Archive for the ‘seattle’ Category

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.

It’s been a dark and stormy month – when I went in at 7:00 yesterday morning to wake up Juliette, she rubbed her eyes and sleepily asked, “Is it still night time?”, confused by the sun-less sky out her window.  October has been full of wind and rain and only a handful of sun breaks.  But man, when that golden sun breaks


The clouds cleared as we were leaving church a couple of Sundays ago, so we popped over to Ravenna Park for a stroll.  It actually started drizzling again once we’d wound our way down to the trail, but I insisted we press on.  These leaves won’t be around much longer!








I know, Jules!  So lovely, right?!






Shane had last Friday off, so the three of us headed over to Bellevue Botanical Gardens to take a deep breath after a very traumatic dentist appointment (just a check-up, but you’d think our girl was getting a root canal!).


Run free, kiddo!





We spent awhile bouncing our way back and forth across the suspension bridge, stopping every lap or two to toss leaves into the creek below.








And then a rousing game of hide-and-go-seek in the woods.



THIS.  This is why I’m so thankful that my work week ends on Thursday.







Saturday was perfectly rain-free, so we seized the day and drove up to Snohomish for a day at The Farm at Swan’s Trail, on a quest for the perfect pumpkin.




So many to choose from!









We loaded up our wheelbarrow with three pumpkins and one three year old and called it good.


Ok, ok, one more!


We jetted down to Lincoln Park after the pumpkin patch to watch the Rust boys show off their fancy footwork on the soccer field.  Get it, Gryff!



Shane had to work most of the day on Sunday, but we squeezed in a family romp through Kubota Gardens before he clocked in.  This place is most definitely at its autumn peak.







I spy…






Ok, so apparently October wasn’t so gloomy after all!  (Typed as the rain patters against our living room window.)

OCTOBER, you trickster, you…always arriving before I’m quite ready for you, making me melancholy over the passage of summer but then wooing me with your color and crispness.  These first couple weeks of Fall have been good to us, with plenty of sun and just enough rain to save me from having to water the plants.

I’m afraid paddle board Sundays are a thing of the past, but bike rides are lovelier than ever.




And gosh, these arboretum strolls…on a sunny evening, this place is magic.



The kids harvested (inedible) berries one Sunday evening while the grown-ups cracked open a bottle of Sauv Blanc.






MY WORD, kids!  Lay it on thick!





It’s been a few months since I’ve had a work-free, kid-free day to myself, so I called in tired one day last week and headed out to Twin Falls for a little refresh.






These gorgeous gushing falls are just 45 minutes from Seattle, and on this cloudy Tuesday, I had them nearly to myself.








The sun peeked out as I was heading back to the car and the forest positively glowed.


So I stretched out on a big smooth rock and read for awhile, savoring that rare feeling of taking my own sweet time.









Me-days are grand, but Mama-Jules days have their own charm.  We spent past Friday at Volunteer Park, romping in the sun and taking in the view from the Observatory.






Jules was having some…digestive… issues yesterday, so we stayed close to home, but by 4 pm we were all climbing the walls, so we headed over to Kubota Gardens for our annual leaf-fest.




We were a bit early for full-on reds and golds, but hey, green is good, too.



This girl was thrilled to be free!








Oh, and how ’bout them GIANTS?!  Sunday afternoon baseball tea parties are a thing in our house now.  And October baseball is the very best kind of baseball, so don’t let us down on Wednesday, boys!


Juliette turned to me when we were walking home from lightrail the other evening and said, “Mommy?  I’m sad because the leaves are coming off the trees.”  I feel ya, kiddo…it was indeed one heck of a summer.  In addition to the camping trips and the family vacations through the mid- and north-wests and that fun impromptu getaway at the coast, there was much savoring of summertime in Seattle as we made sun-soaking part of our weekend routine.

After years of insisting that I am not comfortable on two wheels, family bike rides became a new favorite pastime.  We did Lake Washington Boulevard and the Sammamish River Trail and the Burke Gilman and, on one gorgeous Sunday, a 6-mile stretch of the Green River Trail.  One of the advantages of hauling Jules in the bike trailer is that we can also load it up with a picnic lunch for a mid-ride break!






Friday family dinners with the Rusts have become a mainstay in our calendar, rain or shine.  Shine is extra-good, though, when we can pick up BBQ and eat outside.


Jefferson Spray Park continues to be the perfect place for a close-to-home cool-off.


And oh, those evenings at Lake Washington…those are what I’ll miss most as the weather cools.  We’ve always loved the lake, but since we bought our paddle board, we’re enjoying it all the more.  This girl looks good in a life jacket!







THIS.  I want more of this!


But alas, seasons change and daylight wanes, so we’ll find new ways to fill our weekends.  Frisbee golf shows some promise as an autumn hobby – the three of us ventured out to Lakewood a couple of weeks ago and while I usually play the part of the observer so as not to embarrass myself, I took some pointers from Shane and after a few holes, my discs were consistently traveling in the forward direction!


