Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring, or something like it

I've had a post about spring on my "to blog" list for quite a while now.  Just waiting for the right moment.  You know, when the sun shines and the weather is above 50 for more than a single afternoon.  Instead we woke up to this yesterday.



Literally woke up to it.  Because Jon came into the room while I was still sleeping and said "It's snowing, there's like 3 inches out there and it's still coming down!" And I responded all groggily "What? No way." And that's how our morning started. No "Happy Anniversary Honey!" or "Gosh these 7 years have been like heaven on earth!" Not even a "Can you imagine if we had woke up to this on our wedding day 7 years ago?"  Because, well we both kinda forgot.  Until my mother-in-law texted me later in the morning with well wishes.  I quickly glanced at my phone and slapped my forehead.  Doh!  Later I called Jon at work and yelled "Happy Anniversary!" There was a long pause, I could hear him moving papers and then a "Ohhh yeah..." He totally looked at his calendar too.

So yeah, happy 7 years to us!!  Haha, lest you think we are totally daft and out of love, we do have a super-special-sumptin'-sumptin' planned for later this week.  And neither of us COMPLETELY forgot the big day, we just didn't realize it was Monday, or something like that. We'll more than make up for it this coming week, I promise!


It took 20 minutes to get him dressed. He stayed outside for a whopping 10.

Jack immediately requested hot cocoa when he came back in the house.

Can you tell he added the whipped cream unsupervised?
Anyway, I love winter, I really do.  I love those long, dark nights at home.  I love taking it easy for a few months and catching up on little projects. Winter is great. But it has a time and place.  And that was so last month.  It's the end of March now and the kiddos and I are more than ready to pack up the sweaters and gloves and spend more hours outdoors. Spring has been such a tease lately.  But we'll chase down any semi-warm day we can get.  We're anxious to get out of the house and I'd much prefer our "getting out" to take place in the backyard rather than in the form of trips to Target, the library, consignment store or any other place in which it's difficult to maneuver 3 small children.  They really know how to take all the fun out of "getting out of the house."

These two really love to be outside! 
It was a little too cold for me this day, so apparently Jude decided to move the sandbox closer to mom in the house...

Don't let the spring jacket fool you, it's the only coat we can get him to wear. He calls it his "princess coat" and I have no idea why!
The backyard is our true domain and I can't wait to get out there and get dirty.  Okay, who am I kidding? The kids are way ahead of me in that area.  See, the problem with these occasional sunny days laced with rain/snow is the mud.  The kids don't think it's a problem. But I'm not a huge fan myself.  Today I determined that rubber boots will forever and always be a part of our family wardrobe.  We already have about 20 pair in every size 3 children can come in.  I'm sure the collection will only grow.

You can always tell what letter Jack is learning that week by just looking around the house. Last week there were R's drawn in mud, an R carved with a fork in our dining room table, and one written on the bathroom window with a toothpaste encrusted finger.

It kills me that she knows how to handle a lawn mower.

It wasn't warm this day either, but our anti-coat boy didn't seem to notice.

The hair helps keep the sun out of her eyes.
Another item to add to our spring collection will be a lock, for the rain barrel.  I always forget about that thing until it's too late. Like on Sunday. I was inside making dinner and congratulating myself on a scoring a quiet moment in the kitchen, alone, while all three kids played nicely together outside. It was right about that moment that all moms reach, when you smile a little because the kids are playing so nicely and quietly together. And then it suddenly dawns on you that the kids are playing so nicely and quietly together.  Surely something must be wrong. Well that something was the rain barrel.  Ugh.



Mud up to his eyebrows.
Situations like this are always difficult for me.  I didn't want them to play with the rain barrel, and had I thought of it I would have asked them not to. But I didn't.  And at the end of the day, well mud is fun. It's not like they were doing anything bad. I just wish I had planned ahead and stripped them naked first.  But actually I've finally learned the secret to muddy kids clothes.  We have a system down pat!  They take everything off outside, I immediately throw it in the washer on a cold rinse cycle.  And then do a wash.  Not a single stain yet.  So other than the fact that I had extra laundry to do that day.  Plus baths that I wasn't counting on.  The whole make-your-own-mud-puddle incident was that bad.

