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I’ve started a new blog.
Similar in content, but hopefully with a bit more purpose.
I hope you’ll check it out!

The Lines are Pleasant

julia got a harmonica for Easter.
at first she was not interested. 
at all.
now…
well…
let’s just say,
if you forget to set your alarm,
have no fear.

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it makes for some fun morning snuggles, though.

Since Michael has accused me of playing favorites with my children,
allow me to disprove him 🙂

On Sunday, Julia looked out the window and saw the neighbor kids playing their little hearts out.
She immediately informed me that she needed to “go outside and run!”
So run we did.
To the playground in fact.
And she could not have been happier – she ran up to every person she saw and exclaimed: “I runnin!!!!”
Even 2 and 1/2 year olds know that sunshine and fresh air are reasons for celebration.

laughjulia

I love these pictures because they capture her joy
(and spunk…er, attitude? as evidenced by the picture on the left.)
This girl not only laughs constantly,
she makes ME laugh.
I’m grateful for her.

hello april.  hello sunshine.
I thought you’d never return.

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I think the last time I posted was in the Fall.
What a shocker.
I keep saying I want to get back into blogging,
but it just hasn’t been in the cards lately.
I’m hoping I can carve out some time for it in the future.
BUT, it’s been a good break for me.
I would say I’ve been in a season of weakness lately.
Not in a bad way,
but in a way that makes me realize my dependence on Jesus.
I used to feel like I had a large capacity to get things done.
For whatever reason, that capacity seems to have shrunk.
Maybe it’s the two little people that live with us.
It could also be all the time I waste on facebook
I do have a love-hate relationship with that monster.
ANYWAYS,
I’m trying to learn what God has for me in it,
and rest content with whatever I can get done in a day.
and learn how to be more diligent with my time.
It really is good.

A little rambly update on the girls.
my biggest job is keeping them in pants that are long enough.
my girls may as well be walking on stilts. 
both are in the 93rd percentiles for height.
Julia is well above the max height for all 2T sizes. 
I’m serious – I can’t find pants that stay long enough for more than 3 months.

Julia is a chatterbox. 
Sweetest thing ever, yet has quite the temper.
I blame her father Winking smile
she has a very vivid imagination and loves to play with her Entourage.
what is the Entourage? you ask:
all her Hello Kittys, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Birdie, Person, Other Person, Elephant, Baby Moses, Red Man, Red Lady, Chickie, all the people who live in her pink castle, donkey, Mr. Cow, and I could go on and on.
the Entourage started with 5 characters.
It’s gotten out of control.
She loves playing games on the Kindle.
she’s become a bit of a picky eater, but we’re making a lot of progress in getting her to try new things.  but don’t worry, she’ll still let you know if the food you just spent an hour preparing is “GROSS.”

she keeps us laughing constantly.
we can’t imagine life without her and her infectious joy,
despite her crazy antics.

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and then there’s Isobel.
already 9 and 1/2 months.
so many things I could say about this girl.
sweet, cuddly, happy, excited about EVERYTHING.
above all, she is my snuggler.
Julia slept through the night at 9 weeks old and never looked back.
Belle waited until 7 months to do it consistently.
Definitely defied my expectations (sorely),
but it has forged a special bond between the two of us.
many hours in the rocking chair will do that. 
Just last night she was up most of the night with a cough
and could only be soothed by coming to bed with us.
I don’t like sleep deprivation,
but I will always love that memory of having her snuggle up with us in bed.
I keep trying to remember that these days don’t last long. 

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She is different from her sister in practically every way.
But they are already best friends.
I’m really excited to see all that lies ahead for them.

And that’s it for now.
Hopefully I’ll be able to post more and update less.
Happy Thursday and happy SPRING!

I don’t even know where to start.

Clearly I’ve been neglecting the blog.
BUT – my kids are still alive and clothed.
So I consider it a victory.
I know I only have 2 kids…and lots of people have 4 or 5 or 6…
but somehow going from one to two has really given me a run for my money. 🙂
It’s also taken all our money…but that was a given, right?

SO,
here’s an abbreviated update:

June 17 – Isobel was born.
7 lb. 5 oz.
19.5 inches
2 weeks early and healthy!

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She is the sweetest thing ever.
4 and 1/2 months old now,
and I couldn’t be more in love with her.
Looks nothing like her sister,
and she acts nothing like her either.
It’s really funny how different they are.
We are so grateful God added her to our little family.

July – I don’t really know what happened in July.
Oh wait – Julia turned 2!

julia turns two

August – 2 weeks vacation.
1 in Bethany Beach with the Smiths.
1 in Ocean City, NJ with the Sharps.
And I don’t have any real pictures.
Here’s are more Instagrams to make it interesting though.

beach 2 beach 3 beach 4 beach 5 beach 6 beach

 

September – I turned 26.  This is sad because I’m now almost 30.
Mike is rolling his eyes.

