Brantley: 12 Months

Oh Brantley,

You’re not a “baby” anymore, you’ve officially moved up in ranks to “toddler” and your Mama is having a hard time figuring out how I feel about that. They always say that time flies, it goes so fast, cherish every moment. They weren’t kidding. The other day, I was looking at the canvas on your nursery wall that shows you as 2 week-old newborn laying on our bed, and I just started to cry. I sat there staring at your tiny hands and feet, the way your eyes squinted facing the light from the afternoon sun, the little up-turned nose, dark brown hair, and that newborn smooshed face that only lasted a few weeks. And I wondered how it’s been a whole year already.


Every morning I go into your room after a long night of sleep and you are usually already awake and sitting up in your crib entertaining yourself with your blankets and the lovey embroidered with your personal hashtag (still his favorite, thanks Andy & Shannon). When you see the door open your head pops up and you give me the most amazing smile. Your eyes still squint, now when you smile or laugh. You still have that same up-turned nose, and your dark hair has been replaced by a shade of blonde that lightens in the sun with curls that line the back of your neck and fall behind your ears. Your hands and feet are a little bigger, and chunky rolls have replaced those lean arms and legs. But a year later, I can still see the same tiny newborn I once so easily cradled in one arm.

When you were just a few months old, as I was struggling with the thought of eventually having a toddler, kindergardener, pre-teen, etc. I asked the mom of one of my patients how she ever felt “ready” for those milestones. I just couldn’t imagine having a “big kid”, going on field trips, sending you away for summer camps, and I couldn’t even let myself think about the eventual day you leave for college or move away from home. At the time I felt so completely overwhelmed by all of the coming milestones of your life. I feel like we’re still figuring this parenting thing out, so how will we ever be prepared for the bigger changes life will bring?

Her answer was so simple: “You grow with them.”

I don’t have to be ready or prepared for the day you become an adult, or even the first day you get on a school bus. I just have to take the responsibilities of this one day and enjoy it as much as possible.

You’ll grow up and we’ll grow with you, but until then I’ll just take one day at a time.

Happy First Birthday, Brantley.

We love you.

Brantley: 11 months


Well, we started Crawling Bootcamp 2 months ago after your 9-month appointment – after realizing that Daddy and Papa were probably carrying you around too much… who can blame them? – and ever since you’ve showed us that you’re ready to get moving! This month you pulled up from a laying down into a sitting position (6/4) then 2 days later on 6/6 you figured out how to pull yourself to a standing position while holding on to the side your crib. We quickly realized we’d never lowered your crib mattress and you could very easily hurtle yourself over the side of the crib so we made that change and avoided a near-death experience. (Someone told me recently that the first year of a baby’s life is just about keeping them alive. We totally agree.)

This month you attended your first surf competition! The Steel Pier Classic was held at the oceanfront on Memorial Day weekend so we walked down to the beach to see the competition, say hi to friends, and look through all the artwork at the Surf Art Show.




On Memorial Day, we spent the afternoon at the pool with Mimi, Papa, Nanny, and Papa… and of course all of your aunts, uncles, and cousins!

This picture is just an example of those daily reminders that we have a BIG personality on our hands. You are always a happy baby – unless you want our food. Then you just get grumpy but that’s another story. 😉


Now that you’re more comfortable in the pool, we tried out your float and it was a SUCCESS! You could’ve stayed in this thing all day long. At one point, you were laid back in it while I fed you fresh fruit… living like a king.IMG_1736Since Daddy was working at the fire station on Memorial Day, we went to visit him there and eat dinner with the rest of the guys.  Dressed in your red, white, and blue, we couldn’t resist sitting you on the firetruck for a photo op.

IMG_1777This photo might just be my favorite photo of all time… it sums up my whole life.

IMG_1778We have really enjoyed being able to go over to the pool now the weather is getting so hot. Shadow always comes along and explores the backyard, lays in the flower beds under the shade of the trees, and anxiously waits for us to get in the pool so he can jump in, too.

We invited Blair, Ty, and Alexis over and had a great afternoon swimming, splashing, and EATING. Daddy started swim lessons by first getting you used to being under water. We started this when we were in Tampa in April but you did so much better this time around. We count to 3 then dip you down under water and since we’ve been practicing breath-holding for months when we count, you did great holding your breath in the pool!

