Monday, February 20, 2017

A not so Gabey Baby anymore.

...
Well. Hey there, big kid.

Height: 50 inches (14%)
Weight: 65.2 lbs (58%)

Don't think I can quite get by with calling you my little boy anymore but good gravy I am so very thankful you still let me try. Psst... let's just always allow it, m'kay?

I can't tell you how very fitting it is that your birthday falls on President's Day this year. My wonder kid and his deep love of all things presidential. After all this time, still the best way to curb your negative behaviors is to remind you how Presidents have to learn to keep their cool when frustrated. Wonder how many more years that phrasing will continue to work? Knowing you, I have absolutely no doubt that you will change it up on us when we have become far too comfy and pull something completely out of left field. Like you do.

Oh buddy, What a year for you. I think you grew about 4 inches alone in the month of July. Makes total sense to me... all the Mays grow best in sunshine and beachy waters.  You continue to have a deep love of all things Star Wars, Legos, Harry Potter and Pokemon. This year you have developed the coolest passion for sketching and writing comic strips. You uncovered a bunch of your Dad's old notepads in an old box and have completely claimed them as your own and added to the unfinished pages. I can't begin to tell you how much I love that. You are a lover of history, legacy and blonde little sisters. Still our ever-tenderhearted guy, all I have to do is tell you, "I love you so much" and your eyes just well right on up. I can't wait to see what grows out of your very big feelings. For now, we will just have to learn to balance the quick to temper, crazy competitive and chatty kid in class with the ever-encourager, dimple grinner, best brother we know.

Never in a million years when choosing baby names would I guess that EBAG would become your self-adopted nickname. And yet, now that I think about it... it is a quirky, intellectual, endearing, unique moniker. All things you.

Sure do love you, buddy. Can't wait for all the adventures to unfold this next trip around the sun.

Love,
Mom

***Birthday video! Turn up volume!***


Gabe turns NINE. from Julie May on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Reboot.

...
This evening I sat down in a bath full of oil scented, therapeutic epsom-y salt goodness with labels that read "perfect natural aid to common cold/flu like symptoms." Sold. Tea tree oil mask on my face, wrapped in this Baby Feet concoction that per my mother will remove all the consequences of running around barefoot for thirty-four lovely years. Like you do. It is squishy and slippery and has the tiniest aroma of lavender and promise. In it to win it friends... if anything for the potential obtainment of infant-esque feet.

Because you see...

This political climate finds me holding my breath for a good chunk of the day. People I adore are referencing articles that are the opposite of absolutely everything I believe in my core and I don't know what to do with that. Budget cuts yesterday unemployed almost half of our child life department and left me in tears. I have emerged from a season of potty training, transitioning to a new job (more on that later) and the post Christmas crash only to be welcomed with the return of folders to sign, homework to do and calendars to fill. Give me a pile of sand, a lovely hole in the ground and a little time to hide, please.

My external hard drive literally quit working this week. Aside from actually throwing my hands up in the parking lot of Best Buy and exclaiming "OKAY. I GET IT" like an insane person, I opted to instead to hold close the message resonating in my everywhere.

Time for a system reboot.

A restructuring of sorts. More opportunity for laughter. A lot more strength in my NO.  Quieter time with my people and a LOT less noise in my head. More stories of the resiliency, humanity and hopefulness in this world so much bigger than I know. Food prepping, water gulping, running outside versions of a Julie with headphones on and new music pumping my blood. The showers a week per capita can only go up. My system reboot.

It is nice to be back.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A decade as Mom.



Miss Molly,

For the first time in your forever, I look at your precious self as you walk by me... unnoticing...thank goodness unnoticing... because I gaze a bit longer than you would ever knowingly allow and I don't feel sorry for a single minute. My Mama heart just soaks it in. It takes my breath away in the most unexpected of instances and I can barely recognize through these bleary eyes the beautiful, young lady in front of me. How are you this old? For all those longest of days in the beginning and now it is like the years pass by in a whisper of a thought. I want to just slow, slow, slow that roll. I'll try to be better at keeping up. 

