Lovely Simply

Style and Lifestyle in New England

Month: May, 2016

Keeping things Tame

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This past Saturday we got a beach day. Like that elusive, perfect New England beach day that only comes a few times a year. Where its warm enough to spend hours on the sand, but not so hot that you feel like you’re roasting. Where there isn’t any chilly breeze coming off the ocean, and there aren’t any pesky sand flies. When the tourists haven’t flocked in quite yet, and there is plenty of space all around you. That kind of a beach day. Granted, I only touched a toe in the ocean because Maine water is like melted ice, but still.img_4857

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I wore this fantastic tankini from Rad Swim…and even though I though I wasn’t a tankini girl…I am completely obsessed. Because here is the thing. It’s super flattering. It’s fitted, the bottoms are adorable, and the pattern is so unique. On top of that, I was the only person on the beach wearing anything like it and I got A TON of compliments. And because I like attention (hello theater majors) I was thrilled about that. But…most importantly…I had no fear of flashing. Which brings me to the point of this post. I have always been…well endowed. Breastfeeding has made the girls even bigger, and I am eagerly anticipating the minimizing that will (should) occur after Redmond is finished nursing. But, even so, I have been a D+ cup for most of my adult life. This makes buying bathing suits really hard. I need support, and I need space for them. Half the time I end up with a small bottom and a large top that I have to tie in the back because I’m a slim human being…but I need coverage for the boobs. I have spent big bucks and gotten bikinis made specifically for small, busty woman– but I like to have lots of options, and I only drop that kind of dough once every few years. I’ll link a few of my favorite pricey options at the bottom though in case you’re in the market for one.img_4855

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(I know Redmond looks PISSED in some of these shots. I promise he wasn’t. I just had brushed his face off since he was covered in sand and he was feeling all the feels.)

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Enter the high necked bathing suit. WHY HAVE I NEVER TRIED THIS? WHERE HAS THIS STYLE BEEN? Maybe it’s just my lucky day, but I am finding high necked one pieces, tankinis, and bikinis (yes! Really!) everywhere and at a whole range of prices. My fear of boob spillage is erased. My fear of side boob, negated. My fear of Looking Like a Street Walker When Bending Over to Pick up My Baby, GONE! I was able to run around after his soccer ball without being nervous that one of my knockers would slam me in the face. I’m kidding. I mean, that has never happened. But you know? It’s the irrational fears that control us. IF the water wasn’t two million degrees below zero, I could have JUMPED RIGHT ON IN. And my top would not have been dangling around my mid drift when I popped back up out of the icy deluge. Are you hearing me? This is a game changer. I have already bought a two piece that is high necked and it looks adorable. Will I have some freaky as F tan lines? Sure. But hopefully that’ll remind me to bathe in sunscreen and lounge in the beach tent with Redmond. Also, I just slipped one out the side of my suit to nurse Redmond when it was his nap time. Like you do. img_4853img_4852img_4851

Also, Redmond is looking so grown up in these photos that it is killing me and I think I need another baby right now. He is well on his way to becoming a beach bum baby. He was eating sand like it was a delicacy…I kept saying, “he’ll realize that he doesn’t like it and he will stop eating it.” Which…he didn’t realize. Quite the opposite. A salty, crunchy snack? Um, yes please! It’s like sitting in a sea of potato chips! I don’t actually feed my infant potato chips, but after his display of sand consumption I’m betting he’d be a fan…

my suit c/o/sunglasses

Redmonds suit: bottoms,top

Loving these high necked suits:

This one is Baywatch fabulous

this one is so surfer cool and only 18$

This one comes in DD+ and I want it

Dream Bikini. The print! Highwaisted! So vintage!

 

Life Around Here

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I have been meaning to do a “life lately” post for– oh, months now. Because if there’s one thing I bet my dad is dying to know, it’s what we’ve been up to. Because, he is of course my most loyal reader. So here you go dad! I kid. But only a little bit. I also figured I’d give some outfit details for some of my recent instagram photos. You can follow me at @simply_hannah.joyimg_4534

My sister took these for me after a wonderful afternoon in Newburyport last week. I love that photo up there, because even though Redmond is having none of it, and even though I have a weird face going on, I feel like I look a lot like my mom in that shot which always makes me happy. On this particular day, we had lunch with a friend, and then walked around a bit before settling down with my sister and niece on the wharf. The grass was green, the sun was out, and we just relaxed–utterly and completely– for an hour or so.

