"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." John 15:11

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Julia at Two

Our little sweetie is 2 years old and it is starting to show!

She had a big year, changing from a baby

to a toddler.

She learned to walk, run, jump, and oh boy, did she learn to talk! She got lots of teeth and lost lots of baby pudge.

At two years old, Julia is

A Shoe-Lover 

She wants to eat all of her dinners while sitting on my lap (at all other meals and snacks she happily eats on her own).

She loves to read books and is especially fond of her Lift the Flap books. Her other favorite is Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumb, but she calls the story "Dum Dum" (if you've read the book, you know why).

She is like a second Mommy (or Daddy) to Philip and his friends. Anytime us Mommies make a correction, she always repeats it while quietly continuing to play with whatever she is already doing ("We don't point sticks at each other." "You're getting too loud.").

She loves to play outside and to swing at the park.

She is a great traveler.

When someone talks to her and she is feeling shy, she will close her eyes tight like she thinks we can't see her.

She is very good at sharing and taking turns.

Her hair is coming in really cute - it was still a bit funny at the beginning of the year, but now it is perfect. I even have a neighbor regularly ask if I have taken her for a haircut because it is coming in so stylishly.

Before: Reverse-Mullet - Party in the front, business in the back

After: Who doesn't want bed head like this?

She leans over to put her lips into Herbie's fur and then always declares, "Herbie kissed me!"

She mixes up her words, saying things like, "I want to hold you" instead of "I want you to hold me" or "Come show me" instead of "Come look at me."

She is tough and can stick up for herself with the big kids.

Her preferred snack is sunflower seeds.

We all still call her Baby or Babes.

It has been such a joy to have a little girl in our lives. She brings sunshine and sweetness, and a little bit of oversensitivity at times. She has a smile that could light the world on fire. We are so blessed to have Julia in our lives!

And here's a look at her First Birthday update.

Friday, September 19, 2014

{this moment} Modern Art

"Teddy Bear Still Life"

{this moment} A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Julia's 2nd Birthday

Julia celebrated her 2nd birthday last month.

 For her birthday, she did her grocery shopping

put in some time at work

straightened the house

did a load of laundry

caught up on some reading

and tended to the garden.

And that was just before lunch!  Andy was able to take the day off of work, and a small group of friends joined us at a children's museum for the morning. We enjoyed a picnic before spending a bit more time in the museum, then home for a rest.

That evening, Andy's brother came to town with his family. We ordered pizza for dinner and then all had fun playing outside with the neighborhood kids before presents and cake.

Julia was smart to start opening presents before I could get everyone inside from playing.

Because once they arrived, it became a mob scene.

Julia received a baby doll and accessories to go with it, dress up shoes and accessories, clothes, and a flower patch building set. We still have mainly boy-centric toys around here, so this birthday we did a lot of catching up on girl things.

As you can see, Julia was thrilled to have all of the attention on her as we sang Happy Birthday.
She just

keeps getting


She was utterly exhausted that evening, not even able to finish her sentences. That is very unusual for my little girl! We had a wonderful, full day celebrating our beautiful little girl.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

July Journal

July was of course, highlighted by Philip's fourth birthday. Besides that, we had a fun month of summer activities. We went to going away parties and yard sales. I took the kids to see their first movie in the theater (Madagascar III). We made it through the whole thing, although it was scarier than I imagined, so no more movies for us this summer!

Our library had a lot of fun activities this summer and we attended several of them, including a magician, bubble lady, and an evening jazz concert. We also enjoyed several free Saturday evening concerts nearby. The kids love to get an ice cream cone and then play on the grass, far away from the band and crowds.

Our neighborhood always throws a 4th of July block party and this year we finally got a chance to attend it. The kids had a great time playing in the street, and the neighbors cooked up some great food on the grill. When the sun had set, we made it through a couple fireworks before the kids got scared and we had to come inside. We watched a couple fireworks shows on TV instead and had a great time.
Still stunned by the neighborhood fireworks show.

Getting into the spirit of the TV fireworks.
After talking about it for a couple years, we finally got together with two sets of our neighbors for a meal. Between the three couples, we have five 4-year olds (two sets of twins) and Julia. Everyone gets along great. We decided to plan a monthly dinner and rotate houses each time.

In kid news, Philip made a big change in July. Just a couple days after switching Philip into his toddler bed this winter, we had a snap of cold weather. Andy thought it would be fun to invite Philip to camp out in our room, since his room typically gets colder than ours. You can guess where this is going...Philip slept on a mattress on our floor for six months. Several times we would suggest that he start sleeping in his room again. Andy made plans to build a fort in his room one night and sleep in there with him, but he never got around to it. The night before Philip's birthday, I was putting away laundry and out of the blue Philip said, "Okay, I can sleep in my room now. Will you move my mattress back?" Of course I did, but I wasn't sure if it would last at bedtime. When bedtime came around, he went right into his room, telling Andy he was a big boy now and could sleep by himself. He hasn't been back in our room since! It was definitely unexpected and we are so happy that he made the decision on his own and didn't feel pressured into it. We never thought the transition would end up being so easy!

Philip had taken to calling me "Miss Kristen" at times since that is how he hears the neighborhood kids address me. When he is waiting for me to escort him somewhere (he will not go into the basement by himself), if I am taking too long for his liking he will say, "Come on you silly Mommy!"

Julia loves to feed Herbie dinner and afternoon treats. She started folding hands when we pray. Each evening we ask her what she is thankful for and she normally pipes up "Jesus!" since she knows that gets a good reaction from her parents. But sometimes she branches out and says she is thankful for her family or the neighbors. It is so sweet to hear!

She is so verbal it is crazy, but she can be extremely repetitive. She will either repeat everything you say over and over; or, if she wants something, she will just repeat it until you give it to her, even if you have already responded to her. ("I want to go outside. I want to go outside. I want to go outside.") It can be enough to drive you over the edge at times and sometimes Philip boils over. It is so funny to hear him express what the rest of us are feeling. (Just like every once in a while we like it when Julia gives him a good smack when he deserves it). I always said that if Philip was a cartoon character, it would be Donald Duck and during these episodes he reminds me a lot of Donald.
Annual summertime blueberry pie
Full bellies, happy days. We are so blessed!