My Dyer-E
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An Earth Day Parade- starring June!

June and I figured the best way to celebrate Earth Day would be a walk.

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But it was too nice for just one, so we decided to venture all of planet Earth (or a small portion of it we like to call The Burg) for not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE walks today on this very Earth Day!

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photo 2And to remain one with the earth, I skipped showering and make-up.  It just felt very Earth friendly.

photo 1But the best part of my day was the way June waved.

At everyone.

No, seriously- EVERYONE.

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She’s the most social and friendly Junebug you’ve ever seen.

It was beyond adorable walking all around this town with my June Harbor who was clearly just convinced we were the main show in her very own parade.

But you’ve got to know that on five walks, you’re bound to see a few less than friendly folks that weren’t willing to wave back to my sweet baby June.

Her reaction?

photo 4photo 5Moral of the story:

When June Shippy waves at you, YOU WAVE BACK!

Happy Earth Day, friends.

04.22.14 10 Comments

Naming a baby

I’ve been waiting to write this post since we found out we were having a baby girl.

In fact, at our Pink and Blue Party, I almost revealed all when I saw that prettier than pink cake.  Her name was on the tip of my tongue, and I barely was able to keep it in with my intense excitement.

My reasons for wanting a firstborn girl were numerous, but on that list was definitely the fact that Ryan and I had known her name way before we ever became pregnant.  In fact, I kept her name (and a few others) hidden away in a secret file in my phone, and whenever I would see that list, I would always say a prayer over those future Shippmates of mine.  June was #1 on the list, and she’d been in my prayers for months.

Let me take you back to where June all began.

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It was the fall of 2011, and I was driving north on 13– headed to The Big City to meet a friend for dinner.  I was listening to the radio and heard Johnny Cash and June Carter singing “Jackson.”  While being pregnant or starting a family was (what I thought to be) years and years away, I was always a fan of talking and dreaming about names of Future Shippmates to come.  And as I heard the radio DJ come on after the song and mention “Johnny and June,” something in me just melted at the name June.  I just knew that was the name of my baby girl.  It had this spunk to it while still being so incredibly classic, and I was in love.

So in love that I remember literally praying on that car ride that Ryan would somehow love it with me and be on board with this Johnny and June kind of inspiration.

And then I was too nervous to tell him my idea when I got home.

I had fallen for this name.  I adored how it was so old that it felt new and modern.  I was already dreaming of notes I’d write to my June… I could already see June Shippy written in her first backpack… I was going to be quite a bit heartbroken if my Shippmate didn’t see the perfection I saw in our little June.

So I waited two weeks, until finally I just had to know what Ryan thought.

I can clearly remember sitting at our kitchen table talking about our days over tacos when I nervously explained I’d been waiting to tell him this brilliant name I came up with, because I so hoped he loved it.

No pressure, Shippmate.

Ha- except I knew there was no way he would pretend to like if it he didn’t, because– well, for one it’s the name of our child, so it’s pretty important stuff we’re talking here, and my Shippmate is not one for faking feelings anyway.

When I told him the name, I could instantly see on his face that we had just named our baby girl.

He loved it.  He loved that it was unique and yet so timeless, too.  He saw the personality behind the simplicity of it with me, and I was so thrilled.

And relieved, because if he hadn’t seen the amazing of it, I would have had to find a new Shippmate.

No, but it truly made me all the more in love with my husband for our incredible compatibility with naming a baby.

Now, while June came to me via some Johnny and June inspiration, I knew my daughter needed more than just June Carter within the legacy of her name.

It didn’t take me long to find the legacy of love that will forever be a part of my June.

Let me share with you all the special that comes with the name June.

June 12, 1913– My dear and beloved Me-Me was born.

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Me-Me left us here on this side of heaven at the age of 94 and it was way too soon for me.  She was more than a grandma to me, but also a friend.  I loved her so much, and there are certain places that I can’t walk in (Bates City BBQ, formerly Countryside) or drive by (Dryden Street in Odessa or their old farm house on M Highway) without always thinking of her and longing for one last hug of hers.  Me-Me and I had a special bond, and I will look forward to telling June many a Me-Me stories, including but not limited to the fact Me-Me never missed a chance to remind everyone that I was the prettiest baby she ever saw.  Me-Me’s adoration and love for me absolutely shaped me into the woman I am today and that love will continue on to my June.

June 28, 1936– My precious and beautiful Nanny was born.

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I’ve had this entire post written for months with this part about Nanny the only missing piece of the story.  Not because I didn’t know what to say– ha, so far from that– but rather because I have everything to say here and it feels impossible.

Tears are already flowing, as I knew they would, because this is where I’m so honored that June gets to allow my Nanny to live in the legacy of her name and yet so horribly devastated Nanny hasn’t met her.  It pains my heart in a way I can’t quite articulate that June hasn’t been held and admired by my precious Nanny.

I remember in the weeks after June was born having this little mental checklist in my head of all of my closest people that I needed to meet June, and one by one that list was checked off– even my favorite friend from Portland had held June so soon after she was born– but as everyone had met her, I still felt this huge void.  A void that only Nanny’s soft whisper declaring June “such a beautiful little princess” could fill.  Among so many amazing qualities, Nanny had a remarkable calm about her paired with an ability to make you feel like the only and most special person in the room.  I think it was those two qualities that always had Nanny in this very vivid mental picture of mine of me in the hospital with my firstborn baby.  Because I’m a daydreamer, before I even wanted to be pregnant, I would sometimes picture what it might be like when I was in labor or holding my first baby, and I always very vividly pictured Nanny holding and admiring both my new baby and the new mother in me.

I missed her the day June came into my world, and I miss her more often than I ever could have imagined, so it brings such joy to my grief that my firstborn baby will forever be connected to the classy, the beautiful, and the sweet spirt of my Nanny.

June 25, 2010– The day I married my Shippmate.

