I was in the 3rd grade when I realized that my mom was my best friend. She wasn't the best friend that tells you everything you want to hear, but she was the one who listens, relates, understands, and still disciplined when she needed to. I deeply loved and respected her. She knew how to balance lifting me up while keeping me grounded. She taught me to always respect myself and to never feel that I was better than anyone. To always be thankful and appreciate what we have. She was the first to admit that she wasn't perfect, but she sure was perfect in my eyes! And even though she was an extremely busy woman -working, raising 4 kids, attentive wife, & most of her attention having to go to my brother who has special needs; she did the best she could to show us each love. I cherished all the time spent with her, especially if it was one on one time which was a rare bonus! I remember fighting with my siblings trying to lock each other out of the room so we could have her all to ourselves! Even if it was just to chat or watch a tv show together while she rubbed our head. This went on throughout those high school years when most kids want nothing to do with their parents lol! Its gotta mean something when all 4 of your kids (who are now grown adults) want you to come live with them! She was and still is ALL things good! The heart of our family! She is HOME! She is my Best Friend!
This is why I yearned so much for the love of a daughter! Don't get me wrong I know my boys love me, but I also see how my brothers have grown and started families of their own and their relationships have changed with my mom. She is no longer the leading lady in their lives hahaha (which is completely normal!) -but for my sister and I, we have gotten even closer to my mom now that we are older and have children of our own. I pray that Ray and I are so lucky to have the same relationship that my mom and I have.
This photoshoot was a dream come true!
Special Thanks to Arlene Garcia Photography for capturing these amazing photos
and to Victoria Ivy Floral Design for these adorable matching floral crowns.
Ray's Birth Story in a Nutshell :
On Friday October 13th at 5am, I woke up to feeling and hearing a pop, followed by immediate contractions, sure enough my water broke! This was the most exciting labor beginning out of all 3 kids! I woke up my hubs who started packing the car while I jumped in the shower. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to take a shower right then, I began having back to back contractions in the shower and started freaking out at the idea of giving birth at home! LOL! So I cut it short and we jetted over to the hospital!
The pain was real! When I got to the hospital they said I was already 5cm dilated and 70% effaced. This baby was coming fast! Of course I arrived right around the nurses shift change, so after all the paperwork -which felt like forever, they put me in my labor and delivery room and I was already at 7cm 90% effaced. The nurses told me I was dilating so fast, that I most likely wouldn't be able to get an epidural. This exact thing happened to me with my first son, and there was no way that I wanted to experience that again! Thankfully I was blessed with some amazing medical staff -and after bribing them with donuts, I was able to get that epidural in the nick of time! Literally! The epidural only had about 20-30 minutes to kick in (no time for a catheter -sorry TMI ) before my doc showed up and delivered little miss Ray! I only pushed for about 10 minutes, and my little 8 pound beauty was here! She was definitely my fastest birth, we arrived to the hospital at 6am and she was born at 8:30am! She weighed one pound more than her brothers did and was 1 inch shorter. It all happened so fast that it felt like a dream!
At just 6 days old, my sweet and extremely patient friend Arlene Garcia Photography did an amazing job at capturing my little lady's newborn photos! After all the pee and poop, she managed to catch these precious shots! I'm in LOVE!!!
Welcome our baby girls whimsical nursery!
When we found out we were pregnant I really wanted to wait until the birth to find out the baby's gender. I planned on decorating a gender neutral nursery, painting it a light gray (like the rest of our house... I'm kinda obsessed with the cleanness of gray!) I was going to just purchase the furniture in whites and light wood tones until the little one was born and then add touches of pinks if it was a girl or black and whites for a boy. But the hubs wasn't having it! He wanted to be more prepared -which is not like him, Im usually the ocd organized planner (have we switched roles). I'm not gonna lie... I'm kinda glad we didn't wait, because it has been so awesome being able to plan a girl baby shower and decorating a girl nursery. This is all so new to me, so Ive been loving every second of it!
