Switching to Formula: Mom Survival Tips

I follow a lot of moms on Instagram. I follow a lot of moms who breastfeed and make their own baby food and use cloth diapers and plan on homeschooling or any number of other demanding, admirable things. All of these inspire me and motivate me to provide the things I hope to for Haines. I can breastfeed, puree those carrots, cloth diaper and teach my baby all kinds of things. And go to work? (And by work I mean on someone else’s schedule.) Well, shit.

Pumping at work was never fun but started out really well. I was pumping more than I needed each day. Slowly things changed. It went from just inconvenient to downright difficult with meetings pushing my pump time or me just getting busy, forgetting or putting it off. Several times I’ve had to travel during the day and pumped either in my car or in a bathroom stall just enough to get through the day and be comfortable. Over time it’s thrown off my production and for several weeks I wasn’t able to produce enough for the next day despite increasing the number of times I pumped. Each day we had to dip into our freezer stash to have enough milk. It was depressing to watch my small stash disappear.

IMG_3558

I used to be able to fill this bottle. Then I got lucky if I could fill half.

At least twice a day I was stressing out watching my pump bottles stay mostly empty. So I upped my pumping to 5 times a day but still wasn’t making enough. I had really wanted to use breastmilk exclusively for Haines’ first year but the stress was taking over. It seems ridiculous but breastfeeding became all I could think about. Tyler, not surprisingly, was incredibly supportive of making whatever changes I needed. Right before he turned 7 months we introduced formula.

IMG_3993

Happy 7 months baby!

There was no immediate relief for my anxiety. Just choosing a formula made me feel insane! Organic or non-GMO, sweetened with lactose or something else, designed for less spit-up or to help with fussiness? Good lord. Eventually I just chose the one that seemed the most organic and hippie. This brought me some relief. The first few days were really hard. The best way to sum it up is I spent about 5 days crying. I didn’t want to give up nursing but with my first work trip looming, it felt like the best choice for everyone. Haines adjusted fairly well although he fought the first couple bottles and his stomach took a couple days to get on board. We ended up mixing his formula with breastmilk to help with the flavor and his digestion. We also cut out the little bit of rice cereal we were giving him (formula and rice cereal can mean constipation, just FYI).

We’re about three weeks into formula and feeling better about it. I’m still nursing before bed and for the first feeding of the day. Although it’s nice to still provide breastmilk for his health, it really comes down to that I wasn’t ready to give up nursing. I love the way it calms him when nothing else will. I love the comfort it brings him when he’s teething or upset. I love having that card up my sleeve and I love that it’s my card. No one else can do it.

IMG_3956

A lot of breastfeeding isn’t as sweet as I thought it might be. He scratches my face or pulls on my nipple often. Then sometimes it’s just hand holding and everything is just right.

 The cost of formula doesn’t help. It’s something I really wanted to avoid. It’s expensive and babies drink a lot. We’ve tried two brands so far with the Costco brand lined up to try next. Honest Baby and Whole Earth’s Organic have gone over well. The Costco brand is non-GMO and only sweetened with lactose so even though it’s not organic, I think I won’t feel terrible giving it to my baby. (Mom guilt to the extreme over here, y’all.)

Many people have commented on how relaxed I am with Haines. I pass him off to anyone who will hold him. I don’t tell people how to hold him or what he prefers and I don’t worry when I find him across the room with a baby-loving person I don’t know. But life in public isn’t life in private. I feel more uptight, more anxious than I ever have before. My mom hawk eyes have grown in. I worry about every bump and scratch even though I pretend I don’t. The switch to formula brought this out in me to the max.

But I’ve finally relaxed about our new feeding arrangement and I’m enjoying it. I love being able to hand off feeding to someone else when I’m in the middle of something else- like sleeping! Unfortunately it also means I’ve moved on to a new focus for my nerves. This week- baby swim lessons. (They’re actually really adorable! More on this later.)

Tips for switching to formula:

(I am not an expert. These tips are not for your baby, they’re for you. Chances are your baby is fine.) 

