I have always adored VBS.
As a kid growing up, I would go to multiple Vacation Bible Schools at different churches, just because I loved the all week Jesus celebration so much.
This love continued on through youth, as I was so eager to get to lead Bible stories, work with the kids, and be on stage dancing to crazy songs.
And then as an adult, annually, it’s been a favorite event of mine in the summer– often as the MC in charge of opening and closing or Bible story or even last year as the 8 month pregnant recreation leader.
This was my first year as a mom. Meaning my love for kids and spending time with them came at a price. I’ve never once cared about spending several hours daily for a week loving kiddos to Jesus– in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve been known to say I wish it was LONGER. And yet, this year, when it meant leaving June for several hours 5 days in a row, things felt a bit different.
It may not have helped that it also was in the evening, which was awesome for allowing more kids the chance to be there, but it also meant I was gone from 5-9, which are prime Shippmate hours. I’m not afraid or embarrassed to admit that I’m just a much happier camper when I get time with my man at night. I love the conversations we share over dinner. I cherish the fun June, Ryan, and I have together playing outside, going on walks, getting ice cream, reading books… the three of us have such sweet adventures together.
So with family dinners not happening and my time with my favorites absent from the week, my heart just wasn’t adoring VBS like it used to.
Which felt SO wrong. So foreign.
I wasn’t not having a good time, because truly, I can’t be with a bunch of kids, fun songs, and lessons about Jesus and NOT have a good time, but it wasn’t the same excitement I’ve always had.
Wednesday I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and stressed that my eat-at-home meal plans had been pushed to the side with our new schedule, June’s naps a little hectic, and I just desperately wanted to be home with my Shippmate and Baby June. I got to church and started preparing for my lessons and even text some best friends to pray for me. I truly have the best of friends and family, because while their replies all varied (ie: “Ah Vacation Baby Sitting” and also very sincere ones about Satan attacking me because he knows I have much to offer VBS and then ones that said: “You’ve got this! They’re just kids after all and they will love you no matter what”) each one of them really did mean so much to me. I felt their prayers and decided to not try to get 70 kids (ranging from ages 5-7) in one class to successfully figure out their Evidence Kits that the 10 year olds struggled with at first, and rather just get up there and TALK TO THEM ABOUT JESUS.
A novel idea, I know.
A novel idea that felt SO right. So perfect.
It was without props and supplies and decoders, but it was straight from my heart that Jesus was working in and through.
As the night went on, I felt a familiar feeling of being swept off my feet in love with watching kids be so on fire for God. It was everything I knew it should be.
Tonight was even better. I completely skipped the game and part of the lesson that involved tying things together to form a puzzle and used the gift God specifically equipped me with to lead the Bible Story portion of VBS– my awesome ability to speak into a handheld microphone.
Rather, I used the ability He gave me to look out into a group of kids and just meet them on their level. To talk to them about Him. The difference He has made in my life.
To be real and honest with them about times I’ve messed up. Missed opportunities.
Tonight, I saw eyes connect with my heart in a way that could ONLY be Jesus’s doing. I’m not capable of that kind of awesome. I’m just not.
Especially not when my heart has been half at home with June and Ryan this week.
This week has been big. I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat it and pretend like this has been my FAVORITE VBS WEEK EVER.
Because it hasn’t. Not because the people around me aren’t doing a stellar job. (Because they are.)
Not because the theme isn’t SUPER SECRET AGENT AWESOME. (Because it is.)
And not because Jesus didn’t show up at our VBS. (Because He so did.)
But because life for me is a bit different. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to completely be engulfed and lost in love anywhere quite like I could before a piece of my heart was walking (crawling) around in a June Harbor Shippy form.
Every night of VBS, I have found a little baby about June’s age and just had to go love on them. It’s always either right at the beginning during drop-off or at the end when parents and little Baby June size kiddos are there for the closing waiting to pick up their student. Every time I do it, a piece of my heart just melts and I swear I see something of June in those babies.
Tonight I had talked to my mom and heard June was having such a fabulous night with her Grammy and Grandpa– going to an auction and Bobby’s and McDonald’s for ice cream and seeing half of Odessa at all of those places– so I knew she was so happily in the best of hands. And yet, all of that made me miss her so intensely. I actually saw a little baby boy– Zane who is 8 months and sweet as can be– and as I stood there waving and smiling at him, something came over me and minutes before I was going to be on stage doing announcements (ANNOUNCEMENTS? WE LOOOOOVE ANNOUNCEMENTS) I found myself hurrying off to a bathroom stall to just cry my eyes out real quick.
I just wanted to be holding my June.
And yet, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I could not feel more confident that God used me to teach those students tonight.
But still, I desperately missed June. As my mom had told me that June had been perfect all night– social as can be, dancing for people, talking to everyone, using her words including the latest thing I taught her “wa-wa” for when she wants her water, I just wanted to run so far away and never miss a second of anything she was doing!
It was this terrible pull of a feeling that I can’t quite describe, because I had just had the most Jesus inspired Bible studies with my kiddos and yet… there was a literal piece of me at the Odessa McDonald’s having the time of her life with her grandparents and I needed to be there, too!
This feeling has been so important for three reasons:
1- I cannot say with enough sincerity that I’m so in awe of my working mom friends. Seriously. No, not just “seriously,” but also SINCERELY. The world wants to put us at odds against each other, as if SAHMs and working moms can’t all see to eye-to-eye and just accept each other in this beautiful calling of motherhood, but I believe we’re bigger than that. I respect you and your family for making the decisions that work best for you guys. I really do. And with the tiniest of tiny glimpses of what you might feel for your baby when you’re at work (and they’re probably not with grandparents that are around Junie more than some parents and the two people outside of myself and Ryan that I have complete trust in) my heart goes out to you in such a big way. It’s because you’re missing your babies, that you’re able to teach other people’s babies, heal other people’s babies, advocate for other people’s babies, and so many other important jobs that you do so well. I’m so proud of you for making sacrifices to do what you do.
2- I’m so beyond thankful I have the opportunity to spend every single day– every single moment– with my Baby June. 4 days of being gone 4 hours from her and I’m in a bathroom stall crying after seeing Baby Zane and all of his cuteness. I didn’t know that I could appreciate my time with June more, but after this week, I have a new appreciation– a new grateful– for every moment I get to spend being her mom.
