Baby Girl

Baby Girl

Little girl,

Your brother woke up early this morning. I went into his room and rocked him hoping he would drift back to sleep and I could return to my bed. In the dark early hours of the morning, you started moving your little body against his. I sat there in his rocking chair feeling you both in my arms and committing the moment to my memory. Some day when I am holding your children, I want to be able to recall this. To look back to this morning and remember the overwhelming rush of love and gratitude that I felt for my own little ones.

As I sat in the dark, I thought of our journey together over these last nine months. The excitement and anticipation of wanting and trying for you. The gratefulness for each growth milestone you passed. The joy of knowing your movements and hearing your heartbeat. I will cherish those memories above all the other less appealing pregnancy woes. What a gift it has been to experience your body entangled within mine.

The thoughts of you drifted to my own mother. Many years ago she sat in this very rocking chair with me inside of her. Feeling my movements and envisioning me in her arms. That thought hurt. Moments pass and I am reminded how quickly vivid memories seem to fade. I hope she can still feel with certain clarity, what it was like to hold this love inside of yourself. And I can only pray for you and I that we get to create the lifetime of memories and the deep connection that my mother and I have experienced together.

Your birth is nearing. As I held you both and lost myself in thought, I felt my body ache. You are making progress. Your brother had given up on sleep at this point so I brought him into my bed. We got under the covers and I told him about you again. He is too little to understand but his life will be changing too. He will now have a sister. A friend for life. And you will have a very sweet and tall big brother to protect you. You sure are lucky to have him.

We are ready for you little girl.

XOXO
Mommy

Georgia on my Mind

Georgia on my Mind

The squirmy and sweet little girl inside my belly must be a dancer. While she and I are both gaining weight rapidly, I am reminded that my body is not my own. There is a little girl growing and starting her journey in this world. A world full of love, beauty, heartbreak, and hopefully…a lot of dancing.

Slowly, the guest room is emptying and a nursery is taking shape. It’s the one room that I am looking forward to organizing. Most women enjoy the second trimester, but I don’t agree. The third trimester carries all the magic and excitement of pregnancy. Strangers congratulating you and touching your belly, shopping for baby clothes and organizing the nursery, and then of course counting down and anticipating the birth of this new little miracle. Such a magical time.

I am still adjusting to our life here in Georgia. Bo has been in a training course that is nearing completion and many of the people we have met are off to their next duty assignments. Stories of hectic moves and looming deployments have become common chatter amongst our group of friends. Thankfully for us, Bo will be taking command of a company here at Ft. Benning. We feel very blessed to know that he will be staying close to home for the foreseeable future and I don’t envy the strong wives that will be kissing their husband’s goodbye over the next year.

As our friends adjust to their new assignments and prepare to leave Georgia, I am preparing to give birth to my baby girl. As it was in DC with Camden, we will start our new family life without friends and family. A truth that doesn’t get easier with each new occurrence. If all goes as planned, our mothers and sisters will make the trip to Georgia for her birth. We will spend a week of quality time together breathing in her new smell and welcoming her into our tribe. Too shortly after her arrival, our family will leave and Bo and I will be adjusting to life alone with 2 under 2.

Living life hundreds of miles from our people weighs heavily on our hearts. Making new friends is imperative to our happiness in these new places. However, I find it very challenging to make new friends while pregnant. This pregnancy specifically has been very challenging on my body and I haven’t made the effort to connect with new friends. Something I desperately want as I bring this new life into the world.

There are only so many conversations my husband will endure about pregnancy and nursery decor. Only so many times he can nod and smile empathetically to my hormonal reactions on a daily basis. He’s a strong man…to be the only friend and family member of a very pregnant Georgia woman. I try to remember that when he needs the occasional “bro” time. And he tries to remember that as he opens his 4th beer and watches me begrudgingly sip pink lemonade. We are in this together.

As our baby girl reaches the final stages of development and prepares to join our family, we too prepare for our new life. One where we push ourselves to grow. Not just the growth that happens to an expanding family, but one of choice and intention for change. In new and existing relationships alike.

I look forward to liking you Georgia. I look forward to feeling at home here and finding “our spots” around this city. To seeing my husband’s investment goals here become a reality and learning how to be a working mother of two. To meeting new friends that will make life here in Georgia so much sweeter. I look forward to doing it all. Hopefully…while sipping a glass of wine.