  • Buy a formula that is too expensive. Make sure it says all the right things on the label. This will make you feel less guilty about the switch.
  • Now go to Costco or Walmart or whatever and get the formula you can afford. Use that one next.
  • Start with a 75% breastmilk, 25% formula mixture once or twice a day. Increase the formula each day as you start freaking out less.
  • If you have some frozen breastmilk you can utilize save it to use at bedtime when it might be most comforting to baby.
  • Drink a glass of wine when feeding baby formula. Realize that feeding baby formula means that you can drink alcohol with less anxiety about it.
  • If you’re really freaking out, eliminate the bed time and morning feeds last. These are the sweetest ones and the hardest to give up (in my opinion).
  • Take a break and realize how nice it is that your boobs no longer hurt when you’re away from baby. (This is several days into your transition.)
IMG_3976

This is a baby on formula. He’s clearly pretty upset about it. 

Okay, you’ve done it. You’re onto formula now. Don’t worry, you’re only a few days away from your next big concern. Damn you diaper rash/mosquito bite/developmental cues/teething/sleep patterns!

5 Ways to Survive Without Sleep (AKA Being a New Parent)

Oh cruel, elusive sleep. I miss you so. In all my non-parenting years you had so rarely failed me. Sure, the occasional illness or stressful time kept me awake but generally we were faithful friends. I was kind to you, you were kind to me.

I didn’t understand how good I had it. A friend once called pregnancy the empathy gauntlet. You get a little taste at how difficult it can be when you don’t fit in spaces, when your body doesn’t feel like yours, when you suffer from low blood sugar, when you have dietary restrictions and so forth. And then there’s the insomnia. You’re incredibly tired but you can’t get comfortable, can’t stop feeling anxious, can’t sleep.

And then the baby is born. Now you could totally sleep if you were only given the opportunity. Nope!

Haines was sleeping 8 hours at 10 weeks (sometimes) so we thought we were golden. We thought we were rockstar parents. It turns out we were just naive. Since I returned to work he’s slept through the night only a handful of times. Sometimes I think he knows that I’m about to break down and he gives me an extra hour. Sometimes he seems a little less aware. When I was on maternity leave, not sleeping sucked but it was manageable. Tyler always made an effort to give me a break and often got up with Haines when he inevitably woke up at 4 or 5 so I could sleep an extra couple of hours. Now that we both work those days are few and far between.

I realize that babies often don’t sleep through the night. I knew that going into this whole “having a baby” thing but I just didn’t get it. Like childbirth, breastfeeding or pregnancy in general I knew what it meant in theory but not in practice. With Haines’ arrival all of the sudden I realized that new parents (or not so new parents) all over the world were in this situation. They were raising children, going to work, taking care of their home and not sleeping through the night. It blew my mind. That might sound crazy to you but it’s a whole new world when you’re suffering through a day of work after a night in new baby hell and you realize this is just the norm.

IMG_3303

Mornings are hard.

Truly it was a revelation. And then the people on the news are saying all these crazy things like don’t drive if you’re tired. Like they said if you miss an hour you could be in danger. Miss an hour?? What if you have a baby? Then you’re always tired.  You always miss an hour! How am I supposed to go to work? (Side note: obviously there’s a difference between being baby tired and being truly sleepy while driving which is really unsafe.)

The Sunrise Series

Now we’re in the beginning stages of testing “cry it out”. Everyone told me you’ll know when you’re ready to sleep train. The moment I felt less responsive to Haines’ crying at night, I knew I was ready. I was tired enough to listen to him tough it out. We’re on day 2 and we’ve seen some minor improvement. In the meantime I’m trying these survival techniques:

  1. Consume absurd amounts of caffeine: I now prefer to drink black tea several times ado. I’m also being a little more forgiving with my soda consumption. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
  2. Limit my alcohol intake: I don’t drink as regularly or as much as I did pre-baby life due to breastfeeding and the lack of sleep but I’m trying to take it down a notch again. It makes me too sleepy and takes away from the quality sleep I am able to get from time to time. It’s not my first choice but I surely it’s only temporary. (PLEASE!)
  3. Make time for exercise: This is significantly easier said than done. I normally work out on my lunch break but lately my lunch break has been spent working. This negatively affects how much energy I have in the afternoon but also my attitude. Being able to be somewhat positive is directly tied into exercise for me.
  4. Lowering the expectations: Sometimes I go to bed at eight. Sometimes I don’t do any dishes. Sometimes I barely remember to brush my hair before work. We all do what we can.
  5. Ask for help: Tap your spouse for a shift. Call a relative. Get a babysitter. At some point it’s about survival. Take a nap. I got to take a couple naps in Florida and my mom and sister took Haines for each night in Oklahoma. It was magical. I was like a whole new person for a couple days.

