My Dyer-E
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The Egg Collection I Never Knew I Always Wanted

Spring has sprung on our mantle with some extra special eggs.11084272_639997694212_1299311669459586014_n

When I was younger, my Nanny started an egg collection for me.  She would get me fancy Lenox eggs or special ones like the one my Bobby brought back from Panama for me.

I took a closer up shot of a few of my favorites–

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They all sat up on a special shelf in my childhood bedroom, and I can still remember organizing them and dusting them and having a particular order for them.

However, because I’m all about keeping it real- here’s a confession… for several of those years, I didn’t really appreciate them.

In fact, I think I even was so bratty to once complain to my mom that I didn’t even like eggs and wished I could change my “collection” to something MUCH cooler– like TROLLS.

My mom probably wanted to slap me but just informed me I WOULD be grateful and appreciative for my egg collection that Nanny started and get over my spoiled self.

It embarrasses me to so vividly remember whining about this beautiful and amazing collection my grandmother was creating for me!  I should perhaps tuck this memory away for a day when my own June Harbor might be a little ungrateful or maybe missing the special in a collection or gift from someone— both to give her grace and to rest assured it doesn’t mean she will be void of sentiment and appreciation for life lol.

Well, fast forward about 20 years, and I’m wanting to decorate my very first home for spring for the first time.  I was brainstorming ideas for my mantle and remembered my egg collection!!!!
Oh, the joy and special it was to get these from my parents’ basement and unpack them last night and place them on my mantle.
My 10 year old self might not have loved this collection, but my Nanny surely knew my 30 year old self would absolutely adore them.It would delight my heart to no end to be able to call her and tell her this whole story about my once confusion about an egg collection that has now become something I will cherish and adore every spring.

The morale of this story is to listen to your elders– especially ones as classy and special as my Nanny.

Because truly– can you imagine how less precious my troll collection would have looked on our mantle this Easter season?

03.30.15 12 Comments

Thoughts on Pink and Blue

I’m so excited for tomorrow.

I mean, nearly too excited to sleep kind of excited.

I’ve literally been dreaming about this Pink and Blue party since January.

In the worst of the first trimester, I would daydream of the spring day when I would get to gather with all of my favorites and see cake like proof of the gender of my babe.

My dad– and I’m sure others– thought this kind of celebration was maybe something you didn’t do the second time around.

I was all, “WHAT?!!  OF COURSE WE WILL DO THAT AGAIN!”

I adore the invention of gender reveal parties, and I’ll never forget attending my first for Dawson Grace’s reveal and being nowhere near pregnant or wanting to be pregnant yet myself, and still somehow getting very emotional watching Kylie and Tyler learn of their pretty in pink news.

I’m sure my dad actually wasn’t surprised that I was wanting to do this again, but it still made me giggle that he felt confused on why we’d do it for the second one.

(At his house, nonetheless.)

I don’t know exactly what my parents have planned, but I do secretly hope there is a scoreboard again, because that made me so incredibly giddy last time.

(And I may have not so secretly mentioned this lately lol!)

Anyway, as for my thoughts on the color of the cake.

So many of you are asking, and I seriously would love nothing more than to tell you my “motherly instinct” as to the gender of this babe moving around in my belly, but y’all–

I HAVE NO CLUE!

I really, really don’t.

And even stranger than that, I HAVE NO PREFERENCE.

If you know me at all, you know THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.

When we walk in a restaurant, I have a little anxiety over getting the seat I want, because oh yes– there is ALWAYS a seat I’d prefer.

I have very strong preferences on small things like hand soap and chapstick and the way words are spaced and centered for FB/Instagram posts.

I never walk into a restaurant and say, “I’ll have whatever you’re having.”

I ALWAYS HAVE A PREFERENCE.

If someone needs to pick a place to eat or sit or the movie to see– I AM YOUR GAL.  Decisions are not hard for me. I’m a decisive and particular lady.

At the last Pink and Blue Party, EVERY BIT OF MY BEING wanted a girl.  I couldn’t even hide the fact it was what I wanted to those closest to me.  I NEEDED that baby to be a girl.  I strongly preferred a firstborn girl, and I would have not jumped this high had the cake been blue:

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I realize that’s slightly bratty and annoying of me, and I’m not even admitting it’s not!

(My mom still gets on to me for saying I would have been less happy with a boy!  She TRIED to raise me right– I just rebel in my own particular ways every now and then.)

So this feeling of being content either way feels incredibly foreign.

It’s kind of fun and peaceful though, but still a little weird.

I absolutely loved having a little brother, so that would be amazing.  But I also always wanted a sister, too, and I would love to give June a sister, so that would be equally amazing.

Because this baby and June will be exactly two years apart, the clothes would align pretty sweetly for a girl, and I actually love the idea of re-using all of June’s sweet outfits.

But I also think it would be fun to figure out what having a little boy is all about– I hear they have a way of really stealing a mama’s heart.

And I don’t know if this means anything to anyone, but I have craved and drank A TON of blue Powerade this pregnancy.

OH!  And we literally have a girl name AND a boy name we absolutely adore.  As in, I can’t even tell you which name I prefer, because I love them both SO SO SO much.

I really am just in such a Switzerland like place of neutrality.  I can hardly believe it myself.

I’ll be wearing a navy blue shirt tomorrow, because I adore the color blue and don’t really do pink (even on Wednesdays) but my nails are absolutely strategically pretty in pink.

I thought I’d end with a picture from our ultrasound yesterday, so you could have a picture before telling me YOUR guess in the comments!

An while I don’t know myself, I actually highly enjoy reading and hearing what others think it might be.

I also wanted to most sincerely thank each and every one of you that text, emailed, commented, and prayed for our little baby per my The Good, The Bad, and The Trusting post from last night.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me, and it’s given me great peace to know he or she is already so very, very well protected in prayer.

You don’t even know how OVER THE MOON I am that I’m but just hours away from being able to pray for this babe by name!

Here’s Baby Shippmate #2-

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It’s not the best pic, but 3D images kind of freak me out, and like I mentioned yesterday it was NO easy task trying to get this little one to stop doing tricks for us to capture an image, so I think it’s a fun action shot nonetheless.

Leave your PINK OR BLUE predictions in the comments, and I’ll update tomorrow soon after the party!

