Your Name

Dear London June,

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant with you and never have I been more excited and less patient. Every jab of pain, discomfort or Braxton Hicks contraction makes me wonder if the onset of labor is here. Even though, I am very uncomfortable these days, I am still not at the point that I have heard other mothers recall where all they want to do is “get it out!!!”. Maybe that phase is on the horizon but more than anything I am just so anxious and curious about when you will come and how. Your arrival could begin before I start typing the next paragraph or it could be next week. Your Daddy is so ready- he is willing you into existence every day. Last night he suggested we do the typical suggested natural induction techniques (spicy food, walking etc.) but I told him to just be patient. He is just so excited to meet you and he still reads to you nearly every night. So very sweet.

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Well I’ve moved onto the next paragraph and you still haven’t started labor which is good because I would like to get in a couple more blog posts before you arrive. Today, I wanted to take time to explain why we chose your name.

London June.

I have loved the name London far longer than you were thought of. I love it because it connects you to my heritage. My grandparents and Mom’s side of the family are from England. I lived there for 3 years and feel deeply connected to that culture. My Mom (your Mum Mum) is both an American and British citizen. I can’t wait for you to meet my Grandparents- they are some of the most interesting people I know and you will surely be intrigued by their accents that now have a bit of Tennessean peppering some of their words. I also liked the name because it links you to a place just like my name links me to a place. I was named after my Great Grandfather (my Mom’s Grandfather) who lived in England until he moved over to the states- he was named Sydney because his brother moved to Sydney, Australia.

When we tell people your middle name they instantly assume we chose “June” because that’s the month you are due. However, we chose this name a very long time ago, again before you were thought of. It’s just a beautiful coincidence and stroke of grace that you will also be born in June. Your middle name is honoring Lucas’ Grandmother, Verla June and I think she is quite smitten about it. She has been busy the past month or so creating you a beautiful quilt, just as she did for our wedding. It will be something you will treasure and cherish forever.

I can’t wait to hold you, London June and see all the little ways that make you who you are and who you will be. I can’t wait to see my biggest dream brought to flesh.

I have a feeling you will be arriving sooner than later and I don’t think that’s my wishful thinking talking. My body is definitely trying to tell me that you will be here soon and preparing for labor. My spirit has followed suit and I find myself nesting like crazy and trying to prepare for you in every way.

In the mean time, I have been listening and practicing my Hypnobirthing techniques and deep relaxation methods. Your Dad has learned how to help prompt and guide me through it and is so good at motivating me to practice. We have a full moon coming up and it is said that lots of women go into labor on a full moon. June 8th (next Saturday) the moon will be in full swing and who knows you might be too which I would love because 8 has always been my favorite number, silly I know.

I hope to do my next post about Hypnobirthing and perhaps you will wait until I can do that. But, if not, I guess I will have to post about my biggest adventure and proudest joy. I think I might just be able to manage that 😉

Love you so,

Mom xo

 EDIT: I went to the midwife today and she checked me…not dilated at all! She said she would be surprised if you came next week. So, it looks like I have a week or two to enjoy you in my tummy- just the two of us. Soon, I will have to share you with the rest of the world and although that excites me, I will miss feeling you move inside me and having you with me wherever I go. 

Baby Showers, Sobbing, and Nesting

Dear London June,

Some time has passed since I last wrote you. My entire pregnancy has flown by, but especially the past few weeks. I am actually 37 weeks pregnant as of yesterday but I want to update on all the ongoings that have been going on.

35 weeks:

I craved BBQ turkey from Whitt’s even though I haven’t been there in like 10 years.

I went to my Midwife appointment and I was measuring right at 35 weeks. She pushed all over my tummy to locate your position and you were still head down. She took your Dad and my hands and pushed them down so we could feel your head! It was so weird. I asked if the bump I always feel above my belly button was your bottom and she confirmed that I was right. Girl, you move that booty all over. One second it will be on my right side and then the next moment it’s all the way over to the left. Workin’ it already. Last night I woke up because my belly felt so tight I thought it might explode- I rubbed my hands all over and woke your Dad to feel because there was a HUGE lump on the left of my stomach. You were sticking that little booty WAY out. Hilarious…and a little alarming. The midwife appointment before this past one, she checked your heart beat we could hear you hiccup the entire time. It was so sweet.

-You are so very active. I LOVE feeling you move and seeing it too but sometimes you are so active it wears me out! So exhausting but so worth it. The other night your Dad was making a birth play list of calm and relaxing music to play while I labor with you in the hospital. We started to play some upbeat Ray Charles and etc and you apparently loved it- I have never felt you move so much, so fast and so crazy! It’s as if you were dancing! We put my phone on top of my stomach and you moved it all over the place. Your Dad was especially amazed and said watching you move in my stomach could never get old. He still loves laying his head on my stomach (it has become VERY uncomfortable for him to do this so I ask him not to put his weight on it) and feeling you kick and move- you still kick him in the ear.

