Is it just me?

Is it just me who loves being a Mum
But also wishes I could have more fun?
Is it just me who finds it so tough,
Day in day out, it can be so rough.

Is it just me whose house is always a mess,
Who frantically tidies before having guests?
Is it just me who feels like a winner,
When I don’t just make pesto pasta for dinner?

Is it just me who wishes for time
For yoga and books and other things mine?
Is it just me who always feels tired
But being a good mum keeps me feeling inspired.

Is it just me who plays all day long
Whose baby smiles at her favourite song?
Is it just me who worries too much
Because I’m not doing enough of such and such?

Is it just me who wishes for sleep
Who hears the baby wake as soon as they peep?
Is it just me who sometimes cries
When you suddenly realise how time flies?

Is it just me who opens the door
To check on her babies just one time more?
Is it just me who wants to run away
To forget my responsibilities just for one day?

Is it just me whose eyes fill with tears
As I think about my hopes and fears?
Is it just me who never quite knew
Just how much I’d change having you?

Is it just me who learns every day
Because you are the ones who show me the way?
Is it just me who stares into your eyes
And wonders how I won the prize?

Is it just me who is awake all the night
Feeding and cuddling and holding you tight?
Is it just me who needs to be told
“You’re doing great,”… that never gets old.

Is it just me who needs a break
Perhaps a hot tea and a big piece of cake?
Is it just me who gets driven mad
Who feels everything in between happy and sad?

Is it just me who worries about you
Like sometimes I just don’t know what to do?
Is it just me who can’t do it alone
And is thankful for all the mums in my phone?

Is it just me who escapes to the shower
For 5 quiet minutes but wants a whole hour?
Is it just me who can’t stop kissing those cheeks
Who wants to slow down the passing weeks?

Is it just me who feels incredibly proud
Who wants to show the world and shout it out loud?
Is it just me who never feels good enough
I should probably be doing more crafty stuff?

Is it just me whose dream has come true
By becoming a mummy to both of you?
Is it just me who doesn’t want you to grow
Yet wants you to, so there’s more I can know.

Is it just me who needs more time for self-care
For exercise, napping or washing my hair?
Is it just me who thought I knew how it would be
But then becoming a mother truly humbled me.

Is it just me who has a big dark fear
That something bad will happen when I’m not near?
Is it just me who does the same as my Mum
Giving a magic kiss better when you hurt your thumb?

Is it just me who needs her friends
To help with all that motherhood sends?
Is it just me who gives a laugh and smile
When I watch that old video I haven’t seen for a while?

Is it just me who wants to protect you from bad
In a world that can sometimes seem a little bit mad?
Is it just me who has marks on her skin
From the days from when I grew you within?

Is it just me who wants to give all Mums a hug
To offer support with a drink in a mug.
Is it just me who wouldn’t change a thing
Who can’t wait to see what the future will bring.

A bed time poem

Bed time has lost its loveliness

Bed time has lost its loveliness, I’m really sad to say,
I’ve started to dread that time that comes at the end of every day
I used to read books to you, sitting together on your bed
Now that’s been replaced with lots of tears instead.

I understand you find it difficult, I promise that I know,
It’s not easy going to bed and you don’t want Mummy to go
But even when I try my best, I’m patient and I’m calm,
You still won’t let me read to you, that book about the farm.

Bed time has lost its loveliness and I’m trying my very best,
I know you’d rather play than get that all important rest
Mummy needs some time too you know, to relax at the end of the day
But I feel all stressed when you don’t seem to listen to what I say.

It’s not your fault you get upset at every tiny little thing,
I’m sorry I didn’t let you watch yet another episode of Bing
You need to wear a nappy and your teeth need to be brushed
I do all these things playfully, I know you don’t want to be rushed.

There are lovely moments too sometimes, in amongst the tears
I wish you could tell Mummy more about your fears
One minute you’ll be crying and then the next you’ll say,
“Mummy, I like your plait,” and those things really make my day.

You want me to stay for cuddles, to hold you nice and tight
So why does everything up ‘til then, feel like one big fight?
I’m only trying to help you, to make you feel safe and ready
I even make you giggle when I pretend to speak as teddy.

