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.
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On Climbing the Mountain Top and Falling Back Down (16 Weeks)

Dear blueberry, 

After the dental horror, I had a few days of pure pregnancy bliss. No morning sickness, no pain and to top it all we had a glimpse of Spring weather. I wore a blouse that was comfortable and flattering and I felt good for the first time in a while. 

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I felt so good that when my dance family invited me for dinner and a cozy night in, I said “HECK YES!”. Oh, it was so good for my soul and I hope you heard our laughter and their voices. I hope you get to know and love these ladies as I do. We talked about the nature of God and questioned the real stuff of life and in the same wind we laughed about vaginas and all things inappropriate. We cursed ex-boyfriends and cried over heart break together. We rejoiced healing and restoration of health. We ate a ridiculous amount of steamed broccoli and linguini. We loved on each other and tried to soak in our togetherness. May you find a community that makes your soul dance just as these ladies have mine. I hope you get to know them as your Dance Aunts; they are so excited and curious about you! 

These past days have been mountain top experiences- some of the best I’ve felt since you came down from the heavens. I relished in them and praised God. 

The past two days, however, have been rough and I felt as if I had fallen into the valley again. I got really sick again which really felt frustrating. I thought my “morning” sickness was back and I wasn’t ready to welcome it again. 

This morning your Dad and I went to my 2nd pre-natal visit for our 16 week appointment. We got to hear your heart beat again and she said you sounded great! Going in, I was so worried that she was going to tell me that I had gained too much weight too fast. I have felt so insecure about my growing bump. When I asked her how much I gained, she told me that I had actually lost one pound since my first pre-natal visit. I was completely shocked- I still am! It’s hard to believe because it really does look as if I have gained at least 5 pounds! She said that was because you have moved higher and closer to the front of my tummy and that my uterus is the size of a melon! Crazytown. She said that losing wasn’t all that bad and probably due to me being so sick. She said that we just needed to try to focus on gaining a pound a week for a while. Hopefully, I can keep some food down so that you are getting all the nutrients you need. I have been putting down some kale smoothies and lots of veggies and fruit. I’m not backing down, either! We also scheduled our first ultrasound for 19 weeks (just 3 weeks away!) to determine your gender. Miss London June or Mr. Finley Monroe? We will know and celebrate who you are with family and close friends by hosting a gender reveal party. Because, everyone knows this mama likes to host a good party! You are worth celebrating. 

I am so blessed by you whether I’m standing mountain top in this journey or deep in the valley, because with you, I’m never alone. You reside right inside of me, reminding me of how important this new calling to be a mother is. Residing in both of us, is the the Spirit that whispers “You are enough” which gives my heart rest and deep comfort. Every time I hear your heart beat or feel your flutter, my heart soars to new places and gives me hope for new life. I value both my times on the mountain and in the valley because it’s shaping me into the mother you need. I’m very aware that I’m creating with God and it’s at times intimidating. Most of all, it is glorious and dance-worthy.  

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You are truly my biggest adventure. 

Love, Mom 

13 Weeks.

Just like the number 13, this week was just awkward. Nothing terrible or even bad. Just awkward.

It reminds me a lot of how I felt when I was 13. I knew that I was an official teenager, but didn’t necessarily have the guts to own it just yet. I was awkward. I had make up but didn’t know how to use it, hair product that couldn’t save a perm gone bad (oh, so very bad) and boobs that didn’t know what they were doing.

And at 13 weeks pregnant, I find myself with similar feelings of that awkward stage I long to suppress.

This past week, nausea has been so much better! (PRAISE JESUS!) I only had one really bad experience whilst preparing meals on wheels for Christmas with our church. I began to season a humongous bowl of sliced apples with nutmeg, sugar and cinnamon when I was overwhelmed by the sweet smells. I ran out of that kitchen like my booty was on fire. Several sips of ginger ale, (that I keep on hand at all times) a Zofran and 30 minutes of rocking myself on a stairway, I was back to normal. I’m becoming a pro on handling this nausea business- like a ninja.

Now back to the awkward. You have definitely moved from my left hip bone to right smack dab to the middle of my belly! It took us a while to find your heart beat on the doppler because we were trying to find you in your old hangout spot. Now, you are much, much easier to find! It used to take us a good 15 minutes to find you, because you were far back there. Now, Dad can find you within a minute and your heart is so strong and fast. Usually measuring around 150-170 bpm! Because you have moved to the front of my belly, I am definitely seeing a baby pouch. It is a lost cause to suck in these days- it’s just too uncomfortable. I’m having to learn to just let go (both literally & emotionally) and accept that this is really happening. Of course, I knew this was happening for quite some time now but now you’re making a physical appearance it’s really sinking into my pores.

