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.

About your Daddy

Dear Brantley,

Let me tell you something about your daddy.

God has given us the best gift that life has to offer in the form of the man you will call “Daddy”, the man I am fortunate enough to call my husband. I’ve never known another man to work as hard as he works, to give of himself as much as he gives, and to sacrifice his own needs and desires for the benefit of mine. Every day he tells me that his goal is to make my life easier, and he does so with such a cheerful spirit. He never complains that he’s exhausted from not getting a wink of sleep at the station. He never complains that even after long shifts at the station he works another 8 or 9 hours out in the sun with a heat index of over 100 degrees. His entire life is focused around you and me as he strives every day to provide a safe, healthy, and happy home for our little family. His life is a sacrifice and he lives it with a smile.

Your Daddy and I immediately recognized that we found the partner that God had prepared for us when we met one another. He had this zest for life that was obvious from the moment I first met him. He takes life by the reins and lives it for all it’s worth. He gets the most out of every day and every moment. Your Daddy truly enjoys the life that was given to him, and finds a way to laugh even during the most frustrating situations. I’ll never be able to explain or even understand the level of frustration he must’ve felt during the first night after you were born. You cried for what seemed like an eternity and we had no idea how to settle you. I was on such a cocktail of medications that I was almost completely useless and your Daddy got up again and again to change your diaper, burp you, hold you, and bring you to me so I could feed you. All the while, I was in and out of consciousness as the medications took their toll, and even when I was awake I was spouting off useless information and advice that probably just made him more angry with me. Nevertheless, he knew it was the meds and not me that was the problem and by the end of the night he turned to me with a frustrated, exhausted, hopeless face and said flatly, “This is all YOUR fault.” Then he just started laughing. It was one of those moments when everything inside of him was probably telling him to yell and scream but he just laughed. It was one of those moments when I was reminded just how amazing he is.

He is the most wonderful and selfless husband and father. Every day he continues to show the magnitude of his love for you and me and we are so lucky to call him ours.



37 Weeks

Albums 133Just a few more weeks until we meet our little man! This week was very productive in the realm of completing the nursery. We finally finished all of the painting in the room and also refinished the furniture. (Well, Blake finished the painting AND the furniture) and even though it was late at night, we just couldn’t wait to set up his crib.

My mom has also been working on custom linens for Brantley’s room including a crib sheet, changing pad cover, and bed skirt. We found the fabric weeks ago but we were waiting to get the rest of the room completed with the furniture in before committing to those fabrics. By the time we got the dresser, nightstand, and crib set up, we knew our fabrics would be perfect in the room so she went right to work and finished everything within 1 or 2 days! I don’t know how she does it, but she made all three items without anything resembling a pattern… she just starts sewing and somehow it works out perfectly.

Albums 134Albums 135Initially we planned to put the changing pad on top of the dresser, but after Blake finished the dresser with a dark wood stained top, we just didn’t have the heart to cover it up with a big changing pad. A few days searching on CraigsList, $30, and a can of paint later, we had a matching Jenny Lind changing table in the room. My aunt bought us turquoise jute baskets and they were a perfect fit for his diapers and wipes. Right now the burlap boxes at the bottom are empty but hey, they looked good and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of baby stuff to store in them before long.

On Saturday morning, my mom, Blake’s mom, and I loaded the van and headed for Williamsburg for a mother-daughter overnight trip. With a mother and mother-in-law who can buy whatever they want and have whatever they need, it’s always hard to come up with good gift ideas for them, so we figured an overnight trip with the three of us girls would be a fun Mother’s Day gift this year. We started the morning at the Merchant’s Square farmer’s market and I was in pregnant heaven! Gluten free baked goods, delicious cheese samples, homemade ice cream bars, and a pickle station… WOAH.