3- The final and most important realization of all was that while I’m having such a hard time being away from my baby girl, I’m at VBS to teach kids about a God who allowed HIS Son to DIE… ON A CROSS… FOR MY SINS.
As I processed this thought this evening on my drive home from Agency D3, I felt so overcome with emotion.
All week long I’ve taught Biblical truths that feel as natural to me as breathing— Yes, Jesus IS God’s Son… Yes, Jesus IS More Than Just A Good Man… Yes, Jesus’s Death WAS Real… Yes, Jesus IS Alive!
These are just obvious truths, but yet when I stop and REALLY process what had to happen for me to be allowed the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven… that a Father had to sacrifice His Son???
It’s too much.
What kind of love can do that? When my love barely wants to sacrifice hours away from my daughter while she is with her Grammy and Grandpa and happy as a peach?
It was the best of reminders that my God has given me everything and that kind of kindness doesn’t just lead me to repentance, but that kind of kindness also sets my heart on fire with such an extravagant amount of love that I must reciprocate!
I’m so unworthy of God’s love. And yet, He lavishes it on me as if I’m the most worthy.
I can teach these truths to 5 year olds, but when it comes right down to it, I can nearly miss them myself.
God loved us so much that He was willing to give up His own Son.
In the smallest of returns, tomorrow evening it will be my joy to finish such a meaningful and important week of Agency D3.
Join me tonight in praying for the hearts of all of the sweetest of agents I get to teach one last time tomorrow night!
“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.“
Earlier this afternoon, I was fortunate enough to be waiting in line for a QuikTrip bathroom when in walked a furious mom and a stressed out 11ish old girl that was being told:
YOU WILL CHANGE YOUR HORRIBLE ATTITUDE OR WE WILL TAKE YOU HOME. YOU WILL NOT RUIN THIS VACATION FOR EVERYONE. ESPECIALLY CHESTER WHO IS NOW MAD AT ME.
The mom was fuming and I’m sure much to her horror, the daughter looked about like she couldn’t care less.
About her attitude problem or ol’ Chester.
While I was willing the dang people in the stalls to hurry the heck up so I could not be interrupting this mother/daughter moment, I actually enjoyed reminiscing of a summer back in 1998 when me and my poor prepubescent hormones might have been ruining a vacation all of our own.
I contemplated sharing this with them but didn’t want to interrupt the argument about why it was totally unfair that Chester wouldn’t give her Kool-Aid, but truly– what is a family vacation without someone threatening to end it?
We had driven what seemed like a million hours to Colorado in a tiny car with no AC and Atticus continually pestering me in the backseat causing us to fight (of course it was all his fault lol) until my dad lost it and as we were minutes from the blessed destination exclaiming-
THAT’S IT. WE ARE DONE AND I AM TURNING THIS CAR AROUND AND WE ARE GOING HOME.
I truly can barely remember the Rockies, but I will never forget looking at Atticus and wondering if Dad seriously would end the trip right then.
As you can see, he didn’t.
Rather, we got out and took a picture and looked like a completely functional happy family with siblings that love each other so much they wear matching Show-Me State shirts in solidarity for the joy of backseat bonding.
Because really– exchanging a fearful glance with the brother that has annoyed you since Kansas that maybe we really did push The Parents too far this time?
Those– those, sweet friends, are the memories that will last a lifetime.
I just hope my bathroom friends– and Chester, too– make it past Blue Springs to make a memory or two more that will one day allow that QuikTrip pep talk to come to mind with a laugh and the fondest of memories.
Happy Vacationing Season, Friends.
Try to threaten your kids you’re turning around and/or leaving them at a random QuikTrip at least once while on your trip that is all about family bonding. It really only makes sense.
Just ask Chester.
As I was feeding and rocking Junebug to sleep, I was making a mental checklist of what needed to happen before I could find myself also blissfully asleep, and right near brushing my teeth and prenatal vitamins was REUNITE WITH MY BOOK FRIENDS.
I’d been gone and having so much fun on a Sunday date with my Shippmate that I hadn’t had a chance to read all day, and naturally– I was missing the characters of my book.
Interrupting this really important mental list was a little Junie that was more squirmy all of the sudden than sleeping, and she started motioning to be put down on her carpet where she then scurried right over to her bookshelf.
Before I could even make it over to her, she had very carefully pulled down the two books on her shelf of some hundred books that have dogs in them and started saying, “DOG. DOG. DOG. MAMA- DOG.”
(She’s obsessed with dogs and as a very cat-lady that has never had interest in owning a canine, I HAVE NO CLUE HOW THIS HAPPENED.)
Thinking maybe 10:35 is more of a time I should encourage snoring than literacy, I couldn’t help but think that maybe she, too, just needed a few minutes before bed with her book characters of puppies.
Oh, I wish everyone in the world could read a book to June.
She literally points at each dog– nevermind the cats in the books that she could care less about lol– claps for them, squeals in delight, gets her whole body so excited she kind of bends at the waist with full body enthusiasm that looks like she is trying to jump up and down, and then kisses the dog with a huge smile and giggles at herself for the entire giddy process.
It’s painfully wonderful. It literally hurts watching how adorable she is.
We read both books five times each before she crawled in my lap with a yawn and let me know she was good to go for bed now.
There are constant glimpses all day long of the proof she is my very own, but a little reunion with the book characters she had missed all day like I’m about to have myself? (I’ve missed you Shea and Coach and Ryan James…)
Oh, it’s the best of reminders that I have a baby girl that is learning to love books and stories and characters that feel like friends just like her mama.
I’ve never been so proud to say, “Like mother, like daughter.”
Oh my baby girl.
You’re literally more fun with each and every month.
I remember lots of people telling me when you were 4 or 5 months old how about 9 months is when things start to get REALLY fun. Which didn’t really make sense to me, because I already thought you were as fun as a baby could be, but oh my Junebug.
Seriously– everyday you are more and more of this precious little person that has such a huge personality and I just cannot communicate to you what a complete joy it is to get to be your mom. The fact I get to spend everyday with you makes me an unreal amount of happy.