-We had three baby showers and girl, you racked up! Your Aunt Whinnie and your Mum Mum hosted the first one and it was absolutely amazing! We had an English High Tea and so many came out to shower you with things you need. I was amazed by the generosity and the amount of handmade gifts. People are so excited to meet you!

Shower #1 (British High Tea): Your Mum Mum & Aunt Whinnie threw the absolute perfect, dreamy shower.

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Baby Shower #2 (Cute, vintage inspired shower at work)

Ms. Megan, Ruby and Ms. Brenda (Your future preschool teachers!!) photo-98

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Shower #3 (Casual, SO fun shower at my favorite place, Taco Mamacita)

These ladies are your crazy dance aunts. They are over the moon excited about you and I can’t wait for you to meet them and hear them laugh and teach you to love dance and life.

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We feel so very thankful and blessed by so many who have showered us with so much love, support, excitement and goodies for you. It has been so refreshing to see our community uplift us during this time. It truly takes a village! I am so excited for you to meet your community in the many forms it exists.

Now that I am week 37 and full-term, you could come at any moment and that is so very exciting…and nerve-wrecking! I am so anxious for your mysterious arrival- when will decide to come? Will it be while I’m at work or at 3 in the morning? Will my water break in public or will I start labor with contractions? As a slight (ok, full-on) control freak, I’m trying my best to be patient and calm and it’s not always easy. Recently, I have really struggled with feeling overwhelmed and under prepared for your arrival. I was (and sometimes still am) having a difficult time seeing how we are going to afford the extra bills that come with a new human. I was stressed by the messiness of our house- how did it get so out of control recently? And what are we going to do with all this new stuff for you? I also really have been struggling with not so much the fear of actual labor (Hypnobirthing has truly helped with my anxiety with that) but more about the aftermath and recovery of birthing. Earlier this week all of this just crashed down on me at once and I wasn’t capable to sift through all of this emotion at once. Your sweet Daddy wanted to sit down and write out 5 year goal plan. I know he feels under pressure too and this was his way of trying to make us feel more prepared but at the moment he presented this idea, I was already on the verge of tears. Oh boy, did they roll. I wasn’t sure how to organize my current emotions and feelings at that current moment, let alone plan out 5 years of goals. I sobbed.  and sobbed. and sobbed. I sobbed because of all my fears & emotions and then I sobbed because I felt bad that I had ruined your Dad’s sweet attempt to look out for his family. I sobbed because I couldn’t stop sobbing. I sobbed for every reason in the world.  Your Dad disappeared for a bit and then returned and swooped me up to the bathroom where a candle lit bubble bath was awaiting me to the melodies of Norah Jones. He totally knows me. And then, instead of shutting the door and letting me be, he sat on the edge of the tub as I sobbed and rubbed my shoulders and splashed warm water on my back until I calmed down and the tears stopped. Never had I felt more vulnerable. Never did I feel more loved. He didn’t utter a word, he just met me in my vulnerable brokenness. He was present with me. Normally, it would have been easier perhaps for both of us if he had shut the bathroom door and let me deal with it. But because he was willing to sit in my vulnerability with me and I allowed him to love me in that way, we both connected in a much deeper way than ever before. So, my little London, you have brought us together in new ways and deepened our understanding of marriage, commitment and relationship. I have already fallen deeper in love with your Daddy as I watch him transform into a Father. The way he was excited to install your car seat, how he loves to pick out a book of your already vast library to read to you every night (already…its so sweet and you kick and move the whole time he reads), the way he talks about and dreams about you. I can’t wait to see him hold you for the very first time.

I needed that good sobbing session. I was holding onto fears that were both legitimate and silly. This past weekend we accomplished a lot. We went through each room of the house and de-cluttered every cabinet, drawer and crevice and then deep cleaned it all. It took one and a half days and totally kicked both our behinds but now we both feel so much better. You might say that I am in deep nesting mode. My anxiety level has completely lowered quite a bit by making the house welcoming and perfect for when ever you decide to come. We also deep cleaned the car, inside and out and installed your car seat and packed our hospital bags in the trunk. The birth plan is written and ready to go and there is a basket of diapers and wipes in every living space of the house. We are so stinkin’ prepared it’s almost laughable. What I am not emotionally prepared for, we are double prepared for practically. My goal for my life is to live intentionally, but sometimes I take it to the extremes and put far too much pressure on myself and others. I’m always in constant search for middle ground and some type of balance.

You are still my biggest adventure and life lesson.  

Love,

Mom xo

37 weeks

(I still have LOTS to post. Posts coming up: Your nursery, Meaning of your Name, Hypnobirthing and Birth Plan. Hopefully, I can get all of these written and posted before you arrive!)

 

5 Things you should never say to a Pregnant Lady

This post is sassy and I do not apologize for that.