IMG_1814Always getting handsy with Alexis…

IMG_1833(While this photo is another one of my favorites, Blake was really just trying to get Brantley used to the grass… it’s the little moments that make the best photos!)IMG_1801The little things:

  • You are ticklish on the tops of your knees and the bottoms of your feet, just like your Daddy.
  • High-fives are your favorite.
  • You wake up every once in a while in the middle of the night, search around for your “Shadow blanket”, curl up with it, and fall right back asleep. The only reason we know this is because we’ve watched it on the monitor because otherwise we would never know since you don’t even make a peep when you wake up.
  • You love to make spitting noises, soaking your shirt in the process.
  • You’ve become a little comedian this month and will do ANYTHING to make us laugh including lifting your arms in the air for a “touchdown!” and shaking your head back and forth when we tell you to “go crazy!”
  • Now that you’ve learned how to pull yourself from laying down to sitting up, you frequently sit up in your crib but you’re so tired that you eventually just fall over face first in your lap and fall asleep there.


Happy 11 Months, baby boy.




No treatment. No cure.

December 11th, 2014: My doctor dropped the bomb on me that would change everything.

I had been experiencing trigger thumb for 8 months following a bad case of carpal tunnel during pregnancy. The carpal tunnel resolved but the trigger thumb was still causing me daily pain and the week of my doctor’s appointment I had also developed pain in the knuckles of my hands.

When I explained my symptoms, also mentioning that my chronic knee pain had been getting worse over the last few months and the tendonitis in my shoulders didn’t seem to be going away, he dropped the “R bomb” on me: rheumatoid arthritis. I didn’t know what it meant at the time, all I remember was that I sent my husband a text message from the exam room and he said, “Let’s pray it’s not RA.”

So of course the first thing I did when I got in the car was google RA and what I found was absolutely devastating. I read the words autoimmune, bone erosion, chronic pain, joint deformity, rheumatoid arthritis destroys the cartilage and bone within the joint.

No treatment. No cure.

That word “destroys” still makes me cringe. I saw pictures of mangled fingers and hands. I learned that usually RA occurs in women age 40-60 and every article and website talked about adults who struggle to playing with their grandchildren. But I was only31. And what about raising my own child? Will I be able to play on floor with him? If I already feel this miserable, what will I feel like in 10 years? Even 5 years? Or 6 months? My fingers already hurt when I tried to teach my son to wave “bye bye” and I couldn’t pick him up without wincing from the pain in my shoulders, so how bad would it get? How am I going to live like this if it only gets worse? I sat in my car and cried.

At the time I didn’t even know what “autoimmune” meant but I would quickly realize I was considered “high risk” because of my family/medical history. My dad and older brother have Crohn’s Disease, my mom has allergies and used to get migraines, my older brother had persistent acne as a teenager, and my younger brother has a history of IBS-like symptoms. For years I suffered with IBS symptoms only to discover about 2 years ago that I have a gluten intolerance. Around the same time I also learned that I am allergic to nearly all trees, grasses, animals, and dust. These issues had always seemed to me like they were unrelated but unfortunately that’s not the case. Realizing all of these were related to autoimmune and knowing the risk of other more significant issues increases with this kind of history, my heart broke knowing that a diagnosis of RA wasn’t that unrealistic.



Diagnosing RA is done with a simple blood test. Unfortunately that blood test is not very reliable and even if you have a negative blood test you can still get diagnosed with RA based on your symptoms. So I looked at the list of symptoms…

  • Fatigue.
  • Joint pain.
  • Joint tenderness.
  • Joint swelling.
  • Joint redness.
  • Joint warmth.
  • Stiffness of joints, particularly worse in the morning.
  • Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
  • Both sides of the body affected (symmetric)

Unfortunately I have them all. Every single one.

I also looked at other similar autoimmune diseases to see if there were any other unexplained symptoms that I was experiencing that could be explained by another illness and everything I read kept pointing me back to rheumatoid arthritis. Immediately, I started looking into treatment options.



While there is no treatment or cure for RA, there are a number of medications used to manage the disease. Thank God! Relief is on the way! These medications include immuno-suppressants to decrease the immune system’s over-active response, prescription pain medicines to manage pain, and a number of other medications to slow cell reproduction. Each one has some not-so-pleasant and often dangerous side effects and will frequently lose its effect with the progression of the disease over time. Here are the most common medications prescribed for RA:

  1. Chloroquine Phosphate – immunosuppressant, used for the prevention and treatment of Malaria, side effects include permanent damage to the eyes and heart.
  2. Leflunomide – immunosuppressant with common side effects of liver damage and lung disease.
  3. Methotrexate – used in cancer treatment as it decreases the body’s ability to produce new cells. This is a good thing when we’re talking about cancer cells but bad news for blood cells which fight infection. Add to that your immunosuppressants above and it can lead to “serious life-threatening side effects to the liver, lungs, and kidneys.” To top it all off, it Inhibits the body’s ability to process folic acid leading to possible birth defects.
  4. Sulfasalazine – also lowers folic acid levels leading to possible birth defects.

