Monday, August 14, 2017

Three Hands Old.


Height: 55 inches (28%)
Weight: 64.2 lbs (9%)

I can't help but smile at knowing that as I am typing this in the wee hours of the morning, anxiously awaiting your birthday... that eleven years ago to the moment, I was doing the exact same thing. Kid, eleven years later and I'd give up all my sleep just to see your sweet face.

This year brought us bunches and bunches of hormones, feelings. Many days, I wasn't quite certain you would live to see your eleventh birthday. But look at you... you lived. Woot. See, it seems I still have quite a bit to learn as Mom and I'm most definitely not always right. You so kindly commented at bedtime that you weren't even certain I was excited to celebrate you in the morning... and I forced a smile and told you I needed to hug you on your last night as a ten-year-old. Smother it with love, kid. I may make a million and twelve mistakes over the course of your lifetime... but this sassy, opinionated tween reminds me so very much at times as the sassy, froed-out, two-year-old wagging a teensy finger my way from so long ago and I know this game. Smother it with love. Your hair care has greatly improved but the feelings are just as big and spiky. Thanks for sticking with some old tricks... Mama needed a win.

One week from today you will leave the safety of being straight down the street in the adorable, safe world of elementary school and hop on a bus to go somewhere that I can't get to in 2 minutes. I won't know these teachers or these new families right away. You'll meet people that challenge your conviction of self, that grow your empathy and change your life. It is going to be an entire big year of something new. I promise to let you get on that bus come Tuesday. I'll excitedly wait in the window as your bus approaches home and you can bet your bunnies I'll have at least a dozen, annoying questions the second you walk in. In the years to come,  I'll say all the wrong things and definitely "know nothing".You, see...I did it to Nonnie too. Turns out growing pains the people you love best. This is my uncharted territory too... My biggest baby turns eleven today and so does this Mom. Keep giving me that grace, sister and we will figure it out together. We always have.

I had a little giggle that so many of the pictures in this video for the year came from YOUR phone from all those silly videos and millions of selfies you take. Your love for youtube videos, baking, music and making your own videos continues to blow me away. It is like you have all my favorites of your Dad wrapped up in your witty and glorious self. God sure knew what he was doing when he made you my first.

In it to win it, kid. Me and you.

Love you birthday babe,

****Turn up the music. It is a sweet one!****

Molly's ELEVEN! from Julie May on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Golden birthday for our golden girl.

Nanner bug.

Height: 35.5 (17%)
Weight: 26.6 (10%)
BMI- 14.84 (22%)

Today is your GOLDEN birthday! You will wake up this morning (and likely once in the night to have Mommy 'check on you in a minute'), climb in to my bed, hold my face in your hands and will tell me that you "love me so so much" with the absolute worst morning breath I have ever smelled. It will be simultaneously both so adoring and disgusting. Pretty much toddlerhood in a nutshell.

Despite terrible twos being a thing, you remain my mellow yet mischievous kid. You rarely have a single meltdown too great that you can't be talked down from it and if someone even so much as mentions the promise of a sticker, you will pretty much curb any attitude in the blink of an eye. God bless, stickers. You continue to be one of the dirtiest eaters I have ever met, always have something crunchy in your ducky-fuzz hair and can become naked faster than I can spell Mississippi. I can't tell you how many times I look over and just see a pair of peach "dinner rolls" running off in the opposite direction... usually after one of your older siblings. Instead of your "birthday suit" we just refer to it as Annie is "dressed" for the day. 

Goodness you love your big kids. You will stare out the window for them when they are gone, laugh when you see them walking home all the way down the street and become downright giddy when they invite you to play. Dog, homeless person, Army POW... you'll take on any role, just to stand as one of the gang. You've been sorted in to a HP house and had your own wand constructed before you were even truly introduced to Mickey Mouse. Naps happen in the car, on the floor, on the beach, in my arms, on a float in a natural spring... You take it all in stride, sister and never, ever complain. 

I think that it is quite possible that you love me more than anyone has ever loved me in this world. Some days, I feel the weight of that love and just want to push it aside for a break. You are quick to forgive, always ready to climb back in my lap (or uterus if I'd let you) and will never take a second to keep me guessing about how loved I am. You love with your entire self, kid and I am forever blessed to be on the receiving end of all that goodness and light. 

My life is enriched in ways I absolutely never imagined could be possible because there is an Annabel Jane May in my heart to love. Thank goodness you are mine. 

Love you, birthday girl. Here's to a fabulous year three.


***turn up the music for birthday video!***

Annie turns THREE. from Julie May on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A 6th birthday girl.

Oh my, Lubird.

Never before I have met another like you. You are the person that goes with all the est of our family... the silliest, the loudest, the craziest, the lovingest. I am convinced superlatives were created in the English language just to better define you. I can't tell you how many times I heard your insane laughter, or your robust vibrato or incredible energy this year and paused in awe that MY body was able to contain that force of life. You live all the colors of the rainbow, my love. How lucky am I to see a rainbow every single day!

If anyone is in need of love you are the person they need to stand next to. Kid, you just have so much love to give. Granted, sometimes you lack the self awareness to control the amount that you give at one time. I mean, death by hugging? You might get charged with this one day. Babies, toddlers, ANIMALS... they don't stand a chance with our resident Lenny.

I know there is going to come a time where the intensity of your everyday is going to push the envelope to a place that's uncomfortable. I pray daily that God continues to give me the grace and the wisdom to guide you in ways of safety and limits without killing that completely gorgeous spirit. I hope you always know the brightness you bring to my life.

I'll meet the teenage version of this fierce spirit one day... for now though, I am going to soak up the last few weeks of a baby teeth smile before all the gaps arrive, of snuggles before bed and your insane nightly antics. I'll continue to laugh at the discovery of selfies and the million of video chats you leave for me to find on my phone. I am every day thankful that I was trusted with such a precious treasure to grow.

Love you, little sparkler. Here's to a bright and shiny year six.

**** Turn up your volume. It's a good one.****

Lucy's 6th Birthday Video from Julie May on Vimeo.

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.


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

Gabe turns NINE. from Julie May on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


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.

*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'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.

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

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