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I never thought it would be necessary to compile a list of things you shouldn’t say to someone creating life but over the last 8 months it has come to my attention that a large part of the population lacks tact, sensitivity or awareness when it comes to the subject of pregnant bodies. Apparently, any lessons taught about how you are to speak about others physical appearance do not apply once a lady is impregnated. I did not know about this secret- I just assumed it was as off topic as it was to let someone know their face looked really broken out that day or to tell Ms. Mary at church that she looked like she was packing a on a few more doughnuts in her thigh region. But I was wrong. So very wrong. No one gave me the memo until I found myself wearing maternity jeans. When a woman is around 8 months pregnant her appearance and weight is open topic to converse about in public sometimes with exclamation loud enough for everyone to hear. This is usually accompanied by wild hand gestures, tummy poking or rubbing.Image

So because so many think this is what makes pregnant mamas gleam with pride and confidence let me share the 5 things you should never say to a pregnant lady. 

1. “Holy cow! How many are you carrying in there? Are you sure it’s not twins?”
– No I’m not sure, for all I know its a litter of kittens in there or maybe its a litter of baby hippos because apparently I look like a mama hippo to you. Thanks for the pep talk though! Now I feel truly slim, trim and dynamic.
2. “There’s no way you are going to make it to your due date!”
– Oh no! Have I not been notified that your my Dr. or Midwife? You mean that I have been accidentally seeing an unqualified ding bat this entire time? Well, they sure had me convinced with all their medical degrees! Should I drop my panties now and have you examine my cervix?
3. “You need to put a bucket under your legs! or Be careful, that baby is about to fall out in the floor!”
– A bucket? Is that how they deliver babies these days? Do I really look as if I am in active labor? Are you trying to say I look far too big to be walking around in public? Actually, I have at least 5 more weeks until my baby arrives and if she was to drop on the floor right now she would be premature. Thanks for your innovative delivery idea though, dumbass. Stay classy!
4. (For my smaller baby bump friends) “There’s no way you are that far along- you’re barely even showing!”
– Thanks for making me feel insecure about the development of my baby. Is my baby okay? Should I be worried? If I wasn’t already worried enough, I am now!
5. “You are HUGE!!!”
-Sigh. Punch to the throat!
Unfortunately, I’ve heard all these comments and more (even #4 in the earlier months) for what seems like several hundred times. I don’t know what it is to make people think that saying things like this is normal or even okay to say to anyone but especially to women who are already stretching their physical, mental and emotional capacities to the edge.
Guess what?
 We are far more aware about how our bodies have dramatically changed in just a few months than you. In fact, we sometimes find it difficult to even face the mirror some mornings, especially whilst trying to bend over and apply stretch mark lotion to our expanding bellies. Some mornings we try on so many outfits that we end up crying atop the pile of discarded clothes. Most days we struggle with the fact that our bodies will forever be changed and wonder if we will ever get back to the size we once were. We wonder if our husbands and partners still find us attractive and if our stretch marks might send them into the arms of another. We fear that we aren’t doing it right- not eating the right things, not exercising enough, not reading enough parenting books, not resisting that cookie at the potluck. We are inundated with massive amounts of information, health advice, parenting advice, social and cultural expectations, breastfeeding tips, relational changes, job changes, maternity leave, insecurity, emotional stress, lack of sleep, nausea, weight gain and loss, swelling, medical tests, complications with mom and or baby, fear, delivery options, pain management plans, choosing pediatricians, preparing a nursery, budgeting, wondering how are we going to pay the bills, questions- countless questions, childcare, carseats, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, judgement and the list goes on and on.
So before you make a careless comment (even if your intentions are golden and pure) stop and think before you comment about her size and appearance. She is already overwhelmed with not just the physical changes she is going through but with the “big life” stuff too. Ask yourself first if the thing you are about to say will uplift and praise her or only confirm her insecurity and lack of confidence. Remember that you are just one out of 20-30 people she will interact with that day who might (most likely) also comment on her appearance and that you might be the one who her southern sweetness decides to evade her for the moment while she ends up kicking your ass.
Your best bet? Tell her she has never looked more beautiful because she has never needed to hear that more than she does right now. Allow her to actually be proud of the amazing dwelling space her body has accommodated for the new life she is creating. Celebrate the way her body miraculously transforms to create life.
Relentlessly sassy and real,
-the pregnant lady
What are some of the crazy things said to you when you were pregnant? 

32 Weeks

Dear Miss London June,

The past few weeks have swept me away and I’m just keeping afloat. It’s been so very busy and I’m just waddling through, literally. Your Dad, Mum Mum and Aunt Winnie and I went to our church’s World and USA National conferences. We journeyed by car (9hrs!) to Independence, Mo. and had packed full days from 8am -9pm everyday. We joined with thousands of church members from over 50 countries to worship, discuss and vote on some very important decisions regarding our  denomination. During the USA National conference we voted on and passed homosexuals to serve in the priesthood, marry in legal states and join in a covenant union where it is not- I am elated and so very excited that you will grow up in a church community that values the worth of all persons.