All of a sudden my options seemed a little less hopeful.

But that’s when I learned about functional medicine.

“Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease… By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, it addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.” And so began my journey, foregoing conventional medicine for a new type of treatment: FOOD.



The range of autoimmune diseases is vast and includes nearly every bodily organ and system imaginable but as unlikely as it sounds, each patient can be treated or at least have significant relief of symptoms with the same diet. The “Autoimmune Protocol” (Autoimmune Paleo, AIP) is becoming one of many recent elimination diets which helps to rid the gut of infections such as yeast overgrowth (which can also contribute to RA especially after pregnancy), provides necessary nutrients for healing, and also eliminates any possible food allergies and sensitivities that can worsen an already unhealthy system. The biological explanation is far too advanced for me to try to explain but when you get right down to it, most of us are eating toxins in our food and we’re exposed to an overwhelming number of toxins in our environment. We are quite literally poisoning ourselves. I am one of those whose bodies does not tolerate these toxins very well which resulted in my severe allergies, IBS/gluten intolerance, and RA symptoms.

The “treatment” for all autoimmune diseases is the same, but it’s not an easy one.

What would it take to put my RA symptoms into remission?

A total diet overhaul.

My husband has always said he is amazed by my determination and self-control when it comes to food. I’ve been gluten free for over 2 years and dairy free for the last 9 months since we discovered Brantley’s sensitivity to dairy, but I was in no way prepared for this kind of change. The AIP diet is restrictive to say the least but at the end of the day it promised to give me some relief of my symptoms and if I was lucky I had the potential of being completely pain free.

The list of foods encourages a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables, while removing common food sensitivities, foods that often lead to inflammation, and a number of other substances that our bodies don’t process well including sugar, caffeine, and toxins found in non-organic foods. The diet is strict for the first 30 days and then whenever you become pain free (whether that’s at the 30-day mark or weeks/months later) you can choose to begin reintroducing foods back into your diet to see how you respond to them.



I have only just begun my autoimmune journey and as of today I have successfully completed 29 days of healing. I have not yet attacked the dreaded process of clearing out toxins from my environment – drinking only filtered water, buying a high quality air filter, using unscented cleaning products and organic this and that – the list goes on and on. But I will say that my diet in addition to a number of supplements I’ve added has made a HUGE improvement in my overall daily pain level.

And while many friends and family have wondered and maybe even second guessed my decisions to fire my doctor and take a stab at this beast of a diagnosis without a physician overseeing my care, I stayed the course and believed in the possibility of treatment through food. I believe in the notion that we are living in a world that is toxic to our bodies. We subject ourselves to substances that have been proven in one lab test after another to be poisonous and cancer-causing but these very products are still sold on the shelves of our grocery stores. I believe in the idea behind functional medicine: get to the root of the problem, don’t just treat the symptoms.

I am absolutely thrilled to report that today is Day 1 of no pain.

And to all those who question and wonder, worry and doubt… it really does work.

Brantley: 10 months

Your tenth month of life saw a lot of new developments! We talked with your pediatrician last month about the fact that you hadn’t started crawling yet and come to find out, both Daddy and Papa have been carrying you around. A LOT. So we started crawling bootcamp which really just consisted of putting you down on the floor and letting you fend for yourself when your toys were out of reach. Daddy still had a hard time letting you just play on your own (and between you and me, I think both of these guys still did a lot of holding and carrying). But crawling bootcamp eventually paid off and you started army crawling just a week later.

You’ve also been sleeping on your belly a lot lately which is probably also related to your recent crawling adventures. When we go in your room to wake you up, you also sometimes push yourself off your belly into a real crawling position (only to immediately fall back down again).

While we’ve had to transition you to formula bottles during the day, I still cherish our time together in the mornings and at night before bed while you’re nursing. You have started falling asleep in my arms while eating and even though I know I’m not “supposed” to let you fall asleep in my arms because it’ll create bad habits and surely you’ll need me to rock you to sleep for the next 16 years, I do it anyway. I know these moments won’t last forever and I want to enjoy every single second of your life at this precious age.

