Archive for April, 2017

Psalm 118:24 was read aloud several times over at church on Sunday morning and rattled around in my head throughout the day:

This is the day that the Lord hath made.

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Indeed, it was a weekend full of rejoicing.  Because…Easter!  And sunshine!  And this sweet kid’s 7th birthday!

We spent Saturday morning at the Rusts’, ringing in Isaiah’s 7th.  There were lawn games and presents and pizza and popsicles.  And smiles.  This! Boy’s! Smiles!

Happy birthday, Bups!

Post-party, Shane and Juliette went on a 1.5-hour bike ride while I wandered the aisles of Target in blissful solitude.  I expected Juliette to be antsy and tugging at her bike helmet by the time they got back as she’s never spent more than 30 minutes in the bike seat, but this girl was such a good sport.  It seems she’s cherishing Daddy-Jules time more than ever.

I hated to spend the day’s last few sun rays indoors, so Juliette and I took a stroll through the Greenbelt before dinner – this little patch of woods has become our go-to when we want a nature-fix.

The birds seemed particularly exuberant that evening – one jay (?) had Juliette a bit spooked with his extra-loud calls.

Eh…no worries!

There are times when I open up a photo I’ve taken and my stomach flip-flops at the sight of how grown-up and lovely this girl has become.  Hard to believe she’s only three.  And yet hard to believe she’s already three!

We ushered in Easter Sunday with pastries at Cafe Besalu, sensing God’s goodness in the form of buttery croissants and rich coffee.

After church, we headed over to Discovery Park to do some exploring with the Rusts.

The woods were bursting with bright, bright green, poignantly heralding signs of new life.

After a few wrong turns, we finally landed down at the beach, where we muddied our shoes and flipped over rocks in search of crabs.

Jules and I hung tight in this driftwood fort while Shane trekked back uphill to get the car.


We all snoozed through much of the afternoon and then woke up rearing to go again.  I hid a few eggs out back for Juliette to find and loved watching her react like she’d won the jackpot every time she cracked one open.

She quickly amassed all 15 jelly beans, looking into her bucket with bright-eyed wonder and exclaiming, “I think I have a thousand jelly beans, Mommy!”.  I put together a grander basket this year as the ultimate prize, stuffing it with art supplies and a new doll.

We headed over the Rusts’ again that evening for an egg hunt with the bigger kids.  I was glad Juliette had gotten her own private hunt at home, because she didn’t stand a chance against these rascals!

The boys were actually pretty great about sticking to their 10-egg limit and leaving the easy-to-find ones for their kid sister.

We feasted on roast chicken and then let the kids run off their jelly bean high.  Isaiah was kind enough to share his birthday walkie-talkies with Juliette, who spent 15 straight minutes jabbering into the thing without letting him get a word in edgewise.

Sometimes rejoicing comes so very naturally – my heart is full.  Thanks be to God.

Springtime in Seattle!  It’s when all of those gray, rainy winter months pay off in the form of beautiful new blooms.  And man, the blooms were hard-fought this year, as we’re coming off a particularly dark and stormy season (please tell me we’re finally coming off this dark and stormy season!).  We usually kick off our Spring-soaking with a trip to UW to visit the cherry blossoms – Jules and I headed out there on a sunny(ish) Friday a couple of weeks ago to take in all the pink and white.

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The quad was packed with other petal-peepers, but we managed to get in a few laps.

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Even on cool and cloudy days, the flowers beckon – we spent a gray Saturday romping through our favorite spots at the Arboretum.

This little magnolia grove is some kinda magic…

“I’m freeeeee!  And it feels so good!”

And then, one more post-church trek over to UW, since we missed having Dad with us the first time around.

Not to project too far into the future, but this kid looks good on this campus, doesn’t she?

There are other signs of Spring around here – like the reappearance of the trusty bike seat!  This is by far Juliette’s favorite way to commute to school.

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And flower-filled murals gracing the walls of our church – Emily and I spent an evening last week chalk-arting in the kids’ ministry area.  I forgot how fun it is to doodle!

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Jules and I have taken some epic walks together lately, marching up and down the hills of Montlake at Interlaken Park…

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And logging over five miles on the Chief Sealth Trail near our house (there was a boba stop somewhere in the middle there, for sustenance, of course).

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We’ve been hitting the Spring birthday circuit pretty hard – this party at the gymnastics academy was a hit.

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And last but certainly not least, hellooooo GIANTS!  Baseball season is upon us, and though our guys are hardly off to a rip-roaring start, tuning into the games together is still a favorite weekend and evening pastime.

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Inspired by the likes of Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, this little slugger has been working on her swing.

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This face, though!  Breathe through your swing, Jules!

I’m cherishing this age when good sportsmanship comes naturally, when swinging and missing is no less enjoyable than hitting a homer.

Welcome, Spring.  We’re thrilled you’re here.