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This picture was taken shortly after I burst into tears because my feet were SO swollen and I couldn’t fit them into my shoes. We walked around so much after sitting for long periods of time and that combo made my feet explode. Please note by barefootness and the half smile. I tried so hard to keep my head up but I think I cried at least once a day. Once we bought some sandals, I felt a lot better though. I enjoyed seeing old friends from all over the place that I’ve met at varying events and churches but I felt a little bit overwhelmed by the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of people that would stop and comment on my pregnancy every single day. Being pregnant is a joyous thing and I love that others are drawn to you and are curious but being in an auditorium with a 1,000+ people everyday and having people stare and comment over and over proved to be a bit much. I tried to take it all in and let it roll off my back but there were times where my hormones took over and tears shortly followed. Being pregnant is probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt. You can’t hide it even on the days you are really struggling with the changes your body is going through. It’s those days when you wish your huge stomach wasn’t the conversation topic over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciated the love and support people (most of who I didn’t know from Adam) showered you and I with but I’m glad to be home where my belly and swollen feet don’t take the spotlight.

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During the week, there was a particular day where I was EXTREMELY uncomfortable and something just felt off and different. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I actually looked up where the nearest hospital was because I was worried you might make an early entrance into the world. The next day, I woke up feeling great so I didn’t think too much about it again. When we got home, I had a midwife appointment and when she was pushing and measuring my belly she pushed VERY low on my abdomen and exclaimed “Wow! She is definitely head down!”. I think the reason I felt so weird and off was because you were turning head down- I’m sure of it.

So, my dear, you are ready to go..almost! Just a few more weeks to bulk up and put on a few more pounds. Currently you are over 4 pounds and about the size of a pineapple. I’m tired of comparing you to fruit. I think its pretty stupid really. I mean fruit varies within it’s own family quite a bit so Im sorta confused about how and who decided fruit was the best way to compare all these babies to.

In other news, we are trying to find a house and time is really running out. We met with our realtor and he made us feel confident about it but then we lost a whole week when we went to conference and we are just trying to get back into our work routines. We decided that we are going to convert the guest bedroom into a mock nursery for now because there’s a very good chance we won’t be into a house by the time you’re here and we are learning to be okay with that. It’s not what we had planned, but life rarely is so we are just going to go with the flow. We found a beautiful crib that we are going to paint a beautiful mint color. I wont be able to paint and decorate this nursery like I would love to until we are in the new house but it will still be welcoming and warm until that time comes. Here is some of the nursery inspiration I have:

Nursery Inspiration

Ofcourse, I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to your nursery  and wardrobe.

I’m getting so very excited to meet you and hold you. I feel like my pregnancy has FLOWN by and it’s hard to believe that you will be here in a matter of weeks! Daddy is so excited to0- it’s so very sweet.

Love you always,

Mom xo

 

Getting to Know You a Little Better

Dear sweet girl,

This week has been a week of getting stuff done! I have been on Spring Break and decided to take this time to be productive and get organized because I knew this would be one of the last chunks of time I would get before you arrive. I finally changed my last name and took your Daddy’s. I am such a procrastinator when it comes to things like that. I loathed the idea of standing in a ton of waiting lines and filling out paper work- and for good reason! I spent the entire week in ridiculous long lines while people gave me the panicked “oh my goodness, is her water going to break?” look. A lady in front of me jokingly asked if she was going to have to catch you while we waited and I just had to laugh and say “Maybe!”.

I also tackled two midwife visits. The first was a one hour glucose test to check for Gestational Diabetes. I failed so I had to go back today for a 3 hour test- what a doozy! I had to drink a glucose drink way sweeter than the first after fasting for 8 hours. I chugged it down and 30 mins later I went to the bathroom because I knew something wasn’t right. After I rocked myself and tried to calm myself there was no stopping what was about to happen. I threw that glucose drink up all over that bathroom with a force to be reckoned with..it was NOT pretty or fun. I went ahead with 2 1/2 hours of the visit and my blood was taken a total of 4 times. I had never been more ready to leave that place! I’m praying that my results come back negative because I do not want to relive that. Only for you my baby.

Thankfully, in the midst of all the errands, waiting lines and vomit there was quite a big highlight to brag about! This week, we got to know you just a bit better. We got to see your face,  fingers and toes. We went and had a 4D ultrasound done and it was amazing to see your full little figure and facial features. You slept the majority of the time but woke up half way through by rubbing your eyes and then the kicks and stretching shortly followed. It was an outer body experience to feel and see your movement at the same time! I could have done that all day- it was just magical. And when you smiled, well, that changed everything. I have never been more proud or fulfilled in my life. Oh, London June- you’ve got us tied around your tiny, little finger.