Bed time has lost its loveliness, it’s not how it was before,
I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore
I’ve read the books, I’ve tried to learn how to help you to unwind
And even when I want to scream, I try my best to be kind.

I suppose this is another phase, one that too shall pass
I’m reminded every day that you’re growing up so fast
For now you need your Mummy, and although I’m tired too
Of course I want to be there, to give my best to you.

Light on, light off, light on again, please just go to bed
You’ve had your drink of water, I’ve done everything you said
Mummy needs to go now but you wrap your arm around me
You pull me down to stay with you, I can’t just leave you be.

Bed time has lost its loveliness, we are all beginning to struggle
All we want to do is a have a lovely cosy snuggle
I love you, I love you, I love you, I say it a thousand times
I hope you can tell that from what’s written in my rhymes.

I kiss your cheeks and stroke your hair and comfort you in the dark
I wonder what you dream about, maybe our trip to the park.
Sleep finally finds you and you drift off for the night
And I’m just left to question whether anything I did was right.

I’ll see you in the morning when you wake up with a smile
The night before forgotten, at least for a little while.
Bed time has lost its loveliness, I miss how it used to be
But I trust we’ll get it back again, Jasmine, you and me
I’ll focus on those cuddles, on the way only Mummy will do
It’s worth it a million times over because of my love for you.

Postpartum Hair Loss

I was in the shower the other day, enjoying my five minutes of relative peace and quiet, when all of a sudden it started. After almost a year of my hair growing ever thicker thanks to the miracle combination of pregnancy hormones, it has once again started to fall out. When I’m pregnant, my hair habits change so much and I’m always intrigued as to why nature has evolved in this way. My hair rarely needs washed and barely a single hair ever falls out resulting in a rather untamed lions mane! I’m not quite sure why thicker, cleaner hair is an advantage for pregnancy but I’m sure somebody somewhere knows the answer.

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9 months pregnant with Summer

The postpartum period or the fourth trimester as it’s also lovingly known, is like a place between two worlds. You have a new baby and are no longer pregnant but your body is still in a state of recovery, no matter how fast paced life is all around you (if you have a toddler that is!)  All of a sudden, 3 months after giving birth and at almost an identical time to when it happened after having Jasmine, my body is sending me a sign that the precious fourth trimester is now coming to an end. Perhaps pregnancy makes you more attuned to what is happening in your body but I certainly notice these subtle and not so subtle changes all the time. Now I need to wash my hair more often and it’s falling out at a rate fast enough to make me think I’ll be going bald by the end of the month. What is this strange phenomenon?

To me, this sudden and fairly drastic change is another reminder that there’s a whole system working it’s magic inside my body that knows exactly what to do and when. Hormones! Hormones doing their thing just like they did throughout pregnancy, birth, postpartum and now. This change is significant for different reasons though. My body is changing again and it’s like I’m now leaving this pregnancy behind, saying farewell to the sacred journey I had and preparing for another move forward. Now I don’t feel so, “just given birth” and feel more, “full on mum of 2!” My muscle separation is healing and except for lack of sleep and breastfeeding, my body feels much more normal, like it’s wiggling back into it’s comfort zone, not quite the same one as before but a comfortable one none-the-less.

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Enjoying my mop of thick hair whilst it lasts!

Summer is changing too, all at once. She’s no longer content with days at home, cuddles, long sleepy feeds and staring at our faces. She suddenly needs toys, outings and experiences and she loves everything we’re showing her. Perhaps it’s her way of saying she’s ready for the world now too, no longer a newborn but a fully fledged baby!

The transformation into Motherhood is really never ending and there is a constant ebb and flow both physically and emotionally that when you stop to notice it, is really quite the wild ride. Now things are settling, it seems. Our family structure feels as if it’s always been this way. Jasmine has fully accepted Summer into the fold and their relationship is blossoming every day.

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Jasmine and Summer

So today I’m feeling grateful for my human experience. Thankful that I get to witness the miracles of the human body, my body, and what it can achieve. I continue to feel humbled by the way our bodies know exactly what to do and even when I might not understand the reasons or enjoy all the sensations, I know it is all to be embraced.

 

Anything is possible, isn’t it?

“I think I want to start being ‘Zero Waste'” are the words that I want to say but that I don’t quite feel ready to. I’m inspired but daunted, motivated but scared, at the bottom of the learning curve but ready to climb.