BUT, this month I can’t get all sappy and go off on a tangent like I have the past couple of month’s letters, because I want this letter to focus on EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING!
So, it’s going to be less sweet talk and more facts! Facts all about the marvel and wonder that is June Harbor Shippy at 10 months new.
Let’s jump right in with all of the incredible things about you I just have to remember always:
June, I’ve never in my life seen someone have so many kisses to give out. Honestly, this is just one of the ways in which I know you’re my very own, because I often over-love people and sometimes even straight up overwhelm people with my intense expression of love, and girlfriend- YOU ARE YOUR MAMA’S DAUGHTER. You will literally kiss someone 10 times and STILL extend your little mouth for ANOTHER. Just last week, we went to Powell Gardens with Grammy and GGW and then came back to have lunch that Grandpa made. You’d been with Grandma Wanda all day and when it came time for her to leave, you gave her a good-bye kiss at the door. And then another. And then another… and June, I kid you not- 9 kisses later we had to just let GW leave!!!!
You LOVE kissing people. When you and I walk out the door to go somewhere, you will literally spot the mailman, a random guy walking on the street and motion toward them with your kiss face just dying to kiss them. It’s seriously the best thing ever. And no matter how much people try to encourage a “blow of a kiss” to be sufficient, you have no business settling for such a mediocre display of affection. You want the REAL DEAL.
Grammy says part of this might be because I will kiss you all day long lol. If you want a kiss, I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and make that happen. Because, well I mean, why wouldn’t I?! Hahaha.
Your daddy is not much better… just a few mornings ago, you woke up and I brought you to bed to feed you. Your daddy was still sleeping before his alarm would go off shortly before work, but you spotted him and had your mouth ready for a kiss. I figured I should let him sleep, but June Harbor, you were NOT giving in, so I whispered to him to see what was happening, and he tried to blow you a kiss, and you just extend your little open mouth kiss face more emphatically as if you’re literally saying, “Nice try, Daddy- I need a real kiss!” and sure enough, that dear Shippmate of mine half sleepily pulls himself over to give you the kisses you desired. And when he did? Oh my gosh, June- your face LIGHTS up as if you’ve just won a million bucks. You are so over the top lovable AND so over the top loved right back.
I want to remember always the very dramatic way in which you loved out loud (a favorite phrase of your mama’s) even at 9 months old.
2. “Bidda bid bid duh”
So this is my favorite little phrase of yours, Juners. It CRACKS. ME. UP.
You say it with the cutest little sounds and ahhh- it is making me smile just picturing the way you look and sound when you are doing your “bidda bid bid duh”… I LOVE IT!
3. Your 1st Royals Game!
We figured the Royals coming home in 1st was a very appropriate game to make your 1st night out at The K. I had been talking to my dad (Grandpa) about how I wanted your first game to be with him there, too, and then we all decided to go for Father’s Day. When we made these plans, the Royals weren’t doing so great and tickets were cheap and readily available… which would have been when we should have bought them lol! But we didn’t, and with it being a Friday night game, Buck Night, fireworks, and the Royals coming off their best winning streak since 1994, it was quite the adventure getting tickets for the whole fam. (Except for Grammy, because she had committed to helping a friend, but wanted us to go ahead anyway. We missed her! And she missed being there, for sure.) Anyway, so your grandpa came over after I was feeling a bit stressed trying to get tickets all squared away for everyone and helped and I’m so glad we made it happen, because it was such a great time.
You and Roman could not have been better babies at the ball game.
You were so good, so patient with the major hot weather, and it just was the kind of night you love spending with family at at the ballpark.
And as you can see, you already very much know how to cheer for our boys in blue.
Future KCrew girl? I say YES!
4. Your 1st crush(es)
Oh my Juniper. Girl- the same part of your personality that will wave to everyone in the room and want a kiss from them, too, also seems responsible for the way you in your 10 month old little chubby bodied self can already flirt with our neighbor boys as if you were sixteen. It’s beyond adorable… and a little scary for your daddy lol.
We have the 3 cutest little boys that live directly across the street from us in The New House and they are ALWAYS outside– truly- I don’t even know if they own an iPod or any other technology. As I watch them and their dad play every version of ball and catch in their yard and in our quiet little street, I sometimes check the calendar to see if we moved back to the 1950s. I love it so much, as do YOU, my dear. You stand at our window and talk to them, try to kiss them, and motion for me to take you outside to see them. And June, the MINUTE we get out the door, you’re cranking your neck back with your mouth wide open for me to take you to kiss them!!!! And when they make little kissy faces at you (bless their sweet souls) you smile this devilish little smile like you just got exactly what you wanted! It’s unreal the personality emerging from your tiny body. I couldn’t love your flirty little grin more.
5. WORDS! Words you are speaking to me, WORDS!!!!
Okay, so your dad and I have always laughed at parents that say their baby is “so advanced” and then would proceed to tell us stuff like, “They can count to three already” lol. Because we weren’t parents and we’re kind of horrible people and found this a little comical always.
And then you came along.
And we had this running joke where we’d always sarcastically say, “Our Baby June is SO advanced.”
And we’d laugh.
Except now sometimes we don’t laugh and we say it seriously and then we have to make fun of each other.
It’s a lovely game.
So I’m full on prepared for The Shippmate to be teasing me about this later when he reads your letter, but June- YOU HAVE SO MANY WORDS THAT YOU KNOW!
It’s very “advanced” of you, if I do say so myself. Hahahahaha.
No, I don’t know if it is or isn’t “advanced,” but I just know it seems so incredibly impressive to me.
Ball, Dog, Tree, Mama, Dada, Hi, Bye, No-No and sometimes Literature when you want to read.
Okay, so I’m kidding on the literature lol. But I did leave one word off, because it’s not the nicest word. It starts with an S and ends with a HIT.
Yeah, so I don’t even know WHAT that is that you’re trying to say, Juniper Shippers, but it’s one of your favorite words lol.
And you say it often enough that quite a number of people look at me and say, “Did she just…”
I can only smile and say, “I know– isn’t she so advanced?”
6. Dancing Junie
When music is on, there will be dancing from your big booty. It’s hilarious and wonderful and according to someone at this concert last night, “very with the beat.” Which would be your daddy coming out in you, because I struggle to clap with the congregation at church when us crazy Baptists decide to add some spunk to our worship.
