My Dyer-E
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How June Learned To Pray

I’ve been waiting to write this post since last Tuesday.

And I know that because I was able to use Moments on my handy dandy iPhone to check the date of the pictures I took that I’m about to tell you about.

So I think I mentioned in When Motherhood Hurts how I hadn’t been that diligent at praying with June before her seizures.  We did say prayers but not regularly and she definitely didn’t participate when or if we did remember to pray with her.

Well, last Tuesday night, I witnessed something in her that kind of rocked my world.

She was running around and playing and waving at the clearance Halloween decorations I found that she was quite excited about, when she stopped and said, “Pray.”

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At first I wasn’t exactly sure what I was hearing, so I inquired, “What are you doing, JuJu Beans?”

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And she looked up at me so sincerely with those gorgeous big eyes of her and said, “pray” before folding up her little hands and rattling off a bunch of gibberish that sounded like heaven to this mama’s ears.

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She was PRAYING.

I’ve stared at the screen for a good 30 seconds because I don’t know how to get the joy in my heart into words on this screen.

I just can’t.

To see her want to talk to Jesus– whether she understands the exact of what she was doing– was so big.

So humbling.

So exciting.

Nothing has ever been a more solid testament to the fact actions speak louder than words than my very own 14 month old Baby June praying in our kitchen (with her Halloween decor standing by) after two weeks of seeing her mama pray more than she’d seen in all 14 months of  her life combined.

I’ve said numerous times since having June that I want her to know Jesus.  I want her to love Him and follow Him and call Him friend.

Those words are quick and easy to say and they sound so dang good.  I probably even felt good saying them to someone I wanted to think I was “a good mom.”

But it wasn’t until I was a HOPELESSLY LOST AND DISTRAUGHT MOM that I really preached a message my Baby June could hear.

I so vividly remember feeling the power of this lesson as a teacher.  Both at the high school and elementary levels, I watched kids of every age hear words commanded to them and ignore them and then see concepts demonstrated and modeled and be so quick to follow.

An example I often think of was when I was teaching American Sign Language to high school students.  Due to the nature of sign language, videos were used to show other signers or important ASL lessons.  When I first started teaching, I would want to grade papers or get something else done while showing them a video clip.  I learned quickly I spent more time trying to get students to pay attention to the video than I did getting those other things done.  However, one day I was showing them a clip from something I hadn’t seen in awhile myself, so I was eager and excited to see it and I wasn’t trying to do something else, but rather sincerely engrossed in the ASL video before me.  Without even trying, I had 30 students all following my lead and also very intently watching what they could visibly see I deemed important and worthy of MY time.

It was a teaching moment I’ve thought of many times since that morning in my ASL classroom at Grain Valley High School.

There were countless times I watched this same concept be so clear when working with elementary students.  One in particular would be a time that was devoted to silent reading.  This was sometimes tricky to enforce with so many active little bodies, but the single most powerful tool I saw in encouraging the students to read was when the teacher herself stopped everything else and found herself lost in a book.

The lesson is so obvious time and time again that people– from kindergarten to high school to grown adults in the workplace– often cannot hear what you’re saying because your actions are speaking too loud.

I’ve seen this to be true, I’ve believed this to be true, and here I found myself so shocked when it’s just as true for me as a mom as it was for me as Miss Dyer to high school students and Mississippi to my favorite kindergarten loves.

In the past two weeks, June has seen me pray with such passion.  The day of her seizures she saw me desperately crying out to Jesus as I was on my hands and knees in relentless prayer.  In the hours after her seizures, she was in my arms while tears poured from my eyes to her cheeks while I praised Jesus in the storm and cried out to Him to protect her.

The days that would follow she watched prayer become a staple of our family’s dinner time routine.  She heard her daddy and I speak to Jesus with hope.  She heard us speak to Jesus with fear.  She heard “in Jesus’s name, Amen” become constant before we enjoyed meals together.

Every night when she and I did our nighttime routine of snuggles and books and pajamas and lotion and then more lotion and Lord help the child that will never have dry skin, lotion once more… all of the sudden something that was an “every once in awhile” became the biggest and most important part of our routine as I prayed over her and for her.  She heard me cry out to Jesus to protect her when I couldn’t hold her during the night.  She heard me tell Jesus that she was not my own, but actually His.  She heard me speak of our love for Jesus before ending in “in Jesus’s name, Amen.”

So for a 14 month old that can count, name every Kenney kid with pretty articulate pronunciation, put 3 words together to convey a thought, and greets my parents’ very Royal scarecrow by name each time she walks by him, “Hey Ned!”… I don’t know why it caught me by surprise to see her wanting to “pray.”