My, you are so very ten already. You have been for quite awhile. Funny how for the youngest of your grade level, you sync right along with those buddies and don't even miss a beat. I expect that you will do that for always. Makes me giggle at the wide-eyed former version of myself worrying that her teensy, curly girly of a kindergartner would struggle to keep up. Ha. Silly me to underestimate you. 

This is such a season of transition for us. One of many I am sure. We are living somewhere in the realm of Mama knows nothing and I can't tell you enough. That budding independence, lofty sense of self and unique sense of fashion sure keeps me on my toes. At the beginning of this year, I purchased you a bunch of Justice outfits that seemed "totally you" to uncover that while they might be... they weren't yours to choose and that made all the difference. Rookie mistake. My goodness how we bickered about clothes. But you know what? I finally got it. I woke up that morning and gave in to the ridiculous everyday mismatched wind shorts and weirdy tees and for the smile that spread across your face, I would do it again in an instance. I'm learning too. 

This year brought you group sleepovers, soccer, breast buds, beanie boos, deodorant, blackheads, crushes, Draco Malfoy, song writing, body talks, staying home alone for bursts of time, walking home from school, solo neighborhood bike rides with buddies, your own spotify account and a WHOLE bunch of Youtube videos. 

You'll be here one day. I'll laugh with you about how silly it is to feel like you can't keep up and look back at all your wonky fashion crazes. I'll remind you to look for the in-between moments. The deeper conversations. The fun of shared interests like baking and writing and rabbits. The problem solving situations that can't be fixed by Mom. I'll remind you to have patience when it feels like you can't even muster it and when all else fails to just watch your child walk by unnoticing. Look for the beautiful light of their growth...because, sister... that light pouring out of you is perhaps the most beautiful bit of good I have ever seen. And it's all you.

Rock it. 

Love to your whole two hands of life. Here's to enjoying you.
Mom

*Turn up the music*

Molly's 10 from Julie May on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Our Second Time Birthday Babe.


Sweet Nanners.


I don't quite know how long I am going to be able to get away with calling you my baby but if I have it my way, it will definitely be nothing short of forever. Oh, sweet girl. If only I had known all along it was your beautiful and bright face I would be meeting one day, I would have whispered to my former,anxious self to just take a breath and be patient...you'd be here soon. You see, my heart beats in balance with you around.

You, lovely lady, are my gifted, extra burst of sunshine. How very fitting that you walk this world with the most golden of hair. Kid, you are nothing short of magical. 

I have never felt as very loved as I do when I am in your presence. While I know that we, too, will face some growing pains one day--more than any other child-- you have marked me as your person. Chasing those silly siblings and exploring the world, you absolutely never lose the awareness of where I am. Before bed every night, after books and songs (you prefer to hum), you always look up, take you hands under my chin and just study my face as if to hold it in memory until morning. Sometimes... after the longest of days... it takes my breath away.

You stop and just soak in a lovely moment. It is all I need and yet, in the hustle of the day I forget. My tiniest teacher. How grateful I am for the gift of you. 

Unsure of Mickey Mouse and yet you can pick Harry Potter out of a line up. You prefer Meghan Trainor to lullabies and will do just about anything for a chance to play Barbies with your big sisters. How very fourth child of you! I thought I would feel guilty that our life is so very centered on the hustle and bustle of your siblings' activities but truth be told... you absolutely love it. All those other tiny mighties we live with? They completely can't imagine a world without you in it, either. At the most random moments, I witness them holding you, reading to you, splurting out over dinner that they "are so glad you were born." All of our cups runneth over, babe. All because there's an Annie in our lives.

