing weekend celebrating the anticipated arrival of Baby V with family and friends! A few of my favorite highlights:

with sisters

So thankful for these sweet sisters of mine who went above and beyond in planning this baby shower! It’s no exaggeration to say that they are VERY excited to meet their niece this summer!

baby shower

Sweet baby shower activities! I absolutely loved all of these!

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My niece, Makenzie, loves feeling Baby V move! She had her hands on my belly most of this weekend. 🙂 And I have to say, Makenzie did such a great job helping out with the shower!

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Another favorite moment was when my mom gifted this book to my mother-in-law. I absolutely love that my mom and mom-in-law get along as well!

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My mom-in-law and my mom are both such amazing ladies! I’m so thankful to have them in my life (for more on this, see last week’s Mother’s Day post).

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Family! The photo at the top is all my “actual” family who were present at the shower and the two photos at the bottom include ladies who are like family to me. Debbie (on the left) was like a bonus mom to me when I was in college (I wrote about her and her husband a little here). And then Ms. Mary (on the right) was like an adopted grandmother to me while we were living in China. In fact, in a small world sort of way: she lived across the city from us when we lived in Wuhan, China and now she lives just down the street from my mother-in-law so I still get to see her!

There were so many sweet gifts (several of them handmade!) and I loved showing each and every one to Christopher when we got home. Like me, he is just amazed at the sweetness and generosity of so many people. And we still have another baby shower coming up in a couple of weeks here in Memphis. We are definitely lucky to be loved on by so many wonderful people.

Love Rach

Mother’s Day Thoughts

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings when Mother’s Day or Father’s Day roll around every year. In fact, I wrote about my own mixed feelings a couple of years ago on Father’s Day. But this is not a post about that. This is a post about what this particular Mother’s Day was like for me as I wait in eager anticipation to meet this sweet daughter of mine.

As friend after friend wished me a “Happy Mother’s Day!” yesterday I found myself wondering what kind of mom I would be to this little girl. Which made me think of the examples of motherhood I’ve seen in my own life.

I think of the mom who carried and birthed me.  I mean, let’s be real: growing a human is hard work. That, in of itself, is something amazing. But not only that, my mom is an incredibly intelligent and fiercely strong woman. I grew up learning so much from her examples of self-sacrifice to her constant examples of what being a Christ-follower looks like. I hope that this little girl will see those same qualities in me.

I think of the mom who treated me as one of her own as soon as her son brought me home to meet her. Christopher’s mom has loved me as a daughter since long before I was legally her daughter-in-law. Not all in-law relationships are smooth or easy so I’m incredibly grateful to have such a wonderful mother-in-law. I hope that I will always be as gracious, loving, and accepting of the people that this little girl loves.

I think of the many women who have been like moms to me. Women who took me into their homes, women who mentored me, women who mothered me when my own mother was on another continent, and women who are still mothering me today. While I hope I’ll always be this little girl’s favorite, I do hope that she has many women in her life who will mother her. Women who will nurture her and speak truth into her life. She has aunts and grandmothers who adore her already so she’s already got a good start on this front. 🙂

I don’t know what kind of mom I will be to this little girl, but I’ve been blessed with so many moms in my own life who have given me some pretty awesome goals to aspire toward. I so look forward to meeting our daughter this summer and finding out exactly what kind of momma I’ll be. 🙂

29 weeksMother’s Day 2017

Love Rach

Celebrating 90 Years!

We celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday this past weekend! Thanks to my Daddy Ken, I have a completely unrealistic idea of what aging looks like. He still works out and up until a few years ago he was the one teaching an exercise class for seniors. His mind is as sharp as ever and he is in better health than many people who are 20 years younger. Also he is kind of hilarious. See below. 😉

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Daddy Ken is the one who taught me how to drive. He has always been exceedingly patient with me and showered me with kindness and love. I can’t think of one time when he has ever spoken harshly to me.