Next, we walked through Colonial Williamsburg and made reservations for dinner at the King Arm’s Tavern. (We didn’t end up actually going back for dinner because we were all so exhausted and not even close to hungry by the time our reservation rolled around.) Lunch was at Dog Street Pub on a recommendation from a friend and it was SOOOO GOOD. Next on the itinerary was the outlet mall!  I mean, when in Rome do as the Romans, right?  And how can you go to Williamsburg and not hit the outlets? Especially with Carter’s, Osh Kosh, and Children’s Place! We did some damage shopping but by 5:00 we were all pretty exhausted and ready to check into our condo.

In looking for a place to stay, I really wanted to find a suite with a living room area because I knew the three of us are all the types to just sit around and talk for hours rather than needing to be entertained the whole weekend. I stumbled upon the Historic Powhatan Resort and could not have been happier!  The condo was about as much as a suite but rather than just one bedroom and a living area with a pull-out couch, we had a two-bedroom two-bathroom condo with a big ktichen, dining table, living room with a fireplace, and an outdoor patio with a table and chairs. Score!

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It was so nice to be able to kick up my (very swollen) feet and relax after a long day of walking around, exploring, and shopping.  And just like I thought, we stayed up late talking about the baby, family traditions, and stories about Blake and me growing up. It was a precious time with my mom and mother-in-law and maybe it’ll be a new tradition we keep year after year!

The last picture cracks me up because my body is proportionate but it looks like I have a pillow shoved up under my tank top. 🙂

The finish off the weekend, we went back to the oceanfront to take our 37 weeks photo. We wanted to get the same photo we took at 19 weeks when Shadow was still such a small puppy but the new law about having animals not being allowed on the beach threatened to ruin it. We got up early in the morning hoping to beat any crowds and cops and ran down to the beach for a quick few shots. The lighting was different than our original photo because of the time of day, but you get the point, and it turned out to be a great shot!


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This week Blake celebrated his very first Father’s Day!


We spent the afternoon at my grandparent’s house laying out and splashing around in the pool, having lunch with the family and celebrating the day with my dad and grandfather.


Now that Shadow feels more comfortable in the water after our day at First Landing last weekend, he couldn’t WAIT to jump in the pool!  Granted, he still waited for Blake to get in every time with him and wouldn’t go in the water on his own, but he seemed to love jumping in after Blake.

IMG_7657That evening, we headed down to Chix to watch the band, get some dinner, and celebrate Father’s Day with Blake’s dad. It was a relaxing day and just what we needed at the end of a long weekend.


Also this week was our hospital tour! I’ll be delivering at the Princess Anne Sentara hospital, which means that my work, pediatrician, doctor’s office, and hospital are all on the same block. Talk about convenience! The tour really helped us feel oriented to where we’ll be going when we arrive, where the rooms are in comparison to the nursery, and how the whole process works. It’s crazy to think that the next time we’re there it’ll be time to meet Baby Brantley!

Over the weekend, we had our second and third baby showers… one with friends and the other hosted by my coworkers.  Our shower with friends was a “BaByQ” cookout with barbeque, pasta salad, corn salsa, watermelon, and all the side dishes and fixins required at a BBQ. The weather didn’t look so hot earlier in the day but by the time guests arrived, it was cool and comfortable. We had a cornhole tournament (which Blake and I lost right in the first round) and his parents made homemade ice cream for dessert! It was amazing!!!  We also got a lot more of the gifts off of our registry which was really helpful, plus some personalized and really special gifts that were handmade by some of our friends. Blake was laughing at me at first because I was getting so excited about opening a crib pad, but every new item we get for Brantley is one step closer to us being ready to bring him home so I was legitimately excited about each new gift no matter how mundane. A crib pad on the crib means it’s ready for a sheet, which means it’s ready for our baby boy!

Our last shower was brunch at Baker’s Crust. SO YUMMY! My friends at work went all out, even at a restaurant. We had games, quizzes, a due date pool, cupcakes from Just Cupcakes (gluten free for me!), and table centerpieces! I was shocked that they made it so special. The girls totally spoiled me with more gifts and now our foyer is filled to the brim with Brantley’s clothes, toys, and gear. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish painting his room and refinishing his furniture soon so we can get it all up into his nursery!