This year: you learned how to walk, run, jump and CLIMB. Swimming, dogs and cheese are among your favorites. You are dying to wear panties but nowhere near ready to say goodbye to your "yaya." You go in to "gremlin mode" every single day around 430pm and there is no amount of destruction too vast for Gremlin Annie. You keep us on our toes for sure. I am so excited for all the newness of year two. What an adventure, little love. How I can't wait to share it with you! 

Tomorrow we will wake up, and have our cinnamon-sugar birthday donuts and toast the greatness of your special day. Even though all days feel pretty dang special with you around.

Goodness, I love you so. 

Happiest of birthdays, Annabel Jane.
Mommy


***Turn up volume for sweet tunes***



Annie's 2nd Birthday! from Julie May on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Firefly Skies

The other night working at the hospital, I drank this crazy coffee from a can and had all these glorious ideas come to me.

It was a night of caffeine and curiosity. And germs. But it's a pediatric emergency department... what's new?!

So, here I am. Embarking on this fun new adventure called Firefly Skies. Furniture restoration, decor and a whole lot of music infused dates with a paintbrush and sander. Yes, please!

Excited to see it all unfold! Look for updates on the website and facebook page. 


Cyber Stress

So, I am going to take a moment and open the idea of a discussion on something that has been playing on my mind for a while now. Feel free to chime in with the comment button below... or even later if you see me in person because I mean it when I say, I think that this is an important conversation and one that I very often default to what may not be the kindest course of action.

I'm talking social media, friends.

There are so many incredible articles out there about cyber bullying, and raising welcoming children with an awareness of other's feelings, etc. A friend posted (ironically) this great article the other day and I absolutely agree with the message wholeheartedly. Social development and relationships are uniquely challenging across all ages and then the added component of social media sometimes feels as if we are "kicking the hornets nest" of problems. Despite our very best of intentions.

Let me be the first to say that I am perhaps the most guilty of not being the kindest in terms of social media. I blog, I Instagram, I Facebook like it is going out of style. All this to mean that I am so very annoying communicative. (Sidenote: I completely understand if I have been hidden on your feeds... heck, I'd probably hide me if I wasn't posting about my people.) This whole invention of chatbooks pulled together by images you've posted on social media and cataloged by volume, date and in an adorable, little hardcover book? I mean, come on... it is genius. What an ideal way to document pictures of my children, as a mother of four, who has no time or desire to scrapbook. (It's just not my bag, baby).

Yet. This is where the problems ensue. The more you post... the more gets documented in those dang, adorable chatbooks... leaving you with great images from memorable moments in your life. How do you go about posting events that are special to you without overstepping the lines into exclusionary, elitist and unkind? While I can recognize that what I see on Facebook is not an accurate depiction of reality, what kind of message am I sending to my child about how it is okay to treat others?

An example.

Say I have an incredibly fun birthday party for my son and it is wonderful and unique and a total blast. I post the pictures (for the chatbooks, of course), friends tag me in their pictures (after all, it was a really fun party) and it is so great to have all these photos logged in one spot for easy documentation/book binding goodness. But... what about my Facebook friend's daughters that weren't invited to this party? What about that buddy from last year that really isn't a close friend of my son's anymore? I mean... we can't invite absolutely everyone we know that would be unmanageable and completely off budget. Yet that child's mother is my friend. Her children are wonderful. She sees the party pictures... perhaps I forgot to have the awkward conversation beforehand and this is how she is realizing that her child (or self) has been "left out"? I am ashamed for the role that I took in exposing that exclusionary facet and yet, isn't this what social media (either intentionally or not) does on a regular basis?

As a confident, educated woman, I had hoped that I would be able to understand that parties happen, friendships change, maybe this "one event" was a unique occasion that just wasn't my best fit for an invitation. Yet, several times this year, my own feelings have been hurt when I have felt left out. Sure, perhaps it was on a more fragile night post shift when my feelings are a bit more raw or on the brink of a good ole visit from "aunt flo" but regardless... I have seen pictures of people I love and thought really loved me having a grand ole' time and feel forgotten. So I wonder... If as a grown up, with a stronger sense of self (most days) and abundance of healthy friendships... if I am capable of falling in to this ostracizing and lonely world of social media... what are children capable of doing to each other?