First thing the hubs booted was my gray walls! He felt that since she was our first (and last) girl then she should have a girly pink room. I wasn't on board at first. Until I spent a bajillion hours on pinterest and found this beautiful watercolor floral wallpaper and fell in love! Unfortunately this wallpaper was more than I wanted to spend, so I started researching how to DIY watercolor on a wall. After watching several videos (that had nothing to do with flowers), I decided to take a stab at it -since watercolor is more forgiving and imperfect. Ill create a blog post with details on how I did it, but let me tell you -it was way easier than I thought! I'm no natural born artist, I have to do tons of research and practice my butt off before I dare try anything. Trust me, If I could do it anyone can!!!
How adorable is this pillow!?! My sister saw this quote on my instagram and custom ordered it from etsy for her.
Moving on to the wall color... After collecting 10 different samples of pinks at the home depot, we finally chose the perfect blend of blush and dust rose color called Iced Cherry by BEHR. We painted the remaining 3 walls, but I HATED it! It was wayyyy too pink! It looked like I walked into Pepto Bismol land! As it is the room is so small and dark, we wanted as light of a pink as you can get. So I bit the bullet and decided to repaint it! It was hard for me to convince myself to spend another $30 on a second gallon of paint, (i know its only $30 bucks but that could've been spent on something else!) but after dreaming about it... (yes dreaming, pregnancy does some odd things to your brain lol) Im so changed we did. I used the same type of pink but had the lady at home depot cut 70% of the color out to lighten the pink. And we Loved it!!!! I never knew you could dilute a color! HOW AWESOME IS THAT!
I have plans on making window shade covers throughout the house, right now we have black out white vinyl roll up blinds from Home Depot (which we absolutely love!) but don't necessarily think the roll is the prettiest thing in the world. Who else feels like decorating your house is a never-ending project.
Now for decorating... I wanted to keep everything bright and airy, because this room is so small and dark. We chose furniture that is simple and modern, that she could grow with. The crib turns into a toddler bed, then into a headboard. To be honest this is the first time we were able to buy all new furniture for a nursery! We were so young when we had Jack and Maxx and barely starting out, so hand-me-downs is what we worked with. That's when I learned to stain and paint things so they could all look cohesive. Total Started from the bottom now we here moment! Eventually I'd like to get her a trundle bed so she can have sleepovers with her cousins (who needs sisters when you'll have 5 girl cousins all around the same age)! Yes I said FIVE -all are from my siblings! Two cousins are a 1-2 years older than her and the other three cousins will be the same age! The 2017 quadruplets.
There's no specific theme for her room, just wanted it bright and airy, dainty, bold and simple, all things whimsical, with touches of earthy-bohemian-hippie-flower-child. Yeah ALL that -is that too much to ask for!?!
How cute is this Glass Flower Capsule thang! It totally reminded me of beauty and the beast!
One of the games at our baby shower was to have the guests write down their favorite inspirational quotes. Growing up I was obsessed with poems, and as an adult Im obsessed with quotes. I feel like they can help you through some tough times (which we all know that life is full of tough times). We rolled each one of them up, tied them with twine, and put them in our wedding vase (sentimental much!). Obviously she won't read them until later in life, but my hope is that she will read one on her dark days and that they help her smile and keep her pushing through!
These baskets will eventually be filled with her stuffed animals and one is for her dirty laundry.
Right now the closet holds all the boxes of diapers, hanging outfits, a shelf with toys and all the baby stuff we haven't yet organized. Oh and extra blankets and pillows for guests. Once we get it all organized I'll share with you a post of how it looks, along with how we organized her drawers. We plan on using the closet to hang outfits, and store cubbies of toys and books -so we can keep her room tidy. We moved the boys toys to their closet and I have noticed a huge difference with their room staying tidy. Trust me, its not always clean -they're kids! We removed the closet doors and hung these curtains in all of our rooms to give us better access to the full closets since they are so doggone small. Old House = Small Closets
This mirror and shelf was handed down by a neighbor and an aunt. We sprayed them white and it worked out perfect in her room. You don't always need new things to make a room, sometimes its already in your garage waiting for some lovin!
Many of these bows were gifts, but of course I had to try to make her some (labor of love). I'll post a blog soon about how to make head wraps and interchangeable bows!