Go figure, the speech therapist’s child would have delayed speech milestones. But this month you did start babbling “bababa” so there’s hope after all!

Our biggest adventure of the month was your first plane ride for our family trip to Tampa! Daddy and I packed all of our clothes for the long weekend in a checked bag, then we packed a few outfits and all of your toys in our carry-on suitcase. We also stashed a few dry snacks in the diaper bag and bought some fresh fruit when we got to the airport. We felt a little over-prepared but when our flight was delayed over an hour, our over-packing paid off because we had a blanket for you to sit on and a stash of toys for you to play with while we waited at the gate!


You were GREAT on the plane. For the most part you just wanted to look out the window and look through the emergency plan pamphlet. We were so worried that you would be “that crying baby” but all you needed was a bottle and you fell right to sleep. The flight attendants were so sweet, they even let you sit in the pilot’s seat before leaving.


The house we rented in Tampa was amazing! It had 4 bedrooms to accommodate all of us, a big living room, open kitchen, dining room, bonus room with a pool table, and a gorgeous backyard with a pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, and a dock down to the river. We LOVED being able to be all together in one house, it felt just like being at home where we could cook and eat together, sit around the living room, play cards at the dining room table, and relax by the pool all day long. I know your uncles (and aunt) loved being able to spend time with you, too!



Tampa has a great zoo, so on Sunday we spent the afternoon walking around the zoo looking at all of the animals. You didn’t seem too impressed by the animals but maybe you’ll show a little more excitement when it’s not 300 degrees outside. At one point, Daddy was holding a cup of sugar water for the birds and you reached right up to touch the bird and it bit you on the hand! You looked up at Daddy like, “What was that all about?” and acted like nothing happened. You’re such a trooper.


It was a rare occurrence to have all of us “kids” (AKA: Mommy, Daddy, Whitney, Cameron, and Knate) free at the same time for a family vacation and we can’t wait to do it again! They don’t get to see you very often and you change so much every time they do see you and they had so much fun getting to know all your little babbles and quirks.IMG_0687

Mommy also celebrated her second Mother’s Day in May. Last year I was certainly a “mother” but this year was even better having you here with me! We started the morning with a walk to the beach where we had a breakfast picnic on the beach… and I hope it’s a tradition we can continue year after year!



Daddy was working so we spent the afternoon with your Mimi and Nanny lounging by the pool.



IMG_1666I have to say, your 10th month of life has definitely been a good one.

Happy 10 months, Brantley Bug.

10 months

Brantley: 9 Months


At 9 months old, you are in a stage of exploration. You’ve made some new discoveries this month, figured out how to play with some of your more interactive toys, and every day we see more of the world you didn’t know existed.

Here are the highlights from your 9th month of life…

One of your new discoveries is that you can splash in the tub during your baths. Up until this month we could safely bathe you in your blue tub in the kitchen sink but now that you’ve realized what a mess you can make, you’ve been upgraded to the real thing. This also means we could bring out the bath toys!

For Christmas, Nanny and PaPa gave you a swing and it was finally warm enough to hang it up in the front yard. You were a little nervous at first but after a minute or two you decided it was the most fun thing ever and you cry whenever we have to take you out to go back inside. You’re also learning to push off of Daddy’s hands.

IMG_1337We frequently sit you down on the floor in front of the coffee table and one afternoon you reached out to the baskets under the table and pulled out all of my coupons… little did I know that you would be interested in coupons, but I definitely didn’t think it would be this soon. We hope you’ll eventually help clip and organize them and not just throw them across the floor.

IMG_1366We celebrated your friend Braden’s first birthday this month. It’s so cute to get the two of you together but for the most part you still mostly ignore one another. Well, you watch Braden as he takes toys from you and then crawls away while you sit there helpless. But at least Brooke and I have a good time together.

IMG_0962We also celebrated Easter! Daddy was off work (thank goodness) so we spent the day between all of the families and finally settled back home to enjoy a quite Sunday afternoon with just the three of us.

IMG_0980Of course Mommy was excited about coordinating outfits.

IMG_0989And you loved to spend a little extra time with Nanny and PaPa!

IMG_1016Your first Easter Egg Hunt was a success, too. We obviously had to carry you around the yard to find eggs and you couldn’t care less about the candy inside, but apparently the eggs tasted yummy because they ended up in your mouth one after another.