“Zero waste” wasn’t a term I was familiar with until I became vegan and even then, it’s only been recently I’ve really started to take more notice of it. In essence, living zero waste means trying to live a life that minimises disposables (waste) by refusing single use plastics and recycling and reusing as much as possible. It means trying to never throw anything into the bin, unless it’s a compost bin! How is that even possible I hear you say. Well, me too. I hear myself saying it too. How can you eat a packet of crisps without throwing something in the bin afterwards? Surely some waste is an inevitable part of modern life?

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Food storage goals, plastic free!

When you look around though, you will see that disposables and plastics are absolutely everywhere. From the bag of pasta you innocently buy in the shop, to the toothbrush you just threw away last week. From cotton buds to a sandwich packet, from wrapping paper to baby wipes, from takeaway boxes to washing up bottles and from a Starbucks coffee cup to a party balloon. Almost every single thing we (me included) purchase, is in some way disposable and a huge majority of things come with some form of plastic packaging, labelling or bag. What I’m starting to learn since delving into this world is that just recycling our plastic bottles isn’t quite enough and there is a hidden environmental footprint behind almost everything we buy.

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Every bit of plastic ever created, still exists

When I became vegan I suddenly became hyper aware of the extent to which we exploit animals for our own use and I would start to notice animal products everywhere I went. Now, I’m starting to see it with plastic and again, it’s a huge awakening. Not only that but I’m struck with the fact that if I don’t take responsibility for making more conscious purchases, then who will? I’m as guilty as the next person at buying disposables for convenience and enjoyment, for ease and for saving time. I take advantage of instant purchasing on Amazon and order a takeaway when we’ve got an empty fridge because all those things just make a life a little easier sometimes.

In the vegan movement, there is a saying, “there’s no excuse for animal abuse,” and perhaps the same can be said about waste. What is our excuse for throwing so much away and is our excuse good enough?

So just as I decide I’m ready to start making some changes, there’s that age old question that comes to mind….how would I make a difference? Me refusing plastic won’t stop plastic being on the shelves. Me switching to cloth nappies won’t stop nappies being produced. Me trying to buy as much second hand as possible won’t reduce the production line on new products. The plastic will still be there. But then I remember that surely refusing it, recycling it and reusing it is still the better option? One less piece of plastic actually making it to landfill is still better for the planet. Plus, if I let the fact that despite me being vegan, meat is still everywhere I look, bother me, I wouldn’t be doing very well. The vegan movement has grown hugely in the relatively short amount of time I’ve been vegan. None of this would happen if people’s decisions didn’t start to have an influence so I’m hopeful this may be the same for plastics.

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“If only bananas had robust, natural, biodegradable packaging on their own. Some sort of peelable skin, perhaps”

Can I really do it though? I’m going to have to sacrifice so much! When I first went vegan I was asked a lot how I could live without certain things I had become accustomed to and enjoyed. How would I live without cheese and steak and eggs? But I do, and I’m happier for it. Now I’m faced with similar decisions like what to do if I just fancy a takeaway but don’t want the wasteful containers. How do you still enjoy crisps if they are always sold in non recyclable packaging? What do you do about gifts and presents? How do you fit into a society that isn’t yet zero waste and what to do if you are going to alienate yourself even further for trying to further align your beliefs to your actions.

Let’s be honest. I’m not going to become a Zero Waste superhero overnight. I am a Mummy to two young girls who take up the majority of my time (quite rightly) and I don’t live somewhere with easy access to bulk buy stores or fresh food markets. The reality is that the supermarket is round the corner and if we are out of bread and veggies, that’s where I’d be headed. What I can do though is start to learn, stay open minded and make some immediate changes now.

I’m here on this planet with a purpose. I want to evolve, continue to learn and improve. I want to take responsibility for the world in which I have been gifted a place. I want to protect the Earth for my children and their children too. I believe that one person can make a difference but collectively the difference can be huge.

Watch this space….