I was totally prepared today though and warned them very sternly to stay away from the rain barrel.  Being the obedient children they are, they simply rounded the corner and found a rain gutter overflowing with melting snow.  Kids, they're so resourceful.



But you know what? I don't even care anymore.  All the water that the boys pretended was a stream for their stick boats, a waterfall for their army men or a giant chocolate fountain ... meant that the snow was disappearing.  It melted so fast this afternoon it almost sounded like we lived next to a gurgling brook.  And the sun shone for a few good hours.  And the weatherman promises more sunny days ahead.  Not that I put much stock in the weatherman these days.  But I hold on to hope. And that's pretty much what spring is all about!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Be our guest! (How we prepare for visitors)

One of my friends requested I write a post on how we prepare for weekend guests.  It's funny, how we get asked about things we feel completely unqualified to discuss.  Especially since I've been scouring blogs and the internet for the past three years, looking for ideas on how to stock and prepare for guests.  I haven't had too much success in my research endeavors   So, here is my take and please, please feel free to chime in at the comments with any ideas or suggestions of your own!

We seem to get a lot of house guests.  As a military family, with lots of relatives and friends scattered all around, we consider it a real blessing to have people visit us!  We love to connect with others and (with 3 kids) you can't beat the convenience of doing that at home.  One of our priorities when searching for a house two years ago was a place with a guest room.  We wanted to always be ready to host and with a new baby on the way we certainly wanted our parents (with their extra sets of helpful hands) to always feel welcome!  Soon after we moved we converted what was once a theater room into a guest room.  But while a separate room was our preference please don't let a lack of space keep you from entertaining others.  There are many  other ways to finagle sleeping arrangements.  We have several air mattresses that we use regularly as well.  When the guest room is full we'll put a mattress in the office.  We've also had people sleep downstairs and occasionally we'll move Julia in with us for a few nights so someone can bunk up in her room.  Sometimes we'll give up our own room and Jon and I will sleep elsewhere.  And whenever my brothers come they usually just end up on the couch.
Jon says our guest room has an "international" theme.  We have photos from my stay in Oxford, pictures from Israel and a globe on the dresser.
But (for now) we're blessed with a space we can offer our friends and family.  And while it's not perfect (sure wish there was a bathroom on that side of the house!) we do the best we can with it!  Some things we've stocked our guest room with:
  • extra blankets - for those cold nights!
  • a space heater (for the winter) and a box fan (for the summer)
  • bath towels/washcloths/hand towels - we don't have room for these in our bathroom so we keep them in a drawer in the guest room
  • a place to hang towels - Again, we don't have the space to do this in our bathroom so we put some hooks in the guest room just for towels.
  • a spot to hang clothes (in the closet) - Since many of our guests come over the weekend and attend church with us it's nice to have a spot for hanging clothes.
There are hooks on the closet door for towels and an empty space in the closet (smooshed between Jon's uniforms and my maternity (or in this case non-maternity) dresses.
  • alarm clock - I've stayed at a few places without a clock (*cough* Mom and Dad *cough*).  I actually went out and bought my own to keep at their house.  There's nothing quite so frustrating as not knowing what time it is and not having ...
  • a place to plug in a cell phone
  • water pitcher/glasses (We actually don't have this right now but I think it's a good idea and I've been on the lookout for one for a while now.)
  • extra pillows - For people like my husband, who need several.  Or for pregnant people like me.
  • Pack 'n Play - Maybe not necessary but since most of the people who stay with us have kids we use this often.  And we use it every time we visit our parents as well.
  • Guest Book - Another thing we don't have but an idea I love! My mother-in-law used to keep one in her spare room for guests to sign and it was so fun to look back on all their visitors!
  • Toiletries - Jon travels for work a lot and every time he stays at a hotel he brings home the extra toiletries.  We have quite a collection that we keep in the bed stand drawer.  Other than soap, shampoo and conditioner it's also nice to have some extra shower caps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, razors, cotton balls, Q-tips, etc.
Our hotel swag.
  • Night Light - Unfortunately for our guests, the closest bathroom is on the other side of the house and up the stairs.  So we keep a few lamps on throughout the house and a night light in the bathroom.
I also like to keep a supply of entertainment goodies.  We happen to have a TV and DVD player in our guest room but our kids use that more than our guests.