I’m sure you all have golden children who starting sleeping through the night at 2 weeks and have never stopped but I’ll be over here lying on the floor trying to convince my baby to take a nap. You’re supposed to model appropriate behaviors right? I’m all over it.

IMG_3853

This is a rare sighting of a baby napping in the wild. Capture the moment- it may never happen again!

 

 

June: A Time for Balance and Reflection

This month has been a total whirlwind. It’s been pretty stressful and incredibly wonderful.

June has brought:

The realization that I can’t do everything.

I ended up having a wee little breakdown at work somewhere around the time my managers realized they’d given me too much to be responsible for. I’m working on delegating things more proactively and prioritizing more appropriately. Some things will just have to wait.

Similarly at home, I’m attempting to be a bit more relaxed about things. Contrary to my family’s beliefs our messy, often dirty home does bother me but by the time the baby goes to sleep it is hard for me to care. To be honest, it’s hard for me to remember. In the evenings I often think, what is it I said I was going to take care of tonight? I can’t remember it until way later. (Dear sleep, please come back.) I’m at the point now where I’m behind on birthday gifts, thank you’s, letters, cleaning, yard work, meal prep. The list goes on. In fact, I don’t think it’ll ever stop so I’m trying not to stress about it.

Adventures with baby

HEB turned 6 months on June 14th and every day it seems he has learned something new. This month he has found his voice and babbles or makes noises nonstop. He’s also found his tongue which is always sticking out now. We’ve started to introduce food and he’s on the verge of crawling. Our house is desperately in need of baby proofing!

IMG_3826

Nectarines should be worn as well as eaten.

Haines also took his first flights this month. We traveled two weekends in a row by plane which was totally stressful and honestly not that bad. He slept at least 50% of the time as it’s hard for him to resist a snooze in any mode of transportation. We were prepared the rest of the time with toys and our best funny voices. I don’t think any passengers hated us.

IMG_3749

We survived the Atlanta airport!

Quality family time

We don’t see any of our family nearly enough. Our closest family member lives only 4 hours away but we haven’t visited in over a year. Our other parents and siblings all reside in other states or countries so our visits definitely aren’t frequent. This month we got in two visits though which made June a pretty awesome month.

Father’s Day weekend Haines and I traveled with my mom, sister and her girls to Oklahoma for a long weekend. The newest member of our family got to meet my aunt and uncle on my mom’s side as well as several of our cousins. We were celebrating the life of my grandfather who passed away in October. It would have been his 99th birthday that weekend! While a sad occasion, I loved hearing the stories about PopPop- some familiar, some new to me. Our family is hardly ever all in one place so it was hard not to feel overjoyed at the chance to be with everyone.

Last weekend all three of us flew to Florida to be with Mum-Mum (Tyler’s mom). Unfortunately our reason for gathering was another sad one as Mum-Mum’s husband passed away a few weeks ago. He was truly a unique soul and I got to learn so much more about him during his celebration of life. We chatted with friends and family and saw so many great photos of Eric through the years! Just as the weekend before, the feeling of being together dominated. We hadn’t seen Tyler’s mom or his brother and girlfriend (BFF extraordinaire Natalie)  in several months and the reunion was much needed!

IMG_3790

 Time for reflection

We spent a significant portion of the month with family celebrating loved ones we can no longer be with. There is an obvious silver lining to this. We were reminded how important those individuals were and are to our lives as well as how grateful we are to have wonderful people in our lives. I have a healthy, growing son, a supportive husband, incredible friends all across the world, and a loving family from my parents to my siblings to the cousins, aunts and uncles I don’t often get to see. We’re a lucky bunch!

img_3794.jpg

Cloth Diapers: Diaper Service vs. Launder Your Own

Stuff makes me claustrophobic. Moving houses, packing the car for camping, having to carry luggage literally causes a physical reaction in my body. I want to shove everything to the curb regardless of whether or not it’s useful. Who cares if I use it every day? It’s dragging me down!

landfill.jpeg

So when we found out we were pregnant a definite panic came over me. Babies come with endless stuff. I didn’t want to buy a lot of plastic toys or send garbage bags full of diapers to the landfill. But also, I was worried about money. Daycare costs alone are terrifying but then you thrown in diapers, wipes, clothes, toys and formula if you need it.