I posted this picture of June praying before our meal at Chik-Fil-A today.

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We were waiting on our food when she says to me, “Mama- pray!” before rattling off her gibberish of prayers.

It literally overwhelms my heart with gratitude that I get to be her mom.

I did nothing to deserve this.  I didn’t actively teach her to pray.  I didn’t even try to model it.  I didn’t even feel bad that for 14 months of her life I kind of forgot to make prayer a priority after making it SUCH a priority to read to her, talk to her constantly, and smother her with kisses daily.

Prayer came to June’s life because it was all I had to cling to when nothing felt okay.

Just two nights ago, we were rocking in our glider in her room, and when I started to pray and June interrupted me to say, “Pray… Pa.”

My heart melted straight to the floor and with tears in my eyes, I said, “June- do you want to pray for your Pa?”

Our prayers together up until this point have never been for specific people but more about thanking Jesus and asking him for protection and health over June, so this was totally new to me, and she replied so sweetly, “Tay.”  (Her “okay” which is her favorite way of saying yes!)

So we said a prayer for Pa, but before I could finish she said, “Pray… Mammie.”

I’ll never as long as I live forget the full in my heart upon hearing June’s first “prayer requests.”

I don’t remember the day she took her first step.  I have no clue when she finally sit up after I didn’t really put her down long enough to achieve this milestone.

Those were not big to me.

But her asking to pray?  It’s rocked my world like none other.

———

“Preach the Gospel.  Use words if necessary.”

11.25.14 10 Comments

TJ Maxx Negotiations

A friend and I were talking about our weekends earlier this morning when I remembered a TJ Maxx incident I had almost forgotten about.

The previous weekend, The Shippmate bought a work jacket at TJ Maxx and we got to my parents’ house to pick up June when he realized the security tag was still on there.  You know, when I was having him model the coat for my mom.

(Also, when trying to figure out what you call the security tags, I Googled:  “what are the things called on clothes so you don’t steal them”  –I’m real eloquent and precise with my Google wording, I know– and umm, wow- A LOT of information came up on how to steal clothes and remove those things.  Eeeeek.)

(Which now that I think about it, could have been useful for us lol, but anyway…)

We weren’t turning around then and didn’t make it back to The Big City until I was there this past Saturday.

I told The Shippmate I would get things straightened out- as in the thing removed and also some sort of compensation for this annoyance.

He just grinned the grin he always gives me when he thinks I’m half crazy.  Or as he likes to call me “his wild stallion he has to reign back every once in awhile.”

I get to TJ Maxx and naturally the entire alarm system goes off when I walk in, which made me wonder how that didn’t happen when we left Saturday??!

After being stared at by everyone, I explain I have the receipt and that the security tag was left on last weekend and the worker is all- “Oh. Here I’ll take it off real quick.”

And I’m all- “No actually I am going to need to talk to someone about what we can do since my husband bought this to wear to work in the cold, couldn’t wear it all last week, and we had to drive from Warrensburg to get it fixed.”

The worker looked like she could care less about anything really but said she’d find their manager.

A good three searches of the store later with their intercom system and the female manager approaches me.  (I highlight female, because I was hoping male, because well… yeah, nevermind.)

I explain the situation and she’s nice and says, “Hmmm- I’ll give you a coupon for 10% off your next item.”

I reply, “That is actually not going to work for us.  I drove an hour to fix this situation and I’m going to need more compensation than 10% off an item.”

She looks quite surprised and both half-humored, half-annoyed as she laughs and says, “Ma’am– we don’t do negotiations here.  That is the very best I can do for you.  That’s a great coupon.”

At this point in my story, my friend interrupts to say, “Oh my gosh, Erica- were you just dying at this point?!  Like so stressed with this whole interaction!?!!?!?  I’m stressed FOR you.”

And confused, I explain- “Oh my gosh- NO!  I was exhilarated and thrilled and PUMPED UP.  ‘We don’t do negotiations’ was the perfect challenge for me to make sure today is the day TJ Maxx DOES negotiate!  I loved it!!!!”

My friend then says, “YOU ARE CRAZY.”

And then, “Are you seriously sure you’re supposed to be a stay-at-home mom???”

Hahahahahaha.

I have a feeling that here pretty soon my ability to negotiate might actually be a very huge asset in negotiations with a June Harbor Shippy, but in the meantime- I will exercise the persuasive public speaking lover inside of me at not so local clothing stores.

Oh, and about TJ Maxx’s no negotiation policy?

Not five minutes later I was walking out with a coupon quite a bit more exciting than the 10% off a single item one.