Thank you all for your love, support, and excitement for our baby– we appreciate each of you so much!

03.20.15 14 Comments

The Good, The Bad, And The Trusting.

Ah.  Today.

It’s been on my calendar for a couple of months– and in my heart since I knew we were expecting again– as BIG APPT FOR BABY #2!

Initially the BIG was about WE WILL FIND OUT IF THIS IS A BOY OR GIRL!!!

But the last few weeks after seeing a friend’s baby struggle upon birth and a few other friends’ babies get hard news, I have felt more and more anxious for the real reason for that scan at 20 weeks– to see that everything is healthy and just as it should be!

I even requested prayers from our gospel community last night knowing that it’s not just assumed you get to hear “baby is healthy and perfect,” and Ryan and I shared how we both very much desperately wanted this little guy or gal to simply be healthy.

Even as I told the group how some recent events have served as hard reminders that babies aren’t always healthy and requested their prayers, I really believed we would just hear all was well and wonderful.

Until we kind of didn’t.

So, our day and appointment and time together as a family was truly perfect until the part where we meet with the doctor, and I very much want to share about that first part of the day, but I’ve always been a bad news first kind of person, so I’m going to get that out of the way first.

Our sweet little baby has an intracardiac echogenic foci in the right ventricle of the heart.

Which could mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Or it could be mean the baby has trisomy 18 (Down Syndrome) or trisomy 21 (Edwards Syndrome).

So yeah.

That was hard to hear.

It kind of hurt my heart just typing it all out here, too.

“Healthy as can be” is so much easier to type and say and shout from the rooftops, really.

Our doctor has seen several patients have this at an ultrasound at 20 weeks and everything ends up completely normal and fine.  In fact, she’s never seen the intracardiac echogenic foci, when presented by itself, result in the chromosome abnormalities!

So that is obviously encouraging.

From here we will have a specialist do a level two ultrasound to look for other ultrasound findings that would point to a chromosome abnormality.  Prayerfully, that more intense and specific scan will show that this is meaningless and nothing to worry about.

I would have loved for that ultrasound to have been tonight (ha) but it might be a couple of weeks before we get in.  I will find out tomorrow.

Lots of emotions and thoughts were running through The Shippmate and my minds.

Obviously there was a bit of a deflated feeling after just having had such a wonderful and joyful time seeing our baby and kind of just assuming all was well.

Ryan was also quick to question the need for this second ultrasound– wondering what benefit would come from it.

I find tremendous benefit in hopefully finding out all is great, and this thickened band in the ventricle is absolutely meaningless.

However, it has not been so long ago that we were told a test for June was just precautionary and all would be well…. and then something was found on that test leading us to another test.  More worry, more stress, more hospitals.

So I absolutely understood where Ryan’s reluctance was coming from, but I also really would prefer to know.

It just honestly wasn’t what we wanted to hear.  I felt angry as we drove away thinking, “Man- God, I just wanted to get a clear and wonderful report so we could be carefree and giddy and enjoy the Pink and Blue Party without a worry in our world.”

Almost annoyed I have to carry this burden and worry about this baby’s chromosomes and tell people things about intracardiac echogenic foci instead of just being all PINK OR BLUE.

And then I heard back what I was saying to God.   It’s almost like I was saying I had wanted a good report so I could kind of check out from trusting Him or exercising my faith in Him or having to talk Him about things like my baby’s intracardiac echogenic foci.

I just said last night at gospel community that in the weeks between June’s big appointments, I never cried out and called upon God so fervently.  It’s no secret that in the hardest of times, we draw nearest to our Jesus.

So instead of being annoyed I don’t get to be “carefree,” I decided I can find great comfort and peace in the fact I get to trust Jesus and talk to Him daily about my baby’s chromosomes.

This isn’t a burden.  It’s my honor.

I contemplated skipping the whole hard part of the appointment and just telling you the good stuff, but I would most appreciate your prayers for our little baby, too.

I firmly believe in the power of prayer and the ability Jesus has to heal and provide, and the health of our little baby will be no exception.

But now– let me quickly (I’m kind of exhausted– physically, emotionally, pregnantly lol) tell you about the fabulous of our day!

The Shippmate was going to take off work early to come with us for this big appointment, but then due to the rain, he was already off and we got to go early and have lunch together as a fam!

We had a gift card for On The Border, and that is where we went before our appointment on June’s due date, so it felt very special and fitting.

The three of us had a fabulous lunch, and the waitress even very confidently told us June was getting a little sister!
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When we got to the appointment, we found out the ultrasound tech had a new machine that she was trying out so not only would we get extra time seeing our baby, but we would also get a 3D ultrasound for free!!!!

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This was so exciting, and despite my very, very full bladder that was being pressed into, I so adored the entire HOUR of seeing our baby!  The little baby that wasn’t actually as small as I was picturing– he or she is a banana now!?  I refuse to say this pregnancy has “flown by,” because holy moly, NOTHING flew about those first three months, but SINCE THEN, things have been especially fast, furious, and fabulous.

Oh- and June was PRECIOUS in there, too.  She kept saying it was her sister, and then coming over to me and holding my hand and saying, “Mama- baby!”   She was so proud and so very, very sweet. And with it being an hour long, Juniper was a little rambunctious in the room, too, which was fitting because SO WAS HER LITTLE BROTHER OR SISTER!

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Oh my goodness gracious, that baby was putting on a SHOW for us!  As in the techs both said they hadn’t had that active of a baby for quite some time!  He/she was constantly moving and dancing and squirming all about– making for both an interesting viewing for us and a challenging time for them to get all of their images.

unnamed4 unnamedI love that you can see June trying to see the pics of her “BABY!” in the pics above.

And because I always loved doctor office pics with my Shippmate when it was just the two of us, I had to capture some today, too.

Such as when Ryan gave June a mini bath after her touching multiple things around the room while we waited for the doctor lol.

unnamedafdasd unnamfdafdafded(Side note:  I love my man’s long hair.  Ahhhhh.  I never knew I’d be such a fan, but oh my Shippmate, am I ever.)

It seriously was such a wonderful day together.