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Second only to giving my life to Christ, this was the best decision I ever made.  And second only to August 24th of 2013, it was the best day of my life.  Everything– and I mean EVERYTHING was perfect.  I look back and cannot believe the flawless of the day.  From my mom waking me up to “Going To The Chapel,” my dad and I sharing such a special drive to the church, a perfect Shippmate serenade down the aisle, Karen’s surprise poem written just for us, an old church with stained glass, a center aisle, and standing room only full of my people… it was a day I’ll never ever forget.  It was everything I dreamed it would be… and then some.

I wasn’t just a bride, but a June bride.

In June’s name lives both the special and sweetness of my Me-Me and my Nanny that she will come to know through my stories.

In her name resides the special of her mama and daddy’s wedding day.

The legacy and love of my June.

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04.21.14 21 Comments

Today and Yesterday

Oh Today.

Today Today Today.

You’ve been such a rare form of annoying– the kind of annoying that has my dearest Shippmate and I taking turns leaving this house.  To go nowhere but here lol.

Let’s start back at the beginning of your existence.

Ryan and I had such a perfect Saturday together (more about that later) and we were getting in bed somewhere just after midnight when the terrible of Today began.

We grabbed our video monitor that has so generously been on loan to us from our Bartee friends to check on Baby June before we went to sleep.  Instead of seeing her cute little sleeping self when we turned the monitor on, we saw a very non-working screen.

Why, you ask?  Had something happened to this lovely monitor?  Had we dropped it?  Thrown it in a puddle?  Oh no– on the contrary- it was sitting right on the nightstand where it always safely sits.  And it was there that it decided the screen was done working.

Which was annoying, but we knew we’d just buy our friends a new one and be on with life.

But that wasn’t where Today ended.

So just as I went to sleep to an electronic device failing me, I woke up to grab my phone and see what time it was to see a screen frozen.

Unbeknownst to me, The Shippmate had decided to update my phone while I was sleeping, but since I didn’t know of this, I just reset the phone because I thought something was wrong with it.

Which apparently resetting your phone during an update means it will never work again.

So ummm yeah, I obviously wasn’t aware.

The minute I woke up and saw something weird going on with my phone I wanted to kick myself for not backing my phone up the night before.  I had taken several sweet pictures at my cousin’s birthday party, and as I was scrolling through awesome picture after awesome picture yesterday, I had TRULY thought to myself, “I should maybe send a few of these to my mom or someone so if my phone quits me, I’ll have them.”

(It should be explained that I’ve been using a phone for the past few months that has a very shattered screen, a five second delay, and quits working in all of the most inconvenient times.  It’s been a real joy, I tell ya.)

Anyway, so as I saw my phone updating but what I thought frozen and not working, I immediately feared it was dead forever.

Which turns out to be about accurate.

If you’re wondering how someone feels when they wake up to their phone falling to its imminent death after maybe a push that direction from either my Shippmate updating it (I hadn’t updated because I feared the poor decrepit iPhone 4 wouldn’t handle it) or not telling me what was going on with my phone, you might say she feels not happy.

It’s kind of like being brought warm breakfast in bed, except well– the exact opposite.  Like being brought no breakfast in bed but a dead phone and the reality that your single favorite picture of you, June, and your once beloved Shippmate all three smiling at the camera in coordinating blue outfits is probably forever lost in an iOS update vortex far far away.

I won’t even pretend like I didn’t overreact to the situation.

And I won’t even pretend like we didn’t find ourselves fighting in the car over who was exactly to blame for this chain of events while June laughed in the backseat.

Ryan spent the rest of his Sunday attempting to recover those photos to no success.  Which was obviously incredibly frustrating for him.

And while I know there are some people, ie: my father, that go awhile without a phone and feel this freedom and peace in their soul, I am just 100% not one of them.  I love my phone.  I love texting my best friends all day everyday.  I love my camera on there.  I find the opposite of peace when I am without a phone lol.

So I wasn’t in the best mood either and we just had a day.

One of the cats tried to escape again, our house had this horrible smell all day that Google explained was spring blooming and rain (???), I came home with the wrong salad from Wendy’s, Ryan found a hair in a cookie I gave him from McDonald’s and swore I was trying to poison him…

You know the kind of problems that are nothing but just annoying on a day like Today.

I had just put Junie to bed (she was fun and happy and the joy of our day all day– she doesn’t even know how to be annoyed or have a bad day) and came to check my email on the computer when I saw a message I had emailed myself last night.

It was a reminder email I often send myself about blogworthy thoughts.  About 1 in 300 of them actually make it from the “bloggable” email to this very Dyer-E.  Sadly lol.

This one said:

“the complete Shippmate magical of our Saturday”

And it was just all I could do but laugh out loud with my cats in my living room.  (Ryan had taken his turn to escape this place lol.)

Yesterday!

Yesterday was the best, and I had almost forgotten it in the fury of Today.

A phone and baby monitor down for the count paired with some frustrated moods in The House of Shippmates had nearly led me to forget the joy of just 24 hours before.

And because it’s always better to end on a positive note, I’m going to tell you about my Yesterday and see if it might even help end this Today on a brighter note than it started.

(Which clearly wouldn’t take much.)

Anyway, so Yesterday.

The Shippmate, June, and I headed west to Kansas for a carnival of a good time at my cousin Adi Morgan’s 4th birthday party.

We’d had a very busy week, and the rather long car ride was just what Ry and I needed to just catch up.  On life. On laughs with each other and everything in between. It was a great drive and an even greater party.  We got to see all of our family that we hadn’t seen in awhile, jump in a bounce house, have some cotton candy, play in the sun– life was good.

And then got even better when Junebug had an all expense paid trip to Grammy’s while The Shippmate and I skipped off like two kids on a hot Saturday night date.

This all kind of came together last minute, so there were no plans, which normally is not my style, but in the spirit of pretending to be two kids on a hot Saturday night date, I went with it!

A quick Google search later, we discovered we were less than 10 minutes from an Oklahoma Joe’s and off we went.  We were both pretty beyond hungry at this point, so we decided if the line was too long, we might skip that idea and opt for our second choice.  Well, we walk right in that place and there is NO LINE.

If you know anything about this restaurant that is some kind of Shippmate Date Miracle in and of itself.