7. Social Bug
I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but you’re just over the top social. You wave to EVERYONE. You smile at EVERYONE. You LOVE people.
When your pediatrician (Kirby-Diaz, the one we LOVE) walked in for your 9 month appointment, you waved so big at her and she waved back and said, “Well hello, June- I see you’re already meeting your 1 year social milestones of big waves. Look at you, Miss Smartypants!”
Need I explain more why we love her? Did she call you RUINED?! Nooooooo.
The social part of this letter would also be a good time to touch base on your complete love for your PHONE! Bobby and Dee found those phones for you and Roman, and you LOVE that phone so much! You’re constantly calling your friends, and if you hear a phone ring, you immediately put your hand of a pretend phone up to your ear and start talking! It is beyond wonderful.
Now, I can’t wait for you to learn how to TEXT! Hahahahaha!
8. Speaking of that social butterfly within you, during this past month, you had an exceptionally amazing day in terms of your ability to be happy for a longer amount of time than most adults lol. It was the beginning of this month actually, because we had just moved, and your dad and I wanted to get some stuff done here at the new house, so I drove you to Grammy and Grandpa’s house before church because they offered to take you with them to see your cousins Chloie, Avery, and Adi Morgan dance at their recitals. I was a little nervous about this idea, because Mom and Dad would be sitting through HOURS of dancing. And I was throwing a baby in the mix, but they were — as always– willing and sure it would be great. And June– you went from 9:30am until 9pm and were happy ALL. DAY. LONG. You sat the recitals and waved and clapped and enjoyed every bit of it!??! Honestly I don’t think this even would have been possible if you were with me, because you would have wanted to eat, but Grammy and Grandpa just love on you so much and kept you so busy and excited that you had the best day. They were in such disbelief at how perfect you were, Junie.
9. FaceTime being tricky…
One night, Grammy and Grandpa had been on sweet adventures with you all afternoon and were about to bring you home, so Grammy decided to FaceTime me so I could say hi and see how much fun you were having. And oh June, the ol’ Face Time that used to be funny to you has become confusing because your little mind is more aware and so when you saw my face pop up, you signed for me to pick you up and then got so mad I couldn’t hold you! It was so sad, but also so cute, because it was evident that you’re figuring things out and when you see me, you want to be able to climb in my arms! Not a couple of weeks later, I was talking to your Grammy on the phone, and I decided to FaceTime her to show her something funny you were doing. I did it just for a second and then ended the call, and when we said good-bye and I love you to Grammy and then hung up without you getting to hug her, YOU WERE SO MAD! You looked at me with this scrunched up growl of a look and started pounding on the phone like, “Bring her back!” It cracked me up, and I decided we’ll wait awhile to try FaceTime again!
10. Just Around The River Bend
Last but certainly not least is your favorite song! Which can I just say I feel like the best mom in the world when I know little things about you that no one else knows, ie– your favorite song on the Disney Princess CD that I bought and loved way before you were born.
While you’re the happiest baby and such a dream 99 percent of the time, your 1 percent of annoyance would have to be with the car. Most of the time, you ride along happy as can be playing with toys, looking in your mirror, telling me stories about the bidda bid bid duh, buuuuut every now and then, you revert back to your newborn ways and JUST WANT OUT! And when that happens, there are a couple of remedies… sometimes Cheerios will work, sometimes me reaching back there and holding your hand will work, but the best (and safest) answer to your anger with the car ride is #4 on Mommy’s Princess CD. While you nor I have ever seen Pocahontas, she is the magical princess that can sing away your sorrows. It works like such magic that your daddy couldn’t believe it when I demonstrated for him. Your little eyes light up, you relax in your carseat, and sing of all that lies just around the riverbend. It’s so great.
Almost as great as the way I’ve noticed in such situations that your daddy looks at me in awe.
It’s this look that shows me how very impressed he is with how well I know you and love you and take care of you.
It’s the best look in the world, June.
I’m so thankful for you and all of the joy and bidda bid bid duh you’ve added to this family.
You’re incredible, you’re one-of-a-kind, and shoot, I’m going to go all out and say it- you’re advanced, my Baby June.
I love you,
So I’ve heard of moms who go to Wal-Mart late at night after the kids are in bed.
Ryan was heading to bed, June had been in bed for an hour or so, I wasn’t particularly tired yet, and I had put off grocery shopping long enough that I had to feed June a frozen blueberry pancake this morning, so I thought- “Hey. Maybe I can be one of those moms.”
Ryan bid me farewell, and I headed to Wal-Mart for what I thought might be a really quick and peaceful midnight shopping experience.
On the contrary.
So, first of all– I had to move a ton of boxes to get to anything on the shelves, because everything was out to be stocked.
Second of all, Wal-Mart was at an all-time creepy at midnight. I swear, every person I saw tonight looked like they were running away from someone. A few people were literally sprinting through the aisles, for a reason I still am unsure. Many people were missing shoes and/or shirts, which I guess is okay at this hour. And still a few others were having very public domestic disputes on their cellular devices. All I could hear as I moved boxes to find my marinades (that during the remodel were moved several aisles down) was Miranda Lambert singing of her refusal to hide her crazy.
And third of all, there are no registers open at midnight. I’m not even kidding. When I inquired about this, the worker that wasn’t at a register said it was someone’s weekend. Those were the exact words: “It is someone’s weekend.”
I didn’t even bother trying to figure that out since today is Tuesday, but I had way too many items to do self check-out, so I found someone I still am hoping was a worker to check me out on tiny aisle 18 that had a little bell on it for someone to ring if they needed him and instead of moving the bell for me to unload my groceries, he let every grocery I put down ring the bell.
Every. Single. Grocery.
RING. RING. RING.
Finally, I was leaving and the parking lot seemed extra scary causing me to unload my groceries at a lightening speed before sprinting to put my cart up.
It was a real joy of a time, but wait- it gets better.
I had a text from Ryan checking on me, which I found incredibly sweet, and then as I was pulling in the driveway, I saw another text that said- “Are you coming home?”