Xoxo
Tara Layne

April Showers

April Showers

Spring has found its way to Georgia. Our newly planted flowers have bloomed and sitting outside under our patio lights, watching Camden explore his new surroundings has become my new favorite spot. April has made its way back around on the calendar, as it tends to do on a yearly basis.

April is a beautiful and celebratory month for my family. It is the month of my husband’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, and Easter. April is actually the month of several birthdays and anniversaries in my extended family and one of those birthdays belongs to my sister, Erica. After losing her to a car accident almost 19 years ago, April 24th will always be her day.

Maybe a woman never recovers from the loss of her sister. In my adult life, there have been so many moments that I have wanted her by my side. On my wedding day or at the birth of my son, her absence weighed heavily on me. And as I start this new journey as a mother to a baby girl, I ache for her guidance. And sisterhood.

It has become evident to me that female relationships in my life aren’t just important, they are critical to my happiness. And as I’ve built those relationships over the years, I am often surprised and hurt by the ones that don’t last. The deep friendships that are somehow set aside selfishly or injured and never repaired. It can make venturing into new friendships terrifying.

Laying that fear aside for the reward of new and deeper friendships is imperative. Next weekend, I am taking a trip with my two sister-in-laws. As I think of the trip, I can only wonder what it would be like to bring my own sister. To introduce her to these beautiful women and share experiences together as mothers, friends, and most importantly…sisters.

Some days are still hard without her. As I sit here writing this I wonder if she is looking over us. Enjoying the view of my new patio and watching my belly grow with anticipation for her niece. I will always miss my big sister. But especially in April.

Xoxo

Tara Layne

Made for More

Made for More

What is your morning routine? How do you start your day with purpose and joy? The morning routine has been a frequent topic in my conversations with my husband and my new friends here in Georgia. It seems to be on a lot of our minds as we intentionally setup our lives to get the most out of them.

A couple of weeks ago, as my first trimester morning sickness was easing and my mind was drifting to personal goals outside of creating tiny humans, I began to purposefully wake up earlier. Before Camden started daycare 3 days a week and for the first year of his life, it was he and I. He was my alarm clock, my noisy coworker, and my first priority. My “me” time was limited and my own personal endeavors/growth/goals seemed nonexistent. It was both wonderful and stifling as most new mother’s can attest.

Having a child seems to have had the opposite effect on my husband. For the last year, he has invested much of his thought into his career goals and dreams and devoted substantial time to personal growth and development. Which is wonderful. It has helped push me to grow and want more for myself. I decided to set my actual alarm and start my day with intentional time for myself. And that has changed everything.

In the early hours of the morning, my house is still dark. My husband has already ventured on to work or is hovering over his computer, podcast in his headphones. I make our bed, kiss our puppy, and saunter down the hall to make coffee. I usually head to my desk and begin my day with writing. I write the things I’m grateful for and my goals in a notebook as I sip my frothed coffee. Baby is sleeping. This time is for me.

As my day progresses, there are emails to return, boys to be fed (big and small), commutes, contracts, boxes to unpack, laundry to be folded…but for that hour, I am intentionally myself. After I journal, I allow the time to serve me. If I wake up with the desire to Pinterest baby girl nurseries for an hour…I do that. And I don’t feel guilt. Or expectations. I enjoy it and remind myself to embrace all parts of me. Most mornings, before I know it, I hear the softest, sweetest noises coming from the room next to mine. I flip on the monitor to see a little boy sitting patiently in his crib waiting to greet his own day. He is ready. And now…so am I.

Xoxo
Tara Layne

Two Pink Lines

Two Pink Lines

Before you existed I dreamt of you. I wanted you. How strange to love someone who doesn’t exist. How could I see my family, perfect and whole as they are and want more? How did I deserve more?

The honest truth is that raising a newborn baby is hard. It’s beautiful and the best thing that ever happened to us, but it changes your life. Expectations of your spouse grow and the lack of sleep hinders effective communication. Resentment is swift to creep into the cracks. Around October, Bo and I were coming out of a difficult season. And thankfully connecting in ways we hadn’t in years. Maybe ever. With love and respect as our guide. And that’s when it happened…the thought of you.

Amid conversations on packing up our current home (yet again) and details of the renovation project in Georgia, I managed to fit you into the discussion. For us, adding to our family is a big decision and one that we wanted to be certain of and make together. And although you were already on my mind, I knew your Papa might not be ready. And I was nervous to be vulnerable with my thought of you. One October Saturday, after a family trip to the gym and over the draft beer that followed (the healthiest of days) Bo and I had the “I’m ready for another baby” conversation.