Disclaimer:  (for my mom lol)

This negotiation all happened without being rude or disrespectful to the manager.  In fact, we had a great talk while she was writing out the coupon and she complimented the way the whole interaction went down.  That part is huge to me, because I think there is a fine line between being assertive and being rude and it has to be danced upon pretty carefully.  Don’t you worry, Mama- I kept it classy for you.

11.24.14 13 Comments

Don’t Hurt Tiny Tim. Love, The Shippys

Somehow it’s only 8pm and I’m exhausted so I’m copying two FB posts from earlier this week.

I know that’s kind of cheating, so I promise for more original content tomorrow.

Repost #1:

Because I’m a mom and half crazy, at 1 something this morning I remembered June wasn’t wearing a sleeper with little footies AND I hadn’t put socks on her, so her feet MIGHT be freezing in there.

(And this is a baby that has had warm wipes all of her life and declared “ruined” by her former pediatrician so cold toes are serious business. Clearly.)

This was a real tricky dilemma because I personally hate sleeping with socks on, but my mom and Dr. Oz swear by it, and she’s just a baby, so I felt conflicted on my next move.

Despite not wanting to leave my own covers, I decided to just go on in and ensure those toesies were warm all night and snuck some little sockies on her sweet feet.

And then this morning I go and get her to see this:

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Bahahahahhaha. She’s my very own. Sorry, Grammy and Dr. Oz– June Harbor is a sockless sleeper like her Mama.

Re-post #2:

This.

This is perfection.

http://www.katebrannen.com/blog/2014/11/make-last-name-plural.html

Every single year, I’m so stressed/shocked by The Apostrophe Catastrophe.

One of my favorite parts of the post:

Q: What would adding an apostrophe do?
A: It would hurt Tiny Tim make your last name possessive.

I DIE.

This is a fabulous post in impeccable timing.

11.23.14 Leave a comment

Celebrating Nothing. And some leaves.

June and I randomly ended up at my parents’ house for breakfast this morning and then had such a sweet fall day in the leaves with our faves.

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Upon arriving at home, we were greeted with the house I’d worked to clean and get everything done and put away in from last night (we literally rolled out of bed and got straight in the car to go to Grammy and Pa’s for breakfast and The Shippmate was working all day and thus unable to mess up our house lol) and June was EXHAUSTED from hours of playing outside with Mammie, Pa, and Roman, so she was OUT.

Then I was given this little gift of a Saturday afternoon with nothing to do.

MERRY EARLY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

I actually spent a little time looking at our December calendar and realized that this weekend was the last weekend until after Christmas in which we had NOTHING on the calendar.

And as much as I love going and doing, I also adore NOTHING.

So I completely celebrated this freedom of a Saturday afternoon of nothing by lighting some candles, getting the amazing quilt my mom made June for her 1st birthday that I have yet to let June use (unless cuddling with me), turning on some Catching Fire and just enjoying every bit of the nothing and calmness of a quiet Saturday afternoon at home.

photo(1)(while watching June sleep on the monitor because that is also highly fun for me)

It. Was. Glorious.
So much so that during dinner (leftover chicken pot pie = SO DELICIOUS) I told The Shippmate that after we got June to bed, I wanted to meet him back on that same spot on the couch and finish Catching Fire under the quilt my mom made while eating monkey bread.

Thus, this is why this is kind of a non-blog.

I have a really big date about to happen on our red couch with my cozy quilt and the second half of Catching Fire.

AND THE MONKEY BREAD.  Let us not forget the monkey bread.

Happy Hunger Games to all– and to all, a good night.

11.22.14 Leave a comment

Joke’s On Me

So I decided to play this horrible joke on myself today.

June and I were dressed and cute before noon today (this doesn’t happen daily so we like to celebrate it when it does) and decided to have a Mexican lunch date together.

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Because, well:  HOT CHIPS AND FRESH SALSA.

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June and I are kind of obsessed.

So anyway, back to the cruel joke I played on myself.

I brought a book to lunch.

A BOOK, people.

Like the kind with no pictures and lots of pages and no rhymes.

You know, in case lunch was just too peaceful and serene that I needed to fill the quiet with a good read.

Because that’s exactly what you do when dining with a 14 month old.

I don’t know if I was suffering from amnesia and thought I was 25 and single with cats and no kids or what?

I was trying to text Bailey and Ryan both a pic of us at lunch saying we wished they were with us, and it was a near miracle those texts got sent but then I went dark on all communication thereafter.

And not because I was so engrossed in my book.

In fact, that Liane Moriarty book literally mocked me to my inner core as it sat untouched at the table where I did everything but read the pages of Big Little Lies.

