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.