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There’s a short vlog/synopsis at the front and then a lot of is clips from the San Antonio Botanic Garden, Sea World, and the San Antonio Zoo. There’s a lot more from the zoo…I got a little movie happy on that end. Sorry for the ad, I found a song from Free Music Archive that is supposed to be an Attribution license under the Creative Commons license but You Tube is claiming the owner is monetizing that song—so…I may revise that section soon. A little frustrating!

It’s a long one….feel free to skim around! I’ll have some other posts later this week with photos! We had a great weekend and I’ll share more soon!

Last weekend we made it out for our last camping trip of the season. It was borderline too hot and humid anyway, but we toughed it out. There was a chance of rain but nothing appeared until our drive home, thankfully. I would definitely like to visit this state park a few more times with Forest as he grows up. There’s a lot to do at the park with a ton of trails, a small nature center, plus the George Observatory. A lot of the trails were closed this weekend due to recent rains and flooding over the trails, but we made do with more of the front country trails instead. Our campsite was also much better and less open than it was at the Bastrop State Park site a few weeks ago. There were even lightning bugs just inside the woods beside our site once evening set in.

Below are the photos we took plus two videos. The first video was shot on an old point and shoot we took on the AT because we couldn’t find our ‘good’ point and shoot, but I really liked using that camera again. For a point and shoot it does really good macros, usually. The second video was shot with the Go Pro on timelapse. Chris put together the three timelapse videos we shot using the Go Pro software and I tried adding music via Windows Movie Maker but kept having issues with that so I added music via YouTube’s editor. That’s a bit clunky so I didn’t get to do the fade out I wanted and had to add in an extra window to get the music to sync at the end…oh well, it works!

These videos have been fun to make that they are inspiring me to go back to our Appalachian Trail and Florida Trail videos and merge them together into a movie.





















Remember that trip to Florida I took last March while still in my first trimester of pregnancy? Well, I took a bunch of short videos in our ghost orchid slough and meant to make a video a year ago. Well, I finally got around to putting it together tonight! It’s only a little over three minutes but it gives a fun glimpse into the slough and several great shots of healthy ghost orchids, which were unfortunately not blooming at the time. Below this video is a link to Chris’ video from when we got the sphinx moth pollinating/visiting a ghost orchid back in 2007. We got a good laugh at his National Geographic-esque narration!






In the last month Forest has decided to start doing a modified crawl. One weekend morning he just randomly started making his way towards me where I was sipping my coffee and reading the internet. I did a double take before realizing he was dragging himself along the floor and then jumped up so I could document it! I’d been waiting and waiting for this to happen and here he was, starting to really move. He hasn’t figured out how to put his knees up under him yet, but that’s coming soon I think. It’s insane how this stuff just happens overnight. I know they are preparing slowly, little changes here and there, but the big stuff just happens so fast!

He’s sitting up better each day, though not on his own yet or for long periods of time. (Err since starting this draft he’s really mastered sitting up! He can sit for a good period of time and play with a few toys and not get cranky about it. I’m loving this!) I bought a foam mat for him to play on so he wouldn’t be bumping his head on the wood floor as much as he figures out the crawling and sitting thing. Sometimes he’ll just roll to get back to where he wants to go, other times he won’t. He’ll flail about on his belly and want someone to come help him back over. It’s hard not to get into comparison mode with him and other babies of his age. Some are sitting on their own now and a few I see have pulled themselves up and are trying to stand. Forest isn’t there yet and sometimes I wonder if we’re not giving him enough opportunities to try. I know, I know—stop worrying! All in due time, right? Gah!

So, more of the all in due time thing is this solid food eating business. He’s just not into it. Sometimes I have half a mind to start baby led weaning again with him, or offering finger foods, because maybe he doesn’t like being fed. I don’t know!! Some days he eats a decent bit, other days it’s a bite or two, then closed lips and a shake of the head and pushing the spoon away. No more. I’m done, he says. So, I’m being patient…or trying. And since starting this I opted to let him try eating straight out of those baby food pouches since I had some in the fridge that had been open a few days. He really liked that option and I may look into buying the reusable/refillable pouches so maybe we’ll try food that way. On a whim I decided to offer up mushed bananas since he hadn’t had them in awhile. He ended up gagging on them—texture! He had done ok with them in the past, so I think I still need to be offering more textured/chunky items in with the purees. You know, apparently feeding a kid is some kind of science.