And by everything I mean:

Cleaning up salsa spills from she who prefers to dip her own chips.  (and really does do it pretty darn well) (most of the time)

Dodging dirty looks from some “ladies who lunch” that were sitting super close to us and apparently unamused by June’s rendition of Row Row Row Your Boat.

Catching chips that were intended for the floor while trying to kindly discipline June on restaurant etiquette.

Smiling and pretending it was normal when the waitress asked if we needed anything else, and June shouted “TA-TAS!  MAMA!  PLEASE!” ….I’ll just let you imagine the looks from the “ladies who lunch.”

OH- and let me not forget when I was getting everything ready to pay and June grabbed my phone and in .2 seconds Face Timed an ex-boyfriend of mine.

Perfection.

(He didn’t answer.)

So yeah.  Still no clue on what’s going on in my book I bought a week ago and keep carrying around and not opening, but you know what?

I really doubt the story inside is half as exciting as the one I’m living.

(Which is really saying something if you know my girl Liane Moriarty and her storylines.)

Our meals are anything but quiet.  Our floor is rarely clean.  Our dinners out involve some chaos.

But I love it.

It’s the very best kind of crazy, and I’m so thankful for my wild woman of a 14 month old that makes everyday an adventure.

But seriously– I laughed the entire car ride home from lunch and I’m still laughing now before bed that I, no joke, BROUGHT A BOOK TO LUNCH.

I love when I humor myself so.

11.21.14 4 Comments

MOCKINGJAY

I insisted we get to the theater an hour early thinking it might already be packed.

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Don’t worry, we found a seat.

After I shouted: TEAM PEETA!!!!

And then: LET’S DO THIS MOCKINGJAY!


During our hour wait, we Face Timed Little Duck to tell her goodnight and my dad hijacks the camera to do this.
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I’ve never been prouder to call him my dad.

Post movie blurb:

Brilliant.

These movies are some of the very few I’ve watched transition so flawlessly from pages in a book to the big screen.

My Mockingjay Part 1 fave?

Hands down– Haymitch. He’s absolutely perfect in such pivotal moments. Woody Harrelson killed it.

Also– Julianne Moore as President Coin was spot on.

So much goodness. So much pain. So much to love.

Oh, and winner of the previews?

CINDERELLA.

I will be seeing that Friday, March 13th (I LOVE FRIDAY THE 13TH) and then Allegiant the following Friday night— March Movie Madness.

Cannot. Wait.

11.20.14 Leave a comment

I love words.

Today was such a full day, starting with a Face Time date with June’s boy Katon and my girl Katie.

This date was not planned or I totally would have had June in cuter pajamas last night in preparation and maybe had me wearing pajamas to bed.  Ha.

Best wake up date ever though.

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We love those two more than words can express.

Anyway, the day kept busy from there and ended with a houseful of people we love for gospel community.

Oh and involved this:

10372760_626115100042_1259987291064077298_nI love when The Shippmate sends me flowers at work.

I also adore our gospel community.

Tonight was so good. So rich. So real.

I love that this all gets to happen in our living room.

And as you can see, we have a BYOB policy.

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Bring Your Own Baby.

With all of the busy of our day and evening, I’ve had little time to write, so I’m going to just share three times lately when words have been huge to me.

It’s no secret I love words.

I love writing them.  I love reading them.  I love speaking them.  Shoot, despite my skills- I even love singing them.

So when people write me words, they’re so important.  So big.  So meaningful.

I love it.

Three different people I respect greatly have written me short little sentences that meant a great deal to me, and I don’t want to forget them.

The first is from a favorite friend of Ryan and mine.  Devan is seriously the guy I need to have a sister for, because I would love nothing more than for him to be in my family.  And I can’t think of any other way for it to happen at this point.

But anyway, I love Devan.  Ryan loves Devan.  My dad would love Devan if he knew him better.  We all love Devan.

I was talking to him earlier about world issues and such and then somehow we got to talking about the time I kind of stressed people out by using the phrase “badass” in a blog (oh crap- I did it again) (and then I said crap) (I can’t stop myself) and Devan says–

“I actually think you’re incredibly badass.  And that’s hard for a stay at home mom to pull off.”

Hahahahahahha.  I die at all of the goodness happening there.

Devan’s like a brother to me, and it just meant a lot.  Especially with the SAHM disclaimer lol.  Excellent.

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(Side note: If you’re kind of my age-ish and single, go ahead and send dating applications to me, and I’ll consider setting you up with June’s Uncle Dev.  He’s the best, so please don’t waste my time if you’re just looking for an average guy though.)

