Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Mother's Love

This past week while we were down at the farm I had the pleasure of seeing a mother's love at its finest!  I am not talking about Mary Nelle's love for her son or even my love for Hunter for that matter but the love between a momma cow and her baby "Q-Tip" as we called him.

Now, I know that some people might not believe what I am about to write but I saw it with my own two eyes and can tell you that this momma cow knows love.

Q-Tip had to be born about the week before we arrived for our visit and his momma was a proud cow.  She made sure that she was never far from him and would always keep a watchful eye out for him around the other cows.

The first time I came across Momma she was standing at Mary Nelle's fence contemplating moving into  Elizabeth's pasture with the other cows.  Hunter hadn't yet laid eyes on the cows so I hopped into the ranger with him and we went to see her.  She stood there for a moment but quickly became nervous and ran off back towards the pond which she had just come from. At this point, I hadn't put two-n-two together that this was that cute little cow's momma because honestly I didn't know that a brown and white cow could have a black and white cow!  Stop shaking your head, city girl, I know!

A little while later I saw her coming back up to Elizabeth's pasture and this time she had little Q-Tip in tow.  Again, still not realizing this was momma and baby I thought she was a sweet cow for making sure that someone else's baby was safely back with the rest of the herd before nightfall.  It was cute to watch this clumsy little cow try to figure out how to maneuver between gates and make the momma cow come back and forth several times before he finally figured it out.

The next day as the cows made the usual trek across the farm I made the connection that this in fact was momma and her baby. (Ok, honestly I had asked Joe that night on the phone if brown cows could have black cows and he set me straight!) Q-Tip played for a while with some of the other babies but ended up laying down for a bit while momma happily chewed her way through the pasture with the other cows.  She was finally ready to move into the next pasture and began bellowing for Q-Tip to join her.  He didn't budge!  She kept moving on but would only go so far before turning around and bellowing again for him.  Finally, after back tracking for the third time she walked straight up to Q-Tip and nudged him.  This made him get up and follow her into the next pasture.  You know she was thinking, "You little brat!  It is hot out here and we are on a mission moving to the next pasture and you are making me come back for you. This is the last time Mister!"

The following day, Larry's dad (the man that runs the cattle on the farm), came out with the feed truck.  If you have never seen this happen, it is amazing to watch.  I honestly never knew that cows could run as fast as they do until I saw the feed truck pull into the farm.  Momma and Q-Tip lagged a bit behind the others, I believe because she knew that he would be trampled if he got in the mix of things, but were quickly up eating with the rest of the herd.  One of the other momma cows pushed Q-Tip out of her way at one point which knocked him down.  Momma came over quickly, nudged Q-Tip as if to say "you are okay and need to get up quickly" and then she put herself between him and the herd and moved him out into another pasture under a big shade tree for the rest of the afternoon.  Absolutely priceless to watch!

I could keep going with the things this momma did for her little baby but I think you all get my point...A mother's love is instinctual, unconditional and matter the species!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

San Antonio or Bust!!

Every summer Joe has a big, week long conference in either San Antonio or Austin.  It is a huge family event and people have taken their children and spouses to it for several years.  The first year Joe was with the company, I joined him for the last few days of the conference and we had a wonderful time enjoying the Hyatt Hill Country.  Last year I was about 6 weeks from having Hunter and super busy with work so I didn't join him in Austin.  So, this year we decided to join the rest of the attendees and make it a big family vacation for us.  A big part of Joe's work is the entertaining and with a little one we knew that this wasn't going to be possible unless we enlisted the help of a grandma!  Mama Nelle to the rescue!!!

The weekend before the conference we headed down to spend some time on the farm and to cut the drive in half for Hunter.  Joe went on to the conference on Monday and Mama Nelle, Hunter and I joined him on Thursday.  We had a great time and Joe and I even got in some time for ourselves because Mama Nelle took on the bulk of caring for Hunter! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Professional Pictures

We have not been the typical parents of our first baby and taking him every three months for professional pictures.  But, if you really know Joe and I we have never been good at pictures so it probably doesn't really come as a surprise.  We went to Studio 121 at Stonebriar Mall for his newborn pictures when he was five and seven days old!  (Hunter was cranky on day five so we had to reschedule for day seven!)

Then in November, we had one of our friends, Rayna Canedy (Canedy Photography), take pictures of us, Hunter and the three grand kids for what we planned to use as Christmas cards but never got around to actually bad! 

So finally in May, I decided it was time for us to get pictures of our little man and some new family portraits done using a local photographer for this shoot, Jilly Bean Photography.  It was just an absolutely perfect day!  Beautiful outside, Hunter was HAPPY, and I had found the perfect outfits for each of us with little to no planning!

This one just makes me laugh!

Look at those beautiful blue eyes!

Happy Family!

Looks like he is thinking, "You people better not leave me!"


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nap Time

We are guilty as charged! I have to admit that up until a couple of weeks ago Hunter had only taken a handful of his naps in his crib. Nana loved to hold him when she had him while I worked, Daddy longed for those naps on his chest when he returned from a week away, and I just loved the cuddle time, so none of us ever laid him down in his own bed. I realize that we could just keep doing naps in this manner but now that he is becoming more mobile, I would love to have those couple of hours a day to get some other stuff done.