Don’t go, Summer

With the Autumn Equinox behind us and the weather on the turn I’m feeling really nostalgic for all things Summer…both the baby and the season! This summer season was a biggie for our family. The anticipation of our second baby arriving, our last few months spent as a family of three and an intense heat wave certainly made it a summer to remember. Wow! Those days seem so long ago already and looking back at photos of our adventures with Jasmine and ‘bump’ brings me so much joy. How is it possible that Jasmine already seems to have grown up into a different child yet again in the few months that have passed since then? I have such happy memories of our time in the hot weather, playing in the paddling pool in our garden, spending hours outside, having picnics and ice creams, going to our first ‘festival’ and boiling away in the intense heat with only a single fan in the house to keep us cool. I will fondly remember this summer of fun, the 3 of us (and bump), and the gorgeous never-ending sunshine which I’ve come to appreciate so much these days.

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Jasmine enjoying the sunshine in the garden
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Jasmine at her first festival 4 days before Summer arrived

Then there’s the other Summer, our aptly named second baby girl born during the heat wave of July this year who has transformed us into a family of four, made Jasmine a big sister and brought us all more happiness than we could have imagined. Summer is growing and changing so quickly and the weeks are flying by in a flash. She has a huge gorgeous smile, takes lovely long naps and has such an easy-going and relaxed nature (so far!) I am in absolutely no rush for her to grow up and wish I could slow down time to enjoy her just as she is, to soak in those snuggles and stare at those eyes. I already worry that my memories of her time as a newborn seem distant. Did I take enough photos? Will I remember those precious first weeks in years to come? Did I make enough time to take it all in? I haven’t recorded all the details or memorised the dates of her milestones because time just seems to have vanished somehow. (They said this would happen with baby number 2 and I guess ‘they’ must be right!) Summer will soon be 3 months old and although there is so much fun ahead of us, my heart feels a little sad that my little one is already growing up so much and there’s nothing I can do to stop it!

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Summer as a newborn

So summer is over and autumn is officially here. My newborn has grown in a flash and I’m left with a feeling of slight sadness and apprehension. The seasonal change at this time of year is always a challenge for me, let alone when the clocks change! I adore long light evenings and detest it getting dark at 4pm. I’ve noticed that with the seasons changing, my thought pattern is becoming a little negative and that is something I need to keep in check. I’m feeling disgruntled at thoughts of cold weather and the inevitable colds and flues that Jasmine will bring home from nursery and no doubt pass to her sister. I’m aware that the upcoming seasons present an even greater challenge to be productive and active and resist the urge to hibernate under a blanket every night of the week. I’m already longing for another summer of sun that now seems so far away. The transition this year is more difficult than ever because it carries more emotional significance and I feel like I’m saying goodbye to a time I will never get back again but have enjoyed so, so much. I know I need to remain positive, get outside, focus on my gratitude and move with the flow of life, which includes babies growing up and seasons changing and as always, I’m focusing on the lessons that all these feelings can teach me.

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Newborn yawns

Being your Mummy teaches me so much and no less on this occasion. This week and in this transition, I’m focusing my thoughts on these important things….

  • Practicing mindful parenting. Learning to slow down and savour those precious moments without distractions. Taking time to really ‘be’ with my children, whether it’s for half an hour or five minutes but to be fully present is such a rewarding experience but can be so hard to accomplish in today’s world of business and ‘to do’ lists.
  • Go with the flow. The seasons changing is part of life (especially living in the UK) and is also Mother Nature’s best work. Every season comes back around each year and moving with the flow of this can help me to remain tuned in to all the good things that they bring. Each season and each new stage with a baby brings about new beginnings and new things to enjoy.
  • All good things must come to an end. The glorious, precious newborn days (which I appreciated so much more this time round) may have come to an end but it doesn’t mean the memories aren’t there. The good things teach us what we love about life. For me this summer has shown me I appreciate hot weather and being outside with Jasmine and that I can strive to achieve elements of that in the other seasons too.
  • Take photos! Yes, technology is both a blessing and a curse and yes our phones can take us away from being present with our kids but I am so thankful for our ability to capture happy moments on camera with no limitations. One of my favourite things to do is look back at photos on my phone whether it’s from a year ago or a week ago and it never fails to make be smile thinking about those moments or talking about how much Jasmine and Summer have changed. Photos are a way of preserving memories both for myself and my girls.
  • Gratitude. This is the biggie! I know that when I’m feeling low or when those negative thought patterns kick in, coming back to a gratitude practice always lifts my mood. So rather than getting frustrated when it’s dark at 4pm and wishing for something else, I’m going to remember by gratitude practice. Gratitude for the change in seasons and the different experiences they bring. Gratitude for the abundant life I’m living. Gratitude for being a mother.
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Our smiley Summer