This fan was also given to us by a neighbor who was moving away, she was the first to predict that we were having a girl and she gave us this brown bird fan. We also sprayed it white to go with everything else.
Did I mention that this room is also my office! We have now filled up all 4 rooms in our house and have ran out of space for my office, so she gets stuck with it in her room. No biggie, I just shoved everything along one wall. I still need to decorate that wall behind the computer (Im thinking a simple collage wall), it'll have to wait a bit. I also want to get a rug, still searching... leave me some links in the comments if you know of a nice rug that'll go with the room. We want it soft enough that we can sit and play on and light in color.
Y'all know that I'm a simple girl, who likes nice things without spending an arm and a leg to get it! I'll make do with what we already have, give a good spray job to hand-me-downs, or find good deals on cute pieces. It takes a lot for me to actually come out the pocket for an expensive object, I'd rather spend the money on a fun trip to somewhere new! And I love sharing my finds, so I can help others save money too! Spread the love! Here's a list of where I got everything...
Wall Paint Color - Home Depot "Iced Cherry" BEHR (70% of the color was cut to soften the pink)
Crib & Mattress - Ikea
Sheets & Crib skirt - Target
Pillow - Gifted
Unicorn Stuffed animal - Walmart
Floral Wall - DIY Watercolor Project (Blog Post Coming Soon)
Faux Sheep Rug _ Ikea
"Ray Loren" Letters - Etsy
Unicorn Head -Target
Silver Frames -Gifted
Cute sign quotes - Gifted
Owl - Hobby Lobby (already had it)
Beauty & the Beast Glass Floral Capsule - Ikea
Felt Board - Etsy
Plants and pots - Ikea
Gold Unicorn -Painted Hand-me-down
Shelves - Ikea
Woven Baskets - Walmart
Dresser - Ikea
Lamp - Ikea
Bird Fan - Painted Hand-me-down
Diaper Changing Pad - Target
Changing Pad Cover - Easy
Closet Curtains - Ikea
Mirror - Painted Hand-me-down
Bow Shelf - Painted Hand-me-down
Bows - Gifted & Some are DIY Bows (Blog Post Coming Soon)
Dress - Gifted
Baby shoes - H&M
Pink knitted Booties - Gifted
File Cabinets - Ikea
Office Chair - Ikea
Printer - Costco
Baby Monitor - Target
Desk Lamp - Walmart
When I was a little girl I met a beautiful dark haired baby named Rayleen and they called her Ray. I thought it was so cool that she had a boys nickname! Here she was this dainty little thang with such a twist for a nickname. This began my obsession with boy names for girls; Toni, Stevie, Bobbi, etc.
When Jack and I first got pregnant back in 2008, Rayleen, Raylin, Raylee was on our list of names (not because we were in love with those names but mostly because we both wanted to call her Ray). He too liked the boy nickname for girls. Then Ray moved to the potential middle names list. Then we buried it along with our dreams of having a baby girl.
Nine years later when it was miraculously time to actually name our baby girl, we couldn't agree on anything. All the names we used to like, didn't fancy us any longer. Its harder to pick a name nowadays with social media all around us, because you see the same names over and over, that they seem to be overly used. Its not like we are ever going to meet all those people on instagram, but no one wants their child to be the 5th Jane Doe in her class. I loved all the short bohemian/hippie names or the super long fancy names and the hubs liked... well he didn't seem to like anything!
We agreed that we both wanted something short to go with her brothers Jack and Maxx and something that no one else had in our circle of family, friends, coworkers, associates, or acquaintances. So when he asked me if we're still using Ray for a middle name, I threw out that we could make it her first name? I honestly didn't think he would say yes, just like when I suggested the name Maxx, I was totally shocked that he actually liked it! He surprises me at times. He was SOLD! Ray it was, the only name we could agree on. Ray, just short and sweet Ray. Like our "Ray of sunshine", or "Sweet Baby Ray" (bbq sauce).