So, because I am Me, I thought, “Oh my gosh- I cannot believe him– he waited up and is doing something sweet to surprise me for our anniversary!! Hmmmm… what could it be? Maybe he is going to play the song he wrote me for our wedding? Or have our first dance song on? Or maybe he is just waiting up to help me unload the groceries?? That Shippmate… he’s the best…”
My brainstorming was suddenly interrupted as I opened our front door– groceries in hand– to hear not the sound of sweet Shippmate serenades– no, no– it was more like the sound of sweet June Harbor crying out for her mama!
Apparently, Bug woke up wanting some milk that was at Wal-Mart (and not the 2% variety, if you know what I’m saying) and had kept Ryan up ever since.
The Ol’ Shippmate was not too happy and said, “Why do you always go to Wal-Mart at midnight???”
I was all, “Uhhh, this is the first time I’ve ever done this…”
Ryan: “No, you leave us all of the time.”
I think he was talking in his sleep, because I literally never leave at late hours, because I am actually quite the scaredy cat and only did this act of bravery in an attempt to have food to feed my child tomorrow morning.
I didn’t feel the need to clarify to a very tired and annoyed Shipper, so I sent him on his way to bed (sans the anniversary surprises lol) while June and I finished unloading the groceries and found her some of the mama’s milk her little heart desired.
The groceries aren’t all put away, but I’m too tired to get to that now.
I guess I’m not one of those moms that likes to go to Wal-Mart after everyone is in bed after all.
I’ll stick to my midday routine. It’s just safer for everyone that way.
PS: You know what? I didn’t see one other mom there at midnight. Ha. Maybe it’s an urban legend.
Oh Dear Dyer-E.
Life. It’s been a little less than lovely for us this past week.
We started the bad times off last Saturday night with June having an allergic reaction to some perfume and landing us in the ER.
(Which for the record, I’ve called the Warrensburg hospital three times now, Ryan’s called twice, we’ve left three different voicemails, and no one will call us back and/or answer our calls about us paying them. Clearly, that means they’re trying to cover the payment for us, right? Uhhh, yeah.)
Anyway, so from there it went like this.
Ryan had been really sick with a bad cold that my mom kept asking him if he needed to go to the doctor for and he kept saying no.
(He doesn’t go to the doctor.)
But then I got his cold.
And oddly enough had a really bad fever with it and did go to the doctor.
Who wasn’t sure what was wrong with me but sent me on my way with an antibiotic anyway. It’s the American way, I suppose.
But then when I got home and still had a bad fever the next day and after saying an embarrassing amount of times, “I haven’t felt this bad since mastitis,” I finally realized I actually did have mastitis.
So, that was great.
Oh. And I left out the annoying part where the doctor gave me an antibiotic that is apparently is the penicillin family (which I’m allergic to) and when Ryan tried to pick it up at Walgreens, the pharmacist wouldn’t give it to him without knowing what my reaction was to penicillin. Which we didn’t know, nor could we get ahold of my mom and my dad didn’t remember, but I was so sick feeling and sick of multiple phone calls with Walgreens and knew the doctor knew I was allergic to penicillin, so I told Ryan (in less kind words)- JUST BRING ME HOME THE DRUGS.
So apparently he told the pharmacist he found out what happened when I had penicillin and it was that I cried!!!?!!?!?
BAHAHAHAHAH—oh my gosh, when he got home and told me this, I nearly cried from laughing.
He said the pharmacist did not seem overly convinced and did seem annoyed and told him that would be in my official record!
So, that’s always great.
But anyway, the meds I was prescribed for who knows what ended up being confirmed by my OB to work for my mastitis, so that was good.
And right when I was about to get better, the baby that always sleeps 12 hours, decided to wake up every hour that night.
She now had the joy of getting the cold Ryan gave me and then apparently I gave her.
Nothing helps one recover from mastitis like a sick babe.
And it then got better, because not only did Junie have a horrible cold, but she who has never had a diaper rash ALL OF THE SUDDEN Thursday night had this HORRIBLE red diaper rash???
We thought it might have been a reaction to my antibiotics, so I took her to the doctor Friday.
We were so fortunate on that trip to get a nurse on her very first day and someone was teaching her to use the computer system and a process of checking her vitals/history that should take about 5 minutes, no lie took 45 minutes.
Because June is the best baby in the world of babies, she was more patient than me and was so happy and having a great time. The nurse and her trainer person kept commenting on how unusually happy she was.
No one commented on happy I was.
Because I was nearly scowling lol.
So we find out June had some sort of infection in a less than grand visit. (No Kirby-Diaz, that’s for sure.)
After paying more money for co-pays and medicines than wants to pay in a week, we head home thinking maybe all of the illness and annoying might be behind us.
Until I wake up Saturday morning to find red bumps all up and down June’s legs.
June was smiling at me, and I just wanted to cry.
I called the doctor and they said she had to be seen.
So we load up yet again to head to Blue Springs– just me and June again, because Ryan was working to pay for our recent medical escapades. The receptionist said if we arrived before noon, they would see her. If not, she wouldn’t be seen until 1:30.
We rushed around and made that happen, but when we pull into the doctor’s office at 11:45, we were greeted by a firetruck and firemen explaining someone pulled the alarm and the doctor and staff all went to lunch early.
I was nearly fuming at the poor firemen.
Through gritted teeth and tears coming, I said, “You’re not serious. I just woke my sick baby up to bring her in and no one can see her.”
They looked so stressed by my tone, appearance, and scowl, that I almost expected one of them to offer to treat my baby!
OH. And– in such perfect timing, June’s cold had caused her little eye to get all gross while she slept from Warrensburg to Blue Springs, so the firemen were also looking at this:
Hahahhhahahahaha. SHE was so happy though. Smiling at them, trying to kiss them….
So, we retreated over to Panera to wait.
We get back to the office at 1:15 and my mom met us there for back-up, and my mom, June, and I get on an elevator to see it’s not working! For a brief second, we literally thought we were STUCK in there.
Which let’s be honest– would have been so perfect for my week lol.
But thankfully, we were not. I did have to trick the elevator into getting us to the third floor and we get to the pediatric floor to be greeted by a VERY startled and scared receptionist that was so confused how we got up because she hadn’t unlocked the elevator yet.
I told her I watch Jack Bauer every Monday night and not to worry about how I figured it out but just to GET MY BABY SEEN.
