On Babies and The Grind

Since the beginning of March, I’ve been afforded the opportunity (thanks, my hardworking, super smart husband) to stay home with our babies. I worked through Ivy’s first year of life as a legal assistant to a very understanding, patient group of attorneys (understanding and patient in that me as a new parent was a sloppy, forgetful sight to see). When we found out tiny Leo was on the way (he was a very big surprise), we were desperate to find a way for me to quit my job and stay home with the kids. In January of this year, there was a big breakthrough with Adam’s job that allowed for our dream scenario.

Fast forward to today – there are two babies outside of my body and we are learning something new about each other every day. Ivy’s vocabulary is growing every day which is helpful because being a toddler is frustrating enough without being able to explain what you need/want (thankfully her vocabulary doesn’t include any of my choice frustration words though it’s only a matter of time). She’s starting to be the kind of independent that seems a little dangerous to me; I think she is too young to be running across the wobbly bridge at the playground – she thinks it is awesome.


A good friend of mine refuses to have kids because she can’t reconcile the idea of letting her heart run around outside her body; this friend is wise. Turns out, watching these babies try out their wheels scares the begeezus out of me; a fierce anxiety that lingers long after they’re asleep. The equal and opposite response to their accomplishments, though, is a wildly satisfying sense of pride. They’re growing! They are learning! They are brave! Ivy currently has a bump on her head from one of her many outdoor adventures and, while it takes everything within me to not make that hideous gasp when I watch her trip and fall, it’s proof she is having fun. Some may suggest it’s proof that I’m an inattentive mother but that’s when I will point them to all the trendy anti-mom shaming memes that are floating around Internet (#shamersgonnashame, #shameonyoumomshamer).

Leo is just starting to crawl – he’s incredibly motivated by the cat and our phones. The way he growl-laughs at us when we pick him up leads me to believe he is also going to be pretty intense when he gets his feet under him. He’s sweet (even now he is smiling in his sleep) but I think his sweetness is a survival instinct he’s honing even now so that, when he begins the raise the inevitable hell he is genetically guaranteed to raise, we’ll keep him around.


Adam’s awareness of the strife that accompanies mommin’ a toddler and a baby simultaneously throughout the week seems to lend a lot of tenderness to his approach towards me. He walks through the door after working all day with a posture that reads like he sort of feels guilty for having been at work – leaving me all alone with Ivyzilla and her little brother. We both attempt to validate each other with our listening and our words but I think it’s the way we’re ready for bed at 8:45 p.m. that reflects that we’ve both had a long day and that we’re both doing our part to make our world go around.

This grind is noisy and sticky and smelly. It is frustrating. It is hilarious. It fills up the camera roll on my phone with thousands of photos and videos. It makes me cry when I think how lucky we are in far too many ways to list.



…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.