We ordered our amazing food, sat down with no high chair in sight, and before we could take a bite, I pointed over to where we didn’t wait in line to show Ryan there was now a line out the restaurant long.  That line would be there for the remainder of our meal.  It was such perfect timing.

The meal was so delicious than I wanted to go order it all over again, but the line thankfully prohibited that kind of crazy calorie consumption.

We ate. We talked. We laughed.

JUST THE TWO OF US.

(Anyone else singing that Big Willie style?  No?  That’s just me?)

This probably doesn’t sound that magical to anyone but me, but while I love my Junebug more than life itself, it’s so amazingly fun to eat without her and know she couldn’t be happier than with her Grammy.

Dates with just me and The Shippmate have a new kind of magical to them now.  I love it.

With the agenda wide open in front of us, we traveled north for a quick Craigslist deal Ryan had been working on for me, and then I said, “Let’s go see a movie!”

With a quick check with The Grammy to see if that was cool, we got a very happy Junie picture back as she was on a walk with Mom and Shelly!  Before heading to the theater, we did another quick Google search to find some ice cream before the show.  Four places immediately came up, and as the one Googling, I almost didn’t read all of them, because only Baskin Robbins sounded good to me.  But I did, and yep– you guessed it– in the spirit of Yesterday, the one The Shippmate wanted?  It was so Baskin Robbins, too.

We skipped in there like the two teenagers we were pretending to be and sampled 13 flavors before ordering a kids’ size scoop!

All of this ice cream taste testing and savoring put us in a bit of hurry to make our Draft Day movie time, and I was nearly questioning that it could be sold out.  Luckily it wasn’t, but when we walked into theater #21 two minutes in to the previews, I looked up to a very packed house.  As in the kind I’m thinking that our Shippmate magic has ran out and we’re about to watch this movie in separate rows.

But as one not to give up quickly, I grabbed Ryan’s hand and hightailed it up to my favorite spot in a theater (toward the back on right side when you’re facing the screen) where a couple in front of us was trying to ask people to scoot together to no success.  They stormed passed us, clearly annoyed to have to go to the unfortunate front row.

For who knows what reason, I told Ryan we should wait just a second– as if some seats that weren’t available for that couple might magically appear, and lo and behold– this older couple gets up and leaves???

And I kid you not, we get to sit together in my favorite spot in a theater!

The whole thing was so perfect.

(It also naturally reminded me of the Friends where Monica and Chandler keep seeing the honeymoon couple in front of them everywhere having this kind of awesome luck.)

I’m smiling just remembering the sweetness of our Yesterday.

The movie was great.

Just like the drive together to Adi Morgan’s party.

The time spent with family there.

The Oklahoma Joe’s Miracle of no line.

The Baskin Robbins.

The cheering for the Chiefs in the middle of the movie.

It was the kind of Saturday that had me emailing myself of its Shippmate magic.

With that re-cap of a reminder of our beautiful Saturday, I’m going to sleep tonight focusing on the goodness of Yesterday.  Too much goodness of Saturday to bother wasting any more frustrated on Today.

And yes, I know people always talk about living in the present, but when your Today has been annoying, I’m going to campaign for the joy of borrowing some smiles from Yesterday instead.

PS:  Is anyone else annoyed at the Today and Yesterday capitalizing?  I kind of hate myself right now for doing that, but when I first started it 1900 words ago, it seemed fun and then became less and less cool.  Forgive me for being too lazy to go fix that weirdness.

PPS:  Don’t you dare ask why this post has no pictures.  #iphone4nomore

04.13.14 1 Comment

June Harbor Shippy: 7 Months

My June-

This past month has been such a big one– you’ve both done and learned a whole bunch of cool things, so I have a lot to cover!

Starting with your big 6 month appointment.  I had been so looking forward to this pivotal conversation with our pediatrician for a couple of months, because we had wanted to seek her advice on two pretty big issues– food and sleep.

Specifically, we had waited to introduce any foods until after 6 months and we were wanting to make the transition from you sleeping in our room– and usually our bed– to your own room and your own crib.

The reason you were still sleeping in our room/bed is that everything we had read said it reduces SIDS to have babies in your bedroom until 6 months.  For the first 4 months, you somehow magically slept through the night like you were a pro, so there was never any conversation about sleep training or strategy or anything.  You just slept for 8 hours like this little champ.  Then around 4 months, you started waking sometimes (which is totally normal) and we developed this little pattern of you just coming on in bed with me for the remainder of the evening.  You still slept like a charm, but my sleep took a bit of a beating during this whole co-sleeping thing.

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I LOVED having you snuggled up (safely) with me, but every morning I felt the repercussions of the position of my body around you and the all night buffet I had open lol.  And while I know co-sleeping is for a lot of people– and I’m so happy for them– in addition to wanting to sleep better myself and my back not hurt every morning, I wanted you to be comfortable sleeping in your own bed and learn that kind of independence. So we had decided we would wait and talk to Dr. Kirby-Diaz about how to make that transition as smooth as possible.

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June, I cannot explain to you how much I worried about this transition.  For a good month, I just feared that it would be SO hard and the worst thing ever and you’d cry and then I would cry, and I had this whole picture painted in my mind of having to call this sleep specialist I had found on Google and she would come evaluate our home for 48 hours and cost us hundreds of dollars!  (If your Daddy is reading this post, this will be the first he heard of my plan to call that specialist lol, and I have a feeling he might not have loved the idea! Hahahaha!)

So we finally get to this pivotal 6 month appointment and we don’t even get to see The Dr. Kirby-Diaz aka Best Pediatrician Ever.  Instead we see an older lady who will proceed to confirm to me that Kirby-Diaz is truly the Best Pediatrician Ever.

She asks me if you’ve had food yet, and I look at my list of questions for her and realize we’re going to jump right on in without talking about how adorable you look sitting up in your diaper, so I explain I had been waiting for this very appointment and she just kind of looks at me and says, “Well… you just need to buy some baby food and start feeding her. It’s not hard.”

Which somewhat stressed me out in and of itself, but then I brought up some questions surrounding food and different methods and quickly realized she was not really interested in having an in-depth talk about this, so I skip the topic and decide we’ll just breastfeed you for life since I can’t figure out how to feed you real foods.