He has really started liking when I offer him a sip of water off of the side of a cup. He was good at first but now he’s figured out how he can spill it because he’s so excited about water so I’m having to slow down on offering him sips without a lid. One of the sippy cups we have, he’s starting to figure out. At first he didn’t like it because it didn’t have the soft nipple like a bottle, but I think he’s getting it now. The kid loves his water, which I am thrilled about! Right now I just offer a few sips after he eats a little food and that’s about it. Sometimes on the weekend I’ll try to let him have a sip of mine if we come in from out in the yard, but it depends how excited he is and if his arms are flailing about.

He recently had another ear infection and was sick for a few days. He randomly got a fever and I thought it was going to be for cutting some teeth, but no, just another ear infection. He’s been pretty healthy for awhile so I was bummed we had to go to the pediatrician once again. Now that he’s a bit older he’s now aware of the medicine even more and has come to start fighting it by closing his lips, blowing air, or turning his head. I’ll be happy when he can sip off of a spoon better and maybe we can give it to him that way instead of squirting it into his mouth with a syringe. At least he stops being hysterical a few seconds after we give the last squirt of medicine. He used to be upset for several minutes after.

Overall, he’s doing really well! He can play be himself for awhile but really likes it if you are within sight of him.

Since I started drafting this post he’s sprouted his top right tooth. The other top tooth appears to be coming but is probably going to take another week or two. He was cranky about it for awhile and on the outside it looked like it was pretty painful—swollen gums where you could see the tooth just underneath the gums for a day or two before it finally broke through.

OK, here’s a bazillion photos from the last month!

















































Chris and I first came across jeweler Dawn Vertrees at the Redland Orchid Show at the Fruit & Spice Park in Florida back in May 2008. Later that June Chris got me a ghost orchid necklace of hers for our anniversary, which I really love!

Fast forward to the morning of Forest’s birth and he presents me with the necklace above. I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile and finally remembered to get a few photos the other night. Unfortunately babies and necklaces aren’t exactly a winning combination so I haven’t worn it very much. I could wear it to work but I often forget. A few weeks after we were home from the hospital Chris showed me Dawn’s post about creating the necklace.

My husband is pretty cool! I could totally turn this into a collection. Hehehe!

I made a couple of videos to share with y’all. The first I shot with our Go Pro—still working out the kinks on that one.

Pumping Setup

Our Cloth Diapering Routine


Dear Forest,

This time last year I was celebrating my semi-first Mother’s Day. It was a little awkward, do you celebrate when you are pregnant? Apparently you do, and your dad got me some flowers and probably some chocolate. I really don’t remember, I had preggo brain and now I have baby brain. It was still weird to think that in a few short months you were going to be in our lives. We still had Samson around with Leo, and life with a kid in the house still seemed like a foreign concept.

Here we are a full year later and I can’t imagine life without you. I mean, I remember it—it was really quiet around here!!—but to have lived life with you for the last 8 months, it is strange to think that at one point I couldn’t have even imagined you.

Forest, you are the best kid we could have ever hoped for! Those two months I was home with you after your birth are slowly fading from being a vibrant memory. I wondered often if you would ever stop peeing so much because we were constantly changing your diaper! We sat together on the couch-chair for hours on end, nursing and watching bad daytime television. I knew to soak in that time with you even if I felt I was useless in so many other ways. The days just filtered by and I wasn’t really experiencing them in my usual way, but instead I sat with you curled up on me or somewhere nearby. The sun would come up and we’d nurse and the sun would set and we would nurse, but I began to appreciate all of those sunrises and sunsets of nursing with you. It was our time together and still is our time together. We’re only 3.5 months out from my 1 year goal of breastfeeding you and I can’t imagine the weaning process right now. Many moms I hear go through a little bit of a depression when they wean and I understand why. Before long you are going to want to go-go-go, toddling around the room and spend time playing and exploring. When you take to food those nursing sessions will slowly taper off.