Other things to consider:
  • magazines - I like to set out some local magazines.  Our favorite is What's Up Annapolis, I always keep it in the guest room and bathroom. It's chock full of local information, upcoming events and fun things to do.

  • books and puzzles - This is for your more introverted guests (I know how you feel!).  Sometimes it's just nice to pull away from all the noise and activity and do something quietly alone.  I love me some Sudoku!
  • brochures - I have a whole basket of brochures for local attractions.  If you haven't yet visited your area Visitors Bureau you need to!  They have walls and walls of brochures to stock up on!  It's nice to glance through a stack of these when you're looking for something to do.  Or if you need a refresher on museum hours or directions to the aquarium. 
  • maps - We keep a few local maps around and also a few "attraction" maps of just the Annapolis area.

  • shopping guides - for the nearest mall and/or outlets
  • your personal services - we live near a major airport so we often have people spend the night before an early flight.  My husband offers an excellent pick-up and drop-off service for flyers.  :)  We also have plenty of experience in babysitting but hey, if you want to watch our kids for a night we won't argue with that either!
A few extra, over-the-top things to consider:
  • a welcome note - I made this cute eraseable marker board in MOPS with a dollar store picture frame and some scrapbook paper.  It's a great place to leave messages or instructions for guests!

  • Local Goody Basket - we did this with our friends Abi and Phil and had a fun time filling a basket with lots of local food and trinkets!
  • fresh flowers -  just like the best bed and breakfasts do!
  • candles - If I know my guests aren't sensitive I love to have the house smelling nice!
  • a fire - (If you have this option.)  We'll often light on in the fireplace (during the winter) or outside (during the summer) just because fires are cozy and fun and the epitome of good times with good friends.
  • music - Okay so maybe a little random. I grew up in a house where the radio was on CONSTANTLY.  My mom's biggest complaint when she would come visit was that there was no music.  I tried to explain that with 3 kids I ten to savor any quiet moment I can get.  Well we got a Sonos Play last year and it's completely changed everything!  In other words, I can play any music I want - from our digital collection, the radio, Pandora, etc. all throughout the house. We take advantage of it regularly.  We have all sorts of different music for all sorts of different guests and moods.  I wouldn't have mentioned it except we played Big Band music all throughout Jon's grandparents' stay and they kept telling us how much they enjoyed it!  Certainly something to think about!
Okay, now that you've got your space all prepped it's time to start the actual planning.  First, you'll want to take your budget into account.  Typically, you'll need to be prepared for added expenses when guests come - there will probably be more food/groceries and/or eating out, maybe fees for activities and shopping, and possibly more cash spent on gas.  I used to make a note in my grocery budget when we had guests, but it turns out we have guests every month so in the end we just upped the grocery budget permanently.  If you're living off a zero-based budget you may want to plan ahead to spend less in another area or two to free up some cash for your hosting.  And if you're not living off a zero-based budget or money isn't an issue for you then just forget you read that whole paragraph and go have fun!