Onward we proceed to my sleep questions.

“I was wanting to get your thoughts or suggestions on how to best transition from co-sleeping to the crib.”

Before I can give her our sleep history, she says, “Oh- you’ve co-slept?! That’s horrible.  Don’t tell me, but are you feeding her in the middle of the night, too??”

I reluctantly say, “Ummmm, yes.  Several times.”

To which the non Kirby-Diaz doctor looks me (and you, Junebug!) straight in the eyes and says, “Well, you’ve ruined her!  You’ve let her think you’ll just do whatever she wants and feed her whenever she wants.  That and the putting her right next to you in bed– you’ve done spoiled her.”

I’m sure even when you’re 25, you’ll have flashbacks of the sweat on my palms and the tense of my shoulders that were holding you, baby girl, because oh man- this “pivotal conversation” had taken a big bad turn for the worse!

I started to interject some of the things I had literally practiced explaining on the car ride to this big appointment (I’m actually not kidding– I often rehearse important conversations in the car before they happen and this was no exception) but before I could even explain, she hits me with:

“And to be honest, this kind of spoiling will continue to ruin her as she gets older. This right here is what leads to rebellious teenagers.”

Ummmm, so yeah.

Now THAT is what every first time mom of a little 6 month Junebug wants to hear.  I have seriously done something so wrong, so terrible, so life altering that in these short 6 months YOU ARE ALREADY DESTINED TO REBEL AT THIRTEEN!?!?

I am rarely at a loss for words, and I actually wasn’t even in this moment, but I was at a loss for any words that could have been Christ honoring, so I basically just wrapped the appointment up and sprinted out of that office.

Straight to my car where I held you and cried for a good 10 minutes.  You looked up at me with your beautiful, big eyes with such confusion as to why I looked so sad.

Which made me smile and made me also question why I was so sad.

And just for the record, my beautiful daughter, holding you while crying is such the craziest form of comfort.  Your precious baby smell, your sweet cheeks, and your perfect grin can make me smile and feel such peace and happiness even in the throes of realizing I’ve doomed you for life.

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After talking to several dear mom friends, a Shippmate, and my own parents, too, I decided that this appointment WAS pivotal– just not for quite the reason I envisioned it being so.

The whole experience (that your dad and I are now laughing about as I type this) was pivotal because it taught me something pretty big.

NO ONE knows how to raise you and love you better than your dad and I do.

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No manual, no pediatrician, no awesome mom friend of mine knows you like we do.

So while asking advice is good and fine, it also has to be taken with the hugest grain of salt, because you- my dear June Harbor Shippy- are OUR daughter.  In 7 months, you’ve barely been out of my sight.  I know you so well.  I know your sleep history and your abilities and your reactions and your expressions and everything about the wonderful that is you.

One doctor telling me you are “ruined” and going to rebel against me as a teenager doesn’t get to stress me out (anymore lol) because that’s one (stupid) opinion.

I get to listen to many theories and ideas and methods for sleep training and pick out one that is especially made and tailored just for you.

Which is exactly what we did.

And oh my goodness, June.  You’ve done incredible.  No, better than incredible– you’ve literally transitioned to that crib in your own room with sweet perfection.

That first night home from that appointment, the doctor had said to put you straight in the crib and let you cry all night if you did so.

“She may even puke from crying so much, but DO NOT go in there.”

Ummm, yeah.  That was about the last thing I was going to actually do.

In fact, after that annoying and stressful of a day, I decided nothing was changing that night.

You slept right by your mama.

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And it was right where you needed to be that night.  (Or where I needed you to be.  Ha.)

Over the course of the next few days, we devised a plan.  It involved a beautiful new pink sheet for your mattress, this awesome Soother waterfall machine thing for your crib recommended by the Meyer kiddos, a video monitor so generously on loan from the Bartees, and your mama’s own plan involving some major baby steps.

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Meaning no way was I just throwing you to the wolves in that room and bed by yourself for the whole night.

We took baby steps with naps.

This is the time to confess that for the 6 months of your life, I never really had you “nap.” Ahhhh. Sure, you’d fall asleep at some point- usually in my arms or maybe a swing, but it wasn’t regular or for very long.

And I don’t know if it was the fact we had this crib set up or that I heard friends with babies talk about this thing called Nap Time or just that around 6 months, you decided you were ready for some serious rest in the middle of your day, but all of the sudden, I became so aware of these little cues you’d give me that nearly said: “Yo Mom- I’m tired- can I go to my crib now?”

So in you’d go.  And June, you LOVE that waterfall thing so much that I would watch you SMILE to sleep.

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No tears.  No pain.  No baby “ruined” from some spoiling!

Quickly naps became so easy and natural that we put you to bed in your crib.

Did you sleep all night there without a single noise or cry?

Nah.  The first few nights you would sleep a few hours and then cry, and I would go and get you and bring you back to bed with me. Which for the record was ABSOLUTELY against anything I was “supposed to” do lol. But it’s what we did.

And guess what?

Eventually your time in the crib by yourself started increasing.

Not even a month into our new routine you were sleeping ALL night by yourself in your crib.

With no traumatic experience.  No big tears.  And absolutely no crying until you puked!!!

It’s all I can do but to smile– and sometimes cry the most proud of tears– when I watch you sleep in that beautiful crib, June.

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I will look at your dad and regularly exclaim, “I mean– can you believe it?  She’s done SO good. She’s an expert crib sleeper!  WHY DID I FEAR THIS SO MUCH!?”

And he normally just laughs at me.

But then agrees that we’ve never seen someone sleep so beautifully.

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(Slight side note:  I also often say that your future brothers and sisters will be introduced to a crib MUCH sooner lol.)

Ah man, we’re already 1845 words in and I haven’t even got to anything you’ve done this month besides sleep!  Don’t get me wrong, the sleep thing was definitely a big part of your seventh month of life, but I wanted to tell you so many other things, too.

This is the problem– you are just changing and learning too fast for me to even begin to be able to keep up with, Juners!