IMG_1049When we finally got home, we got into some comfy clothes and showed you your Easter basket/beach bucket. You were pretty excited about the light-up bouncy balls and the little duck with spinning legs but otherwise, we were saving everything else for our trip to Tampa. And let’s be real, you don’t really know what’s going on anyway so it’s all good.

IMG_1086You really seem to love walks in the stroller but we hadn’t yet had warm enough weather for a bike ride until this month. We got you a new helmet, hooked up your bike seat, and Daddy has now started a new tradition of daily bike rides during “Daddy Daycare” while Mommy is at work. You absolutely LOVE it!



IMG_1321Your new favorite game is playing ball with Daddy. He rolls you the big soft soccer ball and you catch it and try to roll it back.

Also, when you play this game with Daddy you give us the craziest biggest and most animated smile! It cracks us up every time!!

This month you’ve also discovered your ears and ours, too. We’ll watch you flick your ears while you’re trying to fall asleep and you also like to slap our faces to the side to see our ears like “Oh, you have those, too???”

You’re still not doing much babbling (AKA: no consonant sounds), but your speech therapist Mama is trying to keep her “Mommy” shoes on and leave the “Therapist” role at work. In the meantime, you really like to take turns making noises back and forth which is still a good sign. 🙂

We love you, Bug.

Happy 9 months!

Brantley: 8 Months

Hey Bug,

Getting these written on time is a battle I may never win but I love that we’ll still be able to look back years from now and know that at least we got the details down eventually.

For starters, you are the happiest little boy. You very rarely cry and when you do it’s because we’ve just woken you up from a nap and the second we lay you on your changing table you must realize that there’s a pit stop between you and your bottle and you throw a temper tantrum. The Brantley version of a tantrum currently includes crying while spitting and blowing raspberries at us. It’s really intimidating.

This month you discovered your hair and frequently play with it between your fingers while you take a bottle or nurse. You also learned to give high-fives and wave and first gave a wave to a complete stranger at a bar. Yes, we take you to bars occasionally… usually just for dinner but sometimes for drinks, too and you sit up on the bar like you own the place. You always try to dance on the bar and then you beg to stay out past your bedtime but Daddy says no every time. Sorry, bud.

On Valentine’s Day, you and Daddy made me the most special gift. He put your handprints and footprints on a canvas with a hand-painted message that said “I love you from the bottom of my heart to the tips of my toes.” It was definitely the most perfect gift from my two Valentines. 🙂

IMG_1393A few days after Valentine’s Day, Virginia Beach had a big snow storm (for the beach, that is) so we bundled you up in your new snow suit which we knew you would only get to wear once anyway so we might as well use it, and then headed out to play in the snow!

IMG_1035 IMG_1047We tried to redo our family photo from last year’s snow day and it’s safe to say Shadow probably wasn’t too excited about being carried around. Fortunately, we let him run around on the beach afterwards so he got over it.

IMG_1069Daddy was trying to use his Wintergreen season pass as much as possible while the snow was still falling, so we planned a weekend getaway before the season ended. Initially we were looking at a hotel but found a beautiful cabin on VRBO so we invited Mimi and Papa, then drove up to the mountains!

IMG_1121We really enjoyed lounging around the house, eating delicious meals cooked by Daddy (of course) and watching movies with Mimi and Papa while pigging out on junk food. I think your grandparents loved all the cuddle time with you.

IMG_1142On Saturday, we drove around the Charlottesville area and visited a few wineries and breweries… no, you’re not allowed to drink yet. Again, sorry bud. But Mommy and Daddy sure did enjoy ourselves!


As you get older and show a little more of your personality, Shadow is starting to realize that you might have some value as a future playmate. You’ve taken on a new position on the floor of the living room with toys nearby and Shadow is always by your side.


We finished off the month with a visit to the fire station for Sunday dinner. You look pretty darn cute on a firetruck!IMG_1154

Things I never want to forget from your 8th month of life… the sound of your giggles when we take your shirt off and it tickles you under your arms, the way you smile with your eyes behind your bottle while you drink, and your smile shining through between the bars of your crib when we wake you up in the morning.

We love you, baby. Happy 8 months.


Brantley: 7 Months

Oh Brantley, your Mama is always behind on these monthly updates. I wish I could write you a novel with the events of the month and the ways in which you make our daily life so wonderful (and busy!) but let’s be honest… I can barely get these written within the correct month!