And that I wasn’t paying a co-pay since we were seeing the same doctor less than 24 hours later.
She looked so scared of me and my elevator hijacking skills that she agreed.
Much to my mom’s surprise lol.
Anyway, we saw the doctor– found out June has an infection that was worse than he thought the day before and she now has to take antibiotics, too.
After waiting forever for her prescription, my mom and I finally headed home with our happy baby. Well, home to my parents’ house where it was so good to just chill and laugh about the day.
Junie had a bath at Grammy’s by Grammy, and then Grammy insisted on giving her a full nail makeover because her nails were insanely long.
Which I thoroughly appreciated.
We were soon on our way to meet The Shippmate for dinner.
He was very concerned about his baby girl after seeing pictures of the new welps all over her legs, so he was so glad to see us and enjoy some BBQ before heading home where we would find our basement very, very flooded.
Just a complete mess.
Happy Flag Day to us.
Isn’t home ownership fun?
As Ryan was vacuuming up water in our basement, I was feeding June and just had this real calm come over me.
It was nothing of my own, because I am not one to handle these kind of weeks well. I’m the kind to want to flail myself on the bathroom floor and just scream out WHY ME Nancy Kerrigan style.
Fortunately, having a baby to care for allows us little time for flailing on a bathroom floor, so it hadn’t happened, but still.
Anyway, I was just feeding June and looking out the windows and thinking, “Man- we have so much to be thankful for.”
This peace… this calm… this gratitude that felt so much bigger than me or my mastitis or June’s impetigo and folliculitis or our ruined basement carpet or $500 ER visits…
It was almost surrounding me in a very tangible and warm embrace.
It was as if God was reaching out to me and saying, “Erica- this week has been crap. Total crap. But don’t miss the big picture… you have a home. You have a healthy baby. You have your health, Ryan’s health, your parents’ health. You have so much more than you need. This is tiny stuff when we’re looking at the big pictures. Let’s look at it together…”
And somehow, I just saw it.
I saw how minuscule this annoying week is in the scope of eternity.
June’s rash will heal. Mastitis will be gone. The basement might be a disaster for awhile. Doctor’s bills might take awhile to disappear, but they will.
But at the end of the day, the big picture shows so much promise.
So when Ryan came upstairs and said, “It’s a complete mess. Just don’t even go down there” my normal self that would want to know just how bad it was and have to go down, just said, “Okay. I won’t.”
And then I said to him, “I know we’ve had quite a few things not go our way, but at least we have our health.” Which seemed a tiny bit funny since sitting in front of me on our end table were several prescriptions, but he knew what I meant.
We do have health. And a home, basement wet or basement dry. And we have each other– a love and an ability to laugh together that is irreplacable.
But most of all, we have a God that loves us so much and promises to walk with us and gently help us see the big picture when our vision is a little blurry and only focusing on the crap of today.
And for that? I’m ever so thankful.
The Shippmate was playing at a wedding, so he had been at the golf course (the venue for the wedding) early while Junebug and I were back home getting ready.
While I put on some make-up, June had a grand time “helping” me by emptying my make-up bag and intermittently chewing on my retainer.
So we get to the wedding– sans the retainer of a teether– and took a quick mom/dot selfie before the wedding.
She was excited to see her Aunt Renae, and as we were getting ready to get on a golf cart to ride over to the wedding site with The Shippmate, Renae asked to hold her.
Ryan and I both immediately noticed– and commented– how strange it was that June leaned back in Renae’s arms kind of relaxing.
June NEVER does this, except with me, and only when she is tired. My mom recently was saying how it’s fun seeing the differences in her two grandbabies– Roman gets all cuddly when they read stories and Junebug sits up straight as can be, turning the pages, kissing the characters, and jabbering the whole time! She’s just not a relaxer.
So Ryan and I both were commenting on the odd of this for June, but not thinking a thing of it until June just burst out in tears!
Which really got our attention, because she also never does that?
She looked like something was hurting her, and Renae thought maybe something flew in her eye, because it was just so out of nowhere? Minutes prior I had been holding her while she tried to kiss several strangers and was waving at everyone.
I took her in the clubhouse and clearly, her little eye was not feeling normal.
Ryan was playing at this wedding, so he had to get on the cart and go to the wedding, while Renae hung back to see what was going on with June with me. While Renae was getting June a wet cloth, I noticed the redness was moving up her face with some hives.
Maybe it’s because I’m a first time mom or maybe because I’ve heard how bad allergies can get quick at this age, but I just immediately decided we were going to have to miss this wedding and have June seen. Obviously being Saturday at 5pm in Warrensburg, we had no options outside of the ER, so we headed there, praying the whole way that June was going to be okay.
As well as a phone call to Grammy, a nurse friend, and my favorite wife of a surgeon, too.
June was clapping and waving en route to the hospital, but her eye was still red with hives on her little face.
The ER experience was quick and painless, and Ryan even left the ceremony right after playing to be with his girls.
Which was so sweet of him, and we saw the doctor right after he got there with us.
It turns out it was probably a reaction to perfume. June comes from a long line of perfume intolerance from both her mom and her Grammy, so this was something I was wondering myself already.
They offered to check her eye with some sort of scope that would have involved a numbing device and all sorts of things that sounded a bit stressful, especially since her eye was already starting to look better in the hour that we had left.
While they got some paperwork to discharge her, I told Ryan I didn’t have her insurance card as I just sprinted in from the car, so I wasn’t sure how much it cost, but I was fearing 50 dollars or so.
When Ryan said he actually thought it was more like $500 for an ER visit, The Shippmate was holding June and whispered to her, “Oh no, June– look– now your mom is getting hives.”
So that was June’s 1st trip to the ER in a nutshell.
She came with hives, and I left with them lol.
After a quick run home to bathe her, change our clothes to get all scents off of us, we took this pic to show Grammy we were both doing better.
I’m going to talk to the hospital tomorrow and see if they’ll accept some of those kisses as payment.
Here’s to less perfume and more ER free weddings in our future!
Oh Baby June.
I’m so excited to write you this month’s letter. This past month was just a whole lot of wonderful.
No big appointments with some old lady doc telling me how bad I’m ruining you. No mastitis. No running nose or neck rash for you.
It was just honestly and truly– a whole lot of wonderful.