Here is a short video compilation of some of your epicness:

I love your smile already.

Love,

Mom

28 Weeks

So, here we are miss London June.

We’ve entered the last trimester of pregnancy, and it’s hard for me to believe.

Hello, third trimester.

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Your kicks have become more fierce and you twirl, roll and flip all of the time. I love it. I can’t get enough. I love watching my stomach pop and move when you do and so does your Daddy. Oh, your daddy-he’s so in love. Every night he’ll lay his head on my tummy and without fail you kick him right in the ear, every time. It’s like you’re saying “Hey, move it Dad!”  He laughs every time. I love this new normal, this new little part of our routine. I know it won’t last for very much longer- we will have the real deal to coo and gush over in about 2 months & 20 days (yes, I have a countdown!). But still, I know I will miss this. The excitement of the glimmer of mystery. I surprise myself constantly. After the horrendous first and second trimester, I never thought I would enjoy pregnancy. I loathed the pregnant women that were spilling over with elation. I looked at them with sheer confusion and I wanted to throw up on their glowing faces. But now, I get it. I feel you and I get it. And now, some pitiful 1st trimester pregnant mama wants to throw up on me and I so so understand why. So, I will try to keep my elation to a dull roar.

We have scheduled our 4D ultrasound for next week and I also have an appointment with the midwife. My appointments are beginning to get closer and closer together. Your Aunt Whitney is busy planning your baby shower and people are already giving gifts to you. It’s becoming very, very real. When I go out, I get the pregnant stare, the nods and smiles of other mothers and people are quicker to open the door or offer a seat. It’s like the parting of the seas. Pregnancy perks- thank goodness for them!

This week, I have really come to terms with your arrival and accepted that I actually am pregnant. Silly sounding, I know.

So excited to hold and love on you but until then, Daddy and I will relish in your kicks and flips!

Love you, London June.

-Mom

 

Filling your Closet & Self Worth

Dear London June,

27 weeks later, I still find you to be my biggest joy- even when I’m not feeling quite cheerful all the time. I haven’t written to you since Granny Boo’s funeral because life happens so quickly. I feel like every time I find my “new normal” something else comes along and twirls me off my feet and I’m left trying to regroup and reorder. Such is life. Learn to flex when life does or you’ll end up breaking into pieces.  The flexing might be uncomfortable and it will stretch you to extremes but it’s much more difficult to move forward when your trying to gather and mend the million pieces of your shattered spirit. So move with the wind and make friends with it. Dance with it and invite others to join you. Don’t go it alone.

We recently found out that you are 2 whole weeks older than we originally thought. I think that news hit your Dad pretty hard. I’m excited to see you two weeks earlier but your Dad and I are feeling the time constraints of buying our first home tighten. …And so we go with the wind and learn to flex. We are trying to find peace in the midst of the unknown. We want to be as prepared as we can for you and make things perfect but we know that life doesn’t come in a perfect package. You, however are the greatest gift I could wish for and I’m like a little girl on Christmas Eve waiting for your arrival. Giddy while standing tippy-toed.

I’ve been avidly shopping for you on Instagram. It’s gotten out of control. Your wardrobe (you already have a full one waiting for you) is full of vintage perfection. In fact, 99% of it is vintage.

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It’s swoon worthy.

Instagram is a social media outlet that allows you to upload photos and share them instantly with your friends. A huge community of moms trying to make a little money sell their used and vintage thrift baby clothes finds for VERY affordable prices. Some use it to make money where most use it to afford new clothes for their children. I recently opened up my own shop called “LovedbyLondon” (inspired by you London June, obviously!) where I have been selling my vintage finds from thrift stores! My goal is to save enough money from my profit to buy a fancy dancy digital SLR camera before you arrive so I can take ridiculous (and ridiculously high quality ) amounts of photos of you.

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I was surprised how well I’ve done so far. I have found it just as fun to sell as it is to buy! I love sharing unique, precious and vintage pieces that make other mamas and babies happy to wear. I plan on doing this as long as it makes sense. One day I hope to sell the clothes you out grow even though parting with it already seems unbearable. You will be one fabulously dressed little lady. When I go into big box stores, I rarely find things I like for you. It seems like dressing your baby in teenage styles is the “in” thing but I can’t bare the thought of putting you in a neon pink onesie with a garish logo slapped onto the chest. Oh lawdy. No ma’am!

Today a fellow IG Shop owner @babylegslove (Go follow her adorable shop!) is hosting an IG Shop Appreciation Day. Each shopper is encouraged to post a picture of an item they have bought from an IG and tag the shop they bought it from. What a cool way to connect, share joy and spread the love! It’s also just too fun.