We had so much fun at lunch, and June literally cannot stop talking about our Pink and Blue Party and THE CAKE!  As in, when we got her out to go in the doctor’s office, she asked, “Cake? Pink! Blue!”  Her excitement has me even more excited which I seriously would not even know was possible.

Watching the baby in my belly run around my uterus while my Baby June simultaneously ran around the ultrasound room while my Shippmate held my hand was the very best kind of crazy.

Crazy beautiful, that is.

I’m so thankful these are my people, and I have such faith that Jesus knows exactly what He is doing in the life of our family.

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PS:  The Very Classified Envelope went straight from our OB’s office to our cake baker’s shop!  I cannot wait to celebrate this baby in my belly and all of his or her pink or blue glory!  TWO DAYS AWAY!!!!!!!!

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03.19.15 79 Comments

June Harbor Shippy: 19 Months

Oh June.

I just got home from an impromptu shopping/eyebrow/nails trip to The Big City.

I left as soon as your daddy and Uncle Aaa-kiss pulled in the driveway from work, and so I haven’t seen you since I tucked you in for your afternoon nap.

I accomplished a lot tonight, and I nearly wanted to sleep in the Target parking lot in Blue Springs rather than drive home, so you should feel beyond special that I’m staying up to write you tonight.

It’s one of those nights when I just have to write you.

While I was gone tonight, you and your daddy had the best time.  I actually text him earlier today when explaining I would need to leave as soon as he got home how you’d been asking about him (due to our spring break fun with Mammie and Pa and then Daddy and my date last night you actually didn’t see him at all yesterday) and you’d been especially fun and sweet all day, so I knew the two of you would have a fabulous night.

And yet, it still made me so happy when your dad text me this after tucking you in for bed-

(the “read” is supposed to be “was)

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We ended up talking on the phone for part of my drive home, and June– this is why I had to write you tonight.

I want you to forever know that you are the most special, most delightful, most wonderful little Bug we’ve ever ever ever known.

I want you to know that your daddy and I talked for a good 10 minutes tonight on the phone just about what a complete joy and delight you are.

My Shippmate (your daddy) told me how he taught you some new shapes tonight (including but not limited to your now pronunciation and recognition of “pentagon”– whaaat!?  Don’t tell your daddy, but I don’t know that I quite even remember what those are! Ha.) and you and him played soccer in the living room for an hour with the ball Uncle Mitch gave you.  He said you were funny and sweet and smart and just the most fun to be around.

You also woke up from your three hour nap asking for your dinosaur you made with Mammie at the T-Rex Cafe for our spring break getaway.  I love how you love things and think about them like that!   I screenshot this earlier, because it just makes me so happy that this is my life and you and Daddy are my people.

10407094_638644695632_449601932988086547_nAccording to your daddy, you asked about me and the dinosaur several times with some genuine concern!  We will both be eager to reunite with you when you wake up in the morning.  Your dinosaur might even have a little surprise she brought home for you….

But back to your dad going on about how delightful you are.

He was totally preaching to the choir, because OH DO I EVER KNOW HOW WONDERFUL YOU ARE.

There was nothing exceptional about today– in fact, it was the first day in several that we had nothing big planned.

It was the most ordinary of Tuesdays, which nearly always turn out to be my favorites.

You and I got to wake up at our most leisurely and late hour that makes me still feel like the luckiest mom in the world with you and your 19 months of sleeping perfection.

We had our “flakes! milk! bowl!” and eggs and apples together.

We watched some Daniel Tiger and Sesame Street while I got some emails/phone calls taken care of.

We played with your food and kitchen and your table and chairs that you so adore and still so adorably refer to as “SURPRISE!” from when I told you I had a surprise for you months ago when we got that table and chairs.  Actually just a few days ago, you sat down and said, “SURPRISE!  Fun!  Thank coo, Mama!”

I mean, MELT ME INTO A PUDDLE.

You seriously are SO good at saying “thank coo, thank coo very much” and it is just the sweetest declaration of gratitude on the face of the planet.

Speaking of sweetest, then we went to lunch with our favorite Kenney friends which was an absolute blast.  Amy and I got to really talk, because Abby and ‘Aggie totally were taking care of you and loving on you.  Abby introduced you to your first Cheetos bites which you highly enjoyed and then she firmly, but kindly taught you how to lick your fingers so she could wipe off the orange crumbs better!  Bahahahahha– priceless.  Oh- and Abby also had you say, “I’m going to be a big sister!” which was both amazing and adorable.

While Amy and I were visiting, you leaned toward me at one point and said, “Mama?”

I turned to you and said, “Yes, Baby June?  What’s up?”

You looked at me with such sincerity and said, “Kiss?” before giving me the best kiss and going happily back to your conversation with Abby and ‘Aggie.

I mean– ARE YOU FOR REAL!?

After lunch we had several errands, including two trips to the DMV, and June– you’re the sole person in this world that doesn’t know that place is supposed to be miserable.  You literally danced around the room, made friends, greeted angry looking people coming in, and tried to touch one man’s sleeve of a tattoo.  You were truly like some kind of bright shining light in a very dark place inside that DMV and everyone around you felt a little less annoyed because of your celebration.  I seriously think you thought we’d came to your own surprise party or something.  That ended with me paying $54 for two “STICKERS!!!!” that you were most excited to put on the car with me.

I can’t get enough of you, June.  And neither can your Dada.  We love you so much, and I just really wanted to take a few minutes to write you tonight so you’d always know the way we adore your sweet and hilarious spirit.  The way we talk about you so lovingly after you’re long asleep.  The way you came into our lives that honestly already felt so very, very content and complete and showed us another whole level of love and joy and complete.

I took this picture of us earlier today before your nap time.
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I wrote a caption on Instagram about it being of DW, you, me and Mr. Giraffe.

Which was true, but that wasn’t my initial motive for snapping the pic of us all.

I took that picture because I was putting you down for nap with no ta-tas involved, but just cuddles and a book!?!!?!

Two months ago in the throes of the first trimester, I wanted desperately to wean my “breastfeeding addict” and thought the end was never in sight and I’d be coming to kindergarten to breastfeed you during recess in a janitor’s closet.

And now– here we are a couple of months later, in a trimester that feels so, so, so much less overwhelming and painful and suffocating, and I have had no desires to start the weaning I thought I desperately needed back in The First Tri.