New beginnings

Jasmine fell asleep ridiculously early tonight and Summer is currently in her Daddy’s arms so I’m using this rare moment to sit here, and write. I recently came across several posts online that all carried a very similar message and one that spoke so strongly to me, I couldn’t ignore it. This message was one about doing the work in order to manifest your dreams and working out what may be blocking your ability to expand and achieve the things you can so clearly visualise but never seem able to do. Of course with a toddler and a newborn ‘time’ is not something I have a lot of, however, sometimes you can’t ignore signs from the Universe that all the right things are coming into alignment just at the right time so what better time than now to begin.

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In recent months I have written enough words to fill an entire book but the problem is these words are just stored in my head, the odd note written in my phone or as pages in my journal. They are words that have streamed out of me in a moment of pure emotion, in a moment of clarity or in the moments that follow a particular experience or conversation. Every single day I think about writing them down ‘properly’. I think about saving them somehow, sharing them with others, getting them out into the world. I think about whether my girls will read them one day and whether they would want to. Then something stops me. It’s not that I don’t want to share these words because I desperately do but there’s something there, something I can’t quite pinpoint, that holds me back. Perhaps it’s the fear of being so vulnerable, opening my heart up to the world? Perhaps it’s the work and time it will take to write these things in a way that can truly portray how I feel? Perhaps it’s the fear that it’s really just a pointless exercise and I should keep these things to myself? Perhaps it’s the fear of what people will think? Perhaps it’s everything.

I don’t really understand why my desire to share such personal things is so strong. Why do I feel that my words belong anywhere other than in my journal? What makes me someone who has an experience in life no different to that of millions of others, but one that comes with a whole narrative of its own? A narrative about my daughters and about motherhood. A narrative about women and our experiences. About feminism, about learning. About veganism, spirituality, personal growth, marriage, relationships and life. Narratives come to me almost every day and I now feel that if I do nothing with these words, at the end of the day, that would be just a big waste.

I want to keep these words for my daughters and my family so that one day they can read them and not only be able to learn about me as their mother but about themselves as young children and my experience raising them. They will be able to learn about the world as it is now with all it’s problems but all it’s beauty. The journey of motherhood, of which I am just really at the start, has truly been transformative in so many ways and to capture that is beautiful and has become my passion. It is my life and my experience on this planet and in so many ways being a mother, being your mother, is wrapped up in everything I do.

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The experience of Motherhood is a universal one. My girls, Jasmine and Summer, are unique in themselves and unique to me but my experiences as a mother are shared by millions. The highs and the lows, the struggles and the doubt, the learning and the reward and above all the love. Oh, that love!

So it’s time to start the work. I don’t want these words to disappear from my head. I want to capture them now, as they are, real, raw and authentic. They are me being vulnerable, emotional, unsure. They are me seeking growth, guidance and connection. They are me being passionate, brave and truthful. With all that, and all the fear, I question again why I feel so deeply compelled to share but then, I do know. I know the power of sharing because words others have shared have helped me. I know that words I’ve read about motherhood have brought me to tears, have made me feel less alone and part of something bigger. So part of me, a big part of me, believes that my words might just be able to help someone else too. Perhaps also, one day my words will help my daughters to carve their way through their own motherhood journey and know that I came before them just like my mother before me. If that’s not a reason to write, I don’t know what is.

This is for you my girls, my daughters, my heart.

 

 

 

My first week as a Mum of two

It’s a week now since I gave birth to Summer, in a water birth in our living room. She arrived 3 days early, catching me ever so slightly off guard as I was just settling into the idea of being pregnant for another week or so, as I was with Jasmine. Having been pregnant for a full 39 weeks and 4 days, much of that time spent with fairly crippling sickness, almost daily nausea and back pain, all of a sudden Summer was here and I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

Welcoming Summer was an absolute joy with her birth experience being everything I’d ever wanted it to be (more on that another time) but even the day after she was born I was hit by the feeling that I never quite got the chance to say bye to my bump. Which is strange to say, because Summer is here and she was my bump! But her slightly early arrival meant I didn’t stop to take in those last moments of being SO pregnant, to treasure it for those last days, to take final photos and to marvel at the female body and the transformation it goes through. In an instant it becomes a distant memory, with the squishy post partum pouch existing where Summer once lived. Although I’m enjoying the current freedoms and the novelties of all the things that come with not being pregnant, at the same time I’m strangely wanting just one more day with my big bump. One more day to waddle around, to rely on help to get up, to bask in the special capsule of time that is late pregnancy and to wonder who it is that I’ve been growing in there.