October – we are finally settling into a more predictable routine!
And I am digging out of all the laundry that has been piling up.
Mike went to England.  Again.  Without me.  Again.
But I went to visit Jer and Ange and Ally!

colbs and Jbelle and ryder 

Interesting fact:
Isobel and Ryder are 1 week apart.
Julia and Colby are 2 weeks apart.
Clearly we planned for them to marry each other when they grow up.

And Meg and I went out to Springton Manor to take some pictures of the kids.
Which brings me to the first real pictures I’ve taken since Isobel was born.
They’re mostly of Julia and Chloe.
Who wanted to:
jump
pick up sticks
pick up stones
throw stones
not pose for pictures.

Enjoy.

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And there’s my long abbreviated update.
When you’ll hear from me next is anybody’s guess.
We’re hunkering down to brave Hurricane Sandy for the next few days,
so it could be months!
But that’s ok.
Life changes, and it’s not all bad. 🙂

Everybody stay safe out there!

Well, I’ve been extremely neglectful of this blog.
But, I figure: better to neglect the blog than the child. 😉

I finally pulled out my camera yesterday for the first time in what seems like ages.  Which is fitting given the occasion: bath time. 
Sometimes ages go by in between Julia’s baths.
My mom normally steps in to make sure my child is clean.

 

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This last picture can sum up a lot of what’s been going on here lately:

– Julia needs a haircut.  But the last one was disastrous, so I’m just kind of ignoring the issue and hoping it will resolve itself.
Hence the spectacular comb over.

– We painted the girls’ room pink.
Along with parts of the trim, ceiling and carpet.
I don’t really care at this point. 🙂

– Julia is now in a toddler bed
(that stripey pink and white thing is her comforter.)
The first week was rough, but things are going much better now.

– I have not gotten around to hanging pictures on the wall,
so for now they will artistically “lean” on bookshelves.
I would like to personally thank whoever made that stylish.
And don’t worry – they’re not heavy.

 

And besides that, we are just waiting on having a baby.
Mike just got home from a trip to England,
I’ve gotten a pedicure,
and the house was cleaned top to bottom as of last week
(a true miracle if you know me.)
Which means this child needs to come soon.
My house doesn’t stay clean for longer than a few days.
BUT, there are still 3 weeks until d-day,
so I’m trying to keep myself busy.
Namely with trying to finish painting my kitchen cabinets.
Funny thing about them – they refuse to paint themselves.
I wish someone had warned me not to start this project while pregnant.
That’s a joke.  Many people did. 
Which is why I’ve had two-toned cabinets since March.

Well, that’s that.
Hopefully next time I update, I will have a picture of a pretty little baby girl to go along with it!

Happy Wednesday!

Or:
Before Bangs

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About a month ago I convinced myself I could cut her bangs.
How did that turn out? you ask.

1st haircut  

Thankfully they have grown out just fine.
But now I know why people pay other people to do this sort of thing.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about my cranky lovey
Through much prayer and patience, we got through.
We always do, don’t we?  Even though it seems we never will 🙂
Because God is faithful.

And this week has been different from that week – a good different.
I’ve been enjoying my girlie in such a refreshing way.
I am sick (yes, again) and so my mom took Julia for a few days.
But starting yesterday, it was just me and her.
So I threw out the strict TV rules, and we set up camp on my bed.
I can’t tell you how good she has been!
We’ve spent the past two days watching Elmo and Mickey
(and perhaps a bit of Top Chef),
reading, and yes – even jumping on the bed.
(her, not me.)

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When we go downstairs so I can throw something in the crockpot,
or try to tame the disaster that is what I call “the sick house,”
she plays happily with her toys and “reads” her books.
She runs around pointing out letters on things,
ecstatic when she finds an “H.”
(it is her favorite)

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And as I watch her, I realize how very blessed we are to have her.
I read stories all the time of mommies losing their babies,
stories that break my heart.
Just yesterday I heard of parents who lost their second baby to a heart condition.  Absolutely heartbreaking.
It brings me to prayer like little else does.
I pray for their comfort,
because I can only imagine the anguish that must grip them.
I pray that in this world of trouble,
where trials come and little ones go to be with Jesus,
we would know that He has overcome this world of trouble.
And I pray out of gratitude.
Thankful that my little one is so healthy,
thankful for the light that she brings to our home,
thankful for the joy that God’s given to us in her.

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I went to put lunch away today and couldn’t find my chip clip.
Why?
Because ten little fingers had stolen it from the drawer
and stashed it only God knows where.
And I was filled with so much praise for those two little thieving hands.

So I’ll keep talking about the cranky toddler days,
because they can be challenging in a very real way.
But I want to remember that I am blessed;
blessed to simply have my baby,
whether cranky or joyful.
And I’ll keep on praying for all those mamas who have had to place their babies in Jesus’ arms.
For He is near to the brokenhearted;
He has promised to be.
And I think every mother can relate to that kind of sorrow.