But you…. you, my June, are showing your own signs of slow and gentle weaning.  Nothing has been forced.  Nothing has been rushed.  It’s been at the calmest of paces and mostly led by you.  This past weekend, due to a last minute sleepover at Mammie and Pa’s house, you went 48 hours with no ta-tas or mention of them.  This wasn’t planned or premeditated, but it just happened.

And caused your daddy to say to me, “Let’s just do the weaning thing now and she will be done!”

Ummmmm, yeah- no way.

I explained I needed to KNOW when our last feeding was.  I told him how I didn’t start that journey with painful nipples and tears and survive three rounds of mastitis and many odd looks when I ditched the whole cover thing to just say we’re going to call it good with no closure for this mama.

Minus a few tough weeks in the first trimester, nursing you has been my favorite thing in the world, June.  I adore the moments we’ve shared.  The bonding.  The love.  The laughs.  The “nice to meet you”… that’s something only me, you, and your daddy will get, but oh goodness, girl– it’s been the best adventure together with you.

So today when I was reading to you without you nursing simultaneously like you’ve done for the past 6-ish months, I wanted to capture a moment that felt so bittersweet.

On the one hand, I’m insanely proud of you.  You’re growing up.  You’re such a smart, lovely, clever little girl.  (And I kind of have been daydreaming about wearing a fancy, pretty bra that had no snaps for feeding lol.)

But on the other hand, I want to cry my eyes out, because I kind of thought we were going to do ta-tas forever.

(I know, I know– I have a baby dancing around in my belly waiting to start that ta-ta adventure all over again, but June– I know you’ve overheard me saying it to… oh EVERYONE– there is just no way this second babe will be half as special or cool as you are.  IMPOSSIBLE.)

Anyway, about a month ago, I started a conversation with you about how ta-tas are for June right now, but soon it will be Baby’s turn.  You’ve engaged in this conversation several times, and most recently in your one main feeding of the day, you’ll stop WAY sooner than you used to and say, “K- done!  Baby turn!”

Well, tonight your daddy told me you and him were talking about the Pink and Blue Party coming up on Saturday (you cannot wait for THE CAKE!)  (and neither can I!) and he asked if you think it’s a brother or a sister, and you mentioned both (as you often do) and then said, “Baby– ta-tas!”

My Shippmate said, “Yes!  The baby will get ta-tas.”

And you explained, “June- food!”

Because we’ve talked about how that’s something you will get that the baby won’t get!

As your dad told me about that whole conversation, I just couldn’t have felt more proud of you, June.  You listen and you remember and you re-tell things exceptionally well.

We love you more than I can even type, June.  You’re incredible.  You’re beautiful.  You’re hilarious.  You’re so important to us.  You, Baby June, are our favorite.

Drafting this letter to you in my head on my drive home, I cried my little pregnant and hormonal eyes out.

I cried because I love you so much.  I cried because I’m insanely proud of you.  I cried because you’re seemingly growing up on us.  I cried because you’re kind of weaning yourself and I thought I wanted that (and if I’m thinking outside my pregnant mind and somewhat logically, I do want it and think it will be best for everyone when the baby is born) but I also can’t quite envision us not sharing that time.

All the tears led me to a most favorite quote of mine from Henry Ellis that my dear friend Courtney shared with me years ago.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.

There could be no truer words when it comes to motherhood, my sweet Baby June.

I love you,
Mama

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03.17.15 9 Comments

Dishes and Clean Up– Past and Present.

When we eat at home more often, I notice this thing where I feel like I’m constantly loading and unloading our dishwasher. It might be because we have like 4 plates and fewer bowls and less silverware than most people, but still– when you make multiple meals in a day, inevitably dishes are cleaned and put away multiple times.

Which is cool.  And I wear sassy dish gloves to keep my hands dainty and refreshed, so there’s really no major harm done.

But what really gets me about it is that every time I’m cleaning up, I think of my great-grandmother, Me-Me.

She was 94 when she went home to heaven (where she promised us she had more friends there than down here at that point) and even though she was in a season of life when death is not a huge surprise, it still was so hard losing a dear, dear friend that I had in my Me-Me.

Anyway, back to the cleaning.

Me-Me lived in a day and age when she woke up and made my Papa and all of the farm help a hot breakfast BEFORE SHE WENT TO WORK as a teacher.

But not just that.

She also made them a hot lunch that they would come in and warm up while she was at work.

All of this before leaving for work.

She would come home from work to all of the lunch dishes that had to be done before she then started cooking dinner.

After dinner, she would do all of those dishes before later grading papers.

…..

This whole process literally floors me every time I think about it (which is pretty often while I’m doing dishes) and I mean– CAN YOU IMAGINE!?

(If you can imagine–as in you still do all of that– please don’t comment publicly, because I can’t have my Shippmate thinking this is still a thing people do.)

The idea that there was no Sonic to run to for a quick drink and burger or take-out to grab and bring home really is so incredible and foreign to me.

So while I stand at my dishwasher– that does the washing for me– and feel like I’ve spent a good portion of my day loading and unloading and putting dishes away, I always stand so humbled at the incredible women that have gone before me.

But especially my very own Me-Me.

And now because I’m Me (and maybe because I’m pregnant) I’m now crying, because I would love nothing more than to have one more dinner at Countryside with Me-Me.  One more car ride with her and Mom and Atticus.  One more time of hearing her say I was the prettiest baby she’d ever seen.  One more time of visiting her at her duplex.  And oh, the joy it would be for her to know my June!  It means the world to me that Me-Me can forever live in the legacy of June’s name with my Nanny.

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I love you so much, Me-Me, and I sure hope someone else is doing the dishes for Papa in heaven!

02.26.15 4 Comments

June Harbor Shippy: 18 Months

Oh Baby June.

It’s been a few months since Mama has written you a letter.  I know my official policy was I was just doing this every month for the first year, but I still think about it nearly every month on the 24th.

This morning I knew I had to write you.

This morning was kind of a big deal in the world of me and you, baby girl.

It only took me 18 months to let you go off to Children’s Church.  As in, you went in this faraway room BY YOURSELF (well, 2 adults and other kids, but really BY YOURSELF) while Mommy and Daddy sat in church without you.