I like to start early on with the menu.  It used to be one of my biggest challenges but I've come a long way over the past few years and meal planning is something I now look forward to.  I tend to put the most focus on dinner but you'll also want to remember breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages!  We have a few recipes that tend to be our go-to meals for guests - Tomato Flatbread Pizza, Make-Ahead English Muffin Melts, Cocoa Brownies, our secret family recipe chicken ... you get the idea.  I will typically write out an actual menu because it helps keep me on task and it helps keep Jon informed as well. A few things to consider about food:
  • ask ahead about any allergies, dietary needs or food aversions
  • try to pick meals that are easy or can be prepped ahead, you don't want to be spending all your time in the kitchen
  • have food readily available and let your guests know (As someone who has either been pregnant or nursing for the past 5 years, it's so nice to have snacks around!)
  • perhaps consider a "local" experience.  We once had a seafood boil and it was so fun for both us and our guests, not to mention extremely Annapolis-oriented!
  • don't overdo it, if you  know you will have guests for a long period of time consider one big meal and then a few smaller/less expensive ones.  Eating out is always a fun experience as well!
And then there's the dreaded part - cleaning!  Typically I'll write out a list a day or two ahead of time and slowly work my way through up until the moment (and I mean the moment) guests arrive.  I usually start with dusting (because it's something the kids can't easily mess up) and end with cleaning the bathrooms.  I've learned the hard way, on several occasions, that with two little boys in the house it's best to wait until about 5 minutes before guests arrive to clean the toilet.  There are my typical cleaning tasks - dust, vacuum, mop floors, clean counters, clean bathrooms, etc.  And then there are those extra special things that I try to get done if I know we have people coming over - wash windows, scrub down dining room table, clean marks off walls, pull dead pieces off outside plants, sweep porches, clean out van, etc..  Sometimes it's easy to forget about these things because we live with them every day.  Take a moment and really try to see your house through the eyes of someone who has never been there before.  I also make the bed with fresh sheets, lay out the towels, light candles and bring up extra chairs for the dining room.  Oh and (my little secret) I usually lay out the kitchen and bathroom rugs.  I've given up on keeping these clean and orderly for my family but I try to remember to pull them out when we have guests!


Before your guests arrive you'll wan to sit down and really think through their visit and their individual needs. For instance, my Dad loves green tea.  We try to remember to buy it before he comes, but he's also learned to bring his own!  When any of our siblings are here we also buy half and half.  It's not something we use regularly but for the Aunts and Uncles it's a must!  When Aunt Kylee comes we crank up the heat a bit. :)  If our guests have pets (sometimes they do) we make a spot in the garage for them.  If they have babies we plan accordingly for an influx of poopy diapers.  And if we think it's be more convenient for them to have their own bathroom or a walk-in shower we give them our room/bathroom and we pack our bags for a few nights in the guest suite!  

In addition to your guests think about your own family.  Try to picture what a day with your family will be like to an outsider.  For instance, our kids get up early.  Annoyingly early to some.  I try my best to keep them corralled upstairs but you can only hold off breakfast for so long.  I always remind my kids to be quiet but it's also good to warn my guests that my kids may be loud!  Any weird noises in your house (like a fridge water pump that sounds like a wild banshee or acorns that hit the roof with such force you'll think your under attack?) You may want to alert your guests.  A hot water heater that can only accommodate three showers in one morning? Plan accordingly.  We always give new people a tour of the house because (a) I think everyone is as curious about others houses as I am and (b) it helps give them the lay of the land.  Like that secret half bathroom we keep down in the basement, it really comes in handy sometimes! 

Finally, talk things out with your family.  Jon and I are a team. If he's home before the guests arrive he always lends me a hand with the cleaning.  I don't expect him to read my mind and he's very good about asking me what I need done.  And after all these years we kinda have a system worked out where I do most of the cooking and he does the dishes and clean-up.  He's also really good at flipping pancakes and scrambling eggs.  I always mention our guests to the kids beforehand (but not too beforehand otherwise I end up with a bunch of hyper kiddos asking when so-and-so will get here days in advance). If sleeping arrangements will change we give them a heads-up.  If Mommy is going to have a Girls' Night Out with the Aunts we'll prep them ahead of time.  If there are other kids coming we talk about sharing. And not just toys, but food, the bathroom, our house, etc. 