I HAVE to touch on two big events this month though– if just with a few pictures!

You were part of a very special celebration for your Grandpa when we all went back to Columbia for Courtside Traditions where Grandpa was honored for taking the Wellington Tigers to the Final Four 20 years ago!  You and Roman were so excited you even had shirts made for your favorite coach.

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And for Grammy’s spring break, she wanted to take you, me, Roman, and Bailey on a most wonderful Spring Break Stayca!

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She sent me and your Aunt Bailey off for massages and major pampering (her treat– yes she spoils/”ruins” us too) while she stayed and played with her babies.

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Or something like that.  You’ll have to ask Grammy later about what you did during that time!  It looked a little something like this, maybe….

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We swam at the hotel, had dinner in a train with Grandpa, got spoiled/ruined some more by Grammy when she took you and Romey on a shopping spree and just had the best Spring Break StayCa ever.

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IMG_5127 IMG_4999IMG_4997PS: About that food?  Yeah, I’m not even going to pretend like we’ve figured that one out yet.  But you do have a real thing for stealing my apples.

IMG_4425IMG_4418I know you and love you more than anyone, June.  Ruined and all– you’re my girl.

Love,
Mama

04.8.14 21 Comments

One year ago today…

While holding June tonight talking to The Shippmate, we were declaring aloud to each other just how special and wonderful she is lol. Then I looked at her and said, “And sometimes, I still just can’t help but be so happy you’re a girl, Junie. I just needed you to be a girl.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, the weird mental annual calendar portion of my brain started ticking, and I looked across the table at Ryan and exclaimed: “I THINK WE FOUND OUT SHE WAS A GIRL A YEAR AGO TODAY!!!”

Went back and did some digging, and sure enough– I was right.

One year ago today, I had no idea exactly how tickled pink I would be with my firstborn girl.

That was the absolute best. cake. ever.

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03.23.14 Leave a comment

June Harbor Shippy: 6 Months

Dear Junie-

You’re 6 months old, my beautiful baby girl.

And I don’t know if something in you just clicked and said, “Hey- I’m 6 months now,” but you’ve started really being a champ and just putting yourself to sleep at bedtime and naps.

You get a little irritable when you’re tired (which seems pretty reasonable to me lol) and then we take you in to your swing, buckle you in, give you your little rabbit and blanket that you grab like snuggling were an Olympic sport, and you put your little head to the side and doze right off.

It’s so crazy precious that I then find myself just standing there staring at you for awhile.

Or on the day of your 6 month birthday maybe standing there staring at you and crying for awhile.

Man.  It’s just unreal, June.  I just feel this indescribable bond with you that I can’t quite imagine I’ll ever be able to feel with any other Shippmate baby to come.  You and I have just came so far.  We figured out breastfeeding together, Bug.  Mastitis and all– that was no easy feat and it’s this favorite most sacred time I am so honored to share with you now.  You’ve been every first of mine and I just love you this horribly painful amount.

Whew, I’m a crying mess, and we are just 221 words in– I’ve got to pull myself together, because I’ve got things to tell you!

Okay, let’s just jump right in to the many, many new things you’re doing and rocking at daily.

1.  ROLLING and then rolling some more.  And then once more.

Okay, so true confession here that I kind of never put you down for those first few months.  Like we would go to your Grammy and Grandpa’s house and they would put you on the floor to play and no lie- you’d look around like, “The floor? What is this thing?!”

You basically resided in my arms 24/7 at home, which was awesome, but also meant babies your same age in my newsfeed were allegedly rolling over and you’re just all smiles in my arms all of the time.  This was the first of many realizations I would have that comparing babies is foolish.  So you didn’t roll at 2 months.  Eh- you’ll probably roll your Rs faster than the kid that did one day in Spanish class.  And the truth is it just doesn’t matter.

BUT at the time I felt a little bad about having never put you down and hoped your rolling days weren’t doomed due to my constant cuddling with you lol.

Which now I get to laugh about daily, because girlfriend- you can ROLL!  As in you start on one end of the blanket and about a minute later you’re all the way across the floor trying to grab something.  It’s incredible to watch you move about all over the place via your favorite mode of transportation:  ROLLING.  With your homies.  (Clueless flashbacks, anyone?)

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2. You’re not just rolling though, dear Juniper Harbor Shipperific.  You are also TALKING.

As in actual “ba-ba” and “da-da” and squeals that bring us such delight.

It’s so crazy how one day you were blowing raspberries non-stop and the next BAM!  We’ve got words a happening!

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Everytime we’re out (and we’re often out lol) and people hear you saying “da-da,” they’re always quick to say, “Say ‘ma-ma’– it’s so unfair how they don’t say that first.”

And while I get their sentiment, I actually am zero percent bothered by the “da-da” babble.

For one, you have no idea what you’re saying or who it means– you’re just figuring out sound and that you can make it happen.  And even if you were knowing you were talking to your daddy, I would be okay with that, too.  Your daddy does a whole lot for you, and watching him take care and love you has made ME love that Shippmate even more.  He’s remarkable, June.

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3.  It’s no wonder you started talking so soon, because you’ve been doing some intense research the past couple of months!  You literally would (and still do) just study people’s mouths as if you’re so insanely curious how they’re making those sounds come out.  I don’t know how many people have held you and will try to tell a story and then have to stop and laugh, because it’s so distracting the way you just stare and study their lips moving!
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4.  This past month has really shown a very sincere acknowledgement of you knowing your mama!  So, if we get to life group or a dinner with a lot of people or anywhere new, you formerly would just let anyone hold you and be happy as could be.  But now, you get a little bit of stranger anxiety and need to start in my arms before moving on to the many other people in a room that want to get their hands on you.  As if it needs said, but I kind of love it.

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This new realization of our sweet bond also can result in you getting a little annoyed/upset if I walk by you and don’t give you some love!  A couple of mornings ago, you and your daddy were playing in the living room, and I had been getting ready and then walked into the living room to grab my shoes and didn’t stop and kiss you or hug you, and you let me know that was not acceptable!  After a little kiss and a hug, you were all smiles again to have me go on my way.  You already are familiar with what you want and vocal about it, and I love you for it.