Today I changed 3 different times before exiting the house. I just felt awkward and not very pretty or beautiful at all. I didn’t want to be seen in public and it put me in a foul mood. My brilliant self decided this would be the best time to get your Dad to take my 13 week photo (because I have been putting it off all week and I thought we better do it before I turn 14 weeks tomorrow). This was a terrible idea because seeing my pouch and how my new dress didn’t hang just right led to a downward spiral of emotional roller coaster. I ended up snapping at your Dad because he asked me where something was a bajillion times even though I told him I would look in my purse once we were in the car. I then blamed my disappointment of my 13 week photo on your Dad’s lack of photography skills. He picked up quickly why I was being such a peel and told me he knew I didn’t feel good about my body but he thought I was absolutely beautiful. At first, I wanted to smack him because, well, I’m not sure why but then I tried to believe it and smiled a little. As we drove to lunch at one of our favorite spots (Taco Mamacita) I decided it was time to stop being a 13 year old about this and accept that I’m going to be big as a house. I’m going to put my big girl (okay, my extra big girl) panties on and suck it up. The bigger I get, the closer I get to holding you. Bottom line. Even if the bottom line is bigger than I would like.

So even though I am not feeling my most confident, I’m posting my 13 week photo. Because I want to remember it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. I want you to see my struggles and my victories. I hope it gives you the courage to do the same one day.

Share your vulnerabilities. It sucks. Big time. But every time you do, you become more of who your Maker gloriously made you. You become braver. You become wilder. You become you. 

Me awkwardly at 13 weeks carrying my proudest joy, my biggest adventure, my most prized possession.

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In a few weeks, I will look back and laugh at how annoyingly dramatic I am being. When I’m as big as a whale, I’ll want to kick my awkward 13 weeks ass. I’m allowed to say ass. You are not.

Love you always,

Mom

Shining Light on Honesty & Doubt

Dear baby,
Today I come with honesty and struggle. I woke up at 4am with a stunning migraine and didn’t go back to sleep until 8 and then slept for another hour. The migraine persisted through out the day so I laid in the bedroom, curtains drawn, covered in blankets. I thought about crying but knew that would aggravate my head even more. So, I laid there for hours alone with nothing but my migraine, my thoughts and you.

Fear crept in.

For the first time in my pregnancy I had a moment of thinking “What am I doing, what have I gotten myself into, am I really ready for this, for you?” Even though I’ve yearned for you for some time, I never expected to get pregnant so soon. After we told everyone, a common response was “You’ve only been married a year?! Wow!” I have suppressed that sting of judgement but it all surfaced today when I rested in silence. The reason that response stings is because it lifts the veil and shine lights on my own self doubt.

Is this too soon? Are we ready? Have we had enough time as a married couple before we bring you into our lives?

I can try to justify and defend myself when people respond with that scary reminder that your dad and I have built a very strong relationship for six years in the making. But the fact of the matter is that there will always be someone judging someone for whatever reason. What I have to focus on is not the responses and judgment of others but of my own self judgment and self worth. I need to remind myself that God is in the midst of my fear and struggle- both physically and mentally and that this is now a part of my story. Struggles, fear and the joy of it all. The Glory.

I could write letters to you that only shared the positive and exciting things but I would be robbing you from the fact that life needs suffering and joy. Labor will truly be an example- my suffering will bring joy (you) into the world. When Jesus gave his entire life and ministry to the ones suffering around him, he labored tirelessly. In doing so, he brought life and joy into the world. People ridiculed judged and eventually murdered him. It was there on the cross, that he faced doubt- “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It was there on the cross, where he gave us permission to question and hold our suffering and doubt to the light. No longer, do we have to pretend that everything is okay and going well. We had been freed to be honest with our hearts.

My dear baby, I hope you learn this sooner than I did. I hope you know it is okay to question your faith and your thoughts. I hope you know that I will love you no matter what you believe or how you believe it.

I hope you truly know and feel loved. Always. I pray your Dad and I do a good job making sure you do.

So, even in my struggle and doubt please know that I want and love you through it all. I have days where I feel so prepared to be your Mom and then I have days like today where I swim in doubt. And yet, you are a part of me now and a part of our story.

Love you always,
Mom