I remember it well. And I felt supported by my husband and truly heard. Which is exactly what I needed. We finished our beers, walked home, and decided to revisit the conversation after some thought. In the early morning of December 1st, we woke up in our Arlington townhome. Surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap. He held me as he told me that now…he wanted you too.

Christmas morning. There you were. Two pink lines.

We love you.

Xoxo

Tara Layne

Back to Benning

Oddly enough, Ft. Benning felt like coming home.  When I met Bo years ago, I was living in New York City.  Happily I may add.  And my future husband was stationed at Ft. Benning and in the process of completing OCS (Officer Candidate School) to commission as an officer in the United States Army.  I knew nothing about military life, or Georgia for that matter….but he was charming.  So charming.  A romantic idealist that always felt like home to me.  Eventually, I left New York and after Bo completed the coveted Ranger School, I moved to Ft. Benning to join him.  That story alone is a book.  Hopefully one day I will be brave enough to share it.

So here we are.  5 moves later, it’s back to Benning.  Life is quite different this round and thankfully so.  Years ago, I loaded up 2 suitcases, my new car (hadn’t driven in 7 years as a New Yorker), and our puppy Jackson and we moved into a furnished one bedroom apartment.  Now days it takes a moving crew, a large rental truck, weeks of our lives, usually a loan to purchase a new home…and typically a new pregnancy.  But somehow we manage time after time and I swear to never do it again.  Until next year.

This move was a little different.  We are doing our first “flip” and renovating a beautiful traditional home nestled in a Columbus neighborhood.  The house is my husbands passion project as he dives more and more into his real estate ambitions.  As with most things, you learn best by being hands on.  So while Bo is in Captain’s Career training, I’m working for an event staffing agency out of NYC, starting a blog, raising a 1 year old, managing an AirBnb property in Nashville, and growing our family with baby number 2…we are flipping.  Flipping a house.  And flipping out on each other regularly.

It is such a blessing to live this life that I have chosen and we have built.  And although there are growing pains, it is an adventure.  Soon enough the kitchen sink won’t be leaking, the walls will be painted, and our boxes will be unpacked.  Until then, I will remind myself of those two kids that moved in together all those years ago.  Playing house and imagining their future together.  Unaware and naive to the road ahead.  Lucky kids.

xoxo,

Tara Layne

Just start today…

Just start today…

Just start today.  The famous three words that plague us all regardless of the subject.  The new diet and workout plan that will have you looking like Giselle in no time.  The career change that will fulfill your passion and allow you the freedom and bottomless bank account of a RHWONY.  The desire to travel and experience other cultures and emerge transformed and worldly.  We all dream and aspire to be more then our current selves.  

I have always been a dreamer.  I romanticize and usually look back on memories and turn them into beautiful novels in my mind.  After marrying my husband and having a beautiful baby boy last year, my dreams and aspirations for the future have changed.  I used to dream of meeting my future husband.  I wanted him to be passionately in love with me, a partner through life who appreciated me unconditionally, my rock and my protector.  My husband Bo is many things to me.  He is my best friend, my husband, my teammate, my co-parent, my provider, and my home.  Please don’t let our instagram fool you.  Life hasn’t been easy for our new family.  Dealing with years of a long distance relationship, moving to a new city every 18 months, deployments, new jobs, a surprise baby…has left us with some scars along the way.  My husband is a good man.  He is strong and driven to make his way in this world.  He has taught me a lot about loving someone else the way that they feel loved and not how you think they should feel loved.  He has taught me a lot about happiness and choosing to be content in the quiet moments of life.  Most importantly, he has taught me that I am capable of change.  Real change.  Change that pushes you into being unafraid to be whoever you want to be.

So here I am.  I am starting today.  I have wanted to blog and share my journey as a former New Yorker/daughter/Army wife/ mother/friend/woman for such a long time.  As an Army wife, I have moved frequently.  With each move there are new jobs to find, new friends to make, and so so so many boxes to unpack.  As we settle into our new Georgia home and start that process all over again, I am reminded of the community that I feel as I read blogs of women doing the same thing.  I hope to share my life in a real way that empowers you to listen to that undeniable and deep desire in your heart.  And then just go for it.  

Start today!

Xoxo,

Tara Layne