We’ve gotten incredibly lucky with most things. People have gifted us clothes and we’ve gotten quite a few hand-me-down toys to get Haines started in life. I try to mainly shop at second hand stores. We’ve got a long way to go with breastfeeding but so far I haven’t had to buy formula. All those things are just luck and the kindness of others. Diapers I knew would be another story.

Despite being the one who insisted on cloth diapering, I was really skeptical about our ability to do it. Tyler didn’t protest the idea but he also didn’t jump on board. I think he was hoping I would eventually just change my mind. Between going back to work, breastfeeding, and the plan to make our own baby food I had some doubts about how well this would go over. The idea of making a significant financial investment only to be left with a pile of diapers we weren’t going to use, would be devastating. Still we moved forward.

After getting a few recommendations we added Rumparoos to our Amazon registry. At the end of my pregnancy though we also discovered a diaper service in town that laundered traditional cloth diapers.  We’re currently using the service, Green Baby, at the generosity of my mother and eventually will switch to laundering our own.

Diaper Service:

Pros

  • We’ve been with Green Baby Diaper Service since Haines was about 4 weeks. We started with 6 diaper covers and 2 plastic Snappies which was fine initially. It really couldn’t be easier- after each diaper change you just toss the diaper into the pail with a liner bag.
  • Once a week I place the liner bag full of stinkiness out on the porch and a man comes and collects in the morning.  A bag full of fresh one is always waiting when I come home from work!

Cons

  • Our daycare treats each cover and cloth diaper as one. They take the whole thing off and throw it into a plastic bag. So a cover that we would use over and over again until soiled gets used once and then sits with a dirty diaper all day. Initially this really grossed me out but I got past it. I wipe out the covers each evening and hang them to dry overnight. Every second or third (it’s hard to make it to 3 days) I wash them all.
  • We did have to invest in a lot more covers though so they could do this. 11 has turned out to be our magic number.

We use Thirsties and Best Bottoms covers. Both are great but Best Bottoms definitely seems more durable. Whatever you pick I’m anti-velcro. The velcro deteriorates faster than the snaps (which look perfect) and also sometimes get shifted so it rubs Haines’ belly.

Wash Your Own:

Pros

  • They’re incredibly easy to use. We opted for Rumparoos and like them a lot. Slide in the insert and snap on to that baby bottom. To remove and wash you do need to take out the insert. Can be a wee bit on the gross side, but it’s manageable.

Cons

  • It’s hard to go more than one day without washing. We don’t have many of these so that plays a part but the longer you go between washings the harder it is to face the task. It’s kind of a bite the bullet situation.
  • It’s just more work. No way around it.

Overall:

Several friends have complained about the number of poop blowouts they deal with every day using disposable diapers. While we do encounter them, it’s pretty rare, regardless of the cloth diaper we use. HEB is much more likely to need an outfit change due to excessive spit up rather a diaper leak or explosion. We also always keep a few disposables on hand for babysitters. Most people aren’t familiar with cloth diapers, even our pediatrician.

One thing to keep in mind is cloth diapers make for big booties. HEB is not a big baby but he goes through some sizes more quickly just because of his big ol’ cloth covered bottom.

IMG_3489

Please note enormous booty area.

The expense of cloth diapering is undeniably more up front, although if you’re laundering your own the overall cost is definitely less. Cloth diapers are one size and intended to last until potty training. I don’t know if we’ll make it that long but it brings me some relief to know we won’t be impacting landfills as much as we could be!

Get on the Meal Train Train: Why to Join and What to Bring

When a coworker first offered to set up a meal train for our family when HEB was born, I was hesitant. Sure we had a new baby but I wasn’t incapable of making meals. Tyler wasn’t either. This brand baby honestly didn’t do anything. He just slept, cried, ate constantly, pooped constantly and all the other baby past time faves. Sure, we were changing diapers every hour and each feeding lasted 45 minutes and occurred every 2 hours but I wasn’t exactly busy per se.  I felt like we were taking advantage of people’s generosity and excitement over our new cutie.