You crack us up on a daily basis, even when you are cranky. Now that you’ve become even more aware of things you’ve been able to fight getting medicine, learning to blow air out of your mouth or close your lips tight and turn your head. It’s frustrating but adorable at the same time. We talk you through it and I think you are starting to learn that it’s ok, that the medicine in the moment isn’t very fun but it is for your own good.

Even in some of the frustrating moments I still want to hold onto you and eat you up. Sometimes you wake up thirty minutes after I get you down for the night and I’m knee deep in weeds in the garden and have to come back in and soothe you…a lot of times I don’t want to put you back down when you get settled back in and comforted. You look so sweet and peaceful all cuddled up next to me as you reach up and splay an arm out across my chest, or dreamily try to stick your hand in my mouth before you head off to sleep. The best part when we’re nursing is when you grin but your smile is hiding because you are nursing, just pausing long enough to light up your eyes and crack a smile.

The first few weeks we were home from the hospital I cried often, sad that the days had sped up, that you would no longer be so little. Today we packed up your 3-6/6 month clothes that you’ve really not worn much in the last few months. There were so many favorite outfits I loved seeing you in, but there are many more favorite outfits to come. Today I cried because soon you’ll be a year old and I’m already wondering where the time went and wondering if we spent it well. I know you won’t remember your first year of life, but I will. I may have to scratch my head when I’m 80 to think about some of the frustrating moments and I’ll look back with a gleam in my eye at the wonderful ones.

Forest, you are loved so much! I’m so excited that we have this cool little person that we get to hang out with and share and explore the world with. Your dad says I’m so patient and that I’m a good mom, but you know, I’m just doing it the best way that I know and feel I can. There’s nothing special to it all, you just have to hang on for the ride!

I love you munchkin! (and if you were awake I’d be chomping up your cheekies because you are so delicious!)





Rain Lily






I think this is Vaccinium arboreum, aka: farkleberry.






After we took down our campsite at Bastrop State Park we mosyed on over to Buescher State Park for some hiking before we headed home. I didn’t want to get home too late so we didn’t opt for a long hike. Chris put together a loop out of the park trail map that was about two miles long. Forest ended up falling asleep on the way over to the state park so I carefully managed to get him in the Ergo where he managed to fall right back asleep. It was overcast and not long after we got on the trail it started sprinkling and in the distance we heard thunder. Only in the last few months have we managed to become up to date on phones with Chris getting an iPhone. I had him check the radar to see if the thunder was going to get bad or if it was passing and it appeared to be just small green spots of light showers that would pass quickly.

We continued on the trail instead of heading back to the car at the road crossing and had a great hike after, just getting sprinkled on for a few minutes. The trail at the beginning was rather flat and along a marshy section but then once we crossed the road it was rolling with views into pretty little ravines. We dipped down to a creek and then stayed along lower ‘elevations’ for a little bit before climbing back up. It was a wonderful hike and I’d love to hike the rest of the trails at this state park. Being that it is only 2 hours from the house it is definitely something we could check out for a day hike sometime, probably not this summer. We’ll have to come back in the Fall when it cools down again.

Overall it was a great, short hike. We took a different way home, heading SE towards La Grange before cutting back up some two laned farm-to-market roads and hitting US 290 just west of Brenham. It was nice to see a different area than we normally take.






















Two weekends ago we finally went on our first family camping trip. We’ve tried to go a few times this spring but have had to cancel at the last minute for a variety of reasons. A weekend opened up and Chris was able to find a site at Bastrop State Park for one night. This state park and about 30,000 other acres were burned heavily back in September 2011. The area is very slowly recovering but much of the ‘lost pines’ that the area is known for was torched and is left standing as only canopyless pine logs. It’s pretty devastating and I can only imagine how gorgeous the area was before the fire.