So here are the highlights from your 7th month of life…

1. You are a food-eating monster.IMG_0401A few weeks ago, we sat you in your highchair and handed you a banana and a slice of avocado, hoping and praying those natural instincts would kick in and you’d know just what to do. Well, you kinda looked at us like we were crazy, picked up the banana once and after giving it one lick you set it back down again and decided you’d had about enough of that. Needless to say, you didn’t seem too enthused at the time but ever since then you are a food-eating machine! So far you’ve had mango, banana, zucchini, blueberries, eggs, carrots, peas, peanut butter toast, cooked apples, broccoli, cucumber, avocado, and sweet potato. Mimi and Papa are still a little scared to give you table food but they’re coming around.


2. You LOVE the fire station. Mommy’s trips to the station for Sunday Dinner haven’t been quite as consistent as they used to be because now we have a kid… and that adds about 15 steps and an extra hour to just about anything we do. When we do make it to the fire station, Daddy is always so excited to see you walking up to the back garage doors in my arms, flailing your arms and kicking your legs in a spastic excitement only Daddy can get out of you.


And when he has to leave on a call, you always seem mesmerized watching the lights on the truck as they drive away.


3. Our house are ready for a crawling baby! Our hot water heater flooded back in December, so that began the subsequent carpet removal and renovation process that eventually resulted in totally unplanned but gorgeous new hardwood floors. We were thrilled with the final look and also happy to have floors that you can lay on without getting a mouthful of dust and dog hair. That’s kind of a bonus.


4. Your 2015 days at the beach have begun! It was a little chilly, but we had a nice sunny day one weekend so we bundled you up and headed out to the beach to let Shadow run around for a while. I would call his incessant ball-playing-in-the-house issues an obsessive disorder but I think it’s just cabin fever. We’ve all felt a little cooped up lately and it was nice to get out in the sunshine and get a glimpse of summer with you in the carrier.


5. You already have a pretty awesome crew of best buds. Since Daddy’s best friend and Mommy’s best friend both had babies within a few weeks of the day you arrived, you have instant best friends. This year for Mommy’s birthday we did a low key weekend at the beach house (gone are the 80’s dance party and Revenge of the Nerds theme parties… bring on the babes!) We had so much fun letting you three play together. Well, if we’re being honest, you still pretty much ignore one another unless one baby has a toy the other wants, in which case it will get stolen.

The weekend can be summed up in three words: babies, pajamas, and wine. Not a bad mix!


Blair tried to organize reading time but that only resulted in books being eaten and gnawed on by three teething babies.

IMG_0777And of course we had to take the same picture we took last year during the same weekend… last year with non-alcoholic “nojitos” and this year with little ones!



6. You have some crazy mannerisms and habits. When you nurse or take a bottle, you move your left foot back and forth kicking me or the pillow, or just kicking in the air. And you like to stick your fingers in my mouth for me to bite on them, then giggle as if it’s the funniest thing every single time it happens. You also have a tendency to scratch the heck out of our faces when we hold you. That’s really fun.

“Hey mom, come pick me up so I can claw your face.”


You’ve also started to dive bomb across the couch to lunge at toys, pillows, or your favorite – the remote control. Bedtime is now characterized by rolling around in your crib and kicking the side of the crib to make your mobile shake back and forth before finally getting your lovey in just the right spot spread over your face and then finally falling asleep. Oh, and you discovered your manhood. Every time we change your diaper you check it just to make sure it’s still there.

Happy 7 months, crazy kid.

Love, your mama

Brantley: 6 Months


Christmas time is always a big and eventful time for our family and this year was no exception! Let’s be honest, the ridiculous amount of Christmas-themed clothes we bought for you is reason enough to love the season.

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I could probably write 5 blog posts about our Christmas events with the thousands of photos we took, but seeing that I already have a hard time writing these on time, I’ll just give the highlights…

Albums 063We had our 4th annual Christmas party at our house after a very ill-timed leaking water heater and subsequent ripping out of our carpets. It was fun. Not exactly my style of fun, but an “adventure” if we can call it that.

Christmas Eve was spent lounging around at home and doing some last minute present wrapping. We also opened gifts with Mommy’s family and you found new love with your Aunt Whitney. You’re usually a pretty crazy  kid: you never sit still and even when I try to sing you a lullaby before bed you’re pulling away, yanking on my hair, clawing at my face, and doing whatever you can to ruin my moment. But when I put you in Whitney’s arms you immediately rested on her chest and you just looked like all was right in the world.