I could list all of the big moments and new things you’re doing, because girl– there are a lot of them.
But that’s not where my heart wanted to land with this letter, Baby June.
Those achievements are grand, and I’m so proud of how smart and quick to learn things you are, but tonight’s letter is going to be shamelessly and completely all about the perfection of a baby you are.
I think it’s important I write this and communicate this to you for a few reasons.
(1) I’ve read that how parents speak of their children acting as babies can have an effect on them, ie: if growing up you always heard how you screamed all the time, never slept, caused us so much stress as a baby, apparently (and understandably) that could make you feel less of a joy and more of a burden. (Future children of mine that undoubtedly might scream all of the time, never sleep, and cause stress– I won’t pretend like you were angelic, but I’m sure I will just explain the relentless and strong personality behind those potential baby traits!)
(2) In the event you quit being the perfect baby and turn into a normal toddler, I don’t want to have forgotten about your sweet status as The Best Baby Ever.
(3) Everyone that is around you tells me you are very much not “the norm.” Which to be honest, scares your mama a bit… because I don’t know anything different, and I’ve become pretty accustom to the easy that you are! When I feel a little fearful or hear people say, “Oh just wait– if June is this good, your next baby will be such a terror” (those are real words people say to me, Junebug lol) I really try to just say a prayer to Jesus that goes like this:
Jesus, I did nothing to deserve this good of a baby. Thank you so much for her. If you have room in the blessing department to give me another one like her one day, I’m cool with that. And if the saying “God only gives you what He knows you can handle” is true and you and God and The Holy Spirit all three have conferenced and decided I’m too big of a wimp to have a baby that is any part of a challenge, I’ve even okay with that. I’ll own it. Thank you and Amen.
That prayer isn’t even a joke actually, Junebug. Well, you know that– you hear me pray it over you quite often.
I truly cannot tell you how often I am with other babies, other people and you’re being so exceptionally calm and chill and I just feel so unworthy of you.
Your daddy and I recently were even talking about how frequently we hear the words, “You do realize this is not normal, right?”
Or another very frequent comment heard at family dinners or anytime we’re with friends or family for an extended amount of time, “She is seriously the happiest baby I’ve ever seen.”
Your daddy DID read half of the book “Happiest Baby on the Block” lol.
No, but June, I just can’t quite explain to you how wonderful you really are.
That transition to the crib? Smooth as molasses.
In fact, you love crib sleeping so much that recently we were visiting our Meyer friends and you just made yourself at home and slept in a Avery’s crib for a little nap! It probably did help that her crib had a little Soother in it just like the one in your own crib, per Kristin’s very wise advice.
On the topic of sleep and being places, oh June– let me tell you another way you’re apparently abnormal but have become so normal to me that I don’t even want to believe all babies don’t do this.
So you literally will go to sleep pretty much a big variation of times depending on the busy or schedule of our evening. So sometimes you might go to bed at 8pm. Other times you might not make it to bed until 10pm. Or the night recently when your daddy was fishing with your Papa, and I was just wanting some company out in the living room and purposely let you keep playing and snuggling with me until 11pm, because I knew that it just meant you would then sleep in until 11 the next morning.
Well, I was texting a friend a picture of me and you and she was surprised you were still awake, thus leading me to explaining my theory of if you stay up late, then you sleep in late, so we could all sleep in Saturday morning, and she nearly couldn’t believe this “crazy talk.”
I guess that is not normal for babies to adapt so well to bedtimes and wake-up times. Apparently when a lot of babies go to bed late, they still wake up at their same normal time that I have heard is some sort of crazy 6am time.
I don’t even know how those moms do it. I’m not kidding, June. I can’t quite picture myself being as happy of a person if I was up every morning at 6am. I have SUCH a respect and admiration for moms who do that.
And such an appreciation– due to their stories– for a Junebug that knows I can’t handle that.
Another sweet trait of yours, June, is how you just love people. I mean you truly light up in a crowd of people. You love smiling at them, waving at them, clapping for them. I’ve seen you be tired and feeling a bit restless, and we get you out of your carseat, walk into a restaurant or church or a ballgame, and you truly come to life in such a way that assures me you’re going to be a social butterfly just like Coach Northrup once called your mama in 8th grade!
You’ve loved every food we’ve given you to try, which for the record, isn’t a whole lot. That’s something I probably need to work on. I’m a little scared to feed you! But don’t worry, you still breastfeed a lot, so you’re not skimping on calories or anything. When we do give you food, it’s generally baby food, and whether it is peas, green beans, squash, apples… you ALWAYS are ecstatic about eating them. You get so excited and make the most sweetest of faces in anticipation of your baby food delight!
You also love walks, Junebug. And that just works out because so do I! You’re a real fan of waving to people on our walks and occasionally turning around and waving at me, too.
I never hear you cry. I mean, I seriously have so many memories of being pregnant and thinking my future life would be this constant soundtrack of a baby crying all of the time, and then you come into this world, and you literally RARELY cry. When you were first a little baby, maybe you did some and then I just fed you and you were happy. And there was definitely a period for a couple of weeks when you couldn’t stand your carseat and we heard you cry in the car, but outside of those times, you don’t cry.
You smile. You laugh. You squeal. You talk to us constantly, but you just don’t cry. You honestly rarely even cry when you wake up in the morning.
Take this morning for example. I had put you to bed last night at 9pm. Before putting you to bed, I change you into your PJs, change your diaper, give you vitamins, tell you some stories, feed you, give you lots of kisses, pray over you, and then put you in your crib. You went down with no tears. I heard nothing out of you until 8:45 this morning when I see on the monitor that you’re in your bed, sitting up, clapping and waving at your giraffe. I watch you for a good 5 minutes– you play with your hands, you pat your own head, you push the button on your Soother, you roll over, and you wave to your giraffe some more. You seriously don’t even cry when you wake up. You literally wake up smiling and waving. I don’t even know how I’m so lucky to have you, June.
I LOVE– and I mean LOVE– the moments when I get to walk into your room after you’ve woken up and you’re sitting there in your crib just smiling, clapping, and waving at me with such enthusiasm and such excitement to hug me for the first time in 12 hours.
You always clap until I pick you up, and then you hold on to my arm SO tight– kind of like you’re just never going to let go.