And I think that's the bottom line - sharing.  We are truly honored when people choose to spend a day or two with us.  I wouldn't consider a house with 3 little kids a popular vacation destination so we are absolutely thrilled to have guests.  We really miss our friends and family that are not with us and since it's getting harder and harder for us to get to them, we are truly blessed when others come to us.  And so, in addition to our favorite Coast Guard motto "semper paratus" (always prepared) I'd like to add a family addendum - "semper acceptissimus" - always welcome!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Let's hear it for the girls!

As you may already be aware, before Julia's arrival I was the only girl in my family for quite some time.  The only daughter, only sister, only granddaughter, only niece ... you get the idea.  So we were more than happy to find out this newest little one will be of the female variety.  But it turns out #4 isn't the only new lady to be joining the family this year.  Yup, Uncle Jared is getting married!!!

Photo stolen from Jared's Facebook.
Winner's of the Gingerbread House contest - already a great team!


I'm sure you remember Miss Kylee from previous posts.  She's one of our most popular house guests and favorite babysitter.  We've been teaching the kids to call her Aunt Kylee for the past two weeks but it seems like she's been a part of the family for a lot longer than that!

Photo stolen from Jared's Facebook. 
Needless to say, we're thrilled about these latest developments!  I got to tag along with Jared during the ring shopping phase (who knew so much time and effort went into the wedding before the engagement even happened?! I certainly didn't.)  Since I didn't have any say in my own diamond (which was perfectly fine with me!) it was fun to see things from the guys' perspective.  One word: agonizing.  So my brother kinda has the same "indecisive" gene that I have.  The two of us were a fine pair.  Jared and I visited 5 different jewelers over two weekends, in addition to his own shopping and lots of internet research.  In the end, nothing was good enough for his girl so Jared designed the ring himself and got it custom made.

Photo stolen from Jared's Instagram (I'm just on a roll here!)
And of course, despite all the time that went into this decision beforehand, the ring didn't end up being completed until mere hours before Kylee arrived for a weekend visit.  In fact, I think it was still warm from the soldering process when he slipped it on her finger!

Speaking of that moment, I was commissioned to capture it for all eternity.  (Because the original choice couldn't make it and Jared doesn't have any other photo-taking friends in the area.)  I wasn't too sure. It's enough of a challenge for me to take pictures of my own kids doing normal every day things.  But taking engagement photos, at night, from a distance?  Um, a bit out of my league.  Oh, and did I mention this was all taking place in a very sketchy area of Baltimore?  Fortunately for him, brothers don't get engaged every day.  I couldn't say no.

Jon couldn't say no either. Although he wasn't too thrilled with the idea of his wife hiding in the night shadows of Baltimore.  He bought me some pepper spray and kept texting me to make sure I was still alive throughout the waiting time.

The scene.
Because there was a waiting time.  Should've known.  Jared said to leave at 8 so I could be at the rendezvous point around 8:30.  I wanted a little time to practice and figure out my camera settings before the big event occurred.  So I left at precisely 8:00. At 8:06 he texted to say it would be more like 9.  Too late, I was already cruising down the highway, chai tea in hand, headed towards the Big City in my husband's fancy car. (Hey, if you're going to have a night on the town without the kids might as well live it up!).  I had brought along a book so rather than sit out in the cold by the water I figured I'd just snuggle up in the car and read in the parking garage.  I guess I forgot that parking garages at night are hardly the place for cozy reading.  There were car alarms going off, strange voices, blinking headlights and shady characters walking by.  So in between texting Jon and scanning the rear view mirror every 30 seconds, I only got a little reading done.