IMG_2511

Haines on Christmas Day, 11 days old

Still, I’d never passed up a free meal and this didn’t seem like the time to start. Thank goodness! When it comes down to it here’s the deal:

  • Yes, new parents, you are capable of making meals. BUT even the simplest of meals is easily derailed by baby. For several weeks I really didn’t know what to do with Haines during meal prep. I couldn’t wear him while I cooked at the stove and we didn’t have a swing so I just kept him in his bed or his car seat when I needed my hands. There’s nothing (hopefully) wrong with this but I constantly questioned it. Plus every movement and sound he made was new and unnerving to me. Is he okay? Is he mad? Is his brain developing properly? Will he need therapy one day from how I’m ignoring him to make pasta right now? In the end meals were made. So far he doesn’t seem to resent me for my need to eat. But the burden and stress of getting fed greatly eased by the twice a week delivery of food we received.
  • More importantly, this is a time period that you can never get back. It will never again be you and your partner and this tiny baby, all brand new, figuring this out together. As much as I have struggled during this time I also know that I need to soak up every baby cuddle, every coo and giggle, every new discovery, every pool of drool because this just happens once. You’re only young once and so are your babies.

IMG_2471

Sometimes you end up on the other side of the meal train which means it’s your turn to repay the favor. Last week I was delighted to bring food over to a friend’s brand new baby and this week I’m setting up a meal train for a coworker. I’ve discovered that meal planning for others is stressful! I can’t help but worry if I’m bringing over something they’ll like. At the end of the day, every meal is appreciated but I’ve learned from my own experience the types of meals that were the most helpful.

Nutritional: Many of the meals we received were centered around carbs and cheese. Carbs and cheese represent the best things in life so this is not an issue, but it was really nice when someone also brought over a salad or a dish that centered around vegetables. Since I wasn’t being very active it helped me feel less slob-like.

Wine & Desserts: I gotta admit those kind folks that included a bottle of wine or a box of cookies with my meal were true winners. It was a total novelty to see alcohol and know I was allowed to drink it! I appreciated all those who understood how much I missed it and brought it directly to me.

IMG_2483

If you choose to bring over fancy doughnuts, they will be decimated before a photo can be taken. 

Take-out: Obviously not everyone can do take-out meals from restaurants. It’s certainly not within my meal train budget for others, but it was a huge treat when others did this for us. One person had a pizza delivered to us while two other individuals brought us take-out from some of our favorite restaurants. Since going out to eat is hard to do on a maternity leave budget, we really appreciated this!

Breakfast: The beginning of the day was always the hardest for me. I always had Tyler in the evenings but in the morning I was typically on my own for eating. I’ve heard of people bringing breakfast casseroles, muffins or other options that make for easy eating in the morning. I will definitely be gifting this to someone else down the line!

Snacks: While all the meals we received were wonderful, the best night was when a friend showed up with individually packaged snacks along with dinner. She brought over a bag with Ziplocs of pretzel sticks, snap pea crisps, mini-cookies, and homemade energy balls along with a few protein bars. It was heaven. I’d been struggling with foods that I could easily eat while nursing or holding HEB. The answer had arrived! It was something easy for her to do that was enormously helpful to me.

 

Postpartum Body Struggle

I’ve been working on this post for weeks struggling to describe how pregnancy and childbirth has affected me physically. Where do I even begin? What stereotypical path should I start with? Should I tell you how insecure I’ve always been about my body? Or should I just dive in to a tired old diatribe about the baby weight?

But this isn’t the years I hated my body or about baby weight. It’s not about any of things I expected. It’s about feeling out of place in your own body. The midwives described the baby as a very effective parasite, leeching my body of nutrition. I was impressed rather than put off by this until I realized all the energy it (the baby) was taking, how incapacitated I felt. I felt frail and heavy all at the same time. As I walked down the stairs I always reached for the railing or traced my hand along the wall. Never before had I considered I might fall but I stopped trusting myself. I didn’t know this body.

img_2355

The last few weeks of pregnancy, I lost my positive attitude. I beached myself on the couch and wallowed in self-pity. It was pretty much all wallow and waddle. After giving birth, I eagerly waited for my body to return. I thought there were four stages for my body: pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, the days or weeks of recovery and then the return to pre-pregnancy body. Um, no.

The fourth trimester was a strange trip. I was desperate to be active again in the hopes of feeling like myself. After about a week we started venturing outside the house, walking around the school across from my house and then eventually down to the lake and back and so on. It was a month before I walked the 4 mile lake trail I’d typically done every week.  It did not feel good. It is a whole new world when it’s your vagina that says you’re exercising too much.

IMG_2557

This is the first time I wore regular jeans. I busted out of them about 4 minutes later.