5.  Speaking of being vocal, oh my Junebug.  Let me tell you about a recent adventure Grammy and I were on with you and your favorite cousin, Roman Henry.  Oh goodness.  So Aunt Bailey had some errands to run, so Mom/Grammy was watching Roman, and we were meeting the two of them in Higginsville to go to lunch.  So, you’d been in the car with me and Grammy for a good 20 minutes and happy as can be, but oh girlfriend- when we put Roman in Grammy’s backseat with you, you were just not having that.  The poor little feller was just trying to talk to you (and seriously- in the sweetest and softest little voice) and you were not only unwilling to talk, but kept crying EVERY TIME he tried!  It was hilarious for the first few miles annnnd then a little less funny when you did it all the rest of the day lol.

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6. I’m going to make this nice and neat for your SIXTH month letter by ending it on point number SIX with a re-cap of your first Valentine’s Day!  It was a pretty sweet Valentine’s Day that set the bar pretty high for future February 14ths to come.

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So, I had wanted to get my nails done for my Valentine date with The Shippmate, so I asked your MeMaw if she wanted to come hang out with you for a bit while I did that.  This started your Valentine’s Day with some love from a grandma and allowed me to get some very Valentine nails.

IMG_3106I came home from getting my nails done to see two bouquets of roses– one for me and one for you.

My Shippmate and your daddy knows how to spoil his girls.  The tiny little vase and the huge gesture from your dad truly brought me to tears.

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Before I could wipe away such grateful tears, your very own chauffeur came to pick you up for your very first Valentine’s Day party!  Your Grammy and Grandpa had emailed us and Uncle Atticus and Aunt Bailey earlier that week explaining they would be hosting a Valentine’s Party for Roman and June and the parents had to go have a nice date!  There was no arguing from anyone on that sweet deal, and Grandpa and you were off and away!
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Your daddy had planned such a fun night for me and him of painting pottery!  We had a wonderful evening together, and I was able to truly just relax and enjoy a night with my Shippmate knowing you were so happy at your party.

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We sent a bottle that I had pumped, and Junebug- you were so busy with all of your toys and friends (Roman Henry, Grammy, Grandpa, Bobby, and Dee) that you didn’t even cry/fuss/make a peep for food at all!?  Your dad and I could NOT believe it when we got to the party, and Grammy and Grandpa reported that you’d gone 4 hours happy as a lark without a single worry or care in the world!  Clearly, it was a win of a party.

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Oh, and let me not forget the part of the party where you and your cuz both thought ahead to bring each other Valentines!  (No, but seriously- Aunt Bay nor I talked about this, but both had you two all hooked up!)

Check out this sweetness:
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IMG_2973And one for the hosts, too:IMG_2974
It was such a happy Valentine’s Day, Junebug.

There is no doubt about it– you, my baby girl, are loved by many.

But most of all, by your mama.

Love,
Mama

03.17.14 2 Comments

Shippmates and The Sun

So, here’s the thing–

My parents and their friends just returned from a fabulous cruise where they basked in the warm Mexico sun daily.  My sister also just returned from one of my all-time favorite vaca spots in Tybee Island.

Everyone is flying home with tans, and I’m sitting here on my couch with two pairs of socks on eating stellar homemade chocolate chip cookies my husband keeps making because that’s what we do in the winter.  We make and eat cookies.  We’re really adventurous and goal-oriented like that– don’t be intimidated.

Everyone being somewhere warm has me craving the days of summer where I eat less cookies and spend my days in less socks and more swimwear.

I’ve barely been able to talk to The Parents to hear about their trip yet, but in the brief phone call from the airport, my mom mentioned how incredible the weather was and how she adored being in the sun every minute of it (just like I would) but my dad wasn’t quite as enthused about non-stop sun exposure.

Which very much reminded me of my Shippmate.

And thus, I had to just rub salt in the winter wound of my non-traveling frigid self by revisiting a Facebook album of a trip Ryan and I took a couple of years ago.

In this album, I truly captured the epitome of our differing levels of love and adoration for the beach/sun.

Let me share this contrast captured with you.

This is how I feel about the beach.  I truly always have to literally jump for joy that I’m there:

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And then there is my Shippmate.  My love.  My dearest who doesn’t quite share in my jumping antics upon arriving in very hot temperatures with very bright sun everywhere:

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I mean, God bless him.

I need to frame this picture just to give myself a good laugh every time I see it.

Long sleeves.  The towel so wonderfully wrapped around him to further avoid any exposed skin.  And his face!  Those squinty eyes that scream: I WANT TO GO ON A SKI TRIP.

Ahhh.

I could lay for hours upon hours upon more hours in the sun.

222795_523563698872_5679661_nReading.

228411_523563748772_7729456_nTalking. Daydreaming.

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The possibilities are truly endless.

And my Shippmate?

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Oh look!  He almost agrees.

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I love him so much.

I can’t wait to drag him on another beach trip soon.

02.24.14 Leave a comment

Dear Calendar Committee…

I know you haven’t got back to me about my suggestion for moving Mother’s Day to a weekend that isn’t full of graduation parties and baccalaureate services and everything else that distracts from celebrating the moms of the world, but yet- I have to bring to you another plea.

This time we’re talking about Valentine’s Day.

February 14th is just not practical.

Let me explain the thought process that came about while I was shaving my legs and planning my Valentine’s night outfit.

(Yes, I plan outfits 24 hours in advance.  I can’t imagine a committee that is completely focused on the calendar could see anything odd about this.)

So I was thinking about to wear, and I found myself in the same predicament I find myself in every February 13th.

It’s just hard to dress sexy in February.

The temperatures don’t make it practical or attractive even.

Let me be most organized with my plea in a good list of why Valentine’s Day really doesn’t belong in February:

1.  Dressing up in February is so tricky.  Dresses need tights or leggings and most of these combos are cute but not the Valentine’s Day WOW we’re really going for.

2.  There is generally snow or ice out which unless you want to literally be falling in love, prohibits any kind of heel or dressy boots.