The second time words have been huge to me lately was from a very dear friend I have in Courtney Yantes.  She’s the most thoughtful and considerate person you’ll meet and seriously just a gem of a friend.  I appreciate her wisdom and knowledge greatly.  After reading When Motherhood Hurts, she sent me an email with the simplest of words that were priceless to the writer in me:

“I needed to read this tonight. Thanks for being obedient to write.”

Those last six words mean the world to me.

Like I kind of want to frame them.

Only a fellow writer could write those words.  That kind of thank you is from someone who gets me on so many levels.

Courtney knows the feeling of urgency to put such deep feelings into precise words in a blog.  The calling higher and bigger than yourself to write when your heart hurts.  The glory that needs to be given to Jesus when the situation is not pretty.

Honestly, I can’t even accurately articulate the depth of joy that thank you brought me.

And Court- I’ve looked for 20 minutes for a pic of us– and even have the one of us with our Ssekos on from Columbia in mind– and can’t find a single one lol!  I partially blame you not having FB and it being tricky to locate, but the fact we’ve lived states away for quite some time also doesn’t help!

Regardless– you know I love you, and I am so thankful for the friend I have in you.

The third time I was in love with a sentence was also a response from When Motherhood Hurts.

It was from my dad, so I realize he isn’t the most unbiased source, but I loved this anyway.

He wrote me an email about the blog and in that email said–

“I know you quote Beth Moore, but if she would read your blog she would be quoting you!!”

Hahahahaha.  That’s a dad talking right there, and I know it– but it still made me smile.

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Kind of because the idea of what he is saying is flattering, but more so because I know that regardless of whether or not Beth Moore would or would not quote me, I know for a fact my dad actually believes she should.

And that means a lot.

Words are powerful, people.

I’m thankful for friends and family that gift them to me so well.

11.19.14 10 Comments

My Favorite Things: New Baby Edition

A sweet mama-to-be friend of mine tagged me in a post asking what the baby necessities are.

(Is anyone else now singing The Bare Necessities from Jungle Book… or is that just me?)

Oh but it feels like just yesterday I was throwing such a post of my own out to the world wide web.

And then felt utterly overwhelmed with the suggestions and my lack of knowledge of what half of the words meant– Bobby, Bumbo, Tucks, Soothies, Buttpaste… WHAAAAT!?!?

Yet here I am on the other side of it all, and not only can I define all of those AND use them in a sentence, but someone is now asking ME for this kind of advice.

I’ve come so far.

So, Sammi- first of all, I just went through the 100+ comments on your thread of people that beat me to the answer, and WHOA.  Lots of thoughts coming at you, so let me start with:

Just breathe.  You’ll so figure it out.  Just like you have your preference of supplies for your classroom that very well might differ from a BFF teacher you love, the same will apply to your nursery necessities.

So know that everything I am saying and all 100+ people are telling you is great and helpful, but you WILL figure it all out for yourself.  I promise.

I’ve compiled my top ten (or so) favorite things for you that I absolutely loved.

But before I share those, I would like to completely put out this disclaimer:  YOU SERIOUSLY NEED SO VERY LITTLE.  If you have a car seat, two breasts, and a form of diapering, I dare say YOU’RE GOLDEN.

We all know you have a million friends though and they’re going to shower you and that sweet babe with love and gifts, so here are some things my June and I just loved:

1.  A mirror for the car.  It’s my absolute favorite.  Rear facing is going to be your life for 2 years, so I find this mirror a complete must.  We use it daily, we exchange waves, kisses, and silly faces, too.  I love it.

http://www.amazon.com/In-Sight-Magical-Firefly-Mirror-Safety/dp/B00B7M7CMO/ref=sr_1_5?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416333362&sr=1-5&keywords=baby+car+mirror

2.  A video baby monitor.  Okay, so I thought this was crazy when people suggested it, and I didn’t get one.  It wasn’t until we made the big switch from June sleeping in our room to her own room and her own crib that I borrowed a friend’s and FELL IN LOVE WITH IT.  Her monitor is sitting next to me as a I blog.  I can see she’s sleeping so sweetly, but also– I love seeing her behaviors upon waking up.  Just yesterday she woke up from her afternoon nap and spent FORTY FIVE minutes reading so happily in bed.  I never would have known she did this if I didn’t have the monitor, and likely would have went in when I first heard her waking up and totally ruined her SSR time.  Ha.  But seriously- I LOVE having a video monitor, and I plan to watch her sleep until she moves out.  You know, when she’s 35. (I’m kidding.)  (I think.)