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I love that I’ve found this little community of mothers that share my joy and love for vintage and baby wear. I have made several shopping buddies and I am really thankful for all the support and encouragement this community exudes. For all my readers out there I highly encourage you to jump this bandwagon if you are looking for a fun, affordable, quick and easy way to shop for you and your kiddos. It’s like a giant yard sale with out the early mornings and  gas money. Not only can you find something for your little one, you can also find something for you. Housewares (like vintage pyrex, afghans and decor), jewelry, shoes & makeup. And unlike shopping at that creepy old man’s yard sale next door, you know that the money you are spending is helping out a fellow mama! Now that I am selling, I can truly say that it is fun but it is also a TON of hard work and coordination. I have always been treated so well while shopping my friends’ shops and I really appreciate the time they take to answer questions, take detail photos of their product and tag me in products they think I would like. Not to mention that many take time to write sweet little notes and tuck them away in your package! You can’t get that kind of compassionate customer service anywhere else.  I love opening my mailbox and finding packages from my IG shopping friends- I’m sure my mailman is suspicious though.

So how do you get started?

Follow some of my favorite shops:

@rockitvintage @irisandfriends @mythriftedgoodies @la_luneandstars @jandmcloset  @ottoandadelaide  @baileyandmommy @lydiaslittles @shopholeinmypocket @finnleysgarden @riversthings @hazelandgray @babylegslove @babylovesclothes @punky_mac @minascloset @djshandsies @djsvintage @gocharliejo @shoplittlemouse @juliesvintagefinds @modernnest @ohhadaleelee @penelopesthings @lydielove @scarlettandkhloe @kimballscloset @0nelittlehanger (spelt with a zero) @aboyandgirlshop @thriftyjune @wornbyus @kingsklothz @emptyingemm@chels_littleones @shoplittleacorn @robinsonthread @kingandnavy @moxie_mina_shop 

All of my items posted in the above photos were bought from shops like these! All you need to do is set up a Paypal account if you do not have one already. Then start shopping! Most shops have a policy that is pretty standard: Claim your item by leaving you Paypal address. Pay for your item(s) within 24 hours. No refunds/returns. Some shops include shipping into their prices but others, like myself price items as sold and are determined by the buyers zip code/weight of items.  Before claiming an item, make sure you read the shop’s policy because they can vary.

Before you know it, you will have made friends, shopping buddies and scored some priceless treasures. I already know I want to save a lot of my IG finds for London’s memory box/future little girls.

Now, back to you my sweet little girl.
Not only has my spirit been flexed and stretched but so has my body. I feel like a giant elephant on a hot summer African day. In other words, mama aint feelin too sexy these days.
I know I’m supposed to embrace this new “shape” I’m taking (expanding) on but I avoid full length mirrors (especially right out of the shower) like the plague. I have literally doubled in two weeks and this is by far the most extreme change I’ve endured so far. (and it definitely shows in my facial expressions- LOL.) (Also, the second photo was taken after my beloved hair dryer died during mid blow and my hair was outta control. wah wah)
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I’m not wanting sympathy; I just want to shine light on the fact that watching your body grow uncontrollably at race car speeds is tough. It’s really tough. And it’s okay to acknowledge that. Yes, I know my belly resembles Santa Clause’s tummy after a full world’s helping of Christmas Eve because I am growing a spectacular little human being but I’m just trying to learn how to love the stranger I see in the mirror. London June, if you are anything like me and every other woman in the world, you will struggle with your self-worth, identity and image. Please know that it is normal and okay to face that struggle. But please also know not to allow that struggle to lie to you and tell you that you are nothing less than important. People can be really mean..really really mean (especially girls, and even women). Surround yourself with people that exude love and encouragement. Let their words be the ones that you take to heart and spirit. And if you ever have a single doubt that you are beautiful run to me so that I can gush over you and confirm your beauty. Even, especially when you are going through those awkward teenager years. I will probably be thrifting amazing clothes for you then and hopefully encouraging you to create your very own style but just know that all the amazing (and beautiful vintage) clothes your closet holds can never hold a light to your inner beauty (I know, cheeeeeeesy but oh so true). I hope I can model that your wardrobe is just the (fabulous) outer shell of the even more fabulous inner spirit of you.  So, as I struggle to embrace the sexy pregnant goddess within, I encourage you to embrace whatever stage you find yourself in when you read this. You might miserably fail and end up stripping down naked and crying in an empty bath tub after trying on 6 different outfits that made you feel more elephant than the last one. But then you can call me and I will tell you to get your naked ass up and get dressed and do what you have to do. Move on, learn to flex and bend and dance with the wind. And if you do end up snapping and your spirit breaks into a million pieces, I will be there to help mend them back together. One by one.
Love you so much already, London June. You are still my biggest adventure.
-Mom.