Yayyyy we had a first name. Yes I know Ray isn't some super unique name, its very common as middle names or nicknames, but I have never met a girl with just the name Ray for her first name. Odds are there won't be another Ray in her class, so that was good enough for me. I liked Rae for the spelling but he liked the traditional spelling Ray, so I let him win that round -relationship tip#1: its all about compromising. Plus I had a middle name in mind that I was going to need to sell him on -relationship tip#2: think ahead and know when to choose your battles lol!
Her middle name... Around 5 years ago we were having a family meal at Buca Di Beppo and my older brother pointed out a photo of the beautiful Italian old time actress Sophia Loren. He was shocked that I didn't know of her since I used to be obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and they were from the same era. I had no clue who this beauty was but I FELL DEEP IN LOVE WITH HER NAME!!! It sounded so fancy, feminine and different! It rolled off your tongue. I had never heard Loren pronounced like that! I knew I had to add it to my list of baby names. Then a few years later I watched Star Wars with Kylo Ren (which is pronounce the same way, lo-Ren)! Ps. No we didn't find the name Ray off of the star wars movie Rey. That was totally coincidental, but imagine if Rey and Kylo Ren had a baby, she'd be Ray Loren! Hahah you would think we were big star wars fans, but the hubs has never seen a movie! Yes he lives under a rock!
So I knew I wanted Loren for her middle name because I liked how it sounded with Ray and I felt that it softened her first name up a bit. Now how to convince the hubs. Luckily it wasn't as hard as I thought, he actually liked the way the names sounded together but wasn't big on the spelling. So I played with it... Lorén, Loryn, LoRen Lorynn, anything to get him on board. We had liked Ray Loryn because the way it looked with two y's, but after many of our family and friends pronouncing it wrong we realized that it didn't matter how it was spelled people are going to mess it up anyway! So we decided to spell it the way we originally saw it, Loren! So that at least the people who know of this actress will catch our drift!
I know her name isn't for everyone, trust me, we've heard it all...
- Why don't you spell it Rae since it's a girl?
Because the hubs wanted it Ray and I didn't mind.
- You know Ray is for a boy?
Yes, we know.
- You've waited so long for a girl and you're going to give her a boys name?
Yes, we like boy names for girls.
- You should spell Loren like Lauren, thats more feminine and people wouldn't mess it up as much!
But Lauren is not the way we want it pronounced. Its Lo-Ren. Lol! Forget about it, just call her
- What about Lauren Ray?
- Ohhh its like Ralph Lauren!
Not at all. lol!
- I like it better this way, or that.
But we LOVE it and we cannot wait to meet our little lady Ray in a few more weeks!
I've totally abandoned this blog :( but for good reason... we are having a baby!!! Woo hoo!
And not just any baby, its a GIRL!!! We are overjoyed (to say the least) to be bringing a little lady into our "little" -soon to be BIG family! It honestly seems too good to be true! Even though we have already painted her nursery pink, threw a super girly baby shower, and all 3 ultrasounds have confirmed that she is in fact a SHE, I still won't fully believe it until I hold her in my arms!
I was soooo sure that I was going to be an ALL boy mom and that Maxx was going to be my last baby -but God had other plans, I still trip out when I see my big ol belly in the mirror! My husband and I are finally on the same page that this little babe is FOR SURE going to be our last, we definitely got our hands and hearts full! I'm so thankful that my sweet friend Lucy Munoz Photography captured our very last maternity/family of 4 photoshoot! Its all bittersweet (or maybe thats just the hormones making it bitter lol). We are super thankful that we've been able to create children of our own and so excited to close this 9 year long child bearing chapter and begin a new chapter as parentals of 3, party of 5, and a whole new world of bows and baby dolls!
I'M JANELLE MARINA
Wife, Mama Shark, + Photographer.
Most days, you'll find me in mismatched socks and a top knot, working behind my computer with a smile on my face, listening to Zac Brown Band and R&B
--or, dancing in the kitchen with my 3 littles and hunka husband, seeing who could come up with the coolest dance moves. I'm a wedding photographer, West Elm lover, aspiring advocate for our buddies with special needs, and a Certified Dreamer since 1986. We live in a cozy city in Southern California and are always up for a good adventure. I enjoy telling stories with my camera, grubbing on spicy food, and solving the latest Dateline case.