IMG_0020Uncle Knate on the other hand, you weren’t so nice to him. Every time he sat with you, you gave him another reason to NOT have kids anytime soon. He got slobbered on, clawed at, chewed on, and received far more “baby experiences” than he ever bargained for.


But the most notable accomplishment of the month was food! Well, you didn’t take to it immediately and when we gave you a banana a few nights before you hit the 6 month mark you kinda looked at it, brought it to your  mouth a couple times, then looked at us like “Can I play with my toys now?”

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This month I also received a photo from my Dad during one of his babysitting days and it is probably one of my favorite photos of you so far:
Albums 074As I look at this photo, which I posted on your 6 month “birthiversary”, with you chomping away on a cucumber, I almost start crying. It doesn’t seem like it would be one of those tear-jerker kind of pictures but there’s something about the smile in your eyes that speaks directly to my mama heart.  This “almost crying” is not like a tear or two with glistening eyes kind of crying but those big alligator tears that smear the mascara across your face and turn your cheeks every shade of red. I look in your sweet little eyes, a perfect mix of me and your Daddy, and wonder why God gave me the blessing of being your mama. (Here come the big tears. Get up. Grab tissue. Keep typing.)

Over the weekend of your half-birthday, I had some time at home just the two of us and I watched two movies I thought would be chick flicks… and both plots included mothers who had lost their children either through miscarriage, SIDS, or accidental death. It was absolutely heartbreaking and I found myself waking you up just a few minutes early from your nap so I could hold you a little tighter, just a little longer, and cry into the softness of your onesie sleeper. They always say it goes too fast, and I can already attest to that, but for some mothers it’s too soon or it never happens at all. I am so incredibly blessed to have had the honor of carrying you to full term and bringing you home a few days later with a clean bill of health. To have been able to enjoy the last 6 months of life with a little less sleep but a whole lotta love. It’s something I am learning day by day not to take for granted. So many women and would-be mothers struggle with infertility, miscarriages, and having to say goodbye when they’ve only just met. It is not lost on me that you are a gift – a gift that not every woman is fortunate enough to receive. And I will continue to hold you in my arms a little tighter, a little longer, and not be ashamed to cry into your tiny shoulder under the immense weight of this precious gift.

We love you, Brantley.

Happy 6 months, baby boy.

Brantley: 5 months


Holy smokes! You’re 5 months old!

We ushered in this new month of your life with a Christmas parade and early Christmas decorating! Around the Roberson household, we celebrate Christmas as early and as long as possible. This year we decorated the house a few weeks before Thanksgiving while Blake was off for a 5-day break so we had extra time to enjoy all the decorations. And let’s be honest, we’re kinda obsessed with Christmas so it’s not like we really needed a reason to do it early.

You seem to LOVE the lights and you are so enthralled with grabbing at the tree branches. Sometimes we forget that everything you see is for the first time so it’s pretty fun to watch you explore even the most common things like a Christmas tree and lights. It’s like you’re walking into Disney World for the first time. Every day.

IMG_9657IMG_9652We also took you to your first Christmas parade! It was an unusually warm season but for whatever reason that day it was REALLY cold so we bundled you up in your Santa onesie and brought a cold weather sleep sack along so you’d be warm during the parade. Unfortunately it was too small so like most of your things, you’ll only wear it once. You were pretty mesmerized by the parade and Daddy had another excuse to wear his ridiculous hat so two points for us!


On Thanksgiving weekend, your uncle Knate came into town from Los Angeles to spend the holiday with family and meet his little nephew for the first time! He pretty much loves you. And I think the feeling is mutual. He came over one evening and went with us to get you out of bed after a nap and was absolutely speechless at what he says was “so real” of a moment. The fact that his little sister is a Mommy and he is an uncle, and he can actually hold you and touch you was probably more than he was ready for. You guys were instant buds and you also have a mutual love for chewing on your clothes.




We spent Thanksgiving with both sides of the family, going over the Grandma and Pa Joe’s house in the morning to watch the parade and eat breakfast, then heading to Nanny and Papa’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Most of our extended family hadn’t yet met you so they were all excited to get their hands on you.


This month, you got to wear a whole new wardrobe! Other than the oh-so-adorable cold weather clothes that are already the cutest things in your closet, we scored a BOAT LOAD of Christmas clothes from the consignment shop so you were decked out head to toe in Christmas gear no matter what time of day. It’s safe to say we had fun keeping you in the Christmas spirit this month.