3.  By the 14th of February, we’ve all had a good one, two, or twenty two snow days in which we probably ate an entire (family size) bag of chips in one sitting.  No one is looking their best in February.  And nor would we want to- it’s a grand time to carry a little extra warmth around.  THOSE SWEET POTATO CHIPS ARE WORTH IT.

4.  Speaking of not looking our best, seriously– is anyone’s skin feeling sexy and flawless after the heaters and cold have sucked the life right out of it– highlighting eczema and psoriasis and all?!  No way.

5. I was going to make a point about everyone is pale, but I actually have recently found myself truly loving my pale skin and finally realizing my Nanny was right when she tried to convince me pale was the new tan.  So I won’t make that my final point, but for other people that haven’t came to my pale appreciation, you could argue that Valentine’s Day might be better suited in a month when our skin is more bronze than fluorescent.

This is why I’m thinking a good move to June would solve all of our issues:

1.  Layers of dresses and tights and scarves would be replaced with flowy, sweet sundresses.

2.  WITH STRAPPY SEXY SANDALS.  Or heels!  Or you could go barefoot if you’re the freespirit on The Bachelor and you so desire.

3.  Everyone is more fit and slimmer in the summer.  Instead of being snowed in with your sweet potato chips, you’re poolside with friends.

4.  AH MY SUMMER SKIN.  It’s neither dry nor flaky but just glowing and all that you’d want your Valentine skin to be.

5.  Being tan on Valentine’s day could be cool.  But I’m still remaining true to my pale appreciation in the winter months and my quest for my skin tones to be seasonally appropriate.  Snow white in February and golden brown in June.

OH OH OH- let me not leave out that the planning of fun dates would be endlessly more epic in the summer than the frigid of February.

I can’t even imagine how you’d have any reason to do anything at this point but thank me for this obvious switch and make it happen for 2015.

I’ve even found a nice and tidy switch for you– and it’s already on the 14th, too, so it’s just perfect.  Flag Day!

Flags would LOVE to be honored in February.

Coming to 2015 calendars near you:

FLAG DAY- FEBRUARY 14th and VALENTINE’S DAY- JUNE 14th

Thank you and you’re welcome.

02.13.14 Leave a comment

June Harbor Shippy: Month #5

My dearest June,

You’re five months old.  I don’t even know how this has already happened, because just yesterday your daddy and I were en route to Uncle Atticus and Aunt Bailey’s for me to labor awhile before making our way to the hospital.

And then I blinked and it’s January 24th.

I’ve really got to stop blinking already.

But here we are– another month older.

And so sadly, Mama’s MacBook Pro crashed to a very sad death of a hard drive.  There was a minute in the whole month long catastrophe that your daddy was very fearful every picture I’d taken in the last year was gone (as in pictures of the your birth and every picture that has been taken of you) and I kind of wanted to cry but held it together long enough to find out YOUR DAD IS A ROCKSTAR AND RECOVERED IT ALL.

It’s one of the many, many things about your daddy that I adore– the man can fix anything.  It’s the best.

However, the whole process left Mama without a computer and all of my pictures for a month, so I had to get creative with this month’s letter.

Enter the idea to give you your own personal tour of your nursery!

It’s my favorite room in all of our home, and preparing it for you while I was pregnant was such a special time and with each picture hung and personal and sentimental piece placed, my heart became more and more ready for your arrival.

I want to remember always the special of each tiny little touch of the room, so come on in, and let’s look around!

When opening your door (which is always shut due to a Mr. Gatsby and a Mr. Gaiser), this is what you’ll see first…

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Your awesome crib is from Grammy and Grandpa, and the beautiful handsewn quilt hanging on the sweet crib was made just for you by your Great-Grandma Wanda.  I had such a precious time picking out the quilt pieces, fabric, and design with GGW and your Grammy, and it could not have turned out more perfect.  I daily think of how special it is and how much it means to me and one day will mean to you, too!

And these guys– these sweeter than sweet REAL photos of baby animals are just my favorite, June.  Oh, I adore them so.

I found them online very early on in the pregnancy and your daddy and I just both knew they were just for June’s own little jungle!

Your great-grandpa Bobby was so kind to buy those for you, and we just won’t even go into how much they may or may not have cost lol.  Let’s just say– we all love you VERY much, annnnnd those baby animals will grow up with you!  Hahahaha.

DSC_9535OH!  And they obviously didn’t just get up on that wall perfectly straight and wonderful all by themselves.  Your Grammy and Grandpa were the utmost careful in helping me frame and hang them with such precision and care.  It was a hot summer day when the three of us worked on it– lots of laughs, lots of fun, and a whole lot of anticipation for you to be here to see them.

(And your Grandpa was nearly sure you’d be scared of the baby monkey, because he found that little guy quite a fright! I, on the other hand, love him!)

DSC_9528I made the Dream Big Little One sign for you, because dreaming big is something very important to your mama, so I’ve got to teach you this from the start!

The cute very nautical boat was a shower gift from your Great Aunt Debbie and cousins Shelly, Kevin, Keagan, Logan, Donielle, Bryan, and Adi Morgan!  It was perfect for a shelf in your nursery.

Your shelf holds several special items:
top shelf:  that anchor compass was a special gift your Grandpa brought you back from his Gettysburg/Civil War trip with Uncle Atticus
middle shelf:  that sweet frame with our favorite ultrasound pic of you was a precious gift from Suzie Moore and the little Lenox elephant was your 1st ornament from Bobby this year who has so sweetly continued Nanny’s tradition
bottom shelf:  the piggy bank (with actual money in it) was such a clever gift from Adi Morgan who had a lemonade stand just to make some money to give you and the cat was from your good friend Harrison Meyer (he understands and shares our appreciation and love for furry feline friends)

DSC_9570That pretty in pink shelf just makes me giddy when I see it, because your Grammy and Grandpa found that little gem at the Brass Armadillo and it truly completed your nursery!  It added just the right touch of feminine and pretty– I love it.