One of my last days being pregnant

Having said that, not being pregnant has already given me so many things to appreciate and enjoy. I feel energetic, light, able to move, freed from nausea. I can sit on the sofa in any position and sleep without worrying I’m going to crush baby if I roll to the wrong side. I can bend over to pick things up, climb the stairs quicker and not feel puffed out. I can help with the housework and have a spring in my step. Not feeling sick has made the biggest difference and just proves to me how sick I actually felt throughout my entire pregnancy, as now I can move freely, cook food, touch my toes, eat meals without stopping to avoid throwing up, do some yoga, stand up in less than 5 seconds and this feeling is magical too!

So here we are. Post partum with all its hormonal cocktails making you feel high on love one minute and like you could cry a river the next. My heart is absolutely bursting with love for my new baby. Maybe it’s because I know how much joy we have ahead of us, Jasmine having showed us the way with that. Even now, in this first week, I feel an unbelievable sense of love and attachment. With Jasmine around too, the time I spend with Summer is even more precious. I’m soaking in those cuddles, the smell from the top of her head, the perfection of all her tiny features, knowing full well how quickly the next stage will come and how quickly you forget what having a brand new baby is like.

Summer, just a few hours old

Everything has an ease this time around. I’m no longer a first time mum but a mum of two. As a family, we’re already in the flow of parenthood. We have meals to prep for Jasmine, naps to think about, activities to plan and nappies to change. We are already parents as we introduce Summer so we are just adding to the mix. Adding another dimension to the family flow and it feels just as if it has always been this way.

When Jasmine was born, I don’t remember having hours to relax in her first week. I don’t really remember ever feeling relaxed in those first few weeks. I remember being in love with her, staring at her and marvelling at our creation but I also remember being worried, second guessing, being in pain, trying so hard to get breastfeeding established despite it hurting so much. I remember wondering when she’d next wake up for a feed and when I’d next be needed. I remember my physical recovery after birth being slow and difficult and I remember a big sense of shock, although perhaps in hindsight I’m able to recognise that more than I did at the time! I cried a lot more and felt intense highs and lows of emotion. All very normal for a first time Mummy!

Jasmine as a newborn

With Summer, it’s so different and what fascinates me is why. Is it because I’m a second time mum and experience goes a hell of a long way? Is it my positive birth experience getting us off to such a good start? Is it just Summer being who she is and being super chill? It’s likely a combination of all those things and more.

The first time newborn experience is special all in itself, even if in comparison to this time I reflect on it as more difficult. It’s a beautiful time to welcome your first baby and start that rollercoaster of first time parenthood. To fall in love with your first baby and realise how much your life has changed. To find everything a challenge but realise everything is also a huge achievement. To become a family. A second baby is welcomed into an already existing family and so that experience will always be different. The achievements are still there, the joy and the love are still there. I’ve fallen in love with Summer instantly and it’s an overwhelming feeling of love. The relative ease of second time newborn life has me on an oxytocin overload and I’m actually enjoying it so much as opposed to willing it to get easier.

My two girls together

Summer is a week old already. For a week we’ve been a family of 4 and there’s an atmosphere of love enveloping our home. A sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride in both our girls, a sense of wonder as we compare them both, a sense of belonging, a sense that there has always been space for Summer here, in our home, in our hearts and in our family. I can’t wait for the coming months and years getting to know this little baby, who she is and what sort of personality she will develop and of course seeing Jasmine as a big sister too.

This time around truly has been a period of bliss. I can’t stop looking at Summer, stroking her soft skin, kissing her little cheeks. I can’t stop taking photos of her and telling her I love her. She’s the perfect new addition to our family and I’m so thankful that she’s here.

Baby Summer