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The week started with two showers on Sunday afternoon. At 11am I attended a friend’s bridal shower for her wedding coming up in August, then at 12:30 I drove out to Norfolk for a baby shower for little baby Braydon (Brantley’s soon-to-be best bud). Both showers were so wonderful and I got to eat brunch twice. Always a good day. 🙂

On Friday I had an appointment with at my doctor’s office and while I was there I asked the nurse practitioner if she could tell where Brantley was positioned. I always feel him pushing out on my right side and a hard object right in the middle of my stomach towards the top and I was just curious what I was feeling. She tried to tell where he was but was concerned that he might be transverse (sideways). That’s not good. So we did an ultrasound and it turns out, he’s in the perfect position for delivery already and based on what I’ve been feeling over the past couple months I think he’s been there a while. The hard bump I feel in the middle of my stomach is his butt and the little pushes I feel on my side are his feet! It was nice to be able to see him again and know that everything looks great.

The ultrasound tech also told me that he’ll be born with a full head of hair! I couldn’t even imagine it, since all of us kids were born bald and stayed that way for the first couple years of life. Blake, on the other hand, was born with hair so maybe he’ll even have his daddy’s curls!

On Saturday morning, I was honored with a family baby shower at my aunt’s house. It was SO well put together and my two aunts had done so much work preparing for the shower. Cindy’s house was a beautiful backdrop and had been prepared just for us, and Laurie had come up with so many adorable little details for the shower!



The theme was “Buoy, Oh Boy!” and included nautical decor, buoy-decorated cupcakes, banner flags, and beautiful hydrangea table centerpieces set inside turquoise jute baskets (which were part of Laurie’s gift to us). There were mimosas and “Mom-osas”, a slew of brunch foods – my favorite – and blue nail polish favors with custom personalized tags for each guest.

IMG_7641IMG_7640It turned out to be a beautiful day and we took home so many things we really needed for Brantley’s nursery… crib, pack-n-play, carseat and base, stroller, clothes, toys, bath products, medical supplies, humidifier, books, a diaper “cake”, and a hand-crocheted firefighter outfit for his newborn photos!

We’re already feeling better about the nursery situation… even if all of the gifts are still sitting in our foyer while we finish the painting process. At least we know he’ll have somewhere to sleep!


34 weeks

Your great aunt and uncle Chuck sent you a play gym this week and Daddy and I couldn’t WAIT to set it up!  We opened it up as soon as it arrived and started assembling it in the living room. Yes, we hopefully still have a few weeks before you even arrive and even longer before you can actually use this thing, but we just couldn’t wait! We also did some puppy training in the process, teaching Shadow not to touch your toys. We can’t have half-chewed pacifiers, drooled-on stuffed animals, and missing toys that are lost to the dog. So we’re starting him off early to make sure he knows which toys are his and which are not. So far, he’s doing pretty good! The other day his ball rolled onto your play gym and he just stood next to it and looked at us like “Hey guys, I need some help over here.” He’s the best.

IMG_7384Mommy and Daddy also had what may be our very last Mommy Dinner (with the Dads, too). We invited Heba, Brent, Blair, and Ty to enjoy a home cooked meal on our deck and celebrate the soon-to-be arrival of our babies with one last hurrah. Daddy cooked of course and dinner was delicious! It was also great to get together with the other couples and talk baby, as always.

In this photo: Heba with Braydon at 31 weeks, Mommy with you at 34 weeks, and Blair with Alexis at 39 weeks. And if you didn’t already know that Blair is usually stick-thin you would hardly even be able to tell she was pregnant in this photo.

On Friday, Daddy surprised with a whole date day planned from the start!  I had a prenatal massage scheduled for the morning, which was AMAZING as always. Then on my way home Blake kept texting me “Hurry up! Hurry up!” When I walked in the door he had our beach chairs out, a cooler packed full of food and drinks, the dog toys in the beach bag, and all of the essentials for a day at the beach. I raced upstairs to put my suit on and we were off to a day of fun at First Landing State Park. It was so nice to be able to take Shadow with us because he’s no longer allowed on the beach at the oceanfront and it’s been too cold to get him in the water since we brought him home in January, so we really haven’t had the chance to get him in water to swim.  Well, if we learned one thing during our beach day, we learned that our dog LOVES the water. We left him off his leash (shame on us) the entire day and he would just run back and forth from the ocean to our chairs all day. He dug in the sand – the only place he’s allowed to dig, and made friends with some of the other dogs nearby. And whenever people asked how old he was, we would tell him 6 months and they would always reply with how well trained he is. That’s cause we’re on him like white on rice. ALL THE TIME. People in the neighborhood probably think we’re terrible puppy parents. But hey, training pays off.