Still, I have nowhere near the power of this animal…




After frisbee golf that day, we all headed over to Pioneer Square to check out some of the early happenings at the Seattle Design Festival.  I was perplexed when Shane said he really wanted to see the 10-ton ice cube, but I’ll admit, it was cool.  Ice cool.  I so appreciate this guy’s knack for finding out-of-the-ordinary ways for us to get out together.




And now, all ten tons of that ice have melted and we’ve started wearing jackets when we leave the house.  Sayonara, summer 2016.  You were dope.


June has brought her A-game this year, kicking off the month with a solid six days of sunshine.  Shane had Friday off and suggested a family hike in the mountains – I wasn’t sure I was up for a long trek, but when I saw him throw Juliette’s bike in the trunk, I figured we were in for some pretty mild terrain.  We made a pitstop at the bakery for sustenance, and then found ourselves nestled among the Cascades at the Gold Creek Pond trailhead just one hour later.  The “trail” was flat and paved and the perfect place for Jules to practice her cruising.

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And Gold Creek Pond was a glistening turquoise lake, clear and serene and all kinds of lovely.

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We found a patch of grass and a shady picnic table where we could have a snack and then dip our toes in the freezing water.

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I love baseball cap weather…

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Our mile-long loop left us all parched, so we hopped over to Dru Bru for beer and ginger ale.  Cheers, kiddo!

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After a solid family nap in the afternoon, we met up with some friends at Jefferson Park for a taco picnic and a romp in the splash pad.  This picture makes it hard to believe that summer hasn’t officially begun:

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We spent Saturday morning down by Lake Washington, sunning and paddleboarding.  It took some major negotiating to pry Juliette off this thing – had to promise the kid treats and a trip to the plant store (she loves Lowe’s these days).

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Sunday was hot, hot, hot, so we headed to the mountains again, this time to check out Franklin Falls.

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Shane wanted to save his shoulders and asked Jules to walk the first part of the trail.  She made it…0.1 miles before begging to get up in the backpack!

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I’ve been on a couple of waterfall hikes that end with an anti-climatic trickle over some rocks.  Not the case here!  This baby was roaring.

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Juliette wasn’t a fan of the cold falls-spray and spent our time down there nuzzled into my chest.  There are worse things, I guess…

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We plowed through the crowds back toward our car, scoring a sweet little spot near the river to stop and refuel with strawberries and pretzels.

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And we found ourselves back at Lake Washington on Sunday evening, eating pizza with Jack and La Verne while the kids ran circles around us.

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These ring-around-the-rosy pics would make the best flip book ever!

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Ahhhh…June.  So far, so good!

A smorgasboard of photos from the past couple of weeks:

One of my very favorite kids turned six last week and we celebrated with pizza and popsicles at the park.  I remember when this sweet boy was just a little roly-poly of a thing – now he’s SIX, all grown-up and super-cool.

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Still awfully sweet, though…

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Most of the attendees were boys in the 6-10 year range and Jules couldn’t quite keep up, but she was pretty thrilled to watch from the sidelines and get a glimpse of future shenanigans.

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Don’t even think about it, kiddo!  Too high, too high!

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Best to stick with frolicking in the grass with her pint-sized buddy!

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Love you, Z!  It’s such a pleasure to watch you grow.

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Shane, Jules, and I spent a sunny Sunday morning hanging out at Lake Union, watching the boats and sea planes go by.

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Girl knows how to accessorize!

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And then a sunny Sunday evening at Seward Park – suddenly beach weather is upon us!

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These two were giddy with the promise of summer on the horizon (it’s a distant horizon, but still very exciting!).

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I’m loving these longer daylight hours – we can push Juliette’s bedtime back a bit on the evenings we want to take a spin around the block after dinner.  She’s slowly getting the hang of her balance bike, although it seems she usually decides she’s done riding once we’ve reached the farthest point from home.  Of course.

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We checked out Montlake Playground on Friday with our buddies – Juliette was quick to set up shop in the “kitchen” and make me a sausage with chocolate.

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This.  Kid’s.  Smile.

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Little O turns three tomorrow and we celebrated with him on Saturday morning at a Top Pot Caspar Babypants concert.  He is Caspar’s biggest fan and bopped along to every single song.

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Jules was not so impressed with the music, but the donut with sprinkles was a major hit.  Points to Shane for not complaining once through the whole thing – this is decidedly not his scene!

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Shane is bound and determined to make a biking family out of us, so he borrowed Nancy’s bike for me on Saturday afternoon and corralled Jules and me over to Seward Park for a short ride.  Truth be told, I would have preferred to tuck myself into the bike trailer with Juliette and her books, but still, it was fun.

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The mid-ride stop for snacks by the water was a plus.

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Yesterday was rainy and gray – we spent a lot of time cuddled up inside with hot tea and Finding Nemo.  Juliette and I did venture out for a quick run up to Jefferson Park – I haven’t jogged with the stroller in awhile and barely made it up the hill with old bag of books.  As I huffed and puffed, she called back, “What’s wrong, Mommy?”  I said, “You’re so heavy, baby!”  She sighed dramatically and said, “I know!  I’m so tired!”  Life is rough, huh, kid?