It wasn’t even planned either was the real crazy thing.  We were late to church, so I figured we weren’t going to this Sunday, not to mention it always seems like a likely strong excuse when it’s cold and flu season that we should keep you in our laps instead of sharing memories and germs with other toddlers lol.  But then this morning, we got in church and you weren’t being bad– at all, really– however you were just clearly wanting to play.  To talk.  To move all around.

Actually, the minute we walked into the sanctuary this morning, you took once glance at the worship team singing on stage and said, “Microphone! Junie!”

As in, you wanted us to take you on up there to sing your own song.  You also ACTUALLY said “microphone.”  With the M sound at the beginning and everything.  Your dad and I were quite impressed.  As we are DAILY with how many words you know and use and understand.  You’re seriously such a smart baby.

Okay, but back to this morning.

In the midst of you wiggling and wanting to play, I said to your Dada- “Let’s see if she can go to Children’s Church.”

Your dad was holding you and fully ready to take you by himself, and even thought it was weird I followed him out of the sanctuary but ummm, hello– I didn’t wait 18 months to send you off to your own little class for me not to walk you back there and make sure everyone knew they had to be THE MOST NICE AND CAREFUL WITH YOU.

You literally walked in, looked around at all of the kids and toys and pretty much skipped right into the beat of play time and social hour with your fellow toddlers.

The whole thing was so fast and smooth and really nothing like I pictured it that when I sat back down in the sanctuary, I started feeling very overwhelmed.

As in tears everywhere.

Emotions completely out of control.

My Shippmate (your daddy) was so sweet and assured me you were okay and everything was going to be just fine as he kindly held my hand.

He even said he would go spy on you for me.  (Which he did.)  (And then I did.)  (And then maybe I did again lol.)

As I sat there in this rare moment of freedom of being able to finally LISTEN to a sermon for the first time in 18 months, it was all I could do to think about how the nice Children’s Church workers knew NOTHING about you.

I felt this very intense longing to run back there to explain EVERYTHING to them.

Starting with the fact you were born en caul, which yes, very much makes you more special than most.  IT ONLY HAPPENS TO 1 in 80,000 BABIES FOR PETE’S SAKE.

You slept through the night from very first night in the hospital and have been this dream of a baby that your daddy and I keep looking to Jesus as if we seriously can’t believe He gave you to US.

They needed to know you’ve always been expressive and your vocabulary impresses your pediatrician to the point she says you’re really one-of-a-kind.

I mean I could tell them that myself, but it seems like it should mean more to them coming from a dang professional!

I NEEDED to tell them about November 7th.

The phone call I got from your Daddy while you were so bravely riding in the ambulance.

They NEEDED to know you had three seizures that day and that you were postictal in our very own driveway and I thought a piece of my soul was dying forever when I watched you get strapped in to another ambulance.

It seemed obvious I should have told them about Dr. Coffman and the horrible phone call I received on Black Friday 2014 and the way my heart didn’t feel normal again until December 3rd when he called me before we even left St. Luke’s South with the best news I’ve ever received in my entire life.

This all seemed so important for anyone that was caring for you.  Like maybe they couldn’t quite grasp HOW special and miraculous you are without me doing a complete rundown of everything that has happened the last 18 months.

Seriously- I should probably print out all the letters I wrote you monthly for the first year of your life and at the very least have them read those before caring for you next week.

It seemed so suddenly stressful to me that they didn’t know you love bugs and even said your first sentence at but just 13 months young– “Eees a bug.”

I forgot to tell them about your adoration for walks and your dog Tom and books and praying and ice cream.

I just couldn’t believe I dropped you off and skipped back to the sanctuary without making sure I told them everything about you.

Your Mammie and Pa are really the only people that you’ve stayed with and I mean they held you in the delivery room and Pa is pretty much who made sure you were walking on time after I neglected to get you crawling in any hurry, and your Mammie has without a doubt clipped your nails and toenails more than your Daddy and I have combined.  (In fact, just last week when I felt compelled to clip your nails myself, you looked at me and said, “Mammie?” because you were pretty much unsure I knew how lol.)

My heart was racing, tears weren’t stopping, and I knew all of these fears I had were absolutely a little crazy and obviously the nursery workers didn’t get to know everything about you since August 24, 2013 at 2:21 when you were born still in the sac like the most special Baby June you are.

That was not reasonable or fair or even possible, really.

But oh June, the love I have for you goes so far beyond reasonable or fair of possible, even.

It’s bigger than all of that.

So I sat there in my pew, prayed a prayer to Jesus for my sanity to be restored, and then I went all Olivia Pope on the situation and counted the exact steps I was away from you in the nursery.  I figured ten from my pew to the door, a good fifteen down the hallway (I have long legs) and I’d be to your room.

And because I’m crazy and no kind of normal, that 25 step program calmed my heart a little.

As did your dad and I spying on you and you clearly having a great time.

Oh, and it absolutely helped that when we dropped you off you found a friend who had on a Curious George shirt and proceeded to touch the monkey on his shirt and say, “Hi, George!”

So I knew if all else failed in that room, at least you had a familiar face in George.

That comforted me a little more than you might expect actually.

But really, June– you did fabulous.  You were friendly with the other kids.  You had a good time.  You ate a cross cookie and I think convinced them to somehow give you another one when you actually weren’t supposed to get two (I have NO IDEA where you get that kind of persuasion)…

When I picked you up (in tears, yes) I just felt insanely proud.

I think like 75% proud of you and 25% proud of me.

Which feels about right, because oh girl– we’re so in this thing together, me and you.

Happy 18 months to my favorite little lady in all of the world.  It’s my greatest joy that I get to be your mom.

I love you,
Mama

PS: Well, of course, I’m going to include the pictures I snuck during one of my trips to spy on you.

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PPS:  Yes, I contemplated tearing down that Toddlers sign the rest of the way, because you are clearly not a toddler, but still my Baby June.  Forever my Baby June, you are.

02.22.15 11 Comments

The Picture of Motherhood That Will Never Make It to Instagram

Oh, today.

I just asked June if she remembered when Mama was sad and she made a sad face and said, “Car?”

Which contrary to my current mood totally made me smile that she remembered the location of me being sad.