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(Redmond’s stash of food up there? He ended up storing most of it between his legs after he smeared the avocado all over himself. Standard.)

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The warm weather means eating outside. And Redmond isn’t moving too quickly yet, so he still gets to occasionally sit on the table when there’s no highchair around. Someday, when we own a house, I want a porch so bad. One big enough for a table and maybe an outdoor sofa. Because does anything taste better than a meal eaten outdoors? Like, ice cream eaten while strolling on a warm evening is somehow ONE MILLION times better than ice cream eaten in bed. Although, lets be real, I never say no to ice cream.img_4527

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Summer also means that I enjoy getting dressed every day. I love summer clothing with a passion. I’m trying to ignore the looming rainy days that are forecast and just soak up what we’ve got right now. I wore this outfit to dinner last week. And we got real extravagant and even got drinks. I know. Redmond came with us and we ordered him a slice of Mediterranean pizza which he loved. He was still clutching a little piece in his hand when we left and nibbled it all the way home. img_4531

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Summer babies are the best babies. He has been wearing these little rompers nonstop and I am obsessed. We had to get my brake pads fixed the other day after I had literal nightmares of careening wildly into traffic. I have these recurring dreams whenever I get stressed, but in this particular case, my brakes were grinding real bad and I was terrified. In real life they were grinding. I’m not that crazy.

We spent almost three solid hours at the repair shop waiting for it all to be finished, and Redmond was a trooper. He played with the toys that the dealership had for almost the entire time. And then, of course, when the waiting room was full of people he decided that he wanted a bit of a nurse….img_4530

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We went to my cousins birthday party last weekend, and she had a whole array of little baby animals there. Redmond was a little more interested in the fence than he was in the bunnies…I’ve been having so much fun with his summer wardrobe, and those crocodile moccasins from robeez are  my new favorites. I absolutely adore Robeez because they stay on his feet, they’re comfortable, and the quality is amazing. Basically, they are just about the only brand of shoes that he wears. And cute shoes make an outfit. I am thinking about doing a little post about buying cute baby boy clothes on a budget. It’s definitely more of a challenge finding things that are stylish and unique for a boy over a girl (I love girl clothes so much!) but I have a ton of fun doing it. And Redmond wears a good amount of stuff from the girl section too because…you have to get creative!

I am so excited about this weekend. We are taking a much needed break and going to spend some real family time together. Beach tomorrow, and then a few day time activities on Sunday and Monday. We just got back from watching Nick’s team play their final game of the season. Nick is feeding Redmond his dinner while I warm up the pasta prima-vera that I made earlier in the day. After Red goes to sleep, I will run across the street and pick up our weekend dessert, and I can’t wait. These are the good days.

outfit 1: similar jeans/similar top/similar bandana/bag c/o

outfit 2: similar skirt (mine is sold out)/I can’t find this exact top for some reason but this one is similar/choker (just a piece of ribbon/heels/sunnies c/o

Polka Dots, You Got Me

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Lets talk about high school. Isn’t that such a fun subject? I’m being sarcastic because I mostly cringe when I think back to my teenage self because oh my god. I was home schooled and a missionary kid (Read: Double awkward) and spent most of my childhood in over sized Pumba t-shirts and overalls (if you stick to the end, I included a little Pumba Proof). So when I came back to the States after living in Thailand at the impressionable, and wildly self-conscious age of 13, I was desperate to fit in. Through my teens, I tried so hard. I veered towards a slightly “edgier” style (oh god.) which in the long run has served me well because it deepened into just an overall love of style. But at seventeen, I was head over heels for 1950’s style. In my little suburban Massachusetts town, there wasn’t a whole lot of vintage to be found, so I did my best with what I could cobble together. I was very into polka dots and pencil skirts and faux fur stoles. Remember those ones with the big satin bow that were in for a minute? Just me?