Some milestones and memories from this month:

At the beginning of the month, you hit the dreaded “4 month sleep regression” that is literally called “the dreaded” when you google it. I won’t go into those details. You cried, I cried, we all cried.

Around the same time, you finally figured out how to put your Wubbanub paci back in your mouth on your own and then practically the next day you decided you didn’t want it anymore. You haven’t taken a paci ever since.

You sat up unassisted for the first time on December 1st. It didn’t last long and you’re still pretty inconsistent with sitting up but you’re getting the hang of it for sure.

You’ve finally stopped crying during baths. Now you make it look like you’re lounging in a hot tub and could sit there all day.


This month you also found your feet! And you love to chew on your toes. I think it’s gross but now that you handle baths a little better at least we know they’re clean.
IMG_9846We might be a little partial but you are the cutest baby. Someone told me a few days ago (in a very sarcastic tone), “Well isn’t he just the most precious baby there ever was…”

IMG_9950Yep. He sure is.

Happy 5 months, Buddy Ro.



Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate…

I recently had a new comment posted on Brantley’s 4 month blog post. I was surprised to see this comment because (1) it wasn’t from my mom, aunt, or cousin, and despite 400-600 hits in a day I still believe they’re my only regular readers, and (2) it wasn’t some spam comment telling me to click on their link for “male enhancement”. It was a comment that someone actually spent a few minutes to write after having read my post or possibly a few of my posts. Here’s the comment: Well isn’t be just the most precious baby there ever was… I’m so glad the sun rises and sets on your “little man”. Oh wait! Don’t take too much time reading this because it will take time away that you could be dwelling on your “little man”. I sure hope you raise your “little man” to know that he is the center of the universe and everyone should cater to his every need. Every time you walk through that door, don’t forget to pay attention to your “little man”. Oh, and no need to spend time being naughty anymore since you have your “little man”. Have a merry Christmas with your “little man” while I vomit from your lack of blog content & writing abilities.

This person is a total stranger to me. I haven’t ever met her. I don’t know how she found my blog or why she started reading it in the first place. But dang, she’s got a lot of hate.

But maybe I shouldn’t make such a strong assumption about her current mental status with only this one comment to go off of. Maybe I should give her a break, cut her some slack. I’m sure she’s not just an evil person in general. I’m sure she has friends who she doesn’t speak so unkindly toward, and maybe a boyfriend or husband who gets to see the good in her. So maybe there’s another explanation for this verbal diarrhea of dislike.

My first assumption is that maybe she was just having a rough day and needed to unleash the frustrations and struggles of her own life. While I was having lunch with my brothers and sister-in-law, enjoying Christmas Eve by the fireplace and laughing at old family jokes, she was busy reading the blog posts of strangers. I imagine I was perhaps having the better day of the two of us and it’s possible that having nothing else to do on Christmas Eve but read the blogs of people you’ve never met, it might put anyone in a bad mood. Let’s be honest, hurling insults at a random stranger via the web is much easier than throwing a jug of milk at your husband or slamming your car into the side of your house. Besides, she actually has to deal with the consequences of those actions and here she gets to unleash her fury and never has to see or deal with the backlash. (Heck, who knows… this might be her thing. Maybe this is part of her daily routine walking around insulting random strangers at the coffee shop or while walking through Macy’s. You never know.)

My second assumption, and the more likely possibility, is that she doesn’t have kids. When you carry a child in your own body for 9 months and then finally get to meet him on the day of his birth (or if you have adopted a child and meet them for the first time), your world DOES revolve around that child. Nothing else matters. Yes, I still have a marriage and a full time job. I’m still in graduate school. I still have to attend classes and take exams. I still have responsibilities and obligations, friends and family who I spend time with. But does all of that fall by the wayside when my son is crying and needs his Mommy? You better believe it.

Oh, and every parent believes their baby is the most precious baby there ever was. That’s a given. I guess if you have twins you just have to put them in a playpen and let them fight it out for the title.

While I may not raise him to believe that he is the center of the universe or cater to his every need, I will constantly affirm his gifts and talents and raise him to believe that he can grow up and be successful in anything that he chooses. I will raise him to be an amazing husband and father as his father is for us. I will raise him to know that he is loved dearly by his parents, grandparents, and extended family members, and I will raise him in a way that he can pass on these family values to his own children. Every time you walk through that door, don’t forget to pay attention to your “little man”. 

I will. Every time. I can only hope that someday in your future you have the opportunity to feel the same way about your own child. And hey, at least she wished me a “Merry Christmas.” 🙂

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