You should really only read this post I’m about to write if you totally know me and how much I love motherhood and June and all things surrounding those two.  Like this would potentially be a horrible first entry of mine to read without previous knowledge of the crazy way I adore being a mom to my June.

But some days are just hard.

The funny thing is that it all started per a day that was significantly less hard.

Yesterday I was a part of a panel of judges for a local speech competition.  This involved me getting up early, putting on eyeliner– oh glorious and wonderful eyeliner, waking June up to get her loaded and then driving her to my brother and Bailey’s house where she’d spend the morning.

And then I drove for 35 minutes in a car with no one yelling “MAMA” or “WHEELS” (her request for Wheels On The Bus) or “NO” (her opinion on some of my favorite radio stations) but just me and the morning talk shows I used to listen to on my way to work.

Back when I had a drive to work instead of waking up at the very place I get to call home AND work.

I never had a super long commute, so it was always a time of the day I loved.  Just enough time to think about my day, hear some news (or Teresa’s Tabloid Trash, whatever) and maybe hear a song to pump up my Tuesday, too.

I was in such a good mood when I pulled in the school and then proceeded to have such a great time listening to speeches all morning long.

And intermittently talking to people who spoke in more than two-word sentences back to me.

And people who both made jokes and laughed at mine.

People who dress themselves and don’t have diapers and don’t need me to clean out their noses.

Just real grown up kind of people.

I ate lunch while judging the speeches, but it was still so relaxing.  I didn’t have to cut up food for anyone or think about what to feed them or clean up after them– I just sat there and ate my own sandwich and chips and THOUGHT I WAS IN HEAVEN.

Afterwards, I drove to pick up June and just kind of savored the fact I’d spent a good 4 hours doing something in an environment where other people had noticed my presence and contribution.

When we arrived home, I had but a few minutes before a girl I mentor came over and we discussed all matters of important things like The Explicit Gospel and The Bachelor, because well– yeah, that’s the kind of mentor I am.

After she left, June and I went on a brisk walk all around our neighborhood before coming home and per getting up at SIX AM– an hour I NEVER see anymore– I thought I’d be too tired to fix dinner and we’d have take-out or a frozen pizza, but instead I had this energy per my day of NOT being home and this weird desire to make tacos and quac and a chocolate cake, too.

Dinner was so delicious and so fun to have stories to share with my Shippmate that didn’t just involve things that happened in our living room and kitchen but things that happened in this world OUTSIDE of our home.  The characters of my stories weren’t just June and me, but other people.  Interesting, funny little kid people and some stories that involved grown up people, too.

I just felt alive.  And important.

AND HERE IS THE SCARY THING…. I wasn’t even doing any number of things that I could have been doing that would REALLY give me some kind of “life outside my SAHM world” kind of high.  Lord forbid I would have been actually dressed up and speaking persuasively at some kind of meeting about something really important to me– I can’t even imagine the dangerous high that might have given me.

I text a friend last night my feelings about all of this and how the energy of doing work outside the home somehow gave me more ambition to be productive once I WAS home!?  She made a joke about how productive I’ll be with a toddler AND a newborn soon, which then resulted in the following (I’m the blue):

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And I’m not even exactly serious.

I mean, probably not.

But here’s the thing– being a mom is so dang hard sometimes.

And I write about how glorious and amazing and beautiful and precious and all sorts of other annoyingly positive adjectives motherhood is all of the time– AND I MEAN THOSE WORDS…. I really, really do.

But because I preach BEING A MOM IS THE BEST 98% of the time, I get to admit the days it feels like too much to handle.

Today was one of those.

June has a bad cold and was up 4 times last night.  And not just up and back down but up and not feeling great and wanting me and more love and attention than I have at 1:30am, 2:30am, 3:30am and again at 4am.

It just felt like all she wanted was me today.  I LOVE the way she says, “Mama” and yet, I found myself at the longest stoplight ever crying because I just didn’t want to be the one and favorite person she needs ALL OF THE TIME.

We’re still breastfeeding, because some crazy fools at the the World Health Organization say you should until 2 now.   When I told my friend Amy this recently with the confession that as much as I’ve adored breastfeeding, I just feel ready to be done and maybe before “the magical age of 2,” she laughed so hard and said how not even that long ago, she felt like a total champ for making it to 6 months!

If you’re loving breastfeeding a toddler, I’m so happy for you.  SERIOUSLY.  I just have somehow raised this breastfeeding monster because I was told it was best for everyone to “feed on demand,” and I loved that for the first year- as did June, but no one told June to stop wanting to “feed on demand,” so she still wants “ta-tas” about 20 times a day.  That is actually not an exaggeration.

And I just feel tired.  I’m growing a baby and still not over the hard of the first trimester, and just after not sleeping much last night and feeling needed ALL DAY LONG, I just lost it in the car.

Not to mention, my body.  I cried to my mom that it’s “in the worst place ever” (which my post-baby self might want to disagree with come September lol) but I am so far from fitting in these jeans I wore days before finding out I was pregnant:

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And the stupid maternity jeans I bought at Gap for WAY more than I will admit publicly are literally SO baggy on me just two hour after pulling them on!  And they’re a size TWO.  And I literally asked the lady if they would stay true to how they fit when I tried them on and she ASSURED me they would.  That’s the last time I trust a 17 year old’s advice on my maternity pants lol.

No, but seriously- I have ONE pair of pants I can currently wear.  ONE.  And this ONE dang pair of pants are sagging on me all day and wearing clothes that don’t fit right annoys me so much.  After crying about this to Ryan, I told him I actually want to go back to The Gap to try to exchange them or something but they’re literally the only pants I own I can wear, so I guess I’ll have to wear them into the store.

And at that point, my tears just turned to laughter.

Because how can you not laugh at that?

Am I still overwhelmed with the thought of figuring out how to wean a Breastfeeding Addict?  Oh yeah.

Does it still scare me how much it felt amazing to be a real person in the outside world last week?  Umm, yes.

Does the idea I’m bringing another life into this world that might come over to me while I’m trying to blog and say, “Mama?  Write?  JUNE- WRITE!  UP!  TA-TAS! PLEASE!” make me a little nervous?  Absolutely.

But something about the irony that I have but one pair of pants– that are so loose on my legs and butt that it’s embarrassing– that I can’t even really exchange them without wearing them to the store… it just sent me over the bad, sad kind of place into the place where it only helps to laugh.