At 9:05 Jared texted to say they were on the way, my cue to get into position.  Except that chai tea was really starting to take its toll on my pregnant body.  Fortunately, the hostess at a nearby restaurant took pity on me and let me use the restroom.  I'm sure it helped that I just happened to mention my little brother was about to get engaged right outside her window.  I headed back out right on schedule and completely incognito - hat, scarf and glasses that I used to wear in high school (or presently when I have to run errands and don't want to bother with make-up).

 photo IMAG1040_zpse2761091.jpg
After I took this I realized it could've been the last picture I ever posted...
Jared had chosen a pier at Fells Point as the location to pledge his undying love for Kylee.  It's a sentimental spot and very pretty (in a city kind of way), with lights reflecting off the water.  It's also very dark and empty.  I'm sure it's the place to be in the summer, but on March 1... well it was just me and any dead bodies that happened to be floating around in the inky blackness that evening.  (Okay, I didn't come up with that one myself.  Honestly, dead bodies never even occurred to me but these three teenagers ran down for a quick picture by the water during my LONG wait and one of them said something about "the number of dead bodies" in the water and it kinda stuck in my head the rest of the night.)  As it turns out, one of Jared's co-workers actually got held up at gun point near this spot a while ago but fortunately neither of us were aware of that incident at the time.  Anyway, I took a few test shots, walked around, sat in a few different spots and tried to figure out the best view that was the least visible.


And I attempted to look super nonchalant to the occasional passerby.  You know, like pregnant ladies hang around the pier alone at night with cameras all the time. Finally, FINALLY I got the "we just parked" text.  And then, after more waiting because I forgot to take into account that Kylee would most likely be wearing heels for the long walk down to the water, they appeared in the distance.  I got into position - first behind the corner of an old, abandoned boathouse.  And then, after they had moved out onto the pier, behind a very large flagpole.


As fate would have it, Jared walked Kylee ALLLL the way out to the end of the pier, where all the lights were out.  Which made for some difficult photographing.  And then he proceeded with a very LOOONNNNGG speech about I have no idea what because I was too far away to hear.  In fact, I had no idea what was going on.  So I just kept snapping away, getting some great shots of the scenery.




Eventually, he got down on one knee and that made it pretty clear at what point we were at in this whole process.  And she quickly jumped into his arms which made it pretty clear where we'd be going with this whole process.  And a little bit later, when I heard Jared yell "I'M ENGAGED!" I figured it was safe to come out of hiding.  Well actually, by this time I was sitting cross-legged at the start of the pier taking photos so I'm not sure what Kylee thought.  But I do know that as I was walking towards her she still had no idea who I was.  So in that regard, mission accomplished.


Actually, mission accomplished all around.  It was a fun, truly memorable, evening in the city.  That ended with me returning home, to my own true love, with my pepper spray still intact and completely hyped up on  young love and chai tea.


And we're still excited.  Because now that ring shopping and engagement planning are behind us we can take the time to focus on what's truly important - what teeny, tiny Baby Girl is going to wear to her uncle's wedding!!  Yay for new girls in the family!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Miss Personality

So I recently realized that not only is my little girl turning 18 months soon, but in a few days she'll be the same age that Jude was when he became a big brother.  Yikes!  Thank goodness we gave ourselves a few extra months in between babies this time (okay, like we totally planned that or something).  All I know is after this past week with Julia, I would be doing everything I could to keep a baby from coming for another week or two.  The GIRL has arrived, ladies and gentleman.  And I'm just not sure what to do with her at this point!

See that sock? She decided to take her boots off while outside.
I've been trying to nail down Julia's personality for a while now. Okay, so you can't quite nail down kids' personalities, or anyone's personality really, but I'm trying to at least get close to the target.