Anyway, I was so into polka dots that for years into my adulthood, I couldn’t bring myself to wear anything in that print. Thankfully, I’ve overcome my aversion, and I’m back on the bandwagon. My love for vintage-inspired ensembles hasn’t ever really disappeared, though it ebbs and flows. Right now, I love a dress (like this one that I’m wearing) that hints at the 50’s and 60’s. I was THRILLED at the layer of tulle underneath this skirt that gives it a little extra poof. Cause I love a good poof. img_4473-1

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So polka dots? Polka dots can stay. But with the ONSLAUGHT of 90’s style that is rushing in, I’d like to just put out there some trends that I really, really, really never want to revisit. Because the early 2000’s are next….

  1. Avril Lavigne style circa 2002 . I went through an ill-fated “punk” phase (har-har) that was fully influenced by this grumpy faced tiny bundle of pop-punk goodness. I indulged in low slung camo pants, and tight tshirts, with a spiky belt and a heavy handed dose of eye liner. You know what? Not cute.
  2. low rise jeans with a tight little top. Do you know whats not flattering? That. I was by no means flat-tummied as a teen. And…not that many girls look like Kiera Knightly  bopping around with her vast, exposed mid-drift. Also, low rise jeans + tight top +sitting = butt crack. Need I say more? Never again. I can get ALL UP IN a high waisted skirt or pair of shorts with a crop top. But the low rise? Just say no.
  3. the oversized newsboy cap: I’m going to find a picture of my 18 year old self just KILLING it in a gigantic newsboy cap. And by killing it I mean…Not killing it because whywhywhy. I love a good hat. But that floppy situation? I can’t. I hope that in ten years I won’t be looking back at this darling straw hat with the same animosity…Also in ten year I’ll be almost forty so THAT is terrifying and this just took a dark turn…
  4. The hot mess that was Michelle Branch style Boho. REMEMBER MICHELLE BRANCH!?! Oh my gosh I loved her and wanted every outfit in that Goodbye to You music video. So many flowing layers. So many things that I never want to wear again. Boho trend? All about it. Those jeans? Please, no.

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So. To refresh. I love this dress. But the rest of my high-school favorites? Nope. Nope. Nope. Except chokers. I hate to admit it, but I love a simple choker. Just not the unfortunate (to me) resurgence of these ones cause I had like 123097 of those back in the day….

Outfit details: dress c/o / straw hat/ sandals from last year similar here

And as promised:

Pumba. Oversized, floppy newsboy cap+terrible dorm room lighting+what is that layered shirt situation=2006.

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Just gonna shake that off with this adorable photo bomb by my adorable niece.

A Woman and a Mother

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For much of my life, I have struggled with a lot of insecurities. This has been paired, generally, with an ability to pretend  I am confident. You know? And sometimes if you pretend something enough, it can kind of come to fruition. But for the most part, finding true comfort in my own skin has been a process. A process that is still underway, because these things are a lifelong journey. I really don’t believe that you can ever truly overcome or conquer insecurity– but you can control it. That’s what I think anyway. img_4284

Before I got pregnant, I was terrified of what it would do to my body. It was one of my main fears, which is completely absurd, but let us be honest or die. I was afraid that I wouldn’t feel pretty anymore once I was large with child. I was afraid that my body would be unrecognizable to me after our baby was born. I know. These worries are pathetic– so vain, so selfish. But it is what it is.

As it turned out, I loved being pregnant. I was lucky enough to have an easy go of it, and I felt so confident, so strong, and so beautiful in my skin for the duration of the nine months. And when Redmond was born those feelings mostly continued. Which came as a surprise to me. I never felt any disappointment in or dislike of my post-baby body. To me, the fact that I was no longer massively round bellied was a miracle in itself. Add to that the wonder of sustaining a life out of my boobs for goodness sake, and the miracle was greater still. I mean come on. What can men do? They can’t do ANYTHING compared to building and keeping life in a tiny human. Women are incredible.img_4285

But here’s the thing. Early motherhood is not glamorous. I spent months sort of bathed in breastmilk with sore nipples. My clothing inevitably would end up wet whenever I nursed Redmond because he was (is) a messy eater and would drool milk out of his mouth while he sucked. I tried to pull myself together, but when you’re a new mom, even when you’re pulled  together you’re sort of frayed around the edges. Because underneath whatever pretty dress I might be wearing, I was rocking breast pads and some sort of less-than-sexy nursing bra. Because I’m sorry. Even the cute ones aren’t exactly alluring…img_4090