Moms– we’re doing the best we can.  Really.

To the mom that works– I’m proud of you and I seriously envy the part of you that gets to wear eyeliner and come home excited to see your people instead of wanting to hide from them in the bathroom with your laptop.

To the mom that stays home– I’m proud of you and I seriously know the quiet part of your heart that sometimes wonders if you’re losing a part of your former self that once ran business meetings or wrote proposals or taught a classroom.

But here’s what I know, Moms.

I know that I get emails/comments daily from working moms that say, “You’re so lucky to get to be having calendar time with June at home!” or “I so wish I could spend my morning on a walk with my little man!”

And I also know from my recent experience– as well as from the voices of so many fellow SAHMs– there is a part of us that also very much envies aspects of the working mom life.

There’s no right or wrong here, because at the end of the day I kind of bet we’ve all found ourselves at a forever long red stoplight with a screaming toddler in the backseat and a crying mama in the front seat.

Maybe crying tears of “am I missing things in my baby’s life?” or maybe crying tears of “am I missing things in my own life I’m supposed to be doing?”

Or maybe just crying tears of “WHY DO MY EXPENSIVE MATERNITY JEANS HAVE TO BE SO BAGGY ON ME?”

No matter the tears, I like to think we’re all in this together.  Baggy maternity jeans and all.

01.31.15 24 Comments

A Sonic Date To Remember

I follow a girl on Instagram that lost her son to a tragic accident last fall. Ryan was just three years old and the cutest little redhead bundle of love you’ve ever seen.IMG_0355
His mom uses her blog and Instagram as a place to celebrate his life and heal from their tremendous loss.  It’s a loss too great for me to be able to type about without tears.  I cannot imagine.  I mean, CANNOT IMAGINE.

Her bravery and honesty and love is inspiring, and I would encourage you to follow her at http://www.babyboybakery.com/ or on Instagram at babyboybakery.

Anyway, ALL OF THAT (and tears) to say that this morning I saw a post of hers about wishing she could have one more pancake breakfast with her baby boy, and while I actually think I’m someone who naturally celebrates and appreciates the small things in life, her posts always TRIPLE this sentiment for me.

I was reading her post while waiting for a dollar drink from Sonic. (Our Sonic is the only one I know of that does this deal until 11am instead of 10am which delights me to no end– just a sidenote of happy for all Burg residents lol.)

The sun was coming in the car so nicely and the entire place was full of people getting drinks and food, etc., and so I decided instead of rushing back home for our lunch, we’d just chill in the car together for awhile.  The nice Sonic girl even gave me a free water for June, and I brought her to the front with me where we proceeded to drink our drinks, do CHEERS! about a thousand times, talk about the people and dogs around us, wave to everyone, press the credit card buttons many, many times, use several “naa-kins” to “clean,” and just bond.

Mama and June.  Just the two of us doing our thing.

We totally just savored life and each other and the sun… all over the glory of Sonic ice, of course.

I’m actually crying describing what a seriously beautiful hour it was.

Yes, an hour.

We sat there in that stall for an entire hour.

June was never once bored with the novelty of the front seat and so many things to see and discuss and talk about.  We danced to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and counted to ten and ordered a burger (or maybe two).  We tickled each other and high fived and then did CHEERS with our drinks once more.

When the Sonic girls walked by, June shouted out “GIRL! TRAY! HEY!” and they smiled and waved.

I am so thankful June is healthy.  I’m so thankful I can take an hour out of my day to just savor life with her.

I encourage you to follow Jacqui’s blog.  It’s not easy reading what she’s going through.  It’s actually really, really painful.  It hurts my heart in a way few things can bring me pain, but it also brings about such a reminder of the precious, precious gift I’ve been given to love June Harbor.

Her pictures, her words, her blog…. they remind me how fragile life is and the honest truth that we might not have tomorrow with our babies.

I’ll never regret the hour we spent at Sonic today.  In fact, I hardly doubt it will be the last time we talk and bond and dance to Taylor Swift with Sonic drinks in hand.

It’s my greatest honor to get to be her mom.

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01.28.15 11 Comments

The Theft’s Prayer

I’ve been in an especially defeated kind of mood since learning of our theft incident.  Obviously because it’s annoying, but I think also because I’m just so sick of being sick and didn’t feel like I wanted to handle something so annoying on top of it all.

Which made me think I should put a FIRST TRIMESTER bumper sticker on my car to alert thefts it’s really not a good time to mess with me.

Anyway, I was just in an unfortunate and miserable kind of mood… until dinner with my two faves.

June requested we “pray” which wasn’t really the first thing on my mind but who am I to argue with that love bug, and so The Shippmate started this precious prayer with June’s little hands so tightly clasped and he prayed for The Usuals and then totally just killed me with this prayer for the person who stole our stuff!!!!

Which is obviously so adorable and Christ-like and sweet, but for some reason looking at serious Praying June and my favorite Shippmate, it just made me die laughing.

And then Ryan said, “And maybe he will even return our stuff” and as soon as he said “he,” we both exchanged a look since I love to keep things gender neutral around here and so he quickly added- “or she…” and the whole thing just had me crying I was laughing so hard.

Which was about 2 minutes after saying I wanted to physically harm someone.

I truly can’t think of a better summary of living with a first trimester woman.

Which is why I obviously need that dang bumper sticker.

OH and for everyone asking:

Yes, our car doors were unlocked.

Yes, I did take my new $3 chapstick out of my purse last night before leaving the $200+ gift cards because I didn’t want the aforementioned EOS lip balm to get too cold.

No, I’d rather you not point out how much I kind of deserved this.

Yes, we’ve learned our lesson and our car doors will now be locked nightly with no valuables left in the car, and I’m talking to Mrs. McCluskey about a neighborhood watch.

No, I still can’t believe they didn’t steal my Liane Moriarty book.

Yes, Ryan’s keys were in his ignition but according to the cop that I spoke to today “car thefts are trickier than swiping a quick purse.”

And no, we don’t live in Mayberry anymore, Aunt Bee, and I’m going to start trusting the world around me less.