I wish I could say that he has taken to this new idea right away but just like the sleep training for night time he has protested loudly and clearly at every single nap for the past few weeks. It has gotten better though! The first few days he would cry for the entire 45 minutes to an hour that we kept him in his room but now he usually goes down after about seven minutes. It hasn't been fun but I know in the end it will be worth it for all of us!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adults Only Please

Last night Joe and I had our first overnight together without our little man. My best friend, Liz, agreed to watch Hunter for the night so that way we could get away for some rest and relaxation.

I am proud to say that I only shed a couple of tears and I was able to actually stay away for a full 24 hours! If you had told me that I would struggle with leaving my baby before he came into the world I would have literally laughed in your face. I do think it was time and a good thing for all involved.

We left the house about 11:30 on Saturday morning and headed down to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. We lounged by the pool all day and then enjoyed a nice steak dinner. Afterwards, we went to the Glass Cactus for a bit but quickly returned to the room for a good nights sleep.

We woke up around 8:30 and enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel and some pool time before heading back home. Liz reported that everything went well on the home front and that Hunter never really fussed for Mommy and Daddy which was great to hear.

I feel very blessed to have such an amazing friend that is willing to give up a Saturday night to come and care for the most important person in our lives. I cannot think of another person I would have wanted to take care of him for this first overnight stay. I was completely at ease and was able to truly relax because I knew my baby boy was in very capable, loving hands!

Ten Months

It absolutely does not seem possible that in two months we will be the parents of a one year old little boy! Hunter is without a doubt the best thing either one of us have ever done in our lives. He has made our lives more joyous, more complex, and simply worth living to its fullest on a daily basis.

It is unbelievable how much he has changed in the last month. He definitely has a very healthy appetite and loves being able to feed himself. His favorite foods are mandarin oranges, Stouffer's swedish meatballs, string cheese, and puffs. He most definitely has words for "more", "dog", and "cat." He says Momma and Dadda. His favorite shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Agent Oso. Sometimes he will watch a little Handy Manny but it doesn't keep his attention quite as long as the other two. He LOVES to dance and it is definitely the cutest thing to watch. He has to throw one arm up in the air to really jam out effectively. When the last song on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse starts to play (The Hotdog Dance), he will crawl over as close as he can get to the t.v. so he can dance right up close with the rest of the

He is getting a few more teeth but only one on the bottom has officially broken through the gum. He is still sleeping well at night and we have begun the process of trying to get him to take his naps in his crib instead of someone's arms. It is proving to be just as much of a process as getting him to sleep through the night. Our boy is nothing if not stubborn! I am confident that he wll get a handle on it though and it will be nice to have a couple of hours a day that I can get things done instead of having to wait until he goes down for the night.

Hunter is absolutely a momma's boy but at the same time I see a very independent streak in him already. He can focus on things longer than I can and he is detail oriented for sure. I am excited to see how these traits develop in the next few months and years as we watch our little guy grow.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yellowstone: Day Eight

Saturday, June 25

We drove into the actual town of Jackson Hole this morning to walk around a bit since we had a mid-afternoon flight.
Not how we traveled into town!

Hunter was fascinated by one of the shops we walked into that had a variety of animals hanging on the walls.

We were able to keep Hunter up for the entire morning but right before we boarded he had decided he had had enough and fell asleep on my shoulder. If you know Hunter, you know that this an absolute rare occurrence so it was certainly cherished.

Hunter did great on this leg of the trip as well even though he only ended up sleeping about an hour of the flight. He watched his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Agent Oso shows for what was probably the 100th time and was perfectly happy. We are very lucky to have such a happy, go with the flow baby!

Mama Nelle picked us up at the airport and even let Mommy and Daddy get out for the evening for some much needed adult time. It was the perfect ending to our first family vacation.

Dear Hunter,

What a trip! You are such a wonderful baby and every day on this vacation I was reminded about how lucky we are to have you in our lives. You can count on many more vacations in your lifetime because we love to travel and experience new things. I hope I captured enough of the trip through these posts so that when you are older you can read this and almost feel like you actually remember the trip for yourself.

We love you sweet, little man!

Yellowstone: Day Seven

Friday, June 24

This was our last day in Big Sky, Montana before we headed back to Jackson for one night. We woke up early and started packing because we had a zip line tour from 10-12 that we were doing with my sister's kids. I can honestly say that I am deathly afraid of heights but I have always heard people say amazing things about zip lining so I figured there was no better time to get over my fear. It was amazing!

Tristan trying to flip over in mid-air!

We returned to the house around 12:30 and were on the road to Jackson by 1:30. We made it a quick trip because we were all just tired of being in the car by that point.

We stayed at Snake River Resort and Spa in Teton Village which was a breathtaking place. We can definitely see going back to this location when Hunter is older. We were all so tired that Hunter went down early and Joe and I just ordered in room service and fell asleep early as well.

Dear Hunter,
The night in Teton Village was such a relaxing end to the trip. You explored the main square and loved the fact that our hotel was right across from a dude ranch. I can definitely tell that you are ready to get home and back to our little routine. Hang in there, we head home tomorrow!
Love you to the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy