Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Yes, I see you there. No, I was not casually observing from the distance and taking a picture of a random tree. I knew this... and apparently... so did you. You caught me.

Son, is there anything that you don't notice?

I think what I love most about this picture is the gentle moment it represented and how at this exact click of my camera, my heart felt a stab of bittersweet love at all the mighty ways you are growing. We approached this park, a favorite for years and a playground where you have mastered the mightest of social situations and belayed down rock walls that caught me way off guard at much too young an age. In this park ... you are fearless.

Except for today.

An after school group of children flooded the playground. So many of them. Loud and playful. Just up your alley. All those new people to make your new best friend.

Except for today.

Today. Today you were so very self aware. This is new. It matters what you wear now... not because of how it feels or what color you were really wanting to wear... you know, the battles of toddlers... but rather because of  how it might be perceived by your peers. In this moment at the park... Molly wasn't there. Lucy was off being like you typically are in a crowd... the loudest one. Annie was fast asleep. So off you went... to your most favorite tree to climb and watch with this new nervous anticipation of play. A safe space to build your bravery. 10 minutes later... you were right in the mix of things and loving every second of fun in the sunshine. But in this one caught me, son. I was watching you through glassy eyes and a bittersweet heart... watching you grow into this new milestone. How are you so big now?

Elmo. Lightening McQueen. Mr. Potato Head. They were so so so much a part of our everyday with what feels like just last week and now... 

there's creepers.

and Endermen.

Waaaaaay too much fairy dust...

and extra holes in your mouth. Crucial ones.

 There are hilarious reactions to frustrations with your sister

and a breakaway from cutesy to scary.

All that wonderment of the world...

Such a mighty season of growing.


The beauty of face space and social media in general is that you are the one in control of the glimpses of your life that people can see. While in so many ways... THANK GOD (um, hello temper tantrums and laundry piles)... and yet... in other crucial moments, I feel that we lose out on the rawness of life that might in many ways be the most beautiful thing about your existence.

Case in point.

My children are just such lights in this world for me. Those cheeks... the curly hair and wild personalities. Melts my heart. I have a job --I LOVE--where I get to work with pediatric hospitalized children and their families and married a man I have been continuously dating since I was barely sixteen years old.

Blessed, lucky, fortunate... all words I hear so very often from so many... and you know what? They are all so very right.

Yet. Here I am. What you don't see across your feed... ankle deep in laundry, about 40 lbs overweight, three days shy of a shower with feuding children as the background noise to the delicious non-organic meal from a box that I am hastily preparing for my family somewhere squished between boy scouts and dance class. That rawness. Man, is it so ever there.

That realness? Well, it finds you. Creeps right on in the moments off social media and meets you in your loneliest, sleep deprived moments of your day whispering doubt into an unsettled mind. It's loud. Chaotic. Overwhelming. Blessed. Fortunate... and yet lumping it all in... leaves you unbalanced and asking if this is the life you "Wantid"?

If you could do it all over again... knowing what you know... is this the life you would choose? I think about this. 

99% of the time, most definitely. Let's be honest... 92% of the time. Heck... even though it is only 8% of doubt in there, I can't tell you the amount of guilt I place on my Mama heart for it. Annnnd every time post baby... even with some fantastic meds on board... that 8% and I just meet in maternity leave and hash it all out. 

And here's my secret. I allow it to be there. I don't discredit it and at the same time don't welcome it in. My time is too precious for that. So instead... I place an intentional focus on the 92%. 

It's there... all that magic and goodness... mine for the taking.

even when I'm not looking for it... it finds me.

and suddenly the world is as it should be.

At least for a beautiful 92% of my time.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hip Update

Well. It suffices to say for the past 8 weeks this kid sure did rock the Pavlik harness like a champ. 

Unfortunately, Wednesday's ortho/ultrasound appointment revealed that the harness has not been effectively able to stabilize Annie's right hip due to some cartilage blocking the entrance of the joint. Her left hip is completely in place now which was originally the one more out of socket.

All this means is that we will now move forward with plan B which will be the stabilization of Annie's hips by surgically placing her in a Spica cast. Obviously, we are disappointed the Pavlik didn't work and really sad that Annie has to have surgery and be in a HUGE cast for at least 16 weeks. The developmentalist in me cringes at the missed milestones to come... and I am terrified of diapering that sucker. Yet, with all that said... Kelly and I feel very at peace that surgery is the very best option available right now for Annie. I have never been more thankful for a kid with such a pleasant little personality. Gosh, I can't imagine going through all this with a overly fussy baby.

Upon hearing the news about the surgery, I jumped right into Julie-style of coping. I essentially researched the HECK out of all thing Spica cast. I have stumbled across so many blogs and forums with the most amazing tips and products to help us prepare for the next couple months to come. There is still so much more I don't know but after meeting with our pediatrician today, I feel very supported and empowered with the tools to better understand it all.

So. Here is the plan. As of right now, Annie is harness-free.

It is a pretty bittersweet to have her out of the Pavlik... something I wanted so badly... just not under these circumstances. She has been a little fussy today and I think it is because we went from 23 hrs in a sturdy brace to literally brace free. Her body isn't used to not having that stabilization and I am sure there is some tightness in her joints. Throw in her 2-month-vaccines today and life is just peachy right now for Miss Annie. Le sigh.

For the time being, the focus is to just let Annie grow a little. Our Orthopedic team would prefer that she is a little bigger before she is in the Spica cast for so long. Right now, it is looking like the surgery will be scheduled for just after Christmas. We will know more specifics after our appointment in November. 

Then Annie will be placed in a Spica cast under anesthesia. Our physician is going to first attempt a closed reduction with flouro however, with the cartilage in the way it is highly likely that it might have to be an open reduction (read: little incisions.)

We have felt so very supported by all the texts and phone calls of encouragement from family and friends. Keep sending all that light and love our way---- we feel it and know without a doubt it is making a difference. 

We will update as we know more. Kelly and I are both learning so much daily. I'll also post a list here soon of great products that we have found or are considering purchasing. If you have any that you know of or recommend please feel free to leave it in the comments or message it to me! It truly takes a village!

Two Months Old!

Yeah. So this happened.

9 lb 11 oz- 7%
21 inches long- 2%
head circumference: 25%

I mean. Are you kidding me?

It is quite possible that this tiny will never cease to amaze me. Here we are... two fun-filled months in already. Annie is quite a comfy little fit for our family. She is continuing to just grow right along. Still in the Pavlik harness 23 hrs/day for some hip dysplasia and not a care in the world.

Annie at two months:

Will smile at just about anything. The cooing and giggling is ridiculously adorable. She definitely cries when she is hungry or ready to sleep but it is more of a complaining cry than anything else. It's like she knew our house was already noisy enough or something. She still sleeps a large chunk of the day  and even gifted me with a 7.5 hr stretch the other night. I loved it so much even if it felt like I was about to explode in the ole' milk factory. Worth it.

Annie's personal favorites right now include my boobs, staring at the fan and sleeping with blankets on her face.

No. I'm serious. Blankets. On. Her. Face. Always.

Obviously... I can't oblige completely to this so I have to trick her. Like this.

I think she's on to me.

Her favorite time of day is the 30 minutes in the morning and at night that she is free from her harness. Those little feet kick like crazy. She is also LOVES bath time. She doesn't really like 6:30-7:30pm so much. Frankly, I don't either. Bedtime routines, cranky kids, hubs coming in from work... it is enough to drive a person to drink. Or nurse incessantly. I get it. 

This week we switched Annie to the Nuk pacifiers now that she has an established latch. She keeps them in so much better. Kelly has also been trying to give her a bottle every couple of days as I'll be headed back to work here in the next few weeks. We used the same bottles with Lucy and they seem to be working well for Annie too. 

We have a follow up with Ortho this week and will know more of a plan regarding the Pavlik. Gosh! It would be so awesome to finally be weaning down time in that sucker! Annie's toes long to be free... 

Excited to see all to come this next month!!

Mays on the move!

Last weekend, we packed up and headed out for the ole' big D on Annie's first getaway. Now, before you go envisioning any Griswold family vacationing let me set you straight... that is EXACTLY what it was like. I might have married the actual Clark W. Griswold. I don't know how I feel about this.

Going to Dallas? You bring the luggage and we will bring the chaos. Four Kids, one dog that refused to sit down for 4.5 hours and three fantastic spotify playlists of driving goodness. You know what?! Much to my surprise, that little ole jaunt down IH-35 was quite enjoyable this go around.

Around 2.5 hours into the trip, we paused the dvd player and I instructed Molly and Gabriel how to stick their bony elbows out the window towards those tractor trailers for a little horn-tootin' good time. 

Guys. THEY LOST THEIR MINDS. Gabe might have wanted to do this for EVERY truck that passed us on the road over the next 5 days.

It was in this moment that I remembered just how much more fun and silly I used to be. More of that, please.

Here we are in all our glory. No doubt rocking out to the Kidz Bop 26 version of Timber or something.

We so gangsta.

Our Dallas agenda was pretty simple. Family. Friends. Fair. 

Except... in reverse order.

Why sit in class learning about multiplication when you could instead be riding the public transportation system and learning all about how to prevent the spread of EBOLA? 

That train ride, though... ebola or not... was nothing short of magic.

If you plan to hit up the Texas State Fair this year, I highly recommend going on Senior Citizen day. 6 dollar admission... no rides for lines... SCORE!

Big Tex is back in all his glory.

I took very few fair pictures so you are going to have to be okay with that. Regardless of the age range in fair goers... that Midway still sent me into sensory overload... no time to point and shoot. I will tell you, Gabriel beat out Lucy in this game that scored him this awesome YOGA SIZED BALL that I conveniently forgot would have to come right back on the train with us to Allen... during peak traffic... in the wake of apocalyptic like storms. It was a bit of a parent fail... even if said ridiculously huge ball did in fact save Kelly's life when the train doors closed on him. Always an adventure, no?

Other than that... our week was spent playing at parks while visiting family...

And some incredible friends...

The rest of the visit of course was spent in baby town. Annie had a bunch of new little loves to meet...

Like Baby Emmy! She is still just so brand new and perfect.

We kicked it with Annie's older (17 days!) cousin Claire. 

And even surprise brunched with one very adorable, John Elliot. 

Way to not disappoint, Dallas. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!

A good, good friend

There are oh so many great things that I hope to grow in my children. Many great things, they have already grown in me. I love this.

Of all the many ways that I have felt love over the past couple months, the ones that have touched my heart the most is found right there in the muck of living, somewhere sandwiched between towering laundry piles and insane, bickering, quasi-dressed small people. Lost in the trenches per se, trying to navigate these unfamiliar waters with very little sleep and lots of people talking at me.

Yet in it all... they found me, plopped right on their rumps in the chaos and didn't try to change a thing. All to just kept me company.

That, my friend, is how you love a Julie.

If there is anything I hope to let my children know, is how to just step out of their own lives, sit down in the hot, hot, hot sun and just be there for someone else in the mundane and chaos. To make them laugh and above all... just be their good, good friend.