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-Digital-Color-Monitor/dp/B007WF2PGS/ref=sr_1_4?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416333314&sr=1-4&keywords=summer+infant+video+monitor

3.  Speaking of that transition from our room to her own room and her very lovely crib… with that transition, I also bought this perfect Soother Machine!  A friend suggested it to me, and it’s fabulous.  I push the button (music and water and lights) when I am going in to start our night time routine and the music sets the mood that “nigh nigh” time is approaching.  June also loves hitting the button herself now, and yesterday while she was reading in her crib, she played the music several times. I’m a fan.

http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Rainforest-Peek-a-Boo-Soother-Waterfall/dp/B00AQAI2KE/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416333405&sr=1-2&keywords=soother

4.  This chair for eating out.  So this was a gift from a friend and something I didn’t register for or even feel totally confident I would need, but I LOVE IT.  It hooks right on to the tables at restaurants and it eliminates the million germs on high chairs and/or you wiping the restaurant high chairs down. Everywhere we go, people ask us where we got this, how to order one… it’s just so nice.  It also has it’s own tray attached so June eats right off her own tray which is so handy in restaurants.  Just had a friend email me this morning asking about it from a pic they saw on FB.  We keep it in the trunk and it’s so great.

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-Take-Booster-Seat/dp/B0072ID3UW

5.  A bouncer seat.  June LOVED this chair.  It vibrates, has some music, and was completely a lifesaver for dragging into the bathroom while I showered.  We would also sit her in it while we ate dinner– we used this thing A LOT.
An added bonus is that it makes a perfect seat for taking adorable pics in. Which is clearly important.

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http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Deluxe-Bouncer-Little-Snugabunny/dp/B00CWN3FNW/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416339651&sr=1-1&keywords=bouncer+seat

6. That reminds me of really the MOST necessary item:  EXTRA STORAGE ON YOUR PHONE.  Seriously.  If someone could invent something to stick in your iPhone that would allow the “You cannot take any more pictures” sign of death from appearing, THEY WOULD BE A MILLIONAIRE.  New moms everywhere would buy it immediately, because there is just too much goodness to video, photograph, and adore.

7. I saw several people saying how unnecessary a changing table is, and I am sure it is not needed, but I must give a big strong campaign for The Changing Table, because WE LOVE OURS.  I got a great deal on a beautiful white one from Target, and as I was reading all the people saying it isn’t necessary I was quite surprised, because I use ours all of the time.  Every diaper change, I’ve always went to the changing table where everything I need is, and it’s honestly a really sweet bonding time.  June loves laying there and when she was little she would smile and coo at us, now she still talks to us while we’re changing her, and it’s this fun little time that we all love.  I bought a mirror to go above ours, because I like looking at myself while changing a baby and saying:  WAY TO GO, MAMA– YOU CHANGE THAT POOPY DIAPER and also because June LOVES the mirror, so that’s an added fun of the process.  And I also saw a lot of hate for the wipe warmer, but we have one of those on our changing table, and love them both lol.  BUT REMEMBER:  I AM RUINING MY BABY, so seriously– maybe go with the ice cold wipes on the bum.

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8.  Disposable changing pads for when you’re out and have to change her at a store, restaurant, etc. are definitely handy.  Honestly I tried to avoid those changing table things whenever necessary though.  They just completely grossed me out, so I am all about a change in the car or my lap or really anywhere but those things.  My dad even developed a system he loves of diaper changes in their trunk LOL!  Their trunk is both huge and spotless neither of which ours is though, so it’s not something I’ve adapted myself.

http://www.amazon.com/Munchkin-Hammer-Disposable-Changing-Count/dp/B002KCMSPQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416339681&sr=1-1&keywords=disposable+changing+pads

9.  This seems silly, but this flower bath was wonderful for her first 8-9 months of life.  It’s soft, it’s easy, and it’s adorable.

http://www.amazon.com/Blooming-Bath-Baby-Turquoise/dp/B007S1T42O/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416340008&sr=1-1&keywords=flower+bath

10.  I didn’t get one of these initially but after June got pink eye and reading it can be from a grocery cart, I opted for one, and I’m really a fan.  It’s soft, adorable, and hopefully keeping the pink out of my June’s eyes.

http://www.amazon.com/Taggies-Cozy-Cart-Cover-Pink/dp/B007700SDK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416341290&sr=8-2&keywords=grocery+cart+cover+pink

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11.  Sleepers. You’re obviously going to need them but what no one told me was GET THE KIND WITH ZIPPERS!  The snaps are such a pain.  And DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE BUTTONS.  Sleepers with 18 buttons that you get all confused and have to do numerous times while potentially sleep deprived with a crying baby?!  That is a baby shower gift you give someone you kind of can’t stand lol.   Just trust me- go with the zippers.