Your Great-Aunt Lori made the Baby Girl Shippmate sign for you in the bottom of the shelf, our dear friend Erin Montgomery made you the crazy adorable Junebug sign, and the little keepsake box behind it is all kinds of darling and from my all-time profesora favorita, Senora Ogle.

And a complete random little fact, but I like keeping your blue nose suction thing and your pink clippers in the little box next to your wipes, because it keeps in color coordination with our pink and blue throughout the room.  You’ll learn to know I’m a bit crazy, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be just as wonderfully weird as me one day.

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Your Newborn Nursery Scentsy keeps your room smelling fresh, and it’s a little owl to go along with our very animal theme. Whoot whoot for that.

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Those fun curtains were also made just for you by your Great-Grandma Wanda.  She’s so crafty and talented and truly just everything you’d want your grandma to be.

Grammy and Grandpa gave you the changing table from dear Tar-Jay, and I couldn’t love it more.  Well, I picked it out, but they gave us the money for it.

If you’re wondering if your dad or I purchased anything for this room, the answer is not really lol.  No, we did do a few of the things, but we’re so blessed with family and friends that really helped make this room what it is– special JUST FOR JUNE!

Even the walls are special, as we really weren’t supposed to get to paint in our duplex, but your Papa Shippy and great-aunts were so kind to let us do so, and your Papa even painted the room for you!

The Diaper Genie was a very generous hand-me-down from Adi Morgan, and that very vintage and cool mirror was your Halloween treat from Grammy.  She said since she couldn’t do candy this year, she’d give you a treat for your room and I had already had my eye on this beauty at Hobby Lobby.  It goes wonderfully with your room.

And that little panda bear in the corner?  That’s your favorite little guy to sing with during diaper changes.  Jack Kenney was very wise to select that as his gift to you, and you absolutely love it!

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This wall is very special to me, as it holds the legacy of your name, June.

Pictured on the far left is your Great-Great Grandma Me-Me who was born on June 12, 1913, then next is your Great-Grandma Nanny who was born on June 28, 1936, and then finally you can see picture of your daddy and I on our wedding day which was June 25, 2010.

I can’t tell you how precious it is to have my Me-Me and Nanny (both grandmas that were the nearest and dearest to my heart) not just in your room with me always, but also so perfectly forever tied to the legacy and beautiful of your name.

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Your closet!  With a whole lot of hand-me-downs from Lila and Adi Morgan, some spoiling from Grammy, some shower gifts, and maybe one shirt that I bought you for Christmas lol.

And see that Granddaughter sign above your closet?  That’s a very Zeke Braverman gift from your grandpa.  While I was pregnant with you, every month Grammy and Grandpa would give us a gift on the 20th to celebrate each month of the pregnancy, as you were due on August 20th.  Grandpa was in charge of the gift this particular month and had that sign made for you, because our favorite television grandpa (Zeke) calls his granddaughter “Granddaughter,” and my dad plans to pass on that cuteness to you.  I love it.

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This pink basket that Amy gave me at your shower she had for you has become our laundry basket for you.

I had to take a closer shot of it, because that little yellow tag I keep on it is the badge your Aunt Bailey wore to be back in the delivery room where you were born.  I think of the joy of your birth day every time I see it.

DSC_9552Cara Riekhof gave you this Baby Einstein playmat, and it’s become our morning ritual for you to have some quiet time by yourself on this little mat after your first feeding.  You LOVE the light up part on it, and now enjoy rolling over on it, too!

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I found this bookshelf on Craigslist and somewhat underestimated the real estate we’d need for your very growing library!  Your Great-Aunt Janet gave you that cute owl bookend from Pottery Barn, and there is actually another one that got the boot as we received more and more books for you!  The reader in your mama is more than happy with the fact we have more books than shelf space.

On that top shelf is a letter I wrote to you while we were pregnant and put it between 6 month pictures of me and your daddy.  When people come over, they always love to look at little Ryan and little Erica and see the different attributes found in little YOU!

That cool giraffe was a gift from Aunt Bailey, when she saw your animal themed nursery.  Unlike your big tall giraffe from Grammy and Grandpa, this one is not from a toy store, but actually from Africa.  Aunt Bailey is pretty legit like that.

And the J is a piece I just fell in love with and got when all of the world only knew you as Baby J, because your daddy wanted to keep your name a secret until he met you!

Whew, that was quite the tour.

As you can see, your room came together with a lot of help and generosity from friends and family, but most of all with a whole lot of love from all of us who knew a baby as special as our Junie needed a room full of wonderful.

This last picture shows your glider (remind me to tell you the funny Craigslist story about that adventure with your Uncle Atticus and someone who tried to see me a glider that didn’t glide lol) and your favorite bouncy seat from Vicky with your really cool little singing bird from Great-Aunt Susan and Great-Uncle Hal on your crib.

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This tour took so long that it’s now bedtime, and one last little fact for you about your room is that every night after you’re long asleep– and dreaming big, little one– I go in your room and tidy it all up just perfect so we can start our next day right.

And as I walk out of that room, I always stop for a second and just admire the beauty of it.

Only the best for you, Junebug.

Happy 5 months, and I couldn’t love you more.

Love,
Mama

02.7.14 16 Comments

Embarrassing A Shippmate

In some sort of weird turn of events, we’ve been eating at home more lately and hadn’t been to a sit down kind of restaurant in awhile.

So strange, I know.

But anyway, due to this normalcy that has become eating at home, I guess I kind of forgot the manners of fine dining.

I’m honestly not sure at which point I embarrassed The Shippmate more tonight:

(A) When I tried to use my shirt as a nursing cover and well… fell short of my projected goal.

(B) When I was still hungry after my meal and decided to order almost the entire thing again.

(C) Then when the teenage boy waiter looked so confused by this that I proceeded to give him a mini lesson on the breastfeeding mother and her diet and appetite.

(D) Or last, but absolutely not least, when Ry was going to the bathroom and I asked (a little too loud maybe) across the restaurant: “HOW LONG DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE IN THERE?”

Bahahahahahaha. It might be our last night out for awhile.

But it was worth every laugh.

And every bite that I got to experience with both of my meals.

01.30.14 Leave a comment

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