With Molly entering middle school in one year (gasp!), these topics of cell phones, cyber bullying, texting feuds... it is all quickly becoming our reality so very soon. Good gravy, guys. I am so under-prepared for it. And that... that terrifies me.

Give me back all the stinky diapers, sleepless nights and toddler tantrums if I don't have to navigate the social footfalls of middle school at a time where technology is absolutely NO comparison to what it was when I was in a similar stage of life. Sure we passed notes about people and called friends on our land-lines (with phones attached to a wall) and had sleepovers that not everyone was invited to. BUT it wasn't on social media. The pictures weren't staring our younger selves in the faces cataloging every agonizing moment of fun that we missed out on. It is so much harder now.

So. What's the solution? Moms and Dads of older children...I'm talking to you. Help a Mama out. I'm all for building my child up, working on her understanding of what it means to not only be kind but seeking out friends on the sidelines, helping her to feel loved even if she can't always see that through her own eyes. There is just so much more I can't protect or prepare ahead of time. Banning all social media, cell phones, technology... turning our tv in to a cardboard box... it isn't our reality. Our children are growing up in a technological era and quite frankly... the world is their oyster because of of it. There's a lot of greatness that comes with technological advances.

Too bad it totally scares the shit out of me.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A 5th birthday--- Hogwarts style.

So, I don't know if I have mentioned it here on the blog but the May children are 100% obsessed with Harry Potter these days. I like to credit myself for this magical idea. You see... I was going to possibly jump off our 2nd story roof if I had to endure too many more mornings of Star Wars trivia from Gabriel May before I had even opened my eyes for the day. It was a dark time in my parenting and I needed a change like YESTERDAY.

Enter Harry Potter.

I mean what's not to love? Magic? Adventure? Owls that bring you mail? Now there is an obsession I can rally behind.

We started out slow. Book one. Each night... three older Mays sprawled on the floor and Mom or Dad would just read aloud. Two butter-beers, some wizarding chess and a magical stone later and BAM there were hooked.

Surprisingly (and yet, somehow not...) Lucy might be the most obsessed about HP of the group. Well... that is discounting Molly's love of Draco Malfoy... a post for another time. Lucy is like legitimately living in Hogwarts every single day. There's a bunch of magic in that kid so it totally makes sense. She has been sorted in to a house by on online quiz (Slytherin...duh.), taught her entire pre-k class about "dementors sucking out your soul with the kiss of death" (awkward) and sorted all her friends in to houses on the playground (precious.) So when asked about what kind of birthday party she wanted, I was less than shocked to hear the request for a HP theme come rolling out of her mouth.

Oh, Lucy. You know your Mama loves her a theme. Park party... lots of friends... no real structure... it just screams of success really. Even better... is when my crafty ideas come together too. I dare say, Mr. May was even a bit excited how this one turned out.

Each child was sorted in to a house and given a broomstick...

To compliment their wands of course! (Dream birthday gift from the McWilliams clan right here).


After a brief flying lesson and safety with broomstick course led by one Madam Hooch Molly May... they were off to the games. House tournaments for the cup... those adorable Hufflepuffs sure were pretty all over the grid... followed by wizarding red light/green light and a little bit of follow the leader on brooms. 

Not kidding when I say that the flying version of my husband is what makes me love him the most. 

I mean frozen wands...

and Owl cupcakes just scream Harry Potter success.

It sure helps when you get to celebrate with families that have been in our lives before any of these kids were even born (well...technically the blondie on the bottom left was a week or two old.)

Even more magical than HP is this lot. What a great way to ring in a golden girl's big birthday!