Everybody: Meet Brayden

He’s my favorite baby.  He’s my nephew and he’s perfect.

He was born Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 3:35pm.  7 lbs. 15 oz. 19 in. long.

My sister allowed me to be “in the room” as my nephew was born.  Probably, because I had an awesome camera and I have fooled her into believing that I can take good pictures, sometimes.  But I insist that it’s because she loves me so much and couldn’t bear me leaving her side during such an emotional time.

Oh, that was her husband.  Right.  So, it WAS the camera.

Anywho, whatever the reason, I was there.  It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever been a part of and I can’t thank Megan and Chad enough for letting me share in that experience.

I spent the next two weeks helping in any way I could.  I did laundry.  I cooked.  I bounced and danced and sang the baby to sleep.  I changed my first diaper (yes, first.)  I actually held him and got him to STOP crying – major breakthrough!  If you know me at all, you know that babies don’t like me, I don’t like them.  It’s cool.  It’s something I’ve come to accept.  But this baby liked me!  I wasn’t scared of him.  He wasn’t scared of me!  Twilight zone stuff.

While I was there, we took so many pictures!!  So, let me properly introduce you to my nephew, Brayden Cameron Gilliland.

Chad, patiently waiting.

The Labor and Delivery Nurses with their gifts Megan made for them.

Mom and Dad arriving just in time

Making his grand entrance!

In Love.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of the photo “session” that we took in the days after he was born.  The photo at the top of the post is probably my favorite picture of all time – I love everything about it.  There’s something about the strength and intent in his eyes that make me so excited to see what kind of man he will become.  He will move mountains.  Here it is again:

Isn’t my sister beautiful?!

Look at that little ear!!

There are so many more adorable pics, but Megan hasn’t picked her birth announcements yet… so I want there to be some surprise!:)

Megan, Chad and my sweet little Brayden, I love you.

Tara’s 30th…surprise 1 of 3

Tara and I have been married almost 2 years but we’ve been together more than 3 years.  We had been dating exclusively for about 4 months before we first celebrated one of her birthdays together.  If you know Tara at all, you know that her birthday is a BIG deal.  I caught on to this fact rather quickly.  You either have to go big or go home.  So the 1st year, I surprised her with breakfast before work, balloons, gifts, an airhorn, etc.  Here’s a little recap.
Since then, I’ve matured (slightly).  I still like to surprise her but the gifts have slowly gotten better.  Last year, as we were saving for our NY move, instead of extravagant gifts, I treated her to a birthday week of going out to dinner with some of her favorite people. Each night we went out with a different group of friends.  It was the perfect thing to do before our move later that year.

This year, I had no clue what to do.  It was the big 30…not only was she entering a new decade but it was going to be her 30th on July 30th which meant it was her once in a lifetime GOLDEN birthday.  I had to step up my game for this one.  So I kept my ears open to any clues or hints that she might throw out.  At the beginning of this year, we somehow got in a conversation of her birthday and I asked her if she had anything she wanted to do or cross off her bucket list before she hit her 30s.  She mentioned that when she was in college, she had hoped to have a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes by the time she turned 30 but that that would never be a reality.  BOOM!  There it was. I tucked that idea away for the next several months.

I started saving any and all tip money from my DJ gigs throughout the beginning of the year and put it aside.  It’s a good thing I did because I was not familiar with the cost of these shoes.  I went to the boutique store in NYC one weekend while she was away and the sticker shock hit me square between the eyes.  I was guessing $200 or so for a pair….WRONG!  That was about 1/4 of the cost (that price tag blew my Air Jordans from back in the day out of the water).  So I continued saving and on my last gig before I needed to buy them, I got a very generous tip from one of our clients that got me to the magic number.

The NYC store was out of the particular style of shoe I wanted to get so I went to their boutique in California while I was there for an event.  With the help of Tara’s sister, Megan, and one of my business partners, Leslie, I got the right shoe.

The only catch was that they had a 30 day return policy.  I was headed to Florida from Cali and we were still more than 30 days out from her birthday so I was going to have to give them to her early to make sure everything fit just right.

Leslie made a killer gift box.

When we were leaving our Florida office at the conclusion of a work day, I gave them to her.  In my nervousness of wanting to get it on video, I didn’t realize I had a ton of gum in my mouth (that for some reason I was chomping on while filming) and I forgot to rotate my iPhone to get it full screen so you’ll note the black bars on either side of the video. Nonetheless, here’s the reveal of the surprise caught on camera.


I was so stoked to be able to give that to her.  For most, that would have been enough of a gift for her birthday but I still had another surprise or 2 up my sleeve.  Surprise #2 of the birthday is coming tomorrow on the blog.