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Cherry blossom season in Seattle comes in two phases – first the dainty white and light pink blooms of the UW quad, then the puffy pink pom-poms that burst forth across the city.  The pom-poms peaked last week and it felt like I was greeted with happy clouds of pink around every corner.  The walk from my office to Juliette’s daycare has never been lovelier!

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This sprawling beaut of tree was spotted around the corner from Juliette’s dentist last Friday (poor kid had no idea what she was running toward – teeth cleaning is not in her wheelhouse of favorite activities!)…

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And Lake Washington Boulevard has been donning its finest – Juliette and I headed there to decompress and eat a cookie after said traumatic dentist appointment.

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Cookies and sunshine do a body good!

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Shane went for a long bike ride on Sunday and then met Jules and I at the other end of Lake Washington Boulevard – we found a sunny patch of grass near the water and piped the Giants game through Shane’s phone.  It ain’t Spring till you hear Jon Miller shout, “That. Ball. Is. OUTTA HERE!”

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It was a stunning weekend, weather-wise.  And then…this happened.

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The trek to Juliette’s school wasn’t quite so grand today – no chirping birds, no bright and fluffy trees.  Just gray skies, wet shoes, and bloom-strewn sidewalks.  I know, I know, part of the magic of cherry blossom season lies in its ephemeral nature, but I can’t help wishing it would last just a little longer.

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I’ve always looked forward to my mom and dad’s visits to Seattle, but I’ve longed for quality time with them even more in the years since I’ve had Juliette.  It’s a good feeling, watching people love your kid, and grandparents are especially good at doting, at hugging and playing and bearing witness to the fact that you have the sweetest, smartest, most amazing child on earth.

Thankfully, grandparents are also good at keeping their cool when that sweet kid turns into the whiniest, clingiest, most tantrum-prone of toddlers.  Jules was on a definite mood swing rampage this past weekend!  Way to keep it real, kiddo.  So maddeningly real.

But hey, let’s dwell on the highlights:

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We had a good time running along the blossom-lined sidewalks of Lake Washington Boulevard on Friday morning.

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On Saturday we all hopped on Lightrail to take advantage of the recently-expanded tracks and catch a ride to Capitol Hill.

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We spent awhile at Cal Anderson – Jules hit the playground while my mom and I sipped our tea and coffee from Caffe Vita.

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When Juliette was feeling stubborn and disagreeable, we found that the only tear-free way to move her along was for Grandma or Grandpa to challenge her to race.  On your marks, get set, GO!

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at home, sidewalk-chalking, kicking the soccer ball around, and cracking open cold drinks on the back porch.

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Sunday was another beautiful day, so we ventured to Kubota Gardens for a green-and-pink fix.

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My mom and dad hit the road back to Oregon on Sunday afternoon.  As we said our good-byes, I felt that overwhelming urge to plead Juliette’s case, as she’d had another doozy of a morning.  I wanted to shout, “She’s usually not like this, I promise!  She’s such a sweet, funny, affectionate little girl!  She loves you so much but is just having a hard time showing it!”.  I bit my tongue, though.  I mean, they’re her grandparents.  They know the drill.

Spring has sprung and we’re making our way through our annual tour du blossoms, hitting our list of must-sees before the trees shed their pink and white fluff.  I skipped out of work a little early on a particularly sunny day a couple of weeks ago and picked up Jules for an afternoon stroll through the arboretum.

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The tulip trees had already dropped a lot of their petals, but the pink and brown forest floor was lovely.

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To infinity and BEYOND!

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The UW cherry blossoms are also high on our list of March destinations, and since our last visit there was cut short by the rain, we headed back out on a clear-ish Saturday morning to get one more peek.  I was hoping we could perch Jules in a tree and get her to sweetly smile for some glamour shots, but she had other ideas, wildly running loops and loops and loops around the lawn.  I guess that works, too.

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Finally!  She sits!  (By the way, Shane’s already dubbed her a future Husky.)

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Juliette’s been working on her wink – kinda sorta almost there?

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Shane was laid up with a doozy of a flu last weekend, so we put our park tour on pause.  The three of us ventured out of the house for church on Easter Sunday and then came home for a low-key egg hunt.  Low-key until Juliette wolfed down her stash of chocolate bunnies, that is…

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By early afternoon Shane’s strength was waning, so Jules and I left him on the couch and headed out for our c-group Easter meal.  There was another egg hunt for the kids (more treats!  yay.), ham and rolls and salads and lemon tarts for the grown-ups, and merriment for all.

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I’ll admit, with Shane out of commission and me left to do quite a bit of solo parenting, I found myself having a hard time fully dwelling in the goodness of the Easter message.  Yes, God is Risen, but MY PARTNER IS DOWN and my kid is driving me crazy!  Looking at this photo, it’s hard for me to remember what she did to upset me…

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So we’ll temporarily sweep those terrible two moments under the rug and revel in the bright spots of Spring.  There are many.