If I’ve learned anything in these last 8 months, Junie, it’s the speed at which your life has already flashed before my eyes, so it makes me some kind of giddy that you want to hold on tight.
It makes me so giddy that I get to be there for every smile, every giggle, every new sound.
Being your mom is a joy like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
I know we’ll have more challenging days ahead of us. I know you won’t always be this easy. In fact, sometimes when I say, “June, you’re such a good baby. I love you so much…” I stop myself and I have to clarify, “But I don’t love you so much BECAUSE you’re such a good baby. I would love you so much no matter what you did.”
I need you to know that. I want you to know that you have unconditional love from me and your daddy. Nothing you could ever do– even waking up at some crazy 6 o’clock hour– could change the way we love you.
This rare kind of love often reminds me of how grateful I feel for a God who loves ME like this. A God that would send his one and only son to die on a cross for my own sin. A God that doesn’t love me more or less based on my actions. But rather He loves me just the way I am. It’s so unreal when I think about it, and then so very real when I realize my love for you is so similar.
Yes, you’re nearly the perfect baby in a way I truly don’t deserve, June. And it’s important for me to tell you that. I want you to know about your first year of life and how easy and breezy and beautiful it was for me. The Cover Girl Pregnancy I had with you very smoothly transitioned to some kind of Cover Girl Infancy. Your Grammy said recently how I shouldn’t brag about how easy and happy you are. And I agree. I’m intentional to be understanding that this isn’t the norm, and I’m always the first to admit I’ve been so incredibly blessed with your easy nature. But in a series of letters that are written just for you, I get to brag on you, Juniper. I get to tell you the truth. I get to tell you how you’re the joy and giddy of my day, and I can’t believe I ever feared you’d be anything but so very, very delightful.
Because these letters… they really are all for you, June. They’re my own scrapbook of a baby book without the dreaded cut outs and glue messes.
I’ve written to you about a month that saw me crying in a doctor’s office parking lot, a month that found me in so much pain in the ER, and another month when I was unsure I would ever figure out a “proper and nutritive latch,” so I get to be so honest this month to tell you that you, my Baby June– you’re truly one of a kind.
I love you, and I’m so thankful for you.
PS: I wanted the focus of this post to be on me just getting to talk to you about how extraordinary you are, so instead of writing captions or stories for each picture, I’m just going to put some of my favorite pics of you from this month here at end of the letter. Because while I should be waking up hours before you wake up to get stuff done, I kind of still like to “sleep when the baby is sleeping” lol.
My freshly cleaned red couch. With such comfy pillows that surround me while I blog.
All of this feels so familiar.
(Especially familiar after 31 days straight of EVERYDAY IN MAY lol.)
For someone who sleeps better knowing the aforementioned pillows are fluffed just perfectly and nothing is on the kitchen counters, living room floor, or bathroom counters, this moving thing is a little bit of a challenge for my inner neat freak.
The move has gone exceptionally well, and we got A LOT done today. In fact, my mom said they’d never had their house this put together on a moving day, and she wisely encouraged us to sit down and relax.
And even explained, “You’re not going to get everything done tonight.”
HA! I had such high hopes of everything being in its place before I went to sleep tonight.
No, but really– it’s making me a little crazy if I picture the boxes still unpacked and the very clutter of my kitchen counter, but sitting here on my familiar couch in this very cozy space of the world wide web that I call My Dyer-E feels very, very relaxing and wonderful.
NOTHING about you has changed, Dear Dyer-E. And that is bliss tonight.
The newness around me is actually more exciting and less stressful that I envisioned. I really think I’m going to love this place.
However, our showers/bathrooms (whoa, that is so weird that we have bathrooms- PLURAL!) weren’t quite ready for me yet, so I just got back from driving over to The Old House to take a final shower. I packed up my stuff, church camp Style, and headed to my dearest old humble abode.
I think I’ve mentioned this a time or two here, but our water pressure at The Old House is a bit temperamental. Most of the time, the pressure is fine, but every once in awhile, it is FABULOUS. Which is exactly how you would want it to work out, because if it was fabulous all of the time, we wouldn’t even know to appreciate it.
Anyway, throughout our four years at The 402 of an Old House, I always felt like those “super awesome water pressure moments” came in such impeccable timing… after a long run, after a stressful day at work, one right after I got home from the hospital. As if maybe the shower knew when I really needed it to bring its A game.
The water pressure of that shower was the furthest thing from my mind tonight as I was driving over in a very exhausted and very sweaty state of tired and worn out, but lo and behold– I hopped in that shower I’ve called my own for the last 4 years and as if some sort of farewell gift to me, the water pressure was THE. BEST. EVER.
And oh, I needed that. My sore, tired, sweaty body loved every last second of that final shower in The Old House.
I’m nearly typing in my sleep, so I’m going to go join my Shippmate in our very first night in The New House, but first, I wanted to share a few moving day pictures.
Last night, when we got randomly excited and decided to move all of the boxes on to the trailer by ourselves, I asked Ryan to take a few pictures of me moving boxes, because I figured on Moving Day (today) I would take pics of other people and be directing traffic with boxes, etc.
So The Shippmate went all paparazzi on me and was cracking me up and trying to keep up with the very speedy pace in which I load boxes. This is my lengthy explanation for the blurry pictures of me. I work at too intense of a speed to be photographed.
It feels so very clean and neat and tidy that EVERYDAY IN MAY would wrap up on this first night in our new home. And you just know how I love a clean and neat and tidy ending.
It’s been a pleasure and a joy of a month. As always.
Due to our Internet already having been transferred to The New House I’m typing this out from my phone and it is very difficult and annoying lol.
So I promise a better post tomorrow!
From The New House!!!!
I got so much packing done today that I could go to The New House to blog but Ryan needs to be doing stuff and he already has zero understanding for why I needed to go out air fresheners in the house tonight so I hardly envision him liking the idea of me switching him houses so I could blog.
But truly- who doesn’t want to walk into a home smelling awesome for their first day there?
Ps- this does NOT work well on my phone and I cannot even see what I’m typing which reminds me of freshman keyboarding so hopefully this looks better than I’m envisioning.
all for EVERYDAY IN MAY!!!!