…and then there were four.

Technically, four happened almost six months ago.


This is Leo.

Leo was a surprise. I found out I was pregnant with him when Ivy was just five months old. The idea of a second baby and so close in age to our first was dizzying to us at first. Two cribs? Carrying around one baby while hugely pregnant with another? A BOY?

He started smiling fairly early (blame it on the gas, I don’t care) and it made us fall in love with him. That’s all we needed to know.

I didn’t know how this whole second kid thing was going to go down because all we knew was Ivy and we get choked up just talking about how much we love her but he showed up (right before the epidural had time to kick in…) and here we are. Four.

Four is a wonderful number. Four is enough for us – especially since we’re constantly changing a diaper, cleaning up a tea party, putting someone down for a nap, getting someone up for a nap, baths, bedtime, rocking someone back to sleep. Taking care of two is a constant analysis of two sets of pretty different needs. Leo often hears, “just a second, Bud” because his sister is either just about to jump off any one piece of furniture or is petting the cat just a little too enthusiastically.

The fun part is beginning, however. Ivy has taken to trying to entertain her brother. Leo smiles harder for Ivy than any one of us. Sibling shenanigans commence!

– Layne

The Sound of Music

Taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. If all the senses were on the line and I had to pick just one to keep, I’d keep the ability to hear sound. The race between keeping sight and sound is a tight one but sound has the edge because of it’s ability to make even the mundane special – chores, mornings, the drive to work. I’ve forgotten the details of things I’ve seen but I can remember most sounds – most songs – I’ve heard. Sounds instantly connect me to places, events, people. Sounds make my memories even more vivid.

The sound of music? The sound above all sounds (saved Adam’s voice in the middle of a stressful day and Ivy’s first cry).

Certain songs are like a time capsule for me. The entire Dirty Dancing soundtrack takes me back to choreographing notdirty dances to “This Overload” in my bedroom as a seven year old. The “Fly” album by the Dixie Chicks snaps me back to driving my teal Mazda Protege’ back and forth to school my sophomore year of high school. “Disappear” by The Gabe Dixon Band brings tears to my eyes almost every time because it reminds me of the day Adam left for Afghanistan.

Mine is not a unique condition and that is why the sound of music is the best sound and the sound that unites the universe (whoa. deep.).

When Ivy was in the womb and reached the week where sound became a thing for her, we put headphones on my belly and were super selective about what we piped through them. I played Sara Bareilles for her first because Sara is my favorite. Stevie Wonder sang “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” to her next. All throughout my pregnancy, I lead worship at our church. I loved the idea that she could hear all of that – that she would know my voice and her dad’s voice.

When we wake her up in the morning, we open the curtains in her room and turn on music for her. It might be too early to tell but, as of right now, she is a morning person (like her dad) and I really want to encourage that by making the morning sort of a celebration. She smiles when she makes eye contact with us first thing  and I want to be able to remember the feeling we get when she does that. We’re building a soundtrack for this part of her life and this part of our lives.

So far we’ve incorporated:

Queen, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Sara Bareilles, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Allen Stone, Jamie Cullum, most every Motown song ever recorded, Journey, and more.

We are going to take her to some of the Alive After Five concert series this summer (we bought her a pair of these – don’t worry). We are also hoping to drag her along to Alabama Shakes in August as well.

We will obviously encourage her to find whatever* music speaks to her but can’t help but be excited about imparting at least a little bit of what makes her parents tick when it comes to music.


– Layne


*By “whatever,” we should clarify that, if “whatever” includes anything by Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line, we’ll take away her listening device.


Our family of two humans, two Australian Shepherds and two very hairy cats grew by another (tiny) human at the end of February.

Our tiny human’s name is Ivy.


Since her arrival, my best explanation about the change that occurred in our home was a shift in priorities.

 Zip it, veteran moms and dads – this is our story and I realize the previous statement should go without saying. I have more to say and that should make saying the first obvious thing ok.

First of all – sleep is like currency. For the first few weeks, our sleep accounts were overdrawn in a huge way. Anyone you talk to prior to having the baby jokes about the fact that you won’t get any sleep ever again. The first question anyone asks a new parent is, “Are you getting any sleep?” It’s a safe assumption that the answer to that particular question is always “no.” Some people will respond with a tired, “a little,” but they really mean, “No. None. Zero sleep.” The sleep you are getting is nothing like the sleep you were getting prior to worrying about whether or not the tiny human you worked so hard to bring into the world is still breathing. So finding time to nap is like making a big fat withdrawal from an ATM and rolling around in your freshly acquired piles of dirty, smelly, wonderful money.

Second, finding out what normal feels like after bringing a baby home becomes very, very important. While walking around in what some parents have described as a fog, we wondered how quickly we would be able to adjust to our new dictator and all of her demands. Veteran parents assured us that we would start to feel normal again. Veteran moms talked to me about how my body would start to look normal(ish) again. We would leave the house again without the anxiety that can only be compared to the type of anxiety Matthew McConaughey felt before getting launched into space for an undetermined amount of time. “Do we have enough diapers? What about the bottle? Diaper cream? Extra outfits? Swaddle blankets? Socks? Not those socks – the other socks? Should I bring the pump…? An extension cord? Maybe we should just stay here?” We found out that each week gets more and more “normal.” Granted – it’s a completely new and different normal, but it feels right.

Cleanliness is less and less of a priority. I don’t necessarily mean personal hygiene (though those standards have dropped considerably) as much as I mean having a tidy house. First of all, with a new baby comes visitors – a lot of (awesome) visitors. Prior to Ivy’s arrival, having visitors meant a flurry of cleaning activity; this is no longer the case. What you see is what you get. We are buried under piles of Tupperware from all the great meals our friends and family brought us! There are stacks of tissue paper, gift bags, brand new outfits and toys from aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and friends. But then! Then there is the real mess – the laundry (clean and dirty) is everywhere and might never find a home. Our dishes are continually in use – never finding their way back to the cupboard. The dogs have managed to sneak off with a couple of Ivy’s soiled diapers and we’ve found them under couches, under the dining table and in the middle of the piles of aforementioned laundry. Sigh. But here’s the thing – Adam and I are both working full-time. Waking hours are precious. When we’re home and awake, we are connecting with one another or with Ivy; there isn’t much time left over for the level of tidy that happened before her. What you see is what you get at our house…and you’re going to see (and smell) a lot. Fortunately, you’ll also (hopefully) see a husband and wife that still know and enjoy each other and a happy (albeit sticky) baby.

I suppose the last priority shift I’ll share today is a deep understanding that people are important. I know, again with the painfully obvious statements, but let me explain why I’m/we’re just now understanding the weight of that statement: everyone is someone’s baby. The emotional, physical and financial investment we’ve made in our kid already has left us raw and vulnerable. We love this kid and she makes us so proud – she doesn’t even talk yet. We are one set of parents out the billions of parents in this world! Everyone is someone’s kid. What’s that you say? You’ve already figured this out? Good! You are a much less self-consumed human than I. For me, to sprout this new-found concern for other people, it took becoming the mother of brand new person. People are important and Ivy taught me that.

– Layne