I’m finally able to wear regular bras again, now that Redmond only nurses a few times a day, and we have it down enough to basically be able to accomplish the task no matter what I have on. So when True&co contacted me and asked if I would like to feature some of their lingerie, I jumped at the chance. Like I literally squealed in delight and did a little hop for joy. I never ever spend money on under garments. I mean, unless its totally necessary. I’m not running around in my birthday suit. But I never indulge in the joy of pretty underthings. Because there’s a real joy there. It’s like buying new make up, or getting a manicure– a little splurge that makes you feel pampered and womanly–except in the case of a bra, its also supporting something that really needs supporting. At least in my case…So. Much. Milk. So. Much. Support. Needed. img_4094

True&co was a new company for me, but I loved my experience. You can take this sizing quiz so that you get the perfect bra fit, and their pieces are gorgeous. They also came beautifully packaged and they made my day. img_4304

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My favorite one is definitely the black lace one pictured above. It clasps in the front, and the back will be perfect for tank tops and sleeveless dresses this summer. And if it does show, its so pretty that it’ll add to the look.

It’s easy to lose ourselves as women when we become mothers. Even though in so many ways, being a mother is such a womanly act. I spend lots of days in my gym clothes. I often wear a baseball cap because I don’t feel like doing my hair. I only wear make up two or three days out of the week. None of that really matters of course. My husband loves me in my own skin– he doesn’t care about fancy clothes or a made up face, or any of it. But it’s nice sometimes to give ourselves special treatment just for us. Life gets so busy, and I love caring for my son, working, keeping my home, making good food for my family– caring, in essence, for those around me. But as life speeds up and things get more stressful, I am reminded that I have to take time for myself to be at my best. As a wife. As a mother. As a woman. Slipping into something pretty and comfortable and going somewhere to refuel with friends does that for me. I come home rejuvenated, refreshed, and happy to resume my life.

How do you take care of yourself as a woman and a mother?

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bra #1/racerback bra #2/bralette in blue/pale pink bra

Denim shirt– Old Navy via Buffalo Exchange

Shorts– Thrifted

Lace romper– Vintage (love this one)

 

True Confessions

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Ok. So lets start with the good stuff. Which is basically this entire outfit. I have been FIENDING for a pair of overalls this Spring, and have kept holding back from buying a denim pair. I just felt like I would be too warm to wear them in the summer, and Spring is (typically) such a short time here in New England that it felt indulgent and wasteful to buy a pair for just a few weeks of wearing time. Enter these overalls from J Bella.They are made of a super light linen knit and have that perfect slouch factor. I’m obsessed. Expect to see them again and again folks. Also, I have been loving the bandanna trend and have been on the hunt to buy one without having to order such a small item online. My husband used to be a farmer before he finished grad school, and he had a few that he used for actual farming…I found this one and was SO EXCITED because a. its perfect and b. I saved myself some $$. So. Outfit wise, Saturday was a good day.img_4076

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But, on to the true confessions. Here’s the thing. I’m not a super moody person and I don’t typically suffer from wild hormones. Even when I was pregnant, I was pretty steady. My husband attests to  this– the only time I was emotionally uneven was in the last week or so of pregnancy when I couldn’t sleep due to discomfort and I was so ready to be a mom and not an elephant. So when I DO feel super emotional, I really don’t know what to do with myself. And my poor husband is caught completely off guard. This weekend I was…well let’s just say I’m not terribly proud of the way I behaved. I was so grumpy, so quickly offended, so…crotchety. There were about a million examples of this, and I shed quite a few frustrated tears, but I’ll just stick to one confession since I’m guessing you don’t have all day…img_4064img_4070