On Letting Go: When Joy & Sorrow Meet

Dear sweet girl,
    This week is proving to be an ongoing lesson that I’m learning to navigate as I go. This week I am learning how to let go.
Letting go of a soul who loved, breathed, created, laughed, danced, sang, painted, advocated, shared, cooked, traveled.
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This week death swept over us and in doing so we have had to learn how to grieve and find our new normal. I am still unsure how to grieve and mourn. This is my first close family death. Up until now, I’ve been protected in a bubble from this type of pain. I’m trying to grieve healthily because I’m all too aware of how I tend to suppress negative emotions to protect myself. When I didn’t cry immediately hearing the news, I was worried I was going down the wrong path. Your Dad told me the news and I didn’t respond at all. It wasn’t until we were on our way to my Mom’s house and we stopped for gas that she swept over me. Your dad got out to pump gas and when it was then, when I was left by myself for a few quiet moments that the pain of her loss swept over. I had to let go and cry. In a way, I was relieved because I knew that I wasn’t going down my normal path of suppressing my pain but revealing and accepting it. I allowed the hurt to soak in and I allowed myself to miss her.
I called her Granny Boo.
Oh, how I miss her. I hurt because I know that her perfume won’t linger in our house days after she would leave like it used to. I hurt because I won’t be able to sassily banter back and forth with her anymore or hear her opinions or her laughter. I will miss her little canister of lip balm that she always carried with her and applied it to any type of ailment. I will miss her sass, the kind that everyone claims I got a full dose of. I will miss her cooking and her creativity. I will miss how she always put on gloves to pump her diesel in her oversized truck. Most of all, I will miss that she won’t meet or hold you in this life time.
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The last time I saw her was about a week ago and in a way she did meet you. I showed her your ultrasound picture and she shook her head like she just couldn’t believe it. She reached out to my tummy, to you, and rubbed it…I kept finding her doing that the entire time I stood by her hospital bed. Although she didn’t speak at the end of her life, she acknowledged you and I knew she understood. I knew she was frustrated that she couldn’t share in the excitement. I know she can share fully in her excitement now that she is free from the hospitals, medicines and surgeries.

She is free from it all and I’m glad because none of that suited who she was.

I share all of this with you because one day death will sweep over you and you will have to learn how to mourn and grieve in your own way. It might not look like how I grieve or the way the person next to you grieves. Please recognize though, that tears are good and holy healing filled droplets. Welcome them. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to feel the pain that comes with loss. Don’t allow yourself to stay in the pain though for joy comes in the morning. I learned all of this later than I should have and I’m still learning how to peel back the layers I have created over the years. Pain and joy are necessary in this life and when we learn to cultivate and intermingle them together, we truly live. We see the face of God a bit clearer. A bit closer.
I love you London June and I know Granny Boo does too.
Loving you through the pain & the joy,
Mom

20 Weeks with you, London June

Dear London June,

This past week we have celebrated 20 weeks with you which included seeing you for the very first time, finding out that you are a sweet little girl and buying you sweet vintage dresses. I’m 21 weeks today but wanted to recap this milestone.

20 weeks

 

How far along?  20 weeks, 1 day
Total weight gain/loss? 4 pounds gained
Maternity clothes?  A few pieces but still rocking a lot of my dresses with leggings and maxi skirts!
Stretch marks? A tiny few that I got in the beginning but no more since- yay!
Sleep? What’s that? Getting up 2-3 times a night to pee and then tossing and turning for the rest of it- also having horrible nightmares EVERY night.
Best moment last week? Seeing you for the 1st time, finding out that you are a London June and sharing it with our friends!
Movement?  Yes, everyday! Usually about 30 minutes after I eat. I love every kick and sometimes it takes my breath away! Daddy is still jealous he can’t feel them yet.
Food cravings? Sweet things which is so abnormal for me since I’ve always been a salty person!
Gender? GIRL!
Labor signs? Oh lordy, no.
Belly button in/out? In.
What I miss: Sleep, my clarity of thought, my brain (better get used to all of it)
What I am looking forward to: Holding you for the 1st time, seeing you move from the outside, daddy being able to feel you kick
Milestones: Half way there baby!!!

My evening ritual is soaking in a hot bath to relieve some of the aches and pain and decompress from the stress I’ve been feeling. This past week is the first time I’ve really felt pregnant. My belly is stretching and aching and round ligament pain is a daily occurrence (OMG!).  Your Daddy is a hero though, and massages my sore feet before I go to bed. Heaven sent.

I’ve entered an odd stage of life where joy and pain collide and I often find myself clueless on how to merge the two. It is a confusing journey that is riddled with guilt and submerged in grey. You are our joy- it abounds and runneth over. The pain involves relationship turmoil and illness of a loved one. Then add in major life decisions (job and upcoming house purchase and relocation), pregnancy hormones  and lack of sleep and this mama is on the breaking point. Whenever I feel the joy abounding, the guilt quickly sets in and asks “have you forgotten the pain?” I know this is preparing my heart for a lifetime of weaving the joy and pain together but knowing that truth doesn’t make it easier. I know this isn’t the first time joy and pain have collided in my life but never has it been so tangibly apparent. You will find yourself in this place one day, sweet girl, and I hope you rely on the love that surrounds you. I hope the pain isn’t so lethal that it steals your joy away. Nothing and no once could steal the joy we have because of you.