She's sensitive like Jude, but in some cases even more extreme.  I've stopped checking on her at night because just the click of the doorknob, the creak of the floorboards, and the motion of me adjusting her blanket not only wakes her up, but puts her in such a tizzy that I end up sitting up with her an extra hour just to get her back to bed.  Not worth it.  I settle for cracking the door and listening to her steady breathing. Because I'm a mom and I will forever check on my kids before I go to bed at night.

Oh you know, just tuning up the lawn mower.

And undoing all my laundry folding efforts.
So although some things about Lia remind me of our middle son, there's no doubt she has some of that same spirit her oldest brother inherited.  Have I mentioned the screaming phase yet?  I mean SCREAMING.  She uses the same scream when she can't get her chunky little thigh up on the table as she does when Jack is trying to pick her up.  So I'm never sure which occasion warrants an actual emergency appearance by Mama.  And I'm sure that's her intention.  Speaking of lifting those chunky thighs, she's a climber.  Not just, hey I'll take those steps or get up to the top of Jack's bunk bed.  But now it's "let me scale the couch to reach the window sill."

It's all fun and games until she realizes she's trapped behind the blinds.
Or climbing the chair, to get on top of the table.  Whenever I leave a room I always have to double check that no furniture is in a position that would be to her advantage.  But she's also started to figure out how to carry the stool around and use that to reach her goals.  And half the time I have no clue unless one of the brothers alerts me.  The other day I was downstairs with Jack, who was showing me yet another one of his Lego creations. I heard a thump and crying, ran upstairs to find Julia lying on the floor.  According to Jude she fell off Jack's bunk bed, but how am I supposed to know for sure?  Either way, there wasn't a mark on her and she recovered quickly enough.  That said, I have been using the gate more often, even if it's just to give me a few minutes in the shower.


And oddly enough, she doesn't mind a bit.  She hasn't cried once when I've gated her in her room.  Apparently she enjoys the quiet time.  Or maybe she feels safe from her brothers for once.

Last Thursday was one of our more challenging days.  I put on her coat to take Jack to preschool and when we got home she didn't want to take it off.  Okay, no problem.  When you run off screaming and throw yourself on the floor, feet kicking and fist waving, I get the idea that you don't want to take off your coat.  I'm totally okay with that.  We did get it off eventually when she found out it was bath time.  But when bath time was over she acted much the same way when I tried to change her clothes.  She simply refused to allow me to dress her.  So I decided to give her some naked time and hopefully get it out of her system.  And then she brought me the coat and squealed and grunted until I helped her put it on. So she ran around the better part of Thursday morning with just a coat and nothing else.


I am enjoying her girliness though.  We haven't arrived at the tea party stage yet, and she only likes to play with a doll for about 5 minutes.  But she does attempt to wear my shoes, and she loves scarves.  She likes to wrap mine around her.  She's constantly bringing me shoes to put on her feet, and apparently regularly changes her mind about which shoes to wear.

She loves my phone, it's the first thing she asks for in the morning. And I happily let her scroll through my emails while I try to wake up.
Although I can't keep a headband in her hair for more than 5 seconds, the concept must appeal to her because she's more than happy to put them on herself (usually right across her eyes, all Star Trek style) and walk around with her nose in the air.  And while she hasn't quite figured out my make-up yet (she's certainly tried on several occasions) she does love coconut oil.  I use it as a moisturizer and Girlfriend is always standing right next to me, cheek upturned for a little application herself.




One things for sure, I'm really looking forward to hearing Lia talk.  She will jibber-jabber for now, and we're still very much interpreting grunts and figure pointing.  She knows a little sign language.  But she understands so much!  And my very favorite part of right now?  Saying prayers.  She's the first to fold her hands at dinner each night and she'll even make the effort to lift her head off my shoulder at bedtime just so she can fold her hands again while I pray.  Oh heavens, it's such a sweet way to end the day!


Julia is such a mixture of sweet and spice.  There's so much more to learn about her, and I'm grateful we have a few extra months to get to know her before our next little distraction arrives!
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