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He taught me how to cook eggs in bacon grease and how to mix cereal and how to eat molasses and butter together properly. He taught me how to cut my own hair into layers so I wouldn’t look like a total ragamuffin in between my visits to see him when we lived overseas or when I was in college.

us with dk

When we moved overseas and would come back to America for visits, his home was the one place that felt like a home-away-from-home to me since he lived in the same house for nearly all my life.

the add ons{The “add ons” as they call themselves. Daddy Ken with his sons-in-law and grandsons-in-law}

He taught me about fidelity and loyalty and true love as I watched him care for my grandmother who battled cancer on and off for 20 years. And then again as he cared for his second wife, sweet Mrs. Carolin, as she recovered from a stroke.

dk and carolin

He taught me that having fun doesn’t stop at a certain age. Being silly and laughing with family and friends has always been high on the priority list.

daddyken2

He taught me about being a faithful follower of Christ. He leads by quiet example and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

rach and daddyken

This is my grandfather. He is truly one of the most special people in my life. I am so very thankful for the nearly 30 years that I have spent being blessed by him. Happy 90th, Daddy Ken!

Love Rach

Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Usually when I talk about family recipes, I’m talking about ones from my side of the family simply because I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mom, my mom’s parents, and years of trial and error. But every now and then I’ll realize there is something missing in my repertoire thanks to my mother-in-law.

rach and marty

For example, she taught me to stop being afraid to cook fish. And she also introduced me to Jiffy cornbread. Which isn’t a family recipe or anything, but I always thought that I didn’t like cornbread until I tried Jiffy. Mmm!

toph and marty

And over the past few months she has been making the most delicious muffins every time we visit. Even when I was feeling especially sick, Baby Girl has loved these health-ified muffins so we’ve been making them at home as well.

Marty's Healthy Muffins (3)

Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp Stevia
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup blueberries OR 60% Cocoa Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl mash bananas and mix in Stevia. Add beaten egg, vanilla, and applesauce and mix together.

2. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared muffin tins (either use non-stick spray or muffin liners).

4. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Makes a dozen delicious muffins.

Marty's Healthy Muffins (1)Made with chocolate chips!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (2)Made with blueberries!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (4)Covered in butter and served with a glass of unsweetened almond milk – my fav!

The first time Marty made these for us at Christmas, I literally ate 8 of the 12 muffins she made over just a couple of days. Baby Girl had not been impressed with many of the foods I had been trying to feed her so this was a huge win for me (I had been losing weight at that point). Since then I’ve continued to love these and so has Christopher! They are moist and sweet without being laden with sugar and butter (well, except for the butter that I slather on the muffin just before eating, ha!). Served with a glass of almond milk, they have become my favorite snack when we visit my mother-in-law!

Love Rach

Family Weekend Highlights

We spent this past weekend with my family so I thought I’d share a couple of highlights with you guys.

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We picked this particular weekend to get together because it was the weekend that Beauty & the Beast was released! It was SO good! Just absolutely loved it! And yes, I cried. It was just so beautiful! Worthy of a few happy tears. The Tale As Old As Time dance scene… gorgeous! {side note: the guys went to see the Batman Lego movie and really enjoyed it as well}

kenzie

This weekend also included a little dress up. 😉 This is my niece, Makenzie, in her mom’s wedding dress. You can see more of her photos here!

christopher and kenzie

Speaking of Makenzie… her relationship with Christopher is one of the sweetest things. I love how much she loves him! Really all our nieces and nephews adore him, but then he’s awesome. So it just makes sense. 😉 So excited to see him with our little girl this summer!

rae and abs

This weekend also included lots of baby related things! Lots of family hand-me-downs were given (so many sweet outfits!) and we even went shopping for Baby Girl! This little girl has so many outfits and she hasn’t even been born yet, haha! It’s no understatement to say that my family is excited! And then my sister, Abby, took photos for us on Sunday afternoon before we all left. Wanna see??? Here’s one of my favorites!

us2

Ah, I just love this. I love the genuine smiles (because Christopher was making me laugh) and just how you can so easily see the excitement of our faces! So so sweet. I am so very thankful!

Love Rach