I wore this outfit to walk the three miles to our favorite ice cream joint (I changed into flats after these photos.) We stopped at a beautiful historic house museum on the way, and while we took these shots, a few locals decided to stop and watch and marvel at what we were doing. OHMYGOSH so embarrassing. But anyway. We finished our stroll, and I ordered my kiddie cone (the sizes at this place are huge) which is TWO scoops, and I got one peanut butter pie scoop, and one campfire smore’s scoop (there are about 100 flavors at this place.) I was holding Redmond at this point, and he got his plain (ice cream less) scoop, and I had my towering cone, and my heart was basically singing because HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I LIKE SWEETS and all was right with the world. Until I realized that Nick was holding onto his cone and our ice cream crazy 90+ pound dog…and I had to get Redmond into the stroller without losing my ice cream. And sure enough…I lost my ice cream. And Nick started laughing. And suddenly I felt exactly like the three year old at the picnic tables who was wailing because her treat was gone…I was SO MAD. And I actually teared up behind my sunglasses. And Nick offered to share his with me and I was all, no I hate coffee ice cream. And he said, ask for another. And I said, the line is SO LONG LETS JUST GO HOME. And I stomped away. And our dog ate my two beautiful scoops that were lying forlornly in the dirt. I knew that I was acting ridiculous. I knew that I was making a scene. But I just couldn’t stop myself. I couldn’t shake the itchy, angry feelings. I did end up I turning around and waiting in line because I really wanted ice cream and they got me two new scoops. In a cup. Just to be safe. And the evening was saved. img_4063-1

This photo was taken moments before the Great Disaster. See how happy I was? And don’t be fooled by Redmonds’ nonplussed face. He was happy too. img_3907

Anyone else want to share some true confession?

Outfit details: overalls c/o/Bandanna/Similar heels/Sunglasses

Redmonds Shoes c/o

5 minute Acai Bowl


I am really into breakfast. I work out every morning, and I HAVE to eat before I exercise. Never anything too heavy, always something delicious. I make a batch of granola about once a week and it serves as breakfast and dessert (over a little yogurt) during the week when I steer away from baked goods and ice cream. While I was pregnant, I had massive cravings for smoothie bowls. I spent waaaaayyyy too much money at Fresh Press in Portsmouth getting their Acai bowls. But finally (finally!!) our grocery store carries Acai smoothie packs and I can have my favorite breakfast/lunch without throwing down ten dollars. So. A super quick little post today. I hesitate to even call it a recipe…but a few people asked me how I make mine so I figured I’d let you all know. Obviously I staged that photo (I don’t eat breakfast surrounded by flowers very often…) but it is a pretty, healthy, and delicious breakfast and it takes less time to make than my usual oatmeal does. I use Frozen acai packs which are stocked at our local market basket. They’re getting easier and easier to find, so check the frozen fruit aisle of your grocery store. If not, then you can order acai powder on Amazon–but I’ve never tried it. Anyway. I top mine generally with bananas, pineapple, strawberries, raisins, and my homemade granola (I’ll get that up ASAP) . Then I drizzle Krema natural peanut butter on top. It’s my current favorite because it’s super soft (almost soup-y) and pours easily. Not great for sandwiches, but I always use my pb for a topping, not a pb&j.
So anyway. 

5 minute Acai bowl

1 packet frozen Acai

1/4 cup mixed frozen fruit

1 tbs plain Greek yogurt

1/4 banana

Toppings: banana, pineapple, strawberries, granola, peanut butter. Or anything you desire.

Soften the frozen pack by running it under hot water and then blend everything (minus the toppings) in a blender or magic bullet. Pour into a bowl, top it up, and dig IN! 

I eat these for any and every meal during the summer. And my husband loves them too. 

Enjoy! 

Bohemian Mama

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The Boho trend is one that I sort of ebb and flow towards. Typically, I have preferred a more 1960’s vintage feel to the boho 70’s glam that is always “in” around this time of the year. But this year, I can’t get enough of it. I still love my fit and flare dresses and my fitted waists, but I am 100% embracing the bohemian ease and color that is everywhere. I have been SUPER inspired by @lisamarieprang and her blog — she is gorgeous and has such a cool desert vibe to all her looks. And love checking out @laurenpeelman who is also a mom and always looks so cool. And wherever she lives looks warm so there is that…img_3237