Everyone had told me that breastfeeding would cause the weight to drop quickly. Obviously I have nothing to compare it with but for me it was true. The first 25+ pounds were gone in 5 weeks. My enormous belly first became soft, then drooped, then starting to fade away. Only a couple weeks after childbirth I could find my belly button easily. A tiny dip reappeared where it was once flat. But it doesn’t take much to go up a size or two and I still can’t fit into most of my clothes. I’ve started to exercise regularly again but I can see these last pounds will be a long process. To be honest at this point my belly feels like a souvenir or a badge of honor. A light tan line still marks me down the middle proudly announcing “new mama”! I’d embrace it all if I could just wear my dang old pants and shorts like I want to.

IMG_3312 (1)

NEWSFLASH- You may think it’s a waste to buy maternity clothes since you’re only going to wear them for nine months but chances are that’s not true!

What I truly didn’t anticipate was the boobs. Sure the Internet said all kinds of silly things about needing bigger bras when your milk comes in but who can understand what that means?! Well, it means that your T-shirts are too short, your button-ups are too tight and your cleavage is full on out there. There’s a reason nursing shirts are a thing.

Exercise, hormones, my hair, eating habits, sleep schedule, sex, who I saw in the mirror – nothing escaped the experience of childbirth. Nothing felt recognizable in the weeks and months that came after.  Haines is getting ready to hit 6 months in a week’s time which is absolutely wild. Last night he tried avocado. He’s on the verge of crawling. He watches everything and becomes less of a baby and more of his own person every day. But I still struggle to appreciate all that my body has done and continues to do- carried a baby, gave birth, provides milk. I struggle to give myself time to recover and figure things out. But here’s goes nothing.

img_3587.jpg

 

 

Irrefutable Proof that May is the Best Month Ever

I think everyone is inclined to like the month they were born in but if you’re born in an extra good month, all the better. May has all the best things.

May means being outside:

I was born in May. Growing up in Piedmont Triad in North Carolina it’s a no-brainer that May is a great month. It starts out with everything in bloom. Azaleas are finishing up. Tulips are popping. Dogwoods are in their prime. By the end of the month you’re at Memorial Day weekend. It’s getting hot but the nights still cool off. The pool is open and you leap into summer. In Wilmington the temperature tends to be a little hotter and a little more humid but it still falls under the range of feels good to be outside.

IMG_3544

It’s hard to work in the garden with a bambino but I’m trying to figure it out!

IMG_3542

May is my birthday month:

I have to admit I’m one of those people who loves their birthday. I’m not looking for gifts or being princess for a day or whatever.  I just love birthdays. I love other people’s too! People send you really kind cards and messages online. It’s the one day of the year where you don’t take your friend or family for granted. You remind them that you love them. I love reminding people and I love being reminded.

IMG_3569

Birthday party goodness stolen from Better than Never blogger’s instagram.

May is for Mother’s Day:

This year May was extra special. I also had my first Mother’s Day. I know I talk more often here about struggling with motherhood than about the joys but there are also so many joys. Writing this, thinking about HEB, my chest tightens. I can feel a physical space where our connection lies. It’s not in my heart or my now empty womb. It’s in my lungs. He is so much of every breath I take. I cannot think about loving him without tears.

My first Mother’s Day is exactly what I might have hoped. I got to sleep in (although not through the night) and woke to an enormous breakfast. We were in Virginia visiting Tyler’s dad so we went on a boat ride before heading home. No one threw up on the car ride home and we finished the night with cheese and crackers. It was all the best things in life.

IMG_3495

Best Mother’s day gift!

May is for baby milestones:

Baby milestones can be difficult and wonderful. We’ve stopped swaddling Haines which has been difficult. He’s started rolling over regularly which is wonderful. He can’t roll back over from his stomach easily (particularly in the middle of the night when apparently that’s important to him) which is difficult. He’s paying attention to everything which is wonderful. He’s getting more mobile which means we need to baby proof our house. This is wonderful and difficult. He babbles nonstop. This is adorable.

IMG_3471

Almost there!

May is for family and friends:

As I anxiously await a friend’s arrival from California for the weekend, I’m reminded that I saw so many wonderful people in May. There was the impromptu visit of my Austin bud, LaDonna, as well as our first trip to see “Poppa” in Virginia. Plus my mother came, which is pretty much all I want/need in life.

IMG_3467

IMG_3521

“Poppa” Earl, Haines Earl and Tyler Earl. That’s a whole lotta Earl.