After our day in the sun, we went back to the house to get showered up and ready for dinner at Plaza Azteca… always a favorite. And then on our way home as Blake was telling me “ok, that’s all the surprises I have for the day” we were driving down Laskin Road toward the beach and all of a sudden  he yelled out “OH! I just forgot!” and made a sharp squealing right turn into Beach Movie Bistro movie theater. We were going to see The Fault In Our Stars on opening night!

Yes, there’s been a TON of buzz about this movie. People compare it to Titanic and Casablanca. Yes, I was excited to go see a sappy love story, but what most people may not know is that the director of this movie (Josh Boone) is someone I’ve known literally my ENTIRE LIFE.  His mom and my mom met when he and my older brother were still in the whom, so it’s safe to say that they’ve been life-long friends. Josh and his siblings, Carson and Chelsea, grew up down the street from us in Kempsville and the two older brothers (Josh and my brother Knate) were constantly running around the house and the neighborhood with our oversized video cameras shooting movies. And every family was cast as some role in their movies. We did Back to the Future, Batman, and Spiderman spin-offs, kidnappings, missing persons, psycho babysitter killers, and the list goes on and on. While most kids were reading books, coloring, and playing on the swing set, our brothers were drilling us on our lines while our moms were coming up with costumes for the latest thriller they were working on. Looking back, I didn’t realize that every other family didn’t have the same weekend fun that we did. It was just the norm for us.

So Josh and Knate remained best friends all the way through school and into adulthood and now they both live in LA and have been pursuing their dreams of writing scripts and directing movies. And funny enough, both of them have had the opportunities to do what they love this last year. Josh wrote and directed “Stuck in Love” which was released last year, directed “The Fault in our Stars”, and is also working on Steven King’s “The Stand” as his next project. In the meantime, my brother is in the editing process for his movie “Cardboard Boxer”. It’s crazy to think that life brought them both so far in this industry where so very few ever get the opportunity to run the show, and here they are both charging ahead as “Director”.

IMG_7473So not only did we get to see Josh’s movie this weekend but we actually also got to see Josh! After a whirlwind few weeks of touring, doing interviews, screenings, and premiers, he flew into Virginia Beach to attend his sister’s wedding on Saturday afternoon which we also attended. The wedding was very similar to ours in that it was at the same church, the same reception space, with the same band, and the same caterer (her mom apparently had so much fun at our wedding that she told Chelsea all about it and Chelsea was taking notes!) so it was fun to have that experience as a guest this time around.

We ended the weekend with some surprise visitors!  Cameron and Whitney surprised both sets of parents with an impromptu trip to Virginia so we got to see them on Sunday afternoon, went out on the boat for dinner, and really enjoyed getting to see them one last time before Brantley arrives… that is, if he actually shows up somewhere around his due date. If not, they’ll just have to come back to Virginia Beach for another visit. 🙂


33 weeks

Albums 083Hey Brantley. Thanks for the carpal tunnel. This week I started to feel the very first not-so-pleasant side effects of pregnancy… swelling in my feet, fingers, hands, and wrists resulting in wedding rings that I could barely get off in time and carpal tunnel in both wrists. To top it all off, these braces that I ordered from Amazon put pressure on the nerve in my thumbs so I had to return them and just deal with the carpal tunnel pain. (I’m 37 weeks now writing this post and my thumbs still do a weird clicking thing in the mornings!)  Not to mention, none of my shoes fit anymore so I’m down to clogs and a pair of black slip-ons that offer absolutely no support for my jacked up Miserable Malalignment Syndrome which causes my long-term knee problems.