01.5.15 11 Comments

What I Got The Shippmate For Christmas

Pioneer Woman released her very kissable gift she gave to Marlboro Man today over on her blog, so I figured today was the day I should do the same.

Plus, hundreds of you have been messaging me dying to know.

(By hundreds I-of course- mean tens of you, but who is really counting anyway?)

Okay, and seriously I was dying to tell you all when I posted on Facebook how I was so excited about this gift a couple of weeks ago, and I should have written it all out that very same day because well, Christmas happened and after many, many dinners in my very, very first trimester state I’m just now barely breathing again.

And to be quite honest, my participation in Ryan’s gift is partially to blame for starting my Christmas fatigue, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me start at the very beginning.

As in some time earlier this year when The Shippmate was so very excited to hear The Black Keys would be back in Kansas City on December 21st.  He told me as soon as he heard about the show that he had to go and asked me to ask around to my awesome cousins that often get us in free to such cool events.

So sometime last fall I asked, but these tickets weren’t quite in their realm of reach.

Then I kind of forgot about all of this until a couple of weeks before Christmas.

The Shippmate had been saying for at least a month before Christmas that what he got me was so awesome and how much I would love it so much, and so I knew the pressure was on.

Just about two weeks before Christmas, I re-remembered Ryan wanting to go to Black Keys and I also realized he’d been so busy lately and distracted with work and all of June’s hospital visits that he had completely forgotten about the show himself, so it would work so beautifully to surprise him with tickets!

This was going to be a great gift.

I thought of this while driving and when I got home I went to order the tickets from the very few tickets that were left to be found, and I realized I had somehow lost my credit card at Crown Center!  I was so frustrated because I didn’t want to risk losing the tickets that were left, and I couldn’t really use Ryan’s card because he would see what I used it for!  I even contemplated asking my brother and Bailey to borrow their card to order the tickets but I figured surely the tickets would still be there in the 24 hours the Citi Cards people assured me my new card would be delivered.

I went to bed so giddy about getting to surprise my Shippmate with something I KNEW he would love.

However, when I went to bed I was greeted by a stressed out Shippmate.  While I had been dancing around at Crown Center all day with the fam seeing Santa and enjoying the train at Fritz’s, Ryan had came home from work to more hospital bills from June’s multiple tests, overnight stay, two ER visits, two different ambulance rides… and a partridge in a pear tree.  Truly, those dang hospital bills still haven’t quit coming and throughout all of December they began to steal some of the joy of what normally is so fun to go to the mailbox to find Christmas cheer.

I could see the weight of it all on Ryan’s face and he was crunching numbers away on some new budgeting app he discovered and declared, “Okay- we can’t spend any more money this month, so seriously do NOT buy me anything. I don’t want anything– just don’t spend anything.”

And then it led to A Money Talk.

I trust we’re not the only people in world that have ever had one of these.  They’re normally at about 11pm when we’re both tired and prompted by something awesome like a million hospital bills and end in me Googling “ways to save money” and then telling Ryan I found the answer to all stressors per an actual article that suggested when eating out to just take a few extra ketchup packets and use it to replenish your own ketchup bottle at home!

BRILLIANT.

I don’t get how anyone could ever have money stress with that kind of solid advice.

No, but the talk actually went well in terms of we weren’t arguing but just discussing it all and in the scope of Money Talks, it was actually quite a great one, but it was NOT what one wants to hear on the eve of purchasing $200 tickets the next day!

On the one hand- I could still buy the tickets, because I KNEW Ryan really wanted to go and we technically had the money to do it.

But I felt like so much of the excitement of the gift would be lost on the fact Ryan is so selfless and hates spending money on himself EVER so he especially would be stressed to spend that much right now with everything going on.

And thus, I decided to get creative.

The Olivia Pope in me saw a problem and knew I needed to fix it.

Because I don’t have some secret off-shore account of secret cash to tap into for moments like this, I utilized what I do have at my disposal.

Words.

I did a little online research to find an email address to reach 96.5 The Buzz’s Lazlo.  Lazlo is an afternoon DJ on the station hosting the concert, as well as The Shippmate’s favorite station.

Because The Shippmate and I often share a car, I’ve got to know Lazlo from his show over the past few years.

I actually feel like I know him pretty well, and I especially know enough about him to know that him and I?  Oh, we’re about as opposite as they come.  In many ways.

So I knew emailing him would be a challenge.  This wasn’t my BFF Karen Kingsbury that I was emailing asking to be my MOH.

This was Lazlo.

I hope someone that is reading this knows him and his show to know just how awesome this all is lol.

As soon as I got June down for a nap that day, I went straight to my computer and started typing away.  I was so careful and intentional with every aspect of the email, because honestly– I knew this was not going to be easy.

I really thought there was such a slim (like Slimfast– hahahaha, Buzz humor, I’m so cool) chance this would even work– likely he’d given all his tickets away or just wasn’t interested in some wife trying to get her husband stress-free tickets.

I did feel very proud of my email though– it was well-crafted to both speak to him in a way he’d listen while also not completely selling my soul.  There’s a fine line between being persuasive and being manipulating and it’s one I have to be so careful not to flirt with, so I really wanted to know I was staying true to me with this request.

I’m kind of guessing you know how this story ends.

Not even two hours later, I have an email in my inbox saying Lazlo wants to help me make Ryan’s Christmas with two sweet tickets to the show!

The tears in my eyes wouldn’t stop.

The fact I got to sign a Christmas card– with Black Keys tickets in it–

Love,
Wifey, June, and Lazlo, too…

Oh, it delighted me to no end.

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And all differences Lazlo and I might have aside, it seriously warmed my heart so much that he cared enough to make my Shippmate’s Christmas when he just as easily could have deleted that email and gone about his Church of Lazlo way.

(and please don’t let me seem so opposite of him that I don’t find things he say WAY FREAKING HILARIOUS, because I do)

When Ryan opened the card and saw the tickets, it was perfect–  his face was first excited, then stressed as he said, “Erica- I didn’t want to spend…. wait, wait- why does this say ‘complimentary tickets’ … and from Lazlo!??!??”

And then his face was such a mixture of excited, impressed, amused, and so very merry about his gift!

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PS:  Stay tuned for what The Shippmate got ME because it’s truly even more special than what Lazlo and I did for him!

12.29.14 26 Comments

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