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Anyway, as a mom, I am loving a loose, easy dress that I can breastfeed in if I need to (although Redmond is a solid food FIEND and I haven’t nursed in public in months.), and messy, undone hair that can be pulled and manhandled and still go with my outfit. This tunic adds the perfect amount of color and warmth for these upcoming awkward spring days that are too warm for sweaters and too chilly for bare arms. I think the embroidery is so pretty, and I am fully on board with a piece of clothing that makes it so I don’t have to worry about extra accessories because I am really quite lazy.  Also, in the photo up there I am not making a cool gang symbol with my hand, I’m just getting strands of hair out of my face. Or maybe I am in a gang and you just don’t know it…img_3236img_3233

That’s really all I’ve got for today. I don’t have a fun theme for this post, because sometimes I just like to wear an outfit and take pictures of it and share it and pretend to be a FASHION BLOGGERRRRRRRR. And I feel a little like a hypocrite because, yes, right now I am wearing workout clothes. And sometimes I spend the WHOLE DAY in them. And sometimes I change out of my sweaty work out clothes, and instead of putting a real outfit on, I just put clean gym clothes on. I admit it. Also, I love “letting my face breathe” which is code for “not putting on any make up AT ALL.” Also I don’t use self tanner very often. Can you tell? But I guess the other side of all this is, when I do put a real outfit on, I like to get some photos. And there is no other side of self tanner. My legs are just white. Ok. I’m done.

Thank you everyone by the way for all the kind comments on my mothers day post. It meant the world  to me. Truly. Sunday was a perfect first mothers day for my little family and I. So much love to all of you.

Outfit details: Tunic c/o (also comes in blue), similar hat,similar slip dress for 10$, wedges, old, sunnies c/o

 

Mother, I’m a Mother

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My mother passed away from cancer when I was seventeen years old. It was nearly Thanksgiving. She had been ill– but it was unexpected. As unexpected as death with cancer can be. We had thought she’d be with us through the holidays. And she passed away quietly, suddenly, at home one night. A night that I will never forget, because I found her, and because those things sort of get burned into your brain. I wrote a big old play about it back when I was a writer and a performer and a poet and all kinds of other things that have slid by the wayside as I’ve gotten older, and moved on from college. But I digress.img_3297

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Mothers Day has been painful for me for the past twelve years since she died. On a daily basis of course, life is life. Even around the holidays, I have sort of fully adjusted. Especially now that I am married, we have our own traditions, our own things to look forward to– but there’s just no getting around Mother’s Day. I feel envious when I see families brunching together in the restaurants around town. I feel as if I am missing out on something so lovely. To be able to pick up a bouquet of flowers, and bring my mother to a nice restaurant, and tell her how much I love her. If she were still alive I would be so much of a better daughter than I was as a selfish teenager who was trying to be a grown up and a kid all at the same time. I would spoil her now. I would call her and ask her opinions about things. She would be able to love on Redmond. She could babysit him while my husband and I went on a date. She would laugh with him, kiss him, be able to fall as deeply in love with her grandson as Nick and I have with our son. I would be a good daughter. img_3295

In reality, who knows what our relationship would be like. But I want to believe we would be close. I believe she would be proud of me, that she would think that I am a good mama. A mother. I am a mother. Just like she was mine. We are suddenly, strangely equal. She was only ever a mother. A mother of still young children when she died. Now that I have a child, I cannot even fathom the heartbreak she must have experienced when she knew that she was going to die, and we would go on living, and she would not be there to see it. It makes my heart feel like splitting. img_3209

This year, my first real Mothers Day, I am excited. I was actually moseying around Instagram a few weeks ago and saw someone had posted a Mothers Day gift guide. My initial feeling was, oh no its coming again. And then I remembered, this year I get to celebrate. Because I have crossed that threshold into motherhood. It still catches me off guard sometimes. It’s something we all thing about for so long. And then the pregnancy seems to stretch for so long. And then, very suddenly, you have this tiny human that is utterly dependent on your. Who is fully yours. Redmond is mine. Ours. And I love being a mother. So. To my own mom– I love you. I miss you. And I will hold you in my heart extra close on Sunday.

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There is no joy greater than this. Not to me.

Happy Mothers Day to all you mama’s out there.

Outfit details: jumpsuit c/o/diaper bag c/o