But I’ll be honest. While I may rant and complain about all of this on my blog, when people ask me how I’m doing I always still say that I’m doing great. I made it all the way to 33 weeks without a single complaint and the aches and pains I have now are still minor in comparison to the complications many women experience from Day One. So I’ll stop the complaining now. 🙂

Also this week, we completed the biggest portion of “The Purge.” I kept my promise and although I didn’t quite make it through every single box, drawer, and cabinet, we did end up with an entire TRUCK LOAD OF CRAP to get rid of. I say crap, but it wasn’t really. There were a lot of nice clothes and home decor stuff that we got rid of but looking around our very full foyer that was filled with all our donations I had a very freeing yet still very cumbersome feeling wondering why I had been holding onto all this stuff. I’m sure there’s still plenty more to get rid of, but at least we made a HUGE dent. In the meantime, we also made room for Brantley’s nursery and downsized the amount of stuff that will now live in our home office. Good feeling!

This weekend was the Patriotic Festival down at the oceanfront and I got to see The Band Perry with a friend on Friday night, then on Saturday we had a cookout with neighbors and rode down to the beach to see Jake Owen. And boy did we have good seats!  Blake’s dad moved into a condo right on 5th Street so we watched the whole show from his deck!

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Albums 099We took our 33 weeks photo in honor of our new favorite recipe. Well, I can’t say it’s a recipe necessarily as it’s really just chips and food on a plate but it’s better than anything I could ever cook so I’m calling it whatever I want. Daddy made grill nachos this week, which has quickly and immediately become one of our favorite dishes. He’s the best.




32 weeks

Busy, busy week in the life of Brantley Thomas! First, he accompanied me to a baby shower to celebrate the coming arrival of his first girlfriend, Alexis. (Ok, maybe not. I know Alexis’ mom is NOT going to allow her to date our crazy kid til he’s at least 20. And that’s ok.)

I was sick on the day of Blair’s shower hosted by friends so I hopped on the “family friends” shower… which ended up being all of her mom’s friends who’ve known Blair for years. You’ll never meet another group of ladies like this one (except for my own mom’s friends, of course). They’re loud and LOVE to laugh! It was a fun shower, that’s for sure. We also love to take bump photos together whenever we get the chance.

IMG_7383This week, Blake also started the process of refinishing Brantley’s nursery furniture.  The set was originally in our beach house and when we updated the house back in 2002, I got the dresser and nightstands for my college apartment. After graduation, I moved back home and they went into my parents’ attic, where they’ve been collecting dust for nearly 10 years. My dad was cleaning out the attic a few months ago and Blake was helping him move some of the bigger items and realized “Hey! We could use this!” So began the process of moving it to our house and into the shed and Blake’s lengthy job of refinishing the pieces to go with our nursery theme.

We both loved the look of white painted furniture with a dark-stained top, so Blake went to work on our dull and dingy pieces and I just LOVE how it looks so far!

Albums Albums 076Hanging out at the end of our street has become almost a nightly ritual. Shadow loves playing and running around in the empty lot that overlooks the water and our neighbors have a golden lab who is just a few weeks older than Shadow, so they’ve become playmates. They play for hours to the point of exhaustion running, jumping, tackling, and chasing each other around the lot. As soon as we walk to the end of our block, Shadow immediately starts turning the corner to go see Hattie. And if we get down there and she’s not outside or the family is out of town, he whines and whimpers staring at her house.

So Friday night, we walked down to the empty lot and hung out for a few hours with the neighbors while letting the dogs play. One thing turned into another and we ended up there until 10:00 at night eating pizza and making Oreo s’mores (life-changing!) around their fire pit. It was the perfect little block party… one of the many reasons we love living in Shadowlawn.