The state park is about 2 hours from our house, so it is a relatively easy drive down US 290 towards Austin for us. We arrived before lunch and opted to stop at the local Buc-ee’s to pick up lunch so we wouldn’t have to worry about making lunch at camp while we set up. As this was going to be Forest’s first campout, I was worried how it was all going to work. Car camping in itself is always a big pain, it’s like setting up your own house outside for a weekend. After backpacking so long and having only what we need tucked into a pack, car camping can be a headache. Car camping with an 8 month old is even more headache inducing because now there are not only his diapers and clothes but toys to entertain him. Forest is in the stage of playing on the floor and has started crawling and I could only imagine how much fun it was going to be watching him. Yes, we had a playpen for him but he only likes being in that so long, so I had Chris pack up his walker. That worked out really great! Normally Forest gets a bit whiny after awhile in the walker but he sat in it for far longer than normal, I think because he was enamored with being outside.

After we had the campsite set up and lunch was eaten we looked at the trail map to figure out where we would go hike. The campsite still had some tree coverage, though it was rather thin, but not far in the ravines you could see the remnants of where the fire had reached. It was already reaching towards the low 90s that day and I was glad I’d recently bought some baby sunscreen for Forest. But, I’d left his hat at home. We’d been planning on putting him in our Osprey backpack carrier to test it out but Forest was also in the mood for a nap and Chris didn’t think that he’d be able to sleep in the carrier. We were also noticing that the sun was going to quickly burn the kid so we opted for the stroller on the hike instead. We’ve got a Bob stroller and have taken it on other trails before and have really enjoyed it. We figured the trails wouldn’t be that bad as trails in state parks tend to be overly maintained and almost highway like at times. Oh, we were in for it.

We drove around to the parking area for where we were going to catch the trail, there are multiple entry points and loops that can be done, and saw then just how devastating the fire had been at the park. It also revealed just how much topography the park had, something that isn’t really visible from the road. There was some terrain! Once on the trail we found quagmire after quagmire, downed logs, erosion, runoff from recent rain and from seeps. Chris tried to power through with the stroller a few times but a lot of the time I had to assist with lifting the stroller over difficult spots. As soon as we were on the trail, too, we were glad we had opted for the stroller. The openness of the lost tree canopy allowed the late April sun to beat down on us as if it was early June. It was hot and we were going to get a sunburn.

The trail was pretty nice, just not stroller friendly, but we made it. It would have been a pretty awesome hike pre-fire, and I can only imagine how goregous it had been. We had a super steep push up to the road at the end, coming out half a mile or so north of where we’d parked. By the time we got to the car we’d decided that it was hot enough for us to want to think about getting a tent canopy for the campsite and headed off to Walmart. Our other reasoning was for some respite from the heat. We piddled around Walmart for an hour or so, a store we rarely go to, buying a canopy and a hat for Forest. As we headed back for the campsite it was still early so we decided to drive the scenic Park Road 1C over to Buescher State Park. This back entry park road connects the two parks via some private land and really showed us the extent and devastation of the fire.

The drive through Buescher was great as this park had not burned. It had some pines but it was more bottomland-y in some parts than I would have expected. We decided we’d come hike over here the following day.

Back at camp we made dinner. Our go-to easy camping dinner are those Bertolli frozen meals since all you have to do is heat them on a skillet. We passed some more time putting Forest on his first playground swing and then I attempted to get him to go to sleep. He’s used to going to bed about 7pm but it’s all dark where I put him to sleep. It was not dark yet and we still had over an hour until the sun set that night and Forest was *not* interested in going to sleep. Instead we were up with him until almost 8:45 and by then I was done, too, so once he was asleep I went off to dreamland as well. Chris went exploring after we were in bed, looking for the elusive Houston toad. Their last stronghold is in the Bastrop area. He didn’t find any toads but did find that scorpion.

I’ll share our hike at Buescher soon!

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