12.  This is something I didn’t have, but have seen friends have and want to get for my next babe. It’s a baby mat that I can think of a million and two uses for and it’s just pretty dang cute.

http://www.amazon.com/Bestever-2531-Baby-Mat-Giraffe/dp/B0013FKDU8/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416334678&sr=1-1&keywords=animal+mat

13. Lastly, lip gloss.  Those first few weeks are going to be madness– there will be highs like none other and a few lows, too.  Your body isn’t going to be normal right away and you might not have time for fabulous hair or polished nails, but you know what you can put on for a very quick pick-me-up?  Lip gloss.  Every new mama needs to feel pretty in the midst of the hormones and poopy diapers and tears, and I say a good lip gloss is the quickest and most practical remedy.

So that’s my list.

I want to provide a disclaimer explaining the lack of some items you might still want but I know nothing about:

June didn’t do bottles, pacifiers, or even any kind of “lovey” that she was attached to?

This is NOT because I don’t “believe” in all of those or anything, but just she wasn’t interested (and I didn’t need to use bottles) so I am sure there is a world of those things that other people can advise you on and one day I might have to learn myself!

She also never really spit up, so I didn’t do bibs.

And we got a lot of medicinal things like “gas drops” or something that have never been opened, but some people swear by them??

My biggest OVERRATED item of all would be the Boppy. I COULD NOT FIGURE THAT DANG THING OUT.  I thought I HAD to use it for “optimal breastfeeding” and hello— what postpartum waist was that thing even designed for?!!?! As soon as I tossed it aside, I was much happier.

BUT do not throw it away, because a couple of weeks later I realized The Mom Secret that no tells you about.  The Boppy is useless for breastfeeding, but a LIFESAVER for hemorrhoids.

I’ll end on that note.

11.18.14 24 Comments

When Motherhood Hurts

The older I get, the more I realize how big of a God we serve.

I also have learned that in the trickiest and stickiest of relationships here on Earth, the closer and nearer to God I find myself.

Which is kind of tricky and sly of God, if you think about it.

About 97% of the time, I find relationships easy and fabulous and such a joy.

But not always.  There is about 3% of the time that I feel a mess trying to sort out how to love better.  How to be better.  How to understand better.

The details of those situations aren’t important, because we all have them.

I once read a Beth Moore quote that said if you don’t have a difficult person to love in your life, chances are you’re not getting out enough.

Ha.  Which is probably about right.

But the glory of God is so vivid in those tricky relationships.  It’s unreal.

After everything that happened with June and living what I would say was the single worst day of my life to date, I felt so incredibly grateful for family and friends that just overwhelmed us with kindness, prayers, and such extravagant love.

Amidst a really horrible situation, the love extended to us was so big.

After life calmed down and returned to a sense of normal and because I’m me and too observant for my own good, I will be so honest to admit I noticed a few– a very, very few– people that didn’t extend the prayers, the love, or the support I would have expected.

I was also running a fever of 102, sick as a dog with mastitis, still worried about my baby, and a whole lot of sleep deprived.

You add all of those together and clearly– emotions are high and feelings are absolutely sensitive.

So I get that.

But even now– feeling well and after having a fabulous Monday with my little fam, I still will own that I would have expected more.  I would have treated those few people different if it was their baby in the hospital with such a scare.

And man– that HURTS.

Here’s the thing about being a parent that no one tells you at your baby showers.

What that baby feels… what makes her hurt or cry or confused or sad… oh sister- you’re going to feel it TIMES TEN.

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If I’m in the hospital and sick and stressed, eh– that’s one thing.  But MY BABY!?!?  My Baby June?!!  You don’t ignore that.  You don’t not care about her.  You don’t not pray for her.

It unleashes this very primal Mama Bear inside of me that says SHE IS MY BABY– SHE IS 14 MONTHS YOUNG AND WAVES AT EVERYONE– YOU BETTER WAVE AND SMILE BACK AT HER.

OR ELSE.

People, this motherhood thing feels like war.  I will fight for her.  I will absolutely not be okay with someone not acknowledging my flesh and blood and favorite baby girl is hooked up to monitors and needs a dang prayer.

I’ve talked this feeling through with my Shippmate and a few faves of mine, parents included.  They smile at my fire and know this is me being me.

They’ve reasoned and rationalized and been annoyed with me, too.

But tonight I had a bigger talk.  I had a talk with God.

I was holding June asleep in my arms and praying over her like I do nightly now.

I will admit it– I didn’t pray over her or with her every night before her seizures. I took her perfect health for granted.  I absolutely did.