As I trudge through the joy and pain and try to make sense of it all, I love you through it all. The changes my body is going through mirror my soul search. Your growth and health cause my body pain and make my bones ache but it is that pain that is bringing me close to my joy, my baby. You are my biggest life lesson, you are God revealed, you are my revelation.

Love you London June.

Mom

Dear London June,

That’s correct. You are a London June. A sweet little girl. The fulfillment of my wildest dreams. Everyone seemed to know you were a girl too, especially Daddy. He knew from the very beginning. I have a feeling you will be a daddy’s girl. Ever since I was a little girl and I would play pretend, my babies were always girls. I’ve only ever imagined myself with a little girl and when I got pregnant I tried my best to be unbiased and open my heart to receiving a little boy. By the time it was time to find out what you were, I had convinced myself that you were a boy.

We chose not to find out your sex while having the ultrasound. We wanted to wait so we could share the moment with just the two of us and record our reactions on video. While the ultrasound tech was examining me, she said “..and there’s his little nose…” and I instantly accepted the fact that you were a Finley Monroe and not a London June. I asked your Daddy as we were leaving if he caught her slip up and he did indeed.

But to my great surprise, you were a girl! Joy of joys!!

Seeing you on the ultrasound was holy and wonderful. I felt like I’ve never studied or focused on something more in my life. I was absolutely captivated, blown away and giddy. She told us where everything was located and I could hardly believe it all. She would point out your kidneys and liver and heart which we saw beating at 155 bpm! We even saw your blood flow from the umbilical cord to your heart and it was amazing.

ultrasound

While she was trying to capture and measure all the necessary pictures you were busily flipping, rolling and kicking up a storm! She even felt a huge kick to the doppler. I think it must have been the cold O.J. I drank before because I really felt you a lot!

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You kept your hands by your sweet little face the entire time- I wonder if you will do that once you are out here with us. You also open and closed your little mouth back and forth the entire time and it took my breath away! We truly got to view a miracle in the making and I wish I could watch you forever in there. You are perfection defined.

After we celebrated the fact that you were a girl, we had a party to throw in your honor! But first, we had to buy your first outfit. Your Dad and I fell in love with a beautiful dusty pink dress decorated with white tree and bunny silhouettes from the Beatrix Potter line at GAP. Your Daddy is especially proud of it and shows a picture of it to all his friends. He’s so smitten over you.

1st dress

We came home, finished decorating and filled black balloons with pink confetti inside.

bunting

finley or london

boy or girl

joy to the world

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Once guests arrived, they voted on whether you were a boy or a girl. There was lots more girl votes!

boy girl

We gave everyone a balloon and a pin and counted to 3. On 3, everyone popped their balloon and pink confetti flew all over our tiny living room. Shrills and screams of excitement filled the room and everyone celebrated London June. Hugs and kisses were exchanged and joy abounded. It was a blessed evening. Your Mum Mum (my Mom) and your Aunt Winnie (my sister) had presents a ready. There was a boy gift and a girl gift. The girl gift was filled with lace, your first tu-tu, frills and pink. The boy gift was filled with beautiful books which weren’t boyish. They both knew you were London at heart. They are already spoiling you like crazy=

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We recorded it all on video and then posted it on Facebook late that night. Everyone was so thrilled to know you by name and shared so much love and excitement. You have a wonderful community already that cherishes and celebrates you. I hope you learn to cherish the importance of community.

Your Aunt Winnie and I went on a thrifting exploration for you. I think she is my thrifiting good luck charm because she found most of the amazing vintage pieces we bought. They are so London June and so classy and precious. I hate most of the modern baby clothes you find in the stores. Its mostly loud, bright and far too old for itty bitty precious babes like you. Vintage baby clothes are so delicate, soft and unique. I love finding hand embroidered  little animals. Every little girl should be just that, a little girl. No zebra, silly sayings or neon colors for you little baby.

thrift haul

I have been busy Instagramming and discovered Instagram shops. Mamas from all over the country sell their baby’s used clothing often in excellent condition for very little money. I have been on a rampage that was uncontrollable and they steadily are arriving in the mailbox every day. I had to ban myself from anymore near future purchases because it was out of control girlfriend. You will be the best vintage inspired dressed baby in town and I can hardly stand it! When you start outgrowing your outfits I plan on opening up my own Instagram shop and selling some of your things. (readers can add the shop now @ lovedbylondon and keep track with recent purchases and baby growing updates or follow my personal account @ sydneyarden)

Oh, baby London- how I adore you and your kicks and the joy you already spill into our lives. You’ve given us life molding memories that I can’t wait to share with you while I tuck you into bed. You are just spectacular.

Love you sweet GIRL!

Love,

One over-joyed Mama

its a girl

And one smitten Daddy

love daddy