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Over Memorial Day weekend, I helped a friend run her booth at the Pungo Strawberry Festival. Surprisingly enough I didn’t stuff my face full of chocolate-covered strawberries although Brantley REALLY wanted them. We were just so busy that I didn’t even have a chance! The weekend ended with a Memorial Day pool party at Nanny and Papa’s house. Blake was working (womp womp) so Mom took my 32 weeks photo. Not a great photo of me… it was hot, my feet are starting to swell, and I just wasn’t feeling photo-ready. I’ve also decided that maxi skirts and dresses are just not that flattering to pregnant women.


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31 weeks

We started off the week with a date night to Rudee’s with Blair and Ty, whose little one Alexis is due in just 4 weeks!  We sat outside in the swinging cabana tables and enjoyed dinner overlooking the sunset. It’s fun to have another couple (we actually have a few!) who we can talk with about the experiences of being pregnant and having a baby on the way so soon. It’s been so fun to be able to walk through this part of life with them and now that all of our conversations are about babies and diapers, it’s nice to have people in our lives who don’t get annoyed by it.

We also enjoyed one of our last nights out on the beach with the puppy. New beach laws keep dogs off the beach and boardwalk from Memorial Day through Labor Day so we’re trying to get in puppy beach days and nights while we can! We took him down to the beach, played fetch a while, and he sat just in front of the wall while we ate dinner and listened to live music at Chix.

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And the biggest development of the week was painting the nursery!

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Albums 067Blake has been SUPER busy this week with shifts at the fire station and various landscaping jobs so my parents and I decided to surprise him by painting taking off one of the big items on his To Do List.  Mom and Dad came over one evening after I got off work, we ate a quick dinner, and immediately went to taping corners, laying plastic sheets, and prepping our paint supplies for a long night of painting. We chose a light turquoise color to go with our surf/wave theme. And thankfully it only took two coats of paint to cover up the dark teal!

It was fun to finally see Brantley’s room start to look more and more like the nursery we envision rather than the unused office/storage room it’s been for so long. Bringing new life to this old room!


Can’t wait to see it with furniture and baby toys!

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30 weeks

Albums 045Happy Mother’s Day to me!  A lot of people (young people mostly, those without kids) have been asking me if I celebrated Mother’s Day this year. Heck yes I did!  I’m already giving up my body for this kid! Just cause he’s not out here for the rest of you to see doesn’t mean he’s not currently taking and using me for all I’m worth. It counts.

Anyway, we spent Mother’s Day with as many mothers as we possibly could.  We started out the morning surprising Blake’s mom at church. She thought Blake was working that day so she was thrilled to see us sitting in their usual spot in the sanctuary. It was amazing to hear Pastor Ernie honor all of the mothers in the congregation from the pulpit and I got to stand up and be honored with them! It was also great to see him again since the last time we saw him he was marrying us just 7 months ago. He was very excited for Brantley’s arrival!

After church, we spent a couple hours hanging out at their house and taking some family photos before they had to head out to their next family gathering.

Next up was a trip to Nanny’s house for lunch and an afternoon with the Houck side of the family. And of course… family photos. 🙂

Nanny, Mom, me, and Brantley… four generations!

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Shadow hasn’t yet made total friends with water yet and since it’s been so cold ever since we brought him home we haven’t been able to get in the water anywhere with him. He’s still a little baby when it comes to water, to say the least.

Blake thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get him acclimated to his new best friend. First, he carried him into the pool and held him in the water while Shadow stared at me like “What the heck, Mom. I hate this right now.”

Shadow was clearly not very happy about the whole thing.

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Next, Blake tried to see if Shadow would come in on his own and attempted the drowning approach where he would act like he was drowning and see if Shadow came in after him. Usually his “Help Shadow! Help!” technique works well when Blake’s laying on the floor as Shadow will come running to him and do everything he can to get Blake to turn over and tell Shadow he’s ok. Unfortunately, this was not the case in Blake’s drowning experiment. Shadow just ran around the pool from one side to the other, staring back at me in a panic probably wondering why I wasn’t doing anything to help his daddy and why I was just laughing the whole time.

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Eventually, we gave up.

After a long day with both side of the family, we headed back home and took a walk down to our favorite little spot in the neighborhood.

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I was so happy to have some time together with our little family at the end of the perfect Mother’s Day.

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