But now, I pray.  I tell God— “She’s not mine.  I hate it, but it’s true.  I trust You because You love her more than me (even though this feels impossible) but God, You have to wrap your arms around her when she sleeps.  You have to.  I need You.  She needs You.  We’re so unworthy and yet, we love You so much.”

Tonight before my final plea to God before I set her in her crib, I just started talking to Him about the little bit of anger/annoyed I had floating around from just those less than a handful of people that I thought should have cared a little more.

I said to God, “God– I will still be kind to them. I will still celebrate their big moments, pray for their hard ones, and be the kind of person to them I should be… the kind of person I want to be actually… I’ll do that because it’s what Jesus would do.  But it’s not fair.  IT IS NOT FAIR TO NOT CARE ABOUT MY VERY OWN BABY.  My own child that I thought I was going to lose.  How could someone be more worried about something personal and not able to care about something so precious… You just can’t even know how that feels…”

And right there it hit me.

The answer no friend, no parent, no Shippmate could give me in our conversation.

The answer only God Himself could put so abruptly and perfectly on my heart.

Right as I was feeling  so Christ-like by saying, “I’m going to love when I haven’t felt loved…. I’m going to be kind when I didn’t feel kindness because that is what Jesus has done for me over and over”… I was feeling pretty holy and pretty much like God was about to say, “YOU ARE SO RIGHTEOUS AND AWESOME, ERICA!!!”

Instead, He says to me, “I don’t just hear your heart, Erica, but I’ve lived and felt your heart.”

GOD— who gave HIS SON for MY sins?!

Of course He might know a thing or 152 about desiring people to care a little more about His child.

This is where God is so good.  This is where I absolutely believe God allows pain for His glory.

I rocked my sleeping Baby June with tears in my eyes.  God knows my heart.  And what always humbles me so earnestly to the cross in these moments is that in the relationship with God… I’m the difficult one to love.

I’m the one that forgets to care about His Son that has suffered so much.

I’m the one that lets my life be bigger than the life of God’s one and only Son that He loves so much.

And not only that, but I’ve also hurt people I care about!  I’ve not cared enough for people when I should have.  I’ve not done enough.

Our pastor once said, “Forgiveness only makes sense to those who need forgiven.”

And I desperately need forgiven, so I will daily choose to forgive.

It won’t be easy.  I won’t be perfect.  I might have a moment when Mama Bear comes out in me and I feel justified because y’all– IT’S MY BABY… but in those moments, I will feel the most near to a God THE FATHER who doesn’t just hear my pain, but He gets my pain.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
-John 3:16-

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
-Mark 11:25-

11.17.14 42 Comments

Three Generations of BFFs

This afternoon my mom and I had the extreme pleasure of reuniting with our neighbor/BFFs from our times together living on The Hill.

Tiffanie and Leanne were our besties before besties was even a thing.

We grew up together, played endless hours together that truth be told sometimes involved both silently reading together in bean bags lol, spent the night at each other’s homes all of the time, and just had the kind of childhood friendship you read about, see on movies, and hope your own kids can experience one day.

Since our favorite girls moved away when I was in the 3rd grade, we kept in touch but REALLY picked back up due to the dearest ol’ Facebook.

Tiffanie made my day by coming in for my wedding in 2010, and then she and Leanne followed my pregnancy with the precious love and enthusiasm that felt like family AND THEN my mom and I got a four way phone call from our girls last winter that my BFF was pregnant and due almost exactly one year later to the day from when June was born!

It was so very, very fun to get to follow Tiffanie’s gorgeous and glowing pregnancy, and I was so excited to finally meet her beautiful Emily!

Juniper Harbor didn’t quite know what to think of Emily being in HER swing and laying on HER Mammie’s blanket (I die– my child is such a fireball and I can’t even help but adore it) so she actually got kicked out of our party and went with Pa to visit her GGW lol.

I could have visited and caught up with Tiffanie and Leanne all evening.  It was so sweet to see my mom and Leanne as giddy to visit as Tiffanie and I were, too.

As an adult, I’ve really recognized and appreciated the way my mom modeled what it looked like to be a great friend to others as I was growing up.  I always saw my mom surrounded in the best of friendships, and I often think of her influence in putting a priority on community and solid relationships on my own adult friendships and relationships I’m so thankful for today.

Leanne and Tiffanie are the kind of friends that genuinely feel much more like family, and it makes me so happy that our afternoon was spent with three generations of BFFs.

Emmie and Junie just don’t know it yet, but with this kind of love of a legacy– they’re bound to find themselves participating in their own SSR in beanbags one day.

I just know it.

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11.16.14 5 Comments

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