So, that’s it really.
Just had to share how grateful I am for God’s blessing to me in this little girl.
Thank goodness the cranky days are not the only kind. 🙂

Happy Wednesday.

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Last week was a challenging week.
Yesterday was a challenging day.
And this Tuesday morning, I found myself fearful of another challenging week.
Julia was miserably sick all of last week, and just as she’s getting over it, I’m getting it.  Oh, and I just discovered she’s getting all 4 incisors to boot. 🙂

I have a cranky toddler.  The temptation is to then be a cranky mama.
I don’t want to be that for her.
I want to love her with patience and kindness,
to remember that she has been alive in this world a mere 18 months.
I want her to grow up knowing her boundaries,
but also knowing that her mama’s arms are always open to her.
As you can imagine, I need a lot of help with this.

I’m grateful to say that yesterday I felt a lot of grace to be patient with her. 
I went to bed feeling both victorious and exhausted.
And yet when I woke this morning, there was fear instead of faith.
Fear that yesterday’s grace was gone and nothing was left for today.
So, in case any of you are in a similar boat, here are some verses and book quotes that have really helped fill me with faith for cranky toddlers today 🙂

Lamentations 3:22-23
”The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

 

Rachel Jankovic (“Loving the Little Years”):
”Christian childrearing is a pastoral pursuit, not an organizational challenge…
…So, while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice.
Sacrifice your peace for their fun,
your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs,
your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream that a friend of theirs allegedly had.
Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done.
They are the only part of your work that really matters.”

 

“You have to open your heart to the tumble.
As you deal with your children, deal with yourself always and first.”

 

“It is no abstract thing –
the state of your heart is the state of your home.”

 

Proverbs 11:25
”Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.”

 

I’m holding onto that last verse quite dearly this morning.
Praying for all you mamas out there that need that encouragement too.
Happy Tuesday. 🙂

If anyone still reads this,
and is interested to know,
the answer is no: i did not die.
I have just had zero energy 😉
I had forgotten how tiring and nauseous the 1st trimester can be,
but I keep telling myself I’m grateful for it!
It means little baby is getting what he/she needs.

So, here is a quick update of what I’ve managed to get done in between my many, many, many naps.

Monkey on Thanksgiving morning.
That orange ring in her hand…
that thing is gold.
It’s one of her favorite toys right now.
I don’t get it either.

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“Corn Flower” table decorations for Thanksgiving

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Wiggins Tree Farm to get our tree!
We went with Michelle and Alex – it was a lot of fun.
Once we established that pointing out prospective trees by saying
”That one!” really didn’t work.
Oh you mean the tree next to that tree, past all these trees, over yonder in the distance?
Yeah, I know exactly which one you mean.

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Which is why I “tagged” our #1 pick with my sunglasses.

SONY DSC It didn’t occur to me until after I’d left that it was very possible that I could lose both the tree AND my sunglasses.
Preggo brain on display!

Julia even found her own Charlie-Brown-sized tree.
We would have bought it for her room, but it was one price for all trees.
There was no way we were paying the same price for a rinky-dink tree 😉

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Catching a ride back to the car with Uncle Alex.

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Julia is thinking: “Mom, did you even look in the mirror before you walked outside this morning?  That hair is quite special.”

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And that brings us to today.
When I finally had the energy to string the lights on the tree.
Only to open up the box and realize I had bought 700 white wire lights.
White wire.
On a green tree.
So off to Target we went to exchange them.
Julia is fascinated by the lights.

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And, finally, while researching what to make for Christmas morning,
and deciding on Monkey Bread,
I also decided I wanted to make my own Buttermilk Biscuit dough for the bread.
I was shocked at how easy it is!
I also did a fair amount of reading on what constitutes the BEST buttermilk biscuit.  It is fascinating.
No surprise, America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe uses the best method.
(Thank you, Cyndi, for that fabulous cookbook!)
Kneadless (ha) to say, after spending all this time staring at biscuits,
I kneaded one. (ha again)
Badly.
So I whipped up a batch in under half an hour.
I didn’t have cake flour on hand, but I used all-purpose and they turned out wonderfully.  I will definitely be making these again.
Seriously – so simple.

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Buttermilk Biscuits
Source
: America’s Test Kitchen
Makes: 12
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled cut into cubes
3/4 c. cold buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use soured milk – 1 TBSP lemon juice or white distilled vinegar per 1 cup milk.  Combine and let stand 5 minutes until thickened.)

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Pulse the flours, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a food processor to combine.  Scatter the butter evenly over the top and pulse to combine, about 12 pulses. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a fork or work the butter in with your fingers.)

2.) Transfer mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in the buttermilk with a rubber spatula until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball.

3.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and quickly form into a rough ball.  Do not overmix.  Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 12 even pieces.  Quickly and gently shape each piece into a rough ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  (The baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 2 hours.) Bake until the biscuit tops are light brown, 10-12 minutes.

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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