I started this post a few weeks ago but have had a heck of time sitting down and putting words to Juliette’s latest and greatest – everything I write feels so inadequate.  She’s not just picking up a few new words each week, not just getting taller and smarter and more fun.  She’s becoming her own full-fledged, complex, awesome little person.  And it seems impossible to capture all this change with a few funny quips and a reel of pictures.

Dang it, though.  I’ve at least gotta hit the highlights, right?  For my faithful readers (Juliette’s grandmas!) if nothing else…

After months of resistance, once the post-bath tangles had become too much too bear, we finally bit the bullet and headed to the local salon for Juliette’s first haircut.  She was a little anxious, but once she was snuggled into Shane’s lap with a lollipop and an episode of Puffin Rock, she hardly noticed the stranger with scissors hovering about.  I sighed a big sigh as those first curls fell to the floor – the hours I spent stroking those baby highlights as she nursed or slept in my arms!

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The bulk of her red-gold tresses made it through the cut unscathed, though.  Thank goodness.

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She’s growing like the proverbial weed – one day I’m shuffling her stool around so she can stand on it to wash her hands at the downstairs sink, the next day she just walks right up to the counter and flips on the faucet, a little smirk of pride on her face as she catches my surprised reflection in the mirror.  It feels not so long ago that I was awkwardly balancing her on my hip at the sink, scrubbing her hands myself.  She likes watching the numbers appear on our digital scale and was thrilled when the 3’s turned to 4’s – little lady is 40.8 pounds as of this morning.  Must be all that broccoli!  (Turns out she’ll eat just about anything she can grab with her trusty chopsticks!)

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That same proud smirk lit up her face a few weeks ago when she came home from school one evening, grabbed a maker, and wrote J-U-L-I-E-T-T-E on her whiteboard.  It was as if she’d been secretly working on this with her teachers for months, prepping for a dramatic surprise unveiling.  We had no idea she knew how to go any farther than J!  (She’s working on her lower-case e‘s, but her “apple-case” ones are solid!)

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She continues to thrive at school, though it does feel like we’re starting to tread in more emotionally complex waters.   Juliette’s buddy L walked up to her one morning and said, “You’re not my best friend – M is my best friend now.  You can’t play with us.”  Waaaahhhh!  The crestfallen look on Juliette’s face!  My heart!  I had a calm but ever-so-slightly stern talk with the two little excluders about how their words made Juliette sad and made me sad.  I think Juliette sensed how firmly I had her back, as she nuzzled into me afterwards and said, “But Mommy, you’re still my best friend, right?”  Always and forever, kiddo…always and forever.  The whole thing blew over in a few days and it turned out to be a good opportunity to reinforce the importance of kindness and inclusion with Juliette.  A new coffee shop opened up around the corner from Juliette’s school and we’ve made a ritual of popping in there a couple of times a week for an Americano, a vanilla steamer, and a good heart-to-heart before we head into her class.  We’ll chat about the day ahead and the latest happenings with her school buddies; sometimes she’ll ask me what I’m going to do at work that day.  These few minutes are especially precious on days when I come home to a tired or cranky girl, or when I don’t make it home at all before bedtime.  When I’m frustrated with her or missing her, I remind myself at least there was the coffee shop… 

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Fridays with my little bestie are as good as ever.  We’ve added the swimming pool to our rotation of Mama-Jules activities, and whenever I put that on the list of potential outings, it always wins, over the bakery or the library or the park.  As we walked in the doors of the pool a couple of weeks ago and breathed in that first whiff of chlorinated steam, Juliette squealed, “I’m so exciting, Mommy!”  She’s embraced the independence that comes with the arm floaties and loves bobbing around in endless circles at the whirlpool.

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Bonus:  post-pool naps are easy-breezy, as she crashes in no time.  Usually in my bed.  I’m still a sucker for snuggles.

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On days when we don’t get out of the house, we do craft projects or watch (too many) episodes of Sarah and Duck.  Juliette has recently gotten really into drawing and will whip out a family portrait in just a couple of minutes.  I always have the biggest head, Shane always has the baldest one.

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We’re constantly marveling at the how adept she’s become at expressing herself, how self-aware she suddenly seems.  She scooted her chair right next to mine at the cafe yesterday and said, “Mommy?  I’m so happy to be here with you.”

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On the flip side, when I turned off the TV that afternoon, she wailed, “But that makes me so frustrating!  Now I’m going be sad foreverrrrrrr!”.  She climbed to the top of a monster slide at the playground the other day and as she perched there, high above my reach, she yelled down, “I’m being brave, Mommy!  You don’t need to worry about me!”  She’s probably right – I don’t (but I do!).

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And now, the full photo reel!  These next few are from a sunny Saturday at Magnusson Park:

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And there was a fun romp at Mount Baker Park last month:

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And an “adventure walk” on the new trail that just opened in the nearby greenbelt – she was insistent that Amos the bunny come along for the ride:

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Happy three and a half, Miss Juliette Grace!  I’m so happy being with you.

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